I started my first blog back in 2007, when My Live Journal was the coolest social media site ever. I think I used it more as like an online diary type thing, and I don’t think anyone read it, which is probably a good thing.
In 2009, I was majorly inspired by the film Julie and Julia in numerous ways…first, to eat more butter; second, to share my cooking experiments! At that time I was really interested in “healthy” cooking, and shared new recipes a few time a week. After a while, I decided that my obsession with healthy eating wasn’t all that healthy at all, so I stopped blogging to create some boundaries in my life. Eventually though, I realized that I missed the writing, sharing, and community aspects of blogging, and started getting back into it.
Over the years, I started and deleted probably about 7 different blogs. But as I grew into adulthood, figured out who I was, and settled into a style of writing that felt meaningful and authentic to me, I settled in on this here website! I dabbled with different types of topics and posting styles, sometimes to simply be creative and sometimes because I thought it was the popular thing to do. But what I’ve ultimately realized is that for me and my life, blogging is a fun and cathartic activity as long as I stay true to who I am, allow myself flexibility for my ever-evolving interests, and feel like I’m creating something that can inspire others to live a more positive life.
I’ve received a number questions recently about how to start a blog, how I got into blogging, and tips for successfully creating a space in the internet where a community can grow naturally. I certainly don’t claim hold all the answers, and I admit that my approach to blogging is pretty different from folks who blog full-time, as well as folks who have a largely creative emphasis on their blogs. But this is my story, my experience, and my post for you if you’re interested in starting a blog of your own!
1. Choose a Topic You Love
Currently, I blog about a few main topics: intuitive eating, faith, and functional medicine — plus a few tid bits of my own life. I settled into these topics because I spend most of my time thinking about them. My career is functional medicine, and I love it — so that one was a no-brainer for me. My faith is a central and fundamental part of my life, so it’s pretty much impossible for me to write in an authentic way while ignoring the very things that my whole life is founded upon. Intuitive eating is something I’m really passionate about because of my own food relationship history, but also because of the fact that I’m work in the natural health world, where disordered eating runs rampant. So, it feels natural for me to sort out my thoughts
on paper a blog as they pop into my head.
If a topic doesn’t seem as readily apparent to you, these ideas might help you figure something out:
- Look at your internet/Instagram history. What sorts of topics do you tend to read about the most? Are you mostly researching these subjects to learn, or do you already have a number of your own thoughts circulating around them?
- What skill would you like to improve? My sister loves baking, and one day she decided she wanted to get better at it. She started baking a cake every week and sharing her progress online.
- What are your hobbies? Fashion, travel, cooking, and gardening are common topics to blog about, but there’s a niche for almost every interest under the sun. (And for every niche, there are hundreds, if not thousands or millions of people who want to read about it!)
- Are you comfortable sharing your own life? Some of my favorite blogs to read aren’t about any one thing in particular. They’re more of a personal/individual lifestyle blog. I personally believe that everybody’s story is meaningful and important, and sharing your life in an honest way can inspire, encourage, and uplift others in very tangible ways. If you don’t feel drawn to a particular subject, why not blog about you?
Once you choose a topic, the next step is to choose a name for your blog (or a few name ideas). In the early days of blogging, I really enjoyed coming up with the names for my different blogs. But more recently, I realized that I enjoy the freedom to write organically about different topics, even if they aren’t necessarily consistent with my niche. So, I changed the name of my blog to my own name, which accurately represents the fact that I’m a dynamic person with a likewise dynamic blog! I’ve been really happy with this decision so fat, but the beauty of blogging is that nothing is set in stone. If you change your mind, you can change your domain name. (Just make sure you notify your readers, so they know where to find you!)
2. Set Up Your Online Space
I’ve used a number of different web hosting services in the past, such as Blogspot and Blue Host, but WordPress has been, by far, my favorite. I personally find it very easy to use, and it works well for both general blogging as well as for hosting websites for businesses I’ve had in the past. It’s my favorite, so I’ve chosen to share the WordPress affiliate link for this post.
Now, let’s get started with WordPress!
Click through the following slideshow as a visual guide for the steps below.
- Clicking this link will take you to this first page. The first step is as easy as pie — just click “Start your site.”
- Creating an account can be done with one of two options: creating a new username and password, or logging in with Google/Apple. I really recommend logging in with Google because there are quite a few integrated features (like more photo storage) that are really easy to now, but much more challenging to add in later if you change your mind.
- The next step is to choose a domain name! (But you’ve already done this from step one, right?) Type in your different ideas into the search bar, and WordPress will auto-populate different names that are available…
- When you choose your plan (step 5), the domain name will be included in the price for the first year. Depending on the name you choose, you might have to exchange a few things, like by using a different ending besides “.com” or by adding in a few extra words to the URL. Experiment with a few ideas until you find something you like.
- Next, choose your plan! If you’re not too sure about blogging, a personal plan might be a good idea. But I personally am currently using the premium theme which allows me more customization over my theme as well as a number of other features like paid advertising.
- Once you enter your info to pay for the site, it’s time to start making it your own! WordPress recommends starting by updating your home page (pink button in the middle) but I find that it works better to choose a theme first (left side column, where the gray highlighted bar is.)
- You can browse through the different available themes. If you aren’t sure about one yet, you can preview an example template by clicking “Open live demo.” When you’ve found the one you want, select “Activate this design.”
- Once you have a theme you like, THEN navigate back to the main menu and set up your homepage. The tutorial is excellent, and explains everything you need to know about the editor.
- After you’ve set up the homepage, click “Update” to save your work, and navigate back to the main menu. The next pink button will pop up, and by clicking it, your site will go live! (Yay!)
- Once the site is live, you can add more pages, start writing posts, and make all kinds of other edits. Your blog is complete and ready for posting!
3. Start Writing
This part is the easy part…just start writing! The block editor for writing blog posts on WordPress is really easy to navigate. You can click to add paragraphs, headings, photos, and more, and each little button is pretty self-explanatory.
A few tips for blog writing…
Of course, it’s your blog and you can write however it feels best to you. But I wanted to share a few tips for writing consistent and easy-to-read blog posts that have helped me over the years:
- Aim for 500-1,000 words, which is typical for blog writing. Blogging as a whole is different from books, magazines, and Instagram, which use various lengths for different types of readers. When someone is reading a blog, 500-1,000 words is the length that most folks expect.
- Try to include a photo on each post. The visual keeps readers engaged, and as the old adage says, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
- Stay true to yourself. The world needs to hear your thoughts and your voice. Being authentic with your writing will help keep blogging an enjoyable and rewarding hobby (or job!) rather than something you feel reluctant about doing. Being real also helps keep readers engaged, so that your little home on the web can become part of a community!
…and most importantly, have fun!
If this post inspired you to create your own blog, please send me a message! I’d love to visit your page and check out your posts!