Starting a blog is a great way to create your own online platform where you can share your thoughts with the entire World Wide Web. Getting started can be a bit tough. We’ve broken down the process in 8 steps that’ll get your blog up and running in no time!
Choose Your Niche
What will your blog be about? Are you writing to share your everyday thoughts and chronicles, or are you looking to brand yourself in a specific way? Some common blog niches are:
TIP: Your blog can consist of many complimentary topics (e.g. self-development + health + travel + motivation). Don’t feel you have to be limited to these specific topics, your blog can be about anything!
Find Your Platform
If you plan to eventually monetize your blog, the best platforms to use are:
WordPress.org (different from WordPress.com)
If you’re interested in blogger for just for fun, you can use free platforms such as:
Secure a Domain
Once you find a platform to use, you can buy your domain name. It can be something as simple as your name, or something really clever that has to do with your blog’s niche. This the part where you can be creative and build a brand name for yourself. Each website has their own specific domain plans, where you can choose from monthly, semi-annual, or annual plans. Your domain can be a .com (cheapest option), .net or .org. If you’re unsure if your preferred domain name is available, use this website to check availability.
TIP: You don’t have to buy a domain, but if it’s a professional website and you plan to monetize from your blog, then I strongly recommend it.
Design, Design, Design!
If web design is not your thing, and you don’t remember the codes from MySpace days, you can either phone a friend who knows how to do it, or install a layout/template of your choice (some are free, some cost some money).
Make Navigation Effortless
You want to make your blog easy for readers to navigate. Some common navigation tabs included in blogs are:
Add an “About Me/Us” so your readers can learn more about you and your brand.
Add a “Contact Me/Us” so people can contact you for inquiries. You can also include your social media handles in this section.
If your blog posts consist of multiple topics you can categorize them to keep them organized by topic
If you’re selling a product or service, you can include a “Shop” or “Services” section, which would consist of the product/service description, rates, cancellation, and shipping and return policies.
What's a Plugin?
Plugins allow you to have the ability to do more with your blog. You can have banners, have more options for widgets, get your blog ranked better on search engine websites, utilize scheduling tools, protect it from spam and more!
NOTE: Certain Plugins are only available for certain blogging platforms (mainly the recommended ones for monetization). Check out these articles for the best plugins for WordPress.org, Squarespace, and Blogger.
Track Your Followers Via Email
For those looking to monetize their blog, creating an email list can help you keep track to the amount of people who follow your blog. Your clients will most likely be interested in knowing the number of subscribers to your blog. You can add subscription plugins, by checking out the options for WordPress.org, Squarespace and Blogger.
One great platform you can use write up FREE newsletters (2k subscribers max.) is through Mail Chimp. You can input the email addresses of your subscribers into a list, and then you can draft, decorate, schedule and auto send your newsletters at a specific date and time. This is where you can inform your subscribers of upcoming news and new posts.
Use social media to get more traffic to your blog (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.). Instead of mixing personal life and professional life, create a separate social media pages using your blog’s domain name, where you advertise your content. Since we now have the power of hash tagging and paid advertising, your posts can reach a very large audience in the social media world. This will allow both your blog and social media pages to grow.
Start Writing (consistently)!
Once you create your blog you are now ready to post your content and share it with the world! If you want to post on a consistent schedule, it may be best to write your content a month or two in advance and set them up in a scheduling platform. That way your blog posts can automatically be published at a certain time/day without you being there to hit the “Post” button at that time.
Good luck and Happy Blogging!
Nicole is the ‘Jill of all Trades.’ This New Jersey native is an English teacher, a writer, a history buff, a former collegiate track and field athlete, and a plant based foodie. She gained her global perspective after studying abroad to Hong Kong and Singapore. Since then, Nicole has been on a mission to aspire Millennials to take the leap abroad as well as live a healthy and active lifestyle. Stay updated on her latest adventures by following her on Instagram @nic_nac93 or her blog (http://nicole-antoinette.com).