There are many reasons to start blogging. Just a few examples are that you get to learn new skills, it improves your self-esteem, can increase your career prospects and can even help you become a published author. But how do you go about setting a blog up in the first place? This can be a very real hurdle that new bloggers have to leap before they even get to the writing stage and it can put many off the idea before they have even begun. Here we delve into the ins and outs of setting up your own blog to help get your started…
Find Your Niche & Choose Your Angle
This is the most important part of starting your blog. The vast majority of successful blogs out there will have been based on a niche within a chosen industry, by creating a unique angle on a popular interior topic or finding your own individual subject you can carve yourself a section of the industry on which to become an expert and people interested in your chosen topic will flock to it.
Do you want to show people how to improve their home on a budget through DIY how to guides? Or do you want to inspire your readers to add some color into their homes and offices? The interior niches to blog about are endless for example Anna from Don’t Cramp My Style focused her blog on how to decorate rented homes and Kate Watson-Smyth looked to providing inspirational design.
Choose a Good Name & Domain
Not surprisingly the name of your blog and the domain are also up there as one of the most important things to do when setting up your blog:
What to look for in a name (and domain):
- Easy to type
- Different to other similar blogs
Remember to take a long term view when choosing your name, for example adding a year into your domain name will date very quickly. Make sure you pick a name that you’ll be happy with for years to come as rebranding can be extremely difficult.
Other key points to remember when choosing a name:
- Keep it classy – using rude words may sound fun to start with but when you are explaining it to people when you are out and about it may cause a different initial reaction to what you are looking for.
- Make sure the .com domain is available – you might not think this is that important but web users are now so used to going to websites with .com they might forget the URL.
- Don’t forget social media – make sure all social media profiles are available for the name you want to run with.
How to Buy the Domain
Now you’ve decided on a name (congratulations!) it’s time to buy the domain. TSOHOST is a reliable provider for domain names and hosting (we will be covering this in more detail later).
Simply go to their domains page & search for your desired domain. If it’s available simply click the buy button. Follow the checkout steps and hey presto – you’ve made your first steps to creating your own blog.
Now you have your domain it’s time to get hosted, this is basically the server on which your blog actually lives. Your hosting service will affect your site’s speed and overall capacity, so you need to look for a reputable hosting company with a reliable service.
TSOHost offers great value hosting with very high reliability and speed. Prices start at £2.99 a month or £14.99 for the year. As you are just starting, the basic package will be fine for now and it’s very easy to upgrade when we start growing your blog. They also have round the clock support and respond extremely quickly when contacted.
There are many options available to bloggers, but WordPress the most well-known and easiest blogging content management system to use – it powers almost 20% of all websites.
It’s immense, it’s easy, it’s used by multi-million dollar publishers like CNN and People Magazine, and nearly every blogger we know uses it, which means there are lots of professionals out there to help you out if anything goes wrong.
Because of this, most hosting services (including TSOHost) offer an easy way to install it, in just a few clicks.
Once you’ve connected your domain with your hosting, simply click ‘Install Applications’ On the next screen you’ll see the option to install WordPress. It will take a few moments, but once set up you’ll see a login for you to start exploring.
Now you’re in – it might look a bit daunting to start with, but don’t worry it’s very easy to use and it won’t take long before you’re virtually an expert. There are plenty of tutorials online that will teach you anything you need to know – and if you ever get stuck, Google it.
Here are some great initial guides for learning WordPress:
Beginners Guide to Using WordPress – Paid for Videos ($15 a month but we are certain you’ll be a master by the time the first month’s up)
Get a Professional Theme
WordPress has a lot of free themes in their directory, however spending a little (up to £30 / $50) can seriously boost the success of your blog.
Themeforest offers thousands of professional themes from simplistic options to elaborate magazine-style designs. The themes available have hundreds of options for customization, are usually responsive, and have a support team to solve your queries within a few hours. To prove to you we practice what we preach – we are currently using WordPress and a theme from Themeforest on this very blog.
Once you’ve bought a theme it’s time to install it on your site. Themes will usually include installation instructions, so this shouldn’t be difficult. In Themeforest, for example, you’ll be able to download the installable WordPress file. Once you’ve done that, you can log in to WordPress, click on Appearance – Themes – Upload and you’ll be on your way to a beautiful site.
Add Some Plugins
With your site almost ready to go at this point, it’s time to start thinking about WordPress plugins. These will help improve the functionality of your site and give you a host of new features. Here are some of our favorites:
Yoast SEO – The dream plugin to optimize your blog to get more organic traffic.
Akismet – The spam comment eradicator, never have to deal with spam comments again with this plugin.
Google Analytics by MonsterInsights – Set up Google Analytics and sync it easily with your blog with this plugin.
Contact Form 7 – Create an easy & simple contact form.
Sumo – A great free plugin with so many options, perfect for social sharing buttons!
Paid For Plugins
- Thrive Leads & Content Builder – A great plugin that allows you to create much more flexibility with your posts & pages. Introduce parallax styles, multiple columns, and easily embed videos and so much more. Also, the leads section allows you to easily grow your email list which should be on the top of your agenda.
There are of course many others to look into as well, but these plugins will give your blog an excellent start and once you have mastered these you can look to new options to improve your blog further.
Create Your Social Media Profiles
Claim your desired screenname on each of the big ones – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and if you can try to keep your name the same across all domains.
Keep in mind that Facebook sometimes will not let you create a custom URL until you have 25 fans – so invite all your friends for you to get to that number and secure your username.
It’s been a long time coming but now your blog is set up and ready to go!
The tips up to this point will get you online but now comes the hard but rewarding bit – the writing! You can spend a little or a lot of time and money on setting up your blog but at the end of the day what you put on it will be what makes it successful. Now’s your chance to wow your readers with your words, knowledge and imagery on your chosen subject to complete the blog building process!
Bonus Pro Tip: Build an Email List
Repeat visitors will be your biggest fans who will share your content much more than new visitors. To keep readers coming back for more, build an email list so you can inform your most loyal supporters when you have new content for them to read. Use whatever tactics you are most comfortable with to grow this list, whether it be lightboxes, exit intent pop ups, slide up boxes or smart bars, they all work amazingly well.
Best option – combine Thrive Leads with Mailchimp. Or for more options and flexibility you can use GetResponse which starts at a low monthly cost.
Now you’ve started… Go grow your interior blog!