How To Start a Successful Blog
So, you’ve seen all these bloggers killin’ it in the blogging world, quitting their 9-5 job and taking on blogging full time and you’re thinking to yourself …”I want that!” BUT you have no IDEA how to start a blog let alone how to start a successful blog! Believe me… I’ve been there!
I’m sure you have clicked on so many posts from Pinterest and they are all the same.. telling you to do these steps and poof your blog will be up and running and SUCCESSFUL right off the bat.
Right!? Yeah, I fell for that too.
In the beginning I made a lot of mistakes that cost me a TON of time and frustration. I fell trap to those instant success schemes and quickly learned that a LOT of “Pros” out there were fake and taught unrealistic and ungenuine tactics.
BUT– lucky for you, I am blunt and honest and I am here to tell you, NO ONE is successful right off the bat. To be brutally honest, most people start a blog and quit within a year because its HARD WORK and a ton of time. I don’t want this to be you!
So before we start..
So, why should you listen to me?
Well, let me tell you a little bit about my blogging journey…
When I first started my blog, I blogged about weddings. I was a newly wed and LOVED planning my own wedding and wanted to help other brides plan their perfect day.. I had no intention on monetizing my blog or doing it more than just a fun hobby.
I also had NO knowledge of what blogging really was. I just thought it was like an online diary, haha!
After I started to get into the blogging world and see some other bloggers using their voices to help & inspire others.. I felt a shift in my spirit to do the same.
I ended up ditching the weddings and decided to turn my blog into a lifestyle blog. I started to write real and honest posts about my life, faith, marriage and blogging journey and before I knew it, people started to message me left and right telling me how they LOVED my honesty, help & advice and how they could RELATE to me.
Now, I don’t say this to brag by any means, I say this because I learned really early on that there are a LOT of bloggers out there who are all for themselves. To be honest, when I first switched to lifestyle blogging, I reached out to over 100 other bloggers asking if they had any advice or wanted to collaborate and ONLY 3 EMAILED ME BACK! One of those who emailed me back included her price sheet for collaborations..
So, you’re probably at this point and thinking to yourself… umm okay, never mind, I don’t want to start a blog now!
No, No, I definitely don’t want to deter you away from starting a blog because honestly, my blog has changed my life. It has allowed me to quit my 8-5 job, work from home, stay home with my daughter and make some genuine connections.
BUT it was NOT easy.
My point with all of this is before you start a blog, I want you to find your voice and reason why you’re starting a blog. My main focus of my lifestyle blog from the beginning was to be real, honest, relatable and helpful and my readers appreciated that and learned to trust me through that. After that, I started to monetize my blog because people asked me for links! In less than a year after monetizing my blog, I quit my full-time job and took this on full time.
Looking back, I wish I would have known what I know now from the beginning, but unfortunately that is not how life works, haha.
SO, instead, I am going to share with you today some mistakes I made and the RIGHT way to start your blog off for success!
This can be for ANY type of Blog- Lifestyle, Food, Health, Fashion, Mommy etc..
Sound like a plan? Well, Darlin’ I thought so!
Before We Get Started, I Want You To Brainstorm What You Want To Blog About
It is VERY important to have a plan for your blog. What type of readers do you want to attract? What do you want to write about? I would jot all of this down!
As you read earlier, my blog has changed and formed into a much different blog than when I started and that’s okay! BUT, I wish I would have made a plan from the beginning so I didn’t waste time! So…I want you to ask yourself some questions to really decide what you want to blog about and who you want to attract!
The first question is What Are You Passionate About or What Can Write Forever about?
Look at your hobbies.. look at what you love.. look at what you’re good at! For example, I write a lot of business/marketing posts because I LOVE marketing, I have experience in the marketing field and I also have a Bachelors degree in Marketing.
How Can You Stand Out In Your Niche?
One thing I LOVE is when I find a blog where personality just oozes out! There are a lot of people out there writing about the same things, which makes it very competitive. So my advice is to BE DIFFERENT! What makes you different from all those other bloggers? Don’t be afraid to stand out!
What is the reason for your blog?
Why are you blogging? Is it just for fun? Do you want to turn it into a career? Can you monetize your blog if you want to? HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR READERS? Once you have decided these things.. you will be set up for success and you are ready to create your blog!
Step One: Create Your Blog/Choose a Host
First word of advice I can give any new blogger wanting to eventually monetize their blog, is to NOT start out on a free platform.
When I first started, I was using the free WordPress.com platform and I quickly realized I wanted more possibilities when it came to design and function, so I decided to switch from wordpress.com to WordPress.org. With wordpress.org, you have to have a hosting site.
So, the first thing to starting a successful blog is picking a site host. The way I like to describe this is like a party. When choosing a host, you want a darn good one that is gonna give you everything you need.
Why do I love this host so much? THE CUSTOMER SERVICE!
I will tell you that this is the best customer service I have ever experienced! They offer over the phone service and chat and are always super fast and so helpful. Their services are also really affordable.
Thats cheaper than a Starbucks drink! I started out with the “Startup” package and if you ever want to upgrade, you can.
When I first started, I used a different hosting company and it was a total nightmare. When transferring everything over, I lost about 1/2 of my blog posts and over the course of 3 months with this other host site, I had my site hacked 3 times! I ended up researching other host sites and Siteground was highly recommended. I switched right away and they did ALL the work to switch it over for me, FOR FREE. I have not had a single issue since then and that was about a year ago! So, needless to say I LOVE siteground.
Step Two: Create Your Blog/Choose a Domain Name
A successful blog always has a good name! So, you will need to choose a memorable domain name. For example, my domain name is TheBelleLifeBlog.com. When choosing a name, there a few things I would consider that I am going to list out below.
1- What type of blog do you want? (i.e.- fashion, food, lifestyle)
2- What will you write about? (i.e.- recipes, finance, hobbies)
3- What type of people do you want to read your blog? (WHO is your ideal reader? Women aged 20-30? Mom’s of all ages, etc)
Once you have these questions answered, I would suggest writing down a few ideas and then seeing if those names fit all 3 of those criteria above. I believe, to be a successful blogger, you need to build a brand and a voice. You need to stand out and make sure your readers know exactly what they are going to get when they come to your site.
For example, My site is a lifestyle blog. When some reads my site name, they see the word “life” in it which is a pretty big giveaway that they are going to be reading a lifestyle blog. Now, a lifestyle blog can cover a big area of topics. For my blog personally, I write about faith, fashion, life & business/marketing. Why? Because all 3 of those things describe me. I am a Christian, who loves affordable fashion and talking about life experiences and I have a background and degree in International business and marketing.
Once you have a name, you can search within siteground and see if your name is available. If it is, then you will need to purchase it, which is $14.95 a year.
After you choose your domain name, you will go to Review and Complete, fill out your personal information and payment information. When you get to this screen below, make sure to leave this domain privacy checked.
I highly recommend paying for this because it allows for your information to be private so spammers can not find it easily.
Once you have completed this, you will be brought to this page where you can login to your customer area.
Step Three: Create Your Blog/Install WordPress.org
You can install wordpress.org on your own, HOWEVER, If you are like I was when creating a blog and didn’t know a thing about the tech side, you can contact Siteground and they will do it for you!
All you have to do is click on Live Chat feature at the top of sitegrounds website!
BUT if you wanna attempt to install it yourself this is all you have to do! If you’re logging into you customer area for the first time, you will have a pop-up (like the one below) asking you what you would like to do. You will choose the Get WordPress preinstalled option!
(If the pop-up does not come up for you… scroll down where I explain what to do..)
The next screen will ask you to put in your admin email and create a username and password. This is the same email you used when you registered for your domain.
Once you have done that, it will ask you to choose a template. This will be the design of your site and what it looks like. You can start off with a free one (I did). However, I eventually wanted something a little different, so I ended up purchasing a template later on from Restored 316 Themes, So you do have the option to change it later.
Once you have selected your template, click proceed and you will be brought to a congratulations page with your admin URL, Admin Login and Admin Password.
You will copy and paste that admin URL into a new webpage which will bring you to this screen.
You will enter in your username and password. Once you have done that, you will be brought to your dashboard page (see below).
Once you are here! Your website is MADE! YAY!
IF THE POP-UP DOES NOT DISPLAY FOR YOU.. YOU CAN DO THIS TO INSTALL WORDPRESS!
In your site-ground account, go to the My Accounts tab and click on Go to cPanel.
You will then scroll down to the Autoinstallers section and click on the WordPress Icon!
Once there, you will select the Install button.
You will then need to fill in the information!
Choose Protocol – You will keep this the same (http://) Unless you have a SSL in which you will choose https://
Choose Domain – choose your domain name from the choices in the drop-down menu
In Directory – Just leave this blank!
Site Name – This is the name of your site ( for example, mine would be The Belle Life Blog )
Site Description – What your blog is about.. if you haven’t decided this yet, you can change this later.
Admin Username – The name you use to login to your site
Admin Password – The password you will use to login to your site
Admin email – Your email address
Choose Theme – If you have purchased a theme already you can install it here. If not, choose one from the drop down menu!
I started off with a free one, However, I eventually wanted something a little different, so I ended up purchasing a template later on from Restored 316 Themes, So you do have the option to change it later.
Then click install!
Step Four: Create Your Blog/Customize your Website
You will log-in into your wordpress site and enter in your username and password.
Once you have done that, you will be brought to your dashboard page (see below).
As you can see, there is a big blue button that says Customize Your Site! You can click on this and it will take you step by step on customizing your site with the template that you choose. 🙂
Yay, you have just created your own blog/website! WAHOO! Now, pat yourself on the back and get to customizing your beautiful creation!
WANT MY ULTIMATE LIST OF BLOGGING RESOURCES?
WELL, I THOUGHT SO!
Now that you have created a blog, want to learn how to make it thrive!? I got ya covered, girlfriend! Click the photo below and you’ll be on your way!
So What’s Next?
After you have gotten your website the way you want it, there are some next steps I recommend.
The first, is setting up an email system for your site in which you can have people subscribe to your mailing list. The main way to create a successful blog is to have a MAILING LIST. One of the BIGGEST mistakes I made, was not starting my mailing list right off the bat! I will also say that I went from hobby status to full-time blogger BECAUSE of my mailing list and making connections with my readers!
There are free services out there, but I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend convertkit, which was made by bloggers so it has ALL the features that a blogger would need.
The second, is if you want to monetize your blog through affiliate marketing, I recommend, signing up for a few affiliate marketing sites that I recommend here. These sites are free & once you are accepted, you can start selling products from THOUSANDS of companies through links in your site.
The Third, set up social media accounts for your new blog. I recommend setting up a different account for your blog instead of using your personal one so you can start your branding right off the bat. My favorite social media platform that I have used to grow my blog traffic is Instagram.
Interested in how I grew it to over 10k ORGANIC and ENGAGED followers in less than 6 months? Check out my Five Step By Step Instagram Tips here!
The Fourth, Plan some content to write about and schedule for that content! It is very important to write QUALITY content! I have put together a workbook that walks you through how to do this! You can download it below!
A FREEBIE Just For You!
Get my FREE workbook on how you can create & plan blog post content allowing you to SAVE TIME and work smarter, not harder!
Sound Good!? Well I Thought So! 🙂
Now, that you have everything set up, start writing quality content posts and connecting and engaging with your readers!