I decided to write the post 5 reasons to start a blog because when I started blogging I didn’t realise how much I would get out of it. Being able to help and inspire people to being approached by brands to work with them or being invited to events, it’s amazing that just by writing down my thoughts or experiences could lead to so much. Since writing this post, a few of you are keen to know how to go about getting yourself a website to begin this journey so I thought I’d let you know where to start.
#1 What is your blog about?
A lot of friends I know want to start a blog but they’re not sure what path to go down. Being able to express your creative side is a god send but knowing how to do it can be daunting and confusing. I started this blog off purely as a fashion blog but I got really bored of it as it wasn’t doing much for me so I after writing a few posts about visas and living in Sydney, I realised that they were reaching more people than my fashion posts. I then started writing more about Sydney and now it’s turned into an expat blog. I still do write a bit about fashion but just not as much anymore.
Make sure you decide to write about your passion because that’s how you can keep it up. Think wisely about what you want to get out of it. Do you want to genuinely help people or is your main focus to make money out of it? More on that later but first, here are some ideas that you could base your blog on:
Mummy or daddy blogging – write about what it’s like to be a parent, how you are coping to even things to do as a family, or fashion for the family. The list is endless!
Fashion – this can be interpreted in so many ways, either your own style showcasing your outfits and/or showing inspiration from celebrities to other bloggers.
Home Interiors – ideas of how to put together different rooms in your home to where to buy furniture from etc
Sports – If you have a particular niche of sports say Running for example, you could write about different running tracks to the best sports clothing and equipment, best running music, how to train for different running events. This list goes on!
Lifestyle – This is a very broad subject. It can be writing about events you’ve attended, to what’s going on in your town to new shop/cafe openings etc.
Travel – Travel to different countries and things to do, to places to stay. Airlines to travel with, best travel tips, the list goes on and on and travel is hugely popular.
#2 What’s your blog going to be called?
Now you know what you want your blog to be about, we have to come up with a name for it. I was quite lucky with mine because even though I changed the idea of my blog, the name still fitted in perfectly. As an expat blogger Londoner In Sydney is a name that people will know where I’m from and where I’m living now.
I think it’s a good idea to always visualise what people will type into Google Search to find your blog. Say for example your blog is about reviewing the best food in Sydney then a name like bestsydneyfood.com would be a wise idea.
The way you can find out if no one else has bought your website name (which is also called the domain name) is by going onto Go Daddy to find your perfect web name. You’ll have to pay for it too but it usually doesn’t cost that much ($30 a year or so depending on the name).
#3 What platform is it going to be on?
So we now know what your blog is about and we have a domain name. Next step is to decide what platform it’s going to be on. Your options are either:
WIX which is a free to use do it yourself web builder
Squarespace which is again quick and easy but doesn’t give you much customisation and good if you just want a couple of pages.
WordPress which is the go to platform for most bloggers. This gives you more options of having a gorgeous looking and professional site allowing you customise as you wish. My site has been built on WordPress which I find is easy to use and I wouldn’t be thinking of going elsewhere.
#4 How Do I Make My Blog Look Professional?
Once you’ve decided on the platform it’s best to go to Theme Forest to find a great looking design so you can get the look and feel of the layout of your design. Make sure you pick a template that you can change if you want to in the future. I’ve found Switched On Web Design to be the best when it came to building my site. They actually cater for bloggers and will build your site from scratch so your blog won’t look like anyone else’s. You’ll probably want to use a lot of plugins like getting your Instagram and other social pages aligned to the site as well as Google Analytics. This is really important because once brands start contacting you, they’ll be asking you for your stats and google analytics is the tool to show you how many people are visiting your site.
You’ll then have to start putting your content up. I always think have a good few posts up before you launch it to the world. You don’t want to be telling everyone you’ve got a blog and there’s nothing on there yet! I always write content that I think is educational (like this one!ha!), content that’s hopefully inspiring to others or factual information. I’ve always thought blogging should be about inspiring others or/and informative. A lot of bloggers forget this and just want to become an internet star and make loads of money out of it. Readers aren’t stupid and can see this which is why it doesn’t tend to work. Worst of all, you don’t want to be writing press releases for other brands as your content. Always write from the heart – that’s what makes you different.
#5 The Boring Part
This is the bit that totally goes over my head. We have to think about hosting so that means this is where your site is stored on the internet. A lot of bloggers have problems with their hosting as sometimes their site might not be working to getting hacked, the list can go on. This is really important so here’s some of the good ones to choose from: FlyWheel or WP Engine which are both basic easy to use hosting. The beauty about these two is they automatically back up your blog so if anything were to happen then you will always have that backup.
You’ll also need to make sure you have security on your blog too which will stop people from trying to hack into it. I know you’ll be thinking no one would want to hack into your site but trust me they do. I’ve had it nearly happen so many times now!!
#6 How Much?
Think blogging is free? Think again. All up this is how much it’s likely to cost you:
Domain Name: $12-$20 a year to have your site name
Hosting: $10-$40 a month
Choosing the Theme (layout of the site): $50-$60 one of payment
Plugins: can be anything from $10-$50 per plugin
Building the site: If you want a web designer to build your site for you, you’ll be looking at around $2000-$4000 for your blog depending on whether you pick template or have one custom made. Prices can vary big time so this is an estimate.
#7 Want Someone Else To Sort All Of This Out?
If you’re like me and this has all gone totally over your head, then why not pay someone to sort all of this out?
I literally went through Theme Forest and found the template I liked, then sent it off to blogger web designers Switched On Web Design and they built it all for me. All I then had to do was have a tutorial on how to publish my blog posts and hey presto! If you don’t even have time to publish your posts yourself, they can even do that for you. So all you need to do, is write the content and produce the images and they’ll do the rest. Saying that they can even do that part for you if you need as well!! If Theme Forest is totally over your head, then find another blog that you really like the look of and send it off to these designers and they can build it for you.
I’m now in the process of building a new blog so instead of using a already built theme from Theme Forest, I’m customising my own one. The easiest way for me to figure out what I actually want is by looking at a lot of other blogs and taking snippets of certain parts I really like about them and combining it altogether. It reminds me of looking through magazines and cut out parts of a man’s face to put together your dream guy!!
And that’s it. I think I’ve covered everything. Let me know if I’ve missed anything out and whether this has helped you.
Thanks for reading and best of luck with your new blogging life!