How To Start Your Blog Today!
Let’s Start Your Blog Today
Starting a blog can be difficult if you have never put one together. There are many moving pieces involved, and it can be overwhelming. Because it can become overwhelming, it stops people from executing their blogging plans leaving blogging to be a dream deferred.
My goal is to get your blog started today and to help leave the excuses behind. However, I'm going to show you a different way to start your blog. When you've read other blog posts, they may tell you to start with various steps in different ways, and that's fine.
I believe if you set your blog up correctly the first time, it can benefit you better in the long run. Take notes and be sure to save this in your favorites and refer back to the post at any time.
Please not there are affiliate links within this blog post. This means if you make a purchase a percentage of that purchase is paid to the blogger in order to maintain the website and bring you amazing content.
How Blogging Can Help You Meet Your Goals
Determine why you want to start a blog
The first thing you want to do is determine what is your purpose for starting a blog. You could start a blog for a variety of reasons:
You want to start a blog because you want to share your writings with the world.
You want to start a blog because you have a business or product you want to promote and need more exposure.
You want to start a blog because you want to bring to light an issue or problem.
Finally, you may want to start a blog because you want to create a way to make additional income.
These are just a few of may reasons why people start blogs. In the blog As Told by A Melanin Girl, she states her goal for blogging is "to initiate a conversation, provide you with a perspective and encourage other melanin beings to think."
Wanting to start a blog because you have things to say is a perfect reason to start a blog because you can start a blog for any reason! What it comes down to, is what is your personal goal for your blog. By identifying your goal, it will help you determine how to set up your blog and what may be the best way to market your blog to your desired audience.
Determine what is/are your blogging goal(s)?
Creating a blog with purpose is an excellent idea because it can help you stay on track by writing about subjects that are in alignment with your mission. If you want to create a blog that focuses on helping veterans in need, you may develop posts that focus on the number of veterans who are homeless and how they are currently surviving on a day to day basis. You may also create content on community efforts that focus on helping veterans receive the help they need.
In this case, your goal is to raise awareness of the plight of homeless veterans and to evoke emotions within your readers to potentially do something about the issue on their own or to join your cause and assist you in making a change.
Here's another example; Maybe you want to become a professional makeup artist, and need exposure so that you can create your own business or get recruited by some big powerhouses such as MAC or Fenty. In your blog, you may discuss different ways to apply makeup, what tools you should use for what function, and a step by step guide on how to create your favorite makeup looks.
In this scenario, your goal is for people to look at you as an authority in the makeup community and share your guide on how to create incredible looks so that you can get more exposure.
By identifying your blogging goals, you can determine what content you should be posting to evoke what emotions you want your audience to feel when they come across your blog. By speaking to your market’s feelings, you can persuade them to take action, to continue to read your posts, to make a purchase, or share your content.
How to Create An Effective Blogging Plan
One of the top reasons why people fail to launch their blogs or why their blogs fail to do well is that they do not have a solid blogging plan. All the fire is there in the beginning, but because they haven't solidified their program, their blogging falls into the hobby abyss.
If you start by writing out and visualizing your plan, you are more likely to successfully execute said plan. Also, if you write out your plan, you will always have a point of reference to refer back to especially when you begin to grow your content and audience.
What is your niche?
Having a niche is uber important! A niche is a specialized group, product, or subject that people will choose to focus. What is the focus of your blog? Are you going to discuss women empowerment? Will your specialized subject be on encouraging breast cancer survivors? Where will your authority be?
A niche is excellent because it can help you with your marketing. For instance, if your focus is on teen girls ages 12-17, you probably won't spend a lot of time marketing on Facebook because this demographic mainly uses Snapchat and/or Instagram.
Niches are also crucial because it doesn't overwhelm you when it comes to topics you can use to blog. Plus when you start getting into SEO and keywords, having a niche will allow you to have a concentrated amount of keywords that you could use on your blog that will help raise your ranking within Google search engines.
What is your target market?
How do you know in what group you should market your blog? Who are the people that you expect to read your blog? If the answer is everybody, you are setting yourself up for failure. When you throw your net out too wide, you tend to waste time and money focusing on people who may not care about what you are writing.
For example, my first official domain was lifeisablast13.com. My goal was to share my personal stories, ups, and downs of being a single woman. I would post about my bad dates, what I did when I was lonely, and just other random plights of a single woman named Champagne. Although the ideas weren't a bad premise, I had no niche. Who was supposed to read my blog? Who was I writing for? Of course, I was writing for myself, but I could type that on my computer and save it on my hard drive. If I was putting it online, I desired other people to read about my shenanigans. Because I didn't know who to market my blog to, NO ONE read my blog.
What is Your Time Commitment?
Another critical part of blogging is commitment. If you want to grow your blog, you have to dedicate time to see it grow. Even if it is a hobby, you should create a time commitment sheet. If you want people to read your blog, you want to produce enough fresh content for them to keep coming back for more. You also don't want to have so much time between when you release your content because you could lose the interest of your audience.
Another reason why you want to blog on a regular basis is so that your blog can perform better with Google search engines. Google is the #1 search engine in the world, and one of the reasons is due to is their fantastic algorithm that predicts what the user is searching for.
Google also strives to bring up the most relevant sites to that users search inquiry and rewards websites that have current active activity. In theory, if two sites are discussing the same topics, but site A posts weekly and site B posts every two months, Google may rank Site A higher within the search results.
You also want to determine how much time you can dedicate to the behind-the-scenes operations of your blog. Your time management should include writing and editing new blog posts, setting up themes and topics, and also marketing your latest blog posts. You might have the desire to post daily, but based on your responsibilities your time may only allow you to post bi-weekly. Be reasonable with your time management and don't overextend your abilities. You may become overwhelmed and quit your blogging career before you even start.
What is your Marketing Plan?
How do you plan to let people know that your blog exists? There are millions of bloggers in the world, and everyone one wants readers for their blog. Many people are vying for the same readers, but they don't know how to reach that targeted audience.
This is why it is essential to understand who is your target market. You want to make sure the people you are trying to target are going to see the marketing that you intend to do. For example, some people may want to run radio ads which can work depending on your current industry. However, if you are targeting users who ride in luxury cars, they probably have a subscription to Sirius XM or another satellite radio subscription and may NEVER listen to the city radio. This would mean you are wasting your time and money marketing to a non-existent audience.
Another big part of FREE marketing is utilizing social media if you do not already. Many blogging platforms have an extension where you can share your blog on to their social media website easily. You can quickly gain readers by sharing your blog on your page and asking others to share it as well. This is low hanging fruit that will bring unique visitors to your site when you are just starting out.
What is Your Budget?
How much can you afford to create, maintain, and market your blog? Do you want to have a free website? Or are you willing to pay monthly fees? Do you plan on using free marketing tools such as social media and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or will you invest in paid advertising? Also, make sure to write down all the potential costs associated with running your blog when you are doing your initial research. If you know how much you are willing to spend, you will better understand what products and services you can use to grow your blog.
How To Create A Blog
By going through all the other parts first, hopefully, you have a clear idea on what your blog is about, how you will market your blog, and who your blog is targeted to.
Now we are going dive into the specifics so that you can have a blog that will be ready and running within one day!
Chose Your Blog Name
A blog name will be with you forever...or until you change it. I recommend finding a name that emulates what your blog is about or to use a name that has keywords that deal with your specific niche.
Keywords are selected words that are entered into the Google search engine by users when they are researching a topic. For example, let's use the keyword 'Pretty Hats.' When we enter pretty hats in Google's search engine, it brings up websites that have the term 'Pretty Hats.' As you see this group used Pretty Hat in their name, so they are at the top of the search results. What is even cooler is that if you check out their Facebook page, they don't have a ton of likes and they still were ranked at the top.
Also, make sure your blog name makes sense. The shopping site 4ForTeensboutique.com is an online e-commerce store the focuses on teen girls ages 13-17. The name even has "For Teens" in it which will rank in Google searches when someone types in "teens" or "For Teens" or other searches that involve the keyword teens.
Choose a Blogging Platform
A blogging platform is a site where you will be able to share your live blog for everyone to see. If you are a beginner, your first desire is to launch a blog site without spending hours and hours designing the website. However, if you have the funds, you can always hire a web developer to create and put together your site for you. If not, here are some free and paid sites that you can use to launch your first blog.
1. Wordpress.com or Wordpress.org
Wordpress is one of the top blogging platforms in the world and used by some of the biggest companies all over. The reason why everyone loves these sites is that you have an unlimited ability to customize these sites. If you have a web developer or if you are a web developer, you have free range to create some fantastically intricate websites. If not, WordPress offers many free and paid themes that you can use to design your website. You can also use plugins to enhance the user's experience as well as your experience as a webmaster. Wordpress is great for all blogs in all niches.
Wordpress.com Vs. Wordpress.org
Wordpress.org is an entirely free platform. All you have to do is purchase a domain name and a web host to display your blog. (We will talk about that shortly) Wordpress.com is a hosting service that you pay to use. There is a free version of wordpress.com, but the features are minimal.
Squarespace is a paid platform that makes designing your site as easy as 123. There are several blog themes you can choose to customize and make it your own. Squarespace is excellent for photography and fashion blogs due to its clean design templates.
Blogger is a straightforward free blogger platform that gets you ready to blog asap. There are customization options, but it can be limiting. Also, if you have a Google account, you can use your sign-in credentials to sign up for a free blogging account. You may also purchase a domain name for a nominal fee. If you are ready to just launch a blog site as quickly as possible, this is a great option.
Wix is a fun platform that offers free and paid services. Wix allows you to create a blog using its drag and drop features to create your customized website. Wix also offers SEO options to help improve your site's search engine visibility.
SEO is search engine optimization. This allows specific updates and content added to your site to be indexed quickly and improve your site's chance of coming up at the top of a users search session for organic traffic. If you want more information on SEO, check out MOZ.com's SEO for beginners.
Choose a Web Hosting Site
A web hosting site is where your site lives and your data is stored. These services allow visitors to visit your site and also provide services to enhance the functionality of your website. When looking for hosting sites keep in mind three things:
You want to find something that is within your budget. If you can't afford a higher priced hosting service, there are several other options that you can look into when starting your blog. The price of hosting is one of the costs you must take into account when you are doing your initial budget.
If I need help or have an issue, can I reach someone promptly? Do they resolve all my needs? Do they care about my needs? Customer service is significant because they are the face of the company and if they can't be the help that you need in the time that you need it, they may not be the best choice for you.
Sometimes hosting sites have issues that may cause your site to become unavailable. Of course, this is bad for business because people may come to your site and see a '404' redirect page and believe that your business is no longer available. Or you could miss out on sales from people who are ready to buy now, but they can't get to your page. Web hosts who have to take your page down for maintenance or other issues on a frequent basis should be avoided at all costs.
Blue host is a highly rated web host that has 24/7 customer service and a pretty good price for all their services.
Siteground has impressive customer service and can sometimes help you fix issues with other company's applications that you may try to integrate into your website.
Godaddy offers various reasonable monthly plans for bloggers as well as add-ons to their account such as an Microsoft 365 email marketing subscription.
Choose a Domain Name
A domain name is an address that people will use reach your website. For example, www.Walmart.com or www.Shipshopsave.com. If you type those names into your address bar or Google, it'll take you to directly to their sites.
Domain names are important because they are what people will associate with your blog. You want your domain name to reflect your blog name (if possible) or what your blog represents.
Let's check out 'Positively Deia.' Her page talks about her journey as a young woman who is HIV positive and writes about her journey to stay positive while enduring the trials and tribulations associated with her disease. Her name also reflects the spirit of her blog, Positively Deia. (Awesome spin on words.) The name relates to her and her topic. When people type into the search engine 'HIV positive blogs,' her blog should come up in the results.
Now, let's go back to my old page Lifeisablast13.com. It's a catchy title to type into the web browser; however, it tells you nothing about the focus of my site. Also, unless I spend time breaking it down to everyone I know, no one will understand what that title has to do with my blog niche.
Domain names will also determine if you want to pay for your name or use the free domain name that the blogging platform will provide you. For instance, if you choose to use the free Wix version, your website domain name will be 'yoursite.wix.com' versus 'yoursite.com.' It adds a bit of professionalism to your site when you purchase your web domain. However, this is why you have to do your budgeting in the beginning. Although, it would be nice for you to have your domain if it's not something you can afford to do right now you can still grow a fantastic blog using a free platform.
Choose Your Color Scheme
Colors are essential! They help you set your brand apart from others and also have some psychological elements to it.
For instance, when people see blue, the site feels calming and welcoming. Yellow reflects optimism and happiness. Sometimes people pick the colors that they like as well. If you already have an established brand, you can use those colors to add to your blog quickly.
Do I need an SSL Certificate?
An SSL Certificate is a security layer added to your site that protects those who enter their financial information or other personal information to their website. This has an additional cost associated and changes a page address from 'HTTP' to 'HTTPS.'(See examples below for the Black Male Collective and the Single Gal Guide) If you are selling things on your site or requiring payments, this is a must-have. If you have no desire to accept payments or sell stuff on your site, it is not needed at the moment.
Now you have everything you need to start a blog. Check out the other blogs that I used on this post as examples or ideas to help you design your blogs. In the future, we will build a blog together so that you can see what tools you can use to develop your blog with no experience necessary.