In the last couple of months, I received a lot of messages regarding blogging topics. The most frequently asked question was: How do I start a blog? Since this question can’t be answered in one sentence, I’ve written you a detailed step-by-step guide how to start a blog and also talk about the question ,,Why blogging? The right intentions”.
When I started blogging 7 years ago, I had no idea at all. Neither about websites nor blogging. I saw a dozen of YouTube Tutorials for HTML and read uncountable forum questions and answers to teach me how to build a website, how to personalize a design etc. This cost me a lot of time and patience. Especially the design thing and HTML took me a while to understand and I still find it complicated. A professional blog is hard work, especially if you want to have success with it. There are thousands of things that you can do wrong at all levels (technicals, legally, financial, content etc.). And before you start blogging, you should ask yourself one thing: Why do I want to start blogging?
1. Why do you want to start blogging
This is the first question you should ask yourself. Why do you want to open a blog? Would you like to do it as a hobby or do you want to blog professionally? What topics do you want to blog about? Do you maybe have an idea for a niche topic? Or do you just want to document and share your personal life? Which topics do you want to discuss on the blog? What are your main motivations behind the idea of blogging? The best way to answer all those questions is to create a mind board where you note all your thoughts around your future blog.
2. Think of a name and chose wisely
Now that you defined the topic of your future blog, the next step is pretty important, too: the name. Honestly, I did not think 5 minutes about the name Simple et Chic- yet I couldn’t be happier that I have chosen it over,,Valeries-Fashion-Diary, Fashionblog123″ or something like that :). However, when I would open a new blog now, I wouldn’t choose this name again- even if I love it and it became a part of me.
You need to know for yourself how you want to name your blog. If you write about your life, you can simply use your name, if you want that. Otherwise, you can also invent an artist name. Whether it’s a fictional name, a word play or other: you should definitely research in advance, if there is already a blog or company with this name. You could get in real trouble so be careful about that.
3. Set up WordPress
In my opinion, WordPress is the first class provider when it comes to blogging and I wish I would have known this when I first started my blog. We moved the blog to WordPress about 3 years ago and since then, it so much easier, more fun and more professional. You have so much more options regarding the design, the plug-ins etc.. I can definitely recommend starting with WordPress right away.
4. Your own domain
Depending on whether you want to run your blog as a hobby or professional, you should think about buying your own domain – www.yourname.com instead of www.yourname.wordpress.com. There are many different providers like strato, iwantmyname and much more. This point is also important for the name finding since it could be that the domain you would like to have is already forgiven. Just try it out and find your favorite!
5. Template & blog design
So, now that you choose a hosting provider, a domain and the topics of your blog, the next thing you should tackle is the design. There are already some preinstalled designs on WordPress that you can use for free. But If you want to choose from a larger selection and personalize your site, you can browse themeforest.com. Just look for WordPress blog templates- there are thousands of pretty designs for every budget. Keep in mind, that the design is super important since it’s the first impression for your readers.
6. The equipment
Now let’s get started with the hardest and most important part of a blog: the content. The quality of your posts and pictures is crucial for how long a visitor stays on your blog and if he comes back. This is where we start talking about the right equipment. In the best case, you already have a DSLR camera to take your photos. If not, I would recommend you to check out a few models, compare online or to go to a camera store and ask for help. But actually, you get a lot of great tips on YouTube & Co.!
We’ve always bought our cameras second hand. Amazon also has this feature and we only had great experience with that. You can save a lot of money buying your camera and the equipment second hand. Depending on whether you post recipes, DIY’s, outfits or interior- you need the right lenses. Personally, I like to use the 50mm Sigma Art for capturing my recipe posts. For Outfits, we use the 135mm. And for Interior, hotel rooms and travel pictures we mostly use the 24mm.
7. Be aware of the legal situation
No matter if you blog for fun or for a living: always be informed about the legal! I actually don’t know about the legal situations in other countries, but in Germany, every website has to have an imprint on the page. If you don’t, you can be disengaged. Data protection and copyright is another important issue you should take care of. Only share your own images, or images you own all rights. To post images without permission and source, could bring you in big trouble. If you’re looking for photos to start with, you can look for free stock photos for example at AllTheFreeStock.
8. Social Media Channels
Nowadays, social media channels are essential for your blog. For me personally, Instagram & Facebook are the most important channels. Especially Facebook drives a lot of traffic to my blog since I’m sharing every new blog post there. Instagram is another way to boost your blog and earn money from product placements. Many brands are looking for blogs with matching social channels to promote their product or service in a large range.
9. Set up Google Analytics
This is not only essential for professional blogging, it’s also interesting for hobby bloggers. Google Analytics is a tool that tracks your traffic, shows where your audience com from, how long they stay on your site, what they click the most and much more. Google Analytics provided you a specific overview on the insights of your blog. This way, you can get to know your readers, what they like and what they don’t like, which content is popular and which poor. Based on this data you can improve your blog steadily. If you want to blog for a living, this tool is significant since brands and agencies want to see your insights, numbers and target group when they consider a potential cooperation.
If you want to blog professionally, then regularity is the key. it’s essential to get your readers to return. The questions you should ask yourself: How much time can I invest in blog post preparations etc.? How many times in month/week can I upload a new post? You don’t have to blog daily- this is entirely up to you. You should find your own rhythm, which is compatible with your schedule. That will take a lot of pressure from you. If you regularly upload new blog posts, your readers will start looking forward to it!