Seven months ago I had no idea that I would be starting a blog. Seriously. And now I can’t imagine my life without it.
I have always loved writing but had put it to the side since I finished graduate school. Somehow with teaching, getting married, and starting a family, I just didn’t have time for it any more. But it felt like a huge part of me was missing. I also felt like a hypocrite. Here I was teaching my students about writing, but was I actually doing any myself?
When I was creating my goals for 2015, I hesitantly included a goal I thought was impossible: Publish one piece of writing. I almost didn’t show my husband because I was too nervous. Would he think I was being silly? Fortunately, I am married to a wonderfully supportive man. He said, “Of course you can. How do you want to do it?”
So I wrote a guest post for Money Saving Mom (one of my blog idols!) and submitted it. To my shock, it was quickly published! The whole experience caused me to consider blogging for the first time. And I am so glad I did!
In the last 6 months, The Orthodox Mama has grown incredibly. I now have over 10,000 views a month, have been featured on other blogs, and am earning a side income to help my family. Sometimes I can’t believe that my tiny goal of writing one article turned into my own business!
(Update October 2016: I now receive 4X that amount of traffic each month. This is in large part thanks to all that I learned through Elite Blog Academy.)
Today I want to show you how you can start your own blog. If you have a passion for writing and are willing to invest the time, blogging can be a fantastic way to hone your skills, meet new people, share your ideas, and earn some money.
This post focuses on how to start a blog. Look for a post next week on how to earn money from a blog!
Start a Blog Right Now in 6 Easy Steps
1. Decide on Your Niche
What would you be happy writing about 3-5 times a week for the next few years? Are you the person that everyone comes to for recipes? Do you have experience teaching your children through home school? Are you an avid reader who enjoys writing reviews? Can you whip up a craft project that makes others drool? Do you know how to start a business? Can you break down a big task into manageable pieces?
Choose the area/s that you feel passionate about. A blog without passion is a blog that no one reads. Period.
2. Choose Your Name
This is a fun part! What do you want to call your little corner of the blogging world? Choose a name that is memorable and unique, without being so long that it is hard for readers to remember. The name should also help people know what your niche is. For example, everyone knows that they will find great tips about frugal living on Money Saving Mom. I chose The Orthodox Mama because it taps into two of my passions: faith and family.
Once you have a name that you think you would like, you’ll need to make sure that no one else has already reserved it. Google your name. Try all variations (.com, .net, etc.) You do not want to infringe upon someone else’s intellectual property.
3. Sign Up for Hosting
When you start your blog, you will need a host–basically it’s like paying rent for a space on the Internet. I use Bluehost and have been VERY happy with them. There have been a few times where I have had technical questions about my blog, and I was able to live chat with them and get the problems resolved immediately.
Their prices are also extremely reasonable. I pay $3.99 per month for hosting. They have a variety of options available. I am on the least expensive package, and it works wonderfully. As your blog grows bigger and you experience more traffic, you may need to pay for an upgrade. However, start with the basic Bluehost package for now.
4. Choose a Blog Platform
The platform is all of the software behind your blog. It is the way that you are able to type and enter blog posts, place pictures, etc. Having a platform makes it possible to not know a thing about html and still have a website! I would recommend using a self-hosted Word Press platform. This will allow you to be able to place ads on your site and monetize.
5. Choose a Theme
Your theme is the way that your blog looks. It is the combination of fonts, the menu, the layout, and all of the graphics. There are many FREE themes on Word Press. Play around with them until you find the one that you like. I personally use a free Word Press theme on The Orthodox Mama. There are also many wonderful themes that you can pay to install. However, if you are trying to blog on a budget, a free theme is just fine.
(Update October 2016: I purchased a theme a few months ago once the blog had grown so that I could justify the expense.)
6. Learn All That You Can
If you are going to treat your blog like a business (i.e. you want to earn money from it eventually), then you will want to learn all that you can about blogging. I’d recommend the following resources:
Building a Framework: Everything I Learned My First Year of Blogging My blogging mentor Abby Lawson (of Just a Girl and Her Blog) has the most comprehensive guide to starting a blog that you will ever find. She walks you through the process all the way from purchasing your domain name, to designing your blog, to earning income. Abby definitely knows what she is doing. In just two years she turned her hobby blog into a source of six-figure income. Wow! Her book has three different package options available to suit all budgets. This is the resource I used when I began my blog!
How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul Once you have started your blog, this book by Ruth Soukup (of Living Well Spending Less) is your complete guide to monetizing. You will learn about affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, how to use Pinterest effectively, and much more. I reread Ruth’s book every couple of months to find new strategies to implement
Finally, I learned everything I needed to know about creating my own audience and my own product through The Elite Blog Academy. The Elite Blog Academy (EBA) is the most comprehensive blogging course out there. It is taught by Ruth Soukup, the founder and writer of the Living Well, Spending Less blog. Ruth absolutely knows what she is talking about. In addition to running her own blog (from which she earns a full-time income) and teaching EBA, she has also written best-selling books and speaks at conferences around the country.
The Elite Blog Academy is by far the best investment that you can make to ensure your blogging success. Through the in-depth lessons, hand-outs, assignments, and the community forum, you will learn how to:
- write killer content
- organize your blog’s layout
- use Pinterest to grow your traffic
- monetize your blog
- work with brands
- create your own products
Elite Blog Academy only opens its doors once a year, but you can sign up here to get on the waiting list (and receive a free e-book that will help you increase your blog’s income!).
And there you have it! Your own blog! Now the world can hear your ideas. Now you can build a community of readers. Now you can become more skilled as a writer. Now you can begin to earn some extra money.
Who knows where you will be seven months from now! I can’t wait to see.
Do you have any other tips for starting a blog?
(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.)