‘ello ‘ello! Welcome to The Creative Blog Co. Are you ready to start a blog or online business? This is where we start (or build on) your digital story. We’re here to help you focus on your creativity, and launch your passion projects online.
I’m Amie, a seasoned blogger and creative from Sydney, Australia. Through The Creative Blog Co., together we can work towards your dream creative life.
So the first question that usually comes into your head when you think about starting a blog is: how do I do it? Followed by, what can I blog about?
Reach into your creative soul and get ready to work. If you’ve ever considered just doing it or you want to step it up a notch from the free blog publishing websites, here’s the basics to get you up and running. We’re talking your niche, buying your own domain, how to plan and blogging best practice.
Let’s get messy!
Step 1: Your Blog
For most — myself included — this is the hardest part. What do I want to blog about? Do I even have anything to blog about? What if no one reads my blog? All valid questions. They say write what you know, so ask yourself: what can I write about that I will enjoy and others will benefit from? It doesn’t have to be complex, or new or original, but it does have to be something you know you can be persistent and passionate about.
Ultimately, your creative blog or business should be about the life you lead. To write a vegetarian recipe blog but not eat vegetarian food yourself is misleading to your readers. Your audience is also important to your blog’s topic — can you answer their burning questions or fill a digital void in their lives?
This is the must-know, must-do formula to follow to find your niche.
Interest 1 + Interest 2
Here are some examples of what makes up a niche:
— Photography + Animals = Niche
— Craft Beer + Fitness = Niche
— Craft Beer + Feminism = Niche
— Candle making + Entrepreneur Tips = Niche
— Fitness + Baking = Niche
So really, you can lump anything together and someone out there is feelin’ you and what you’re about too. Stuck on what one (or both!) of your topic(s) could be? Refresh your imagination with these popular blog topics:
— Travel (in your hometown, living in a new city, a year abroad)
— Design (DIY, craft, art, architecture)
— Health & Fitness
— Fashion/Personal Style
Start thinking about your blog’s brand, essentially, it all boils down to your purpose. Of course things like SEO come into play, and if you’re trying to target a specific niche, having your keyword/s in your blog’s name can help. Try a blog name generator — that will show you what domains you can play with — such as NameMesh.
Step 2: Your Platform
The age old question for those starting a lifestyle blog: do I use Blogger/WordPress/Squarespace/Wix for my blog?
If you’re not willing to spend any money on your blog, the subdomain may answer this question for you. But if you’re more focused on which platform is best for you, look to your favourite blogs and bloggers. What are they using? How does it work for them? The Creative Blog Co. uses WordPress for the reason we always have, but it’s also simple to use, easily customisable, and a whole bunch of great blogs are created on WordPress.
Step 3: Your Hosting & Domain Name
With your blog topic and domain name top of mind, it’s now time to get into the technical side of things. Starting with your domain name. Head to CrazyDomains* and see if your chosen domain is available.
So now that you have your snazzy new domain name, you’re going to need hosting. This is the part where most first-time bloggers get confused. So pay attention. On a free blogging website, such as Blogger or WordPress, your site is hosted on their account. You don’t own these websites, you share a space with millions of other free users — and that’s the reason you have a subdomain. To own your own domain and space on the internet, you need to purchase hosting. Lucky for you, our friends over at Bluehost* can offer you a sweet, sweet deal.
To get started, sign up for a hosting account with Bluehost by clicking here (or below):
Once you’re in your Bluehost account — or your cpanel, you’ll find a lot of fun stuff to play with. First, you’ll need to add your CrazyDomains* domain name to your Bluehost account. You can either follow the guided tour, or simply click through as outlined below:
Bluehost will send you a nice email telling you “YAY YOUR DOMAIN IS HOSTED!” and then you’re pretty much good to go. Time to install WordPress! On your hosting homepage, scroll down to the Website header and install WordPress (as below). Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to access your dashboard via a link just like this: www.myblog.com/wp-admin
Voila! Now you’re ready to start designing.
Step 3: Your Design
Just like the free version of WordPress, you can access thousands of themes for free. But for a lifestyle-type blog, one of your key aims should be an attractive website. The reality is, if your website isn’t in top shape, people aren’t going to read your content, no matter how amazing it may be. Think visually — what do you want your blog to look like?
Write out a plan. Yep, just scribble it on a bit of paper. Work out the layout of where you want things to go, your website infrastructure (titles, menus, etc.) and find a theme that matches that. If you don’t have any experience with themes and making customisations, reach out!
Step 5: Your Content
Your content is the crux of your blog. Here’s a few handy internet-friendly tips to work towards a successful creative online business:
- Plan your content— An editorial calendar will save you from stagnancy. Keep motivated and consistent. It’s a fail safe plan to ensure you’re continually publishing and engaging your readers.
- Write from experience — there’s some statistic, somewhere out there, that states bloggers who start with a story in their posts generally get more engagement. Connect on a deeper level, it might just surprise you.
- Don’t be afraid of writing lists — this may seem like it’s done time and time again, but it’s easy to write and people will read it.
- Keywords — you’ve heard it, we’ve all heard it. Install Yoast SEO and find out how your posts are scoring up against your blog post’s topic. It’s a really handy tool if you want to get recognised on Google for top content.
- Be responsive — this is important. Take the time to get to know your readers, it’ll make for better content and you’ll soon find yourself part of a blogging community.
- Give it your best shot — even if no one reads your blog, or you get a few readers here and there, it’s truly a creative outlet. Just give it a try, you never know where it’ll take you, both personally and professionally.
With hope, this blog post could help you set up your dreams and start a blog or online business. We’re here for your creativity. Tell us in the comments if you’ve put any (or all) of this guide into action.
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