How To Start Your Own Blog
Many people are intimidated by the very thought of starting their own blog. It’s easier than you think. These easy to follow steps should help you to start your own blog and be well on your way to blogging with a fast and secure web hosting company.
What Is A Blog?
A blog is simply sharing your thoughts and opinions on various topics. To begin with, you’ll want to select a topic that you have a passion for. This will help you to brand yourself as an expert in your blog.
Choosing Your Niche
You’ll have to take a bit of time and determine what your favorite topics are. Your niche should be something that you know a lot about so that you’re comfortable writing on a frequent basis.
Perhaps you know a lot about gaming or politics. Maybe you’re a foodie and you know a lot about food or specific types of cooking. This would be an ideal niche for you if that’s the case. Other ideas are movie reviews, book reviews, cars and more.
Keep in mind that the more focused your topic the better. An example of this would be the topic “cars” won’t get a lot of views, however, “gangster style cars” might get a lot of views. Find a little corner of your topic that there isn’t a lot out there on and you’re sure to gain more readers. Movies from the 40s are sure to get more views than simply, “movies”. By keeping this in mind you’ll be able to put your niche into the market and stay competitive.
It doesn’t have to be your favorite hobby or your business. It can be something that you’re interested in or an extension of your company if you desire. It can be a “how to” blog and focus on teaching others how to do something specific.
Free Or Paid Blog Sites
You have a few options when it comes to where to publish your blog. You can opt for a free blog site. The disadvantage to this is that the blog site will then put their own ads on your blog and earn money off of you in that fashion. While this may be a launching pad for you in blogging, it won’t be earning you any money.
Another option is that you can pay a small fee and have a blog that will allow you to put your own ads on the blog. This will in turn help to generate you some extra money. This is the route that those who are blogging for a living use.
There are many ad sites out there and you’ll want to peruse your options. Most people who blog will choose at least two different ad vendors and diversify their earnings in that fashion. By doing this, you’re not relying on just one method of earning money.
There are many great blogging platforms out there. You can do a search in your favorite search engine to find them by plugging in the search term, “blogging platforms”.
This will, in turn, bring up various blogging platform sites and you can make your selection. Read the fine print and you may also wish to read some reviews about each of the various blogging platforms that it brings up.
Choose one that you can easily upload your blog posts to and that is very user-friendly. Again, read the reviews and choose one or two to look over closely before you make your final decision. Keep in mind that you’ll also have to choose a domain name for your site (always choose a great title for your blog).
Branding Yourself As The Expert
If you want to be heard and have a lot of visitors to your blog you’ll want to brand yourself as an expert. To do this, you need to know a lot about your topic.
The more you know, the better. However, there are a few workarounds that you can use while you’re learning. You can trade blog posts with another similar blogger. You can take guest posts and you can simply hire out a ghost writer to write your blog posts.
The more you know about your topic, the more likely others are to believe that you’re the expert. An expert is considered branded in the topic and you’ll have more readers and you’ll earn more from your ads due to this increase in readers.
Check Out Your Competition
Your competitors didn’t get to their position overnight and you won’t either. One thing you need to know, however, is that your competitors are watching you and you need to be watching them.
Peruse their blogs and websites. Ask questions as a regular visitor would and learn how they respond. If the competitor is ranked in the number one or number two slot of the search engines you want to pick their brains (subtly) and find out how on earth they got to that position.
Then you have to go back to your own blog and make your blog even better. Don’t copy your competitor. Don’t duplicate their content. Instead, make it better. Make it yours.
You’ll have to do this time and again in order to make your own blog successful. Be diligent and trust your instincts. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try harder and change it out.
Setting It Up
Now that you’ve made it this far, it’s time to create your blog. By now you should have your platform all setup and know exactly where you’re going to be putting your blog. You should understand how it works and how to post your blog postings.
Most blogging sites will walk you through this and as you do it you’ll become more and more comfortable with it. Be sure that you read over the instructions on your blog platform before you begin.
Just follow the prompts such as “create blog”, “post”, “insert photo” etc. and you’ll have your blog. Be sure to hit publish after you’ve completed the tasks that are set forth for the posting. Just fill in the form fields and you’ll be on your way to publishing your blog.
Choose A Catchy Name For Your Blog
As you set up your blog you’ll have to choose a name for it. You’ll want something catchy that defines what your blog is about and sets it apart from the competition.
You’ll need to write a strong title to capture potential readers. Strong titles often include such words as, best, top, how to, what you need to know, everything etc.
In other words, the title depicts that this is the best blog, the top blog, the how to blog, what you need to know about the blog etc. Read over some other blog titles to get an idea of those that do and don’t work.
More than one blog has failed miserably because of a bad title so take some time to really consider a strong title that uses power words that will help to set your blog apart from the rest of the competition.
After you’ve done all of the above, it’s time to begin your blog posts. These tips will help you to make great blog posts that will stand out and help you to define your niche.
Keep sentences short at about five to seven words each.
Keep paragraphs short at about three to five sentences per paragraph.
Focus on your topic during the blog article.
Don’t post more than five to seven hundred words in a blog post. If you have more than this, break the blog up into a two or three part posting.
If you do break your blog posting into two or three parts, make sure that you designate “part one of two (or three)” in the title of your post.
Use keywords in each blog posting title. This will help the search engines find your blog posting more quickly.
Include a picture on your posting. This often helps to show a specific detail or simply enhances the posting.
If you use a guest blogger, introduce them, “today’s blog post is brought to you by Mr. Smith who shares an interest in our niche”.
Use both keywords and secondary keywords in your blog posting. Don’t over do it, keep it to about one to two percent of your keywords in the entire blog post.
Always use a keyword in the first and last paragraph as well as the title of your blog post.
Plan to post at least two to three times per week. Fresh content will keep your viewers coming back. It will also satisfy the search engines that your blog is worthy of putting on the first page and working its way to the top of the search engines.
Focus on content intently the first year of your blog
Use tools like Grammarly to ensure that your blog is well written. It will help you to check punctuation and spelling errors in your blog posts. A well-written blog is going to get more views than a poorly written blog. If you don’t want people pointing out your grammar mistakes, use something like this to ensure that you’re writing great posts.
Open up the comment section. Interact with your readers. If they ask a question, answer promptly (within a business day if you can) to ensure that they know that you care and are working hard on your blog. The more they think you know and care, the more likely they are to return to your blog.
If there is a discrepancy that your readers bring to your attention, make sure to resolve it in the open in the comment sections. This will show others that your an expert and professional. Don’t engage in arguments. Just simply focus on resolving the issue in a polite and friendly manner without hesitation.
If you’re wrong, freely admit it and thank the person for helping to make your blog a better place. Don’t focus too hard on it and simply apologize for the mistake and thank them for the valuable contribution to your site. It will make you look a whole lot better to all of your readers and it will take care of any damage control that you need to have done for your reputation (this is called reputation management and it’s vital to your business).
Don’t post mundane things such as what you’re having for dinner, how long you took to shower etc.
Give your readers valuable content that they will take away something important by reading.
If you don’t want people to know who you write the blog under a pseudonym and keep it as such.
Don’t slander other blogs. This can open up a can of worms that you don’t want to have to deal with.
Be prepared for some rude comments, they will happen from time to time. Try to focus on positive comments such as, “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings or it was not the intent of this blog to….”. Don’t haggle long on anything just move on as quietly and quickly as possible.
Never give out personal information on a blog. Avoid listing the town, your full name or anything that can readily identify you to the public.
Spend some time learning about your niche topic on a daily basis. Don’t focus so hard on your blog that you burn out. Set a goal of so many blog posts per week and don’t overdo it. As you get more experience under your belt you’ll become more comfortable and up the amount of blog postings that you can do in a week.
What is the best platform to start a blog?
Choosing the best platform to start a blog depends on your specific needs, technical skills, and the goals for your blog. Here are some of the most popular blogging platforms, each with its own strengths:
- WordPress.org: This is a free, open-source platform that offers flexibility and control, making it a favorite among serious bloggers. It requires a separate hosting service and domain name, which allows for extensive customization with themes and plugins. Ideal for those looking to have full control over their blog’s design and functionality.
- WordPress.com: A more user-friendly, hosted version of WordPress. It’s easier to set up but less customizable than WordPress.org. It offers free and paid plans, with limitations on the free plan, like ads and less control over customization.
- Blogger: A free, simple blogging platform provided by Google. It’s easy to use and set up, making it suitable for beginners. However, it offers limited design options and less functionality compared to WordPress.
- Wix: Known for its drag-and-drop website builder, Wix is user-friendly and offers a variety of design templates. It’s great for those with little to no technical background but can be more expensive than other options if you opt for premium plans.
- Squarespace: Offers beautiful, professionally designed templates and is also based on a drag-and-drop interface. It’s ideal for bloggers who prioritize aesthetics and simplicity over extensive customization. Squarespace is a paid service with various pricing plans.
- Medium: Medium is a platform focusing on the writing and reading experience, with a built-in audience. It’s very simple to use, but you have less control over monetization and branding. Great for writers who want to focus purely on content without worrying about the technical aspects of blogging.
- Ghost: A modern, open-source blogging platform focused on professional publishing. Ghost is known for its speed, simplicity, and a clean writing experience. It can be self-hosted or you can use their paid hosting service.
- Weebly: Another drag-and-drop website builder that’s beginner-friendly. Weebly offers various templates and is simpler but less versatile than Wix or Squarespace.
When choosing a platform, consider:
- Ease of Use: How technical you are or are willing to learn.
- Customization: How much control you want over the look and feel of your blog.
- Monetization: If you plan to make money from your blog, consider platforms that support various monetization strategies.
- Ownership and Control: Platforms like WordPress.org offer full ownership and control but require more maintenance.
Each platform has its pros and cons, so the “best” platform really depends on your specific needs and goals as a blogger.
How can I make money blogging?
Making money from blogging involves diversifying your income streams and effectively monetizing your content and audience. Here are several strategies bloggers commonly use:
- Advertising: This is one of the most common ways to earn money from a blog. You can display ads through networks like Google AdSense. As your traffic grows, you might consider direct ad sales or sponsorships for higher earnings.
- Affiliate Marketing: You can earn commissions by promoting products or services and including affiliate links in your blog posts. When readers click on these links and make a purchase, you earn a percentage of the sale. Popular affiliate networks include Amazon Associates, ShareASale, and Commission Junction.
- Sponsored Content: Companies pay you to write posts about their products or services. Ensure you disclose sponsored content to your readers to maintain transparency.
- Selling Products or Services: You can sell digital products like e-books, online courses, or downloadable resources. Additionally, you can offer services such as consulting, coaching, or freelance writing.
- Memberships or Subscriptions: If you have a loyal audience, you can offer exclusive content, perks, or community access through a membership or subscription model.
- Speaking Engagements and Workshops: As an expert in your niche, you may be invited to speak at events or conduct workshops, for which you can charge a fee.
- Crowdfunding and Donations: Platforms like Patreon allow readers to support your blog through regular donations in exchange for exclusive content or other benefits. Alternatively, you can include a donation button on your blog.
- Email Marketing: Build an email list and monetize it by promoting affiliate products, your own products, or exclusive content.
- Content Syndication: You can earn money by syndicating your blog content to other sites or publications.
- Writing and Selling Books: If you establish yourself as an authority in your niche, you can write and sell books, either in digital or physical format.
To successfully monetize your blog, it’s crucial to provide valuable and engaging content to your audience. This builds trust and increases the likelihood that they will respond positively to your monetization efforts. Also, understand that monetizing a blog often takes time and persistence, and the effectiveness of different strategies can vary based on your niche, audience size, and engagement.
How do I pick a good domain name for my blog?
Choosing a good domain name for your blog is a critical decision as it forms the basis of your online identity. Here are some tips to help you pick an effective domain name:
- Keep It Short and Memorable: A shorter domain is easier to remember and less prone to being misspelled. Aim for something catchy that sticks in people’s minds.
- Easy to Spell and Pronounce: Avoid complex spellings. The easier it is to spell and pronounce, the easier it is for people to share your blog by word of mouth.
- Include Keywords: Try to include keywords relevant to your blog’s content. This can help with search engine optimization (SEO) and give visitors an immediate sense of what your blog is about.
- Avoid Hyphens and Numbers: Hyphens and numbers can be confusing and are often misunderstood when spoken aloud. They can also make your domain look less professional.
- Choose the Right Domain Extension: The most common extension is .com, which is generally preferred as it’s the most recognized and easiest to remember. However, if your blog is more localized, you might consider a country-specific extension (like .co.uk or .ca). There are also many new domain extensions like .blog or .io, which can be creative alternatives.
- Be Unique and Brandable: Your domain name should stand out and be brandable. Avoid names that are too similar to existing sites, as this might cause legal issues or confusion.
- Think Long-Term: Choose a domain name that can grow with your blog. Avoid overly niche names that might limit your blog’s growth or future content shifts.
- Check for Trademarks: To avoid legal issues, make sure your chosen domain name doesn’t infringe on any existing trademarks.
- Social Media Availability: Check if your domain name (or a close variation) is available on major social media platforms. Consistency across your domain and social media handles can strengthen your brand.
- Use Domain Name Generators: Tools like Namecheap, GoDaddy’s Domain Name Search, or NameMesh can help generate ideas based on your keywords and check availability.
Remember, your domain name is an integral part of your blog’s identity, so take your time to choose one that you won’t regret later. Once you’ve chosen a domain name, register it quickly as good domain names tend to get snapped up fast.
Lastly, don’t be hard on yourself. Simply focus on one blog at a time for a few months before you start another one. Once you’re comfortable with one blog you can begin another if you so desire. Make sure that you spell check and double check all of your facts before you publish and you’ll be top in your niche in no time once you implement these tips on how to start your own blog.
I mainly blog here but below are other places you can find me on the web: