How to Start Your Own Blog..
If you have been toying around with the idea of starting your own blog, but aren’t sure where to start, be sure to bookmark this page and make it your personal guide to launching and growing a successful blog. When I decided to start my own blog, I hadn’t the faintest idea what I was doing. I spent countless hours conducting research, taking tutorials, and making plenty of mistakes. Essentially, I did all the dirty work and now I can pass my wisdom on to you. This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the steps to starting your blog and save you both time and frustration.
1. Choose a Hosting Provider
The very first step in start your blog is to choose a hosting site. Luckily, there are many reputable and affordable services out there that will allow you to buy a domain name and maintain your site. Monthly subscriptions typically cost around $10. Essentially, these services allow you to purchase space on the internet and use their servers to publish your site.
We recommend using Bluehost. Setting up your WordPress site on Bluehost takes just 5 minutes, click to view our guide, and the best part is it costs just $3.95/month using our referral link.
2. Choose a Domain Name
To actually purchase space on the Internet where your blog will live, you need a domain name. Our domain name is “wisestartupblo.wpengine.com”.
Once you have your hosting service squared away, it is time to choose a domain name. If you are looking to include the topic of your blog in your domain name, you might run into trouble. Just think about all the millions of websites that already exist. You may have to get creative with your name in order to find one that is available.
If you are concerned about straying too far from the actual name of your blog, consider hyphenating the domain name. Just remember to avoid creating a name that is too complicated. Not only do you want readers to be able to remember you name, they should be able to quickly and easily type it into their browser for easy navigation.
3. Buying Your Domain Name
During the Bluehost setup process, you can select and buy your domain name for just $11.99 which is comparable to Godaddy (which charges about $9 per domain). The reason I suggest buying through Bluehost is the extra $3 you spend is worth it because configuring your domain through Bluehost and using their servers is drop-dead-simple and worth the $3 investment.
4. Choose Your Publishing Platform
Next, you need to choose a publishing platform. In the past, sites like blogger and Tumblr were popular destinations for bloggers whose main goal was to simply share their thoughts. While these sites are still relevant and user friendly, there are other options that will allow you to create a more professional looking blog that will help you establish your credibility as an author. For these reasons, I would recommend using WordPress as your publishing platform.
When you sign up for a WordPress account, you can choose from among thousands of themes. You can even narrow down your choices by filtering themes according to the type of content you will be publishing. For example, if you are a photographer looking to share and highlight your work, there are themes available that focus more on visual presentation. The vast majority of WordPress themes are also designed to be easy to customize. As you become more comfortable with the different functions in the program, you may want to change the color scheme or insert additional navigation bars that are more specific to your purpose and audience. WordPress makes this fairly easy, especially once you get used to the different menus in the dashboard.
At this point, you are ready to get started adding content to your site and actually building your blog. As I mentioned before, WordPress is one of the most intuitive and user friendly publishing services available, but there is a learning curve involved. When I was first building my blog, I wasted a lot of time trying to learn the features just by clicking around. Finally, I turned to Youtube for help and found this great step-by-step video that I highly recommend.
5. Configure Your Blog with Plugins
Adding certain plugins to your site will increase your site’s functionality and allow you to easily add features. Want to insert a scrolling photo gallery at the top of your side? There is an plugin for that. Basically, any feature that you see on other sites and like, but doesn’t come standard with your theme, can be added by installing the right plugin. Best of all, the vast majority of plugins are completely free.
Here are some basic plugins that you should be sure to download:
Akismet: This plugin will provide your site with extra security and protect you from spam. You might be surprised to learn how often hackers target small sites and use them to spread spam. This is also another reason to make sure that you use a secure password and not one that could be easily guessed.
Contact Form 7: Having a contact form prominently placed on your site is another way to encourage your readers to engage with your and your site. It will also allow them to sign up for a subscription so that they receive a notification every time you post a new article.
WordPress SEO by Yoast: If you are not well versed in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices, this plugin will analyze your work and provide suggestions about how to make your work more search engine friendly. This will help increase your organic traffic and make sure that you are getting the most out of your blog.
Easy AdSense: After you have a decent amount of content posted to you site, you might consider using this plugin to place text advertisements on your site. This is a quick and easy way to begin using your site to bring in revenue.
6. Start Adding Content
Once you are happy with the basic layout and color scheme of your blog, it is time to start adding content. In the infancy of internet marketing, businesses would cram their sites with keywords so that search engines would be more likely to come across their sites and drive visitors. Over the years, companies like Google, worked to prevent writers and marketers from benefiting from posting poor content that lacks substance and really only serves to spam the internet. This shift towards a focus on quality content is good new all around, but it does mean that you will have to create interesting and engaging articles in order to stand out from a crowded field of writers.
This means staying up-to-date with what is going on in the news when it comes to your particular topic of interest. If you are a fitness expert, and there is a new trend that is being discussed on social media, then you want to make sure that you are one of the first people to weigh in with both facts and an opinion. By expressing your own point of view, you will engage your readers and encourage them to interact by leaving their own comments. While not everyone will have kind comments, remind yourself that any engagement with your work is good. Even bad publicity is publicity.
7. Promote Your Blog on Social Media
The other main tool you have at your disposal is social media. Make sure that your site has an account on all the major social media outlets such as:
Take the time to learn how to use #hashtags and making sure that every new post your create gets advertised on social media will go a long way in bringing traffic to your site and increase your chances of having a post go viral.
8. Keep Growing Your Blog
1. Creating Quality Content
As mentioned before, the absolute best way to ensure the success of your blog is to create quality content. Pay special attention to titles and create attention grabbing headlines that will draw readers in and provide them with unique and helpful information.
Typically, titles like: “Top 10 . . .” or “Five Things You Didn’t Know About . . .” will perform well. Just make sure that readers aren’t disappointed once they actually visit your site.
2. Link Earning
Another key to blogging success is networking with other bloggers. You want to become a part of the community and share resources. The absolute best way to do this is to research other blogs in your field and reach out to the authors. Offer to exchange guest posts so that you can both build content and gain additional links. The more other sites are linking to your blog, the better authority you will have on the internet and the higher you will rank on search engines. Even though the internet can seem impersonal and writing is a solitary activity, networking and building relationships are still essential components to your success.
How to Setup Your Blog Conclusion
Still feeling overwhelmed? Just remember to take it one step at a time and don’t be afraid to turn to other bloggers for advice. Once you start writing and publishing, you will be pleasantly surprised to find a warm and welcoming community of like-minded people who are ready to help and share their own experiences.
Checkout our next articles showcasing how to customize the look and feel of your blog by viewing our Top 15 Free WordPress themes.