If you plan on blogging part time or full time, you need to have a good hosting site, unless you are a coding ninja. If you are a coding ninja, you don’t need to read this, go about with your espionage. Really though, a hosting service will aid in your blog’s success. If you plan on using WordPress, I recommend signing up for your WordPress domain through Bluehost for a quick start up. When I first dove into the blogging world, I signed up for a WordPress domain, but I wish I had gotten my domain through Bluehost originally to forego the transfer process. Once you sign up, you just have a one click install process to start using Bluehost’s website customization tools.
I am part of Bluehost’s affiliate program, this means if you decide to purchase and stay with their hosting services I’ll receive commission, which helps keep this site running.
Reasons to Use Bluehost
At first, the very thought of everything I had to do and figure out was overwhelming. As I started setting up my site though, I discovered all the resources I had available to me. There are numerous help forums on their site, 24/7 call/chat tech support (great for a night owl) with real people, and numerous themes and plugins to choose from.
Their prices really are pretty excellent. The first year is only $3.95 a month, and afterwords it varies depending on which plan you choose. You can choose a plan as short as 1 month, and as long as 60 months. Of course, it’s cheaper the longer the plan you sign up for, I currently pay by the year which is $8.99 a month and very competitive. When I first saw the bill I was about to pay when renewing, I compared other hosting sites to decide whether or not I wanted to stick around, and I am so glad I did. Bluehost has a ton of free content, hosting is the only thing I have to pay for to run my blog.
If my site ever becomes busy with traffic, users won’t have a slow experience on my site, Bluehost is equipped to handle spikes.
After you have a hosting site, you’re ready to start taking steps to have a successful blog. These can be helpful whether or not you plan on being a part time blogger, alike myself, or a full time blogger.
How to Start a Blog
- Determine your focus
Content is the most important thing for your blog and should not be rushed. A good blog post can take anywhere from 2 and a half hours to 12 hours. Before you hit publish a lot goes into play, including: writing, editing, styling, and search engine optimizing. This being said, it helps to have your content planned out. Before you go and start planning your content though, you should determine what you want your blog’s focus to be. Readers like blogs with a focus because they know what to expect when they come to your site. Another bonus, this will help you decide what you want to write about. Once you have determined your blog’s categories and subtopics to focus on, you can plan posts to fit into them. It helps to plan at least three months of content ahead of time, I aim to have six months planned at a time. Decide how many days a week you want to post and make your schedule clear to your audience. Post only as much as you can guarantee great content and quality photos. Personally, as I consider myself a part time blogger, I post once a week and spend the rest of my time brainstorming ideas, developing, promoting, and optimizing my content. Another thing that will help you would be to create a backlog of content, something I’m getting into the habit of doing by writing all my posts the month ahead. Having a backlog of 3-5 posts will help you when life happens. Finally, have a mission statement. This doesn’t have to be on your blog, just know what to tell people when they ask what your blog is about and be confident about it.
- Set up your site
I’ve already established content is the life of your blog, and you should cater your site design to it. Make it easy for the reader to see your content. Sites that are too busy will turn the reader off, sites that are more minimal tend to do better. Take advantage of the resources available to you when creating your site. YouTube videos, google searches, and blogs are all useful tools for everyone when building a blog. The Blog Stylist has a free e-course that is great for beginning to learn the tech on your site. If using Bluehost, take advantage of the free themes and plugins you have available to make your life easier. It’s important to remember you can always pay someone eventually to help you take your blog to the next level. I’ll be damned if I don’t have Promise Tangeman restyle my blog one day, and I want someone with a little more logo knowledge to help me up my game in that department.
- Learn the legal side
It is so vital to know the laws on blogging from the very beginning. Have a copyright statement and privacy statement before you begin to publish so you can protect yourself and your content. Be familiar with affiliate disclosure law, as this is something that could save you. My go to for all things legal is Jade and Oak, which is run by Jackie, a certified lawyer, with a lot of great and free resources.
Get the word out, shout from the rooftops, and don’t hide your blog. Your blog will thrive if you share your content online, schedule it if you think that would work for you. Intend to keep up with two to four social medias and devote most of your attention to one of these, preferably the one you’ll be able to reach a larger audience on. Having a social media plan like this will help you in the long run. Reaching out to other bloggers, posting comments on other sites you admire (without being spammy), guest posting, responding to comments, and keeping up with your over-piling emails will have a substantial effect on your success.
- Get that money
Start monetizing your site from the very beginning. Be creative with the way you earn money from your site. Just a few options you can use to monetize are affiliates, reaching out to brands to sponsor a post, advertisements in your sidebar, or you could even write an e-course. Don’t let your site be too spammy though, keep it light, and keep in mind it’s more to your advantage and well being to advertise what you support. As a brand new blogger, I use Amazon Affiliates, Google Ads, and Bluehost to monetize. Eventually I would like to cut down on the Google ads, have one sponsored post a month, and paid advertising slots, but that will happen in time when I have more to offer to brands.
Note: This page will be updated as I learn more about this world of blogging, and optimized to help you become successful as a blogger. Follow along on my income reports, as I find out what works and what doesn’t.