Blogging is hard, right?
At first, motivation courses through your veins and the idea of building a successful blog that earns big money gets you up early in the morning with excitement.
Words flow easily, images get designed quickly and you smash that publish button almost daily for the first few weeks. Unfortunately, by the time you hit month 3 and all the motivation you once had disappears, the worst feeling sets into your body – BOREDOM.
At this point, self-depreciating thoughts set in and you start to doubt whether or not your blog will ever grow. The fact that Google won’t give you much rankings doesn’t help your case either. In the end, just like we did, you quit that blog and either jump to the next shiny idea or quit altogether (sigh).
You might have come across this popular yet accurate quote that goes, ‘A year from now you will wish you started today’. However, in my case, I really wish I had stuck with it 3 years ago. I blame it on lack of knowledge, motivation, and determination. Also, I never believed it was possible.
Fast forward 3 years and here we are now.
After relaunching Crafts On Fire (for the third time) my brother and I decided that we will give it our all. It was now or never. I threw in everything that I had and just gave it my best shot. Another thing I wish I had done years ago.
And guess what? After 2 months, it really paid off. Let me explain for a sec.
It wasn’t an easy ride though because I tried, failed, implemented new strategies, failed again and so on. After studying how everything worked, other peoples’ success and their tips, I finally found a way to make it all work.
And that is?
In the first 3 weeks of the prelaunch, we managed to pull in 3071 page views. It wasn’t anything out of this world but a pleasant start. Granted, we’d seen numbers like that before but we knew that by simply tracking forward, this number would drastically increase.
In the 1st month, our page views increased to 15 530. This was mindblowing. We were so used to seeing measly monthly reports that hitting double digits felt like a breakthrough.
In the 2nd month, we were able to bring it up to 74 437! This was LIFE CHANGING! Trust me, I’m not exaggerating. We had never built a blog this big in such a short space of time. All the doubt and fears we had were blown out of the water. That feeling of confidence in our abilities to blog wrapped itself around us for the first time ever.
In all honesty, I swear I had no idea that it was even possible to hit 10 000 pageviews on our blog. But we did, and that brings me to my main point, YOU CAN DO IT TOO!
If you are passionate about any topic, don’t be afraid to go ahead and express it to the world. If you’re looking to hopefully earn some extra cash or turn your blog into a full-time job, it’s possible!
Just take the living proof of blogging success from Chasing Foxes, Making Sense of Cents, Busy Budgeter, Sarah Titus, Pinch of Yum and so many more.
Each and every one of them started from zero. Let that sink in for a bit.
With this guide, we aim to show you a detailed step by step process on how to go about setting everything up, getting your money’s worth, what to do after setting up your blog and most importantly, the Pinterest Strategy that took my blog from 3071 pageviews to 74 437 pageviews in just 2 months.
This post contains affiliate links. Read disclosure here.
1. Get A Domain Name
You may not realize this at first but the name of your domain essentially becomes the name of your entire business. Not only is it important for branding but Google gets behind a solid domain.
Here’s the thing, you have one of two choices:
1. Buy A New Domain
2. Buy A Pre-Used Domain
There’s a huge difference between the two.
A new domain that has no history is like a new born baby. Google views it as an infant without any track record. If you put in great work, build quality links to the domain and publish regularly, after a few months, Google will send it some love.
More so than that, when registering your business, you completely avoid unnecessary infringement issues and so forth.
When registering Crafts On Fire, we spent a week trying to come up with a domain name that is catchy, brand new and relatable to the topic we were going to focus on.
In the end, it worked out. We’ve started to build an entire brand around this name! You can do the same for yourself.
Alternately, you could buy a domain name that has already been in use. Allow me to explain how this could work to your benefit. Domains accrue backlinks, right? These backlinks increase the authority of your domain.
What this means is that the more quality backlinks a domain has, the more likely it is to receive attention from Google.
So, when you write articles targeting a specific topic or keyword, Google will be more inclined to giving you a better ranking on its search engine because you have a strong domain.
Awesome right? I know!
So, if you’re planning to focus more of your attention on SEO and attracting traffic from Google, this may be a better and quicker approach in contrast to buying a brand new domain.
The downside to this approach is that pre-existing domains can be expensive to buy, have a bad link profile or not match your niche topic at all.
In such cases, you’re better off buying a brand new domain. If, however, you can find a good pre-existing domain that has good backlinks and is perfect for your niche, grab it!
With that being said, get a domain name that stands out, is memorable and a good representation of your blog! 🙂
2. Choose A Platform
When starting out, we decided to opt for Blogger because it was a free platform which is easy to use. It’s great to start off with but if you’re truly going to take your business seriously, it’s best to opt for WordPress.
As a content management system (CMS), WordPress is fantastic. We’ve used it plenty of times in the past and are currently working on migrating all our sites onto WordPress.
The reason WordPress is the best blogging platform online is because of its flexibility and the extremely massive pool of plugins. You can literally build a fully fledged online business on WordPress whereas the restrictions on Blogger are far too many to mention.
What we like is the ability to use charts, tables, completely customizable subscription forms, beautifully designed templates/themes and an overall more stable system to blog on.
It has an array of tools that will blow your mind and is particularly easy to use once you spend some time on it.
Before you can actually use WordPress, you need web hosting. Let’s talk about that next.
A webhosting provider is a business that provides all the necessary resources and storage space to host a website online.
For instance, every time you upload a picture or a new plugin, it saves onto the web hosting package you purchased. Furthermore, your website is stored on something known as servers which are special computers dedicated to hosting websites.
It can sound complicated but you don’t have to bust your head trying to figure it out too much.
So, when purchasing a hosting package, you are essentially paying rental fees to store your website data and operate your website on the net through a company’s server. In order to run a blog on WordPress, you NEED web hosting. It’s essential!
After trying and testing half a dozen web hosting companies, the one company that offers the most reliable and trustworthy service on the net happens to be Bluehost
. They’ve been around for a heck of a long time and almost everyone recommends using them.
which is absolutely fantastic (given the fact that you could be earning 100 times that amount from your blog). Here’s what you need to do!
– Head Over To Bluehost.com –
When you land on the homepage, you’ll notice they have an awesome promo running. You get a free domain name with your purchase which will save you an additional $12
! Simply click “Get Started Now” and you will be redirected to the next page.
– Select A Package –
Although they have 3 awesome packages, I highly recommend you start with the basic package because it literally has everything you need for starting a new blog. 50GB website space is MORE than enough for now! Since the bandwidth is ‘unmetered’ it means that you can get an unlimited amount of visitors to your site without any issue.
It’s the perfect package for any new blog. In the future, you could upgrade if need be.
– Enter A New Domain Or Add An Existing One You Own –
If you don’t have a domain name and want to start fresh, simple type in the domain name that you wish to register in the “New Domain” tab and hit next. If the domain name is available, it will go through smoothly. If it isn’t, you will be notified that it is taken and you’ll have to choose a different domain.
Try to have 3 domain names on hand! Alternately, if you already have a domain name, just type it into the “I Have A Domain Name” tab and click Next.
– Fill In Your Details And Submit –
You can sign in with Google and Bluehost
will autofill your Gmail details! Or, simply fill in your details in the account information tab as requested. I suggest unticking them all if you don’t have the budget because they aren’t necessary right now and I don’t want you to waste money!
When you’ve entered your account and payment information, tick the agreement box and click Submit. You will be redirected to a page either requesting payment or authorizing payment. Follow the necessary steps and once payment is complete, your work is done!
You’ll get an email from Bluehost
notifying you that the transaction has been completed and your account is set up. In the email, you’ll receive all the information required to access your account as well as additional information for recording purposes.
That’s it! The hard parts Done and Dusted!
4. Install WordPress
Now let’s cover the last step of this setup phase. If you’ve purchased a hosting package with Bluehost, this step requires nothing more than a few click of your mouse.
First, log into you cPanel, and search for the WordPress Icon at the bottom. Click “Install WordPress.” On the next page, hit Install again and when asked which domain to be linked onto WordPress, select the domain name which you registered.
Set your login details and when WordPress successfully installs, login to your dashboard and get started!
P.S. Your email will also have login details to access your domains WordPress dashboard.
5. Publish Your First Post
I promise this is the best part of the entire process. Think about a blog post as an extension of a conversation you would be having with a close friend in real life.
Forget about sounding like an English professor or a robot! Nobody likes listening to someone who sounds bland, boring and robotic. Remember when we were still in school and the teacher would go on and on about a topic that was worded ridiculously lengthy and complicated? You probably don’t remember because it was so boring that you erased it from your memory altogether! Haha!
All you need to do is write in a relatable manner.
Don’t be afraid to show exactly who you are in your writing. Add jokes, give your opinions, speak to readers as if they are standing in front of you and be informative. That’s all there is to it.
People don’t care about who sounds the most professional, they care about who can be informative and entertaining at the same time! 😀
Structure your post in the following basic format:
1. An introduction – give a short explanation of what readers can expect to learn or what problem you aim to solve.
2. The body – give a detailed explanation of what you said you would provide in the introduction. Ideally, break the body of your blog post into sections or lists. Readers prefer this format because it’s easy to scan for key points. Use short and concise sentences.
3. Conclusion – Sum up the main points into a single paragraph. Speak to your readers and ask them to take action by sharing, subscribing or commenting.
As far as images go, head over to Pixabay, Unsplash or FreePik to find a huge database of free images without copyright. Make sure to use images that are relevant to the article you’re writing. Also, to create images like I do on this blog, import your images onto Canva and use their online editor to create awesome designs!
Oh, in case you make lots of mistakes while typing like I do, install Grammarly onto your Google Chrome. It’s free to use and once installed it will pick up all your typos or grammar mistakes and suggest fixes.
How cool is that! 😀
When it comes to backlinks, if you write good posts and market them properly, people will link to your blog naturally. However, if you want to take a more active approach, you can comment on other blogs, write guest posts or implement more advanced strategies! (We’ll be covering everything week by week in our new blog series.)
You’re finally done!
Your blog is set up and all you need to do is get people visiting your blog immediately. Check out the next and final section below for epic tips on how to use Pinterest! 🙂
6. Market Your Blog Using Pinterest
Pinterest is an image based site that allows you host your content and when people click on an image, it gets directed back to your site.
The first thing you should do is sign up for a business account. This will enable you to monitor stats, repins and much more. If you’re a beginner to Pinterest, be sure to look out for our upcoming Pinterest marketing series!
In order to succeed at Pinterest, it is essential that you focus on the following things:
When starting out, my images sucked! Big time. However, as you become accustomed to being on Pinterest and picking up the small details from successful images, you will surely find yourself implementing those small changes to your images and soon enough you will improve.
It is important to remember that an image can either make or break a post. Don’t feel afraid to emulate other people’s successful images! Heck, if possible make it EVEN better than theirs.
- Click Worthy Title
Just as how an image is important, so is the title of your post. A good eye-catching title (one should definitely aim for this at all times) will enable you to get click-throughs to your website.
Example, 10 Kitchen Tips That Will Radically Change Your Life or 10 Life-Changing Ways To_____
Head over to Tweleskip to download this amazing list of 100+ Attention-Grabbing Blog Post Title Templates.
- Keywords (SEO)
Keywords are VITAL for success on Pinterest. After continuous research, I finally came across a post that explain how to implement keywords into your title and description. It’s quite simple.
Pinterest is a search engine. (I wish I knew this 3 years ago!)
When you type in a word, say ‘organization’ more words will come up in the search bar. The more words that you use in your description, the greater the chance of your pin getting ranked.
Do make sure to use them somewhere in your description or title.
- Your Boards
Just as how keywords are important for your images to show in the searches of Pinterest, so do boards. By adding keywords to your board descriptions, you give it a better chance of them becoming noticed.
- Group Boards
Group boards will help you increase your traffic and get your content out there quickly. However, there are few rules to follow though.
– Request an invite to boards that has over 25 000 followers.
– Look for boards that have a high repin rate that is over 30.
– Be polite and honest when applying for group boards.
– Never, ever spam a group board. Posting twice a day seems to be fine for the majority of boards but make sure to check out the board’s rules in the description!
Head over to Pingroupie.com to find suitable boards to join based on your niche.
- Repining Content
What I’ve noticed is that if you repin other people’s content that has repins over 10K, Pinterest notices this and likes it a lot.
Though what Pinterest dislikes is when someone pins content that is only theirs.
The more you pin high repinned images, the better chances of your pins getting seeing and recommended to others.
Unfortunately, we can’t promise that these guidelines will 100% ensure that you receive traffic to your blog but what I can say is that if you follow these guidelines, implement your own strategies, eventually you might start to see an increase in your traffic sooner or later.