Many people have asked me questions about how I started this blog and what steps they should take. I’ve been blogging for 10 years about a wide range of topics from finance to travel.
I’m telling you this because blogging is a real business and provides you with a chance to practice your writing skills, showcase your talents, and make money while you sleep!
In this guide, you will learn how to create a blog for personal or business use. Blogging is a great way to share your ideas with the world and interact with like minded people in almost every topic imaginable.
Step 1 – Choose a Topic
Your first step is to choose a topic to start your blog on. There are several ways to find the perfect topic for your blog. You could try your:
- Hobbies and Passions
- Favorite Sports teams
- Work related news & information
- Things you love to discuss with friends
When selecting a topic, I recommend choosing a broader topic that you can expand upon in the future. For example, if you start a blog about basketball, then you may quickly run out of things to discuss. On the other hand, if you start a blog about sports, then you can discuss football, basketball, track, soccer, etc.
Give yourself room to grow as your audience gets bigger and you discover their biggest problems and concerns.
Choosing a broader topic gives you flexibility in the long term.
Step 2 – Get a Professional Domain Name and Hosting
Once you found a topic to blog about, then you need to purchase a good domain name and web hosting.
Your domain name is your web address in the digital world. Many people make the mistake of using free blogging websites in the beginning, but I think it’s a terrible idea.
You want a professional blog that has the ability to turn into something bigger in the future. Many bloggers turn their simple blog into full time income businesses that give them more time and freedom. That’s only possible with a domain name.
Web hosting is another component that should always be paid for. Beware of free web hosting sites that provide hosting for free. These sites fill your blog with annoying ads and make money from your hard work.
For blogging beginners, I recommend Host Gator as a wonderful web hosting package. They offer powerful reliable hosting for complete beginners at a very low cost.
Step 3 – Install WordPress
Next step is to install WordPress on your domain. There are several blogging softwares out there, but I recommend WordPress for several reasons.
I like WordPress because:
- It’s very easy to use
- Over 25% of the internet uses WordPress
- It’s highly secure and always updated regularly
- It’s Free
- There are thousands of Free themes and plugins to use from tons of brilliant developers around the world.
My suggestion is to go with WordPress and spend your time creating awesome content and connecting with your community.
Video: How to Install WordPress on Hostgator
The video above shows you how to install WordPress onto your new Host Gator hosting account. Here’s a written tutorial showing you how to install WordPress on your Host Gator Account.
Step 4 – Choose a WordPress Theme
WordPress comes with many different themes to give your blog its own unique design. You can either choose a Free WordPress theme for your blog or purchase a premium theme for a more professional look.
Free WordPress Themes
Go to the WordPress Theme Directory to find a free theme for your site.
Premium WordPress Themes
Check out Theme Forest for the best premium WordPress Themes.
Step 5 – Install WordPress Plugins
Plugins add features to WordPress without editing your blog’s files. There are thousands of plugins to choose from in the WordPress plugin repository.
Here’s a list of recommended plugins to install for your blog:
Blocks spammers from leaving comments on your blog.
Simple automated backups of your WordPress-powered website.
Lets you open external links in a new window. Good for reducing bounce rate.
Amazing plugin that offers tons of social sharing and publishing features in 1 plugin
Prevents 404 errors by finding the right post. Great for eliminating 404 not found errors.
Turns ugly affiliate links into short, easy to read links. Great for affiliate marketers.
Adds a HTML sitemap to your blog. Good for SEO and usability.
The ultimate WordPress security plugin. Stops the bad guys from hacking your blog.
Protect your content from being copied. See more info on my article about protecting your content from being copied.
A simple way to make your blog faster. Turns WordPress PHP dynamic files into static HTML files.
Reduce the file size of your images to make your blog faster.
Helps you to keep your database clean by removing post revisions and spams in a blaze.
The best WordPress SEO plugin. Helps you rank higher in Google and optimize your blog for organic search queries.
Step 6 – Setup Your Email Subscription Method
This is an important but often forgotten step. When someone reads your blog and wants to receive updates, you should make it easy for them to subscribe.
RSS is commonly used but the most preferred method of subscription is email.
Use an email subscription service to capture your reader’s email address so you can contact them whenever you publish a new post.
For a basic Free email subscription option, I recommend Jetpack Subscriptions. Install Jetpack then activate the subscpriptions widget and add it to your sidebar.
If you want to follow up with your subscribers, then I recommend Aweber or Mailchimp.
I also recommend Optinmonster as an easy way to add subscrption forms to your blog without touching any code.
Step 6 – Write Your First Post
Writing your first post is a big step towards getting traffic, subscribers and making money. Without traffic, you will struggle to keep your blog active and updated. The key is to blog about the biggest problems/concerns in your niche to keep your readers engaged and informed.
Many bloggers write a short little post as their first blog post. I think that’s a mistake. You want to start blogging with a BANG!
Write an Amazingly Helpful First Post to Set the Tone
Write down the most commonly asked question in your niche and turn it into a blog post.
For example, if you started a travel blog, then a good 1st post is: Top 10 Travel Destinations in the World.
The key is to write something that draws in as many people as possible to give your blog traction. You don’t need to know what to write about at first.
Listen to your readers and create content based on their need/wants. I used that same strategy for this blog.
A friend asked me how to travel to Brazil so I wrote a blog post sharing everything I knew about Brazil. That post is one of the most viewed blog posts on this site and still gets thousands of visits every month.
Your blog will evolve as you learn more about your audience. Put a lot of time into your 1st post then listen to your niche and go from there.
Step 7 – Edit Your Post
Editing is another important aspect of blogging that’s often overlooked. I still make mistakes even though I’ve been blogging for 10 years.
Proofread and skim your blog post once you are finished. I like to save my post then take a break by leaving the computer. This helps me come back to my post with a fresh mind.
I recommend reading “25 of the most common grammatical errors” to help you avoid silly spelling mistakes.
Consider Taking an English Writing Course
If English is not your first language, then I recommend you take a online course on English writing. When you don’t sound like a native English speaker, it really turns off people living in English speaking countries like United States, UK, Canada, etc.
Don’t let people judge you based on your English skills. There are many free English wrting courses available online. Here’s a few of them:
Step 8 – Publish Your Post
Awesome! You wrote your first post and edited it. It’s time to publish your masterpiece and share it with the world.
WordPress makes it very simple to publish your content. Before you hit publish, I recommend clicking the “Preview” button to see what your post will look like on your website.
This helps fix formatting errors that make it difficult to read your blog post. Sometimes, you will notice spelling and grammatical errors easier on the preview screen than inside your WordPress editor.
Step 9 – Share Your Post on Social Networks
When you publish a blog post, you want social networks to pick it up and share it with their massive audience. In order to acheive this, you need to create social networking accounts on the following sites:
WordPress lets you share your posts automatically on your social networking accounts when you hit the publish button. Jetpack has a Publicize setting that shares all your posts automatically.
Step 10 – Track Your Blog Stats Using Google Analytics
The last step in starting your blog is setting up Google Analytics to track your blog performance. Google Analytics is a world class web analytics platform that gives data about your blog and its visitors.
Google Analytics by Yoast lets you setup your tracking codes without touching your theme files. For more information on getting started with Analytics, check out “Get Started with Google Analytics.”