Powered by Blogger.
Thursday, July 12, 2018

How to Start a Product Review Blog: Step By Step Guide

How to Start a Product Review Blog: Step By Step Guide  via  www.productreviewmom.com

I receive a lot of emails from my readers and followers asking me how to start a product review blog, how to get products to test for their new blog, and how to monetize a new blog, so I decided to create a blog post about how to get started.


Blogging is a way to share your thoughts and opinions about products and services you discovered, that's why I created Productreviewmom.com, sharing about brands I love, and for readers like you to check out so you can add them to your daily life.  I've been able to review brand new cars that are dropped off to my front door, test out the latest beauty products, get sponsored hotel stays and meals, and more!  


Thanks to blogging, I was able to quit my job, becoming a full-time blogger, spending more quality time with my family.  Also, the money I earned from my blog I was able to save and buy my first house!


It's not hard to get up and running with your product review blog, below is an easy step by step tutorial guide to get started sharing your honest feedback of items you tried and tested on your newly up and running blog.



Step One: Select Platform


The first step to starting a blog is to decide what platform you want to write on. There are a variety of platforms, with the three most common being WordPress, Tumblr, and Blogger.



Blogger and Tumblr are not bad options for blogs, but they are limited due to adding plugins. Tumblr is a great place to put quick information up, but it does not offer you the ability to customize the look or add advertisements. 


Blogger is free from Google, and you can change the target destination to your registered domain name, but limited when it comes to plugins. In addition, it is really designed to only be a blog site (just as Wordpress.com is).  I love Blogger when it comes to just blogging.



Therefore, WordPress.org will be your best platform if you’re looking for more options. There are a variety of plugins and themes for you to choose from. WordPress is open source and offers that to millions of users. 


Anytime you feel like you are stuck, they have a huge database of tutorials and videos available to help you with almost any situation that arises. Once you have decided the platform, you are prepared to move onto selecting your domain name.



This tutorial will reference WordPress.


Step Two: Select Your Domain Name




Selecting your domain name may be one of the toughest parts of starting a blog. You will need to do some extensive research and make sure that your domain name is not already taken, and that the name of your product review blog is not already in use.



When selecting your domain name, it should reflect the name of your product review blog. Start with thinking about what you plan to call your product review blog, which will become your brand. You want your name to be unique, but you also want it to fit who you are and what you are talking about. 


There are several fun generators online that offer help in creating a name, but sometimes spending some time getting creative or asking friends is the best method. Some things to consider include:



  • Do not use hyphens

  • Make it easy to remember

  • Write down the name and make sure it will not be misread (or that it does not end up with another meaning)

  • Whenever possible, use a .com address



As mentioned, you want to make sure that you have a name that is not already in use. This means that if you want to keep your name, you need to register it to prevent others from using it. There are two methods to registering a domain name.





The first is to do it separately and the second is to register it when you set up the site. The second is much easier when you are starting a product review blog, but if you have already purchased it, you can transfer it when you select your blog host. 


Bluehost is one hosting company that offers the ability to purchase the domain with the hosting package, preventing you from having to take the extra steps to transfer it to your site. The best part of registering the domain with Bluehost when you set up your site is the domain is given to you complimentary for selecting them as your hosting company.  





Step Three: Selecting the Host




Selecting a host is another very important decision that is made when creating your product review blog. Your host needs to be a company that is reputable, but in a price range, you can afford. The host has a few roles, with the first being the home for your blog. However, it is also going to control how accessible your site is. 


Therefore, you want to consider reviews to see how they handle customer support and how often they experience downtime. The biggest thing you want to know is how to contact them when an issue arises, and how long it takes the support ticket to be completed. One of the best sites, and easiest for beginners to work with, is Bluehost. They have a simple setup process and have reasonable prices.



Some reasons Bluehost is one of the best for beginners is that they have extremely great speeds, even with high traffic sites. In addition, the company charges less than four dollars a month when you utilize promo codes that you can find almost anywhere, like using my special promo code link




Step Four: Setting Up an Account



How to Start a Product Review Blog: Step By Step Guide  via  www.productreviewmom.com


In this tutorial, we are going to use Bluehost as our example site because of the ease for beginners. To start with, you will want to visit Bluehost.com and click on the big green button that says, “get started now.”





How to Start a Product Review Blog: Step By Step Guide  via  www.productreviewmom.com

You will be asked if you want to purchase a domain name, or register one. If you purchased your domain separately, then you will simply need to register it with Bluehost. 


However, if you have not already made that step, then enter your desired name under the “new domain” box option, and then click next to continue. You are now ready to create an account.


How to Start a Product Review Blog: Step By Step Guide  via  www.productreviewmom.com



How to Start a Product Review Blog: Step By Step Guide  via  www.productreviewmom.com






Bluehost will ask you for all of your contact information to create a new account, and it is important that you keep it up to date. 



How to Start a Product Review Blog: Step By Step Guide  via  www.productreviewmom.com





After you have filled in your contact information, you will be ready to select the package you desire. The most inexpensive option overall is purchasing the 36-month plan, even though you will pay for all 36 months at once. 



How to Start a Product Review Blog: Step By Step Guide  via  www.productreviewmom.com



If you cannot afford that much, consider selecting the annual plan instead for a little more money a month. You will also see that Bluehost offers other features that you can add to your site, but they are not usually necessary at the very beginning. 


However, if you do not pay Bluehost to back-up your site, it is strongly recommended that you do so manually on a regular basis. One method is to use a WordPress plugin that is called, “WordPress Backup to Dropbox,” and it will back up your site to your Dropbox account. 


Alternatively, you have the option of exporting your content daily and saving it to your computer through the WordPress backend.




How to Start a Product Review Blog: Step By Step Guide  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Finally, you need to enter your billing information and agree to the terms of service. When you select the “next” button, you will again be offered the additional services, but they are not necessary and they can be added later. Once this process is complete, you are ready to create a password and install your WordPress. 


If this is your first time starting a website, it is a good idea to let the team of expert’s help you get your account set up.




Step Five: Install WordPress



When you hear people using WordPress for their platform, it is important to note that they are most likely talking about Wordpress.org. There is a Wordpress.com that is a free blogging platform, but you do not own the site. Many companies will not allow you to place ads on it because of that fact. In contrast, Wordpress.org is a site that allows you to download and install the newest version of WordPress to your site. 


If you are still confused, WordPress offers a great explanation between the two platforms. However, Bluehost offers you a much easier method, which again is why it is excellent for beginners.



How to Start a Product Review Blog: Step By Step Guide  via  www.productreviewmom.com



When you log into Bluehost and have the account finished, you will immediately be directed to your dashboard. This dashboard is where you will have access to everything that is your site, including the cPanel, email, and FTP server. There is a getting started bar to help you anytime you need it, but then the page is divided into sections. One of those sections is labeled, “website,” and this is where you will find the option to “install WordPress.” After selecting this button, you will see the option to either do a fresh install or import a previous installation.



How to Start a Product Review Blog: Step By Step Guide  via  www.productreviewmom.com


As mentioned above, you have the ability to download the latest version of WordPress from WordPress.org, but Bluehost also offers the latest version. What is great about this option on Bluehost is if you have had a site elsewhere and want to change hosting sites, you can import your WordPress files from your computer and not lose anything from your site. 


If you are installing WordPress from Bluehost, then you will need to select the “show advanced options” box. This is where you will name your site, create a username for the WordPress account (which should never be admin), and create a WordPress login. You want to make sure the login password is complicated so your site will remain secure. 


Finally, allow Bluehost to automatically create a database and then agree to the terms and conditions.




How to Start a Product Review Blog: Step By Step Guide  via  www.productreviewmom.com


You will know that WordPress has been successfully installed when the green bar at the top of the screen turns completely green. You will also receive an email from the Mojo Marketplace that will have your site URL, admin login URL for WordPress, and the login name. In most situations, the WordPress admin URL is simply your site URL with “/wp-login.php” at the end.




Step Six: Design the Site



You have done all of the hard work, now it is time to do the fun stuff. In your email, you will have the ability to go directly to the gallery that shows all of the different WordPress themes. There are premium themes that you can purchase, but there are also many free themes that can be installed. 


The most important factor is choosing a theme that you feel suits you, and then making sure that you back up your site in case something crashes. It is best to look for a theme that is minimalistic, and use plugins to create the function of the site. This will help keep your site fast, and prevent you from losing anything when you change themes.



Another option to find themes is to log into the WordPress admin portal, or the backend of your site, and click on appearance, themes (found in the drop down menu), and then “add new” (found at the top of the themes page. 


You will then have access to many of the featured themes, as well as the latest and most popular. The theme should really dictate the color scheme, fonts, navigation bar location, and color of the background. Great themes will allow you the ability to edit them simply in the customization section of your WordPress site (second section in the Appearance drop down menu). You will then use plugins to completely design your site and make it unique.




If this is foreign to you, you are not alone. In many cases, it is best to hire a website designer who knows code and can create a site for you that you can then manage. You want to be as specific as possible with your designer and make sure that you are constantly in communication. There are frameworks, such as Genesis framework, that provide users the ability to create strong sites through building blocks.



Designers will also help set you up with child themes that you can alter without having to worry about updates destroying everything that was created. However, if you are more experienced in code, looking at themes on Studio Press is a great option that will allow you make your own child theme.



When you find yourself struggling on the creative elements, consider visiting WordPress.org’s idea board. This page has ideas from users that may help restart your creative juices and you can even vote on ideas that have been submitted. Ideas are grouped into categories including editing, email functionality, performance, media, translation services, widgets, comments, and just a general idea that may not fit in elsewhere.



Step Seven: Security



While many tutorials do not immediately talk about security in the setup of a blog, it is vitally important. Your admin username and password will help prevent people from accessing the backend to your site, but you want to make sure that you also have your site protected from hackers. 


In addition to having a unique username and a very strong password, you will want to always be using the latest version WordPress installed. You should receive notifications when your site is updated, but checking it periodically to see if there are any updates is always a good idea as well. While looking at updates for the main WordPress file, you will want to look for any updates to your theme and plugins.



When you are updating your site, download a backup copy to your computer. This will protect you just in case the update creates files that do not play nice together. When you are updating everything, do each update one at a time. If you are running on the Genesis framework, make sure you update your theme first, and then do the overall WordPress update. 


Finally, update each plugin and test the site to make sure it works before doing the next update. If you realize that you are not using some plugins, delete them. Unused plugins create security risks for your site because you are not likely to update them.



Now, install plugins that are designed to keep your site secure. You can prevent spam comments through plugins like CleanTalk. WordFence is another plugin that is recommended to provide you with enhanced security for your website.  You want to make sure that if someone is trying to log into your account, they only have a couple tries before they are kicked off. 


Of course, this also means if you forget the password, you will be forced to wait a period before trying again. You should consider changing your password frequently so that it is harder to discover. Use a combination of numbers, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and symbols whenever possible.




If you are extremely concerned about the safety of your site, Bluehost does offer security packages. These packages are ideal once sites drive in more traffic, or if you have an eCommerce site. It rarely is necessary at the beginning of a blogging site, but something to consider down the road.



Step Eight: Create Content



You are now ready to put posts up on your product review blog. To create a new blog post entry, you will want to click on post and then “add new.” You will be given the option to create in a “what you see is what you get” type editor or in HTML. While you will likely use the “what you see is what you get” type for the majority of your posts, you want to make sure you know basic HTML so you can embed pictures and/or videos. 


The content is completely up to you and the more you know about HTML, the more you can customize the look of the post. However, if you find yourself constantly changing the look of your posts, you may want to consider a different theme.




When you are first starting a product review blog, it is best to put up a new post every day or two, but it is when it best suits your needs. You will want to make sure you give the readers the ability to search your blog so they can quickly find information they are looking for at any time. 


This is when keywords come into play, and they are important in creating your blog. You want to make sure that you use a few of the same keywords throughout your product review blog and put them in the description whenever possible so you can attract the search engines.




In Conclusion



While it seems like a long process, starting a product review blog is simple and sites like Bluehost make it even easier. They take the stress out of the process by offering you the ability to purchase your domain name, register it, and install WordPress in just a couple clicks of a button. 


This tutorial only handles the technical side of starting a product review blog. You will need to be able to create the content on a topic that you desire. The trick to great blogs is to not be afraid of the technical aspect. When you look at it simply, you are creating a name for the blog, registering it, finding a home for your blog, and then utilizing a platform for you to display the content.



Once you have the basics to starting a product review blog down, then you are ready to move on and monetize it. This will require more work and diligence, because you want to make sure you are always showing businesses that you have klout with the community. 


Your host should offer you the ability to see your statistics, but adding a plugin that tracks Google analytics is another good option. The ability to grow is immeasurable once you have the site set up, so the first step is to get over the fear and just commit.




Get started creating your new product review blog now!




Monetize Your Product Review Blog


I created an eBook that will help you learn different ways to monetize your blog.  Also you can check out this post for different ways to make money blogging too.




Start Pitching Brands for Products to Review


No need to wait for brands to email you.  You can pitch your favorite brands directly for products to review.  Check out this blog post to show you ways on how to pitch brands directly.





Join Ad Agency Networks to Receive Products and Services to Blog About


When you're a new product review blogger, it's good to review products you purchased, as well as, joining ad agencies that will hire you for paid sponsored work with top brands.





Tools You Need to Help Save You Time


I am a Solopreneur, and I don't like to bombard myself with a lot of task with my product review blog.  This post will give you advice on tools you need to help save you time.






Need More blogging tips?  Check them out here.




Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.






Are you ready to start your Product Review Blog?


Want to Earn Extra Money Each Month?

Get paid to become a product tester. Complete fun surveys for cash. Get paid for the stuff you do every day.

Paid Product Testing

Join Now

Paid Surveys

Join Now

Get paid for what you do every day

Join Now

Make money using apps

Join Now

2 comments

  1. Lots of great info, Lou, and we thank you for putting all together! Hugs...and Happy Monday! RO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome RO!!! Have a great week!

      Delete