New blogger
How to start a blog

How to start your own blog

Since the day I launched my own blog, a few friends of mine asked me how I did it. Not only how did I find the courage to go for it, but what are the technical aspects of it. On top of that, as we are all confined inside our homes, now is the perfect time to get to it. Take this opportunity to create your own blog now!

As of today, I can’t say that I know everything there is to know. I haven’t monetized my blog yet, compared to the money I poured in this project (I’m trying, though!). Nevertheless, I can show you everything I’ve learned so far, and most importantly, all the resources I’ve used. Some of them are free, but some of them are not.

This is going to be quite a long article. If this project really interests you, bear with me and keep reading!

First, I strongly believe that when you really want to achieve success with your blog, you must invest in your blog AND in yourself. I’ll get to it in a minute but keep this in mind.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. For more information, please read the disclaimer.

WHERE TO START

I’ve had this idea in mind for years, but a few weeks ago, I decided that this was The Day. I started by searching “How to create a blog” on Google or Pinterest… Or maybe both. I found the two following blog posts:

The Complete Guide to getting started freelance writing from scratch – Elna Cain’s blog

How to start a blog in 2020 – Scott Chow’s blog

The first one convinced me to go for it, the second one helped me getting started with the technical stuff (hosting, setting up WordPress, etc.). You definitely should check them out.

TRAINING

HOWEVER, before getting started, you need to read more about blogging and try to educate yourself as much as possible. Starting your own blog is easy, but unless you already work in that area, there is much more about it that you need to know.

Becoming a Blogger

I STROOONGLY recommend you take the course Becoming a Blogger by Cate Rosales on Sweet and Simple Life. I learned so much through it, even though I’ve had a few years of experience with blogging in French.

Remember when I said to invest in yourself in order to make money? This class isn’t for free, but it is worth EVERY penny. It is well written, detailed, and separated into different modules so that you can go at your own pace.

Cate will run you through the setup of your blog, so you can do it step by step while following this formation.

CHOOSE YOUR NICHE

This means to choose your main interest, your main topic. Are you a mom who want to blog about her experiences? An artist who likes to travel the world and write guides about the best galleries? A gamer who wants to review the latest games? No matter what your niche is, it’s better to find it asap. This will help you market your blog towards your selected audience.

SECURE YOUR DOMAIN NAME

Do you already know how you want to name your blog? Reserve your domain name right away. You need to make sure the name you would like to use isn’t already taken. For instance, I really wanted to name my blog “Lost in Translation” but I found out this way that this domain was not available.

You can use Bluehost’s tool to secure your domain name.

Make sure to choose something relevant

For example, if you are a food blogger, calling it “Playing Video Games with Val” doesn’t make sense. Yet, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be creative with it. One of the food blogs I’ve been following for years is named Pinch of Yum. It’s easy to figure out their topic, and it’s cute enough to make it creative and easy to remember.

FIND YOUR WEB HOST

In order to get your blog online, you need a web hosting service. The most popular one is GoDaddy, but I personally chose Bluehost because Scott recommended it. I like how user-friendly this service is, so I also recommend it. In the course Becoming a Blogger, Cate mentions many other web hosting services so you have many options to choose from. Make sure to read about them and select the one that suits your needs.

Important point here: web hosting isn’t free

If you’re planning to turn your blog into a profitable side hustle, know that you will most likely be able to put your expenses on your taxes the next year. Check it out with your accountant first.

MAKE.IT.LEGAL.

I really want to emphasize this point. Before following the blog Sweet and Simple Life, I would have never thought to buy legal wordings for my blog. After all, when you think of it, your blog is a business. Therefore, you must protect yourself from potential lawsuits that could cost you thousands, or even millions of dollars.

A Self Guru

Again, thanks to Cate (I’m a big fan of her, okay?), I found out about Amira at A Self Guru. This wonderful lady is a real lawyer who wrote different types of legal templates for your blog. You only need to fill in the blanks.

The Comprehensive Legal Bundle package comes with a Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions, and a Website Disclaimer. You NEED these basic documents to protect yourself. You can check out mine here:

Amira wrote so many legal documents, you will find everything you need, whether it is agreements to collaborate with someone, hire a writer for your own blog, etc. To top it all, she is easy to reach if you have any questions, and she’s super nice!

For more information, check out my post Why you should protect your blog and yourself legally.

Affiliate program

Last point, the cherry on top: Amira encourages you to spread the word about ensuring the legal aspect of your blog by offering you to join her affiliate program: she gives a 40% commission on her basic legal templates, so it’s an easy way to earn back on your investments.

Side note: I will get back to affiliate programs in another blog post.

SOCIAL MEDIAS

Now that you are pretty much set up, you need to get on social medias to reach people. I mean, that’s most likely how you found me, right?

Most people, including me, spend way too much time on social medias. Therefore, this is a good place to start being known. So, go ahead and create your handle on the social medias you feel the most comfortable on.

Reach your potential audience through social medias

For instance, my blog has a Facebook page, an Instagram page, and a Pinterest account. Why not the other ones? I don’t really use Twitter, I don’t think Snapchat is relevant for blogs, I don’t feel confident enough in this moment to put it on LinkedIn, I’m too shy to make videos and post them on YouTube, I absolutely don’t understand Tumblr, and so on.

Depending on your level of comfort with different social medias, you should focus on the ones you use the most. But I gotta mention that Pinterest is a HUGE bonus for getting traffic on your blog. It’s super easy to set up (again, see the Becoming a Blogger course), and you will definitely see a difference in your traffic! I mean… That’s how I find blogs to follow, all the time!

STOCK PHOTOS

You’ve probably heard of Shutterstock before. This is a stock photos provider, where you can find beautiful pictures to use on your blog, instead of taking blurry pictures with your phone if you’re as untalented as I am!

Pixistock and Canva

While Shutterstock is very popular, there are so many more out there. Before getting to that module in Becoming a Blogger, I was using Pexels, because their stock images are free. However, at some point, I was scared to get into trouble for using images, even though they are available on Pexels, so I subscribed for a year to Pixistock and Canva.

Canva is useful to get images for your blog, your social medias, you name it. But I absolutely love the aesthetic of Pixistock. Almost every single image you see on my blog are taken from there!

Because you pay for it, you can use them, and I think that it is worth it. The images are beautiful, and it helps making your blog look more professional.

START WRITING

Some will tell you to write at least 5 blog posts before launching your blog. Others will tell you to launch it now. In the end, it’s up to you. I wrote 2-3 articles before launching mine, because that’s when I felt confident enough to do it. No matter what you decide, in a year, you should have a lot of blog posts, and you’ll be super proud of yourself!

RECAP

I know this article is loaded with information, so let’s do a quick recap.

  1. Read about blogging as much as you can
  2. Follow the training Becoming a Blogger
  3. Choose your niche (your main topic)
  4. Secure your domain name
  5. Get a web host
  6. Make your blog legal
  7. Get on social medias
  8. Get stock photos
  9. Start writing

In the next article of that series, I will teach you all I know about writing blog posts! Stay tuned!

If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email at valerie@agrammarnerd.com.

FOLLOW ME ON SOCIAL MEDIAS!

I already mentioned it, but you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Are you on Snapchat? You can get little slices of my life there: @valtheworld.

If you decided to start a blog, good job! I’m so proud of you! Leave me a comment below and I’ll follow you.

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