When I started blogging back in 2006 I didn’t have a clue about how to set-up a blog – let alone do it in a few minutes.
You had to search around for the best “skins” that didn’t slow down your loading time, you had to figure out how to position bits and pieces on the page with a little coding and so forth.
Now, it’s easy as pie.
The first place to look for website to start as a blog or as a business blog is WordPress.
WordPress is a no brainer these days, and I would be baffled about anybody trying to convince you to look elsewhere.
This Blog is a wordpress site. I use the theme “Beautiful Pro”, on a Genesis Framework which gives me the opportunity to change things without messing up.
I always used Bluehost for my hosting and domain names, I tried another hosting company and I now regretted doing so.
So, I do recommend Bluehost as the place to go to set-up hosting and find a domain name. I’m going back to Bluehost for my peace of mind, asap.
It’s easier by far, to have all your bells and whistles in one place when dealing with a blog. So choosing Bluehost or a company that suits you best, and keeping everything on that site will save you a few headaches.
Here’s a quick list of things to do, this will help you get started and have your website/Blog up and live within a few minutes.
- Set your short and long term blogging goals. Okay, that’s a coffee time situation where you will spend a little time thinking about what you want to blog about. Think about your passions, your loves and hates to create ideas that will resonate with a large group of people out there in the world.
- Get a domain name and blog host at Bluehost.com. You can use your own name if it’s available, or invent a name that appeals to you and makes sense to your blog’s visitors.
- When you have purchased hosting and a domain name, which should only take a few minutes, you can make it live in the next step.
- Install WordPress as your free and powerful blogging platform. WordPress is a free installation process. Once your site is live you can start to look at the various themes or skins to choose from.
- Add an opt-in form to start collecting email subscribers. This is important if you want people to know what you have planned or are doing right now.
- Start writing your first blog post so that the world knows what you’re all about.
Tip: Avoid Free blog Hosting if you plan on building something you want to own, be proud of and work on for a long time. Free hosting isn’t your property and it can be used by the company for advertising at any time it pleases them, (it’s in the contract), it can be closed down just like that, and it is very limited in how much you control the look and feel of it.
What’s Blogging all about?
If you are thinking about starting a blog for fun or to start a serious blog based business, then after setup you will want to put some thought into the work involved.
Even if you only post an article once a week or once every month, you should have the attitude that you will put your best quality work into the job.
There’s little point in writing something that is difficult to follow, or is full of odd typos, this simply sends your readers running for another place to get their fill information.
Your blog is your property – so long as you want it to be.
These days blogs and websites are considered internet property and when they have been developed into something really great and valuable to readers and users, they can have a monetary value that’ll blow your mind.
There have been many deals done over the last few years with simple blogs that have developed into something great, the owner being approached and offered a huge sum of money to sell his or her blog is becoming more common as blogs become more important.
Social Media is great. It helps bloggers get traffic and find new traffic. Traffic becomes readers who opt-in to your email list and come back for more of your writing and videos – depending on what you do.
Recently, there has been a trend in using various platforms to write articles and blog posts on. This is a good practice but it can never replace the basic idea that what you write or create on your blog, is yours and it stays yours.
Platforms where everybody meet and exchange ideas and links is all part of the landscape, but these social media sites, Facebook, Medium etc don’t replace your web property, that may well develop into something fantastci one day. Keep blogging, cause I can’t see what would replace it.
When you use WordPress you will see that you can set up with various Plugins. These are found under the Dashboard list where you can search for a plugin that will help you achieve a task with your blogging.
If you use the search options in “plugins”, or just click on one of the suggested subjects that you will see in a Cloud of words, you’ll discover lots of goodies that can be very useful. It depends on what your real aims are as to which plugins you use.
It’s also very important to understand that plugins should be kept to a minimum on your blog. If you use too many it can create conflicts in the smooth operation of other plugins and it can create more “weight” on your blog.
Bad plugins slow down the load time on your blog, you want to avoid that at all costs.
Load time is important. People don’t have all day to wait for pages to appear on their browsers, so if a blog page takes more than a couple of seconds they’ll go somewhere else.
You can check the loading speed of your blog by using pingdom.com, it’s accurate and gives you great insights into anything that might be causing a problem with loading times.
After you have setup your new blog, you won’t have loading time problems. That may be an issue much later when you have really started to accumulate a lot of content, like blog posts, photos and images etc.
The Name you Choose
The name you choose for your blogs header can be different to the domain name that you have purchased.
If, when buying a domain name you don’t get the one you want, don’t worry. You can put the name you want on the header of your blog as you please.
If you get a “.com” or a “eu” or ” another country local domain suffix, it’s just fine. It doesn’t make much difference to how much, or how easy it is to get traffic from any one place.
The traffic you get comes through your great writing and your savvy web marketing chops.
Use the “customise” part of WordPress to change aspects of your blog. If you go to “admin” and look down the left side of the page, you’ll see all the options, click on “Customise” tab and a bar will open on the left side.
You can mess around in here and try out different headers and colours for your blog’s look.
Be careful not to get carried away with bright and shiny things, otherwise you’ll end up with a multicoloured blog that is a blinding piece of modern art. And, very slow.
When it comes to good looking blogs, it’s really about the content. The blog layout itself should be simple and easy to navigate. A sidebar with a list of blog posts is a must, a search box so that visitors can search your content and a little box with your profile, or the purpose of the blog, in it. Let people know what they can expect and help them to see it immediately after landing on the page.
Images for your Posts
You want the search engines to find your content – your writing. So play the game according to search engine basic needs.
Clear writing that explains the topic, informs the reader and is enough content to make it a useful piece of writing or video for users is the most important thing.
Include images in your content. An image grabs the attention and will help a reader to start thinking about the subject of the post. It’s the first lead-in to the body of text. Make sure the image relates to the subject and hopefully reflects the headline.
In the past bloggers were swiping images from anywhere on the web. Stealing, basically. You can’t do this anymore, it’s really bad.
Go to an image platform or site and you will find great resources to get images for free, or paid for. If your post is a small masterpiece and your dead proud of it, then to pay a dollar or a euro for a photo image, isn’t too much. It may make a piece of work that much better.
Another option which is free and paid, is to use Canva.com. You can create your own images from various fonts and photos, including graphics and cartoony type images. You’ll see that it’s a great resource for bloggers and using it is simple and intuitive for first timers.
I find that it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to get going and be done with creating an image in a short period of time.
Building an Email List
As you progress, you’ll see that people come to your blog and read, like your writing and ideas and will return for more.
A priority is to build a list of subscribers who you can send an email to. The email that they get can let them know that you have written a new piece of content, created a really great video on YouTube for them or that you would like to let them know something about an offer you have.
Building email lists is an art and requires practice and patience. Firstly, people don’t just opt-in without a nudge and wink from you.
Having something to offer for free is the best way to get people to sign up to your blog. If they op-in, it’s because they want to hear from you again and think it will be easier for them.
Some people, I think, just grab everything that is free on the internet – then they start to opt-out of their new email list sign ups.
You can create a cheat sheet about the subject that write about, or if you have a short eBook that you can offer for free download.
A cheat sheet is a helpful list of ideas about the basics behind a task or process that requires deeper learning. It should contain the basic headings, and paragraph or two about how to work on or think about that heading when involved in the task.
An eBook is can be 20 or 120 pages long and offer great advice and know-how on a subject related to your blog theme/subject.
Starting a blog is the beginning of a very interesting journey that can lead to business ideas, other bloggers and new connections that will open up a whole new world for you.
If you love writing or/and making videos, then blogging is for you. You might discover a new side of yourself, or open up an avenue of income that you never thought possible.
Some people blog for love, others blog for money and fame. It’s all about Horses for Courses, whatever floats your boat as to the reason behind your motivation.
Just be sure that you are motivated about the subject that you blog about, otherwise it’ll show in your content and you’ll quit early.
There is nothing wrong with finding out by doing. Doing something now sows you what it’s all about and what you feel and think about it.
Blogging is fun and hard work – as much or little as you please. You can start a blog and deide it’s wrong, then change it to a totally different subject and discover you’re right about that one and keep going. Either way, you are not bound to the first blog you start and you can develop a blog, tweak ideas and find out in the first few months what it is that you are trying to get at with your content – and that’s okay for many people-
Other people, know what they want and immediately start to blog about the subject that is burning in their mind and must be got out onto the pages of a new blog.
If you want to get started now, which is a good idea, use Bluehost.com and WordPress as your basis for hosting and themes. You’ll be setup in minutes and ready to get your first article out to the world this evening.
Thanks and keep in touch, write a comment or two. I’d love to know what you feel about the world of blogging and internet.
Disclosure – I have partnered with Bluehost and earn a small commission if a reader buys through a link on my site.