I always get a lot of questions on how to start a blog. Many questions tend to be similar; what hosting service should I use, what camera should I buy, or how do I make money on my blog? My answers are always the same and so I’ve decided to post blogging tips from time to time. I just thought this would be a good resource to guide beginners on what has worked for me to have an informative starting ground. So here goes!
How Do I Start a Blog?
This is literally a question I get asked every time I tell someone what I do for work, aside from “can U grOw my INSTA to 4,000 followerzzz?”
To start a blog, you have to ask yourself 3 things:
- What’s your niche? (fashion, makeup, food, lifestyle, DIY, etc.)
- Why do you want to be a blogger?
- What’s your blog name?
How Do I Find My Niche?
I always believe you should write about what interests you. Those are topics that will come naturally to you. But be realistic. For example, I love watching DIY tutorials, but after plenty of trials and errors, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not the best at DIYs. Find a niche that you think you’re a semi “expert” in.
How Do I Pick My Blog Name?
Well first, I recommend checking to see if your desired blog name is even available. You don’t want to think up a blog name that you love, draft up logo designs, and then find out the name is unavailable when you go to claim it. Check on GoDaddy to see if the name you want is available. I also advise choosing a blog name that people can remember. Don’t forget that URLs stick words together. Something like breannelovesfood is easier to read and remember than breanneeeatsfood.
What Do You Take Pictures With?
I switch between my iPhone 6s and my Sony a5000. Quite honestly, if you’re starting out, an iPhone will do because those puppies take some rad high-quality photos when done right. I tend to carry my mirrorless camera everywhere as is. On the rare occasion that I don’t have it with me, I can always depend on my iPhone. My point is, you don’t need a fancy camera when you’re starting a blog. Just start writing and include decent, relevant photos with your posts.
WordPress or Blogger?
For those who have been following along with me since Go Gypset, you know that I recently rebranded about a month ago to Ohh Angie. (For those who have just started reading my posts, hello!) With my rebrand, I also moved over from Blogger to self-hosting on WordPress. It was easily the best decision I have ever made. However, it did come with a hefty price.
Before I get into how great WordPress is, I want to point out that Blogger was great to me too. It’s free, easy to use, and there were readily available templates suited for any type of content blogging. If you’re really familiar with HTML/CSS like I am, you can make your blogs look really engaging. Blogger was so easy to use when I first started that it allowed me to focus on my writing. This is one of the reasons why I think beginners should start with Blogger. Test the waters to see if you even like blogging without a huge commitment.
Because WordPress is a commitment. As Go Gypset grew, I began to notice the limitations of Blogger. There were certain aspects that no matter how advanced I was in coding, I could only achieve it through self-hosting on WordPress (note: .org, not .com). By self-hosting, I have full control of how I want my blog to look like, as well as full ownership. Blogger is owned by Google and if Google were to ever decide to shut down Blogger, my blog would go along with it. That really wasn’ one of the main issues, but it’s comforting to know that nothing would happen to my blog under my own control.
To self-host, you have to choose a hosting service. There’s Bluehost, HostGator, and plenty of other services you can find. I personally chose SiteGround because it was the least expensive plan with the same, if not better, benefits as other hosting services. There are other expenses to self-host, which is a whole other blog post on its own. If you want to jump straight into WordPress, you better damn well be sure you want to be a serious blogger.
How Do You Make Money?
If money is why you want to start a blog, you will be disappointed real fast. I didn’t make any money the first two years of Go Gypset. Granted I wasn’t posting consistently, but my intent in starting a blog was because I love to write. I always had some form of a blog through Xanga (remember them?) and other online sites. As I started to post more consistently and worked on becoming a better writer, certain numbers started to grow.
My audience grew, which meant my Adsense payout grew. I have affiliate links on my site but they are vetted by me. I never post about a brand that I don’t like or have never tried. In all honesty, any (small) sum of money I make goes back into my blog by creating more content. It happens to be my hobby while I work full time as a social media manager. Money didn’t start my blog and it shouldn’t start yours either.
“Allow your passion to become your purpose and it will one day become your profession”