Blogging

Starting a Blog: FAQ + the Basics

Starting a Blog: FAQ

Starting a Blog: FAQ

The following content includes referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info. 

Since publishing my FREE Start a Blog 7-Day Email Course last week, I’ve been getting a ton of emails from you guys. We had nearly 400 people sign up for the course in the last 7 days, which is SO awesome!

I’ve been getting such great feedback from you- if you want to join the course you can do so right here. And, remember that if you ever have any questions, you can just hit “reply” to any of the emails containing your lessons, and I’ll do my best to help.

I’ve also been getting SO many questions from my students and other people interested in starting a blog, I’ve decided to address some of them in a blog post.

This is a little follow-up to my email course, but you might also find this post helpful if you’re new to blogging or are thinking about starting a blog.

So, let’s talk some basics…

STARTING A BLOG: FAQ AND THE BASICS

Starting a Blog: FAQ + the Basics

BLOGGER AND WORDPRESS.ORG… WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

This is one of those questions that comes up, all the time when someone decides to start a blog. In my course, I focus on starting a blog on the same platform that I, myself, use- WordPress.Org. WordPress.Org itself is a free service, but it is a self-hosted management system. This means that you are responsible for hosting your content.

Self-hosted… what exactly does it mean?

Unlike other free platforms (think Blogger) WordPress.Org requires that you set up your own web hosting with a 3rd party company. Think of hosting as you rent.

To set up a self-hosted WordPress blog, you need three things:

  1. A domain- which will be your blog address (like www.thirteenthoughts.com)
  2. Hosting- which is a paid service that hosts your site (provides storage space and hosting for your blog/website; think of it as space you rent out for your business)
  3. WordPress- which is a platform you will blog on (this is where you will write your blog posts, upload your images, etc.)

Think of it this way: your domain is your home address, your host provider is your landlord, and WordPress is your home.

To keep things streamlined, it’s best to purchase your domain from the same place you purchase your hosting. A lot of providers also offer a free domain registration, when you sign up for their hosting services.

Now, there are also other, free blogging platforms, like Blogger, Tumblr or WordPress.Com. With these platforms, they’re the ones taking care of hosting. BUT, they also come with their limits when it comes to things like storage space and being able to customize your blog.

Another thing is that with Blogger, Google can suspend your blog at any time. With a self-hosted blog, you’re in control.

DO I REALLY NEED A SELF-HOSTED BLOG?

I’ll keep things simple. If you want to have full control over your blog or website, you need a self-hosted blog. If you plan on monetizing your blog, you need a self-hosted site. With a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can install custom themes, plugins that will expand your website’s capabilities, you have complete control over search engine optimization and won’t run into problems when it comes to monetizing your blog. In other words, WordPress gives you room to grow and expand. Say you want to create a product or offer paid services in the future or plan or monetizing your blog in any other way- a self-hosted blog the way to go.

All of this might sound a little complicated at first, but once you sign up for hosting, register your domain and install WordPress, you won’t have to worry about any of the technical things (as long as you choose a reliable host). WordPress is very easy to navigate and use.

If, on the other hand, you just want to blog for fun or explore the blogging world and don’t plan on monetizing your blog, then you don’t need a self-hosted blog and will be better off starting a blog on a free platform.

Now, a little word of advice when it comes to picking your host when starting a blog…

You will see a ton of bloggers promoting services like Bluehost or Hostgator, which, aren’t so great, even for beginners. Full disclosure- I actually did promote Hostgator for a while and I have personally used them for the first couple of years of blogging- and they were great. At first.

Over the years, however, I noticed a huge change in the quality of their services, and once I decided to change providers, I also stopped promoting them. I have a few of my own “hosting horror stories” that I will share in my next Blog Tips post. Picking a high-quality web-hosting is very important and having great service, where you don’t have to worry about your blog running slow, being hacked or shutting down with every small traffic spike, is crucial. All you want to worry about is creating awesome content.

SiteGround is a an awesome hosting provider for beginners; they have great uptimes, they are safe, fast and have great support. Support is probably one of the most important things when it comes to hosting. I know next to nothing when it comes to a back-end of a website, so knowing that you can immediately talk to someone if there is an issue with your blog, is SO important!

Web Hosting

Right now, SiteGround is also offering a FREE website transfer, so if you’re unhappy with your current host, you can switch to Siteground, hassle-free and have one of their experts handle the transfer for you.

If you’re no longer a blog newbie and have a high-traffic blog or a blog that is growing quickly and are looking for managed VPS hosting, I also can’t recommend Known Host enough- they are seriously amazing and provide an outstanding support.


WHAT IS THE BEST THING I CAN DO TO GROW MY BLOG?

One of the best things you can do for your blog growth is getting started on your email list. You probably think that you have to have a lot of Facebook likes, or Instagram followers to run a successful blog and earn money, right?

What happens when Instagram or Facebook change their algorithms? What happens if Twitter suddenly decides to shut down? How will you let your readers know that you posted a new article, or that you’re launching a product? You cannot control what happens to your Facebook or Instagram audience, or even what and when they see the content you post to those platforms (unless you decide to pay for advertising).

This is why you need an email list!

With an email list, things are different. You have direct contact with your audience, you can reach out to them anytime you want. Build a strong email list, and you won’t need to have a ton of traffic or “followers” to make a decent income through your blog. I get asked, all the time, which tool I use to manage and grow my list and it’s ConvertKit. I also have another free workshop/course coming up, which will be all about ConvertKit since I’ve been getting so many questions about it lately. I’m super excited for this one, as it will be more of a hands-on, video class, so if you want to learn how to grow your email list, stay tuned! I will also share exactly how I managed to gain over 1,000 subscribers in the last 30 days.

Starting a Blog: FAQ

I DON’T THINK MY BLOG POSTS ARE GOOD ENOUGH TO PUBLISH!

This is something that comes up SO OFTEN, whenever I talk to people who want to blog. A few of my students actually told me that they have a whole bunch of posts all ready to be published, but they just don’t feel very confident about them.

“I have so many ideas but I don’t feel confident enough to actually *publish* my posts.” Well, if you really don’t think you’re a good writer, I’ll let you in on a secret.

You know how to become better at writing?

By writing (reading helps, too).

I sometimes read some of my older posts and I cringe a little, but you know what? I would never have found my confidence as a writer if it wasn’t for those “bad” articles. That is how you find your writing style and your own voice: by writing those posts and hitting publish. Don’t be afraid to show your personality through your writing. Write about things you like, things you’re knowledgeable about. You don’t have to focus on things that are popular- this is one of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make. DO YOU- you don’t have to be everyone’s cup of tea! There are enough awesome people out there who share your interests, people who will be curious about things you write, but you have to let your personality shine and follow your gut, rather than trying to be someone you’re not.

If you’re a mom, share some tips about motherhood and managing your time; create freebies, start interesting conversations with other moms. Do you love to cook? Share some of your favorite recipes, tips, create a free checklist or a recipe ebook to encourage people to subscribe to your blog! It doesn’t matter what your interests or hobbies are- there is enough room for everyone, promise!

You can find more tips for writing better blog posts in this post. I also highly suggest using Grammarly– I can no longer write without it!

The #1 Writing Tool

Well, the only way to fall in love with blogging and the easiest way of starting a blog is to actually do it, my friend. You can’ wait for a perfect moment, you can’t wait until you have a perfect setup, until you buy that new camera or a new computer.

Start now.

You won’t know everything about everything. But that’s how you learn- by doing things, by trying something new, different, by making mistakes. Every author behind every single blog you like to read was once a novice at this, and they also had no idea what they were doing. 


This content includes referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info. 

28 Comments

  • Reply
    Zoë Ware
    January 24, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    Such great tips! Loved this post and so helpful! I would read back on old posts and be so embarrassed too!! xx

    http://zoe-ware.blogspot.ca

  • Reply
    Aleksandra // bunniesaremagic
    January 25, 2018 at 3:18 am

    I really didn’t care who I would host with as I thought it would never be a long term thing… So I literally went with the first Google results. Yeah. Eh. Not a good idea :)

  • Reply
    Юля Журавлева
    January 25, 2018 at 4:20 am

    thank you for good tips!)
    https://twinklelittlstar.wordpress.com/

  • Reply
    Linda Libra Loca
    January 25, 2018 at 4:53 am

    I switched to self-hosted a little over two years ago, when I realized that the blog was going to stay a big part of my life, but I still haven´t worked on my eMail-list. Not worked on as in: I don´t have one. Will you go in more depth in an upcoming blogpost maybe? Because I really have no clue what I should write in the mails I am sending out…

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      January 26, 2018 at 11:07 am

      Yes! I will discuss starting the email list in more depth once I publish my next free course/workshop. Starting an email list is something I should’ve done ages ago, but hey, better late than never! :)

  • Reply
    ɐllǝq
    January 25, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Nice post
    http://www.isabellazogheib.com

  • Reply
    The Pale Tails
    January 25, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    This was such an interesting read – I’m currently with blogger and had no idea that it could effect my earnings etc. I really need to look in to making the move.

    Beckie // The Pale Tails

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      January 26, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Thanks so much, Beckie! If you’re looking into monetizing your blog in the future, I’d definitely consider switching at some point!

  • Reply
    leah and rachel
    January 26, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Really great informative post! I had no idea about the different blogging platforms but I’m seriously considering to switching after reading this post! x

    Cyber Mermaids | Alternative beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog

  • Reply
    Nipa Fashion
    January 26, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Hi Paula,
    Thank you again for sharing your blogging tips! I know you now take your own photos, but when you started, and reviewed beauty products, did you use photos from the brands themselves? Do you have to sign up for affiliate marketing to be able to use images from brands? Or should you contact each company directly? I have been taking my own photos, and linking to sites/ products but I would like to be able to use more product images. With gratitude, Nipa

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      January 26, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      You are very welcome, Nipa! I’ve actually always taken my own photos, since I only talked about things I personally used and liked. But if you’re interested, you can always reach out to brands and they will almost always be willing to send high-resolution images to you! You don’t have to be an affiliate for that. :)

      • Reply
        Nipa Fashion
        January 27, 2018 at 11:54 am

        Hi Paula,
        Some of my favorite brands have this disclaimer: ‘It is your responsibility to determine whether your proposed use is legally permissible, for example, as “fair use.” Due to the volume of requests and the time and cost involved, we’re unable to respond to these types of requests”. Because “fair use” is so subjective, I’ve been only using my own photos, but because I am novice photographer/editor, I wonder if that’s hurting my following & engagement. Again, thank you for any advcie you have. :) … and for your affirmation post. It came at a time when I was totally guilty of saying “I am so tired” and “I’m stuck”! XO Nipa

  • Reply
    Catharina Mabon Tomic
    January 27, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Hi Paula, and super thanks for your 7-Day Start a Blog Email Course. Some basic I already knew but it was great to read it all!! Got tons of new ideas that I will try on my blog. I have been blogging for a year and half and love it, but want to grow my audience and possibly monetize on it. That is my dream, so with your course, maybe the dream can be reality.
    My blog is http://www.mabontomic,com if you want to check it out.

    Thanks, Catharina

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      January 27, 2018 at 11:00 am

      You are very welcome, Catharina, I’m glad you were able to learn something from the course :) I have a lot more “blog tips” content planned for this year so keep an eye out! AND I believe that as long as you put the work in, you are very capable of making your dream a reality!! :)

  • Reply
    Danielle Alexa
    January 27, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    This is such a great post, I am sure there are still some things in here that can help me out two years into blogging life!

    Danielle xx
    http://www.fashionbeautyblog.co.uk/

  • Reply
    Dom
    January 28, 2018 at 2:43 am

    I wish I had known these tips when I first started. Thank you for sharing your insightful tips Paula!

    xx
    Dom

    http://www.calibeaute.com

  • Reply
    Lisa Autumn
    January 28, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    So useful Paula!

    xx Lisa | lisaautumn.com

  • Reply
    Kristi Campanella
    February 3, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Paula, Thank you so much for all the great information in this free course. Honestly I got so much from this course! I have paid for some courses that I got very little from and this was free and literally full of great ideas. I have been sending links to my friends about how great everything is on your site. I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent reading your material. Thank you again!
    Kristi Campanella
    http://www.good2gorun.com

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      February 3, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      Kristi, thank you so much for this comment, it means so much to me! It makes me so happy to know that you found the tips in my course helpful!! :) Thank you!

  • Reply
    MG005
    February 5, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    OMG, Paula, where were you when I was writing my first book? LOL How did I not know about Grammarly??? As a writer, I don’t know how I could live without it now! It only goes to show that we never stop learning and discovering new and improved ways to do things…from people like you.

Leave a Reply