start a blog

How to Start a Blog in 5 Simple-Stupid Steps

Do you plan to start a blog? It isn’t as challenging as you may think, and most freelancers have a website and often a blog. This article walks you through the steps of starting a blog.
 
Me, I have a few websites and blogs. My sister and I often joke about it, but, seriously, it’s gotten out of control!
 
I’ve been creating websites mainly on the WordPress platform since 2003 (at least), but a few others from time to time, from business websites for family and friends to personal blogs.
 
Creating an essential website doesn’t require coding knowledge or even special skills. It’s like baking a cake from scratch, so long as you follow the recipe, it comes out great.
 
Let’s get started.

Step 1: Pick a Purpose

When you set out to start a blog, the first thing you think you need is a domain name. But, wait….
 
Before you choose and pay for a domain, you need to decide the why.
 
Why do you want to start a blog?
 
The answer to this has a lot to do with your approach and the content you will add to it; yes, it could even impact the domain name you choose.
 
There are a few uses for a blog, such as:

The Side Hustle Blog

Are you thinking to turn a blog into a side business? 

This type of blog needs a few special things to consider. For example, you’ll need keyword research in addition to creating a schedule for posts. 

Keep in mind that a blog as a business is more serious than a blog where you write to practice writing or share your thoughts. Including SEO in every part of it is critical in order to gain a treasured spot on SERP’s first page. 

The Niche Builder Blog

If you plan to freelance or make money from your blog, you want to pick a niche. A niche is a specific subject on which you base your posts. Some niche examples include travel, writing, finances, sports, gaming, or any other topic you choose. 

Keep your posts tightly focused, and they will draw in readers repeatedly. 

The Freelance-Writing Showcase

In the beginning, especially if you’re still finding your way, you have lots of room to test writing on different topics. As you mature as a writer, you’ll become more specific with your niche. Doing this will help you find your writer’s voice and develop a targeted audience.

Of course, you can change everything at any time. Hobby blog or money-maker – it’s up to you. 

Step 2: What Will You Say?

Putting a blog together is work, and it’s not free. So, before you buy, plan. 

Develop an outline of what you will say on your blog. From who you are, what you will write about, and why. Readers want value. 

Use a Google sheet and keep a running list of topics. Include keywords external links without making a book. Your running list should contain 20-50 topic ideas to give you a running start. 

Another great tool (free) that I use is Evernote. I create a notebook for each post that includes a note page for an outline, another for resources, and finally, one for the article content. 

how to start a blog

Step 3: Where to Start a Blog

While I’m not going to delve into all the technical details in this post, I will give you an idea of the steps involved. Step 1: Choose a domain where people will go to find your blog, like firedupcopy.com

While most sites charge you, sometimes you can get a deal on a free domain when you sign up for hosting. I use Dreamhost, and they have done well for me. But, I recently heard NameCheap gives great deals on domains. Still, GoDaddy is another tried and true option.

The number of places to build your website is limitless, but here are a few o the more notable ones. 

Wix

While Wix isn’t as popular as WordPress or Squarespace, it’s an excellent platform for you if you’re just starting to blog.  It’s user-friendly and you can set it up even if you’re not very technical.

Customizing is simple and you can even embed a store into it.

Squarespace

In February, I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, Inbox Besties by Kate Doster, and she had a fascinating guest, Hasfa from Happily Hafsa. Want to take a listen? Head over to Episode 210 from January 1st. Squarespace was one of the discussion points and precisely how it’s great for SEO. 

So, the tech in me made me try it out—Squarespace costs around $24 a month. So for those just starting, it may be better to choose another option depending on your budget. 

Overall, I found it simple to set up and customize. It has tons of drag-and-drop options, which make setup and customization more straightforward than other options.

WordPress

If this is your first blog or website, you can’t go wrong with WordPress. Besides being the top go-to option, most bloggers rely on its robust platform. 

WordPress has two versions, WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Many first-time bloggers start with WordPress.com. Here you can set up a free site or buy a domain (plus hosting). The downside is you’ll still be under many restrictions related to advertising and design since with WordPress.com, you don’t own it because it’s hosted on their platform.

For those ready to own and operate a blog and have more technical skills, WordPress.org would be right for you. Once paid for your domain registration and hosting, you’ll be ready to install WordPress.org on your site. 

If this seems challenging, Youtube has many tutorials that can help. 

Step 4: Marketing Your Blog

While there is a ton of information available on marketing a blog – at least several books’ worth – let’s look at some of the basics. 

When it comes to marketing a website or blog, there are two types of traffic search engines can send to your blog. Organic traffic describes what happens when people somehow find the magic keywords, input them into a search engine and find your site. 

Paid traffic, however, is achieved through paid ads, and these come from ad placement on social media or Google. 

Paid traffic may not be in your budget initially. If that’s true, focus on implementing keywords that boost organic traffic. 

Step 5: Keeping Your Momentum

Did you know learning to start a blog is simple it’s maintaining it long-term is the challenge? 

More often than not, when the writer behind the blog loses interest and quits writing, blog traffic dwindles, and eventually, no one is reading your posts. 

Generally, it takes months to build up a readership to your blog, which means initially, you are writing to no one in particular. 

When You Start a Blog - Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned how to start a blog, it’s time to spread the word.

There are writing communities and groups online everywhere, and new ones pop up almost daily. You can share your blog, your experiences and frustrations, and bond with others doing the same. 

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Starting a blog is a wonderful experience, no matter if it’s for personal uses or business. What’s more, you don’t know how your words will impact anyone else or the outcomes of putting your writing in a public space. 

Have you started a blog? Let me know in the comments. 

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