Even if you don’t own a blog right now, you must have come across one when searching for information on the web. A blog is a frequently updated online journal written formally or casually and usually located on a website. In general, starting a blog helps increase your online presence and attracts more quality leads to your page or site.
A blog can be used to fulfill either a personal need or a business need. Regardless of the use, you must be ready to take the leap of learning how to start an appealing, functional and rewarding blog.
How to start a blog (A step-wise guide)
1. Choose a blog/domain name
If you are settled with the decision of making a blog, then you must have a rough idea of what you want to write about. The central message of what you want to deliver should be evident in the name you choose.
You must not be very specific in the name you select. If you have a lot of content to write around a topic, you should choose a compound word that is open to all you will write about. If the blog is personal, it is good to include your middle name or middle initial to the domain name.
2. Choose a domain extension
This is simply adding a .com, .net, .org and so on to the domain name. There should not be a space between the domain name and domain extension for the extension to work.
3. Check if the domain name is taken
After creating the domain name with the domain extension, you should check if it is taken or blacklisted. The easiest way to do this search is by using Domain.com. If the domain name is not taken, you are ready to move to the next step, but if it is already used, you should make a few changes and repeat the verification process.
4. Take your blog online
Here, you need two things: a blog host and a blogging software. A blog host is a company that stores all your blog files and retrieves them when people type in your blog name. The blogging software is what you use to create your blog. WordPress is the most common blog host and blogging software, respectively.
5. Customize your blog
This and the steps below ensure that your blog is appealing to its visitors. For example, if you want to change your blog design, use the Appearance tab on the WordPress dashboard and choose your preferred theme. You can also do other customizations on your blog with the same tab.
6. Make a blog post and publish it
On the WordPress dashboard, go to the left menu and click on posts. A post will appear on the page. Click on Trash to delete it and Add New link to begin writing. On the post editor screen, type the title of your blog post in the top box and your post’s body in the lower box. If you want to add an image, click on Add Image and Upload to upload the image. To add the picture, click Insert into post.
When your post is ready, click on the left menu again and click the Launch button to remove the placeholder page and launch your blog post. The steps up to this point are enough to help you start a new blog.
To get people to visit your page, you should promote your blog through other platforms, including social media, other blogs and websites.
Finally, it would be best if you monetized your blog to earn some money from it. Although this is not straightforward, making money from a blog is possible on attaining a large audience. Some of the ways to make money through blogging are affiliate programs and selling advertising space.
Blog management tips
• Keep your ideas organized
Having an organized blog is one of the most crucial management practices as it hints to your readers that you at least know what you are doing. The rule of thumb in organizing your blog is consistency and simplicity. The two leading organization approaches that successful bloggers use are posting at certain days of the week and color-coding blog posts based on content categories. You can, for example, pick Thursdays for product posts and Friday for social posts. You may choose blue and gray colors for these distinct posts, respectively.
• Go for quality, not quantity
Now that we have said that you should be consistent in your posts in the section above, it does not mean that you should push to upload any unnecessary posts. Considering that high-quality posts have more authority and gather more backlinks, it is better to have two excellent posts than seven okay posts in a week.
• Create high-quality images
While it seems like you are only supposed to focus on your text content, you should know in the back of your mind that images are easily perceived. If you don’t use high-quality images to educate your readers, you should use them to keep your readers in your blog longer.
• Focus on networking
Networking is one of the easy ways you can use to promote your posts. Networking includes, among other things, commenting on other people’s blog posts, joining other forums in your niche and being part of a private community of like-minded people.
• Manage comments on your blog posts
Comments are a good indicator that you have serious blog post readers. Although your readers take time to add comments to the posts you upload, some are not honest and may be targeted to discourage other readers. To manage such comments, you should click on the Comments link on the left navigation pane, review the comments and click Trash or Spam to delete the comments that you do not want on your post. In case there are acceptable comments not yet posted, you can click Approve to post them.
Frequently Asked Questions
• Is it expensive to start a blog?
With $30-$70, you can comfortably start a blog and cover for the expense of a full year. This is, of course, the average cost if you have the hardware required. Expect the additional cost of purchasing devices such as a computer if you don’t own one.
• How long does it take to start a blog?
If you are conscious of the topic, you will write about, starting a blog becomes a very easy process. Expect to take at least half an hour to tackle the technical bit of the process.
• Do I need to be a techie to start a blog?
As long as you are ready to sit in front of your computer and do enough research on your topic, you don’t have to be a technology expert to start a blog.
• Can I use one of the free tools available online to start a blog?
You can use these free platforms to start a hobby blog. However, if you are serious about blogging, you should create a blog yourself and purchase serious and professional hosting as this means you will have full control over it. Again, only use a free platform if you are ready to lose your blog when the tool is shut down.
The bottom line
A blog is one of those tools you cannot afford to miss currently, especially if you have a business. The satisfaction it offers to bloggers, leave alone the numerous benefits it brings to a business website, is enough reason to push you to start one. As seen above, you don’t need to have the best writing and technical skills in the world to start a blog. With a clear goal of what you want to achieve by creating a blog, the process above becomes very straightforward.