Got a blog name picked out? You’ve narrowed down your niche? Already tinkered with blogging before? If you’re ready to go beyond having a basic blog and want to start investing in a site that will help you establish yourself as a professional blogger, then let’s dive in!
I will break this down in easy step-by-step process so hopefully there is little to no confusion, and you’ll have your blog ready to go by the end!
Step One – WEB HOST
You need to be able to self-host to be taken seriously and professionally as a blogger. When I was ready to move away from “Blogger”, I came across Michelle’s “Making Sense of Cents” blog. She is wildly successful, particularly with affiliate marketing, and I figured if I want to be successful like her one day, I should probably do what she did. Hence, why I chose Bluehost as my webhost.
Bluehost – My favourite thing about Bluehost is that, not only can I use WordPress for free, but it was so easy to install, use and customize! Customer support is always quick to get back to me and even helped me solve an issue when I accidently majorly screwed up! You can get Bluehost at a 50% discount with any purchase of a 12 month plan! Honestly though, if I could go back I would choose the “Prime”package, because I definitely would love to have gotten a free domain and the ability to have a safe and professional backup of my blog.
Step Two – NAME DOMAIN
GoDaddy – I first purchased my domain name from GoDaddy, and I have no complaints. I’ll explain later why I switched when I purchased pursuinglovely.com. GoDaddy is widely known and has some good support services if you have any issues, and they have sales often so you can snag a good deal on a domain name.
Bluehost – Because I am self hosted through Bluehost, buying a domain name, switching my blog over and redirecting the old domain was made really easy through Bluehost. I was pretty anxious about the change of domains, but it all worked out so smoothly! I followed their simple steps for everything and it was flawless.
Step Three – SITE THEME
Your blog is a representation of you and your niche. It should be visually pleasing as well as functional for your blogging needs. Unless you are talented with web design, you’re likely buying a theme to install on your blog site:
And if you’re wondering, I’m using the “Innovation” theme by Ruby, which has suited my blog very well and comes with a lot of neat features, such as a Slider and several customizations and pre-made demos.
Step Four – WRITING TOOLS
You can’t have a blog without blog posts! Be sure to have some posts nicely typed up before you officially launch your blog to the public. This way first time readers can get a good sense of what you have to offer and get hooked to your content! Here are some tools to make your writing stand out:
Grammarly – I’m an English teacher by trade, but even I need a second pair of eyes to check over my writing. Grammarly is my second pair of eyes. It checks not only spelling (which most computers have built in these days), but also for grammar. If you’re like me, you are a bit of a stickler for proper grammar! And even if you’re not, it doesn’t look professional to have sloppy writing.
SEO Yoast – Not only does it scan your blog post for it’s readability (reading level and appropriate writing style), but it also gives you a SEO score with different tools and suggestions on how to get the green light for your post.
Read More: Free Blogging Tools and Resources
Step Five – VISUALS
The two main visuals you need are stock photos to enhance your blog posts (ie: featured image) and pinnable photos and pins. Unless you are a professional photographer, graphic designer or have someone who helps you in that area, then you will likely need these resources.
Canva – While you can use it for free, there are many paid features and photos that can limit how much you use the site.
Unsplash – One of my favourite free stock photo libraries, probably the one with the largest library too! if I can’t find something on the other two, I will likely find it here!
Pursuing Lovely Shop – Did you know that I love making stock photos? Mostly they’re inspired for social media and lifestyle use. Check out my packages. More themes, such as home living and maternity coming soon!
Step Six – PROMOTION
Tailwind is integrated with Pinterest and is a self-running pin scheduler. This saves you a lot of time and can get you really organized with your pins and promoting them in your own boards or group boards. I really enjoy Tailwind because it is pretty easy to use and the layout is easy to follow and navigate. Start off on a free trial that allows you to schedule up to 100 pins for free, afterwards you have to pay to upgrade to keep using the app, but my link will get you a Free Trial of Tailwind Plus! This will give you access to all the paid features for a month, including insights and referral tracking!
Further Reading: How I got 13,000 views in 1 Month from Pinterest
I use this over Boardbooster any day. Buffer is so much easier to navigate through, and I can schedule up to 10 social media posts for free! I mainly use it for Facebook and Twitter. But you can also use it for Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and more. Although, you do have to upgrade to use more than 3 social media accounts. When you do, it’s 10$ a month or 102$ a year. I’ve been using the free version now for 2 years, but am considering upgrading before baby comes!
I hope this helps out anyone who is in the position I was 3 years ago when I first started diving head on into the blogging world! Be sure to check out my other blogging related posts to help you get started: