With so much written online about blogging it’s common for those just starting out to feel over-whelmed. This guide works to dispel the mystery of what’s required to get a blog off the ground – it’s easier then you’d think – this page outlines the five key steps you’ll need to launch your blog. It really is simple, you could be making your first blog post 20mins from now.
Many new bloggers get hung up on exactly what they’re going to write about. Although it’s important to have ideas, you don’t need to have every blog post planned out right from the start – blogs evolve and define themselves as they go and are intended to let you explore your thoughts. Many bloggers post spur of the moment thoughts that only last a couple of paragraphs, others exclusively opt for essay style writing. There’s no right or wrong answer here, it’s up to you. So long as you have something you feel you want to discuss and share with the wider world it’s worth getting started and letting the process of blogging stimulate your thoughts and thinking further.
And there are plenty of things to blog about – here are just a few that come to our mind:
- Beginning of journalistic career – if you’re interested in becoming a journalist, there’s no better way to get into the field than to exercise your writing skills and test them out by growing a real base of readers. You can use it to form part of your portfolio should you ever apply for a job as a writer
- New mother/father blogs – becoming a parent for the first time is a monumental experience that doesn’t stop at the birth of your child (far from it). You may be surprised to learn how popular this type of blog is
- Write short stories – enjoy writing for the sake of it or want to test out your material on a real audience? Starting a WordPress blog is a brilliant way to spread your stories and get useful feedback
- Holiday or travelling blogs – going travelling or want to show off where you went on holiday? You can easily keep people updated from anywhere you can get an internet connection. If it can’t wait until you get home WordPress has tablet and phone apps that make writing from abroad easy
- Family news – Keeping the wider family updated needn’t be a chore. You could put a new spin on the family postcard with a blog that your whole household can contribute to
- Blog what you see – by using mobile publishing from your smartphone app, blogging can be a spontaneous thing. Write about what you see or your experiences, start a conversation with people online before you even get home
- Video blogging – have a subject that lends itself well towards video? Maybe you’re a dancer or want to share your passion about skate-boarding? Embedding video into your WordPress blog now couldn’t be easier
- Review products – do you have a better than average understanding of a line of products? You could key in your readers with product demos to help educate them. With the warm leads you just generated you can refer onto e-commerce sites with affiliate links to gain yourself a handsome commission
- DIY Blog – Do you have useful skills in DIY or can you share how to complete basic plumbing and electrical tasks? There’s a whole world out there waiting for your help. Video blogging would be a useful medium for this
Think of a name
Here’s one thing that you’ll need to know before getting started – your blog needs a name and a web address (commonly referred to as a domain name) to act as a unique place for your blog to be found at. Give this careful consideration before jumping in, the name that you pick will need to have a domain name to closely resemble it or ideally exactly match it i.e The Blog Site Guide & www.blogsiteguide.com. Check if the domain name (the blogsiteguide.com part) is available by checking with a domain name registrar such as GoDaddy.com. You can secure your chosen name straight away and point it to your blog when it’s ready.
There’s a common question that we find keeps on coming up – you want to publish your own blog on the world wide web, but you don’t have any coding or design expertise, you might not even know much about the internet. How can you do this? The answer is gladly straight forward: with one of two options – either by using the most popular publishing platform on the internet WordPress or by using one of the many up & coming site building platforms:
This hugely popular WordPress content management system is now used in millions of blogs and sites (74 million to be a bit more precise). It’s theming functionality and fully extendable & customisable open source code base mean that it’s straight-forward enough for non-technical people to use, but has enough “under the hood” for it to be able to morph into whatever you need it to.
Site Building Platforms
Site Building platforms have recently grown in popularity and capability. This method takes setting up a website to the extreme end of simple. In fact it couldn’t be less technical and still be a website. Choose a template and drag, drop elements into position, type and upload your content.
If you want to read a little more about each option check out our page on how to choose where to blog.
The most fundamental consideration you’ll need to make is in deciding which company you should use to host your blog. Hosting has taken off in a big way over the last decade and as a result there is now a plethora of companies offering to host your site. Picking between them all and the features they offer can present with a head-ache, but when all is said and done it has to be said that (especially the WordPress hosting companies) they all offer remarkably similar features. The decision often comes down to price or something less tangible and personal to you as to whether you like the look and feel of the company or found their support staff helpful when you engage with them.
We’ve picked out what we think is one of the best options in step-4 below we’ve usedWeb Hosting Hub a lot ourselves. They’re reasonably priced and have extremely attentive support staff.
If you want to read more about different hosting options and how to choose between them check out our page on how to decide where to host your blog.
Once you’ve decided whether you want to create your blog on WordPress host or by using a site builder, the next step is to create an account and build your site. Below we’ll take you through the steps to do this using a WordPress hosting service, but whichever route you decide to take the process is straight-forward and similar to that which we outline below.
Creating your blog using WordPress and iPage
The following video will guide you through how to setup your blog by installing WordPress with your chosen web address at iPage.com:
[Disclosure: we get paid when you signup via the links on this page – mwah ha ha ha!]
Congratulations, if you’ve made it this far you’ve now completed the hardest part and created your WordPress blog!
You’ve done it, you’ve successfully hosted the WordPress application and run through the basic configuration steps of your site, you’re ready to make that fist contribution to the internet, your first post. Whether you’ve edited the copy elsewhere or want to write it straight into the WordPress interface you can do so by selecting “+ New”->”Post” from the top of the dashboard. Navigate to the dashboard at yoursite.com/wp-admin navigate to Posts->Add new.
This brings up a word processor type screen which, if you’ve used Word before, you’ll probably find to be self explanatory. You can paste your copy into the big open field and get editing it’s good and polished. When you’re finally ready to make it available on your blog for all to see you need to hit the “Publish” button on the widget at the top right-hand side of the screen. You can always edit your post after it’s gone live or de-publish it if required by changing it to “draft” on the same widget.
Spread the word on social media
Congratulations on publishing your first post. Unless you’re famous, the chances are not many people have seen it yet. It’s early days and will take some time to carve out your following on the internet. The most important thing you can do to make sure you get visitors is to create a social media presence. This is a most effective way of funnelling relevant visitors who are interested in your chosen topic. Did I mention it’s free? You can easily setup social pages to represent your blog, posting regularly to them to drum up interest in who you are and what you’ve got to say. The Blog Site guide is packed with information on how to get visitors including how to create social media pages.
Where to take it from here?
Read more on how to make a success of your blog: