THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Essentially if you love writing, want to create an opportunity for yourself to work from home, and maybe even make some money doing it, then starting a blog can be an excellent idea for you.
Starting a blog is actually pretty easy, even if you are tech challenged like me. You can follow this step-by-step guide below on how I set up my site and blog, but before you get started there are some things you need to know and think about. They seem like 2 obvious things, but I still need to share them:
If you are a quick start person who just wants to jump in CLICK HERE to start your blog with the best hosting company and follow there easy step-by-step directions to set everything up.
The hosting company I use for Pulp Studios is Weebly, and I 100% recommend them. I am well aware that the popular thing to do is go with Bluehost and Wordpress, and I have actually worked with them in the past for other sites, and honestly just prefer Weebly...here's why:
In the grand scheme of things Weebly is not the cheapest but I completely live by the motto "you get what you pay for" and they are not too expensive either. For me, it is well worth a few extra $$ a year to know that I have a reliable site for my business with great support and options for me to customize and grow. Which leads me to my next big point...
Can't I just start a blog on a free platform like Blogger?
Sure you can, but I wouldn't and don't recommend it.
Blogs created on free platforms look, well, cheap. (part of that whole you get what you pay for thing). Aside from that they are nearly impossible to customize to how you want them to look and options for monetizing those sites are limited and basically non-existent.
So - let's get you started the right way!
Step 1: Choose your Niche
What's a niche? Essentially it is what you want your blog to be about. Knowing this before anything else is important so that when you start building your site you select a theme that fits your niche. A blog or website is about reaching and connecting with people that are interested in what you are writing about or selling. If you choose something too broad or all encompassing it can backfire. Best to choose something you love and are passionate about. For us - we are considered a lifestyle blog focused on home decor and styling. We do fold in other topics here and there but 90% of our content is focused on and directed at our niche.
Step 2: Register your Domain Name
Now that you know what your blog or business is going to be about, you need to register and secure your domain name. Your domain name is your site address. Example, ours is www.pulp-studios.com. Click here to go to Weebly and follow the instructions for getting your FREE domain.
You want to choose a domain name that fits you, but do not spend tons of time stressing over it. If it is easy to remember and makes sense with your niche or business plan that's all you need. Definitely try to go with a .com address as they are the most used and what people normally assume a website will end in.
Step 3: Select your Hosting Plan
Your blog host is essentially a really powerful computer that holds and maintains all of the files related to your website and ensures they are assigned to your domain. That's about as technical as I am getting...basically you need web hosting for any website or blog, and I recommend Weebly.
If you haven't checked them out yet, click here to go toWeebly.com.
I recommend at least using the Starter Plan (you can always upgrade down the road if you need to.) After you choose your plan you will be able to choose your domain name that you have decided on. If you already have a website and want to transfer your domain and hosting from another company you can do that too! Unlike other hosting sites to lock in the low monthly price you only have to pay for 12 months, not 36 like most other sites. There is an add on in the billing area for $10/year to enable private registration. If purchased your personal details such as address, email and phone number will not be publicly available through online registries. I did not select this and wish I would have, I get so many crap calls and emails about my site. $10 is worth it.
Once you enter your billing information select Buy Now and CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! You are now the proud owner of a brand new website to make your own.
Step 4: Select a Theme
The great thing I love about Weebly is they have dozens of themes included in the price of your hosting, so you don't need to pay extra for a great theme like on other sites. We chose one of the themes under their Online Store section because we sell physical goods, but blogging tools were still available to us so it was easy to add our blog in later. If you are interested in just straight up blogging they have tons of great blogging themes too.
Since Weebly is built to easily use, there is no need to install or use Wordpress, everything is done for you with Weebly!! Here are some of the themes we like! Or you can check out Weebly's Theme Gallery Here.
Step 5: You are ready to customize YOUR site!
This is where the real fun begins - making your site look the way you want it to look. If you go with Weebly for your hosting this will be infinitely easier than with any other hosting site. It’s simple, uncluttered and easy to use –Their designs automatically look great on every device, and they can be adapted to match your own personal needs, using the templates as a base. Another highlight is the app store: There you’ll find plenty of additional features (e.g. a forum or a live chat) that you can add to your website with just a few clicks.And by using the iPad or Android app, you can edit your entire website on the go, Bonus!
Step 6: Monetize your Blog/Website
I am going to leave you with 2 simple things with links below: Affiliate Marketing and Pinterest!
I am not an expert in either of these - but I use them both to monetize my blog and earn some extra income on the side. What I am going to do is link below to the course that I took from Michelle, who created Making Sense of Cents, a great financial blog. It has helped me so much navigate the ins-and-outs of being an affiliate and still managing my own business. I recommend it to anyone who has a website that is going to host ads or links to other businesses or looking to earn extra money through affiliate marketing. If you take the course it will pay for itself once you put what you learn into action.
The other link is to PicMonkey - which I use to create my Pinterest Pins and Images - or you can take advantage of my Pin making service if want someone else to create your Pin images for you.
Part of Michelle's course includes a Pinterest tutorial on how to set up an maximize your Pinterest account too! You will find just about every blog and online business gets roughly 75% of their traffic and business from Pinterest now a days, a big key to being successful online!
Once you have your blog up and running definitely share the link here- I would love to check it out!!!!