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Starting your own blog doesn’t have to be daunting. This is your ‘back to basics’ guide of how easy it can be, even for people like me!! ?
I am nearing on IT illiterate & have the concentration span of a gold fish (thanks to the 4 kids who are constantly jumping on me!!). I know how to use my smartphone & Facebook, knew the bare basics of Insta & Pinterest and still have no idea what I’m doing on Twitter, but I got there and I’ll be able to get you there, I promise!! :).
Here are my recommended seven steps:
1. Choose Your Niche
2. Choose your domain & hosting service
3. Create your website
4. Obtain legal pages
5. Obtain Stock Photos
6. Write & Publish Your First Blog Post
7. Start using Social Media
Step 1: Choose Your Niche
Niche is a word that is going to pop up in blogging ALL the time. It’s basically a fancy word for category. What niche do you plan to blog about?. There are Mummy/Parenting bloggers (such as myself), food bloggers, travel bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, fitness bloggers, legal bloggers and the list goes on. It is better to appeal to the one niche to gain your following, if you write about food one week, toilet training toddlers the next & then travelling to South America the next, then you will confuse your readers.
Take away tip: Choose Your Niche.
Step 2. Choosing A Domain & A Hosting Service
Firstly a domain is your website address, for example my domain is
http://wordpress-284639-883896.cloudwaysapps.com so when you type this address in (or click on my link), it will take you to my website. At this stage however, your website is nothing but an address that you have reserved for your own usage, keep reading below to see how this is done. Once you set up your domain, you need to move on to the next step of choosing a web host.
A hosting service is a provider that holds a spot on their server for your website & all its files, graphics &, code etc. & they are responsible for making sure that your website & all of its information (menus, graphics, blog posts, plug ins etc) come up when someone types in your website address or domain. Without a hosting service, your domain would just lead to a blank page. This can also be metaphorically referred to as a filing cabinet, if you may.
There are pros & cons to both providers but the tip that sold me to Bluehost was that you could set up your free domain & then your monthly hosting package all at once. Even though Siteground has some awesome advantages also, they don’t give you the option of setting up a free domain so you would have to do that separately through another website.
If you would like to read about the pros & cons of each service in lay person’s terms, have a read of this article HERE
Takeaway tip: Choose your domain (website address) and your hosting company. Needs to be done in this order.
Step 3. Create Your Website
There are different blogging platforms you can choose from to start your blog. These platforms are already configured so you are not starting a website from scratch and having to write code etc. You just need to customise it to suit your needs and tell the website what you want it to do. You have the ability to build menu’s, pages, add graphics, audio and to create an online shop. Every single blogger I have met uses WordPress.
Now there are two different versions. WordPress.com is free of charge & WordPress.org costs money and has added features. I use the free feature and have had no problems with adding features to my website.
Fellow blogger Sasha Lassey, has written an informative article outlining the differences between the two.
Takeaway point: A large percentage of bloggers use WordPress.com is the free site and .org is the paid option
Step 4. Adding Legal Pages To Your Website
So by the time you reach this step, you have your domain name, your web hosting company, & your WordPress website in place. The next thing you need is legal pages. There are 3 legal pages that ALL bloggers must have:
Terms & Conditions Policy: Even though people rarely read these pages, you still need to have them in place. People visiting your website need to know the Terms & Conditions that they are visiting under, therefore they have no recourse if they decide they are unhappy with something or threaten you will legal action. Unfortunately we are living in a day & age where everyone wants to sue for the silliest of reasons. This is the Terms & Conditions Policy I use on my website.
Disclaimer Statement: A disclaimer on your website protects your from legal liability for content you publish. It informs all visitors to your website that all content published is for educational and informational purposes only. This is the Disclaimer Statement I use on my site.
Making an appointment with a lawyer can potentially be very expensive. Minimum price per hour is $300. You can purchase a product called ‘The Legal Bundle’ which has all three templates that are easily customisable in a matter of minutes for half of this price. This is definitely something I would NOT be without. It could potentially cost you much more money in the future if you do not have the proper legal pages.
Takeaway Tip: Invest the money in purchasing the legal bundle to ensure your site is legally compliant.
Step 5: Stock Photos
You will definitely need a range of photos at your disposal for your blog. There are plenty of sites that advertise free stock photos that you can visit. Please, whatever you do, don’t take photos from google or the like & publish them without permission. I read a story from a fellow blogger, who published a photo of a single green capsicum that she had downloaded from google (without permission from the photographer). The owner of the photo took legal action & she had to pay $4000 in damages, so please don’t ever be tempted to do this.
I purchased a set of stock photos that were all part of a theme from Styled Stock Society. Have a look at my website & you will see that all my photos that I use for covers photos & on my home page icons are very stylish, professional & are a curated set. This looks much more professional than just having random, bad quality photos on your website. You want to keep people coming back to your site & by creating your own branding, this is a step in the right direction.
Takeaway Tip: Always use Stock Photos
Step 6. Create Content
You now have all the bones of your website ready for you to write & publish your first blog post, congratulations!!.
It’s completely up to you but I would recommend having a couple of articles pre-written so you have enough material to keep you going.
Takeaway Tip: Write & Publish Your First Post
Step 7: Social media
Now that your website is already to rock & roll & you have published your first blog post, you need to start promoting yourself on social media to draw readers to your blog. I have created a Facebook business page, an Instagram Business Account & a Pinterest Business Account. I already had a Twitter account but still don’t really know how to use it very well. When you make a post on Instagram, it gives you the option to also post on Facebook and Twitter so this is how I do it.
The single most important social media you need to be on & learn how to use is Pinterest. Think of Pinterest as a visual search engine. You want to start sharing your pins so they appear when people search for items within your niche. It is also recommended that you remain active on Pinterest to increase your followers & monthly viewers.
Pinterest can be very complex but it is definitely worth investing your time into. I took the course Ready Set Blog by Elna Cain. There are many Pinterest courses out there to choose from but I wouldn’t recommend anything else.
Elna presents the course in a very user friendly manner and it is targeted towards beginner bloggers, although I have only just recently finished (6 months into blogging) it I benefited greatly from it and wish I had of done it earlier.
There are also apps out there where you can schedule your pinning so you don’t have to manually pin, it can get quite confusing remembering where you pinned what to & when. To combat this, I would recommend you join TAILWIND.
Tailwind assists you by letting you know the best times to post for engagement, find out when your audience is most active, maximise your reach and measure your success. Most importantly it will save you loads of time.
Takeaway Tip: Start Social Media Accounts. Start up a business Pinterest Account and Learn how to use it. Tailwind is an affordable app that can help you considerably when using Pinterest and Instagram. It is definitely worth investing your money into Elna Cain’s course, Ready Set Blog.
If all of the above seems too complicated, I have met a gentleman by the name of Muhammad who runs a company named WpStairs & he is the King of all things blogging, IT, WordPress etc. I have called on his services many times & we are great friends now. His company can do one off jobs for you, or they can build a blog for you from scratch & save you from having to do all of the above, he can assist with any queries & most importantly he has packages for bloggers that include monthly maintenance on your site among other jobs depending on which package you choose. Their pricing is very reasonable also.
In my experience, the blogging community is a really lovely bunch of people who all genuinely want to help each other out & see each other succeed. I have made some really amazing friends. Once you get a handle on all of the above (I don’t want to overwhelm you too much), there are many different groups you can join on Facebook for networking with other bloggers & take part in threads where you share each other’s work & get your work out there. I am an administrator on Facebook Group: ASelfGuru – Biz Blog Community. It really is such a lovely & supportive group of bloggers, please feel free to join us 🙂
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