“How to start a blog since I’m a writer and have no idea how to code?”, you may ask.
“But I’m a (magazine) writer, not a blogger!”, you may also think.
Well, unless you want to be like me several years ago, using THIS Word file to showcase my published articles and sending it every single time I sent my pitching emails to potential clients. Have a look!
You didn’t read it wrong. It was in 2014, not 2004. At that time, I thought I did a brilliant job and saved the readers times searching for my articles online. Oh dear!
My excuse? I actually didn’t know how to start a blog, use it as my portfolio and promote my works.
Fast forward to 2020, now as I’ve been blogging for four years (since 2016) on five different blogs (yes, I’m that into blogging), I can say you as a writer should also have a blog for yourself, which not only is your portfolio but will also be a lucrative passive income source in the future.
Here’s how to do it!
How to start a blog – The ultimate guide for magazine writer
Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links. When you click on this and purchase any physical products or services, I’ll earn some commission with no extra cost for you. Thank you for your understanding.
1. Find a name for your blog
As a writer, you should have no problem finding a name for your blog. It should be a name that includes either your name or your service/what you’re doing or even better, both.
Don’t overthink and make it complicated or difficult to read. Remember, your readers just have few seconds to have a look at your site, read the URL, and decided whether they can understand your business or not.
I once stumbled over a content marketing agency website and thought it was something of a wine-pairing or wine-related service.
I know writing is all about creativity, but sometimes it’s better to just be straight forward and let your readers know exactly what you’re doing.
A perfect name can be [yourname]writes.com or [yourname][yourservice].com or something simple, easy to remember, and straight forward. Because by the end of the day, you’re not here for a Name-your-best-blog competition, right?
2. Have a proper domain & hosting plan
There’a huge difference between yourwritingblog.wordpress.com and yourwritingblog.com. And by huge, I mean HUGE.
You probable have done some research in this field before, so I’ll not waste your time here and go straight to the point instead:
For domain, head to Namecheap as they offer cheaper domain compared if you buy directly with the hosting company.
For hosting, I can recommend these companies:
⭐ SiteGround – I’ve been using it since 2016 and this blog is hosted by SiteGround (with a domain from Namecheap).
⭐ Lyricalhost – use this link and enter the code MAGWRITER10 for an extra 10% off. I personally haven’t used their service but I know about them via Chelsea Clarke @ HerPaperRoute.com (I bought her courses with resources list listing Lyricalhost).
3. Install WordPress (.org)
Once you’ve bought a domain and a proper hosting plan, next step is to install WordPress as your CMS (in case you’re new here, CMS is for Content Management System, the backend of your blog where you write blog posts, add pictures, do all the SEO tricks before publishing your posts).
Don’t get confused here since we have TWO WordPress, a .com and a .org one.
Back to the example, yourwritingblog.wordpress.com, this is what you’ll get if you sign up for a free plan with WordPress.com, which has a lot of restrictions and you’ll have to pay them to stop having ads on your site (what!!!)
The WordPress.org will give you 100% freedom to customize your site, show ads, monetize, and so on. It will also give your site the ultimate professional look that please not only your readers but also your potential clients.
4. Have a nice theme
I know you may be thinking, “But I’m not here for the Best-themed-blog competition, am I”, but let me tell you.
Of course you can find hundreds of free theme from WordPress (.org), but they all come with little options, difficult to customize (fonts, styles, colors, etc.) and already widely used by thousands of other bloggers, meaning your site will not be appealing any more.
Simply put, having a beautiful, eye-pleasing theme means you’re serious here!
Here are some places where you can get a beautiful theme for your blog
⭐ 17th Avenue (I bought two premium themes here and are VERY happy with them.)
⭐ Sugar + Code (use WOAH40 to get 40% off)
⭐ Blossom Themes (This blog is using Sarada Pro from Blossom Themes)
5. Have basic pages
Now it’s the fun part: Create pages and posts for your blog!
First things first, you need to have these three main pages for your blog: About, Contact, and Portfolio.
An About page is surprisingly where people will stumble over a lot to get to know more about you the writer. So don’t underestimate it.
A Contact page is, of course, a place where potential clients can fill in a form or drop you an email for some collaboration. Remember: Make it simple for people to contact you.
A Portfolio page is where you can showcase all of your published articles, both online and printed versions.
If your theme doesn’t support this feature (which I can say 17th Avenue has a beautiful page in their themes just for portfolio), you may need a plugin for it.
I will write more on these stuff later under the Blogging Tips category.
6. Promote your site like crazy
No, don’t do that. I’m just kidding!
But let say, here, depends on your main purpose with the blog (attract more clients, earn money, become an expert in your field, etc.) that you’ll have specific plans how to promote it.
Personally, I created this blog for two reasons: Gain more clients and monetize it. With that plan in mind, I may have a totally different promotion plan than yours.
7. Monetize it!
Even when you’re not creating a blog as a business, it’s nice to know that you can earn passive income by promoting the products/services you used for it.
Take this blog as an example. The main idea is to create a site where I can write about how to become a magazine writer, share my tips, (hopefully) get some new clients, and so on.
However, I also monetize it at the same time, mainly through affiliate marketing (meaning I may earn commission from your purchasing withour any extra cost for you).
For my other blogs, I may earn up to $500/monthly, all passively. Think about it as a side hustle beside your main business – magazine writing.
I know there’re already one million and one blogs talking about how to start a blog and earn big bucks from it. Well, you may not see the big bucks part here as it’s not my purpose anyway.
However, I hope the how-to-start-a-blog part will be useful for you to create you own site and thrive in your magazine writing career!