46 In Blogging

Starting a Blog

How to Start A Blog | ashandcrafts.com

NOTICE: The following article contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you chose to make a purchase through my link. It does not affect the price you pay

Hello everyone! I don’t have a tutorial or any crafty project today. Instead, today I will be writing about how I started my blog!  I started my blog February 2015, and since March has just wrapped up, that means I have just finished my second month of blogging! I’ve learned a lot over a short period of time, I’ve also made many mistakes, but also developed some new blog friendships along the way. I am definitely no voice of authority, and I may be wrong on some things– as I still have a lot to learn– but I’ve written up my experience so far in hopes of helping other newbies who want to start a blog. I’ll be putting together info I learned along the way in this next series of posts.

How to Start A Blog | ashandcrafts.com

The Beginning

BLOG TOPIC
If you’ve already decided to start a blog, then you probably already have a niche or general topic in mind. Make sure this is something you’re really passionate about and that the topic is something that updates occasionally or can expand and grow along with your blog. For example, fashion is something that changes all the time, so a fashion blog will continually have new topics. Crafting is a topic that can develop along with you, because you can always learn new crafts or think of new projects. If you choose to write about something very specific, limited, and never-changing, like “purple dots”, you may find that you’ve run out of different things to say about purple dots after showcasing all your expertise. Make sure the general topic is something you can write about at least once a week.

THE URL
Now that you’ve decided on your topic/niche and have thought of a blog name, you’ll need to start building your website. First, you need to determine if you want to have a free blog or if you want to self-host. You can get a free blog from sites like Blogger and WordPress.com. Your URL will be something like http://www.YOURBLOG.wordpress.com or http://www.YOURBLOG.blogspot.com, unless you buy your own domain, then you can have http://www.YOURBLOG.com. I highly recommend registering for your own domain right away, even if you go with a free blog. I believe that it helps with branding and establishing yourself and your blog. It will also make your site easier to guess if someone remembered your blog name but not the URL. However, decide if you want to self-host before registering for a domain, because some hosting packages include a domain.

If you want to register your own domain, you can do so through sites such as GoDaddy and Namecheap. They also have hosting plans, but you can also just register a domain without hosting. I haven’t used GoDaddy before, but I have used Namecheap to get my own domain in the past. Click here to get your own domain from Namecheap and use the code SUNSHINE in April to get 20% off shared hosting and special pricing on transfer/registrations of popular TLDs (.com, .biz, etc).

If you decide to try out a free blog first, most hosting services will be able to help you transfer your website if you want to self-host later. I decided to just jump straight into self-hosting to avoid the hassle of transferring my site. I also wanted the freedom to do what I wanted on my site, which can be limited if you choose a free blog. For example, if you want to monetize your blog, your options are limited because on WordPress.com, you are not allowed to have image ads or third-party ad networks like Google AdSense.

If you decide to go with self-hosting instead of a free blog, you’ll have to select a hosting service. I did a little research and there are many hosting services to choose from. You’ll want to do some research to compare reliability, speed, performance, features, plans and pricing. Two that I read many good reviews about are SiteGround and BlueHost. They seemed to both have a good reputation in reliability and speed. SiteGround offers a monthly hosting option if you’re not really ready to commit for a longer term, but BlueHost does not. Comparing their basic plans, SiteGround’s disk space was limited to 10 GB while BlueHost was unlimited. For their basic plans, SiteGround was cheaper than than BlueHost. I thought about it for a while and I decided to go with SiteGround. Since this is my first blog and I’m not going to get a lot of traffic nor am I going to need much disk space, I decided to just go with the cheaper of the two. Click here to sign up for Siteground or BlueHost.

So far, I’m happy with my choice. I managed to lock myself out of accessing my own website TWICE (and I’ve only had this blog for two months!) and I got immediate help through their live chat support. I was actually helped by the same representative both times, and he kinda remembered me the second time. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing on my part. Hehe.

 

THE SITE

After taking care of the hosting and URL, it’s time to actually build your site. I honestly don’t know much about this area in terms of different programs and site you can use to build your site. I believe Blogger has its own website building method with templates. I used Squarespace before and they have themes for the design and you build your site by using drag-and-drop widgets.

As for WordPress, I did learn that there is a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Think of WordPress.com as another site like Blogger or Squarespace where you can build your website and pay for their hosting or sign up for a free blog. Meanwhile, think of WordPress.org as the site where you can download WordPress, which is basically a free, open-source program to build your website, and you can use whatever host you want. I use SiteGround as my hosting service and they took care of all the WordPress set up for me.

THE DESIGN

For my site’s design, I used a WordPress theme called Customizr Pro. I paid for the pro version, but there is a free version of Customizr that you can use too. I like this theme a lot because it allows you to customize the theme a lot, it has a slider and a featured post option. However, I did have to do some work to customize the color scheme for this theme because I didn’t like any of the available options.

For my site’s header image, I played around with a few things before settling on this gold desktop theme. I actually purchased the background image (of the desk with the glitter, tape, flowers) on Creative Market. It is by Kate Maxwell, and I love all of her styled photos! I used that as the base and edited my blog name into it with Photoshop.


That’s all for today! For my upcoming posts, I’ll be covering things such as social media, my promoting experiments, and how I increased my blog traffic. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I hope it was helpful!

Was there something I missed? Something I got wrong? Or want to add your own tip? Please feel free to comment below!

Click here to read part 2: Gaining Traffic – A Guide to Link Parties and Optimizing Your Thumbnails.
It explains how link parties work and how to edit your photos so your thumbnails are more eye-catching.

46 Comments

  • Reply
    Caseperlatesta
    April 1, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    So useful Ashey! Your bloggin tips are really clear and right! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 2, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    FarZain
    April 2, 2015 at 2:16 am

    New blogger myself. Still wrapping my head around the technicalities. Your tips are pretty precise. Thanks for sharing this stuff. Wish you wonderful blogging ahead.

    -FarZain
    @http://colorsofourrainbow.blogspot.ae/

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 3, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, FarZain!

  • Reply
    Rose's Craft at FineCraftGuild.com
    April 5, 2015 at 8:17 am

    It’s nice that you are sharing what you know. Sweet! I am a veteran and I still learn something new every day. Like I LOVE that font that you are using in the banner image. Wonder what that is. Did you know I have a series of blogging for money for crafters on Fridays (most,but not all Fridays). Have a look next time you’re over. Thank you so much for linking this up at SHARE IT sunday linky party. So glad to have you with us on Easter Sunday! Till next week! ~ Rose

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 6, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Thank you so much Rose! The serif font is Bentham and the script is Octavia Script!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    April 6, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    This is one of the best, most information “newbie” posts I have read. Getting ready to click on your part two. Thank you so much for filling me in! I just started my blog about two weeks ago and I have a lot of passion for the things I am doing and writing, but very little know-how when it comes to blogging! Feeling way behind the curve here. Can’t wait to read your part 2!

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 6, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind comments, Nicole! Good luck with your blog! If you ever need any help, I’m here!

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Fun Money Finds
    April 6, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Good luck with your new blog…I look forward to reading more. I’m a newbie myself and love reading what others have to say about it!

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 7, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Thanks so much Lisa!

  • Reply
    Lara
    April 7, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Love it!! We are in the process of purchasing a domain name and transferring it over. Thanks for the tips!!

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 7, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Thanks Lara!

  • Reply
    Pamela Smith
    April 9, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Great tips! We are new bloggers also. It can be very confusing out there, but so far I think we are on track! If you would like to check out our blog, it is homeonthecorner.com. I am visiting from Show Off Friday today.

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 10, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      Thanks so much Pamela! I will stop by right now!

  • Reply
    Trish
    April 9, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Awesome tips! Pinning it!! Thank you for sharing on the Home Matters Party and welcome to the blogging community. Stop back by next week. The door opens Friday at 12a EST.

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 10, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks so much Trish! I’ll be there!

  • Reply
    mitchypoo
    April 10, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Really great post, thank you!

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 1:03 pm

      Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Katherines Corner
    April 10, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    great tips. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. xo

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Katherine!

  • Reply
    Lou Lou Girls
    April 11, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Great information. Pinned and tweeted. We appreciate you being a part of our party. Please stop by on Monday at 7 pm. Happy Saturday! Lou Lou Girls

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      Thanks girls! I just stopped by!

  • Reply
    Karren Haller
    April 11, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Considering you are a newbie you have become knowledgeable, it is not easy to start a blog and maintain one for a long period of time, but you are definitely on the right track!

    Thanks for stopping by Friday Features Linky party this week to share your post!!
    Have a great weekend!
    Karren

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      Thanks so much Karren!

  • Reply
    Sinziana
    April 12, 2015 at 1:35 am

    Hello lovely! Great post, I will featured it on Monday 13 of April. Is one of my 3 favorite posts from Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party! Well written and explained :).

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you so much Sinziana!

  • Reply
    Hanniz
    April 12, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Dropping by from Sincerely, Paula’s link party #125. I created my blog in 2008 and abandoned it for a few years and now I’m trying to post more. These tips are useful 🙂 Like the look of your blog

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      Thank you so much Hanniz!

  • Reply
    jessica
    April 12, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    great tips 🙂 pined and shared! Thanks for linking up at Totally Terrfic Tuesday! Make sure you share on the pin board so everyone has a chance to pin it 😉
    Jess

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      Thank you so much Jessica!

  • Reply
    Kristie Hill
    April 13, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Great post. I love Siteground as well and my sites there have less down time than on bluehost.

    You are growing fast for a month and half of blogging. Keep it up!

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Thanks so much Kristie!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    April 16, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks for sharing at Show Off Friday!

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 16, 2015 at 8:22 pm

      Thank you Nicole!

  • Reply
    Shelley
    April 17, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned 🙂

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 17, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, Shelley!!

  • Reply
    Theresa @DearCreatives
    April 20, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Great tips for newbies. Now you have to be web friendly too or you get dinged by Google. Thanks for sharing at the Inspiration Spotlight Party! Pinned & shared hope to see you again this week! The party is open for entries.

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 20, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks Theresa!

  • Reply
    Michelle
    April 22, 2015 at 3:33 am

    Wow, I’m impressed. I’ve been blogging since January and I’m quite envious with all you know on the technical side of things. I read every word of this and your prior post. Helpful tips for sure. One thing I feel like I spend the most time on is link up parties, I know they are important when you are starting out…but, sometimes I feel it takes away the time I would want to use for writing. Do you feel the same?

    • Reply
      Ash
      April 22, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      Thanks so much Michelle! I did like to play around and make websites for myself when I was in middle school, so I mostly had to catch up with the new technology. I agree that link parties take up a lot of time, but I really like interacting with other bloggers too. Plus, I like to think that while we need to invest a lot of time promoting at the beginning, you’ll eventually build a bigger audience and have more time writing. If you ever need any help, I’m here! 🙂

  • Reply
    evangelina
    May 27, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Thank you for your advice!!! I just went Site Ground and signed up! Thank you kindly.. 🙂

    • Reply
      Ash
      May 29, 2015 at 6:37 pm

      I’m so glad I could help, Evangelina! Please let me know if you need help with your new site!

  • Reply
    Ing
    December 22, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Great Blog Post! So informative and easy to understand!

    Quick Question:
    Site ground offers a free domain in their package. Why did you pay for it on namecheap.com? What re the differences between the one they offer and the one you pay for separately?

    • Reply
      Ash
      January 3, 2016 at 8:45 am

      Hi there! I actually paid for the domain before choosing my host, because I wasn’t sure who to go with and wanted to secure a domain first. I don’t think they are different. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Johanna Ali
    January 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    This was a great post and oh so informative. I currently have a blog that came with my shopping cart site, but I want to switch over to WordPress. I’m sure I would be in the same boat as the folks who use blogger and such. I want to own all of my content and I’m assuming if I were to ever close shop, I would lose everything. I know that with WordPress, it would all be mine.

  • Reply
    Alicia
    January 19, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Thanks for the info! I’m a newbie, and this is helpful advice! Starting a blog is so nerve wrecking, but with people like you, you make it easier! 🙂 Thanks for being awesome!

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