How to get a blog started – A guide to building your first blog
A step-by-step guide to help you build your first blog.
10 February 2021 · 8 min read
Are you thrilled about starting your own blog? Bloggers have a fantastic lifestyle, right? I mean, what could be better than sitting at home all day working on your laptop instead of going to the office?
The reality is blogging is a lot of hard work. As a newbie, you’re going to spend countless hours promoting and building your blog to drive up your readership numbers.
If this is your first time setting up a blog, and you want to make money blogging, follow our step-by-step guide to getting it off the ground.
Start with selecting your niche
New bloggers can start their online adventure by picking their niche. Make sure you choose a niche that’s exciting to you, allowing you to follow your passion.
When you build blogs about topics that interest you, you’ll find you have a never-ending stream of content ideas to play with for your blog.
Choose your blogging platform
Your new blog needs a platform to give it a home in the virtual universe of the internet. There are plenty of options for a blogging platform. Dedicated sites like Blogger.com allow you to set up a free blog in a few hours.
The WordPress CMS is another popular option for your blog, allowing you to customize templates and other design features to make your blog look visually outstanding.
WordPress or web-builders?
So, do you go with a web-builder like WIX or Squarespace, or a CMS like a WordPress blog? The best part about using free website builders is that they don’t cost you any money, and they are easy to use, with drag-and-drop design functionality.
A WordPress theme is more functional. It offers plenty of customization options using the WP-Admin dashboard. However, you’ll need a developer to help you build the site. Visit WordPress.org and download the WordPress CMS for free.
WordPress also offers more functionality than fee web-builders due to the vast range of WordPress plugins available from the WordPress.com template and plugin store.
If you want the cheapest method of building a site, use a free web-builder.
However, it’s better to go with WordPress for your blog if you want a professional and functional site. You can install WordPress for free by visiting the site and downloading the CMS.
Select a custom domain name
After settling on your blogging platform, it’s time to turn your attention to finding a new domain for your blog. A domain is a URL your blog uses as its brand identity online and with your readership.
Your blog name should feature in the new domain title, drawing your reader’s attention to your post.
After choosing the new domain name, you need to settle on a domain extension. The most popular options are the .com and .org extensions, but you have plenty of alternatives available.
Some web-builder programs might let you choose your free domain name, but they might require you to use the web builder’s extension, such as .blogspot or .blogger.
If you have any issues choosing your domain, look through the FAQ on the hosting companies site. The next step in the process of setting up your blog is finding a web host.
Find hosting for your blog
During your website’s initial growth phase, you can get away with a shared hosting plan from your hosting provider. As traffic increases, you’ll need to move to a dedicated hosting account to accommodate the influx of new visitors to your blog.
The hosting company offers you various plans at different price points, with additional options included like free email domains and addresses.
Choose a web hosting plan that suits the needs of your blog and your budget. Speak to your hosting provider about the best packages on offer for your blog.
Choose your design theme and templates
There are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes available for your blog template. Developers can customize your template to suit your needs using HTML code to make the changes.
The WordPress store has a wide selection of free WordPress themes and premium themes you can purchase for a fee.
If you’re using a web-builder, you should have a choice of free themes that offer easy installation to your blog. Look for online tutorials to explain how to set up your template and make changes.
Develop your content strategy and publishing schedule
Your blog content is critical to the success of your online venture. Great content doesn’t appear out of thin air; it requires careful planning and consideration.
Your content strategy defines the topics you want to cover with your blog, the mediums you use, the keywords in your writing, and your publishing schedule.
We’ll discuss how to choose blog topics in the next section. For now, we’ll focus on your keyword research. Do you know what your prospective readers are searching for relating to your blog content?
Today’s blogging environment is dynamic, and many blogs incorporate high-quality images and video into their posts to amplify reader engagement.
Finally, set up your publishing schedule to release your blogs at a predetermined time. Make sure you’re sharing your content across your social platforms, and research the best times to post content on each social media site.
If you’re using the WordPress CMS, you can set up your publishing schedule utilizing the WordPress dashboard.
When setting your publishing schedule, start with one or two blogs a week until your site starts to receive better traffic inflows.
There’s no sense in blowing your best content in the first few weeks of starting your blog. No-one is around to see your work, and you’ll end up reposting blogs later in the lifecycle of your website.
Keep your powder dry and wait for the right time to increase your publishing volume.
Start writing or hire a freelancer
After developing your content strategy, it’s time to start writing. You might find that your enthusiasm for creating new content fizzles after the first few weeks.
If that’s the case, you might need to hire a freelancer or full-time writer to execute your content strategy.
Being a blog owner doesn’t mean you need to know how to write. Finding the right people to help you with your duties is a part of bringing a good business person.
Leveraging the talents of a skilled writer is the best way to ensure your blog receives quality content.
If you like writing and you’re running out of content ideas, use a web tool like BuzzSumo. These tools help you develop plenty of post ideas based on current trending topics in your niche.
Optimize your blog to improve search and SERP results
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of “best practices” designed to optimize your website and make it more appealing to the search bots.
Whenever you produce a new piece of content, the crawlers read it and rank it according to your keywords and your content’s relevance.
Search engines view your on-page and off-page SEO strategies to see where they should rank your site in search. You can use plugins like Yoast SEO to help you optimize your content.
Creating backlinks to authority domains can boost your ranking, as can answering questions on Quora. These tasks are examples of off-page SEO tactics designed to make your blog content more appealing to search engines.
On-page SEO strategies include cleaning up the errors on your site and improving page loading times. Adding keywords to product descriptions, headers, and adding meta-tags are all excellent on-page strategies.
Related: How to get your website on Google
Promote your blog on social media
Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram offer you a fantastic opportunity for promoting your blog. Sign up for Facebook and start an ad campaign targeting Facebook groups that enjoy reading your content topics.
Facebook lets you target readers that are within your reader persona. You use demographic information like their age, income, education, and interests to find qualified prospects that will enjoy reading your blog.
Post your blog on your Facebook page and use the Ads manager to boost it to your target audience. You’ll get plenty of click-throughs and more traffic visiting your content.
Identify influencers in your niche, and pay them to promote your new post. You’ll get the best value for your marketing budget if you stick to micro-influencers with audiences of less than 25,000 followers.
With influencer marketing, the influencer promotes your blog and your posts to their audience. Interested followers can click your link in their bio and end up on your blog.
The podcast is another up-and-coming social resource for advertising your blog. Reach out to the podcaster for a sidebar and ask them to promote your blog for a fee.
Add a lead magnet
As a blogger, your goal is to increase your readership. To do that, you’ll need to drive traffic to your site. However, that’s not enough to make your blog a success.
When that traffic arrives on your blog’s home page, you need to capture the reader’s email address and name to add them to your email list.
A lead magnet is an effective opt-in tool that helps you capture more readers and grow your list. When the reader leaves a blog post, you can install an exit pop-up form that presents the reader with a value offer in exchange for their information.
Your value offer could be access to exclusive content or special offers. If the value offer is substantial enough, the prospect completes your contact form, and that data goes to your sales funnel, where you start the follow-up email process.
Use Google to track and promote your blog
Google Analytics is a critical component to add-on to any blogging strategy. You need to know where your readers are coming from and what they do on your site.
Google Analytics gives you insights into your traffic sources, the average readers’ time on your web pages, and what content is performing on your blog.
Understanding your metrics and analytics lets you identify key areas of your marketing and content strategy that need a tweak. Take a screenshot and look at where you can improve.
Related: How to use Google Analytics
Monetizing your blog
After setting up your blog and driving traffic to it, your next task is monetization. Monetizing isn’t just a goal for e-commerce stores and YouTube channels. Monetizing your blog is the primary goal for any blogger. Can you imagine someone paying you to write for a living?
There are various ways to monetize your blog, including using Google AdSense to bring you an income.
Affiliate marketing strategies are popular with bloggers, allowing you to promote products you feel will benefit your audience.
Sign up for an affiliate account with Amazon, and you can start marketing and recommending products through your blog.
Being a successful blogger means you get an income from the time and effort you spend writing and managing your blog every day.
Making money online through blogging is one of the oldest and most successful monetization strategies available. Sure, you might be starting at the bottom, but when your blog has a million subscribers, you’ll be making a fortune.
Let B12 help you start your blog
Starting a blog is an exciting adventure into the digital economy. However, one thing we didn’t discuss is the cost involved with creating your blog.
Sure, you could use a free web-builder service like WIX, but it won’t turn out as a professional site, and you’ll have limited functionality with plugins and other features.
If you want a qualified design team to build you a WordPress site, you’ll have better functionality. However, WordPress blogs are free, but you need to pay a developer for any customizations to your site.
The costs of building a successful blog using the WordPress CMS can stack up, especially when you use SEO plugins and custom templates.
You get all the development and maintenance of your site with your subscription fee. B12 also includes your own domain, and they specialize in customizing websites to meet your blogging requirements.