First hand tips on how to start a blog
Over the years I have had many readers ask me how to start a blog. It seems there are many aspiring bloggers out there keen to know more about how start a blog. As I have had so many questions on this topic, I decided to write a blog post on this. Hopefully this post will give you the tips and inspiration to set up your own blog and send your creative thoughts and ideas to others out there. The internet is a wonderful way to share ideas and inspiration!
I initially want to start a blog as I had faced many personal life struggles and my work as a counsellor led me to share in the life struggles of many others. I liked the idea of applying solutions that people had found had worked for them. It was such a waste to sit with that knowledge and not share it with others experiencing a tough time. I also really enjoy writing and find it helps my emotional wellbeing to put thoughts down, get them out of my head.
Type of blog/content
Do you have specific knowledge on a subject that would be useful to share with others? If so, you could become a growth blogger. Sharing your insights can help others learn and grow, and it’s a great way to connect with like-minded people.
Do you travel a lot or have inside information on something that others would love to know more about? You could also just be really fascinated on a particular topic and enjoy researching it. Find something that is interesting to you, something that you won’t get sick of writing about after a few months. Decide of there is enough going on in that field for you to be able to regularly blog on it. These are the sorts of considerations that will need to be decided on before you get going. The more niche your subject the better. Instead of blogging about furniture, choose instead to blog on a specific type of dining set, for example. The more specific, the better. My blog is probably still a bit too vague and I need to work on my top 3 areas of interest and narrow it down!
I knew nothing about how to put a website together. Initially I started using Blogger.
This was great initially and Blogger works perfectly if you want to start up a smallish blog. If your long term plan however is to really grow your blog then Blogger can be a bit limiting. After about eighteen months, I felt like I wanted to personalise my blog more and have more control over the layout, colours and so on. This is when I found WordPress.
There are two types of website associated with WordPress. WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com hosts your website and is more limited in terms of customisation compared to wordpress.org but both are good. It all depends on what you want to do with your blog long term. I jumped straight to wordpress.org as I wanted to expand my skills and be more in control of every aspect of my blog.
You don’t need to have too much IT knowledge although you will need patience! I think I spent many moments swearing when I couldn’t figure out how to do something! Perseverence pays off though.
For more information on the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org, click here.
Using wordpress.org was a huge learning curve but eventually I got the hang of how to type up and post blogs. I also discovered plugins. They are wonderful things as they offer a blogger with not too much IT knowledge the opportunity to add things to their blog, like email subscriptions (so that readers can easily become a subscriber if they want to receive your blog posts in their email feed) to social media sharing – this is important to get your content out there to websites such as twitter, facebook and stumbleupon etc.
The plugins I currently use are:
- Yoast (great for search engine optimisation – it shows you what you need to include in your posts to get them found by search engines such as Google).
- Imageinject – I use this plugin for my images. This plugin offers images that are in the public domain and aren’t protected by copyright.
- Google analytics – this is useful if you want to monetise your blog using Google Adsense
- Jetpack – this is a great plugin with many features and it shows me how many visitors my site is getting.
- Social warfare – this plugin automatically shares my posts to other social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Stumbleupon.
- WPTouch Mobile Plugin – this offers a more user friendly version of my site to mobile phone users.
- Alexa traffic rank – I love Alexa as it gives me stats on my website and shows me how my webiste ranks globally and locally in the United Kingdom.
The more plugins you have, the slower your website will be and the more likely you are to encounter issues on your website. Keep them to a minimum and make sure to update them when updates are available.
There are a few companies that I highly recommend. I have tried Bluehost and they were pretty good. The only issue I had was that, as someone who isn’t very IT literate, their support wasn’t really tailored to someone like me It was aimed more at those who are familiar with programming and have more IT knowledge than I do. I have also tried 123Reg and have found them seriously lacking when it comes to support. So far though, I have been very impressed with Hostgator and will be sticking with them to host my website. Their prices are extremely reasonable and their support is very good.
Hostgator provides webhosting, VPS servers (I use this as I need more space and my website required a private server rather than a shared server) and dedicated servers. They have a solution for all your webhosting needs. It is important to get this right as it is the foundation for your website. If this is reliable and in place, you can then build your website with confidence that it will stay online consistently.
With Hostgator you can install WordPress without worry!
- Log in to your cPanel
- Click on “Quick Install” under Software Services
- Follow the easy prompts!
If you’re having trouble, here’s Hostgator’s own helpful guide.
Hosting plans are now 20% off for new members! The current promotional rate for hosting is only $3.96 a month.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. All views are my own.
Decide on what you want to write about, find your niche
Choose a good webhost – I recommend Hostgator.com
Find good website software to help you build the look of your website. I recommend WordPress.org
Be patient. It takes a while to learn how to build a website. It also takes a while to get regular readers, it doesn’t happen overnight. Just keep at it and be persistent. It took at least two years before I was getting any decent traffic. There will be many days when you write and get no feedback, but do it for yourself and hopefully, if others find value in what you write about you will naturally gain followers over time. Write for the joy of it and see the followers as a bonus.
Don’t just think about it, take small steps towards achieving your goal. Once you get the momentum going and take that first step, it does get easier.
Please note there are affiliate links in this post but all products in this post I wholeheartedly support.
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