How to Start a Blog in 5 Simple Steps

Starting a blog is easy. Maintaining a blog and making it look like the amazing blogs you read all the time takes more work. I have started more than five blogs over the last ten years, but Rose Colored Water is the only one I’ve followed through with. This is because I finally found something to write about.

Rose Colored Water is considered a lifestyle blog, but I write mainly about managing personal finances and being in the Air Force. A majority of my traffic comes from women looking for answers about enlisting in the military. We need more females out there documenting their experiences!

When you start your first blog, you don’t need to have a focus. Top bloggers will tell you that you must have a focus and niche, plus loads of content before starting, but for a newbie, I believe you must simply begin.

If you want to start blogging but have no idea where to begin, use this simple, five-step guide to get started.

Start a blog with these 5 simple steps! | Rose Colored Water #blogging #hustle

1. Purchase hosting and a domain name.

This is the most important part of starting a real blog. There’s nothing worse than stumbling upon a blog with awesome content, only to see that it’s called – Having a “free” blog is a great place to start, but if you want to be taken seriously and have a blog worth looking at, you need to purchase hosting.

There are a lot of options out there for blog hosting, but I use Bluehost. Many bloggers use Bluehost and have no issues. I have never had any problems and their customer service has always been on point. It is very reasonable for startup costs, especially for newbie bloggers. I highly recommend them!

Click on my ad below or any of the links above so you can have site hosting for just $3.45/month! It’s a great deal and you’re set for the next 3 years!

Get cheap web hosting for just 3.45/month! | Rose Colored Water #blogging #website

Once you get started, you’ll be asked to pick a package and domain name. I use the BASIC PACKAGE. You shouldn’t need any more than that as a new blogger, and you can always upgrade later as your blog grows. I’ve been blogging for three years and the BASIC PACKAGE is still giving me more than I need.

Bluehost signup - start a blog | Rose Colored Water #blogging

After you’ve selected your package, you’ll be taken to the next screen showing you how to choose a domain name. Search for the domain you want, but be intentional about what you name it.

I chose Rose Colored Water because my middle name is Rose, and I liked how it gave the idea that these were my thoughts. For a lifestyle blog, it works. NOTE: You want your domain name to be short, simple, and easy to remember. You should try to make it relevant to the kind of content you’ll be posting too. 

Many people use their names, or a play of words with their name, and it works well for them. Lifestyle blogs have more flexibility than niche specific blogs. Don’t let choosing a name stop you from going through with starting a blog. Many people become paralyzed by this. You can always transfer it later, though it will require more work. Getting started is what counts.

Sign up for blog hosting | Rose Colored Water #blogging #websites

Now that you have a domain name and some decent hosting, you’ll finish creating your account. Bluehost will offer some additional services, but you can add those all later if you need to. Just buy the basic hosting.

Once you’ve finished creating your account and purchasing your subscription, Bluehost will send you a WELCOME! email with a link to your home dashboard called the cPanel. You will complete your next step – downloading WordPress – there.

2. Download WordPress.

Many bloggers use WordPress as the backbone of their site. If you buy hosting through Bluehost, this is the easiest way to go. WordPress allows for easy customization, and gives you everything necessary to start blogging today. Plus, IT’S FREE!

  1. Go to your cPanel.
    • A link will be sent with your welcome email from Bluehost taking you to your home dashboard.
  2. Under the cPanel, scroll to the WEBSITE section.
      • Click “Install WordPress.

    Install WordPress | Bluehost | Rose Colored Water

3. The next page will walk you through the steps of installing WordPress on your site. This is fairly simple, and if you have any issues, you can always email or tweet me, and I’ll try my best to help you through it.

3. Find a theme.

This is the most exciting part of starting your blogging journey. During your WordPress install, they might advertise themes, but I recommend waiting until you have installed WordPress and look through their free themes. I started out with free themes, but around two years in, I went to Etsy and bought the theme you see now, for about $17.

Your blog dashboard will look something like this:

Wordpress themes | Rose Colored Water

  1. Go down to Appearance > Themes.
    • Click on Popular for the most common free themes you’ll see.
    • Click on the theme you want and Install. You will be able to customize it a little more after installation.
  2. Check out Etsy for responsive WordPress themes like mine.

4. Get familiar with how WordPress works.

You will be forever frustrated with blogging if you don’t learn how to manage the back end of your site. Take some time to play around with things before announcing your blog to the world. As I’ve told many friends who’ve started blogging, you will want to change things numerous times before you finally settle on a single layout.

Take some time to learn how to format posts and upload blog images. Decide what you want in your top menu and sidebars.

5. Write three posts.

After you feel comfortable with WordPress, START WRITING! My first posts don’t exist on this blog anymore, but you can bet I wrote a big hello to the world and shared it all over my social media accounts.

If you want to stay in a niche, do some research and write three article-style posts. Once you’ve written a post, click publish.

Type a WordPress Post | Rose Colored Water

Now you have a real blog with a real name with real content! There will be a learning curve, but over time, you will absolutely get the hang of it. It’s a new year, and there is no better time than the present to START YOUR OWN BLOG.

Don’t let fear stop you! Blogging can change your life! Good luck, and hit me up if you have any questions!

How to start your own blog in 5 steps. | Rose Colored Water #blogging #hustle

Summer 2017 Blogging Goals

5 Blogging Goals for Summer | Rose Colored Water #blogging #goals

In July, Rose Colored Water will be three years old. It’s hard to believe, as this is the longest running blog I have ever had – not to mention, the most consistent. Rose Colored Water is the only blog I have written that has brought in real readers. It’s a blog that helps people and provides honest information, especially for those enlisting in the military or trying to get out of debt.

A lot of sweat and love has went into this space. I have wanted to quit a couple of times, but am glad I persisted and kept on writing. Now it’s time to push further out of my comfort zone. It’s time to take this blog to the next level.

There’s a lot going on in my life right now, but I have wanted to grow and monetize my blog for several months. Last week, I took the first step towards making that happen. This summer, I plan on making some big changes to Rose Colored Water. The content will stay the same, but I hope to increase the amount of helpful posts you find here.

5 Blogging Goals for Summer | Rose Colored Water #blogging #goals

Below are five goals I set to make Rose Colored Water better and more informative. I plan to document how these changes affect my traffic and income, and hopefully these changes will make you love this blog more than before.

1. Create fresh new images for old posts.

This is something I started working on a few weeks ago, but am far from finished. I am weeding through my archives, deleting irrelevant posts and rewriting the ones worth keeping. Over the coming months, each post will have a more powerful image attached to it.

2. Monetize the blog through affiliate marketing.

This is the thing I was talking about above. I have wanted to try affiliate marketing for months now, but with school and work, it has been difficult to find time. I purchased the Making Sense of Cents affiliate marketing course last week and am slowly working my way through it. Michelle makes around $50,000 a month with her blog and has helped countless other bloggers increase their income through affiliate marketing.

I felt the course was worth purchasing because I have seen tons of awesome reviews. Over time, you will begin to see affiliate links in my content. However, as any good blogger should know, these links will be dedicated for products I believe in and know will help readers – not hinder them.

My goal is to make $500/month by the end of 2017 through affiliate marketing.

3. Increase traffic to 15k pageviews/month.

In 2015, I saw a significant increase in my monthly traffic. I know this increase came from my posts about joining the Air Force and by ramping up my Pinterest strategy. For the past year, I have been reaching about 9,000 pageviews per month. By December 2017, I hope to increase that to around 15,000 per month.

4. Create relevant, helpful content on a weekly schedule.

I started publishing two posts a week, Monday & Thursday, in April. I have done well in sticking to that schedule, though I have missed some weeks when work was crazy and class finals were looming. Throughout the summer, I plan to continue that schedule, writing evergreen posts and income/debt updates with my experiment in affiliate marketing.

5. Revamp the top 20 most popular posts.

My blog statistics show there are around 10-20 posts on Rose Colored Water bringing consistent traffic in. Those posts revolve around living in Colorado and joining the Air Force. This summer, I am going to revamp and rewrite my top 20 so they are more relevant and informational for my readers.

These summer blogging goals are meant to keep me focused and help better the blog so many people turn to for honest insights into big life changes they may be making. I believe these changes will make Rose Colored Water a better blog for you and me. What do you think?

10 Odd Search Queries that Will Bring You to my Blog

10 Funny Search Queries that People used to get to my blog | Rose Colored Water #humor #hilarious #funny

10 Funny Search Queries that People used to get to my blog | Rose Colored Water #humor #hilarious #funny

Every year, you see bloggers post some of the weirdest search queries that have brought people to their blog. In 2016, I actually had enough traffic and search queries to create such a post. Of course, most of them pertain to joining the Air Force and what you’ll encounter during that process, but some are just downright weird and hilarious. Here are a few of the search strings leading people to Rose Colored Water.

1. meps tits
Yep, you will see “tits” at MEPS… If you’re a female. Sorry guys. You may see more than that. Brace yourselves. MEPS is just the beginning.

2. spongebob are you done with those errands?
No, and I will never be finished with those errands! Haha! One of the better Spongebob episodes. This particular quote is one I say daily at work. It isn’t always appreciated.

Image result for spongebob are you finished with those errands

3. sneak phone into testing center

I can tell you from experience that this is a bad idea. JUST DON’T DO IT. Read this post about the girl who was supposed to test with me during the ASVAB. Don’t ruin your already very young career by making a stupid choice like this.

4. poop at usaf bmt 2016
This is a tough subject. Pooping at BMT is probably the worst experience you’ll have in relation to that specific subject. You’ll either suffer from severe diarrhea or constipation. It could go either way. Do your best to regulate yourself, but if it’s bad for more than week, tell someone.

5. why we choose cupcakes
We choose cupcakes because life is hard. Cupcakes = life. When in doubt… choose the cupcake. (In reality, I think we choose cupcakes because it’s cheaper at a wedding.)

6. how to rose your husband
Let’s hope when you meet your husband, he is already rose. Most husbands turn out to be man-children, so let’s hope his mom already rose him right before you get your hands on him. But, if I had to rose my husband, I would probably purchase a handbook from Amazon.

7. i dont care wat people tell abt me sts
i dont even know wat this query is abt. good thing i dont care wat people tell abt me sts?

8. today things are not like before , i wish we could be like before
No. No, things are not like they were before, but I don’t wish for us to be like before. I think things are better now than before, don’t you? To live in the past is to never move forward.

9. is the first night of basic training scary
Absolutely. It’s terrifying. However, you’re so tired you don’t even realize how scared you are. You fall asleep and before you know what is happening, you’re being yelled at to get up and start the worst 6 weeks of your life. Read about ZERO WEEK to get an idea of what to expect.

10. some of the asvab don’t make any sense
No, some of the asvab don’t make any sense at all, and by your poor grammar, you are probably trying to get into the Army. Am I right? HAHA I kid, I kid. But really… Army?

I hope you enjoyed these interesting queries as much as I did. Who knows what 2017 will bring to dear Rose Colored Water?

Top Blogging Resources for Beginners

I am still new to the self-hosted blogging side of things, but I’ve been writing little stories since I was 5 and blogging on various platforms since I was 18. Writing has never been an issue for me, but when I started this “real” blog on a “real” domain host, I was shocked at how little I knew about blogging and design.

That’s when I went scouring the interwebs to find help from other bloggers like me who built their blogs from the ground up and had tips on making a site attractive.

Helpful blogging resources for beginners | Rose Colored Water #blogging #beginner #resources

My one tip: Stay away from HTML and CSS until you feel more comfortable in blogging. It’s hard enough to get into a solid groove without adding on unnecessary pressure.

General Design Tips

Design Your Own Favicon | Clementine Creative

5 Font Crimes | Clementine Creative

Customize Your Navigation Menu | Earl Grey

How to Create a Pin-it Button | J9 Designs

Online Photo Editing Sites | XOMISSE

4 Best Websites for WordPress Themes | XO Pixel

General Blogging Tips

Creating a Loyal Audience | Elle & Company

Blogger to Blogger Etiquette | Living in Color Print

SEO Basics for Bloggers | The Wonder Forest

Write an Explosive “About Me” Page | Build Your Own Blog

Protecting Your Content | XOMISSE

I know this list is small, but I wanted to make it well-rounded for beginners. You may not need help with everything, but hopefully, you can find what you’re looking for. Also, I follow all of these bloggers on Bloglovin’. They have many helpful blogging resources on their sites. I recommend spending some time in their archives!

Feel free to bookmark this post for later too!