How to Start a Blog
Being new to the blogging community can be very intimidating, and I’m constantly pushing aside my self-defeatist thoughts of “why am I writing all this??” and “Is anyone even reading this?!” I often imagine myself standing in a wide wide world, shouting to no one in particular. I’m hoping that this isn’t in vain! I truly enjoy having a voice!
That being said, I think what has helped me the most when thinking about starting a blog was actually how to start one. It’s actually really easy to set one up, no need for HTML knowledge. I run my website through Squarespace, but there’s so many different website hosts out there! Here’s some of the simplest steps to start a blog and then, really, the hard part begins (sticking with it!)
Pick a web hosting service.
I use Squarespace, but there are so many others. The other popular host is Wordpress. Having tried both, there’s pros/cons with each one. You can sign up for both for free, but in order to register a domain that is unique to you, you would have to sign up for a plan (monthly or yearly). The good thing though, is you can sign up for the free domain and then trial both Squarespace and Wordpress and see which one you like. They are both equally capable of giving you a great website; it’s really just what you prefer or which platform is more intuitive for you to learn.
Pick a web hosting service provider.
There’s lots of different services out there such as Bluehost or GoDaddy or Tucows. There’s often seamless integration between the software management system and whichever hosting service provider you choose. A host site is where your website files are stored and assigns a specific address to you files for your domain name, so if someone searches your domain name, they can find your website. You are essentially ‘renting’ space on the internet for your site.
To Niche or not to Niche?
There’s a lot of talk about niche. There’s a large community of bloggers out there and there’s a lot of talk about ‘how to stand out.’ I gave this some serious thought before I decided to register a domain and just begin. There’s different opinions out there in the internet world about focusing on specific topic or area. A focused niche can give you a focused audience but it has to be broad enough to which you can expound upon for years (and won’t get bored of to constantly write about). A broader blog, such as a travel or lifestyle blog, can give you different topics to write about that truly interest you. It’s up to you, and besides, when you start, you’ll find your voice eventually and your niche will evolve over time.
Register a domain - one that’s unique to you.
Once you’ve decided your host and what you want to blog about, it’s important you register a domain that’s unique to you. When you use the free domain, the URL usually has “www.blahblahblah.wordpress.com” which is not really what you want. You want something that you own and that’s truly yours (not to mention a shorter URL for people to type in!). Think hard about your domain and what you feel represents you and your brand.
Forget everything that I said above and JUST START WRITING. You can't have a blog if you don't create valuable content. What I like about Squarespace is that it’s relatively simple for someone like me (with NO experience in website design or coding) to create a website where all I have to worry about is content. She Leans In is a work in progress, but what’s important is that it’s my creative outlet to share with the rest of the internet community.