What started out as a “web log” where a person creates a journal of their day to day activities, has become a “blog” where a person can promote his or her products or services or simply vent out his or her frustrations and opinions. Blogging has become popular in recent years, with more and more people wanting to start a blog.
The reasons for wanting to create your own blog may vary, but the most common ones are:
- Blog writing helps you express yourself. Each of us has a unique way of conveying our emotions and ideas, making each blog unique.
- Blogs can establish your name as an expert in a certain field. If you have a particular skill or hobby, a blog will help people know more about it, and in effect you will be considered as one of the go-to person for that field.
- Blogs enable you to reach out to other people who are facing the same problems as you. This is very helpful especially when you have overcome the problem and want to let others know how you got through it.
- With the right strategy, blogs can help you earn money. A lot of people are actually earning from their blogs, and so can you.
To those who need a guide in setting up a blog, here are few easy steps that will help do it in thirty minutes.
1. Select a blogging platform.
A blogging platform is a type of content management system that is used to publish your blog on the internet. There are many blogging platforms owned by different companies, some of which are free, while others are self-hosted.
Free blogging platform or self-host?
The first decision to make is whether to go for a free platform or self-host one. Your purpose in having a blog will help you in this dilemma. If your blog is for your personal use only – for you to record your life’s journey – or simply to share your thoughts and knowledge with other people, then a free blogging platform can do. There are many to choose from – Blogger, WordPress.com, Blog.com, and Tumblr, are just three of the popular ones. When you choose a free platform, your blog will be something like www.name.blogger.com or www.name.wordpress.com
However, if you want to use your blog for commercial purposes and make money online, then a free blogging platform will have limited options. You need to self-host your blog so that it will appear more professional. For sure, www.name.com does sound more reliable compared to www.name.blogger.com
Aside from this, self-hosting your blog will allow you to customize and monetize it – two things that are limited in the former option. The succeeding steps are for those who choose the self-hosting path.
What is the best blogging platform?
When you look for the best, look for a blogging platform that majority of bloggers use. WordPress passes this requirement, with over 70 million users worldwide including Facebook. Some of the reasons why WordPress is popular among bloggers are:
- It is user-friendly and easy to understand;
- It is free to use
- It includes thousands of free themes, layouts, and plugins that make it easy to customize and play around.
2. Choose a domain name.
After choosing the right blogging platform, you also need a domain name and choose where to host it. It could sound very complicated to beginners, but it’s really simple.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is simply the address of your blog. Like your physical home address, it is where people can find you and your blog. Choosing the right domain name is the tricky part because a domain name can make or break a blog. Therefore, you have to make sure that your domain name has the following attributes:
- Descriptive – It should give your visitors an idea of what your blog is all about.
- Easy to remember – Domain names should be short with no dashes or any special characters as much as possible. It should also be easy to spell.
- Unique – Don’t use domain names that sound like another website’s address, especially when the other website is more popular. This will create confusion and could lead to a redirection of your visitors.
- Reliable – People tend to favor blogs whose domain names are professional, so choose those that end with a “.com”, “.net”, or “.org”. Do not use unusual extensions such as “.ly” and “.biz” as these may scare off potential visitors.
Where can I find domain names?
Now that you have a domain name in mind, you would need to check the domain name availability. The internet has been around for decades, so most of the catchy domain names may already be taken. But don’t be discouraged. The domain name you want may still be available. You can check out dnfinder to find out.
3. Register with a web hosting provider.
You need web hosting in order for people to find your domain name in the internet. Think of it as the plot where your house is built on– it is where your blog can be found. Without it, your domain name is useless.
How do I choose a web host?
You can find so many websites that offer web hosting services such as Bluehost, HostGator, and iPage to name a few. When choosing a web hosting provider, you need to look at the following:
- Uptime – Make sure that the provider has an uptime of no less than 98%. A downtime of even a fraction of a percentage will translate to more than 30 minutes per month. This is not ideal, especially if you aim to monetize your blog.
- Speed – The page load speed should not be more than a few seconds.
- Easy to use – The interface should be user-friendly and easy to use, especially for bloggers who are not too tech savvy.
- Has larger bandwidth and storage – This allows you to put high quality videos and pictures on your blog.
- Customer service – There are always issues that can come up while setting up your blog, or even when it is already up and running. Choosing a web host with great customer service will help resolve these issues faster.
4. Install WordPress.
We have established that the best blogging platform to use is WordPress. So now that you have a domain name and a web host, you need to install WordPress. You may need to wait for a few minutes before you can use your account. You should receive a confirmation email once it is ready.
Log in to your account (the one you just signed up for in your chosen web host), go to the control panel, and just select “Install WordPress” or “Get started with WordPress”. The choice of words differs from one web host to another, but the message is clear: you can install WordPress by clicking on it. Just follow the instructions that are prompted in order to completely install WordPress, and you will be done in less than five minutes!
5. Design your blog.
Congratulations! You now have a blog. You are actually in the world of blogging! Well, not yet, not really. You still need to design your blog in such a way that reflects your character or the personality of your blog.
With WordPress blogging platform, there are thousands of free themes to choose from. Themes are just design templates that you can use for your blog, so you don’t have to make a design from scratch. If you can’t find a theme that fits your blog, you can always check out the premium ones.
6. Write your blog posts
To start writing, just
- go to your dashboard ,
- look for the Posts button, and
- click on Add New.
Writing blog posts in WordPress is very similar to using Microsoft Word, so it is pretty easy to use. You can format your post by selecting font styles, font sizes, adding images and links, inserting numbered lists or bullets, and many more.
Now that you have a blog that is up and running, make sure to regularly publish a blog post. This is the main difference between a website and a blog anyway – blogs are meant to be regularly updated. Again, congratulations on your new blog!