How To Start A Blog- The Beginner’s Guide To Blogging
Way back in 2007 when I wrote my first blog post, I had no idea that one day this will become my identity. I just had to express my thoughts so that my head didn’t burst out crying boredom so that my grey cells kept ticking so that I could cry out aloud and say I have a voice and an opinion too. It has been a roller coaster journey of learning, unlearning, discovery and exploration. MaaOfAllBlogs is a brand now and people know the blog more than they know me as, Prerna Sinha.
Today’s post is for you, you who want to start a blog and have been contemplating for too long.
Blogging is like swimming, you can learn as much theory as you can but unless you actually jump in, you will never learn.
It’s time to jump in, wade and learn with experience.
So what’s a blog?
Consider it like a diary that is available on the internet for everyone to read.
If you want to start a blog there can be no better time. But did you know that
There Are More Than 440 Million Blogs In The World!!!
So how are you planning to stand out?
Let’s discuss this and more in this post.
To differentiate your blog from the others
There are only 4 fundas here.
Consistency, Good Blog Design, Good content and Marketing.
Consistency- Very important to make a presence felt and keep it fueled. Only 20% blogs in the world are active or actually end up making money.
Good news, your competition is with that 88 million only!!
Bad news, It’s still 88 million!
There are 7 billion people in the world but can you guess how many connected devices exist?
Shockingly, 21 billion. That’s the extent to which social media has penetrated into our lives. And in India we are still riding the wave.
I guess you are reading this post to understand the basics of blogging.
A good question to start will be why you want to blog?
If the motivation is right, it can take you a long way. If it’s a whim, you will fizz out even before you start.
Blogging is real work, a countless number of hours involved.
Still sure. Superb now let’s get down to real work.
How to Start a Blog in 5 Steps
These are five basic steps to start a blog
- Pick a blog name
- Get your blog online
- Customize your blog
- Write & publish your first post!
- Promote your blog
Your Name Is Your Brand
Choose a name carefully as;
- It becomes your identity and brand
- It should be relevant to your niche
- You can change it later but you lose a lot of your work
I suggest buying a unique domain name ie www.yoursite.com or www.yoursite.in whatever you choose. You can buy domains from hosts like Godaddy and hostgater. This doesn’t cost much and makes your website sound more professional.
Free or Self-hosted?
The next question comes along, where can you post a blog? There are free platforms like Blogger.com or WordPress.com but being on these sites will mean that they own the rights to your blog and can remove your blog anytime they want if you go against their guidelines which you ideally won’t but these guidelines keep changing. You don’t get to do a lot of customisations with your blog related to themes, layouts etc.
The advantage Blogger.com has over wordpress.com is that it is powered by Google. Google is the most preferred search engine in the world if you are on Blogger Google pushes your page views and ranks you better. So it does have its advantages.
But both on Google and WordPress.com you have fixed storage space. So after a point, you will have to buy storage and pay for it.
If you are planning to monetise the site, I would suggest moving on to WordPress.org. Here you can customise, optimise it and more. You own the rights to this site as well and no one can remove your site.
Before You Open the Blog to The World, here is what you need to do
- Study: Study the other bloggers in your niche, learn about the hot topics in your community, figure out where your customers are hanging out, identify who the leaders are, and read up on some of your favourite writers and the people whose voices you’d like to emulate. You’ll find that a lot of your writing is affected by what you read. Seek out the good people and follow them.
- Start building buzz: From the moment you decide you’ll be starting a blog, you want to work on creating buzz around it.
Put up a placeholder on your site. Start talking about it on Twitter/ Facebook etc.
Put teasers in your email newsletter and on Facebook. Start mentioning it to local business owners. Everyone should know that a blog is coming and they should be excitedly awaiting your arrival. People love talking about themselves. Use it.
2.Be ready to advantage of the influx of readers. Make sure your RSS button is in plain sight so that people can subscribe when they land on it. Put up a compelling call-to-action if you’re looking to secure emails for a newsletter.
3.Create a content strategy: content laid out for the first month, two months of the blog. Doing so takes away the panic of having to come up with great content on the fly and allows you to control what you’re publishing.
- Decide: Ads or No Ads? I would suggest no ads to start with as you should first look at building your following base rather than making it look very busy.
I would suggest no ads to start with as you should first look at building your following base rather than making it look very busy. Eventually, you can start adding ads and monetising your site.
To start with you can apply to Google Adsense once your blog is at least three months old. Once they approve this then you can start placing your ads. You can also get affiliate links from Amazon or other e-commerce websites.
- Apply and get registered with a Google Analytics account and get an Alexa rank for your blog. This has to be done right in the beginning because Google analytics will only start tracking your stats from the day you register with them. This can, however, be done once your blog is live.
- Be ready with minimum 5-10 posts before going live with the blog.
Once You Go Live
- Talk about it throughout your social media.- Create your social accounts on sites like Digg, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. Share your posts throughout these social media accounts.
- Start talking to people on your niche social media sites. Start guest posting on other blogs to drive traffic back to yours. Form partnerships with folks in your local and virtual communities. There are Facebook groups, there are Google plus forums.
- Comment on other blogs, message boards and forums: They will come back and comment on yours.
- Respond to comments on your own blog: Show intent and interaction
Finally, Enjoy The Process 🙂
Blogging is a lot of work and if you don’t enjoy it, it can bog you down.
- You should blog because you are passionate about your work, because it’s a lot of work.
- Blog is not just writing. It’s social media, business development, graphic designing, photography, marketing etc.
- First few months, around 6-8, write as much as you can.
- Read and understand SEO. Get your site optimised for it.
You are set, go ahead, enjoy the attention !! Let me know if you found this worthwhile and if you would like to know more on this topic or anything related to blogging.
Do check 200 plus blogpost ideas and will soon do a level 2 to this post which is Your Blog is launched, now how to drive revenue to it . Stay Tuned!!!