how to start a blog

How To Start A Blog – Everything You Need To Know

If I were to think of my frequently asked questions since starting The Katie Show Blog there are two that stand out above the rest. The first is ‘where is this?’ which is always asked on photos on my Instagram. The second question I commonly get asked is ‘can you tell me how to start a blog?’ In today’s post I wanted to try and help with the second question using some of the things I have picked up since starting my own blog. 

Along the way people have told me that my little blog project has inspired them to want to start their own blog and before we go any further I should mention how much of a huge compliment that is and how much I am flattered by those words. I started my blog because I had a strong urge to share my stories, create something and inspire people. The fact that I am lucky enough to connect with so many people and get to know you guys through the power of the Internet is just plain cool to me. That’s why I want to give back and offer these tips to anyone looking to start their own blog.

So let’s get you started! First things first – do you even know why you want to blog or what you want to blog about? Setting a good foundation is crucial before you even think of doing anything else, so check out this post for tips on how to do that.

Now that you have your foundation set and we know where we are going with this project, you are ready to jump in! I’ve broken it down into a few steps that I think are the most important to make it less overwhelming so let’s get started.

How to start a blog – Everything You Need To KnowAnswering one of my most commonly asked questions by sharing a detailed guide on how to start a blog. A must read for the future bloggers out there!

Get Technical

Here is where you decide whether you are going to start with a free website or purchase your domain name. Personally, I chose to purchase mine which is thekatieshowblog.com. This means that I own that domain name for my little space on the Internet. If you’re not ready to go down this route or don’t know how serious you want to get with your blog then it would be a good idea to to start off with the free website first to see how it goes from there.

FREE WEBSITE

Head over to WordPress and select ‘create a free website’. You can follow the prompts from there and have a play with the technical side of things because they are pretty straight forward. The reason I recommend the free WordPress site as oppose to other free hosting sites is because if you choose to upgrade later and purchase your domain name, then the transfer and integration will be a lot easier for you.

how to start a blog

PURCHASE YOUR DOMAIN

I used Bluehost to purchase the domain and host my website and I have no complaints at all about their services. Everything is very straight forward and easy to follow along which is an absolute blessing if you are like me and have no idea where to start. Since this is the hosting site I use, this is the one I can share information about. All you need to do is head over to their website and click the big green ‘get started now’ button.

how to start a blog

In the next screen you select the package that you want to purchase from the options that are available.

It will then lead you to the screen where you will select the domain name that you want to purchase.

how to start a blog

After you have the perfect domain name for your blog organized, you just need to enter in some of your details which is all easy by following the prompts. After you get through all of that you are almost there! There’s just a little bit more of the technical stuff to go.

When you get to the screen below, select the green ‘I can do it’ button.

how to start a blog

Look at you starting a blog!

This is your home page on your Bluehost account. From here, click CPanel to take you to some of the set up options.

how to start a blog

On your control panel page, click ‘install WordPress’ and follow the prompts to enter your the domain you just created.

BOOM! You have just created your blog. Well, there’s still a little bit to go but you’re now well on your way!

Get Designing

This is part where you get to set up the appearance of your blog to create a place that looks and feels just the way you want it to. Here’s how to get started.

Go to www.yourblogname.com/wp-admin and create your login details.

how to start a blog

When you want to work on your blog, you will go to that web address and enter the login details you just created which will bring you to your dashboard. This is where all the magic happens! It might look crazy now, but you will get used to it all I promise. This post is not long enough to go through all of the intricacies of getting everything set up but just play with it until you get your blog the way you want it and do as much research as you can.

You can hire help to design something for you or use the templates available. Currently, I have been doing it myself and use a theme from the templates available on the customization section of the back of house website. One piece of advice with the templates is to always check them after any updates. I checked my site one day to find that it had done an auto update and completely ruined my website! Everything was bright pink with broken links and random boxes of text all over the place. What followed was a frantic ‘i need to fix this’ phase and that is the reason my blog recently got a makeover in case you were wondering.

To get you started, on the left side bar go to Appearance -> Themes to get the overall theme set up.

how to start a blog

Get Creating

So you have a website ready, now what are you going to write? Now is the time to start working on your content. My number one piece of advice here is to write with freedom. The worst thing you can do is try to fit a mould or write with guidelines. Write what you feel is important/meaningful/useful/interesting/educational/funny and/or whatever else feels right to you because that is what people need, that is what people will connect with and that is YOUR voice. Don’t simply mimic someone else because you will go nowhere doing that. This is your patch of virtual land to create your own individual and unique masterpiece.

Now you have started creating, but how often should you post? The main thing to remember here is that quality is better than quantity. You will find that readers generally like consistency, people like to know when to expect to hear from you so try to keep to a schedule if you can – even if it is only once a week to start with.

On the left sidebar go to Posts -> Add New then let your words flow onto the screen and hit publish!

how to start a blog

Get Promoting

Now is the time to create social media accounts for your blog. Believe it or not, I hardly ever used social media before I started my blog but now I can’t imagine not posting updates. It is definitely something that I learned to love through blogging.

They are all useful in different ways so it’s hard to say which will be best for you, but I would say if you are really interested in growing your blog then Pinterest is a must. It is one of the major referral sources for bloggers and is quickly becoming the new search engine. Then there is Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook. Instagram is a visual platform so it is a great place to share your high quality photos, Twitter is good for short updates and conversations, Snapchat is good for showing behind the scenes of your work and Facebook is a good place to share links to your work.

If you’re not sure where to start then it is better to have fewer platforms that you spend more time on as opposed to having lots of accounts that are neglected. So if you are a little overwhelmed by social media, just start with a Pinterest account and maybe an Instagram and grow from there.

Just remember that it’s important to share your work – there’s people out there that can benefit from your voice, they just need to opportunity to hear it.

how to start a blog

Get Reading

This is always an important element with any project. The more you immerse yourself in the blogging world, the easier it is to be a part of it because you are still involved at a reader level. Keep track of trends in your blog category by staying up to date with other bloggers. You don’t need to be obsessed because it can be easy for the trends to take you away from your unique voice but it is important to keep an ear to the ground to help you stay abreast of potential opportunities. Another aspect to read up on is about the business of blogging and technical aspects of blogging itself to improve your skills as a business owner and also to improve your virtual patch of land. For all your reading, Pinterest is going to come in handy so it’s probably worth starting a ‘blogging inspiration’ board now where you can pin all of your research articles. Feel free to check out mine for some inspo.

how to start a blog

Get Connecting

I find this one a little harder and definitely need to improve on this, but don’t fail where I have. Be sure to network with other bloggers by commenting on their posts and reaching out to them – even if it is just to say hi and to let them know you appreciate their work. Once you begin your blog journey you will realize how much work goes into it all and how much a nice comment can make your day. It is always nice to be appreciated so get started by appreciating others. It’s a great way to make blog buddies and who knows what sort of friendships, business partnerships or opportunities may develop in the future.

So there you have it! I know it’s a big post and maybe a lot to soak in at the moment, but I do hope I have broken it down into some manageable steps to help get you started on your own blog. Just take it one step at a time and you will get there I promise! I can’t wait to see what you create so please don’t be shy about sharing your work with me because I’d love to see it and cheer you on! You can leave your blog links in the comments below or share using #thekatieshowblog so I can check them out.

As always if you have any questions just leave them in the comments below and I’d be happy to help however I can, otherwise I will see you all on social media!

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Photos of me in ‘my office’ are courtesy of the ever so talented, Musashi 671 Photography. To see more of his incredible work check out his website and Instagram. With his creative eye for photography, knowledge of the island and technical skill behind the lens, he can make any concept come to life. All the while, his warm, supportive personality are absolute delight to be around and make the whole process enjoyable. I cannot recommend him enough!

4 Comments

  • Jessica March 5, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Love it. I made the mistake of starting with Weebly instead and now I’m trying to transfer over. 🙁

    Reply
    • Katie Mac March 7, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      Ahh yeah, it seems like it would be a big process but worthwhile! Good luck!

      Reply
  • K R Gilmore October 18, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Great tips! It certainly makes the process seem less confusing they way you have it laid out. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Katie Mac October 20, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      Thank you so much for stopping by and I am so glad you enjoyed the post. That means the world!

      Reply

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