How to start your own blog today
I’m often asked how and why I started blogging. On one hand, I’ve always enjoyed writing so that bit makes sense. On the other, I’m a total technophobe with no prior knowledge of websites, social media or anything to do with IT. So how does a girl like me end up with her own website and an online presence? I’ll let you into a not-so little secret: it’s really, really easy! Here is everything you need to know to start your own blog.
Choose your topic
The Determined Diner actually isn’t my first blog. I started off writing about something entirely different – human rights. This was my first foray into blogging and I guess it was a bit of a test run; not least of all because I realised that I didn’t really enjoy the almost permanent state of confrontation such a topic induces. I also discovered that I was more interested in all the different food and travel accounts around, so I shelved my first blog and started The Determined Diner instead. I learned two lessons from this. Firstly, it’s not the end of the world to call time on one thing and over again; secondly, you need to write about what you love. Blogging should be fun, not a chore.
Choose your platform
This is where I get the most questions. How did you start your own blog and create your own website? Especially if you don’t know ANYTHING about websites?? I had always thought it would be really difficult – that I had would have to learn how to code or pay someone else to create something for me. And how would I maintain it? I was so wrong. A quick Google search turned up everything I needed. First off, I discovered WordPress which makes life so easy. They have loads of free website templates that you can customise and the back-end, where you write your posts, is really user-friendly. As it’s so popular, there are plug-ins for everything that you could possibly want your website to do – from SEO to social media buttons. Again, these are super-easy to work with through WordPress. Oh and it’s free!
You can choose between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. If you choose WordPress.com then WordPress also host your blog – but your URL will have the WordPress suffix. If you choose WordPress.org then you can use a domain name and URL of your choosing but you will need to pay for hosting and for purchase of a domain. Which leads us to the next stage….
Choose your host and domain name
Your domain name is very important – it’s essentially the name of your blog, so make sure it’s one that you’re happy with and one that’s easy for others to remember. I chose to go down the WordPress.org route and generate my own domain name. To do this, I used GoDaddy and, again, it was ridiculously easy. Once you’ve chosen your domain name, just type it into the search bar on the GoDaddy homepage and see if it’s available. You will then have to purchase it on an annual basis but it’s usually not a huge amount of money – mine is £6.99 a year.
One of the reasons I chose GoDaddy is that they are synced up with WordPress. So if you choose WordPress as your platform, it’s then really easy to get started. You just click the WordPress option on the GoDaddy homepage and away you go. Again, if you go down this route there is a cost for hosting. I pay just over £17 a quarter but there are different plans available, depending on what you want.
Choose your social media channels
You can write a blinding article but if you don’t tell anyone you’ve done it then you’re basically shouting into the void. Admittedly, blogging (and social media) can sometimes feel a bit like that anyway, but you need to share your work because the chances of someone just randomly stumbling upon your masterpiece in Google are basically non-existent. Especially when you first start your own blog. This is where social media comes in; it’s your platform to tell the world about your awesome new blog. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat or a combination of any or more of these, you’ll quickly work out what suits your needs best and what you enjoy using most. Follow and interact with other accounts that interest you to build up a following and get to know likeminded people at the same time.
Starting this blog has not only resulted in me learning new skills; it has opened so many doors and provided so many amazing opportunities for me. It’s also given me something to focus on when my health has been poor – in fact, that was one of the reasons I started writing in the first place. Whatever your motivation, starting your own blog could end up being more rewarding than you could ever imagine.
Now all you need to do is start writing. Good luck with your new blog!
How and why did you start your own blog? What platforms do you like to use? Let me know in the comments.