4 Crucial Steps for Beginning Bloggers

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

If you've ever wondered about how to start a blog, this post is for you my friend.

how to start a blog

I feel like anyone who has a blog and keeps up with it on a regular basis (or semi-regular in my case), the most frequently asked question is how to start a blog. When friends and others ask me, I get so stupid excited because blogging has become the best creative outlet for me and I love sharing that joy with others. Also, I'm all about that shine theory y'all.

Honestly, I do not feel like an expert by any means. I have however spent the past three years blogging personally and for businesses, so my goal is to share what works (and didn't work) for me in order to save you bumps down the blogging road.

First things first, answer these three questions before you even touch your keyboard:

+ Is this for personal use or a business?

+ Are you technology savvy?

+ How much are you willing to spend?

Ugh, I know. I hate asking myself questions. I'm one of those people who likes to go 0 to 100 real quick and dive right into whatever I'm wanting to do. Forget planning, I said in the beginning. I'm just gonna do something and see what happens.

Trust me, don't do that.

These questions will help direct you when you need to make some of the most important decisions for your blog (aka: the next three sections of this post).

Hey girl, what do you wanna blog about?

That's what Ryan Gosling asked me when I told him I wanted to blog. We're besties... it's casual.

But on the real, take five minutes and think about what topics you'll discuss on your blog. Obviously, they won't be written in stone. Over the past three years, I've changed what my writing focuses on many times. Even so, I still suggest jotting down some ideas. Are you a fashion blogger? Do you want to share you life experiences? Will your blog promote your business? If you answered the first question above, this will give you a good starting point.

My answer: My blog is for personal use and I want to blog about lifestyle of a twenty-something, living in Bryan/College Station, as well as style and decorating on a budget.

Name your blog with intention.

This is a toughy.

It took me a month to figure out my blog name. Granted, I jumped past go and already started blogging before I chose my name. So dumb. My first blog was literally my name: Suzy E. L. Smith. (I'm really creative, y'all.)

When I say be intentional with your blog name, I mean that the name should really reflect what the topics of your blog. Since you just answered that question, it should make things easier. (wink wink)

Why Suzy Speaks? I chose Suzy Speaks because I wanted to share my opinions and ideas about events, places, and a variety of topics.

My best friend Kitty chose Mrs. on the Move because she's a newlywed moving quite a bit around the U.S. with her new hubby. She blogs about her experiences with that, along with style and decorating tips. (She's my go-to outfit guru.)

No worries if you think it's going to take forever to accomplish this step. Kitty came up with her blog name after a week of thinking hard about it. You might come up with yours before you even know what you're going to blog about. It's different for everyone. 

Pick a blogging platform.

You know what you wanna write and you have your perfect name. Now what in the world is a blogging platform-thingy-majig?

To put it simply, a blogging platform is a site that allows you to blog online using their service.

There are so many different sites you can use for blogging, but I recommend choosing either Blogger or Wordpress.  For my personal blog, I use Blogger. It's free and easy to use. For my job, I use Wordpress. It's definitely for high level users.

If you answered above that you're not very technology savvy, don't try to attempt to use Wordpress. You'll end up hating blogging and give up within the first month. I'll share in a post next week why I prefer Blogger over Wordpress for beginners.

Optional Pro Tip: If you really love your name and are committed to blogging. you will want to lock down your domain as soon as you possibly can. It really sucks when you realize that your web address isn't available after you put so much time into working on your blog. I suggest using namecheap.com to purchase your domain. They have discounts each month, so it's by far the cheapest way to get a domain.

What would you like to know about blogging? Please feel free to leave a comment with your questions or concerns - I'd love to help!

Photo via Ashley Ella Designs.

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