So, you want to create your own online space but don’t know how to start blogging? With all the scripts and technology today, it’s easier than you think! Here are 7 steps to starting a blog that will get you going:
1. Decide What You Want Your Blog To Be About
The first thing you need to decide is what you will blog about. Do you want a general blog about your rants and raves? A blog about training your dog? A blog about your self-sustaining garden? Deciding on your topic is key because you will need to do some keyword research in order to find some good phrases to target as well as a good domain name.
2. To Host Or Not To Host
If you don’t have any money for starting a blog, then you can use free services like Blogger, free WordPress, Tumblr, Weebly or many of the other free platform. I don’t recommend this, however because at any time these services can remove your blog and all your hard work will be for nothing. The best route to take, especially if you plan to make money from your blog someday is to buy your own domain name and get your own hosting.
3. Get Your Domain Name
You want to choose a domain name that is relevant to your topic. Yes, I know that you’ve probably heard to get an “exact match” domain name based on a keyword phrase that you’ve decided is worthy of such, but they really aren’t as advantageous as they used to be so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. It’s much more important to find one that describes the general topic of your blog.
You need to register your domain name at a registrar. I use namecheap.com. Just go over there and click on the “Domains” tab on the upper left, then pick “Register Domain”, then type your phrases in the big gigantic box below. This will tell you if your domain is available. You want to go for a.com domain if you are serious about your blog.
If you are using one of the free services mentioned above, you don’t need to register a domain but you will need to pick a name that is relevant to your topic before you can start blogging.
4. Get Hosting
If you have followed my advice and purchased your own domain, you will need hosting. If you didn’t follow my advice then you can skip this part (you may be sorry later though!). I recommend HostGator. If you think you are really going to love blogging and plan to have more than 1 domain, you should spring for the “Baby” plan as this will allow you to host an unlimited number of domains for around $7 a month
5. Connect Your Domain And Hosting
For a lot of people this is one of the most confusing aspects of learning how to start blogging. Your domain is like a placeholder out on the internet and you need to “point” it at a server that holds your website or blog files. Your files are stored on your server (at HostGator or whatever hosting service you have chosen). Domains are pointed to servers using something called a “Domain Name Server” or DNS for short.
If this sounds too technical, don’t worry, it’s really rather easy. When you signed up for your hosting, you got an email from them telling you what your Name Servers are. You simply log in to wherever you registered your domain and fill those in in the appropriate spot.
6. Install WordPress
You’re almost ready to start blogging on your new domain but first you need to setup WordPress. Sounds scary, I know but it’s actually really easy on most hosting because they have a script that does it for you at the click of a button. Login to your cPanel and look for “fantastic” or ‘Simple Scripts”. If you can’t find either of them, ask the support people how you can install WordPress and they will point you in the right direction.
7. Start Blogging
So, what are you waiting for? You have your domain, your hosting and WordPress setup, now you just need to start making posts. You can use the default template that WordPress gives you for now, of course eventually you might want to get a better template for your blog but I’ll cover that in another post sometime, for now just start making posts – if you need to learn how to start blogging with WordPress there are plenty of free tuturials online!