Have you always wanted to start a blog either for business or personal reasons? It can be intimidating, right? However, with the right knowledge, starting a blog will be a piece of cake for you. Here is a step-by-step guide:
Get a domain name and hosting
For starters, you’ll need hosting and a domain name. But why would you do that? You can have a free blog on WordPress.com, right?
But, if you truly want to be seen as a professional, you need your own corner of the internet where all of the content belongs to you and you can control it. On WordPress.com, that is not the case.
So, if you want a good start, you have to invest some money.
This is where BlueHost steps in. Most people start there – it’s cheap, simple and partnered with WordPress. You can get it for even less money through various bloggers partnered with them. This may not be the top quality option you are looking for but it will do in the beginning. You can switch it later, once you start earning money on your blog.
You will have to choose a domain name – choose wisely. To change it, you’ll have to pay more money so be careful. If some of your first options are taken, try using something either shorter or similar to that. Remember, your domain name is going to appear in your URL and everywhere connected to your blog. It needs to be memorable and it needs to look good and professional.
Don’t choose a domain name that’s too long – the shorter is better in this case. They will give you a temporary domain – don’t get confused by that. Once you launch your site, it will change into your chosen domain name.
“Some may get confused with Bluehost, especially if they have zero experience or knowledge of this part of the job, but there are plenty of videos and tutorials that show you exactly what you need to do in order to set everything up,” says Josie Bell, a blogger and regular contributor to Phd Kingdom.
This is a one-click process on Bluehost and that’s why it’s so often recommended to new bloggers who are still unsure of what they need to do. All you have to do is log in to your fresh Bluehost account, enter your cPanel and find a place where it says WordPress. It’s that simple.
Then you’ll have to wait for a while until it downloads.
WordPress.org works in a similar way to WordPress.com – when it downloads, you will see a pretty familiar dashboard but there will be more options that you otherwise wouldn’t have.
Design your website
Now comes the fun part – or the tedious part, depending on where you stand. Choosing your own theme, design and fonts may seem like a wonderful job, but in reality it’s only fun for about five minutes. Then it gets frustrating.
The important thing is to keep your head in the game and don’t get too caught up into the details. Elaborate, masterpiece themes look amazing but you really have no use of them at the moment. Choose a simple one that you will spice up with some personal touches like fonts, images, your logo and so on.
It’s much better to go for a theme which loads quickly than for a theme that looks good but loads incredibly slowly.
Many experts say that you should just focus on choosing something you like and moving on because you’ll get a lot more ideas as you go and you’ll change and tweak a lot of things. No one really sticks with their original design as trends, styles and preferences as well as the nature of your blog changes. You should, however, be consistent with your niche. Assuming you are already aware of which one you want to contribute to, you can choose designs and themes that work well with it. For instance, green or gold colors if your niche is finance.
Get some useful plugins
Some would say that you should write your first blog post straight after – or even before – choosing a theme, but it’s wiser to stick with the technical side of starting a blog. This means setting up many different preferences as well as installing all of the recommended plugins.
For one, you’ll definitely benefit from the Yoast SEO plugin. It has a free and paid version. For starters, you could use the free one. Yoast SEO will be with you as you write your posts and let you know just how readable and optimized your posts are. If you notice a red smiley face, this means that you need to change something – and Yoast SEO will tell you exactly what it is.
Next, install and activate WP forms or a different plugin for email newsletter signups. This is really useful later on, as you get more visitors.
You should also see if Optinmonster – a plugin that gives your visitors a form where they can leave their email.
For speed optimization, download Hummingbird plugin and choose one for all of your social media icons.
Overall, there are a lot of options that you can choose from. There is a free plugin for almost anything. Test them and download the ones that work well for your site and your needs.
Write a post
Now it’s finally the time to write a post.
Choose an interesting topic from your niche. Something that people would want to know about. It’s recommended that you start with a few – at least two – pillar posts. These are those long, 2000+ word posts where you give an extensive guide on something. These usually have a title starting with How To or A Guide To.
Choose a realistic schedule for yourself. Once a week may be realistic for you if you have a job but you can post more if you have more free time. An average would be three times a week but this is not set in stone and different schedules work for different people and different blogs.
Add plenty of images and visual aids to make your words breathe and to illustrate your point a bit better.
Be concise and find your own voice in writing. People are not looking just for tips but also for some personality.
Optimize for Google
Yoast is a huge help in this area but there are also things you have to do on your own. For instance, choose a keyword you’ll rank for or optimize the speed of your site. Google takes everything into account so you should learn the general rules and best practices to ensure that you’ll rank well.
Let the world know you are there
Finally, create social media profiles or pages. While it may be a good idea to do them all, this will actually cost you a lot of time and yield poor results. Instead, focus on two platforms tops. Most experts recommend Twitter as a must and most recently, Pinterest as it’s a great place to get some people to see your content without having to gather a huge following.
You can also do LinkedIn, if that suits your blog better or you could do Facebook, although it can be difficult to get followers there in the beginning.
Starting a blog may seem hard when you are not skilled in certain areas but it can be really simple if you follow these tips and steps. The most important parts of the process are remaining consistent in your posting and being available across different social media platforms. Hopefully, this guide will help you.