How to Start a Blog: A Step by Step Guide

how to start a blog

Trying to figure out how to start a blog?

If you never start your blog, you never will.

Sounds like empty talk, right?

Well, it’s not. The first step to starting a blog is taking action. In this case, your action will be directed, because by reading this post you are learning how to start a blog the right way.

Enough of the pep-talk; let’s get our hands dirty.

How to Start a Blog – This is Where it Begins

From time to time, people come to me to find out how they can start a blog that will make them money. My answer is always the same: Find people with problems and offer them solutions.

That principle governs business and it also applies to blogging.

Stand between people and the information they seek. Be the provider of the information, and people will love you for it.

The easiest way to start a blog that people will notice is by helping other people.

As long as you have information others don’t have – and yes, you do! – then you stand a good chance of using this to your advantage.

The information does not have to be out of this world. To you, your knowledge may seem common place, but to your audience, you may just be the answer to their long and fruitless search.

#1. Niche Selection

The first step is to decide on what topic you will build your blog around.

A lot has been said about the plus and minus of only blogging about a topic you love, so I will not go there in this post.

Before starting up new blogs I usually go over to www.magazine.com and browse through their topics.

In my experience, if a niche has a magazine dedicated to it, then most likely it has a sizable following that is ready to spend some money. (Magazines are sold, you know.J)

When I see a niche that catches my fancy, I then head over to Google Keyword Tool and run a search for the keyword for that niche.

If I see a result with more than 5000 Global searches a month, I put the entry in my short list. When I have a short list of about ten to twenty keywords, I head over to google search engine and run a search for each of those keywords, putting the keywords inside “quotation marks”.

Any keyword that returns less than 50,000 results should make it to your final list.

Use it as a category for your blog.

For a start, do not go for more than five categories. That way your niche gets tighter faster.

#2. Register a Domain Name

Once you have decided on a topic, the moment to choose a domain name has come. Your domain is very important and careful thought should be put into selecting one.

I use Namecheap for all my domains, and mark my words: there is nothing cheap about their services – just their price.

While it may help to get a domain name that includes your keywords, in my experience major search engines no longer consider that as very important. So there is no need to go overboard and end up with an ugly domain name like howtostartalowbudgetorganicgarden.com

I am sure you get the point.

Domain age is increasingly becoming a major ranking factor for search engines. If you will like to do some domain hacking, here is how you can get an old domain name for your new blog.

  1. Head over to Go Daddy Auctions and add your keyword to the search form. In the sidebar filtering options, enter the minimum and maximum years for the domain name.
  2. Select the domain name that is most suitable for you.
  3. Make payment via Paypal or credit card and the aged domain name is yours.

Whether you choose to buy a new domain name or an aged one, your blog can still succeed. However, having an aged domain name tips your blog for success.

#3. Secure a Hosting Account

Assuming you have followed the steps above closely, you should now have a topic you can blog on and a domain name for your blog.

Now is time to find a home for your blog.

There are a lot of hosting providers out there and it would be extreme to say one service is the best.

However, I have found that HostGator provides stellar services for both small and big customers alike.

I rave about this company because of the level of support they provide to their customers. There is nothing as frustrating as finding yourself stuck with a host who takes days to reply to support requests.

#4. Setup WordPress

In this step, you get to install WordPress, the most popular blogging software ever known to man.

More than seventy two million websites are currently powered by the WordPress software, so you can be sure that you are in good company.

After installing your blogging software, you may want to customize it with a unique theme or plugins.

Don’t know how to install WordPress? That post makes it as easy as breeze.

Need a must have list of plugins? SEO Ultimate Plugin is one plugin that is constant across all my blogs.

Try it out.

#5. Pay for a Premium Theme

There is nothing as important as starting off with a bang. So, your blog has to be distinctive enough to stand out from the crowd of more than one billion blogs in existence worldwide.

There are tens of thousands of WordPress themes, but to stand out in that crowd, it is better to have a premium theme like Genesis from Studio Press.

This is one of the best frameworks for WordPress out there, with excellent SEO and security features.

For the sake of giving you an option, I will give Thesis for WordPress a mention.

Thesis is the closest thing in the market to the Genesis Framework, so it does not matter one way or the other which one you decide to get.

#6. Build Landing Pages

Having a specific goal for each page on your site can greatly increase your conversions. So if you have a Newsletter Signup page, it should do just that – provide a form for people to sign up.

As a rule, remove all distractions from your action pages – sidebars, menu bars even your ads and social buttons.

Let people have the opportunity of taking the action you want them to take without distractions.

It’s a good practice to remove all the distractions from specific pages and have one goal for every page.

This layout is called a landing page, and they are not hard to create.

If tweaking your WordPress theme is too much of a hassle for you, then you can do it with Premise from Copy Blogger Network.

#7. Create a Giveaway

You need something to give visitors to your blog as a reward for their engaging with your content.

Most persons are giving out free eBooks, but since a lot of subscribers unsubscribe after getting the eBook, I recommend a better approach.

Start an eCourse that is delivered over a week or so through an auto responder.

Two of the most popular auto responder services are MailChimp and Awebar. MailChimp is a bit cheaper and easier to use than Awebar, but Awebar has a higher deliverability rate.

You can’t go wrong with either of these choices, so test and go for anyone that you find easier to implement.

That, my friend, is how to start a blog.

Now You Know How to Start a Blog…

Your blog is not cast in concrete. It takes continuous improvements to make your blog succeed.

While some bloggers achieve recognition in just a couple of months, it may not be so for every new blogger. It will take work, work, and more work to get your blog noticed.

Ensure your goals are clear and stick to them. A tightly focused blog will position you as an authority in no time.

You wanted to know how to start a blog. Now you do!

What is keeping you?

Photo Credit: Striatic

About Yeremi Akpan

Yeremi Akpan is the founder of Pro Blogger Tips. Connect with him on Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook. You can also hire him to provide content marketing services for your business.

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Comments

  1. Yeremi, great post for both newbie and experienced bloggers. I especially loved the part about staying focused.When I first started as a blogger, I was trying to build three new blogs at once. Before long, I was overwhelmed. I have since learnt to put all my energies into one thing at a time…

    • Yeremi Akpan says:

      Emmanuel,
      Online, as is also true offline, we need to be focused if we are to achieve any significant result. Having too many things on our plate at a time can have a paralyzing effect on our prodcutivity.

      Thanks for the insight.

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