This post is aimed at teaching you how to start a blog; and not just any kind of blog but a good one.
There is no need to beat about the bush. There are already a thousand and one articles on the internet concerning new blogs, how to start new blogs and everything in between. I am not going to bore you with irrelevant things on starting a blog but I will hit the nail on the head. Why? It is simple. I write quality and not quantity. This blog post aims to help you achieve what it takes to create a “good” blog and turn it into a great one, not just any regular type of blog.
LET’S BEGIN THE JOURNEY, SHALL WE?
First, it is easy to blog; that is a fact. Another fact is – it is not easy to maintain a good blog. And with the rate at which new blogs are springing up all over the internet, you might as well begin to have a rethink as to if you should actually start a blog, why you should start one and what it takes to start a blog. Do you want to be the next big sensation or you just want a small blogosphere to connect with your community? Regardless of the what the reason is, if you have not made up your mind to actually start one, or you are not still sure yet and need more conviction if to or not to start one, take a few minutes to read through my blog post on Why You Should Start a Blog. You will be glad you did and thank me later, I promise.
THE BABY STEPS
I do not believe every journey begins with a step. No. You don’t want to start a journey only to realize you shouldn’t have in the first place so here is what I believe – “every journey begins, not with a step, but with a decision”. My mother would always tell you, if you choose to do something or you choose not to, either way, you just made a choice. So the first step is make up your mind.
Make up your mind to start a blog
You could wish all you want my dear; you could even begin to visualize yourself on a well-lit stage winning the Best Blogger Award but if you don’t put your mind where your heart is, you will end up nowhere – like a plant among weeds. Different reasons to start blogs exist but for all those blogs that presently exist, their handlers all did the same thing to be where they are today. They all made up their minds to blog.
In fact, I personally started out as a blogger to kill boredom, yes, I did. I had stayed at home a full month, bored and oblivious of what to do with my time. I read and had a “brain block”, I watched TV till my eyes sore, I surfed the internet till I lost interest and then it occurred up to me to share interesting chapters of my life on the internet rather than stack them up in my drawer; and like most others, I was unsure if I was doing myself any good. Then I made up my mind to start one. I opened a blog titled Frandela and tried my first blog post and in a few minutes, I had a notification. One like, and in another three minutes, a comment and the interest and happiness level just spiked!
Choose a niche for your blog
Let me be frank with you, picking can be a very tough choice to make especially for first timers. Yes, you might not be an expert in one particular field and so you may want to write about any and everything that comes to mind. This is not a bad idea if you can create a unique style but it is not the best to practice.
Choosing a niche helps you achieve two things – one, focus and concentration on one subject matter and two, let’s your audience know exactly what your blog is about. You may consider having a niche a limitation as though you are being caged but hey, who says you have to be locked up in one corner of your world? Absolutely not. You could be a student who loves all those tech stuff so you can write about the latest devices on the planet, how to maximize output using your devices, tell us how the latest phone which your classmate got caused commotion in class, why you dislike a particular gadget and so much more. You just have to be creative!
To learn more about how to choose a niche and important questions you should ask yourself before choosing one, click here to see this special blog post prepared just for you.
Choose a name for your blog
Everything that exists has to have a nomenclature – from food to plants, objects and even humans! So why would your own be different? Choose a name for your blog related to what you choose to blog about. Now there is a catch here. You should not choose a totally generic name like “Techie”, “food blog” or “photography blog”. Chances are there are over a hundred blogs that already have such names so you would be fighting a battle for space and recognition even before you start your blog (including SEO ranking). Trust me, you really do not want that.
When choosing a blog name, bear these in mind. Never choose a generic one. Number two, choose something related to the niche you want to write; three, if you are a celebrity or a popular figure, you might as well just use your name if it is easy to spell and pronounce as it makes it easier for people to find and connect with your blog and four, take the risk and choose an entirely new and curiosity-kicking name.
Yes. One would wonder what Frandela is and decide to check it out. That’s the same way yours might be too if you can be able to raise the curiosity level of your first timers to know what your blog is about.
Choose a domain name
A domain name is the internets recognition tag for every blog or website. Your domain name is simply a specific link (URL) that people input or click on to get to your blog. Usually starts with “www.” or just the http:// followed by the domain name; it ends with a .com, .org, .net, .edu, .biz, .tv, .blog, .info, .ng, .co.uk and so many more suffixes depending on choice. An example is frandela.com or http://frandela.com or http://www.frandela.com or even just www.frandela.com. It is one and the same thing.
You may have at one point come across other domain names such as http://frandela.wordpress.com or http://francisihejirika.blogspot.com. These are still domain names but for free, unpaid blogs. The differences between them are just the blogging platform – WordPress or Blogger and the lengths.
Your domain name could also be the title of your blog. It is actually the best practice as it makes it easier for people to remember your domain name. If they can remember the name, they can remember the domain. One last thing, leave out all the unnecessary extras. By extras I mean hyphens, numbers, random symbols and confusing words.
Pick a blogging platform
There are so many blogging platforms available such as Tumblr, Webs.com, Pinterest etc. but the very two that most readily come to mind are Blogger and WordPress. They are the most popular, and in my opinion, the most reliable. Often times, people ask me which platform to choose. I always tell them both platforms are good but for some very important reasons, I prefer WordPress; particularly for the reason of flexibility – it gives you total control over your blog.
WordPress which is my preferred choice is also two faced. There are wordpress.com and wordpress.org. The major difference is that the former hosts your blog for you without the possibility to monetize it while the latter gives you absolute freedom to set up and monetize it.
A free blog or a paid blog
This is almost where most bloggers miss it. Different bloggers start their blogs for several reasons and along the line, or halfway the journey, they decide to upgrade their free blogs to paid blogs or vice versa. The reason is very simple – a higher purpose has been found or the better decision has been made.
If you are new to blogging, possibilities are you may not gather so much audience within a short period of time, or make so much money if that is the aim. It requires time and concerted effort. So if you want to just focus on writing and entertaining your audience, or just gathering the right followers for your blog, it is advisable you start a free blog. A free blog has its advantages as well as disadvantages. Click here to find out more.
7. Pick a website host you are comfortable with
Just in case you have chosen to run a paid blog, congrats you just made a major decision. Why? You spend money. If you chose a free blog, you can just move ahead to the next point.
In case you did not know, every paid blog needs to run on a host. A host is like the storekeeper of your blog. It is very important to choose good hosts as choosing the wrong ones can affect your blog performance and ranking. Your host provides you with storage space and bandwidth according to your needs and chosen plan. This might sound like gibberish to new bloggers but not to worry, we have got you covered. Contact us to help out with this or continue reading to know more. Some web hosts include Hostgator, SmartWeb, QServer , Interserver, Godaddy, Bluehost etc.
There are factors you should consider before settling with a web host. They include the type of website or blog you want to run, the volume of traffic your blog might pull, affordability, customer support, host up-time and reliability.
8. Choose a layout/theme
Both Blogger and WordPress give you the option of choosing from a number of free layouts. The layouts (which are usually according to themes) available on both platforms are those that suit your need so you need to choose that which you think is best for you. You can also make a limited number of tweaks here and there to your free blog and make unlimited number of adjustments on your paid blog.
What is important is that you choose a responsive, user-friendly theme; one that is appealing to the eyes and help your readers get around very easily. Choose the colours you think are best for you.
After choosing your theme, you are free to begin your blogging journey. You can simply visit the setting page of your blog to choose your preferred settings for several things on the blog such as writing settings, discussion settings, date and time settings, permalink settings and more.
You are all set!
Now that your blog is up, there is need to put a few other things in place to ensure you keep your blog up and running. You can find out those in subsequent posts on the blog. Click here.
One last thing please, if this post has been helpful to you, do not go without leaving us a comment. Like I always say, share to your timeline also as your friend or an acquaintance might also find this very helpful.