Happy New Year! Do you want to start off the new year by starting a blog but don’t know how to start blogging?
Blogging has evolved so much in the last few years and will continue to evolve. I figured it was time to write a refresher post on how to start a blog. Let’s get started…
In This Post:
How To Start Blogging
Pick Your Topic
First of all, you need a topic for your blog. Pick something that you are knowledgeable and passionate about. For example, my first blogs (started over a decade ago) were about my preemie twins and my love of shoes. You’ll want to write about something that you are familiar with. This could be a hobby, a pet, a health problem, even a specific time or place. Trust me when I say the blog topic possibilities are endless. Don’t worry if someone else already has a blog about the same topic as every voice is unique. And it should go without saying, that you do need your own unique content (aka don’t steal other’s work).
Get Domain / Hosting
Now that you have your topic idea, you need your domain name and website! Many other bloggers that blog about making money as a blogger suggest that you use BlueHost to start with, yet those bloggers personally do not use them. Why? Because you get what you pay for. Yes, BlueHost may be the cheapest website host (and pay good affiliate commissions for referrals), but they are definitely not the best.
If you are on a tight budget and not sure if blogging is for you, then maybe you do want to start on BlueHost as they offer a free domain name and web hosting starting at $3.95 per month. You can always switch hosts as your traffic grows and you need more bandwidth.
I personally buy my domains through GoDaddy and use WP Engine for hosting which is $29 per month for one domain (I have the business plan for 25 sites). WPEngine’s support is phemonenal and will help you with any questions you may have at any time of the day or night (they’ll even help you transfer your blog if you switch from a different host). WP Engine also does daily automatic backups, updates and maintence. That alone is worth the extra money to me as I’ve lost whole websites all due to a plug-in not being compatible when I didn’t have a current backup.
Do not, I repeat do NOT, use a free service like WordPress.com, Wix or Blogspot to start blogging on. You do not own the content when you use someone else’s platform, and they can take it away from you at any time. If you can’t afford to invest in hosting, you may want to rethink if you really want to be a blogger after all.
WordPress.org (not to be confused with WordPress.com) is the platform you’ll want to use for your content. Nowadays, you do not have to be technical to install WordPress. Any host that you use, whether it be BlueHost or WP Engine, will install WordPress for you for free.
Now that you have your topic, domain name and host all set up, start writing your authentic content! You will want to build up content before you bombard visitors with advertisements. Plus your visitors will find you more trustworthy if you don’t try selling things to them right away.
Start writing and visitors will come? Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Your work on your blog does not stop at setting it up and writing. You will now need to market your blog. My favorite (free) ways to do this are via social media and search engine optimization. “When I started my blog, I found that patience is also crucial. It took at least 2-3 months until I started receiving consistent visitors” states Ben from Ascend Finance.
I suggest sharing your new blog posts with your friends and family. Use relevant hashtags to target others looking for similar content. If your content is good, those visitors will want to then share it with their friends and family and so on.
Search Engine Optimization
Google is the number one source of traffic for many blogs. If you want your blog to rank well, you’ll need to learn a little SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques, such as using keywords when writing your posts. I suggest using the Yoast SEO plugin on your blog and adding your site to Google’s Webmaster Tools (both of these recommendations are free to use).
Don’t expect to get rich overnight by blogging. Once you have content, you can start to monetize your blog. I suggest not “putting your eggs all in one basket” so you don’t rely solefly on one type of ad placement. What are the different ad types you ask? Click here to learn about the six types of companies that pay bloggers.
I hope my tips on how to start blogging (and hopefully make money) have helped. If you have a blog, either new or old, leave your URL in the comments or contact me, so I can check it out, share with my readers and even offer you suggestions on how to make your blog better.