How to start a blog [a beginners guide]

Anyone and everyone with a voice can blog. I could list hundreds of reasons as to why you should start a blog. But that’s for another post! I’m going to go about this guide with the view that you have already decided you definitely want to start a blog – but have no idea where exactly to start. I have blogged for approximately seven years. I used to have private blogs – almost like diaries – when I was in school and college. I then had a photography blog in university and then after finding out I was pregnant, decided to create Dear Little Daisy. This blog has opened up so many doors, created so many opportunities and created an online scrap book of Daisy’s life for her to look back on in years to come.

First things first. Find your niche. 

What are you going to blog about? For me, when I created my blog, it was easy. I was going to write letters to Daisy and write all about her as she grows up. I didn’t ever imagine I would be sharing my blog with anyone, let alone my monthly readers! (hey!). A few of the larger categories for blogging can range from the following:

  • photography
  • parenting
  • lifesyle
  • beauty
  • fashion
  • travel
  • food

The good thing about having a blog is that it is your own space to write about whatever you want to write about. There are no rules as such. You can voice your opinion without offence and know that you have the right to do so because it’s your little space. A lifestyle blog is a good idea if you are not particularly confident in deciding what direction you want to take. A lifestyle blog can basically be about your life and every day adventures. It can be about something as simple as a new lipstick you bought, or it can be a space for you to talk about a funny nappy incident. So once you’ve decided your niche, it’s onto step two.

Create a name / finding your brand

I don’t have too many tips for this one. Finding a name is probably one of the most hardest things about getting started. I find the best thing to do is to sit down with a notebook and after figuring out your niche, start to create a brainstorm. In the middle have your subject then write down everything that possibly comes to mind from it.  The perfect blog name is something sharp and witty. Something that stands out and is easy to type and easy to say. It needs to be something smart that people will remember. Once you have your blog name sorted, you then need to think about purchasing a domain. Do you want a .co.uk name or a .com? Perhaps you want to be a bit different and use something else. There are a range of variables available to purchase.

Purchasing a domain name

This can seem a little daunting. I remember the first time I purchased a domain name I literally had no idea what I was doing and winged the whole thing! Almost 7 years later and I still get a little confused. If you type into Google – ‘purchase a domain name’ or ‘buy a domain’ – then you’ll find many companies offering a variety of deals for you to pick from. Below are a few that I have used and found to be very consistent with their customer service. These are (in my opinion) the easiest ones to use.

They will have a search bar – simply type in the domain name you would like to purchase and follow the payment through to the checkout. Most of these websites will have deals on certain domain names and some will also throw in the option of purchasing a personalised email address to go alongside your website at a cheaper price. I personally think this looks professional and will always buy my own email address! Once the domain name is all yours, it’s time to set up and connect your blog!

Picking your platform 

Personally I would pick between Wordpress.com,  Blogger and WordPress.org. You have to pay for WordPress.org as it’s a self hosting platform. There are a few differences between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. You can see those differences here and pick between which one is best for your blogging needs. WordPress is a little more professional in the sense that you can dig deeper into how your blog is running. WordPress.com kind of just lets you sit back and blog whilst they handle the rest. On WordPress.org you can install and purchase your own themes, this was a selling point for me! I love to have full creative control over my blog and so there was no question about it.

Linking your domain – the *kind of* hard part

This is probably the most technical part of setting up a blog. Sometimes this part can feel a little daunting! The good thing is that a lot of domain websites and hosting websites have detailed instructions in which you are able to follow! I’m going to link below so that hopefully you are able to find the right instructions to set up your blog.

Picking the right design 

I’m going to go more into this in a separate post, but having a blog that looks nice is so important. The content will always be the main focal point, but if you have brilliant content and a messy blog it can easily put off readers. It needs to be easy on the eye, clean and simple to navigate. Make sure you have a search bar so that people can find what they are looking for. There’s so much work that goes into creating a blog that looks pretty and is exactly what you want it to look like. One of my favourite sites for finding themes to customise and work with is Creative Market.  They have a huge variety of interactive themes that work well for all kinds of bloggers. Some reasonably priced (and some way over priced). On average I pay about £20 – £40 for a theme. I then work with it for hours to mould my content into it and add my own personal touches. Html is great when you know what you’re doing (that’ll also be for another post!).

Now you’ve set up the basic, have fun creating content!

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