Starting a Blog

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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.

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46 Comments on Starting a Blog

    • Ash
      April 2, 2015 at 4:27 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you so much!

      Reply
  1. FarZain
    April 2, 2015 at 2:16 am (3 years ago)

    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/
    FarZain recently posted…Two cups of “Chai” and a year of blogging!My Profile

    Reply
    • Ash
      April 3, 2015 at 4:29 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks for stopping by, FarZain!

      Reply
  2. Rose's Craft at FineCraftGuild.com
    April 5, 2015 at 8:17 am (3 years ago)

    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
    Rose’s Craft at FineCraftGuild.com recently posted…SHARE IT Sunday Linky Party 5My Profile

    Reply
    • Ash
      April 6, 2015 at 1:21 pm (3 years ago)

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

      Reply
  3. Nicole
    April 6, 2015 at 4:29 pm (3 years ago)

    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!
    Nicole recently posted…DIY Children’s Music and AirplanesMy Profile

    Reply
    • Ash
      April 6, 2015 at 7:26 pm (3 years ago)

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

      Reply
  4. Lisa @ Fun Money Finds
    April 6, 2015 at 8:40 pm (3 years ago)

    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 (3 years ago)

      Thanks so much Lisa!

      Reply
  5. Lara
    April 7, 2015 at 1:39 pm (3 years ago)

    Love it!! We are in the process of purchasing a domain name and transferring it over. Thanks for the tips!!
    Lara recently posted…Quinn’s Toy Story Birthday PartyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Ash
      April 7, 2015 at 2:02 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Lara!

      Reply
  6. Pamela Smith
    April 9, 2015 at 8:34 pm (3 years ago)

    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.
    Pamela Smith recently posted…Extreme Makeover-Lauren’s Apartment BedroomMy Profile

    Reply
    • Ash
      April 10, 2015 at 12:27 pm (3 years ago)

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

      Reply
  7. Trish
    April 9, 2015 at 10:01 pm (3 years ago)

    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.
    Trish recently posted…Home Matters Linky Party #32My Profile

    Reply
    • Ash
      April 10, 2015 at 12:30 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks so much Trish! I’ll be there!

      Reply
    • Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 1:03 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you so much!

      Reply
  8. Katherines Corner
    April 10, 2015 at 6:52 pm (3 years ago)

    great tips. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. xo
    Katherines Corner recently posted…Bloom GiveawayMy Profile

    Reply
    • Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 1:07 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks for stopping by, Katherine!

      Reply
  9. Lou Lou Girls
    April 11, 2015 at 11:15 am (3 years ago)

    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
    Lou Lou Girls recently posted…Boy or Girl? Gender Reveal!My Profile

    Reply
    • Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 1:14 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks girls! I just stopped by!

      Reply
  10. Karren Haller
    April 11, 2015 at 11:55 am (3 years ago)

    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
    Karren Haller recently posted…Heres a Blog Opp-Start Your Garden SmartMy Profile

    Reply
    • Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 1:14 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks so much Karren!

      Reply
  11. Sinziana
    April 12, 2015 at 1:35 am (3 years ago)

    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 :).
    Sinziana recently posted…Strawberry DelightMy Profile

    Reply
    • Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 1:44 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you so much Sinziana!

      Reply
  12. Hanniz
    April 12, 2015 at 7:52 am (3 years ago)

    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
    Hanniz recently posted…Can I Have One of These Bedrooms?My Profile

    Reply
    • Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 1:50 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you so much Hanniz!

      Reply
  13. jessica
    April 12, 2015 at 6:45 pm (3 years ago)

    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
    jessica recently posted…DIY “Spring is Here” Wooden Garden SignMy Profile

    Reply
    • Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 2:00 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you so much Jessica!

      Reply
    • Ash
      April 14, 2015 at 2:09 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks so much Kristie!

      Reply
    • Ash
      April 16, 2015 at 8:22 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you Nicole!

      Reply
  14. Shelley
    April 17, 2015 at 8:50 am (3 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned 🙂

    Reply
    • Ash
      April 17, 2015 at 2:46 pm (3 years ago)

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

      Reply
    • Ash
      April 20, 2015 at 3:49 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Theresa!

      Reply
  15. Michelle
    April 22, 2015 at 3:33 am (3 years ago)

    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 (3 years ago)

      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
  16. evangelina
    May 27, 2015 at 6:00 pm (3 years ago)

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

    Reply

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