Blogging is a great way to share your thoughts and expertise with other people. If you have been planning to start a blog but don’t where to start then you’ve come to the right place! Here is the beginner’s guide on how to start a blog:
1. Decide what to write about
First and foremost, you need to determine what your blog is going to be about. If you are a part of a business, obviously your blog should be related to the products or services your company is selling. If you are an individual, you have more flexibility on the topics you can choose from.
Pick a niche that you are passionate about and where you can discuss topics comfortably. You need to actually enjoy writing your blog posts because that will translate to your readers. Have fun with writing and people will enjoy reading them.
2. Choose a blogging platform
When it comes to choosing a platform for your blog, there are countless of options available out there and people will have different opinions when it comes to choosing the “best” one. But right now, the most popular one is WordPress (source).
You have two options if you choose WordPress and that is whether your site will be hosted or self-hosted.
- Self-hosted blogs, also called WordPress.org sites are hosted by the owner. If you choose to host your own website, this can cost you some money but you have much more control because you can use your own domain name, install themes and plugins, edit the code behind your site and have access to your site’s database. Aside from that, it has no limit on your site’s potential income.
- Hosted blogs or WordPress.com sites are hosted by WordPress. It’s free and easy to use and you don’t have to manage anything! But by default, your domain name will include “WordPress.com” and you can’t upload custom themes, plugins or modify the code behind your website. You also can’t run Google Adsense or other advertising programs to serve ads on your WordPress.com blog which means you cannot write paid posts, sell links or review products.
In conclusion, you should ask yourself first what the purpose of your blog is. If you only want to share your personal thoughts and ramblings then a hosted WordPress site will suite you just fine. However, if you want to make money and build a membership in a certain community then a self-hosted WordPress site will be the much better option.
3. Get hosting
Once you choose your preferred blogging platform, it is now time to choose a host. WordPress on its own won’t make your site accessible to anyone other than yourself. In order for your site to become online and available on the internet, you need to buy server space and you can get that from a hosting company. Again, there are many options from where to get your hosting but HostGator, Siteground and Bluehost are the more popular ones today.
4. Design your blog
Now for the fun part, designing your site! WordPress has a lot of free themes to get you started but there are also a lot of paid themes that are much more unique and interactive. So should you buy or settle for a free one? Well, that depends entirely on you but if you are just starting out and you’re still unsure what the purpose of your site really is then a free theme will suffice. Most decent themes can cost $60 to $250 so it will cost you some money.
Aside from that, you will need to create categories, pages and install plug-ins.
5. Write your First Post
And now it’s finally time to publish your first post. You can post new content as frequently as you like. Some bloggers are more comfortable in putting out one new blog post per week while others publish five to six posts a week! But that’s the beauty of having your own blog, no one tells you what you should do. So just post according to your preference.
Blog writing tips:
- Keep your sentences and paragraphs short because nothing irritates a reader more than coming across a huge wall of text.
- Add images, infographics or videos. One of the most important reasons why you should include images in your post is to break up the text. Most people can’t focus on lengthy blog posts without visual stimulation and they also make complicated topics easier to understand.
- Edit your post. Check for grammar and spelling errors. BONUS TIP: Read your work out loud. If a piece reads awkwardly out loud then it will most likely read awkwardly in your reader’s mind.
Blogging seems easy until you actually have to do it. But like all things, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Everyone has to start off somewhere. So, grab a pen [or open a Word document ;)] and start blogging!