Hello there! I’m creating this ‘Start your blog’ post to share with you how I started this blog. Hopefully, this can help you jumpstart your blogging adventure!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you use them, I can earn a little commission but it will no way charge you anything. Thank you for your support!
Now, it may seem intuitive to jump right into the technicalities of getting your own dot com. But before doing that, it is critical to first think of what your blog should focus on. Start with thinking of a blog name. It should reflect what your blog is about and should immediately tell a reader what they can expect from your blog.
In the SEO world, you will be told to ‘Find your niche’. Ah, this is the most fundamental rule and most spoken about that it has become a cliche nowadays. But it is true and essential, perhaps it will always be. With all the million blogs roaming around online, what’s the unique chance your blog can be found among the haystack?
So find your niche. The more specific, the better. If you plan to start a mom blog, think of other more specific niches. Are you a vegan mom? An expat mom unraveling your new hometown each day? A baker mom? The list goes on.
However, if you can’t figure out your niche (yet), that’s normal, yah know. And understandable. Many successful bloggers didn’t have one when they started their own blogs. And the cliche is being opened for argument, yah know. Read why ‘finding your niche’ is plain bad advice.
The end point is, it should be something you’re deeply passionate about. Something you can write about forever. You get the pic.
Now, the technicalities. I myself am using 1and1 both for my domain registrations and hosting. I have had no qualms about their service so far. And it’s undeniable: they have the cheapest price in the market. You know me, trying to be frugal.
TMI: Lately, I’ve been thinking of transferring to other hosting services that are offering lesser prices. I’m eyeing for Bluehost and Siteground. I’ll update this post once I have decided!
So what exactly are domain and hosting? Well, the internet is a massive world outta there. To have your own space in this real estate, you must have a domain and hosting. Think of domain as your home address while hosting is your landlord to whom you pay your monthly dues.
Below you’ll see the three 1and1 packages. For beginners, you can choose BASIC which should be fine for new blogs. As your blog grows, you can upscale to the next packages, Unlimited Plus or Unlimited Pro. Click here to go the 1and1 website.
Now, what is WordPress? It is a web content management system where you can manage your blog. If a domain is your home address and hosting your landlord, then WordPress should be the house building service who has already done the piping, wiring, gas, cables, and other lines for you. That means no coding, simply graphical user interface, drag-and-drop, and all.
There are other CMS out there but WordPress is the most popular, mature (if not the oldest), easiest to use, and it’s free!
In 1and1, WordPress installation is easy to perform. You can ask customer service to do it for you too.
Time to design your blog!
The best thing about WordPress is it is open source. Developers, both professional and newbies, or just anyone with the right skills can create themes for WordPress. That means you can get well-designed, search engine optimized, and quality themes for free! You can search through a vast selection of free themes at WordPress.org
Other themes also come with a fee. They have more features suitable for professional bloggers or those newbie ones who are serious in building successful blogs. The best places to buy great themes are as follows:
Other than appearing professional and ‘cool’, the following pages have now become basic and standard in blogs. Especially if you will do monetization schemes for your blog, having these pages becomes a requirement. Click here to learn about how to monetize your blog.
BONUS TIP: Make sure to set your URL structure as simple as possible such as the following:
DO NOT www.yourblog.com/2017/03/01/category/pages/hello-world
The reason is first, the URL accessories don’t do much for SEO. Second, it doesn’t do much for your readers as well. And if that doesn’t convince you yet, check out other professional blogs what their URL structures look like. Doing this at the earliest stage of your blogventures will save you a lot of time, energy, headaches, and fixing URLs later on.
You can set the URL structure in your WordPress admin. Go to Settings>Permalinks.
And of course, write your first post, then as days go by, your second, then the third, fourth, fifth, and so many more as you go along.
Whether you are writing for a large or small audience, isn’t it great that you can share helpful content with others? For me, this is one of the top reasons why I blog. Popular formats for blog posts are lists, how-to articles, and short stories.
Popular formats for blog posts are lists, how-to articles, and short stories. People seem to get attracted with certain keywords too such as top ten, free, popular, best, ultimate, etc. So it’d be great to include them in your post titles and to the central theme of your whole post.
I admit I don’t check grammar and spelling while I’m writing. Ooops! That’s why Grammarly has immensely helped me in that department. Since I installed the app on my Google Chrome browser, it automatically notifies me of whatever that needs correction. It’s been such a great help that’s why I highly recommend Grammarly! Try it for free, click here: Instant Spelling And Grammar Checker
Below screenshot shows Grammarly’s proofreading while I’m writing the content above: If there are errors, I simply have to click the recommended corrections, in this case: Change the verb form to I’m writing.
Read my article about how Grammarly can boost your efficiency when writing.
There are other things that you can do that will make your blog function efficiently. And it is highly recommended to do them at the beginning of your blogging journey.
I think I have mentioned SEO a few times in this post without explaining what it is. Sorry about that. But chances are, if you have thought about blogging for some time, you have probably heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Simply put, it is the method of making your website perform well in search engines such as Google or Bing. Why the need? There are many advantages really. But the most obvious would be: search engines will help people find your website.
If you want to learn SEO in depth, I highly recommend MOZ’s articles and tutorials about SEO. Or if you are SEO-lazy like me (oops!), simply install the Yoast SEO plugin, which brings me to my second pointer.
Plugins are applications that can be installed in your WordPress blog. They serve a specific purpose and most of them are free. These are by far the best plugins that have truly helped my blog function efficiently.
An ultimate plugin for bloggers. Jetpack comes with security features, SEO tools, and more.
A plugin that secures your blog from spam, hackers, etc
A plugin that handles your email subscriptions and lists
A plugin that manages how your content can be shared
This plugin takes off the heavy burden of doing SEO for your blog. While you are writing your posts, the plugin at the same time analyzes its SEO standing based on the keywords you provided. It also comes with a Readability analysis which informs you whether your post is easy to read or not.
An example of SEO analysis by Yoast SEO plugin:
Whether you plan to promote your blog in social media or not, it is best to register your blog. This avoids someone else owning your blog name in social media AND it is also good for SEO. Popular sites to promote your blog are:
If you plan to monetize your blog, it is worth the effort to learn about affiliate marketing at the earliest part of your blogging journey. Of course, there are other monetization schemes such as display advertising, brand sponsorships, and so on. But to say it frankly, only the big-time blogs can generate decent earnings from them. I’m talking about CNN, Forbes, or Problogger bigtime. For newbies and mid-level bloggers, affiliate marketing is worth learning about.
Popular affiliate programs are as follows:
And that’s it. Those are the essential steps in starting a blog from scratch. Hopefully, you start your own blog too and begin sharing helpful information with us. Good luck and all the best!