Tips For Starting Your Own Blog

How to start a blog today! Now is the time! These five easy steps will get you started on making your dreams a reality! Blog Tips. Start a Blog. I know that there are a lot of you who read this blog and have already made it through the first parts of you blogging journey but I also know that there are quite a few of you out there who are wanting to start a blog but nervous about jumping in! If there is anything you can learn from my story, it is you should just jump in and see where it goes! Be encouraged, every blog has a journey of its own – some blogs start out with millions of followers or some blogs start with 5 friends back at home to comment occasionally… for years… before anyone else discovered it (I am the latter!) If you love what you do, you will keep doing it no matter what. Perseverance, dedication, and real passion makes a blog worth reading.

WHERE DO YOU START WHEN YOU WANT TO START A BLOG?

Start with a brainstorm session. Take a Saturday afternoon to write down your blog thoughts,  names, themes, ideas, and dream away. Then just start! Read other blogs, reach out to bloggers you admire, and try new things. Blogging is an evolution – if you went back and looked at the first post from all your favorite bloggers I am sure you will notice a difference! It is something that you learn and grow in while you are in the midst of it! You cannot perfect your blog before you start so just dive in! Here are somethings to check off as you start your blog:

PICK A NAME

Picking a name is an exciting thing but before you slap the first thing that pops into your head all over the internet, here are some things you should do first:

  1. Figure out what you want your blog purpose or mission statement to be. Find a name that represents that and at the same time is timeless.
  2. Google said name and see if any other blogs are using it. If your blog takes off, you don’t want to not be able to own a custom domain name because www.abeautifulmess.com is already taken. Also, you want your readers to easily find you – not search through a list of “Whatever is Lovelies” when they are looking for you. I would also encourage you to think of copyright issues or things of that nature that may come up. “Disney Girl” might cause some issues if you start monetizing and growing. Best Practice: be careful and unique. Do something different to protect you from copyright but to also make you stand out.
  3. Pick a name that is unique but simple and easy to remember. When you are blogging you are starting a brand. You may end up huge or your may have a smaller influence but either way, it is always important to treat yourself as a brand. Value the work you do and take time to pick a name that can stay with you.
  4. Be able to explain your name in a couple sentences to others. This does not mean your title has to be deep and thoughtful, I just think it is important to be able to articulate what your blog is and why it is named what you choose.
  5. Buy a domain. You can get domains on GoDaddy or Bluehost for an affordable price. It is worth it to get your domain early so that you can keep it forever without worrying about someone else taking it.

PICK A PLATFORM

I don’t know much about this but you will need to chose a platform to blog on. Some of the most popular are WordPress, Sqarespace, and Blogger.

WordPress: I moved over to a self hosted site to help with SEO and content management but blogged for years on blogger. Now that I have moved over I recommend it 100% – if you have the chance, you should start here! Grab hosting with Bluehost and you are good to go

RELATED: Five Tips for Your Blog Redesign

Squarespace: This is a really fun site for begingers or those who want a lot of structure already there!

Blogger: I started with blogger years ago and felt like it was just easier to keep up with it because I knew it so well but I recently decided to switch to WordPress

MAKE IT LOOK PRETTY

I think it is so important that you make your blog look nice.  People will be more interested in the work you do and the things you have to say if your blog is inviting and pretty. Some of you know a thing or two about html and can create this on you own. Others are super creative but still learning all this digital design stuff – you can google tutorials and teach yourself how to make the blog you want. And there are even others who are like me and love blogging but never have opened Photoshop and do not want to take the hours to teach myself how to do all these things. For those people I highly encourage you to look into working with a designer. I tried to design my blog for a while and it was way too overwhelming! I am a writer, not a designer and that is totally okay. I think that when we all come together and do what we are good at, GREAT things can happen! There are tons of options out there for designs & designers. From really affordable pre-made templates to custom designs & brand development one-on-one meetings! Look at your budget and shop around for a design or designer you want to work with. do not be afraid to ask for quotes and tell people you are looking around. The one you love most might even offer you a discount to keep your business! Also, new designers are always looking for a way to build their profile so they might give you a really good deal!

PICK WHAT YOU BLOG ABOUT

This is not a “make a list of the three things you will blog about and never stray from that list” kind of thing but you do need to have a general idea about what your blog does and represents. Take a day and think about this. What do you like to do? What inspires you? Why do you get up in the morning? What things can you not imagine your day/ life without? It is okay if you have a lot of things you want to talk about, they call those blogs “Lifestyle Blogs” and yes, I have a lifestyle blog! Make sure that you blog about what you WANT to blog about not what you feel you NEED to blog about and also be YOU! There are so many blogs out there but there is only one (or maybe more) written by you! That is what you have to offer. Say you love healthy living and also sweets – then blog about how you live healthy and still enjoy eating delicious sweets. OR maybe you love to bike to work but also look cute – show us your outfits that travel well and look fab! You can combine your loves into your blog and that is so unique!

Readers can connect more with you and your blog when they know what they are getting into. They like knowing that they can go to your blog for fashion advice, baking, and kids activities. I have several themes here on Oak + Oats but I’ve worked on refining them to what is most important. A good rule of thumb is to make sure every post fits in one of the categories. If it doesn’t, ask yourself why you want to publish it and if you need to publish it. I can blog about all the things but that doesn’t mean I should blog about all the things!

RELATED: Creating a Mission Statement for Your Blog

NETWORK

This is so important for blogging. We are in a community and the way to grow is to reach out! Comment on other blogs, find blogs that are similar to yours and follow them, and make friends! Send out emails asking to work with people, swap buttons, guest post, or work with you on a blog project! When you reach out you may be rejected but you also make create a wonderful partnership!

Related: Five Tips for Authentic Networking & Growth

These five things will really get you and your blog started! Feel free to ask questions below and check out all the other blogs posts I have done in my Blog Tips Tab. My encouragement to you is: Be you, keep learning, comment on other blogs, and enjoy it! The only blogs worth reading are blogs that are written by people with passion and purpose! 

xoxo, elizabeth

Author: Oak & Oats

  • All of these tips and stuff for really helpful, thank you! It's on been a little over a year that I started my blog, but I still have so, so much to learn and improve on. One thing that I really need to work on is networking and reaching out to other bloggers and brands and in hopes of partnering up.

  • Such good tips – thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Krista

    I have a question about security. I've started a blog a few times and keep pausing it or limiting who can read it. I'd love to share what I have to say but I am always fearing that someone out there will steal or deface photos of my loved ones. Have you thought about this? Are there precautions besides your copyright text that you've taken?

    Thanks for your blogging series, it's motivating and inspiring!

  • Jessica

    Great tips, Elizabeth!

  • Krista!
    This is a great question and yes, I have put a lot of thought into it. With anything you do online there will be risk. Photos on twitter, snapchat, instagram, and facebook could end up anywhere because they are all online! (that is why we have to teach our children to be wise about what they are posting online). You asked a couple things so I will try to organize my answer!

    1. Watermark your Photos: Some photographers and bloggers who take really nice photos use a watermark to protect their art work, I do not because it is not that important to me. I do have a couple copy right disclaimers written on my blog and if I ever find someone using my pictures, I will just shoot them and email asking them to site it back to me or take it down.

    2. Don't post photos when you are out somewhere wait until you get back home or a day later. That way it is harder if someone was trying to stalk you. Also don't have your address on your blog, let people know they can email you if they want to send you something. You can screen people that way.

    3. Ask people before you post: I ask my friends and family if they are willing to be on my blog and I don't always use names just to make them feel more comfortable.

    4. Don't post compromising photos: I try to be wise about what I post. Some people love to share pictures of their kid in the bath – I only use pictures where everyone is fully clothed, sober, etc. I do post pictures with a beer in my hand sometimes (because that is who I am) but I would never post someone who may have drank too much.

    All that to say is that I choose to have a blog even though people may steal my pictures (hopefully not deface them but it is a possibility) because to me creating community is more important than that. The Lord called me to this blog and this space to be raw, vulnerable, and authentic. Even if some people may leave mean comments or steal my pictures. I cannot control others actions but I can control my own.

    I know that some people are really protective of their stuff and that might mean they should not have a blog. I am not sure what is going on in your heart. I think it is wise to be aware and protective of your family and make the best decisions for your family. Just be aware that this internet can be bad (we hear about that all the time) but it can also be so good. When you are wise and aware of how you are writing and what you are posting on all social media (not just blogging) your influence can be used for good.

    Does that help? I am willing to share more on this topic!

  • Diva In me

    Totally agree with you especially the last bit: "Blogs worth reading are blogs that are written by people with passion and purpose". Just like you I must say. Thank you so much for all the tips. It took me quite a while before more people notice my blog too. Like you said about perseverance, dedication and real passion is important to keep the blog going.

  • Andrea Mitchael

    alright girlyou may actually have convinced me to try and start brainstorming about this! I've been thinking about it off and on for quite awhile! I'll let you know if I end up starting one! thanks for the tips and advice

  • Amy

    faantastic list of ideas and helpful hints! and i'm with another commenter, that last line "blogs worht reading are blogs that are written by people with passion and purpose" amen sister, amen.

  • How crazy is it that we posted on similar topics today! Great minds do think alike! I love what you covered, such great tips! I'm such a visual person, I love making things look pretty!

  • Emily Ahlbum

    Great post! thanks for sharing!

  • Krista

    Thanks for the great info. You really answered my vague question! Gives me a lot to think about.

  • What a great list of tips! I so agree with you on the need for a good name that's original and unique and also how important it is to network and have a good-looking space, too. Great tips, friend! And I also loooove that little blurb at the end of this post. Passion and purpose are so important when it comes to a great blog!!

  • This is really helpful, thanks! I am just starting out and kinda finding my groove. I am starting to shop around Etsy to pick out a template (no patience to design it myself!)

  • great tips!
    I still struggle with the design part (I say still when I've only been blogging 3 weeks!) but there's always time to work on that!

  • you are welcome! I have learned so much along the way, I need to share and inspire!

  • yes! Don't be afraid to put yourself out there!

  • Great advice! I have to agree – you are so right about networking and getting to know other bloggers. It's amazing to have a community of people you feel like you know so well even though you've never met in person!

  • Anneka@mamaandthree

    I've just started my blog so these tips are really useful. I agree about the networking-sometimes it seems quite daunting though to reach out- I need to not be scared of rejection!
    Thanks for sharing

  • Wonderful tips Elizabeth!

    Totally treasure tip 4 and 5.
    My heart is to blog mainly what Jesus is doing in, through and around my life through writing and photography. I suppose it's not everybody's cup of tea and it's so tempting to post things that are not "me" for the sake of getting more readers, and then I have to remind myself of your point 4. 🙂

    Networking: I'm still figuring out – it doesn't come naturally to me. haha! 🙂

  • I am still trying to figure it out too! but I have found that I am surprised with people's willingness to work together. Some people graciously turn you down, while others jump at the opportunity! Just be you! and trust that the Lord.

  • you are so welcome! I know rejection is scary but I think you will be surprised how many people are willing to work with you 🙂

  • I know! It is incredible!

  • there is always time! and cheep templates if you want something quick, clean, and nice!

  • Wow, thank you Elizabeth. For whatever reason your comment prompted my to actually ask God to work with Him on my blog for the first time (I don't know why I've never asked Him for help before about it or prayed for my His will with my blog. )

    Thank you again for your encouragement and reply 🙂

  • I think that is a great start! nothing is worth doing without the Lord! He is the one who will grow your blog. He has the plans and dreams for it! I am glad you came to that conclusion! It took me too long to figure that out – and when I did, this blog totally changed for the better!

  • Alice Strange

    So helpful! Thank you 🙂

  • I love these tips! I have a few friends I'd like to convince to start a blog, I'll send them this. 🙂

  • you are so welcome!

  • That is so great 🙂 I am glad you think it is relevant! and they totally should start blogs!

  • glad to help! if you have any other questions feel free to email me!

  • Rachel Heckmann

    I am so glad I found this post! I am brand new to the blog world and needed some tips! It is definitely overwhelming and vulnerable, so I appreciate your encouragement. I am glad I found your blog!

    Rachel Heckmann at rachelallene.com

  • I am so glad you found this post and it is encouraging to you! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Thank you so much for sharing this — my blog is over a year old, but I took some time away from it, and am just getting back in to it. It was one of my New Years Resolutions, and something I really enjoy. I've loved looking through here and being inspired by your content! I look forward to reading more 🙂

  • Ashley! I am so glad you were encouraged and inspired! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions! XOXO I'm rooting for you!