* This blog post does contain affiliate links. I only recommend things that truly believe are a great product or service. *
The questions that I get the most often throughout the 2 years that I’ve been blogging is “how do I start up a blog?” or “how can I grow my new blog?”
While I love seeing these questions in my inbox and replying to them to help out each person individually, it has gotten a bit overwhelming by the number of emails, so I thought I would start a series explaining the 4 steps to creating a successful blog.
Today let’s start from the beginning: Setting up the logistics of the blog.
Step 1: The Niche
A blog’s niche is their category, what they write about and focus on. Figuring out what to blog about is probably the most complicated part. You may be going into this knowing what you want your site to be about – if so that is awesome! You are ahead of the game!
However, if you’re at the step right now where you know you want to start up a site but you aren’t quite sure what you want it to be about, don’t fret, that is where I (and many many many others) started.
Let’s narrow down your niche – the category of which you will be writing about.
Write down some things you are passionate about, interested in, involved in, or do daily.
Examples: College (duh, that’s me!), working out, sewing, photography, theatre, building things, mental health self care, cooking, baking, etc.
Now go through that list and put a star next to the ones that you find most interesting and endearing to you. Now go through it again and circle the ones that you feel you can write about easily and that other people may be interested in reading.
Here’s a hint: The best blog posts that get the most views are the ones helping people. Choose a niche that you can help people through… find a problem and solve it.
Examples: College – studying tips, time management, registering for classes, social life issues, etc. Working out – workout regimens, tips for beginners, healthy recipes, finding motivation, etc.
Step 2: The Name
Honestly, deciding what to name my blog was what I spent the most time on during the set up process. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to incorporate my name into it or go with something that was more descriptive of my niche.
Personally, putting my name into my blog title has been a great choice. While I do focus a lot on college life and organization, the fact that my blog is a “vague” name gives me the opportunity to branch out into other topics like fashion or lifestyle pieces. This also has paid off as I am going to graduate college next year and now I have the ability to have my blog grow with me without being tied to a specific niche.
Stuck on the name game? Here’s a simple equation to get your mind brainstorming:
Think of synonyms for your niche or words related to it. Think of an adjective that describes the branding you are going for (ex: if you want it to be happy and upbeat some adjectives include: Joy, fun, adorable, perfect, kind, vibrant, and special) then combine them in some way.
Synonym + Adjective + Combo = Blog Name
Example: Say I am a food blogger with a goal of sharing easy meals for busy parents. Name idea: Joyful Cooking.
Step 3: The Hosting
The truth is, if you really want to be able to take advantage of all the opportunities that are available to you as a blogger you need to purchase your own domain and hosting. With hosting you have the opportunity to set of your site a variety of ways however, again to take advantage of everything you have available to you, creating your website with WordPress is really the way to go.
There are a lot of options for hosting out there, however I personally recommend using HostGator.
HostGator is an incredibly affordable (seriously, $3.95 a month!) and reliable way to host your own blog or website. Their starting and renewing prices are cheaper than those such as GoDaddy and SiteGround and HostGator’s cheapest hosting option even offers unmetered storage and bandwidth as well as free email addresses. They provide top notch customer service and a 45-day money back guarantee if you decide that blogging isn’t for you after all.
Setting up WordPress hosting through HostGator is incredibly easy.
First: Go to the HostGator site and sign up for the plan that best fits you – the cheapest Hatchling plan should be good to start of with!
Then: After purchasing the hosting and your domain log into your Cpanel (login instructions should have been emailed to you after you purchased your hosting) and go to install WordPress.
HostGator makes installing WordPress a breeze.
Step 4: The Theme
Honestly, I believe that as you are starting out your blog that it is completely reasonable to start out with a free theme template.
Once you download WordPress you will have the option to choose a free theme, take some time and try out a few of these to see what you like best!
Once you pick a base theme check out my guide on how to customize a free WordPress theme to best fit your site’s branding.
Congratulations, you are now a blogger! Next step? Writing and producing content. Stay tuned for more information on that!
What are you planning on blogging about?