Diy, Writing / Blogging

Start a Blog They Say

IT WILL BE EASY, they say.

Hmmm.  I won’t sugar coat this. If you want to read a blog that tells you how easy it is or that you can start a blog in 15 minutes then you probably need to move along and find a different blog. THIS blog is to tell the honest truth, to walk you down the path that I have been on for the past 2 months. Don’t laugh, yes, it has taken me two months to make it this far.  I haven’t made a dime yet so I won’t tempt you with secrets that only I possess. I am technologically challenged. It is true.  Yet, if I have made it this far without quitting or pulling all of my hair out, I am confident that you can too. There must be more of us out there, right? Keep your main goal in sight and you will soon be able to do what you love, which I assume, is to write. The following is a step by step plan to get you started and hopefully if you’re reading this, I can save you time and money.

First: You need to think of your domain ( blog ) name.  When you decide on a name for your blog, you’ll need to secure it with your hosting site. What is a hosting site? It is a site that will support your blog.  It will keep your site running smoothly. There are many hosting sites out there but the name that I came across the most was Blue host. What I love about blue host is that you can also use them to register your domain name, for FREE. If the name you decided on for your domain ( blog site ) is taken, they will let you know and you can then choose another. Blue host also supports Word Press, which is one of many blogging platforms. I chose it because it was recommended by so many and I have been thrilled and shocked by the amount of support they give me. Yesterday alone I had to seek support through their live chat four times. It was to the point where I was truly apologetic. Did I mention that I am technologically challenged?  Click Here to Start a Blog on Word Press

Wordpress 2018-04-14 at 10.38.00 PM.png

Second:  Choose your plan from WordPress.  I admit up until this step you may have only 20 minutes into the process but now the fun starts!

So this is where I hope to save you time, frustration and money.  I originally signed up with WordPress for a Premium Plan. Please, save yourself agony and sign up for the Business plan, especially if you plan to make blogging your business.  I was completely inexperienced at setting up a website.  I was immediately overwhelmed. So, not realizing WordPress Business Plan actually has unlimited support, I hired  a website consultant for “advice” and I spent a needless $200.00. He actually suggested that I purchase a theme from another site. The theme I bought was supposed to be compatible with WordPress. Guess what? It was compatible but you would have to dance with the devil to get it to work.  Frustration set in and I contacted WordPress for advice. They suggested I upgrade to the Business Plan and that would give me unlimited access to all of their themes. Why am I telling you all of this? Because step 1 did take me 20 minutes, this far into step 2 took me two weeks. Had I signed up for the Business Plan to begin with, I would have saved time and money. After upgrading, I immediately chose my theme. I am happy enough with it for now ( still learning about it ) so I’m ready to start blogging, finally!

But Wait – What about Affiliate links? Every blogger talks about them like its common knowledge. What are they? How do I find them? How do I embed them in my blog successfully? Why do I need them? Okay, let’s make it  Step 3.

Third:  Affiliates are one way your blog will make money. If blogging is going to be your day job, you will need to promote companies who will reimburse you when someone clicks and buys from their link on your blog.  Some of the following are companies that you can apply to. Amazon, Bluehost, WordPress, CJ Affiliates. Amazon: I just googled amazon affiliates and applied. It was easy and they too offer so much support. You may need to add a plug-in from WordPress but either WordPress or Amazon will help you through the process if need be.  They will also walk you through embedding their links into your siteif you need help, another reason why I love the WP Business Plan.                                                                                  Two more that I applied for are Bluehost and WordPress. CJ Affiliates: Last but not least I went to CJ Affiliates and  literally hundreds of businesses are provided that you can apply to. A word of warning, because you are a new blog most companies  will turn down your application. Just wait a few months and reapply. Honestly, I may just stick with Amazon because in my daily life they are who I order everything from anyway. They carry any brand that you could possibly need.

So Now You’re Ready to Blog, Right?- Ha, fooled you again! Have you heard about SEO’s? That’s Step 4.

Fourth: SEO’s, or Search Engine Optimization. Much of this is taken care of through your WordPress webpage. There are a few plug in’s available for free ( with business plan ) that will optimize your key words even more. Key words are words that you will want to use in the title of your blogs to best be “picked up” by search engines. When you to start writing a new blog, you will be directed to add it to a category ( under post settings ) that you have in your menu tabs, ie. in mine it would be travel, family etc. After you appropriate it to the correct menu, you will want to add your key words into the tag box. A recent post of mine was about  cenotes near Cancun, Mexico. Some of my “tags” were cenotes, Cancun, Mexico, Cancun Mexico, Yucatan peninsula…. you get the idea. Think of it this way, if you wanted to visit cenotes in Mexico, what would you google? Those are the key words that you will need to add to your tag. You can also label your pictures. One trick my daughter taught me was to go to Google Trends, you can type in your key words and see how many people are googling them. The more people who google a certain word, the more likely it is that your blog will show up when someone is doing a search. See my sample below. I typed in Cancun vs. Yucatan. You can see many more people are searching for the term Cancun. Based on this, it would be wise for me to title my blog Cenotes Near Cancun vs. Cenotes of the Yucatan. I still thought it wise to add Yucatan to my tag, just not my title.  The newer your blog, the lower you are on the totem pole for Google, be patient and give it time. There is so much here yet to be learned about SEO’s but I believe in baby steps. I am anxious to see how much more I will have learned in a year!

Google trends, Google analytics
Google Trends

Finally, How do You Drive Traffic to Your Blog?

Fifth: Social Media.  Even with WordPress supporting you by helping to make your blog SEO friendly, you can not rely solely on them for traffic. Do you have an Instagram account? Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Google, Pinterest?  I would suggest using all of them as a marketing platform. WordPress has options under the social media tab that will enable you to share to all of theses platforms  as you publish your blogs. I gave up Facebook for Lent, so I can’t help you much there. I do know that you should be joining fb blog groups, especially in your niche. Other bloggers can offer a lot of support! Pinterest– Wow, it should be in its own category. I will be honest and tell you I am still working on this and have learned enough to know that you need to join as many group boards in your niche as you can. They will share your pins and you in turn share theirs. It is a way to get your blogs viewed exponentially.  Group boards to join can be found at  Pinterest Schedule Boards, If you were to try to schedule your pins manually ( once you get a few blogs ), it will eat up much of your writing time. For this tool, some genius came up with Tailwind and Board Booster. I love Tailwind so far. They give you so many free pins. Tailwind enables you to schedule your pins for the upcoming month to your various groups boards that you belong to. It also allows you to schedule on your own boards. So, basically, YOU can schedule yourself to sit down once a month and take care of ALL of your Pinterest pins, allowing you more time to write. What I like about joining tailwind tribes is that you can be assured that the blogs they pin are of quality content. Board Booster gives free pins as well but I have yet to check them out.  So far, I have gotten most of my views and clicks from Pinterest so if you already have an account you can easily upgrade it to a business account or you are allowed to have both personal and business. I have both and share between the two. That allowed me to take all of my personal followers with me. What are tailwind tribes? They are tribes of like-minded bloggers that will allow you to share your blogs on their tribe page ( reaching a multitude of people ) in turn, like the group board, you will need to share their pins on your boards as well. When you join tailwind, they will suggest different tribal groups.

blogging -609857-unsplash.jpg

TIP:   One more aspect that I would like to mention is pictures. I feel they are very important in helping to keep your audience engaged, not that I have an audience yet but I’m working on it! Because I am a control freak and like to do things on my own, I do prefer to use my own pictures. There are times however that it just isn’t possible. I have found that Unsplash is an amazing source for free images  and the pictures are gorgeous!!  The above picture is from Unsplash.  It’s beautiful, right?

TIP:  See my disclaimer at the bottom? You will need one of those if you link affiliate ads.

My daughter suggested I make a glossary of terms used by seasoned bloggers that us newbies are clueless to. This is a long blog already so stay tuned, that may be a future blog.

If you are a new blogger I would love to hear your story, your struggles and any advice that you may have. Subscribe to my blog below and I will be sure to check out your blog as well! Happy Blogging and hang in there.

DISCLAIMER: My content may or may not contain affiliate links for products I use and love. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I may earn money which  enables me to make more creative content such as this.