One whole year. I am going to start by stating how PROUD I am of myself for everything I have created in this past year. A website, a book, a finance tracker, weekly blog content and much more whilst working full-time as an external auditor, becoming ACA qualified and maintaining my 5-day week gym life. To emphasise, I have posted a blog every single Thursday for the past year (52) without fail. During laser eye surgery, difficult times, without fail. It has not been easy and I am surprised I have so much to say but it really is the beginning and I am so excited to share with you how to create a blog!
Table of Contents
- What Inspired Jag’s Journey?
- Is A Blog Right For You?
- Background In Website Creation?
- How To Create A Blog: Jag’s Journey 5 Step Guide
- Total Cost Of Running A Blog Website
- Consistency – Jag’s Journey Update
What Inspired Jag’s Journey?
For those of you who are interested, I thought I would share what actually inspired this website. During 2020, I had opted to take part in my firm’s reduced working week scheme as a result of COVID-19. What this meant is that I was able to take over a month off in July/August 2020. I spent most of this time studying for my ACA Advanced Level exams but I also had some spare time. With those closest to me working around me, I thought it would be a good opportunity to look into other things I could do to fill some of my time. This is when I came across Jeff Rose.
Jeff (first name basis as if I know him) runs a blog, YouTube channel and much more. He also shares details of how to create a blog, similarly to how I am now doing in this blog post. As I had spare time alongside studying, I decided to start writing blogs about the ACA on Microsoft Word. I quickly realised I had a LOT to share and I actually enjoyed it. In November 2020, I decided to create my own blog, in December I published my first blog and then the rest was history.
Is A Blog Right For You?
You may be reading this thinking you do not have the time for a blog or that it simply isn’t for you. I have always enjoyed teaching/mentoring but this is perhaps something you do not connect with. However, you honestly do not need to. The blogs on my website tend to be long, detailed and informative. This is not the only type of blogging website that exists. Other common types of blogs include travel, cooking/recipes, fitness, beauty product recommendations, etc. There truly are blogs out there for anyone and everyone. Even Sherry from You was a mum blogger!
Background In Website Creation?
Before I get into how I actually created this blog, I thought it would be good to share a bit of background. To clarify, I have created and slowly evolved this blogging website singlehandedly. It is worth mentioning that I did not have any prior background in IT or websites specifically. The only website I had created was a very basic homepage in GCSE IT based on LazyTown (don’t ask).
Everything you are seeing on this site was self-taught through reading other blogs, watching YouTube videos and Googling anything I was unsure of. Hopefully this blog and detailed PDF gives you a head start so you can miss a lot of the initial mistakes and confusion out. It should also give you reassurance that blogging is for anyone!
How To Create A Blog: Jag’s Journey 5 Step Guide
I will break this down into quick, easy steps to follow. If you would like more technical details, I actually documented the process when setting up this blog. I have turned this into a 19-page PDF and it is available here. This is where you can see screenshots of the process, see my technical struggles and gain many more tips. These tips range from setting up email subscriptions with Mailchimp to finding out my must-have plugins, unlocking the world of search engine optimisation (SEO) and much more.
1) Create A Name
Before you start any of the process, you really should have a basic idea of what kind of blogging site you want to create. Believe it or not, initially I actually wanted to post anonymously. It was only after speaking to a close friend where I realised this would actually limit how much I could promote my own blog. If it was anonymous, I could not really constantly promote my own blogs on LinkedIn or other platforms and it would be more difficult for people to connect with my blogs. When I realised this, I then had to think about what my posts would be about.
You should think carefully about whether you do what to limit yourself to a niche. When reading about creating a blog, you will constantly read about needing a niche. For me, I knew this would be the ACA qualification but I did not want to limit myself solely to this. I knew I wanted to branch out and share other things I have experienced. Having a niche helps a lot with SEO (which I discuss in the PDF) but as I have, you can broaden your blog slightly. Make sure your name reflects this and you will be happy with it in years to come.
2) Buy Your Domain
You may instantly be put off by the word “buy” but you do not actually need to if you do not want to. WordPress allows you to create your own blogging website for free. However, the downside of this is that the domain will include “wordpress.com”. If like myself you want your own domain, there are many websites out there that allow you to search for available domains and buy them. Different websites will offer these at different rates so it is probably best to browse. I went with GoDaddy.com as it was a reputable website but other alternatives include NameCheap and others.Get up to 30%* off! Get going with GoDaddy!
Tip: Purchasing through my GoDaddy the above with get you 30% off until 1 Feb 2022!
3) Blog Host
This is where it starts to get that little bit more complicated. You may assume because you have bought a domain, you can immediately get started. Wrong. You actually need to have a website host. This role is critical so make sure you set it up well from the get go, otherwise it can become complicated to switch later on. As I am not techy, I will quote techradar that states “anyone who wants to build a website needs web hosting to store their website’s files and make them accessible for visitors worldwide“. Your host can impact speed which is of course critical to any website.
Again, take the time to look around yourself. My hosting provider is JustHostMe. I could have gone with GoDaddy.com but JustHostMe were cheaper at just £2.99 per month. In all honesty, I have had a fantastic experience with them so far. They have been extremely responsive throughout and any issues have been resolved quickly. They even provide a free SSL certificate which is crucial if you want to rank on search engines. Bluehost is also a highly rated alternative.
You will need to connect your blog host to your domain if you do purchase this separately. More details can be found within this PDF.
4) Find A Website Builder
As with the domain and host, there are many options available to you for website builders. This is how I created my website without coding knowledge. I came across Wix until I realised it would cost a fair bit per month to use. Although I did really like Wix and found it very easy to use, I did leave it there. I then began using Weebly as this was freely available through JustHostMe. However, I came across device responsiveness difficulties early on so continued to browse.
This is where I came across WordPress that was/is written about all over the internet. WordPress was also freely available through JustHostMe and so this is what I went with. Initially it was quite difficult to understand how to use but I persevered given the great reviews. What I found is that WordPress offers a great variety of themes and anything you want adding to your site, there probably is a plugin for it.
5) Start Creating
That is literally it! Once you play around with it all, you will definitely get much better and quicker at using your website builder. You can then blog until your heart is content! The good thing is that you can write posts in draft, preview them and publish when you are ready. You can always alter posts afterwards so do not worry too much about perfecting posts first time.
If you would like further insights into the world of SEO, email campaigns, analytics, Google AdSense, etc this is shared in the PDF.
Total Cost Of Running A Blog Website
Based on the above, you can see costs can rack up quickly but it really is up to you how much you spend on your site. You can either go with the WordPress completely free option or like myself, pay for your domain and only £2.49 per month for hosting. If you do buy a domain, it is probably cheaper to buy it for a few years initially than renewing each year. This is a mistake I have made but I really was not sure how the blog would go!
Consistency – Jag’s Journey Update
What really helped me stay consistent was setting the goal of posting a blog every single Thursday. Without holding myself accountable and having this personal goal, I do not think I would have been able to consistently post every week for a whole year. Some blogs I would write months in advance and others, the night before (such as this current post). This productivity blog post may help too.
Update: Going forward, I will no longer be posting blogs every Thursday but instead, every other Thursday. Posting fortnightly will allow me to focus on other areas such as YouTube (subscribe pls) and other projects. Next Thursday would perhaps feel weird if I was not preoccupied presenting to students at the University of Birmingham! A blog really does open up so many doors.
I hope you found this blog helpful and if you do choose to create a blog, I would love to check it out. The first blog I am honoured to have inspired can be found here and hopefully it is not the last. I would definitely encourage giving it a go as you really do have nothing to lose.
Disclaimer: many of the links in this blog are affiliate links.