how-to-start-a-blog

How to start a blog

Mar 25 by Kimberly Aris

Setting up a blog can be easy, however if you want it to succeed and reach it’s full potential I recommend reading this article whilst keeping your own goals in mind. To guide you on your path I have given the basic steps to start a blog.

1. Decide on content / niche

blogging-niche

There are lots and lots of bloggers out there, so what is going to make you stand out? In order to do well and get your content seen you must pick a niche you want to embed yourself in. Is there anything you enjoy or are passionate about? This could be the topic you want your blog to be. If you have been interested in a specific topic or industry for quite some time already, this can be a great advantage as you already are an expert. If you aren’t an expert already then you can write about what you are passionate about, your daily activities, memorable moment, anything basically.

2. Deciding which blogging platform to use

What-blogging-platform

Most bloggers and myself are using the WordPress blogging platform. Currently WordPress 4.1 has been downloaded almost 26 million times. Although the platform is free it requires web hosting fees and a domain name. There are free blogging platforms such as Blogger and Tumblr but these come with limited access and control. Here are some of the pros and cons for these platforms:

Blogger / Tumblr Pros

  • Free
  • Easy to use for beginners
  • Reliable (unlikely to be hacked, practically no downtime)

Blogger / Tumblr Cons

  • Free is not really free as these platforms offer additional features for blogs at a certain price
  • You will not be able to get your own domain and will receive a subdomain that can look a bit cluttered
  • They lack different templates/themes and plug-ins and can look quite dull
  • No to limited control over your own blog
  • If you want to make money as a blogger theses platforms do not allow you to do so ( rare exceptions would still take %50 of income)

Self-Hosted WordPress Pros

  • WordPress software is free
  • Full of free features, add-ons and layouts
  • Highly customizable (especially with web design knowledge)
  • Simple to use without coding knowledge
  • Wide-variety of free and premium themes
  • Easy to add picture and images to your blog
  • People can comment and share your blog
  • And the list goes on etc.

WordPress Cons

  • Requires paid web hosting and a domain name
  • Theme customization can be difficult for beginners
  • Can be easier to hack
  • So from my experience and research I would suggest starting with WordPress, presuming you can afford it. This will save you a heap of time and you will be working with a platform that is ever growing in popularity with regular updates, add-ons and so forth. If WordPress is not an option or you simply just want to have some practice writing a blog, Bloggers.com or Tumblr.com are great place to start.

3.Domain Name/ URL (Example: www.yourname.com)

Domain-name

If you are starting with a free blog you will not get your own domain name but you will be assigned a subdomain. For example your subdomain on bloggers.com will look like this myblog.bloggers.com as opposed to your own domain which would look like this myblog.com. As I stated in the previous section I would recommend starting out with getting your own domain.

How much will it cost to have your own domain? To give you some standard rates, a domain will cost around $10 a year plus a hosting fee (this is what connects your blog to the internet) which is around $4-$9 a month. So you are looking at about $50 – $100 a year to host your site and own your domain name.

If blogging is not what you hoped it to be, you can cancel this service anytime and some may even have a money back guarantee.

4. Hosting

Web-hosting

With so many hosting companies out there it can be a mission finding the right one. It basically comes down to the speed and customer service they provide. If no one can view your blog, well then there isn’t much point in coming back. Also keep in mind the speed it takes to access your blog. If it takes to long to load there is a change visitors will move on and click away. This can be due to the host’s server exceeding its capacity, so make sure your host is able to accommodate the volume of your blogs traffic.

I personally have used several hosting companies and can honestly say there are some dodgy ones out there. This is why I recommend you do some research before purchasing the first and or cheapest one you see. I currently use Crazy Domains, this is an Australian based web hosting company as per my location.

Here are three popular/recommended hosting providers around the world:

These hosting companies have different pricing schemes, features and benefits. Choose according to your budget, however you still want a reliable service you can trust. I also recommend you buy your domain name and hosting with the same company. If its all done in the same place, this will make everything easier for everyone in the long run.

I hope this guide was of use to you and wish you all the best with your future blogging endeavours. Also if you are serious about creating an audience/following for your new blog, this article is a great one to read.

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