How to Start a Wedding Blog

How to Start a Wedding Blog - great advice, step by step, everything you need to know to start a wedding blog now!

This guide is to help you successfully start a wedding blog.  You may have a wedding business and be interested in starting a wedding blog to promote your products or services, or you may be interested in creating a wedding blog as a means of income.  Either way, this guide will show you exactly how to do that.

Just as clarification, this tutorial is not necessarily for someone looking to put up a quick site with information for their own wedding.  This is for someone who either has a wedding business to promote or someone who is looking to start a wedding blog as a means to make money online.

Wedding blogs have evolved over the past 10 years and it’s more important now than ever that you start your blog with a solid foundation if you want to appeal to today’s brides. And never forget, the real key to wedding blog success is taking action. You can read about how to all day long, but your blog will only experience success when you do it.

This guide will cover everything you need to know to successfully start a wedding blog yourself, we’ll start with the more technical set-up side of things and end with some actionable wedding-related blog advice.

Start a Wedding Blog

Step 0 – Have a Direction
Step 1 – Choose a Platform
Step 2 – Pick out and Register a Domain Name
Step 3 – Pick a Blog Host and Set Up Wordpress
Step 4 – Wordpress Dashboard Basics
Step 5 – Choose a Theme
Step 6 – Customize Your Wedding Blog
Step 7 – Build out Your Site
Step 8 – Create an Email Funnel
Step 9 – Create Key Social Media Accounts
Step 10 – Content Creation
Step 11 – Promoting your Content
Step 12 – Monetize Your Site

 

How to Start a Wedding Blog - great advice, step by step, everything you need to know to start a wedding blog now!

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Step 0 – Have a Direction

Just by reading this guide you are going to be leaps and bounds ahead of how I started, directionless, stabbing blindly at this whole blogging thing. One of the first things you should understand before you start a wedding blog is the direction or niche that will define your site.

If you already have a wedding business and sell products or services, chances are you can already define the direction/niche/audience that you will be focusing on.  But, if you don’t have this prior business/brand in place, you need to brainstorm what will define your wedding blog.

For example, my site DIY blooms has a very specific target niche of DIY wedding flowers. Other ideas for directions are: elopement weddings, local weddings, resources for bridesmaids, budget weddings, wedding crafts… there are endless possibilities!

But, what if you don’t want to limit yourself to one of those specific topics? Do you have to be a specific niche wedding blog? While this would make it easier to get recognized as an expert, it is not necessary.

You can have a more general wedding blog, but make sure that you have a consistent brand or vibe.  Readers should able to read your posts, see your pictures, and know oh that is such and such blog! Develop a message and let it be communicated in every aspect of your site.

Step 1 – Choose a Platform

When choosing what platform to host your wedding blog on, it’s important to differentiate from free and paid platforms. Wordpress.com and Blogger are two common free blog platforms while Wordpress.org and Squarespace are two common paid blog platforms.  Let’s look at the difference between these below:

Free Blog Platforms

  • No start-up costs
  • Fairly simple to set up and maintain without any website design knowledge
  • Your domain will include the platform in it (for example www.mysite.wordpress.com)
  • There are limited customization options for your blog design
  • You’ll have limited control over your blog and its capabilities
  • There is limited bandwidth, video time, and memory space
  • They offer limited advertising options

Paid Blog Platforms

  • You’ll pay a monthly or annual fee (usually less than $10/month)
  • They are more involved/complicated with set-up and maintenance
  • You have full control over your site’s content, layout, SEO, advertising, design, etc.
  • Custom themes are available for instant branding
  • You will have total access to your site’s backend files

While it may be tempting to say, I’ll just start my wedding blog on the free platform for now, the free options definitely have some major drawbacks. If you want any level of control over your blog, its design, and its content, I would suggest you start out right with a platform like Wordpress.org. It is really the industry standard and has endless customization and add-on options for whatever the future of your wedding site may be.

Step 2: Pick out and Register a Domain Name

You may or may not already have a name for your site picked out.  If you don’t, spend some time considering what you want your wedding blog to be called.  You want this to be something memorable that conveys meaning about your site’s content.

It’s important to consider if the “.com” url is available. I like Bust a Name to help you come up with word combinations for your site name that aren’t taken. At this site you can type in keywords related to what you will be blogging about in the wedding industry and it will come up with available combinations using those words. Having trouble finding word combos you like?  This list of wedding associated words is a great place to start.

Consider these Domain Name Best Practices
  • Use “.com” whenever possible
  • Stick with letters only (numbers and hyphens will confuse people)
  • Keep your domain memorable and short

Once you’ve settled on a domain name for your wedding blog, it’s time to register it.  Typically this costs $9-$15 per year. It’s a good idea to buy your domain name from a different provider than your host, this is an industry best practice and prevents all your eggs from sitting in one basket so to speak.  NameCheap.com is one of the most affordable registrars and they also offer free services like URL forwarding and email. They will work with any of the domain hosts we will talk about below.

Before we get into hosting your site, go ahead and register your domain!

Step 3 – Pick a Blog Host and Set Up Wordpress

Now that you’ve secured your domain name, it’s time to purchase hosting for your new wedding blog.  This is where all of your blog files will reside and be made available to view on servers owned by your hosting company.

Getting good hosting for your blog is very important, essentially it’s where your entire site will ‘live.’ And if your hosting is poor, your site may go down from time to time which you definitely don’t want.  You want to purchase hosting from a company that has reliable servers and excellent customer service.

I recommend Host Gator; this is the host I use on both my sites and I’ve only had great experiences with their server reliability and customer support.  If I ever have questions or an issue I’ve gotten help very promptly.

How to Set Up with Hostgator


Select a plan with HostGator. 

I started out with the hatchling plan (which is super affordable) and upgraded when I created my second site. HostGator web hosting plans are extremely affordable. They are as low as $3.96 per month. And actually right now, you get hosting for just one cent for your first month! Use Coupon: 1CENT.

When you use the HostGator Order Wizard, you will enter the domain that purchased in the last step then confirm your plan and payment type. Next, make your username and password, then enter your billing information.I typically buy 3 year long plans because you save the most money.  If you plan on blogging for at least that long then I would recommend you get as long of a plan as you are comfortable buying upfront, because it is a significant savings.

Connect your Domain to your Host. 

Now you’ll need to connect your domain to your host. If you purchased through NameCheap.com and are hosting through Host Gator, these are the steps you’ll take:  In your NameCheap dashboard select your domain name and then click “Domain Name Server Setup” under general.

Next, get your Hostgator name server details either from your welcome email, or by logging in to your cPanel account: on the left hand side you will see the Nameserver associated with your Hostgator account.Copy and paste this into your NameCheap dashboard and you are good to go! This video below also gives detailed steps on how to connect your domain and host:

It’s important to note that it can take up to 24 hours for your host to sync up with your domain name, so don’t freak out if it isn’t working right away!

Set up Wordpress in Host Gator. 

After purchasing hosting from Host Gator you should receive an email with account information. Follow the instructions to log in to your account and click the link to your Control Panel (or cPanel).Inside your cPanel, scroll to Software/Services and select Quick Install. This allows you install WordPress onto your site (the platform that allows you to create your site content).  And don’t worry, it’s free to install!

Select Wordpress and click continue.  Select your domain and enter your email, site title, and admin user information. Then select Install Now. Once it finishes it will show you your link to the admin site along with your username and password, make sure to save these for later use.

Log In to your Admin Site. 

Use the information provided in the last step to log into your Wordpress dashboard. And, you’re in! Now we’re finished with a lot of the more tech-y set-up, and we can dive into your admin site and actually creating your wedding blog!

Step 4 – Wordpress Dashboard Basics

The Wordpress dashboard is where you’ll be doing all the content creation for your site. At the first the options can seem overwhelming, but you’ll become very familiar with it as you begin writing and publishing blog posts.

Let’s just go over a few basics about getting started with your Wordpress dashboard. These will set you up for Wordpress success:

  • Navigate to Settings, and then Permalinks and select your structure now before you post anything. (I prefer Post Name)
  • Go to your Posts page. This is where you’ll write and publish your blog posts
  • Check out the Pages page; here you’ll create pages for your site. (Like an About page, Suggested Vendors, or a Contact Me page) While posts are dated and show up in a blog feed, pages are undated and don’t show up in the blog feed. They are often linked in a main menu.
  • If you want to get even more familiar with the dashboard, check out WordPress.tv’s walkthrough video
  • Finally, go to your plugins page.  There are a few essential plugins that you’ll want to activate now (we’ll discuss a few others later including ones specifically for wedding bloggers)

Wordpress Plugins

Akismet. This plugin reduces spam comments.

Yoast SEO. This plugin helps you optimize your site and posts to be ranked well in search engines; it’s the standard for WordPress SEO plugins.

W3 Total Cache. This plugin “caches” your site to help it load faster (nobody wants to visit a slow loading site! Its settings can be complicated so make sure and ask your host how they recommend you set it up.

Jetpack. This plugin is created by WordPress and services a multitude of purposes for your site. I especially find it useful for the in-dashboard site traffic statistics.

Step 5 – Choose a Theme

Finally we’re getting to the fun part! Getting a pretty design for your wedding blog.  Design and aesthetic can really make it or break it when you start a wedding blog because the wedding industry is so visual. So at this point, you’ve paid for a domain name, you’ve purchased a hosting plan, and the next thing you should invest in for your wedding blog is a Wordpress blog theme.

Now, there are tons of free options out there that you should feel free to explore! But, as we just discussed, your blog design is so instrumental in your wedding blog’s success, I highly recommend investing a few dollars into a theme that uniquely represents your site’s brand. That way you can install it and instantly have a beautiful site ready for your wedding related content.

My all time favorite theme provider is Bluchic because each of their themes is gorgeously designed with a feminine aesthetic.  Most wedding blogs appeal mainly to women, and as such they often sport feminine designs that attract brides. It can be hard to add that ‘femininity’ to a gender neutral design which is why I recommend that wedding bloggers pick a theme that comes with feminine appeal.

Definitely purchase your theme from a reputable site to make sure you are getting a quality theme that is supported with updates and options for customization.  A few other place you can look for your perfect wedding related themes are:  Angie Makes, Restored 316, and Pretty Darn Cute Designs.  (Those last two both require you to buy the Genesis Framework to run their themes)

When deciding on a theme to purchase, pay close attention to the layout and overall structure of the theme.  Things like colors, logos, and pictures can all be changed, but you want to make sure that you find a layout that fits your blog’s needs.

Questions to Ask Before you Buy a Theme

  1. Do I need it to have e-commerce integration?
  2. Does it allow me to have the layout I prefer? (gallery style posts, right or left sidebar, full size images)
  3. Is it a good aesthetic fit for my blog’s content?
  4. Does it encourage visitors to go to my most important pages? (blog, or services, or start here page)
  5. Is the theme fully responsive? (will it look good on any screen size)
  6. What will I want to change about it (colors, logo, fonts, etc.), and are there simple customization options?
  7. Is it Search Engine Optimized?
  8. Is support readily available?

Hopefully at this point you’ve done some browsing and considering and you’ve picked out your perfect wedding blog theme. Now it’s time to install it into your Wordpress dashboard and activate it on your site.

Step 6 – Customize Your Wedding Blog

The first place you’ll want to start is your Wordpress Customizer (in the left hand menu select Customizer under Appearance).  This allows you to view and edit your site as you change it. Depending on the theme you bought your Customizer will have different options available for your blog’s customization.

At this point you have a name for your blog and a theme. Now, you’re going to want to pick out some branding elements for your site. These things need to reflect your overall brand aesthetic and message.  Let’s talk about a few of these branding items:

Logos

While you can use the built in site title made of text on your Wordpress site, I would recommend getting or making a logo to set your site apart.  This should be something that identifies with your target reader. It’s good to note, that in the past few years I’ve seen wedding blogs largely redoing their logos and opting for clean lines and simplicity.  I think this is the design aesthetic direction that the internet is going, and as such will appeal to more brides.

Let’s look at some great wedding logos and how they appeal to the audience they are writing to:

gws logo

Green Wedding Shoes has an eye catching, easy to read logo, with whimsical hand lettering and a heart. They include their tagline on either side of the main logo to provide clarity to the reader on what the site is all about. (Note: if your blog name doesn’t clearly explain to visitors what your site is about, it’s generally a good idea to add a tagline.)

Grey Likes Weddings | Wedding Fashion & Inspiration | Best Wedding Blog

Grey Likes Weddings‘ logo is one of the few that has retained more graphic design elements. This logo introduces the writer or personality of the blog (Grey) and incorporates the blogs passion for detail and colorful wedding palettes.

DIY Blooms (my second site) sports a clean and simple logo that incorporates the title of the blog (which explains what the site is about: DIY wedding flowers) and a little font fun that complements the brand message and style.

I like Black Sheep Bride’s logo because it incorporates several important elements: it has a memorable icon/image (the black sheep), it uses contrasting colors and fonts, and it clearly explains the message of the blog in a tagline.

Hopefully looking at some of these wedding blog logo examples you have a better idea of what is important for your logo.  You can either purchase a pre-made logo and get your name/tagline inserted, get a custom designed logo, or make your own.

If you go the DIY route and design your own logo, I highly recommend you check out these tips from BetterBrandingCourse.com on making your own blog logo.

Want a professional looking logo without paying tons of money for a custom design? Pre-made logos can be a great option. Angie Makes offers a variety of feminine wedding-ready logos you can check out.

Once you’ve settled on a logo, upload it to your site’s header using the customizer.

Brand Colors

When customizing your site design, you may want to change the theme’s colors to match your new logo and brand.  Try to stick with 2-3 main colors that really say “your brand”. It’s ok to incorporate others colors, but you want your site to be associated with several colors and easily recognizable.

Once you’ve picked out your brand colors that complement your logo, update your blog to incorporate them in the Customizer.

Step 7 – Build out Your Site

Now it’s time to add some content to your site. Before you start publishing blog posts, you need to have some basic pages built out so that visitors of your site can better understand you and your site’s purpose.

An About Me Page

Studies have shown time and again that the most visited page of a blog’s site is their About Me page. Brides want to see behind the veil (pun intended!), and get to know you, the author. Take your time in creating this and make it engaging, informative and fun.  And remember it should be 20% about you and 80% about the blog’s message.

Not sure what to include? Check out Marianne’s 3 tips for an explosive about me page. Make sure and link this page in your main menu.

A Contact Page

It’s important that readers know how to get in touch with you and feel that you are accessible. You can use the free Typeform tool to create a simple form to embed onto your site. This is another page you’ll want to link in your main menu.

A Privacy/Comment/Disclosure Policy

It’s good to list the terms and conditions of your site to protect yourself and make sure your complying with disclosure laws.  If you ever plan on making money (like affiliate commissions) on your wedding blog, you need to have a page with a disclosure policy.  To see an example, check out Rustic Folk Wedding’s Disclosure and Policies. This doesn’t need to be linked in your main menu.

A Services/Products Page

If you already have a wedding business with products or services to sell, it’s important to set up a page dedicated to those things.  They should be presented in a clear, aesthetically pleasing manner and should be obvious to find in your main menu. The Stylish Dresser does a great job of illustrating this: you can see their Services page clearly in the menu, it has a nice design, and a call to action at the end.

Step 8 – Create an Email Funnel

Your most valuable asset in blogging is your email list.  Start your wedding blog right by creating a clear system to collect the email addresses of your visitors. You may wonder if an email list is really that important, can’t you just rely on social media?

The answer is no, first of all not all of your readers will see your social media posts.  Facebook filters most page posts from people’s feeds, Pinterest has new feed algorithms that judge whether or not your pins are relevant.  Your email list is something you can control and is the best tool to convert a one time visitor into a regular.

To start off, Mailchimp is a great option.  It is a free email service up to 2,000 subscribers, after that you’ll have to pay a monthly fee.  You can install Mailchimp for Wordpress to integrate signup forms onto your blog.

In the past blogs would put up ‘Join our Newsletter’ to get email addresses on their list.  Today this is just not an effective way to capture visitors.  A great email funnel strategy is to offer a free opt-in upon subscribing, something with tons of value that a new visitor couldn’t refuse!

If you were a wedding planner, you could create an e-book: “Your complete guide to choosing Your Wedding Color Palette”.  On DIY Blooms, I offer a free Wedding Flower Planning Worksheet to build my email list. It is the first item seen on the home page and is always advertised in my sidebar.

Step 9 – Create Key Social Media Accounts

Go ahead and create social media accounts for your new blog.  I recommend starting on only 2 – 3 different platforms because social media can be a huge distraction for new bloggers. While social media can be important and help grow your blog, it is nowhere near as important as producing consistent quality content.

But, even though you shouldn’t focus too much energy on your social media accounts right now, it is a good idea to get your name registered so it’s always available for you to focus on later.

Step 10 – Content Creation

Now you have a blog, it is branded, set up to collect emails, and has key social media accounts set up. It’s time to actually start blogging. This is where the rubber hits the road and is the most crucial to your wedding blog’s success: value packed content creation.

In order to see success, you need to commit to posting quality content and often.  Figure out how many highly valuable posts you can write every week/month. Create a publishing schedule and stick to it.

It’s been said that Content is King, and this is so true of blog posts. When brides come to your site, you want to blow them away with excellent tips, resources, and information relevant to your blog’s niche. Try to err on the side of longer posts and to over-explain and over-inform.  Don’t get too caught up in getting everything perfectly polished, this will come with practice and the more you blog the more you will improve.

Tips on Creating Quality Content

Be helpful. It’s ok to share your story sometimes, but before you publish ask yourself: how is this helpful to my reader? Is this blog post useful?

Tell stories. If you had an experience that could resonate with someone or illustrates a point, share it and get your readers emotionally involved with the post.

Solve problems. Write posts that solves problems that brides have.  Being a problem-solver is one of the best ways to provide quality in your content.

Provide answers. Is there something that brides ask you frequently or that you were confused about as a bride? Write posts that provide answers to those questions.

Create eye-catching images. With the wedding industry being such a visual one, it is key that you include relevant, high quality images in your posts.

Use headlines to capture your audience. A headline will make or break your post and is often the determining factor if someone will read your post or not. Plan to invest some brainstorming into each post headline you write.

Longer is usually better. No one wants to click over to a post that they think will solve their problem and provide them answers, only to find out it is 300 words long and basically says nothing.  Don’t be afraid to put some real beef into your writing and build out your content. Often, more words translates to more value. (But don’t get caught writing fluff just for length)

 

Don’t get caught stumped for ideas on posts.  Spend an evening sitting down and writing out 100 blog post ideas.  Save them somewhere accessible and reference back to that list when creating your content publishing schedule. Need help getting your wheels turning? Check out these 33 foolproof wedding blog post ideas.

Step 11 – Promoting your Content

You’ve created a gorgeous wedding blog and have churned out some high-value blog posts. Now how do you get some eyes on it? In the beginning you should spend a majority of your efforts on content creation; only up to a quarter of your time should be focused on spreading the word. Here are a few effective ways to promote your content:

Build relationships with other wedding bloggers.

Find 5-10 bloggers who are slightly more established than you and who have a similar or complementary audience to yours. Then commit to building a relationship with them. You can do this respectfully by regularly reading their posts and commenting with genuine value-added replies and sharing their content on your social media accounts.

By doing these things the wedding blogger will start to notice and hopefully appreciate the support.  Over time they may be willing to return the favor, promote some of your posts on social media, or let you guest post on their blog.

Join a group.

You need to go where your audience is.  For wedding blogs this means joining brides-to-be Facebook groups, or creating an account on the Wedding Bee forums. Start being helpful, answering questions, and providing help.  Then start sharing your content in a useful way. This strategy works best if you can communicate authenticity and value.  Going around posting spammy links to your site isn’t going to get you very far.

Use Pinterest.

Many bloggers receive a majority of their traffic from Pinterest.  With a majority of brides using Pinterest these days to plan their weddings, it is a goldmine of opportunity for blog promotion. Make sure you include a pin-worthy graphic on every blog post.

Now you may not have a big Pinterest following in the beginning, but don’t let this discourage you.  Pinterest is also a giant search database, so include SEO keywords in your pin descriptions to make them searchable. Also, join up with wedding group boards to get your pins in front of more eyes.  Check out these top wedding group boards to join. (Each board describes how to join in the description)

Step 12 – Monetize Your Site

If you had a product or service to begin with then you are done with this step.  You are using your wedding blog to drive traffic and customers to your products and services.  But, if you start a wedding blog and don’t have either of these, there are a few ways you can get a return on your investment.

Ad Networks. 

Google Adsense is one of the most common and simple ways to get ads up on your site.  When it comes to earning ad revenue, usually high traffic is necessary to see any amount of revenue.

Affiliate Programs. 

Partner with your favorite brands and promote their products.  When a reader clicks your referral link and buys you get a commission off the sale. This route has a large potential for success if you can build trust with your readers. Especially as a wedding blog, brides are visiting your site with tens of thousands of dollars to spend on their big day.  They are interested in buying, you have to direct them to what.

Sponsored Posts.

Similar to the last option, a company pays you to write about their product.  Instead of being paid per sale though you are just paid once for the article you write and publish.  Think wedding planning apps that need to educate brides on their usefulness, or wedding dress lines that want buzz about their latest collection.

Selling Ad Spots. 

As your blog grows you may want to sell spots on your ads to advertisers or other sites.  Typically a good pricing strategy is X dollars per month, per ad, where X is your unique daily visitors divided by ten.

Selling Digital Products. 

This category is getting lots of buzz lately and for good reason.  It definitely requires the most work of all of the options, but has the most potential for earning. There are tons of digital products you can develop and sell: a bride’s complete planner book in pdf, wedding budget worksheets, bouquet recipe cards, DIY wedding planning course, and the list goes on… Be creative!

Summary

Well that was very lengthy! It is my hope that this outlines everything you need to start a wedding blog and promote your business or start earning money online. While it may seem pretty straightforward at first, blogging takes a lot of work, time, and creative commitment. You have to jump in and get your feet wet, and you’ll realize that it may be tough but it is totally within reach.

Have you started your own wedding blog?  Join the Wedding Blog Support Facebook Group to start building your network now. And happy blogging!

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