How to create a blog? First, you want to be known on the internet for your story and your content. That is why you decided to start a blog. Maybe you want an extra stream of income or you want to substitute your job by monetizing your venture. Truth is, there are many benefits, economic and social that result from sharing what you know. Starting a venture can become cumbersome if you don’t know what you’re doing. The solution to this is to follow a proven set of steps. This means you now have a structure to support your decisions.
Keep in mind that the steps I’m about to show you are just guidelines, you can inject your creativity wherever you see fit. Maybe you’ve read about a particular way of doing things; then you can improve each step and make it yours. Of course, if you follow the steps I will indicate, you will be up and running in no time. Another benefit of following a set of predefined steps is you’ll save valuable time by not guessing what to do next.
Each project follows the same indications, but the results will be truly yours. This means you can differentiate yourself from the very start (which is a good thing.) Now, I will mention the steps needed to make your blog:
1. Choosing a domain name
The first step is to choose a domain name for your blog. I recommend finding a .com. Of course, you can choose from different website suffixes such as .org, .net, .info, and other top-level domains but people will usually try to remember the domain name and automatically add the .com at the end. It is the most popular top-level domain and nearly 50% of sites visited by Google use the .com suffix. Unless you have a very specific reason to choose otherwise, yourdomain.com is the best bet.
Your branding starts with your domain name. Your domain is usually the name of your blog, brand, or company. This means you have a great opportunity from the very start to make your project memorable for visitors. Follow the next steps and you’ll have the domain name you need:
- Create a list of possible domain names (the more ideas you have, the better)
- Try to use the main keywords of your blog
- Think about creating a made-up name (this will assure your dot com is not previously registered)
- Try to keep your domain name short
- Check the domain name is not registered previously
- Register it quickly once you make your decision (somebody from the other side of the world may be having the same idea you’re having. That’s not statistically impossible.)
2. Choose a Content Management System (CMS)
You started your project the right way, the first step in How to create a blog was to choose the right domain name. Once you know you can register it, the next step is to choose a CMS.
This is a point where many soon to be bloggers choose a company where they can get the tools to blog ASAP. They want an easy to use platform. You will have to wait a little bit until I explain to you why you should choose self-hosted WordPress as your go-to solution.
With other platforms, your website is not yours. If you want a little bit of customization you have to accept what you’re given. If you (unknowingly) break the terms of service, you may be kicked out of the platform, just like that. All your work will be gone.
With self-hosted WordPress, you own your blog. You can post everything you want to post (within reason.) It’s an easy to use platform that powers around 35% of websites in the whole world. What does it mean to you? That you will have options when it comes to training, designs, add-ons, etc. If you need to hire someone down the road it won’t be an arm and a leg because they know how to handle an obscure or less marketable solution.
Now that you know the benefits of WordPress, what’s next? You’ll need a place to host it.
3. Choose your web hosting company
What is web hosting? It’s a company that offers you the service to allocate space on a server on the internet so you can store files. This is the basic definition it is also important to notice that most hosting providers will also give you the chance to use their professional email services, Secure HTTP (HTTPS) to give your visitors secure browsing experience, and other perks that vary amongst service providers.
It’s crucial to mention that you can buy your domain name first or wait until you buy your hosting package. It’s normal for your package to include a free domain name. This has pros and cons. If you buy it separately from a domain registrar, you will then point it to your hosting server. If you change hosting providers, this will be no problem since you will be pointing it to the new company’s servers. If you pick the option of domain included, then you’re stuck with the hosting company.
You may be thinking: “Oh, more work for me”. Let me introduce you to the One-Click Install option for WordPress install found on virtually every cPanel (The software that allows you to access most of your web hosting features.) When you use this option, you will be able to have a working WordPress install in just a few minutes.
A common question, especially among developers is “should I use a custom server to host my blog?” The short answer is no. The long answer is no because you will then have to pay a bit more to set up your professional email, you will have to provide support for the server, including security. Those are just a few reasons why you shouldn’t use a custom server. The most important reason is that you want to do things easy for yourself and focus on content creation and marketing. Letting the technology side of things be taken care of is a smart move.
Be aware, if you plan to generate large amounts of traffic from the very beginning, that most economical options mention they give you unlimited resources. In my experiences, you are limited to a few concurrent users on your site. You will do well by choosing a WordPress specific hosting where they mention how much traffic your current plan can handle.
4. Taking care of the design
There is a reason why working with WordPress is effective. You are using layers of abstractions to do what you would do in a much larger amount of time, and with more effort. If you were to do custom design, the following are just some of the elements you would have to master, or at least take into account:
- Web design principles
- Information architecture
- Cascading Style Sheets
- Typography for the web
- Page layouts
- Box properties
- Tables filled with data
- Color theory
- Responsive web design
As you can see, not only would you have to take these elements into account, but you would also have to mix them to have a working website. Then, if you wanted to update your website, you would have to juggle a series of Html pages or create a custom solution, which would take some time.
Fear not, you don’t have to master all those subjects to continue the creation of your blog. WordPress themes are exactly what you need. Themes usually include design best practices and many of the elements you need to have a professional presence on the internet.
There are options for every budget. You will be able to find free themes. These free options are usually secure, providing regular updates. You will find sometimes that theme options are limited, but you can begin using them and then upgrade to a premium version.
You can also find themes you pay for; these are known as premium themes. The name is usually on point because you will benefit from a wide array of theme options. This will allow you to customize your design more closely to your taste or requirements. Another benefit is that you will differentiate a bit more since not everybody in your niche will pay for a professional WordPress theme.
You can start with a free theme and then upgrade to a premium version. That’s an option. Perhaps your budget allows you to improve your visual results from the very beginning. You will be able to find pro themes for every budget.
When it comes to design variety in WordPress themes, you will be spoiled for choice. ¿What should you choose? I’ll tell you the category you should seek since it’s the logical way to go. You should search inside the Blog category. This way you will be making sure your content shines, supported by good design and adequate features.
One element that I find frequently is that bloggers try to get design and their website perfect the first time. This is a mistake since you can improve iteratively. That means you can get up and running fast and then, you can add features or design elements to your project. A well-guarded secret is that your website’s content is the most important thing. This means that theoretically (but something you shouldn’t aim for) your site could be ugly design-wise, but it would still succeed because your content provides value to your readers.
The key points to take from this section are:
- You don’t need to be a designer to have a great looking blog
- Search themes in the “blog” category
- You can install a theme in a matter of minutes
- You can find WordPress themes for every budget and need
- You can improve your site looks and functionality iteratively
- You should put more energy into content
5. Create Search Engine Optimization (SEO) articles
In this article, How to create a blog, we reached the final section. If you’ve been following the aforementioned steps, you now have a strong foundation to succeed with your blog. This is a crucial section since a lot of what you’ll be doing in blogging is writing content your audience wants. You’ll be following marketing’s golden rule: Give your audience what they need. You may be wondering how to find out what this is. The first step is to provide your unique insights and experience about a particular subject or market niche.
This alone creates a lot of value for your audience because you will not be rehashing the same information a lot of your competitors will be sharing. Creating SEO articles is a key aspect to succeed online. What is the difference between a normal article and an SEO article? The first distinction is that one of these articles include exactly what people are seeking on a search engine. Search Engine Optimization, in general, encompasses a lot of activities and refers to methods used to increase the position of a webpage inside the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
These SERPs can be found on sites like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. These search engines have unique technology to identify the required information on the web ranking it in relevance and quality.
You can find the number of searches a particular keyword or keyphrase has in a period somewhere in particular. You can find this number using specialized tools you can find online. You may want to target specific keywords (long-tail keywords) instead of more general ones. Choosing this way provides you with benefits such as:
- You’ll have less competition
- Targeted traffic
- You’ll conversion rates will be higher
- You’ll be more competitive
The following step is to create content related to those keywords. Think about all the value you can provide with your expertise or research skills. By researching what content to write, you’ll be making sure your work will be widely read and It will not sit there “gathering dust.” More importantly, this way you’ll be serving your readers, which is, or should be one of your main goals. It goes without saying that if, and when you decide to monetize your blog, you’ll find it natural and easy.
Think about your headlines. You can’t put too much thought into it. They should include your desired keywords and hook your audience. You want to call your readers’ attention, and at the same time being truthful. I mention this because there is a noun called clickbait that means you attain attention to your content through devious means. The term is related to fake news and scams. To avoid this, your headline should tell upfront what your article is about.
Although there is much more to SEO than what I have covered in this section, it is also true that high-quality content is still the king when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. You will futureproof your blog by writing high quality, engaging, illustrative content as one of your blogging pillars.
Once you have your content ready, publishing it with WordPress is easy as cake. You will find the more you use it, the easier and faster you can do your blogging activities. Don’t forget to include the right visuals to go along with your piece of content. You get extra points for using the right images, icons, pictures, or photographs to accompany your text.
You can profit from your passions and knowledge. Blogging is a perfect activity to achieve this. While at first, you may be stepping out of your comfort zone, these series of activities will keep your brain young by thinking about the steps and how to execute them. The steps on how to create a blog are tried and true, and you can choose to be online with your personal or commercial project in no time.
You learned how to choose a domain name. This name will accompany you through your journey in the world of blogging. Then, you saw the benefits of using WordPress as your CMS, this decision will free you to focus on your value-producing activities while you tap into a pool of high-value resources. You chose a web hosting company that has everything you require to be up and running in your new venture. You chose a blogging theme to have a great design from the get-go. Finally, you began creating high-value SEO content to futureproof your venture.
Greatest of luck with your endeavors.
Now that you’re in the business of blogging, take a look at MY 7 FREE (and freemium) BLOGGING RESOURCES to save some money down the road.