One question Allie and I receive all the time on social media is “how do you do it!?”
Starting a blog can be extremely confusing and daunting. I spent hours and hours of my time researching how to start a blog before launching Coastal Curiosity. Even when I pushed launch I was thinking “I should wait, there is still so much I should do”. Pushing launch was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
This blog and our social media following have given us so many opportunities that we would never have had otherwise. It has allowed us more freedom to travel, to meet amazing people, and to do things we only imagined in our wildest dreams. I mean who gets to spend 5 months exploring all the wonders California has to offer!?
Now don’t get me wrong, blogging, Youtubing, and keeping up with our social media is a lot of work! It takes time and commitment to building a following, and we are still learning as we go.
Today, I am going to share with you the in’s and out’s of starting a blog and everything I’ve learned starting a blog. This will be a pretty basic guide and avoid all of the technical mumbo-jumbo you see other places. To tell you the absolute truth… I still know nothing about coding.
So, let’s get started!
Choosing a Domain Name
Picking a website name for your soon-to-be blog is a scary process. If you are anything like me, you feel like it has to be absolutely perfect and will want to spend a ton of time thinking of the perfect name. Try not to get stuck in this step! It is important, but if you follow these steps it’s hard to go wrong.
When picking a domain name keep it short and easy to spell.
Use .com if at all possible because it is the most established and trusted domain extension. You want people to take you seriously, right? This is a great place to start.
Avoid double letters to avoid typos.
Make it relatable to what you want to write about.
If you are really stuck, use your name.
When you have some ideas (that you know are available) run them by your friends and family and see what they prefer!
Next, comes purchasing your domain name. I bought my domain from my hosting platform, BlueHost. It was easy to do and free when buying my hosting. I recommend you do the same!
Your website’s host is where all of your website’s files are stored and is what allows everyone on the internet to access your website by typing in your domain name. It is what makes your website available on the internet.
So, I decided to go with Bluehost for my website hosting. Bluehost is one of the largest, oldest, and most trusted names for hosting. They also are an official “WordPress” recommended hosting provider, but more about WordPress in a bit.
I find Bluehost extremely user-friendly and very reliable. They also offer easy to reach customer support and are inexpensive!
My link will save you 50%, get you a free domain name, and 24/7 support!
WordPress is the number one blogging platform. The difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org is the hosting. WordPress.com is a free blogging platform hosted by WordPress. It doesn’t allow for as much customization and you are not able to monetize your blog. If you want to make money off your blog at any point in the future, go with wordpress.org!
Picking a Theme
A blog’s theme is the underlying design of the website.
When I was in the market for a theme I looked at all of my favourite blogs and found out what themes they used. I quickly realized that a lot of my favourites used Pipdig’s themes. After checking out Pipdig’s website I knew I was in love. I chose the theme Aruba Nights.
I settled on Aruba Nights because it is very minimalistic and simple, but extremely customizable.
If you get a Pipdig theme they will provide you with step by step information on how to install the theme to your WordPress.
Note: you don’t have to pay for a theme. WordPress does provide you with free themes if you want to start by saving some money. I do recommend on customizing your blog eventually though!
Customizing Your WordPress Site
Inside of your chosen theme, there will be lots of things you can customize and change including colours and fonts. (Click Appearance and then Themes to get to this part).
One easy way to customize your blog is to add widgets to your blog. These are like apps that you can download from your WordPress Dashboard directly to your blog. Look at my sidebar right now, those are basically all widgets!
I recommend adding a profile photo and blurb about yourself to the top of your sidebar. This will help people connect with you!
Remember to create menus and categories for your posts!
Start writing content that you are passionate about and can’t wait to share with the world. Use your unique voice to help bring the vision of your blog to life. Try and write about things that will be of value to people and things where people can learn something. If you want your blog to be more of a personal diary that is great, but it might not gain many followers that way. People want to read things that will bring value to their life.
Before you launch your blog and start sharing it all over social media, have a few posts already written and up on your blog. This way when someone goes to your blog for the first time there is more for them to read, and they are more likely to get attached and fall in love with your new creation.
Over time you will get the hang of writing blog posts and they will get better and better as you write more.
– Find your niche
– Get involved in the blogging community and comment on other blog posts
– Take your own photos as often as possible
– Join Bloglovin, a social media site for blogs
– Link your blog to your social media accounts and don’t forget to use social media for marketing your blog!
– Set up a newsletter and an email list so you can reach out to readers
– Use Canva to make graphics for Pinterest, Facebook, and blog headers. It’s easy to use and free!
I hope this helped you learn a little (or a lot) about how to set up your blog! Let me know what you want to blog about or what you already do blog about in the comment section below!
Also, ask any questions you have in the comments. I will do my best to answer them.