How to Start a Blog:
I have been asked on a few occasions as to how to start a blog. Well, I decided to write a blog post about it. Seems a bit weird, but here we go anyway. I am going to kind of break it all down as best I can, and at the very least, I hope I can get the wheels in your head turning.
The very first thing you need to consider is you subject. What do you know a lot about? Is there anything you love to do? Do you have a need do that you would love to see filled? If the subject is something you don’t have a lot of knowledge on, you can still build a blog on the subject, and learn as you build. By the time you are ready to go, you will have so much content already, that you will have become an expert. Don’t just pick something because. Make sure you are passionate about your subject matter.
Webhosting and Domain:
Once you have a subject, you will need to give it a home. In that, you will need a domain, and a webhosting service. Your domain is your house, and the webhosting is the land it’s built on. There is a lot of places to get this, but I chose 1&1 because their basic service package as only $12 for the first year. Expect to pay about $100 or more after that. It gets cheaper the more years you buy at a time. Then you can choose your domain name (example iheartu.com, .org, .info, .web, etc.) With the basic you get a single domain. You can always buy more. To get started with 1&1, just click on the banner below to get started.
After you have set up your account, you can add in a website builder. For my blog, I chose WordPress. One of the main reasons is the vast amount of tutorials and websites there are for learning and putting together everything you could ever want. There are of course other options which you are free to use, but for the course of this post, I will be focused on WordPress, as that is the format I chose.
Theme and site layout:
I want to take some time to talk about the theme and site layout + content. I highly recommend watching several tutorials on various themes. If you get too far into building your site and decide you want to change the theme, you could very easily mess a lot of things up. With that in mind, it is a good idea to write out not only what various subjects you will discuss, but all the subcategories, and how they need to be organized. Don’t worry, you can always add more later as you get a bunch of content in. A lot of care needs to be put in as to what your site will have.
Consider if you will be selling a product or service. Will you be add driven for revenue, or will you be a group of bloggers working together? There is a lot to be considered here. So take your time. I would refrain from getting too far in until you have your theme down to what you want. You can reset your account and start over, but you will lose any subscribers and comments that were made. (As I found out the hard way)
Practice before you get crazy:
If you want experience and get some familiarity with WordPress, there are some really in depth tutorials that can help you learn all there is for WordPress. Follow them. Then you can reset a few times and try a couple more. Wait until you have a good grasp on what you want before posting your content and putting in all the work for your own site. I also recommend you build all your content in another format such as Word or Notepad or whatever mac’s use. This way you have a backup to all the content. Also you can work on your content without having to wait to learn WordPress.
I really want to emphasize the importance of images, and copyright. Do not, I repeat, do not just download images off of google. If you do, you open yourself up to problems in copyright violations, and services like google’s Addsense will not be approved. Fortunately there are a few free stock photo sites, and several low cost ones as well. At least to get you started. Click here for a site that has several listed out to choose from. I personally use Pixabay.
Plugins to the rescue:
Fortunately, WordPress has lots of plugins for your blog to handle a lot of the tasks that allow a layman to handle a variety of tasks you would normally need to be a programmer for. Many are free, and many have a free option with a pro upgrade. Of course the pro gives you all the bells and whistles that the free version is lacking. Do a bit of research as to what plug-ins best suit what you are doing. Unlike themes, these are easy to add and remove. Keep in mind the ones that hold database type information like subscriber lists etc., will lose that data if you remove the plugin. You can use third party sites like mailchimp to store those lists so that way you won’t lose all your hard work.
When you are first learning how to start a blog, in the early stages, you won’t have a lot of content. It’s simply the nature of the beast. It takes time to build up a lot of good content. Don’t just put crap out there. Make sure you have a point and purpose. Don’t make stuff up. Make sure what you say is indeed based in fact. Satire or fiction is fine as long as your audience is aware of what you are doing. As you build content, it becomes a bit easier to find your site. My site took weeks before my first visitor. I didn’t do any campaigns or advertising, so I was actually surprised I had any visitors at all. Oh, and before I forget, make sure you validate your site with all the browsers, google, and get your trusted web site key from your hosting site.
Build a following:
One key in how to start a blog, is generating traffic. Getting subscribers and members is what breathes life into your blog. In my early days I don’t have but a few friends subscribed. However using other social media outlets such as Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook, my following is slowly increasing. Here is where patience and perseverance will pay off. I am opting for a long term gain as opposed to a quick short term one.
It may be tempting to throw something quick together, throw a bunch of add on it, and funnel traffic through various tactics and make a bit of money quick. However, if you want a following that will stick with you, build something they can do a lot more for them than sell a product. Give them value. Because if you do, you keep your following around, and they will continue to support you because you are supporting them.
I hope this post gave you some ideas on how to start a blog. The main thing is pick your favorite thing to talk about, and go for it. Learning software is just part of the process.
If you make one, let me know about it. I would love to check it out.
As always please join up, comment, and subscribe. You will be notified when new posts are available and I will send out periodic newsletters with some helpful information to reinforce you as you battle on.
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