The in’s and out’s of how to start a blog are fairly straightforward. You can get your blog up and running in an hour or two, no matter what your skill level. There are many options for getting your blog off the ground, from zero cost (if you go with a platform like Blogger) up to around a fifty dollars a year for a self hosted WordPress site with an SSL certificate. I’ll cover all the details in this article.
Why should you listen to me?
Well, if we’re being honest here, you probably shouldn’t. But I do have a lot of experience developing software, web applications, blogs, and affiliate marketing. I think that a blog is the quickest way to create a niche site, and start making money online as quick as possible. It is also a great way to test out ideas and find your voice.
I’ve built a lot of websites using WordPress, and it’s a killer product. WordPress is so awesome, it is used to power 27% of the websites in the world. In fact, it is more powerful than a custom Content Management System that I used to use (it was actually consultingware that we would charge upwards of $400k per install and config).
WordPress is a free tool.
Why do you want to start blogging?
I used to build all my websites by hand. Then WordPress came along around the 2003 timeframe and I started blogging to market products and services, set up affiliate sites, promote small businesses in my area, and just for a place to write and get my thoughts out into the universe.
There are no gatekeepers, no one can tell you yes or no. This is all you. Start a blog and get your voice out into the world. A blog is a great way to get noticed, create value, and earn money (directly or indirectly).
Website vs Blog. What’s the difference?
A blog is a type of website that is designed with a simple interface that makes it easy to post new content. Don’t get confused, any site on the web is a website – and a blog is a type of website. You will regularly post content to a blog, short articles, etc. All of these posts might be supporting some core content pages that you have written to focus on a particular topic. All of your blog posts can point to that page, creating a lot of inbound links from other pages on your site.
Google likes good content and is working hard to improve the quality of its search results.
Create websites for people, not search engines.
WordPress is the most popular blogging software on the planet (Earth, just in case you are reading this from somewhere else.) You can use WordPress to develop websites with amazing functionality through the use of plugins, many of which are free or low cost.
Get your blog up and running.
The options are to run your blog on a blogging service, or get hosting and install WordPress.
Get your own hosting account, buy a domain, install and configure WordPress. It’s not that difficult, and you will own the website and all of its content. This is a no-brainer.
Self Hosted Blogs Are The Only Way To Go.
Domain Name Selection
I’m a firm believer in using your own domain name, even if you are using a hosted service like blogger.
If you are going to go the self hosted route, you are going to need to buy hosting.
I’ve used both Bluehost and Namecheap and they are both awesome. They both provide incredible service, great value, are easy to use and administer, and the hosting plans have scripted install of WordPress and other tools.
Focus on creating content for people, and don’t worry too much about the Search Engine Optimization considerations because you can tune your content later.
Write on a topic you are passionate about and it will show. If you are writing to a specific audience, keep them in mind as if you are talking to one person.
Create value for your audience and they will reward you with visits, page views, and might even click on your ads. 🙂
How can I get people to visit my website?
It can take some time before you site starts getting any traffic. Keep plugging away, creating valuable content and when people do visit your site, they will stick around.
I’ll lightly touch on some SEO stuff that I’ll post more about on a page devoted to the topic. SEO is a specialty, everyone is an expert, but no one really knows shit. Google is king, the rules keep changing, but one thing is constant: Create content for people, not Google. This includes content that you post to social media accounts.
Use Twitter To Get Traffic To Your Site
Twitter is awesome. You can build a following, engage with the world, find opportunities to partner with others, and make friends.
The Tao of Twitter is an amazing book, really opened my eyes to the potential of the platform.
My wife spends a lot of time building a following on Instagram. She likes it because it isn’t full of political garbage.
Include links to articles on your blog, these inbound links can get you some traffic from Twitter. More importantly it creates a positive inbound link profile.
Use Facebook To Get Traffic To Your Site
Don’t run ads on Facebook! Facebook ads are a waste of money and time. Create a page, post interesting stuff to it, use images, create meme’s, follow others, post funny, fun comments, create a following.
Then once in awhile, drop a post with a link out to your blog.
Google picks up these inbound links, and likes this sort of thing!
Where can I find free images for my blog?
I use Pexels for the stock photos on my blogs and you should too. Pexels provides designers, bloggers and everyone who is looking for an image to find great photos that can used everywhere for free.
Yes, all photos on Pexels are free for commercial use. You can use them on your commercial website, blog, product or anywhere else.