It’s been nearly a year now since I started Emma Eats & Explores and I’ve come a loooong way! I started my blog with a passion for travel and healthy food and a desire to share what I’ve learned and created with other people. When I started I knew nothing about blogging, website development, SEO (Search Engine Optimistaion), advertising and all the rest of it, but more about that later. I wish I’d read a How To Start a Blog guide when I was just starting out. If you’re reading this you’re probably interested in starting a blog/website of your own so I’ve broken it down into simple steps to help you get started! If you follow these steps you’ll have your blog up and running in no time and skip all the mistakes that I made along the way!
How To Start A Blog
1 – Choose a Niche and a Name
Firstly, what is your passion? What do you have to say to the world? What do you want to share with people? Why do you want to start a blog? Choosing a niche to write about should be fairly simple if you’ve already decided you want to create a blog. Will you write a beauty blog? A food blog? A lifestyle blog? A mummy blog? There’s so many options, or even create your own niche. Whatever you decide, just have it straight in your head and don’t try to be everything to everyone. It’s better to be an expert in one subject than try to offer to much and end up watering down your expertise.
The most important thing you will ever do when you start a blog is choose a name! It needs to describe you and your blog and should give the reader an idea of what you’re going to blog about. It’s great if you can have fun with the words or be a little bit witty – anything to make it stick in someone’s mind. I went backwards and forwards with my blog name for weeks, until finally settled on www.emmaeatsandexplores as my URL. I had Emma, Eats, Explores & Exercises for a while as I wanted to incorporate a healthy living aspect but it was just too long. The shorter the better! And try not to include characters such as dashes or underscores, they’ll only be forgotten about and no-one will remember what your blog address is. Try not to choose something that you’ll outgrow either for example…
a mom and her son (what happens if you have more children)
the travel blog 2017 (will be out of date next year)
university life (your blog will only be relevant for a few years while you’re at uni)
The name needs to be easy to remember and easy to spell. It needs to be evergreen so that it will still be relevant to you down the track. It needs to stand out and describe the purpose of your blog.
And if that wasn’t hard enough, it also needs to be original or somebody will already have chosen it. You can use this Domain Name Checker to see if anyone else has already registered your site name! If they have, it’s not the end of the world, there may be other options to look at. Instead of www.yoursite.com you could look at www.yoursite.co.uk or www.yoursite.net or www.yoursite.org or other options like that. I’d personally advise against this as everyone thinks most sites end with .com and so it will be harder for them to find your site by searching for it. However, if you’re adamant you’ve found the name you want and someone else already has it it’s not a bad option.
You should also check whether your social media handles are available (I’ll go into more detail in this in my Social Media Post). It’s worth checking whether @yoursite is available on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat or any other Social Media Platforms that you’re going to use. A slight alteration is not a problem – Twitter and Pinterest for example only allow a certain number of characters so I’m @em_eats_explore on those but I’m @emmaeatsandexplores on Instagram as you can have a longer handle. As long as they are recognisable to your website you should be OK.
Then you need to register your site name – this is only a few pounds and can be done through WordPress or another Domain Provider such as Go Daddy. There are plenty of choices out there and it should only cost you a few pounds.
2 – Choose a Blogging Platform
So you’ve got your name, niche and found a free domain name – what next? Next you have to choose a blogging platform. This web page goes into a huge amount of detail but really you have two choices, WordPress or Blogger. WordPress is the most popular and the one that I picked so it is the one I will focus on! I find the interface very easy to use. It’s simple to navigate and understand, even for a complete novice like me, and so easy to get started. You can sign up using this link.
Now when you create an account on WordPress you have a couple of options. One is a free account – your blog will have the web address www.yoursite.wordpress.com . This is fine if you are going to be a hobby blogger. If you want to earn a living from your blog and be able to monetise it in the future then you need to open a self-hosted WordPress account at www.wordpress.org . This will enable you to be able to get rid of the wordpress from your site title and just have www.yoursite.com which looks so much more professional.
WordPress.com does not allow you to place adverts on it’s site, other than it’s own adverts via WordPressAds. It also wont allow you to add any affiliate links to your posts so if you are hoping to make an income from our blog then WordPress.org is the only way forward. WordPress.com is great for complete beginners but you wont have all the options to customise your blog like you will on WordPress.org
On the other hand WordPress.org is completely customisable so you can make your blog look exactly the way you want it. You can add plug-ins that can give you so many added features. Including advertisements on your site to make you money is also only available with WordPress.org. You can add amazon affiliate links to help you monetise aswell.
I stupidly went with the WordPress.com version to start with. I didn’t want to spend any money as I wasn’t sure how important my blog was going to be to me! This meant so much hassle a few months down the road when I needed to change over to a WordPress.org site. I really wish I’d known then what I know now and just started off on the WordPress.org site.
3 – Choose a Hosting Provider
If you’ve chose the self-hosted WordPress option that I definitely recommend then you need to choose yourself a hosting provider. I use Site Ground – they’re the cheapest and have the best service. My blg has never gone down or offline and if I have a problem their Help Team is fantastic. They’re available online 24 hrs a day and always manage to sort out any issues I have. There are plenty of others out there but do your research! Some don’t have a great reputation!!
To start a blog, all you have to do now is…Write your first post
That’s all there is to it and click publish! You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it earlier. It can all seem a bit of a minefield at first but it will soon become second nature!
So hopefully this blog post has helped you get up and running. Watch out for future posts in this How to Start a Blog series. These will include Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Advertising, Monetising your Blog, Sponsored Posts and many more ideas!
Feel free to Contact Me if there’s anything you’d like clarifying or explaining further. Good luck and Start a blog today!