Every time I read someone’s blog online or visited a website, I always thought, “Wow, how did they make this site?” That thought then followed with, “Wish I could do that!”. So after LOTS of research, I finally gave it a try. Here’s my step by step guide (and mistakes) I made along the way.
First and foremost I would like to say I am no blogging guru! I don’t know all the tips and tricks to make you the next Arianna Huffington and I’m surely not a monetizing wizard and I don’t claim to be (wish I was though).
When did I start Life on the Loop? I started Life on the Loop in 2014. I was so new to blogging that I didn’t really know how to set up a blog on a host and have an official .com website. So I started with a free WordPress site and just wrote about my daily life. I blogged for a few months, and then I just felt like I was wasting my time. I didn’t have a specific goal in place or a real subject to write about. So I quit.
Restarting Life on the Loop: This time Life on the Loop is my full-time job (besides school). I feel that I’m ready to dedicate the time and effort to my site in order to learn the ins and outs of building a successful blog. You should see how many drafts I have :/ I have so many ideas and so much to write about, but so little time.
What I’ve done so far: I’ve recreated this blog a few times so far. The first time I re-designed it because I felt it looked like everyone else’s blog. I’m happy with the way it looks now. I’m putting money into courses, I want to be able to learn more. I look at this as an investment in myself, because that’s exactly what it is.
If you’re serious about blogging the first thing you should do is find a hosting provider that works with WordPress. Find a reputable one that 1) you can rely on, and 2) you can afford. This is also the time to think about what you want your domain name to be, and the name of your blog.
I currently use Dreamhost to host my site. I pay $10.95 per month which works out best for me for two reasons. #1 I didn’t have to drop a bunch of cash at once! #2 If I decide to shut this whole thing down because A) I’m now rich and don’t want to lift a finger B) well… there is no B.
For a limited time, you can use this link to save $50 off of your hosting with Dreamhost!
Favorite Plugins + MORE
After you’ve found your hosting provider and your domain name you should start installing Plugins on WordPress.
– Yoast: to help me with SEO (which to be honest, I kinda suck at). This is a foolproof way to begin dabbling in SEO. Yoast tells you what you should change, add, and more to begin your SEO journey.
– Social Warfare: This is a great tool for your readers to share content on social media. Platforms include; Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon. Social Warfare shows how many times your content has been shared, protects your content, uses shortcodes to place buttons anywhere, and even click to tweet quotes!
-MailerLite: I use MailerLite for collecting emails, creating landing pages, email sign up forms, and more. It’s so simple to use and it’s FREE for your first 1000 subscribers!
-Divi Theme: This is the theme I currently use. It’s a great theme to create your desired look without having to hire a web designer. It has a drag and drop feature, a great price, and reliable support. You can customize so many details on your blog. For example, fonts, colors, sizes, individual pages, and more.
-Canva: I use Canva to create my blog images, Pinterest images, and more. It’s easy to put together quality infographics and marketing material for your blog. My favorite part, it’s free! They also have a paid version, with the paid version you can download on transparent backgrounds, and resize your images without having to start over.
-Tailwind: A great tool to really jump start your Pinterest account. It’s great for newbies and the pros. It cost’s $15 a month, and it’s totally worth it. You can sign up here and get a free $15 credit. With Tailwind you can:
-Schedule Pins to multiple boards, including group boards.
-Join up to 5 tribes.
-Track your profile performance.
-Track which pins and boards are successful.
-You can also see which boards are hurting your virality score.
-Track your pin engagement.
-Ubersuggest: You’ve heard about researching keywords, right? Most tools to do that are expensive OR you have to pay for ad services, like Google Adwords. With Ubersuggest you can track and research keywords, for FREE. Currently, there is no limit on the number of keywords you can research per day.
-XYZ HTML: I LOVE this plugin. It’s great to put HTML’s into my posts. You can name your links and then insert them into any post you choose. It’s a great way to start organized and utilize HTML’s. This one is also FREE!
-Deposit Photo: One of my favorite sites for paid stock photos. I pay $30 a month for 30 photos. If you don’t use 30 photos in a month they roll over to the next month! How cool is that? You can check out Deposit Photo HERE. Deposit Photos also has vectors and videos. The videos are not included in the $30 plan. Why do I pay for stock photos? #1, I like that I don’t have to worry about photo licenses, yes they still apply with stock photos but not like free images or images you would find on Google (never just take images from Google).
-Unsplash: A great selection of quality photos to use for your blog. No attribution required.
-Create and Go Courses: Lauren and Alex from Create and Go have created courses to help in every aspect of blogging. Everything from setting up your blog to monetizing your blog. You can read my full review of the, “How to Build and Launch your Blog” course HERE. It’s a great tool to get you started on your blogging journey. It’s even good for those who have a blog already set up, believe it or not, I was forgetting a few major factors on my own blog.
Once you download the Plug-Ins you find helpful, you can then begin writing killer content, sharing it on social media platforms such as; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and whatever others you prefer. Once you find one that works best for you and your niche, focus on that one that gives you the most traffic and engagement.
Your next step after creating content and slowly building your audience is monetization (if of course, you are looking to make money with your blog). A list of affiliate companies are coming soon, so subscribe below to get your list sent directly to your inbox.