How to start a blog? Everything you need to know & more.

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Today I’m going to dig into something a lot of you ask. “How to start a blog?” So you’ve been looking into starting a blog, but you’re not quite sure where to get started. Trust me I get it. It seems like a foreign language with domain names, hosting, coding, etc…well we have got you covered. 

Choosing a Topic

Fist thing is first…you need a topic for your blog. So, what do you want to write about, teach about, or help people with. Do you have a love for interior design constantly redecorating your house or your friends? Are you able to transform someones confidence with a new outfit? Do you have tricks and tips for skin care and makeup application? Or do you enjoy travel and sharing the hottest restaurants, bars, and attractions? Any and all of those and more are great topics to start with. Just remember to dive into something you love because you don’t have an attraction to the topic it might get dull. 

Not sure where to start? Make a list of 10 topic you enjoy or are knowledgable about, after that think of 10 blog ideas for each - Now what came easiest to you or were you the most passionate about? Start there!

Setup

Domain

Choosing a domain name (ex. www.liveadaycreative.com is my domain name). Hint: Don’t purchase the domain we will do that when we setup hosting. I recommend when you are trying to choose a domain to check to see if the social media handles are available also - its always easier when your everything matches up for people to find you.

Are you having a hard time? Is your name available? The thing about using your name is that you aren’t going to change over the years but the topics you cover might change. How did I come up with Liveaday Creative? My last name is Livaudais….hard to spell huh? Well it is pronounced Live-a-day. So to keep it easier on my followers I’ve always used liveaday for all my social media, but that domain was taken. So, being in marketing I listed out all the different options that could be used creative, design, marketing, and the list went on. I liked liveaday creative because I like to bring my clients into the creative process - even if they don’t think they are creative they really just might now know how to express it. 

Another activity I’ve used when creating additional websites is folding a page into 3 different sections. In the first section list things about you: your name, your a mom, sister, wife, or other attributes about you hair color, tattoos, etc…In the second column list things about your blog topic. 

Hosting

Hosting is like renting space for your blog to live online. I have worked with multiple hosting sites and I have found the BlueHost is the easiest to get setup and going…And it’s only $3.95/month to get started + a free domain when you signup, which is why we didn’t buy one before. We recommend setting your blog up on WordPress because it is customizable yet easy for newbies, and it works seamlessly with BlueHost.

Theme

Your WordPress site needs a theme; which is your overall design template. If hosting is the land you’re renting then a theme is like the house it has all the walls, rooms, etc and you’re going to make it your own with images and text (ie furniture/decor). There are some great free themes, premium themes, and customizable theme.  I recommend premed - there are great options out there. Also look to see if they are compatible with Woocommerce if you’re planning to open an online store.

WordPress Plugins

Plugins are like add-ons or upgrades for your website. To get started these are the necessary plugins I recommend. 

Akismet filters spam; it comes pre-installed. You need to activate the plugin and it can prevent spam in the comments.

WP Super Cache this will help with site speed and load times.

Securi is a security plugin - it helps monitor interactions of visitors with your site and prevents hackers from logging into your site.

The theme you choose may recommend plugins they make to utilize all functionalities of the theme, these will be listed on the plugins main page in WordPress - install these as well.

Search Engine Optimization/Marketing

Yoast SEO is a powerful SEO plugin and is one of the best tools to optimize your blogs, products, website, etc. Yoast grades your blogs (red = bad, orange=ok, green=good), gives you tips to improve, allows you to optimize titles and descriptions, and choose your keywords. I’ve used other SEO plugins and this is by far my favorite.

Google Analytics by MonsterInsignts is a plugin to setup your Google Analytics with your website. Set up Google Analytics to track information about your visitors ie. how they got to your site, age, locations, what they clicked on, etc. This is a very powerful tool to create benchmarks for your website.

Google Webmasters or Google Search Console is free and lets you see how your site is indexed by different browsers plus helps you optimize the visibility of your blog.

Social Media is like an additional blog platform. Think of social media as another landing page on your website you want it to portray your brand message. It is very important not to have a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest (although i don’t think of Pinterest as social media…but that is for another day).  This is a gateway for creating lasting relationships with followers - you can connect with people and they can see your day to day.

Running social media for your brand can feel like a full-time job. But its a lot easier if you create content in batches. I use Later religiously when it comes to batching my content for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. It allows me to choose the times to post and create everything ahead of time. You can even use the preview option to view your Instagram feed and rearrange posts before you schedule. All for free…and if you upgrade to the paid version there is even more perks like linkin.bio.

After you connect with people on social media you are going to want to capture a way to contact them. Imagine if Instagram is hacked (even just your account) and you lose all your posts, followers, message, etc….You don’t own that data, but if you start collecting email addresses then you own that data. This is where MailChimp comes into play - it’s free up to 2000 subscribers and easy to uses with remade templates, email automation, and my favorite tool is the link checker…I don’t want to have to click on each link in an email to be sure it’s going to the right place (talk about time consuming). This is a great way to share and engage with your audience. They signed up so they want to hear from you.

Monetizing 

You’re going to want to monetize your blog. There are a few different ways you can do this. You can start an online store if you have stuff to sell or join some affiliate networks like Google Adsense, Amazon Associates, ShopSense and more…This is a way to link to products you may use and get a percentage if people buy through that link. You don’t need to join each one just find the one that works best for you.