I’ve been blogging since 2005. To say it has become a part of me and who I am would be an understatement. I get asked a lot about this crazy thing called blogging. How did you get started? How did you come up with blogging topics? How can I do the same thing? Do you really make money? I mean, like. real money? Keep reading…
Blogging + My Dream Life
Blogging has allowed me to meet some amazing people who do the same thing I do (and they get me), attend some fantastic conferences, work at home so I can be more available for my family and give me an income I never dreamed possible. Not to mention the freedom to dig down deep into my creative side. I get a thrill when I sit down to brainstorm ideas for a topic or a current campaign I’m working on. Just about every morning I wake up excited to see what the day holds.
Oh and about that making, like, real money thing. Let’s just say my husband was able to give his two weeks notice recently and as of this writing, he has 2 days left. TWO DAYS. After that, he’s joining me at home. Dream.life.come.true.
I’ll never forget the day I came up with my first blog topic. I bought the domain name, set up hosting and as they say…the rest is history.
So, you want to start a blog? This is a process I’ve done when coming up with new a blog topic. I have started more blogs than I care to tell you about, but I have also sold five blogs for high dollar amounts. Each time I sold one, it gave me some breathing room to move on to my next idea. Here is the process I went through each time.
Four Things to Do This Week to Get Started Blogging
1. Write down everything you’re interested in, passionate about or want to learn to become good at.
This is how you come up with a topic for your blog. You dig down deep, pulling out everything that is inside of you. Even if it sounds ridiculous (underwater basket weaving), write.it.down. As you’re brainstorming, ask yourself these questions:
- What can you talk about for hours?
- What do people ask you for advice on?
- What are some of your favorite TV and movie genres?
- What kinds of book and magazines do you gravitate to?
- What have you done in your life as far as jobs or volunteer work?
- What is something you have wanted to get good at and learn?
- What lights a fire under you when you talk about it?
- Who do you look up to?
- What types of blogs do you find yourself reading on a consistent basis?
Keep this list with you forever. You just might find yourself coming back to it over and over again.
2. Brainstorm at least 10 blog post ideas.
Now that you have your blog topic, it’s time to brainstorm what the heck you’re going to fill it with! I have never started marketing or promoting a new blog until I had at least 10 posts up. Why? Because as a blog reader myself, if I came to a blog and there are one to three posts there for me and that was it, I would leave and probably not remember to return. But if there’s a solid amount of killer content, it’ll be memorable and I’ll be back.
Take your topic and ask yourself a few questions:
- What do people want to know about this topic?
- What do people need to know about this topic?
- What are people typing into Google to research this topic?
- What did you need to do personally to learn about this topic?
- What did you do to become knowledgeable about this topic?
As you’ve heard said before – throw up on the page, no idea is a bad idea (debatable I guess right?) and write like your life depended on it.
3. Pick a really good, great, awesome domain name.
Back in the day, us bloggers chose domain names based on our main keyword. For example “Best Outfits for Moms”. Not anymore. Your domain name is your brand. It’s who you are. It’s what you represent. It’s what you’ll say out loud when people ask you in the elevator, so what do you do? So if saying www.imstillahotmomeventhoughijustturned40.com would feel awkward and uncomfortable (and embarrassing) to say, then don’t go with that domain name. (Someone please check if that’s available. No I’m not going to buy it. Yes, I’m about to hit 40. Sigh)
Make it short. Most recommend not going over 3 words. Make it memorable. Make it YOU. Think about what domain names you like and why?
4. Purchase your domain name and set up hosting.
I am literally getting excited as I type this. Almost shaking. It could be because I’m on my second cup of coffee and I have no food in my stomach. Nah. It’s because I love this step with all of my heart. This is where it gets real people.
I have always set up my hosting through HostGator. I have been with them so long I’m thinking about getting a tattoo that says “I Heart HostGator“. Here’s my initial design.
They have helped me when I broke my blog. They also helped me that one time I broke my blog. Oh, and then there was the time they helped me when I broke my blog. I literally called them one time and said “I BROKE MY BLOG!” Me + technology are so not best friends. They have 24/7 live support via chat, phone, and email and believe you me, I have needed it. Here are a few more benefits of HostGator:
- They have one click WordPress installs, which makes setting up your blog a simple process
- They have drag and drop tools that make building a site super, yes, simple
- They have a design service in case you don’t want to build your own site
- Plus a number of other helpful benefits, which you can learn more about here…
The newest release to the family, is the new HostGator Optimized WordPress and it can become your best friend. How so?
Benefits & features of the new Optimized WordPress
- Automatic updates of plugins/theme/WordPress
- Sitelock malware scanning and removal
- Sitelock Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- CodeGuard daily backup and restores (down to the file level)
- HostGator Optimized WordPress is a new premium product and just a small extension to existing products provided by HostGator
You can find additional information about this new release here.
So, are you ready to start a blog? I hope these tips will help get you well on your way to starting that blog you’ve been dreaming and talking about. People ask me all the time if it’s too late to get into blogging. Meaning, is is saturated. No. No, it’s not. Come up with a topic you feel really good about. Just BE YOU. Treat it like a business. Work your butt off.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.