How To Start Blogging
So you’re ready to dig in and want to learn how to start blogging. Great! You’ll discover that being a blogger is both fun and rewarding, regardless of your goals. Whether you’re looking to make money blogging or simply looking for the steps to start a blog for personal use, I hope you find this guide helpful.
There are many steps involved and quite a lot to know and learn if you’re just getting started with your first blog. Because of that, and in order to provide as much help as possible, I’m going to make this page an overview of the things you need to know, and each of the individual sections will be covered in more detail on their own pages which you can access from the drop down menu above.
If you’re completely new and find the task of getting set up daunting, and you want someone to completely set up your first blog on your host, with all the necessary plugins and SEO settings, and some design work, send me a note via the contact button on the right. On occasion I’ll help readers set up their blog, from start to finish, so that you’re ready to simply start typing your posts. If I have the time to accept it I charge $100 for a complete custom setup, much less than you’ll find elsewhere from a reputable source. Anyone else with questions feel free to also drop me a note. The cost of starting a blog shouldn’t be overwhelming for anyone.
Before you start blogging for money (or any reason) you’ve most likely given some thought to what you want to write about, and who your audience will be. That’s important because it will have an impact on some of the stages later (what type of theme you use and how you set it up, for example) and, well, you need to know what you’re aiming at before you shoot.
Decide if you want to be a social blogger (someone who writes for and interacts heavily with their readers with making money a secondary concern), a Money Blogger (focused on making money from a blog), or something in between or different entirely. The keywords you will use to focus your blog depend on your aim. Different bloggers will approach the same topic or subject differently. Social bloggers are after readers, while Money Bloggers are after buyers. Social bloggers seek primarily to engage and captivate, while money bloggers, of course, are driven by profits. Some people nitpick this detail to death and that’s fine, let them. For example, a social blogger might write about why full-figured women struggle with bikinis, while a Money Blogger might choose keywords like the best bikini for full-figured women. That’s just an example, maybe not even a great one, but I hope you get the point. This is just a generality but one you have to think about.
How To Start Blogging
Choose Your Platform
Since you are reading this page on how to start blogging its fair to assume you want a blogging platform. You have two basic choices that I would suggest you consider. The first is to have a WordPress blog hosted for free at WordPress, which is great if you’re looking to start blogging for free. The upside is that its easy to set up, the downside is that they control your blog and limit the types of ads you can use.
The other way, and by far the most popular, is to buy your own domain (yourbusiness.com) and get a hosting service (Host Gator) to run your own WordPress blog. The upside is that you own and control your blog and your brand, period. The downside is that its more work to set up, optimize and manage your own blog. There are other, less popular choices such as Blogger.com, which is another site where you have a free blog on their servers. But like the other free options you have little control over “your” blog and frankly its just not worth it when you can set up your own blog for next to nothing. If you’re here to learn how to start blogging business then I’ll assume you understand that you need to own and host your own blog.
Your Domain – Your Brand
Your domain will be your brand, your internet identity, so its important to choose it wisely. You will read some articles that suggest using keywords in your domain if possible, and I agree with that to an extent. Take this blog’s name, Money Blogger, for example. It tells you what the blog is about, but isn’t really a targeted keyword. No person anywhere is going to type money blogger into the search bar. However, if you’re searching for “How To Start Blogging” and in the Google search results you see an article from Money Blogger, well, then you might think it’s more specific and aligned to what you’re looking for than if the domain was stevenshr.com. What I recommend you avoid is the old spammer strategy of stuffing keywords into the domain name. For example, besthairconditionerforwomen.com is out of the question, while hairconditioners.com might work for you.
I’ll also mention something here and now to set the old school SEO people straight. The days of info and other TLD’s (top-level domains) being second-rate are over. I specifically bought this info domain because of that, to make a point and prove I could rank an info site and draw traffic and loyal readers. In the past it was believed (and rightly so to an extent) that info, biz and other domains were the grounds of spammers because those types of people (in the early days) would buy “sounds like” domains in the hopes of fooling unsuspecting readers.
An example might be something like micrasoft.biz, where someone searching for an article comes upon one from this entity and upon a casual glance assume its affiliated with Microsoft. There are probably better examples, but the point I’m making is that things have changed. The .info TLD was designed originally to designate sites which had the objective of sharing, you guessed it, information. And I believe there’s a trend towards that goal, and people seeking information like “How To Start Blogging” might actually find the .info domain a helpful indicator, as intended.
First, Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines have done a wonderful job (relatively) of filtering and blocking spam sites. Also, today’s searchers aren’t as concerned about the domain as they used to be because they’re used to seeing all of them, and studies show that the domain type is virtually non-significant to consumers in evaluating whether or not to trust a website. In a report by the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University they had some interesting findings, but important for this discussion is the list of most important attributes that consumers perceived for websites in the study. The top 5, not surprisingly to me, didn’t include any mention of the domain type. Out of 2,440 comment reviews from the study participants, these are the percentage of times attributes were mentioned as significant. Here are the top 5 most important website attributes consumers chose in the study:
- Design Look 46.1 %
- Information Design/Structure 28.5%
- Information Focus 25.1 %
- Company Motive 15.5%
- Information Usefulness 14.8 %
I can’t tell you how many people have written about their horror stories with free hosting services, yet people still insist on going the cheap route. Everyone, and I mean literally almost everyone can afford $3.96 a month to host ALL of their blogs and websites with a world-class web host. Most CHEAP web hosts cost more than that, and Host Gator leads the field in services and reliability on top of the lowest prices! If yours is a “for fun” blog then fine, go for it. If you’re trying to run a business, to make money from a blog, then you simply have to have a reliable, credible and professional web host that understands your needs and works for you. Some people would argue that because we’re affiliated with Host Gator we’re biased towards them, but the problem with argument is that we can be affiliated with any web hosts we want to (or several of them) but we chose to affiliate ourselves with Host Gator after having personally paid for and used many of the top providers. We pay for our Host Gator service like everyone else. Host Gator simply delivers everything that Money Bloggers need, like unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage space, unlimited blogs (Money Bloggers have many blogs running in different niches so having to pay for each one gets VERY expensive), one button, super quick installations, and more.
You can choose any host, there are in fact several good, top-tier hosts to choose from that will serve you well. Just be sure to choose a good one. One of my own horror stories is a blog I had built at a free host (it was one of my first blogs which I had just left there over the years). Over time the blog began ranking in the search engines and drawing traffic, but the host was constantly having down time and giving generally very slow load times, so despite everything I did right, the free host was killing my work and efforts; the blog was dropping in the rankings. I was forced to move that blog to our service here at Host Gator and while it’s not an extremely difficult process, things can and do go wrong. But that doesn’t compare to the damage the free host did to that brand. At $3 something per month for unlimited blogs, there is simply no reason not to love Host Gator. Since you’re here to learn how to start blogging I presume you’re just starting out, which means you do have a choice, so make a wise one now and avoid the hassle later.
This is where the struggle often begins, and where the fight is perhaps won or lost. Do you really offer the readers something? Lots of bloggers set up dumpy sites just for the sake of getting them ranked in the search engines and in hopes that visitors will click their Adsense banners or buy something, without really offering any value in return. Listen up, it doesn’t, hasn’t and will never work long-term. Either the visitors or search engines will catch on to you and its over. That domain will lose all credibility and your work was for nothing.
Money Bloggers know that the magic is in the numbers… more blogs equals more money. Sure. But that doesn’t mean you have to try to cheat your visitors or trick search engines. If you’re already a member of Andrew’s Forever Affiliates program (you are, right) then you know that quality content matters. Spend the time up front crafting words and information that matter and you’ll set yourself up for long-term success, not an overnight payout. Well written and optimized blogs, with some minor attention now and then, can pay dividends via residual income for a long, long time. If one thing sticks with on your quest to learn how to start blogging, let it be that quality matters… to everyone.
Good content alone doesn’t do it. Some of the greatest books ever written, were never read. Optimizing your content for the readers you’re targeting is called Search Engine Optimization (or SEO). e.g. if you’re targeting buyers of a new bread machine then you want to be certain that search engines rank you for those words/buyers, which you do by optimizing your post or page. There’s certainly much more to it, but you get the point. Spammers have given SEO a bad name because some people associate it with get rich quick scams and internet rip offs. But the truth is that the largest organizations in the world use the same principles of SEO that you and I do. Magazines and newspapers are increasingly turning to SEO in this day and age where there’s so much competing information online.
What does it mean to you and I? If your article is about the newest bikini for full-figured women then tell the search engines so. Use that exact phrase or a close derivative in your titles and headings, use that phrase in your article body, use similar words (a thesaurus is your friend), and link to source pages with a similar theme. All of this also builds value for the reader, because presumably you’re linking to more information that may help them; say a sizing chart or user review, for example.
As you’ll see on our Blogging Tools page, there is one tool that can make all of this as easy as can be… SEOpressor. This mighty plugin sits in your WordPress browser and literally works like a mini SEO coach on your desk. If you want to rank articles and blogs, and lots of them, you simply, absolutely need this brilliant tool. Our page on Blogging Tools reached the top several pages of search results within a week (WEEK) of being published because the page was optimized.
How To Start Blogging
The Right Way… Keep Learning – Keep Working
This is a whirlwind industry and things change all the time. I can’t tell you how many blogs and bloggers had their worlds turned upside down with each new Google search engine update (which can affect where and how your pages rank). And the road to stardom as a Money Blogger is a long and winding one, but with every new post and every new blog you’ll get better and better, learning along the way. If you fully understand that it’s a marathon and not a sprint then you’ll be more apt to stick with it even when you don’t feel like it. In the meantime, subscribe to our blog and interact by sharing comments. That’s how we all learn (yes, I can learn from you, too).
Each one of these sections will be looked at much more closely on their own pages (under the same menu button titled “How To Start Blogging“), so be sure to check them out. And let me know, have you found this site helpful so far?