How To Start a Blog in 2020: A Beginner’s Guide
I get it. It’s daunting to want to start a blog. I started my first blog two years ago when I decided to no longer pursue my Master’s degree in Education. I had just graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Writing and I thought I wanted to teach. I was wrong. I hated every second of it. I wanted to write again. I wanted to create and make money from it. Please let me say though that there are better writers than me who do not have a writing degree and are six-figure bloggers. So don’t get discouraged if you’re “not a writer.” However, my first blog was named From Student to Teacher which was no longer true. So, I bought the domain you are reading from now – Kay’s Life.
When I first started blogging I had no clue what I was doing. I didn’t even start on WordPress! I started my blog on Wix which was fine for the time. But I am definitely a WordPress (and Elementor) fan. There is a lot that goes into a blog. If you plan to make money off of your blog then launching one is essentially starting a small business. The biggest question you have to answer is what are you selling? What are your goals with your blog? You don’t necessarily have to sell an actual product but what image or brand are you conveying? What information are you giving your readers? I’m selling blogging information with a side of my life that’s filled with coffee, mental health talks, and planning trips to get me through COVID.
The First Step to Blogging for Beginners
The first step, at least from my point of view, is finding a domain name. This is your www.blogname.com and the title of your blog. This is how people will find you. You also want to makes sure that all, or most, of the social media platforms you use have that name available as well. So for instance, all of mine are @kayslifeblog because @kayslife wasn’t available.
You can check to make sure the domain you want is available either on godaddy.com or by simple typing it into your search bar on your browser and see what comes up. I like to use Go Daddy because it will give you tips on if the domain name is a good length or if it has common keywords in it.
Then, purchase your domain! You can do this through Go Daddy but I would recommend purchasing it through your hosting provider which I’ll get into next. That way you don’t have to transfer your domain at all.
How To Find Hosting for Your Domain
There are a ton of website hosts. Why do you need a host? Well because you need your site to be live and working. A host company holds all of your website’s backend information so it can function on the world wide web. This is what you’re paying for! I LOVE Site Ground. A lot of bloggers love Bluehost (they’re great too!) but I am a huge believer in Site Ground and find them super easy to use. Seriously, go to Site Ground right now. I’ll wait!
They have hosting for WordPress just like Bluehost does. One of my favorite bloggers, Helene in Between, is a big proponent of Site Ground too. When I found out her hosting provider was Site Ground I literally yelled, “YES!” and fist-bumped the air at my desk. She’s such a successful blogger and an inspiration — it made me love her content even more.
You can purchase hosting through Site Ground here and I go over, in detail, about how to sign up and purchase hosting on Site Ground’s website in my free guide below. I also have a post about how to start your hosting with Site Ground here.
WordPress or Square Space or Wix?
As I said before. I love WordPress. It was a learning curve from going to a drag and drop style designer with Wix to WordPress. But I couldn’t even imagine going back. WordPress is so blogging based and blogger friendly it doesn’t surprise me that it’s all the big blogger’s favorite tool. It’s important to note that you need to be using WordPress.ORG, not WordPress.COM. The .org extension is for paid websites that have hosting and a domain. WordPress.com is free and does not have as many of the capabilities you need to truly run your blog. You can access your WordPress.org dashboard through your home page on Site Ground if you’re having trouble. You can also go to www.blogname.com/wp-admin.
I have heard that Square Space is gaining popularity but again, I don’t have much to say about it or Wix because I’m such a huge WordPress lover!
Setting Up WordPress
I have a detailed step-by-step tutorial in my free blogging for beginner’s guide. However, the first thing you need to do is log into Site Ground after purchasing hosting, go to your cPanel (this is a button on your home page), and then click “WordPress Installer.” Then, viola! It’s done. Now you can access your WordPress dashboard as I mentioned above.
You want to make sure to organize your blog posts on your website so things can be easily found. So, when you write a post make sure you designate the category and tag that it would fall under. You can create categories and tags by selecting “categories” under the posts tab on your dashboard. You can find the “tags” tab the same way.
Your categories should be a bit broader than your tags. So for instance. Maybe a category you have is Travel. Then your tags would be Europe, USA, Asia, etc. An even better example is if you have a Dinner category for a food blog and your tags are things like “Instant Pot meals” or “Keto meals.”
Start Making Content!
Alright, let’s get real here. Blogging isn’t all about designing your site and pinning images to Pinterest. It’s about writing content your readers want! You need to find the delicious sweet spot between what you want to write about and what your audience frequently searches for. In other terms, you need to do some keyword research. There is a brilliant blog post by Rebekah Dietz describing exactly what Pinterest SEO is and how to find long-tail keywords through Pinterest to boost your blog traffic.
The idea is when you find a topic you want to write about, you can (hopefully) get it to rank on Pinterest. So when viewers are looking for advice on how to do something they go to your blog.
So, if you read Rebekah’s post great! If not, I’ll quickly explain how to do a quick Pinterest keyword search. Let’s say I want to write about how to plan a trip to Ireland (which I am writing about!).
Above, you can see that I typed in “trip to Ireland” in the Pinterest search bar. This is okay. But think about how you would search for this on Pinterest. You can see Pinterest is telling me that people also searched for “trip to Ireland planning,” “trip to Ireland what to wear,” and “trip to Ireland budget.” I may want to include these words in my pin title and description.
What about a different search?
Okay so now we’re cooking. You can see Pinterest users definitely search this more often because more options and variations come up. So I am going to County Clare and Dublin as well as northern Ireland. So, I may want to add these keywords into my pin description. There is another way to keyword search on Pinterest as well. So I am going to hit enter and search “Ireland travel guide.” I am going to pay attention to the pins that pop up — especially the ones in the first two rows. I am going to look at what keywords they use in their pin photo and in their titles and descriptions. DO NOT COPY. I shouldn’t have to say that. But essentially what you are doing is looking at what your competition is doing to rank and fitting in small bits of that to help your pin do well.
Okay, so first. What stands out to you? You shouldn’t have to scroll. Pinterest users will but you want to be BAM right there when they hit enter in the search bar. The ones that stand out to me are the ones I’ve highlighted in yellow. Why? Because they have bright colors and I think they are the most relevant. You can also see the gray bubbles at the top left of the screen. These are also keywords Pinterest is recommending me to use. However, we saw this earlier.
The two pins I found the most “clickable” were in the top row. I prefer the one on the right because of it’s brighter colors and the text is easier to read. I also just found it more relevant. You can see that they both basically just list keywords. This can be common in some niches. It usually isn’t for things like blogging or cooking. However, it is important to experiment with Pinterest SEO and see what works for your content as well.
If you want to learn how to get readers to your blog using Pinterest and Tailwind click here.
So, let me show you how my pin would look.
You can see instead of just listing keywords I wrote an actual description of the pin and my blog post and then used hashtags to put all of the keywords I found relevant to my post. Then, make multiple pin images with similar keywords and PIN PIN PIN!
Now that you know how to purchase a domain, sign up for hosting, install WordPress, categorize your blog, and keyword research you’re ready to launch my friend! If you have any questions or you feel confused please make sure to download my FREE guide below. I can also be found on Instagram @kayslifeblog.
Happy blogging! Make sure to snag the Blogging Guide for Beginner’s.