Let me guess; you have at least once been discouraged against starting a blog because the thought of starting a blog is ‘hard’ and ‘stressful.’ What if I told you this isn’t true and that starting a blog is just as easy as making pies? Follow this article to find out how to start a blog—the twelve steps to get you fully started.
These tried and proven steps on how to start a blog, whether it’s your first or your 5th, will help you with everything you need, from deciding on a niche and creating a website to installing a good theme and creating a logo to finally launching your blog. This checklist guide is for everyone who wants to understand the first steps of starting a new blog in 2022.
1. Decide on What Niche/Topic you Want to Write About
The first step in starting a blog is figuring out what niche or topic you want to write about. Niches don’t only exist in real life. They exist on the web too. Just the way you have your preferences in literature, people have theirs. They want to read a particular class of stuff (I didn’t use ‘kind’ for a reason).
For example, while some people are very interested in reading stuff about art and culture, others are inclined to read stuff about entertainment and celebrity lifestyles. Still, others would rather come online to read stuff about health and/or relationships.
The list goes on and on and includes both fiction and nonfiction.
What do you want to write about? Scratch that—what can you write about the most? Do people around you greatly demand this topic? Is this topic something you’re passionate about? Then you might likely be able to carve out a niche from there.
It is important that bloggers, especially writers, write about what they resonate with the most.
Ubong Johnson, an award-winning Nigerian storyteller, told us: “It is best if writers just write about what deeply resonates with them; it is easier to feel such writing, to love it for what it is.”
2. Choose a Good Blog Name
Surely, your blog needs a name (which should be the same as your blog web address). There are no rules, seeing that no one can decide the name of your blog for you, but you really should take three things into consideration when you want to give a name to your blog.
The first: is that your blog name must be something your target audience or niche appreciates. This is why we began by first suggesting that you find a way to carve a niche for yourself.
Knowledge of your niche will not only guide the kind of content that appears on your blog, but it will also guide more concrete aspects like the name of your blog and your blog’s tagline.
The second: the name has to be unique. I’ll tell you what; every blog you have ever come across on the internet has one goal, and that goal is to stand out. Not one blog in the world wants to be just a blog (Maybe there is—I would really love to meet whoever runs it). This means competition! And in competition, your ability to stand out goes quite a long way.
The third: your name has to stick. This means your name should be able to stay in a reader’s memory for a long time after he has left your blog. Over the years, there have been times when I didn’t bother searching for a blog again long after I left there. The name just stuck with me, and so did the URL.
Your blog name will stick to readers if it is short and if it has got a strong byline that supports it.
3. Sign Up for a Web Hosting Service
Every website in the world is hosted by a web server. When you type a URL into a browser: www.allisonconsult.com, for example, you have just typed what is known as a domain name. That is the name of a website that is recognized by web browsers.
This domain name is tied to a web hosting provider, which helps it run.
The web hosting provider of a website is usually responsible for stuff such as security and speed. So, it is important that you choose a secure host and one which is fast as well.
I would recommend Siteground web hosting company because they have outstanding customer support, dedicated and fast hosting plans, and they take website performance very seriously.
A couple of other reliable web host services that have been around for a while include WordPress, GoDaddy, Hostinger, iFAST, and BlueHost.
Both domains and web host servers are not free. And though it is possible to buy a domain name from a platform that is not your host, I advise you buy from your host. Hosts usually provide customer care services, so when the need arises, you will have to lay complaints to one.
4. Install New WordPress
For users who are hosted by WordPress and other hosts affiliated in some way with WordPress, there is usually no need to do this. WordPress has already been pre-installed.
But users who are hosted elsewhere sure have to install WordPress. WordPress is usually installed as a script. This is the script that web browsers read and process your site. When installing WordPress, be sure that you only install the newest updates of the software.
New WordPress, as you can already tell, has features that are not available on older versions. Plug-ins, for example. Some plugins, like Easy Google Fonts, a plugin needed for changing the fonts of your website, do not run on older versions of WordPress.
New WordPress is relatively faster and more responsive than older versions also.
5. Get a Good Theme
WordPress is one of the best interfaces out there, as it lets you choose from an array of templates (themes) what you want your website to look like.
Don’t be in a hurry. Carefully select which theme will be most appreciated by your readers.
Remember that we spoke about niches earlier in this article. Your niche is going to guide you in your choice of a theme. If your website is going to be one that explores art and culture, then it is important that you choose a colorful theme. When artists come to visit your site, there will most likely be some appreciation. “Ah! This blog looks good.”
If your blog is going to be one that draws more on the attention of people who want to read literature, like fiction and poetry, then I suggest you stick with a theme that is somewhat plain. Too much color isn’t usually appreciated by readers—this is why screens are usually just white on read-only sites.
Also, as you start your blog, choose a theme that does not antagonize your logo. I will explore logos and the need for them in more detail later. But know this: your theme should give your logo the support it needs.
For example, if your theme includes the color red, then your logo should contain either the color red or another color that goes pretty well with red. This gives a blend of colors that is appealing.
6. Add Important Plugins
When talking about WordPress, it is almost impossible to leave plugins out. Plugins make working your way around WordPress ten times easier.
How do they work? Well, they work by making changes to your website’s script in one click (sometimes five, though, haha), which would have required lots and lots of tweaking of codes—something newbies stay away from.
For example, a plugin like Easy Google Fonts can change the entire font of your website in a few clicks—something which can usually take hours of writing and editing codes if you are editing the CSS directly.
There are a large number of plugins on WordPress, each one providing a specific function. Choose a plugin that makes your website run smoothly while offering some kind of service.
Install some essential plugins. These plugins come with features that will make your setup easier. One such plugin is the All in One SEO or Yoast SEO Plugin. With either of these plugins, you can optimize your blog search engine optimization, also known as SEO, to help increase your site rankings (help people find your blog posts) in the search engines. SEO is an important skill you need to learn when learning how to start a blog. Learn more about SEO here.
Depending on your hosting, there are WordPress plugins you may need to install, and they are:
Akismet – It protects your blog from spammers
WP Super Cache – This helps speed up your blog
Jetpack – This has many features you can take advantage of, like SEO, allowing readers to share your blog posts, protecting your blog from malicious attacks, etc.
Some web hosting companies provide these features. Some of the features are inbuilt. All you have to do is toggle the settings.
To start a blog, these are the essential plugins you need to get you fully started. As time goes on, you may want to install more plugins, but try as much as possible not to install many and limit them as much as possible, as too many plugins may make your site lag behind. You sure do not want that.
It is important that I mention this: some plugins are so large that they may affect the responsiveness of your site, which is quite terrible for SEO. Avoid these plugins.
If just following the installation of a plugin, you notice that your site is starting to perform poorly, chances are, it is the plugin messing with your site.
Also, do not forget to update and keep your WordPress and all your plugins up to date.
7. Create a Professional Brand Logo
I spoke a bit about logos earlier. We live in a digital age, meaning much attention is paid to graphics and designs. So it is an important step as you start your blog if you want it to stand out.
While the name of your site is its identity in words, the identity of your site in ‘graphics’ is your site logo. It should give visitors an immediate and clear picture of what your blog is about.
Good logos, like good names, stick around for a while, such that when a visitor comes around the second time, they subconsciously grasp the logo.
Many logos have the blog initials or both the name of the blog and the blog’s byline inscribed in them. This is not bad practice—in fact, I will describe it as good practice.
Your logo should not antagonize your theme. This means it should not have antagonizing colors. Color schemes are a vital part of website design.
You can create free logos on Canva. All you need is to create an account, choose from the free logos there or design a new one. Edit it or change the colors however you want. They also offer premium accounts. You can do much more with a premium account with your logo design.
8. Create Social Media Pages
I usually advise bloggers who are just starting out to first build a social media following before going on to create a blog. Here is why:
—When you create a social media page and are able to grow it, that is you; doing the first thing we spoke of—it is you identifying a niche and interacting with it. Blogging, in a few words, is simply interacting with a niche.
—When you create a blog just after successfully growing a couple of social media pages, most of the work will be ‘transferring’ and not exactly building. You just have to post your blog article links, so your already active followers find their way to your site.
If you already have a social media page, keep managing it. Publish your blog here. If you don’t, then it is time to create one and meticulously manage it.
9. Start Building an Email List
One of the best ways to start a blog is by building an email list. Building an email list is easy. Just offer to send your visitors a couple of ‘free’ newsletters at a scheduled time every month. Interested visitors will input their email addresses, and voila! They become part of an email list.
An email list is so important because it helps the blogger keep a direct interaction with his or her readers. If you go on to do business with your blog, an email list can help boost your conversions.
10. Start Blogging
When all things have been put in place, then it is time to do the deal! Start blogging.
Many bloggers who are just starting out have what I like to describe as the: “Will I fumble” anxiety. I am telling you this; you won’t fumble as long as you put your heart out there with every blog post you make.
Like I start earlier, start out with writing stuff you deeply resonate with. Make each writing heartfelt so that readers are glued to it from start to finish.
Writing for a blog is somewhat different from regular writing. When you write for a blog, it is important that you pay attention to paragraphing. Don’t make a paragraph too long.
Also, be creative with your blog titles. Make good use of headings and bullet points.
Connect the Google search console to your blog. It’s a tool you use to observe your site’s presence in Google Search results.
You also need some kind of uniformity now. You should not just put up posts. There has to be some kind of uniformity.
As you start out, it is important that you connect with other bloggers too. This will help you understand blogging more.
11. Research Keywords
Once you understand how to start a blog, look into what keywords you need to optimize your blogs for. Keywords are basically just words that point search engines towards sites. When users make searches on search engines, they input a number of words (keywords), which search engines scan for.
If these words have been included properly and in the right locations on your blog, then it’ll be easier for search engines to find you and put you up on search engine result pages.
What this means is that you will rank more. A site that ranks typically averages more conversions and gets more traffic.
To know the keywords being used in your niche, it is important that you do some research. Conducting keyword research usually involves making use of SEO software.
Once you understand how to start a blog, look into what keywords you need to optimize your blogs for.
12. Connect Google Analytics
When you start a blog, you need to understand how people interact with your blog. A bulk of blogging, asides from writing and making posts, is observing.
As a blogger, you have got to be observant. Google Analytics is a free tool by google that can help you observe how your site is performing. Make tweaks to areas of your site that are not doing as well as you want them to.
Also, connect the Google Search Console to your blog. It’s a tool you submit your website and then use to observe your site’s presence in Google Search results. Like Google Analytics, Google Search Console will also give you more insight into your blog.
Now that you know how to start a blog, it’s time to dive into writing and managing it. Blogging is not as hard as it looks on the surface. What’s needed of you, basically, is a bit of commitment to your blog. Pay attention; this is how you succeed as a blogger.
There’s never a specific right time to start a blog. It would be best to start a blog when you have the time and attention to commit to it. However, starting is no problem while you are still working another job.