So you think you want to start a blog and enter the madness of the blogging world. Just kidding, there isn’t that much madness, this isn’t SUR. But, I don’t know what led you to this decision, which is really the first question you need to ask yourself before you start this process. So grab your tea and sit down. (This isnt gunna be some in depth thing, I’m just giving you the low down)
Why do you want to start a blog?
If your answer has anything to do with making money just turn right back around. When I first started this adventure last year (!!!) I researched everyyyything on how and what to do. And everryyything on Pinterest is geared toward “How to Start a Blog and Make Money Right Away!!”. Spoiler alert: it hardly ever works like that. You have to be totally dedicated and okay with being a little annoying for a while before you start raking in dough. Also most blogs that make money are blogs about BLOGS, talk about inception. None of that interested me, I just wanted to write and if I make money later, cool. Start a blog because you want to, because something interests you, or just as an outlet. Don’t do something just to maybe make money.
Next, How serious do you want to be?
First I will say, use wordpress either way. I’ve been blogging here and there for like, eight years. I have only everrr used wordpress. It is amazingly easy to use and almost everyone supports it, or offers plug ins for it.
Now, that being said there are two different wordpress options. WordPress.com and WordPress.org, I have used both. If you’re just starting out and want to do something fun and easy, use .com. It is free and super easy to understand. You’ll have to have wordpress in your domain (blog.wordpress.com), but a small price to pay for a free blog.
If you’re looking to have a little more credibility and be a little more serious, jump into .org. That is what I use now. You have your own domain name and hosting site. So, instead of blog.wordpress.com, you get to be blog.com (depending on availability). It does cost money to host your own site, but in my opinion it’s well worth it to own what you put on there and have your own domain. It is a little more difficult, you have to choose a hosting site and handle most of that on your own. (…..but worthhhh it)
Speaking of hosting
I use Siteground to host madisonshelby.com. Honestly I cannot remember why I chose this hosting site, but I do know that I did an obsessive amount of research when I was supposed to be paying attention in class, so I stand by this decision.
First off, it is affordable. When I decided to jump the gun and get serious, I bought the start up domain package for $94.15, which holds me over for one year. I figured less that ten dollars a month is a small price to pay for everything they offer.
Guys, they emailed me the other day that my site was down for 2…whole….minutes….at 6am. Like, they are ON IT.
It’s also really set up to work seamlessly with wordpress. If you just start with siteground I’m pretty sure you can do all the wordpress stuff at the same time.
Also, when I decided to rebrand and change my main domain name, they virtually chatted with me at 9pm on a Tuesday to walk me through everything I needed to do to make it work seamlessly. I swear, they even just did some parts for me.
If you want to use siteground (I recommend that) click that link and sign up. Full disclosure, if you sign up through there, I get a small commission.
Let everything else come naturally
I had such a hard time NOT buying notebooks and pens and binders to go with my theme and to keep me organized. However, it just was not realistic. I had already spent money on the domain and hosting, I didnt need to buy 10 dollar notebooks just yet. My 10 cent notebooks from Meijer would work just fine, unfortunately.
I also designed all my elements myself, I did have some moderate photoshop knowledge and it really wasnt necessary to pay for branding yet. I don’t even know what this is going to turn into, so I can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on branding yet.
Pictures really do help the overall look of your blog. I’m luckily enough to have a mother who is a photographer. However, if you don’t know a photographer who can help you out, there are more options. There are several free sites where you can get stock photos this and this are my favorite in a pinch. (I used one for this cover photo!)
All of those services and extras will come in time. They will come if you’ve been working hard and committing to your work. You’ll be able to justify those purchases and investments. I would hate to spend all that money on this and that stuff that isn’t essential, and then get tired of blogging and quit.
Get ta work.
Do your own research, find what works for you, and get going. If you’re waiting for the perfect name, or the perfect logo, you’ll never start. Start with your real name and put some work in and I swear the rest will come to you! Set up in a cute coffee shop, go to the farmers market, soak in the inspiration, and start your new adventure!
Let me know if you start a blog in the comments so I can check it out!! Maybe when my one year rolls around, I’ll do a post about how I maintained, slacked, succeeded, and failed. Interested?