So, you are curious about how to start a blog? This is a common question asked of us by friends, family and readers. How can you start a blog without a ton of upfront expenses? Fairly easily actually. Starting a blog doesn’t require a huge investment. It simply requires a bit of time, a few ideas, and some ingenuity.
Simple Steps To Start A Blog Under $25
Choose a niche and name. First you need to decide what niche you want to blog about. Your niche is the general topic. Do you like crafts? Recipes? Kids and parenting? Homeschooling? Maybe you are a book or games person? There are tons of great ideas and topics to blog about, and this is where it all begins. When I started A Mitten Full Of Savings, it actually started out as A Mitten Full Of Coupons. My husband came up with the name, taking my love for coupons and living in the Mitten State together. While you can easily build your blog around the latest hot topic, it is best to create a blog about something you are passionate about. Take some time to write out a list of things you enjoy talking about, doing or sharing with others. You don’t have to box yourself into just one topic, but you do want some general ideas of your goals for your blog. You’ll also want to consider if this is something you want to do as a fun hobby, or something you want to do as a job and potential career.
Choosing a name can be fun and difficult. You want your name to reflect your personality, but also, to be something your readers can spell easily and recognize associated with the niche you have chosen. If you like crafts, video games and the color pink and plan to have a fun craft blog around video game ideas, you could go with something like Pink Gamer Crafts. It’s simple, cute and explains what you are posting about and a little about yourself. Write down various words that describe your niche, yourself and your passions. Combine them to come up with something fun and catchy. Keep in mind there are a ton of blogs out there! What will make YOUR blog unique? What do you have to share to inspire others or your passionate about?
Search to make sure your name is available. While you may feel you’ve found the absolute perfect name for your blog, it’s time to make sure it is available to use. First you want to Google that name or potential website address. Next you’ll want to take the time to check for a Trademark on the name. A simple search will bring up any potential existing trademarks which would make it something you would not be able to use. While this may seem like a lot of work just to pick out a blog name, you don’t want to have everything set up and find out months down the road that someone else has already trademarked the name and lose all of your hard work.
Buy your domain name. Once you have settled on a few variations of your name, you will want to buy a domain name. GoDaddy is a great domain service that often has sales for under $1 per domain. Search for GoDaddy coupons and you’ll find tons of options year round for inexpensive domain purchases. Their standard rate for a .com is $14.99 per year (you can use coupon codes to get this for .99 cents or free!), so you’ll want to remember that for future use. While many people purchase their domain through the same company as their hosting service, I feel it is best to keep them separate. This makes it a lot easier to manage should you choose to change hosting services later down the road. The purchase of your domain name seals your desire to start a blog.
Find a reliable hosting service. Once you have secured your domain name, it is time to find a reliable hosting service. While many people will tell you that blogging on a free platform is great, we have to say it is a huge risk. You want to pay the monthly fee to protect yourself and your content from being lost. A hosting service allows you to own your content, instead of the free blogging host owning it (Blogger, Weebly, etc.). This means you’ll want to self-host your WordPress blog with a great hosting service. We recommend Bluehost. Bluehost currently has a deal for hosting for only $5.95 per month. This is a great starter service that can grow as you grow. They offer easy installation of the WordPress platform onto your server, and they offer 24/7 support. They even have some easy to follow directions on how to set up your site. You can sign up here.
Choose a free theme. You’ll want a fun theme for your WordPress site that creates the look of each page. You want something that is mobile responsive (changes from the desktop to the mobile view automatically), and something that matches your personality. There are literally thousands of themes out there to choose from, and while we use an upgraded purchased theme finding something free that you love is pretty simple. You can begin by checking out the free WordPress themes on the WordPress site, or you can simply do a Google search for “free WordPress themes”.
Once you have found the theme that you want to use, you’ll upload it to your site and install. This is when you will begin adding in things like a unique header, logo and arranging your site the way you want it to look.
Create your own header and logo. While you can go to a graphic designer and spend money to have someone design a logo for you, it is simple to do one for yourself using a program like Photoshop or the free online options PicMonkey or Canva. Check in your blog theme for the size recommendations for things like headers, and have fun designing something of your own. If you want to add an image to your logo and aren’t great with graphic design, you can research where to purchase royalty free images to use. However, it is usually best to try to create your own unique design. One great way to get around the concern of whether the image you want to use is licensed to you, is to simply use your own images to build your header and logo. Take pictures yourself and add them to your header. A headshot or a picture of a craft or recipe of yours are all great choices.
Create social media profiles. While you need to get content on your blog for it to be a blog, once you choose a name and get your logo created it is time to get those social media profiles secured in your blog name. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are the top social medias, but you may also have an interest in Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Yummly or others that are also popular.
Start creating content. Now it’s time to really stat a blog by creating great content. Whether that is creating your own recipes, making crafts or writing a long post about the joys of Nutella in your daily life – great content is the key to success.
These tips for how to start a blog will help you to make this fun leap for less than $25 out of pocket up front. Once you start your blog you can begin learning more about how to create a following, get pageviews, build social media and even earn money.
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