Figuring out how to start a blog can be overwhelming. Especially one that people actually want to read! In this post, I cover my 6 (somewhat detailed) steps in creating a quality blog right from the get go.
1. Be honest with yourself
Blogging is hard work, it requires persistence and perseverance. There will be a period of time where you may not have any readers at all (besides your family). You may be writing some of the best content you will ever write without a comment or a sniff of acknowledgment. You need to be ready for this but know that it will not last forever. Most people that stumble onto your site will have had the option of clicking into about 10–15 other blogs with similar content as yours, maybe even more if your writing for a crowded niche. Know this but also know what makes YOU different! Remember, it takes time to build your voice, trust and a solid reputation.
2. Decide on the topic, purpose and voice.
What is the blog going to be all about. Ask yourself. ‘What value will I be giving my audience through this blog’. People read blogs for a few reason, the most common is to gain knowledge (or be entertained) and to leave more informed after consuming your awesome content. Your blog can be for entertainment, to better someone’s life or to provide quick fixes. You need to decide on your topic, why you are writing the blog for both yourself (creative outlet, monetisation etc) and your reader (why are they reading it?) and also make sure that you are passionate about what you are doing, or you will not be able to sustain it. You also need to consider your voice. How will you be writing the content. Is it super raw and emotional? Is it professional and refined? You need to find the perfect balance between what represents you and what the audience wants. Most of the biggest and most famous blogs are ones that are written in an honest and authentic voice, without fluff or holding back. People can see and feel when you are genuine and they want to be a part of that vulnerability.
You need to be able to clearly define your readers. Who is sitting on the other end of that computer or phone reading your beautiful words? Is it a 21 year old female working in retail with a side gig in acting…or a middle age man looking for useless facts on pigeons… Think about that person, imagine what a day looks like in their shoes. If you can envision this person it will help when you define how you position yourself and also the look, feel and direction of your whole blog. If you don't get this step right, you will not attract any readers. If you cater to everyone, you'll reach no one.
4. Decide on a blogging platform (Free or paid)
Renting your blog (Free)
If you are starting on a budget of $0, you have a few options to pick from:
WordPress is the most well known blogging platform, hands down! It’s a platform to start out on if you are a beginner but want the ability to expand your horizons with themes and different plugins that will elevate your blog to the next level. It’s not the most simplistic option but it quite customisable and has the widest range of forums and support avaliable. You can find all the info you will need to setup your WordPress.com blog here: Learn WordPress
Also a very popular platform for creating a new blog. Wix has a really easy interface and it super simple to get up and running. It doesn’t have as many templates to pick from as wordpress and is not as expandable but it’s great if the thought of building a website makes you want to cry and throw your computer across the room! Wix also has some paid options if you want to expand functionality like add your own domain name etc.
Disadvantage of Free
One of the (many) disadvantages of Free services is that you will always have an impersonal web address –
Doesn’t look very impressive hey! If you are looking at making a name for yourself and want to be seen as a legitimate blog or business then you really need to invest in a domain name. More in a moment on this one.
Remember. In these scenarios, you are essentially renting the space (be it for free) and you run the risk of these platforms changing rules, kicking you off or even disappearing! This means just like a rental, you are living under someone else’s rules at the end of the day, even if it does feel like your home.
Buy your home base (Paid)
I am a big fan of this option. When you buy your own space, it is entirely yours! You can customise it to the high heavens, you can post what you want, you can live easy knowing that it will always be there unless you don’t pay the bills 🙂
Now, you may be thinking that buying everything to make your blog work will cost a bit…actually, it’s pretty cheap. Only $6 to $7 per month!
This will get a little technical and detailed so stay with me.
Here is what you need to get started:
Domain – GoDaddy – Get on here and purchase yourself your very own domain starting at $12 per year. The more years you buy up front, the cheaper it gets. It’s super simple and GoDaddy gives you all the info you need to help after your purchase in setting things up.
Hosting service – GoDaddy – Currently we are on GoDaddy and are very happy with the products and customer service when it’s needed (quite a bit). Depending on the deals they have going at the time, you can grab yourself a plan from between $4 to $6 per month. So all up including your domain name, it will only cost you at worst $7 a month!!! That’s nothing to have your own slice of the Internet with your business or blog on it.
Website – WordPress.org – wordpress.org, not to be confused with wordpress.com is a free opensourse platform that allows you to create virtually any site you can dream of creating. This is the ULTIMATE platform for building a blog. Most websites on the Internet are built using this free framework. GoDaddy provides a 1click install process when you purchase a domain with them. You just need to install following their steps and then select yourself a theme, either free or paid and you are off to creating your first post. Here is a great walkthrough video on how to create a website using GoDaddy and WordPress – GoDaddy WordPress Setup
Select a theme – Themeforest (optional) – If you don’t like the stock standard wordpress themes, you can purchase a theme from theme forest over at Envato. This is the one-stop-shop for all WordPress themes. You are spoilt for choice and you can grab some great themes that have drag and drop functionality. Super cool and will only set you back a once of cost of around $60–70.
Lost is a sea of themes?
If you are struggling to make a decision on what theme suits your needs, I recommend you check out Colorlib. This blog does the job of highlighting the best WordPress themes in every possible category from blogging all the way to Hotel booking sites. Just select your theme categorie and browse through and check out the live demos.
5. Create your first and most important page
Once you have your site setup, either paid or free, you need to set up your first page. The about page. This section of your website is one of the most viewed pages. This is how a person learns about your brand, values and personality. It will often make the difference between a sale or a hasty exit. This page is designed to build trust and indirectly answer questions or objections your audience will have. Here you tell them a little about yourself and then tell them about the pain that you are solving for them. What is it your blog, product or service is doing for them and why should they care?
Some people make the mistake of thinking an about page is about them and while a small part is, it is actually more about the person reading than it is about you! Unless you are an uber famous or popular person, nobody really wants to know your life story. They want to know a little about you and then what you can do for them. So give that person what they want.
- Post quality and post CONSISTENTLY
When you decide to start blogging, you are making a commitment to yourself and your audience that you will deliver consistent and valuable content. Great content delivered Consistency is the ultimate key to a successful blog. You can have the best looking blog out there with all the newest amazing features and biggest fireworks show but if you don’t have great content, people will never visit and definitely never return. You need to focus on creating content that is truly valuable and then deliver that content at the same time each week/month without fail.
How often should I post?
This is a question quite a lot of people ask when starting a blog. The answer to this one is actually easy. As often as feels right for you and your audience. If that’s daily, then go for it. If it’s weekly then do that.
To help determine what works best for you, ask yourself these questions:
- How often would my audience want to see a post from me?
- Is my core blogging topic time sensitive? Daily news etc
- How much time in my week can I dedicate to writing content?
- How long will the post take to write? 30 mins or 2 hours?
- Knowing this, what can I manage?
Rule of thumb is that you want to post at least once a week minimum 5 times a week maximum. If you don’t post weekly, you quickly become irrelevant and if you do too many, the quality lowers and you can fatigue your audience. The audience does not care how frequent the post are, they only care about how much value they are going to get from your content.
BONUS – Common blog misconceptions
Blogging is dead
This is a hot topic at the moment. Is it really worth starting a blog or is blogging a thing of the past. What is true is that there are millions of blogs out there that deliver so much information and you may wonder if it is worth starting one. The answer to this is YES! You should start a blog and NO blogging is not dead. If you have a blog with content that has epic value and helps your audience then it is the best thing to build your brand. You also need a home base to send people back to from your social media and even physical interactions. It is one place you have control over and you can deliver the experience you want.
Your blog is your biz (business)
Your blog is not actually your ‘business' but a marketing platform that builds trust and drives people to purchase your product. Although this is a subtle thing, if you think of everything on your blog as a single piece of marketing that drives people towards your product or building trust, it can keep you true to the purpose and equate in better quality posts. It’s not your actual business it’s a marketing tool.
Blogging is just a hobby not a business tool
No. Blogging is whatever you decide it is. If you think of it like a hobby, then your content will reflect that and your readers will see it as that. You only need to look at a few of your favorite sites that are now giant. Collective Hub for example, started out as a blog and became a massive company! A blog is normally a starting point that builds trust, allows you to test your ideas with a live audience and refine your direction towards building a viable business.
So, there you have it. My thoughts on blogging all wrapped up in this blog post! If you found this post valuable then please share it via your social media so we can inspire and educate others on the many awesome reasons and ways that they can start their blogging adventure. Thanks for stopping by, do come back!
Creator and Director
Mums With Hustle