The Steps I Took to Start a Gardening Blog
I was in my 50's with no techie experience when I got my blog up & going. Do you have something to share? Here are the steps to take to start a blog.
Want to start a blog? It doesn’t matter how old you are and what generation you grew up with – anyone can start a blog! If you’re interested, you can read more about my story.
I was raised in the days long, long before computers appeared on the scene so technology was a puzzle that I just couldn’t unravel. I swore up and down that after I started Joy Us Garden, I was going to know as little about the internet as I had to.
For 9 months, I fought it tooth and nail ignoring it as much as I could. One day, a light bulb flashed off and I realized that whole tech world was going to march on whether I wanted it to or not – time to join in the parade.
I never really liked or enjoyed writing. I’m the math, art or science gal who loves to figure things out, work with my hands and create tangible pieces. The idea of even starting a blog was a bit far out in left field except that I have a lot of gardening and crafting experiences to share.
When I first started to blog I could type but my cursor and overall computer skills were equal to most 4-year-olds.
I’m giving you this long-winded intro because if I can start a blog, so can you.
I did have help along the way so be sure to ask if you feel you need some guidance.
Think About What Kind Of Blog You’ll Start.
Why do you want to start blogging? Gardening is my passion as well as my profession. Plants and flowers make me happy. No matter how challenging things get, I still have a business centered around something I love.
This is your firm foundation in order to start a blog that can potentially turn into a full-time passion for you.
Choose A Name & Get it Registered.
Picking what to name your blog can be a challenge but a fun one! It’s good to take a little time and think it through. Whether you use your name or a name related to what your blog is about, you want to make it easy for people to remember you.
Before you go any further, check to make sure the name you choose is available as a URL.
You can use search engines on GoDaddy to see if the domain you’d like to use is available. I started with joyus.com but later switched it to joyusgarden.com to make it easier for people to identify what the blog was all about. Many people use their names (like nellfoster.com) so that’s another option. When you decide on a domain name, that will become your unique website URL where readers can visit your blog.
I used a search engine like the one provided by Godaddy to see if joyusgarden.com was available.
Next, you’ll need a host for your domain name.
I use Cloudways, which is an online server that protects all the content on my blog. This is the virtual space where your blog is stored and shown to the world. There are many reasons why I use Cloudways now, instead of Hostgator or Bluehost. The key factor is that Cloudways was a much better fit as our traffic increased and our blog grew. They’re extremely helpful with getting everything set up.
You can read about the benefits of Cloudways hosting here. Don’t buy this yet, you’ll do so in the next step.
Set Up Your Web Hosting Account.
Previously, I used Hostgator, but now I use Cloudways because it’s worked so much better for my blog. They work easily with WordPress, and give plenty of tips on utilizing WordPress on their blog.
Here are some benefits of using Cloudways as your web host:
– Better load times to ensure your readers stick around
– Safe and secure servers like dedicated firewalls
– 24/7 customer support, available to answer all your questions promptly
– Honestly, they use so many techy terms that I can’t possibly list all of the benefits. But they are extremely user-friendly, and will help you figure out the techy stuff that used to make me squirm.
Now it’s time to install WordPress, which is going to create your website and also be your content management system. This extremely popular blogging platform was recommended to me because it’s easy for non-techies like myself and it’s great for SEO (this is how your content is found on search engines like Google). I did a little research and quickly decided that this was the software to go with.
Start this process off by logging into your Control Panel. Scroll down to Software and Services and then click on Quick Install. Once you’re there, click One-Click Install. Scroll down until you find Install WordPress.
Click on that and you’ll be taken to the next step:
– After you’re done filling out that info then hit Install WordPress.
– Always remember that if you’re lost and/or confused, Hostgator support will walk you through this process.
Cloudways easily integrates with WordPress too!
This is what the backend of WordPress looks like. You can see all the menu options on the left-hand side.
Choose a Theme for Your New Website.
Now it’s time to make your blog appealing to your audience by choosing a theme. There are many free themes in WordPress but oftentimes they aren’t updated nor do they offer any support. Consider buying a premium theme (which can run you between $25-250) that’s more connected to what you envisioned for your blog image.
Your website will change and evolve the same as your blog will. Don’t get too caught up on trying to make it perfect on the first round. The good thing about websites and blogs is that you can change them anytime! We’ve had multiple redesigns over the years. You can refer to this article again for installing themes.
Take a breath, jump in & start to write!
Starting a blog is not hard but sticking with it and keeping it going can be. Blogging is simply sharing your experiences and your stories. Be genuine! Publish good stuff on a consistent basis, and your audience will stick around.
Being successful is another story but if you have the correct foundation to build on, even a non-techie can grow a passion into a digital empire.
Very few of us are trained writers so don’t worry about that – like anything you’ll get better as you go along. When I entered the blogosphere, I blogged every 3-4 weeks. Now I blog regularly, typically once or twice per week. And then I started a YouTube channel… but that’s another post!
If you don’t think you can do this alone, then be sure to get some assistance. I got lots of help and guidance along the way. It’s all about sharing what you love!
Here are some other helpful tools you can use to help you start a blog of your own:
Don’t get too caught up with the numbers because blogging for fame isn’t a good end goal. If it happens, how sweet that is! You can use the numbers in analytics to see in what your readers are interested in and how you can better be of service to them. Use the data to figure out which content they are liking, where they’re hanging and the sources of your traffic.
These are the extras you install on your website for optimization and efficiency. We’ve added many more over the years but here are some good ones to get started with:
– Yoast SEO: This plugin helps you write better content in a way that search engines will like and find you.
– Google Analytics Dashboard for WP: This allows you to see your google analytics inside your blog clearly laid out and easy to understand.
– WP Smush: If you’re planning to use pictures in your blog then this one’s great to have. Images tend to be heavy and can slow down your site if you don’t optimize them.
– UpdraftPlus: This performs a backup and restores your website. You don’t want to lose everything so back it up!
– Tasty Pins: This nifty little plugin allows you to upload unique pin graphics, which makes it easier for your readers to pin your blog posts directly over on Pinterest.
I also use CrashPlan to backup all the content and files on my website. It’s better to safe than sorry – especially since I no have over 300 blog posts with lots of photos! Everything gets automatically multiple times a day.
If you’re going to spend the time and effort to write and share your expertise or experiences then you should let the whole world know. This will help you reach the people you want to reach.
I have a YouTube channel because video content is extremely engaging. I use Tailwind to schedule pins on Pinterest, Meet Edgar to share on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as Buffer to schedule Instagram captions. These all give you something to think about as your blog grows and your time gets tight.
Photoshop and Lightroom.
As Rod Stewart sings: “every picture tells a story”. My blog is very visual so the images play a big part. The Adobe Creative Cloud for photographers is great because it gives you access to Lightroom and Photoshop for $9.99 a month.
The above tools are what we use now. You’ll make changes, adjustments, and additions to your website over the years just like all we bloggers have. For now, just get started with the basics and think about all that as you evolve.
Have fun & share what you love!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Let me know if you have any questions. Can’t wait to see your blog!
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