How to Create a Blog: A Step-by-Step Guide
There’s one likely reason why you’re here reading this article. You want to learn more about blogging because you have plans of starting your own blog. Well, you have come to the right place.
Here, you’ll discover the exact steps on how you should go about with the process. What you should know about blogging is that it’s not that complicated as you might think. The technical aspects of it can be daunting at times but once you are over these issues, it’s smooth sailing from there.
Before you proceed, understand that starting a blog needs a lot of prior planning. You don’t just wake up in the morning and decide to start a blog. There are so many factors that you must take into consideration. For example, what’s your purpose in starting a blog? What do you want to do with it or more importantly, what do you want to achieve with it?
Are you starting a blog to promote a business? Are you starting the blog to serve as an outlet for your literary works? Are you trying and earn money through affiliate marketing? These are just a few of the questions you need to ask before you begin building your blog.
The good news is that no matter what your plans or goals are in starting a blog, building one basically follows the same fundamental steps—which you’ll read about in more detail in upcoming sections of this article.
Of course, the difficulty of starting the blog also depends in various factors. For example, are you building the blog from scratch or are you going to purchase a premium theme? Do you have the technical skills to build the blog yourself or are you going to hire someone to build it for you?
The point is, starting a blog is a long process with numerous turning gears. So make sure that you have the time as well as the resources to go through the process. But first…
What is a Blog?
In the early days of blogging, a blog is often described and defined as the online version of a diary. In many ways, this is still true to this day but blogging has gone through an evolution that widened its scope and definition.
Blogging is no longer confined to the idea of having an online diary. Blogging is more complicated than that. Today, blogging has a more far-reaching influence. Even major companies and media outlets have their own army of bloggers. A lot of journalists also maintain their own blogs.
With that said, it’s necessary to get rid of the obsolete definition of blogging as the online version of keeping a diary. Here’s a better definition: a blog is a website or any digital space containing the writings of an individual featuring his thoughts and take on various topics.
This is basically what blogging is all about. Anyone can be a blogger. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, a stay-at-home mother, a farmer, a politician, or the CEO of a multi-billion corporation. This is what makes blogging a very interesting media platform. Anyone with an internet connection can do it. The concept of blogging doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, wealth, or social status.
How to Become a Successful Blogger?
Here’s something you should understand about blogging: there is no shortcut to success nor is there a secret to building a successful blog. The road to success is as varied as the number of bloggers out there, which the latest statistics estimate to be in the millions.
However, there are certain factors that can help in increasing your chances of achieving success. Think of your blog as a product or a service and you as the producer. To be successful, you’re going to need lots of people buying that product or service right? The same principle applies to blogging. Success usually means attracting a lot of people towards your blog.
Here are the three Cs of achieving success with a blog:
High Quality Content
“Content is king.” Surely, you have heard of this quote countless of times. It has become a cliche, but this doesn’t take away the undeniable truth in the quote. Content is king, period. That’s a fact. Your blog is worth nothing if it doesn’t have good content. Content is the lifeline of your blog.
If you don’t have what it takes to write content that people will read and find valuable, then your blog will likely suffer a quick slide into obscurity. Again, think of yourself as a consumer of content. In this regard, think of yourself as a reader of your blog. You visit your blog, check the content, and ask yourself: Is there value in what I have written?
If your answer is yes, then you are doing something right. If your answer is no, then it’s probably time to rethink your blogging strategy.
You need to be consistent with the quality and quantity of the content that you publish in your blog. If only one in five articles you publish are good, then you are not being consistent. You are creating a few good content but the rest are fluff. This is not good for your blog.
Successful blogging is about delivering to readers what they want. It’s about giving them a reason to keep coming back for more content. This is something you should always understand, given the fact that online readers can be fickle. They get bored too easily. And they can always read content from somewhere else.
You really need to be consistent with the quality of your content if you want your readers to become loyal consumers of your content.
The competition for online readers is getting tougher by the second. There are millions of blogs floating out there and thousands of these are probably tackling the same topics you talk about in your blog. So the question is why would a person read your blog over the other blogs?
Analyzing and understanding your competition is an integral aspect of blogging. You have to do it if you don’t want to be left behind. You should be constantly looking for ways on how to get ahead of the competition. Furthermore, the blogging community is constantly evolving. You should keep yourself updated about these changes and developments so you can adapt earlier than your competitors.
If you’re able to address these three factors and use them to the advantage of your blog, then you’re on track towards success. To summarize things, you need to be obsessed in creating great content, you should be consistent with the quality of the content, and you should always be looking for ways on how to get ahead of the competition.
If you follow these, you have a better chance of achieving your blogging goals. It takes time but at least you know that you are on the right track, and reaching those goals is just a matter of time.
Planning Your Blog
Starting a blog requires a little bit of planning, especially if you have huge goals. This is even more important if you’re starting a business blog or if you plan on generating revenue from the blog.
It’s highly recommended that you create a long-term plan. Bloggers with long-term plans have better chances of building successful blogs compared to those who are only gunning for short-term goals. In this section, you’ll find a quick overview of how you should go about in planning your blog. It’s in a step-by-step format so it’s a lot easier to digest and understand.
Step 1: Identify your passion.
You’ve heard this countless of times before but it needs repeating. You have better chances of building a high-quality blog and enjoying the process if it revolves around something that you are genuinely interested in.
For example, if you love horror movies, you could write a blog about the entire horror genre. If you enjoy bird watching, you can write a blog about its various facets. And so on and so forth. Identify the things that you are passionate about and make a list of them.
Step 2: Choose the niche you want to enter.
After identifying your interests and hobbies, you slowly go through them and choose the one that you think deserves a standalone blog. You are basically choosing the niche of your blog here. Of course, no one is stopping you from starting two or more blogs for your numerous hobbies and interests.
Step 3: Do research on the competition for the niche.
Learning how to start a blog is almost synonymous with learning about the competition in the niche you want to enter. This is a very important step because it helps you decide if you actually have a shot against the competition.
If your research shows that the competition is too tough to the point that it will nearly be impossible for you to dent the market, then you’re better off going after a different niche.
Step 4: Write down your vision and mission.
After deciding on a niche, write down your goals in starting the blog. What are your short- and long-term goals? Where do you envision yourself in a year, in five years, or even in ten years? What are the things you want to achieve with the blog? These are the questions for which you need to find answers before you can write a proper vision and mission statement.
Step 5: Put your plans on paper.
Create both soft and hard copies of your plans for accessibility and for reference purposes. The plans will serve as your guide as you eventually get started in building your blog. It’s easier to get things done if you know where you want to go and how you can get there. So, always keep those plans handy.
These are the core steps in planning your blog. Of course, there might be additional steps depending on the nature of the blog you have in mind. As previously mentioned, the more complicated the blog is, the more complicated the plans will be.
You can pretty much do all the planning yourself but if you think you need assistance, you should really get in touch with an experienced blogger who can answer any questions you may have.
Choosing a Web Host and Getting a Domain Name
Choosing a web host and getting a domain name are among the most important steps on how to create a blog. The good news is that it’s no longer that difficult to find reliable hosts and domain registrants these days.
You have a lot of companies to choose from. The first thing you should do is come up with a good domain name before you start searching for a host and registrant. You can easily check if a domain name is available by simply inputting the URL into your browser and see if a registered website pops up.
In most cases, it’s best to get hosting and register the domain name with the same company. Almost all hosting companies these days also do domain registration. It will be much easier to manage your blog’s hosting and registration if the services come from a single firm. You will only complicate things if you register your website with one company then host it in another.
If you’re not yet sure where to get hosting, consider using any of the best known hosting companies. They’ve been around for years and they are reliable most of the time. Besides, it’s often not a good idea to gamble with a brand new hosting and domain registration company no matter how cheap their offers and packages are.
It’s also worth mentioning here that you can start a blog, pay for a domain, but not spend anything for hosting. This is an option you can consider if you are struggling with a tight budget and you don’t have the funds to pay for hosting.
However, for this setup to work, you need to learn how to make a blog through a free blogging platform. Yes, there are platforms where you can just sign up and start a blog for free. However, the default domain name for your blog isn’t completely separate from that of the platform.
With that said, you need to customize your free blog by purchasing your own domain name. Fortunately, most blogging platforms allow you to do this. This means that you only spend on domain registration. You get the hosting free of charge.
Free hosting is nice but it’s highly recommend that you get your own hosting if you can pay for the fees. There’s a ton of benefits of getting your hosting. On top of these benefits is the fact that you will have more control over your blog. You see, if you host your blog in a free blogging platform, the platform basically owns your blog.
This means they can shut down your blog any time they want. In a nutshell, free-hosted blogs are really not stable and secure. So please get your own hosting if you can afford it. It will cost you some money but the fees are peanuts compared to the benefits you are going to get from it.
Building and Testing the Blog
This is the most difficult step in the process of learning how to blog. With your hosting and domain registration ready to go, it’s now time to start building the actual website. There are two ways on how you can do this.
One, you build the blog yourself. That is of course if you have programming and web development skills. Two, you hire somebody to build the blog for you. This is obviously the only choice you have if you don’t have the technical skills to build the blog yourself.
Don’t worry, it’s not that hard to find highly-skilled programmers and web developers who can create the type of blog you have in mind. There’s a ton of freelance programmers out there. You can find them using online freelancing sites, forums, directories, and even social media sites.
For instance, you can just log into Facebook, find groups where programmers and developers congregate, then create a project listing. Those interested in building the blog for you can just send you a message or comment.
Regardless of the path you choose though, make sure that your blog has the following qualities:
Think of what a person experiences when he visits your blog. User-friendliness means that the visitor can easily access parts of the blog that he wants to read. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and ask yourself what you want to see and experience in the blog.
- Easy to Navigate
Easy navigation is very important, especially if most of your readers will come from search engines.
There isn’t much of a problem with loyal and regular readers because they are aware of the sections of the website. But for new readers, they have to navigate through your blog and its contents. They will have a more satisfactory experience if they can easily navigate from one section to another.
- Simple and Not Too Cluttered
It’s baffling that so many bloggers still make the mistake of assuming that having a lot of widgets in their blogs is a good thing. It’s never a good thing to have a cluttered blog.
Simplicity is the key especially nowadays where there are millions of blogs floating out there. You should just focus on highlighting the main content of your blog. Forget about widgets, apps, and other bells and whistles that don’t really add value to the blog and its contents.
It’s critical that your blog is mobile-friendly. This should be a requirement and not considered as optional because a huge chunk of your potential readers will be trying to access your blog through mobile devices.
More and more people are accessing the internet through their smartphones. This trend will only get bigger in the coming years. If your blog is not mobile-friendly, then you are missing out on a huge market.
You should also be serious about protecting the security of your blog as well as the security of your readers. A secure blog means the privacy and security of your readers are intact.
You must put up measures to prevent hackers from stealing information through your website. This is especially true if you collect information from readers like their email addresses or their locations.
- Loads Easily
Don’t you hate it when you access a blog and it takes forever for it to load? Of course, you do. Everyone hates websites that load too slow. If your blog loads too slowly, then you are turning off potential readers. Why should they wait for your blog to load when they have thousands of other blogs that may have the same content as yours?
To make your blog load faster, you must have a good and reliable host. On top of this, you should create a minimalist blog that contains minimal clutter. Get rid of all the unnecessary things that can slow down the blog’s loading speed. These include in-site apps, images, and videos that take up too much space, widgets, etc.
The only way to check if your brand new blog has these attributes is to regularly test it before you launch it. Make the blog live and ask several people to visit it using various devices from different locations to check its responsiveness. Perform these tests several times to ensure that all aspects of the blog are working smoothly before you hit on the launch button.
Marketing Your Blog
Marketing is one of the most important aspects of blogging. If you want to maximize the number of people visiting and reading your blog, then you should set aside a considerable amount of your time and resources for marketing purposes.
Blogging and marketing come hand in hand. Now, there are dozens of ways on how you can market your blog and here, you’ll get a quick overview for some of these strategies. For sure, marketing is going to eat away at your time and resources but it’s worth it if it’s done properly and regularly.
Without further ado, here’s a closer look at some of the most effective strategies that you can use to market and promote your blog.
- Social Media Marketing
Did you know that social sites now control majority of people’s activities online? The number of people using social media has exploded in the last decade or so. Of course, the search giant Google still controls search activities but when it comes to other online activities, social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube have a bigger piece of the pie.
As a blogger, you should take full advantage of this trend. You should use popular social media sites to drive traffic and attention towards your blog. It can take a lot of work but the payoff is significant. In fact, some bloggers get majority of their traffic from social sites.
- Search Engine Optimization or SEO
Organic traffic (web traffic that comes from search engines) is the best type of traffic. They have the highest conversion rate for the simple reason that the visitors are specifically looking for your blog and its contents. With that said, if you want people to visit your blog through search engines, then you need to learn how to apply SEO.
Optimization is not as complicated as it sounds. Basically, there are two things you need to learn how to do. These would be keyword research and keyword usage. Keyword research involves finding the words and phrases that people are using or will likely use to search for your blog and content. For this process, you are going to use tools like keyword research tools and keyword recommendation apps.
On the other hand, keyword usage is about creating content that contains the words and phrases you have determined. Another important aspect of optimization is link building. A backlink is a link in another blog or website that points to your blog. Google takes into account these backlinks when determining how your blog should rank in its search results.
Generally speaking, the more backlinks your blog gets, the higher your blog climbs the rankings. However, you have to understand that this is not always the case because Google also looks into the quality of the backlinks. More links doesn’t necessarily mean better for your blog. For example, one high quality backlink is better than ten spam backlinks.
Needless to say, you should focus your attention on getting high quality backlinks. When you create a backlinking plan, make sure that you are targeting legit and high quality websites. As much as possible, stay away from companies that promise to give you dozens of backlinks at a price. These backlinks are usually sourced out from shady websites that can hurt your blog’s rankings.
- Content Marketing
Content marketing is defined as a strategy which involves distributing content on the internet with the main goal of driving attention, hype, and traffic towards your blog. It’s a very effective strategy because it enables you to reach a much wider audience by taking advantage of a lot of digital platforms.
It’s the perfect strategy if you want to build a brand around your blog. The more you are talked about out there, the faster your brand grows. Content marketing is about getting your message to as many platforms as possible. If done properly and consistently, it can easily become your biggest traffic generator.
The process of content marketing is quite simple. You create content which can be in the form of articles, in-depth reports, infographics, videos, or a combination of these types of media. You send out these content to other blogs and websites who will be willing to publish them. Most of the time, you are providing and distributing the content for free.
So what do you get from this transaction? Well, the content you distribute should contain a mention of your blog and a link back to your blog. This may sound like an unfair return for a high-quality article that took you hours to write. But just imagine if a high-profile website publishes your content.
Say the New York Times publishes the article you sent to them. The news outfit has millions of visitors a day. This is the potential market you can attract if your article is published on their website. The deluge in traffic can translate to hundreds or even thousands of new readers and subscribers to your blog.
This is basically the goal you want to achieve with content marketing. You create high-quality content and distribute these for free to other blogs and websites with the hope that it brings you more readers and subscribers.
- Direct Advertising
This is one of the oldest methods in online marketing. Here’s how it works. You crawl the web looking for blogs and websites who have similar themes and topics as your blog.
For example, say you write a blog about soccer history. What you do is find websites that are also in the soccer niche. If you think a website is a good fit with your blog, you contact the owner of the website and ask if he accepts direct advertisers on his website. If he says yes, then the negotiation starts. You propose to purchase ad space on the site.
The biggest advantage of direct advertising is that you get to choose the websites where your ads are displayed. This is unlike automated advertising programs wherein you have no control over the sites where your ads are shown.
Another benefit is that you personally negotiate for the terms of the advertising agreement. This is why many bloggers prefer direct advertising. You choose where you advertise and you have a say in how and when the ads are displayed.
To maximize the traffic you generate with direct advertising, you should purchase ads in as many relevant websites as you can—as long as your advertising budget permits it.
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising
As the term implies, this is an advertising model wherein you pay for your ads based on the clicks they generate. The more clicks your ads get, the more you pay for the ads. However, this is not always the case because there’s such a thing as pay per impression (PPM) wherein you pay per thousand impressions and not just by the clicks generated.
Most advertising companies on the internet use a combination of PPC and PPM. Pay-per-click advertising is a cheap and effective way of getting your blog out there. If done properly, it can generate a ton of new readers and subscribers for your blog.
The first time you create a blog and launch it, it’s likely that you will receive only a trickle of traffic in the early weeks and months. You can easily fix this problem through pay-per-click advertising. The method can bring you the initial exposure your blog needs.
Sure, it’s going to cost you some money but it’s worth it. Attracting organic traffic to a new blog can be very difficult these days considering the unbelievable competition out there. This is why sometimes it’s necessary to pay for traffic.
There are dozens of companies out there offering pay-per-click advertising programs. If it’s your first time to use a PPC advertising platform, you should probably start with Google Adwords. By far, this is the best and most reputable advertising program today. It’s owned by Google so quality is definitely there.
The interface of Google Adwords is also easy to use, which means it’s easy enough for beginners. And their rates are really not that expensive. They also provide you with all kinds of reports so that you can analyze your ads and determine if these are getting good results or otherwise.
- Guest Blogging
How this strategy works is pretty straightforward. You contact other bloggers in your niche and ask if you can write a guest post for them. If they say yes, you proceed to write the content and then send it to them for publication in their blogs.
Guest blogging is a form of content marketing. You’re basically creating and distributing content for free and in exchange you get a link back to your own blog. It can be a very time-consuming strategy but it’s very effective if you write really valuable articles and have these published in influential blogs in your niche.
As much as possible, you should only write guest posts for blogs that are in a niche relevant to your own. This is a very simple rule that many bloggers take for granted. Keep in mind that your goal is to have a backlink in the post which points to your own blog. Such a link won’t get that many clicks if the article was published in an out-of-topic blog.
The point here is that you should focus on the quality of the blogs where you send guest posts. See to it that the blogs have readers who will be genuinely interested in the content you have in your own blog.
These are the marketing strategies you should be using if you want to get the word out about your blog. What’s great about these strategies is that they are not that difficult to implement. In short, anyone who knows how to click on a mouse button can perform them.
For best results, it’s recommend that you use most if not all of these strategies. Use combinations of the strategies depending on your personal preferences. There is no guarantee that every strategy will work well for you. This is why the usual advice is to use all of them and find out for yourself which strategies work for you.
Starting and building a blog can be a very fulfilling endeavor, especially if you enjoy doing it. This is not to mention the various rewards that you can potentially reap if your blog turns into a huge success.
However, for your new blog to have any chance of achieving success, you need to build it on a strong and stable foundation. That’s actually the goal of this entire article. It serves as your guide in building a strong and stable foundation for your brand new blog. If you understood everything discussed here, then you have all the knowledge you need to get started.
The next step is to take action and put the concepts and theories to work. The difficulty of starting, building, and launching your blog depends on the size, nature, and scope of the blog you have in mind.
Naturally, the more complicated the blog is, the harder it will be to build and launch. This is why you need to weigh all the factors involved in creating a blog before you even get started. Don’t commit yet if you are not ready to deal with the pressures of building a blog from scratch.
Before ending this article, there are three last pieces of advice for you.
One, treat the process as a journey. There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs. These are normal and are integral parts of the process. Embrace these ups and downs. Learn from your mistakes and ramp up the things that are getting you results.
Two, have a long-term mentality and approach. Learn how to estimate or project what’s in store for you in the future by analyzing and understanding the progress of your blog. You should also keep an eye on the developments happening in the niche to which your blog belongs.
And three, don’t give up until you achieve the goals you have set for your blog. It takes time but you will get there eventually if you keep on working towards them. It’s not that different from any other serious undertaking—you’ll need both passion and perseverance to truly succeed.