Let me guess...
You’ve been thinking of starting your own blog for some time now, but:
You’re thinking, I don’t have the time.
You’re thinking, I don’t have the blogging skills.
You’re thinking, where the heck do I even start?
You’re not alone. There are probably six thousand other people in the same boat as you. Difference is, you’re reading this post and you’re ready to do something about it.
Whether it’s for business or pleasure this guide will set you up to create the best blog possible. No tears. No sleepless nights. In fact, we’re going to go one step further, and teach you how to write your first post.
Ready? Let’s get right into the nitty-gritty...
Step ½: Finding Your Niche
So, you want to be the best blogger in your niche?
First, you have to find the right niche.
I’ll be honest: Writing a blog post isn’t hard. If you’ve got a laptop and some fingers, you can probably hammer out 1,000 words in one sitting and upload it to just about any blogging site. WordPress? Blogger? You name it.
The real trick is finding your niche. The one thing that’ll set you apart from everyone else. Maybe you’re asking: Won’t my niche find me? In my experience, blogging is very much like a journey. You have to start somewhere, but you might (in fact, you probably will) end up somewhere else completely.
These 3 questions will lead you to the promise land:
Think back to the last conversation that really got you going. What was it about?
What could you write about forever? You'll need to research extensively on your chosen niche, so be sure you won't get bored doing it.
What are you passionate about? Where do your strenghts lie?
Step 1: Choose a Domain Name And Host
How would you like to appear on the first page of Google? Well then, what you choose to be your domain name is pretty darn important.
Simple. Google loves brandable domains. A couple of things you should take note of:
Pick a .com extension. What can I say? It’s the norm. If you want to appeal to the masses, that’s the way to go.
Use relevant and existing words in your niche. You’ll be much, much easier to find. If someone’s trying to find a blog that details all the killer clowns in popular horror films, it’s useful to have the word “clown” somewhere in there.
The shorter, the better. We’re simple folk, so 1 to 2 words is best.
Once you’ve selected your domain name, you’ll need to purchase a hosting service. A hosting service is used to store and run your website’s data and is necessary for every internet site. There are a number of quality hosting services, but we recommend SiteGround. SiteGround offers cheap hosting packages, and their service is fantastic. If you ever get stuck, just launch the SiteGround customer service chat, and their friendly staff will help you sort any issues out.
Step 2: Get a Little Personal - Create Your Own Blog
If you’re looking to start a blog where you have a little more control and the ability to play around with your design and features, then opt to build your own site.
Hold on - it’s not as difficult as it sounds. And you’ll definitely be better off...
Sure, you could go for something like WordPress.
Our top pick is WordPress. WordPress is the most popular, it’s free to get started, and it's the easy to work with. If you decide to go for something else, some other popular platforms include Blogger, Ghost, Tumblr, and SquareSpace. We’ve decided to focus on WordPress for this guide.
WordPress - There is a reason 25% of websites are using WordPress. WordPress offer an easy to use dashboard, beautiful mobile responsive themes, in-depth analytics, and built-in social sharing. It is an excellent choice for any website, not just a blog. You really can’t go wrong.
WordPress is free to use, but if you want to use your custom domain and remove all Wordpress advertising from your site, you’ll need the Personal Plan. The Personal Plan is just $2.99 per month.
If you decide to use SiteGround to host your website, you can log in to your SiteGround account and setup WordPress there. They even have a guide that explains how to setup WordPress. Just click the following link and follow the simple instructions and you will have WordPress up and running in no time:
You can also choose to set up your WordPress site through WordPress itself. Just head to the WordPress homepage and click ‘Get Started’ in the top right corner. You will then be asked to follow an easy five step process to get your blog up and going.
Once you have installed WordPress (or whichever platform you decide to use), you are ready to start writing! The next few steps will focus on how to approach publishing, as well as how to grow your audience.
Step 3: We Haven't Even Met. What do I Say First?
What’s the best part of starting a new blog?
That shiny, new first post.
It’s a bit like dating. You’re heart's pounding, nervous sweat dripping down your brow. You’re thinking: What should I say? This is the first time you’re putting your thoughts out there, and it has to be good. You want that killer introductory post that draws them in, right?
Well, here’s the hard truth: The first time is never going to be that good.
I always go for the “Who am I, and why am I here” post. It’s simple, and it’s to-the-point. The trick is to put as much personality into that post as possible. People stick around because of your personality.
This brings me to my next point…
Step 4: Getting Your Readers to Stick Around
Perhaps the most important part of your blogging journey is the quality of the content that you post. What do I mean by this? If you produce average content that your readers won’t get any real value from, you’ll lose them, quick, and your writing will be met with tumbleweeds.
The question is, how do you know if your readers are getting value from your writing?
The problem with this question is: When you’re starting out, you really don’t have much to go on. Sure, Jimmy Jones from down the street can offer you his opinion, but he’s probably not your target audience.
What can you do? Give this a go:
Research topics that haven’t been written about...that much. Chances are someone’s written, something about your topic. Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to write better. Offer something extra.
Take a pause after every post. Re-read it, and ask yourself - “Have I said something different, in a different, personable way? If I was just a reader off the street, is there actionable information here?” Do us all a favor and skip the wishy washy advice.
After you build up a loyal readership, feel free to ask them. This is why collecting email addresses is pretty important. Having an email list that you can communicate with allows you to ask questions and find out what content your readers like, as well as what content they don’t like.
If you want to focus on collecting emails, check out SumoMe.com. SumoMe is a plugin that features a ton of useful tools, including those handy pop-ups and forms that encourage your readers to subscribe. All you need to do is copy and paste a piece of code into your site’s <head> section, and you’re good to go! SumoMe even offers a free course where you can learn exactly how to use the tools to grow your list.
Once you’ve established what topics you want to write about or received confirmation that your readers love your content, it’s time to start promoting! That leads us to Step 4.
Step 5: Promoting Your Post
To grow your blog you need to distribute your content on other platforms so that you get more click-throughs, more views, and more subscribers. The results of distributing your top content and gaining more readers will have a compound effect, and over time your traffic and email list will grow bigger and bigger. Here are a few ways you can promote your content:
Reddit - Reddit is a great platform that allows anybody to comment on every topic imaginable. A fantastic way to grow your reader base is to get active in a discussion on Reddit around your niche. Don’t spam the site with your website or blog, instead get involved in the debates and provide value to the users in the subreddits. Over time, people will organically discover your blog through your profile if you provide enough value.
Facebook & Instagram - Start up a Facebook and Instagram page for your Blog. Having a Facebook and Instagram page allows you to publish your content on these platforms, and you can even pay to boost your content, so more people see it. The beauty of Facebook is that you can target the specific demographics of your fans, and the posts can also be shared. Like Reddit, get active in groups and on other pages, engage with fans, and provide value on the platform to gain trust. This will result in new readers discovering your blog.
Medium - We have already mentioned Medium earlier in the guide, but it is worth mentioning here again as it is another solid strategy for distributing your content for free on a platform that has a lot of active users. Take a few of your blog articles and try posting them on Medium and see what results you get. Just like the previous tips, try to provide value and comment on other people’s posts too. The key theme here is to give value, and the by-product will be value coming back your way in the form of followers and readers.
Get Your Blogging Groove on And Write up Your First Post.
Starting a blog and publishing content is something all business’ should be doing. The process of setting up a blog is very easy, and we hope that this guide makes that process even easier.
Remember, the most important thing about your content is that it’s of a high-quality and is providing value to your readers. Without that, you won’t be able to grow your audience. Also keep in mind that building your blog from zero readers to a substantial amount is a long process and you need to be patient. Growth will likely be slow at the beginning, but if you consistently put out great content, you will eventually see results.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get blogging!