- Why start a blog
- Most popular types of blogs
- Best blogging platforms
Why start a blog?
If you are wondering whether starting a blog in 2021 is worth the effort, here are some blogging benefits that might help you make a decision.
- An excellent way to showcase your expertise: Your blog is the best place to showcase your expertise.
- Establishing authority in your field: Publishing quality blog posts is a powerful way of building trust and establishing yourself as an authority in your niche.
- Sell a product or service: Blogging is a great way to market your products or services by creating helpful content for your target audience.
- Increased brand awareness: Having a blog can be an effective way to launch your business online and create brand awareness.
- Enhance user experience: A blog can be a helpful tool for your customers to find out relevant information, solutions to their problems, and FAQs about your offerings.
The benefits of blogging are numerous. I listed 33 benefits of blogging in this post, which will make you start blogging.
Most popular types of blogs
There are different types of blogs and each blog serves a different purpose.
Following are the popular types of blogs:
- Personal blog: It is a great way to share information, express thoughts or emotions, and share personal experiences. Or just simply talk about yourself.
- Hobby or interest: This is the kind of blogging you would enjoy the most. Blogging about your hobby can help you communicate and interact with people with who you share mutual interests.
- Professional blogging: This means taking blogging as a profession and a means to earn a living. It can be taken up as a full time or part-time job.
- Business blogging: It is used as a marketing tool to launch your business online and establish it as a brand.
- Community/communal: Community blog allows different people to post their blogs at one place where other people can respond and interact with each other.
- Microblogging: It is where you blog using small pieces of content such as short sentences, images or videos. Twitter is a popular example.
- Guest blogging: This is an outreach and SEO strategy where a blogger writes content for a third party blog with the objective of promoting his/her own brand.
As your blog grows you can certainly cover more blog types than just sticking to one. However, starting with a clear blogging goal and sticking to one type at the start will help you stay focused.
Best 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.
If you’re a beginner you would prefer a platform that is :
- Easy to set up
- Convenient to use
- No coding required
- Has Space for growth in future
Most successful bloggers if not all recommend self-hosted blogging platform using WordPress.org because:
- Gives you full control over your blog
- Has thousands of free themes available
- 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, It is SEO friendly
- WordPress has 58.55% of the CMS market share
It is important to make the right decision while picking out a blogging platform because once you get started, it can be difficult to shift to another one, and it can cost you quite a lot of your time and resources.
So if you’re looking to start your blog with a rock-solid foundation, I suggest you use WordPress.org as it outperforms all of the other blogging platforms.
How to start a blog with WordPress
If you don’t know about WordPress, you can check out this detailed post about what is WordPress before you start creating your own blog.
WordPress is an excellent solution for creating your own blog.
- 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.
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, you need inspiration, not motivation 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 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, 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
The smaller the niche, the better the chances are to make a brand with fewer efforts.
Step 3: Choose a domain name
A domain name is your blog’s address 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 can 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 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 best WordPress hosting companies for WordPress here.
Step 5: Install WordPress
Now the most important step is installing WordPress because you need a blogging platform to start your blog.
It is the biggest content management system in the world and has tons of free themes and plugins and great features.
Step 6: Pick a WordPress theme
Themes are responsible for the graphical display and design of your blog.
Once you have a domain name and a hosting server, you need to focus on how your blog should look like. This is an important step as your blog design reflects your personality to the world.
It is your online first impression, and you want it to be great.
Themes save you from the trouble of all the coding. WordPress offers over 3700 themes to choose from. You can select a free or premium theme depending on your requirements and budget. You can use a third party theme as well.
If you want to improve or customise your blog design, you can buy a premium theme or hire a WordPress developer to customise it for you.
Step 7: Pick and choose your plugins
A plugin is a small piece of software that enables you to perform a specific function and helps to extend the functionality of your blog.
Just like themes, there are tons of plugins available for WordPress, in fact, many more than themes.
You can install as many plugins as you need. There is probably a plugin for everything.
But it is important to keep them updated regularly in order to avoid any inconvenience and keep your blog secure, and it is recommended to remove the ones you no longer use.
Step 8: Finalise your blogging categories
While brainstorming the categories for your blog, keep in mind that categories are important for your readers to help them better navigate the blog as well as for you to organize your content well.
They should be descriptive and self-explanatory and not too lengthy.
Also, only create categories that you plan on writing in future as well. If not then it is best to merge with another one.
Step 9: Start writing
Once you have gone over all the above technical and non-technical points, there is only one thing left to do. Start creating content.
Your content should be unique, simple, informative and easy to understand and at no point should it lack originality. It is hard to build a personal brand with regurgitated content.
High quality content is the most important ingrediant of a successful blog.
Step 10: Plan to collect emails
Collecting emails from day one should be kept high on priority whether you are selling a product or service right now or not. They will always come in handy in future.
Email is the one digital marketing that’s absolutely indispensable. According to DMA National Client Email Report 2015, Email has an average ROI of $38 for each $1 spent.
You don’t own your social media accounts and can lose any time. 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 email newsletter.
“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.”