Starting your own blog is a fun way to learn about a subject, become a part of a community, create your own voice online, and even potentially make some money. Some of the most successful websites on the internet today are individual and multi-author blogs. Even non-traditional blog platforms, like the microblogging website Twitter, have become exceedingly popular in the past decade.
There are many great reasons people give for wanting to start a blog, but the reasons not to do so are often poor excuses. Before we begin our lesson in setting up a blog, we want to debunk some blogging myths.
Starting a blog takes a lot of time.
Using our guide, we can teach you how to create your own blog on a professional looking website in under a half hour. Thanks to modern platforms and internet tools, building a website from scratch no longer requires the investment of time and other resources that it once did. This means you can spend less time making your blog and more time blogging.
Starting a blog requires advanced coding knowledge.
Creating your own blog is so easy that even a child could do it. This is thanks to website builder tools that provide users with a “What You See Is What You Get” platform that enables them to visualize the features and functions of their website without the need for any coding or programming. This revolutionary software has taken what was once a job and turned it into a hobby that anyone can enjoy.
Starting a blog is expensive.
Hiring a web designer can be a costly venture, going well beyond the $1000 mark and even higher if you want premium features. Thankfully, there are tools that now enable users to take this once expensive process and do it all for free. Additionally, the cost of monthly hosting can be as low as a single cup of coffee.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start building your own blog with our five-step guide!
- Choose Your Blog Subject
- Select a Blogging Platform and Domain Name
- Find the Perfect Blog Theme
- Customize Your Blog
- Start Blogging
Step 1: Choose Your Blog Subject
It is important to know exactly what you intend on blogging about early on. Most people have some idea of what they want to write about, but often times these subjects need to be refined in order to prevent overreaching and enabling you to speak to a specific niche.
Most people have some idea of what they want to write about, but often times these subjects need to be refined in order to prevent overreaching and enabling you to speak to a specific niche.
- Choose a topic that interests you. This is, of course, an obvious one, but we’re not just talking about the short term here. A blog is something that most people intend on keeping for a long time and if you lose interest in a subject, it will show in your work. That is why you should try to choose a subject that will not only want to write about now but in the future as well. Some ways to help guarantee this is by not choosing a field in which there is little room to grow and writing about a topic that you have been interested in for a while instead of a passing fancy.
- Think about how personal you want to be. One of the appeals of the blogging platform is that it allows you to write directly to your reader using a voice that is real and genuine. It is not uncommon for some people to get carried away with this and begin writing about things that, perhaps, are not appropriate to be sharing. Your blog subject can lead you down this road, so it is important to set boundaries and know what you want to reveal in your blog.
- Consider your readers. Part of the appeal of creating a blog is making something that other people will see and invest time into reading. Consider if your blog subject is one that many others share a passion for. There is nothing wrong with niche, in fact, it is probably the best way to go for a new blogger, but try to get an idea about the audience your subject will potentially bring you.
Once you choose a subject that will be meaningful to you and other readers, it’s time to begin creating your blog.
Step 2: Select a Blogging Platform and Domain Name
Choosing the right platform for your blog is critical as it will likely be the one you stay with for the lifespan of your site. Thankfully there is an abundance of website builder platforms that you have at your disposal to try for yourself. There are some considerations you should think about before making your final decision, however.
- Is it easy to use? A website builder should be easy to use not only when you first create your new blog, but whenever you want to edit or add to it as well. You should pursue a solution that you find easy to use all around, and especially for when you will be posting new blogs.
- Does it provide advanced blogging features? There are some standard tools that all modern blogging platforms provide. These include a standard word processor and the ability to add media to your content. But there are many advanced blogging features that you may resent not having. These include strong archiving capability, a search function, social media integration, and more.
- Can people leave comments? One of the most satisfying parts of keeping a blog is reading all of the comments your readers leave in response to your work. Some blogging platforms lack this feature, and if you are like us, they should be considered nonstarters. Along with a comments section, ensure that you have a powerful spam filter to complement it.
Most of the popular website builders would make a good choice as the foundation for your blog, but we also recommend that you have a look at our overview and reviews of the best website builders on the market today.
Once you choose your platform you will need to decide on a domain name. There are many considerations you can make when choosing how you want to brand yourself and your blog, but the best advice is not to overthink it. Our ten-point guide to selecting a great domain name should provide you with everything you need to know about making this decision.
Step 3: Find the Perfect Blog Theme
A blog theme will set the tone for your site. If your personality is modest, you might opt for a simple and minimal theme. If you have a loud personality, a more grandiose and vibrant theme might be in order. There are some practical and design considerations that you should keep in mind when selecting your theme.
- Are you willing to pay for a theme? Most website builders come with an abundance of free themes, but some also feature premium themes that you can pay for to increase the unique look of your site. If you don’t mind spending some money, your options increase significantly. If you do, there are many free options that should work equally well.
- Does the layout fit your needs? Some blogs have large header images, while others focus on text. It’s up to you to decide what fits your needs and if you can meet the demands of the design. What we mean by this is many templates are created to feature large, high-definition images. If you don’t have images to fill these spaces with, you might consider something simpler.
- Is it mobile friendly? Today, there are more mobile users than ever before. In fact, the number of mobile users recently overtook the number of desktop users and it continues to increase. Choosing a theme that includes a mobile-friendly design is essential. We recommend finding something with a responsive design, which will look good on every device.
Above all, you should find a theme that you think looks great. If you grow tired of it, you can always change it, but doing it right the first time is always the best policy.
Step 4: Customize Your Blog
The beauty of website builders is that they allow you to customize every feature of your blog. From colors to fonts and everything in between, there is nothing limiting you from making the website you have always wanted. You can even change how your blogs are featured on your site.
If you prefer a homepage that is clean and void of too much clutter, you can opt for a simple menu bar link to your blog. On the other hand, if you prefer that your visitors see your blog posts straight away, you can opt to place the posts front and center.
Here are some tips to keep in mind while customizing your site:
- Don’t overdo it. Remember, people will be interacting with and reading on your site. Make sure that your colors are mostly reserved and that your content is readable. The only thing worse than bad content is content that is difficult to read.
- Add features your visitors will love. Website builders enable you to add all of the plugins you could possibly want. Take advantage of as many as you think will improve the user experience of your visitors.
- Trust the theme. If you have chosen a specific template, odds are you did so because you found it well-made as is. While we love seeing new twists on existing themes, keep in mind that many of them exist that way because that is what hundreds of man-hours told the designers that users prefer.
And just like that, you have a website! Now there’s only one step left…
Step 5: Start Blogging
You’ve put in the work and your website is done. You deserve a break! But don’t stay out too long, because your site needs some content. After all, a blog is only as good as its content and if you’re just starting you don’t have any.
After writing a few posts you will begin to find your voice. You will get the hang of blogging and discover that there is a method to creating content. Once you do that there will be no stopping you.
You should try to aim to provide updates every week or more frequently. A stagnant site may look abandoned to outsider. You can use the scheduling feature of your blog to ensure that your site’s content stays fresh.
Above all, have fun! Blogging can be a great hobby that provides years of satisfaction and enjoyment.