So you want to start your own blog, but your not sure how to go about it? Well, you have come to the right place.
Starting a blog is actually a lot easier than most people realize, this tutorial will take you through the process from start to finish, and less than 1 hour from now, you will have your very own blog up and running.
Whether you are setting up your blog as a hobby, for a business or as a way of generating some extra income, the setup process is exactly the same. Then once you have your basic blog setup, you can choose from thousands of prebuilt themes and templates to style your blog the way you want it.
So let’s get right to it.
In order for your blog to function properly, there are 3 things you will need to do:
If those things sound a bit scary, or too technical, don’t worry, it’s really very simple and I am going to show you every single step. I promise that if you stick with me through this, you will be shocked at just how easy it is.
Now, you would think naming your blog would come first but through my experience, it’s a lot easier to come up with the name after you’ve decided what it’s going to be about. So with that being said, get out those cute notebooks and pens, and let’s get this party started!
So first things first, you want to figure out what you want your blog to be about. What do you want to talk about with your audience? I started by asking myself these questions:
Why do I want to start a blog?
There are three types of bloggers: those that want to make a career out it and make money, those that are going through a career change and need a starting point, and those that just use it as an online journal and having an audience and engagement isn’t necessary. Which one are you? The answer to this question is a key factor because while blogging can be fun and rewarding, it’s also very time consuming. The reason why you choose to blog will determine what kind of energy you’re going to put into. Remember, as with anything else in life, what you put into it is what you’ll get out of it.
What do I like to do? What do I enjoy talking about?
Most people want to start a blog that will become popular, but without any blogging experience, how are you supposed to know what to write about?
Obviously you want to blog about something you’re interested in, right? So let me set the scene: you’re at a cute little coffee shop or bookstore and you’re meeting with some of your friends. If you had to come up with a topic of interest for the meeting, what would it be, and what would you say? I love design and being a creative so that’s what my blog is about. Just think about what lights up your world? What motivates an inspires you? That’s what you should talk about!
Another approach to this is taking note of what you like to hear from other bloggers. Do you follow any blogs? What is it about those blogs that keep you coming back every day? What are they talking about? Take that and put your own spin to it. For instance, there are several fashion blogs out there, but each of them have something different that they’re offering to their audience.
It’s much easier once you’ve been blogging for a while. You learn how to write blog posts, and what kinds of posts people like to read. You also learn other things like what it’s like to write for an audience, and how to get more traffic.
But again, before learning those lessons, how are you supposed to know what to write about?
Here are five helpful tips that will help a beginning blogger to choose the best blog topic.
Tip #1: Choose a Large Audience
The first thing you want to do is write for a large audience. The bigger the audience is, the more demand there will be for your posts. A good example is sports. It’s not the most meaningful topic, but there is a high demand for sports content. Think about it this way:
Approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population is male. Of that 50 percent, it can be estimated that 80 percent or so are sports fans.
Based on those numbers and with a population estimate of three hundred million, that leaves 120 million people in the US alone as sports fans. That’s a lot of people who like sports. And that’s a lot of potential fans for a blog.
If you decide to write about sports, you’re guaranteed that before you start writing, there are a lot of people already looking for good sports content.
The bigger an audience there is for a topic, the bigger the potential audience there is for a blog. If you want to start a popular blog, the best place to start is with a large audience.
Tip #2: Pick something that you’re interested in
The last post in this series was about The Critical Intersection of Great Blog Post Writing and emphasized that you need to be interested in whatever you blog about. If you’re not interested in what you’re writing, then you won’t be able to keep writing.
Marketing professionals shouldn’t try to write about cooking, and cooks shouldn’t write about marketing. If they do, they’ll be bored after the first month. It’s as simple as that.
But you also don’t want to make the mistake of just writing about your “passion.” You might be really passionate about pygmy hedgehogs, but that won’t make for in-demand blog content. The audience for blogs about pygmy hedgehogs is very, very small.
Yet you definitely need to be interested in what you’re writing about. It needs to be something that you think about while walking around town or while brushing your teeth. That’s how you come up with new blog post ideas—by thinking about the topic all the time.
So what is something that interests you and that other people want to read? Finding a topic like this is step number two in choosing the best blog topic for you.
Tip #3: Focus your blog on one subject
It’s really important to keep a blog focused on one subject. The more you wander around from topic to topic, the less likely you are to have consistent readers.
A common mistake people make is to write about anything that pops into their head. Today it’s cooking, tomorrow it’s fashion, and the next day it’s technology.
It’s great to have that many interests, but it’s not good if you’re looking to have consistent readers. And it’s really not good if you’re looking to get e-mail subscribers. People subscribe to blogs that they know will give them consistent content.
Think about it this way: is a marketing person more likely to subscribe to a blog that’s 100% about marketing or a blog with some posts about marketing some posts about sports and some posts about pets.
The answer is pretty obvious.
If you’re looking to build up a consistent readership and especially if you’re looking to build up subscribers (which you should be), then blogging about a consistent topic is the way to go. People subscribe to blogs they know are going to give consistent information about something they’re interested in.
So instead of writing about whatever pops into your head, it’s best to use tips one and two to come up a consistent topic to write about.
Tip #4: Pick a topic that you want to learn about
There are two great ways to learn something: one is to teach and the other is to write. In blogging, you do both.
One of the biggest side benefits of blogging is that you learn a lot about whatever you write about. If you write about marketing, you first have to learn about marketing before you can write about it and teach it to someone else. Whether you write about technology or being a mom, it’s the same.
Not only will you be writing and teaching a topic, but due to the fact that you’re blogging something, you’ll pay attention to it even more. You’ll think about it when reading the newspaper and when taking out the trash. You’ll think about it while surfing the internet and reading blogs.
In blogging, you write about a topic, you teach the topic, and you think about it all the time. So instead of just picking something that other people want to read, you can also pick something that you want to learn more about.
In the end, Even if you don’t become a professional blogger, you’ll still know a lot more about whatever you decide to write about.
Tip #5: Pick an audience that you can sell something to
If you think eventually you might want to make some money from your blog, it’s a good idea to consider an audience that you’ll be able to sell something to. This is because the best way to make money from a blog is to sell something to your audience.
Brian Clark of Copyblogger Media puts it this way:
“It’s easier to make money selling something to a smaller audience than it is to make money selling access to a larger audience.”
This is means that if you’re trying to make all of your money off of Google ads, you’ll need thousands of people to read your blog daily. Not that it can’t be done, it’s just not easy to get that kind of traffic.
It’s easier to build a reader base, and then sell something to that base. You can sell an ebook, a service, or consulting. You can sell whatever you want. The point to keep in mind is that if you ever want to make money off of your blog, it’s easier to make money selling a product or a service than it is to just sell advertising.
Determine what type of website will work best for you
So, what type of website are we looking to start? Are you planning a website for your business, or is it just a hobby site? Even better, are you an independent agency, a small or medium-scale enterprise or just a freelancer? Oh wait, how about blogs? Portfolio websites? Photography showcases? Maybe just a simple website for your restaurant or coffee shop? Or maybe an outright eCommerce website for your next online mega store that might just replace Amazon one day?
The first step towards building your website is to decide the type of website that you require. This process, however, can be extraordinarily confusing for a beginner. At the easiest level, defining the type of your website is not that straightforward a task – after all, even if yours is a business website for your company, it may as well have a blog incorporated within itself, so you cannot disregard the blogging aspect. Similarly, if you are a graphic artist or a photographer, you will probably opt for a portfolio or showcase website, but you may as well incorporate eCommerce features in order to sell signed prints of your works. Thus, how does one decide which road to take? The answer is rather simple: you need to be fully aware of your needs and requirements, and then shortlist the type of website that you need. To make it easier for you, I shall enlist some of the major types of websites that you can create. Be warned though, this list is not exhaustive, but I am sure it will suffice for all beginner to intermediate needs.
〰 Blog: A blogging website is just that: a simple blog where you can publish your thoughts, articles, artwork and anything else that you may feel like sharing. Of course, blogs have their own separate sub-genres: photo blogs, video blogs, tumblogs, and so on. If you are starting a blog, there is not much to decide: just bear in mind the content that you will be sharing, and plan accordingly (say, for photo blogs, you will need a photography layout, and so on).
〰 Portfolio: A portfolio website is meant for artists, photographers and other creative persons. As a creative artist, you can showcase your work on your portfolio site, and use it not just to gain exposure but also to attract potential clients.
〰 Business: Or a corporate website, is one that caters to the needs of a business. It could be any kind of business, if you are running a coffee shop in your neighborhood, you should still have a website with details such as your menu, location, opening and closing hours as well as other stuff.
〰 Non-profit: This section includes a number of websites: charities, churches and others. Naturally, these are websites for organizations that are trying to achieve its goals rather than make profit or dividends.
〰 eCommerce: An eCommerce website is basically an online store wherein users can browse and purchase items and products. Naturally, this is one of the trickiest and most complicated genres of websites — not only do you need a stable web hosting provider and specialized software, you will also require security licenses and other related addons in order to legitimately sell your products online.
〰 Miscellaneous: Lastly, we are left with a small section of websites that do not fit elsewhere: say, a visiting card site, or a one-page website that just provides basic details, forums, wikis and so on.
A good metric is to list down your requirements, and see the genre in which your website falls. Thereafter, you just need to shortlist details such as the software required, the hosting plan that is adequate, the domain registrar that you should opt for, and so on.