Top 10: “So You Want To Start a Blog”

Last month marked my fifth year of blogging and in those five years I have learned a lot.  There are many things that I wish I would have known before I started blogging but luckily my mistakes and lack of knowledge can be your golden nugget of wisdom!

top 10 start blog

1.  Niche.  First decide on what you want to blog about, your niche.  Do you want to share coupons/deals, recipes, review products, complain about your family (yes there are blogs that are full of that), be a little of everything?

2.  Free or Paid?  Do you want to go the free route (Google Blogger or WordPress.com) or do you want to be self-hosted, like WordPress.org?  I started off with Google Blogger but with WordPress.org you can just customize so much more, your not tied to Google servers and their downtime and honestly many companies don’t want to work with you if you are on a free service like Google Blogger or WordPress.org  It is a good starting point though as going the paid route will cost you around $30 a month and if your not sure how long you will be blogging then it may not be a good investment.  I do make more money though now that I am self-hosted using WordPress.org and I can cover my fees of hosting.  (By the way by self-hosting I mean that you pay a company like GoDaddy, Hostgator, or someone else to host your website and its content.)

3.  Do you have time?  Do you work outside the home? Is this going to be full-time for you?  Think about how much time you can dedicate to your blog as it is seriously like another child (or pet) and requires lots of attention and love if you want it to grow.  You don’t want to post here or there as you’ll never retain readers that way.  Think about when and how much time you can dedicate to blogging each week (or day.)

4.  Pick a Name!  Okay so this goes along with picking your niche, but I cannot stress the importance of a good blog name!  I started out as “Mama’s Money Savers” and I hated that I was classified as a coupon blogger (no offense) when I wasn’t.  I missed out on opportunities because companies assumed my readers were all looking for cheap or free products.  It is also a pain to change your name later on once you are established, believe me I went through it and it sucked.

5.  Buy the URL and any associated URL’s.  Got your name ready? You should also have a backup name (or a few) decided on as sometimes you’ll come up with a really great name for a website only to find the URL is taken.  So grab the URL as soon as you pick your name and grab up any misspellings or other URLS like .net, .org, .info and so forth.

6.  Social Media Links.  Register your blog name everywhere online at all the social media sites such as Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and so forth.  Those are the big ones and again it sucks when you have a great blog name but can’t get any associated social media links, it gets confusing.  Notice my Twitter is @mamasmoney and not @momandmore, yeah maybe someday the name will be free.

7.  Design.  There are free themes out there with blog designs or you can easily find someone to do your design.  Just ask other bloggers whose designs you like or do a Google search for free theme designs.  I honestly have had tons of free themes and paid theme changes throughout my five years of blogging.  I change my mind a lot and like to change things up.  By paying a designer though you can guarantee that your design will be completely personalized and not on other blogs.  My first theme I used I remember seeing it on multiple blogs.  Make your blog stand out as that is what your readers will see first.

8.  Sign up for Google Webmasters Tool.  Yes Google is basically God online, as much as it sucks they do control a lot and your blog fate needs Google’s help.  I didn’t know about Google Webmasters until a few years ago and I wish I had started it right away. Once your in the Webmasters Tool area, Go to Crawl and then Fetch as Google – Submit to Index.  Now in the beginning you won’t really have any posts really to Index but you want to be on Googles radar and Webmaster Tools is a great spot to check once a week or so to see if you have any errors.  Basically if your site and posts are indexed then they are included in Google’s searches.  So for example,when people search for a particular topic they find your site because of the keywords you used in your posts. You obviously want to be ranked higher in the search ratings so you get new traffic!

9.  Write!  Start writing!  I write whenever and wherever I can!  A few minutes can turn into part of a blog post and as a busy mom of three I’ll take any time writing that I can!  Make sure you save your Drafts whether through whatever your blogging on (such as WordPress) or even Google Docs which I use too.Google Docs is nice because you can access it on any computer.

10.  Visit other blogs and comment.  By commenting on other blogs, you will hopefully start getting hits back to your blog from those readers.  For example, I visit blog “A” and that blog owner sees my blog URL and hopefully they come to my blog to check it out. That is how I got followers and even now that is how I gain new blogs to follow by visiting the blogs of those that comment on my site now!  Same goes for getting followers on your Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and so forth – just start following people and hope those people follow you back!

Already have a blog, make sure you check out my post on making money from your blog and Give Your Blog an Audit!

What are tips you wish you knew before you started blogging?

Speak Your Mind

*

Comments

  1. I love this article! I am a newer Mommy Blogger and still trying to figure out the website part of the whole thing. (purchasing domain name..etc.) This was great information!

  2. Thanks for the advice. I’m new to blogging so it’s great to get advice from other bloggers. So many social media sites out there it can be hard to keep up.

  3. Amber Reser says:

    I appreciate the honesty here! I am still trying to figure out hosting, it makes me feel incompetent! Lol!

  4. great sharing. but how do you solve the bored face you during maintain your blog?

  5. Great advice. I’ve only been blogging for a little over a year and feel like I am always learning something new. I’m off to read your post on givng my blog an audit!

  6. It’s been 11 months since I switched from the free to the paid WordPress platform. Best thing I ever did! And, I’ve easily made the money to cover the costs of the domain and host multiple times over.

  7. All great advice! When I got my domain name I also changed my pinterest and twitter from dara00 to notinjersey – but when I tried to get gmail for my blog it said notinjersey was already taken! made me so frustrated! Thanks for the great post.

    Stopping by from the Blogelina Commentathon!

    ~ Dara

  8. That is a great list. I agree with all of them. I do think that considering if you want to do it alone is another great thing to think about. I started TOTS: Business with a partner and I am so glad I did. When one of us is busy and needs to flake out, the other is there to keep the blog going!

  9. Good tips for getting started. I changed my name in the beginning too. Congratulations on your bloggaversary (sp).

  10. great tips. I’ve been blogging for over three years and I wish I would have done some of these things up front. Over time I have come to learn most of these, but its great to have them all in one place. Stopping by as part of the blogathon. Emily@nap-timecreations

  11. thanks for your useful advice!
    It’s difficult to start a blog and require much time.
    I hadn’t known about Google webmaster until recently! but that’s a great tool!

  12. These are all great tips! Names are the hardest for me!. I went with Pretty Opinionated because it was a spinoff of a now-defunct personal blog, Pretty Nameless. That name came from the simple fact that I couldn’t think of a “pretty name.” Love the tip on actually having time too. I think people underestimate how much work goes into a blog if you want it to go anywhere beyond just family and friends. Not that there’s anything wrong with just doing it for yourself, but if you’re looking to branch out, it takes lots and lots of time!

  13. These are all fabulous tips! I haven’t heard of webmasters, but will have to get right on that. I have a plugin that’s supposed to index, but I guess I’d still better check this out. Visiting other blogs is definitely an important thing to do for many many reasons!

  14. I’m new to blogging. I wrote 2 posts a couple years ago, but got busy and forgot. Now I’m trying to more intentional about doing it. Thanks for sharing your knowledge in the blogging area. 🙂

  15. Great starter post for people who want to start a blog. I also highly recommend Blogging for Dummies, which is one resource I used when I decided to start a blog!

    -Rebecca @ Love at First Book

  16. These are great tips! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  17. Oh my – I have been blogging for a couple years and yup – never ever heard of google webmaster tools. Definitely getting right on that one.

  18. Great points! I’ve only had my blog for over a year now and I always learn something new from posts like this! The way things change so fast, it seems as if there will always be some great new stuff to learn.
    Thanks for the ideas, esp about Google Webmasters, I had no idea. Thanks!

  19. I am new to blogging so your post is timely. I am currently working on switching to wordpress. Blooger makes me crazy and there is so much it won’t do! Thanks for the advice! I’ll be back.

  20. Wow congrats on 5 years! I agree with you in a niche can also be a little bit of everything.

  21. These are great tips, especially for newbie bloggers. The one I struggle the most with is finding the time to write.

  22. Getting on wordpress is one of the best tips out there. Many go with blogger, but I find it hard to leave comments and so I don’t leave any. And I know I’m not alone. If you want to grow your blog, you need comments. Congratulations on 5 years!

    • Thanks! Yeah I only suggest Blogger because its free and a great way for bloggers to try out blogging for free. Its also super easy.

  23. Great tips! I kind of just started blogging because I loved to write, had the time, and I have definitely had to cut back on posts but still enjoy it just as much. Thanks for the helpful posts!

  24. Good tips for newbies. Thanks for sharing.

  25. dag, i shoulda had this when i started my blog over two years ago!!

  26. Great tips for those starting out. You’ve helped 90% of the new bloggers out there get started with the main things they’ve been “afraid” of. Happy 5 years!

  27. I recently rebranded from Cori’s Coupon Corner to Cori’s Cozy Corner to get away from the whole coupon blogger thing for the same reasons you mentioned so I can totally relate. Great advice for newbies!

  28. One thing I wish new bloggers would realize is that it’s a hard job and should be treated like a job. That’s why I wrote a post titled 13 Reasons You Don’t Need A Blog.

  29. Jaime @ Slightly Steady says:

    I totally agree about the name…I’m glad I didn’t pick a more specific blog name! Our lives changed a bit and it couldn’t be as much about homesteading as I’d wanted! And then I was diagnosed with a thyroid disorder and that was a topic I’d never even considered!

  30. I loved that you said a “blog as it is seriously like another child (or pet) and requires lots of attention and love if you want it to grow.”
    I never quite really understood how true that is until I got into the thick of it – no turning back!

  31. These are ALL great tips! Seriously wish I would have known some of these, back when I started up my blog “full time” a year ago. It’s amazing how much stuff and work goes into a blog. It still amazes people when i tell them it takes me hours to make a couple posts. It really is a job and you really made this post worth the read!

  32. Great tips! Are you planning on posting more tips in the future? As a newbie, I am always searching for tips and information on how to make my blog better.

  33. I’ve been thinking about redoing my blog and maybe even switching to wordpress. What are the advantages of having wordpress over blogger?

    • Many people say WordPress is easier to comment on, you don’t have to sign into Google before you comment. Many sponsors like WordPress better too as it looks more professional since you can really customize it more with widgets and plugins. I honestly didn’t have a problem with Blogger but I do feel my WordPress site now is easier to use and I don’t have to worry about Google problems.

  34. Lots of great tips. My favorite tips to pass on are to use spell check, post consistently, and join a blogging group in your niche (like I’m in Green Moms Network) those blogging groups can really help you grown and learn.

  35. These are great tips and this would’ve been useful when I first started blogging. It can be more daunting than you’d think. I love this list, concise, easy to follow and not overwhelming.

  36. Great tips! Time is my big obstacle. I didn’t realize how much time and organization I needed. I wish I knew about SEO when I first started.

  37. Google webmaster tools. Got it! I don’t think I have done that yet! I need a “SEO for kindergarteners”!! Some of the jargon and tech speak can make my head implode. 🙂 thanks for sharing your tips!

  38. Amy Boyington says:

    These are very good tips for blog-starters. I especially like that you pointed out about whether or not one has the time for a blog. I’ve seen so many people start blogs thinking it’s going to be a piece of cake. And if it’s simply a personal blog for a hobby, that might be true. But for bloggers who want to monetize their blogs or write product reviews, it really becomes something that takes time and effort. I consider my blog to be my job because I work the amount of hours a week on it that I did when I had a full-time job!

    • I work 24/7 on my blog basically! It is crazy how some start thinking they can post once a week or month and they will get any readers. You need to give people a reason to stick around!

  39. All 10 points are great advice. For me, #9 is key. Even if you don’t have a blog yet, you need to write write and write. Practice makes perfect 😉
    Thanks for sharing!

  40. Thanks for the tips. There were a couple of things you posted that will be really helpful.

  41. Very good tips – thanks for posting! I didn’t know about Google Webmasters tool, will definitely check it out. I made the mistake of starting with Blogger and now I’ve bought a domain and hosting, have to transfer everything to WordPress. However, the domain I wanted was already taken, so I decided to choose a completely new name for my blog. Luckily, it is still very small, so it won’t be a huge problem.

    • Good luck! It was a long haul for me to change everything, I did it all myself and didn’t know about Google Webmaster Tools in the beginning.

  42. Great tips and congratulations on five years of blogging, you’ve built something special here and it shows you put a lot of thought and energy into it.

  43. I especially appreciate tip #8, I’ll be doing that today.

    I tell others who start a blog to just do it! No, you don’t know how it all works (the technical side). So what?! I still don’t and I’ve been blogging for more than 7 years. I just switched to self hosted a few months ago and have this huge learning curve with WordPress. Hopefully I can figure out how to make the changes I want to eventually!

    • WordPress is definitely a change and I agree too many people hold back because the techie stuff but really it is a learn as you go trade anyways and you can always google it!

  44. Thank you for this list. I’ve blogged, but only as a ‘personal/public journal’ type of thing.. there’s more that goes into a successful blog than you realize at first!

  45. Currently learning the wonderful world of #10. I love writing but now it’s so much fun to visit others blogs and encourage them. This is great information for people wanting to get started in this field.

  46. This is a great list! Thanks for sharing.

  47. Happy 5 years! What an accomplishment! These are great tips. I’m only one year in on my current blog, but very happy to see that I’ve done or am doing all you recommend. Go me!

  48. These are all really great tips! I so think it is important that if your heart set on being a professional blogger and to be taken seriously you really should invest in your blog as soon as possible – even if its only a domain name to try and cover up that you aren’t self hosted!

  49. Those are good points for anybody thinking about starting a blog. I had no clue what I was getting into when I first started. But I took the long road and figured it out by myself, I wish I would have found this list first. It would have saved me some headaches in the beginning. LOL!

  50. Tiffany Schmidt says:

    You should start a blog mentor program!

    • Oh I’d love too but I probably wouldn’t have the time or dedication until my kids are old enough for all day school. Too much craziness here now 🙂

  51. You’ve pointed out some great tips here, thanks – many of which I wish I’d known 3 1/2 years ago! I wish I’d realised just how much time it would take back then. The blogging learning curve is a steep one and I’m pretty sure I’ll never stop learning about it – at least I hope not!

  52. This is a great list for anyone wanting to start a blog. I’ve been blogging for 5 years too! Happy 5 years mama!