How to Start A Blog – Beginners Guide

How did I Start a Blog?  Well, to begin with, blogging was never something I had ever considered as a means to provide income.  I decided to start a blog about a year ago as a means to help other women veterans connect and share their struggles.  I soon learned the value of blogging!  When you start a blog, you are able to connect to people all across the planet and often truly provide content that can have an impact on their lives!  That is what happened with me.  Blogging can not only be therapeutic and provide a means for creative thought, but it can also become a sole source of income for you.  I work with veterans and disadvantaged women and want to share everything I’ve learned about blogging and how to start a blog because this could truly be a way to provide income.  Many, like me, have never even considered blogging and have absolutely ZERO clues on even where to begin. Well, not to worry!  I’m going to “dumb-it-down” for you because if you are anything like me, you have little to no knowledge of techie stuff and the semantics of how to get started.

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HOW TO START A BLOG

Decide on a niche and name

What is a niche and how do I figure out mine?

A niche is a basic category that your blog content falls into.  In order to start a blog, you have to decide what you want to blog about!  For me, that was the difficult part because I could literally talk about anything and everything!  For a blog to be successful, people need to WANT to read it.   What can you blog about?  Well, these are a few topics, however, it boils down to WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT OR AN EXPERT IN?
  1. Do you have a hobby that you are good (or at least fairly good) at such as crocheting, DIY, crafts, cooking, etc?  Are you considered a “handy person” that others are constantly asking for advice on how to do this or that?  Think about this – when you want to learn how to do something, do you go to the internet to look up “how to” articles and tutorials?  Well, if you know how to do stuff, blog about it so others can learn.
  2. Are you an expert in something such as business topics, finance, saving money & budgetingcoupons, pet issues, resume writing and employment strategies, etc?  I’m self-taught on a lot of stuff in these categories because it can be really expensive to pay to get advice from professionals.  Again, many go to the internet to get advice or learn about these things.  Use your knowledge to help others by writing about what you already know!
  3. Have you struggled with anything and have managed to pull through it?  Anyone going through a struggle is so much better off when they can relate to another person going through the same stuff such as addiction, mental health struggles, financial struggles, divorce, sexual assault etc.  If you have managed to pull through your own struggles, why not share with others how you did it and provide them a safe place to seek comfort and support?
  4. Are you an avid outdoor sports person, or maybe fishing and hunting?  Do you know a lot about the best gear or best locations for these activities?  Share your knowledge with others by blogging about it!
  5. Are you a stay-at-home mom?  These blogs are hugely popular because moms like following and learning from other moms!
  6. Know a lot about a lot?  Your blog could be set up to have more than one specific niche that could relate to another niche or 2.  That is how mine is set up.  I primarily blog about stuff to help others save money, but I also have a lot of content on resources for veterans as well as entrepreneur resources.  Veterans and budget strategies are different niches, but they can relate to each other in the sense of veterans want to know about veteran resources but many would also like to know how to save money or start their own business.
These are just a few ideas.  What it boils down to is what are you passionate about?  What could you just talk all day about that others might want to hear about?  The sky really is the limit on topics!

How do I pick a name for my blog?

When you pick a name for your blog, you want to be sure it relates to the content so readers will know what your blog is about.  It also needs to be one that is easy to say and remember so don’t pick a name that is super long or has words that are commonly misspelled.  You will also want to ensure it is a name that you can use as part of the domain name as well as for social media accounts.  Take TIME on deciding on your blog’s name!  You can check to see if the name you want is already in use by another blog by clicking here This is important because you don’t want to go through all the steps of designing a logo based on the name of your blog only to find out you have to adjust the domain name.  This can confuse readers.  When I was deciding on a name for my blog, several variations I considered had already been taken.  I finally found one that was available, but in checking social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest), the name was being used by at least one of them.  In the end, My Veteran Woman Life was a winner!  

SELECT A PLATFORM

In order to start a blog, you must have a website!  Now, I am a self-professed expert on everything internet, however, I have no clue about the techie stuff.  This is the part that intimidated me the most because I didn’t know how to make a website.  Not to worry!  There are several website platforms out there to choose from such as WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Blogger, and others.  I’ve researched many of them and by far, WordPress.org is the best that I’ve found.
There are actually two different WordPress platforms – FREE and SELF-HOSTED

WORDPRESS.COM

When I first decided to start a blog, I chose a WordPress.com platform.  Why?  Mainly because I didn’t know of anything else.  With WordPress.com you can create a blog for free.  Now, I just want to interject here that free often sounds great but free isn’t always the best.
Pros:
  • No setup required
  • easy to manage (great when you are NOT a techie)
Cons:
  • Limited options for extending your site
  • Can NOT run advertisements or set up affiliate links
  • You don’t own your site.
Like I said, I started with a WordPress.com site and it served a purpose of getting my content out there and gaining followers.  But when I decided to monetize my site, I quickly learned that wasn’t an option.  If you are set on blogging but just don’t have the money to invest, you can start with this free platform, then migrate over to WordPress.org once you save some money.  It is a bit of work, but it is doable because I did it.

WORDPRESS.ORG

WordPress.org enables you to have a self-hosted website.  Now don’t freak out on the “self-hosted” part!  Self-hosted just means YOU control everything about the site.  There are 3rd party companies such as SiteGround that will take care of all the techie stuff!  If you ever want to earn money from your blog, you MUST go self-hosted.
Pros:
  • Complete control of your site and its content
  • Ability to add features such as forums, online stores, plug-ins, tailored email opt-ins, widgets for connecting to your social media sites, and much more!
  • Access to free plug-ins to add all sorts of cool stuff to make your blog awesome
  • Is search engine friendly
Cons:
The only real con that I’ve found is that you do need to learn a bit about stuff like widgets and plug-ins to know which ones you need and why.

SELECT A THEME

WordPress.org software is free and easy with one-click installation.  Once you install the software, you can begin setting up your site.  One of the first things you will need to do is select a theme and layout for your blog. I highly recommend investing in a paid theme as soon as you can because as with anything – you get what you pay for.  Many of the free themes have limitations on adding widgets and stuff like that.  If you plan to make your blog a business you really need to find a nice PAID THEME to maximize the potential of your blog.  You can find some very nice ones for around $50 and you only have pay for it once!  There are, however, many free themes available on the internet.  If you are on a tight budget, it’s ok to go with a free theme from a trusted site like through the WordPress Marketplace, but just remember that this will limit your ability to monetize your site.  Here are a few of my favorites places to shop for themes!
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SELECT A DOMAIN NAME AND HOST



There are several web hosting platforms to choose from.  I use SiteGround because I had a horrible experience with my previous host.  Since switching over, I’ve not had a single issue and my site is actually loading faster than before!

I HIGHLY recommend SiteGround for your web hosting!  If you are ready to start a blog and are looking for the best hosting platform, you can sign up right here through my referral link!

OTHER IMPORTANT AND HELPFUL TOOLS FOR WHEN YOU START A BLOG


When you start a blog, it may be a bit overwhelming and you can tend to get into a rush on publishing your first blog post.  I am in a rush as a normal mode of operation!  And although I pride myself on being a great writer as far as proper spelling and punctuation, even I make mistakes!  One of the most helpful tools I’ve come across to help me ensure my content is grammatically correct is called GRAMMARLY.  This is a free tool that you can use and even install a browser extension so it is checking everything you type. You might say “well I use Microsoft Word and it has that function as well as a spell-checker.” GRAMMARLYchecks everything you type on ANY platform.  In this day and age, most of our typing and publishing of content happens on the internet so Microsoft won’t help you there!  The extension is really great because it tells you as soon as you make a mistake in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and word use.  It also gives you the correct replacement.  This is perfect for blogging because you may write long blog posts and by the time you are finished, your eyes may burn out on looking at the text and you will overlook mistakes.  I know I’ve read a few blog posts in that had content that was misspelled or they used the wrong word (their instead of there) and I tend to not see their content as credible because of those mistakes.  If you intend on making a business out of blogging, you never want to have mistakes in your content!!  This also applies when sending emails to your subscribers.

Aside from using it for blogging, I also highly recommend it for high school and college studentsfor writing their research papers because aside from spelling, grammar, and punctuation, it also checks for plagiarism!  For anyone in business who may send any form of correspondence through social media, GRAMMARLY can make sure your content is error free.
GRAMMARLY is a free tool that you can install and you can get it right here!


Tell me what you think!

  1. Wow! What a thorough and extensive article about blogging. This is a great resource for anyone wanting to start one. Great job 🙂 I will be subscribing!
  2. Thanks for such detailed, thought-provoking information! My blog has been on again off again. I am an artist, and I am trying to get away from having it be just about my art. Yet I need to sell my paintings so I keep going back and forth. But I am realizing that people who love art might also want to see things about interior design, or colors, or how to hang art, etc. So once again, I’m trying to revive it and keep it going.
  3. Thanks.
    When I started blogging, I did not read any guide and just wrote about my life like a diary. It didn’t seem to reach anybody.
    Years later, I researched about blogging and started a real blog and I put efforts into it. The result was far better. I just hope newbies will read this before starting their blog.
    • OMGosh! I did the same thing when I started! It was mostly to talk about my time in the military and the struggles of women veterans. Now I understand what is needed for it to be successful so I’m able to use it as a means to help others with finance and blogging!
  4. Hi there! I’m currently active duty Navy. First — thanks for your service. Second — AWESOME article for beginners. I am still considering myself a beginner, and this article had some nuggets of info that I am going to use. Thanks for sharing.
    • Thank YOU for your service Sister! I’m actually working on a post about why military/veterans should blog. Send me a FB friend request (Karen LeeAnn Fox) – I’d love to chat about duty stations!