Welcome to the How to Blog Series! I have a lot of people that I meet ask me how I got into blogging and want to know all the details about blogging. I figured the best way to answer that question is to share it on my blog. Today, we’ll focus on the very basics of how to start a blog. Then, throughout the week, I will have blog friends come in share their expertise with you on everything from starting a newsletter to monetizing with affiliate links.
Ok, so you want to start a blog and you are wondering how. I’ve been there and, while I wouldn’t call it wrong, I definitely would not call it the best way either. So, let’s take the mistakes I made and learn from them so that you can start and grow a blog the RIGHT way.
The first step to come up decide what you want to right about. Easy right? Well, maybe and maybe not. I started out writing about my family and kids. Sure, I still write about them from time to time but this blog quickly turned into something totally different. Not a bad thing but I could have done myself a favor by really thinking about my topics before I started.
Now, take everything from step 1 and pick a name. Pick carefully because it is going to stay with you. Not to say that you couldn’t change your name down the road but it would be quite the hassle.
Ok, the prep work is done so let’s get to the tech stuff. Ready? This is going to focus on starting a blog on WordPress.org because I really think you should just start there if you plan to blog seriously. Starting a blog on Blogger or WordPress.com is as simple as logging in and clicking “new blog” but switching over later just turns into a giant pain the butt and costs a bunch of money…trust me, I did it and am still “fixing” stuff from the transfer. The girl who did my transfer was awesome but there are just somethings that aren’t completely compatible from Blogger to WordPress.org. I have heard it is easier to transfer from wordpress.com to a self hosted wordpress blog down the road but I have no experience with that to really say. Also, keep in mind that you cannot monetize at all on wordpress.com so you would be switching sooner than if you started on blogger and then switched to self hosted.
Step 1. Get a webhost. I suggest going with something like BlueHost or HostGator and you’ll see why in the next step. It is going to cost you a little bit of money to start but you will save that in the end by not having to transfer stuff later.
Step 2. Get a domain name. I suggest going for the .com right from the start. It will save you a lot of trouble down the road and also just looks better/is easier to remember for your readers. You can get your domain name from lots of different places. Depending on who you used in Step 1, you probably got a free domain name when you signed up for hosting.
Step 3. Upload WordPress to your host. Most hosts make this super easy by offering Fastastico or SimpleScripts and then will have a step by step tutorial for it. I’ll show you how to do it through Bluehost in the pictures below.
First, login and select WordPress from the section that says Website Builders.
From there, select Install.
You can start blogging immediately after you install WordPress but I suggest you select a theme to make it look a little better. On the left tool bar in WordPress, go to appearance and themes.
Other Things to Do:
1) Take a photography class. Blogs are all about photos so be sure yours are great.
2) Start building a community immediately. Really engage with your readers and you will gain more.
3) Learn from others. Seek out bloggers you admire and try to learn from what they do as much as possible.
4) Use social media to your advantage. Try to find Facebook or Google+ groups that will connect you with other bloggers so that you can learn from them and help each other out. A lot of times these groups are secret which is why #3 is pretty important.
5) Focus on quality not quantity. It can feel like you need to post every day of the week at the beginning but be careful against falling into that trap. Readers would much rather have 3 really great posts per week over 5 posts that are really a bunch of filler.
Well, I hope that answers some of your burning questions on how to start a blog. If you have any others, feel free to leave them in the comments and I will be happy to share my experience/knowledge.
Be sure to stop by tomorrow where we begin to focus on all the things you do after you write that first blog post.