Today I am sharing an in-depth step by step guide on how to start a profitable home decor blog, or really any blog for that matter!
December marked my one year blogging anniversary. I really can’t believe it has already been one whole year. I had been dreaming of starting a home decor blog for years before I finally took the leap. My only regret was not starting sooner.
This past year was one of the best and I was left feeling accomplished for finally chasing my dreams. And excited to plan out what 2020 would look like for my business.
I get asked all the time how I got started, how much it cost, do I make money blogging and how do I make money blogging. Along with a long list of other questions like; How I do it all and still work full time? I thought what better way than to spill all my blogging tips in a new how to blog series! Don’t worry if you have no interest in blogging I will still be posting about all things home decor.
Over the next few months, I will be posting highly requested blog post on all the behind the scenes. My hope is that if you are considering starting a home decor blog, or really any blog that this is a guide and a little insight into what it could look like for you.
I am not going to tell you my journey was a perfect one. This business is all about trial, error, and growth over time. I am also still a baby blogger and have a lot to learn. But I would love to share how I made over $13,000 in my first year of blogging part-time and how you can too.
The first post in the series is all about setting up your blog and what you need to do before you can launch.
There are a few important questions to ask yourself before you get started.
Why do you want to start a blog?
This is the most important question. Why do you want to start a blog? If you do not know the WHY behind starting your blog you will most likely give up. Blogging is not easy and it is not a get rich quick career path. When you are on your computer 12+ hours a day, staying up long nights, saying no to things you want to do or sacrificing time with your family you are going to need a WHY to keep you going.
Some examples of a WHY could be; being able to work from home, paying off debt, traveling without constraint. There are an endless number of WHYs, but just make sure that you have one. It will keep you going when blogging gets hard.
Is your blog a hobby or a business?
Once you know WHY you want to start a blog you need to know if you want it to be a hobby or a business. If you don’t have a desire to earn an income from your blog and you just want to keep an online journal for family and friends than this series may not be the one for you.
I will be focusing on creating a blog that is set up to be a business and that will include investing in your blog and treating like a business from day one.
What should you blog about?
While the experience that I am sharing in this series is based on my home decor blog these tips can be used for any blog topic. You will want to choose a blog topic that you are passionate about.
I am an Interior Designer by trade and have loved all things design from a very young age. So I knew that not only did I have a lot to offer on the subject of home decor. It was also something that I am really passionate about.
The goal is to choose something you know and love.
Tip: I do recommend that you start out with one topic and build up that audience. You can always branch out once you have an understanding of who your audience is. It is harder to build loyal followers and traffic if you are blogging about too many topics.
So you have decided WHY you want to blog and WHAT you are going to blog about. You may be thinking “Can I afford to take this leap and start a blogging business?” Startup costs can vary. I invested under $150 to get my blog up and running (this included a premium theme, but you can also find one for free).
You will have to spend money in order to make money. For starting a business this is a very minimal startup cost.
How to Start at Home Decor Blog- The Tech
“Affiliate links provided for your convenience, please read my disclosure for more information.”
If you have made it this far then you are ready to start your blog. YAY! Just as a disclaimer I am sharing how I started my blog. The resources that I am recommending are the ones that I use, researched and love.
Step 1. Pick a Domain Name AKA The Name of Your Blog
The first step in starting a blog is to pick a domain name. Your domain name is going to be the address of your new website. This may just be the hardest part of the entire process. Choosing the name of my blog held me back from starting for way too long. Don’t be like me. Don’t let choosing a business name stop you from building your business!
I have personally seen success in using your own name. Some people may disagree. But one benefit of doing this is that you can change the direction of your business without having to change the name.
A couple of things not to do:
- Don’t pick a name or even a version of a name that someone else is using for their business. ( Just don’t)
- Avoid using words that sound the same but have different spellings. For example krafts instead of crafts. ( People will not be able to find you)
- Don’t pick a name you are not confident introducing yourself as.
- Don’t pick anything hard to spell or pronounce.
Tip: Make sure you choose a .com extension and that your blog name is available on all social platforms before making a decision.
Step 2. Buy Your Domain and Get Hosting
Now that you know your blog name you will need to buy your domain and hosting. Your host is a company that provides a space on the internet for your blog to be stored and allows people to find you.
I highly recommend Siteground. They are affordable for new bloggers and have great customer support that can be reached over live chat. You will also be able to purchase your domain name at the same time making everything really easy to set up. Click here to start your own home decor blog with Siteground.
Here is the entire process step by step.
a. Choose your hosting plan
I recommend the start-up plan. It is perfect for a brand new blog and is only $3.95 a month. Click on Get Plan to get started.
b. Choosing Domain
You will want to make sure that Register a New Domain is selected. This is where you put in the name of your blog. Then hit Proceed.
c. Review and Complete
Next, you are going to enter all your personal and billing information. Under purchase information, make sure that you have 12 months selected. ( I do not recommend purchasing more than a 12 month).
Under extra services, I do recommend adding Domain Privacy. It keeps your personal information private.
Step 3. Installing WordPress
There are many blogging platforms to choose from. WordPress, Blogger, Squarespace, and Wix are a few. To be honest the only one I considered was WordPress. It is the most popular and most recommended by bloggers.
WordPress is the platform for your blog. It’s where you are going to run all the behind the scenes tech on your website. It is a complete content management system where you will create and publish all your posts.
Siteground makes it super easy to get everything set up with WordPress. You will receive an email after you purchase your hosting with all your account information and a link to Launch Wizard. The Account Setup Wizard will walk you through the process of setting up your new website.
Once you complete the set up you will get an email with your link, username, and password to log into your self-hosted WordPress site. I recommend watching this walkthrough video of the WordPress dashboard to get yourself familiar with how to use everything.
At this point, a big congratulations is in order. You chose a host, installed WordPress, and logged into your dashboard for the first time.
Step 4. Select a Beautiful Theme
Now we get to the fun part customizing the design of your website. You will need to choose a responsive WordPress theme. There are thousands of options available both free and paid.
I recommend starting with a premium theme (paid) from the very beginning. Remember if you want this to be a business you have to treat it like a business from the very beginning. How your site looks is so important for the user and also for attracting partnerships. You will want it to look professional.
I chose a theme from 17th Avenue designs. They design beautiful and functional WordPress themes for creative entrepreneurs and bloggers. All of the themes they offer are stunning. The best part is you can easily customize layout and colors to make your website uniquely yours.
I have found the customer service to be stellar and they will walk you through the entire process on how to install your theme. I continue to go back to them for ongoing support and they have a large library of tutorials for any issues you may have. Click here to choose your 17th Avenue Theme.
Another great company for selecting them is Restored 316. They also have beautiful designs. Although I have not used them I have heard great things from other bloggers. You can check out their themes here.
Whatever theme you choose don’t let designing your website hold you back from getting started. I would give yourself a time limit and then move on. You can also go back later once you have launched and make additional changes.
Tip: Make sure that your theme is mobile responsive. Meaning that it adjust to readers using their mobile device to read your blog post. This is so important for user experience and traffic because most people will be viewing your blog on their phones.
Step 5. Install Essential Plugins
Plugins allow you to add features to your site without having to know how to write any code. You can find them in your WordPress directory. You can search to find the plugin you want so you can add it to your site. Below are the ones I believe are essential for getting started.
Antispam Bee– This helps block spam comments on your blog.
Limit Login Attempts Reloaded– This protects your website from hackers. If someone tries to log in it will only give them 3 opportunities to get the incorrect password and then it will lock the account and notify you.
UpdraftPlus– This plugin backs up your website. Your host may also back up your website but it is always best to have a second back up. You do not want to lose any information on your site, so I recommend backing up daily.
W3 Total Cache– This is a “caching” plugin that will speed up your site. Email Siteground or your host and ask what setting you should have for your site.
Yoast– Yoast is an SEO ( Search Engine Optimization) plugin. It will help you easily structure your blog posts so that they rank in Google search results. It is not a guarantee that you will rank but it helps guide how you structure your post.
Social Pug– This is a social sharing plugin that allows readers to share your post. This is the plugin that makes it so you can have a pin button on your images.
Short Pixel– ShortPixel optimizes images automatically while guarding the quality of your images. This helps keep images from slowing down your website. This is very important for home decor blogs because our post includes a large number of images.
Tip: Be very selective what plugins you add to your site. They will bog down your site resulting a slow site speed that will affect user experience and traffic. And be sure to back up your entire site before you install a new plugin. You never know if there is going to be a compatibility issue. This doesn’t happen often but you want a back up just in case.
Step 6. Set up Google Analytics
The final step to setting up your new blog is to set up Google analytics. This is a free tool that is going to track all the traffic that comes to your website. It is not complicated at all to set up. I followed a great tutorial by Tracie Fobes. I highly recommend following it to set up Google Analytics on your website. She is also a great resource that you can trust for all things blogging. You can check out her post on how to set up Google Analytics here.
What You Need To Launch Your Blog
So you officially have a blog! You may be wondering when you can start sharing all your amazing work with the world. You are so close. Here is a list of things you should have ready to go before you launch your blog.
Set Up Social Accounts
You will want to create an account using your blog name for all social accounts. If you followed my tip when naming your business than you would have chosen a name that is available on all platforms. Think Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter just to name the big ones.
I recommend only focusing your time on 2 to 3 social platforms, but I would make an account for all of them so that you get the username you want.
For home decor, I recommend focusing your time on Instagram and Pinterest. This is where I have found most of my people are. If you are blogging about a different topic I would choose to focus on the social platforms that your people are hanging out on.
Tip: You may want to start growing your Instagram right away. This will give you an audience to share your big blog launch with. If you do launch your blog using my guide let me know and I will share it in my stories on Instagram. Just send me a message!
About Page & Contact Page
Next up is your “About Page”. I know the first thing I do when visiting a blog is click on the about page. I want to know who the writer is behind the content. Be sure to include a photo and a little bit about who you are, what you have to offer and why you are an authority on your blog topic.
You will also want to include a contact page. This will make it easy for readers and brands to contact you with any questions or collaborations.
Tip: Make sure that there is a balance between writing about yourself and writing about what you have to offer your reader.
I love the Legal templates from A Self Guru. She is a lawyer that provides comprehensive legal templates that are as easy as filling in the blanks. This should be one of the first things you invest in for your business.
You can find her legal bundles HERE. This is what I used for my blog.
Now that you have all the technical stuff covered it’s time to start writing! I am sure you have a long list of ideas just ready to share, but there are a couple of things you want to think about before you get started. The main one is: “Will this solve a problem/pain point for my target audience?”
In order to have a successful blog that generates income, you will want to be problem-solving for your audience. These are the post that will be most successful for you and is a must when you first launch. You do not want your first post to be about what you did over the weekend and even after you launch you will find that this type of post will not be worth your time.
I also do not recommend having a ” this is my first blog post” post. Some may disagree. But I believe creating quality content from the very beginning is the reason I made $100 in my first month of blogging. I launched with posts that solved problems for my users and that were about what they needed not about me.
How many Blog Posts do I need to Launch?
The biggest question you may have is how many posts do I need to launch my blog. The answer is there is no right answer and you can find an article all telling you something different.
I’m going to tell you what I did and what I would have done differently. I launched with 5 posts. It was just enough to fill up the first page of my home page.
I wish I would have made my site live after I had completed my first blog post. The reason for this is because it takes Google about 6-12 months to start sending traffic to your website. If I had gone live right away that time period would have started sooner.
If you do have a large audience to launch, for example, a large following on Instagram. I would make your site live after the first post and then I would wait to announce your blog until you have at least 3 posts. This will give your followers a better idea of what your blog is about.
The final piece of this puzzle is your email list. This is something that you can learn more about throughout your blogging journey, but I believe it’s something you should have in place from day one.
An email list is so important because you own it. You have no control over Instagram, Pinterest, Google or all of their algorithms and updates. They could all be gone tomorrow. You do however have control over your email list and if all of those tools are gone you will still be able to reach your people.
I recommend starting with MailerLite. It is free for the first 1,000 subscribers. I started with MailChimp and had to make the switch to MailerLite and let me tell you it is so much better. I do not recommend using MailChimp.
You will also want to offer some sort of opt-in. This could be a free printable, e-book, list, or planner. The possibilities are endless. This will be a free gift for joining your mailing list.
You are Officially a Blogger!
Okay friends this was a long one, but I hope it gave you all the tools to get you started in creating the business of your dreams. If you have any additional questions please leave them in the comments below.
This journey is an amazing one and I am excited that you have made the decision to join along! Be sure to come back for the next post in the series and to be the first to know when it is released join my newsletter.