In today’s interconnected world, owning a blog is becoming more and more common. If we are also to consider how much money people can make from a personal website, a blog becomes somewhat of a necessity.
Unfortunately, there are now so many platforms on which individuals can start their blogs, and things tend to be confusing.
This guide will give you all the information that you need in order to go from zero to hero in terms of building your first blog.
Below, you will find the steps needed to create a great first blog, as well as the best practices that will help you slowly grow it and potentially develop into something more. If you pay attention, you will eventually be able to turn it into your main source of income, if you choose to.
Keep in mind that all of the tips in this article have been tried and tested, and are considered to be optimal for blog creation by people all over the world. In other words, you’re in safe hands.
Also, the whole process shouldn’t take more than 20-30 minutes, so you don’t need a lot of time to put what you learn here into practice.
This having been said, let’s take a look at how you can start your first blog in 5 steps.
- Choose a great platform for your first blog
There are several options that you can go for. However, the general consensus around bloggers is that WordPress is the best platform if you want to create a blog.
This is due to the fact that it is one of the most versatile blogging solutions around. If you ever want to change the look of your website or add various functionalities, you will be able to do so without too much trouble. Also, creating a blog on WordPress is completely free.
If we are to go into more details, it is important to mention that the platform has more than 5,000 free themes that you can choose from, all of which can be implemented in a matter of moments. Furthermore, you don’t need any kind of coding knowledge. Every option and feature is well explained and documented.
Statistically, more than 90% of the blogs have been built using WordPress.
Keep in mind that WordPress refers to the technical platform, or the infrastructure of your blog, and not to the actual WordPress website. The website does allow people to host and build their blogs for free, however, there are several disadvantages to doing so.
Why creating a blog on a free platform is a bad idea
A lot of people tend to create their first blogs on free platforms, such as WordPress(the website), or BlogSpot, thinking that they will at least have the advantage of not being required to pay anything for their new website.
Unfortunately, when you create a blog on a free platform, you also give up a lot of the freedom that you should have. For example, you don’t get to choose the internet address of your website, and you will also have to suffer a lot of ads which will be displayed next to your content. These ads won’t be making you money, but the platform.
This having been said, you should steer clear of platforms such as BlogSpot, Medium, Tumble, or the WordPress website, if you want to create a successful blog.
When you choose to create a blog on your own you empower yourself to control all the aspects of the website, from the theme that you want to use, to how you want to display content, or where you want to display ads (if you want to).
And even more important, you will get to keep everything that you make from the website. In the long run, choosing to create your blog on a domain that you buy will give you the option to develop it into a brand and make some serious money from it.
Almost all those who have made this decision have started earning money from the content that they create, and some have even turned their website into their main source of income.
Think about it like you would a business. When you create a blog on a free platform, you will be, in fact working for that particular company. All the content that you create will drive traffic to your blog, and people will click on the ads that they impose on you. Furthermore, you will always be subjected to the terms and policies that they set up. So if they ever decide that want to flood the blogs with pop-up windows, you won’t be able to do anything about it.
Most important is the fact that people know that you’re working for someone else’s business, and they won’t take you seriously. Most people will only think that you’re writing in order to satisfy a hobby, not to actually build a brand.
- Choosing the best domain name for your blog
One of the most important steps that you will have to make when building a new blog or website is to look for a domain name that fits your needs. This will determine the address of your website, and you will have to make sure that it reflects your content.
Let’s take things from the beginning:
When you create a free blog, you will usually end up with an address that looks something like “www. Blogname.BlogSpot.com”.
However, if you choose to buy a domain and create your blog on it, then you will have much more freedom when setting the address. In other words, you will end up with an address that looks something like this: www.BlogName.com. Note that the “.com” can be replaced with the code of your country, or with “.org”, etc.
In order to choose a great domain name, you will first have to determine the focus of your blog. You can easily do this by making a list of 3 things that you’re good at, one of 3 things that you’re interested in or passionate about, and another one of 3 things that you want to learn.
Next, look at which of the things that you’ve written down can be organically associated between themselves. Once you find a set that works, consider using it as the subject for your blog.
Once you’ve done this, you are ready to start looking for a domain name. Ideally, if you want to target a certain niche, you will have to look for ways to incorporate the name of that niche into the domain name. For example, if you want to create a travel blog, then consider using something like “www. Travelwithnolimits.com”. You essentially need to let people know what the blog is about using the domain.
Now, if you know what domain name best suits your blog, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get it. Domains are bought and sold, and they’re one of a kind.
You will have to use an online tool like InstantDomainSearch, in order to see if the one that you want is available. Once you find one that fits your website and is available, don’t make the purchase. Instead, move to the next step.
- Taking care of the web hosting service. WordPress tips
Let’s first clarify what “Web Hosting” means.
While creating a blog on a free platform is as easy as creating an account, if you want to use a domain, then you will need to find a company that will host your website, and store all your online files and resources. A web host is a vital part of a website, and you wouldn’t be able to create your blog without it.
Now, there are multiple hosting services, and it is important to choose one that has a great reputation. This, unfortunately, means that you will have to try to avoid the cheapest ones.
There are dozens of cheap web hosting services online, however, most of them are extremely unstable, and have their technical support stretched thin due to their large number of customers.
On the other hand, there are a few that will ask you to pay a couple more dollars for their services but will be a lot more dependable, and there will always be technical support teams on the standby, in case you have any kind of problems with the website.
You are free to choose whichever web hosting service you like, however, one of the more popular ones is iPage.
iPage offer several great features, such as a free custom domain (you will be able to choose whatever name you like, as long as it is not already taken), a great support team that works 4/7 in order to ensure that everything goes smoothly, the ability to install WordPress with just one click, and $200 worth of free advertising.
The best part is that it only costs $1,99 per month, in order to host your blog on iPage. So there are a lot of benefits, and the fee will be ok for most budgets.
Again, you can choose any company that you’re comfortable with, but if you decide to go with iPage, then here are the steps that you will have to take in order to set everything up:
First of all, go to iPage.com, and click on “Get Started Now”.
You will then be presented with a page where you will have to enter the domain name of your choice. Once you type it in, make sure that it has been written correctly, and move on. Keep in mind that typos in the domain name are not only unprofessional but will also confuse your audience.
Also, the company will try to sell you a few other things. You can skip that part, as you won’t need any of those additional products in order to create your blog.
Once you finish submitting the required information, proceed to checkout, and fill in the form. After that, iPage will send you a message containing the login information for your new account.
Depending on the situation, you may be required to submit other details, for verification purposes. However, once you’re done, you will be redirected to the dashboard.
From the dashboard of your account, you will have to simply click on WordPress, in order to begin the installation process. Next, you will be required to confirm your decision, after which you will have to select the domain that you want to install WordPress on. Choose the domain that you created according to the instructions above, and then give your website a title.
The last step will be to choose login credentials. You will use these to log in to WordPress.
That’s it. You’ve just installed WordPress. Don’t worry if it seems complicated, the website does a great job of guiding people through the setup process.
Once finished, click on your domain, and you will be taken to the WordPress administrator login for your newly created blog. Alternatively, you will be able to log in by writing “/wp-admin” after your website’s URL address.
After you log in to the WordPress Admin area, you will be able to start making all sorts of modifications to how your website works and feels.
- How to customize your blog using WordPress
This is where your creativity comes into play. Once you install WordPress, you will be able to install one of the 5,000 free themes that can be found online, or a paid one that is filled with functionality.
The theme will influence both the design, as well as the functionality of your website.
A blog’s design is extremely important when it comes to popularity. People usually stick to websites that have a layout that they can understand, and an aesthetic that is appropriate for the topic that is at the heart of the content.
Choosing a great WordPress Theme
You should try to find a theme that is:
- Simple and easy to understand – people will avoid your website if they don’t know how to get from one post to another;
- Optimized for mobile devices – Most people usually read blogs using their phones, tablets and touchscreen-enabled laptops, and you will have to make sure that your website will work on these devices;
- Optimized for speed – All the pages of your website should load quickly;
- Optimized for search engines – The blog should be SEO ready, in order to ensure that Google and properly index the content;
- Customizable – You should be able to easily change the layout and colors of the blog;
- Contains shortcodes – A theme that has shortcodes built in will look much better;
If you don’t know where to look for themes, then you can always go to the WordPress theme repository, by navigating to “Appearance” -> “Themes” -> “Add New”. Here you will find a large number of great themes that are free to use, and also extremely easy to install.
If you see something that you like, you will be able to get a live preview of how it looks like, before installing it into your website.
Once you’ve found a theme that fits your blog and the content that you intend to create, you will be able to customize by going to “Appearance” -> “Customize”.
It will take some time to find the best color balance for your website, so experiment a bit. Also, you will be able to change the look of your website at any moment, so if you miss something, you will be able to go back and modify it.
This having been said, if you truly want to create a blog that will be successful, then you may want to consider paying for a professionally made WordPress theme. These usually contain a lot more things than the free ones (such as menus, buttons, etc.), and also come with customer support in case anything ever stops working.
- Writing and publishing your first piece of content on the blog
Now that everything is set up, you are ready to write and post your first blog. In order to do this, you will have to go to your WordPress dashboard, and hover your mouse over “Posts”. Then click on “Add new”, and a screen where you will be able to write the text will be displayed.
Write the title that you want your post to have in the Title Area, add any photos, gifs, and images that you want, in the Add Media section, and write the actual text in the Content Area.
If you want to schedule your post, you will be able to do this from the Publishing section.
You will also see a section to write tags, but you don’t have to worry about that at this point.
Once you’re done writing, click on Publish (or Schedule, in case you’ve set a different date for your post), and the content will appear on your blog.
That’s it. You’ve just created your first blog and published your first bit of content. Now it’s up to you to write about what you like and invest time in your website.