Okay, so this is another post about how to start a blog. I realize that hundreds (if not thousands) of these articles are out there already, but none of them seem to break it down in a way that my bipolar brain can easily digest. I ride a roller coaster of highs and lows in both motivation and productivity every day. The only way for me to continue forward is by structuring my thoughts and breaking things down step-by-step. This post is the first in a series of how I have launched my blog and hit the ground running.
“Creativity is a combination of discipline and a childlike spirit” ~ Robert Greene
Choose your vibe and your name! Start by asking yourself “what is my passion that I am ready to share with the world?” What could you spend hours and hours of your life talking about and still go to sleep dreaming of more things to say? *That* is your passion.
Brainstorm all of the names swirling around your head and write them down. Practice introducing yourself “Hi, my name is Christy. I’m a blogger at Wayward Inspiration”. Is it immediately apparent what your blog will be about? Is it a name you love saying again and again? Keep your name simple! It’s absolutely fabulous if you are going to write about your crazy, wonderful, blessed, messy, chaotic life. But that’s a mouthful and what happens when your life becomes blissful, organized, calm and peaceful? Seriously now. Repeat after me: “Hi, my name is _________ . I’m a blogger at _________”. Is it simple and straightforward?
**Don’t get hung up on this and do think outside of the box. I love my family, Disneyland, roller derby, tattoos, playing with the dogs, eating brownies, you know, *stuff* but my passion is helping and inspiring others based on the experiences I’ve had so voila, that’s my blog.
**If you do get hung up on this, go check out how to identify your fears and overcome them. Then get back here!
Choose your site/domain name. Your site name is what your blog is called and ideally, your domain is the same; i.e Wayward Inspiration (the site) at https://waywardinspiration.com (the domain).
Take out that list of names you wrote and search for their availability now. I used NameCheap to check. Start your domain search here. You might need to get creative with some synonyms. ThisBlessedLife.com might be taken but ThisBlessedNest.com is open (examples only. Seriously, I have no idea if those are legit). Narrow down your list of domain names and practice introducing yourself with them again.
Once you’ve decided on the name you like, and you know it’s available, HUZZAH! You’re almost ready. But don’t register that name just yet! First, you need to finish step 3.
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT Set up an email account through Gmail that will only be used for your blogging accounts (YourAwesomeSauceName@gmail.com) This will be the address you use to register for your domain service and all things blog related. Keeping it separate from your personal email will make life easier.
Use Google Drive to create tracking spreadsheets. I have one for all of my accounts and passwords related to blogging and a second one that is strictly for affiliate marketing (which is only needed if you plan to monetize your blog). I also use Google Drive to keep track of blog post ideas and any workshops or training I take related to the business. That way I can access it from anywhere at anytime.
*Pro Tip: if you are interested in learning how to make money from blogging and are just starting out, please check out the 5 Day Email Crash Course to Start A Money Making Blog. It is a free course offered by the lovely Heather Delaney-Reese from It’s A Lovely Life! and it will take you through all you need to know. If you are really serious about the business of blogging, enroll in the crash course but also invest in yourself and take their 30 Day Blogging Fast Track course to do things right.
Choose your hosting plan to register your domain and install WordPress. This can really be done all in one step through SiteGround. I personally chose them over the ever popular Bluehost because a little research showed that the former outperforms the latter. If you are nerdy like me, here’s the proof: SiteGround Vs Bluehost (July 2017): 7 Tests, 1 Winner – IHB
Bottom line: SiteGround is faster, safer, and has better customer support.
Once you have successfully installed WordPress spend the time to play around on the Dashboard and learn how to navigate it. Install your theme that matches the vibe you want to create. I started with a free template and it only took me 24 hours to realize that wouldn’t work for me. If that happens to you, too, then check ThemeForest for inspiration. I’m using the Juliet Pro theme and love it! While most of WordPress is fairly intuitive, there are some plug-ins you will need to make life easier. The ones I use are:
- Ad Inserter (if you are planning on placing ad codes)
- Akismet Anti-Spam (a must-have)
- ConvertKit (simply the best email marketing system)
- MonsterInsights (for Google Analytics)
- jQuery Pin It Button for Images (self-explanatory)
- Pretty Link (to shrink, track or share a URL)
- SG Optimizer (performance optimizations by SiteGround)
- Social Warfare (to maximize social shares)
- Yoast SEO (all-in-one SEO solution)
START CREATING! It’s time to get to the core of blogging which is all about your writing and visual content. First, repeat after me: “It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done.” I literally launched this blog with one quick post and a vague About Me page as I started the 30-Day Fast Track Course. While I don’t recommend that for everyone (best advice is to have a minimum of 5 ready to publish with a few more for back up) there is power in the act of hitting publish. And do you know the best thing about WordPress? You can go back in and edit anytime you want.
Still nervous about writing? Don’t be! This post was proofread by Grammarly. You can install this free app on your desktop or laptop and it will automatically proofread everything that you write. How brilliant is that? So please, stop dreaming about “launching” your blog and just DO IT. It’s a learning curve and the best way to learn is by experience.
I’m not an expert at this by any means, but I do know how to Google anything I want to learn and I guarantee you do, too. As you continue to grow and understand the business of blogging, your confidence will soar. What are you waiting for? Now is the time to start! You have a unique and one of a kind voice that is just waiting to be heard. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s already been said or done before. Guess what? It hasn’t been said or done by YOU and your voice MATTERS.