I have to admit, starting a dog blog was one of the most rewarding tasks I have ever done. It has allowed me to connect with so many wonderful people, learn new skills that I never would have dreamed of knowing before, and I have even made some money!
After having my blog for some time, I have had several people ask me for tips on starting a blog, or if I have had a web designer help me. I am here to assure you that
1. You do not need any technical skills to start a blog
2. You do not need a web designer (watch for future posts about designing your website)
I am going to share with you how I started my blog, and what I used to get started to assure you that you can do this!
Getting started is the hardest part, besides not knowing where to start, and facing that negative self-talk that holds you back. Trust me, I know all about that!
In 2014 I decided I was going to start a blog, but I made so many mistakes right out of the gate and then I decided I was never going to be good enough at it. But the burning for writing came back. Now here I am in 2018 with a beautiful website, organic traffic, and even a little money coming in, and it is not even the same blog I had in 2014 (or the same topic). I just started this website in 2018, and a little over half a year later, I am making a ton of progress. It doesn’t have to take years to make progress; you just have to be willing to work hard for it.
In this article I am going to cover the basics of getting started. In later posts I will talk more about the in depths of owning a blog, but you don’t need to worry about that stuff until you have a blog to speak of, so relax, grab some coffee (or wine) and lets take this one step at a time together
Here is what you need to start a dog blog (or any kind of blog really)
Before we get into the nitty gritty of it all I want to talk to you about reasons you should start a blog. There are endless reasons a person could want to do it, but it is important for you to know why YOU are doing it. If you need some help with that, I will give you some good reasons.
1. Maybe you need a new hobby
2. You are looking to quit your day job
3. You want to become part of a wonderful community of writers
6. You have a business and need a media presence (This is a must for business owners!)
These are all valid reasons, but maybe you have your own, and that is ok, just make sure you understand it, because when the going gets tough, you may need to come back to this and remember why you started. I am not trying to scare you, but as with anything, starting a blog can have its obstacles (Can we say writers block…ahem…)
I do want to make something clear before I dive into this, and just so I was transparent as can be (I don’t like to sell a pipe dream), you can make money, a lot of it even, with a blog if you put your mind to it, but it does not happen over night. Coming into this being realistic will most certainly help you relax and enjoy the process, but if I can do it, I know YOU can! Now lets get to the process so you can have your own blog before you know it!
The first thing you want to do once you have decided to start a blog, is to make sure you know what you want your blog to be about. Some key things to keep in mind when doing this is
Picking A Domain name
Next you are going to want to come up with a domain name. Some thing to keep in mind is: what is your blog is about? It is safer to avoid super specifics because if you name your blog: dogtrainingtips.com then you decide that you are going to be writing a bit broader then that, it can become confusing. What you name your blog is fully up to you, but a good way to pick one is…
One place you can check your domain name ideas is on Hostgator.com which I found to save a lot of headache. I will talk more about how Hostgator can help you all around in a minute. But let me show you how to use their domain search.
Step Two: Click on the domains tab on the homepage and you should come to this page (pictured below). When You get there, it is easy peasy. Just type in the name you are thinking of, and click on “Search” and it will tell you if it is available and how much it will cost. 🙂 Repeat as many times as you need as you do your domain research! Once you have picked one, proceed to the next step on my list, which is picking your hosting provider.
Picking Your Hosting Provider
This is where it gets fun. The first thing you need to do, is look back at your goals. If you are looking to earn money, and gain authority in your niche, you need to make sure you have a website that is self-hosted, this means stay away from WordPress.com. You can buy a domain there, but you still have little control over it, and they can change things, and shut you down any time, with out warning. If you are just in this as a hobby, it maybe a place to start, but if you already know that in the near future you want to start earning an income, save yourself the time and energy, because you would have to start over if you sign up for their free plan at the least, and why do that when you don’t have to?
There are several self hosting services out there, but I can save you time and energy by telling you they are not all made equally.
In my experience the most important thing when picking a hosting provider for your blog or any other kind of website, especially if you are not a web developer (which I feel is safe to assume you are not) is customer service.
I did extensive research to make sure that I picked the right hosting service for the technical side of it, and all that tech-y stuff matters, but I left it to the experts in the tech-y field to compare that stuff for me, and in every instance Hostgator was the top choice for me (or anyone really) as far as that goes. But even so, becoming a customer of their service, I have grown to appreciate them to the point that I will never use any other hosting service; It is like that.
I have used them before and am using them now, and every time I have, I have never regretted it. I am one of those people who is not tech savvy, and any time I have an issue, or a question, or need help with SOMETHING and you WILL eventually need help with SOMETHING, Hostgator’s customer service and tech department has come to my rescue. Every.Single.Time. This is invaluable.
So now that we have covered the WHY to pick Hostgator, lets talk about how. It is all so easy, and you are not going to believe how fast you will be set up and ready to go. Lets get you your blog!
…Actually before I move forward…I do have to admit that because Hostgator is so awesome, I asked them to let me be a part of their team. So when you sign up with Hostgator, I do make a commission, but no worries, it does not take anything extra from you. I just wanted to be transparent with you. I would not be telling you to join the thousands of people already signed up with Hostgator if I was not 100% sure they are the right choice. …Ok…NOW we can get started 🙂
Lets Get You A Blog!
If you are a beginner, which again, I have to assume you are if you are reading this, then I suggest starting with the WordPress cloud hosting. I do have to say that if you are planning on hiring a developer, you might want to go with a different plan, but that is beyond my scope, BUT you can call Hostgator and their customer service team will help you!
Step One: Go to Hostgators website (you can click HERE to do so) It will look like the image below. Just click on the link that says “WordPress Hosting”
Step two: Pick which package you would like to have. I personally started with the starter package, but an upgrade is due soon, but this is a personal choice and depends on your needs.
Step three: Register your domain name, and sign up for your package. Here you will fill out your personal info, including your billing information.
Something to take notice once you have finished picking your domain and package + filling in your billing info is the added packages section. With any of the WordPress cloud hosting accounts you get a free SSL Certificate, which is Super, SUPER, did I mention SUPER important to have. That is the little green lock in your URL bar at the top that ensures your visitors security. So yay! it is included for free, along with sitelock, and site back up. It seems like not a big deal, but it is HUGE and saves you a lot of money and worry!
Something else I would like to mention, which is kind of a big deal too, when you go with Hostgator’s wordpress hosting, you get an unlimited amount of emails with your domain. Like email@example.com. This is really good if you have other people helping you and want to give them their own email that you can keep track of, or if you have different reasons for people to contact you (contests, business inquiries, etc). This is a huge bonus to add to all the other awesome features you are getting.
Ok, my dear friend, here is where you take the plunge! You submit your order, and tada! You are the owner of a domain and website that is waiting for you to start building your empire.
The one thing that stinks at this point is that you do have to wait 24-48 hours for everything to register and become available for you, but while you wait, you can start making the next steps, which is where the real fun begins!
Come back soon for a post about designing your blog!
Congrats on your baby blog <3 Drop a link in the comments when you get it up and going! I would love to see it! & if you have any questions, you can reach me through the contact page in the menu bar at the top of this article!
ps. just incase you missed it, there are affiliate links in this article that may lead to me being compensated by a merchant, at no cost of you. I do this to keep cute dog addicts thriving.
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