Have you thought about how you can start a blog? Or perhaps you have already decided to create one, but you don’t know where to begin. Here I’ve decided to create a simple how-to guide that I explains how I started this page and how you can also.
Step One: Decide What You Want to Start a Blog About (and Why)
This is one of the most important parts of the entire process. You’ve got to decide what it is you want to spend your time writing about. Whether it is personal finance like with this blog or tips for people who want to crochet competitively (is that a thing?), decide what it is you want to talk about and think of an audience to target. Some prefer to target a specific niche of people while others prefer the come as your are approach, but in either instance, you’ll have to consider who your potential audience will be and cater your content towards such.
Don’t forget to decide why it is you want to blog. Writing content consistently can be difficult and furthermore, it may take awhile for you to build an audience of viewers. It can be discouraging to write your heart out only to have 4 visitors to the post. If you have a solid understanding of why it is you are doing what you’re doing, then it becomes easier to stay the course and keep producing content.
Step Two: Choose Your Domain Name and a Hosting Platform
A catchy domain name can go along way. I chose Zero to Thrifty obviously as a play on the term “Zero to Sixty” because my aim was to reach out to people who are just beginning their personal finance journey. You may have a first name that gives you an in for a play on words for something related to what you want to do (ie. Sam from Financial SAMurai). Simply typing in www.”yourdesireddomainhere”.com is a good way to see if what you want is already taken. If you land on a page saying that the domain has been reserved or something like that, then likely you’d have to purchase the name from someone and that can become very expensive.
There are many websites out there where you can purchase a domain name, but I opted to use BlueHost to obtain both my domain name and a hosting platform for the site. With BlueHost, you get a free domain, free SSL, and an easy integration with WordPress (one of the most commonly used blogging platforms). Sign-Up is pretty easy and painless. If there is one extra feature that I would recommend, it would be the Domain Privacy feature. Without it, your contact information is exposed to the public and you will likely end up with daily emails and calls from people spamming you to help with your website and such.
Step Three: Design Your Blog
If you opted to go the WordPress right, then you will have access to many free themes for your webpage. A free theme might be all that you need, but sometimes the customization you require will necessitate the use of a premium theme. Premium themes may range anywhere from $25 to $75.
You may want a logo for your site as well. If you are not artistically inclined, then you could always get one made for a low price on Fiverr like I did.
Plugins and widgets are also helpful in further designing your blog. Just about anything you need to help your blog become successful may be found in a plugin, many of which are free to install. One plugin that I would suggest is the Yoast SEO plugin. SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and the Yoast SEO plugin highlights ways that you can improve your website’s ability to rank on Google.
Step Four: Write Interesting Content
This should go without saying, but no one will subscribe to your blog if the content is not interesting. Simply rehashing the same ideas that others with similar pages do will likely not get you noticed. If you’re interested in the personal finance/financial freedom space like I am, then I’d suggest getting involved with the RockStar Finance Forums. It is a community of bloggers who share tips with one another on how best to share content and if one of your blog posts is interesting enough, the RockStar Finance page will highlight you as having “RockStar Content” and you will see your hits swell tremendously. Similar pages and communities may exist for other topics in the blogosphere.
Step Five: Monetize Your Blog
One of the reasons many people are getting into blogging is because they want to create another income stream. With a successful blog, you may definitely find yourself creating revenue via affiliate links, ads, e-books, and e-courses.
Some common options include the use of Google Adsense and Amazon Affiliate links. Adding Adsense to your site will post links to content relative to your viewer’s interests and you can get revenue both for people viewing the ad and for people clicking on it. Amazon Affiliate links more so work for specific products. If your viewer clicks the link, then you get a commission for referring them to Amazon for the purchase. Also, if the purchase something else within a certain time period after clicking your link, you can still get a reduced commission for sending them to Amazon.com.
Step Six: Keep Writing and Stay Engaged!
Many bloggers quit after a few months of publishing content. When you first start writing, you likely have a ton of topics you want to write about, but after that, the well might run dry. My advice is to just keep on going! Pick something that truly interests you from the start so even if you take long breaks, you will want to come back to your page in the future.
I’d also suggest connecting with people in your space on Twitter and other forms of social media. Having that sense of community will likely encourage you to keep pursuing this passion. Who knows, perhaps one day you’ll become one of those million-dollar bloggers out there…I sure hope that I do 🙂