Things To Consider Before Starting A Blog

Things To Consider Before Starting A Blog

Thinking of starting a blog? Here are some things to think about….

I’ve been blogging for over four years now and although I’m not an expert on the subject (it’s an ongoing learning process), I get asked a lot of questions from people wanting to start a blog of their own so I thought I would share my tips on things to consider before starting up as a blogger.

Choosing a blog name – First up, and most importantly in my opinion, is deciding what your blog name should be. This is something that I made a big mistake with and I really wish I had spent longer than five seconds choosing my first one as I ended up HATING it. It is possible to change at a later date, I did it about 18 months ago, but it can complicate things with redirects and broken links, it’s basically a lot of work to switch over and would have been so much simpler to keep the same name.
Things to consider are whether you really want ‘mum / mummy’ in it. When I started blogging I was a new mum and that was the only thing I wrote about but over time it became less what I was writing about and going into the future will become less and less relevant, hence why I wanted something that didn’t give people the impression that I would only be writing about nappies and tantrums. Another thing to think about is whether it will work if you have any more children. Cherry was a few months old when I started blogging and having another baby definitely wasn’t on my to do list but roll on 18 months and I was pregnant again with a blog name that only made reference to one child.
The length of it is another thing to consider, especially when it comes to social media. How will you shorten it into a Twitter handle? It might also be worth checking that the name is free across all the social media platforms as it can make things a bit complicated otherwise.

Starting a blog: What platform should I choose?

I set my blog up on one of the free platforms to start with as I didn’t want to be paying out any money at the time and given that I’d never had a hobby for longer than a week I wasn’t sure this would be any different. I chose WordPress but the other option is Blogger, people are split into two camps when it comes to choosing between the two and although I opted for WordPress I do think there are advantages to choosing Blogger, the main one being that it’s owned by Google. I’m not sure if that makes any difference but it makes sense that they would send traffic to their own sites.
The downside to these platforms is that you will end up with a URL that ends with either or This can be changed by buying a vanity URL, which means your blog will still be hosted on either WordPress or Blogger but you can hide those words from your web address. WordPress doesn’t allow you to earn money through your blog so if you are eventually wanting to monetize it then it’s probably better to look at other options.

Deciding whether to self-host your website…

I switched my blog to self-hosted after about a year as I knew by then that blogging wasn’t something I would be giving up anytime soon and wanted to take things to the next level, plus I didn’t like the idea that someone else effectively owned my blog. It sounds a bit scary and overwhelming but it isn’t that hard at all. The first thing you need to do is find a webhost, there are lots of these and if you speak to people then you will hear negative stories about all of them but I’m with Tsohost and haven’t had any problems. I switched hosts a few months ago and I’m now paying £4.99 a month to host a few websites which is half what I was paying before.
I use for all my websites, it’s the self-hosted version of their hosting platform and you need to install the software on your blog which is simple to do but a lot of hosts will do it for you.
There are a few other options out there, one of which is Squarespace. They host your website and allow you to build and customise it, their themes are gorgeous and I did look at switching once but I’m a bit too used to WordPress and all their plugins.

NOTE – When buying a domain name your details, including your address, will be added to the WHO.IS directory. This is public so anyone can look you up and find it. If you don’t want this to happen then you need to opt out but if you are planning to earn money through your blog then you will need to give some form of address whether it be your office address or a PO BOX.

Blog design

My blog design has changed A LOT over the years. It used to look terrible!! If you aren’t able to design a logo or header then the simplest thing to do is just find a font you like and write your blog name with it, that’s what I’ve done. After a while if you start earning some money from your blog you could look at paying someone to design you a header.
Something which I’ve really struggled with is finding themes, I found all the free ones wouldn’t do what I wanted so I ended up buying lots of premium ones which weren’t right either. I am now using two themes that I’m really happy with and I found them both on themeforest under the magazine category. I’ve bought a few from there and have been really happy with them after installing, they haven’t resulted in me having to go in and edit any CSS either which is a bonus. Overtime you will have a list of things you want from your blog theme and it makes it easier to choose one that will be right for you.
Plugins – These are one of the things I love about self-hosted WordPress, no matter what you need to do there is usually a plugin for it. Google Analytics, social media icons, Instagram, Pin It buttons, the list goes on. Just be careful not to go overboard and use too many as it can slow down the loading speed of your site.

The technical side…

If you want your blog to rank in Google then you need to think about the technical side of things such as how to optimise your blog posts. For years I didn’t bother with this as I found it so boring but now I’m trying to make an effort as depending on what you want to achieve from your blog it can be important. Obviously if you are just blogging because you want to write then carry on but if you want to improve your stats or take things further at some point then reading up on SEO is necessary. I have been using Google Adwords for the last few months, you can type in the topic you are writing about and it will tell you how many people search for it in Google each month. It’s just a helpful indication of whether you will get much Google traffic for that post or not. You can find out how to use it here.

Deciding what to write about – Whatever you choose to put on your blog could effectively be found forever even if you delete it so it’s a good idea to think carefully about what it is you want to say. I cringe when I read back through my first year of blog posts and in fact I have been through and deleted some of them. Some things to think about are whether you want to express strong opinions or not. For instance, if you wrote about a controversial topic that you have a very strong opinion on then you run the risk of people disagreeing with you and never coming back to your blog but on the flip side if you don’t ever voice any opinions then you might come across as trying to keep everyone happy and it will be hard for people to really get to know the real you.
I have chosen to blog about a couple of topics that could stop people from reading but as I feel so strongly about them I’m happy to take the risk. Firstly breastfeeding and secondly is our decision to home educate. Both of these are topics that divide opinion and some people might be instantly put off but they were / are a big part of my life so I couldn’t not write about them. Plus just because they were right for us doesn’t mean I think they are right for everyone so as long as I make people aware of that I hope they wouldn’t be too put off to return!
At the end of the day it’s impossible to please all the people all of the time and it is your space on the internet to do with as you please but I think it’s good to be aware of how you will be portrayed by people reading. For me, I try to come across on my blog in the same way I do in real life. My overuse of exclamation marks makes it look like I’m a bit over-excited but in real life I do talk quite fast, laugh a lot and my voice is reasonably high-pitched so I feel like it represents me quite well.

When it comes to blogging about your children I think it’s a good idea to sit down with your partner and make sure you are on the same page. Mr C isn’t comfortable with me using photos of the kids faces and doesn’t want me to write about their personalities either, I have to say to start with I didn’t agree but I am used to it now and respect his opinion. It was really only the last year or two that we came to this decision, before that when they were babies it wasn’t so much of an issue.
Also decide whether you want to use their real names or not, we did to start with but after changing my blog name I stopped and had to go back through and edit all my posts, making the decision at the start would have been much easier!

starting a blog

I hope this has been helpful to anyone thinking about starting a blog. They are the things that I wish I had known when I started.

Images: DTTSP

  1. Molly

    6 July

    Really great advice for potential new bloggers here. I think you’re right, it changes all the time and there are so many new things to learn every day. I had no idea how time consuming blogging would be and how much of a big part of my life it would become when I first started four years ago!

    • Haha me neither! It is SO time consuming, social media in itself is a full time job! x

  2. Great Post – I think the point about names, especially those is children, is really important to think about from the beginning.

    • Thanks Alice, yes I didn’t even think about not using the kids real names when I started! x

  3. I think the blog name one is interesting – my blog name doesn’t really reflect me at all any more, but you get to the point I think where it’s more just a brand name, without really having to mean anything! I think it’s REALLY important if you’re a parent to imagine your blog ten years down the line, and what your children would think if they read it. Having older children is useful to give me this sort of perspective, but I worry that a lot of bloggers with very young children say things about their kids that they might regret or that might be hurtful later on.

    • Yes that’s so true, even now with Cherry the age she is I don’t want to write anything that would embarrass her or make her uncomfortable when she’s older x

  4. Really good tips – especially if you’re blogging about your family. I suppose there’s a lot to think about, but you seem to have managed very well – you’re an expert now!


  5. agreed with molly really underestimate how time consuming blogging can be, even if you only blog a couple times a week.

  6. Claire

    6 July

    Great post, Jess! So useful. My blog name suited when my blog was just me writing a daily diary about our family life for our own family and friends. I never expected other people to read it at the time. It’s still quite surreal when I think about it. I do think about changing it to make sense nowadays, but then I keep it for the sentimental reasons (and also to avoid the hassle! Haha). I love both your blog headers and your blog. Great advice about talking to your husband and your kids about it too x

    • Thanks Claire, I think your blog name is lovely and could totally take you into the future 🙂 x

  7. Alison

    6 July

    GREAT tips. And totally agree about the blog name. I spent 4 seconds thinking of mine and hate it 😉 And also agree on the last point too. I think it’s important that everyone in the family is on board with how you represent them on a blog. Fab post!

    • Thanks Alison, yep I literally spent 5 seconds thinking of my old one! x

  8. LauraCYMFT

    6 July

    These are really great tips. I think back when I started my blog, I didn’t realise how blogging would take off and be the community it is now. It can open so many doors for people but at the same time, if you just want to keep it as an online diary, you can.

  9. Really good points. I have also been through a name change – my old one could have grown with the blog but I just didn’t like it. I’d also add to think carefully about any blog name starting with “mum
    ” or “Mummy” as whenever I’m
    Searching for someone on Twitter/Instagram
    I get a MASSIVE long list and I think it makes accounts harder to find/less visible.

    These days, I’d feel more comfortable using aliases for the kids but my mind boggles when I try to think how that could be possible across all channels – Instagram and YouTube particularly.

    • It’s definitely tricky to remember the different names all the time! And yes totally agree about it being hard to find people when there are so many that have ‘Mummy’ in the title, think if you can it’s better to go for something that will stick out x

  10. Alice

    6 July

    Brilliant advice, Jess! Great for someone thinking about starting a blog.

    Blog names are funny, aren’t they? Mine doesn’t really mean anything anymore but I blame hormone-induced madness 😉 x

  11. Great advice, so nice to read something from a fellow ‘veteran’ 🙂 It’s so true to think about what you write about your kids, I think people don’t really think about it when they’re so young – once it’s online it stays there! x

  12. Emma

    6 July

    This is such a brilliantly helpful post, someone was asking me about starting a blog today, I am going to direct them over here x

  13. Laura

    7 July

    These are really great tips for people starting out and I wish I had some kind of reference like this when I started – would of really helped.

    Laura x

  14. Joy

    7 July

    Great tips. I totally agree about the importance of the blog name. I chose Joy to The World because well it has my name but uv been asked if its a religious blog or if it’s a travel blog in the past

  15. Lori

    7 July

    Great post and tips! I totally agree that you need to be careful and agree before hand how you’ll write about your child as I’m always aware that F can look back on it when he’s older and i’ve only started using Adsense for mine too! x

  16. Thanks so much for this post; although I’ve been blogging for over 4 years too, it’s still mostly an online diary and this has answered many questions about different ways of doing things that I didn’t even know I had! The last point resonated most with me – I still wonder if I should have created pseudonyms for my children (or if I should change them now) and I’d like to get more social (and possibly professional) with my blog but my OH definitely has reservations about it so I’m not quite sure where to go next. Possibly to carry on with how it is, but start blogging about something else that doesn’t involve family?

    • Hi Anna, you’re welcome 🙂 I don’t think it’s ever too late to go through and change children’s names if you feel strongly about it, it is a bit time consuming though! I think the great thing about blogging is the way you can just adapt it to fit the way you are feeling at the time so if you want to become a food / travel / fashion blogger it’s so easy to just phase out the things you used to blog about. I’m also a fan of just starting a whole new website too 😉 x

  17. This is such a good starting point for any new blogger- even I just picked up a few points that I wasn’t aware of! I think choosing the right name and niche is really important. I started blogging about anything and everything and you quickly find that you can’t keep up with a zillion topics and keep a steady audience. xx

  18. Donna

    7 July

    I love this post as I wish I had read it before I started blogging – I would have picked a name with more longevity straight off and would have gone self hosted from the start too! I didn’t know your blog changed name – what was it before?! x

  19. Mary

    8 July

    Jess I love this post – so so helpful! Ive just passed the yr mark of blogging, so still a little bit of a newbie haha Its funny because I was just thinking the other day about my blog name, I started it when our baby was diagnosed with heart disease and almost made it VERY specific to that, instead I chose a “play on words” and now its quite broad that I can blog about pretty much anything and it fits lol!!

    I’ve heard twice about wordpress not allowing peeps to make money – what exactly does this mean? hahaha I just want to understand it, I never started blogging to make money, nor would I ever want that to take away from the dignity of the blog but you never know where life would take you or what opportunities will crop up – never say never!

    And I love that you home school, I live vicariously through ppl home edding as I would so very much love to do that! Its such a great thing.

    • Hi Mary, thanks for your comment 🙂 I think it’s great to have a blog name that covers a wide range of topics and yours is lovely, nice to have such an emotional connection to it. It’s only the platform that you can’t earn money on, if you are using self-hosted WordPress then it’s fine as you own the website 🙂 x

  20. Wow, this is such good advice. You’ve put so much thought and knowledge into this – thanks x

  21. Protecting your childrens identity is a important one. Intresting post thanks.

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