I’m going to explain how to start a blog, but first I want to give you some things to think about. Starting a blog requires some thought before you just start writing! I really had no idea what I was doing when I set up my blog, and I want to help you avoid some of the mistakes I made! You need to think about your blogging goals, choose your platform and come up with a name!
Before you jump right in and start blogging, you’ll need to think about your goals. Whether you’re blogging for pleasure, as a hobby or to make some serious cash, you need to have a vision! Typically, the most successful blogs have a very specific focus and a blogger who is passionate about the topic!
Choose your niche. What will you be blogging about? Take a look at some popular and successful blogs that are in your niche. What are you going to do differently to set yourself apart. Create goals about how often you will post and what you hope to achieve after the first month, the first year, etc.
Come Up With A Name
Now you’ve got to make one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make about your blog – the name! Make sure the name of your blog really reflects your focus. The bad news is, someone may have already thought of the name. I would suggest purchasing a domain name right away so no one else gets it first! But, even if you’re not ready for that step, you’ll want to make sure the domain name is available. Also, check all of the major social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) to make sure no one is using the name there.
Choose your Platform
The three most commonly used options are
1. Self-Hosted WordPress
People tend to confuse options 1 and 2 because they think all WordPress blogs are created equal, but they are very different! If you choose WordPress.com, you don’t need your own hosting provider, but if you choose to have a self hosted WordPress.org blog, then you do need your own host. You’ll pay a monthly fee to your hosting provider. My hosting provider is Siteground.
This is the choice that I strongly recommend if you plan to become a serious blogger. Self Hosted WordPress gives you the most freedom and control over your blog. You own your data and are in full control. You do need your own domain name if you’re going to be self hosted, but many hosting providers include this in the cost or will at least take care of the details.
I chose to use Siteground based on recommendations of other bloggers. They have amazing support and their service has been phenomenal. My pages load extremely fast. The interface can be a little hard to navigate at times, but I really have no major complaints.
I started blogging using Blogger with a free blogspot address. As my blog grew, I got a custom domain name. And, I eventually felt limited by the features of blogger. There are so many great plug-ins out there for WordPress, and I wanted more flexibility. If I had to start all over again, I would just begin with self-hosted WordPress. I had to spend a good amount of time transferring over my posts when I switched, and I could have avoided that by just starting with WordPress in the beginning!
This option is suggested only for a personal or hobby blogger who doesn’t want to monetize their blog. The service is free, and they backup your site for you. Your choices of themes and plug-ins is limited. You are NOT allowed to sell ads on your site until you reach a certain number of page views per month.
As you can probably tell, I’d suggest using a self-hosted WordPress setup unless you are just blogging for fun and don’t plan to monetize!