When someone asks me what are some of the best things that I have done in my life, I name only two things – becoming a vegetarian and starting my own blog. There are probably many others as well that I could come up with, but these are the two things that always instantly pop up into my mind. And because I have already written once about my experience of becoming a vegetarian here, in this post I would like to talk about how to start a blog that you would be passionate about, and why it’s one of the best things that I have ever done in my life.
How to start a blog
Interest in writing
During my school years, I remember thinking about how someday I would want to write my own book, where I would be able to share some of my most interesting ideas and thoughts with others. I knew it wasn’t something I could do at that moment, simply because I was too young. I didn’t have the necessary life experience, nor I could write like a poet. But as I got older and spent more time reading different material on the internet, I understood a couple of very important things. The first thing that became clear to me was that you don’t need to be a certain age to write a good book. There are so many young authors that write amazing things and at the same time, there are so many older authors that write junk. It really isn’t about how old one is, but rather the skills and the passion that one has for the subject.
The other thing that became clear to me was that I don’t necessarily need to even write a book to share my experience with others. At that moment I have already stumbled upon many different blogs that were extremely well written and interesting. Not only the content was great, but also the way websites were designed and the atmosphere that I felt when visiting these blogs. I remember returning to these blogs day after day to get more of the content.
The internet has opened many doors to us. One great opportunity that we all now have is the ability to write and share our thoughts with the world regardless of whether we are a professional writer or not. Today we don’t need to have a signed contract with a publisher in order to get our emotions and ideas out there. We have the freedom to write about the things we love, and we don’t need anyone’s help to do it.
Choosing the niche
I know that some people go into blogging only to make money. Yes, making money as a blogger is possible, but that should definitely not be your main motivation. The reason for that is because any blog will require a lot of time to build it up. You will need to attract your audience, and in order to do so, you constantly need to create new content of good quality. You need to write things that others are going to enjoy reading about. And if your only motivation to start a blog is to make money, then you can forget about it. You are not going to be able to continuously write epic content if you are not interested in what you do. Would you be able to write a book on something you don’t care about? Of course not! It’s no different with a blog.
Unfortunately, so many people don’t understand this. They get into blogging, thinking they are going to make money fast, and when they fail to see the results in a month or two, they ditch the “business”.
When I decided that I want to start a blog, I had no doubts what I am going to write about. My niche became self-development. I know the niche is not very concrete, but that’s what really interests me. It’s not something I choose to like – it’s something that’s become a part of me.
The reason why self-development became my niche is because of the lifestyle that I am living. For very many years I was doing things that were taking me nowhere. I was wasting time, “having fun” and destroying myself. I was literally going into depression, and I knew that I needed to change my path as soon as possible. Luckily, I was able to “wake up” and radically shift the way in which I view the world.
My personal transformation has allowed me to live a happy life, and to not regret each day that passes by. I changed myself and I knew I wanted to help others do the same. By writing about things that have helped me make that transformation, I could motivate others to do the same. Making self-development my niche really was a no-brainer.
How to start a blog – WordPress, hosting, domain
If you are thinking of how to start a blog, the easiest way to begin is to use WordPress. WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems out there to hold your blog. There are thousands of free and paid themes (such as Elegant Themes or Theme Isle) that you can use, as well as thousands of plugins that create all kinds of functionalities for your website. What this means is that as long as you have a domain name (such as www.example.xyz) and a hosting to hold your blog on the internet, you can have your blog up and running without any additional costs in a matter of minutes. All you have to do is create content and share it with others.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are two different websites – www.wordpress.com and www.wordpress.org. WordPress.org can be disregarded for now. WordPress.com is a hosting service that will hold your WordPress blog for you. You can have your blog set up through the wordpress.com by choosing one of their payment plans. Currently they offer 0$/month, 2,99$/month, 8,25$/month and 24,92$/month.
If you are just starting out and want to see how WordPress works, using the free plan would be the right way to go. However, your website address would then look like this: http://example.wordpress.com. In the long run, you never want your own blog to have that WordPress word in the domain name, as that takes away the credibility and feeling that your website is actually a serious blog.
Therefore, if you know that your blog is something you are going to be passionate about and something that you will continuously work on, I would recommend to get a real hosting and your own private domain name right from the beginning.
For my blog I use Bluehost, and that is what I would recommend to you as well. They have cheap pricing plans, they always respond to questions and help you solve them. I have many times needed to contact them when I had a problem, and they were always there to help. Also, they support WordPress, which means that you can set up your blog with a click of a mouse. Since I worked as a WordPress developer, I don’t really need it to be that simple, but for people that don’t know how to code or are not very technical, this can be extremely useful.
Finally, as I already mentioned, you will need your own domain name. Usually, this is purchased separately and can be challenging for a beginner to set up with your blog, but with Bluehost, they offer you a free domain name when you sign up for their hosting. That also makes things easier and it’s how I got started.
I have created a video tutorial where I demonstrate the basics of how to start a blog. I show how to sign up for a free hosting with wordpress.com, a paid hosting with Bluehost, how to check whether a domain name is still available, and some other basics regarding the setup of WordPress, its themes and plugins. If you want to check it out, just enter your email below and you will get a link to that video.
How to start a blog – how it has changed me.
Creating my own blog and putting up content that I genuinely care about has done quite a few things for me. To begin with, it has helped me improve my writing and the ability to put thoughts into real sentences. Getting my thoughts across to other people has always been difficult, but now that I have been constantly working on it, it has become significantly easier. Being able to express your thoughts in a way that others can understand it is a very valuable skill to have, especially in the professional world. What good is your knowledge if you cannot share it with anyone?
Also, having a blog does what its purpose originally was, which is to help others. Whenever someone feels that they have received something of value from you, they thank you for it, and that’s truly wonderful. When people tell you that they enjoy your content, it means that you are on the right path.
Finally, the most important thing that having a blog has given to me, which I didn’t expect, is accountability.
What this means in practice is that by writing about something that has helped me develop myself, I become more aware of it and keep improving myself in it. When I write about some topic, I often need to research the idea a bit to make sure that the information that I am presenting is true and valid. By creating that research and by spending time to write each post, I become more accountable for the things I discuss.
For example, I wrote a blog post on how to stop worrying and being anxious all the time. I wrote about it because throughout most of my life I have been quite anxious, but I learned a few tricks along the way that have helped me battle that problem. However, after I wrote that blog post, I became more aware of the solutions that have helped me reduce anxiety, and since then been able to lessen anxiety to a greater extent. And these types of things happen almost after each blog post that I write. By discussing motivation, I become more motivated, and by discussing positive thinking, I become happier.
No matter what niche you choose, if you are passionate about it, you will improve yourself in that area as time goes on. As you keep writing, you will acquire new knowledge and you will be able to share more of it with others. Diets, dog training, basketball or dancing – absolutely any topic can become the theme of your blog.
If you are afraid that you don’t know how to start a blog, don’t worry about it. Take baby steps. You don’t need to run up the whole stairs at once. Start with getting a hosting and a domain, get a free theme for WordPress and start putting out content. That is all you need to worry about in the beginning. As you become accustomed to having a blog, you can do further research. You can either watch free tutorials on YouTube, or ask someone more experienced to help you promoting your site. There really isn’t much to knowing how to start a blog. All you have to do is begin, and the rest will follow. In other words, take action! 🙂
If you have any questions related to blogging, feel free to post them in the comment section below. I will answer them to the best of my ability.