by #BlogHer Creators Community Member Nikita Sawlani
Blogging combines one’s expertise with their willingness to share. Starting out in the world of blogging oftentimes stems increased use of popular social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook.
My experiences blogging began when I joined a fitness accountability plan that connected over Instagram. I learned how to post, edit, capture, and caption photos… but I wanted to give more background to my choice of joining the plan. In that process, I read about blogging and influencers as well as honed in on my photography skills. I learned about content creation and control, privacy settings, creating a business, linking tickets and recapping events, and I took a leap of faith to publish and share my blog (originally called Burnberry Wellness, now called Be Well, Eat Well). I have explored a lot of sites, self-taught myself computer coding, and invested a lot of time in experimenting with different websites to pick my favorite layout for a blog.
Here are five of the most insightful resources (some paid and some free) to starting a blog based on my experiences.
Grammarly: Without being too forward, being a grammatically savvy writer using Microsoft Word spellcheck isn’t “cutting it” anymore. That’s where the Grammarly plug-in comes to the rescue. Throughout your online site and content creation text boxes help becoming an eloquent writer even easier. You can add the Grammarly plug-in as a free trial or as a paid option. A few website building sites including WordPress and SquareSpace as well as email providers such as Gmail actually have deals with Grammarly to include it in your text boxes so that you are able to utilize it in your content writing as well as through your email responses.
WordPress: For the bloggers who are just starting out (or anyone wishing to create a blog or website that is supported by SHE Media – which does not include Wix, just FYI), creating a blog with a design template or color scheme that you want to invest in is difficult, but not impossible, with all the Etsy templates, Pinterest templates, and even free Google color scheme ideas that you can find. If you choose to invest in your blogs’ design from the get-go, I would recommend the free options on WordPress or even using paid options to integrate into your blog site like Restored316, Elementor, ConvertKit and ThemeForest. On another note, utilizing WordPress as a free version versus as registering your own domain name gives you the hosting privileges (more on that below).
Google Domains: I actually used Google Domains to learn more about which web host would work best for me when I created my blog! When I decided to invest in my website, I had a lot of thoughts about the webpage name. How was I going to get people to visit? Well, I found out that domain purchasing and hosting were extremely different tasks but understanding both was very important to my success.
Buying a domain comes in the process of branding. Your initial investment in your blog would definitely be worth registering and buying the domain (.com, .net, .org, .info) for at least a year’s length. Granted, if you buy a domain for a longer period of time, there’s almost a better deal; however, if you’re still thinking about the big-picture branding, take the plunge and learn from your experiences!
Using a “host” website is metaphorically storing your website files in another internet site. Registration of a domain is having legal ownership of that specific internet site and all your files belonging to it. Hosting packages come in all different sizes and changing hosts is not difficult – take a look at Bluehost, Kinsta, WPEngine, Flywheel, Pantheon, and MediaTemple for more information on what hosts would better suit your needs and budget.
Canva: When you’re first starting out in blogging, you’re creating your own content based on your inspirations. However, you also want your content to catch the eyes of other readers and Canva is a great free way to create logos, facebook banners, and even instagram posts for your blog. You can also utilize the paid options on Canva to keep your designs “fluid” (meaning that not only can you save copies of them on the site in your profile and change them later if you’re not thrilled with the design, but you can use their images to create your logos instead of trying to hire someone else to draw or design them out for you).
Yoast SEO: SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” Yoast is available as a free plug-in through self-hosted WordPress sites (not free WordPress sites, so please note that). Yoast analyzes your writing on your blog and you basically are “shown” what needs to be fixed and when some or most of those changes are made, then you can “publish” your article with a higher readability and more personalized social media sharing format. Yoast gives your straightforward directions and will teach you an introductory lesson about the practices of SEO in website and blog creation. Take notes and – sooner than later – you will be able to develop SEO settings on your own.
These tools are going to help you get started – no matter where your blog begins. While you may get overwhelmed in the initial process, I guarantee you are not alone. Asking your favorite bloggers for some advice is something that I highly suggest. Joining the BlogHer Facebook Community or the SHE Media Partner Network are both incredible ways to get in touch with others that are either starting out (just like you) or are already seasoned content creators.
about Nikita Sawlani
Born-and-raised in Chicago, IL, Nikita is the creator of Be Well, Eat Well: a nutrition and wellness blog. She is passionate about fitness, food, and beauty and intends to inspire others through sharing her experiences in finding balance in all three.