Ever wonder how to blog? This post explains the main steps needed to get off to a good and successful start.
Why start a blog?
I started my first blog in 2004 when most blogs were “online journals.” Some are still used that way today, but for many of us, blogging has become much more.
Blogs have leveled the playing field in marketing and online business. In the past, spreading the word about your products or services was dependent on the size of your advertising and marketing budget. Today, a blog gives anyone – from individuals to large companies – the ability to reach a large number of people at very little cost.
Steps needed to start a successful blog
- Decide what to blog about.
- Choose a domain.
- Choose a blogging platform.
- Start your blog.
- Design your blog.
- Start blogging!
Step 1: Decide what to blog about
If you’re part of a business, company or organization, this step will be easy to determine. Your blog should be related to the product(s) or service(s) you provide, or the cause you promote.
If you’re an individual, you have more flexibility with topic choice. I already explained in detail how to decide what to blog about, but the main things to remember are:
- Blog about something you enjoy.
- Blog about something with plenty of room for discussion.
- Most importantly, choose a niche in which you can establish yourself as an authority.
The goal for any blog is to become the go-to resource for its topic or niche.
Step 2: Choose a domain
The best domain names are short, catchy, easy to say & spell and capture the essence of the main topic. Read my post How to Choose a Domain Name for more tips.
Step 3: Choose a blogging platform
A blogging platform is the service or software your blog will run on. There are many choices. For example, Blogger, TypePad, Squarespace, Tumblr and WordPress are all blogging platforms.
Of the many blogging platforms, WordPress is, by far, the most popular. (source)
I use WordPress myself and appreciate its flexibility, functionality, ease of use and large community of people who share tools and ideas. It’s an excellent choice.
If your head isn’t spinning already, within WordPress, you have two options:
- Hosted WordPress blogs are often referred to as WordPress.com blogs.
- Self-hosted WordPress blogs are often referred to as WordPress.org blogs.
If you want to know the detailed differences, I covered that in my post, Blogging FAQ.
The bottom line? For most people, a self-hosted WordPress blog is the better choice.
Step 4: Start your blog
Assuming you choose a self-hosted WordPress blog, getting your blog up and running is fairly simple. I’ve provided an in-depth tutorial, with pictures, in my post How to Start a Blog (in 15 Minutes or Less).
Step 5: Design your blog
Once your blog is live, you may want to customize the design. WordPress blog designs are called themes.
A free theme comes pre-packaged with WordPress, but I recommend a premium theme. Other than better features, the main benefit of a paid-for theme is that you have access to support. A place to ask questions and report problems is extremely valuable, especially when you’re just get started.
I personally recommend the Genesis Framework. Read How to Choose a WordPress Theme (and What I Use) for more.
Step 6: Start blogging!
Once you’ve gotten this far, you are off to a great blogging start. At this point, you can write away!
Of course, there are many more things to learn and the learning curve may feel steep. Remember, we have all been exactly where you are now, so just like the rest of us, you can do it!
These are the next steps I recommend:
- Sign up for my Useletter – Blogging changes at an alarming rate making it very hard to keep up. I spend hours every week wading through the information about blogging & online business. I then package it into a short email which I send out every Saturday morning. It’s got a handful of bite-sized tips of the best stuff I find. It’s free. You can sign up, read more about it or see what others have to say here.
- Bookmark my Contents page – My Contents page has MANY more articles about making money online, networking, social media, creating content, legal considerations, troubleshooting and much more. They are nicely organized here.