You are here on a blog and reading about blogging basics, so I can safely assume that you are looking to start a blog or are at least curious about the whole blog and blogging concept. So let’s first address your curiosity.
Blogs are just like journals or diaries which many of you might have maintained at some point in your life. The difference between your diary and blog will be that, your blog is for world to read, whereas your diary might have been private for your eyes only.
Blogging refers to the activity of creating and maintaining a blog. Just like you would write into your diary every day, or every few days similarly you need to write stuff in your blog on regular basis. Since your blog is for everybody to read, hence being regular in writing on your blog is essential. Regularity will help readers establish a reading pattern your blog.
Recommended Reading – 15 ways of making money online. are you using all the 15?
Best part about blogging is that, it can be as relaxing as writing your diary (albeit you need to make sure that you only blog about what you want to share with the world) and it can also bring in a host of different things for you – make new friends with people who have blog similar to you, get loyal readers/fans who are as dedicated to your blog as you are, gain popularity and recognition for your writing skills and blog, infact your blog can even help you earn money.
Sounds interesting? Well then if you are looking to start a blog of your own you will need to know a few basics. Let’s get started on the basics of Blogging & for those of you looking to do in-depth research on blog my – ‘Epic Blogging Guide' is the place for you to stop by.
Step 1: Decide your Niche
When looking to start a blog, the first thing you need to decide is what will your blog be about? You need to choose a topic, segment or what is commonly referred to as a ‘Niche' for your blog. In order to make a decision about what your blog will be about, you need to answer the following questions:
- Interesting manner and this gets readers hooked onto such blogs. Are you passionate about something and would like to share it with others?
- Do you love doing something and would like to share it with others?
- Do you really care for something and would like to tell others more about it?
- Your answer to these questions will bring up a few topics you could blog about. When deciding on the topic is it important that you keep the following factors in mind:
- Topic should be close to heart, only then you can create fresh content regularly.
- The more experience you have with your chosen topic the better it will be. Experience will provide you with more subject matter to write on your blog. Also with experience your knowledge about the topic will be more.
A few suggested areas you can choose to blog about are:
- Your Hobby/ Hobbies – People with similar hobby would be interested in reading your blog
- Daily Activity – If you are comfortable sharing your daily life with the world, then you can choose to blog about your daily activities. Many people can present their daily lives in
- Anything -If you can’t find a particular topic that interests you enough to write on regularly, you can choose to write on different topics within one blog. You can cover different topics like Food, Gaming, Movies and Cars etc.
- Business – If you are passionate about your work, you can choose to blog about this too. There are numerous people who will be engaged in similar profession as yours and they would find a connect with your blog. Make sure you have interesting stuff to write about.
- Your ViewPoint – Just like you wrote your feelings or viewpoint in your diary, similarly you can choose to blog about your viewpoint. You might choose to share your viewpoint on one specific area like Politics, or you might choose to talk about myriad areas which interest you.
Do Not Blog About -While you are busy deciding what to blog about, make sure you keep in mind what NOT TO BLOG about as well. It’s crucial you keep a firm boundary between what goes on your blog and what doesn't. As a thumb rule do not blog about family members, co-workers and other people around you. If you intend to write about them make sure you inform them first and have their express permission to do so. Similarly office space and confidential information are out of bound, you do not want to end up in trouble with anybody.
Check out my detailed post on – How to Select Blog Niche
Step 2: Choose your Blogging Platform –
Next step is deciding on the blogging platform. This will be the base on which your blog will be built. This decision is important because a blog entails substantial technical detailing when being setup. If you choose one of the readymade blog platforms, you can save yourself immense amount of time and effort.
There are quite a few blogging platforms available, amongst them the most famous and commonly used are:
- WordPress – Largest blogging platform, with maximum users.
- Blogger – Managed by Google, this platform provides easy integration with other Google products
- Tumblr – Half social sharing site, half blog. This platform is favored by those who are looking to extend their social presence via a blog.
I would suggest going with WordPress. This blog and all my other blogs are hosted on WordPress with theme called mythemeshop and this has given me considerable insight and experience with WordPress. Apart from being the largest blogging platform, here are a few other reasons WordPress scores over other blogging platforms:
- It is very easy to setup, one click and your blog will be in place.
- WordPress supplies loads of free themes, which you can use to beautify your blog.
- They offer excellent support. Also since it is the largest and most widely used platform, you can very easily find solution to any problem you come across.
- Just like most apps are designed to work with Android phones, similarly most plugins are designed to work with WordPress platform. Thus using WordPress allows for hassle free installation and integration of plugins.
- WordPress designs easy to browse blogs, which will be a boon for your readers, who will love to breeze through your blog with ease.
- It offers some of the easiest sharing and commenting features. These will come in use to increase the popularity of your blog and develop loyal readers who would like to comment and interact with you on your blog
- When creating a blog, Load time is a crucial factor. Faster your blog loads the better. And WordPress offers one of the fastest load times.
Step 3: Decide whether you want to go in for Free Blog /Paid Blog
Next up you need to decide on whether you would like a Free Blog, or a Paid one. Lets look at how these two compare
|Domain name||Ugly, longer, complicated yourblog.wordpress.com||Design your own,you can choose short/long, easy to spell – yourblog.com|
|Theme||In WordPress free blog cannot access free themes. You can't beautify your blog much. Theme will cost extra||Paid blog have access to tons of free themes. Beautify and personalize your blog for free.|
|Limitations||Free blog has many limitation in terms of blog size, image and video uploading, bandwidth availability||Paid blog will have no such limitations, its your baby design, and play around with it as you like. You can upload unlimited images and videos and have access to unlimited bandwidth.|
|Monetization||Free Blog CAN NOT be Monetized||Paid Blogs can be monetized, in as many ways as you choose to do.|
|Ownership||You do not own Free blog. it is owned by the blogging platform. They can choose to delete your blog anytime due to violation, policy guidelines or many other myriad reasons. can be deleted anytime – all content lost. hard work down the drain.||Paid blog is fully owned by you and nobody can touch its content and your hard work without your permission.|
|Freedom to Express||Free blog are owned by blogging platform and hence you will have to adhere to their guideline about the type of content you can write and upload. Your freedom of expression is curtailed.||You own paid blog and do not need to adhere to anybody else's guidelines about what you write on it. You can exercise full freedom of expression.|
|Security||Blogs can be hacked, and their data stolen, or hijacked. Blog security is important issue. Free blog offer limited measures to secure your blog.||Paid blog can be secured thoroughly by use of plugins and additional security measures.|
After going through this table if you are still in any doubt, my suggestion is go with Paid blog. My own blog is paid one and I assure you the cost of a paid blog is meager as compared to the benefits it offers.
What will a Paid Blog Entail?
In order to create a paid blog, you will need:
- Domain – The name or URL of your blog
- Hosting – The place where your blog will be put up.
Cost of Paid Blog ? – It is really cheap, you can book a domain for as less as Rs 199/- p.a and get a hosting for as low as Rs 250/- per month. That's all that you will have to pay. So in a year you will be spending Rs Rs 3000/- on hosting and Rs 199/- on domain; that brings up the total to Rs 3199/- for a year.
Step 4: Choose your Hosting & Setup your blog on own Domain
I am assuming that you have chosen to move ahead with Paid blog. In case you have chose to work with Free Blog, just skip this step and move on to step 5 directly.
As we saw before for a Paid blog you will need two things, your domain name and a hosting provider. Both these elements are important for your blog. Make sure you spend enough time in making final decision about both these elements. Let’s look them up in detail so that you can make better decision about them.
Domain Name – This is the URL of your blog. It is the online identity of your blog, and it’s the name by which people will refer to your blog. This makes the domain name quite crucial right! It’s like naming a child.
So how do you find a domain name for your blog?
- Ask your family and friends for suggestions
- Do keyword research to know which words best describe your blog niche and try to include these words in domain name
- Use the Free association technique and try to come up with names
- Do a brainstorming session
- If nothing works you can choose to name your blog after yourself – yourname.com
Domain name is forever, so you want something that's special, and cute, and just right. Once you have couple of domain name ideas, you need to choose one from amongst the many. When making this final decision, keep the following pointers in mind:
Domain name should be –
- Brandable – This will help when promoting your blog. Also help in your blog monetization efforts.
- Easy to remember – Readers should be able to recall your domain name with ease, this will help spread word about your domain far and wide
- Easy to spell – No complicated spellings. A misspelled domain name can lead your readers to some entirely different website or blog. Keep it simple. Do not tax your readers spelling ability.
- Short – Short is sweet in domain names. Longer names tend to get confusing to spell, are more prone to spelling errors and are difficult to recall
- Catchy – This one will help you in long run, when looking for generating more readers and spreading worked about your blog.
- Unique – Make your domain stand out from the others in your niche.
Finding the right domain name can sometimes take a while. Do not give up, your persistence will pay ib longer run. Domain name cannot be changed later on so, take your time and make sure that you choose something that reflects the best about your blog.
Once your domain is finalized go ahead and book it with – GoDaddy or BigRock both are excellent registrar and offer smooth transfer facility and who's privacy option.
Hosting – You need hosting to put your blog on the internet. Host is the one who will put your blog internet and make it available for the world. Many companies provide hosting, and I have worked with couple of them over years.
In my experience HostGator is the best. They provide budget friendly hosting, with excellent uptime. Their support staff is very good and their servers have good inbuilt security. Also if you are working with a WordPress blog, HostGator offers a super easy one click installation. You can have your blog up and running in literally 5 minutes.
Once you have purchased your domain and hosting, lo into your account and install your blog. That's it; your blog is up and running now.
Also read this wonderful post about Starting a WordPress Site & Getting Hosting Setup By Kyle Larson
Step 5: Design your Blog – Theme
Your blog is an extension of yourself, and it should reflect your personality. Themes help you beautify and customize your blogs looks and functionality. WordPress offers you tons of free themes. These themes are categorized by their popularity, design style and much more. You can browse through these themes and choose one that fits in perfectly with your blog.
If none of the free themes work for you, you can opt for a premium paid theme. It might cost you anywhere between 10-100$. Paid themes generally offer more functionality, and customization options. Of course they require more investment and hence are a choice you can make depending on your budget. When choosing your theme keep the following things in mind:
- Theme should be easy to change, as over time you might want to change the theme so choose one which comes with minimum fuss, and will cause no data loss during switchover.
- Theme should have clean and clutter free layout.
- Opt for a theme which looks professional, this will lend credibility to your blog.
- Easy to customize theme will help you personalize your blog effectively
- Theme should reflect your blog topic/niche. Check out what themes others in your niche are using. You can opt for same, or similar theme.
- Ensure your selected theme is easy to navigate & user friendly. Your readers will love you for this.
I am using mythemeshop theme for this blog, and find it to be very user friendly and easy to customize. If you are looking for more paid theme's I would suggest Themeforest.com they have some pretty cool themes.
Step 6: Adding content to your Blog
With your blog in place; its time to fill it up with content. Content is the defining part of your blog. You will have to work hard on providing quality content, which will interest your readers.
To start with you will need to work on developing a writing style for your blog. To define your writing style you can take help of these questions:
- What are you looking to achieve from this blog?
- What is the purpose of writing this blog?
- How will you like to present information in your blog?
- Here's a couple of writing style or blogging angles you can choose to take:
- Teach your readers how to do things in your niche
- Provide latest news/trends about your niche
- Make people laugh by taking a light hearted funny approach to your niche
- Inspire others to do better/ excel in your niche
A good idea is to check on competitors to get some ideas of what writing styles they are using. Then use this as base and see which angle is not being covered in your niche. Base your blog on this angle. Provide readers with something nobody else is providing them. Being unique and filling an unfulfilled demand in your niche will help you attract readers.
General guideline when writing your blog content:
- Conduct keyword research before writing articles
- Post regularly.
- Always verify facts before quoting
- Link back to websites/blogs you have reference from when writing an article
- Always CONDUCT SPELL CHECK ON YOUR CONTENT
Also read Daniel Knowlton's Post on How To Write A Blog That Will Make Your Business Money
Step 7: Promoting your blog
With everything in place it is time to work on promoting your blog. A common rookie mistake is to make a blog, fill it up with excellent content and then just sit back and wait for the magic to happen. DON'T DO THIS.
It is your blog, be proactive. You have to create your own magic. Once your blog is setup and ready and you have some content in place, start working on promotion. Design a strategy for promotion, and work on it diligently.
Just like your blog, there are tons of blogs out there, waiting to be discovered. You need to take efforts to help with your blog discovery. To maintain a successful blog you need to spend 50% time on writing content & rest 50% on promoting your blog. Yes PROMOTION is as essential as writing content.
You can read my post on how you can use TweetAttacksPro3 to promote your blog on Twitter
Few ways that you can look at to promote your blog are
- Social media – Create Pages on different social media sites and use them to promote your blog and its content.
- About me page– Another rookie mistake is to create a very minimalistic about me page. Its Wrong. Every blog should have a ‘About me’ page, and this should talk about you, why you are writing this blog, what are you offering to your readers and other details. About me page are very important in helping your readers understand who you are and why should they read your blog regularly.
- List your blog on blog directories – There are many blog directories, you should list your blog on these directories. This will help your blog in getting exposure amongst peers.
- Interact with others – Make sure to interact with your readers and commentators. This will help build loyal followers who will help you in promotion of your blog.
- Add your blog URL in your Email signature, on your business card; make is a part of your introduction. Your blog is your baby you have to work on promoting it. The harder you work, the faster you will get recognition for your work and the sooner you can achieve your blog goals.
Step 8: How to make money from your blog
Once your blog is ready, its time to make money out of it. I have written couple of detailed post on how to make money from your blog. please read them below –
Read my tips which will help you in getting success for your blog.
- Internet browsing through mobile is increasing steadily in India and across world. Your blog too will get its fair share of mobile readers. Ensure your blog is mobile friendly.
- Hire writer if you can't be regular or not confident about writing skills, blog content is of paramount importance. To ensure quality proofread content before making it live.
- Make blogging a part of your daily routine.
- Moderate comments made on your blog. Do not allow spam commenting. Reply to commenters, your readers have taken out time to talk to you, make sure you talk back to them.
- Whatever contact email you use on your blog, check it regularly. There are likely to be mails from readers, fellow bloggers advertisers and many more. IT is important that you respond to all communication in timely manner.
- If you are looking to blog on about your viewpoint, or write on controversial topics, be ready for some harsh words. Not everybody will share your ideas, so you are likely to attract some unkind comment and some unwanted attention.
- Make sure your blog doesn't not infringe on any copyright nor does it raise privacy concerns for anybody. Blog ethically.
Now that you know the basics it's time to get started with your blog. Research a bit more if you want, but start soon. In my experience learning comes best from doing things. So get your blog’s basic setup in place, make it live and then keep working on improving it. Over time you might add/delete things from your blog. Blogging is a journey, as you go along keep tweaking things to make them better suited for you and your audience both.
Do write in your comments and queries below in the comments section, I will be happy to help you out. And your suggestions are always welcome.
If you found this guide to be useful, please do share it with your friends on your favorite social media, your help is much appreciated.