How To Start A Blog

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What Is A Blog

This word is being used more and more these days. I will be very surprised if you haven't heard it yet. But what is it? What does a Blog do and why is it called that?

The answer to this question is pretty simple actually. The work blog comes from "web log", a place where you can log your thoughts on the web.

Because many people have so much to say and they want to put in out on the Internet for everyone to read, this created an economy of it's own and various blogging platforms, services and formats were born.

If this is not enough and you need more, read this post I wrote a while ago, and see what Wikipedia says.

how-to-be-a-blogger

Benefits Of Starting A Blog

Why start a blog? I have been a Blogging evangelist of sorts for many years now and I always say that everyone has something interesting to share and people generally are curious to read about other's business and this is why anyone can start a blog and share their life on it.

Others will discover it and a fan base will start forming and before you know it the blog will start growing out of control making you crazy amounts of money.

So yes, I said money. This is the main reason why everyone should have a blog. Investment in the future. Blogging once a week or even once a month. Over a period of time you will have a blog full of interesting articles.

Another reason to blog is to display your talents, whether it is graphic design, photography, wood work or any other creations you specialize in. This can be a good way to display your portfolio, and very useful tool when trying to get a job.

How To Start A Blog

So now that you know what a blog is and know why I think everyone should start one, let's go over how one can get started.

I will tell you the right ways to go about starting a blog, as well as things you should not do, so you don't regret it in the future. These are just my opinions and recommendations, but you can do what you want.

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Choosing A Topic

The first thing you need to do before you get into the technical aspect is to choose a topic your blog is going to be about.

Don't make this decision lightly, because although your blog will evolve with time as you optimize it and steer it towards the crowds, you want to be able to generate a never-ending amount of articles on this general or related topic.

Think about what you are passionate about, or what you do regularly that you may have comments about weekly or monthly.

I would also do some keyword research to see what topics are good to go with and stay away from dead ones.

Blog Types And Choices

Many people make a mistake and start their blog on some free platform and when the blog grows up and needs to expand technically or in any way, you realize that everything you've worked so hard to build, is not really yours. Then you start over the right way and lose a lot of precious work.

To avoid this, do not use free platforms.. or any other hosted services.

Get a domain, install WordPress on your own hosting account and own your content.

Here is how to do it:

Choose A Domain Name

A domain name is the address at which your blog will live. Mine here is ValikRudd.com, yours can be YourName.com or AnythingYouWant.com. Be creative, spend some time looking for a domain name.

You can search for domains at http://GoDaddy.com. You can expect to paying anything from $9 to $15 per year for a domain. Don't spend any more and do not buy any upgrades for privacy and security. It's all useless bells and whistles.

Keep in mind that all the good domains are already gone, so you need to be creative and think outside the box.

Stay with .com domains. Domains with extensions like .net, .org, and others are secondary and are not taken as seriously by readers and search engines, so avoid them.

Seriously, spend at least an hour researching before you commit.

Hosting Your Blog

You can pay as little as $5 per month for hosting at GoDaddy.com, and you will find other places that can be even cheaper, nut I recommend going with GoDaddy because they are very easy to set up and get going for beginners.

You can either buy WordPress Hosting or a Linux Hosting Account. Don;t spend any more than $14.99 per month on a hosting account. There are companies out there that will charge you insane amounts and promise you the world, but it is all not necessary. You just need a simple linux based hosting account.

Do not spend money on any upgrades and upsells they offer you. They are also useless. Your blog will be just fine without any of it. Just follow me and I will tell you what you do need later on.

Install WordPress

Once you have your hosting account, if your WordPress is not installed yet (WordPress hosting accounts will walk you through setting up WordPress when you buy the hosting account), you will be able to install WordPress right from your hosting panel. Just follow the prompts to set it up. It's a short form that asks you to select the domain you want to install it on,  create an administration login and give the blog a name.

Here is a more detailed WordPress installation tutorial for you I wrote in the past.

Blog Design And Templates

Don't spend too much time customizing your blog just yet. Your WordPress comes with a few themes (templates) you can install, and thousands free ones you can get from their repository.

If you want a nice more professional design, I recommend checking out the WordPress themes at ThemeForest.net. There are very nice ones you can get for under $60.

What Plugins Should I Get?

None. Don't busy your self up with unnecessary things before you are ready for them. Don;t get any plugins at this point. Your main thing right now is to start writing. Get your self into a rhythm. Once you have 10 or more posts in there, you can start thinking about plugins, and I will discuss that part in another post.

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Start Writing

The main part of having a blog is actually writing in it. Make a schedule and commit to writing a new blog post every day/week/month. If you choose to write every day, then do it every day, if it's every week, or every month, make sure you actually do it.

It is super important to stick to your schedule and write new posts consistently, to train your readers to come back and read it regularly. When they know when to expect your new posts, they will more likely come back again and again.

Write using Posts, not Pages. Pages are for permanent pages like About Us and Contact Us. Your blog posts will go into Posts.

Here is a trick to writing great content. Find related blogs that are popular and look through their content and find their most popular posts. Posts that have lots of comments and social shares. Read those posts and read the comments and then write your own post about the same thing, except make it better using the info from the comments.

Here are a few more tips on writing popular blog posts, here and here.

NEVER copy other people's content! If you need to write about the same stuff, write it in your own words. Everything on your blog should be 100% your own and original writing.

Building Traffic

Without traffic, your blog is just a diary. So to make it into a blog, let's get you some readers. The first thing you want to do is after you publish your post, share it's URL on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. If your blog is technical or work related, also share it on LinkedIn. This will get you the first influx of traffic.

If you write interesting posts, this initial wave of traffic will share your stuff with their friends and the ball will start rolling.

Another thing you can do is find the top 10 most influential blogs in your industry or related field and start reading their blogs. Get to know them and comment on their posts with "smart" and "useful" comments. Be there first to leave a comment when their new post comes out. Show that you are a sincere fan but do not come through as an annoying person. Flatter them just a bit to soften them up. Eventually they will want to know who you are and will check out your blog. If your content is great, they may refer to it in their future posts.

Once you have a rapport with them, you can tweet, email or even leave a comment for them about your new post that is related to what they wrote about. This is how you pull some visitors from their site to yours.

Focus on these two methods, and if you have more time left over, write blog posts or articles for other related blogs. This will get your name and blog out there.

Don't get overwhelmed with other traffic generating techniques until you master these 2 or 3. You will just spread your self too thin and nothing will get done 100% and will just be a waste of time. When you are ready there are many other blog traffic generating methods.

Making money

Finally, the point of all this for most people. Making your blog make you money. Here is how this works. Just like magazines fill their publications with interesting content, and stick ads in between, same thing you are going to do. Fill your blog with interesting content and stick ads around them to make money.

These ads can be to automatic Ad networks, private ads that others buy from you, affiliate ads where you get a commission for referrals, or even ads to your own extracurricular projects.

Ads is where it is, at first anyway. BUT, in order to benefit from them, you must have INTERESTING CONTENT!

This is why you need to forget the money for now and focus on building a traffic and readership. To do this, you research and write, research and write, rinse and repeat.

Get Started Now!

You have everything you need now to get started blogging.

Please do let me know in the comments if you have any questions that I wasn't clear on or didn't cover.

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Valik Rudd

Valik is an entrepreneur, blogger and a web designer. He has been in this industry since 2000 and has been learning and researching blogging since 2007. Read his stuff, you may learn a thing or two.