So you’ve been living an eco/low waste lifestyle or you’ve embraced ethical fashion and you’re passionate about these topics — but you’re ready to do more. You want to spread the word, share the information you’ve learned or the brands/organizations you’re inspired by with a larger audience.
And perhaps you’re looking to earn some income from doing so as well to pay the bills and get compensated fairly for all your time and energy you’re putting into it.
A blog can be a great way to do all of the above if you invest the time and research it takes to make that blog successful.
Blogging isn’t easy and it’s definitely not a way to ‘get rich quick’. However, blogging is my passion and enables me to earn a living from what I love. I get to create content about the topics I am most passionate about, connect with like-minded people, fellow creatives, and brands, and I feel in control of my own schedule and career path.
So my friend, if you’re ready to dive in and make the investment into your future self, let’s go![P.S. If you’re looking for personalized advice, check out my Blogger Consulting Services]
1. Find Your Unique Offering
First, zero in on what it is that you’re most interested in talking about. Zero waste? Ethical fashion? Responsible travel?
When I first started my blog, Conscious Life & Style, I was focused on ethical fashion. (In fact, I was originally going to call the blog Conscious Style but the domain was taken already, which is how the “life &” part got in there!)
After you pick the general topic, think about what will make your approach stand out.
If you’re focused on sustainability: are you going to be talking about easy low waste swaps for beginners or more advanced lifestyle changes for those a little farther along in their journies? Will you have an emphasis on DIYs that save money while saving the planet or products people can buy to preserve their time while preserving resources?
If you’re focused on responsible fashion: are you going to be talking about fair trade, locally-made, and/or eco-friendly brands? Is there a particular style you’ll focus on like sleek and minimalist, flirty and feminine, bright and artisan-made? Are you centering in on petite or plus-size fashion?
The opportunities to make your blog unique are endless. Take a notebook or a Google Doc and start brainstorming… get creative!
Remember you can always shift as you go. When I started, I focused on style-forward ethical fashion brands because I was on a mission to prove that dressing responsibly could still be fashionable. My content has shifted since then, but picking a focus to start off with will help you attract an audience and it will help with creating content that feels cohesive.
2. Pick a Domain Name
Once you’ve gotten clear on what you’ll be talking about on your blog, it’s time to pick a name for it! Brainstorm some words you’d like to use based on your offerings.
Some descriptive words to get you started: fair, conscious, ethical, eco, green, sustainable, responsible, zero waste, low waste, purpose, plant-based, regenerative, mindful, intentional, artisan, homemade, handmade, secondhand, pre-loved, slow (slow food, slow fashion, slow travel, etc.)
Some nouns to get you started: clothing, clothes, style, fashion, closet, wardrobe, life, lifestyle, DIYs, food, meals, home, and travel. Also think about if it could make sense to use your name or the name of the city you’re in. I love this especially when it forms an alliteration like “Consciously Cathy” or “Fair in Firenze”.
Your domain name doesn’t have to be literal to the topic you’re talking about, but I do think it’s helpful to have at least one word in the title that signals what you’re talking about on your platform so new readers instantly know what your blog is generally about!
As you think through some ideas, you can check with Instant Domain Search to see if the website URL you want is already taken.
If everything you want is taken, check out Lean Domain Search for some ideas on variations of domain names that are still available.
I’d also suggest searching the social media platforms you’d like to be on, like Instagram, to see if the names you’re brainstorming for your blog are already in use on there as well.
Once you find your blog name and domain, don’t buy it just yet! We’ll get there in step four.
3. Pick a Content Management System (AKA blog platform)
Now that you’ve solidified your focus for your blog, it’s time to find a home for all the great content you’re going to write!
Your content management system is essentially the backend of your blog: it’s how you write, add photos, edit, and more.
There are a bunch of content management systems (CMS) you can choose from, but I highly recommend WordPress.org. It’s the most common CMS on the internet (it powers 35% of websites worldwide) and it’s open-source, which means the functionality of WordPress is constantly improving as developers create new plugins and themes.
WordPress is also the best CMS for search engine optimization. (Optimizing for search engines is how your blog will get found via people searching the topics you’re talking about on Google.)
4. Choose Hosting Provider
A web hosting service is essentially how you’ll be able to make your website accessible on the internet. Yes, it’s as important as it sounds!
The most recommended hosting provider for WordPress is Bluehost.* (affiliate)
There are also green hosting providers, such as Green Geeks, that use renewable energy or purchase renewable energy credits to offset the energy used to power your website. I am planning to move to Green Geeks once my contract with Bluehost expires. The hosting provider even has options specifically for WordPress sites (again, why WordPress is the best choice.. makes everything down the line so much easier!)
Bluehost is super user-friendly and great for beginners. So if you want to start with Bluehost, you can also switch to a green hosting provider after a year of getting familiar with all of the tech involved with running a blog.
Pricing wise, the two have pretty similar price points for their most basic and mid-tier options. Bluehost starts at $2.95/mo for the most basic level of hosting and $5.45/mo for the mid-level. Green Geeks starts at $2.95/mo for the most basic level and $5.95 for the mid-level.
I will update this post and share what my experience is like switching to Green Geeks, like how user-friendly that hosting platform is and how much support the company provides!
5. Launch Your Site
Once you’ve gotten set up with your hosting platform, it’s time to launch your site with your domain on WordPress!
Both Bluehost and Green Geeks advertise “1-click installation” with WordPress.
Here is more information from Green Geeks on how to install WordPress on Green Geeks.
And here is more information on how to install WordPress on Bluehost.
6. Pick a Theme (Website Design)
Now we’re getting to the fun part: it’s time to pick a theme for your website! WordPress has a ton of free themes to choose from.
Some things to keep in mind: In addition to finding a theme that fits your vision aesthetically, be on the lookout for the functionality of that theme as well.
Check to see that the theme is responsive (this ensures the theme will show up properly on mobile devices), that it has strong ratings and good reviews, and that you like the layout of all of the pages that come with the theme. Some elements, like colors, are usually easily adjustable, but significant changes are not so easy.
Note: If you choose Bluehost, they will walk you through the process of selecting a theme step by step. In this case, the following steps will be useful if you want to ever change your theme.
The theme is not set in stone! You can always change the theme later. Once you’ve gotten set up with WordPress, you can check out the theme options by navigating to the lefthand bar going to “Appearance”, selecting “Themes”, and then clicking the “Add New” button.
Once you find a new theme you like and verify that it’s functional as well, click install. After you install a theme, you can do “Live Preview” by hovering over the theme and clicking “Live Preview”. If you like what you see, press the “Activate” button and that will switch your site to that theme!
Note: You might notice that there are free themes along with premium themes you have to pay for. While premium paid themes could be a nice option eventually, I don’t necessarily think it’s a requirement for getting started with blogging. I used a free theme for a year or even more when I first created Conscious Life & Style!
7. Write Your Site Title and Tagline
If you select Bluehost, it will prompt you with questions to enter in this information.
If you are using a different platform, or you want to change the title and tagline for your site at a later date, here’s how to do it.
Go to your WordPress dashboard, go to the left-hand side panel and select “Settings” –> click “General”. Below is how that screen should look.
And that covers the basics!
Now that your site is set up, start working through WordPress to edit various parts of your website. While WordPress does have a bigger learning curve than other CMS’s like Wix or Squarespace, there are SO many benefits to WordPress if you want to grow and eventually monetize your blog. And all of the various features in WordPress mean that you have a lot of capabilities at your fingertips for your own blog.
So, with that, I am wishing you all the best with the set up of your blog! For the nitty-gritty technical tutorials, there are plenty of helpful resources on YouTube. My area of expertise is more in the sustainable blogging arena. For more on this, check out the resources below.
How to Brainstorm Content for Your Conscious Blog
How to Make Money as a Sustainable Blogger
Have Questions? Need More Individual Support?
For one-on-one consulting with me where I can answer your most pressing questions, check out my Blogger Consulting Services.