So, you have hobbies.
And you want to make some money from it too eh?
Sweet As, Mate.
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
Blogging is a fun way to keep logs of your activities, make friends, and trade tips with others in your community. But if you’re trying to get internet famous, this isn’t the ideal career path for you.
If you’re expecting to immediately have a huge following, and get paid to speak in front of large audiences solely through blogging, there is a long, gruesome road ahead.
Still, if you’re serious about wanting to blog or you just want to create your own corner of the internet, this guide will get you started.
Like travel, you’ll find starting your blog gives you an opportunity to try a new thing, while developing new skills, and live new experiences.
Sound good to you?
Follow these 7 easy steps to learn everything you need to know to begin blogging like a boss.
How To Start A Blog
Step 1: Brainstorm Your Niche & Name
Before you can stack dead presidents from your blog, you have to have a blog.
Before you have a blog, you have to know what you want to blog about.
And as the great Kanye West once said, “you need to crawl before you ball.”
You need to distinguish yourself from the many other blogs out there. Luckily, none of those other bloggers are you, so even if you are writing about the same thing (trapeze, undersea warfare, competitive knitting) your approach will be unique.
Take some time to think about what makes you and your perspective unique.
If you have a particular profession or hobby that you’d like to indulge, why not make your blog about that?
Once you’ve pinned down what makes you a special snowflake, spend some real time thinking about your domain name.
You want to make sure the name of your future website is something easy to remember and straightforward.
Make sure it gets the point across: if you’re an experienced Banker with an interest in Cryptocurrencies, a name like CryptoStreet is the best I could come up with.
Bad example but you know what I’m talking about.
Step 2: Get Hosted
Once your name has been chosen, you need to register it. We recommend SiteGround as not only are they cheap (get a discount and only pay $3.95 per month by signing up through our affiliate link), but they’re also optimized for WordPress speed, have one-click install, and have a excellent support in case you have questions or run into any issues.
WordPress itself also offers cheap domain hosting and free subdomain hosting (such as travellersatlas.wordpress.com) but don’t go this route. You want to look professional.
To setup hosting with SiteGround, head over to SiteGround’s homepage, and click on the white “SIGN UP” Button.
From here, you’ll be taken to a screen that will present three plan options to choose from.
Which plan you choose depends on your needs:
The StartUp plan is perfect for people with one website that are just starting.
The GrowBig plan is a great value for money offer, including the option for multiple websites and the SuperCacher perk that greatly improves a WordPress and Joomla website speed.
The GoGeek plan is perfect for people with e-commerce and larger sites, or geekier development needs like staging and GIT integration.
Whatever those are… I’m sure they’re cool.
As a noobie it’d be wise to choose the StartUp plan like myself, you can always upgrade later.
Once you choose your plan, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can insert your chosen domain name (meaning a URL such as travellersatlas.com).
If you have yet to register a domain, click the Register a New Domain radio button, enter your chosen domain and click PROCEED.
If you’re desired domain name is taken you’ll get a big red box show up that says ERROR! And you’ll be forced to choose something else.
If your domain is available, you will be prompted to create a SiteGround account, select your package, insert your payment information, and submit.
The longer amount of time you commit to hosting (36 months vs. 12 months) upon signing up, the more money you’ll save in the long run!
That was easy wasn’t it?
Step 3: Download WordPress
74,600,000+ sites use WordPress as their content management software (CMS) of choice and for good reason.
It’s super simple to set up and works great.
To be honest, I’ve never tried any other CMS but I don’t feel the need to.
If you chose to host your blog using SiteGround, the option to install WordPress will be available on your onsite “cPanel” (control panel) once you log in.
WordPress installation is Uno-Click-o. (Forgive my Spanglish)
Step 4: Choose a Theme
A professional or custom theme can help your blog stand out from the others by virtue of simply looking a step above the rest.
I highly recommend paying for a premium theme.
Themes are about much more than just the look of your blog: they’re also about its functionality in many aspects.
The right theme will take into account layout that will be most intuitive to you and your readers.
Free themes just look, well… shitty.
Don’t get me wrong, I looked through hundreds of themes and there are certainly some amazing free themes but premium themes have added functionality like maps, email lists, widgets, and support that will save you time in the long run.
The right theme will let you customize your site to fit your blogging style.
Keep in mind that some themes might not look as nice when viewed from mobile so it’s best to check that your theme looks sweet-as before installing.
We recommend looking through both the WordPress available themes and custom sites like themeforest to find the best option for you.
We personally use the Travelog theme and have been extremely happy with it so far and the included support has been great.
Step 5: Install Plugins
Plugins are what make WordPress so easy to use — they’re like apps for your website but too many of them can slow down your site so use accordingly.
WordPress offers its own plugin and widget marketplace, so searching for new plugins is easy.
Make sure you get:
Akismet: A spam blocker that will keep bot commenters from bothering you and your readers.
EWWW Image Optimizer: A must-have for photo-heavy blogs, this lets images load faster and use less bandwidth.
Easy Social Share Buttons: Allows your users to like, share, and subscribe to your content from 20+ social media sites as well as lets you track relevant analytics.
Yoast SEO: Helps you analyze your site’s SEO and suggests improvements to help readers find your site more easily.
W3 Total Cache: Improves site performance & loading time.
Wordfence Security: Helps protect your site from virus and phishing attacks — absolutely necessary if you plan on handling monetary transactions through your site.
Google Analytics by MonsterInsights: Collaborates with Google Analytics to demystify traffic stats and help you improve your strategy for attracting readers.
Step 6: Plug in to Social Media & Start an Email List
Now that you’ve got your blog set up, time to tell your grandmother about it.
I was once told to stick to two SM sites at the start and focus on growing a following on those so you can master them. Sound like good advice to me.
This may seem obvious but always try to use the same username so there’s no confusion for your readers.
Starting an email list is possibly the most important thing to do in the beginning of your blogging career and something that’s always a top priority.
SM sites will come and go and you never really own anything on there, it’s like renting web space. (looking at you Facebook).
You have soooo many options for your email lists — Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Infusionsoft, Aweber, Active Campaign, Drip, MailerLite, etc. You get the idea.
You can start with Mailchimp for free (as I did) because it’s already integrated into my theme, or you can choose from any number of email list services.
Step 7: Start Writing
Now that you have your travel blog, it’s time to start growing an audience.
The best way to start growing an audience is to simply start making content and spamming your friends and family with links like I do.
As with most platforms, sticking to a regular posting schedule, tagging posts with appropriate search keywords, and sharing them via social media with your friends and family, over time you’ll begin to develop a following.
Now get blogging! But don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list to get notified whenever new articles come out.
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