Blogging can sound like such an expensive hobby. Apparently to be one of the best, you need a camera costing more than a months rent, a self hosted website (and all the pains of dealing with that), a layout that cost a fair chunk of change and new products or outfits so you can post every day.
Well, no. All those things are nice to have, but they’re not necessary or will guarantee that you’ll gain any readers.
Here’s what you really need to start a blog
- An internet connected device
- An idea
- Time to get a site set up (about 10 minutes)
To set up your blog, you’ll probably want to use a computer (rather than a mobile device) as it’s a lot easier to make the little tweaks that you’ll want to do when you’re setting up your blog with a full sized keyboard. However, to keep the blog updated, make sure to take a look at mobile apps for your device – they’ve come a long way even in the past year or so!
Free providers of blog space include Blogger and WordPress (via their .com site). For the majority of bloggers reading this, we would recommend using Blogger – the main reason for this being that WordPress.com is a little more restrictive on what bloggers are able to do with their sites to earn money (and unfortunately, their help pages don’t agree with themselves either!). While you may not be intending to put ads on your site now, you might want to in the future, so Blogger is probably the best choice – however you should take a look at both to see what suits you best!
One thing that is a pretty valuable expense is your domain name. You don’t need to pay for this straight away, but it’s a good idea to get it when you’re happy with your name so more people can use the domain name rather than the free address to get to your blog. Having your own domain name is a good idea if you are looking to work with brands as well – it’s more beneficial because of how domain authority works (head over to this post if you’ve heard the term domain authority (DA) but are unsure of what it means!). You can buy a domain name from most web hosts – we host our site through TSOHost♦ and in our experience, they are friendly and super willing to help you get your domain pointing to your webspace.
An important part of starting a blog is knowing what you want to get out of the blog – why are you doing this? Having an idea of this will mean you’ll be more inclined to keep posting. Here are a few things to ask yourself to work this out
- What do you want to get out of running your own blog?
- Why are you creating a blog?
- What is your unique selling point – why should people read your blog?
- Who is your audience going to be?
You’ll also want to consider the look and feel of your blog – which you may see referred to as the blog’s branding. Make sure to check out this post on branding – there are printables available as well from our shop if you want to get the coloured pens out and get scribbling! Most CMS systems will have a basic plain layout available for free, which you can then customise as you want to.
Finally, promotion. You’ll have decided earlier who your audience is going to be, so that will affect how you promote your blog. If you’re just aiming to have your friends and family read it, then you could just post about it on your personal Facebook, and job done! However, if you want a wider audience to check it out, you’ll need to start talking about it to anyone who will list. It’s hard, trust us, but you have to become your own cheerleader. Check out this post to find out more ways to promote your blog.
What do you wish you knew when you started your blog? Share your tips in the comments!