I know I still have a long way to go to be considered a blogging expert, but I have learned a lot in the three years that I’ve run my blog. People blog for several different reasons, and no matter what that is, everyone starts from somewhere: a blog.
I’d be lying if I tell you that blogging is easy, but setting up a blog of your own is. I will share with you today the basics of starting a blog, and hope this will encourage you to finally take the leap.
Identify the name of your blog
For someone who’s going to blog for the first time, this is going to be difficult. It will probably take you weeks or even cost you many sleepless nights to finally decide on what to name your blog, but it’s worth noting why you wanted to start one in the first place. This is often referred to as your blogging niche. There isn’t really a solid rule on this one because it’s your blog, and you can basically change your blog name whenever you want.
- How to Come Up with a Perfect Blog Name! (www.icanbuildablog.com)
- The Guide to Choosing a Blog Name You Won’t Regret: Part 1 (www.blogclarity.com)
- Step 1: How to Brainstorm Blog Name Ideas You’ll Love (www.hatchandscribe.com)
Determine your platform of choice
There are a number of different platforms to choose from, but the most common of which are Blogger, WordPress.com, WordPress.org, (self-hosted), Tumblr, and Squarespace. As I have mentioned before, I used to blog over at Multiply, but that site is now dead and gone.
I know I’ve had a WordPress account even before that move I made in 2012, but wanted to explore on other options, so I temporarily blogged at Blog.com for a while. It has a somewhat similar interface with WordPress, but not as functional as the latter. Eventually, in February, I decided to simply start writing again with WordPress. I moved to Squarespace in August 2014, and after two years, I decided to move back to WordPress (self-hosted).
Each platform differs from one another, so choose one that suits your needs. A lot of these platforms are free by nature (except self-hosted WordPress.org and Squarespace), but they are good enough if you’re only starting to blog. Note that blogs set up on such platforms usually appear as yourblogname.wordpress.com or yourblogname.blogspot.com.
- How to Start a Blog (www.northernbellediaries.com)
- WordPress.com and WordPress.org (en.support.wordpress.com)
- For Bloggers: Start a Blog (www.imbreannarose.com)
Decide whether it’s worth investing on your own domain or not
Blogging with your own domain is not a necessity, but it could be beneficial for you in the long run. There’s an equivalent fee (average of $10–30/year) in obtaining your own domain. In most cases, people opt for the same blog title and domain name, but it doesn’t really matter. Mine are different (SCATTERBRAIN at gorjaeous.com), but it’s easier to remember those whose blog and domain names are identical. Make it short, catchy, and unique if you want to make an impression, but if you can’t decide on it, your own name could be your best bet.
- Why It’s Worth It to Purchase Your Own Domain (www.lifehacker.com)
- Important Precautions to Take When Buying a Domain Name (www.thesitewizard.com)
Choose your blog design
Most platforms come with a default plain template (also known as a child theme), but there are thousands of free pre-made templates to choose from. Some themes are customizable depending on your preference, but only to a certain extent. More complex designs require greater knowledge in the template’s style sheets, but that falls in another level of blogging.
- Ultimate Guide to Choosing Colors for Your Blog or Website (www.designyourownblog.com)
- How to Design and Customize Your Blog (www.dummies.com)
When you’ve figured out the fundamentals of blogging, now’s the time to start writing. Another blogging cliché you will hear around a lot: content is king. More than the aesthetic aspect of your online space, it’s you and your voice that will draw people into your blog. In the end, it doesn’t matter which niche your blog will fall. Rest assured that someone will eventually find his way to your blog, and appreciate you for the efforts you put in there.
The blogging culture has since developed over the years, and as the community of bloggers grows, the more complicated everything seems like. Truth is, every blogger started from scratch, too. It doesn’t take a genius to start a blog, but it takes patience and hard work to keep going. I know a lot of you are already considering; what are you waiting for? Jump right in!
P.S. Sarah’s checklist may come in handy once you’ve started blogging. Check it out!
Tell me, who or what inspired you to start a blog? While you’re at it, what would you add to this list?