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