Starting a blog is a great idea, but where to start is the most crucial thing. The internet has a lot of information that gives various starting points, dos and don’ts. Who should you listen to? At what point do you start? It can get a bit confusing, but before you give up, read on.
Many people have started their blogs without having an idea. These blogs are doing well, and they receive a lot of traffic. Consider such people as case studies, and learn from them. They may not be gurus, but they certainly know something you don’t.
Why should you create a blog and join the community of bloggers?
Blogging makes you a better writer and improves your skills.
It is a way of earning a living.
You can use blogging to express your opinions, and share vital information with your followers.
Blogging has been adopted by many as a powerful tool to spread news. Even though the web has millions of blogs, yours can still stand out.
Choosing the perfect niche
Before creating your own blog and becoming a successful blogger, make sure you have thorough knowledge on the topic you’ve chosen. Pick an appealing topic, one that you are deeply interested in, and have great passion about. Aim to be successful, happy, secure and to have wide recognition. If you choose a personal topic of interest, you can manoeuvre through the crowds of online bloggers and beat the competition. You can find your best topic by:
Making a list of accomplishments that are of interest to you such as sport, arts and music.
Listing your hobbies. What fascinates you the most? Write them down, e.g. cooking, playing games, yoga and fishing.
Writing down any setbacks you have overcome, e.g. weight loss, managing a disease or recovering from a financial challenge.
As you go through the exercise above, you will discover which topics resonate with you. Mark these interests as your niche topics.
Have fun and make friends
By covering topics you are passionate about and enjoy, you will find it easy to grow your number of blog followers and fans. Once you have made a name for yourself in your area of interest, you can inspire, help and encourage your followers on how they can live better lives. As you blog, you will make new friends and connections across the world.
Increase your self-confidence
The more blog articles you write, the more creativity you develop in your niche. This is what makes blogging popular. As you increase your knowledge about your topic of interest, your self-confidence and the confidence of your followers in you will rise. This makes you more creative, and it is advisable to remain open-minded so you soar even higher.
Steps to starting your blog
1. Choose your favorite blogging platform
You cannot start a blog without having a platform in mind. There are many platforms out there, but the most credible one is WordPress. It is the largest blogging platform across the globe, having various add-ons and plugins, and an infinite number of ways to design your blog. WordPress has over 82 million users! Other alternatives include Tumblr, which is part blog, part social network, and Blogger, which is the next-best platform after WordPress. So, why should you choose WordPress?
It is free to use and easy to set up.
There are many layouts and themes to choose from.
Their support forum is massive and ready to help in case you get stuck.
WordPress gives you an insanely fast blog which is interesting to use
You can easily interact with people directly on your blog.
Your content can be commented on and shared.
2. Do you prefer self-hosting or a free option?
Blogger, Tumblr and WordPress all have free options that are preferred by people who are not that serious about blogging. Free sites have their own drawbacks:
You cannot get a private domain name - If you are on a free blog, the web address of your blog will read yourblog.tumblr.com, yourblog.blogspot.com, or yourblog.wordpress.com.
There are many limits - You can never monetize it fully. Moreover, it is impossible to upload videos and images that you need to show your friends. You cannot access the free themes available in WordPress.
You do not own your blog - This might sound unimportant, but it is real. Your blog is hosted by someone else who has exclusive rights on whether to delete your blog or to let it stay.
Many free blogs have been deleted in the past, and more will disappear in the future. This means the countless number of hours you spend developing content for your blog can be lost in no time. However, if you are the sole controller of your blog, you can give it any name you want and you can give it any web suffix, e.g. .com, .co, .uk, .org, or .net. You have an unlimited bandwidth for images, content, videos, and this makes your private blog unique. Hosting a domain name costs between $5 and $10 per month, but this depends on the provider.
3. Start your blog on personal domain
If you have chosen WordPress as your preferred premise, a domain name should be the next thing. It is an extremely important thing since this is the first point of contact with your audience. They make snap judgements from the domain name you choose, so you should get it right.
Domain: This is the URL that leads to your website, e.g. the Facebook domain is Facebook.com.
Hosting: This is the company that puts your website on the internet for everyone to see. You will save your work here. It is similar to a computer hard-drive on the web.
Consider iPage since it is a cheap hosting provider charging below $2.5 per month. Other sites will require you to pay $10-$16 per year for a domain name, but iPage gives that for free. Choose your hosting company, and most of them will easily install WordPress on their admin panel. After installing WordPress on your website, start blogging. It may seem confusing in the beginning, but it gets simpler as you move on. A domain name should be memorable, easy to spell, and it must tell more about the theme of your blog.
4. Design your WordPress blog
Get your blog looking the way you want. You can install a new theme or buy a premium theme from websites such as ThemeForest.net - this will cost you around $40. It is advisable to choose a professional theme that you can easily customize. You can change your theme on WordPress with a few clicks, and you will not lose any content or images. The content of your blog should reflect you, and what you stand for. Also, let your theme correspond to the topic of the blog. You should not have a tennis-oriented theme when your blog topic is football. If you want people to read your blog, make it easy to navigate. Don’t make it complicated or tricky - people love different but good things. No one follows ugly websites.
5. Build traffic
Once you have content on your site, focus on inviting as many visitors as possible to your site. This is not a tall order. It all boils down to marketing tricks, and ensuring that you rank well in the various search engines.
Congratulations! You have your hosting space, a domain name, and your blog is ready to run. It is important to be familiar with your web host so you can make any changes you deem fit. You have control over your blog, and you can customize it in any way you want. Aim to have responsive followers who will tell you where to improve. Let your theme sell your blog.
According to you, what is the most difficult part while setting up a blog? Let us know in the comments below.