Have you been thinking about writing a blog and sharing your passion with the world, but you don’t know where to start? Choosing the beautiful template is indeed one of the steps, but building a successful and monetized blog consists of many more.
Is blogging still a thing in 2020?
Absolutely. Although it may seem like the social media influencing market has taken over blogs, people use Google search as often as they scroll their Instagram feed. Having a consistently updated and well-written blog which generates a considerable amount of monthly views, can be as profitable as a large-following social media account.
Having this in mind, what are the reasons to start a blog?
-To generate income and build an online business
-To improve the writing skills
-To inspire others and share your insights
-To learn by writing the articles
-To document your life
Determine your niche
Creating the concept of your blog does not start with picking the domain name, but determining your niche and target audience. The way to build a successful online business, aka your blog, you need to have an idea of who your potential reader may be and how are they going to benefit from reading your articles. This is the moment to grab a pen and a piece of paper and do the brainstorming on the following:
-What am I passionate about?
-What is my expertise?
-What do people think I do best?
-Is many people doing the same thing as me?
-How do I stand out?
-How am I going to monetize my blog?
Having clarity and vision in mind will help you make better decisions when running your blog. If you take time to educate yourself on the very first stages of building your online brand- your growth will be quicker and smoother.
Choose your name and domain.
Choosing the name of your blog is a long-term decision. Let’s face it, you are going to spend a lot of time building your brand and people will associate you with the username you pick. For that reason, it is better to take time and make this decision carefully. You also need to analyse the market and domain availability and see whether the name you have in mind is not taken by somebody else. There are many domain browsers online and you can easily check if your dream one is still available to purchase. If the extension ‘.com’ is already taken, you may want to consider ‘.net’, ‘.blog’ or your home country directory.
How to pick the right name:
- Make it short and easy to remember
- Avoid using hyphens, symbols or numbers
- Make it unique- use your name, special feature or something which is special to you
- Think of something catchy and humorous
- Brainstorm names relating to your niche
Find the hosting provider
First of all- what is blog hosting? A blog or website host is an external company that provides a space on their servers to store your blog and make it available for Internet users. When starting a blog you need to determine whether you want to be self hosted or use a free blogging platform. If you want to build a professional blog, you need to invest a bit of money to be self hosted in order to keep full control over your website. This will also allow you to choose an independent domain instead of using an obligatory provider’s extension.
The cost of self-hosting can be very affordable, especially if you’re committing to a long-term contract. The longer you’re subscribing for, the cheaper your hosting will be.
Once you’ve chosen your hosting provider, you’re ready to sign up for your wordpress account. WordPress is one of the most commonly-used content management solutions. In simple words, it’s a software you can use to create your own blog or website. Sounds complicated? It’s not at all! Sign up for a free account, link your hosting, and you are one step closer to launching your very own blog!
Wordpress dashboard will allow you to control your plugins, templates, website elements and many more.
Choose your blog template
Now it’s time for the exciting part- making your blog look awesome! There are two ways of bringing your actual website to life. You can either hire a web developer to design your custom template, or you can purchase an already existing theme which is way more affordable, or even free!
The downsides of purchasing a theme is that they are hardly ever SEO-optimised, and much less flexible than the custom-made templates. What is more, an individual project will always stand out and there will be no other blogger with a website like yours.
If you cannot commit to large blog expenses in the beginning of running it- that’s absolutely fine. Start small, but dream big. If you’re consistent and take blogging seriously, the funds for investments will follow.
Install the must-have plugins
First of all- what is a plugin? A WordPress plugin is an app that allows you to add new features and functionality to your WordPress website or blog. Relevant plugins are helpful in increasing your monthly views as well as tracking your website’s performance. Although searching and installing the plugins sounds complicated, this is a very easy process which can be managed straight from your dashboard.
Introduce yourself- the person behind a great blog you’ve just created!
Tell your story! The more you grow your audience, the more your readers will want to know about you. Let them know who you are, what motivates you and why you created your blog. Although you may think otherwise, people are genuinely curious about you and your life. This is why the ‘about page’ may be one of the most popular within your website.
Write your first blog post
After setting up your blog correctly, it’s time to compose your first article- whoop! Are you unsure what to write about? It can be anything- from explaining the idea of creating your blog, to useful tips that your audience may refer to, or a travel guide to your hometown. This is your time to shine and get creative!
When composing an article- remember to include the imagery, podcasts, videos, but also internal and external links which will make you score higher in the Google search.
- Driving traffic to your blog
It is not a secret that a blog success hardly ever happens overnight. Although it comes along with time, effort and consistency, there are several ways to increase your daily visit numbers.
-SEO: Search Engine Optimisation is key for people to find your blog and articles online. Although it takes time to figure out all rights and wrongs, consistent posting, well-optimised website and keyword-conscious writing will bring you a step closer. SEO is a huge world to explore, but taking your time to learn about it will definitely be rewarding in a long run.
-Social media: Promoting your blog articles on your social media channels is not only increasing the number of visitors, but also acts in favour of your SEO. Linking your blog from external sources, just like your social accounts will make your blog rank higher in the Google search.
-Join blogging communities: Connecting with other bloggers is a great way to promote your website! Join online communities and groups and share your new articles with other creators, who will be more than happy to support you on your new journey as a blogger.
- How to monetise your blog?
Earning a full time salary as a blogger is fully achievable, if you put time and effort into it. The sooner you explore and understand the ways of making profit via your website- the better for you. Where to start then?
- Affiliate marketing: Link products and services to your website and earn the commission with every purchase made. Although it may seem to be a slow way to make money- the pennies add up quicker than you may think!
- Have your own online shop: Having your own website gives you the full flexibility. If you’ve ever considered selling your digital products online, your blog is a perfect place for that.
- Google ads: Earn money by including paid ads to your site via Google Adsense
- Pitch brand collaborations and partnerships: Create the professional media kit and reach out to your favourite brands. There are a lot of companies looking to promote their goods and services not only on social media channels, but also blogs. Use this opportunity to pitch a brand collaboration and work with the brand you’ve always loved.