I’ve had a few friends ask me lately about how I got started with my blog and if I have any tips for them starting their own. I feel slightly flattered and slightly inadequate to answer this question since I still feel like a blogging newbie some days. But going on six months with Mom by Design, and over a year of blogging in general, I have definitely picked up a few good tips that could save you some time if you are looking to start your own blog.
Rather than act like a big shot and say I figured all of this out myself (I totally didn’t!), I want to give a large bulk of the credit to Suzi Whitford of StartAMomBlog.com. She is seriously the best. There are a lot of bloggers out there who can help you get started with your blog, but in my opinion, she is the best. She is SO basic and makes everything super simple for us non-techy people. I took her 9-Step Blog Plan course and it really focused my attention on how to launch my blog and what elements were most important in finding my niche.
If you’re starting from scratch, I highly recommend her Blog by Number Course. She will show you how to do everything to start your blog on the right track. She will also show you how to drive traffic to your blog and post content that will earn you money. This girl is a mother of 3 (she had her third a week before I had Logan), and earns upwards of $30,000 per month! Full disclosure- I do NOT earn that. Haha, nowhere near it.
But just to prove I am not trying to sell you anything, Suzi offers a lot of great FREE content, like her 12 month plan to grow your blog to thousands per month. This course is totally free and jammed packed with valuable content and motivation. Sometimes I go through the course just to jolt my energy and motivation for continuing with my own blog.
I refer to Suzi as my “blog boss” even though we have never met in person. I’ve emailed her questions and she always responds personally. I’ve tried to figure some techniques out on my own but always end up coming back to Suzi because she has a simpler way of doing it. I’ve stopped referring to her as “this blogger I follow” to my husband and just tell him about “What Suzi says” because he knows who I am talking about. She really is the best and I highly recommend checking her out.
How I Started Mom by Design
I started blogging about 18 months ago on my previous website, Settled In. My blog back then only focused on interior decorating projects I had completed and the stories of how I completed them. About 8 months ago, I realized that I wanted to write about more than just design projects. I loved writing and my readers seemed to enjoy reading my content. I wanted the freedom to also write about parenting and life and other things that inspired me. I just wanted an all-around positive an encouraging blog for people to read and “escape to.” I also wanted to get serious about turning this blog into a profitable one and doing it the right way.
In the past three years, I have had three different websites from three different platforms including Sitebuilder, WIX and WordPress.com. When I decided to get serious about blogging however, I moved to WordPress.org. WordPress.org (as opposed to WordPress.com- the free version) allows you to self-host your blog and own all of your content. There are no ads from WordPress and I was able to completely customize my site. While WIX was definitely more intuitive, and I might even say more user-friendly than WordPress, this was the first site I created that gave me full range to customize every detail, even code by hand if necessary. If you want to make money from your blog, I recommend going with WordPress.org.
Getting a Host
Once I decided on my blog name, I needed to register the domain with a host. I went with BlueHost, which costs only $3.95 per month. They’re easy, user-friendly, and I’ve had no problems with them. They also offer 24/7 customer service in case you need assistance with anything. Bluehost can hold heavy-traffic blogs without crashing so the bigger your blog gets, the better it is to have a reliable hosting site.
What is a hosting site?
Suzi explains all of these terms in the following way:
Hosting Company = Landlord
Bluehost, my hosting company, is like my landlord. I pay them a small fee as rent for server space for my blog.
WordPress.org = Apartment
WordPress.org, the platform on which I build my blog, is like my apartment building. It is where I create my blog, write posts, decide on a theme and colors.
Domain name = Address
And lastly, my domain name is like my address. My domain name is “www.themombydesign.com”.
Making your blog look pretty
Once you’ve taken care of those three major logistics above (which in all honestly takes about 5 minutes), you can start to design your blog and make it look pretty. If you’re good at coding, WordPress allows you to do this in HTML. But if you are good at coding, you’re probably not reading this blog post in the first place.
My friend turned me on to Design By Bloom. They have beautiful, clean blog themes for WordPress users and are super easy to install. They are also a nice, small company so they offer plenty of great customer service. I went with their ELLE theme for Mom by Design and I think it’s beautiful.
Now Start Writing that Content!
At this point, you have all the tools you need to start writing your blog. Go through a course or two from Suzi and you’ll be motivated to make turn this fun hobby into a side hustle, and eventually turn that side hustle into a full-time job. It takes time and dedication, but blogging is such a fun outlet with an incredibly supportive online community.
If this was helpful, I’ll write some more posts on how to get traffic to your blog and how I’ve been utilizing social media differently after starting my blog. Good luck and have fun!!
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Comment below if you found this post helpful. What other questions do you have about starting your own blog? I will try to help in any way I can!