Do you want to learn how to start a blog?
Starting a blog is not complicated at all, and we’re here to assure you that creating a successful blog is not as daunting as many people think.
In fact, by following the step-by-step instructions in this guide you will be able to set up your own blog, avoiding pitfalls and missteps that hinder some novices (no technical skills needed).
Ready? Let’s get to it!
What you need to know before you start a blog
This section provides background information to help you understand the basics of blogging. We also describe a number of different benefits of blogging, how to choose your niche and blogging topic.
What is a Blog?
A Blog can be referred to many things for e.g. a digital magazine, diary, newscast, collector’s meeting place, a showcase for your art, information sharing, teaching hub, a place to learn and. Well, it could be almost anything you want it to be. A conventional blog combines text, images, videos and links to relevant pages and media on the Web. Blog readers can leave comments and communicate with the author. Indeed, dialogue and interaction are a prominent part of a blog’s success.
What are the benefits of Blogging?
- Makes you become a better writer and thinker
- Helps you establish yourself as an expert
- Enables you to increase your self-confidence
- Helps you to make friends and have fun
- Helps you earn money from your blog
Choosing a Perfect Niche of Interest
Before creating your own blog and moving forward to become a successful blogger try to attain the highest form of knowledge in the niche/topic of your choice. So pick the one that appeals to you—the one you are passionate about and most interested in. By choosing your area of interest and having your own point of view you’ll be able to position and differentiate your blog from the competition.
Brainstorming to identify your topic
Following is a process that can help you determine which niche is best for you:
- Prepare a list of your interests or hobbies. Whichever topics that fascinate you? List them down, for example, nature, fishing, photography, playing games or cooking.
- Next, list accomplishments you are proud of, such as musical talent, artistic talent or sports achievements.
- Now, list difficulties you have overcome or defeated, such as: losing a significant amount of weight, recovering from a financial setback or managing a disease.
During the course of this exercise, you will get a better feeling for the topics that resonate with you. The ones you are most passionate about are the best candidates for your niche.
‘5’ simple steps to starting a blog:
- Selecting a blogging platform
- Choosing a domain name
- Getting a web hosting account
- Installing blogging software and setting up a blog
- Selecting a blog design and layout
1. Selecting a Blogging Platform
At this stage, you will need to determine the type of blog management platform/tool you want to use. It is recommended that you set up your blog on one of the self-hosted platforms. But before you make the decision, let us describe each option. You have the following options to start your own blog viz. free, freemium and self-hosted (which is recommended) platforms.
a. Free Platforms
For various new bloggers, the availability of free blogging platforms such as Blogger or Tumblr is tempting. Of course, there is one big benefit, it’s free. But you need to understand that having a blog name in this form—yourname.blogspot.com or yourname.tumblr.com is the sign of an inexperienced beginner who likely won’t be taken seriously.
b. Freemium Platforms
These platforms have a trial period before you have to start paying and the costs vary from $5 to $30 per month. Many platforms are available. One of the most popular is TypePad. Freemium platforms focus on ease of use for writing, but customization options are limited and it lacks certain features of value to bloggers.
c. Self-hosted Platforms
These platforms allow you to run a blog on your own domain. In addition to following your domain registrar and web hosting company’s rules, you’re fully in charge of your blog and its contents.
You have several of choices when it comes to a self-hosted blog system which is also called Content Management System or CMS. The most popular is WordPress.org. These platforms are called self-hosted as you will be using your own web hosting space and name for your blog. It generally costs $4 – $8 per month for the web space i.e. the hosting account, based on the firm you choose, and $12 – $15 a year for the domain name. The actual CMS is usually open-source and free.
To get your new self-hosted blog started, you need to decide on two important things: a domain name and a web hosting provider. I Highly recommend Bluehost that powers over 2 million websites worldwide.
2. Choosing a Domain Name
No matter what niche you choose, your domain name will be the one by which you will be known online. It’s the unique address of your blog on the Internet. Your domain will be yours as long as you continue paying the annual fee ($10 to $15 for a .com domain).
3. Getting a Web Hosting Account
Once you choose your domain name, selecting reliable hosting services will be one of the most important decisions you make. The functionality and performance of your blog will depend on your hosting provider to a great extent. The host makes sure your blog is available 24/7 to potential readers and it’s where your files are stored online.
4. Installing Blogging Software and Setting Up a Blog
Now it is time to get your domain name and web hosting account and create your new blog.
Step by step blog set up instructions
This section provides detailed information to help you signup for web hosting account and set up a WordPress blog. We also included screenshots of the pages that you need to go through.
Use this link to get the special deal from Bluehost. Then click the “Get Started Now” button.
You should start by selecting your plan. If this is your very first one, you should go with the basic one – at least until you explore your options. The one called plus should be able to cover all your needs once you get your blog going, and you should consider the prime version once your popularity skyrockets.
Your domain name has an important say when it comes to the future success of your blog, so you should take your time to come up with something new. Just type in the desired domain in this “new domain” box and BlueHost will show you whether it’s available or not. If not, it will provide you with a list of similar names for you to choose from.
After you pick out your domain name, BlueHost will take you to the registration page where it will be required from you to fill in your personal info including the billing data. A couple of minutes is all you need.
Pay additional attention to your hosting options. Obviously, the 12-month package has the lowest price, but the other two are great when you want to make a long-term investment. You can feel free to uncheck the rest of the boxes – you can always get them later when you find them necessary.
After you enter your payment information, you’re ready to set your password which will be used for account verification purposes.
After successfully creating your new password you will be able to login to your account.
Once you login to your account, you are now able to choose one of the default WordPress themes for your new blog, provided by Bluehost. Keep in mind that you can always pick another theme from a WordPress.org repository.
After picking a theme of your choice you are now ready to create your new blog by logging in to the WordPress dashboard.
Once you login into your WordPress dashboard you will be prompted with the “Welcome” message and you can choose to accept the help provided by BlueHost for selecting the type of website you are about to create. Or, you can always do it on your own.
If you click on the Bluehost button in the left-hand corner, you will see the page with various tools which are designed to help you create your new site. You can easily launch your site by clicking the “Launch” button and be seen online within minutes.
After clicking the “Launch” button, you will just need to fill the two most important fields for your site. The title and description, which will tell your future visitors what is your site all about.
Now your new site is ready for launch!
If something is still unclear, then check out this video.
(How to install WordPress) Watch the full video here –
5. Selecting a Blog Design and Layout
After WordPress is installed, the first thing your blog needs is a face i.e. a design and layout. The design of your blog can be easily changed with the Themes. The default theme that comes with your WordPress blog installed is Twenty Sixteen—while it’s a good starter theme, you could select a theme that is more unique to your blog and compatible with your niche. Choose a theme that looks great, but also works for your unique content needs.
A quick checklist for choosing your theme by searching within the blog dashboard include:
- Reading the description
- Previewing the theme
- Checking the ratings
- Checking for responsiveness – Aim for a responsive design that will work on desktop browsers and mobile devices which is recommended by Google.
Once you install a theme you desire, do not be surprised if it doesn’t look quite right. Your theme is just a framework for your blog. To make it more appealing, you will have to fill in content.
Congratulations! Now you have your own domain name, hosting space and your blog is set up. Next, you will need to get familiar with the WordPress dashboard, learn how to make desired changes to your blog, start your content creation and promotion in order to become a successful blogger.
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