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How to Start a College Blog

By far, one of the most frequent questions I get as a blogger is how to start your own successful college blog and start making money. College blogs are becoming really popular, and they’re a great way to share your experience and tips with others while building valuable career experience! You don’t need to be a computer science major to start your own blog, so don’t stress! You just need some patience and creativity! Here is my step-by-step guide for how to start a college blog and start making money!

start a profitable college blog

I think in this day and age, everyone needs their own blog whether they post in-depth articles or they just upload selfies of themselves. Blogs are taking over the world, and they are fast becoming a great way to earn a legitimate income! Here are just a few of the many reasons to start a blog in college:

  • It serves as a virtual resume. What better way to share your writing, social media, projects, and business skills than through a website? I always list my blog on my resume and it’s an easy way to stand out from the competition.
  • Networking. Blogs are a great way to network with other individuals and companies! I have connected with a number of representatives and CEO’s through my blog, and I’ve made great blogger friends!
  • Career skills. Managing a blog requires patience, energy, and time management skills! Not to mention you’ll be doing a lot of writing, advertising, and communicating! These are all super helpful for a future career!
  • Income! Possibly the best part of starting a blog is being able to use it as a tool to generate side income! It can even become a full-time job!

start a college blog

There’s a common misconception that you have to be a computer genius to start a blog. This is not the case. Modern web hosts like HostGator are easy to use and walk you through the process of setting up a website without any need to learn how to code or program. WordPress, my favorite blogging platform, makes maintaining your blog a breeze. Plus, there are a lot of great free or inexpensive themes available if you don’t feel comfortable making one yourself.

start a college blog

The first thing you need to do is decide whether you want to pay for hosting or set up a free blog. Sites like WordPress allow users to set up a free WordPress hosted blog, but there are drawbacks to free hosting. For example, they’re technically the owners of all your content, and you don’t have many options for monetization your blog. If you can afford it, I would definitely recommend a self-hosted website. These aren’t much money at all, and if you follow this tutorial you can get 25% off an already inexpensive hosting package through HostGator.

Once you’ve decided where your blog will be hosted, it’s time to choose a name. I recommend choosing a name you know you won’t outgrow anytime soon. Avoid using slang or trendy words which will lose momentum as influence changes. I chose my blog name because it’s 1) the name of one of my childhood blogs (yes, I was that 11-year-old dweeb with a blog) and 2) it includes my name which I will never outgrow.

It’s also worth considering your target audience. Here at Samanthability, I focus my content towards young women between the ages of 16 – 24. Of course, this isn’t set in stone, but it helps me focus my content in a way that is useful to a certain demographic. My “niche,” or focus, is on college/millennial lifestyle. I focus on things that college women and recent graduates would be interested in, like academic posts, inexpensive travel, and career advice. Consider what you want your own niche to be, and work from there.

start a college blog

Alright, so you’ve decided a self-hosted blog is right for you, now let’s get started. First, we need to set up the hosting. For the purpose of this tutorial, I will be using HostGator because I’ve tried several hosts over the years and this is my personal favorite. They’re really user-friendly, and their one-step WordPress install feature makes life way easier. If you choose to sign up with HostGator, I have a coupon code that can save you 25% on your entire plan!

On HostGator.com click “get started” to choose your plan. You’ll be presented with a few different options, but you really only need the smallest plan. The bigger ones are good for larger companies and people who need advanced features, but for a personal blog, the “Hatchling” plan is more than enough!

Once you’ve chosen your plan, you’ll be walked through the rest of the process. At this point, you are prompted to choose your domain name. As you type in your name, you’ll see whether or not it’s taken as well as additional name recommendations. I recommend going with a .com domain whenever possible! In addition to checking your domain name here, make sure social account handles are available with that name too. Nameck is a free search engine which lets you quickly know whether or not popular platforms like Twitter and Facebook are available with that name!

Next, you’ll be asked to create an account. Choose a username and a verification pin. This is where you select your billing cycle. In general, the more you pay up front, the cheaper it is. For example, paying for the entire year of hosting at once is cheaper than paying monthly. This is completely up to you!

Continue through the registration process, entering your billing and account information.

I personally opted out of all the add-on services because I don’t think a personal blog really needs them, but this is up to you. Now, you’ll be able to enter my coupon code for 25% off!  The code is SAMANTHABILITY.

When you’re ready to submit, click checkout to complete your registration process!

Installing WordPress

Note your website might take up to 48 hours to process, so don’t freak if there’s nothing there yet! Luckily, installing WordPress is super simple through HostGator. Just log into your account and click “hosting” to view the hosting panel. Under “Special Offers,” click “Get started with WordPress.” You’ll be redirected to a different page.

In the QuickInstall portal, click “Quick install” to install WordPress on your blog!

That’s seriously it! I know, it’s that simple!

start a college blog

Now that your blog is all set up you’re ready to start posting! Here are some tips for successfully launching a blog:

  • Have at least 4-5 posts already published before you officially promote your blog, that way your viewers have more than one post to look at!
  • Don’t stress about page views at first, things will build momentum naturally!
  • Pinterest is your best friend! You don’t need any graphic design experience to make killer Pinterest graphics. I like Canva and PicMonkey the best.
  • Join other blogger groups on Facebook for support!
  • Install the YoastSEO WordPress plugin to easily implement search engine boosting practices on your blog!

College Blogging 101

Once your blog is up and running, it’s time to creating sharable content and monetizing! I’ve got a free 5-day course that helps you get started and shares my best tips for making money blogging! Sign up for the free course below!

College Blogging 101 E-Mail Course

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This post contains affiliate links. Choosing to click on these links gives me a small commission. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own! Learn more about my affiliate policy here.

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  • Molly O’Connor

    Yes yes yes! I just graduated and every company I have interviewed with loves the fact that I have a blog- it has really allowed me to develop certain skills too! Great post 🙂

    http://www.mollyonthemoveblog.com

    • Samantha

      Yes, exactly! I’m so glad it’s working out for you!

    • I’m so glad your blog made such an influence! That gives me hope for my post-grad future, haha!

  • Blogs really are a great way to showcase your skills! I think a lot of people will also admire that you’ve stuck out a project for so long.

    • Yes, so true! They really help you stand out!

  • I agree! Blogs are a fantastic way to just share your thoughts. I’ve been book blogging since 9th grade and now that I’m going to college in the fall I’m excited to expand to include college related posts!

    • It’s great that you’ve been blogging for so long! And going to college is so exciting, you’ll have so much more to blog about!

  • Lauren Ashleigh

    I just created my blog earlier today. I can’t wait to get started. It’s a bit overwhelming right now, but I know once I get a little more comfortable things will be smooth sailing (hopefully). I’ve been needing a hobby for a while, hopefully this will become just what i’ve needed. Thanks for sharing.

    • Blogging is a great hobby! It can totally be overwhelming getting everything set up and started, but it’ll get a lot easier!

  • Caitlyn Stone

    I’ve been wanting to start a blog for 5 years and I finally did it this summer! I decided to use wix, but may switch to self-hosting soon to get rid of the ads. I’d love for you to read some of my stuff!

    http://www.stonecaitlyn.wix.com/collegewithcaitlyn

    • Awesome! Getting started is the hardest step, congrats on taking the plunge! I’ll check your blog out right now, thanks for sharing!

  • Brooke Stuermer

    Hi! I’m thinking about starting a blog. But I’m most worried about being able to do posts and practically getting started. Do you have any ideas on how to get content? Like how do you get your inspiration and base your posts off of it?

    • Hey Brooke! Basically, the best way I personally get content is from everyday life! I think about the things I’m good at and the things I’ve struggled with personally (like anxiety, exams, study abroad) and I write about those things!

  • Dambo “Jampearl” Jamilla

    Hey.. I really want to start a blog but I have no accounts whatsoever to buy a self-hosted one.. Is it still okay for me to use the free one?? I’m about to start college this fall…

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment! You can certainly still use a free host! That’s a great way to get a feel for blogging!

  • Hey! I recently started a blog on Blogger, do you think it’d be better for me to switch to WordPress or just buy a domain and stay on Blogger? I’m unsure which platform would be better but everyone talks about WordPress.
    marissa diamandis | – how ineloquent

    • Her Marissa! Thanks for commenting! It’s totally cool to stay on blogger, that can be a great way to gain blogging experience until you’re ready to switch to self-hosting or wordpress! It’s really just whatever you find easiest!

  • Nichole

    Hi! I just started my blog. Thank you for explaining what I should do in starting. I’m still unsure what my niche should be. I know I want it to be a lifestyle blog but I still want to be able to blog after college, this is why I am unsure.

    • Yeah, college blogs can be tricky when it comes to after college! You could always transition to something like career or graduate life? Or instead of referring to your blog as strictly a college blog, it could just be for young women in their twenties? It’s definitely worth thinking about!

  • Abigail Marie

    I already have a wordpress blog, but I’ve been thinking of going self-hosted for awhile now. Is it possible to do so through hostgator if I already have a blog name I want to keep? Thanks so much!

    • Hey there! If you already have your own domain name, you can direct it to HostGator hosting, that’s no problem! If you don’t have a domain name, you can buy one directly though HostGator as long as it isn’t already taken 🙂

  • This is such a well organized post. Thank you for sharing your insights on starting a profitable college blog:)