I’ve been blogging since 2007 now, hardly a lifetime but pretty long in the world of blogging. It’s been a rocky ride and although much a hobby it’s also a large part of my full-time income and allows me to freely travel the world.
Why you should blog…
Put simply blogging is fun, it gives you something to do (a hobby) and isn’t expensive to get started with. You’ll connect with people who share a passion. Knowledge in your subject of choice will sky rocket and you’ll interact with new people maybe even eventually make real friends. I have many people I consider friends that I met through blogging.
Other opportunities can pop up too. Your passion may start earning money, you may improve your chances of finding a better job through networking and may even find yourself head hunted.
Blogging also gives you an outlet, somewhere to talk about and share things related to your passion.
What you should blog about…
You can start a random blog and if that is what you want why should anyone stop you? That is the beauty about blogging, it’s your place, you can start a fanzine for your favorite music, a blog about an obscure (or widespread) hobby, instructional or informational, professional, creative, whatever!
The fact that you are thinking about blogging means you may well have a subject in mind. When reading about starting a blog you will likely be one of two things. Either that you must follow your passion or that you should go after a profitable niche! I say don’t worry about that stuff, start a blog about whatever you want, something you have a passion for or a passing interest that you’ll just enjoy working with. This is your first blog and it doesn’t matter if you grow bored of it and drift off to start another blog.
The quickest way to start…
You can be blogging within 5 minutes. Simply visit blogspot.com and start a blog, easy peasy. You get a YourDomain.blogspot.com url and an easy way to choose themes and write content. If you are thinking of being serious with blogging though I believe owning your domain and using the blogging platform I use is the way forward and the blog and content will 100% be yours.
Links in this post may be affiliate links and i’ll earn a small commission from services you purchase but these are companies I recommend and have used personally. You have my word they are good.
Setup YOUR own blog, step-by-step
Name your site
You need a name for your site. You can go for something descriptive or something fun or a mixture of the two. Just have a think and jot down some ideas then I recommend you get your domain from NameCheap. I recommend Namecheap as they are affordable and very reliable in my experience. So…
- Brainstorm a name.
- Visit NameCheap, use their Domain search to find out if it’s available and if not find one available. I recommend you use a .com domain.
- Buy your domain.
Set up hosting
Next up you need web hosting. Hosting is the place your files go, your domain name points to this place. So it’s like the warehouse for the content of your blog. I recommend when starting that you set up with Hostgator and the hatchling plan at $7.16 monthly is a fine start. The longer you sign up for the cheaper montly price you get and it can go as low as $3.96 per month.
Also here is a little video I put together to basically explain what web hosting is…
Pointing your domain name to your hosting.
Once you have your hosting set up you will need to point your namecheap domain to your hosting. You would have been given 2 addressees when you set up your hosting called nameservers. These will be in your welcome email.
- Log into Namecheap.
- On the top right click My Account
- Under domains select your domain name
- Now on the left hand side click Transfer DNS to Webhost
- You’ll see 5 places to enter your nameservers, just enter the two in 1 and 2 and save changes.
- It could take up to 24 hours for the domain to start pointing towards your web hosting account but usually it takes less than a few hours.
Install wordpress, Hostgator’s 1-click install
Ok, first off you may need some coffee right now, get some of that first! Then come back and we’ll install wordpress. WordPress is by far my favorite blogging platform and it allows you to control the look of your site in every detail, allows you to post content that can be read and hopefully indexed well in Google. It is also hugely expandable with plugins and can be bent to do pretty much anything you want.
Hostgator have this great video showing you how you can install wordpress in a few minutes. I suggest you install wordpress on the root directly of your site if the blog is going to be the main component. This means www.yoursite.com rather than www.yoursite.com/blog/.
Write your first post.
Now you have a blog! Time to open the champagne…. But first you may want to write your first post.
- Log into WordPress, normally www.yoursite.com/wp-admin if you installed WordPress on the root directly.
- Click on Posts>All Posts on the left hand side menu.
- Hover over the one post title which will be Hello Word, click the option to trash it. This will now be deleted.
- Click on Posts>Add New. You’ll now see the window to write your first post. Give it a title, write some content. Even add a picture using the Add Media button if you feel adventurous.
- Hit Publish on the right hand side and share your new blog with the world.
This post should have you set up with a basic blog. The sky is the limit now and I suggest you get writing and writing and sharing all your work with friends on Facebook, down the local bar, at work and wherever you can.
Beyond writing you may be a bit lost right now but nearly everything you need to learn can be found in video tutorial form over at WordPress.tv. I suggest you watch videos on plugins and general settings right away to get yourself up to basic speed. About plugins, always be very careful and don’t install too many. Often they have been responsible for creating security leaks for hackers to get into people’s sites. So basically only install highly rated trusted plugins.
You may find yourself wanting to change your theme. There are 1000s of free themes available and you can learn to customise themes yourself. In fact the default Twenty Twelve theme is an excellent theme to work with. However for a supported and highly professional theme that you can customize I suggest you check out Genesis Framework and their huge range of awesome themes.
You may even want a custom design or design elements such as a logo. I mentioned that I make some of my money from blogging but I also make money from creating blogs for people so I am up for hire. Send me a personal email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk direct about your specific needs.
Any problems or questions?
This is a lot to take in and you may be a little blinded by it all so feel free to ask any questions, let me know if something isn’t working as it should or if you have any other comments.
Also please do share your new blog. I can’t wait to see it.