So you want to start a blog, but have no idea where to even start, right? I am assuming that’s why you are here after all. Starting a blog shouldn’t be difficult or intimidating, in fact you should be happy about starting this new blogging adventure.
When I first started my blog in 2014, I remember one of the first things I did was pick out a name. I didn’t really do much research on the name except for the fact that it was available on social media and the domain name. I didn’t think to research trademarks, so when I decided to get serious about my blog in 2017, it was then that I realized that TravelJunkie was already trademarked. My previous blog name was Travljunkie, but this was too similar to the trademarked name and thus I re-branded.
The re-branding wasn’t easy and it would have saved me a lot of troublesome moments had I just did the research properly. However, I learned my lesson and now I have a name that suites me and my blog. So to help you avoid the same mistakes I’ve made, here are some tips, tricks and things to know.
So You Want to Start a Blog: Tips, Tricks and Things to Know
Find your niche
One of the first things you want to do before starting is to find your niche. What do you want to write about? What are you passionate about? If you are starting a blog to make money and get free stuff, then blogging is not for you. People should never start a blog without passion because blogging is a lot of work. Those with no passion for it will find themselves burned out.
I decided to start a travel blog because I am passionate about travel. I love learning about cultures and giving people advice on travel, so I started this blog in hopes to help others. Are you passionate about mac n cheese? are you passionate about books? or even wine? You can start a blog on many things, but it is important to find a niche. I have heard of bloggers, who started out as fashion bloggers and later turned into lifestyle bloggers because they wanted to showcase more of everyday living rather than just fashion alone.
For me, I went from being strictly a travel blogger to a travel & lifestyle blogger because I wanted to show more. I wanted to show recipes and everyday life outside of travel. Of course, I showcase more of travel, but I will blend in other aspects of my life with travel.
When you have a niche, not only do you have an idea of what you will focus on, but it allows others to know what your blog is all about.
You know how I mentioned having to re-brand once I started getting serious about blogging? Well, when you start brainstorming for names, I would keep that in mind. Not only do you want to make sure you are choosing a name that is available on social media and domain names, but you also want to make sure this name wasn’t trademarked yet.
One good way to check if the name you choose is available on all social media platforms, as well as domain, is by using a name checker. This will facilitate researching if your name is available. Once you see that it is available for domain and social media platforms, you may want to also check the trademark database, in case you decide you want to turn into a business.
Note: You do not need to Trademark your blog name, but if you have a blog name that does not have your name in it (Sarah, Stacy, Macy etc…), then you may want to trademark your name so that others cannot use it.
Get your domain name
I am all about going cheap and not being ripped off. When I started my domain, I realized that if I bought my domain through WordPress, I would have paid a lot more. Instead, you are able to get a free domain name when you buy a hosting plan. When I went to get my hosting from Bluehost, I was also able to get my domain name from them and doing this saved me money.
If for some reason, they don’t have this option. You can buy your domain name from IONOS for $1. Of course, this is only for the 1st year, so you may want to transfer your domain name to your hosting site.
When you transfer your domain name to the hosting site, it will cost you a lot less cheaper to renew. IONOS will charge you $60-80 after the first year, while it will probably cost you $14 to renew with your hosting site. Some hosting sites even transfer your domain name for free.
Find your Web Hosting Platform
When I started looking for a web hosting platform, I wasn’t sure what all I needed. So I went with the one that was affordable and also easy to work with. So I ended up with Bluehost.
Bluehost has mixed reviews. Some people love it, some people hate it. I personally loved my experience with Bluehost. Customer service was great, I didn’t have any problems with them and the site itself was easy to use. I have a whole post about Bluehost here.
However, as my blog grew, I decided to move to SiteGround. Although SiteGround is much more expensive than Bluehost, customer service is excellent, I know that the servers are in the US, the website is easy to use and if you purchase during Black Friday, you get an amazing deal!
Create your website
I looked into various options before deciding on WordPress. I used Go Daddy and Wix, but I honestly didn’t like any of them. When you buy your hosting plan, you can easily set WordPress up with your hosting site. On top of that, I like WordPress because of the plugins! I have plugins for security, plugins for my interactive map and so forth.
One thing I will say is that having a lot of plugins can actually do more harm than good, since this will slow down your website. So do keep the plugins at a minimum.
WordPress also has free themes, so you don’t have to buy a theme for your website, but if you do want to buy a new website look, I suggest looking into Creative Market. Here you’ll find different themes, fonts and everything else for your website. You can also get freebies, which can help with your website as well.
Now that you have everything set-up, it is now time for you to start writing! Remember blogging takes time and you will not see a huge amount of traffic overnight.
Keep sharing on social media, to friends and family, and with a good strategy you’ll see your blog flourish!
If you’d like a more in depth write-up of starting a blog, stay tuned for my vault that will have all the resources you will need.
Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This doesn’t change anything on your end.