The following post contains some affiliate links. Please see our full disclosure policy here.
My blogging journey began in 2012 shortly after my son was born. I had been reading blogs for a number of years and it was always something I was interested in learning more about. It wasn’t until my son was born and I was planning his first birthday party that the blogging bug finally caught up to me. I’m obsessed with party planning, party and wedding details, celebrating holidays and crafting, so I decided to just jump into blogging head first. I’m thankful to have a few close friends who were already blogging for some time help me with a lot of questions I had as a newbie blogger. I really didn’t get into blogging to make money – I never thought anyone would read my blog! Now a few years later, I’m making a great second income from blogging and I love sharing what I’ve learned with others who want to start a blog or take their blog to the next level. Blogging really is a labor of love, so it’s so important to blog about something you’re passionate about. If you don’t, your blogging days won’t last very long. It’s very easy to get burned out if you’re not blogging about something you absolutely love!
There is so much information out there on blogging that it can be overwhelming. Here, I will break down the information and resources I use and love, so you can get your blog up and running, start producing amazing content, and eventually turn your blog into a profit-making business some day. Be sure to sign up for our email list to become a Blogging Insider and never miss a post on blogging! And if you’re looking to take better photos for your blog, be sure to check out The Ultimate Photography Resource List.
- Decide on a niche. Again, this is so important. You want to write about topics you are passionate about. There are many different types of blogs out there including, food, photography, lifestyle, wedding, event planning, frugal living, and more! If you want to blog about more than one topic, a general lifestyle blog would be best. If you have a hobby or passion, like baking for example, start a blog about that.
- Brainstorm a great catchy blog name that fits your niche and what you will be writing about. Don’t make it too long, confusing or hard to spell.
- Next, you will want to have a self-hosted blog. Set up and register your domain name. ( I recommend a .com name). You can set up your domain name at BlueHost. I just signed up with their hosting services for a second lifestyle blog I will be launching soon. They are affordable and they make it super easy to install wordpress with just one click, which was a plus!
- Pick a hosting provider. I’ve been through a few hosting providers that just left me with a bunch of headaches, but I found that Flywheel is the best one for me and this blog Pretty My Party! They will migrate your site over for free if you are with another provider, which is great because I’m not the most technical person. They also have awesome customer service, respond to emails quickly, and fix problems in a timely manner, which is something some of many hosting companies lack. You pay a little more than larger hosting companies, but I believe it’s truly worth the cost.
- Install WordPress. Check out this YouTube video on How to Install WordPress on Your Webhost. If you choose BlueHost for hosting, you can set up your WordPress account with one click. It’s super easy and I definitely recommend them for first-time bloggers.
- The Genesis Framework is a must-have in the blogging world because it provides a secure and SEO-optimized foundation for your WordPress website. After you get the Genesis Framework you will choose your blog’s theme through Studio Press. If you’re looking to take your blog seriously and look at it as more of a business than just a blog, I would recommend getting a professional looking theme from Studio Press instead of the free themes that are offered on WordPress. Studio Press has the best themes for any niche and there are tons to choose from. They are also extremely popular among lifestyle bloggers. Some of my favorite themes include the Darling Theme, Fun Child Theme, Foodie Pro, Modern Blogger, Lifestyle. Also check out Restored 316. The Sprinkle theme is also a great one!
- Set up Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, YouTube and Bloglovin’ for your blog. Make sure your social media pages have the same name as your blog, so your business/brand will be easy to find. I get so confused when bloggers have a different name for their social media pages. Please note for Twitter and Pinterest, they do limit the amount of characters for your name, so try to make it pretty close to your actual name. For example, my new lifestyle blog name is Pretty Stylish Life, so for Twitter and Pinterest, my name is prettystylishl.
- Start thinking about your branding. Branding is super important and your logo and any other designed materials for your blog/brand should look cohesive. Design a logo yourself or hire someone to make one for you. Branding also includes a professional photo of yourself for your blog.
- Brainstorm blog topics and content. Having a list of topics you will be writing about will make it easier to start blogging. Research what the hot topics are in your niche and write about them. That’s a great place to start!
- Learn about Search Engine Optimization. SEO is extremely important for anyone who owns a blog and wants to get their content out to the right readers. Here’s a great beginners guide to SEO.
- Start writing! Since you’re new to blogging, you want to have at least 10 to 12 really awesome posts written before you start promoting them on social media.
- Start networking! Find blogging groups on Facebook and start following your favorite bloggers or bloggers in your niche on social media. Take the time to comment on their blogs and social media posts.
- Set up an RSS feed for your blog. This will allow you to send your email newsletters to your readers. I used FeedBurner to do this. Just go to feedburner.com and sign in with your google account. If you do not have a Google account, create one for free by clicking the “Create an Account” button on FeedBurner’s front page. Type your website address into the box below the words “Burn a feed right this instant.” Click the “Next” button. Give your RSS feed a title and customize the feed address. When ready, click the “Next” button to set up your FeedBurner RSS feed.
- Once you start to see a little traffic on your blog, you can start collecting reader’s email addresses for your newsletters. This is where you will decide on which email marketing program to use. (This is where your RSS feed link will come in handy!). I love Mad Mimi for email marketing and newsletters. It’s so stylish and easy to use. It’s an easy email service that lets you create, send, share, and track emails. The monthly price will vary depending on how many subscribers you have.
- Set up an email sign up prompt on your blog. PopupAlly Pro is the pop up you see when visiting my site that prompts visitors to sign up for my weekly newsletter. It’s super easy to customize and looks professionally designed. This plugin also gives you a ton of options like how often your reader will see the pop up when they visit your website. It’s also been a great email list building tool for my business, which is super important and something I will touch on later in my blogging series.
- Business 2 Blogger is a great resource for bloggers. I signed up for their emails. They have a lot of great information about blogging and how you can turn your blog into a business!
- My favorite Pinterest scheduling tool right now is Tailwind. Tailwind’s platform lets you discover content, schedule posts, monitor conversations and likes on pins, launch promotions, analyze your results, and so much more! It’s really been a game-changer for my Pinterest strategy in 2015-2016.
- Bloggers have deadlines, goals, etc., so it’s important to have a great blog/lifeplanner. I never want to forget important things when it comes to blogging or my business, so I purchased the Emily Ley Simplified Planner and I LOVE it! I pretty much keep my whole life organized with it, including my blogging schedule, sponsored posts deadlines, meetings, Twitter parties, etc.
- You have to spend a little money upfront if you want to be a serious blogger. If you look at your blog as a business from the beginning, make your site design and branding look professional, and produce amazing content, you’re already off to an amazing start and setting yourself up for blogging success!
Here are also some other great resources on blogging:
Books I recommend:
I know this is a lot of information to digest at this point, but don’t get overwhelmed. If you take it one step at a time, get everything set up, start producing amazing content, and build an online audience, you too could make some extra income from blogging. Just remember you won’t monetize your blog overnight. It really takes a lot of time, patience and persistence to build an audience first before you can even think of starting to make money from your blog. Hopefully this is a great starting point for you and something you can come back and reference as you complete each step in How to Start a Blog! Also, be sure to check out our post on The Ultimate Photography Resource List for Bloggers and join us in the Blogging Insiders Facebook Group.
Do you have a question on how to get started blogging? Or, is there a blogging topic you would like me to cover here? Let me know in the comments below!