One of the questions I get more often in my DMs and inbox is advice on starting a blog. Another one is how I do medicine, a blog, and balance my personal life. The truth is it is not easy but it is not impossible either. The thing that hinders you the most from starting a blog is YOU. Self-doubt and fearing critique from others is the one thing that keeps most people from taking the plunge and creating a space of their own. When I started this blog I did it with the point of having a space to clear my mind. I was very overwhelmed with everything going on in my life and I decided to start a blog to have a creative outlet. In this post will take you through the things that are TRULY essential to have in mind to start a blog.
Site hosting is basically the space on the internet where your blog lives and it requires you pay a rent on it. Now there are two ways to do this. Usually if you start a free blog, on any platform (more on this later) then the platform takes care of the hosting for you. The other alternative is Self-hosting. This is when YOU choose who is going to do the hosting for you. Self-Hosting is something you WILL need if you envision taking your blog and making it a business or you wish to monetize at some point. If this is something you are looking into you will notice that there are numerous alternatives. There are many sites that do hosting, but after much research and talking with other bloggers I decided on Siteground.
As such, I will be talking about MY experience with them and WHY I recommend them. First off, I kept hearing from other bloggers that their customer service was amazing. After being with them for 8 months I can definitely vouch for that. From doing your migration for you and installing everything you need to start building your page, all included in the price. They are available by chat 24/7 and they are incredibly helpful and nice. Another good thing is that you can always find offers that will give you a good discount on the price. Finally up to this point I have not had any issues at all with my site nor with Siteground. For more on my experience with the process check out my previous post on the subject!
The blogging platform is the software or service that you use to publish your content onto the internet in the form of a blog. This can be done a series of ways from building your own website to using pre-existing softwares like WordPress or Blogger. I had used blogger in the past and I found it hard to understand, so for this time around I went with WordPress. Originally I began my blog on wordpress.com and eventually transitioned into my own self hosted page on WordPress.org. I honestly love using WordPress. It is very easy to use and understand as well as manage all of the plugins. I also love the layout of my admin page and how everything is user friendly for someone who knows very little about design and coding.
If you have a tight budget, I definitely recommend you try to start out on a free platform and then transition your page. IF you do this, I recommend sticking to the original platform you used instead of switching from one to another. The other thing I recommend is REDIRECT your previous page to your new one so your traffic is not affected. This is something I wish I’d done sooner, like I explained in my ways to EXPLODE your traffic post. With this in mind, I recommend you do a bit of research and find which platform works best for YOUR.
If you are SURE you want to star a blog and you have decided on both of the above, then all you are missing is a domain. For this you need 2 things: your blog name and your domain. Usually your domain IS your blog name with either a .com/blog/net or with the name of your platform.com. But if you are going self hosted then you need to begin looking into buying your domain. The two main places to get a domain is GoDaddy.com and namecheap.com Both of these are very reliable and the most common places bloggers go to get their domains. They are fairly easy to use and give you very competitive and comparable prices.
In the beginning I was skeptical of NameCheap. For this reason, I opted for GoDaddy. In reality, they really are both trustworthy and commonly used. If you are using free platforms then you will have to verify the availability on their page and then just decide on a name.
Out of all of the points I am making this is the hardest one to decide. At least for me it was. For starters, if you are using free platforms, then oftentimes you have limited free themes. On the other hand, buying premium packages are truly a waste of money from what I’ve heard. So either try to make it work with the free themes or go for self hosted. In this case, there are numerous places to go for themes. I researched endlessly looking for themes that were pretty, not crazy expensive, mobile responsive and included installation. My prayers were answered when I found Kotryna Bass. Immediately, I fell in love with several of her themes and began trying to decide which one best fit my needs. I also researched the alternatives they offered such as installation and troubleshooting.
They always respond to emails and have a pretty good customer service. They are continuously coming out with new themes for both WordPress and Blogger and they are only $49! Additionally they offer add-ons which will vary in price and depend on your needs. Now if you are looking to make a bigger investment and want something custom-made they also offer that alternative. Like with Siteground, I have not had any trouble with them so far, and the minor issues I’ve had have always been resolved rapidly. For more on this experience, again check out my Blog Rebranding Experience post!
Finally the most crucial part to get started on your very own blog is having an idea of WHAT you want to write about! Forget about niches, DSLR cameras, tailwind, and all the other things you might or might not need. All you TRULY NEED are ideas of blog posts you want to write about. Sometimes you can look for inspiration and ideas from other bloggers. But, if the content is forced it will not flow naturally. The core ideas and the passion for the topic has to come from YOU. If you have a notebook or note app on your phone begin writing down ideas and you can even begin developing the posts on word even before you create your blog or publish your first post. Many successful bloggers recommend having around 10 posts before you go live with your blog but in my experience you can still grow your blog one post at a time.
We’ve gone over my MUST HAVE things to start a blog wether on a free platform or going self hosted. The many other things you might THINK you need are just additional things or ones you can find in your home already. For good quality pictures I use both my iPhone camera and my husband’s old Canon T3. Any digital camera will be helpful to you for this purpose. For picture backgrounds you can literally use any surface in your home, and create spaces/props from things you already own like candles and jewelry. You can also figure our what you need and find non expensive alternatives in TJ Maxx, Marshalls and craft stores. Other things like pinning software, picture editing, etc you can also find free trials online, free alternatives, or save up to buy them when you can instead of right away. Focus on making your content great and relevant and your blog will begin to grow.
And now we are finally DONE with this blog post. There you have it. My top 5 things you TRULY NEED to start a blog, and my opinion on the other stuff as well. I really wanted to make this post as transparent as possible and tell you what I think YOU REALLY NEED. I’ve read endless posts on the subject and they always end up making me feel like I did everything wrong. But in reality I have come to terms with my own process. Ultimately, I am glad I did not go into debt over starting this blog. It has continued to grow and become something I am very proud of.
Photo via HauteStock
With this in mind, I hope that this inspires you to GO FOR IT and start a blog. If you are thinking you want to start but don’t know WHERE to begin. Don’t think you will become an overnight success. Don’t think you will automatically make a lot of money. You CAN expect to meet a lot of new wonderful people, find other bloggers in your area, and begin getting yourself out of your comfort zone. It is an amazing experience and I am glad to be part of this world.
Let me know in the comments below what YOUR advice is for people looking to launch their very own blog!
Thanks for stopping by!
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