Here is a practical list of the 5 best tips to consider before starting a blog, like domain name, hosting, what to do at cost or for free.
When it all began
The year was 2006.
MySpace was a big thing. It allowed you to blog!
That was my first exposure in writing out my thoughts for all to read. And it was a great outlet during my late sleepless nights in my room at my parents house in Northern California. And it planted the blogging seed in my head.
I took that seed up to the PNW in 2007, contemplating blogs on travel, the great PNW outdoors, or dining/bar scenes. But I never got around to it. There was no real urge to start because I was busy trying to live on minimum wage and trying to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life.
Now, more than a decade later, new motivation had emerged after I got married and had kids. It was the motivation for something more personal than being a wife and mother.
That’s when I started to really consider blogging – to create, write, help, journal, and entertain.
I read blogs, so many blogs about blogs: how to start, what to write, how to write, who to write. You name it. I probably read about it. In a blog. Many blogs.
There were many different opinions but very similar themes. And I figured I’d list them out. Here are my tips anyone should consider before starting a blog. They are tips I followed which helped my thought go from a little seed to something now taking root.
5 best tips before starting a blog
- Choose a simple and memorable domain name
- List at least 50 topic ideas to write about
- Pay for hosting platform, but
- Do as much as you can for free (photo editing, stock pics, etc.)
- If you’ve been thinking about it for at least 6 months, just go for it and try.
Tip 1: Choose a simple and memorable domain name
This is assuming you already know what your blog theme will be: recipes, travel, DIYs. But if you don’t, that’s not a big deal. Start by writing out everything about you – your interests, hobbies, characteristics. Group similarities to hone in on some blog theme ideas. Get rid of what doesn’t fit. And then start playing with the words to find your catchy domain name.
Now you can also just use your name as your domain. I thought about that…but I like being mysterious.
If you still need a little help, search blog name generators like this, and pick about 5. That always seems to be the magic number.
Then check to see if your chosen domain name is available on sites like this.
Tip 2: List at least 50 topic ideas
This second tip is simple: brainstorm…no holds barred. Just start making a list of every idea that you could write about. If you can come up with at least 50 topic ideas on your theme, then you’re off to a good start!
If you don’t have at least 50 topic ideas, then I’d repeat the first step until you can.
Tip 3: Pay for hosting platform
The next tip is a tedious one. You need to decide if you want a hosted or self-hosting website.
Here’s my simple analogy of the two. Think of a hosted website like a Mac and a self-hosting website like an IBM. Now I’m not going to get too technical or even too specific, but bear with me.
One is a click and drag. Everything is there, ready for you to use. You’d be up and running in no time. This is the hosted website or Mac. So you’ll have pretty much everything available – site themes, a blog editor, other plugins. As far as I understand, they’re there for you to use.
The other is programmable. So, you have to purchase this software, or that program. And then there’s coding programs to help your computer run more efficiently. This is the self-hosted website. So you might have to buy things externally to use in your site, like your domain name, or a web theme. If you choose this route, there’s a higher learning curve.
But don’t get lost in the technicality. Just pick one that will suite your ultimate purpose. For me, I went in the self-hosting direction with WordPress because I wanted more flexibility and ownership of my site. I paid out more but I’m okay with that.
Tip 4: But do as much as you can for free
Let’s be honest. You’re going to have to put money into your blog. But you can get away with a lot without having to spend so much. If you decided on a hosted website, you’re good to go! It’s all there.
If you chose self-hosted, you have to get creative. For example, photos are a big deal in blogs. But you don’t need fancy equipment to do it. You can take very professional looking photos with your camera phone. You might need to edit it but that can be done free as well. Or you can use free stock photos. Canva is one with some really nice stock photos. You can get really creative with just their free stock.
Tip 5: Just go for it and try
Bottom line, if you’ve thought about blogging for at least 6 months, just go for it! What’s really stopping you? There is work upfront. But if all you want to do is write and share some knowledge or make people smile, don’t get too caught up or stuck on any of the previous tips I just shared. Because any one of those can be a speed bump.
I took my own tips before starting a blog. And this is my first blog. It’s not perfect. There aren’t even any pictures (Ok, 1 that I made on Canva for free). But basically I wanted to get unstuck. And I want to help anyone out there who is like me, who is wanting to just try something out. That’s my life motto, what I tell my kids often, to just try. You can read more about me here.
So just try it! And share with me down below how far you went with these tips. I’d love to know!