*This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure for more information.
I’ve been exactly where you are right now. You want to know how to start a blog so that you can do all these great things with it but you don’t actually have one yet.
So, you search through an ass ton of “How to Start a Blog” posts in hopes that it might light a fire under you. The fire is flickering a little, but not enough to make anything happen.
Whether it’s a lack of confidence in yourself, your finances, and/or the time you have to dedicate, let me be the sprinkle of gasoline you need to get started.
Growing up, I was so shy it was literally crippling. Even though I would spend an entire nine months staring at the back of my classmates’ heads they were always so shocked to see me.
“I didn’t even know you were in my class!”
It was so odd. In my mind, I was constantly speaking, but I could barely force a whisper.
The first day of school was always a nightmare simply because I dreaded the “first day introductions.” As each child before me took their turn, I died a little more inside.
Oh gosh, I’m next!
How did it go? Imagine a snake slowly wrapping its body around your neck and going in for the kill by crushing your windpipe. *Cue the sweaty armpits and embarrassing stutters.*
Writing quickly became “my thing” and it gave me the voice I didn’t have enough courage to use. I observed the world through curious eyes and tightly sealed lips, trying to write as quickly as my mind was running.
I spoke on paper, but only to myself. Imagining someone digesting my words made me cringe, so I held my raggedy notebooks close to my chest.
Why I blog
Middle school. Oh, the age where adults believe children are “coming into their own” but in reality, they’re just morphing into what’s acceptable at that time. It’s survival of the fittest, and many identities are identical.
Who was Dyana? To others I was the “smart quiet girl,” but I literally had no freaking idea.
An observer? A loner? A writer? Someone screaming blood-curdling cries from the inside but seemingly calm on the outside.
Sounds about right.
In the sixth grade, my anxiety had reached new heights. I had to walk by a sea of rambunctious pre-teens to the cafeteria line only to come out clutching my tray in both hands as I tried to find an empty seat. It was emotionally exhausting, and after about a week I said screw it.
So, when the “ramp monitor” turned her back I slipped into the girl’s bathroom and settled into the last stall.
Yes, I was that girl who hid in the bathroom just to avoid human interaction!
Sometimes I napped.
Sometimes I wrote.
Sometimes I nearly passed out from the heat.
Sometimes I thought I was better off non-existent…
BUT here I am.
You found this post because I posted it (uh duh?!). I peeled my notebook from my chest and dropped it into the well of the World Wide Web.
The girl who sat in the paint chipped stall, praying for the bell to ring, made herself public.
I blog because I love to write. I blog to share what I’ve learned. I blog to push my boundaries. I blog to inspire you.
I blog to force myself out of that “stall” mentality that so many of us have.
Why YOU should blog
Because you’re worthy
Right now you’re probably thinking, I want to start a blog but…?
Maybe you’re like I was and think no one will want to read your content. Maybe you think you’re “not a writer.” Maybe you think it’s too expensive. Maybe you think you won’t have time.
Your thoughts are the puppet master, and you have to train them well. You won’t know until you actually try.
Starting a blog has been the best decision I’ve ever made, and one ‘wild idea’ that I actually followed through with. I promise you that there’s no greater feeling than running your own show and connecting with those who enjoy reading what you have to say.
Your blog is an image you blew life into, and a place where you can finally be unapologetically authentic.
It can save your life
I know the heading is dramatic, but it’s dramatically true.
How many of us wake up every day with a dying soul? We lose 8+ hours a day to a job we absolutely hate, and no matter how unfulfilled we are we prepare ourselves to live like that for the rest of our lives.
News flash: THAT is not living. Not wanting to wake up in the morning is not living. Praying for Saturday and Sunday is not living. You have the power to save your life if you’re willing to get uncomfortable.
I’m not exactly where I want to be in life, but my blog is my happy place. In a black and white world, it’s my little streak of color.
Blogging is not only a creative outlet but an amazing source of passive income. So many people have built a brand that allowed them to leave their day jobs and live life on their own terms.
If you’ve done a little bit of research, you’ve probably seen that affiliate marketing is an extremely popular way to make money blogging.
Basically, it’s when you promote a product/service you believe in and when someone signs up using your unique link you’re compensated.
You know that ‘Refer a friend and earn $5’ link that you see on something like Cash App? It’s just like that!
I’ll admit that I’m a slow learner when it comes to certain things. Man was I a slow learner with affiliate marketing! It was like a foreign language and I couldn’t crack the code no matter how hard I tried.
Do yourself a favor and invest in courses and training material when you can!
How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours. Elise McDowell’s eBook walks you through the strategy she uses to make a passive income in a super simple way. Included is a 45-minute workshop to help you increase traffic and sales, her viral pin strategy, and more!
A week after I implemented her strategy, I made a $5 sale and it felt like I had hit the lotto!
After a year of reading raving reviews, I finally had enough saved to take the course and I wish I had invested sooner. Maybe I would’ve saved myself some embarrassment because I was doing pretty much everything on her list of don’ts.
The course is very thorough (I mean you’re learning from a pro) and she gives you her exact recipe for (now) making $100K a month. Needless to say, she knows her stuff!
Cost: $197 or two payments of $105 a month
While it’s nice to get paid, if your main goal is to make a killing then I wouldn’t recommend starting a blog. If you lack the passion for what you do then misery begins to make its home and people can smell a salesy blogger from their phone screens!
Being completely transparent here, I definitely have some low months, especially since rebranding, and I am totally okay with that!
Addressing common concerns
But there’s so much competition!
No, not competition. You mean opportunities for collaboration.
The blogging community is extremely inviting and helpful. Seriously, it’s nothing like the ‘real world’. You’ll meet so many new people you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet without your blog, and build relationships with those who actually cherish what you have to say.
I won’t have enough time
I have a full-time job and two small children, but I still find time to keep my blog up and running. It’s all in the mindset.
The great thing about blogging is that you create your own schedule. If you can only blog once a week then so be it! If you can only manage to keep up with one or two social media accounts, so be it! Find what works for you and be consistent.
My greatest piece of advice would be to automate everything you can. This way you’re working but not actually working.
Pinterest is huge for bloggers. It brings in over 90% of my traffic, but I don’t have time to sit and pin all day.
To keep my account alive, I let Tailwind do the work. It sets the schedule based on when my audience is most engaged, I tell it what pins to add to each board for the week, and boom I’m done.
Tailwind isn’t free but it’s worth the investment. It gives you an in-depth overview of how your profile and boards are performing, as well as your website activity. You can also join up to 5 Tailwind Tribes, which are just like Pinterest group boards but A LOT more engaged!
I have the Plus plan which is all you need starting out. You get unlimited pinning for just $9.99 a month, or $119 a year, and when you sign up through my link you get a free month to test the waters. If it’s not for you then that’s okay.
I don’t know why I assumed that running a blog would be extremely expensive because it’s far from it. I’m supporting two kids on one income, so needless to say my budget is tight.
Now I won’t lie and say you won’t be coming out of money from time to time. As your blog grows, of course, you’ll want to start investing in yourself through learning material, new themes, etc., but when you’re on a budget I suggest you do so in moderation.
You can get your blog up and running for just $3.95 a month when you use my link. C’mon now, that’s less than your cup of coffee from Starbucks!
No one would want to read my content
Yes, it’s true that the blogging community has some steep competition, but there’s room for everyone.
Although your content may be similar to that of other bloggers, your individual writing style may attract a totally different audience. YOUR audience.
There will be times when others will have more traffic than you. There will be times when others will make more sales than you. Sometimes you’ll feel inferior to another blogger.
Sometimes you’ll feel as though you don’t know what the heck you’re doing (me!).
Sometimes you’ll get tired.
Sometimes you’ll get burned out.
Sometimes you’ll get frustrated.
Sometimes you’ll want to quit.
Sometimes doesn’t last all the time.
You just have to keep pushing through. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going!
Shamelessly promote yourself because success has no room for timidity. It will probably feel embarrassing at first, but the more you do it the more confident you become.
I used to have so much anxiety about whether my content was good enough that I would have to move the cursor over the post button, close my eyes, and click! True story.
You have to tell yourself that you’re the shit and your content is the bomb, even if you don’t really believe it at the time.
Why you should use Bluehost
Like 2 million others, my site is hosted by Bluehost. If you want to run a professional blog and eventually begin to earn an income that may allow you to leave your job one day, then having a self-hosted blog is a MUST!
Without being self-hosted, it’s difficult to be taken seriously by search engines and you don’t actually have full control over your blog.
We’ve all been to a site where the URL is something like www.heythere.blog.com. That’s a sure sign that the site is on rented land.
What is hosting?!
A web host is a company that stores your website. Basically, it’s where your site “lives.”
Think of it as the land you’ll be building your house on.
OK, but what is WordPress?!
It’s a tool that allows you to create your website. This is where you will be doing most of your administrative work like changing the appearance and writing posts.
HOW TO START A BLOG
Choose your hosting plan
Bluehost offers three different plans, but since you’re just starting out I highly recommend that you select the basic plan. It includes everything you will need to blog successfully, plus it’s the cheapest hello!
Choose your domain name
After selecting your plan it’s time to choose your domain name, which you get for free when you sign up with Bluehost.
Your domain name will be the name of your site. For example, mine is Moneybossmama.com.
I advise you to really take your time when choosing your domain name. Don’t just go with the first thing that pops into your head or you may wind up kicking yourself for it later. I made that mistake once and had to create a new name later on.
A few things to ask yourself when choosing your domain name:
Is it catchy?
Does it align with my niche/purpose?
Is it too long?
Is it available across all social media sites?
Next, you’ll be directed to a screen where you’ll enter in your personal and billing information.
Under the ‘Package information’ section you’ll see that Bluehost has a 12-month, 24-month, 36-month, and 60-month plan.
To get the cheapest price, you will need to select the 36 or 60-month plan, but I’m all about a budget so just select the plan that you can most comfortably afford. I mean, either way, you don’t have to worry about paying for your hosting again for at least a year!
Now it’s time to install WordPress. This will be where you’ll do all of your administrative duties such as making edits, writing posts, customizing your site, etc.
This step may sound extremely technical, but it’s actually pretty darn easy because it’s automatically done for you!
After you enter in your payment information you’ll be required to create a password. After that, you will be taken to a screen where you’ll be able to log in and choose your theme.
Choose a theme
A theme is how your website is laid out and styled. It’s the “look” of your site.
The design is extremely important and can make or break your ability to convert readers into potential customers/subscribers. No one wants to stick around a janky looking website, so make sure that your blog is clutter-free and professional.
I currently have a theme that runs on a Genesis framework, which is extremely popular for being easily customizable. WordPress offers a decent variety of free themes which are great to start off with until you feel comfortable enough to pay for one.
I’m always looking for a bargain, and I’ve found that Etsy offers numerous themes and logos for the low. They look professional and there are so many options that you’re sure to find one that compliments your style.
Once you select your theme, click ‘Start Building’ and voila you did it! From here, you’ll simply start working on actually customizing your site and writing posts.
Make it pretty
People like things that are easy on the eye. They are drawn to pretty things like a bug to a light, so if you’re being put to sleep by your color scheme and layout then most likely they are too.
Quality stock photos are vital for driving clicks and help to add flair to your website. You can find free stock photos online through sites like Pixabay and Pexels, or professional stock photographers.
I get all of my stock photos from Jasmine at SheBoldStock. When you sign up you get instant access to over 1500 style stock photos plus up to 75 new stock photos monthly.
What’s bombT is that she doesn’t just make stock photos, but also social media templates and quote graphics. Oh yeah, and she actually cares enough to encourage you to tell her what type of images you want!
She has two plan options :
- Entrepreneur Plan – $29 per month
- Manager Plan – $250 quarterly
Whew, you made it to the end! Pat yourself on the back.
But really, congrats on starting your new blog. Buckle up, because you’re in for the best roller coaster of your life.