Whew, this post has been a long time coming! One of the most common questions I get from friends is how did I start my blog? After teaching myself the ins and outs of blogging and setting up my entire site myself, I thought I would give you the 5 easiest steps to start your own blog.
Even though I run a fashion and lifestyle blog specifically, this list is helpful to everyone who wants to start a blog not matter what niche! The basics and foundation will always be the same no matter what type of blog you want to start!
ONE – Create a Blog Name // Coming up with a blog name is one of the most important and fun parts about starting a blog! Before I re-branded my blog into Sunshine Style, my old name was Katie’s Kronicles. At the time I wanted my blog to be a sort of diary about my life and to evolve as I evolved.
Overtime, I realized that name no longer fit with the direction I wanted to go which was fashion. Could it have worked? Probably but people were often confused with how to spell and say Kronicles. I’d have to tell them “Chronicles but with a “K” and it just brought a ton of confusion.
Re-branding my blog into Sunshine Style has brought so much growth! My mission is to help people SHINE in STYLE. It fit’s my personality to a T.
People started to call me sunshine a few years ago, I love the color yellow and I love alliterations, so after writing down tons of names, I came up with Sunshine Style. I gave myself plenty of grace and in about a month I was able to narrow down my new blog name.
I will go way more into depth with this in my part 2 of starting a blogging series but for now ask your self a few questions. What do you want to write or blog about? Do you want to use your own name? Will you like this name in 2 years? Can you grow and evolve with this name?
Don’t be afraid to get messy with this part. Write on a poster board, paper, in a notebook, journal name ideas all day, every day. Add color. Scribble. Cross things out. Think of keywords you use all the time along with what you want to write about on your blog and try combining them.
Hint: Take your sweet time. Remember, there’s always time to change it and a name will not make or break you blog. Some of my fav long time bloggers like Blair from Atlantic Pacific, Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere and Kate of Lonestar Southern all have super unique names.
They have all released their own clothing lines, are very successful blogs and have kept their blog names the same even though they have really diversified their content over time!
TWO – Purchase a Domain // A domain is a fancy name for your website URL. When I first started out, I used a free domain through blogger. My website read something like, www.katieskronicles.blogger.com. Way to long of a URL if you ask me! Think the shorter the better!
Over the past two years since I have been blogging, I have purchased all my Domains through DreamHost. I pay $9.95/year and it’s a super easy process!
Once you figure out your name, you need to check and make sure your domain name is available which you can check right here. Then you can go ahead and purchase your domain! You will need to renew it every year. So be sure to keep track of those dates! I use an excel spreadsheet for this!
THREE – Find a Platform to Use // WordPress is my go-to blogging platform and I absolutely love it! Plugins are going be your BFF, there’s a little learning curve, but the possibilities are endless when it comes to this platform. The actual WordPress platform is free, you just need to pay for a domain, hosting and a website theme!
If you are on a strict budget, WordPress.com is free, has free themes and uses a free domain that will include example.wordpress.com. This is great if you are just beginning, really not sure what direction you want to take your blog or don’t want to turn it into a business.
Other popular platforms:
Squarespace (very minimal and clean)
WordPress.com (free and a great place to start)
Wix (cheap but not extremely user friendly and slow in my opinion)
FOUR – Set Up Hosting // Not the most fanciest part about blogging although you do need hosting. It will help keep your site safe, spammers won’t be able to spam and if your website crashes due to millions of visitors at one time, your hosts will be your BFF!
It’s also the most expensive part about starting a blog. I currently use a local host and pay about $120/year. DreamHost and Bluehost are ones I’ve used in the past and are amazing and helping with problems! You can find hosting for as low as $2.50/month.
FIVE – Install a Website Theme // My favorite part about setting up my blog was finding a Website theme I loved! This is the part where you get to be super creative! The theme I use is Oleander from Solopine. They have amazing themes that are so easy to install! I bought my theme for $49, installed it and customized it within a week! Solopine is so helpful when it comes to coding and bugs. They have a free service that I have used multiple times when I needed back end help. Highly recommend them!
Other places to get themes:
Go Live HQ (for Squarespace only!)
Etsy! They have great budget friendly options and you can also pay to have your theme installed if technology just isn’t your thing.
Love my yellow sundress? It’s my favorite summer dress and from a store I used to love shopping at in high school. See the full post here!
Remember that you can always change your blog name, theme and hosting as you grow and change. You will grow as a person and your blog will most likely do the same. Nothing is set in stone forever.
Give yourself grace in all these areas. Feel free to make mistakes. You will make mistakes as you start a blog. When I re-branded and created a new domain, I completely put my blog off the radar and freaked out. It didn’t take long to realize my mistake. Once I figured out the problem, I reached out for help and all was well in the blogging world within a few hours.
As long as your starting and taking action, you are already on your way! Celebrate all of your successes. Even if their small. Most of all, be free and have fun with this process!
This will be a 2 part series. The next step I’ll cover branding, exactly how I branded my blog, what I want my readers to feel when they come to my website, my photo editing style, why I came up with the name Sunshine Style and basically all the fun parts about blogging! Stay tuned!