Second to being asked how to make natural hair grow faster by far the most popular question I get asked is “how do I start a natural hair blog?”. Further still, how do I make it successful?! So I’ve decided to put together this series to help aspiring, and maybe even established bloggers set up and grow their online brand. I make $2000-3000 a month blogging. That’s amazing supplemental income! You can do it too.
I’m going to start doing official Monthly Income Reports but here’s a quick snap shot of December 2016:
• Affiliate Marketing: $350
• Sponsored Posts: $975.95
• Advertising: $650
• Products: $388.68
WHY I STARTED A BLOG
First let me explain how I became a blogger. Long ago back in 2003 I started a fashion and lifestyle blog called I Like Her Style!. I knew nothing about blogging and was really just looking for a creative outlet. I stumbled through creating a blog, figuring out step-by-step how to build a site, edit HTML code, add imagery etc. There was no YouTube back then so I had to figure a lot of stuff out by reading tech blogs.
That said, it was the best thing I could have done as it opened my eyes to the world of digital and gave me a whole new set of invaluable skills! The blog was moderately successful garnering a few awards and plenty of press but it became overwhelming and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the blog long term.
Fast forward to 2013 and I decided to give blogging another shot. This time I would focus on a topic dear to my heart with a focused strategy and clear goal. I’ve been natural pretty much my whole life but 12 years ago I decided to take my hair care to the next level. I saw nothing online that spoke to me, especially aesthetically. I knew I could fill a niche by presenting natural hair content in a fresh format. Sections like the Salon Directory helped the site to stand out.
In the coming articles in this series I will expand on how CurlsUnderstood.com grew from nothing but for now I’ll discuss the logistics of getting your site up and running. That includes picking and registering your domain, choosing your hosting company and setting up your blogging platform.
CHOOSE YOUR SITE AND DOMAIN NAME
This is by far the hardest step in the process but without finalizing a blog name you can’t move forward with buying your domain (aka your .com). It’s totally worth taking your time and being satisfied with your choice as the two of you will be together for a long time! It’s probably more efficient for you to simultaneously check that your potential brand name is also available as a domain. No point falling in love with something if the .com is taken.
I settled on the brand name Curls Understood because it had my target keyword in it (“curls”) and my mission was to help women understand their curls better. Once you have your name picked and you know it’s available as a .com you can buy your domain name at the same place you plan to host your site…
BUY YOUR DOMAIN AND PICK A HOSTING COMPANY
I’ve been using Bluehost since my blog launched and had no visitors. Now Curls Understood has 200K page views a month and I still pay $7 a month. You can purchase your domain (.com) with a another company and then do your hosting (where your site lives) with Bluehost but Bluehost offers you a free domain with their hosting services starting at just $3.95 a month so definitely take advantage of this deal!
Navigate to Bluehost using this link. Once you’re there click the big green “get started now” button.
To register your domain name with Bluehost, enter it under the “new domain” box and click “next.”
Enter all of your account and contact information.
Continue down to the “package information” section. You get the cheapest monthly rate by selecting 36 months and paying upfront for this time frame. Don’t worry though, they offer a money-back guarantee too. You don’t have to purchase the extras like domain privacy protection or site back up unless you want to.
Once you have checked out, it’s time to install WordPress. Bluehost makes it super easy to create a WordPress blog with just one click. See the final section below.
SET UP WORDPRESS AS YOUR BLOGGING PLATFORM
Now that you have your domain name registered and your monthly hosting paid for, now you need to attach your site to a Content Management System (CMS) to actually create and manage your content. WordPress is by far the easiest blogging platform/CMS out there and Bluehost makes setting it up seamless. Just follow the 3 steps below and check out the tutorial video…
Log into your new Bluehost account, click on the hosting tab and then the cpanel tab. Scroll down and select Install WordPress (one of the orange squares in the screen shot below).
Next use the drop down box and click on your new domain name.
Fill out the form. Make sure you select a really safe and secure password for your WordPress account (this is separate from your Bluehost account). Once the installation is successful you can log into your new WordPress site by using the link: http://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin
NOTE: I should have mentioned this earlier but I highly recommend owning your own domain and paying to host it independently on WordPress.org versus using a free service like Blogger. One reason is that your domain will be something like CurlsUnderstood.blogspot.com which means Blogger, in this example, is hosting your site. That also means you’ll be limited on the templates (i.e. layout) you can use for your blog and lastly as Blogger makes major changes to the platform you’ll be forced to too. It’s also more professional looking to have your own domain (.com).
Now you can start working on making your blog look professional by selecting the best template. Though WordPress offers some free templates, in my next article in this series I will walk you through how and where to pick the best WordPress templates for your brand.
Until next time feel free to leave questions below!