For aspiring bloggers who want to learn how to blog (especially those without a lot of technical know-how) the process of setting up a blog on your own domain (.com, .net, or .org) can seem daunting. It’s much easier to find a free blogging website, create your account and start writing. However, what most don’t realize is that setting up your own blog is actually very easy and can be completed in a few short hours time, following a few basic steps.
Step 1: Choose Your Subject
The first (and perhaps most important part) of getting started as a blogger is deciding which subjects you want to cover on your blog. This might seem straight-forward, because most people that want to get started with blogging already have a subject in mind, but you should really put some thought into your subject matter in order to give yourself the best chance of attracting an audience.
Most new bloggers start their blog with a very broad subject matter in mind, which often turns out to be a mistake. By choosing broad subjects, you aren’t defining a niche audience for your blog and are making your blog a direct competitor of some of the largest websites that cover your particular industry. Instead, try to focus on a very specific aspect of your subject. Remember – you can always go a bit broader, but it is harder to become more focused as time goes on.
In example, if you wanted to start a baseball blog, you would have an easier time finding an audience if your blog focused on a specific team, rather than trying to cover the league as a whole. There are already huge national publications that cover the whole league, but likely only a few blogs that cover your favorite team. This makes it a lot easier to get your foot in the door, and these same concepts apply to business blogs as well as hobbyist or personal blogs.
Step 2: Set Up Your Blog
Once you’ve nailed down what you will be writing about, you then have to set up your blog and buy your domain. These are the technical aspects where most aspiring bloggers get hung up when learning how to blog – but don’t worry, setting up your own blog is actually quite easy. Just follow these basic steps:
- Choose a domain and find a web host. In order for your blog to be accessible by others, you will have to buy your own domain name (usually around $10) and order web hosting (less than $5 per month). Here is a quick guide from our site that explains the basic concepts of registering a domain and choosing a web host.
- Install WordPress. WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the world, and is our blogging platform of choice here at Blogger Elementary. WordPress publishes an in-depth installation guide that walks you through the process step by step. Many web hosts include a one-click installation option that will automatically install WordPress from your cPanel account to your web host, which can greatly speed things up.
Setting up the blog on your own web host might take some time, but in the end it is the right choice. While using one of the free blog hosting websites might seem tempting, there are just too many drawbacks for us to recommend it to aspiring bloggers who want to learn how to blog the right way.
Step 3: Plan Your Posts
Most would-be bloggers who want to cover a particular subject consider themselves experts. They can think of dozens or hundreds of posts that they would like to publish about a particular subject and don’t foresee any problems coming up with new things to write about – and they are probably right, for now. As you start to publish posts, you’ll quickly find that you are running out of ideas more quickly than you thought as certain subjects get introduced and covered in other posts and your ability to come up with new, fresh, engaging content starts to slip.
The best thing that you can do to ensure that you have a constant stream of things to write about is to maintain an editorial calendar. This is simply a calendar that lists posts and a rough outline of what you will talk about in each post. Some blogs plan their content out just a few weeks in advance, while others might ahead a full year. It really is up to you to find a solution that falls within your own creative processes.
Remember, just because you have an editorial calendar filled out doesn’t mean that you can’t write about new trends or subjects that give you random spurts of creativity. You can always move things around as you see fit. An editorial calendar is just a tool that helps to keep your blogging on track when you lack the creativity or will power to come up with your own interesting subjects. Fill in your editorial calendars over time as new subjects strike a cord with you and you will never run out of fresh content to share with your audience.
Step 4: Write Your Posts
Now comes the hard part. Once you have some posts loaded into your editorial calendar it’s time to start writing. Most aspiring bloggers come into their first blog with a love of writing but quickly find that it is actually more work than they anticipated. In order to run a successful blog (that could potentially earn money) you will need to buckle down and put a lot of time into crafting each and every post.
The editorial calendar from the previous step should serve as your guide. The more detailed your editorial calendar is, the easier it will be for you to actually put the content together. So when you go to fill out your content calendar – be as detailed as possible. Write down the specific topics that each post will cover and if you feel like it, include a simple outline of each post. That way when you sit down to write you have some direction and don’t have to come up with subjects and sections off the top of your head.
As you write, remember that growing a successful blog is a long-term undertaking. There is no such thing as overnight success in the world of blogging. Each post is a piece of a building blog that leads to bigger and better things down the road, but no single post is responsible for success.
Step 5: Promote
There are thousands of excellent blogs around the internet that have very little audience reading what they write, and most of the time it is because the blogger doesn’t know how, or doesn’t want to promote their blog. The truth is that if you want people to become regular readers of your blog, they have to discover it first. In order to discover it, you have to make an effort to get it in front of your target audience.
Start by putting together a list of the online hangouts of your target audience. These might include other websites, social media platforms, Facebook groups, chat rooms, or forums. Then, find ways to share the content that you create on those platforms. Blog post promotion isn’t going anywhere and will be something that you have to do for the entirety of your blogging career, even when you have a consistent readership.
Getting started with blogging is easy. You can learn how to blog by reading posts like this one in a few short hours. It’s growing your readership and becoming a blogging success that is hard. By following these basic steps, you can give yourself a leg up on the competition and get started with blogging sooner rather than later.