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Is there really a quick and easy step-by-step guide for blogging beginners out there?
With all the tips and resources from a simple ‘how to start a blog’ search one would think so, but the truth is many beginners get so overwhelmed they never start a blog to begin with.
As a blogging newbie, I can fully attest to this, unfortunately.
Ever heard three times a charm? Well, this is my third attempt at starting a profitable blog and so far initial set up has been a breeze.
My first stab at blogging was a disaster, because the blog niche I selected simply wasn’t that profitable and I didn’t do any research prior to getting my blog up and running – I just dove right in.
My second attempt was much better, but I wasn’t ready to fully commit to doing the work; partially because I selected a niche I wasn’t passionate about and I abandoned the blog a few months in.
Yikes! All of my time and investment in courses while falling down daily rabbit holes on Pinterest were flushed down the drain.
Luckily, I salvaged that fail of a blog by turning it into a profitable website I now use for product promotion. I’ll be switching that site from Squarespace to Siteground soon.
To say the least, I’ve learned from my mistakes.
Despite all the advice out there encouraging new bloggers to self-host and purchase their own domains, I went in a completely different direction.
I chose Squarespace for the ease of set up and to avoid the learning curve that often comes with WordPress.
Don’t do this.
Years later, I ended up paying more, risked losing access to my domain several times, and was limited to the various resources and features I could use to make my blog profitable instead of a money guzzling machine.
As a new blogging beginner in 2020, I decided to do things much differently.
One of the most important decisions I made was taking my blog business seriously.
I took advantage of the courses I bought (I’ll share these a little later) and created a blog business plan by selecting a niche that was both profitable and one I would genuinely enjoy.
I also created digital products on my Etsy store I could offer my audience, which was relevant to the content I shared. Digital products was the first way I monetized my blog in month one along with affiliates.
Three ways I intend to make this blog profitable long-term is primarily through digital products, blog traffic, and affiliate marketing.
I will continue to share my blogging journey by way of income reports this year in hopes that it will motivate those who aspire to create a blog business of their own.
I’m not holding back with what I share on my journey guys, so buckle in if you’re down for the ride.
7 tools you’ll need as a blogging beginner in 2020
Select a web host and go. If only it were that easy right? Well, it can be.
Like many others, I got caught up in the infamous battle between choosing the best web hosting platform while browsing Pinterest. I wanted to make the right decision by weighing my options of each until I realized there wasn’t one.
In my honest opinion, selecting one to get started is pretty much a toss up. My ultimate decision came down to my blogging budget (or lack thereof) and not wanting to be locked in with a web host long-term.
Bluehost’s web hosting plans actually fit more within my blogging budget long-term so there’s a possibility I could make the switch from Siteground further down the line. I’ll see how it goes for now.
Bluehost’s 12 month web host pricing options are shown below.
The only advice I have to give here is simply not to waste too much time making a selection when you’re just starting out.
Sometimes, opting for a one-year plan may make more sense since you’re testing the blogging waters.
Many bloggers promote the $2.95 per month plan with Bluehost for the first three years, but you actually don’t have the option of paying monthly during the initial sign-up.
It’s definitely a sweet deal if you have the funds to spend, but you’ll be required to pay an upfront fee for sure.
Bluehost offers a 36 month web hosting package for roughly a hundred bucks. You really can’t beat that!
I’m not sure why some bloggers aren’t more transparent about the upfront fee, but there you have it.
I went with Siteground’s 12 month plan for $100 dollars simply because I didn’t want to be locked in longer as a blog beginner.
If you’re serious about making the investment in your blogging career just be prepared to dish out a couple of coins. It’ll be well worth it in the end.
Research the pros and cons of both, and ultimately, make sure your web hosting platform fits into your future blogging budget.
Take my advice. If you plan on monetizing your blog, save yourself the headache and self-host your website with WordPress, specifically a paid one with an aesthetically appealing theme, if possible.
I’ve never been tech savvy or skilled at coding so I decided to purchase a pre-made theme through 17th Avenue Designs.
I wanted a professionally installed theme with tech support to help me workout the kinks.
It took less than a week to get it set up and running. Surprisingly, the process was much easier than I originally expected.
Compared to Squarespace, WordPress has a variety of features, widgets and plug-ins that allows me to customize, back up, protect, and monetize my site as needed without any extra hassle.
Thanks to Yoast I don’t have to go back and optimize my posts for SEO. Yoast analyzes your writing for keywords and phrases, which increases your blog’s overall rank and authority on Google search to drive organic traffic to your site indefinitely.
It’s also a free plug-in with premium features to add on. Win-win.
The tasty-pins plug in for Pinterest is quite tasty, if you ask me. Blog traffic is important if you actually want readers to read your work – just sayin’.
Therefore, tasty-pins ups your Pinterest game by way of ‘rich pins’ and the ability to hide certain images once your audience is ready to either pin or ‘share’ your content.
Rich pins link directly back to your blog and profile on Pinterest while automatically adding descriptions with keywords that contribute to Pinterest SEO.
This decreases the chances of viewers pinning random images from your blog and having pin images float around Pinterest with no description at all.
What do we want as bloggers? Traffic! Duh. We need all the link clicks we can get.
Tasty-Pins is equipped with a few hacks of its own.
Unless you’re an expert, we all know entering CSS code can be a pain in the you-know-what.
This is where tasty-pins come in.
I prefer specific pin images from my blog to be shared on Pinterest with SEO optimized descriptions added to attract more clicks and impressions on the platform. Tasty-Pins does all of this and more for just a small yearly fee.
I’m able to choose which images I want shared from my blog posts, ensure alt tags are properly added for each image, and can enter a description that compels more pinners to click.
It’s very easy to use and can skyrocket your views in your very first month of blogging.
How cool is that?! Learn more about Tasty-Pins here.
Canva. The free blogging tool everyone needs. Have you ever skimmed Pinterest and wondered how you could possibly create those eye-catching pin images?
Well, look no further.
Canva has hundreds of templates at your blogging fingertips, which makes it very user friendly and simple to use.
Many people aren’t the best at design (neither am I!) but Canva will make your images look as though they were designed by a pro.
They give many options to make your pins stand out from the crowd with animated stickers, graphics, gifs, and more importantly, video pins.
Content. Content. Content…and oh, did I say, more content?! If you want to go far, content creation during your first month of blogging should be your primary focus.
Google Docs is a great resource for keeping your blog writing organized and in one place.
Google Doc’s online cloud automatically saves your work, which leaves bloggers with no worries of ever losing or deleting content.
I save all my content by category in various folders completely separate from the disorganized files on my personal laptop.
It’s a good resource for those who want their content to stay safe and in order.
One of the first things I did before starting my blog was niching down and selecting subcategories that my content would be able to fall under.
For example, this is a lifestyle blog that focuses on productivity tips and resources to start online businesses for female entrepreneurs.
I have enough wiggle room to create relative and relevant content for each with a plethora of topics to choose from.
However, coming up with compelling, click-worthy titles can be daunting at times.
When I sit down to write, I like to know what I’m going to write about beforehand.
My go-to strategy is always conducting research to see what my audience is actually searching for answers to. I primarily do this by browsing Google, Quora, and Pinterest.
It’s best to write on hot topics that are already popular on those platforms so your potential audience is ready to click.
Tweak Your Biz is another tool I use that not only helps with generating blog post titles, but provides many ideas on what to write next.
This tool inputs keywords into suggested titles then breaks them down into categories and returns hundreds of popular blog titles to choose from.
It’s not a resource that’s talked about much, but plenty of bloggers use it. Give it a try and you’ll be hooked.
Let me just start off by saying I will never recommend a product or resource I have not personally used on my blogging platform.
If I share a resource, please know that it is both practical and highly beneficial and won’t break the bank.
I’m all about saving a coin and starting businesses with less.
I purchased both for under a hundred dollars each about two years ago and I’m still an active learner and participant in both of their Facebook groups.
The great thing about investing in reputable blogging courses is the ability to become lifetime members/students.
As the blogging industry changes as well as Pinterest, you have direct access to current tips and tricks, profitable resources, and a network of other bloggers that are on the same journey as you.
Access to Carly’s Blogging Like We Mean It Facebook group alone has been an ultimate resource.
Blogging pros are always sharing strategies that have worked for them. Carly and Meg are both very hands-on with students looking to make their blogs profitable and have years of achievements to solidify their expertise.
I honestly wouldn’t have been able to navigate my blogging journey without following their instruction, which is very clear and concise, honest and thorough.
The lessons are broken down step-by-step for any blogging beginner to easily follow. I still utilize strategies from Pinterest Ninja and Pinteresting Strategies daily.
I recently started her course this year and am satisfied with all the gems she’s giving away at fairly reasonable prices (it won’t break the bank!).
Learn more about what her course offers and the raving reviews here.
There you have it!
The simple seven resources I’ve used to get started blogging in under one month, best of luck on your new journey.
Drop any questions or comments below.
I teach entrepreneurs how to simplify their life and business with less + own their time and maximize productivity towards their personal and monetary goals.