Blogging for beginners.
If your reading this then I’m guessing your either thinking about starting a blog or you’re on week one and already feel like giving up. In this article, I’m going to take you through my first month blogging the ups the downs and the tears so that you know you’re not on your own. Blogging is hard at the beginning, especially if like me your not very technical but it does get easier, I promise.
There is a lot of information in this post but you can always save it and refer back to it as when you need it.
*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Read my disclaimer for more info.
How to Start Blogging
I spent a few years thinking about blogging I tried about 4 niche ideas, 3 domain names and 3 different website building platforms. Here are a few of the niches and domain names I tried out.
- Hair – Salon Scout – This was a review based website for a salon in you the UK but when I fell pregnant I couldn’t keep up with travelling all the time.
- Fitness – Nat Mac Fitness – I thought if I had a blog focused on food and fitness I would become fit and healthy. Surprisingly this didn’t work I don’t exercise enough and like to eat cake.
- Hair & Beauty – Nat Dixon Hair – I settled on the most obvious and simple domain name, my name and my niche but I felt like this was holding me back.
- Fashion & Beauty – Chicstylecollective – This is my French Inspired Fashion & Beauty blog today I knew when I ‘settled’ on Nat Dixon hair that it didn’t feel right plus the hair in the title limited me to talk about my real passions Fashion & Beauty.
Try not to spend forever deciding on the right domain name as it may hold you back on actually getting started on your blog.
My blogging mindset changed when I decided to really go for it. I stopped looking at blogs and thinking, I wish that was me and changed to thinking Why not me? I started to focus on my blog as a business and a way that I too could make money.
I won’t bore you with all the details because this is about you and your blog but in short, I’d been posting on Instagram and was being paid with gifted products. It’s such a treat to get sent free products and give post my review on Instagram I am truly grateful for this.
The postman was at my house every day with 4-5 parcels but sadly gifting doesn’t pay the bills. I needed a way to monetize my blog (make money) so I decided that to go far I needed to focus more on my blog.
BLOGGING BONUS TIP – Write out a business plan before starting your blog so you know what your niche will be, who your target audience is and an idea on the theme you want. Keep it so you can always keep track of your plan and refer back to when needed. Your plan can change but at least you know what your key focus is.
Related Post – Blogging Basics 101 Expert Tips & Awesome Advice
Budget & Website
Most bloggers may say the first thing to do is set up your site/domain name or find the right niche but if your a beginner or wanting to take your blog from a hobby to the business then you’re going to need to set a budget.
You don’t need to spend a lot but if you use free websites you will look unprofessional a website like name.wordpressblog.com screams hobby blog and you’re not going to get far.
The 3 things you need to pay for in the beginning hosting site, a domain name and a theme. Keep reading to find out why.
- Website Host – Siteground
Siteground is a web hosting site this allows you to be self-hosted and therefore you own all the content, images and ads on your blog. Websites such as Wix and Squarespace are NOT self-hosted and they will own all of your content.
I spent 6 months using Wix website and only got 50 views in the whole 6 months compared to 855 views in my first month on Siteground!
Siteground is blogging for beginners no brainer! It is the most recommended site by bloggers because they are the best have a great customer support team which gives you instant chat access. I used the chat a lot at the start as I already had a website and domain but wanted to transfer the to Siteground if it wasn’t for their help I would’ve quit before I even started.
It’s a yearly payment plan so another reason why you need to 100% committed to blogging but they have some great offers. I recommend the Grow Big plan and a 2 or 3-year plan, in the long run, it works out cheaper.
You can easily set up Siteground in 3 steps here.
Choose a Hosting Plan
SiteGround has three plans:
- The StartUp plan is perfect for people with one website that are starting now.
- The GrowBig plan (this is the plan I recommend starting with) is a great value for money offer, including the option for multiple websites and the SuperCacher that greatly improves website speed.
- The GoGeek plan is perfect for people with e-commerce and larger sites, or more geeky development needs like more server resources and GIT integration.
A domain is simply your websites address ie the .com or .co.uk I use .com but it’s entirely up to you which you prefer. You want your domain to be memorable and not too long. You can buy a domain name from namecheap.com from as little as $7.
I use Blossom Fashion Theme & Blossom Fashion Diva this theme has a version free but I would recommend going for the Pro as you get so much more. The feminine and chic WordPress blog theme will give you stunning, lively and eye-catching fashion blogs and websites.
Whether you want to share your expert fashion tips, your favourite recipes or create a lifestyle, travel, food, beauty, makeup, coaching, wedding, portfolio, personal, girly, parenting or a cooking blog, Blossom Fashion is an ideal choice for you. You can easily customize your website using typography and colour features.
Canva Pro – Imagery
For professional-looking images that you can use on your blog and across all your social media including designing pins for Pinterest start with Canva Pro. Yes, Canva has a free version and depending on your niche the images will be good enough but your only unlocking a small percentage of what Canva Pro can offer.
Try the free version but honestly I’ve found the Canva Pro offers so much more especially when your needing to create pins daily or re-promote old posts. Canva pro is only $10.99 monthly or $8.99 yearly both include a 30-day FREE TRIAL.
Tailwind – Marketing
To help market your content shared with people all around the world and increase traffic to your blog invest in Tailwind. Tailwind is a scheduling app for Pinterest and Instagram it can help you Pin/post all your content and if you use Tribes others will share your pins too.
This has been a game-changer for me I only use it for Pinterest but it has increased my blog traffic in a short amount of time.
Tailwind again does have a free version but you can only Pin 5 Pins a month which is nothing as to grow your blog it’s recommenced to pin 15 – 25 pins a day! I use Tailwind Plus version and it’s been great.
Mailchimp is actually FREE for the first 2000 subscribers (from $15 p/m after) so when you’re starting out you won’t have to pay immediately but when your subscriber list gets bigger make sure you have the funds ready to invest.
Email marketing is one of the best ways to build your blog, share affiliate links/products and connect with your customers.
BONUS BLOGGING TIP – Pinterest with Ell this is a Pinterest course that will teach you everything you need to know about marketing your blog on Pinterest, how to use Tailwind and affiliate links.
Now you have your budget and website all set up you need to put your blog together. The technology side of blogging has to be the most stressful and even enough to make you quit but it does get easier. It’s incredible how much you learn when you really need to.
I’m going to make it simple and break it down so that you have a basic idea of the key elements you really need.
Plugins – Pieces of software that will make up your website.
- WordPress – Siteground has made it so much easier now as WordPress is already integrated so you can get started right away.
- Rank Math – SEO (read more below)
- Headers & Footers – This is where you will add codes to.
- Social media – Depending on the theme you may have to add them in as a plugin
- WP Forms – Create Contact forms, newsletters or sign – up forms.
- Pin Hover Button – Make it easier for your audience to share your content.
- Woo Commerce – If you will be selling products on your blog.
BONUS BLOGGING TIP – As well as these plugins I recommend you install Grammarly and Adobe Flash Player onto your computer at no cost.
SEO – Search Engine optimisation
If you’ve never heard of SEO then nows the time to get to know it, inside and out! SEO is how you get traffic to your blog using KEYWORDS (amongst other things) to get RANKED on Google.
I recommend you watch Neil Patel SEO for beginners.
Rank Math – This is THE exception when it comes to avoiding the free plan to get the paid plan. Rank Math is my number 1 SEO plugin I recommend compared to Yeost they offer you so much more for FREE and is super simple to use. They work on a scoreboard helping get your blog post to 100/100 with hints and tips as you go.
BONUS BLOGGING TIP – WP Crafter.com also has some great tutorials on Youtube
Home – A static home page gives you more freedom as to what people see and is better than your audience just seeing a list of all your blog posts and nothing else
About – Give your audience an insight into who you are why they should come to you and what you can offer.
Blog – A landing page for all your blog posts.
Categories – This can be a subcategory for your blog to break down all the different categories you have making it easier for your customers to find what they are looking for.
Contact – Contact forms are a simple and easy way for your customers to fill out and get in touch.
Marketing once you have everything set up and written 10-12 blog posts that all have a high score on Rank Math you are ready to market them. Start by sharing them direct across these platforms:
- Pinterest – Create 2-3 Pins for each post and share.
- Instagram – you can add the link in your bio
- Bloglovin – You will need to insert a code on a blog post but Bloglovin explain how to do this.
- Blog post-vote up – Signup and add the link to your blog post. You can add 1 link per day.
Making money on your blog! I will be completely honest and say that you probably won’t earn any money in the first month of blogging. You may not make any money for the first 6 months blogging but if you stay with it you will make money and make this your full-time job like me.
Remember blogging is a marathon not a sprint.
When someone clicks on a link from your post and buys that product or anything from that website you will earn a commission. Adding affiliate links to your content will be the best way to make money.
Affiliate programmes you can join for –
- AWIN – Joining Fee £5 you can apply to join affiliate companies like Benefit Cosmetics, Revolution Beauty, Look Fantastic, Topshop & Femme Luxe.
- Amazon Associates – Get your very own Amazon store page with there influencer programme.
You can join advertisers so that when someone clicks on the ad you earn a commission. Sometimes it can be difficult to get accepted or you need a lot of website sessions before you can apply but these are the main companies.
- Google Adsense
- Media Net
Collaborate with companies and get them to pay you to write a blog post review on your website. Pitch to brands that you truly love be genuine, explain why you love them and why you would be a good fit working together. Don’t be offended if you get no reply or knocked back there will be companies out there that will see the potential you have.
Another way to monetize your blog is by selling your own product this can be an ebook. You could write a more in-depth article about a blog post you wrote or something else. You could create downloadables/printables like a planner set these can be created on Canva.
If you’ve made it this far well done as simple as I tried to make it there’s a lot of information. I’ve covered pretty much everything that I struggled with in my first-month blogging.
I’d like to also add that sometimes that one thing you are stressing over and can’t get to grips with usually ends up being a simple thing that you may have overlooked. I found that if I walked away made a cuppa tea and looked at it with fresh eyes it made sense or if that didn’t work I’d google it.
If in doubt there is also a Youtube video out there to help with your problem! I always had 2 windows open on my computer 1 for my dashboard and the other 1 for Youtube so I could pause step by step through the problem I was having.
I really hope this has helped especially if your feeling like giving up. It will get easier it took me 2 days just to set up the subscriber form and 3 weeks to get my website set up fully. I still make changes on a regular basis.
It’s all a learning curve and I can guarantee every single blogger out there started out not really knowing what they were doing but learnt on the job.