How to start a blog is a popular question nowadays.
A blog is an excellent tool for:
- Your digital CV
- Get feedback on your ideas
- Build a community around your passion
- Build rapport and establish authority
- Document your learning & life experiences
Last but not least, you can make money with blogging.
On June 17th, 2008 Pat Flynn was laid off from his dream job as an architect, and although he didn’t know it at the time, today he describes it the best thing that could ever happen to him.
After losing his job, to help others pass to pass the LEED exam to become an architect. That website took off and started to generate thousands of visits a day.
He created an ebook study guide, a digital book to help his visitors pass the LEED exam. He launched that in October of 2008, and that very first month he sold that book for $19.99.
He got excited and started his first blog to document his learning and to help others. When he started the SPI blog, he didn’t have any idea that it will become his passive income machine. He simply started to document his learning and processes of building an online business.
His painful layoff opened up his eyes to the amazing world of entrepreneurship, and since then he has built several successful online businesses, impacted millions of people around the world, and he gets to spend more time with my family, too.
Whether you’re looking to start a personal blog or a business blog, this guide will have everything you need to know.
The focus of this how to start a blog guide is:
- Demystify the blog creation process
- Show you the key elements to start a successful blog
- You don’t need to know the coding to start a blog
If you are just started and don’t know where to start or have tried to build a blog before but could not figure out blogging yet, I have got you covered in this how to start a blog guide.
You’ll find out:
- What is a blog
- Should you start a blog
- How to start your own blog
- Best blogging platforms
- How to start a blog with WordPress
- How to get started with blogging
- Common blogging mistakes to avoid
Before we get started, I’m going to make it clear that running a blog is a marathon, not a 100-meter sprint.
- Starting a blog is not a get rich quick formula
- It requires extreme focus and discipline
- There are no secret formulas – it’s a pure hard work
- This guide is not about any tricks or expensive software
What is a Blog?
Let’s define what is a blog, first.
A blog is a tool that has democratised publishing and gives the power to ordinary people like you and me to create and publish our media.
A blog is like your own:
- Newspaper or magazine
- A radio station
- A TV channel
Your blog has the power of all three combines. On your blog, you can publish an article, a podcast or a video. It is up to you, how you utilise so much publishing power of your blog.
Your challenge is to create and publish quality content consistently.
A dictionary definition of a blog is:
And no matter what you are blogging about, there are a few standard things that are truly important.
- Being productive
- Maintaining a steady speed
- Continuous optimisation
- A blog is an excellent relationship & community-building tool
In November 2012, James began publishing at JamesClear.com his notes about his personal experiments with habits. He began by publishing a new article every Monday & Thursday.
Within a few months, this simple writing habit led to his first one thousand email subscribers, and by the end of 2013, that number had grown to more than thirty thousand.
“I was becoming known as an expert on habits, a new label that excited me but also felt uncomfortable. I had never considered myself a master of the topic—but rather someone who was experimenting alongside my readers”. James Clear
Starting a blog led him to:
- Publish over 150 articles
- Earning the trust of 650,000 plus email subscribers
- Get 10 million visitors per year to jamesclear.com
- Speak at major events
- Become an author of the New York Times bestseller,
- Donate 5% of profit to our charity partner, Against Malaria Foundation
Should You Start a Blog
Absolutely, you should start a blog if you are truly inspired to:
- Build a personal brand
- You have a product, service to sell
- You are passionate about a cause and want to build a community
- Excited to learn new things and share your learning with others
- Enjoy writing, speaking or creating videos
To start a successful blog; you don’t need to know how to code thanks to WordPress.
In 2009—the midst of the Great Recession—Michael Stelzner, Founder of Social Media Examiner noticed lots of people were talking about what they disliked about social media. But few were sharing how businesses could benefit from the emerging platforms.
With no social media experience, Michael set out to create a movement for businesses. His premise: If marketers openly shared what worked with social media, businesses could thrive. His mission was to bring together the brightest minds and offer quality content for free.
Today, more than 85 million people have benefited from the content produced by Social Media Examiner.
In July/August 2008, Michael floated an idea of starting an online magazine about what they all were expert in, which is social media at dinner with his business partners.
Michael is a real role model for taking action immediately once you have an idea. You can watch the following short video to learn more about Social Media Examiner’s origin story and to get ideas on how you can implement your blog idea fast.
How to Start Your Own Blog
Before you start looking into the technicalities of how to start your own blog, it is vital to figure out your “why”.
Step 1: Why do you want to start a blog?
Do you want to:
- Share a passion with the whole world
- Market service or product
- Make money through blogging
If you are inspired to do something, all of these are perfectly fine and achievable goals through starting a blog.
Yes, to create a successful blog.
Motivation usually lasts for a few days before you need more. But if you are inspired to do something, you typically find a motivation one way or another when you’ll come across a hurdle during your blogging journey.
Your inspiration will help you:
- Stay disciplined
- Make tangible progress daily for your blog
- Create content instead of watching Netflix
Step 2: Choose a Blogging Niche
If you are looking to share your passion with the world, then the good news is that you can skip this step as you already have a niche.
In my opinion, there isn’t a better niche than what you love to do.
For example, if you love photography and want to start a blog about photography, then it is a perfect niche.
But if you are looking to make money while following your passion as well, then it will be a business and should be treated as one.
In that case, you might want to consider exploring niching it down a bit further. Because more competition will be there, the fewer chances are to get any traction.
You may want to explore:
- Wedding photographer
- Blogging about photography equipment only
- How to take better pictures of your products
Smaller the niche, the better the chances are to make a brand with fewer efforts.
Also, when you treat your blog as a business, it will help you deal with all the ups and downs of the industry.
Step 3: Choose a Domain Name
A on the internet. For example, my blog’s address on the internet is ranashahbaz.com.
If you are looking to start a personal blog, you choose to have your domain as your name. However, if you are after a business blog, you might want to go for a brand name.
It is easier to buy a domain name but choose your name wisely because it will be staying with you throughout the life of your blog and can be quite complicated to change it once your blog will be old and established.
Step 4: Hosting Details
Your blog’s content and files need to be stored on a server so that people can access it over the internet from anywhere at any time. Every blog or website needs a hosting
Hosting companies give you space on their servers to store your entire website’s data.
You can check out the hosting details and some of the for WordPress here.
Step 5: Plan to Collect Emails
Email is the one digital marketing that’s absolutely indispensable. Email has an average ROI of $38 for each $1 spent.
You don’t own your social media accounts and can loose anytime. Social media channels are like rented places. On the internet, your best-owned assets are your self hosted blog/website and email list.
Chris Brogan, who is a sought after keynote speaker and the New York Times bestselling author of nine books, wrote the following in his .
“So, in marketing terms, if I started now, I’d do this:
- Get my website straight and clear
- Cultivate and market to an email list
- Start generating activity that encourages interaction
It’s a super clean set of instructions that comes out of this experience for me. Look at all the pieces that aren’t on the list, though.
Now, I’m not saying those aren’t worth doing. All three fall into the category of “activity that encourages interaction.” I’m saying I wouldn’t start there.
I’d start with contacts on a list so that I can email and call them. Because that’s the fastest way to start generating sales prospects.”
Best Blogging Platform
What is a blogging platform?
A blogging platform is your content creation and management tool. For example, there are many word editors such as Microsoft Words, Google Docs, Dropbox Paper etc.
All of these tools do the same thing; helps you create and manage your content. However, these tools may have different features. You usually choose, which fits best as per your needs & preferences.
My current favourite is Dropbox Paper because of its minimalistic UI.
Similarly, there are many blogging platforms, such as:
There is an endless choice of blogging platforms.
Most successful bloggers if not all recommend self-hosted blogging platform using WordPress.org because:
- Gives you full control over your blog
- It can grow as your blog grows – 55,000 plus free plugins
- WordPress.org is the best blogging platform to make money
- Google loves WordPress
- of the CMS market share
Based on the above, I can safely suggest that you should go with WordPress.org and start your blog with a rock-solid foundation.
How to Start a Blog with WordPress
If you don’t know about WordPress, you can check out this detailed post about before you start creating your own blog.
WordPress is an excellent solution for creating your own blog.
You need to follow the following steps to start your self-hosted WordPress so that you’re in full control.
- Sign up for web hosting (I use SiteGround).
- Choose a hosting plan.
- Pick a domain name for your blog.
- Integrate your domain and hosting.
- Install WordPress.
- Log in and start writing your first blog post.
If you want to improve or customise your blog design, you can buy a premium theme or to customise it for you.
How to Get Started with Blogging
Building a blog can be overwhelming.
- Choose a niche
- Keyword research
- Deciding categories of blog
- Content creation
- Search engine optimisation
- Email subscription setup
The list goes on and on.
It is quite difficult to create original content, and your best bet would be “document don’t create”.
Pat Flynn – Managed to build a successful blog by documenting his trial & errors with creating an online business.
James Clear – Started to document his experiments with habits.
Michael Stelzner – He started social media examiner blog by documenting how social media guru’s at the time were utilising social media to build businesses.
Common Blogging Mistakes to Avoid
Following are the few blogging mistakes I have noticed most beginners make and you should avoid keeping going.
Start Now & Optimize Later
They say excellent is the enemy of good. You should not wait for the ideal situation and start blogging today and keep optimising along the way.
I never met anyone who learned swimming by reading a book.
Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin.
Most generic niches are too competitive at the moment.
Pick a specific niche and stick to it; smaller the niche the better when you start blogging.
For example, if you are, food blogger writing about food would be too competitive and will be very difficult to make any dent in the blogging ocean. However, if you write about a vegan diet only, it will have a lot less competition.
We all know practice makes you perfect. Getting better at blogging is no different, and there is no shortcut for this. The more you blog, the better you’ll get it over time.
Pick a manageable schedule and stick to it.
Enjoy the process of blogging because it will be difficult to blog if you are not passionate about the topic. Getting better at blogging can take time, but it will be worth it.
They say success leaves clues. Pick someone successful in your niche and follow the footsteps instead of inventing the wheel again.
What is stopping you from starting blogging?
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