Ready to take that big leap into the world of blogging? Well, are you prepared enough to get the best results from your effort? Setting up a blog is comparatively an easy step in your path to becoming a successful blogger. The journey has more to it, from naming and designing to marketing and popularizing. The skills of blogging, just like any other trade can be learned with dedication and systematic categorizing. Now, you have millions of options to start a blog for free but taking up the right platform itself requires much research. Here are some easy and informative tips on how to start a blog.
What Should You Blog About?
Deciding the topic of your blog is the first and foremost step in your journey. You can simply choose a subject; Research on it; Write up an attractive article and post it. But is that the right method? No! A blog should be something that has at least one unique idea from your own experience. Yes, you should have experienced what you blog about. Let us take a look at a few subjects you can relate to:
This is the kind of blog where you can share with your readers, daily routines, positive mantras, tips and remedies, interesting thoughts and reflections, etc. Personal blogging will definitely create a stronger bond between you and the reader. They would be able to relate and take lessons from your articles. You would not need to use technical terms or jargon. The simple language would give more life to your blog. Adding examples from your own life would be a great way to make it more interesting. Make sure you interact openly through your blogs that the reader would want to read more from you. A formal and schemed writing would not show any results in this case.
When you choose to blog about a particular topic or subject continuously. This may be the category where you would have to do bits of research, added to your personal knowledge. In this case, you can blog about a hobby or a particular field being followed for some time. Your personal experiences and experiments, added with a finely researched base support can give the reader necessary information. This can include topics like DIY experimenting, traveling, fitness, cooking, fashion, etc. It can encourage the readers to start something new from their end. You would be raised to the seat of a guru at times.
Are you someone with commendable conversational skills? Try interactive blogging. This is the kind of blogging wherein you can post socially relevant quizzes, an open discussion on a recent event, polls, etc. Readers would get a chance to channel their views on a public forum without much formalities involved. But this involves more involvement from your end in making sure that the conversations or discussions are progressing in a healthy tone. Choosing the relevant topics for discussion, polling or quizzing would make your blog stand out as a special one.
When you are an experimenter or an explorer and you like to share your every day with people, blogging can be the perfect medium. Sharing photos and videos from your own life can be coloring up the blog feed. People will feel motivated for similar activities through your writing. This can in a way be categorized as autobiographical blogging. Just keeping a record of what you are up to every day, how your work or trial is progressing and unveiling the end result of your hard work. Thus you will also get a chance to be patronized by someone who has an interest in the field.
How to Choose Your Blog Name
We have heard the phrase, “What’s in a name?” but when you research on how to create a blog, naming holds much importance. Let us take a look:
We already discussed the potential topics you can choose when you are writing a blog. The title should be one that describes the topic. This will give the reader an idea of what you are sharing through your blog space.
Making it interesting
Sometimes a reader would simply be attracted by the title and give your writing a try. Thus, keep your title crispy and chirpy. Add keywords that have a connection to your subject.
Using your own name
We can see that many bloggers use their own name as the title. This can be used when you are choosing to start a personal blog.
You should also be careful of blog name duplication. This can be pointed out when you are trying to purchase a domain for the blog. If the name is already in use, then the domain creating operator would not let you move further. So, make sure you stand unique in your name.
Choosing A Domain Provider
Once you have decided on a name that suits your blog, it is time to register and make it look authentic. For example, everydayinbaku.com or annawrites.com. Now, a domain name can be different from your title, but it would always be better if the two are connected to the actual blogging topic or the author. The ‘.com’ extension is added when you use a paid domain provider, else, the domain will be longer and with the name of the provider tailing it before the .com. If the .com is unavailable, you may be able to try .org, .in, etc. There are two kinds of domain providers:
- Domain hosting and providing platform: Here, you will get the advantage of getting your blog online and live added to the right authentic domain with full authority
- Domain hosting only: in this case, you have a live website online, but your blog is not ready to be published.
Here are some of the popular domain providers:
- GoDaddy: This is one of the most popular domain registrars with web hosting services. They have some very interesting deals that are cheap, yet authentic. You have the option to choose from any of the packages offered by making sure your needs are met.
- HostGator: Most WordPress users are seen to be using Hostgator. They offer more than just domain registration. Services like reseller hosting, application hosting, etc are offered with a very economic budget.
- BlueHost: This is the domain registrar that collaborates for domain name registration and platform provision with WordPress. Bluehost have primary products from a range below Rs.300. They also have extra services like windows hosting and reselling.
- Freenom.com: If you are on a very thin budget and want to avail free services from a domain provider, Freenom.com would be a very wise choice. But in this case, the domain extension would be .tk, .ml, .ga, etc.
- Dot.tk: Another free domain provider with the .tk extension.
This is one place where you can decide on spending the right amount of money. But a word of advice would be to get an authentic domain extension so that once you move into a phase of dealing with clients and projects, your blog would be marked as established. Even so, if you are only looking to start a blog for free, you can opt for the free providers.
Selecting the Right Blogging Platform
Starting a blog can be considered as building a new home. You need to lay a firm foundation before moving on to creating a completed blog. A blogging platform is a software that has a basic framework for you to proceed with. Different platforms would be having different features and facilities. To simply put it, we may say that a blogging platform is a managing system that helps you with the content of your blog. Now, we have a number of platforms to choose from, hence making it a necessity to get enough information on each platform. This can be one very important decision in your ‘how to start a blog’ research.
Let us take a look at a few things to remember before choosing the right blogging platform:
- Comfort of use: If you are a first-time blogger and has very little technical know-how, it would be best to choose an easy to use platform. You would not have to be adept in web designing or any related trade to make your blog go alive. The platform would provide all the necessary help for you to proceed with your dream.
- Full ownership: Before you decide on a platform, be sure to read their instructions or terms and conditions. This would be to make sure that once the blog becomes firm and is ready for monetization, you are not losing in on it. There will be options for you to place ads on your blog, thus making an income out of it. But certain platforms would be placing hidden restrictions on such matter.
- Cost involved: Remember that a platform is somewhat similar to software and it would be having a certain price entailing the services. If you are planning to start a blog for free, then do thorough research on this matter and move ahead. Most of the platforms have limited access in a free membership plan. Later when you are ready to take your work to the next level, this free membership would be a hindrance. Hence, put in some serious thought and decide on the pricing of the blogging platform chosen. Also, make sure that when you are paying for a platform, you are given the necessary benefits involved.
- Built-in features: As we discussed earlier, the platform is the basic framework for your blog. Therefore, it should be having all the necessary features available for use. There need to be options for customization and changes as the blog grows in popularity.
- Ease of monitoring: You should have the provision to change and alter the looks and content of your blog without much difficulty.
Types of Blogging Platform
- Self -Hosted blogging: This is the kind of blogging being done in a domain bought for your own use. These would be completely under your supervision and it would be an open-sourced project.
- Free blogging: This is the type of platform a new blogger can choose to use. Here, the domain name would remain similar to the platform’s name. For eg: blogname.wordpress.com. This kind of blogging can be subject to many rules and restrictions too. Then there are other platforms that give you the option to use a free platform with all facilities for a limited period. Later they will begin charging you for all premium features.
- Blog builders: These are the website building assistant software. They will help you build your own blog or website using detailed instructions and assistance. This is also a kind of service wherein certain features would be subject to payment.
This is a name which is being hugely popularized by the media and the blogging community around the world. After their launch in 2005, WordPress.com has grown increasingly spread among bloggers due to it’s easy to use features. This is the kind of platform that gives you the option to make your blog go alive without any cost involved in it. But for premium features and full control over your blog, there is a cost to be paid. Another benefit of WordPress.com is, you do not need to download the software into the system and install it. If you are looking to create a WordPress blog, it does not matter how well versed you are technical. The features are quite simple for execution and require only a few hours of thorough research and observation.
But even WordPress has it’s backslides and negatives. The most important one being the limitations in the unpaid plan. In this case, you lose the complete authority over your content and also the functionality will be limited. Also, the storage will be limited to 3GB. On the brighter side, it’s user-friendly and has a lot of different framework themes to choose from.
Consider your needs fully and select a paid plan from WordPress.
If you are only looking to launch a blog for a hobby, Blogger.com is the right option. But if you are looking to go further into serious blogging and earning out of it, then better to choose another platform. Blogger.com is in the field for over 15 years and most of the bloggers from early days are very much familiar with it.
Ease of use is the major advantage of Blogger.com. They have a complete support system provided by Google and have unlimited bandwidth. It is also to be noted that almost all of the features are free to use. Now, taking a look at the drawbacks; the prime problem is the collection of templates which are far more than outdated. They have very fewer options for customizations and also limits your aspects of expansion.
Thus if you are stepping into the world of serious blogging, it would be preferred to spend some money on platforms like WordPress.com and proceed further.
Designing a Blog
In addition to the quality of content, a blog also needs to look good for the reader.
The basic looks of your blog are controlled by the theme you select. WordPress.com has a lot of themes to choose from or you may even upload a theme custom designed for your blog.
Select the theme you want to add in your blog and click Install.
After installation is complete, the customization link will give you the provision of customizing your blog as you wish. This will be found under the Appearance menu in WordPress.com.
After the theme is selected, give a sporty title and a catchy tagline.
Then you will have to create the first post in your blog, by selecting the Posts option and clicking on ‘Add New Post’.
Getting Images for your Blog
WordPress offers its users provision for adding images to make their blog look more reader-friendly. This would require the use of free images available on the internet. You should always make sure that the images used in your posts are either royalty-free or taken by yourself. There are several websites offering free images for similar uses. These images can be used, edited or even added in monetizable sources. Here are a few good options of websites with free stock images:
- Pixabay: You can get High Definition 4K images from Pixabay. The images will be stacked under the creative commons header. Besides images, high-quality videos are also available at Pixabay.
- Foodies Feed: If you are looking to start a cooking or food-related blog, then Foodies Feed is your go-to place for high-quality photos. You can search for any variety of food images and the result will amaze you.
- Pexels: This is another free stock website with high-quality photos from around the world. These images are correctly tagged and sorted. This makes the photos easily accessible by any user.
Technicalities Involved in Blogging
Here are a few technical terms you need to be aware of before you create WordPress blog.
These are among one of the most important things to be done once you got the blog ready to go live. Permalinks are the pathways through which your content can be connected to any other platform around the internet. They are the pathways through which your blog content can be shared in your own social media platforms, other bloggers can refer to your content through theirs, etc.
How to employ permalinks correctly in WordPress?
The default setting of permalinks in WordPress can be quite disappointing if you expect it to bring more attention to your content. Hence, it would be preferred to change the permalink pattern immediately after you are done with designing your blog. Here is how it is done:
- Go to the Permalinks option from Settings
- Then mark the ‘Post name’ option
- Now your permalink will look like this: http://www.nameofsite.com/posttitle.
Thus when you have edited your permalink, each post will have its name at the end of the permalink. This will make the visibility of each post more efficient. The name in permalink gives people an idea as to what you are writing about.
Setting a title for your post can seem like an ordinary task, but it needs much care and craftiness. Before you click ‘publish’ for any post, make sure that a quality amount of time is spent on writing a title. What are things to keep in mind while designing a perfect title?
- Length: Length of the title calls for much importance. The shorter the title more catchy it becomes.
- Font, size and alignment of title: A title would be the first thing any reader would hook on while visiting your blog or following a permalink. You can change all the three factors, using the ‘Editor’ option is the ‘Appearance’ tab.
- Arranging the titles of each post: Once you have prepared good titles for each blog, it is time to make sure these are arranged properly for the reader to choose from. WordPress even provides the option to change the title separator between each title.
These are HTML links that are used to describe the content of your blog post using specific keywords. Meta descriptions can easily get the attention of a potential reader who runs a random search on a search engine. These will provide a brief idea as to what can be expected from your blog.
When you are using WordPress, there are chances for your blog site to load after a huge delay. This may be due to the increased application of plugins and other features. But you can spend some time and bring down this delay very effectively.
- Optimizing the images used: By reducing the size and quality of the images being used in your posts may reduce the loading time considerably.
- Avoiding the unnecessary plugins being used: There are many plugins available on WordPress, but it would be better if you keep only necessary plugins from trusted sources.
- Installing cache plugins: this is a method by which cache files will be increased in the reader’s system. Thus each visit can reduce the delay in loading.
There are several other methods to reduce the loading time, but these are the three easy to employ, effective methods.
Elaborated as Secure Sockets Layer, SSL is a very important technology that ensures the data transaction between servers and browsers are encrypted. It should be taken more seriously once you step into monetizing your blog. The communication or transmission of data from your customers or readers should be protected from any external intervention.
Plugins are simply the added ingredient to make your blog look even more exciting. WordPress has a long list of plugins. Each serving specific purposes. There are plugins that help in the SEO of your content, plugins that help in protecting your blog from spam, plugins that help in promoting a blog and so on.
Marketing Your Blog for More Traffic
WordPress can be seen as a highly potential ground for marketing your content. This is because of the increasing traffic to WordPress each day, from around the world. This can also be seen as a major step in promoting a blog and earning from it.
Plugins are again playing a major role in this case. There are a large number of plugins that can help in marketing your blog in the best possible way with extremely good results. Also, keep in mind that marketing or making money from your blog can take much more time and effort than you may expect. Here are a few tips:
- Going fully charged into your social media profiles: these are the best ways to market the content you have formed into a blog post. Make sure you remain active and running in all the social media platforms available. Make catchy descriptions and attach the links to your posts and share among the crowd you have access to.
- Collaborating with other bloggers: We are now seeing a huge surge in bloggers and this gives more options for you to be sinking into the crowd. But making the best out of them over the explosion of bloggers is what will help in marketing your content wisely. Starts campaigns, polls, etc that have social relevance by joining hands with the other bloggers.
- Make social sharing possible: Giving your readers a chance to repost or share your content will create a great effect in positive marketing of your blog.
Blogging has its easy and difficult ways of execution. If you are only blogging for a hobby, you may choose the easy path. But when you are taking it more seriously with a passion and commitment, give the working a perfect plan and then start executing. Let the world read and see what new idea you can put forward each day. Try blogging with a fresh and confident mind!