First of all I would like to send out many MANY thanks to Jacob. if you are thinking about setting up a blog and have no idea where to start–go to his website! He is a wonderful man who really pushed me to dig deep. He not only helped me develop my blog name but how to setup the entire blog too. God love him. He has an incredible site setup guide for newcomers like me that is so incredibly helpful. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Jacob you are such a dear.
- Getting Focused: Know what your blog is going to be about before starting it
- A Memorable Blog Name: Come up with an awesome name you’ll love, I’ll show you how
- The Basics of Setting up your Blog: Know the difference between a blogging platform and a host, whether to use a free service or have your own site
Ive talked to a lot of people about starting a blog, and a lot of people say they want to start a lifestyle blog that covers fashion, food, travel, home, and life. I would say this is a big mistake. If you look at the big lifestyle bloggers out there, they all started with a focus. Take A Beautiful Mess as an example. Elsie’s previous blog was on scrap booking. Only after years, did she start adding in other topics like home decor, food, travel, DIY etc.
A lot of newbie bloggers get excited about starting a blog, but they stop after posting 3-5 times. For me this is because they are not focused.
Imagine trying to travel to 4 different countries in 4 days. It is possible, but how enjoyable will that be? How much will you get out of that experience?
Now imagine trying to start a blog that talks about a whole range of different topics (food, fashion, home, etc..). After a month, say you wrote 3 posts a week (which is tough for a newbie as there is a lot to learn about starting a blog), that would mean you’d have 12 posts at the end of the month. But these 12 posts will be about so many different topics. For a new visitor to your blog, it would be very hard to know what your blog is about. And for you, after a month of writing, it would be hard to get a sense of achievement when your blog is all over the place.
Say you focused down, and started a food blog. Not just any food blog, but a food blog on simple Asian dishes. At the end of the month you’d have 12 awesome posts. People visiting your site would know where to go next time when they wanted simple Asian dishes.
When I talk to people about naming their blog, I get them to write out a little bit about themselves and what they want their blog to be about. I try to get them to really define what their blog is going to be about. You can see some of the stories of people defining and focusing their blog, and coming up with name ideas in my naming post below.
This is what you should do:
- Write down a little about yourself, see what makes you unique
- Write down what sort of blog you want to create
- Now start asking yourself “why?” Why do you want to create this blog. Is it to help people, if so who? Is it to share your ideas? Is it to learn something new, if so what, and why do you want to learn it?
Here are some examples:
- I want to create a travel blog –> Why? –> Because I think traveling is best way of learning –> Then my blog will be about life lessons through traveling
- I want to create a food blog –> Why? –> Because I have a hard time finding healthy dessert recipes –> My blog will be about healthy desserts
The Benefits of Having a Focused Blog
- You will build momentum faster
- You will build a following faster
- Your blog will be more memorable to visitors
- It will be easier to market your blog on similar sites
- It is easier to get a sense of achievement after writing 10 posts
- It is easier to come up with a memorable blog name
Having a blog focused on a specific topic will help you create a memorable blog name. I’ve written a post on the different creative ways you can come up with a blog name here: How To Come up with Creative Blog Name Ideas that are Meaningful. The post includes examples and stories of people coming up with their name ideas.
Here are the basics of what makes up a blog, the difference between a blogging platform and a host, and the benefits of having your own blog site.
A) Blogging Platform
WordPress and Blogspot/Blogger are publishing tools. They allow you to log into your blog, and easily write a post. If you didn’t have one of these, you would need to build your site by scratch. I would recommend WordPress. It is the one I use for Home Tree Atlas, and everyone I know ends up switching over from Blogspot/Blogger to WordPress. There is just so much more you can do with WordPress.
Now, you can get a free blog with WordPress.com or Blogspot/Blogger. Your domain name will be something like: www.myblog.wordpress.com or www.myblog.blogspot.com. It is free, but you don’t really own your blog. There are also restrictions on what you can do, like the look of the site, or putting up ads if you want to make money.
B) A Host
Bluehost is a hosting account (it’s the one I use for Home Tree Atlas). It is like a on online hard drive where you store the files for your site. It is a paid service. You can use WordPress.org (not .com) or Blogspot/Blogger to power your blog. But with a hosting account you own your site/blog, and can do what ever you want with it (add adverts, start a shop, etc.). You also get your own domain name www.myblog.com – it looks more professional.
If you want to get your own site set up, www.myblog.com, it is quite simple and easy. Once you sign up to a host like Bluehost, you only need to click on one button and WordPress is all set up. Within 4 minutes you can start blogging.
It just depends on what you want the blog for. If you plan on doing this long term and want to make money from it (through ads, a shop, or selling your services) then having your own site would be best. If you want to just blog about personal tid bits, then maybe a free one would be best.
To set up your own blog on a host (it takes 4 minutes), you can follow along with my simple guide here >> DIY Project: How to Start a Blog