So, you are finally ready to take the advice of all these bloggers and start a mom blog. I’ll be honest, it’s not an easy road to travel, but it’s very rewarding. You’ll be able to help people. Better yet, you’ll get paid (peanuts at first) to help people.
There are tons of strategies for getting traffic to your site, placing affiliate links and ads, and even how to set everything up on automation so that you can spend even less time working. But first, you have to start a blog to do all those things. This post is all about the basics. How do you go from not knowing anything about creating a blog to publishing your first post?
First, Pick Your Passion
Before you jump into creating your website you need to know the answers to a couple of questions. These aren’t answers that I or anyone else can give you because they pertain to your unique site. The first question is, “what are you going to blog about?” The answer should be a subject that you are passionate about, something that you could talk about night and day for years to come because that is what you will be doing. You will have to write post after post about your main subject.
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That doesn’t mean that you can’t pick a general topic and have multiple subtopics. Take my blog for instance. I like to save money while providing for my family. I also like to cut corners because my time is precious. So, I write about ways for moms to save time and money. That includes everything from everyday shopping to remodeling your home DIY style. Every post that I write is geared toward moms and is about saving time or making/saving money. Even this one.
Next, Know Your Reader
The next thing you need to decide on is who you’re writing to. Don’t try to pick a general audience. Choose one person. You don’t have to know your person in real life. They can be entirely made up. But you should know your ideal reader, know their wants, needs, what motivates them, what they fear most, and most importantly, know how you can help them.
The topic of my blog goes hand-in-hand with my ideal reader. She’s an over-worked mom that is short on time, and I help her by giving her tips for saving time and money. In the process, I help to save her sanity a little at a time. Knowing your reader will help you stay on topic, and it will help you to write more personable posts.
Choose Your Name
Next thing you have to figure out is your website name. It should coincide with what your blog is about. When people happen upon it, they should be able to know in an instance what you write about.
The only time you shouldn’t have a domain name that matches the topic you write about is if you’re trying to sell yourself (Not literally, or at least I hope not.) or your company. If you already have a company name, then your site should be named as closely to that name as possible. Also, if you are your company and you’re trying to get your name out there then your site should be named after you. Examples of naming your blog after yourself: you are an author, or you do freelance work under your own name, or you plan to use your blog to later create a business that you want to be named after you.
Time For The Fun Part
Okay, so you know what your website name is going to be. You know what you’re going to write about and who you’re writing to. It’s time to get into the technical stuff. Don’t freak out. You don’t have to be a professional web designer to set up a decent looking website. Trust me; I don’t know the first thing about web design. What I mean by technical stuff is that you have to sign up with a hosting company and pick a layout for your site.
Sign Up For Hosting
I personally use Bluehost. Their prices are fair, and they offer a starter plan that keeps sites that don’t have a lot of traffic running smoothly. I’ll probably upgrade to a better (more expensive) plan when my site gets higher traffic. Bluehost also offers a free domain name with their hosting plan, so you don’t have to pay another company to register your domain name. Even better, if you have a name in mind, you can enter it in the sidebar on this page to check and see if it’s available before you even go to Bluehost.
Signing up for hosting is easy-peasy. I’ve included some screenshots so you can see firsthand how simple it is. First, you choose a domain name, or if you already have a domain, you can choose to transfer it.
After you pick a domain name, the next screen is where you can create your account and choose a plan. You can follow any of the links on this post and get hosting for as little as $3.95 per month for first time users. If you do choose to follow any of my links, I’ll get a small commission without costing you any extra. If you’d like to take a look at my affiliate disclosure, you can click here. Basically, it says that while I do earn a commission, I don’t recommend any products that I don’t believe in.
After your account is created, you’ll go to the Bluehost home screen. Scroll down to the Website category and click “Install WordPress.” You can choose another website platform, but I use WordPress. They are pretty easy to navigate, especially if you don’t know much about web design. I don’t really know much about the other website platforms, so for this post, I’ll just talk about WordPress. Once you install WordPress, you’ll need to log in. At this point, you’ve moved from Bluehost to WordPress.org.
You can pick a “theme” which is the layout for your site. Some of the themes are free but most aren’t and the prices vary. Once you pick your theme you are ready to start customizing your website. It won’t be public at first. If you do a search for your site, you’ll get a “coming soon” page. You can keep it that way until you’ve finished getting it the way you want. Then just make it public when you’re ready and you’re off and running.
Here Are Some Tips I Learned Along The Way
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Don’t try to go the cheap route and get a free site through wordpress.com or blogger. While you can create a site through them, you can’t place ads, which limits your ability to make money from your blog. You also can’t use plugins that make blogging easier and can help to get your blog noticed by search engines. It’s like this, if you’re planning to make any money from your site, then you have to have a self-hosted website. That means that you have to pay for hosting through a hosting company.
Again, I recommend using Bluehost because that’s who I use. The speed is great and the customer service is even better. If you are technologically unadvanced like me, you’ll appreciate having a knowledgeable customer service team that you can rely on. Bluehost offers hosting starting at $3.95 a month, and that’s pretty cheap for starting a business that could potentially make you thousands a month.
A note on WordPress themes. I tried a free theme when I first started my blog, but because I know nothing about designing a website, I never could get it pleasing to the eye. It always looked kind of amateurish. After reading a bunch of posts on website themes, several bloggers with well laid-out sites recommended the Genesis Framework from StudioPress.com. Here’s a quick rundown of Genesis framework. You can buy it through StudioPress for about $50, and it comes with a sample child theme. While the framework does work great, I still couldn’t get the sample theme to look that good. That was when I faced facts. Not only am I not a web designer, but I’m also web design illiterate. I can’t quite grasp how to get stuff to look the way the demo does.
After making that revelation, I went in search of a theme that worked with the Genesis framework that looked exactly how I wanted my site to look. That’s when I found the Modern Blogger Pro by Darn Cute Designs. Its design was how I wanted my site to look. It also came with several videos and tutorials that held my hand and walked me through getting my site to look exactly like the demo. That’s where it is today. Darn Cute Designs offers quite a few feminine designs that are easy to install. They also offer a 24-hour setup plan. Through the plan, they will setup your site for you and help you understand how to maintain it. It made me kind of proud that I was able to get my site the way I wanted without the extra help. Of course, I did watch all the accompanying tutorial videos.
If you’re more capable of taking a generic theme and make it look like you want it to and you’re on a bootstrap budget, then I would recommend saving your money and going with a free theme. Make sure that it’s one that is mobile adaptable. Most themes allow you to preview them, so take a few extra minutes to do that before committing to it.
If I can give you any advice for starting out it’s this, don’t worry about strategies and traffic at first. I know it’s hard to hit that publish button only to hear crickets as a response. The truth is that if you don’t have quality content, no amount of strategic promoting will help your blog grow. Start with trying to help your ideal reader solve issues and worry about building your traffic for after you have something for visitors to read.
I wish you all amounts of luck and success in your endeavors, and when you start getting high amounts of traffic, don’t forget little ol’ me. 😊