So you want to start a blog, you say? Well then, you’ve surely come to the right place because in this post I will be sharing how to start a blog and all the steps you need to take prior to officially launching your blog to the public. Starting a blog is a fairly easy process once you have decided on the basic essentials like which platform you’re going to use and things of that nature. Which platform you decide on depends on how serious you’re planning to take your blog. So let’s dive in, shall we?
How to Start a Blog
Choose your platform
Deciding on your platform is probably one of the most difficult parts of deciding to start a blog, if we are being honest. Your two best options are self-hosted WordPress and Blogger. There is also Squarespace, but I have never used that platform personally so I can’t offer much insight on that platform but I have heard good things. Which platform you choose is dependent upon how serious you are about blogging. If you just want to casually post on your blog, then I’d recommend starting out on Blogger since it’s a free website. If you’re looking to be more serious about your blog from the beginning, then I’d recommend looking into self-hosted WordPress. Once you’ve decided on which platform is right for you, then you can move on to the next step.
Buy a domain
If you decide to go with self-hosted WordPress, then this step is absolutely crucial. If you’ve decided that Blogger is the right platform for you, then you don’t absolutely HAVE to buy a domain but I highly recommend it. It’s relatively inexpensive and if you want to start working with brands, then having your own domain makes you look more professional. When your URL is yourbloghere.blogspot.com, brands are not going to take you as seriously. You have to invest in yourself a little to make things happen. You can easily purchase your domain from NameCheap and check to see if your desired domain is available. If it’s not, then I’d recommend potentially finding a different name to use because you do not want something that’s too similar to another website.
Find a theme
Whether you decided to go with Blogger or WordPress, you’re going to need to have a theme for your blog. I recommend checking Etsy for inexpensive but cute themes for both Blogger and self-hosted WordPress. The only difference for self-hosted WordPress is that you’ll also have to purchase a framework (like Genesis) prior to deciding on a theme, but that’s for an entirely different post.
Decide what type of blog you’re going to have
You may do this prior to even deciding which platform you’re going to use but you definitely need to do this before you start the whole writing process. Choose 3-5 topics that you want to focus on whether that’s fashion, food, wedding planning, goal setting, etc. Personally I’m not super big on niching down to be extremely specific, but your posts should all relate somehow. Your posts should also provide value to your readers. People are selfish and want to read posts that they can relate to – not just snippets of your personal life with no real value to your readers.
Start writing posts
Before you officially reveal your blog to the public, you’ll want to have a few posts lined up so that when people happen upon your blog they have content to read. I recommend writing at least 3-5 posts – one post for each of the categories you’re planning on writing about. This will keep potential readers on your site longer when you’re first starting out because you’ll have more content for them to sift through from the get go.
Set up social media channels
When starting a blog, you’re going to want to at least make social media profiles on the top 3 social media platforms. In my opinion, the big 3 are Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest but I would also recommend setting up a Facebook page for your blog as well. Even if you don’t use your FB page from the get go, it’s always nice to have. Start growing your social media profiles and working on building hype around your blog leading up to your launch.
Work on growing your email list
In the pre launch phase, I also recommend working on growing an email list so that you can notify your newfound audience that you’re live and have continued communication with them both before and after your site has launched to build up hype and keep them excited about the launch.
Set yourself up on Google Analytics
You’re going to want to be able to track your blog’s metrics from the beginning so I’d recommend setting up a Google Analytics account prior to launching. This will help you see how you’re doing from month to month and see which of your posts are performing best. Follow this tutorial to get your Google Analytics account set up in a jiffy. Your GA results will also help you analyze which posts are performing best so you can write more posts that relate to the most popular posts.
Join Facebook Groups
When first starting out, Facebook groups are essential to help get your name out there. Participating in comment threads helps you discover other blogs in your niche while also allowing people to discover you as well so it’s a win-win situation.
If you currently have a blog, which of the above steps did you take prior to starting your blog? If not, do you plan to start a blog in the near future? I want to know your thoughts. Please feel free to let me know down in the comments.