Starting a new blog can seem like a daunting task. You've got a great idea you want to share with the world and... now what? Do you need a domain first? How to choose what hosting you want? What about free options? Read our five absolute must-haves for starting a blog to help you get started:
1. A unique name
This seems like a no-brainer, but it's honestly the toughest part! Your name is so important -- it helps potential readers know what your blog is about + who you are. For instance, I chose Sweet Hello Designs because I wanted to have a fun, feminine name that simultaneously let everyone know I'm a designer. A good place to start is with an online synonym dictionary! Pick a few words that are important to you and your blog concept and find some synonyms. This will help you find new words that will work together to give you an awesome blog name!
2. An Instagram
Of all the social media platforms you need, Instagram is the most powerful for bloggers. It helps you find others with similar interests and build a supportive community that inspires you! Need I say more?
3. Pick a platform
This is the time to ask yourself -- what's my goal? Is it to gain a huge following so you can get sponsored posts and monetize your blog? Is it a way for you to build up your writing portfolio? Maybe it's a creative outlet for you to reflect on day-to-day life. Whatever your goal is, it's important to pick the right platform.
If your goal is to build a following and one day make your blog your full-time job, then it's worth investing in a domain and hosting plan, and start with WordPress.org. Bluehost is the most affordable option, they include a free domain when you sign up with them, and they have a 1-click WordPress Install. Most will only need the basic plan, which can be as little as $3.95/month. Click the link to learn more about their hosting plans!
If you aren't sure you're ready to commit to building a blog, or want to test the waters first, then you can start on the free version of WordPress, WordPress.com. The free version comes with limited theme options (you can't upload a custom theme), but this can help you figure out if being a blogger is right for you! If you ever do want to switch over to WordPress.org, you'll have to buy hosting and transfer over your content.
4. Choose a Theme
A good theme does two things: it lets your content take center stage and gives your readers a good user experience. This means the theme looks and works great on phones and tablets too (aka is responsive), and everything looks cohesive -- the design and your content should work together to share your message and ideas seamlessly.
While we'd love to have you pick one of our designs, if none of them strike your fancy, our favorite place to shop is Creative Market. They really vet you before they let you sell with them, and offer awesome weekly freebies too!
5. A Schedule
The best thing you can do as a new blogger is to be consistent! Take a good hard look at your schedule and see when you have time to commit to blogging. Remember, a good blog post includes photos too, so you'll need to budget in time for shooting + editing, or digging through stock photos to find a good match. You'll want to have a couple of posts written when you launch your site so readers have a decent amount of content to look through on their first visit.
You're ready! Get out there and start blogging!