How to start a blog: A step by step guide

How to start a blog: A step by step guide

Kevin is a management consultant working in Washington DC. His days consist of outlining business processes, researching possible solutions to problems and presenting the finished product to his clients.  His job is very demanding and he often finds himself writing about his experiences at the firm in his daily journal. He uses writing as a way to get his thoughts out and relax at the end of a long day. Kevin has always enjoyed writing but until recently has never thought about sharing his experiences with the world. He decides to start a blog and begins compiling and organizing his journal entries.  Although Kevin is excited about the prospect of starting a blog he is unsure where to begin. What should Kevin do? In this article we’ll go through the step by step process of starting a blog.

Defining your 3 W’s

Questions Blogs

Before moving forward full steam ahead, it’s important to define WHY you’re starting a blog in the first place. Is it a way for you to relax at the end of a long day? Is it something you would eventually like to turn into a business? Do you want to be able to help people through sharing your experiences? The way you answer these questions will determine how you approach the blog in the future.

The next step in the process is to determine WHAT you want your blog to be about and WHO you’re going to target. Do you want to start a finance blog targeting millennials? A healthcare blog targeting baby boomers? Take some time to figure out these questions. This will be the way your target audience will identify you in the future. Once you’ve defined your WHY, WHAT and WHO it’s to brainstorm ideas for a name and logo.

Picking a name and logo (Optional)The Strong Professional Blogs

When choosing a name for your blog, most people will use their own name. This is always a good option because all the content you provide will be attributed to you. This makes it easier to establish yourself as industry expert when you begin providing great content.  If you decide to choose another name to brand, it’s important to make sure the name you choose for your blog plays to the industry you’re trying to tap into. A person should be able to read your blog name and almost immediately know what you’re blog is about. I’ve provided some examples of well-established blogs below:

“Get Rich Slowly” – Finance Blog

“Oh my Veggies” – Diet Blog

“Nerd Fitness” –Exercise Blog

Once you’ve chosen a name, it’s time to create a logo for your new blog. I was able to get my logo designed online at “Fiverr.com”. This is a quick, easy and reliable way for you to go about acquiring a logo. First, you put a price range of what you’re willing to spend and freelance designers bid on your project. When you select your designer, they provide you with a portfolio of different logo designs. I chose my logo after looking at 10 different logos that were provided to me by my designer.  The designer I went through offered unlimited revisions so if there was something that I didn’t like, I would offer my suggestion and they would change it.

Finding a good hosting service

bluehost blogs

The next step in process is finding a good hosting service. A web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services required for a website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet. I personally use BlueHost.com and have found them to be extremely reliable and cost effective. Another benefit to using BlueHost.com is that when you sign up, you receive a domain name for free. I’ve provided the link for BlueHost here (www.bluehost.com/track/recollaz/StartYourBlog).

Before making your final decision, be sure to check out some of the other hosting services such as GoDaddy.com and HostGator.com. They’re also reliable services and may be offering sign up deals that will save you a bit of money. Once you’ve signed up with a hosting provider it’s time for you to download WordPress and begin designing your blog.

Price: Approximately $70 per year

WordPress account and plugins

wordpress for blogs

This is the fun part of your blog set up. Designing your blog requires you to make 2 purchases, one being your “Framework” and the other being your “Theme”. Your WordPress framework is where the base functionality of your blog is housed. When I started my blog I went with the “Genesis” framework. I’ve provided the link here (http://my.studiopress.com/themes/genesis/).

Once you’ve downloaded the “Genesis” framework its time to download a “Theme” to make your blog stand out from the crowd. A theme is how your blog will look like to people coming to your website. There are various themes to choose from that use the Genesis framework. I’ve provided a link to a great theme provider here (https://bylt.me/).  Once you’ve made your selection, you can upload your theme in the “Appearance” tab of your WordPress website. Now that you have your theme uploaded, it’s time to download the some plugins. These plugins I’ve listed will help get you get started:

WordPress SEO: Will help you optimize your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so you will rank higher on google searches

Google Analytics: Keep track of your traffic and its metrics with this plugin

Jetpack: Allows you to access WordPress’s power cloud options

Genesis Price: $59.95

Theme Price: $18 – $99

Get to Writing!

writing for blogs

Establishing a successful blog on the internet requires amazing content. What is amazing content? Amazing content can come in many forms but its material that helps people, provides enjoyment and/or gets people thinking. The way I provide great content is by writing engaging blog entries and filming YouTube videos for my target audience. This requires me to set aside time to create content they would love to consume. If you’re someone like me that is working full time, this can be quite the challenge.

One of the greatest pieces of advice I’ve received related to blogs is to set aside as little as 15 minutes per day to write. It doesn’t matter if your write 5 words or 500 words, any step in the right direction is crucial. I’ve been amazed with my progress the past 7 months by just implementing this technique. To date I’ve been able to write over 15,000 words for my blog. That’s almost 40 pages of content! Setting aside time for writing daily will help ensure you generate content regularly that you can then refine into a solid finished product.

Writing: Free!

Bringing it all together

After giving the idea much thought, Kevin decides to create a blog focused on helping other millennials working as consultants to achieve a balanced life. Kevin decides to name his blog the “Consultants Corner” and begins the process of setting up his website. He researches the best deals for hosting service providers and decides to go with BlueHost. He then downloads the “Genisis” framework, selects a professional looking theme with blue and black base colors and begins playing around with the appearance of his page. After this is complete, he downloads the recommended plugins listed earlier in the article.

Having his page fully set up, he begins to write his first blog post. He knows that he needs to maintain his momentum over time if his blog is to be successful so he sets aside 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon to write. After about 6 months of writing, he begins to see an uptick in views on his website and is excited about his future prospects.

There are very few ventures you can pursue that cost under $300 to start. A blog gives you an outlet to spread your message to the world and hopefully build something that helps many people. However, it doesn’t come without its challenges. Writing and maintaining a blog takes hard work and dedication. If you have the resiliency to see it to the end, you’ll be amazed with your results. Do you guys have any tips and tricks you use in your blog? I’d love to hear from you.

P.S.

My blog recommendation for this post is to read Tim Ferris’s blog. This blog is one of the most visited on the internet and Tim provides phenomenal content to his users. His blog is one of my favorites and I read his posts regularly. Check out the link below:

http://fourhourworkweek.com/blog/