Have you wanted to start a blog? Are you a college student who wants to earn a little money online?
Do you love writing? Do you love social media marketing? Or do you want to give others advice and help others out?
Well, blogging might be the perfect side hustle for you.
How To Start a Blog in College:
1. Figure out your niche and your “why?”
So, the first step you need to start a blog is to figure out your niche and your reason why. Blogging and even creating a YouTube channel now is about finding a niche (e.g. lifestyle, food, digital marketing, music, sports, etc.) and helping others. To strategically publish content, you need to help others. Honestly, it’s 2021 and no one is going to care about your personal stories on a blog. Save it for Instagram and Facebook, where you can gain more traction.
You will have to LOVE what you are blogging about and have TONS of knowledge to the point you won’t get sick of it. For me, I’m currently a student in college. I know a lot about being a student and already give so much advice to random kids whose parents know me or through events on campus with incoming students. So I started a college advice blog.
Why do I need a “why?”
A “why” is what is basically your mission statement and why did you start this blog/business? If you are going into blogging or online content with the intention of making money first, then you will be disappointed quickly. Online businesses are similar to real-life businesses, meaning you have to invest tons of time and money. One thing that a lot of people think about online businesses is overnight success and virality.
As a social media marketing student, I have seen many businesses rise and fall. As a Zillennial, I’ve seen too many people rise to the top of the internet, then flop.
You need a why because it will push you to continue making content, digital products, etc. when the analytics are low and you haven’t earned any profit.
For example, my why is plastered all over this site:
I started this blog because I was a first-generation student who had no idea what college life was like and I wished I had a college advice blog or something to give me advice my freshman year. I want to help college students and give them advice about managing college.
Find you why and think of a way that you can help others. Remember think about others because they will be coming to your website to receive information, to learn something, etc. Once again, social media is for personal stories.
2. Create a domain name
Write down a few domains that reflect your niche. For my niche, college advice, I took inspiration from one of the shows from my childhood, Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. I didn’t want my domain to be too long, so I stuck to “Ariel’s University Guide.”
Think of a website name that will last for 4-5 years similar to your niche.
Don’t be like me where I buy my first website’s name as lazycupcake.com. Lazycupcake is the username of my old Wattpad account and my high school branding idea and the username I created in middle school.
No. Lazycupcake fits more for a baking or cooking niche. Not college advice.
Learn from my mistakes.
3. Buy hosting
Now, there are so many blog hosting companies out there. Many bloggers on Pinterest recommend Bluehost. I personally have tried Bluehost for my very first blog and it was okay. I also tried Siteground and it was great. But I switched over to LyricalHost because 1.) they have THE BEST customer service, 2.) they have so many pros, and 3.) it was a perfect fit for my needs.
1. Their customer service is great
When I switched my website hosting over to LyricalHost, their customer service made the process easier. I also asked the (what felt like) dumbest questions on the planet, but the support people always made me feel not dumb and that it was okay. I overall liked the process and how quick the support is and they answer whenever you ask something.
2. LyricalHost does not change its prices and has a rolling contract.
One reason I left other hosting sites that other bloggers typically recommend is because of the cost changes. I personally made a business plan where I estimated the cost of starting and running my blogging business, but the prices of hosting changed from $3 a month that people told me to almost $15 a month for one website. I also COULD NOT PAY MONTHLY because everything was priced at a 2-3 year plan.
I appreciate Lyrical Host’s plans because I can pay monthly versus paying for a plan for 2-3 years that cost me upfront of around $200 upfront and that’s not including the extra things you need. Lyrical Host has a rolling plan, meaning that you can cancel at any time. They also have plans for 1 month, 6 months, 1, 2, or 3 years ALL AT THE SAME PRICE.
With LyricalHost you can start a blog for $12 a month with all the benefits paid for and you can get an additional 10% off with my discount code: ARIUNI10 on your first plan.
3. Lyrical Host has amazing benefits and makes their plan the best out there for hosting.
Lyrical Host’s benefits also include:
- SSL Certificate
- WordPress Preinstalled
- Free Malware Scans and Cleaning
- Free Website Speed Analysis
- Huge Blogging
- Simple Control Panel
- Full WordPress and Blog Support
- Same Price on Renewal
They also grow a tree on your anniversary.
Learn more about Lyrical Host by following this link!
4. Install WordPress!
This is the time you install WordPress to your hosting. I recommend following the steps that your hosting site suggests for installing WordPress. WordPress hosts approximately 25% of the sites on the internet.
Make sure that you make a WordPress.org (pay attention to the .ORG part here). WordPress.org allows you to create your blog and place ads on it.
5. Purchase a WordPress design.
There are so MANY blog templates that you can use. What you need to look for is a mobile-friendly design that looks nice. I recently changed my theme to Vivienne by 17th Avenue. As I mentioned on My Blogging Resources page, 17th Avuence made my life easier after my old theme made my homepage remove half of the blog posts and took forever to get back up. Embarrassing and frustrating).
17th Avnuene has professional designs that are optimized for Google SEO and has TONS of articles written for whichever theme you chose.
I currently use the Vivienne theme for this blog and absolutely love it. Purchase a theme from 17th Avenue here!
6. Learn the bare minimum basics of SEO & Pinterest Marketing through courses
Unlike most bloggers who tell you to go ahead and write blog posts, I’m telling you to spend a few hours dedicated to watching YouTube videos on Pinterest SEO & Marketing and Google SEO. What I wish I knew before blogging was how to use tools such as Rank Math SEO because I now have to rewrite so many of my old posts. I wish I would have invested more into blogging courses and Pinterest Marketing when I started.
It’s honestly easier to spend time learning about how to run a blog than jumping in, trying random hacks and quick tricks that don’t last more than a few weeks. You can spend a year doing random things but still see no results. I’d rather have an expert or someone who has success (with a blog outside of just teaching digital marketing) teach me.
Even if Pinterest isn’t what you want to use to views on your blog, check out some SEO courses. Google SEO is a huge part of blogging that a lot of bloggers don’t talk about and just focus on social media. Google is used by 90% of the internet to find things.
Courses and Resources I Recommend For A Beginner’s Budget:
I personally have not taken a blogging course that is over $200 because most information can be found for free. I paid for the course mainly to show me directly how to use the information I found for free and see what successful bloggers did to become successful. You can read my mini-reviews of each course on My Blogging Resources Page!
7. Write blog posts!
My FAVORITE step is writing blog posts. I can write a whole course on how to write blog posts (maybe one day) but there are so many free resources out there on how to write a blog post. There are several steps to writing a QUALITY blog post. I recommend writing a few maybe 5-10 quality posts before launching your blog. Do not write 20 short blog posts that are not SEO optimized.
Again, I recommend that you learn about the basics of blogging on WordPress and SEO before writing blog posts because SEO and keywords are so important. It took me a few months to get the hang of writing blog posts that Google and other search engines love to rank higher.
8. Promote on social media!
Pinterest is a blogger’s paradise. If I had to recommend a social media platform for you to promote your blog on, then it is going to be Pinterest. (When was the last time you went to Instagram and clicked on someone’s blog…exactly.)
I have had a few pins go viral and honestly surprised me. Trust me, Pinterest is worth it, and keep at it.
Create an account on Canva, where there are plenty of Pin templates for you, to design pins to promote your blog.
Again, I’d also like to mention that social media should not be your only source of traffic. Just like income, you shouldn’t just have one! Pay attention to organic traffic aka Google which will give you consistent traffic over time instead of random traffic spikes.
Why should I start a blog in 2021?
Because it’s a great hobby. You can put this on your resume. You can help people. Also if you LOVE writing, this can be a way that you make some money one day. Whenever I tell employers that I run a whole blog, they get impressed.
Honestly, I tell bloggers in Facebook Groups that social media is great for marketing. You own your blog and can make money whenever you want. YouTube, you have to wait. Instagram & TikTok: you are at the mercy of their algorithm. All these social media sites can also take your account down..then what?
Having a blog can means you always have a spot for your readers and followers to come to. It’s also a way to gain followers and subscribers.
Isn’t blogging dead?
Do you use Google? Do you search for anything online and go to a website?
Yes…well most websites were or are blogs. Blogging is evolving.
I study social media and social media marketing in college. Bloggers are still relevant. They are just moving onto other platforms and utilizing social media platforms to promote their content.
Besides, we are not going to stop using the internet any time soon. We are just getting more information in different places.
Blogging is basically YouTube but in written form. You also own your site and you can monetize it whenever you want.
Do college blogs make money?
Yes, I can confirm that I have made some money from this blog. But blogging is not EASY OR QUICK MONEY. Blogging is a marathon and not a sprint. It takes months to see any dollar signs. This is why I recommend blogging to those who truly love writing and doing this. You need to be consistent and patient. It took me 6 months to just made a few dollars (but it was enough to fill my car’s gas tank!)
Now, I’m finally making more.
Also, some college bloggers that have made money include:
By Sophia Lee (She’s honestly the GOAT and inspires me every day to keep blogging.)
Blogging in college is possible and these bloggers have definitely have been great examples.
Okay, cool. But what are some college blog ideas?
Many college bloggers that I’ve seen tackle lifestyle blogging. I simply tell people to write about what they know and what they like.
But some ideas to start with:
- College study tips & productivity
- College fashion
- College sports or sports in general
- College lifestyle
- Scholarship and getting into college tips
- College advice
- Being a young adult & manage adulting
- Any hobby you have
- Travel (if you study abroad, you can definitely write a lot about that!)
- Entertainment (which is what my next blog will be about)
- Self Development
Even if you don’t write about college, there are several niches that you can write about. It takes a lot of SEO research, honestly. You can start a blog about anything honestly because people are constantly looking for information on Google (about 4 billion people). You have to honestly look for a niche that has potential and that you like.
Any more advice on how to start a blog as a student?
- Have patience. If you are reading this you are most likely a younger Gen-Z. As an older Gen-Z, I have to tell you that patience is something that our generation doesn’t have much for thanks to social media. We want things to happen overnight, but success is not built overnight. Most bloggers have been doing this for years. You have to stay consistent because you will eventually see results.
- Manage your budget and learn from other’s mistakes (aka me). Don’t buy every course everyone recommends without working through another’s methods. Buy one blogging course and research Pinterest marketing and SEO. The basics will get you far enough to start. As you advance, you’ll need more courses.
- Figure out if this is going to be a hobby, side-hustle. If a side hustle, then treat it as a part or full-time job. Currently, blogging is my side hustle. I made some money from this and treat it as a business.
- Blogging also is not as cheap as everyone makes it out to be. You need hosting, courses, legal pages, and even maybe paid social media ads. If you are serious about this, then invest in yourself and your blog. Don’t SPEND ALL YOUR MONEY. Reserve a few hundred dollars and do not spend more than that.
- Finally, self-care is important. Do not give yourself carpal tunnel from typing and scrolling all day. Trust me, this has happened to me when I first started. Take breaks and realize that a lot of bigger bloggers hire people to do some things for their blogs. Also, don’t compare yourself to others. Have fun blogging and don’t take it too seriously.
This blog post taught you the basics of how to start a blog in college!
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