If you’re ready to start a blog but don’t know where to start, these steps will set you up for success, regardless of your ultimate goals.
Finding a niche can be difficult or feel limiting, but it will help you build more credibility in the long run. You can certainly talk about more than one topic, but make sure your main focus is consistent and specific enough to engage readers and encourage them to keep reading your work.
After deciding what you want to write about, do some initial research to understand who the other key players are in your space. Is your niche already full enough? Or are very few people writing about your intended topic?
No matter the case, doing your research beforehand will help you understand how you can create content that is better or different than what already exists.
In addition to narrowing down your niche, you should also consider your audience. Who are you going to blog for?
Having the answer to this question will help you write valuable and relevant articles for your readers. Try to determine the following information about your ideal reader before diving straight into writing:
Once you’ve defined your niche and desired audience, you can start planning your first blog post. Again, this may require a bit of research to make sure you’re creating something your audience will want to read.
As a starting point, type your desired topic idea into a search engine to see what kinds of articles appear in the results. If you find that the existing results don’t accurately or adequately explain your topic, that’s a great indicator that you’ll be able to write something better.
Every blog needs a name. You’ll want to make sure your blog name makes sense given your niche or brand, is easy to remember/catchy, and easy and quick enough to type.
If you have a name in mind, scan the web and social media to make sure no one else is using that name. If your desired name is already in use, you can create a new one or contact the website owner to see if they are still actively using the name you want. If you really want to protect your assets, you can even register your company name.
In addition to a name, you’ll need to select a font and color palette for your blog that you’ll incorporate once you’ve created your website. You can do it yourself or outsource it to a graphic designer.
If you want a custom logo for your blog, you can design one with a free platform like Canva or work with a designer.
After deciding on a name for your blog, you’re ready to select a domain name. You can check if a domain is available by typing the desired domain name in your browser and see if a live website comes up. Most domain registrars will also have a tool to help you find available domains.
Once you have chosen a domain that is available, you will need to pay the fees to use it through a domain registrar. Owning and setting up a domain is a separate process from selecting a hosting site and web builder, which you’ll do next.
Choosing a web host is an essential step in creating your blog. Without a host, you won’t be able to create a website; a host is what allows you to effectively “rent” an internet presence.
Some platforms will host your blog for free, but in return add your brand name to your web domain, for example, thefancyblog.squarespace.com or thefancyblog.wordpress.com. In these examples, to remove “.squarespace” or “.wordpress” from the URL, you will need to pay for web hosting in addition to purchasing the domain name. thefancyblog.com.
Web hosting can cost anywhere from $0.50 to $10 per month depending on the speed and storage you want to purchase. There are dozens of different hosting options, but we recommend that you select one of the best web hosting services that fits your budget and needs.
You can create your website from scratch or using a template or theme; it all depends on your budget and wishes. A no-code website builder like Blogger or WordPress will allow you to design and create a beautiful website even if you have no prior web development experience. Some templates or themes are free, but others can cost you between $10 and $200.
Certain website builders allow more customization and flexibility than others. Be sure to read the specs of each website builder you’re interested in to understand what’s possible when designing your blog.
Once you’ve created your website and are happy with how it looks, it’s time to upload your first article. You can write and edit your content directly from the back-end of your website; however, it’s smarter to create all your content in a separate cloud-based editor, like Google Docs. That way, you’ll have a safe backup of your blog content in case your site experiences any technical issues.
Before you hit publish, it’s a good idea to preview your blog post to see if it displays exactly how you want it to. However, you can always go back and edit it later if you want to change or update something.
Once you have published content on your blog, you can share your links. Social media is a popular and effective way to distribute your blog content. You can share links on your existing social channels or create new accounts to complement your blog.
Once you’ve published and advertised your blog, it’s important to track metrics like views, visitors, and clicks. Your hosting platform may have a built-in analytics dashboard by default, but we recommend that you connect your blog to Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free tool that will allow you to track your traffic as well as important demographic and conversion details.
You will need to use your analytics to earn brand sponsorships and/or advertising revenue.