Tuesday, October 08, 2019

The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Starting A Blog ♥

If you're looking to start a blog then this is the guide for you. This is the ultimate beginners guide to starting a blog with instructions that are easy to follow, no filler and no clickbait!

I began blogging way back in 2013 and the blogging world has changed enormously since then. When I began blogging I did so as a hobby and I really enjoyed sharing all I loved with the world and connecting with readers and fellow bloggers. Little did I know that blogging would eventually become my full-time job (read all about how I made blogging my full-time job) and generate an income so that I could stay at home with my children while earning enough to live comfortably.

When beginning a blog it's important to decide what you want to blog for. Is it simply for hobby purposes or do you want to generate an income? Reading something like this simple guide to blogging and social media is good in letting you know what it's all about and gaining an understanding of the blogging world and the role in social media to support it.

First things first is choosing what you want to blog about - I call my blog a family lifestyle blog but it has evolved to this point. I began as a beauty blogger but quickly went away from that after I had my first son and wanted to write about our lives together.

You must also choose a name for your blog and something which hasn't been used before and to which the domain name is available. I went for something personal as Dolly Dowsie is the nickname my mother had for me when I was a child, however, it's important to choose something that will grow with you and it's restrictive on what you can write about. Some people just use their own names as their blog name and to be honest, if I had a cool name I'd have probably just done that!

Next you must decide where to host your blog. Getting your own domain name is essential if you want to monetize your blog as most PRs and brands only want to work with blogs that have their own domain. There are lots of different hosting providers available, but I get my hosting quite cheaply through Go Daddy and have never had any problems with them. They also provide a domain search so you can check if your chosen blog name is already taken. I pay on average €19.95 for my hosting each year which I think is great value. You can select other add-ons such as information privacy, email, etc. if you wish.

Next you'll have to decide what blogging platform you'd like to use. A lot of bloggers opt for Wordpress as the themes are much more customisable and there's a lot of plug-ins, etc. available. However, I've noticed that Wordpress users have a lot of hassle with their blogs being hacked (I liken it to a smartphone versus a basic model - the more features, the more chances of something going wrong!). I've also found that people generally pay more for having a blog via Wordpress too.

I have been using Blogger since I began blogging and have never had any problems. I should probably change to Wordpress but I find Blogger to be a lot more user friendly and I've never had any problems with hacks, elements not working, etc.

Whatever blogging platform you decide on, it's important to customise the look of your blog so that it reflects your personality, what you're blogging about and to improve reader experience.

There are so many places to find blog templates. Etsy has beautiful Wordpress themes and Blogger themes for as little as €6! These are easy to install into your chosen blogging platform. They also come with full installation instructions too and can be fully customised.

On Blogger you select 'Theme' from the left hand side, then 'Customise', where you can then upload your new theme once you have downloaded it after purchase. It's that simple!

I think people are under the misconception that blogging has to be expensive. It really doesn't. I began blogging on Blogger (which is free to use) on one of their basic themes and as my blog grew I was then able to invest in new themes (never any more than £40). Hosting is an annual cost.

Of course, as your blog grows, you may want to invest in things such as a new camera, photography presets, plug-ins, blogging courses, etc., but you don't need to have all of these things straight away. I think it's important to put out great content and build a genuine audience before looking into ways to monetise. This will ensure that what you're blogging about is real to you and not just for making money.

Before launching your blog it's important to set up social media channels in your blogs name so that everything is connected and readers can easily find your social media - these will be linked through clickable icons on your blog theme. You can see my clickable social media icons on the very top right-hand side of my blog. These take people to my social channels and are so important if you want readers to follow you on your socials.

Social media will also end up being the place where you'll share all your blog posts, updates, etc., so important to have them all cohesive with the same name as your blog.

Once your blog and social media channels are launched, blog and share to your hearts content! If you want to read about the things which exploded my blog and allowed me to monetise it then read my post on 11 things which exploded my blog for tips on how to grow and get your blog seen.

Blogging is such a wonderful thing. It has helped me in so many ways - not just monetarily, and I'll never regret starting my blog. So, if you're wanting to create your own space on the internet and share all you love with the world too, then I say go for it!

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out by email or on my social media and I'll try my best to answer.

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