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I’m now a month into this whole blogging full-time thing and have to admit… it’s tough. I am not keeping the typical 9-5 work day (which I admit, I never really felt worked for me) but I feel like I am working all the time and not sleeping. To say I’m a little in over my head is an understatement but I refuse to give up!
What do you need to think about?
If you want to start a blog, first you need to realize.. it is not cheap. Sure, you can get a free account through Blogger but then you do not own it. I highly recommend a self-hosted WordPress blog where you will have endless opportunities for monetization. Right off the bat, you are going to pay at least $50-150 a year for hosting and securing a domain name. For my first blog I used Blogger but I wasn’t able to expand with it. When I tried to move everything over to a self hosted site… I somehow lost everything. Ugh! Save yourself the heartache and start with your own site from the beginning.
Next? Ask yourself if you have the time. I truly did not realize just how much work blogging would be. I think eventually things will slow down but to get up and running.. I’m working constantly. Between writing content, taking courses, utilizing social media, monetizing… it’s a lot!
Another big question.. are you social? Are you willing to put yourself out there on social media? At first I didn’t think I would be able to. I rarely used Twitter, occasionally Snapchat, and my Pinterest boards were recipes I’ll never use. But.. I made accounts for my blog for each one of those and have hundreds of followers in over a month! If I can do it, you can do it!
Okay, let’s get started!
So you really want to do this? Well first thing is first. You should sit down and think about what it is you will cover in your posts. What topic(s) do you see yourself comfortable writing about every week for years to come? Once you have that narrowed down, look at already established blogs in that niche. What is it you like on those blogs? Do you like the header placement? Their style of writing? Write all of that down!
How did I do it? I looked on Etsy at “girly” blog templates and bought one… I hated it. So I bought another… still didn’t like it. Now I am using a free template until I figure out what exactly it is that I want.
Next, determine your name. Write down a couple of ideas. Once you have a few you like, check and see if they are taken. If the domain is available for purchase, check and see if it is available on all social media accounts that you plan to use. My very first blog I did not do this and ended up having a blog and Etsy shop with different names. It’s hard to brand yourself when that happens! (I still have that Etsy shop and not sure how to grow it with the old name!)
After you have the name figured out, make sure you quickly purchase that domain and get all the names secured in social media. From there you can working on branding. I recommend first figuring out what style you would like for your blog. I wasted money and bought logos that didn’t fit in my header and other designers wouldn’t work with me to make a header based on someone else’s design. Trying not to waste money, I then got a layout where I didn’t need a large header and that ended up just being a waste of money in itself since I didn’t like it!
Branding is very important. It is how you will be recognized everywhere so make sure it is something you love! Not sure where to begin? I recommend Fiverr! I first purchased a logo design I loved for $6. Unfortunately I really wanted a header but then I found someone who made 6 really nice ones for $21! Branding doesn’t have to be expensive.
Wrapping It Up
By now you should know whether or not you want a self-hosted blog. You also have your niche, know what you are looking for in a template, and have your name figured out! You already have more of an idea what you are doing than when I started!
Now that you know what you want, I would recommend reading reviews about pros/cons of different hosting sites (BlueHost and GoDaddy seem to be most popular). I have used a few and one that some people swear up and down by.. I really didn’t like. It was the one that I lost all my content with. I don’t want to sway anyone’s opinion so you should research that and don’t just pick the cheapest option either.
You are on your way to being an official blogger, congratulations! I am definitely still a beginner and figuring out things along the way but please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you have!