And even: is it too late to start a blog? While it might seem as though the whole world has been blogging forever, the answer here is an emphatic no. No, it is never too late to start a blog. And yes, it is probably a very good idea to do so.
There are several reasons why blogging can be great for your brand or business, including creativity, connection, and confidence in what you have to offer. But before you get to reap the rewards, there are several stages to get through, involving complex-sounding things like platforms, web hosting, and themes. Don’t turn away, though – it’s easier than you think. And to ensure you get to enjoy all those benefits sooner, we’ve put together a simple step-by-step guide for beginners on how to start a blog. You’re welcome!
So, without further ado, let’s get to it. Here’s how to start a blog in eight easy steps.
1. Own your decision
Okay, this might sound a bit obvious. But the thing is, blogging involves time and work. It’s 100% worth the effort (most of it, anyway), but before you get started you need to be aware that you’ll be devoting a lot of energy to your new blog, especially in the early days. Willing to make that commitment? Great – we hoped so. Now, on with the fun stuff.
2. Choose your niche
For some, this will be easy. Your blog might be all about one aspect of your brand or business: latest developments in the world of finance, say, or tips and reviews of beauty products. For others, it’ll be a little harder. You might work in a wide field, like education. Or you might feel you’re a bit too niche – a particular type of coffee machine, for example. But remember, too niche is better than too broad: you can always widen your theme to include other subjects later. The most important things when choosing what to write your blog on are:
- Passion – the be-all and end-all of blogging. If you don’t love what you write about, no one is going to want to read your content (or at least they won’t come back to read more).
- Value – there’s a wealth of information out there on the internet, so you need to be sure your blog posts add real meaning and value to readers’ lives. Check out the competition and work out how you can do it not just better, but differently.
- Authority – you don’t need to be a world expert, and a lot of authority can come from passion. Don’t get the two mixed up, though. Do your research, check your sources, and make your blog a trustworthy destination.
We could go on, but these are the three most important things to bear in mind. Once you’ve chosen the niche for your new blog, now it’s time to…
3. Know your audience
Your audience is not ‘users of the internet.’ Sorry, but that’s about 4.6 billion people. You’re going to need to start a bit smaller – trust us, it’ll help. Maybe you already have a target audience for your brand or business, and perhaps you already have a bit of a following. That’s a great start, but even if not: imagine who would use your products or services, then tailor your blog tone and content towards them.
4. Select your platforms
All blogs require web hosting (the internet server they are stored on) and there are many options out there. This is the most confusing aspect of how to start a blog, so be sure to do your research carefully. Any clue where to start? One of the best web hosting service providers for beginners is Bluehost, which is praised for its intuitive layout and great customer support. In some cases, however, your blogging platform may have integrated hosting – let’s look at those options too.
As well as web-hosting, you’ll need a blogging platform. Again, beginners will be looking for something easy to use (no coding or design skills required), but with plenty of flexibility for future growth. There are pros and cons to almost every platform, but here are a few addresses to get you started:
- WordPress.org is one of the world’s most popular blogging platforms, responsible for nearly 40% of all websites. Not to be confused with the more limited WordPress.com, WordPress.org is a free, open-source platform that works very well with hosting providers like Bluehost. It’s SEO-friendly and gives you access to thousands of eye-catching designs, plus more than 58,000 free plugins.
- Wix is a reputable drag-and-drop platform that has a free model or a paid one with hosting. Particularly popular with small businesses, it now has more than 100 million users around the globe.
- Blogger is a free and easy-to-use platform managed by Google. Though popular for personal blogs because of its simple format, bear in mind that it doesn’t offer many options in terms of tools, templates, or future growth.
- Squarespace has millions of users worldwide thanks to its intuitive drag-and-drop interface and beautiful designs. Different pricing plans are available depending on your needs and will unlock various additions including options for eCommerce.
- Constant Contact is a paid website builder that offers integrated hosting. A professional stock photo library and logo-maker might be of interest, and the set-up process is quick and easy. Although it’s paid, there’s a free 60-day trial so you can see whether it does meet your needs.
There are several other blogging platforms to investigate, including Medium, Tumblr, Ghost, and Gator. The important thing is to do as much research as you can at this stage: it can be hard, if not impossible, to transfer your blog to a different platform if you decide you’re not happy with the set-up you’ve chosen.
5. Getting creative
Now the true fun begins. With hosting and blogging platforms sorted, you’re on to the part of the checklist that reads ‘come up with a good name’ and ‘pick a great design.’ Blogging platforms make the second part easy for you by providing a range of so-called themes (read: design templates). You can customize these according to your preferences, adding banners, company logos, and anything else that will make your brand familiar to users. When it comes to a name, make it as simple as possible. The name of your organization will do nicely, or something catchy that tells readers what you blog about.
6. Do your (keyword) research
We don’t mean into competitors or audience – ideally, you should already have done that. Now is the time for the all-important keyword research, the building blocks on which you should base every single blog post. Simple plugins (like Yoast with WordPress) can help up your SEO game, but a strong understanding of the keywords you’re aiming to rank for will put you one step ahead of the competition. Look for a mix of long-tail and short-tail keywords to be sure of maximizing your success.
7. Fetch the diary
Blogging might seem off-the-cuff and spontaneous, and a great blogger will be able to respond to recent developments in their field. But remember that truly successful blogs are planned down to the minute – and it’s a trick that can be used just as well by beginners. Try to post at least once a week, and make sure it’s always on the same day, at the same time. Don’t worry – you can change this as you see how your readers react. The point is, blogging should be part of your routine. Plan your posts well in advance and you’ll find it much easier to write and share them.
Related: The Best Content Calendar Template
8. Content, content, content
Again, it might sound obvious, but blogging is all about writing great content. Not good, mind – great content. Give yourself time and space to do it, and you’ll soon find you’re in the flow. The best idea is to have a stock of blog posts handy, especially as a beginner. Some weeks, things won’t go according to plan, and you’ll be grateful to have some content in reserve.
And there you have it – your new blog is up and running! As time goes on you can make all the tweaks you need: adjusting the design, adding relevant plugins, even getting guest posts written, or creating affiliate links to monetize your blog. Other important parts of the blogging journey include linking your new site to your existing social media channels or creating a new, dedicated profile. Sharing content and commenting on other blogs is a great way of boosting your following, but remember all these things take time and patience. Quality content (and a regular flow of it) is what’s essential.
That’s it for our step-by-step beginner’s guide on how to start a blog – we hope you found it helpful. Here’s a quick recap to send you on your way:
- Own your decision
- Choose your niche
- Know your audience
- Select your platforms
- Get creative
- Do your (keyword) research
- Fetch the diary
- Write amazing content
And now, the internet, let’s have at you. On your marks, get set, blog!