When it comes to blogging, there are many who want to start, but don’t really know how to. Most of the ‘how to’ posts around the internet don’t go into the details. That’s what we’ll see today: a complete breakdown of every step of launching your own blog.
Why should I get a blog?
This is one of the most basic questions you need to ask yourself before opening a blog. Yes, almost every other person on the internet maintains a blog, but that doesn’t mean that everyone really needs to have a blog.
There are many practical usages of a blog. It can be used to keep your family and friends updated about your whereabouts, or to showcase your skills as an author and publish your works on specialized topics, or even to raise awareness about a product or service that you plan to sell. If nothing else, a blog can just be used for you to jot down your own thoughts, which can even be spread. In fact, you can make money from your blogs like many successful bloggers do.
Before starting the process of getting a blog, ask yourself why you want to get the blog. Having a definitive purpose of the blog makes the later stages of launching your blog much easier.
Now, let’s get started.
Step 1: Choose a platform for your blog.
There are plenty of options when it comes to a blogging platform. But a whopping 48% of the entire blog scenario is covered by WordPress, which has over 82 million active users. Other than that, many people opt for Blogger, which is pretty good in its own merits, and Tumblr, which is an easy-to-use hybrid of social network and traditional blogs.
Here are some reasons why people all around the world love to use WordPress as their blog’s platform:
- It is very easy to set up.
- There are loads of themes at your disposal, for you to decorate your blog as you wish. The best part is that most of these are completely free.
- WordPress is easy to use and understand. Yet, if you get stuck at any place, there are many support forums to help you get out of that sticky situation.
- It is pretty fast, and looks professional and functional. And yes, it works that way too.
- Interaction with people is very easy. People can easily comment on your posts, and so can you.
- As WordPress has a large number of users, your blog will get more views and get more exposure.
Since WordPress is the best and most popular blogging platform out there, let’s progress to the next steps keeping WordPress in focus.
Step 2: Hosted blog or a self-hosted one?
What do these terms even mean? It’s pretty simple – hosted is a free blog, and self-hosted is one that you pay for. Right about now you must be thinking why would anybody pay if there is a free alternative, right?
That’s because hosted platforms aren’t technically your property. This means that the platform runners can delete your blog entirely if they wish. Moreover, you won’t really get your own domain name. For example, instead of thisblogismine.com, you will get thisblogismine.wordpress.com. And of course, there are many other limitations of a hosted platform.
Self-hosted blogs, on the other hand, require you to pay, but you can own the domain name as well as the blog itself. And all the limits you’d face in hosted platforms will be eliminated in self-hosted mode. In other words, this is the premium version with lots of advantages.
- Hosted is free, but you don’t own it completely, and there are many limitations.
- Self-hosted is paid, but you own your blog and the domain alongside other advantages.
Depending on the purpose of your blog, you will have to choose between hosted and self-hosted blogs on your preferred platform. If you are just starting off, you could opt for a hosted blog. Don’t worry, you can later upgrade to self-hosted if need be.
Step 3: Choose your domain name (for self-hosted blogs)
The domain name is what comes between www and .com. Hosts like Bluehost (Read my review) help you get your own domain on platforms like WordPress, and also takes care of additional troubles on your behalf.
Now, you can choose any name for your domain, but we suggest you keep it short, simple, easy to spell and to understand. Avoid using numbers and hyphens between words. If possible, make your domain name search-friendly, so that when people search for certain keywords that coincide with your blog’s domain, they are directed to your website. This will get you more traffic and eventually can make your blog popular.
If you wish to get a self-hosted blog, you’ll need to choose your domain name carefully, as that’s where people will find you. This is your website, after all, and can build a reputation for you. Many popular websites and blogs online are hosted by Bluehost on WordPress platform, but due to their proper domain names, you’d seldom understand that it is a WordPress website.
Step 4: Give your blog a makeover – make it look good.
Think about your blog as the house you rented or bought. The structure is there, but now it is time for you to paint it and decorate it the way you want. That’s where WordPress impresses, with a plethora of designs ready for your use.
It is a good idea to use themes. Otherwise the blog would look rather bland, and it would reflect poorly on you. An un-decorated blog sends out the message that the blogger didn’t even put much effort to satisfy the audience. Why should anybody stay on your blog if they feel like you didn’t even try?
Now most of these are free, and you can avail these themes to make your blog look better. However, you may opt for the premium (StudioPress Themes) or customized ones for moderate to high expenses, though it is suggested that you use those for self-hosted blogs.
While considering which theme to use for your blog, keep the following in mind:
- The theme should go hand-in-hand with the type of content you post, or the purpose of your blog. If your blog posts are technology related, it wouldn’t make any sense if your theme is soccer-related.
- The theme should not make the text unreadable. Ensure some color contrast.
- The theme should be appealing enough to attract and retain blog readers.
Step 5: Personalize your blog.
Now that your blog looks pretty neat, it’s time for you to add some personal touches to your blog. Firstly, add a header to your blog, which will serve as the name of your blog – the first thing that people notice when they enter your blog.
Secondly, go to the “About” page and write something about yourself. Don’t make it too long. Just fill it in with essentials about you that you’d like others to know.
Step 6: Start writing blog posts.
Now that everything else is in order, get started on the content of your blog. Write your first blog post and publish it. This is where the purpose of your blog comes in handy. Your first post and all the consequent blog posts should reflect the purpose or the central theme of your blog.
As a first time blogger, you may not be sure how to write the posts. Here are some essential tips for writing a blog:
- Define your target audience. According to the purpose of your blog, make a mental note of who will be your target readership. Cater to their needs accordingly in order to retain readership.
- Do your homework. You must know what you are talking about. Don’t post information without verifying its authenticity.
- Keep your blog posts short, segmented and interactive. Readers on the internet don’t like to read a long wall of writing. So make your posts short, and break them down to smaller paragraphs. And yes, make your posts interactive, with open ended question and invitation to comment.
- Content is king. For any blog, the content posted is what will bring the audience and cause them to keep coming back for more. Therefore, make sure that your posts are interesting.
- Use visual contents. Add small pictures every now and then to make your post more attractive and interactive. Don’t forget to specify the source of the picture.
Step 7: Share, share, share.
After your blog is created and there are a few posts there, share the blog on your social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. Encourage people to read your posts. And share the link every time you publish a new blog post. There is no shame, for self-promotion is the best type of promotion.
Getting a blog is actually quite easy once you know what needs to be done. However, simply launching the blog is not enough. You must nurture and maintain it in order for your blog to become renowned with a good number of regular readership. Be it to showcase your talent, to spread your ideas, or for any other purpose you dim fit, your blog must be a reflection of yourself. So go ahead, launch a blog based on what we discussed so far, and carry it on by making regular, relate-able posts.