So, you want to Start a Blog. Let’s begin with four easy steps:
Step 1: The Best Way to Pick Your Niche and Choose a Domain
I have journaled off and on since I was a young teen, but once I got married and began having children, I wanted a more consistent record of our lives together.
Who knew back then that “pick your niche” would become a part of my vocabulary?
Journaling turned into blogging, and blogging became fabulous because it also allowed me to easily attach pictures.
And that is when I began to love photography as well.
I have been blogging since 2007 on the Blogger platform.
I jumped into blogging with my friends when it was the newest craze and have been a faithful blogger ever since.
My original intent was to create a site where family and friends, many who lived far away, could keep up with our family happenings. I never could have imagined so many years ago that journaling would become such a habit for me nor that the rewards would be awesome. I have loved using Blogger for my personal family blog.
As a family, we all love going back and reading about past adventures, trips, and amazing moments. I love to look at the pictures and stories of my girls as they have grown, and I look forward to sharing our lives with my girls’ future families.
Over the past couple of years, I have mulled over the idea of starting a second blog (I’ll still keep up with my personal blog). Who knew that the coronavirus pandemic would present such an opportune time to design, create, and write?
I would not say that the promises of having a blog up and running in an hour or less are true (or whatever crazy amount of time you might see in a heading). I suppose it could be possible if you are creating the simplest of sites, but if you are new like me, your site is going to take some time to develop. Perhaps what they really mean is that you can sign up for SiteGround and WordPress within minutes to start you on your journey. Yep, you can do that in a short amount of time.
So, where should YOU begin? Determine your niche and choose a domain name.
- Determine your niche (or focus)
- Decide on a domain name
- Check social media for the availability of your domain name
Check out the 10+ Best Resources to Start a Blog too!
Pick your Niche
Sometimes you might hear it called, “to niche down”. It means to be specific about what you will offer or write about on your site. I have read many articles on how to streamline your focus. I personally decided that I wanted to be a lifestyle blogger and share tips on travel as well as inspirational moments and my photography. Travel will be my main niche.
Pick your area of expertise by choosing a topic that genuinely interests you. Recognize that your focus might change over time, and that’s okay.
Research and Select a Domain Name
“Pick your niche” is the first step. Selecting the domain name comes next. This is your website’s name.
As I researched, I compiled a list in a notebook of potential domain names that would fit my niche. Then, I input each option into NameCheap.com to see if it was available as a .com name. If the name wasn’t available, I would continue looking…until I happened upon simplyjolayne.com. It was a winner.
When you choose a hosting company for your site, such as SiteGround (recommended), you have the option to purchase a domain name at the same time. The process of searching for a website name is the same as above.
I had some specific requirements in choosing a name for my niche:
- Make it easy to remember and spell (short and memorable)
- Opt for a .com suffix. You could go with .net, .org, or a variety of options, but .com is the recognizable standard and it is just easier to remember
- Limit the number of words. I think a two-word domain is best (but no more than three in my opinion)
- When you type your domain name, is your name easy to decipher? Does the combination of words create additional words that might be confusing?
- Avoid numbers and hyphens
- Be sure it fits your site’s niche or theme
- Be careful not to pick one that resembles another site’s name, especially one with a significant web presence
And just so you know, it is possible to choose your domain later.
Searching domain names is fairly easy. Finding one that you love and that is available? Now, that takes a little bit of patience. I am fortunate that Jolayne is not a very common name, so when I thought of simplyjolayne, I was thrilled to see it was available as simplyjolayne.com. And just to cover my bases, I also acquired jolaynekline.com. You know, in case I get famous someday!
Check Domain Name Availability on Social Media
Before actually acquiring my domain name, I also wanted to make sure it was available on a variety of social media platforms. My preference was to use simplyjolayne and not a variation of it. I initially searched Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. You might have other requirements, such a Youtube or LinkedIn, so be sure to check all that apply. Your requirements might change over time as well, so it is a good idea to check the availability on a variety of social media platforms.
Set up your accounts for social media.
My social media accounts were all “on hold” while I was in the pre-launch stage, but I wanted to make sure I could acquire all of them.
And don’t forget to set up an email account with your new domain name.
Now, you are ready for Step 2: The Best Way to Choose a Hosting Plan and a Provider.