How to Set Up a Blog
Step 1: Getting Started
Congratulations! You’ve decided you want to set up a blog. When it comes to setting up your own website or start blogging, the process is actually quite straight forward. The three simple steps you need to do are:
- secure a domain name,
- sign up with a web host and
- install WordPress.
If you are new to the blogging and website world this may sound like a lot, but with the services available today it’s actually pretty simple.
These steps can all be done through a web hosting service such as eHost (who I use for many of my sites), or through any other top web hosting companies.
a) Choosing and Getting a Domain Name
The first, and most important part of the process to set up a blog presence is picking a domain name (www.mysitename.com) that you are going to use for your site. Depending on what you may wish to blog about you may choose to come up with a name that says something about the site and see if that is available. Another approach is to secure your real name as a .com if it’s currently available.
The more generic your site name, the more likely it will be that it’s already registered. If so, you might just need to get a bit creative. I recommend you stick with a .com, .net or .org.
b) Find a Web Host
Secondly, you will need to set up your web site hosting. As mentioned above I use eHost, but there are many other options out there. If you’re not sure where to start then simply do a search for the “Top Ten Web Hosting Companies”. Once you have selected a web host, sign up with that particular host and during that process you are walked through the set up of your website, including the final step which is installing WordPress.
c) Installing WordPress
There are two versions of WordPress:
- WordPress.com and
Both are free, but WordPress shall be the web host for one, while the other one is not and will therefore require you to find your own web host (see ‘Find a Web Host’ above).
WordPress.com is the free, hosted version of WordPress and is a great place to start your first blog if you want to test the waters first before expanding, or if you have no intention of expanding. To set up a blog you won’t have to worry about doing the steps above – i.e. finding and paying for a web host server and a domain name, but you’ll still have the functionality of WordPress and can learn the ins and outs before you commit to WordPress.org.
WordPress.org is the free version of WordPress that allows you to host your blog on a third-party server. This option gives you complete control over everything related to your blog. You can mess with the CSS and PHP, put up ads, etc. There are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine.
But Wait! – As mentioned above, it is possible to do all three of these components (domain name, web hosting and WordPress installation) within eHost or any other top web hosting company in just a few short minutes.
Step 2: Set up a Blog with Your Passion in Mind
In Step 1 – Getting Started, you saw that it is quite easy to set up a blog of your own and have it live on the internet within just a few short minutes. It is because of this ease that anyone can set up a blog, and therefore there are millions of blogs on the internet today.
So what. Well this means that you’ll need a pretty special blog is going to need to stand out from the masses.
So when it comes time to pick a domain name and launch your blog, you will want to set up a blog around a passion of yours or your existing business or brand.
A Topic For Your Blog
Figuring out a topic for your blog should really be your first step. Questions that you should ask yourself are:
- Do you want to use your blog as a journal while travelling, or to document your experiences as a parent?
- Do you want to blog about a particular interest area, or a craft, or a hobby? Figuring out why you want to set up a website and begin blogging is important as this will give you some direction that you can focus your energy towards. Here are just a few reasons why people start a blog in the first place:
- Passion / Hobby – Your own little space on the internet to write about whatever you like.
- Personal Brand – A place for you to build an online profile, resume and make it easy for others to find you online.
- Business – Share information on your company while creating quality content around products and services.
Most blogs start out as a fun side project and, over a period of time (with consistent and quality content), turn into something bigger. The more passionate you are about your niche or your blogging subject, the more likely you are to put more interest and focus into it.
Most casual bloggers are happy to set up a blog, create content that says something about them and their passion; their chosen subject matter. However, if you are thinking big, and looking to find success in blogging, then you will need to be very “niche specific“. That is, you will need to be very focussed.
Finding Your Niche
For example, if we want to write about sports, it would be in our best interest to niche down from “sports” to a specific player/sportsperson or team. Here’s how a niching down a topic of focus might work.
- SPORTS ->
- ATHLETICS ->
- RUNNING ->
- SPRINTING ->
- USAIN BOLT
- SPRINTING ->
- RUNNING ->
- ATHLETICS ->
The reason we want to focus or niche down, when we set up a blog, is so we can eventually become an (or the) authority in our space and to reach people who are looking for exactly what we are writing about. The same process we took above can be applied to nearly any niche, service, product or topic. You also don’t want a blog that is too generic, as no one will be able to find exactly what they are looking for when on your site, and it will be way too hard for you to rank in the search results for generic keywords
At the end of the day, your blog is only as good as the content you create and your consistency.
Step 3: Creating Killer Content and a Meaningful Blog
The success of your blog rests within the content that you create. With millions of other blogs out there fighting for attention, you are going to need to create some pretty amazing content to stand out from the crowd.
Designing your WordPress blog
Now, the fun bit. Let’s make your blog look exactly how you want it to. I’m going to assume you’ve chosen to go with WordPress because:
- It’s so easy to set-up and is free to use
- It provides loads of free themes and layouts
- There’s a massive support forum in case you get stuck (it’s nice to have it there if you need it).
- Your blog will be insanely fast and mobile phone compatible
- People can interact with you easily. That is your content is shared, commented on, and so on with ease.
To choose a new theme, you can either head to Appearance > Themes and install a free WordPress theme or you can head to a premium theme website like ThemeForest.net and buy a theme for around $40.
I usually choose something that looks professional and pretty easy to customise. WordPress also has this awesome feature that allows you to change themes with just a few clicks. So if you start getting tired of your current blog template, you can just switch to another one without losing any precious content or images.
Remember, your blog’s design should reflect both you and your personality, but also what the blog is about. There’s no point having a football-orientated theme if your blog is about tennis, understand?
On top of that, it should be easy to navigate if you want people to stick around. If it’s tricky and difficult to move around it, people won’t stay. Design is a subjective art; meaning everyone likes different things.
But no one likes ugly websites, and they especially hate websites that need a university degree to navigate. Make it easy for them.
So, once you’ve niche’d down and found a winning topic, it’s time to start creating content. Remember, in order to stand out in the world of blogging you need to create killer content.
Do some research. Take a look at what the top ranking blogs (based on your topic) are writing about, and see how you can do it better. If they are writing text articles, you need to be doing text, images, and perhaps even videos. Don’t just be better; be ten times better!
The best way to create killer content for your site is to think of yourself as a visitor and if you would actually find value in what you are about to publish.
- Would you be captivated by the heading and therefore be curious enough to click on the search result?
- Are the first few lines or paragraphs or visual content enough to grab your attention and lead you to want to scroll down the page?
- Does the style of writing and layout make it easy or hard to read?
- Is the content and style be good enough to hold your attention all the way to the end?
Step 4: How to Get People to Find Your Blog
Well done! You’ve done it! You have chosen your blog niche, you’ve set up a blog, you’ve created some amazing content, and now you are waiting for the world to turn up and read your blog. This is where patience comes into play; remember that blogging is a long term project. Your blog will take time and effort to mature (especially if you are relying solely on organic traffic, and aren’t backing it with any paid advertising).
However, this doesn’t mean that you need to keep writing content and just “hope” that people start coming to your site.
Marketing Your Website
There are ways that you can get your name (or your blogs name) out there, some are free and some come at a premium price. Here are some of the best ways to get people to start finding your blog much faster and easier than if you were to just continue writing content.
- Guest blog on other relevant sites in your industry
- Setup social media accounts for both your personal name and your blog / sites
- Contact other relevant sites in your niche and see if they find value in your content and would like to share it with their audience
- Leave comments on other popular blogs within your niche (which also leaves incoming links back to your site)
- Create unique and useful material for your blog, such as comprehensive guides and infographics that others will want to share
Each of these methods are all ideal for growing awareness, traffic and back links to your site… which will also help with your search rankings. Best of all, nearly all of these methods are free and will just take some time for you to set up.
Has this article been useful? I’d love to know, Leave a comment below.
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