Hey you! So you want to start a blog? Good for you! With your clever ideas and big ambitions, I’m proud of you. Since I was an awkward tween I’ve started lots of “blogs” on different free platforms over the years. Now that I’m an awkward adult I decided I should do it the “right” way. I researched and found the best services and companies for my own lifestyle/personal blog. The following recommendations are for if you are starting small with hopes of ultimately reaching 50,000+ unique hits a month, and monetizing your blog! Clearly I’m not there yet, since I’m just starting, but I will come back and edit this post once I’ve hit that point. So take these recommendations with a grain of salt right now as I’ve only been using these services for a week as I write this 😉
I named my blog after my first and middle name, Kolyssa Teal. I’ve seen many other lifestyle bloggers do this, and it conveniently worked for me because of my unique name. But if you don’t want to use your name, then consider your interests or ambitions, like Headed Somewhere. Or words that make you feel happy, like Lemon Stripes. Or even turn your name into a pun, like Happily Eva After. Now head on over to NameCheap and purchase your domain name! For the domain and positive SSL option, it cost me $11.05 for my first year.
Now that you have a name, you need a place to live! You need a host. My web host is Siteground. This host and other hosting websites use the platform called WordPress to make blogging a breeze. Don’t get confused by the PLATFORM WordPress (used by Siteground and other hosts) and the WEBSITE WordPress (which is another host). The website WordPress offers free and paid hosting using the WordPress platform. I recommend buying hosting through a different website like Siteground that uses the WordPress platform. For 1 year startup hosting with Siteground it cost me $47.40 for my first year.
Now you have a name and a home! Make sure you follow any instructions they give you for setting up your website! This is the fun part – you get to customize the look of your blog. You can choose from a variety of free options on the WordPress platform. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious like me, you can search the web for themes to purchase! (Or if you’re even more ambitious, you can design your own! This would require knowing how to code of course). I love <em>press themes. They are clean and professional. I was fortunate to purchase mine when they had a sale, so I invested $55.20 for my theme. It came with great tips and instructions on how to utilize and customize the theme. I added categories that I anticipate blogging about, and organized my main menu with those main categories and subcategories under them.
Once I got into a good blogging routine, I signed up for Amazon Associates! This is my first step to monetizing my blog. Amazon will provide product links, and if readers click the link in my blog post I can earn a small commission if they choose to buy the product!
So that’s how I got started! For my first year of blogging I invested a total of $113.65. I only had to pay for the theme once, but next year I will need to renew my domain and web host. I’m hoping by then I will have monetized my blog and paying for another year will be a piece of cake!