I am from the 80’s. I didn’t grow up with a mobile phone. Something like Apps were only seen in Sci-Fi movies. A computer was a rare rare thing. Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Google didn’t exist. Well Apple did. But not with the reign of IPods, Iphones and Ipads. When you wanted to explore your own thoughts you wrote that down in a book. With a pencil. We called it a diary. Today you start a blog. Instagram is the modern version of a diary. The difference is you share it with the world and not with your imaginary friend.
When we started traveling we didn’t post on Facebook and we kept a travel diary on www.findpenguins.com. Things gradually changed. So as I write… We blog and we use facebook and Instagram to build an audience. This article is a perfect match for you you if you like to start a blog. And also if you are new to blogging, this blog gets you on the road with 7 easy to follow steps. Start a blog today.
Start a Blog with this easy beginner guide
It is super simple to start a blog nowadays. If you feel like spreading your thoughts and ideas to the world this is the perfect time to do so. Follow these 7 steps and before you know it you are blogging. 7 steps to start a blog:
- What’s your Blogging goal?
- Pick your niche
- Get a domain
- Get your hosting
- Download WordPress
- Pick a theme
- Create your first blog
Easy isn’t it?
Step 1 – What’s your Blogging goal?
Everywhere online there are ads that promise you a lot of money if you start a blog. Perhaps you saw them maybe you didn’t. Anyway the thing is, nothing comes easy in life. So neither an income from blogging does. If you start a blog focus on what value you can add online. Perhaps you are crazy for fashion and you want to write about fashion. Or you like to write about martial arts. The topic doesn’t matter. The most important thing is to choose something you really really really like. Start a blog and hold on. Blogging with impact takes time, effort and discipline. But most importantly, make sure you enjoy it!
So don’t focus on making money. But focus on creating valuable content for your readers. That should be your goal. If you hold on and if your are disciplined and persistent enough you will be rewarded. But it takes time. Don’t expect 1000 visitors per day within 1 month.
Step 2 – Find your Niche
Starting a blog means you say yes to a long term project. Results don’t come fast and easy. Although people seduce you online with the opposite. As a newbie you are inexperienced. The best thing there is…. is immediately having success. Well this sounds great but don’t fall for it. Most of the time people sell what is working for them. But this doesn’t mean it will work for you.
And this is why
Blogging means you write about stuff you like. Most of the time you are good at something. Or you are just a little bit more crazy than someone else about a subject. So you write about it. Preferably high quality content about that subject. And you do that with your own voice. Your own style. People who will read you – after the period of friends and family as your only audience 😉 – like your style. They want your tone of voice. So if you copy something that works for someone else you copy his or her tone of voice. It is not your voice. Do you understand what I mean? It doesn’t match. It can work but most of the time it doesn’t.
Pick your niche wisely…
If you like horses and you ride horses? Blog and create high valuable content about riding horses and how to connect with horses. Do you like to eat very healthy, write about healthy meals that you can prepare within 15 minutes. Do you love nature and hiking start a blog about the trails you walk. How you prepare. What you do to be fit. The key element is; choose a topic, a scope, that reflects something that you like. As specific as you can be. So you become the subject. You relate with the subject. You live the subject. It will work best when the subject is already a huge part of you (daily) life.
Making money online
It is not a bad thing to focus on earning your income online. But what I want to say is focus first on the things you need to learn. There are – trust me – a million things to learn if you start to blog. Things you didn’t know before you started your blog. You need to know how to structure your WordPress site. It is important to understand a little coding. You have to practice your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) skills to get free traffic by ranking page 1 in Google. What is a CTR (Click Through Ratio) or CTA (Call To Action)? Or How do I build a sales funnel. What is webmaster tools? Why do I need to build an email list?And this continues for a while.
The point is: ‘Play. Learn. Improve and optimise later!’ We will share our knowledge too.
If you are interested in the world of the digital nomad (location independent living and earning money) read as well our blog about being a digital nomad.
Step 3 – Get a domain
We have our domain at Namecheap. We wanted to separate our hosting and domain registration company. This is a personal choice. Most of the time you can also register and host at the same supplier.
We didn’t go for this option because we wanted to maximize flexibility and our independence. If you want to change your domain supplier or hosting company it is easier when everything is not assigned to one place. This is something you have to choose too. Namecheap is CHEAP and they also offer really good service if you have any kind of a question. Perfect for us. We experienced no problems what so ever.
Check the availability of your domain and register here at Namecheap.
Step 4 – Get your hosting
When you start a blog you need to choose your hosting company. There are many hosting companies out there. Bluehost is a pretty common and good one.
But we host all our websites at Siteground. The reason is very simple. Siteground offers a good product with the best service we ever had. Their chat team helps you out with everything, within one minute. They provide help with technical difficulties on your website as well as with moving domains and redirecting domains. Even in how to work with WordPress they support you. They are friendly, skilled and patient. Which is awesome. Especially when you are new to this all.
Therefor we recommend Siteground. They also help you to download WordPress and to get started. Their plans start with Start Up for 3,95 USD per month. This is for the hosting of 1 website. We run Sitegrounds Grow Big at 12,95 USD per month. Suitable for multiple websites. Never had any complaints. This choice works out pretty good for us. Siteground feels like a very reliable and close partner in having our websites.
DNS/redirect: Connect your domain and hosting
If you choose for the option to separate your domain registration and your hosting? You need to connect them. This is an extra step. It is called a DNS/redirect. You have to give in the nameservers of your hosting company at your domain register company. It is not that difficult but you need to be aware of this action.
If you host your website on SIteground they will help you with it. Just ask their help in the chat and off you go! They fix it for you. Most of the time you need to wait a couple of hours before the redirect works. But after that patience you can build your blog.
Step 5 – Download WordPress
Our first online project was a website for leg fashion for women for the Dutch market. We created this website with WIX. This is a drag & drop website builder. Which makes it very easy to start a website. No complains if you want to run 1 website and are not interested in learning anything technical of website building. There is a free plan but it will show adds on your website. So if you go for WIX take the first paid plan. We have the second premium plan. The Unlimited. Only 12,50 Euro’s per month. It is easy to use and has a beautiful design. You never have to worry about the technique. Start you WIX adventure and get your premium plan Unlimited at WIX here.
ThePerfectStrugglers runs on WordPress. The decision to switch from drag & drop builder Wix to WordPress was based on 4 things:
- WordPress is especially build for bloggers;
- We wanted to host at Siteground. And we knew we would build more sites in the future and that we can host multiple websites in the same plan at Siteground;
- If we would stay at WIX we would have to get a new plan for every website and we wanted to avoid those costs;
- We think it is a valuable skill to be able to work with WordPress since 30% of the websites worldwide run on WordPress;
- Even the New York Observer and Walt Disney are build on WordPress…
Step 6- Pick a theme
You are almost there. Just a couple of minutes and you can start writing your first blog. Before that there is one thing left.
The last step is to pick a theme. You can consider a theme the framework and the design of your website. WordPress has standard themes for free. I would recommend to start with a free blog theme. Twenty seventeen is the theme we use for The Perfect Strugglers. This theme is for free and we think the basic look and feel is awesome. It is stable and brings you a lot of creativity to start with. When you better understand the game of blogging and making an online income you will probably also purchase a theme. When you are new to blogging and you want to start blogging quick and cheap, just pick a free (WordPress) theme – like twenty seventeen – and you are done.
Another advantage of a free WordPress theme is that they are updated frequently. Which is great because then you can blog without worries.
The normal thing you do with your WordPress theme is you work in your parent theme. You make changes and you create your own style. If the parent theme gets updated you lose your changes in that parent theme. You can easily avoid this by creating a child theme. It is a copy of the parent theme. The trick is when the parent theme gets an update nothing happens with your child theme. Which is very welcome because you don’t lose time.
It is a personal choice to do this. Because if you use the parent theme and you don’t add stuff or code a little bit yourself. Nothing will happen to your blog.
If you are interested in creating a child theme check this video. This is a wise thing to do if you are serious about blogging. And you want to make changes in your theme.
Step 7 – Create your first blog!
This is the moment you can add a new post in your WordPress cockpit. Which means you can write your very own first blog. We wish you a lot of fun finding your own voice. Keep patient and be determined. Gradually build your authority online. And be rewarded for your effort! Have fun
We struggle. You Benefit.
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