Hey. Hoz here with a new post on the ever popular subject of How to start a blog.
If you’re thinking of starting a blog but don’t know how to and you’re looking for tips and tricks and actionable steps that you can follow, then this free 101 advice guide will come in handy yo! Consider it your virtual class with checklist!
I’m going to start by covering the basics and answering some of the most common questions before starting a blog in order to remove the fear and procrastination that some would-be bloggers experience at the beginning.
I’ll even throw in a couple of videos to help you visualise the information that much better :) So let’s get started!
Here's what we're going to be covering...
- 0.1 Becoming a Blogger
- 0.2 How Can I Start Blogging and Make Money Quickly?
- 0.3 Other Questions About Blogging
- 0.4 Should I Start a Blog or is it Hard? Are There Risks and Legal Issues I Need to be Aware of?
- 1 The 3 Keys to Get Started Blogging
- 1.1 How to Start a Blog Video Tutorial
- 1.2 Step 1: Setting up Your Blog
- 1.3 How to Set up a Free Blog Video Tutorial
- 1.4 Step 2: Start Publishing Content
- 1.5 Step 3: Start Promoting Your Content
- 1.6 Here’s how to Quickly Check if a Username is Available on All Social Networks
- 1.7 What to do if Your Blogging Efforts are Not Paying Off
- 1.8 The 5 Steps to Building a Blog
- 1.9 How to Start a Blog in 5 Steps Infographic
- 1.10 Resources
Becoming a BloggerThe purpose of starting a blog ultimately is to be successful with it. The trick is deciding what that success looks like for you.Click To Tweet
Below are some example of reasons for becoming a blogger:
- to make money
- to start blogging again (for example, after a failed previous attempt)
- to get paid (e.g. earn money from sponsors for displaying ads)
- to start getting followers and grow your online presence
- to promote your company or business
whether you want to make money or grow an audience,
This is not a judgemental process: if you want to start a blog to make money, then that’s as good a reason as any. it just helps to have a defined purpose, because that enables you to have direction and work toward a specific outcome.
So whilst we’re on this subject, let’s tackle the question head-on, shall we?
How Can I Start Blogging and Make Money Quickly?
Starting a lucrative blog is one of the most wished-for benefits you can enjoy, especially when that means it makes money to pay the bills.
Here are the main points to having a killer blog:
- choose a niche that has money to spend and is willing to spend it (e.g. golf)
- choose the right platform (more on this coming up)
- publish great content that generates traffic and engages your audience
- monetize your blog with relevant offers
That’s what it takes to build and grow a blog that pays. How easy or how hard you find this will depend on:
- your topic
- your market
- your competition (i.e. your ability to gain exposure in your market)
- your ability to publish relevant and quality content that engages your audience
- your ability to promote your content well
Another alternative, of course, is not to start a new blog and instead, buy a successful blog that already generates a monthly income. You can try your luck on Flippa.
If you’re a tad more realistic and blessed with a little more patience, then just focus on building your blog the right way and have a plan for monetizing your audience when you hit that point.
Other Questions About Blogging
I hear and see a wide range of questions all the time about blogging, and it’s evident that some beginners have a hard time conceptualising what a blog actually is (somebody asked if they could have a blog on their iPad…)
Let me sum up those questions in one:
Should I Start a Blog or is it Hard? Are There Risks and Legal Issues I Need to be Aware of?
There’s procrastination and fear and confusion all wrapped into that question.
The ‘is it hard’ part of the question sounds like somebody whining before the work has begun. Seriously, those who start asking this should pack up their bags and go find something nice and easy to do.
If on the other hand, you’re willing to put in the work – whatever it takes – to build a quality blog you can be proud of, then let’s tackle the second part of the question:
Is there a risk? Well, it’s not going to explode, so that’s one thing. A risk could be carpal tunnel, I suppose, and eye strain. The bus with the people who left in search of easy things hasn’t left yet if you’re worried about this…
If you’re talking about incarceration then my first question would be: what on Earth are you planning to blog about dude! (Or dudette). But yeah, I get it.
Some parts of the world are piss pot crazy, and if you’re in one of them, then I honestly can’t tell you what the risks for you are. As they say in the back-covering community: seek legal advice.
I live in the UK and so far I think we’re good to blog.
Another question I hear is whether starting a blog under a pseudonym is OK. Well, I’m not the blog police, so call yourself what you like, as far as I’m concerned.
We could go on all day answering questions that seem to be more like excuses not to get started (I’m literally looking at a list of questions here, but I don’t think these are going to help you!) So let’s get moving yo!
Let’s get to the heart of the matter:
The 3 Keys to Get Started Blogging
The 3 keys are:
- set up your blog
- start publishing content
- start promoting your content
Those are the key things to getting started. I left Monetization out on purpose because that’s not something you normally implement in the beginning.
I’ve also left out mindset stuff, because frankly, I could have come up with 21 keys to getting your blog started. But when you strip away all the noise, those 3 things are the nuts and bolts of it all.
Now, before we dive into these 3 points, take a few moments to watch the overview in the video below:
How to Start a Blog Video Tutorial
I hope you enjoyed that video :) Remember to hit the subscribe button in YouTube so you can catch every single episode of Ask Hoz I release (they’re fun and you may just learn one piece of info that can make life easier!).
So let’s start looking at these 3 steps:
Step 1: Setting up Your Blog
You have 2 choices my friend, when it comes to setting up your new blog:
- the free way
- the self-hosted way
This is where we talk about blogging platforms and hosting. Let’s just agree that WordPress is the platform of choice (trust me on this).
If you’re a beginner just starting out and you want to go the free way, then let me tell you that you can set up a free blog in 4 or 5 minutes (isn’t that amazing?) or 20 minutes if you want to be super slow about it. However long you take, this is a zero cost solution.
Let me show you exactly how with this over my shoulder tutorial:
How to Set up a Free Blog Video Tutorial
When it comes to the self-hosted solution, here’s what you need:
- A domain name – you can get one here
- WordPress (the best platform for many reasons)
- a good host (the usual questions I see revolve around hosting with Godaddy or Bluehost, but here’s my recommended hosting and here’s who I host this blog with guru.
- You’ll also want to optimise WordPress to make sure you have a spiffingly fast site
That’s all there is to this part!
Step 2: Start Publishing Content
How often, I hear you say. Are 30 minutes a day enough? 1 hour a day?
What are you, a part-timer?
If you want a successful blog, a blog that can earn you money and pays the bills, then be prepared to publish once a day. If you can handle more, then do more.
It’s not about time – it’s about content. Do you think it took me only 30 minutes to write this? (I wish!)
That said, don’t beat yourself up if you miss the odd day. Just get back on the proverbial horse and keep going.
Let me add something here: there isn’t really a magic number when it comes to posting frequency. You can post 3 times a week if that makes you happy, or even once a week. But if you want success fast, then you have to consider the math:
- 3 posts per week x 1 year = 121 posts
- 1 post per day x 1 year = 365 posts
- the more targetted posts you have ranking, the more traffic you have
So back to the first question: what does success look like to you? Is a blog with lots of traffic success? If it is, then accept that the less you post, the longer it will probably take you to generate the level of traffic that you want.
That is unless you are a master of keyword research and ranking. That’s why I said probably.
If you know how to research topics and find the right keywords, and are fortunate enough to be targeting searches that do not have lots of competition so that you’re able to rank fast, you could conceivably generate lots of traffic in a short period of time, with a bit of content.
But I’m trying to cater to the masses here. If you’re starting out, and SEO is not your game (yet) then the general rule is going to be the more posts you have the more potential traffic you’re going to generate, so the more you post, the faster you achieve that.
Now, about the content itself: try to publish good, solid, quality content. I’m sure you noticed that I used 2 related synonyms there, so I really only said 1 thing: quality. The point I was trying to make is that your content has to feel like good content, or solid, or quality, to you, and then hopefully to your readers.
Just remember that quality is subjective.
But don’t let this stuff overwhelm you. That’s what this guide is for – to cut through the noise.
If you’re somebody who woke up this morning and said I want to start blogging today and I’m starting a blog from scratch, so I need a step by step guide then you should have enough fire in your belly to withstand a few words about hard work.
Just remember the formula: start, publish, promote.Forget about perfection - you don't plan that, that comes with time and practice.Click To Tweet
Pleasing everybody is impossible, so your best bet is to find the people you can help most. I imagine I pissed a few people off back at the start when I said pretty plainly that if you want to make money blogging quickly you better buy a successful blog or be prepared to work very quickly.
The irony is that that sentence was excellent advice. But it doesn’t sound like a magic button and it doesn’t sound easy. But if you made it this far, then that’s all that matters.
So, to recap: all you can do is do your best and do it consistently – daily if you can – and aim to help your intended audience.
Step 3: Start Promoting Your Content
This is the last piece of the puzzle in terms of getting started along your blogging career.Promotion is key. If your content isn't finding eyeballs, then your blog isn't getting traffic, and that is the lifeline of a blog.Click To Tweet
Now, here’s an interesting point: back in the early days before social media was even a ‘thing’, you would craft content around a topic or keyword and get exposure as a result of that content ranking. In other words, unless you had some SEO sense about you, you were potentially screwed right from the onset.Today, you can publish a piece of content and be clueless about SEO, then promote that content to thousands of people on social media and get a decent amount of traffic to your blog! That's amazing.Click To Tweet
Having been there, ranking pages back when Google wasn’t even around, I’m blown away by the opportunity that this presents. My mum could get traffic to a blog if she wanted to, just by tweeting about her content!
You should embrace this opportunity and leverage the shit out of it my friend.
If you haven’t yet, set up the following:
- google +
And start promoting your content. Find ways to promote yourself without pissing people off. Be cool. Share stuff. Give value. Then promote. But promote value.
Then rinse and repeat. Over and over.
Here’s how to Quickly Check if a Username is Available on All Social Networks
What to do if Your Blogging Efforts are Not Paying Off
Define paying off. What did you want your blogging efforts to yield? Get a clear picture of that anwer in your mind. What did you actually want to happen.
Then comes the hard questions:
- did you work on it as hard as you possibly could?
- did you give it your all?
- did you publish quality content daily, or frequently enough?
- did you stay up late promoting your content instead of watching tv?
- did you spend time every evening looking for new creative ways to promote your content?
- did you invest in your education and spend time observing and studying successful bloggers in your niche?
I’ve yet to meet somebody who could tick all the boxes and say they truly tried. However, that’s not to say that you can’t throw the towel in if you decide that the topic was not right. It may delight you to know that I have a long string of failed blogs behind me (hah).
And no, I can’t answer yes to almost any of the questions above. I certainly could have worked harder on each and every blog.
I gave up on those earlier blogs, but I didn’t give up on myself. I came back. I’m here now. Blogging. And kicking you up the arse to get blogging too.
I’m telling you that it’s Ok to fail, but don’t be the idiot that blames other factors for that failure. I accepted my failures and then got up and tried, and each time I tried harder.
In hindsight, all the previous blogs I started could have worked. I was simply at stage 1, and I was not putting in the work required.Let me end this by giving you one piece of advise that I think makes a huge difference: choose a topic you enjoy, because that will make your work enjoyable.Click To Tweet
This post took a long time to type. But I enjoyed the process. I’m also excited at the prospect that you may land on this page and read it, laugh, make some mental notes and feel like you now have the tools to start blogging.
Go for it, my friend. I’m with you.
The 5 Steps to Building a Blog
|Step 1||Choose your niche|
|Step 2||Get good hosting|
|Step 3||Get a great theme|
|Step 4||Publish great content|
|Step 5||Promote your content|
How to Start a Blog in 5 Steps Infographic
How to use this infographic on your own site or blog:
- visit Slideshare by clicking here
- in Slideshare, click on the Share button at the bottom of the infographic to get the embed code, like this:
Here’s all the things you’ll need to get started, all in one place:
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