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Welcome to your first day of the Blogging Quick Start Guide!
I don’t need to tell you that starting a blog is awesome.
You already know that blogging is an incredible way to share your interests with the world. You also know that blogging is a fantastic opportunity to make some side income (or perhaps even a new career).
What you might not know is exactly how to build your blog.
Starting a full-fledged blog might seem like a daunting task. After all, there is so much to do! You gotta write the posts, build the site, network, create email campaigns, etc… where do you even begin?
First things first: you need to decide what you want your blog to be about. This is a huge topic to consider, so I’m not going to get super in-depth in this email. You can read all about picking a blog topic in detail here.
I’ll boil it down for you though – you want a blog topic that is narrow and specific. ?
The trick to starting a successful blog is writing about one narrow topic and building an audience around that one topic. Then, over time, you can build more topics and broaden your blogging repertoire.
For example, Little Coffee Fox started exclusively blogging about bullet journaling (before anyone knew what bullet journaling was). After I built an audience, I started expanding into lettering, watercoloring, and general productivity.
Beyond picking your blog’s subject matter, you also want to begin thinking about what you will call your new site. You don’t need to figure out your blog name right now, but it’s definitely something to start kicking around the ol’ brain. Here are my very best tips for picking a domain name!
So you’re thinking about your blog topic. You’re exploring different options for a blog name. That is AWESOME.
Believe it or not, though, you don’t need either of these to start your blog today!
You can get a site up and running in just a few hours right now without any of those details worked out. I’m going to show you exactly how to do that right here in this email.
I’ve learned all kinds of fancy blogging techniques and strategies over my five years as a full-time blogger. But when it comes to starting a brand new blog, you only need 3 things to get off the ground TODAY.
To kick off your blog, you need:
- hosting for your site (I recommend Dreamhost — you can get started for as little as $2.59/month with a free domain. I highly recommend the Shared Unlimited Plan so you get an email included for free)
- a theme to build your site around and give it some personality (I recommend StudioPress for themes)
- & an email list (You can try ConvertKit completely for free)
You might be thinking, “Don’t I need posts and stuff to get started?”
You will need posts and other content eventually, of course, but it isn’t necessary yet. It’s too easy to get hung up on the process of writing a bunch of posts, so I find it easier to get the bones of a blog up before I worry too much about filling it with content.
Once the site is up, you can focus on creating all your amazing posts and videos. For now, let’s go through what you need to begin your blog.
Think of hosting like a plot of land that you will build your blog upon. It’s your little corner of the internet. Once you have your hosting figured out, you can begin the process of creating your blog!
You may be tempted to go with one of the many free blog hosting providers out there. But if you want to be a legit blogger who makes money and has a following, you should steer clear of these freebies. On a free hosting service, your site will struggle to grow and develop — trust me, I’ve lived this lesson personally. It is worth the small fee to get good quality hosting.
But basically, this is my blog host recommendation for beginners.
If you’re a new blogger just looking to have a hobby blog, Dreamhost is a great option. You can get plans as low as $2.59 a month and come with Wordpress preinstalled, a free SSL Certificate, and a free domain name — that means your very own dot com! Check out all that Dreamhost has to offer here.
Psst…. If you’re overwhelmed with how to set everything up with Dreamhost, head here for a step-by-step walk-through of the setup process.
If the hosting is a plot of land, think of the theme as a designer-built house that you can put on that land. Yes, you could design the whole thing from scratch, but that is difficult and requires a lot of knowledge (like code and graphic design).
The easiest and most efficient way to get your new site off the ground is by picking a theme. Then you can focus your energy on designing your site with your desired color palette, photos, fonts, etc.
First, you have to go to a theme marketplace and browse through the many beautiful templates. Personally, I recommend StudioPress for the best range and quality of blog themes.
Play around on the demo sites offered with each theme, clicking around to see what the different pages look like. Once you’ve found a theme that makes you giddy with excitement, you can purchase your theme and get it set up on your new site! After that, it’s up to you to begin tweaking the color palette, adding posts, and injecting your unique personality into your site.
If these themes seem a bit overwhelming to set up, don’t worry! Each theme comes with step-by-step instructions to walk you through the process.
Here are a few of my favorite themes for bloggers:
Glam Theme – We use this theme for Little Coffee Fox!
Foodie Pro Theme – This theme is clean and minimalist to put the attention on your beautiful content.
Refined Theme – Want something that feels delicate and feminine? This one is for you.
Divine Theme – This warm and traditional feeling theme is great for lifestyle, cooking, or mom blogs.
Cook’d Pro Theme – This modern and approachable theme is perfect for a blog with lots of beautiful photos.
The next thing you need in order to get your new blog off the ground is an email list. You might not think you need an email list from day one, but trust me when I say you do.
My biggest regret looking back on my early days is not starting an email list immediately.
One of the most essential elements of a successful blog is growing some kind of a community, and an email list is the most important way to do that. Don’t worry — you don’t need to send anything until you’re ready! You just want to make sure that people can sign up to receive emails from you from the moment you launch your blog into the world.
There are lots of different email service providers out there, but my go-to recommendation is ConvertKit. I have been using ConvertKit for several years now, and it has performed splendidly.
Thanks to this incredible service and all of it’s powerful features, I’ve grown my email list to over 50k subscribers. ?
And you can get started for free! Try out ConvertKit for free up to 500 subscribers and see just how much an email list will help your blog grow a devoted following.
Believe it or not, that’s it! You can get your hosting, theme, and email list started up and ready to use in just a few hours.
Any hobby will typically have some kind of investment cost, and as far as hobbies go, this one is pretty damn cheap. Especially considering that your site can start making some serious money if you play your cards right!
Keep an eye on your inbox tomorrow — I’m going to walk you through how to write your very first blog post!
Don’t want to wait till tomorrow? Read all the emails in the Blogging Quick Start Guide here!
Until next time!