how to start a blog

Start a blog

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How to start a blog in 2019: Newbies guide to a professional blog

When start­ing an online busi­ness you might also want to learn how to start a blog. Blog­ging is big every­where in the world. Start­ing a blog can be intim­i­dat­ing for most peo­ple but it can also be ful­fill­ing and prof­itable for oth­ers.

Most peo­ple are con­vince that it a com­pli­cat­ed process but I’m here to tell you is not.If you are pas­sion­ate about writ­ing then start­ing your own blog can be a good thing for you and easy thing to do.

You just have to fol­low a step by step process that is shared on this post and you will get your self a good blog. Blog­ging has changed as lot of peo­ples lives with in the past 20 years or so. You can look at this top blog­gers for inspi­ra­tion. Even here in South Africa we have our own top blog­gers you can look up to.

For you to start pro­fes­sion­al blog you will need a list of blog­ging resources to help you in your blog­ging jour­ney.

I have start­ed two blogs already and both of them didn’t go well. But in both occa­sions I’ve learned tremen­dous­ly and I’m will­ing to share my expe­ri­ence on how to start a blog.

Most peo­ple will tell you, the first attempt can be hard, you go through tri­al and error. If you are con­sis­tent you will even­tu­al­ly make.

My first blog­ging attempt came in 2012 with a blog that had over 30 arti­cles and it was about IT, SEO, Paid Traf­fic and Web devel­op­ment. It opened my eyes in learn­ing how to start a blog in those nich­es.

The sec­ond one was about cryp­to cur­ren­cy, I still blog about those top­ics as well, here. Those are the top­ics that I like most and I believe I have valu­able expe­ri­ence in them.

Pick a niche or topic

So first­ly you have to know what you would like to blog about before you can even start writ­ing your blog postsYou should pick a niche, pick­ing a niche is choos­ing what you want to blog about. Choose some­thing you will enjoy writ­ing about. It will help you to think things through while doing your research about the sub­ject.

Choose a top­ic or the indus­try that you know very well that you will be able to han­dle and enjoy at the same time. Choos­ing sport while you are not a pas­sion­ate sport fan will be revealed on your blog posts.

So choose a top­ic that will bring out your best writ­ing skills or the burn­ing desired to write more posts. When you are sure about your self then you can move to the steps described below.

Here’s a full arti­cle on how you should pick a prof­itable niche mar­ket for your blog.

There’s only a few steps to actually starting a blog:

  1. Choose a domain name
  2. Choose a host­ing account/hosting pack­age
  3. Install a blog­ging platform/WordPress
  4. Choose a theme and set­up your blog
  5. Start writ­ing posts.

1. How to choose a domain name

I’ll assume you have already decid­ed what niche/topic you are going to stick to. When learn­ing how to start a blog, one of the first things you need to focus on is choos­ing a domain name.

Can you imag­ine your­self hav­ing a big blog with a domain name like this your name dot word­press dot com or blogspot dot com in it. Obvi­ous­ly that might not do well against your com­peti­tors in your niche. So if you want to start a suc­cess­ful pro­fes­sion­al blog you should fol­low the steps pro­vid­ed below.

A domain name is the title of your blog, that’s what peo­ple will remem­ber your web­site name by. Choos­ing a domain name can be one of the con­fus­ing process for most begin­ners.

Why you should go for paid domain name

Is very tempt­ing to start a blog on a free plat­form but there are many dis­ad­van­tage of using a free host­ing.

The first rea­son is that your domain name will have an extra dot or a very unusu­al exten­sion, like yourdomainname.wordpress.com in it. You can look around the web all pro­fes­sion­al web­sites have only one exten­sion like dot com or dot org.

So even though there are many blog­ging plat­forms that you can choose, I still would not advice any­one to chose them. There are may lim­i­ta­tions when using a free blog­ging plat­form.

Most of the trust­ed free blog­ging plat­forms are:

WordPress.com

Blogger.com

Wix.com

Weebly.com

Tumblr.com

If you insist to go for a free domain you should know that your blog will have this exten­sions like yourdomainname.blogspot.com or yourdomainname.wix.com.

One oth­er rea­son is that you won’t be able to mon­e­tize your blog to your full poten­tial if you choose a free host­ing plat­form. Most free host­ing accounts like wordpress.com don’t allow you to place ads on your site.

You wont be able to build a email list on a free host­ing account. When doing online mar­ket­ing you need to build a list of reg­u­lar read­ers. Email mar­ket­ing allows you to send you new arti­cles, prod­ucts or ser­vices to your sub­scribers. This are first peo­ple that will know about your new blog post, so it helps you send con­stant traf­fic to your blog.

You don’t own the con­tent that you cre­ate on a free host­ing, it is owned by the host­ing com­pa­ny. They can even decide to delete your site at any­time, which will be a set back for you. Imag­ine the num­ber of hours days or months that you’ve put in writ­ing your blog arti­cles.

Anoth­er set­back is that you wont be able to choose your own themes in most of this plat­forms. You might decide to use a cus­tom made theme one day, but it wont hap­pen on a free host­ing account.

Why a self hosted domain/paid domain

You should go with a self host­ed pro­fes­sion­al domain name, than choos­ing a free domain. With a self host­ed domain you will be in full con­trol of every­thing you want shown on your blog. You can cus­tomize your blog the way you want.

You can use free themes, paid themes or cus­tom made themes(more about this lat­er), you can also mon­e­tize your blog with any type of method.

And also you should go with a dot com domain instead or oth­er domains. A dot com domain name can be eas­i­ly remem­bered when peo­ple search for a web­site. It also helps you tar­get a glob­al audi­ence.

A pro­ces­sion­al domain name can range from $8.50 annu­al­ly to any amount. There are many trust­ed com­pa­nies where you can get your own domain name.

You can name your blog after your­self, this would mean you could brand your­self, there are many top blog­gers who have named their blogs after them­selves. This could work if your name or sur­name is easy to pro­nounce.

If your name and sur­name is already tak­en, don’t try to add a number(s) after the let­ter. You can try some thing like john smith online dot com instead or just use a dif­fer­ent domain all togeth­er.

Apart from nam­ing your blog after your­self you can be cre­ative about it. Cre­ativ­i­ty an sim­plic­i­ty is the best, you can choose to go with a domain name that is relat­ed to what your blog is about.

Let’s say you want to start a trav­el­ling blog, you can name include the term trav­el in your domain name. And say some­thing like your name trav­el dot com if your intend to blog about trav­el­ling. This will help your domain to be easy to remem­ber for any­one look­ing for trav­el­ling tips.

2. Choosing a hosting package

Is very impor­tant to choose a reli­able host­ing pack­age just as it is impor­tant to choose a domain name for your blog.

There are two web host­ing that I rec­om­mend for any blog­ger, those Namecheap and Blue­host.

First­ly, I don’t see any point of reg­is­ter­ing your domain name with anoth­er com­pa­ny then go and host your web­site files at dif­fer­ent com­pa­ny. You can do that by switch­ing your DNS to a dif­fer­ent host. That can be con­fus­ing for most peo­ple, espe­cial­ly if they are not tech-savvy or have no IT back­ground.

You can reg­is­ter your domain and host your blog with a sin­gle com­pa­ny. Look for a afford­able com­pa­ny with reli­able sup­port ser­vices.

Host­ing is cheap any­way you can pay for host­ing for the whole year in one month. So for domain reg­is­tra­tion and host­ing I use NameCheap.

NameCheap is Amer­i­can based host­ing com­pa­ny with data cen­ters both in the US and UK. I have host­ed with them pre­vi­ous and I can say I was hap­py with their ser­vice, their sup­port is good. They have a 24 hour live sup­port team.

You can chat with their live assis­tant through a live chat and get instant response. When you have a fault on your blog they assist you. That’s the type of host­ing com­pa­ny that you need because blogs can have a few inter­nal errors that are relat­ed to the web serv­er.

They will help you if you need their help or you can con­tact me if there’s any­thing that you need help with I would be hap­py to assist you.

Their dot com domain reg­is­tra­tion cost $10.98 for a year, while their host­ing start from $2.88 per month. Anoth­er great advan­tage for me is that they accept Bit­coin as pay­ment which I pre­fer using.

You can do your pay­ments through cred­it card/debit card(Visa, Mas­ter Card, Dis­cov­er, AmEx), Pay Pal and Bit­coin.

If you are like me, you pre­fer Bit­coin and would like to do your pay­ments through bit­coin then you have that option on NameCheap. Namecheap is among the web host­ing com­pa­nies that accept bit­coin in the world.

If you don’t know how to use bit­coin then you can learn how to use it, how to buy bit­coin and make pay­ments. You will need to open a bit­coin wal­let then buy bit­coins before you can make any bit­coin pay­ments.

Why you need a hosting account with cPanel

As a blog­ger you often need access to your web­site files like the theme files, images or plu­g­ins. A cPan­el allows you to access this files with ease, if you don’t use a cPan­el you can you FTP, an access you files through FileZil­la or any oth­er FTP soft­ware.

cpanel how does it look like

Why I chose Namechep hosting package

There are many web host­ing com­pa­nies that you can choose from. Some of them are  Blue­Host and Host­Ga­tor, and don’t get me wrong, they are very big and have almost every­thing you need as a blog­ger. But I decid­ed to go with Namecheap.

Namecheap offer three types of shared host­ing pack­ages that a blog­ger can select from. You can either choose the Stel­lar which will cost you $2.88 p/m, with 20GB which can be enough for a small blog. Or Stel­lar Plus for $4.88 p/m with unmetered Disk Space and num­ber of web­sites or go for the larg­er pack­age for $8.88p/m.

All of this pack­ages have unlim­it­ed band­width and a web­site builder and you can install any blog­ging plat­form to run your blog.

After choos­ing a host­ing pack­age namecheap will send you login details to your cPan­el and FTP files. That’s where you will get access to install any soft­ware that you might need and get access to your Emails, SSL, Data­bas­es and more.

To sign up for a Namecheap account click here.

If you decide go for Bluehost

Blue­host is also a reli­able web host­ing com­pa­ny that you can use. It pow­ers over 2 mil­lion web­sites and is easy to install Word­Press. There’s a 24/7 sup­port in case you need assis­tance with any instal­la­tion or some­thing else.

You will get is free domain name if you use a link below to sign up while their host­ing plans start from $2.75 per month for a basic plan. So they are afford­able the only major dif­fer­ence between them and namecheap is that blue­host does not accept bit­coin pay­ments yet. You can pay via cred­it card, pay­pal, check/money order, pur­chase orders or mail­ing address.

To sign up for a Bluhost account click here.

3. Install a blogging software/WordPress

There are many paid blog­ging plat­forms pro­vid­ed by oth­er com­pa­nies but word­press still takes cen­ter stage. Word­Press is a open source con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem(CMS) that is trust­ed by most top blog­gers and big com­pa­nies. Word­Press pow­ers 30% of web­sites glob­al­ly and con­tin­ues grow­ing every­day.

You can do almost any­thing imag­in­able with word­press since it has plu­g­ins that can be installed and set­up to give you results. You can find beau­ti­ful themes relat­ed to what you are look­ing for or cre­ate one your self.

How to Install WordPress 

Now that you’ve reg­is­tered your domain name and cho­sen a host­ing pack­age you can install a blog­ging plat­form. After reg­is­ter­ing a domain name you will have to install a blog­ging soft­ware or plart­form.

Like many oth­er inter­net mar­keters I pre­fer Word­Press than any oth­er plat­form.  Word­press is the num­ber one blog­ging plat­form and it has great fea­tures for a blog­ger. It also has a great com­mu­ni­ty and is easy to learn and man­age your con­tent with it.

You get to choose the type of theme that you want and choose from a list of use­ful plu­g­ins to man­age or cus­tomize your blog.

There are two ways to install word­press, you can do it man­u­al­ly or via the cPan­el. If you don’t have any idea you can fol­low this sim­ple steps below.

You don’t need some tech­ni­cal skills to install word­press, any­one can do it. It can take you less than 3 min­utes to install word­press on your host­ing account if you do it via the cPan­el.

After log­ging in on your cPan­el account look for the Sof­t­ac­u­lous Apps Installer that I high­light­ed in yel­low. This will take you to a tap where you will see Word­Press and oth­er Apps.

how to stall wordpress on namecheap

Remem­ber you are installing Word­Press not oth­er Apps, so click on Word­Press to install it.

Then after installing your word­press you can move on to the next step

how to install wordpress on namecheap

Then fill the form what will appear on your screen.

4. Choose a theme or template

You have too many options when it comes to theme selec­tion in Word­Press. A theme is the one that will deter­mine the look of your blog. You can choose to use a free theme,  pre­mi­um them or cus­tom design theme. A free theme is ok for some­one who has low bud­get or who are learn­ing how to start a blog.

The difference between free themes, premium themes and custom made themes

The first ones are free themes

Using a free theme might be good if you don’t have mon­ey to buy a pre­mi­um one. A free theme can have a few lim­its here and there, but you can still cus­tomize it and is still good for some­one who still start­ing out.

You can choose to use a freemi­um theme then save mon­ey to buy a pre­mi­um theme lat­er. What peo­ple do like about free themes is that they are used by many peo­ple, so you could find your web­site look­ing like some­one else.

The best free themes are the ones list­ed on word­press theme direc­to­ry . Oth­er than that don’t choose oth­er themes that are list­ed else­where. The ones list­ed on the word­press direc­to­ry have been reviewed by theme experts and they have passed the review test.

A free theme might have lim­its like not being reg­u­lar­ly updat­ed, and might not have all oth­er fea­tures but all in all they work and can be cus­tomized.

Sec­ond are pre­mi­um themes

You can go for a pre­mi­um theme, a pre­mi­um theme might have a bit more fea­tures than a free one but not a must have. Some pre­mi­um themes might have all the fea­tures you want but some might not.  You can get a Pre­mi­um theme at Stu­dio­Press or at Woothemes, that’s were I get them, even free ones are avail­able.

Cus­tom Designed Themes

Then there’s cus­tom design, a cus­tom designed theme is a theme that is made spe­cial for you. For a cus­tom theme you can ask some­one to design it for you at a cost.

There are many plat­forms that can con­nect your to word­press theme devel­op­ers, Fiverr.com or Freelancer.com are some of them. After select­ing a theme you have to login in and upload it your word­press dash­board and acti­vate it.

How to install a wordpress theme

If you decide to install a new them right away then here are the sim­ple steps you need to fol­low to install a dif­fer­ent theme.

Remem­ber you have three option when it comes to word­press themes, if you chose to install a free theme the Login to you Dash­board.

Then click on Appear­ance then click on Themes.

You will then see a screen like the one below:

How to install wordpress theme

If you have already down­loaded a free wor­press theme or you have bought it an is sit­ting some­where in your com­put­er then click on the Upload Theme but­ton.

But if you have not then search for your pref­ered them on the search box then hov­er over it and click on install but­ton.

Set­up your blog for search engine friend­ly url’s

There are cer­tain changes that you can make in order to make your blog to look pro­fes­sion­al and search engine friend­ly. Your posts should be easy to read for both humans and search engines. You will notice that you post or pages url’s look like this http://yourdomain.com/?p=1 or some­thing like that.

So you should change that, so that when you post a an arti­cle the title of the url show the actu­al title in words. Your posts and pages should look some­thing like this http://yourdomain.com/your-post-name

This will help search engines read your post and pages url with easy, your post should con­tain key­words in the url.

For that to hap­pen you need to change your PERMALINKS.Wordpress permalinks setup

Login into your Word­Press Dash­board and click on SETTINGS on your left, then click on PERMERLINKS. Then select the radio but­ton that says POST NAME, then save the changes.

Great, you now have read­able perma­links for both your pages and posts for both search engines and humans.

5. Start writing content

After going through all those steps you can start writ­ing your posts? Wrong.

If your plan is to start suc­cess­ful blog you will have to do key­word research about the top­ic you want to write about. I have cov­ered this sub­ject in one of my post.

Yes is hard work, the main aim here is to write the type of con­tent that peo­ple are look­ing for.

Key­word research will help you do that and, write con­tent that most read­ers are search­ing for. Help them solve their prob­lems, you will see them com­ing back for more, you need to keep those read­ers. This will help your write for seo, which is very impor­tant to rank your pages high.

Keep a writ­ing sched­ule, decide whether you would post dai­ly or week­ly in your blog. Off cause post­ing once a month is not good a enough, you need suc­ces­sive blog­ging con­sis­ten­cy.

The more post you write the faster your blog will grow. And also the faster your post can rank high­er on search engines.

Simple blogging tip: Set yourself a target of posts

You can do just what I did for this blog, you can start by writ­ing at least forty five posts and above before launch­ing your blog.

It helped me a lot, I took some time to write as many arti­cles as I could be for launch­ing this blog. I was tar­get­ing 2 post a day though in some cas­es I would write one post some­times none. But I kept my focus on launch­ing my blog with at least 45+ posts.

In most cas­es I was tar­get­ing 1500+ words per post, If I reach that num­ber of words per post, then I’m hap­py. If ever the time comes for me to make an update on those posts I know It wont be hard like the time writ­ing them.

how to start a blog total postsI had 46 posts in total before launch­ing my blog, all of them opti­mized for search engines with on-page seo and ready to go go live and get search engine traf­fic. What was let? Off-page seo which is the hard­est part when you start a new blog.

This is one blog­ging strat­e­gy I would rec­om­mend for most new blog­gers learn­ing how to start a blog. By the time you launch your blog you are many steps ahead from your peers and you blog will have con­tent from the first day.

Choose a niche and start doing your key­word research and start writ­ing be for launch­ing your blog. Pre­pare every­thing from images to videos if you plan to use videos, and pre­pare your social net­work pro­files before launch­ing.

How to promote your blog

We move on to how to pro­mote a blog. Which gets us clos­er to the end of our top on how to start a blog. After learn­ing how to start a blog you will have to learn how to pro­mote a blog.

In the sec­tion above we spoke about search engines. You will need a search engine opti­mized blog so you can get organ­ic traf­fic. SEO will help you increase your page rank­ings.

If you have not Installed Yoast plu­g­in, you need to do so and learn how to opti­mize your blog post or pages.

The oth­er method to pro­mote your blog is to install social share plu­g­ins on your blog. This will help you get more shares on your blog on Face­book, Twit­ter, Google+ ect.

Some of your read­ers might share your con­tent on their pro­files which will increase expo­sure to your blog.You will also be build­ing seo back­links to your blog if your install the social share plu­g­ins.

You can use paid traf­fic to pro­mote your blog on search engines and social media. Search engines like google offer pay per click, you can bid for key­words you want your blog to be known for.

Using pay per click will help you get tar­get­ed traf­fic to your blog posts. Your Ads can appear on the first page of search engines when peo­ple search for that key­word.

You can also buy social media ads, Face­book is one of the top social media net­work that sell ads. Using face­book you can tar­get your read­ers based on their loca­tions, inter­est, age and more. 

If you’ve been want­i­ng to learn how to start a blog then I hope this post was help­ful. I might have left some­thing out on this post, you are wel­come to share more.

Make sure you have enough ideas for your blog post before you run out of them. Since your aim is to make mon­ey blog­ging you will require a lot of blog ideas.

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