People often ask me, “How much time do you spend blogging and how long did it take you to create this blog?”
It took me about 1.5 months to create this blog and I spend too much time on here.
What do I mean by “set everything up?”
Setting up a blog means:
- Choosing a domain (coming up with a name for your blog)
- Choosing a web server
- Choosing a blogging platform (CMS)
- Picking and customizing a theme
- Writing blog posts
If you’re going, “Whaaat?”
Don’t worry, I’ll take you through each step.
1. Choosing A Domain
The first thing you need to do when starting a blog is to come up with a name. This is also called a domain and you buy it from a web server (see next step).
Now, you might think it’s easy to come up with a website name but it’s actually a lot HARDER than you think. Because 99% of what you think of will most likely be already taken.
- Go to Go Daddy and type in a domain name to see if it’s already been taken. Just type it in, you don’t actually have to buy it.
- Once you come up with a name, sleep on it, and see if it’s really what you want because it costs money to change a website’s name.
- And if you do end up changing it, it’s not the end of the world. Lots of people do.
2. Choosing A Web Server
What is that?
A web server is basically a company that stores and protects all your blogging files. Think of them as a computer somewhere that just holds all your belongings together. Some of the most popular web servers out there are Bluehost, SiteGround, SiteBuilder… etc.
And yes, you do have to pay for it.
I personally use SiteGround because they’re fast, safe and reliable. A friend of mine who works in cyber security told me people hack blogs regularly. You might be thinking, “I’m just a small fish in the sea, who’s going to hack me?” But I’ve seen it happen.
Tip: Most web servers will advertise their rates as “$3.00/month” or “less than a coffee!” but what they don’t tell you is you still have to pay for your domain and a bunch of other things, so don’t be bamboozled! When you get to the checkout, your total will most likely be $80+. My yearly membership with SiteGround’s is $82.15 and this covers the domain, web server, and CMS.
Note: most web servers include the domain and CMS so you don’t actually need to purchase these things separately.
3. Choosing A Blogging Platform a.k.a. CMS
CMS or Content Management Systems are the websites that you build your blog with. This blog is built with WordPress. Other popular CMSs are Blogger, Squarespace, Joomla, Wix, etc. Unless you know how to program and code blogs from scratch, you’ll need a CMS.
I personally use WordPress because it is one of the most customizable CMSs out there. Admittedly, I don’t think it is the easiest CMS to use but once you get used to it, it’s worth it. Also, WordPress powers almost 1/3 of all the websites in the world, so as a freelance writer, it’s really useful for me to know because I also write for other people.
I don’t know too much about the other CMSs but Squarespace is known to have stylish themes, and I’ve seen a friend use Joomla once and liked how she was able to click and drag things around easily. Check out all of them and see what works for you.
4. Picking and Customizing A Theme
A theme or a template is the layout of your blog. CMSs provide these to their users for free (some you have to purchase) and once you pick one, you can start designing and customizing it.
Designing a blog can be a lot of fun but it can also be very stressful and time-consuming. I think I spent about two weeks scrolling through hundreds of themes before settling on one and then another week customizing everything.
6 months after my I started this blog, I decided to change my theme and it took me another few days to transition everything over.
5. Writing Blog Posts
Once you have your blog all set up, it’s time to start writing!
Or, if you’re an artist, you can use your blog to display artwork. A blog isn’t just for writing.
You don’t need to have hundreds of blog posts before you share your blog but at least have a few, otherwise, it would be like inviting people to an empty house.
I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty of how to write blog posts because that’ll take another post to explain but these are the bare essentials you need to start a blog
Advice for Beginners
- If you just want to try out blogging, get a free blog first and see if it sticks. If you’re still blogging after a few months and you enjoy it, then go for a paid one. I blogged for 7 years before purchasing one.
- Try not to get too caught up in getting your blog to look perfect in the beginning. Get it to look decent and start writing because you can always continue to improve it.
- Don’t worry so much about having a logo, a niche, a brand and all that fancy stuff yet in the beginning. Write about whatever you want and certain topics will start to stand out to you.
- Blogging is a skill and it requires practice. The more you blog, the better it gets!