How To Start A Blog for beginners.
So , you want to start a blog? You’ve got loads of stuff to say, you sit down at your keyboard and you want to write .
Where do you start?
You’ve heard about WordPress , you’ve seen Blogger but you’re clueless as to how to start, you’re not technically savvy and literally have no clue where to begin.
I have been where you are , I had absolutely no clue where to begin, I made lots of mistakes and spent many night time hours trying to learn everything whilst my family slept sweetly upstairs, tearing my hair out trying to understand what everything meant.
I didn’t pay for courses, I didn’t pay for people to design stuff for me , I did it all myself without spending a penny in the beginning !
If I didn’t know how to do something I looked it up on Youtube and did it a thousand times until I got it right !
But the good news is that you don’t have to do that, as I’m going to give you a very simple guide to the tools I use and a step by step guide to setting up your own blog.
I will explain the blogging jargon in the most simplified terms I can, so you can get started quickly, without having to wade through tons of information , if you feel you need further explanations of the terms you can always look up more info as you need it .
I give you the free tools you need to get up and running without spending any money !
Although it is possible to blog without spending money you may find that you do want to upgrade to some plans to enable you to grow with your blog , and to take it in the direction that suits you , so I have included in most of my recommendations the reasons why it may be preferable to upgrade, allowing you to decide if that would be the best option for you .
The first thing you need to do is decide who your target audience is and what it is you’d like to tell them!
If you’ve no idea what you’d like to write about, think about
- The things you are passionate about
- What you spend hours reading about
- What you enjoy talking about
- What takes up most of your leisure time.
It’s easy to waffle on about not very much in the early days of blogging, when you have a niche it helps you stay within some sort of umbrella of topics .
Next , you need to decide how you would like your blog to look, for instance:
- Colours you love
- Blogs which inspire you.
You also need to decide what your blog is going to be called, it needs to be unique, easy to remember, and preferably relevant to your topic.
After you have decided what your name will be , it is advisable to purchase a domain name.
Having a domain name is like having an address for your blog and it allows anyone to find you on the internet by typing in your domain name.
Domain names can be bought for as little as £1 and can go up in price depending on where you purchase it from. It’s wise to note that you can purchase your domain and hosting from the same company or from separate companies the choice is yours !
I purchased mine through Go Daddy.
Decide which blogging platform you’d like to use.
A blogging platform is where you write your blog.
I started out with Blogger but soon found that I was quite limited as to how I wanted my blog to look and how I wanted to share my blog on social media , so I decided to change to WordPress , which I felt was a better fit for me.
WordPress WordPress has many different free and paid themes.
Themes are how your blog looks, you can either go for one of the free themes on WordPress or you can pay for a theme, depending on your preference.
Weebly is also a site which can help you design your blog if you don’t like any of the other available themes.
Hosting. Hosting is the space where your blog is stored and shared on the internet you will need to find a host to enable your posts to be seen by other people. There are some free options of hosting by WordPress and Blogger but their services can be quite limited. If you pay for hosting you are able to install things such as plugins which
help you do things like
- share to social media ,
- check your statistics and visitors to your blog,
- help you with SEO ( we will cover this later!)
and all sorts of other things , it also allows you to be able to start making money on your blog with affiliate links (we will cover this later too ).
If you decide to self host then you will own your blog and all of its content, if you are not self hosted then your blogging platform such as WordPress will own your blog and all its content.
I personally would think about choosing a recommended host who will give you the best technical support such as
If you decide not to self host your blog will have an address which is connected to your blogging platform so for instance my address looks like this www.theorganizeruk.com if I was not self hosted it would look like this www.theorganizeruk.wordpress.com or www.theorganizeruk.blogger.com
Being self hosted also allows me to have my own personal email adress which looks like this firstname.lastname@example.org which is useful for communicating on a business level.
Affiliate programs such as these give you commission based on products people purchase after clicking on the special links on your blog which you create from the affiliate site.
You should choose links which are relevant to the niche you are writing about.
Write, write, write !
This is the fun bit !
Keep your own voice throughout your post and remember that people like to be given information in an easy to follow , simple fashion , unless you’re writing a food blog they probably don’t want to know what you had for breakfast !
People like to read about things that they are going to learn something from, so , if you are writing a travel blog they want to hear about great places to eat, visit or how to travel with kids, rather than what happened when you went to visit great Aunty Mary for her 80th birthday !
Make sure you save it as a draft as you need to add a few extra things to your post before you hit the publish button!
If you’ve taken your own photos then this is the time to add them .
Do this by uploading your photos using the “add media” tab at the top of your blog post , make sure that you fill in the “alt text” boxes with a relevant title for your photos as this will help them show up in a google search .
If you are not using your own photos you will need to use images from a stock photo source, there are
I used free images when I first started blogging, but I have heard about cases where some bloggers have not been able to prove where their images have come from and have been taken to court sued by fraudsters , so I decided to stay on the safe side and now choose to purchase my images to avoid this issue.
If you do choose to use a free image site its advisable to take a screenshot of the image being downloaded so you could, if needed prove that the image was indeed on a free image site.
To give your posts a chance of being seen on the internet and to get lots of traffic (visitors) to your blog you need to have good SEO
To enable you to get a great SEO ranking (to improve your posts showing up in google) you are advised to add a few things at this stage to your blog.
- Outbound links ~ these are links to other sites that you recommend such as a favourite website which is relevant to your post , or your favourite blogger or article.
- Links to other posts in your blog which may interest the reader , you can link to these once you’ve written more blog posts.
To add links to your other blog posts you will need to click “get short link” under the title of the post you’d like to link to and copy it,
Then, you are going to click on the insert link button in your post and paste the short link you have just copied . Your link should now be in your post!
- Keywords~ these give your post search ability , so you need to pick a relevant key word and make sure your post contains this key word. It should be in your title and at least a couple of times in your post. Do not over stuff your post with keywords as it will make you look inauthentic.
Edit, edit, edit! Read and re-read your post, check for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
Grammarly will help you check any errors you may have made , it is really user-friendly and there is a free option or a paid version depending on your needs and budget.
Hit Publish !
This never gets any easier, it is a terrifying moment but hopefully with the tips I’ve given you, you should get lots of traffic ! As you start to develop your own style of writing , get more experience and confident you should find your audience grows and grows!
The extra little tweaks to help you grow your audience
1) Social media
As soon as I have posted I share my post on
- Stumble upon
- Google +
This is made easier by using a social share plug-in on WordPress.
To allow me to create beautiful graphics for my Instagram , Pinterest and Facebook posts I use canva.com , as with most things I recommend there is a free version and a paid version at the moment I am still using the free version which allows me to create beautiful graphics such as these
3) Sign up
To enable me to convert traffic to subscribers on my blog I need to get them to subscribe to my updates. To enable them to do this I use the free version of Mailchimp
which allows me to send Newsletters, free opt ins, free checklists etc to my subscribers once they have subscribed using the subscribe box on my blog
again this is done via the WordPress Mailchimp plug in !
Due to hectic working and family life I’m not always able to post my social media accounts when I want to so I schedule most things out.
Here’s how I do it !
To schedule my Instagram posts I use the free version of Planoly .
Planoly enables me to use the beautiful posts I’ve created on Canva to schedule them in a very pretty way as you can see in the photo above. I can schedule up to 30 posts per month on Instagram using the free plan which means that I get to post at least every day , even if I’m busy or on holiday ! If you’d like to schedule more you can check out their other paid plans.
To grow your brand and followers it is advised that you should be pinning 50 to 100 pins per day on Pinterest , 30% your own pins and 70 % other peoples pins.
A lot of my traffic comes from Pinterest , so to allow me to post throughout the day to various group boards in my niche I use Boardbooster
I currently pin approximately 20-40 pins per day and tend to schedule them when I am sitting waiting for the kids at a sports activity! I use the £5 per month plan but its worth it to me for the price of a posh coffee as it frees up my time and does drive a lot of traffic to my site.
Another scheduler I use is tailwind
I use Tailwind tribes and also the scheduler , but for my needs I find board booster freed up more of my time .
Well I hope you have found this a helpful guide and I hope its given you the confidence to hit the publish button ! Drop me a link to your blog in the comments if you’d like any advice!
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This post contains affiliate links which means that I get a small commission if you purchase anything through these links , this allows me to cover the costs of running this blog .