How to Become a Blogger
The best tools, resources, and tips from a full-time blogger to help start a blog and make blogging a career.
Last week, I asked you guys to hit me with ALL of your blogging questions. And most of them revolved around “How do I start a blog?” It’s a lot to unpack, but I’ll do my best to spill all of my knowledge that could help.
I really truly can’t believe we are quickly approaching 8 YEARS since I started Bless’er House as my creative outlet painting thrifted furniture in my garage as my baby napped. It didn’t start out as a hopeful career path; it just happened that way.
A lot has happened since then. For one thing, that baby I became a stay-at-home mom for is now almost 9 years-old. How did THAT happen?!
But since December 2013, my husband has been able to leave his job in the financial industry to run this blog alongside me pursuing what we both love: DIY home improvement and decorating with a bunch family stuff in the mix.
It’s involved a lot of hard work, a lot of long work days, and literal blood, sweat, and tears, but it has truly been an answer to prayer to provide for our family while making our own hours and doing something that is 100% our passion while also giving back to amazing people in our community.
If you’ve ever wanted a creative outlet, a place to spill your thoughts, or a way to connect with others who have your same interests, blogging is certainly the place to do it all. Whatever interests you, blog about it!
Cooking, faith, literature, fitness, home decor, gardening, parenting, fashion, the possibilities are limitless. Whatever phase of life you’re in, blogging is a great way to document it.
I started this blog as a way to document our family’s first house, and before I knew it, complete strangers were reading it. Someone besides my mom was actually following our house projects! It still boggles my mind.
If you are passionate enough to put forth the time and effort, your hard work will pay you back. (The best part is if you are writing about your passion, it doesn’t really feel like work at all.) But it is something you need to treat like a job in order to actually become a blogger.
A ton has changed about blogging in 8 years and I’ve made plenty of mistakes through trial and error, so this is everything I wish I had known about how to become a blogger with all of the resources and tools to streamline the process.
How to Become a Blogger
1. Choose Your Blogging Platform: Free vs. Self-Hosted
Blogger – Free Hosting (Best for a Hobby Blog)
(Skip to the Wordpress.org section, if you want to get paid to blog.) I started out with my blog on Blogger.com with a Google hosted domain name (www.blesserhouse.blogspot.com) and really didn’t know that it mattered. If you start on Blogger, the website is free, not self-hosted, but it was also relatively simple to learn how to create my site design myself. I dove into blogging without any research.
Google technically owned all of my content, and at any point, if they chose, Google could shut down my entire site. Thankfully, that never happened, but it’s scary to think about. And it has happened to other bloggers.
Wordpress.com – Free Hosting (Best for a Hobby Blog)
A Wordpress hosted blog on Wordpress.com is another free option (not to be confused with Wordpress.org where you have to pay for hosting). However, Wordpress.com isn’t quite as simple to use as Blogger, so it might be best to hire a web designer or pay for a design template to set up. Wordpress.com also doesn’t allow ads, Etsy shop marketing, or sponsorships.
Keep in mind, with free hosting on Blogger and Wordpress.com you’re not as marketable, and companies tend to gravitate toward working with the more professional self-hosted blogs. If you just want a hobby blog, it is a great option. But if you want to earn an income blogging, you need a self-hosted blog.
Wordpress.org – Self-Hosted (Recommended for a Monetized Blog)
If you want to become a professional blogger, this is the platform you need. After a year on Blogger, I discovered it probably wasn’t the best choice, and it took a lot of time and money to make the switch. The majority of professional bloggers recommend a self-hosted Wordpress blog, myself included.
Wordpress has many more options and versatility that I couldn’t get on Blogger’s platform.
If you want to monetize your blog to make an income, be sure you choose Wordpress.org.
There are other blogging platforms out there, but Wordpress.org is what I’m most familiar with and I’m definitely happy. You doing okay so far? It’s just decision-making here in the beginning.
2. Name Your Blog (and Buy the Domain)
I really recommend buying your domain name, especially if you’re choosing the self-hosted route as a professional blogger.
Tip: Choose a name that has personality, hints at what your blog is about, isn’t too long, and isn’t trademarked or used by any other brands. You can even just use your given name, if you’d like.
Mine was supposed to be a little nod at the Southern phrase “Bless her heart”, incorporating “house” to emphasize my focus on DIY/home decor, and had a nice ring to it in my mind.
I sometimes wonder if the “‘er “part was a mistake, but that’s part of the dialect around here, so I just went with it. I searched my tentative blog name all over Google and social media, and luckily for me, nothing popped up. It was all mine! You can double check it on Bust A Name too.
So first, register that fancy new blog name of yours. I recommend BigScoots or Google Domains. Just fill out the registration form and follow the steps on their site to set it up. BigScoots domains cost $10.95 per year. Google domains start at $7 per year.
3. Set Up Hosting
I use and highly recommend BigScoots over any other web hosting. Their plans start at $34.95 per month.
- Click the “Get Started” button in the upper right corner.
- Create an account using the prompted form.
From there, BigScoots will guide you with the next steps. They are extremely responsive and you’re always talking to a knowledgeable real person on the other end as you set up your hosting along with any technical questions you may have along the way.
4. Install Wordpress
Now that you have your domain and hosting, you need to install Wordpress to get started on the fun part, blogging! You’ll need to set up a new Wordpress.org blog, so in order to do that, use this Wordpress Installation Guide to set it up through BigScoots.
If you already have a blog on another platform like Blogger or Wordpress.com (the free ones), BigScoots can transport your data to your new hosted site.
5. Implement a Blog Design
This is the most fun part! Your blog design will be playing a major part in your site’s branding and identity, so make sure you really like it. Make it an expression of your own personal style, implement your favorite colors, give it a persona that communicates to your audience what you’re all about.
In the beginning, on Blogger, I started from scratch, and I lost count of how many hours I spent on Google and YouTube trying to teach myself coding tricks through lots of trial and error.
I was never 100% happy with my site’s look or function, and it’s no wonder. I knew nothing about web design! I had no clue how many great themes and templates existed for a reasonable price that would have saved me so many wasted hours and headaches so I could jump right into writing and content creation.
I highly recommend using Restored 316 Designs (starting at $75), particularly their Kadence themes that will start you off on the right foot with good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) practices. Plus, they’re pretty!
You can install your theme yourself using Restored 316’s step-by-step instructions. But if you want to take out the guesswork and get your blog started quickly, you can use their Restored 316 Theme Installation Services for $147.
For a free option, you can create a logo for yourself using Canva. Or if you want a really unique logo and you have a particular idea in mind, you can find lots of talented logo designers on Etsy for around $10-20.
6. Start Your Blog With an Open Mind
Yep, this really is a step. And, honestly, a really important one. Start blogging because you are truly passionate about whatever it is you’ve chosen your niche to be.
When I go to bed every night, I have DIY project ideas swirling through my head. When I wake up every morning, I’m eager to make something. Find your drive.
I blogged for months before I ever felt like I had an audience, and I’m sure you’ll feel like no one out there is listening at first. Don’t get discouraged! Not having an audience just gives you an opportunity.
Dance like nobody is watching and blog like nobody is watching. Don’t feel like you need to write 10 posts before you can publish them; just start. It’s when you can be your most creative self without any pressure. It’s in the beginning when you have an almost non-existent audience that you can try out lots of things to discover yourself.
Find your voice in your writing. Throw in humor, be humble, make mistakes, and just write like you’re having a conversation with a friend over coffee.
Constantly practice your photography. I can tell you that once I started making big strides in my photography, my blog grew by leaps and bounds. You can see my post about How to Revolutionize Your Blog’s Photography here that I wrote years ago.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to start a blog?
Using everything I listed in Steps 1-6 to start a blog, including professional theme installation, it costs approximately $275 to set up a professional blog. The good news is it’s an investment that can pay you back time and time again if you treat it seriously.
How do bloggers make money?
Bloggers make an income mostly in 4 ways.
- Display ads on their websites – Just like magazines and news websites have.)
- Affiliate commission – Brands pay bloggers a commission if someone clicks a link to a product on their site at no extra cost for their audience.
- Brand sponsorships – Brands pay bloggers to talk about their products and services in blog posts or social media posts and are always legally required to disclose that they’re paid per FTC compliance.
- Product sales – Bloggers can sell products they create such as printables, ebooks, courses, presets, drop-ship items, etc.
Is blogging dead? Can’t I just be an influencer on Instagram or TikTok?
Here’s the problem. Influencers are hacked every single day and their accounts where they once earned an income can disappear forever. Do you want to be at the mercy of hackers or algorithm changes that suddenly don’t favor your posts? Do you want to feel like you’re always running on a hamster wheel churning out content? Blogging provides the ability to earn a passive income. There are 5.6 BILLION Google searches per DAY where many of those searches land on blogs which then make income through ads and affiliate revenue. You can literally go on an unplugged vacation for a week without thinking about work and still earn an income. If you want to only be on Instagram or TikTok, that’s fine. But it’s not a wise choice if you want to make it a career.
Bonus: Courses I Recommend to Grow Your Audience
How to Start a Blog and Make Money Course
Once you feel ready for the next steps in growing your blog, I HIGHLY suggest taking the Blog By Number course. I’ve just seen a lot of blogging courses over the years, and it’s the one I always recommend when someone messages me asking how to become a blogger.
It is jam packed with so much information that I wish I’d known when I started blogging for strategies to build a following, work with brands, and pull an income in one year. Even after your blog is already established, it still has so many strategies for ways to improve and build upon what you have created.
Interior Photography Course
If you have a DIY or home design blog, I always recommend the Photographing Interiors course by Maison de Pax. She taught me all I know about taking pictures of interiors and how to simplify the process.
Advanced Blogging Course
Once you feel comfortable blogging for a while and are ready to move on to more advanced ways of growing your blog, I love Julie Blanner’s Six Figure Blog course. It dives into ways to blog smarter, not harder so that you can make your blog a full-time business.
Bonus: Visit a Blogging Conference
There are so many blogging conferences these days, and I’ll bet you can find one near you or one that is most relevant to your niche.
I love going to Haven Conference, a DIY/home blogging conference, in Atlanta every year to talk to other fellow bloggers face-to-face and deep-dive into networking and learning. After 8 years of blogging, I’m still learning every day because it constantly changes.
Learn from plenty of experienced bloggers and be open to suggestions and change. Ask around for advice! I always love helping other bloggers and making new friends.
There are so many incredible people I’ve “met” in this crazy fast-paced blogging community, and this journey is so much more fulfilling when you surround yourself with other bloggers who just “get it”.
You have a beautiful, unique story to tell. It’s up to you to share it.