How To Start A Blog Fast
So, you wanna start a blog, huh? It’s a great time to do that actually, there are soooo many resources to help you! Consider this your first step to getting your idea going. Follow this brief guide to discover what you want to make of your online space. Tell us in the comments at the bottom what you want to start blogging about! Subscribe for the latest!
How to start a blog fast – it’s easier than you think! Believe it or not, once we had the vision for this blog, it was up and running in a couple of days. We think you could get yours running even faster…
This step by step guide on how to start a blog will make it as easy and fast as possible, because if you’re just trying to get up and running, you can do that and redesign later, learning as you go.
The thing about this blog (and any blog we’ve built, really) is that they are built on self-hosted WordPress with a TOOOON of customization. We happen to also build websites for people all the time, so if you make something super custom AND you’re as picky and indecisive about design as we are, give yourself more time. If you’re just looking to get something going and use a template (which we recommend for beginners) then you can be up and running in a few hours, give or take.
1. Pick Your Name & Niche
This is definitely the most difficult step, especially if you don’t know exactly where you want to narrow down your focus. It’s really good in my opinion to give yourself some flexibility with your name and niche, because things can change and you may want to take your blog in a direction that wouldn’t really make sense based on a super niche name you pick in the beginning. Case and point, our first blog was all about food, recipes, wellness and health, Real Food To Heal, and since at that time it was the main focus of our life, we had soooo much to share on the topic. As the content and direction of our food blog started to change, we realized that some of our original readers were mostly just there for the food… but we weren’t writing as much about it since we weren’t spending the same kind of time and energy on it in our lives. Coming up with a good name is THE HARDEST PART and once you have it, chances are the ideas will start flowing for the rest. Speaking of names, if you find the perfect name, even before doing anything else, go snatch it up on all the social media accounts just in case. You’ll be surprised the names that people have taken and done nothing with. You can usually get your domain name free with whatever platform you decide to build on, but if you haven’t decided on a platform yet but don’t want to lose the domain, you can always purchase the domain name and point the nameservers to your site when it is time.
2. Narrow It Down, A Little
Give yourself room to expand, but pick a general place to fall in the blogging category. For example, rather than labeling yourself a tech review website, just make it a tech enthusiast website that also does reviews. You can narrow it down with sections for reviews and other things like how to guides, then if your interests expand in the future, you could add additional aspects to the site. If you really like home decor and DIY, consider more of a general lifestyle blog because those topics can be a focus of your lifestyle blog while still giving you room to expand another directions. As we learned, going a little niche but broad is better than too niche, since expanding our blog with the name Real Food To Heal to contain general health, beauty and lifestyle was a start but not enough. With a specific name that indicates a niche like that, we decided that we should keep that as it’s own thing, and that we needed to build a new site for a more general place to share our stories. The point of our example is, had we started the original blog with a more broad range of topics in the beginning, we may not have needed to start another one. Keep this in mind when choosing your name and niche, so that you can think about how it may or may not affect your ability to branch out in the future. It is totally fine to get super niche if you want, but know going into it what that may mean for you, and decide if it fits your vision. If you want to have multiple niche specific blogs, then go for it but as a new hobby blogger, we think it is way easier to allow yourself flexibility with just one blog.
3. Get Your Ideas Going
So, while it is important to pay attention to your analytics and give your readers what they want, blogging should be fun and therefore you should write about things you want to. As we mentioned, it is important to give yourself the flexibility to share the topics related to what your blog represents. We personally find it very helpful to have a folder in Google Drive which contains all of the ideas for future blog posts. It is far easier to start drafting a post on a Google doc then always having to login to the site to start writing. Get yourself set up with a list of ideas for what you will write about and inspirational content to help you when you sit down to create content for your own blog. If you find that you absolutely cannot stand what it is you’re trying to write about, change it! As your interest and real life situations change, your desire for what to share on your blog will also change. Another reason to give yourself flexibility with the name and niche from the beginning. Back to our real life example… we barely create recipes anymore, when we started the original blog it was what we did every day, and loved it! Now, what we enjoy placing focus on more these days is not as relevant to a food specific blog, hence the creation of this one.
4. Create Your Brand
Branding is important, even with blogs, so make sure that you do a little research on what you want your brand to look like as a blogger. Gather up and evaluate some blogs that you like and some that you don’t. Consider all the things that you like and what you don’t like, and list out elements that you need/don’t need on yours. Decide what your brand colors will be and design a logo for yourself or have one made. Alternatively, you can use a hero image or your blog name in a special font as the header of your blog instead of a logo. I like using Canva to design graphics, and there are a lot of ideas on there for branding. When you decide which builder to use, you will need to find a theme to start working off of. Of course, you can build a site completely from scratch on website builders, but that is a story for another post… just pick a theme you like and modify it if you want to get your blog up and running fast.
5. Pick Your Builder
Steep learning curve BUT cheaper & more comprehensive in the long run.
We prefer building self hosted WordPress sites, but the learning curve is extremely steep for most people. If you are up for it, we highly recommend finding some good YouTube videos to start learning about the specific theme that you choose for your self hosted WordPress site if you go that route. Our top recommendations for self-hosted WordPress themes are from Elegant themes, well worth the money and great support! There are definitely free themes available, Site Origin has some good ones, but the amount of customization and level of functionality varies. Also, not all theme and plugin developers keep their products up-to-date when WordPress’ core updates, so picking well known and reliable themes and plugins is essential. Expect more on that in the future…
Bottom line: WordPress is really fun if you end up liking it. Definitely do your research and be patient because it can be a great long term option despite how complex it is.
Usually costs more over time, limited functionalities BUT super easy to use.
If you really just want to get up and running and don’t mind paying a little more every month, we recommend setting yourself up on Wix. The interface is extremely easy to learn, when you get into more advanced features you may need to look up some help, however we do think that learning to build on Wix is a much faster process than learning to build on WordPress. You can drag-and-drop your elements of the site on Wix super easily, unlike any WordPress option available. You can essentially build a Wix website with zero technical knowledge in a very short time. If we had to compare building on Wix to anything else, we would say it’s similar to working with a PowerPoint presentation. Maybe even easier… A big drawback is that there are additional fees for most things beyond basic set up. Also, your only hosting option is to host through Wix, which can be far more expensive even if you pay for a year all at once when compared to self-hosting through WordPress. For many people, it is still the best option to start with!
Bottom line, although a lot of people talk down about Wix, we still recommended for beginners who want to be up and running fast and be able to make design changes very easily at any time.
6. Bring Your Vision To Life!
Final step – this is where you need to get yourself on all the YouTube tutorials for the builder that you choose and start making a website! If you are willing to put in a little bit of time learning and are ok with keeping it basic, you can get an acceptable WordPress site up and running in about the same amount of time you could put together a fancier Wix site. This may be the 2nd hardest decision to make, after choosing your name and niche. Decide what you need RIGHT NOW compared to how fast you want to be up and running, and how much you’re time and money you’re willing to spend. If you really want to be able to move everything around exactly how you want it in the easiest way possible long term without learning much about web design and are happy to pay a premium for it, definitely would choose Wix. If you’re all in to learn how to manage your own web design, or want WordPress for it’s advanced capabilities and lower cost long term, go for it! Keep in mind that if you decide to create a website on the cheap using any builder, you may be limited in the functionalities if you try to get super specific with things. Sometimes, basic website builders or themes cannot handle the level of customization that people may want in an easy fashion. Most things are doable, but may require coding or expert level assistance. If you don’t have time to learn how to do it yourself BUT want to get crazy and include advanced functionalities straight away, you may need to hire a web designer. If you decide to hire somebody to build your blog for you, make sure you check out our article on the things you must ask your web designer before hiring them.
What platform did you choose for your blog? Tell us your favorite in the comments at the bottom of the page.
Until next time…
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