I am a very teensy tiny blogger in a massive pool of incredibly talented and articulate writers, so there is no way I can title this, “How to Start a Blog,” because to be honest, I’m not the best at this, nor entirely sure of what I’m doing still!
BUT some awesome gals in a Facebook mommy group I admin are looking to start blogs and asked me about mine so I thought I’d jot down what I’ve done and hopefully help simplify the process for other lovely ladies out there looking to jump in! Here is what my path has looked like.
Hi! I’m –
First I needed to choose a blog name. My personal name, Mariette, is very unique and people have a hard time spelling and remembering it. Thus, I knew I wanted something other than ‘firstnamelastname.com”.
I started googling around with a few ideas I had and looked at what came up. I wanted to make sure I could get the domain name + .com of whatever I chose, and that there wouldn’t already be social media handles taken. I also didn’t want to have an almost identical name as another existing blog.
For instance, The Crunchy Catholic Mom was an abandoned blog sitting out there so I didn’t want to have that name +.co or .net and people end up confused with the .com one no longer operating.
The Natural Catholic Mom sounded pretty to me, wasn’t a registered domain name, and was free and clear on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Tagline, You’re Up
Next I chose a tagline. I liked this idea because it forced me to think about what I would actually write on. “Pursing health and holiness in my domestic church” I felt gave me a broad swath that many topics could fall under, but it still gives you an idea of what I write about.
I’ve Seen You Before!
Next I decided I’d like a logo. I know plenty of successful bloggers don’t have one, but to me some sort of recognizable trademark is nice. I’m a very visual person and mentally associate blogs with their “look” so I wanted a logo. (Plus, it just made me feel so official, hehe!)
My first logo was a super cheapie $15 one from Fiverr that I had done because I wasn’t sure if I would actually stick with this.
Once I saw I enjoyed blogging and wanted to continue, Katerina from Limon Yellow and Little Way Design Co. designed my current beautiful logo. I would highly recommend her affordable custom logos if you’re looking into one yourself!
Let Me Host You
As for web hosting, I went with WordPress. Squarespace seemed a little too edgy for me and WordPress just had a very user-friendly appeal about it. I certainly have my frustrations with it sometimes, but overall I think it’s manageable to use without any web design knowledge.
In the template section I searched free blog templates and chose this one.
I set up my basic site with a home page, about me page, and the contact me page.
Up The Ante
I decided to invest a tiny bit of money when I started the blog. I purchased a year of the $4.95/mo plan on WordPress that removed their ads and also let me have a plain .com address, as well as that logo I mentioned above. Neither are necessary, but I did this for a few reasons.
One, it just made blogging more fun for me. I thought having a “real” domain and logo added to the experience for me, as well as removing those ads made for a better experience for my readers.
Two, having a plain .com address makes it a lot easier for someone in passing to remember your website. I feel like rattling off, “The Natural Catholic Mom Dot Com” to someone over “The Natural Catholic Mom Dot WordPress Dot Com” is more likely to result in someone actually remembering and checking out my blog.
Three, my husband works very hard for our money, and I’m a really impulsive person. Sometimes I get an idea, run with it, and then promptly give up when a project becomes hard or boring. I felt that by investing some money (Not lots, this was all under $70), would compel me to stick with it since I knew I had actually spent some of our cash to start.
Social Media Sign Ups
After I had my WordPress site put together, I also created my social media pages. I have never understood or cared for Twitter, so I stick with Instagram and Facebook since I enjoy them already, and I do operate my Pinterest account but with a lot less frequency.
Support Me, Please
Next I found a support group for blogging on Facebook. Whatever your niche is in writing, you will probably be able to find a group of other bloggers in the same area who are helping each other out with technical questions, encouragement, constructive criticism, collaborating together, and just all around supporting each other.
I have found some really nice fellow bloggers this way that make this venture feel much less lonely and help me be part of a community!
Okay, so not a field goal… but I did set weekly posting goals for myself. This does NOT have to be this weird self-inflicted pressuring thing like you’re some high level corporate CEO… This is supposed to be enjoyable and fun, after all!
But I did want to make sure I was committed to something in terms of posting frequency.
I actually used to read tons of blogs but as time went on I stopped blog searching anymore because it seemed like people were just constantly posting promising to post regularly soon and never hearing from them until months later when they again posted about starting to write again.
And hey, I’m not judging. Life is BUSY and hard. But I think some sort of goal, be it posting daily, weekly, or even monthly is good.
I usually post on Mondays and Fridays, but real life tends to add variation to that schedule. I still stick with at least two posts a week as that frequency is manageable for where I am in life right at this moment.
I’ll keep doing what works, but I find having my mental goal of twice a week keeps me motivated, jotting down ideas, and keeping up with this outlet I love so much!
Did You Steal That?!
I vaguely remember an organizing Youtuber I used to watch saying she actually got sued for using images she found off of Google on her blog.
It truly isn’t okay to steal peoples images, so I make sure to always properly link if an image can be shared with attribution, or just use Wikipedia’s Public Domain list here.
Websites like Snappy Goat, Free-Images.com, and Wikipedia Commons have millions of free images that you can use to make a post look great, but still respect the works of others and not steal images you don’t have a legal right to use.
I really wanted to do a giveaway when I started blogging to try and reach some more readers, and totally put myself out there contacting a soap company I personally used. I felt like an idiot, but I wrote asking if they’d like to sponsor a giveaway and was shocked that they wrote yes! That giveaway post really was fun and productive for me. I was so glad I asked!
The same goes with my sidebar advertisers… I reach out in different groups and even though many pass up on advertising, a few support my blog, and I’m so grateful for their patronage.
Don’t be afraid to ask others about working together. If they turn you down, you’re no worse off than you were before you asked.
Write What You Want
Finally, I try to write what I want to. It’s what keeps this enjoyable for me. If I felt so confined or limited by what I thought others would like best, what would be less controversial, what would be more shareable etc. then I would miss out on so much of the joy of my blog.
Processing joys and pains, sharing healthy recipes that I love making, documenting a homemaking project, or pondering about my Faith or motherhood will vary in view counts and shares, but never in my enjoyment of writing them, and that’s what matters most when blogging in the first place.