Ever thought about starting a blog? Do you have a passion and would like to share it. Maybe you work for yourself and need a simple website to tell people what you do. Problem is you need to be pretty tech-savvy to be able to do these things yourself, right?
Err well no actually. Believe it or not starting your own website or blog has never been easier (sometimes I may say blog and other times site but in essence they are the same thing). What we are going to look at today is just how easy it is.
What if I told you that you could set your own website up live in a matter of minutes for free with zero experience? Well you can it really is that easy so let’s have a look at what you need in our start blogging for beginners guide.
Let’s Build A Blog – Getting Started
I encourage anyone to never be afraid to give something a go especially if its free, just jump in and try it. Having said that we do need to learn to walk before we can run so let’s first take a look the things we need to start our blog. Don’t worry if the list looks a little scary, it really isn’t. I’m going to show you how to get access to everything for free and all in one place, so let’s get started.
SO YOU WILL NEED TO:
Choose your domain name
Choose a place to host your site
Set up your blog with WordPress
Design your blog with a theme and add plugins
Start producing great content
Ok so these are the 5 main things to get your blog up and running, let’s have a look at them one at a time.
Your Domain Name
Your domain name is key component of your blog and should ideally be relevant and memorable, after all it is what creates a first impression. It is the name of your blog and is also known as your URL or your address on the web. For example, my domain name here is www.alaptopandamugofcoffee.com. So, what should you call your site? Well maybe you want “yourname.com” or “yourbusinessname.com” unfortunately with over 1.2billion websites online we can’t always choose the domain we would like.
If you’re are struggling to come up with a great domain name you can try www.namemesh.com a brilliant naming tool that will give you load of great available options. Once you have chosen a domain name you will have to purchase it and there are lots of domain registration sites available. Most domains are between $10 and $20 for a year, although some sought after names are worth thousands!
Set Up Your Hosting
Once you’ve decided on a domain name you’ll need to set up hosting for your blog. Although the platform we are going to use to build our site known as WordPress is actually free (more on that below), we still need somewhere reliable to host our blog. What do I mean be that? Well simply put your blog needs to exist on a server somewhere on the Internet.
There are loads of hosting companies to choose from, so much so it can be a little daunting choosing. Prices range from free options to other options costing hundreds of dollars per month. So, what’s the difference? Well a range of things from bandwidth, security and reliability to customer service. So how to choose? Whilst all of those factors are important it will really depend on the plans for your blog.
The good news is that I host this and all my blogs in the same place that I build them in WordPress and you can do so for free, but more about that at the end of this article.
WordPress The Best Platform For Your Blog
So, we have our domain name and a place to host our site now we need to start to think about building it. To do so we need a platform to put it on and the one I recommend over all others is WordPress. Why is that? Well it’s very easy to use and customise even for beginners. It is super stable, has loads of extras and search engines love it.
In fact, it is the world’s most popular website building platform with over 30% of all websites now powered by WordPress. So how to get started? Well this will depend on your hosting company but you can go directly to wordpress.com for a full range of options. However, I recommend keeping everything in one place as it is so much easier.
So, if you want to get your WordPress blog up and running in a matter of minutes for free just like I did with this blog then I’m sorry but you’ll have to carry on reading until the end of this article!
Choosing A Theme And Adding Plugins
Ok so we are getting through the steps, one by one in our start blogging for beginners guide. You see they really are pretty simple. So next on the list we have to choose a theme and plugins, what are they? Well basically a theme allows you to control the look and feel of your blog without any coding experience or design knowledge.
A good theme helps you to layout your blog and make it look and feel professional. The good news that there are thousands of themes available many of them free. It’s worth spending time experimenting with some of the different themes to see what you like and what fits with your “brand”.
The great news is that if you change your mind on your theme once underway, changing to another theme is just the click of a button. You can see in the image below that I have chosen the “Theme Kale” If you want to see what the live blog looks like click here
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR WORDPRESS THEME WITH A SINGLE CLICK
And plugins? Well plugins are little bits of extra software that add additional functionality to your blog. You can search plugins directly from your WordPress platform and install them at the click of a button. Again, most plugins are free and are really useful for adding extra functionality such as social media buttons.
Produce Interesting And Engaging Content
Congratulations! You have started your blog so now it’s time to start blogging. This is where the fun starts. This is where you get the chance to be you, be different, unique, after all it’s your site. Now it’s all about creating interesting, useful engaging content. So, what is content and what do I need to consider?
Well the article that you are currently reading is content. If I created a video and added it to my blog it would be content. Even the images that we use within our blog are content You want to give your readers valuable and entertaining information to take in. There are some essential questions that you should always consider before producing content
Why am I writing this article?
Who is it for?
How can I make it helpful?
Will the search engines find me?
Once you have those answers then its time to get writing.
Adding Content To My Blog
So how many words should you write, well the simple answer is as many as needed to produce a good article. Studies have shown for good SEO (that’s being found in search engines) that the optimum length is around 1700 words, but you may write an 800-word blog one day and 2800 the next.
But don’t overly worry about the numbers, just make it good to read. Once you have your text you need to consider how to lay it out. After all, if people don’t read your content, then there is little point in creating it. Below are six key points to consider when laying out your post
Write in small paragraphs
Separate each point with HEADING tabs
Always use black or dark grey text on white background
Write as though you’re having a conversation with a friend
Try and use a captivating headlines
Use relevant images
And that really is it. Now it’s time to go and have loads of fun expressing yourself on your new blog.
Start Blogging For Beginners – Let’s Sum It Up
So we now have everything we need to get started. You can now choose a domain name and register it with one of the many domain name registration sites that there are. You can choose a hosting company for your domain. You can then register with WordPress and start to build your site.
However, if you are new to blogging, in fact even if you’re not I recommend you do what I do and use a site where I can do all of that in one place and where you can get started for free.
The site I use to build all of my blogs and sites is called Wealthy Affiliate. From one place, you can do all of the following: Choose and register a domain name. Host 2 websites for free and up to 25 websites for a monthly fee. Create a fully functional WordPress within minutes.
But that is not all, in fact that is just a tiny part of it, why? Well because Wealthy Affiliate is also a training site where you can learn step by step how to build your blog. There you have the opportunity to learn everything you will ever need to build a blog of any size. There is 24/7 support as well as a huge community where you are always able to ask questions get help or even just have a chat!
If you want to know more about the platform I use then read my overview of Wealthy Affiliate here. If you are new and want to start blogging then I wouldn’t recommend anyone else.