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Starting a blog, whether as a hobby, to build your personal brand or promote your business can be one of the best decisions you ever make. This post is titled blogging for beginners but it’s a handy guide that you can always refer to it whenever the need arises.
I know because when I started blogging in 2013, I went from 0 clients to signing up clients for my content creation service. If I didn’t start my blog, I wouldn’t have thought of hosting a virtual summit which took me from 0 to 1000 people on mailing list, was able to build a powerful network of influencers and got a $1000 sponsorship for my virtual summit. Click here to learn how you too can achieve the same results.
But I love beginnings. It’s a powerful force. It’s the first step that leads to great testimonies. And I am so excited that I get to show you step by step “how to start your own blog.”
Step 1: Start with the End in Mind
When you click to read most “how to start a blog post,” the first thing you see is “Choose a hosting provider”
Really??? Nope. The first advice I always give for anything, anything at all is to start with the end in mind.
And its no different when you are starting a blog that you will most likely invest your heart and soul in…
Here are the 7 most important questions you need to ask before you even think of registering a name:
#1. Why do you want to start a blog?
#2. Who is going to read your blog?
#3. Why would they want to read your blog?
#4. How would you get them to read your blog?
#5. How would you monetize your blog?
#6. How much are you willing to invest in the first three months of starting your blog?
#7. What will be your Key Performance Indicators [KPIs] in the first three, six and nine months of starting your blog?
Download the Startup Launch Plan Workbook that pops up on load. You can reload if you closed it already. This amazing guide is detailed and will help you launch your blog/business step by step
You don’t need long textbook answers. You just need answers to guide you because your answers will determine your approach to blogging.
Step 2: Name your Blog aka Domain Name
We are off to a great start!
The next thing on your agenda is to choose your domain name. This will reflect your brand so choose wisely.
Quick tips to pick the best name for your blog [Examples below are random]
#1. Know when to narrow it down: It’s good to really narrow it down in some cases where there is a huge market e.g goldenretriever.com because that’s a dog breed that a lot of people have.
#2. Know when to leave it broad: If you have big plans, or you are unsure of the exact direction for your blog, it’s good to leave it broad, e.g. healthylivingtips.com
#3. Pick a name that addresses a need: These types of name have high search intent and will be good for monetization e.g. howtogrowwhitelilies.com
#4. Consider SEO: exact match domain names which include your keywords e.g. howtogrowwhitelilies.com may increase clickthrough rates and impact your search engine rankings
#5. Be memorable: If a 5-year-old can’t remember it, don’t use it.
#6. Consider spellings: when choosing your domain names, consider the spelling of the words, e.g. hannah.com can be spelled wrongly as anna.com, annah.com, hanah.com, hanna.com
If you insist on keeping that domain name, you may need to register all variations and redirect the incorrect URLs to the correct URL.
#7. Use a .com: simply because it’s standard and everyone remembers. Others you can choose from include .org and country extensions e.g. .ng, .au, etc
Step 3: Register your Domain Name and Buy Hosting
Please, please, please don’t use a free extension like hannah.wordpress.com
Even when you have serious content on it, it doesn’t
- leave a good impression with your visitors
- WordPress.com can decide to shut down your site anytime and without warning
- You don’t have full control if you want to install ads
- You will have limited options with regards to the ad networks you can work it and the plugins you can use
What I love most is their 24/7 Live Chat Feature and you can fast-track your support ticket to Emergency for an immediate response from their technical team.
Their hosting is only 2.95/month or $35/year. So you can start a profitable blog for as little as $48/year *eyes popped out*
It’s really easy from buying your domain name to “Hello World” but I’ll walk you through the process because I’m your virtual-blogging-partner-cheering-you-on-for-success…Woohoo
#1. Visit Smarterasp.net
Plug in your domain name to check if its available
Click Add to Cart and Checkout. That’s it, you now have your own domain name
#2. Head over to the hosting tab and pick a hosting plan. Hosting starts at $2.95/month or $35/year for a single site. I strongly suggest you go for the yearly plan. It’s cheaper and you can cross that off your list for the next one year. It also helps you stay committed to your blogging goals.
Check out all the features you get for an amazing price. It’s a steal!
Pick your hosting, fill in your details and checkout:
Next step is to point your domain name to your hosting and it’s so easy to do in the Smarterasp dashboard.
All set. I highly suggest you install WordPress as your CMS. Though WordPress is an open source CMS giving it easy access to hackers, WordPress is still the best CMS for bloggers.
Installing WordPress gives you access to thousands of free plugins for your blog, it’s very easy to manage and you can install UpdraftPlus [backup plugin] and Shield or Wordfence [security plugin] to secure your site.
Install your content management system in 1-click.
Step 4: Upload Theme
WordPress comes with free themes that you can choose but for more flexibility and greater control, you definitely, definitely want to go with a paid theme.
I use Elegant themes and highly recommend it. Elegant themes powers over 401,000 websites and makes your blog look like a $1000 execution. Talk about credibility!
Elegant themes is a premium website theme that comes in two packages: $89 and $249. For that price, you get dozens of themes that is nothing short of amazing. You also get new themes as they are released and theme updates.
Check out some of the themes below
Additionally, you get email opt-in plugin, social sharing plugin, and a powerful visual drag & drop builder. You may not be able to appreciate the builder [I mean, I edit my blog post from the front end where you are reading this blog right now instead of the back end] until you watch this short video:
Step 5: Publish your First Post
It’s time to publish your first post. This is how you do it:
#1. Login to your WordPress dashboard with your login credentials
#2. Write your post in the text box
#3. Save draft and hit Publish when you are ready
Congratulations. You did it!
You can start promoting your blog with family, friends, colleagues and more importantly start building your community.
With determination, persistence and daily improvements, your blog is surely going to be a success.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I will appreciate it if you take a minute to share this post with the buttons to your left.
Did I miss anything in these steps? Please leave a comment below and I will be sure to reply.
This is only part one of blogging for beginners. If you don’t want to miss the Part two of this post where I cover more advanced tips for growing your blog, be sure to subscribe to the blog.