Simple Steps to Starting a Blog

If you are thinking of starting a blog but are not sure where to start, then you are in the right place! Here you will find some wonderful tools and references, both free and paid, to help you get your blog started. Note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, I might make a small commission if you click on them and purchase something. Know that this will not change the price you pay and I only recommend things I use! 

The best part is I have been where you are and I made a lot of mistakes along the way! But that is good for you because it is fewer mistakes you will make! So let’s dive in and get to work on starting your new blog!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may make a commission if you purchase something through my links. Please know that it will not change the price you pay and I only recommend items I know and love. You can read my full disclosure here.

Step One: Figure out your name and what you are blogging about

The best place to start is at the beginning. What topic or topics interest you. Ones that you can talk about endlessly. Ones that your friends or family ask you about. For me that is budgeting, savings, finance, DIY, family, recipes, health and fitness. If you look at the headings at the top of my website, that is what you will see. You should come up with 5 – 7 main themes to blog about.  Under each heading / main theme there should be a few sub-headings. Take Saving/Finance- under this heading I blog about budgeting, frugal living, saving money, side-hustles, banking, printables, money saving ideas – you get the idea. You should do this for each of your main headings. Make sure that your main topic is not too narrow so that you do not run out of ideas for great content to write. 

Once you have a decent idea of what you will be writing about, now figure out your name. This is not to say purchase your name, but do some research. You will want to base your name on your niche. For example, my name is a nod to my mother and all she has taught me. It is about what Mama’s (like me) need help to make our lives easier and more fulfilling. You need to figure out what name works for you. A few things to think about.

  • make it a normal spelling
  • easy to remember
  • keep it short
  • use keywords if you can
  • avoid numbers and hyphens or dots

You have decided upon a name and niche. Great, now make sure that you can get the same names for each social media platform. I recommend signing up for all platforms with your desired name now, even if you are not using them all. For example, I have an Instagram account but I am not actively using it. The plan is once I have a solid footing on Pinterest and Facebook, then I would move on to Instagram. 

Step Two: Buy your Name & Web Hosting

Namecheap, GoDaddy, Siteground, Bluehost-  There are plenty of places to purchase your website name.

I purchased my names to my websites  through NameCheap and BlueHost. Both of these companies make it easy. My first name I bought from NameCheap and migrated it over to Bluehost. But, I personally use Bluehost.com. I could not believe how simple and easy it was to set up my site for webhosting. Plus I got a great deal (and you can too!) on my web hosting.

Bluehost is the perfect choice for webhosting. simple to use and economical.

If you go with Bluehost you get:

  • Free Domain
  • Free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer- which is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, this is even more important now if you want to make sure your site is found)
  • The easiest 1 -click wordpress install
  • 24/7 support- I have used them, they are super helpful
  • All for the awesome price of $3.95/month for 3 years (you have to pay it all up front) a few times a year it goes on sale too!

Using Bluehost to start your blog? Check out these simple step by step directions to get started on Bluehost with blog!

What should you use to produce your blog?

I am currently using WordPress.org for my blog. If you are not sure what WordPress.org is, it is a popular website platform. It is open source and 100% free for anyone to use. All you need is a domain name and web hosting. This is why it is also referred to as self-hosted.

Plus, the installation is simple (it is one click through Bluehost, what could be easier??).

This was despite the fact that I made a mistake and started by site on WordPress.com. I eventually wanted to customize my site (my name does not include a .wordpress in it), use plugins that were not available on WordPress.com, and use my site to host ads or affiliate income opportunities, which meant that I should have started on WordPress.org. Let me tell you despite watching a ton of videos, reading posts and talking to a few smart folks, it was NOT EASY moving my site. 

Bottomline:

  • If it is just a hobby and you are not as concerned about customization using wordpress.com would be OK. I would never recommend you do this, you never know what the future may hold!
  • If you think you will every want to sell a product, include ads on your site to monetize it, or customize the look of your site you should use wordpress.org. I highly recommend you choose this option.
  • there are other choices, this is just is one of the more popular ones. I cannot recommend any other type as I have not used it

Here is what the wordpress dashboard looks like.

This is what the wordpress dashboard looks like

Step Three: Choose a Skin / Theme

A skin is the styling of your website. It is how it looks – are there two columns, is there a hamburger menu or a full menu bar? All of these options are customized through your skin. It can also be called Theme. Depending on which theme / skin you purchase you may have different headers, footers, side bars, and social media icon choices. Here is what my front page looks like. As you can see there is a header with my blog name, photos, and a tag line. Above it there are my social media icons / links. Below it you will find each of my main topics on the blog. Followed by Content and my sidebar. At the bottom of the web page there are additional links. 

Here is the Theme I use for my website - Bluchic Theme - Isabelle

Which Theme To use?

There are a TON of companies out there to chose from. I absolutely adore my Bluchic theme – Isabelle. But there are a ton more choices and definitely one that will work for yours site. The Bluchic Themes are easy to apply to your blog. Plus, Kathie, the owner is awesome at answering questions you may have, and they are so REASONABLY Priced!!

I looked elsewhere and the cost for a theme can get pretty pricey. Her skins are clean, feminine, and offer a ton of customization. The themes work for bloggers, coaches, or shop owners. They offer step by step tutorials so that you will not have any issues setting up your theme by yourself, even if you are not tech savvy! The best part is that it is a one time cost, no additional costs one you have purchased your theme.

Any of the Bluchic themes are perfect to start your new blog! 

Check out her shop at the link below. 

Bluchic Shop

Bluchic makes easy to use, feminine blog themes

Step Four: Create some Content!

This is the best step!! Start writing and creating content for your niche. More to come on this front soon! Happy writing.

 

Great Tools to Help

Now that you have started your blog, here are some invaluable tools to help you succeed. Beyond a blog, you will need help with building your email list, social media strategy, delivering digital products, and monetizing your website. The list below are all tools that I currently use and recommend. There may be affiliate links below, which I gain a small commission for but would not change the price you pay!!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This simply means that I may make a commission if you purchase something through my links. Please know that it will not change the price you pay and I only recommend items I know and love. You can read my full disclosure here.

Helpful tools to grow your blog

 

Blog Foundations / Necessities

This section lists the MUST HAVE items to run your new blog along with plugins, classes, and templates that will help you on your blogging journey.

Bluehost Web Hosting

Bluehost Web Hosting

 

Bluehost Web Hosting

Looking to start a blog using Bluehost? Check out this simple to follow post to get you started!!

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO will help you attract more visitors to your site by helping you step by step through SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Best part is that they have a free plugin until you grow your site and need more support.

 

yoast SEO needed plugin for your blog

Templates

Bluchic-  Canva Social Media Templates.

If you are looking for a simple way to save time and effort, then Bluchic’s Canva Social Media Templates would be a perfect addition. They are SIMPLE to use and a total time saver. When you are starting out any extra time you can use to grow your email list or create content is totally worth the investment. 

With these simple to use time saving canva social media templates by Bluchic you will be a step ahead!

Bluchic- Landing Page Templates

There are plenty of Landing page templates out there. But they can get expensive. Bluchic’s are simple to use with total customization. They work with wordpress seamlessly. I personally love using these templates. They made a daunting task of starting a sales funnel so simple!

Simple to use Bluchic Landing Page Templates

 

Sumo

Sumo does a few unique things including a list builder pop up, which can help you gather emails for your list, a welcome mat to say hello, and share buttons. This is a free plugin for up to 200 subscribers. Which makes it a great place to start.

sumo is a great free plugin to help you gather names for your email list

 

SendOWL

Use SendOWL for your electronic file delivery needs

 

 

 

SendOWL is an awesome delivery system you can use to deliver any electronic product to your clients and fans. This is for DIGITAL GOODS only. ou can sell anything that’s digital – whether that be software, audio, ebooks, videos, dress patterns, codes or any other digital file. It connects with the payment provider so you get paid and it automatically delivers the files to the buyers once payment has completed.  

There are lots of benefits to using software for this but the main reasons are:

  • automates a laborious manual process
  • offers better security than manually delivering files
  • it offers a better user experience by giving the buyer access to their goods immediately rather than waiting for manual action.
  • connects with mailing list providers so buyers can be automatically added to mailing lists
  • lets you upsell buyers in the checkout flow
  • it lets you run an affiliate scheme to increase sales

In reality anyone who sells more than a few items per month uses a piece of software like SendOwl to handle the job. It really makes it seamless and best part is that it delivers even when you are asleep, out of town on vacation, or with the kids.

Why use SendOWL?

  • Instant payment – It is sent direct to your PayPal/Stripe account.
  • Shopping cart – makes it easy for you to sell lots of products using a shopping cart.
  • Software licenses – SendOWL issues software licenses at the point of sale so you don’t need a separate license software.
  • Great support 

 

Convertkit

Convertkit is a simple to use email marketing system. If you plan on collecting email (and I highly recommend that you do) then you will need one. While this might not be right for you out the gate, getting set up with an email marketing system is a more important idea than you may realize. Social media, Google, Pinterest, they all can change their algorithms and in an instant your traffic can slowdown. The one thing that you can control, is your email list! With a simple to use program like ConvertKit, gaining followers could not be easier. 

Convertkit Email Marketing System

 

Tailwind

If you have not heard of 10 Things to Remember Before Posting With Tailwind

Check out Using Tailwind is awesome, it will help increase your reach on Pinterest

 

Monetization

simple ways to monetize your site

There are a TON of ways to monetize your site. Here are a few that I use. If you are not sure what monetization is. It simply means ways to make money from traffic/visitors on your site, through affiliate links, sales funnels, or ads.

Google Adsense

Google Adsense is a simple way to monetize you site. At first you may not make a ton of money, but as time goes on and you grow, it can be a great addition to your monthly income. Google curates ads and places them on your site. The best part is you can choose where, how many, and which ads you show on your site!

You can sign up here for Google Adsense.

AmazonAssociates

Amazon’s Associate program is the easiest to get set up. You can add adds to your footers or sidebars. Additionally, you can create links that will send your viewers back to Amazon to purchase any items that you are recommending.

You can apply here for Amazon Associates.

Share a Sale

Share a sale is an affiliate marketing network that once you have a blog up and running it may make sense to apply. They work with over 3,900 Merchants.

You can apply here for Share a Sale by Awin

Great affiliate Marketing Platform

Skimlinks

Skimlinks is another affiliate marketing network. Like Share A Sale you have to apply and should have a decent amount of content on your site.

You can apply here for Ultimate Bundles

In the beginning affiliate programs  can seem really daunting and difficult. But the Ultimate Bundles program is so easy to use and they give you all the tools you need to sell their products. They offer webinars, a calendar, swipe copy, and social media banners. It is a complete package!

Apply for: Ultimate Bundles

Great Stock Photos

There are a ton of awesome stock photos out there.  Here are a few that are free and that I adore. Just make sure you check out their terms of use before you use them! Looking for the Essential List of Free and Low cost Stock Photos? Check out my complete list of stock photos sites, sure to save you time and money!

In the meantime here are two of my absolute favorite feminine stock photo sites!

Ivorymix

When you sign up for the free photos, via their newsletter, you get over 550+ photos, plus monthly photos! The free images can be used for personal or commercial use, online and in print. Resize, crop or change image orientation. Overlay the image with text, website screenshots, product designs and PDF designs. Add filters or color overlays to suit their branding aesthetic. Use the images to create free opt-ins such as workbooks and eBooks, as long as the free stock photo(s) cannot be extracted from the opt-in. Credit / Attribution is not required but always appreciated.

Ivorymix is also an awesome place to get inexpensive paid photos and social media quotes for a very reasonable price! The owner’s photos are varied and work for blogs / websites from parenting all the way to finance! Check out their VIP Membership or Stock Photo Shop

If you are looking for a ton of free or low cost stock photos you are in the right place!

Here are the highlights:

  • There are over 2500 unique and styled Ivory Mix photos when you become a member.
  • All photos are high quality and high-resolution which means they can be used in print as well as on website and social media.
  • Anything you purchase on Ivory Mix comes with a commercial license great for unlimited projects for yourself or for paying clients.
  • With every bundle of photos, we include images with plenty of negative space to overlay text. This is perfect for social media and Pinterest pins.
  • Members have unlimited access to photo download(s).
  • The owner releases 100 new photos a month and adds 60 bonus photos just for VIP’s
  • Ivory Mix not only provides photos, but they have social media quotes and graphics too.

Ivory  Mix is ALWAYS at the top of my list when I am looking for high quality, feminine, varied, fun stock photos!

Looking for awesome Free stock photos, check out Ivory Mix

Pixistock

Pixie Stock was a very fun find for me. This owner creates perfect snaps for women business owners and entrepreneurs. The visuals that are created are perfect for almost any brand out there. Sign up for the monthly newsletter and get free photos in your inbox each month. These photos will help you create a beautiful and engaging brand!

PixieStock also has a very reasonably priced membership site which includes exclusive styled stock and graphic templates. Currently, the site offers over 2000+ images and templates and more are added each month.

Why might it make sense to join a photo membership?

  • creates a more cohesive social feed and brand image
  • Makes beautiful lead magnets and perfect websites
  • perfect for busy female entrepreneurs, bloggers, creatives
  • access to Canva templates to speed up social media post work

Pixie Stock's free photo bundle is an Instagramer's dream!

Great Tools to Learn

Free Email Course by Bluchic Build a Powerful Email Presence

Free Canva Design Course by Kate Danielle – Design with Canva

2019 Blog Planner by Monica Frose of Redefining Mom – 2019 Blog Planner

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This simply means that I may make a commission if you purchase something through my links. Please know that it will not change the price you pay and I only recommend items I know and love. You can read my full disclosure here.

Pinterest Training

Free Pinterest Workshop by Ivorymix – 3 Content Tweaks

Cayla over at Ivorymix is pretty awesome. She has a great free photo cashe but she also will help you learn hot to make graphics and utilize other awesome tools like Pinterest. You should check out her Free Pinterest workshop!

Want to share this with others who may find it valuable? Please Pin it!!

Use this simple guide to start your very own blog