How to Start a Blog
Over the past decade, blogging has increasingly become one of the easiest ways to create your online presence and potentially earn an income from a convenient location. With a niche subject and a strong following, there are many opportunities for the novice blogger to blossom into a reputable go-to source for information. This has gone a lot farther than the days of kids writing down their daily activities in their LiveJournal, but more so an opportunity for these bloggers to create their individual space on the internet in order to be both seen and heard.
Blogging is a great way for people to make money, publish their own content, or establish exposure for a business, product or cause. The process has become easier for those who are intimidated by technology. Certain tools and websites have made it as easy as a just few clicks and you’ve got yourself an up-and-running blog.
The most important part about having a blog is to keep up with the content! People will build loyalty to even a niche blog when it is constantly being updated with new content. This is definitely a commitment, but one that will benefit both you and the reader in the long run. Try to prepare writing topics in advance so that you can streamline your posting on a consistent basis. If you have to stick to a certain day of the week to update, make sure you again remain consistent so your readers know when to expect new content.
So if you have the time and drive to take on starting your own blog, here are a few of the first steps to take on this project.
- Find your topic:
Figure out what it is you want to talk about, and if it is something that you can create a bunch of content with in the future. Organize your thoughts, and write down the different ways you can possibly approach each topic. Is it something that you can constantly update your readers on and provide them with new material? Can you answer the why, how-to, or where for your topic? Try to pick a topic that you really enjoy. If it interests you, then it very well might interest your readers.
- Pick Your Platform:
There are so many different platforms and online services that make this process simple for even the most computer illiterate. Based on your budget, there are many different ways you can go about this. There are a few solid free services for beginners, but remember that they will have many limitations. On the other hand, there are several paid services at affordable prices that offer a lot more wiggle room for creativity. Blogger.com and WordPress are the two most popular blogging platforms on the internet right now. WordPress offers both hosted and self-hosted options depending on what exactly you need. Self-hosted platforms will allow you to run your blog on your own domain. You have most of the control of the blog and what people see. It may cost a couple dollars extra for you each month, but will be well worth the long-term investment especially if you are trying to monetize your blog.
- Find Your Host:
Once you’ve picked your platform to create your blog, it is time to figure out where you want to host your blog. Hosting basically means finding and maintaining a space in the internet for your new blog. There are hundreds of hosting sites, but one of the top tiered hosting sites at the moment is GoDaddy.com. They are able to provide different hosting plans based on your budgets and your needs. Plus, their customer service is always friendly and supportive when resolving any issues or questions that you may have.
- Determine Your Domain:
After you pick a hosting site, you will most likely be prompted to select your domain. This is what people will type into the URL box when they go to your website. It is the web address for your new blog, and ultimately your blogs new ID on the internet. You may have one decided, but it will be a matter of what is currently up for grabs on the internet. Try to keep your domain name simple and easy to remember. Avoid lengthy domain names that are confusing or hard to spell out. If you can, stick with .com before going to any other web extensions (i.e. .net, .org, .co, .us, etc.). Most importantly, don’t forget to be creative!
- Design Your Website:
Depending on the platform you are using; you will either be able to design a website from scratch (given you have amazing graphic design skills or a previous layout that you want to use moving forward) or you can use the templates that are provided to you by each platform. WordPress gives you the option of using your own designs (wordpress.org) or you can use the pre-set templates that are available. There is a wide variety to choose from, and most can be manipulated a bit when it comes to theme colors and fonts. Find something that makes sense for you and your blog. Also, try to pick a layout that is easy for the reader to maneuver. Bloggers tend to go with sites that display some of the current posts on the front page to attract the readers. Make sure to read the reviews on whichever template you choose to see if any of the other users had any issues, or even offer any good qualities about it before you make your selection.
- Write Your Heart Out:
Now it’s time to put your hard work to the test! You’ve set up all of the necessities for a functioning blog site, now all you are missing is the content. Write diligently and consistently. Readers want to know that when they return to the site there will be new content for them see. It might be a good idea to set up a calendar if you decide to only post new content on certain days. Either way, write on!