START YOUR DREAM BLOG

SO YOU WANT TO BE A BLOGGER

You have come to the right place if you want to begin your journey of becoming a blogger.  Congrats for already starting your research- it is such a rewarding journey!

I have been blogging for 5 months now and it has truly become a passion and exciting hobby.  Working a full-time, high pressured job in the fashion industry, and a mom to 2 active boys, I never thought I would find the time.  However, it is possible for your dream to become a reality in any situation you are in.

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links and I may earn compensation when you click on the links and purchase, and never at any extra cost to you.  

WHAT TO DO FIRST

Start a research board

I started most of my blogging research on Pinterest, where you more than likely found me!  Creating a Pinterest Board named “Money Maker,” allowed me to put all the useful Pins I found into 1 folder.  Originally, my goal was to use blogging as a 2nd source of income…but it has become much more fulfilling than that.  Make sure you pin the below to your new board for later…hint, hint.

(pin me for later)

Create a mission/theme

What kind of blogger will you be?  Will you have a specific niche or keep it more broad?  I have a lifestyle blog, which means I can pretty much write about anything.  However, my main topics are: beauty, home décor, DIY, and fashion.  Start writing down ideas!

Domain Name brainstorming

It took me awhile to land on “simplyprettylife.com.” You will see, promote, talk about your domain name ALL THE TIME so you will want to love it!   The domain name should be memorable, not too difficult to type, and as short as possible.  You will also want your name to not be so specific that in a year it will be outdated or not define your brand.  So think on it…a lot!  Bounce ideas off your family and friends.  And also do your research to see if it already exists.  I like this free website search here.

LETS GET THIS BLOG STARTED

Website Hosting and Blog Platform

To have a blog, you need reliable Web Hosting and a Blog Platform (where you will create all of your post content).  My hosting is through Bluehost, which is a very popular choice and standard in the industry.

I also love the 1-click WordPress install (wordpress.org), that automatically happens when you sign up with your Bluehost plan.  WordPress.org will allow you to monetize your site (make money from affiliates like Amazon and use display ads), as it is self-hosted.  Unlike WordPress.com, which is free, but has limitations on how much you can control.

Here is what Bluehost provides:

  • Free Domain Registration
  • Free Email
  • 1-Click WordPress Install
  • Free Website Builder/Customizable Theme
  • 24/7 expert support for any question/problem
  • Handle loads of traffic with reliable, cloud-powered platform
  • Tons of free-plugins (including google analytics)
  • SEO services
  • 30-day money back guarantee- this is huge!

How Much Does It Cost?

1st, click here to get started.  Then, click the “Get Started” button:

I personally only signed up for a 1 year Basic Package.  However, if you sign up for more than 1 year, your monthly amount goes down.  You can play around with the different options before you commit and give billing information.  Here is what you will see…so choose 1 (could start with basic).

Then, you can put in your chosen domain name (don’t worry, no commitment yet):

Next, you will enter some personal information (I made up a domain so you could see the next steps):

Now you can see the pricing options in a drop down.

I had chosen the 12 month price at $5.95/mo, and I chose the Domain Privacy Protection and nothing else:

For a total of less than $85.00 for 1 year!  

Now, you can backup and choose the Plus & Choice Plus plans as well to look at that pricing.

Next, you will enter your credit card info once you chose your domain name and ready to start your blog!  There will be a prompt to create your Bluehost account password- make sure you write it down.

You can then log in to your web hosting.  You can select a free theme, or you can skip that step for later.  I chose the Twenty Seventeen theme.

Bluehost will now install WordPress for you- yay!  When it’s done, click the “Start Building” button.

Here are some steps you will want to follow:

  1.  Go to the Users field at the bottom in the left menu.  And “Add New.”  Fill out the info, and change the Role to “Administrator.”
  2. Click the “show password” button.  Copy this password in a screenshot, as you will need it to log into your WordPress site.  Then click “Add New User” at bottom.
  3. To login to your WordPress site, go to http://yourURLhere.com/wp-login.php.  Here is the login screen…enter the Login & Password you just saved:

Now you will be in your WordPress Dashboard- where you will spend all your time!  CONGRATS- YOU MADE IT!

WORDPRESS DASHBOARD

Here is where you will create your first post:

Click “Add New,” and you can start writing!  Add a catchy title, add pictures (Add Media), and play with the different fonts and formats.  It won’t be made public until you click the “Publish,” button to the right- so no worries!

**Fun tidbit– there is a free WordPress App on your Apple phone to monitor your blog activity any time!  Or if inspiration hits, you can write too – although a bit tricky from a phone!  I always recommend creating your posts on your laptop or PC.

You can customize the look of your blog by using the “Appearance” menu on the left menu.  Start playing around and see what you can do.

Get familiar with Plugins…these are free tools you can use.  Some of my favorites (you can google them to read more about):

  • Yoast SEO (very important to drive organic traffic to your site)
  • Shortcoder (useful when you have to add your affiliate disclosure on each post, so you don’t have to re-type every time
  • Popup Builder (for a subscriber popup window)
  • Mail Subscribe List (other option to build your subscriber list)
  • Contact Form 7
  • Askimet Anti-Spam

These are just a few- but make sure you test 1 at a time.  I installed a plugin one time that basically shut down my site.  Bluehost was very helpful in getting my website back right away.

Also, make sure you get Google Analytics.  This is also a free resource that you can add to your Dashboard that will show you your traffic stats on the hour.  Also where your blog traffic is coming from- Pinterest, Facebook, Organic search traffic, etc.  It is addicting!!  I had a Pin go viral, and I have had a few days with over 1000 users!  See below my stats for just 1 day.

A disclosure/privacy statement is also very important.  Do your research on this- you may want to hire an attorney to read it over.  This protects you as far as collecting email addresses, and other things, like saying you use Google Analytics to collect data.  Or that the products you review, may not work for the person reading your post.

I hope you have found this post helpful.  Starting a blog can be intimidating at first- but don’t give up!  Again, do a lot of research…there are a ton of useful Pins on Pinterest that can help you from experienced bloggers.

I’m happy to help you too!  Feel free to Contact Me and ask any questions you have.

Happy Blogging to you and Congrats!

xoxo Lori

Fellow Bloggers!! Try Tailwind for Free- and you will see your traffic grow exponentially!

Tailwind is an easy to use tool for Pinterest or Instagram users who want to grow their blog traffic quickly and effectively.

There are easy to follow video tutorials that walk you through the process once you sign up for your free trial here.  They don’t even require a credit card to get started.   

Continue reading “Fellow Bloggers!! Try Tailwind for Free- and you will see your traffic grow exponentially!”

Got Blog? How I made my first affiliate sale in 15 days


Today is day 15 of my new blog, and it was the most exciting day so far.  I made my first affiliate sale with Amazon!  What’s so thrilling about a 57 cent commission when I make $XXXX.00/week with my full time job?  It’s the fact that I started this on my own, created a unique brand and image, decided what to write about, and someone is actually finding it valuable!   Continue reading “Got Blog? How I made my first affiliate sale in 15 days”