Over the course of the last few months, a TON of people (and by a ton, I mean, at least 2, definitely, at least 2) have been asking me how I started up DTG, how I keep up my blog in college + how much it costs me, especially on a college-girl’s minimal budget.
Lemme tell ya – this ole bliggity blog ain’t breaking my bank, ladies + gents.
I’m all for a great price but I’m over the moon when I can find a quality product/service/company for a great price. I hit the jackpot when I started my blog on a whim nearly two years ago. *WINNING*
Here’s how to start a blog in college (without hurting your wallet)
Branding is 100% the most difficult part of starting a blog. For all of the STEP projects I did in high school + being a part of the talented and gifted programs in my preteen years, I am probably the least creative person out there. Donald Trump’s toupee most likely has more creativity than I do.
So coming up with my domain name was a solid 6 minute effort, and it shows. Feel free to be sitting up on your computer, bored + wishing you had a snack, and then decide to start a blog (because “why not!?”) like I did. Or, do the smart thing, and put some time into what you want the world to know you as.
Over 300,000 people know me as “The Tall Girl”. Yeah, good job on that one, Carolyn.
Nearly the biggest decision you will make for your blog. Ever. Domain name = the hardest. Web hosting = the most importantest. Yes. English.
There are a ton of companies out there that you can go through to host your website. (I looked into GoDaddy, but who else remembers that god awful makeout they put on during the SuperBowl a few years ago?! Immediate turn off. Clearly.)
I went with Bluehost, after reading far too many positive reviews. Well, WARNING, here comes another mushy-gushy “bluehost can sleep in bed with me at night, but the dog definitely can’t” type of review.
Actually, that’s it. I think you get it. If I would let a whole company crawl into my teeny twin bed with me before I let my Dauschund curl up under my covers, you know this is the real deal.
I spend $3.49 a month on hosting + pay it annually. In November, I get whacked for the yearly payment and then it’s smoooooooth blogging the rest of the year. I have never had my sight crash once (knocks on wood… and aluminum.. and every other material within a 5 mile radius) and even when I had a little hiccup on my end, I called customer service + they walked me through fixing my total rookie mistake.
Your choice in a web host is absolutely crucial + something you should spend a lot of time researching. I didn’t + thankfully, ended up completely OK with that.
95% of the people who ask me how I started my blog also want to know how I got my theme. Which is totally understandable because, let’s be honest, my theme is on-point. (And it dang well better be after the countless nights I was up until the wee hours of the night…. or morning… and then the next night… working on it.)
I’ve had 3 themes on DTG over the last 1.5 years, and all of them have come from Etsy. If you think mama’s dropping $350++++ on a customized theme, you better believe I just hit the lotto and I’m re-customizing my blog on the plane on my way to stay on some remote tropical island for the next 14 months.
Etsy’s where it’s at. Here are tons (1,361 !!) of themes for less than $50!
(Ugh, now I’ve done some scrolling and am 102% convinced I need to change-up my theme. Resist them, Carolyn, RESIST.)
CHOOSING A “NICHE”.
AKA, WTF are you going to be writing about? College? Makeup? Mac + cheese? Your mom’s 3-legged dog? In the grand scheme of things, it 100% does not matter what you choose to focus on, so long as your heart is 100% happy + your mind is 100% in tune with your blog, the second you sit down in front of your computer.
If that means if you’re typing switching apps back + forth between catching a Squirtle and then writing about how you totally just caught a Squirtle, then go for it, sister.
I totally recommend having some unity between all of your social media handles and the whole theme of it. For example, all of my handles are @misscarolynxo (have you gotten the hint to follow me? I’m tired of dropping hints, you might as well just do it at this point). My blog is black + white, so as my Instagram theme changes, I change my Twitter pic to match that + then my blog never looks out-of-place.
It just “goes”. And I’m all about it.
START WRITING. ASAP.
For real, if you didn’t start writing, like yesterday, you’re probably already behind. I’m kidding of course
(or am I?). Most people who think just because they’ve gotten their domain registered, that page views and comments and blogging BFFs are just gonna flock. Obligatory newsflash, sista, they ain’t.
Churn out useful, quality content like it’s nobody’s business. For a few weeks, post everyday. Or post 4 times in one day, it really doesn’t matter. Just get used to writing to your audience. Here’s a snippet of one of the very first “fo’ realz” post I wrote exactly 3 years ago!
Moral of the story: you only improve with time. And in my case, 4 years + 3 different blogs = improvement.