What is a blog?
A blog is a personal website where you can post articles, collect things you like from the World Wide Web, add videos or simply write down your personal thoughts.
Most blogs are like journals, made to represent the person behind it and for sharing personal stuff with others. Others are themed – they aim to address a specific niche audience (music, F1, fashion, gadgets, etc.). These hobby or passion-oriented blogs are created with their communities in mind. Today’s blogs are encouraging readers’ interaction and sometimes, they go from online to offline.
Personal blogs are different from business-oriented websites which are more complex and have specific revenue or business goals. Sometimes, a successful personal blog, that starts getting a lot of traffic, could start generating revenue. If you’re not sure where to start, you can try defining your blog goals first and go from there.
Things to consider before starting a blog:
- What subject(s) would you like to tackle? If you’re not sure and just want to start exploring, it’s perfectly cool. Just go ahead and be creative!
- The hardest part is to keep a steady pace and have something published at least once a week, For this, it helps to set up a schedule/calendar and reserve a time to cover this.
- It’s important to have consistency. People landing on your blog will rarely leave a comment if your last post was two months ago. They will consider it abandoned. Even though there is no rule, you should try to post at least an update once a week. Better publish one sentence than nothing.
How to start your blog?
After you’ve gone through the steps above and you have an idea of what you’d like your blog to focus on, it’s time to get technical (don’t worry, you’ll manage it without any coding skills).
Blogs and websites live on the Internet, and this means they need to be hosted somewhere. While you can’t “see it”, all websites out there have a host behind it. Also, you’ll need a software that powers your blog. Let’s take things one at a time.
1. Choose a blogging platform
The platform you use when managing your blog the first and most important decision you will take. These are the options, depending on your budget available:
WordPress – the most popular blogging platform, powering 30% of all websites. We recommend choosing it and understanding the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
Tumblr – a simple solution for microbloggers that want to get social
Blogger – Google’s free blogging solution uses a Blogger subdomain (domain ends in “.blogger.com”).
Squarespace – a website builder tool focused on design.
Wix – a good solution for businesses. Comes with a limited free option which uses a Wix subdomain (domain ends in “.wixsite.com”).
Weebly – great for creating simple, functional sites. Comes with a limited free option which uses a Weebly subdomain (domain ends in “.weebly.com”)
2. Choose a domain name
A web domain is a unique identifier for your blog. While it comes down to a sequence of letters and numbers, it’s recommended that the domain is connected to the name of your blog. For instance, if your blog is about pizza recipes, and your blog name is The Pizza Hunter, your best bet would be pizzahunter.com.
However, you might not have a defined idea yet, or you’re still looking for inspiration. If you’re here, you’re probably still searching. At this stage, Domain Wheel can help with finding you an original, available domain for your new blog.
3. Pick a web host
This step is required if you’ve selected WordPress as your CMS (Content Management System) tool. The other free platforms have this covered for you but will not give you the liberty to select your own domain extension.
Picking your hosting is in close relation to the type of blog you are building. We’ve also covered this step and recommend the best web hosts you can get.
3. Customize/design your blog
Sites built with WordPress.org get a default design, a basic theme that can be replaced to suit your blog. To pick a theme you must decide on the content you’ll be sharing most. If you’re focusing on articles, you’ll be looking for an enhanced experience for reading theme. If you’re into photography, you’d be looking after an images-dedicated theme, that displays photos and galleries with priority.
Themes (or templates) are developed by independent authors that sell them, or release them freely on the official WordPress.org theme directory. Another solid option is Just Free Themes for a more curated approach. And here’s a good selection of 30 free blogging WordPress themes.
Themes should be compliant with the newest releases of the WordPress software, which means they should be maintained and updated (check the “Last updated” day before downloading).
Premium themes offer extra features, premium support and future updates and vary from $30 to over $100. They are sold by independent authors on marketplaces (ThemeForest) or on their own shops (ThemeIsle).
4. Publish your first post and launch your blog
It’s now time to write your first blog post. There’s no rule in what to tackle, it can be anything – form your blog’s mission to a picture to introduce your cat.
The elements of a blog post:
Headline – the title of your post, like the title of a book. Should be catchy but also include searchable keywords.
Category – blog categories help structure content and make your old posts discoverable.
Introduction – the first paragraph of your post (should contain your keyword phrase).
Sub-headlines – break your content and make a an article easy to scan and read.
Links – are used when referencing other websites. They take users on other web pages, so they should be set to Open in new tab.
Media – images, gifs, videos, audio files, all help better illustrate your content.
Bolded text – useful for highlighting information you want your readers to see.
Lists – adding numbered lists in your posts can help readers better grasp useful content.
But posts aren’t the only constituents of a blog. Here’s where you can learn more about blog pages worth having.
You’re all set – it’s time to conquer the world. Some ways to do it:
- Get more visitors to your blog
- Make money from your blog
- You’ll probably also want to create a blog content strategy and figure out how to come up with new blog post ideas.
- And if you’re looking for everything in one place, we wrote a whole guide on how to grow a personal blog.
- For a more in-depth how to start a blog guide, make sure you read the tips from our writers.