How to start a blog
Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Becoming a blogger is easier and more popular than ever. I feel like everyone owns a blog these days, and the thought behind them are all different. I know some people, who only started them to get free stuff, others who just likes to share their thoughts, and people like myself who sees it as a way to earn money, make it full time, and being location independent. There’s many reasons behind it, and none is better or more real than the other. If you want to start a blog, then start a blog.
So if you really want to start a blog, but you’re not sure how to do it (because let’s face it, it’s really confusing), then keep reading! I’ll try to cover every single point for you.
Find your niche
Ugh, such a cliché, am I right? I’m already tired of hearing people saying it – but I have to admit they’re right. First thing to do is to figure out what you want to write about. Let’s face it, if you don’t even know that, it’s gonna be a tough ride.
A niche is basically a subject. So if you’re really into creating different cupcakes, travel only with a bag pack, or even just make-up and fashion, that’s your niche. The more special of a niche you can choose, the better. For example, mine is travel, and it’s really broad and not very special. But I couldn’t specialise it anymore, since I don’t have a special way of travelling or combine it with something else. And that’s okay too.
Coming up with a name
Before you can even create your blog, you have to come up with a name. When I started I got some good advice, that it has to be something you know you won’t get tired off, and that will keep making sense to you and your brand.
For example if you call it something with backpacking or luxury travel, then you kinda have to stick to that, so you can’t all of a sudden start posting about staying at luxury resorts or cheap hostels, if you’ve chosen one of them as your niche.
How my first website header looked like. I really wanted to make sure brands could see I was open for collabs – especially bikini brands, haha! (I make most of of my graphics in Canva.)
Check that the name is available
The worst struggle! You’ve finally come up with a brilliant name – but then you check Instagram, and someone else already came up with that brilliant name! So before you get too excited or buy your website, make sure on all social media, that your name is available.
Choose your blogging platform
Now to what it’s all about – and probably also the most confusing part. There’s so many blogging platforms out there, like WordPress, Nouw, Blogger, Tumblr, and so on.
The biggest and most wellknown is WordPress, which is the one I used at first, and I’m also a big advocate for them. They’re actually sitting on 48% of the market, so they know what they’re doing. I was with them for about 2 years before I switched to Wix - which turned out to be one of the best decisions ever.
Wix makes it super easy to manage and design your own website, and I feel like it's way more flexible than WordPress. You can also create a FREE website on Wix here, if you wanna try it out.
I got a good tip, when I had to choose my platform. Never go for the free options like Blogspot and Nouw – at least not if you want to be taken seriously, but it's a good option if you just wanna try it out in the beginning. First of all, they often make you pay to leave them again, and they make sure to make it as difficult as possible. Second, if you really want to be serious about starting a blog – and for brands and others to take you seriously, don’t go for the free option. They will more likely take you more serious, because they can see, that you actually invested in your blog – it shows that you mean it.
What’s the difference between paid and free?
Well, cut in stone – you either own your own blog or not. If you pay for your domain, you’ll own your own website, and you can do with it as you please. If you don’t own it, you are limited in almost everything. And the blogging platform you’ve chosen owns your website, so they can practically do as they please – for example delete it.
Furthermore, if you choose the free option, you get a really ugly web address (the URL). It will look like this, depending on your chosen platform:
Not pretty, right? If you choose a paid option, you get to choose your own domain, like this:
You see the big difference? If you see a website having a web address like the free options, do you trust it as much as the paid option? I don’t, and brand will look at your level of professionalism differently.
Choose your web host
One of the most important things, when it comes to choosing your web host, and also one of the most confusing.
OBS: this is only, if you want to choose a paid option like WordPress - NOT if you choose Wix.
This was one of the things I got most confused with, so I researched and researched, and researched some more, before finally finding the easiest, best, and where you get the best value for money web host.
So, probably the most used web host out there is Blue Host – and they’re also recommended by WordPress themself, as they work super well together.
The difference between the platform and web host
Are you also a little confused with the difference between the platform and the web host? Isn’t it the same? Not really – let me explain:
Blog platform: basically where you choose your domain (the URL). So where you choose if it should be yourblogname.wordpress.com or yourawesomeblog.com – so the name of your website.
Web host: this is the company that puts your website on the internet, so it can be seen by other people. The blog platform does not do that (I’ve never understood why, but that’s just how it is).
Does is make better sense? I hope so. So in order for you to choose the best web host, I really recommend Blue Host. They make it really easy, and it’s by far the one where I found you get best value for money. They work really well with the many different WordPress themes, and you even get a personalised email, that fits your blog URL (like firstname.lastname@example.org)! Furthermore, not all web hosts gives you a free domain, and sometimes you have to pay extra for that – but not with Blue Host.
When you’re looking around at different web hosts, this is maybe where you get scared a bit, and start to consider if a free option is better – because the price of buying your own website is not cheap. But it’s worth it – see it as an investment! I earned back the money in less than 8 months.
Design your blog
Next (and almost final) step, is to design your blog! And this is where it gets fun – and hard! If you’ve chosen a paid option, you’ll get a lot of free WordPress themes to choose from, and even more paid ones. It can take a lot of time to browse through them and decide on a design for your blog. Remember you can always change it. I chose to buy a theme already from the beginning, since I didn’t fully like any of the paid ones, and I thought that now I had already invested in buying the domain, I might as well go all the way.
WordPress makes it super easy to just change your blog theme with a few clicks, so don’t worry about getting to tired of your theme. Remember to choose a theme that fits your niche – it wouldn’t make any sense to choose a food related theme, if your blog is about travel, right? And then make sure it’s easy to navigate and is professional looking, since this will say a lot.
It’s not a coincidence that my blog looks like this. Every single detail, such as fonts, sizes and colours, is my own design.
Bonus: WordPress plugins you really need
So, to help you get started, I want to list some of the plugins for WordPress, that you’re gonna need. If you are on a Wix site, you won't be needing to install plugins, as all features you need are included on Wix. A plugin is like an extra little thing – kinda like an app, that you can install, that will take care of something on your blog for you. You download a plugin from something like an App Store, and then activate the ones you want to use. Does it make sense? Let me list them, and let’s see if they help.
Monster Insights is a plugin, that analyses your traffic to your blog. It does not come “automatically” when you buy a website. You can also use Google Analytics, but you have to put in some codes to make that work, so if you’re not strong in that, Monster Insights is easier. It shows you the everything you need to know, like your visitors demographics, along with which post and source is most popular.
Broken Link Checker
This one is a bit underrated, and you can totally live without it, but it makes your life so much easier. It basically checks that all links on your side works. So if you’ve linked to another website or even another page on your own site, and it stops working, the Broken Link Checker will let you know, so you can fix it.
This plugin will make it possible for you to put a small preview of your Instagram feed anywhere you want it, like I have it to the right side as a widget. A widget is like a small box, that you can put either to one of the sides, the top or the bottom on you website. All the things on the right side of my side is separate widgets – About me, Current location, Instagram Feed, and so on. So it makes it easy for anyone on your blog to be redirected to your Instagram, and see more of what you’re about.
About Me Widget
This allows you to put in a small section about yourself, so whoever comes to your website easily can read something about you, like the one you can see with my photo on the right side. You can also choose to create it as a separate page, but I like to keep it short and simple.
Comments Not Responded Too
Another good one – it notifies you of comments, you have not replied to. Most of the time you’ll just get spam comments, but it’s good to know in case you get real ones.
Everyone that has studied or even worked remotely with marketing has heard of SEO. And if you haven’t there’s something wrong, haha. To all the ones who hasn’t, SEO stand for Search Engine Optimisation – do I need to say why that’s important? It helps you make the best of your blog posts, so it will rank higher in search engines. Even if you think you’re skilled at SEO (like I did), this will make sure that you do a great job every time.
So, this was all I had on how to get you started with your own blog. I hope I not scared you off to much, and if I did, then you’re probably better off not starting a blog. It is damn hard work, and most people don’t know and doesn’t realise how much work that goes behind running your own website. Again, then it’s easier going with the free option, since that doesn’t require as much maintenance. I always have work to do, but I love working on my blog, and having my own website feels like having my own baby, that I’m proud of and shows off – after all, I’ve built it myself!
You can read my very first blog post here and see for yourself if I have changed. The first blog post I wrote was about Barcelona, as I was living there when I bought my first website.. All I have left so now is: GO DO IT! If you really want it, you won’t regret it for a second! Only that you didn’t do it sooner 🙂