How to Start a Blog: A Concise Startup Guide
No matter what type of industry you’re in, adding a blog to your site is one of the best ways to drive traffic, reach your target audience, position yourself as the authority, and generate more leads and sales in your business.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blog for a while, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll walk you through the process of starting a blog, from deciding on the blog topic to choosing the right platform. Let’s begin!
How to Start a Blog in 5 Easy Steps
Starting a blog is one of the easiest ways to share your ideas and build your audience. Here’s how you can start a blog in 5 easy steps.
1. Decide on Your Topic
Before getting into the technical details, you need to decide on the topic for your blog. The topic you choose should be directly related to the main goal you hope to accomplish with your content.
If you’re blogging in the hopes of promoting and marketing your business, your topic should be centered around the product or the service you provide. But, if you’re starting a blog as a hobby, then pick a topic that you love talking about and that truly interests you. Here are some questions that might help you narrow down your topic:
- What are you passionate about?
- What are you knowledgeable about?
- What do you want to learn about that you could write about at the same time?
Regardless of your choice, be informative but remember to keep a conversational tone in your posts. You should also brainstorm a few categories that you can use to organize your posts and make it easier for your readers to find similar content.
2. Choose Your Platform
With topic out of the way, you need to decide which blogging platform to use. There are several platforms available that allow you to create a blog completely for free. Those platforms include Blogger, Tumblr, Wix, and others. The obvious appeal is that there are no costs associated with starting a blog.
However, the free platforms also come with several limitations. One of the biggest disadvantages of the above mentioned platforms is the fact that you are not in control of your blog. Since the content is hosted on a third-party platform, you run the risk of your account getting closed or the entire platform getting shut down, which means you could lose all the content you create.
Another downside is the fact that you cannot monetize your blog by selling products or inserting affiliate links. You are also very limited in terms of functionality and styling the blog to get it to look the way you want.
However, there is another platform that stands out from the crowd and allows you to create your blog easily. The platform in question is WordPress which can be downloaded from WordPress.org website.
WordPress is completely free to download and it comes with several benefits:
- It comes with thousands of themes and plugins, meaning you can choose a beautiful design for your blog and add extra functionality such as social sharing buttons, image sliders, email optin forms, contact forms, and much more to your blog.
- It powers more than 28% of all sites on the Internet and is used by almost all popular bloggers. What’s more, because of its popularity, many business owners, authors, freelancers, and even news sites are using WordPress to power their website.
- Thanks to its large user base, you’ll always be able to find a tutorial or a walkthrough that explains how to achieve something with WordPress. You can also visit the official forums and ask a question there if you need help with something
- It’s really easy to use. Creating new posts and pages takes mere minutes and their post editor is really similar to a program like Microsoft Word.
3. Pick a Domain Name
After you’ve settled on WordPress as your platform, you need to choose a domain name for your blog. The domain name is the address visitors will type into their browser’s address bar to visit your blog.
The choice of the domain name is very personal and can be anything from your name to your business name to the name of your hobby or your passion. It depends on the purpose of your blog and generally should follow a few simple rules:
Make sure it’s easy to pronounce and spell – if the name of your blog is too long or complicated to spell, it will be harder for people to remember it and type it in correctly. A short, easy to spell name makes it more memorable
Stick to your business name or personal name if you blog for professional reasons – your business name or your own name will make your blog seem more professional if you plan to use the blog as a promotional tool for your business
4. Sign Up For Hosting
Once you’ve chosen a domain name, you will need to research and purchase a hosting plan. A hosting plan will hold all the files for your blog and allow it to be visible to the rest of the world.
There are plenty of hosting providers out there that offer affordable hosting plans. What’s more, most of them like SiteGround, have tools that allow you to install WordPress with one click, making it really easy to create and setup your blog.
In most cases, you’ll also be able to register a domain name at the same time when you sign up for a hosting plan.
To get started, go to SiteGround.com and click on See plans. You’ll notice that they offer three plans:
- The StartUp plan which is great for beginners and allows you to host one website
- The GrowBig plan allows you to host multiple websites and comes with SuperCacher that will help your blog to load fast
- The GoGeek plan which allows you to host multiple websites and is great for blogs and sites that receive a significant amount of traffic.
If you’re just starting out, the StartUp plan is a good choice. Select it and then check the box that says Register a New Domain. Enter the name you chose and your desired extension such as .com or .me; both of which are a good choice for a blog.
On the next page, you’ll need to enter your billing information and your email and password. Once you’ve filled out the form, click on the Pay Now button. You’ll receive a message that your account has been successfully created which means there is only one thing left to do.
5. Install WordPress
The last step is to install WordPress so you can get started on your blogging journey. On the SiteGround’s site, click the “Proceed to Customer Area” button and navigate to My Accounts tab. From there, click the Go to cPanel button.
Look for the Autoinstallers section and select WordPress. Click the Install button and fill in the required information. You can also select a theme to be installed on your blog or leave that step for later once WordPress has been installed. When you’re done entering all the information, click the Install button at the bottom.
WordPress will now be installed and you can then proceed to login to your blog, choose a theme for it, and create your first blog post.
Starting a blog is not as hard as it sounds. Thanks to WordPress’s popularity and ease of use, a good majority of hosting companies make it as easy as possible to install the platform and begin your blogging journey. Use the guide above to find your blog’s topic and to start your blog.