Congratulations! You have decided to start a blog once and for all. But, do you know what to do next? I recently started the same journey that you are starting today. Even though I really like blogging, I must accept that the process can be overwhelming.
There’s so much information out there that it’s difficult to know where to start. That’s why this post is here, to show you step by step, how to start a blog.
Seven years ago, I decided to start a blog. Unfortunately, I got so overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do, how to do it, and when that I just quit.
If I would have started then, I would probably be in a different situation right now. That’s why I don’t want you to quit.
Top 10 Steps to Start a Blog Today
- Step 1 – Blogging basics
- Step 2 – Know what to blog about
- Step 3 – Identify your target audience
- Step 4 – Choose a name for your blog
- Step 5 – Get a platform for your blog
- Step 6 – Choose a hosting company
- Step 7 – Add a genesis framework and child theme
- Step 8 – Customize your blog to reflect your brand
- Step 9 – Focus on your plans
- Step 10 – Invest in yourself
- BONUS – Free blog checklist!! (all steps included)
This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure for more information.
Treat the process of starting a blog in the same way as you would set short-term goals. Take your big goal (to start a blog) and break it into smaller pieces (action steps).
To make it even easier for you, this post divides the process of starting a blog into three different phases: planning, implementation, and building.
How to Start a Blog
I. The Planning Phase
In this phase, you create the plan of what you want to do. After completing step 3, you should have a better idea of how you want your blog to look like.
Step 1 – Blogging basics
As with any other job or career, make sure that blogging is what you are looking for before investing more time and money. Otherwise, you might be stuck doing something that you don’t like. It’s true that you will never fully know if you like something or not until you try it. But, there are some basics of blogging that can help you decide if you should (or should not) move forward.
Normally, a blogger wears many hats. Depending on the type of blog and how long it has been established, the tasks may include creating content, doing marketing, developing products, hiring employees, conducting research, recording videos, answering emails, replying to comments, sending newsletters, taking pictures, creating graphics, launching a course, engaging readers, building relationships with other bloggers, attending conferences, and many more.
Don’t get me wrong. Like with any other job, you don’t have to like or even be good at every single blogging task. However, at least, make sure you like the majority of what it entails.
Step 2– Know what to blog about
This step helps you plan the core areas for your blog. Completing this step now will help you with Phase II, Implementation. Plus, it helps you tremendously at the time to plan the content since you know exactly what to focus on.
Start by choosing the main topic for your blog. This is normally a generic topic that your blog will mainly focus on. There are so many topics to choose from. You can start a blog about gardening, weddings, pregnancy, marriage, kids, DIY projects, Pinterest, sewing, homeschooling, and many other topics. The main focus of Mom Succeeds is to create a balanced lifestyle where a busy mom can succeed.
After choosing your main topic, pick five topics or categories for your blog. These categories should be related to your main topic. For this blog, the categories are productivity, mom life, personal development, small business, and money management. Then, each category has about three to five sub-categories.
Make sure to choose topics that you really, really, really like because you will be creating a lot of content for those topics. The more you like the topic, the easier and more enjoyable it will be for you to create the content.
Something from my human resources background that definitely applies here, is to combine your knowledge, skills, and abilities for this step. Writing a post about the latest sports car models won’t be as enjoyable for me as it was writing How to Create a Simple Command Center for Kids. Why? Because I can barely differentiate one car from another. My skills on cars come down to turning a car on and putting gasoline to it. And honestly, I have no desire to talk about sports cars or even cars in general.
Step 3 – Identify your target audience
In this step, focus on identifying your target audience. If you are not sure where to start, keep reading because there are different ways to describe your target audience.
Your target audience is also known as your avatar, reader, tribe, and even your possible customer. It’s the person who benefits from reading your blog. Mom Succeeds focuses on helping busy moms.
But don’t just leave it as “busy moms”. You need to go deeper that than. Identify details such as age, skills, gender, job, salary range, generation, favorite stores, and even the food they buy.
The more details you identify about your audience, the more you can identify with her or him. Because eventually, those details will guide you when choosing the subject to write about, the tone of your posts, and even the social media to use.
II. Implementation Phase
By now, you should have a better idea of the focus that you want for your blog. It’s time to implement what you planned in the previous phase
Step 4 – Choose a name for your blog
Choosing your blog name
First, it’s time to choose a name for your blog. Choosing a name that describes your blog will immediately give your visitors an idea of what your blog is about and will give them the opportunity to connect with it.
Experts suggest choosing a name that is simple and easy to pronounce. They also recommend staying away from misspelling and to avoid hyphens. About the length, people have different opinions on how long a blog name should be. However, there are successful blogs with both long and short names.
Make sure that you are happy with the name you choose because that’s what you will see everywhere including your webpage, business cards, and marketing materials. It is possible to change the name later, but I prefer to spend more time choosing the right name now, rather than trying to fix it later.
Have two to three possible names and ask friends and family members for their feedback. They will look at it from a different perspective and can represent your future visitors. That’s what I did when I was choosing the name for my store. After getting the feedback, I went with Colorful Bows. It wasn’t my first choice but, after a few months, I couldn’t be happier with that name! It’s easy to say and remember.
Choosing a Domain
Your blog name will be the web address for your blog. For this blog it is www.MomSucceeds.com.
There are two popular domain name registrants: GoDaddy and Namecheap. I am currently using both domain companies for my sites and I haven’t had any problem with them. Both give you the opportunity to search for a domain name that you are looking for. You also get a list of suggestions, if the domain name that you want is not available.
You will see different domain types available. The .com and .net, are probably the ones that you are more familiar with, but there are others such as .biz, .store, .work, .info, .online, and even .singles. However, it is still recommended to stick with the .com if possible.
Step 5 – Get a platform for your blog
Many bloggers, including me, start a blog using WordPress as the platform.
The platform is the place where the content of your blog sits and where the magic happens. It’s like the house that you are ready to decorate but in this case, with categories, images, and content.
You have two options for WordPress: .org or .com. WordPress.com is a free option but you don’t own the domain name which limits your opportunities to make money. Also, it looks something like www.Yoursite.wordpress.com which doesn’t look as professional as you would prefer for it to be.
WordPress.org should work better for you if your plans are to start a blog and make money from it. Because it gives you the flexibility to move your blog (or house) to whatever web hosting you choose (more on web hosting on step 6).
If you prefer, you can start with WordPress.com and later change it to the WordPress.org. But if you are serious about blogging, it’s better to start now with your own domain and save yourself some extra headaches down the road.
Step 6 – Choose a Hosting Company
There are different hosting companies to choose from. In my case, I chose Bluehost since I saw that it was the most used and recommended hosting company by new, intermediate, and advanced bloggers.
The set-up process is quick and easy to follow which is great, especially for new bloggers. During the process, you have the option to enter your existing domain name or to search for a free domain which is included when you sign up with Bluehost.
Bluehost offers three types of accounts: basic, prime, and plus. As a new blogger with a limited budget, I chose the basic plan and my website has been up and running without a problem, since.
They also offer different options for the payments where you choose the number of months to pay upfront. The options include 12, 24, and 36 months. If you are determined to start a blog and want to save money, the payment option of 36 months (or longer) provides you with the cheapest rate per month.
So far, what I like the most is the number of resources available. Whenever I have needed information on how to do something, I have found an excellent step by step instructions to guide me through the process.
For help opening a Bluehost web hosting account, follow these eight simple steps (screenshots included!).
Step 7 – Add a Genesis Framework and Child Theme
This step is completely optional because you can start a blog with a standard theme provided by WordPress.
I wanted to customize my blog but with a background in Human Resources instead of IT (Information Technology), I had no idea how to do it. Until I learned that Genesis Framework makes customization a breeze especially with the help of some plugins. Then, I noticed that most of the blogs that I was following were using a child theme, so I decided to start my research.
After looking at many blog themes, I found the Hello Sweet blog theme which was perfect for what I planned for Mom Succeeds. It not only has a beautiful layout and great features, but it’s affordable too. Something very important for a new blogger.
III. Building Phase
Now that your blog is up and running, you are ready for the fun part. This is when you start creating everything for your blog or like I said before, decorating your house.
Step 8 – Customize your blog to reflect your brand
Start customizing your brand by choosing a combination of colors. The colors for Mom Succeeds are pink, black, and white with some gold in it. It’s a combination that represents a strong woman who is serious and ready to succeed.
In the beginning, I didn’t even know that colors had a code. If you are like me, let me tell you more without going into details. Each color has a hex code that helps the computer know the exact color. For example, the code for a purple is #8064a2 while the hex code for a lighter purple is #c9b4c6.
Before you run away, keep in mind that you don’t have to learn all those codes. Just make sure to write down the hex codes for the colors you have chosen. In that way, you can use the exact same colors for your graphics, logo, documents, marketing materials, etc.
You also need to create a logo that goes with the main focus of your blog and your target audience. Since Mom Succeeds focuses on moms, I chose fonts that were more delicate and added a gold color which is associated with passion, courage, wisdom, wealth, and prosperity. And that’s exactly what I want moms to feel and get from this website.
As a new blogger, you don’t have to spend a lot of money creating your logo. You can find someone at Fiverr that can create the logo for you for $5 or you can always create it yourself using PicMonkey or Canva. As always, you can use Pinterest for some inspiration (just don’t get distracted by pinning other stuff 😊).
Step 9 – Focus on your plans
I have always liked to read and learn. In the beginning, I chose to consume as much information as I could. That created a problem because I was enrolling in everything: webinars, email courses, classes, summits…I mean, E-VERY-THING! Especially if it was free. I thought that it would help me expedite the results, but it was a waste of time.
Based on my own journey, make sure to avoid the following mistakes:
- Having the fear of missing out
I guess that it happened as a combination of being a new blogger and trying to catch up for those seven years that I waited to start a blog. Just learning what blogging entails is a lot of work so don’t put more pressure on yourself trying to do everything when you are just starting.
- Following too many people
As a result, you spend a great amount of time reading their posts, emails, and notifications instead of working on building and growing your blog. It may also create more confusion and frustration. Be strategic with the people you follow. Now, I only follow a small group of people on a regular basis and those are the ones I call my mentors.
- Comparing myself to experienced bloggers
The problem with that comparison is that you stay focused on the differences and don’t realize your own progress. Normally, during that comparison, you don’t take into consideration that they started in the same place where you are starting today. It’s okay to look up to them to for expertise or inspiration, but don’t stress out trying to have the same results as they are having right now.
- Consuming too much information
I gathered so much information that I felt confused, overwhelmed, and exhausted because of all the time spent, and frustrated when I realized that I didn’t move forward. Only spend time on things that you can act on now. There’s no point in learning about marketing strategies now if you are still learning how to customize your blog theme (yes, I did it too ☹ ). As this book explains, be more productive by focusing on one thing at a time. Once you are done, then focus on the next step.
- Trying to figure out things by myself
To save money, I tried to do everything by myself. Well, I “saved money” but I wasted a lot of time looking for every single answer. If I would start all over again, I would start investing in myself earlier. There are great blogging resources out there that teach you step-by-step what to do and how.
In summary, be intentional in your daily actions and tasks. As a busy mom, your free time is extremely limited. Make sure that every second you dedicate to your blog is used to get closer to what you want to accomplish. Therefore, focusing on one step, area, or topic at a time should give you better results.
Step 10 – Invest in yourself
One advice that I have seen repeatedly from successful bloggers is to invest in yourself. In the (very) beginning, I was reluctant to spend any money on the blog until I understood that investing in the right blogging resources would help me achieve my goals.
Learning new skills take time. However, you can take steps to develop those skills through e-books, webinars, courses, groups, conferences, etc.
I have taken different courses and read several books. Here are the top three blogging resources that I have used and recommend:
- How to Blog for Profit
Building a Framework(it’s no longer available for new students)
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
Get Ready to Start a Blog!
That’s it! Be proud of yourself for taking the first steps to start a blog. Hopefully, this blog post makes your journey of starting a blog a lot easier. Don’t forget to download the free checklist since it includes the 10-step process covered in here.
Keep in mind that these ten steps are just the beginning and the work doesn’t stop here. After that, you need to plan, create, and share your content.
Stay focused on your goals, be patient, and keep moving forward!
How do you feel about finally starting a blog? Let me know in the comments section below!