How to Start a Blog
These days more and more people are choosing to start a blog for different reasons. Some use blogging as an outlet to express themselves. Some use blogging platforms to highlight their skills or creations. Many see blogging as a way to monetize their knowledge, skills, and products. Blogging can eventually turn into a creative business.
But is blogging just a means to make money and can anyone succeed at making money through blogging? The answer is a clear NO. Not everyone can do this. Why not? Because blogging involves much more than just being a money funnel. Blogging takes skill, creativity, and an understanding of customers and audience. A blogger must develop the ability to build trust and relationships. He needs to be able to reach the hearts and minds of his target audience. He needs to be able to gain their trust and give them a reason to come back again.
Blogging is primarily about sharing and adding value to other people, which is why it cannot and should not be seen solely as a money funnel.
The first question any potential blogger should ask himself is WHY. Why should I start a blog? What are my primary reasons to begin a blog?
Why Start a Blog?
What do you hope to get out of writing a blog and what value do you believe you can offer others? What skill, interest or knowledge do you have that others could benefit from? These questions should be at the top of your list of reasons for starting a blog because if you don’t know your reasons, then there is absolutely no point in starting a blog.
What are your goals? Do you know how you want to develop your blog and what topics you want to explore? It is good to have some idea of the scope that you want to cover. Of course, this will change over time, but it is nevertheless important.
You need to establish who your potential audience will be and how you plan to reach them. What value do you hope to impart to them?
So, before getting into the nitty-gritty of the how, it is important, to begin with, the why.
Choosing a Blogging Theme or Niche
What is it that you want to share with the world? What skills, expertise, knowledge or information do you want to bring to the online community? It is important to settle upon a general area of knowledge or expertise in order for your blog to be cohesive and eventually brandable. The theme or niche is what you become known for. It is the field in which you build yourself up as an authority. So, when you are choosing your niche, it is important to be neither too broad as to cover all kinds of topics, nor too narrow and specific so that you run out of ideas to talk about and end up redoing the same topics over and over.
One idea would be to have a look at the niches already on the web and see how your skills, passions, and knowledge match up with them. What new angle could you personally bring to this niche?
What You Need
First off, after you have answered the questions of why you want to start a blog, and what you want to write about, it is important to determine what you need to get started. What tools do you need? What resources do you need?
A Blogging Platform
First and foremost you need a blogging platform. What is a blogging platform? A blogging platform is a space or place where your blog is going to live. It needs a home and this home is called the blogging platform. There are several options available, both free and paid options. Some examples of free options are:
Some paid options include:
Of the paid options WordPress is by far the most widely used.
You will need to choose between the free options and the paid options. As well, you will need to choose between a form such as Wix or Square space or a self-hosted form such as WordPress. The self-hosted options are what more serious bloggers tend to choose because they offer more flexibility and give the blogger full control over the blog (the blogger owns the blog).
I personally choose WordPress because:
- It js free
- It is flexible
- It has an extensive developer community
- It allows the blogger to have full control
- It updates regularly
The second thing you need is a hosting service or caretaker if your blog on the platform. This does not mean that the service does the work for you, but simply, this allows your blog to be up and running on the web.
There are, again several options available, so it is up to you to do your own research to find the one that best suits your needs and pocketbook. Generally speaking, hosting can cost about $4,00 / month. For my hosting needs, I have chosen to work with the Godaddy Hosting Service. I find that this hosting service :
- Has an excellent 24-hour customer service
- Provides prompt and responses to any problems
- Provides valuable information and responses to questions
- Has a staff that is not only customer-oriented but very personable as well
For all these reasons, I continue to rely on their services of Godaddy Hosting for my blogging needs.
The third thing that is necessary to get your blog up and running is a domain name. This is your own personal website address or URL that will lead searchers to your website.
To find a domain name, you will need to do a search to find out if your chosen domain name is available with a search tool such as Godaddy
You simply type in your name with an ending such as: .ca, .com or .org to find out whether that name has been taken or whether it is still available. If it is available, you can register your domain name with your hosting service. Having a domain name can cost about $10.00 / year.
Where Do I Go From Here?
Once you have chosen your platform and set yourself up with a hosting service and domain name (if you chose this route), then you can begin building your blog. You can begin the creative process of building content for your blog in whatever form that may take.
You can start setting up your menus and create your brand – what you are all about. There is much more to blogging, so this is just a start to help get you up and running so that you can have a voice on the web.