How To Blog The Right Way: Pt. 1
After years of following along bloggers on the net and watching people build their brands, you have finally made the exciting decision that you want to start a blog. The problem is that you just do not have a clue where to start. You spend hours online searching the phrase "How To Start A Blog" in Google and Pinterest to the point that the mass amount of information becomes quite overwhelming. You just want to blog and build a huge following and be great, but the process is getting a little complicated and time consuming. How do I know? Well, not too long ago I was in your shoes.
When I made the decision of becoming a blogger, I only seen what blogging was like from the other side of the screen. I had absolutely no clue on how to set up my site, how much work it will require, and where to go for the information. There were hours spent of just filtering through tons of information on starting a blog that I was so close to saying, "forget this!" Most of the terms just sounded like foreign language to me. I wanted a simple step-by-step guide on just getting started the right way.
Starting a blog is an exciting experience and it should feel like it. I decided to start this series because not only do I know how it feels to be unsure of how to start blogging, but I want to hopefully help make your process smoother. My goal is to take you from the very beginning of getting started to a point where you feel confident enough to take on this journey. I want to make this process for you simple and informative so let's get started.
Why Do You Want To Blog, Anyway?
Before you even get to the point of securing your site and domain, you have to have a clear understanding of why you want to blog. Will it be a hobby? Are you trying to make this a career? Do you want to help others? Is it just a creative outlet? Will it be for business purposes? Understand why you're blogging before you start anything. It will save you a lot of time and headaches in the future.
Who Are You Talking Too?
After you settle on a niche, figure out who your audience will be. It is very critical to research that specific demographic. I highly suggest doing this before you even begin setting anything up. Find out where your future readers are hanging out online (other blogs/social networks). If you plan to be a lifestyle blogger (for example), find out what is trending in your niche so you can properly cater to your audience. Get to know what they like. Once you launch, these are the people you want to attract so you have to really understand what attracts them. The reason why this should be started before your blog goes live is because when you launch, you want to know how to build your audience fast and seamless.
And Your Name Is...?
So you've established the reason why you want to blog and you figured out who your future audience will be; it is time to find a memorable name. The name of your blog should reflect your content and you want people to remember it. Depending on your goals for your blog, this name is also your brand. With that being said, if you settle with using your name, understand you are branding yourself.
Play around with descriptive and catchy words and phrases. Your blog name is just as important as naming a child (sort of). Make a list of at least five potentials. Search Google and all social media sites to ensure that the name is available. Once you find a name that you love and is available, secure it. I suggest signing up on all social media networks with the name as soon as possible and later you can decide on which social media accounts you want to focus on. You want to claim the name.
If you're serious about blogging and you really want to make an impression then you have to invest in a domain. A domain will be your www.myblogname.com. Your own domain will allow you the freedom to design however you want and people will take you more serious. www.mostlysugar.com is more appealing than www.mostlysugar.wordpress.com and you are left with the impression that I really care about my site because I invested a few dollars to have my own domain. It is more professional.
Now that you have your domain secured, you need to purchase your host. The host is the network or server that allows your site to be accessed. The host that you choose is extremely important because it determines how your site will run. You want to choose a host with great customer service to assist you at anytime of the day. You want a host that has close to 0% of down time. Who wants to spend their time and money in creating amazing content that no one can see because the site is down a lot? I am sure not you. You also want to be sure your host has speed, performance, reliability, great response time, and a user friendly interface.
When I was starting my blog, the only host I really heard about was Blue Host and Go Daddy. Blue Host was the most popular. It was not until I stumbled upon an article about Host Gator that I considered not going with Blue Host. According to the statistics and research, Host Gator is the best option. Plus it is very affordable and allows you to pay month-to-month. Check out these two articles that have detailed information and facts on why Host Gator is the better choice over Blue Host.
Mostly Sugar is hosted on Host Gator and I have unlimited space and my site runs fast and is never down. I can also call them 24/7 and there is always someone to help me if I have an issue.
*We are affiliated with Host Gator and that is only because we love them and use them ourselves. We will never suggest to you anything that we do not use ourselves. We are rewarded with an incentive for each sign up and the incentive is used to keep Mostly Sugar up and running.
In your cPanel section of Host Gator, you will have the option to install WordPress.
This is a screenshot from Google.
Make It Pretty
Name (check), Domain (check), Host (check), WordPress Installation (check). Now you have to make it look good. Unless you are a coder and CSS and coding is your thing, I suggest using a theme. You could also invest more money in someone creating an unique theme for your blog, but my money is not set up like that honey-- at least for right now. A pre-made theme is the best option for a new blogger. It makes things so much easier. The design is already put into place for you and all you have to do is input content.
The theme on Mostly Sugar was actually purchased on Etsy. I just typed in the search bar, "Wordpress Themes," and so many were available. This was only $25. Everything was included such as the set up on the home page and the side bar options. I just had to fill it in. Major things to look for when choosing a blog theme:
You want to make sure that your blog is responsive on all devices so you won't lose any readers. That includes desktop, tablet, laptop, and mobile device.
Easy Customizable Homepage
This allows you to customize your homepage with no restrictions.
You want your blog to be compatible on all browsers.
Search Engine Optimizated
This helps your blog to show up in the search engines.
Social Media Share/Follow Widgets:
It make it easier for your readers to share your content and follow you on your social media accounts.
You always have the option to change your theme. As your blog grows, you may require more than what your current theme offers.
Create A Mailing List
Our mailing list is through Mail Chimp. Mail Chimp allows you to customize your emails to your subscribers anyway you would like and it is very easy to use. Mail Chimp offers a free version and a paid version for extra feautures. A mailing list is important because that is how you get to connect with your readers. Encourage them to subscribe so you can keep them updated with your content.
Create Irresistible Content
Congratulations. Your blog is up and ready for content. Stay tuned for part two as I go into detail about creating and promoting content. I will also provide my list of "must-have" plug-ins on WordPress. This was a vague introduction on getting set up with your brand new blog. If you would like me to go into further detail on what was discussed in this post, please reach out to me in the contact section.
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I hope you enjoyed!