In summer of 2017 I started Salt and Skillet. I didn’t know what it would become. I didn’t have a grand vision. I didn’t even really have a plan! All I knew was that I had tons of information that I wanted to share with people. I’ve always wanted to educate others, to ditch the diet mentality, encourage real, clean food, and assure others that homecooking just isn’t that hard!
I’ve been the person who has followed every diet they came across, who has gone through the extremes to lose weight, and who thought that not only was cooking an impossible science that I would never get the hang of, it was a huge waste of time! Well, I’ve taught myself and even gone through schooling for nutrition, cooking, and all things healthy eating to set myself straight. I’ve learned that cooking is not only waaayyy simpler than we make it out to be, but it can be fun and fast, too! So, I couldn’t hold it in any longer: I had to share.
I jumped into building this blog without knowing the first thing about building a blog. I quickly found two influencers that have been helping me along the way (I’ll introduce you below!). I’ve also spent hours researching and researching and researching. I am by no means an expert on blogging, but I can proudly say that in just a few short months, I’ve been able to understand what it means to be a blogger, how to manage a website, and how to start turning it into a business.
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Have you ever wanted to start your own blog?
Is there an idea you have that you want to share with the world? Do you absolutely love food, fashion, travel, managing money, or LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE? You can start your own blog!
Yes, I’m totally serious and speaking directly to you. No matter what your passion is, no matter savvy you are with the computer, you can have your own website. No coding required!!
Before taking the dive and putting money into hosting your website, there are a few things you should consider:
- What do you want to blog about?
- Who are you blogging for? Yourself, or a specific audience?
- Do you want to make money with your blog, or just have fun with it?
Once you know those things, you’re good to go. You might have even been able to answer those as you read them! I knew that I wanted to blog about nutrition and healthy cooking. I knew that I wanted my blog to be a resource for people who are new to cooking, new to eating healthy, or both! And I knew that if there’s any chance I could make a little money off of my blog, I absolutely would. I have put in hours, days, months, YEARS researching and learning all of this stuff, and I’m doing my best to provide a valuable service. A few bucks here and there surely doesn’t hurt!
If you know what you want to blog about and have an idea for an audience, you can start your blog today. You can try to make money from your blog from the start, or blog for fun in the beginning and add in money-making possibilities later. It’s up to you. It’s your blog.
Where do I start?
Before you can make your own blog, you’ll need a website! A little corner of the internet that’s aaallll yours.
Free vs. Paid
Most of the internet runs through WordPress – a host where you build the look and content of your website. You can have a free website, which will read like “myfreewebsite.wordpress.com”, or you can have a paid website, which will read like “mypaidwebsite.com”.
Free websites are nice because they are free. However, you are limited in the amount of customization you can do, and you don’t actually own your content. Plus, if you’re interested in making money off your blog, you’ll be limited on what you can actually publish that might earn you money! You’re totally subject to WordPress’s terms and conditions.
Having a paid website, also called self-hosted, is having total freedom. Sure, it’s an investment, but that content is yours. You can post whatever you want, customize your website to the nines, and monetize your blog however you want! Plus, you’ll get a neat e-mail address, like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting a Self-hosted Website
If you are looking to start a blog that will make money, going self-hosted is your best bet. You’ll look more professional and have more avenues to actually monetize.
You’ll need two things to start: a domain name (www.SaltandSkillet.com) and a place to host that domain. Your website has to live somewhere, and I put my trust in Bluehost.
Hosting with Bluehost
Bluehost is a great hosting site that offers a free domain (!), 24/7 customer support, and installs WordPress with one-click, for free (!!).
Now, let me tell you: when I was researching this stuff, I didn’t know what any of this junk meant. “Domain name” was a term I had heard, but didn’t know what it actually meant. “Hosting” and “installing WordPress” may as well have been “Qosdj” and “Zuchiek” for all I knew. Bluehost made it so easy to get my blog up and running, and I learned more through a little research and the support of some GREAT blog babe groups I found! So, if you feel overwhelmed already, I know how you feel, and I promise that you’ll make sense of everything as you go. It won’t take long before you’re a blog guru!
Click “Get Started” above, which will bring you to your first decision: which plan works best for you? At only $3.95 a month, or a little more for some extras, it’s a small price to pay for having freedom with your new blog (especially if you plan on turning it into a business or making any money off of it!)
Once you choose a plan, you’ll need to pick your domain name. Go for something catchy that represents what you’re going to be blogging about. I chose Salt and Skillet – the two things you need to start healthy cooking at home! (And really, you don’t even need salt…but I like alliteration and it sounded cute.) I spent several DAYS trying to think of the best domain name ever. Some of them that I thought of and liked were already chosen…but I ended up with something that I love.
Once you’ve invested in your new blog, your website is just waiting for you to build it. You’ll build it in WordPress, but first you need to install it. On your home page in Bluehost, you’ll see a button for “one-click install.” Within that, there’s a button for WordPress. Boom. Free and easy, the fastest and easiest install you’ll ever do.
For all the back-end information, you’ll go to Bluehost.com. But, to build your website and make posts, you’ll go to WordPress.com or YourDomain.com/wp-admin. Your WordPress Dashboard has a menu on the left side with things like “Posts“, “Media“, and “Pages“. Here’s where you can start writing immediately! Posts are part of a feed visible on your homepage, whereas pages stand alone and will generally be linked in your menu.
You can go to “Appearance” and choose a theme. There are tons of free themes, which I recommend using until you’re more certain of how you’d like your website to actually look. Play around and pick one you like for now – you can change your theme at any time!
You’ve got a blog!
It’s really as simple as that! You can start writing your first blog post within fifteen minutes, and turn your passion into a profit with a little hard work and dedication. Sounds pretty awesome, right?
The best thing about this whole blogging business is that you don’t have to try to figure it out all by yourself. I’m part of two wonderful blogging groups who support, encourage, and answer any and all blogging questions you might have. There are a lot out there, but I have found these two groups to be the most comfortable for me and my personality.
Both of these groups are on Facebook, too, so join the groups and start making your blog the best it can be!
Elementor is a plug-in that you can add right to your WordPress dashboard (search for it under “Plugins” on your left side menu). It lets you customize what your posts look like with drag-and-drop simplicity!
What’s a blog without some pretty pictures? Do you ever browse Pinterest and see tons of impeccable images with lovely fonts? You can make them, too!
Canva is a free photo editing website that has lots of templates you can choose from, or you can create your own.
Photoshop is the ultimate photo editing software, but you probably knew that. There are a few basics you can learn to make great photos. You can start a free trial, but ultimately, you’ll have to invest in Photoshop to keep using it.
Build an E-mail List
MailChimp lets you collect e-mail addresses and send mass e-mails to your subscribers. This is great for building a following of devoted readers, communicating with them each week, and – eventually – selling directly to people who love your content!
Ready to start?
It seems like a lot, but if you take it one step at a time, you’ll have your website up and running and filling it with great content by the end of the day! Take the first step by signing up with Bluehost, and invest in your blog for only $3.95/month! Seriously, it doesn’t get much easier than this!