Despite my passion for food and being a Mom, the number one question I get asked is, “How did you start your blog?” and “How can I start my blog?”
Since I have this complex where I need to answer every single person that reaches out to me, I figured it would be easier for everyone if I just got my words down on paper (okay, the internet) and shared my steps with you!
Believe it or not, starting a blog is actually really easy and I encourage everyone to do it! I think there is some mystique out there that makes it seem like bloggers live in some alternate reality where things automatically look “Pinterest perfect” and words flow like a river. The fact is, we don’t and YOU can create this reality for yourself. You just have to want it and you have to put the work in.
Yes, work. I said it was really easy, but I didn’t say it wouldn’t be work.
Step 1: Identify your passion. If you’ve decided you want to start a blog, chances are step #1 is partially done since you most likely had an idea in mind when you decided to start a blog. That said, I want to encourage you to ask yourself these 3 questions before moving forward.
- What perception does you blog want to “own” in the minds of the market in which it competes?
- How would you describe your blog’s personality?
- With all the different blogs out there, what are your unique differentiators that help create an advantage? AKA, what makes you different enough that someone should follow you?
Step 2: Create a promise and STICK to it. Once you’ve really identified your passion and taken a deep dive into who you are, what you do and why people should follow you, you need a mantra. You need a statement to live by with your brand. I think the best way to figure that out is to finish this sentence:
“If you follow my blog, I promise that…”
For my brand, Everything Erica, I always say that “If you follow my blog, I promise that everything I do will always seem light-hearted, fun and easily attainable.” Now, whenever I go to do ANYTHING brand related, I double check that it meets my promise. If it does, I know I’m consistent and on brand. Consistency is KEY.
Step 3: Identify an aesthetic. Another really important aspect of starting a blog/social media page is creating a cohesive aesthetic. To do this, I challenge you to find 10 blogs or websites that speak to you in some way. Identify what it is about those pages that you love and try to create your look and feel from that.
This is very important to do before moving forward because after this point, it’s time to spend some money and you want to make sure you have a good idea of what look/feel you’re going for before you start shelling out cash!
Step 4: Pick a name! When choosing a name, I want to encourage you to think about something that has a story behind it. The most successful brands I know all have names with depth and meaning. Once you’ve identified that name, make sure the domain is available (you can check on Go Daddy) and also make sure you can get the name on all the social media mediums you decide to use. Consistency here is key so make sure your name is available everywhere before moving forward!
Step 5: Purchase your domain name! Now is the time where you start building your website and own your first www.INSERTBLOGNAMEHERE.com (that is called a domain). Yay! I usually buy mine off Go Daddy because it’s cheap, simple and easy. They cost shouldn’t be more than $100 for a few years.
Step 6: Decide on a website CMS (content management system). Now that you have your solid idea and your website domain purchased, it’s time to build the blog! The first thing you need to do is choose where you want to build it. You have a few options, but I think WordPress.org is the easiest for a blog and the most user-friendly in terms of customization on your own. It’s also free. For the purposes of this tutorial, I’m going to explain how to create a blog with WordPress since it’s what I know best.
Step 7: Pick a Host! This is where things got confusing for me when I first started out, so I’m going to make this as rudimentary as possible. Basically, once you make the decision on your CMS, you have to pay a service to host your website and transfer your domain name to. Again, there are a ton of options but I prefer Blue Host or Dream Host because they make creating a WordPress site SO easy. The cost is usually like $3.99 a month. Nothing crazy.
Once you’ve chosen your host, you will need to transfer your domain name to the host and then install WordPress. This will literally take 5 minutes. Just follow the instructions on your host page.
If you can’t hack your way through this step, no worries! Shoot me an email at: Erica@everythingerica.com and I can walk you through it for a small fee.
Step 8: Choose a Theme. If you decide to go with WordPress, you will need to choose a theme. A theme is basically the graphical interface of the blog (what it looks like). There are literally thousands and thousands of themes out there. Some great sites to search are: Theme Forest, Elegant Themes and Themify.
This is the time where you need to pull from your aesthetic deep dive and make it come to life! Once you’ve chosen the theme, you literally just purchase it (prices vary), download it and upload it into WordPress. It’s really simple
Step 9: Start writing! The most important thing you can do when you finally create the blog is just to start writing. I know there is this desperate need to have every single thing on your website perfect when you start, but the fact is, you don’t know what you really want until you get started (trust me).
The blog’s look and feel will evolve over time as you start to gain a better idea of who you are (and you do that through writing.) Don’t hold back just because your menu bar doesn’t have all the options or you can’t figure out how to get your IG feed to show up on the side-bar. Just WRITE! Figure the rest out as you go.
Step 10: Stay true to who you are. I think this is the most important thing I can offer you. When you finally have this blog up and running, you want to make sure you’re being as transparent and uniquely you as possible. When you first start, it’s SO easy to put on a mask, write a certain way and make yourself appear to be someone you’re not. The issue is, by doing it, you’re attracting an audience who likes that fake version of you and will eventually see you for your true self when you can’t hold up the charade any longer.
Your goal is to attract people who love you for you. Those are your people. They will rally behind you, support you and really know you.
I want to end with an example of this. When I started Everything Erica, I was working a full-time job. My boss at the time asked me to lunch and said she wanted to chat. When I got there, I was waiting at a table when I saw her approach. She sat down and had a large book in her hand that said “Grammar for Dummies.” She then proceeded to tell me that my writing was horrible, my tone was too self-deprecating and I was embarrassing myself.
Well, you know what? That’s me. I may not know where all the commas go, I may share my struggles a little too much and I may look vulnerable at times, but it’s who I am. The audience I’ve attracted get’s that. They get me, they support me and they love me for it.
That’s all that matters.