How to Start a Blog

Hi Lovies!

In my blog’s young lifespan, I have received several questions about how to start a blog.

When I first had the epiphany that I would start a blog, I had absolutely no clue how to begin.

So before I dive into this, I want to say Thank You to all of the bloggers and YouTube channels out there who took the time to teach me to blog from the ground up!

There is no ‘right way’ to do this art of blogging so please feel free to do this your own way.

My goal here is to give you the information that has been most helpful to me in my adventure with this website.

 I have compiled the top five questions I have received in reference to blogging and have answered them with what has worked best for me.

Here we go!

How to start a blog…

How to Start a Blog

1. What shall I blog about?

What Shall I Blog About?

This one is a lot easier than you may think.

Blog about your passions.

What is it that you do in your spare time every day or on the weekends that you just can’t get enough of?

What can you talk about for hours without getting bored?

For example, I love to crochet, craft, and read about all sorts of self-improvement and personal growth topics.

I have been doing all of these things since I can remember.

It excites me to try a new crochet project, refurbish a piece of furniture, or read a new book on personal finance.

I thoroughly enjoy all of these activities and will participate in them regardless of whether I blog about them or not.

That’s the key: Your blog will ideally be about something you are going to do anyway and you write about it along the way.

At least, that’s what works for me.

Then take the category or categories you love and write about them in a way that adds value to your readers’ lives. Typically, if it is a topic you love and have experience in, you will inevitably add value to your readers’ lives by telling them about it.

So what are you passionate about?

2. Is blogging hard work?

Is blogging hard work?

I have gotten this question quite a few times and to be honest, it baffles me.

My dad always says, “if it was easy, everybody would do it.”

Is anything worth doing truly easy?

Seriously, can you think of anything you have accomplished and been proud of yourself for that did not require ‘hard work’?

I think the key here is that hard work is subjective. If you’re writing about something you absolutely love, then it does not feel like work. It feels like creation. It feels fulfilling and worth-while.

Sometimes I don’t necessarily want to edit pictures, watch tutorials, or fill in all the SEO boxes…but when I really think about it, I do want to do those things because they help me share my joys with others.

When I get an email from someone thanking me for sharing my crochet patterns for free or that my reasons to try minimalism encouraged them to change their life, my heart is so full!

So to answer the question: Is blogging hard work?

If hard work means taking the time and energy to create something amazing that helps others and makes you happy, then yes, it’s hard work.

I think if you have a higher purpose or meaning to your work, it changes the game.

If you want to get a taste of what the majority of your blogging experience will be like, start writing posts about your topic and email them to yourself or save them in a word processor to see if you find joy there.

If you don’t like the idea of writing in general or sharing your ideas with others, you probably don’t need a blog.

I’d say try this for at least a month or so to see if you truly enjoy it and if it feels like ‘hard work’ in a negative way. If you’ve built your topics around things you love, it should feel amazing!

3. Should I use a free site or pay for hosting?

Should I use a free site or pay for hosting?

I, along with most other bloggers, recommend paid hosting.
I am by no means an expert in the reasons why or why not but when the majority of professionals recommend paid hosting, I buy hosting.
Here are a few reasons I chose to go with paid hosting:
  • Free hosting does not always allow you to use all the features you would like to make you site look professional.
  • Free hosting does not give you full control over the advertisements that appear on your site, which can limit your ability to monetize your blog if you choose to do so.
  • Free hosting does not allow you to own your domain; for example, would be something to the effect of

After reading tons of articles on which hosting service to choose, I settled on Bluehost since they were most highly recommended and only cost $3.95 per month. Bluehost also offers a free domain name.

(Please note if you purchase hosting with Bluehost using my link, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you; thank you for supporting this blog!)

After learning this the hard way, I do recommend purchasing domain privacy protection when you purchase your domain or else your personal address and phone number will be public for anyone to find.

Update July 2017: When I wrote this post, I genuinely thought Bluehost was the best option and I actually use it. However, they neglect to tell you that after your first year, the price increases substantially and that their customer service is horrible.

 I have read several other testimonials from bloggers using other hosting services, and am currently looking into converting.

After you have established your domain, go ahead and sign up for all social media accounts with the name of your blog. Even if you do not choose to use them all, you still have your account name secured.

So overall, paid hosting will be an initial investment but if you have completed steps 1 & 2 and know you are in this for the long haul, then your investment will be well worth it.

4.  Did you build your site yourself?

Did you build your site yourself?

 Getting your site to look and function the way you want is hands-down the most tedious part of starting a blog.
Allow me to begin with: I am by no means a techy person.
For someone like me, who had no prior experience and no one to ask, it has taken me quite some time to figure out how the behind-the-scenes aspects work.
But the good news is that if I can do it, you can definitely do it!
Everything I have learned about running this website has been a direct result of watching tons of YouTube tutorials and reading tons of posts by other bloggers.
I installed a free theme called Tesseract because Tyler Moore has an incredibly detailed video that walked me through building my site step-by-step.

Now, I’m sure paying someone to design a theme for you would be much easier if you have the money and already have a solid idea about what you want your site to look like.

Maybe one day, I will hire a professional to design a theme just for my site.

Until then, I watched this two and a half hour video on how to do it myself!

Being that I’m already obsessed with DIY, I have a sense of pride and accomplishment in figuring it out. As a non-techy person, it feels amazing to say, “I built my own website!”

As far as plugins and widgets, I have watched quite a bit of tutorials on how to add different features. Listing and explaining them all would take me hours, so I recommend searching for the feature you need (I promise there’s probably a video about it) and trying it out!
Another tip I learned the hard way: Watermark all of your photos and politely ask folks not to steal your work. I use Canva for all of my photo editing because it has great quality while also being free.
I’m not going to pretend I didn’t get discouraged at times while building my site, but take comfort in knowing that once it is established, there isn’t much maintenance other than clicking ‘update’ when WordPress says so or when you decide to change a feature.

5. How do you make money?

How do you make money?

If you’re thinking of starting a blog for the sole purpose of making money, you probably don’t need a blog.

The reason I say this is because it is not a quick, sure-fire method of raking in dough.

As I mentioned earlier in steps 1 & 2, your blog should be centered on categories or topics you are passionate about and would participate in regardless of whether you don’t make a single dime or whether you make a full time income from it.

Fulfillment comes from creating something wonderful that adds value to someone else and if you happen to be compensated for it, that’s icing on the cake.

This blog did not originate for the purpose of making money, but it is nice to receive some compensation for sharing my passions in ways that do not harm my readers.
There are multiple ways to create income streams from your blog although I feel that there is an art to achieving this properly.
You want to find a balance between first creating amazing content that adds value to your readers while feeding your soul and second creating income streams that do not make you less genuine or make your readers question your motives.
Here are some examples that work for me:
  • I list ‘Items I Used’ for my crochet and craft projects at the end of my posts that are the most affordable to me and I have actually purchased myself. By no means do my readers have to purchase these items, but if they do, I know that they are quality products I have used myself and I make a small commission through Amazon Affiliates for that purchase at no additional cost to the reader.
  • Although my crochet patterns are free on my blog, some of my readers prefer a printable version and are willing to pay for an inexpensive digital download on Etsy. Once again, they still have access to the pattern and pictures for free, but if they choose to purchase the printable for convenience, a percentage comes back to me and my blog.
  • Remember in the previous question, I recommended BlueHost and included a link disclosing I will make a commission if you complete a purchase using it? I am by no means pressuring you to purchase it; in fact, I highly recommend being absolutely positive about starting your blog and researching your options before purchasing anything. If you do decide to start a blog and use my link, I make a commission at no additional cost to you and you know I’ve recommended something I actually use myself. I purchased my own domain using someone’s link to give them support for taking the time to write a how-to post for me!

  • Ads are my least favorite income stream, but also the easiest and hard to pass up. A Google Adsense banner like this one above allows me to create an income stream simply by you viewing this page. It populates an ad based on your recent searches or recommends a product or service you may like without obligating you to click on it or purchase anything. I do not love advertisements or encourage purchases through them unless the product or service is something that will add immense value to your life. For this reason, I keep them to a minimum of 2-3 ads per post in order to not decrease the value of my creations or make my readers think I’m in this simply for the money. I receive a small passive income simply because you look at them so thank you and please feel free to scroll on past them!

These are by no means the only methods of monetizing your blog, but only a few that have worked for me. Once again, I encourage you to focus on adding value to your readers’ lives first. If you are genuine, I find that readers are happy to know their page views and purchases support you as a byproduct.

If you would like to learn more about creating an amazing blog while also creating streams of income, I highly recommend Ruth Soukup’s How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul.

It is filled with invaluable information and inspiration from an incredibly successful blogger. I have underlined, highlighted, and scribbled notes all through my copy. I’ve read it twice, but still feel there are more excellent ideas to try so I will probably read it again soon.

How to blog for profit

I sincerely hope this has answered some of your questions about how to start a blog!

I have absolutely loved blogging so far and I hope it brings you just as much joy if you decide it’s for you too!

Thank you so much for your support of my creations.

I hope you have enjoyed this post!

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Happy Blogging Lovies

-Heather Corinne

©My Purpose in Life is Joy

May your mug always be half-full of joy!