The Exact Steps I Took To Start My Own Blog
Before I started blogging, I had somewhat of an unhealthy obsession with Youtube make up videos. That was just – my thing. I loved watching them, and learning from them. I would watch video after video, and two hours later, I would still be watching videos.
The proverbial – down the rabbit hole.
Then one day I really took a step back and paid attention to the page views of some of my favorite Youtubers, and I thought about what those views actually meant.
They were making money. Money from my views, and the views from all the other millions of people who flocked to their sites.
Nothing wrong with that right? But how was that making ME successful though? Yes I was learning a skill that they were teaching online, but realistically, what were they actually contributing financially to my life?
Instead, I just became more and more intrigued by the products they used, and probably (allegedly) made purchases of said products, contributing to me making LESS money.
So I decided to put my life on a different track and set a plan in motion to make myself successful.
What if I could use my own skill and have others contribute to my financial success? I have always loved to write. What if blogging could be that outlet where I could use that skill?
If you can relate to my story, then you’re probably ready for financial change in your life also.
Online businesses are the wave of the present and also the future. Thanks to the Worldwide Web, products can reach people in places you and I have never even heard of.
The biggest stumbling block to starting a blog or an online business however is two fold.
One is always fear of the unknown, or a deep fear of failure.
The second hindrance is just not knowing how or where to start. I remember being totally confused at how to start this site.
I think of blogging like buying a home. It is one of those things that you absolutely want to do, have gathered up resources or talked to people about doing it, but just haven’t been able to get started on.
Blogging is very hard work, but also very rewarding work. I talk alot about it in 15 Things You will Learn as a New Blogger. Time and time again I get asked how exactly to start a blog or online business, or what steps I took in order to start my own blog.
Keep reading and I will explain the exact steps I took to start.
This post contains affiliate links. Please see my detailed Disclaimer.
STEP 1 – Identify Your Audience
One of the first rules to establishing your blog, or any online business for that matter, is understanding your niche. I rather dislike this word, niche, as it gets brutalized so much in the English language, “nitch”, “neeyech”, smh.
But understanding your niche simple means understanding who you are writing to, or who your words are aimed at.
For instance my niche is mainly new parents and parents with young children who want to learn time management skills, and how to either earn a better career, or learn ways to establish a profitable stay at home career.
Part of deciding on your niche involves asking yourself a few questions and doing some serious soul searching. Some questions you should be asking yourself are:
I identified my niche through my own struggles as a parent of two young children. I had to learn how to cut corners and make things work in order to get everything – or most things done.
I knew that I wanted to own my own business one day and I also quickly identified the fact that time management would be paramount to my success in being able to do so. I created this site with new moms and parents like me in mind.
When trying to identify your niche, you want to learn to be as specific as you can.
Going too broad can confuse your audience and not attract the right readers to your site. You want readers who want to stay on your site and learn more from you.
To explain it better, let’s say you are a food lover, and you know that you’re good at cooking. You want to start a food blog right? Then your niche would probably be writing about food recipes. You can drill down further and only write about Desserts, Entrees, or maybe Side Dishes.
Let’s say you pick Desserts. Further still you could decide to only write about Savory Desserts. Or maybe Savory Desserts that use low fat products.
You see what I did there? Selecting a niche involves breaking down a broad main topic until you get to a specific segment of people that you want to target.
STEP 2 – WebHosting
I truly did not understand what Webhosing meant when I first started. So I will try to explain it as simply as I can.
Think of your business. Let’s say your business was in a physical structure. Then you can think of Webshosting as being the address where your physical building “resides” online.
You have a product that you want to sell to your readers and customers, and your Webhost allows you to buy space (like renting a building), where you can house your products to sell to your customers. In my case, my “product” is the content that you are reading right now.
There are two main ways your site can be hosted. You can opt for free hosting, or your site can be self hosted.
So I know what you are thinking, let’s go with the free option right? Well, of course I am a strong advocate for “If it’s free it’s me!”, so I would have probably picked that option as well.
But hold on young butterfly! There are a few drawbacks to getting your site on a free platform. Some of the most popular free blogging sites are Blogger, Blogspot and WordPress.com.
The reasons why you may not want to necessarily go to a free webhosting site is because there are some limitations to free web hosting.
Think of free web hosting like you renting an apartment. You probably can’t paint all the walls purple and yellow if you wanted to right? Your landlord would probably frown upon that. So too with free webhosting:
1)You cannot fully control your site
2)There are limitations to the image sizes, aesthetics, such as the layout, or fonts or colors. Depending on the theme you have selected, you will not be able to change things on the site to meet your specifications.
3)You cannot monetize, or make money from your site (we will come to this part a little later on)
Now, if you just want to use blogging as a platform to express yourself, or show your work and you don’t necessarily want to make money from it, then the free version of WordPress may work quite nicely for you.
If you want to however make an income from your blog, and grow it monetarily then the self hosted option is the way to go.
Why A Self Hosted Site
- When your blog or online business is self hosted, you have a lot more creative power
- You will have more options for themes for your site
- You have the ability to change fonts, layouts, and the location of things on your site
- Being on a self hosted site means you will have the ability to make money from your blog
Which WebHost do I pick?
I did tons of reading prior to starting my blog and I realized that they were one of the webhosting sites rated as top of the line.
They provided 24/7 customer service and had minimal outages. Siteground is also known for it’s reliability and website speed. These are important as you don’t want a user leaving your site because they get frustrated by slow loading of your site’s content.
Price-wise, Webhosting at Siteground starts $3.95 per month, which is less than the price of a cup of coffee per day if you think about it. I have been with them since I started blogging, and never had an issue!
If you are going with Siteground, you want to pay for as many months upfront that you can reasonable afford to pay for, that way it’s just one less thing you have to thinkg about from month to month.
Also, once you get rock and rolling with you site, you don’t want to have to deal with it being removed from the webhosting platform because you only selected to be hosted for a short period of time.
I will walk you through the step by step procesd on how to set up your site with Siteground and how to install WordPress on your site later on.
I am not the most techy person in the world, and I faired out ok, so I have full faith and confidence that you will do well also!
Once you have decided to start your online business and earn real income, I strongly advise you to research the top webhosting sites and pick the one that is best for you. I back Siteground as I mentioned, and just so you know, when it is time to actually set up your website, if you are having difficulty in installing the software (WordPress), you can actually ask the kind folks at Siteground and they will even do it for you!
STEP 3 – Select A Name For Your Site
I remember being so nervous when I did this part. I truly felt like this was a stamp of approval. It gives you a great degree of confidence when you select a name because you feel like you are really officially moving forward.
Before it was just an idea, but purchasing the name makes it seem like it’s a real tangible thing now. My site’s name (or domain) is registered on NameCheap.
So you may be asking at this point why I segmented Webhosting and selction of a site name into two separate points? Why not just register the name of your site with the same company that hosts your site? Well I learned two reasons why this is not always the best thing to do:
1)By choosing the same webshosting site for both your webhosting and your site’s name, you have to pay an additional fee for privacy protection of your personal information, and the price of this can cost you alsmost as much as the cost of the site name itself.
2) You know the old saying about laying your eggs in different baskets? Well it’s the same when it comes to having your webhosting and your site name with different companies. By placing them in the hands of two different companies, if something happens with one of them, your site will still be up. Makes sense right?
STEP 4 – Pick a Theme For Your Site
Now that you have a niche, a web hosting company, and a name, all your business needs now is just a good coat of paint, some pretty fixtures and it’s good to go.
This is exactly what a theme is. A theme relates to the way things are laid out on your website. It’s like a template for your site, that you can then customize and make your own.
Some themes are free, and some you have to pay for. WordPress offers a bunch of free themes that are very beautiful in layout.
In fact, one of my very first themes on this site was a free one through WordPress. However I got a bit bored and changed it about two or three times.
One thing to note about free themes is the fact that although they are nice and functional, they are free. So you do get what you pay for, in that you may not have total control of the layout and also, there might not be any technical support to help you if you run into any stumbling blocks.
You may not be able to change things such as colors or the location of your menu for instance. So the alternative to free themes are paid ones. There are a bunch of different one out there, but for the purpose of starting up a website or a blog for the first time, I really advise using a free theme at first.
Do not get too hung up on a theme at first. It is easily changeable so just pick one that you like – for now.
Later on you can change it for something more permanent. If you are selecting a paid theme later on, then you may want to put more research into it as you are paying with your hard earned coins, and at that point will want to ensure that you pay for something that you’ll like and want to stick with.
STEP 5 – Installing WordPress
I mentioned the word WordPress a few times in this article, and you probably were thinking, well what’s WordPress?
WordPress is this super easy and free system to manage content online. It allows you to get your site up and running in no time.
Think of it like the “software” for your site. Many top websites such as BBC America, The New Yorker, The Walt Disney Company, even Queen Bey herself – Beyonce, all of these sites use WordPress.
With it, you will be able to add posts and pages, menus and basically build up your site from scratch. It’s the back end portal where you will do the work that your viewer on the front end will see.
The steps I have laid out here are the very basic building blocks to creating your own website and starting on your journey to financial success!
These were the exact steps I followed to build this website. After going through all of these steps, I was very super exited that I had created my own website. My own WWW DOT COM. You will feel that same rewarding feeling also!
Then I literally sat there looking at the site for a while, lost. It was just a shell with nothing in it. There was tons more that I had to learn. Guess what!? I will teach you!
Are you ready to start a blog or online business? What is holding you back? Or what has been a stumbling block for you? Tell me in the comments below.
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