How Do You Get Started Blogging?
If you’re looking for a side hustle, then you’ve probably been researching all of the different options out there for how to make some extra money that can eventually turn into a full time job.
When I was first researching different options for side hustle, one of the things that really stuck out and surprised me as a viable option was blogging.
I didn’t even know blogging was a thing and I definitely didn’t know the people actually made money from it.
And I’m not talking just like a couple hundred dollars a month.
There are plenty of bloggers that make $10,000 or more a month by blogging. (Yeah, you read that right.)
The awesome thing about blogging is that anyone can do it.
You just have to know how to get started and you’re on your way to owning your very own blogging business (disclaimer: while it’s easy to get started, there’s quite a bit of work required to actually make money).
To help get your started on the right foot, I created this step-by-step guide to walk you through exactly how to start a blog.
These 10 actionable steps will bring you closer to your goal of running your own business and being in charge of your own life.
Step 1: Come up with a Topic
This might seem obvious but it’s going to take time and require more effort than you’d think.
For this, you’ll want to give yourself some time to brainstorm ideas.
Think about topics you are passionate about (aka you tell everyone about it all the time), naturally good at (are you an amazing photographer?), or really knowledgeable about (a skill you have mastered from your career or similar?).
Try to think specifics but broad enough to have readers. It’s totally up to you on what you blog about but keep this in mind: You can’t appeal to everyone or you will appeal to no one.
You want to try to have a focus with your blog.
For example, if you love cooking and your dog, you really don’t want to share the best dog beds on the same blog that you’re sharing your amazing cheesecake recipe.
BUT, an idea to blend them might be to talk about dogs and some recipes for natural dog treats.
While the topic of your blog is important, what’s more important is that you just get started.
So spend a little bit a time brainstorming and then go with what feels right and it will likely change as you blog more and more. That’s OK. Totally normal.
Task: Use a brainstorm session to settle on a topic.
Step 2: Create a name for your blogNext, you’re going to choose a name for your blog. This is also going to be your domain name for the URL address that takes people to your blog. I wouldn’t say to spend too much time on this, but it isn’t something to take lightly either. You want to consider where you want your blog to go in the future and what you want your brand to represent. There are quite a few ways to go about this.
- Name your blog after yourself. Some people choose to name their blog their own name. This means that you’re really just branding yourself and creating a personal brand. The big benefit is that you’re not boxing yourself into a specific topic. You’re able to change the blog focus as you develop your blogging voice. The big downside to this is that no one’s going to have any idea what your blog is about until you tell them. But that’s the part of making a personal brand. You’ve got to market yourself and eventually people will know what your blog stands for once you get some traction.
- Creating an unrelated cutesy name. This is where you name your blog something like FoxMeetsBear or something cutesy like that. Once you go to her blog and read why it’s called that, it can make more sense, but just the blog name doesn’t tell you much. Again this is similar to personal branding in that people aren’t going to know what it’s about. A huge upside to this one, especially if you’re creative, is that you can create cute logos and recognizable branding to really make a name for yourself down the road.
- Catchy but clearly conveys the blog topic. The final option, and this is what I did, is to name your blog something that is catchy but conveys to your reader what your blog’s about. You want to be careful here not to be too specific to where you box yourself in unless you are dead set on focusing on one niche.
Step 3: Buy the domain and get self-hosting for your blog
Once you’ve selected a name, then you’ll need to see if that domain is actually available.
You really want to have a .com at the end of your URL but some of the other ones might make sense to.
To help with this, simply enter your domain of choice into the box below and it’ll let you know if it’s available or not.
Once you figured out a domain that’s available and you like you’re going to want to claim that domain so that nobody else can take it.
Depending on which hosting you go with, your domain may come with it so make sure to watch out for that.
Having the domain name is a good start, but you now need a place to host your website.
And for the non-techie people out there, this means basically a place where your website “lives”. Sites aren’t just on the Internet but it’s actually hosted by someone.
So there are a couple of options for hosting.
One of the biggest hosting platforms is BlueHost. This is what I use and they’ve been great so far.
Another option is Site Ground. This is one that a lot of bloggers also love, and it comes highly recommended by a number of very trustworthy and successful bloggers that I personally follow.
Choose whichever is right for you, connect your newly acquired domain name to the hosting, and then you’re ready to get started.
Task: Buy the domain and hosting for your blog.
Step 4: Make your blog look the way you want it to
Basically, you’ll need to choose the layout, colors and fonts you want.
Don’t just pick your favorite colors here.
Really give some thought to what will appeal to your future reader.
If you go to your domain now, you’re not going to see anything because you haven’t actually activated it yet.
Now you’ll need to choose a website platform.
The number one platform to use for creating a website is WordPress.
Having a word press site is going to give you a lot of power over customizing your website and the majority of blogs are set up as wordpress sites.
Though, there are quite a few bloggers that are coming onto the scene that are using Square Space instead.
You’re still gonna want to buy the domain name and the hosting so that you don’t have a website that is something like mywebsite.squarespace.com.
That doesn’t look very professional.
The same thing with Wix.com.
Both of these are drag-and-drop website creation platforms (though there is a wordpress plugin to make it drag-in-drop that we’ll talk about later), and they can be easier to use than wordpress initially.
Just keep in mind that further down the line, you may want more customization and that is better done in wordpress.
I personally have a wordpress site, and I absolutely love using it.
I personally didn’t find it challenging to navigate, but I’ve heard that it can have a steep learning curve for some. It all depends on your aptitude for tech stuff.
Of course, there are courses to help you learn how to use word press if you can’t (or maybe just don’t want to) figure it out quickly or if you’re not techie.
The remainder of the instructions in this section are going to focus on WordPress. It may be similar for the other platforms but you’ll want to verify.
OK now that you have a WordPress site, you’re going to have to pick a theme which is basically the bones or framework that you’re going to build your website on.
There are a ton of themes you can choose from. WordPress itself has free themes you can use but you should know that they’re going to be very limited.
They’re a great place to start just as your getting your feet wet and if you’re on a budget.
The biggest thing about the free themes is that you might have something that you don’t like, such as the color or a font or you want to move something around on the page and you can can’t do that with the free themes.
There are a number of websites that offer themes that you can buy to make your website look the way you’re wanting it to look and you can find them by doing a quick Google search for word press themes. Some of the best recommended wordpress themes come from Restored 316.
I am able to change and customize fonts, colors and really make my website look how I want it to look. If you look at my homepage compared to their standard Isabella theme, you can see a big difference.
Task: Choose a platform and pick a theme.
Tech tip: On the left side, click appearance and then theme. You can search through the various free themes. Here is a resource that discusses which free themes might be best. If you bought a theme, then it will come with instructions on how to upload it and activate it. Once you pick one, click activate and you should see the new theme on your site.
Step 5: Add plug-ins to help the blog run smoothly
Plug-ins are basically back-end programs that will help your blog with specific functions.
There are going to be some plug-ins that you’re going to want to add to your wordpress site when you first get started. Yoest SEO, Smush, and Social warfare are the big three.
If you’re looking for a drag-and-drop approach to designing your site, I would highly recommend adding the Elementor plug-in.
They have a free version that does a lot and you don’t have to go to the pro version unless you want specific upgrades.
For instance, on the pro version, they have quite a few more options to work with to allow further customization of your site. I have loved using Elementor to get my blog to look exactly the way I want to. It is so easy to use, too.
Task: Add plug-ins and activate them.
Tech tip: To add plug-ins, look at the left hand side and find plug-ins and then start searching for the ones you want. Some do cost money so pay attention to that. Once you find plug-ins that you’d like to add, simply select activate to get them working for your site. Some of them will now have a menu option on the left-hand side to further customized to plug-in.
Step 6: Setup your blog to look the way you want
Start by filling in all of the things that show up on your wordpress dashboard that are going to make your blog look like a legit website.
In the dashboard, on the left hand side, you’ll see a place for posts, pages, etc.
If you select appearance, you should be able to start modifying the way you’re blog looks.
Exactly what you see here will depend on the theme you’ve got.
You can also hover over the Home icon on the top left, visit site, and then edit page from there.
You’ll need to do things like put the name of your blog in the header section, create a menu to make it easier for your reader to find their way around your website, and select the colors you want your blog to have.
Have fun with this and don’t fret over it.
You aren’t aiming for perfect at this point, but you simply want to get the blog looking pretty good so that you can start moving forward.
You’ll have plenty of time later to keep tweaking the details of colors and fonts and layout until it’s just right.
Task: Setup blog to where it looks the way you want
Step 7: Get an email service provider
An important aspect of blogging is communicating with your readers through email.
In order to collect their emails, you will need what’s called an email service provider (ESP).
This is a program that will collect the emails from readers (when they give it to you; more on that in a minute) and stores them so you can mass email them whenever you need.
While there are free options out there (Mailchimp, Mailerlite for example), these options have limitations, such as what you’re allowed to email people.
Another really big issue is that for some reason, these providers can get flagged as spam email and your reader will never even see the emails you send out, which is obviously not a good thing.
I personally use ConvertKit, and I really like them.
They are widely recommended by many bloggers.
There is a monthly fee, but since your email list is going to be your direct connection to your potential customers and a huge source of your income, it’s definitely worth it.
Another good one I’ve heard of is Drip.
I used them for a little bit on my site when they had a free version but then I decided to try Convertkit instead, simply because it was trusted by so many other bloggers.
Drip has come a long way now and is a strong competitor for Convertkit.
Task: Choose your email service provider and connect it to your blog.
Step 8: Write your About page
Turns out that your about page is one of the most visited pages of your blog.
This is where your reader will come to find out more about you and what you’re going to be able to do for them.
Here is a resource that can help you as you’re writing your About page.
Make sure you get a really good picture of yourself to include on the about page so that your readers can start to put a face with the blog they’re reading.
This’ll help with the know-like-and-trust factor that’s going to be so important for your blog later on. It can really help readers connect with you if they see your smiling face rather than a logo.
Task: Research what makes a good about page and create one, making sure to include a picture on the page.
Tech tip: From the dashboard on the left-hand side, you’ll see page. If you click that it will say add new. Name the page about page and start writing. Once you’re finished hit publish and you’re good to go.
Step 9: Keep writing and sharing
You’re going to be a blogger after all.
Writing blog posts is THE thing you will need to get really good at.
The more blog posts you write, the more in tune you will become with your writing voice and really figuring out what you want to say to your readers.
If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to which posts you should try to have on your blog to start generating traffic and get your blog making money faster, Suzi at startamomblog.com has created this amazing free blog plan for you.
She literally maps out what she did to get her blog to where it was making $9k per month.
To help with the inevitable writer’s block. I’ve also created this Content Creation worksheet where I share my top 5 hacks for never running out of blog post ideas.
Get your free copy here so you’ll never be stuck coming up with new content for your blog.
To help people find that amazing content you write, share it on social media and Pinterest.
This’ll help get your post in front of people faster so you can start building your readership.
Honestly, at first, you’ll have very little traffic to your blog and very few readers. It’ll happen in time but to get there, you have to put in the work of creating great content for people to find.
Task: Fill your blog up with blog posts featuring content that will be valuable to your readers. Share each post on social media and Pinterest to get it seen.
Tech Tip: In the dashboard, under post, click create new and start writing. Once you’ve finished, hit publish and the post will be live for the world to see..
Step 10: Generate income
Now this is where a lot of people would say you now have a blog that can make money.
While that’s true, unless you know how to actually generate money from this blog and have a plan and strategy then all you have is a place on the Internet where you can write posts.
If you want a hobby blog, then you’re all set. But if you want to have a blogging business and make money from this, then I’d strongly encourage you to look into investing in a blogging course.
I know it can be scary to invest in a course, so I wanted to point you to two of my favorites: Blog by Number from Suzi at Startamomblog.com and Elite Blog Academy by Ruth Soukup at Livingwellspendingless.com.
Both of these courses are great but each might appeal to different people.
As she was explaining that she made $30k a month (whaaaa?!), I perked up and listened to exactly how.
She had gone through Elite Blog Academy and attributed all of her success to that course.
After researching it more, I realized that so many of the top bloggers making serious money had been through Elite Blog Academy.
But that price tag.
I decided to leap and invest in myself, and I haven’t regretted it, but not everyone can afford to or wants to do that.
Shortly after, I found Suzi on Youtube talking about making $10k a month with her blog startamomblog.com.
She was super relatable and was coming from a high level engineering position into the world of blogging so that resonated with me as a scientist.
Suzi’s course Blog by Number is MUCH more affordable and she really provides a TON of value in her course.
Doesn’t hurt that she’s now making $20k+ on her own blog so she’s clearly doing something right.
In Blog by Number, she walks you through all of the steps needed to setup a blog (going into more detail than the overview here) and then the best part, she provides you with a strategy on how to start making money.
If you want to check out her style of teaching, she has a free Blog plan showing you how she went from $0-$9000 in her first year of blogging.
It’s one thing to have a blog and be able to write posts and it’s another thing to turn that blog into an actual business that generates semi passive or passive income for you.
Both of these courses are going to provide you with strategies and very specific tasks that are going to turn your blog into an actual business.
The Blog by Number course is a lot more affordable but it’s still a great option.
Elite Blog Academy is expensive but it’s also totally worth every dime you spend on it.
There’s something about that price tag that’ll keep driving you to make progress on your blog and really push to try to make this work.
Not to mention Ruth has a blog that generates well over 6 figures each year.
I definitely encourage you to take a look at both of these courses.
Of course, there are a number of other ones out there but these two are the ones that I have personally taken and have really loved.
Task: Sign up for Suzi’s FREE blog plan. Regardless of which course you choose, or even if you don’t pick one right away, this is a great resource.
Check out some blog courses and read reviews on them to see which one you’ll want to invest in. Save up for it or get it ASAP so you can start making money with your blog.
I hope this guide has helped you get your blog started and set you on track to starting your own blogging business.
You’ll find that blogging can be so much fun, but it isn’t a get rich quick business model (are there any out there though?).
It’s definitely not for everybody but if you love to teach and write and express yourself in a way that actually helps other people then blogging can be a great business for moms to do from home in your spare time.
The income potential is insane and with that comes freedom to enjoy your life to the fullest without having to worry about finances, debts, or taking too much time off work.
When you’re your own boss, you decide how things go.