03 June 2017

Step-By-Step Guide to Start Your Own Blog Today

There are hundreds of ways to make extra money from home, but only a select few have the potential to generate a full-time income. If you enjoy writing or simply like to share your thoughts and opinions, blogging just may be the things for you. Especially if you can get paid to do it, blogging can turn into the dream job you’ve always wanted.

image: (orvice / Flickr)


Why Should You Start a Blog?

There’s a multitude of reasons to start a blog and even more benefits to doing so. According to Blogging Basics, “blogging has quickly become one of the most popular ways of communicating and spreading information and news.” Additionally, it’s a great way to express yourself while becoming a better, more experienced writer. Of course, you can make money blogging if you really work at it, but you shouldn’t get into blogging if money is your only motivation. It’s certainly not a get rich quick sort of thing!

How to Start a Blog

There are four steps to starting a blog:

1. Select a blogging platform, hosting option, and domain name
2. Personalize your blog with a theme and modifications to achieve the look you’re wanting
3. Choose plugins to help your blog run smoothly
4. Write content that generates both new and loyal readers

Create A Platform, Host & Domain Name

The first thing you want to do when starting a blog is to register your domain. You can sign up with Bluehost for a low price thanks to numerous discounts and specials available (you can find them here). You can expect to spend just a couple dollars a month for your site. Additionally, you can use Bluehost to set up WordPress for you, which means the hardest part is coming up with a domain name.

Pick a Theme

When it comes time to choose a theme, primarily the design of your blog, you’ll want to think about what content you’ll be producing and what audience you’ll be attempting to reach. Keep those two factors in mind when selecting a theme. If you’re not a professional coder, an issue takes care of all the hard work. You can select from a variety of free themes WordPress has available, but you’ll likely want to go ahead and purchase a theme you feel best fits your blog. Once you buy a theme, you own it forever.

When selecting a theme, you not only want to pay attention to the colors and fonts but also how easily your page can be navigated. You want to avoid clutter and keep things as simple as possible. Additionally, your written content should be front and center for readers to find.

You may also want to consider branding aspects like logos and matching colors, but that’s not something you necessarily need to worry about right away.
(wiertz / Flickr)

Plugins

There are more than 46,000 Wordpress plugins available. The most common plugins used for blogs are social media share button plugins. You want to make it easy for readers to share your content if they want to. To add the familiar buttons for Twitter, Facebook, and more, you’ll need a plugin. You can actually go through Wordpress to install their Facebook and Twitter share buttons. It takes just a click of a button to add them to your page, which means even beginner bloggers can make it easy for readers to share their content.

For more information about other popular plugins, check out the ones below:


  • Jetpack: Offers enhanced security, content tools, and improved site performance among other beneficial features
  •  Google Analytics: To gain readership, you want to know just how and when users come to your site. Google Analytics allows you to easily view and keep track of the number of visitors to your site, page viewers, average visit time, and more.
  •  Snapshot: This plugin allows you to backup your site as well as save that backup to various locations like Amazon S3, Dropbox, your computer, Google Drive, and more. You can even schedule your backups to make it extra easy for you.
  •  Yoast SEO: Yoast SEO is one of the most popular plugins for Wordpress. Yoast makes it easy to optimize your blog for search engines, which means readers can find your page more quickly.
  •  Akismet: Akismet is a plugin that works best when you don’t even realize it’s working. It’s a plugin that deals with any unwanted, or spam, comments. It will not only save you time but a lot of frustration as well.
  •   ShortPixel. This plugin uses minimal resources and works well with any shared, cloud, VPS or dedicated web hosting. It can optimize any image you have on your website even the images that aren’t listed in Media Library like those in galleries like NextGEN or added directly via FTP! Both lossy and lossless image compression is available for the most common image types (JPG, PNG, GIF, and WebP) plus PDF files.
Quality Content

If your primary reason for starting a blog is to have an outlet for your personal thoughts, then you don’t need to worry much about the quality of content you’re publishing. But if you’re hoping to earn the attention of readers, share strong messages, and discuss relatable issues, the quality of your content actually matters. It’s important to stick with what you know and speak passionately about it. A reader can tell just how interested a writer is through their work.

You also want to be sure to include images to help break up text posts and keep the reader engaged. You can use your own photos or use a site like Dreamstime or Flickr. Avoid long paragraphs and instead group sentences of just two or three together. It makes for easier to read content that is more likely keep the reader interested.

Almost as important as what you publish is how often you publish. Most blogs aim to public new content at least once a week. Fortunately, Wordpress allows you to schedule posts, which means if you only have a specific time commitment dedicated to your blog, you can take care of multiple posts at once and then schedule them to post at a later date.

More important than anything is authenticity. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Let your personality shine through and have fun with it! 

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