How To Start a Blog – Beginner’s Guide for 2017
Starting a blog is a great idea, and we are so glad you’ve finally decided to step out into the open. The only problem which really is not, is that with so many options to choose from and so many possibilities, it’s very easy to get swamped as a beginner. But that’s not going to happen, not on our watch anyways, since apparently that’s the reason why you are here – to learn from a fool-proof guide on how to start a blog for beginners -the easy way.
Every blogger was once a newbie, so sip easy nobody was born with the knowledge. The important thing is that one must be ready to learn new things but not just that, you must also be willing and ready to learn newer and better ways of doing them.
In this discussion, the ultimate target is to equip you with sufficient knowledge to start your own blog immediately after leaving here, right. So I promise it’ll be simple, and relatively easy to understand. Presto!
Over the past coupe of years blogging has rapidly evolved to become one of the most popular ways of communicating and spreading information and news. With literally millions of blogs online, platforms are being created where people can discuss about the things most important to their lives and also interact with a community of like-minded people.
Whether you are an aspiring internet marketer, a work at home mom or a business concern, having a blog will help you to project your image and brand to the world. It’s a great way to express yourself and also a fantastic way to share information with others. And the good thing is that there’s no coding or programming knowledge required by you. Great, right?
Another good reason why you should hop in on the blogging train is that it provides an opportunity to train your writing and conversational skills. You get to interact with a lot of people through feedback, comments, and while some will commend you, others will critique you while some others (don’t worry, it’s just a minor few) will be all out to just smash you. You learn to deal with all of that daily, and eventually you get better both as a blogger and as a human.
Let’s not kid ourselves here, the most important reason why you decided to start blogging and which you’ve been waiting for me to talk about for a while is the MONEY aspect. Well, I deliberately decided to save this for the last. Of course, you can make some cool cash through blogging, especially if you are a good writer.
Oh wait, blogging is cool, right…just go somewhere and when its time to introduce yourself you just say “yeah I’m John Doe, I’m a blogger”-cool, simply cool dude.
Creating your own blog can take a little while, maybe 30 minutes or so. So you might want to grab yourself a cup of tea or juice and let’s get started. And just in case you need any form of assistance during the set-up process, feel free to get in touch with me here and I’ll try my best to answer any questions you might have.
6 easy steps on how to start a blog
If you follow this guide exactly, you’ll have your own blog set up in 30 minutes or less. It’s a promise. So here we go;
– Select your preferred blog platform
– Select a good web hosting for blog
– Set up a blog on your own domain
– Design and customize your blog
– Start blogging
– Spread the word
Step 1 – Select your preferred blogging platform
Choosing where you want to build your blog is pretty much the first thing you have to do. It’s not quite rocket science to guess why. Whatever decision you take at this stage will probably stay with you for a very long time, and will obviously shape your blogging experience down the line. There are basically two types blogging platforms available for us to choose from:
1. Free blogging platforms: Great for learning blogging for beginners e.g Blogspot, WordPress.com, weebly, etc
2. Paid blogging platforms: More proffessional and with better flexibility e.g WordPress.org, Squarespace etc
I usually advocate WordPress for beginners. It’s massive platform on which to start your blogging career.
It’s by far one of the biggest blogging platforms in the world, with more than 70 million active user. You have direct access to a multitude of themes, plugins and add-ons . There’s really no limit to the different ways in which you can design and customize your blog. As a matter of fact, about 48% of Technorati’s Top 100 Blogs Are Managed With WordPress.
Another good reason why I recommend WordPress is because it’s been around for quite a while now. It is tried and tested. What this means is that there’s already a robust community of users who have gone through most of the problems a newbie will ever experience. Most of the answers to would-be problems are already out there in the open.
However, there are even more reasons why WordPress is an obviously better bet than the other platforms;
It’s very easy to set-up and is free to use
Tons of free frameworks, themes and plugins
Your blog will be insanely fast and it’ll also easy to set up SEO (Search Engine Optimization-more on that later)
You can easily interact with your audience. Your content can be shared, commented on, and liked.
Definitely, there are other alternatives you might consider, and they are listed below:
Blogger – the next best thing to WordPress.
Tumblr – Half social network, half blog.
Step 2 – Select a good web hosting for blog
This is the biggest decision you’ll have to make before we go any further. You need to decide whether to pay for your blog or grab a free one.
WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger all offer free blogging platforms for anyone and frankly, that’s super awesome! It’s perfect for those of who want to learn how to build a blog but aren’t super serious about blogging. But it does have downsides:
1) You won’t be able to get your OWN domain name
On a free blog, you don’t have the full power to customize your website address, and that sucks, right? yeah. Your blog’s web address (your URL) will probably look like this:
2) You DON’T ACTUALLY OWN your blog
It might sound such a strange thing to say, butt you don’t actually own your OWN blog. Your host have been so magnanimous to help you keep your files, but it’s hosted on someone else’s web property and they can delete it if they want to. God forbid a major catastrophe, your files are not easily accessible to you – that includes your layout, and posts. What this means is that all your hard work on your blog, all those countless hours of writing blog posts might simply disappear within seconds. Sad but true.
On the other hand, with a self-hosted blog on your own domain name – you are the REAL owner of your blog. You’ll be able to name your blog whatever you want, for example “YourName.com”. You can end it with .com, .info, .ng, .ng.com .co.uk, .net, .org, or virtually any other web suffix. Add to that unlimited bandwidth for videos, images and content plus the free themes – any wonder why self hosting trumps free hosting every night and day?
So how much is hosting and a domain name? Not as much as you’re thinking, fortunately. It usually works out to about $7 to $10 per month, depending on your hosting provider.
3) Excessive Limitations on your blogging
There are some limits to free blogs. You can’t fully monetize it, and you don’t have the possibility to upload all those splendid videos and images you want to show everyone – it’s all limited. Not to mention that you won’t even have access to all the awesome free themes and customization offered by WordPress. Have you seen a Blogger widget before? Oh well…
Step 3 – Set up a blog on your own domain (if you chose self-hosting and a custom domain)
From this point onwards, I’m going to push ahead based on the premise you’ve chosen WordPress, and if you haven’t, you should. I promise you won’t regret it – I use it myself, as do millions of others out there.
If you’re still a little confused by what a self-hosted blog is, allow me to explain and how you can go about setting one up for yourself.
You’ll need to come up with a domain name you like and also choose a hosting company that can host your blog.
Domain: The domain is basically the URL of your website. Examples: google.com (Google.com is the domain), Facebook.com (Facebook.com is the domain). See? Simple!
Hosting: Hosting is basically the company that puts your website up on the internet so everyone else can see it. Everything will be saved on there. Think of it as a computer hard-drive on the internet where your blog will be saved.
Feel free to use any web hosting of your choice. One very good host with awesome deals and great discounts is ipage. I personally use domainking for some of my blogs. You can try them too, they even throw in a free domain name with their hosting plans. Most, if not all of them, should have a “one-click” WordPress install solution on their admin panel.
That button will automatically install WordPress on your blog. Now, that there is the definition of simple!
All you need to do is sign up with your chosen hosting provider, choose your hosting plan and a domain name and look for the one-click WordPress install button on the admin panel.
WordPress essentials aren’t often needed, but I’d recommend whois privacy (which helps to keep all your personal details private) and definitely automated backups for obvious reasons – remember that stuff about all your hard earned blogwork going to waste- this will ensure that doesn’t happen.
Once WordPress is installed on your website, all you have to do to start blogging is go to your WP-Admin page usually www.yourblogname.com/wp-admin and start writing by adding a new post.
Step 4 – How to Design your WordPress blog
You’ve persevered up to this point – you must be a Reaaal Champion! Don’t worry here’s a medal for you (MEDAL). Another one awaits you upon completion of this post. Thank you….
Let’s make your blog look exactly how you want it to. To choose a new theme, you can either head to Appearance > Themes and install a free WordPress theme (there are literally millions of them by now) or you can head to a premium theme website like ThemeForest.net and buy a theme for around $40.
I usually choose something that looks professional and very easy to customize. WordPress also has this awesome feature that allows you to change themes with just a few clicks. So if you start getting tired of your current blog template, you can just switch to another one without losing any precious content or images.
Remember, your blog’s design should reflect both you and your personality, but also what the blog is about. There’s no point having a football-orientated theme if your blog is about tennis, it just doesn’t make any sense.
On top of that, it should be easy to navigate if you want people to stick around. If it’s tricky and difficult to move around it, people won’t stay. Design is a subjective art; meaning everyone likes different things. But no one likes ugly websites, and they especially hate websites that need a degree in rocket science to navigate. Make it easy for them, and for you. You haven’t come all this way to learn how to start a blog just to create a nightmare for your visitors. Yeah I thought so too…
Step 5 – Start Publishing Posts on Your Blogging Account
You have now acquired the Ninja status in “How to set up a blog” – congratulations (don’t get super excited just yet. I just said that to make you feel good, but it’s okay). Create your first post and publish, voila. From your WordPress Admin dashboard (yourblogname.com/wp-admin), Click Posts > Add New, then start writing. If you suffer writer’s block ( a very deadly and lethal disorder that literally blocks a writer’s head – oopsie), just write something about your plans to take over the blogging world (yeah, I can see it in your eyes), and click the blue “Publish” button..voila!
Step 6 – Spread The Word About Your New Blog
This is actually not a step per se, just an afterthought. So now you have your shiny brand new site. Why not show it to your friends – they’re obviously going to think it’s cool, and that YOU are cool too. So take a short hop to the WordPress market place at Plugins > Add New. Click on the search box and type “AddToAny”. Select the first result on the list (the name of the plugin is AddToAny Share Buttons). Click on the “Install” button. Choose to activate the plugin from the next screen.
Now, whenever you navigate to your website “yourblogname.com”, you will see a nice looking set of share buttons at the end of your posts, just like on this blog. Clicking any of them will allow you share that blog post with your friends and the entire world – easy peasy!
Note that apart from AddToAny, there are several other ways you can share your blog with people. I chose AddToAny because it’s very easy to setup, and I do use it. No surprises it’s free – WordPress and it’s freebies eh!
So, feel free to do it anyhow you like, and don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends and loved ones to0. You might just be doing someone a big favour by showing them how to start a blog. If not for anything, just to get some hands-on feel for how to use social sharing.
Now you’ve learned how to start a blog – hope it was easy. If you are interested in learning how to set up an online store (using woocommerce), I have a guide on how to do that. It’s pretty much easy just like this post too. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
SEO optimization is a very critical weapon in the arsenal of any website owner, be it a blog or an online store. The folks at Supagrowth provide a comprehensive suite of SEO tools that will enable you to start quickly outranking your competitors like a pro SEO Ninja in no time. And the good news is that it;s completely FREE!!! So what are you waiting for? Have a productive day…