How To Start a Blog in 2021 From Scratch

How To Start a Blog in 2021 From Scratch

How To Start a Blog in 2021 From Scratch

How To Start a Blog in 2021 From Scratch: The Blogging Basics

Hey hey!

Happy Monday, babes! This week, I have something new for you all! The first installment of How To Start a Blog in 2021 From Scratch! I’m so excited to share this new series with you all!

A little over a year ago, I decided to take a blind leap of faith and start a blog of my own with absolutely no knowledge on how to do so. I don’t consider myself the most tech-savvy 20-something, so if I can start my own blog from scratch so can you! Since I’m just finishing up my first year of blogging, I will candidly say the information is this post is not gospel! I’m sharing the tips on starting a blog from scratch that worked for me; take what you need, leave what you don’t!

In this post, I am going to lay out the process of starting a blog in 2021 from scratch step by step! I wish I would’ve had a basic outline/timeline for starting a blog when I was starting to put things together, so I hope this will be helpful in your blog planning process! It isn’t as easy as having an idea for a blog/blog post/blog name, that is if you want to be efficient in your process. Planning ahead will be a godsend. Let’s get into it!

Here is How To Start a Blog in 2021 From Scratch (Part 1)!


How To Start a Blog in 2021 From Scratch: The Blogging Basics

WordPress Focused

Getting Started: Blog Brainstorming

Congrats, you’re here! You’ve decided to take the leap and start your blog from scratch! Welcome to this crazy, amazing world! First things first, you need to get your ideas in order. Maybe you already have a direction for your content, or you’ve got a name settled on but let me just say BE OPEN TO CHANGE. Let’s get thinking about some key elements before the real fun begins!

What kind of content do you want to produce on your blog?

Before anything else, it’s important to start brainstorming the type of blog you want to create AKA figure out your niche. As I said, allow for some wiggle room because who knows, you may start your blog planning and completely want to change your direction! But it is definitely a little easier if you have a direction.

Some of the most popular types of blogs in 2021 are food blogs, travel blogs, fitness/health blogs, lifestyle blogs (that’s me!), and beauty/fashion blogs. You can also certainly combine 2-3 of these niches to shape your blog!

Based on your chosen niche…

Beyond the Footlights Logo #1
Beyond the Footlights Logo

What do you want to call your blog?

Having you niche should guide you towards what you want to call you blog! The name of your blog should be something catchy and fun that will draw people in! Honestly, when in doubt, ask your people for their thoughts! Lay out your thoughts and ideas for your family and friends and see if they come up with anything cute and creative! My best friend actually came up with Beyond the Footlights!

Whatever name you land on, make sure you love it and feel confident saying/sharing it! While branding and niche have some wiggle room, I’d say your blog name should remain a constant!

Choosing your name takes us into the next portion of starting your blog!


How to Start a Blog in 2021 From Scratch: The Tech Stuff

Choosing a blog domain

Once you’ve got your list of potential blog names, you’re going to want to check if that domain is available. Your domain is what will take you to your blog (i.e. http://www.beyondthefootlights.com is my domain). There are a number of sites you can go through to purchase a domain for a reasonable price:

To name a few. I chose IONOS by 1 & 1 because they have a great deal- you can get your first year of hosting for only $1, and then you’ll be billed $15 annually. If the blog name you are looking to choose is taken on one of these host sites, it will be taken on all of them. I would suggest going with a name that will allow your domain to end in “.com”

*Some blog hosting sites (like WordPress) will give you the option to take advantage of choosing a custom domain when you choose your plan, but this isn’t really any cheaper than purchasing your domain through a third-party site and linking it to your blog.

Choose your blog hosting site

Now you’ll need to choose where you want to build and host your site! I’m only really familiar with WordPress, Square Space, and Weebly for website building- but I’m sure there are other blog options! While some people have said they found WordPress hard to navigate, I haven’t had any issues with it!

No matter what site you choose to start building, there will be themes and templates provided for you by the site. If you don’t find a theme or template you love, there are external sites you can purchase them from. On WordPress, the fancier the plan you purchase, the more theme options are available to you.

Once you have purchased your domain and chosen your blog hosting site/plan, you will need to connect the domain and your site using domain mapping. This is very straightforward, check out THIS RESOURCE that will walk you through the process step-by-step.

Choose you blog plan

Next, you’ll choose your blog plan. Again, speaking from WordPress experience, there are a few different plan options to purchase: personal, premium, business, and eCommerce.

Because I was unsure about how my blog would pan out after a year, I stuck to the basic personal plan for my first year (about a $56 dollar value for the year). This had pros and cons. I was able to really ease into WordPress and content creation; however, with a personal plan you cannot download any additional plugins or include ads, making SEO and growth strategies a challenge.

As a word of advice to you, I would say take the plunge and start with the business plan on WordPress for your blog if you’re serious about it! I wish I would’ve had the extra tools at my fingertips from the start; it could’ve helped my blog growth a lot more in my first year! With that being said, I felt like I had enough tolls using only a personal plan to get me through the growing pains.

Choose your blog theme/layout & start building pages

Beyond the Footlights Contact Photo: Angela at Phone
Beyond the Footlights Contact Photo

As I said previously, once you choose your blog plan you will be able to choose your site’s theme and layout! This is where the creative process really gets started! Whatever hosting site you choose will typically provide you with a variety of theme template options that are already generated for you, and you can edit them to make them your own. Don’t worry if you don’t find a theme you love in the prescribed templates. For WordPress, at least, you can purchase themes from third party sites or places like Etsy!

Once you have chosen your theme, you can start building your site pages! The pages you include on your blog will be dependent on your niche and your blog’s specific needs. The pages I would suggest every blog include are:

  • Home Page
  • Blog Page (you can create separate drop-down pages for grouped blog content later!)
  • About Me Page
  • Contact Page

Because you are starting from scratch, a lot about page building is trial and error. I would suggest just getting into your hosting site and playing around with the tools. What better way to learn than to dive right in! This is where YouTube and Google will become your best friends! If there is something you don’t know how to do, someone has answered the question online, I assure you!

You can further customize your page by creating a brand color palette and by adding customized widgets on your pages to add links to your socials, a blub about you, ads, and much more!


How to Start a Blog in 2021 From Scratch: Branding

Beyond the Footlights Branding
Beyond the Footlights Branding

Branding is another important step in the launch of your blog. A very general definition of your branding is your brand’s outward appearance, and a lot of this has to do with color scheme, organization, fonts, and style. Just as with your niche/content, your branding may change over time, and that’s ok! It’s a clear symbol of growth!

An important part of your blog’s branding will be photo content and graphics. I was fortunate enough to have a best friend starting a photography business just as I was starting my blog, and she’s been my resident blog photographer. While I understand we all don’t have that luxury, your digital content will be very important. So- get yourself a tripod and start snapping! You can grab on for a pretty decent price on Amazon!

Beyond the Footlights Branding
Beyond the Footlights Branding

I personally use Canva for all of my blog & social media graphics, and I love it! You can use it for free or unlock more font/templates/etc. with Canva Pro! I’ve also heard people talk about using Adobe Illustrator for design purposes.

The growth of my blog is clearly visible when looking at my graphics. I would suggest at least finding a color palette you love for the branding of your blog for a cohesive look, and you can always experiment with templates/layout/design!


Now…Get Writing!

Once you have created at least a portion of your site (it does not have to be finished or perfect) it’s time to get writing!!!

I would highly suggest running on a timeline that allows you to create at least 2 months’ worth of written content before hitting publish and going live with your site. This will give you a cushion and you won’t be scrambling to write content while also trying to work out the kinks in your new hobby/business venture!

Coming up with topics may be something that comes easy to you, or, if you’re like me, sometimes you struggle! There is absolutely no harm in checking out what other bloggers in your niche are doing/what is working for them- DO THAT! And again, Google will be your best friend! Google familiar topics you may be brainstorming and check out content that is ranking high on Google! (This has to do with SEO, more on that in another installment!)

Choose a publishing schedule that works for you. You can choose to post as often/not as often as you’d like! Building a content posting schedule and sticking to it to the best of your ability will save you! You should also schedule out time to write! I say this to you as someone who is still working on this herself. Having dedicated writing time in your life, whether it be an hour a day or an hour a week, will give you the confidence to know you’re getting sh*t done!


Aaaaand that’s a wrap for Part 1 of How To Start a Blog in 2021 From Scratch! I hope this post helped outline the basic process of starting a blog from scratch, on your own, and on a decent budget!

Look out for Part 2 coming soon that will cover some basic blog SEO, email marketing, blog incentives, and aligning your blog and social media platforms!

Have a question that didn’t get answered? Leave it in the comments or always feel free to reach out on Instagram!

Get blogging, baby!

Lots of love!

~Ang

My First Year of Blogging: A Reflection

My First Year of Blogging: A Reflection

My First Year of Blogging: A Reflection

My First Year of Blogging: A Reflection

My first BTF logo

The day is finally here! Beyond the Footlights turns 1! *insert confetti cannons*

On May 18th, 2020, I took a leap of faith and published Beyond the Footlights for all to see! I can’t believe I’ve been working on this little slice of internet heaven for just over a year already! I’ve learned so much, about myself and the world of blogging, in the last year, and I wanted to dedicate this week’s post to a little reflection on the last 12 months at Beyond the Footlights!

My email subscribers (shameless plug to tell you to SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG on the homepage!) received a little love letter in their inboxes from me today highlighting my journey a bit, but I’d like to dive a little deeper into all my first year of blogging has given me and the growth I’ve experienced. So, in typical Sound of Music fashion, let’s start at the very beginning!


How It Started

My First Year of Blogging: A Reflection
My OG BTF banner Kailey Edwards Photography

If you were in my values seminar class first semester senior year of college, you heard the idea for this blog first. Shout out to all of you! Our professor asked us one day “what is something you’d do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” I had toyed around with the idea of starting a blog before; I had a list of potential topics/ideas in one of my theatre notebooks. We went around the room to share, and when it got to me, I said I’d start a blog.

I said I wasn’t sure about starting a blog because I didn’t have any time as a theatre student. At the time, I was going to have work throughout the summer months as well, so the idea of having free time for other creative endeavors was nonexistent. I don’t know why I decided to be a little vulnerable in class that day in front of a group of students I wasn’t particularly close to, but I also shared that I feared that whatever I chose to do would have “already been done” and that no one would really care about what I had to write about.

Past Angela, that’s just not true. But we’ll get there.

And we know the age-old tale by now: the pandemic hit giving me too much time and not enough creative outlets. So, I took my lemons and made them into lemonade and decided to go all in creating the blog that had always been a fleeting thought. I learned a few things pretty quickly when I started creating the blog:

The internet is a savior

I knew absolutely nothing about how to start a blog and where to even start (look for a blog post all about starting a blog from scratch soon, wink wink). It took a LOT of researching and planning before I was even able to get to the fun stuff like writing and branding. I had built my actor website a few months prior on another platform, but using WordPress was foreign territory. Little did I know, a lot of the skills I learned while starting my blog would prove to be useful to me in the year to come.

Blogging can mean more than just your blog

At the same time I was launching the blog, I decided to also try to build up my social media presence as a tool to help the blog grow. I started small, trying to rebrand my Instagram in a way and by starting a Facebook page for the blog. I needed to try and streamline my social media/the blog’s for added success. Branding & Influencing on my social media is something that I’ve continued to learn more about now that my stand-alone blog is on its feet.

Investing in your blog will help in the long run

With my blog plan, I wanted to start small and simple in case I discovered after a year that this path wasn’t for me. While I was able to do quite a lot with the little resources I had, I quickly discovered that investing in the proper tools would help me much more in the long run. Investing in things like workshops and creator tools allowed me to keep learning and experimenting with growing my brand.


My First Year of Blogging: A Reflection
My new BTF banner! Kailey Edwards Photography

The reception I got when I officially launched the blog was incredible. I was very fortunate to have a best friend (Kailey Edwards Photography) who was simultaneously building and launching her photography business, and she provided me with creative and gorgeous photos for my site (she still takes the majority of my fabulous photos for blog/influencer purposes).

Each month, two posts have always been the same: my Passion Piece Features and Monthly Minutes. I’ve featured 9 amazing actors and creators in my Passion Piece Features, shout out to those amazing human beings for giving up a slice of their time and energy to help this little ‘ol blog. My Monthly Minute Posts, monthly recaps of my monthly goals & favorites, have now evolved into strictly monthly favorites posts.

Starting this blog and teaching myself the new skills that come with the territory has also opened doors for me that I never would’ve anticipated a year ago. I’ve gotten work doing some freelance writing, landed partnerships with some incredible brands, and have found work as a marketing assistant with my new toolbelt of skills! I’ve clearly found some new passions and some new things I’m good at and it’s exciting to think about how these opportunities will help carry me forward.

As I’ve been recapping the last year on the blog, I think the most amazing thing to note is the growth of the “brand.” It’s been really cool to look at all my blog covers, the graphics I started out with, and my social media posts because there’s a clear shift in the branding of it all. It represents me getting a better handle on this new world I found and finding myself in this new form of artistic expression.

I’ve certainly learned that plans don’t always work out. There have been plenty of weeks throughout the year where pumping out a blog post was just not possible due to conflicts, writers block, or mental exhaustion. In my first year, I felt like it was more important to just get the content on, both here and on my social media. But I’m a believer in quality over quantity. In my second year, I’m hoping to produce content that is helpful, fun, and inspiring and don’t want to sacrifice the quality of my writing to meet a deadline I made for myself.

I’ve learned to take breaks. From working, from creating content, and from scrolling the internet trying to build my brand. It’s all important work but it can be extremely time consuming and mentally exhausting. I’ve learned that I’m not for everyone, and that’s ok. Looking at some of the stats can definitely hurt sometimes. It stinks to see I’ve lost email subscribers or Instagram followers. But, at the end of the day, I don’t need the people who aren’t interested in supporting this journey hanging onto my coat tails.

I’ve learned that I DO have a wonderful little community of people who love and support me, and I’m very lucky for that. Most importantly, I’ve learned that what I have to say DOES matter. I’ve found a part of my voice that was missing and continue to fill my cup every day by working on my own little slice of internet heaven.

My tagline is “All Passions. All People.”

Thank you for supporting me and my newfound passion, you beautiful and amazing people!

I’m forever grateful! Here’s to another incredible year!

Lots of love!!!

~ Ang

How To Create A Summer Vision Board

How To Create A Summer Vision Board

How To Create a Summer Vision Board

How To Create a Summer Vision Board- Summer 2021

Hi friends!

Now that we’re into the month of May, one thing is on everyone’s mind. SUMMER! After a year+ of staying home, abandoning the typical routine, it seems like summer 2021 may be our first summer since 2019 with potential! Gearing up for hot girl summer, but feeling a little lost on how to make your 2021 summer vision a reality? Easy fix! Make yourself a summer 2021 vision board!

Back in January, I wrote about “How To Create Your 2021 Vision Board” for the start of a new year! While that vision board may have been broader, looking at 2021 as a whole, creating a summer vision board will allow you to get really specific in your vision for the next 3 months!

Pinterest boards can be great for collecting ideas and inspiration but I’m going to show you a few ways to create a summer vision board that is aesthetically pleasing, inspiring, and is something you can easily look at on the daily! In this post, I’ll walk you through finding inspiration, displaying your board, and ways you can update your vision board according to the season!

Check out How To Create a Summer Vision Board!


How To Create a Summer Vision Board

Brainstorm Summer Aspirations

The first step in creating your summer 2021 vision board is gathering your inspiration! I like to think of this as brainstorming. Think about what you’d like to manifest for your summer months. Happiness, wealth, creative energy, etc. Now, think about what is on your summer 2021 bucket list! Places you want to go, things you want to see, things you want to do. Finally, think about some goals you’d like to accomplish this summer! Given that summer (in most places) is only 3 months, these goals don’t have to be crazy! Get all these ideas down on paper or in your notes!

Gather Inspiration

Once your vision for summer 2021 feels a bit clearer and you’ve got your ideas together, it’s time to start gathering what you’d like to include on your board! This can come from just about anywhere- online, magazines, newspapers, scraps, photographs, etc. If you’d like to keep your vision board virtual, Pinterest is a great place to start! Create a Pinterest board called Summer 2021 Vision Board and get pinning! This way all your ideas, pictures, and quotes can be in one place. AND you can see how your ideas look all together aesthetically!

Choose How To Build Your Vision Board

There are so many different ways that you can build and display your summer vision board! The most standard form of display for vision boards or mood board is a physical collage/print. You can definitely take the time to gather your inspo, print it out, and cut & paste it all together on a canvas of your chosen size!

BUT

We live in a digital world and I want to talk about ways to digitally make and display your summer 2021 vision board!

Digital Displays

Connect Pinterest and Widgets on Your iPhone

One of the most recent iPhone updates allows you to add widgets to your home screen! Widgets come in different sizes and different displays allow you to show pictures, clock, calendars, and more! You can also link Pinterest boards to your widgets and have the image change hourly! This is the perfect way to display your summer vision board that you might’ve already created on Pinterest!

Here’s how to add a Pinterest Widget:

  1. Download the app ‘Widgetsmith”
  2. Hold down an app until the apps on your home screen start to wiggle
  3. Tap the plus sign in the upper right hand corner of your screen
  4. Scroll down to find the widget that says Pinterest, then swipe left to the ‘boards’ option
  5. Choose the size widget you’d like, then click Add Widget
  6. Once it’s added to your home screen, click it again and tap Choose to add you “Summer 2021 Vision Board” board
  7. Decide if you’d like the image to change hourly or daily

Adding multiple widgets with your 2021 summer vision board attached is the perfect way to have your vision board (literally) right at your fingertips!

Create Your Vision Board on Canva

Want to create a stunning summer vision board to print and hang or use as a screensaver on your phone or desktop? Use Canva! Canva offers design tools for all sorts of platforms and niches- it’s how I make most of my own graphics, bullet journal templates, and vision boards! You can use Canva for free or upgrade to Canva Pro to gain access to more templates! Give Canva Pro a try free for 30 days!

Once you’re on Canva type in ‘vision,’ ‘vision board,’ or ‘collage’ to get you your best vision board templates! There are lots of creative, free vision board template options for you to take advantage of! Here is my summer vision board I created using Canva!

How To Create A Summer Vision Board

Make a Photo Collage

Make your 2021 summer vision board into a picture collage! You could also do this on Canva, or in other apps like PicStitch! Again, you could make a collage specifically for your phone lock screen, your desktop screen saver, or to print and hang in your room or office!

Check out this article on various apps to use to make a digital vision board!


Still looking for some additional summer inspo? Check out my Pinterest page and while you’re there, feel free to give me a follow!

If YOU make a summer vision board, feel free to share on Facebook or Instagram and tag me @ang_larose1!

Let’s make this summer the greatest!

Lots of love!

~ Ang