Congratulation! You are in a right place. You have opened this in the first place just because you want to start blogging and you need some guidance.
I have come across people asking How to start blogging for Free. However, some want to know how to create a blog that looks like mine i.e self-hosted professional blog.
No matter which question is in your head, I will answer both the questions through this article. However, make sure you read this article till the end.
But before getting into the real crux, first let me take you through some basic blogging terms and concepts.
What is a blog?
Blog was coined from a word web-log. Initially blogging was for writing things periodically like a log book and then making accessible across internet.
Since now blogging is way beyond the boundary set in this definition, it has become advertising agent for business people and campaign agent for politicians.
It empowers thousand of activists. And freelancers start blogging to build relationship and make money.
Youths remain engaged blogging their thoughts. Some students start blogging as early as primary school days. So blogging is also a source of engagement for them.
Do you need a blog?
You have Facebook to post, Twitter to tweet, Instagram for photography and many more. You can share things in those social media.
However, blogging has its own unbeatable charm. Some of the most important benefits of blogging, which I feel relevant are:
- Blogging creates another world for you.
- Blogging is an online shout out for your business.
- Blogging improves you.
- Blogging connects you with people.
- Blogging helps you earn money.
- Blogging helps you help others.
- Blogging helps you discover passion.
These are few out of numerous benefits. You cannot realize all unless you start blogging and start building one with love and care.
A Comprehensive Guide on How to start blogging
In this, I will guide you step by step in building a blog. The things I am going to talk here will be based on my experiences.
I won’t recommend things that didn’t work for me. Read them slowly and try coming up a good blog aiming to become a next blogger who can make many feel jealous.
Let us get started.
#1 Blogging Preliminary Activities
Your aim should be to remain in blogging forever. This means blogging should be kept as a very long-term activity.
It shouldn’t start right away-just because someone tells you to. Be calm. Look around and try gathering as much information as possible about blogging.
In this, try finding answers for the following questions:
- How many people you know are into blogging?
- What they are blogging about?
- How your blog will be different from their blogs?
- How do you aim to come up with unique contents?
- How much you shall need to launch a blog?
Once you have answered above questions, prepare a note on things required to start blogging. Read few blogs of people you know.
#2 Your interests will define Niche
Blogging will be a labour of love, care and passion. This means there is no point writing about things that don’t interest you.
List all your interests and try rating them. As a blogger, your area of blogging should be in areas where your interest rating comes the maximum.
In some cases, you can go with looking at how much you know of something. A dentist can open a dental advisory blog just because he knows many things about dentistry.
In this, ask yourself following questions:
- Do I know more about this topic?
- Am I ready to learn & explore more?
- Won’t I be bored writing about it?
- Is there scope to learn more about it?
- Will people love reading about it?
- Do I really love this topic?
After you have answered those questions and then selected the best niche/blogging interest, you can proceed with the next step; selecting the best CMS-content management system.
#3 Blogging platforms/CMS
There are many platforms to start blogging. The two most popular are WordPress and Blogspot. I have used blogspot for past 3 years or so.
I shifted my contents to WordPress from Blogspot. WordPress is a top Content Management System in the world. Moreover, it’s very simple to use.
Read my article on the reasons why WordPress is better. Furthermore, there are many advantages of using WordPress as a CMS.
#4 Selecting Domain Name
Domain is an identity of your blog. It’s the name of your blog in the internet. Example: google.com, yahoo.com, bt.bt are domain names.
If you host your blog with BlueHost, they provide free domain name with your hosting plan.
There are tools that help you in choosing a suitable domain name. The domain you are going to choose should be:
- Short & unique.
- Niche related.
- Catchy & easy.
If your blog is about travel, try to have term related to travelling in it. It’s better not to use complicated local terms in it.
#5 Select good Hosting Plan
There are also many companies that sell hosting plans. But you must be extra careful to get the best hosting plan.
Some hosting services are cheap but not good in quality. Yet some come with excellent service quality with bit higher price.
You must aim to choose the most suitable one. But price shouldn’t deceive you. I have good experience with BlueHost. I want to recommend it.
BlueHost has three different hosting plans. Choose the best one to meet your need. Moreover, benefits of choosing BlueHost as per my experience are:
- Good customer support
- Free domain
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Good disk space
- Quick installation
- Reasonable prices
- 99.99% website up-time
The best plan recommended for bloggers is Plus Plan. You can host unlimited blogs in unlimited disk space. You can also park unlimited domains.
#6 Install WordPress in your Host
If you have selected the hosting plan, it’s the installation of WordPress that will take you forward. But in this, you don’t have to crack the nuts.
Good hosting services providers have WordPress installation configured. We just have to click to complete this whole process.
#7 Pick Best WordPress Theme
It’s the theme that shall determine the overall design and attractiveness of your blog. It’s always advised to choose the best WordPress theme.
Don’t go for free themes. They are loaded with complicated codes and are usually hard for customization. They come free at cost. Remember.
Choose a premium theme that suits your blog. When I started my blog, I have used the theme Beginner of Junkie Theme.
#8 Install Vital WordPress Plugins
You have selected the best hosting plan. You have also purchased the most suitable WordPress theme. You must now install basic WordPress plugins.
Plugins are basically software developed to add new features or functionalities to WordPress powered websites. Plugins are to a blog as clothes are to humans.
But you must install only the required ones to avoid increasing loading time and bounce rate. Some of such plugins are:
- Social Buttons
- WordPress SEO
- W3 Total Cache
This is to add social media sharing and follow buttons in your blog. This is important to improve the outreach of your contents.
This plugin is to take care the SEO aspects of your blog. It’s available in free version as well as in premium version.
It analyzes interlinking, readability score, SEO score, keywords and many aspects required for SEO. Free version suffice for newbies.
W3 Total Cache
This will cache your blog in a sense it will store the compressed and static version of your blog and present to readers before actual version gets loaded.
This will in return improve the visitor friendliness and loading speed by giving less pressure to the server. In long run, it will reduce bounce rate.
When you install this, you will be saved from installing few other plugins. This plugin comes with many functionalities.
It helps to show related posts, generate XML Google Sitemap, WordPress stats, WordPress mobile theme, sharing, subscription, commenting ease and many more.
If you don’t want unintended comments or spams in your blog, you have to download and activate this plugin.
It will filter comments suspicious of being spams. Moreover, it runs automatically. You don’t have to do anything manually.
#9 Start blogging
You have completed all the stages of starting a blog. Now you’ve to start writing contents. Sooner you write, better it will be.
Because without writing posts after posts, starting a blog won’t take you anywhere. So to become a professional blogger and earn, start spending maximum of your time and energy in first phase.
Be ready to spend maximum time and energy on your blog for first few months. But don’t forget to learn on your niche from senior bloggers and also friends.
If you have fire inside to learn and explore, new ideas will keep flowing. Therefore, your blog will never face the fate of premature death.