Need a Personal Blog or Website for Your Company?
Have you been toying with the idea of starting your own blog, but aren’t sure where to begin? Sure, the web can be a great source for information, but sometimes too much information can be a bad thing.
This is your guide for learning how to start a blog.
Need help crawling out from the mounds of articles threatening to overwhelm you before you even begin? Not sure who to believe when you are getting contradictory advice?
Don’t worry; help is here! Everyone has to start from the beginning and my experience entering the world of blogging was no different. I had spent years resisting this new trend called “blogging” assuming that was only a hobby for those interested in fashion or celebrities, but it didn’t take long to realize that blogging was here to stay and I had better catch up with the times – and quick.
Luckily, once I took the plunge, I realized not only the value of blogging, but also how easy it can be to start and maintain a successful blog. Now I can share that knowledge with you! So, take a deep breath, and let’s get started.
Why Bother Blogging in the First Place?
Before we get into the specifics of how to launch your blog, let’s start with a pep talk that will remind of exactly why you should and actually need to start a blog.
If you are a business owner and you don’t have a blog, you won’t remain competitive. In our global economy, you are no longer just competing with the business in the next town over. There are people on the other side of the world who are vying for your customers. Without a blog that is being regularly updated, you will get lost in the shuffle.
If you are writer, a blog provides the perfect platform to express yourself, hone your writing, and build a readership.
Whether you are a business or individual, starting a blog is the best way to share information and get in touch with likeminded people. A blog will allow you to network, make professional and personal connections, and stay on top of what is happening in your field or area of interest.
Bottom line: Without a blog, you won’t remain relevant.
Okay, feeling pumped? Here is your first step:
Choose Your Blogging Platform
Essentially, this means choosing the program that you are going to use to publish and edit your blog. Luckily, blogging has become so popular and accessible that there are a lot of great, free services available. So how do you choose? Here are some criteria to consider:
- Is it user friendly?
- Does it provide a clean professional look?
- Does it offer customer support in case you have questions?
- Can you easily customize your blog?
The one platform that meets all these criteria is WordPress. This is the most popular program available and for good reason. Even for someone who isn’t computer or tech savvy, the dashboard is incredibly easy to navigate. WordPress also provides countless online forums that will answer all your questions. Other bloggers are more than happy to come to the rescue if you describe your problem and ask for suggestions. You can also download millions of plugins that will allow you to customize your site down to the minutest details. All these factors combined, make WordPress by far the most popular and user friendly platform available.
If you are one of those rebels who just doesn’t like to go with the crowd, then there are other options available.
Blogger – This is a good option if you will be running a personal blog.
Tumblr – Again, this is better suited for personal blogs and has more of a social media feel.
Step 2: Buy a Domain Name
Technically, you can start a blog without buying a domain name, but I would advise against going the free route. If you start a free blog, you will end up with a clunky domain name that won’t be easy to remember won’t have that polished professional look. For example:
However, if you spend a few dollars a month and subscribe to a web hosting service, you can purchase a unique blog name that you will own outright. The other advantages of working with a hosting service include:
- Your information will be securely saved on their super impressive server.
- Once again, you will get the benefit of customer support. This is great when you are a newbie.
Hosting Services: Time to Shop Around
To be honest, there are a lot of great hosting services out there that start at about $3 per month. For this relatively small fee, you can enjoy all the benefits of a personal domain name, secure server, and 24 hour customer service
When it comes to domain services, here are some of the top companies out there. In all honesty, there aren’t a lot of differences between these three services. Your best bet might be to look and see if one of them is running a special and simply go with the cheapest option.
We recommend iPage
You can get an account setup for just $1.99 per month.
At this point, hopefully I have convinced you that WordPress is your best bet. If you are still feeling hesitant, consider the fact that downloading WordPress to your computer and getting started couldn’t be easier. In just a few clicks, you can be ready to start designing your very own blog. Internet stardom is just around the corner!
Design your Blog
Now that you have everything in place, it is time to start getting creative and diving into the design portion of starting your own blog. Luckily, WordPress offers thousands of free themes, which are basically pre-designed sites that you can customize with your own content.
You can choose from magazine style layouts that offer a balance of photos and written content, text heavy themes for writers, or visually appealing layouts that are perfect for artists and photographers looking to highlight their work. Essentially, the possibilities are endless. You can search themes according to the type of content you are looking to promote and find the perfect design for your site.
Helpful Resources: Plugins
Yet another great feature of WordPress is that it can be easily customized. There is a whole world of plugins available that will add functionality to your site. Essentially, there are small software programs that can be added to your theme and allow you to do just about anything with your site. They are great for adding contact forms, placing advertisements on your site, and making your design more unique and visually appealing.
As you become more familiar with the capabilities of WordPress and identify features of other sites that your would like to incorporate into your own site, you will learn how to search for and install very specific plugins. In the meantime, here is a list of the absolute best plugins that are must haves for any beginning blogger.
Whether you are a writer, artist, or entrepreneur, a blog is the perfect forum to express yourself and connect with people all over the world. Now that you know the basics of getting started, there is no more room for excuses! In just couple, short hours you can make your blog a reality.