You have finally decided to start a blog. Some people blog about topics they love such as exercise, fitness, and shopping. Others want to start a blog to make money or as part of their small business website.
Where do you start? There is a plethora of help available on the web, but sometimes too much information can be very confusing. The following steps will help you get started creating your first blog.
Choose Your Platform
Before you write your first post, you have to decide what blogging platform you want to use. There are many different options from which to choose.
Most people have heard of WordPress and there is a reason for that. There are more than 82 million active users of WordPress. That’s probably why you might have heard of it.
Because it is user-friendly and versatile, WordPress is one of the most-used blogging platforms on the Internet today. There are also numerous add-ons, themes, and plugins that make it easy for you to change the layout, design, and functionality of your site.
Before you get started you need to know that there are two types of WordPress sites. One is WordPress.com and the other is WordPress.org. The main difference is in who hosts your website. WordPress.com takes care of your hosting for you but it is much less customizable than WordPress.org which is a self-hosted option.
There are also many other free platforms such as Joomla, Drupal, Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly. It is important to understand ahead of time that when not using self-hosting, you will find restrictions with regards to SEO, design, and functionality.
We recommend using WordPress.org for the following reasons:
- Your site will look more professional when visitors see your custom domain like yourname.com versus a free domain like yourname.myfreewebsite.com.
- A vast community supports WordPress. If you have questions, a simple Google search will yield a ton of results in forums, videos, or tutorials.
- The increased flexibility you get with self-hosted sites gives you tremendous control to do whatever you want with your website.
Choose Your Domain Name
Your domain is the URL or website address people will use to access your blog. The cost of a domain is minimal, usually between $10 and $15 a year. Your domain should be simple and easy to remember. But you also want it to represent the content of your blog.
For example, if you are writing a blog about your favorite recipes, you might want to buy a domain like yournamerecipes.com. Some people want to brand themselves and use their real name as their domain like yourname.com. If .com is available, you should grab it. If not, you can also try .net or .biz.
Select a Web Hosting Package
Yes, your WordPress site is free but you still need to host it somewhere. Before you can decide what kind of hosting to choose, you should understand what it is. Your host is where all your website files live and enables visitors to see what you have on your site.
To choose the best hosting platform for you blog, first determine what you need.
- What kind of website are you building?
- Will you need special software?
- How much traffic do you expect?
You can discuss your options and needs with the hosting company you choose. They should be able to help guide you towards purchasing the best package suited to your needs.
If you are a newbie, your best choice is to look into a shared hosting account that is relatively inexpensive and easy-to-maintain. You can spend more time focusing on building your site while not having to be concerned about security and maintenance. If your site grows, you can always upgrade your plan at a later date.
Choose a Theme
Another significant advantage to using WordPress is the availability of thousands of free and premium themes. The theme is a template for the visual layout of your blog.
You will have the ability to alter the template to your desired choice of colors, styles, and layouts. Those who are more technical and creative will be able to customize a template to a more considerable extent than those who are not. However, the templates are valuable starting points for any user.
Provide Basic Information
At a minimum, you should provide your readers with information about who you are, why they should read your posts, and a little background information about your brand story.
If your blog is a business blog, be sure to include what you are offering, why your readers should care, and what problems or pains your business offerings will solve.
Now is the time where you get to use your creative and persuasive skills in the content you write. Before you start writing, think about the reason you started your blog in the first place. Some of the things you need to consider are:
- The primary goal and the purpose of your blog
- How often will you blog?
- Will your tone be educational, fun, or casual?
- What is the action you want your readers to take after reading your posts?
It’s relatively simple to get started on your first blog. As long as you cover the basics, have fun writing your first post. You can always start small and make changes as you go along or as your blog grows.