"He captures memories because if he forgets them, it's as though they didn't happen."― Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life
I'm a blogger. It's part of my identity, as much as being a mom, wife and friend are parts of my existence. It's part of my past, and hopefully will continue to be a part of my future. People, being inquisitive, and maybe hoping to find parts of themselves in something larger than themselves, often ask about my blog, my journey, and how and why they should join the legions of people who call themselves "bloggers."
Today, I'm sharing 5 of my favorite reasons to blog, as well as 5 ways to begin a blog. If you have a question I don't answer here, feel free to leave a comment or contact me through my blog, burlap+blue.
1. Blog to inspire others. Inspiring and encouraging others is one of the best parts of blogging. No matter your blogging topic, if you feel inspired by what you write, others will almost certainly feel inspired by you and maybe even moved to create change in their lives. Being able to inspire others is a powerful gift, and while there are many ways to inspire, blogging is one of my personal favorites.
2. Blog to earn an income. Earning an income from your blog is doable once you have an engaged audience who finds value in your content. Making money shouldn't be your main goal in starting a blog, but if you find yourself earning a few dollars from your hobby, all the better. Being able, too, to make money on your own terms just by the words you write is a powerful, life-changing experience in and of itself.
3. Blog to open doors. Want to become an author? A speaker? Sell your art? Make your mark? Blogging can be a means to an end for all of the above. No matter your goal, blogging can help you get noticed, build a thriving business, or take the next step towards your goal.
4. Blog to help you learn new skills and get better at the ones you already have. Blogging helps you become a better writer, listener, and speaker. It helps you acquire computer skills, SEO expertise, and even coding experience. Learning new skills is great for your resume, but it also just feels good to learn something new.
5. Blog to become happier. This isn't a sure thing, but it's quite unlikely that you'll inspire others, earn an income, have doors open for you, and learn new skills without a boost in your happiness. This is not to say that blogging is always easy; I can definitely attest to the fact that sometimes, blogging feels undeniably not easy. However, I've always found that rising about whatever challenge I'm facing definitely makes me stronger, encouraged, and, yes, happier.
So you've decided that you want to start a blog. Yay for you! Start by taking a deep breath. It really is easier than it looks.
1. Choose your domain, platform, and hosting. First, decide on your topic and domain name, which you can easily register through Bluehost. You can enter your possible domain name here to see if it's available:
Why Bluehost? First, they offer hosting at only $3.49/month, which is an amazing deal. Bluehost will also help you with installing WordPress (which is the platform I recommend using). Once you click over to Bluehost, hit the green Get Started Now button. Bluehost will walk you through the steps, such as selection a plan, entering your domain, entering your account info, choosing a package, and entering your billing information. You'll then be able to login to your Bluehost cpanel, and install WordPress.
2. Choose a theme. So you have your domain, your hosting and your platform. Now you need to choose a theme. A WordPress theme determines the look and feel of your site. There are plenty of free themes, or, if you have a specific look in mind, you may want to go with a paid theme. Either way, you can tweak your theme to get it to look exactly how you want it, or, for a small fee, there are plenty of people out there who are happy to help you make your vision a reality.
3. Upload some plugins. Plugins are, in short, software you can upload to increase the functionality of your blog. There is a plugin for almost anything you want to do with your blog. I'm not interested in reinventing the wheel here; there are some great posts out there outlining some of the WordPress plugins. Here's a post from the blog maven with 15 essential WordPress plugins, and The Nectar Collective published this post on 8 WordPress plugins I Can't Live Without.
4. Create amazing content. Create content that answers questions people have, encourages people, or is just plain fun for people to read. Make your content shareable, engaging, and aim to post at least once a week. If you're having trouble keeping your content and ideas organized, this post by DIY Candy has over 10 free printable blog planners!
5. Promote your posts. It's been said that 10% of your time should be spent writing your posts, and 90% of your time should be spent promoting your posts. Sounds daunting, but it really isn't. Quick Sprout has a list of 11 things to do after you publish a post, and The Nectar Collective has 17 things you should do to every post before and after you hit publish.
Have more questions about blogging? Feel free to contact me through my blog, burlap+blue.
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Linda is the founder of burlap+blue, a space dedicated to helping women live life more creatively. She is inspired by creativity, good books and the everyday. She lives with her husband and kids in Richmond, VA. Read more at burlapandblue.com or connect with her on Twitter or Instagram!