Your domain name is your chance to define you! What is your brand? What is your blog about? How are you going to reveal yourself. Purchasing a domain name sets the tone for your brand and how you’re going to market yourself across your blog and social medias.What is a domain name?
A domain name is your website’s address! (For example, www.cynspo.com). This can look like a .com, .org, .blog, etc. Purchasing a domain name (pluse self-hosting) allows you total control of how you want to run your website, as well as how you can monetize from your website! Namecheap allows you to do that easily by purchasing your domain name with them!
With prices starting as low as 1.99 and free WhoisGuard protection (means people cannot find your personal information through your domain!), it made my choice easy to purchase my domain from them!
PLUS many hosting sites (such as SiteGround) allow you to sign up for hosting services with a previously purchased domain! Easy right!
As a new blogger, you may want to start for free. This may save you money in the beginning, but you have limited customization over your site, and you may not be able to monetize your blog as you would like. This is why it’s recommended you take the leap and go self-hosted! There are several different hosting sites to become self-hosted, however I personally recommend SiteGround. They are so great, they walked me through the complete set up of my site!
They offer round the clock support (I have chatted with them several times for things I couldn’t figure out on my own, and they were prompt, kind and eager to help each time!), affordable pricing and my website operates at optimum speed! If you’re new to blogging or looking to switch your host site, give SiteGround a try! My special link will get you web-hosting for $3.95 per month (with better deals the further you purchase in advance)!
Your theme is essentially the face of your brand – what do you want your blog to look like? Whether you decide to go for a clean, crisp theme or a more detail oriented theme, there are are few things to keep in mind. No matter what theme you decide to go with, keep it neat if you can – clutter is difficult to navigate and can decrease your page speed. Keep the ads, widgets and features organized as best you can. No matter what colour you decide to go with, make sure you tie them into your brand colours and that you can effectively market yourself including them. You want people to look at your blog and immediately associate it with you!
My go to for themes is Creative Market – I’ve purchased all 3 (yes, I’ve gone through 3 theme changes in two years!) from Creative Market. Their pricing is on point, and you can also sign up to be an affiliate for their products! In addition to themes, they have stock photos, fonts, graphics, illustrations and so much more – perfect elements to add to any pin design, graphic design or spruce up a blog post with stock photos.
Stock photos are a great way to step up your blog’s appearance. Stock photos can aid in your blog’s professionalism, and give it that themed, cohesive look that holds it all together. They’re especially handy if you don’t have time to take photos yourself, or feel like your photography game could use some work. I personally use stock photos, and my go to’s are:
STYLED STOCK SOCIETY – (they have a lifetime membership option which I invested in and haven’t looked back).
I seriously would not be able to blog without Canva. From creating pins for Pinterest, to blog graphics, to accessing their stock photo library – I cannot recommend them enough. They have both a free and paid version (the paid version naturally grants you access to more ‘pro’ features, but if you’re just starting out, the free version will do just fine!
email list builders
Creating an email list is the best way to secure your audience all in one spot! Consider social media as rented property. You don’t have control of if or when it’s going to shut down or change course (we’ve all been through too many algorithm changes lately!). Your blog and your email list are property that you own – you have access to your audience even if social media decides to take a hike
There are so many email subscription starters to choose from (Convertkit, MailChimp & MailerLite!) I personally use and love MailerLite, however you may find another service to fit your needs and your blog more!
social media platforms
Speaking of, while social media isn’t the be all end all, it can be a great way to help build your audience and drive traffic to your site! Depending on what your strong suit is (ie. writing, visual content, video content, audio etc.), you may find yourself leaning towards one platform over another. Wherever you find yourself leaning, as long it’s helping your traffic instead of hurting it, go for it!
Pinterest is a search engine, just like Google. The bonus is – Pinterest is a visual search engine – meaning there’s room for creativity! I’m sure you’ve all spent hours browsing the site before – now, you get to create pins that will go viral (and skyrocket your blog traffic!). Check out Ell Duclos’s Pinterest Course – what helped me get back to over 1 million monthly viewers after a malware hiatus! Check out her affordable course here, and if you like it, you can become an affiliate yourself!
monetizing your site
Affiliate marketing is one of the many ways you can monetize your site. By placing affiliate links for products and websites throughout your site, you have a chance to generate an income if your audience shops through your affiliate links. Note, you must disclose there are affiliate links on a page (like I did above!) before any affiliate links appear on the page. Below are a couple of Affiliate Programs that are highly regarded, and can help you monetize even if you’re new to blogging!