How to start a blog
1. Find a Web Host for Your Blog
When it comes to starting a blog, your biggest decision will be whether you want to host the blog yourself, or use a free blogging service that is hosted for you. While you can do this with free hosted options like WordPress.com, TypePad.com, and Blogger.com, you will get the most control by using self-hosted WordPress.
- Hosted Blog Services
- This means a blog service essentially "hosts" your blog at their domain. They help you publish your blog by providing well-designed templates, a web address and rich text editors that allow you to create posts without any specific technical knowledge.
- Two of the most popular hosted blogging platforms including WordPress.com and Blogger.com which only take a few minutes to set up.
- Self-hosted Blogging Platforms
- To use this kind of blogging platform, you will need to subscribe to a hosting service like Bluehost.com or DreamHost.com and download a content management system or blogging platform such as WordPress.
- This route is more costly and demands a certain amount of technical literacy. In exchange, you get a fully customizable site in your own name, which makes it the choice of many (but not all) professional bloggers.
2. Choose a Domain Name
Pick a domain name for your blog. The domain name for a blog can be any name, provided it is not already used.
3. Write a post.
- Open up the New Post screen. This may be under the Posts | Add New.
- Enter the title of your post.
- Write your first post in the field directly below the title. Perhaps you could explain why you are starting your blog, the topics you plan to write about, and how often you intend to post.
- Click the Publish button.
Tips for successful blogging
- Read other blogs to familiarise yourself with how to blog effectively.
- When it comes to creating content for your own blog, study your Google analytics to see who is coming to your site, from what source, why they are there and how to get them converted into subscribers. See monitoring and evaluation for more information.
- Determine the needs of your audience – What content would they find valuable? What problems are they facing? What questions are they asking?
- Ensure your blog headline is both effective and catchy. This will increase your chances of getting clicked on and read by your desired audience.
- Use your first paragraph to explain what the blog is about and the benefit for the reader.
- Use images, sub-headings, bullet points and numbering to 'break-up' the text and maintain the readers' attention.
- Contribute regularly to your blog. This will help you build a profile, become a trustworthy source and drive traffic to your blog. Decide on a frequency to blog at and make sure you stick to it whether daily or monthly. By blogging on a consistent basis your readers will know when to expect new blog posts.
- Inform people that your blog has been updated through other social media channels, e.g. twitter. Link your blog account to your website using the official blog icon.
Engaging with your subscribers
- Your blog does not always have to be a source of facts and information. Use it to ask questions of your audience; thereby, creating interesting and engaging content.
- If appropriate, challenge the status quo but be careful not to be controversial, simply for the sake of it! Seek the opinion of your audience on your thoughts and opinions.
- Use case studies to reinforce a key point, in other words, bring the theory to life!