Starting a blog from scratch can be a daunting task, and you may not know where to begin. The fact that you are here reading this shows you are invested and willing to learn about how to start that new blog, even though you may have no idea how to do it! When I first started this blog, The Boho Traveller, back in 2016 I dived in with no regard to research, function, theme, or anything. It was a “balls-to-the-wall, let’s just see what happens while I write about my life” kind of vibe. Four years later I’ve molded and mended this balls-to-the-wall approach and somehow managed to turn a profit on this little corner of the internet.
You’re going to need a host and a domain name.
Two essentials to starting a blog: domain name & host.
Finding a name for your blog is the fun part! When picking a name for your new blog you really want to find something that describes who you are and what your blog is about. You want to make sure it is available as a domain name. Some of my favorite blog names are:
Helene in Between – her name is Helene and she is always in-between places traveling – brilliant!
Song of Style – Her last name is Song, and its a fashion blog!
Nomadic Matt – the simple side of things, he’s a nomad and his name is Matt!
Fashion In Suitcases – Obviously she is a traveler and into fashion.
I get asked a lot where my blog name comes from and why I picked it. When I started my blog from scratch I really struggled with picking a name at first. I knew I wanted it to be about me and my travels. Somehow, I wanted to help others move to Italy – which was what I was getting the most questions about at the time. Because I was living there I wrote a lot about Italy, but I knew I wasn’t going to be there forever. I didn’t want to get too niche and solely blogg about Italy, so my name had to be broader than that. I pondered and struggled for a few weeks before it came to me.
One day sitting on my couch in Florence without any Wifi (we had just moved) I was thinking about my ancestry and remembered my great grandmother Ophelia, who was a duchess in Bohemia. I thought about how I mostly wear bohemian style clothing anyways and the idea struck me. I would be known as The Boho Traveller. Now, whether I like it or not, my friends, their parents, and most people I know see me around and greet me as The Boho. It’s good to know your branding works!
After you’ve picked a name you want to check and make sure the domain is available and to find a hosting service. I currently use Blue Host on this site, but I use Host Gator on another. Both are fantastic options with great deals for beginners starting a blog from scratch.
If you sign up for Blue Host using this link, you get a discount you won’t receive when you go directly to their page. Blue Host is a great hosting service for anyone but is especially great for beginners. Blue Host has a fantastic support center accessible through chat at any time.
Choose which website building platform to use
I don’t care what anyone says, you need to be on WordPress. It’s the best Website builder around, and the most used. WordPress is the most convenient, is compatible with nearly everything, and an industry standard. WordPress is a precious skill to learn, and while it may be a challenge at first, the learning curve is steep and worth the effort. Any company I’ve ever worked for has used WordPress for its website, and teaching myself the basics on my own blog (as well as making all the mistakes here!) set me up for success.
Other website builders out there include Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly. Whether you’re starting a blog from scratch or upgrading your current website or blog, WordPress is where you need to be.
Pick a theme that gives you flexibility and will age well.
There are tons of free themes out there that are easy to learn to build your blog on WordPress. But, if you’re looking for the best paid-theme that is the most customizable, it is probably Divi from Elegant Themes. As a matter of fact, it is the current theme you are looking at right now! It’s very common in the blogging world because it is fast and customizable.
I have personally gone through about 40-50 WordPress themes during the lifetime of my blog, and Divi has by far been my favorite. Their support system is quick and responsive, and I love how customizable everything is. If you’re starting a blog from scratch and want to dive headfirst into a good theme that will age well down the road, but not quite ready to bring out the bucks for a fully custom created website – Divi is the way to go.
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When starting a blog from scratch you are going to need to build up your core content
What is core content? Core content is the foundational posts of your blog. What your new blog is all about. The Boho Traveller is a travel blog, so my core content is mostly traveling itineraries. An example of core content for me is this Scotland Travel Guide. It has over 5000 words, tons of useful information, links to other articles I have written and so much more. All core content should at least have 1000 words, if not more. These core content articles are likely to be the most visited pages on your website. They will help you drive the most traffic.
You will want these to have fantastic SEO (more on that below!) and make sure they are edited well and carefully detailed. Later on, when you start to get into affiliate marketing, you will be implementing that monetization tactic on these pages first and hopefully driving the most income from them. If you don’t know what affiliate marketing is, don’t worry! You can apply it to your blog later on. Basically, affiliate marketing is the practice of referring your readers to a product, which you earn a small commission from when they purchase using the link they provided. It starts off slow, but over time it builds up and you can make good money from it!
Many of the links in this article are affiliate marketing! It’s important to remember when including affiliate links in your core content that you truly want it to be products you personally recommend! If on your best articles you are recommending shoddy products, your readers aren’t going to trust you and you will lose your community! I HIGHLY recommend to only refer products you have vetted and trust yourself!
You will want to post content that is helpful to others when starting a blog from scratch
If you are struggling with what type of content to create for your new blog, think about what problems you face! Content that is helpful will always do well on your blog. For a travel blog things like travel guides for countries, things to do in cities, and packing tips are all great options! If you are a fashion blogger how-to guides, shopping lists for a season, accessory lists and more are all good ideas! You want to remember that when people are coming to your blog they are often searching for a solution to a problem. You want to be able to give them that solution.
Personal posts are great, people love connecting and sharing with you and learning about your story. But these should be for big life events, and to build a community. You want to be giving to those people who are coming to your blog. If every post is “diary-style” and just about YOU – then why would people come back? They want to be given something. So help them out, and share your personal story while you are at it.
Start your email list as soon as you possibly can and include it in every single blog post somewhere.
It might seem a bit silly and even outdated, but starting an email list is essential to starting a blog and growing your blog. With an email list you have in your hands to power to reach people right in their inbox with new posts, and later on when you get into affiliate marketing, right into their hands to make money. More views = more money, and while having a creative outlet is the first reason to start a blog, making money should be in your end game, otherwise it doesn’t matter how passionate you are, or how good your blog is, it won’t be sustainable.
When creating an email list I recommend using Convertkit or MailChimp platforms. I am currently invested in MailChimp but plan on switching to ConvertKit eventually.
Depending on how your brain works, you may prefer one platform over the other. I personally know more big bloggers use ConvertKit, but in the end, it all depends on what works best for you!
How to get subscribers to your email list? Start with a pop-up form on your blog that allows visitors to opt-in! Another method I use? I almost always include a “freebie” somewhere in my blog post that in order to access you have to sign up to my email list! This way the email list becomes a relationship between you and your visitor! You have given them free information, they now want more, and in order for you to give them something, they have to give you something! it’s a win-win for everyone.
To start a blog from scratch you need to find something that makes your blog uniquely about YOU
You NEED to have a passion for what you are writing about! If you are starting a blog just for the sake of making money, this isn’t going to end well. YES, eventually we all want to make money blogging, but it will be a while before that happens. Most people aren’t going to jump into this game and start making money immediately. Many bloggers who have a 6 figure income have been blogging in the range of 8-10 years!
If you want a profitable and sustainable blog, you need to be writing about things that you love and are passionate about. It doesn’t matter if the “money-making” market is fashion if you are passionate about food! Do not write about fashion in this case! Follow your heart and write on what truly excites you.
For me, the passion I possess is for travel. Yes, I’ve dabbled a bit in other things on my blog, such as fashion, and even budgeting, but a majority of my content is travel related. Like, 98% of it is travel related. That’s because I am PASSIONATE about travel. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am always on the move!
Share your new blog everywhere! Personal accounts included!
I see so many new bloggers shy about sharing their posts, especially on their personal accounts! This is NOT something you should be ashamed of! Ask your friends and family to share your posts, and never hesitate to share your blog on any social media platform. Social Media is one of the largest sources of blog traffic, and you are missing out on a huge chunk of views if you don’t share.
The good thing about making your blog personal and writing about something you’re passionate about is that you are less likely to be embarrassed to share your work. Chances are if you’re already passionate about something, you’re friends and family know it and they will be STOKED to read something you wrote about something you love so much.
“But Sydney, won’t my friends and family be annoyed if I’m constantly sharing my blogs on my Facebook?” Absolutely not! I have friends and family yell at me when I haven’t shared with my personal page in a while! They love keeping up with my travels and they love traveling the world vicariously through me! Plus, do you know how many times I’ve had a random cousin message me and say “Hey my friend is traveling to x – can you send me the link to your advice for that?”
Not only through this are you getting views on your site, but you are building a community. Having a community is one of the most important aspects of starting a blog from scratch. Your community is what holds you together when times get tough. One of the hardest parts of blogging is building a community.
Share all of your new articles on Pinterest to help build traffic while starting your blog from scratch
This comes as a surprise to many new bloggers, but Pinterest is the biggest source of the traffic to my blog. The problem most new bloggers face with Pinterest is that they don’t understand that Pinterest is not a social media platform, but rather a search engine. Once you understand that, Pinterest starts to make a lot more sense!
You should be sharing multiple pins from each blog post to specialized Pinterest boards. There is a ton of information out there regarding how to best optimize your Pinterest account!
Make sure you are optimizing your new blog for SEO
Ahh, the ever-elusive term “SEO”. You knew it would pop up in this article at some point or another. But what is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In simple terms, this means that you have set up your blog post to show up better in the search results page on search engines. How to make your article SEO- friendly? Here are a few starter tips.
- pick a keyword and use it throughout your article
- naturally in the text
- in the alt text of your photos
- include photos
- link to outside relevant articles
- link to your own articles
- don’t overstuff your keyword!
I really hope that you found this article on Starting a Blog from Scratch useful! If you have any questions please never hesitate to leave a comment below or reach out to me on email! And don’t forget to Pin this Post so you can come back to it later!