Blogging isn’t just a tech-related buzzword anymore. It has now gone beyond the realms of a hobby or a personal documentary project and has established itself as a powerful business front, too. Due to its increasing popularity and the ability to project itself as a rather lucrative option, many people are enticed by the idea of blogging but do not know how to start with their journey. Here we have a compiled a comprehensive guide that will help you successfully establish your own blog in no time.
Step 1. Find A Niche
As an individual, there is a lot that you bring to the table. Your sense of identity is comprised of your own ideas, opinions,and thoughts about varied aspects and subjects. You need to figure out what you’re truly interested in before you begin your journey. What is that one subject you are very passionate about and can voice your unique ideas on.You can have a look at your hobbies for reference, as there are numerous blogs out there ranging from traveling, cooking, photography, health, fitness, technology, gaming, etc. This is the first step and it is key to starting your very own blog, so list down the areas you’re more inclined towards and then try writing something on those subjects. Go over each piece and you will soon discover which one truly feels like your voice.
a). Narrow Your Niche
Once you have discovered your niche, you can further refine it by encompassing a lot of interesting subjects that fall within the same domain. For instance, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast and want to write about scenic sights worth visiting or logs about camping, then you can also write about the tools and techniques required to go through these experiences that could really help one out in a pinch. Similarly, if you’re writing about technology, you can expand your blog by writing about gadgets, programming techniques, the latest trends in software development and even new video game releases. This lets you reach out to a bigger audience inside your niche as well as target ones that don’t fall directly within your niche but enjoy that content.
b). What if you already own a blog?
Assuming you once tried your hand at blogging and set one up for yourself, but it didn’t work out so well. Soon enough you lost interest, as it didn’t get a lot of hits and traffic, so now it’s just collecting dust somewhere on the World Wide Web. You can breathe new life into that very same blog by studying the analytics of your site. You don’t have to go to extreme lengths to revamp things, rather study your analytics and see what kind of content fares well with the audience. Use that insight to produce similar content and also see what region or country you’ve been getting most of the traffic from and try to come up with content that appeals to that demographic region. From that point on, you can revive your old blog and expand on it further with new and improved content ideas.
Step 2. Buying a Domain.
A domain name could be something that makes or breaks your blog. In this day and age, where presentation is everything, you need to have a domain name that is both catchy as well as communicative. Apart from that, you need to choose an SEO friendly domain that web browsers can pick up on more easily. When selecting a domain name, you can choose either a branding-based approach where your domain name is the name of your brand or a keyword-based approach where your domain is based off a keyword. It is advised to keep domain names short and memorable. In short, a domain name should have the following characteristics:
- It should not look like it is a spam website or anything suspicious
- It should be recognizable, memorable and concise
- It should be relevant and communicative
- It should be coherent with your blogging style
Now that you have decided on a domain name, you can go ahead and register it for yourself so you can be legally entitled to your own virtual space on the World Wide Web. You can go to www.godaddy.com to see if the domain name you’ve chosen is available.
Step 3. Buying a Suitable Hosting Plan.
After you’re done registering a domain for your blog, you need to host it on a web server. Hosting is a collection of services that include webpage deployment and connection to a database. There is a wide range of options when it comes to hosting, such as the ever so popular micro blogging website Tumblr and the go-to hosting service that is WordPress. Apart from these options, you can purchase a server space and host your website yourself. Here is a quick comparison for you to choose the best one according to your specific needs.
Via WordPress, you are given
- Unlimited technical support as well as help with troubleshooting
- Extensive documentation on how to use and integrate plugins and other features into your website
- The option of a dashboard and a more uniform interface lets you manage your website without being as tech-savvy.
- Modular development so you can always add new features to your website.
The only con here is that you don’t have free reigns over your code and must conform to WordPress regulations, as well as small payments for advanced services. Nevertheless, you can still avail most of the services for free, which makes it perfect for amateur bloggers!
Via self-hosted websites, you can
- Manage your website using various software and scripts. This allows an extra degree of control over your website as well as the liberty to expand it on by adding new codes to it whenever needed.
- Managing your website all on your own gives you transparency overall operations
- In-depth knowledge of the framework of your website.
The only downside of a self-hosted site is that you have to have some technical knowledge to execute and foresee the process, so it isn’t exactly recommended for beginners.
We recommend SiteGround for starting out with a new blog or even changing your hosting service for an old blog because of their competent support and documentation section, which not only lets you set up and employ their services smoothly, but also provides great customer support that not only resolves your issues and concerns but also breaks it down for the less technical audiencesas well.
Here are a few reasons why SiteGround is perfect for your hosting needs:
- The general reviews of SiteGround’s customer support have been hugely positive, as most forums recommend contacting their tech support in case of any issues
- The service boasts a team of very qualified professionals to ensure top hosting services and other neat features for your website such as dedicated IP for faster access to your website.
- 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
- SiteGround is known to load websites faster because it has servers on three continents, which shorten DNS query time and SSD storage, causing the data to load on your website significantly faster.
- Their advanced features include a better prevention of server downtime and protection against data leaks and hacks.
- It offers 24/7 customer support
- It also has a developer-friendly interface, as it supports multiple programming languages like Perl and Python.
- They have a decent StartUp plan for people who’re just starting out with blogging. It entails you to one website, 10 GB of website space and handles 10,000 monthly visits to your website.
- For more serious users, they have a GrowBig plan that is found to be more popular among veteran bloggers. You can acquire as many websites as you want for $7.95 a month along with 20GB website space accommodating 25,000 visits per month.
- GoGeek Plan for businesses requiring PCI compliance
- Premium features to speed up a website, enhance its look and overall performance.
- Seamlessly integrates with WordPress once you install it on your hosting account.
- Free SSL with Siteground certain plans.
Other services such as Bluehost are also an option worth looking into, as they provide excellent and user-friendly hosting services, and even offer a free domain for one year so you can try out and explore their features and services. Once you’re comfortable using it, you can pay a very small sum to avail full features and continue holding on to your domain.
Step 4. How to Connect Your Domain with Siteground
Now that you’ve acquired a domain from GoDaddy.com, the following steps will show you how you can add it to your Siteground hosting:
Locate Siteground Nameservers in DNS settings
You can do this by accessing the SiteGround Control Panel. Simply log in to the C Panel provided by the hosting service and go to ‘Manage Account’. You will be now able to see the nameservers of SiteGround. Begin by simply copying them and their corresponding IP addresses next to the nameserver settings.
Change DNS settings in GoDaddy
After you’ve noted the nameserver from your SiteGround C Panel, head over and log in to GoDaddy and then go to the Account Manager, from where you can access the management tool. You will be able to see a ‘Manage’ button which lets you register multiple domains. Click on the button to locate the domain you want to apply the new changes to.
Go to DNS Settings Page of the Domain
After you have found your domain, click on the button labeled ‘Settings’ and from there select ‘Manage DNS’ to go to the nameservers section.
Edit GoDaddy’s nameservers
After the previous step, you will be transported to the nameservers section. Click on ‘Change’ button.
Save DNS settings
choose your nameserver type as “custom”. Add the nameserver now. Here you need to copy the nameserver that you noted down in step one. Enter those details in the space provided. If you are using list view, select ‘set nameservers’ and follow the same process.
After executing all the above steps, click on ‘save’ to finalize the changes made to your domain. Make sure to wait until the query is processed, or else the changes will not be confirmed if you exit without saving.
Step 5. How to Install WordPress on Your Domain
Now that you’ve connected your domain with Siteground Hosting, here’s how you can install WordPress automatically on your domain.
Go to SiteGround and sign in
To start the process, simply head over to SiteGround and log in. You will foresee the following actions from there.
Go to your accounts
Once you have accessed your SiteGround account, click on the ‘My Accounts’ tab to access your accounts.
Go to Cpanel
After clicking on the Cpanel, you will be taken to the following screen. Find or search WordPress as in the below screenshot.
Once you’ve found that, click on the WordPress icon.
Click on install
Here you will get an overview of WordPress. Go through the details if you want to. Once you’re done, click the “Install” button.
Customize your settings
This step is a little important. Change your domain protocol to HTTP. Make sure this process is being done for the correct domain. Leave the “In Directory” option as blank. Scroll down a bit further to customize your Site Name and Site Description. Here you will be prompted to pick a username and password for your WordPress account.
Let the installation process begin. Wait till it’s done. After it has been completed, you will receive an “Administrative URL”, so click on that. Also, make sure to save it because that link takes you to the platform where you can start building your website.
Sign in to WordPress
The URL will take you to a WordPress sign-in page and simply enter your credentials that you saved in the Customize Your Settings part.
Publish from WordPress!
The process is complete and you have successfully set up WordPress on your SiteGround hosting! You can now start working on your website and publishing content right away! Happy blogging!
Step 6. Choosing a WordPress Theme.
As mentioned above, the presentation is what draws a user in and the more intuitive and fluid it is, the more it sits well with your audience.The more embellished your website is with the relevant images and eye-catching visuals, the more appealing it will be for the viewers.
Apart from the aesthetic view, themes help in retaining and directing viewer attention to specific areas. Moreover, navigation is also a process made simpler if the theme of the website is convenient to operate.The key component of viewer retention is none other than the outlay of your website, which is best displayed via the themes you have picked. Therefore, picking a theme that helps in boosting the viewers’ attention span should be high on your priority list.
If you are a new blogger, you can begin by choosing free WordPress themes for experimentation purposes. Here are a few pros of using free WordPress themes:
- You can easily switch themes
- You can experiment with different themes
- They come free of cost
Here are a few cons of using free WordPress themes:
- There are generic
- They do not offer flexibility or customization
- They seem less professional
Premium themes are great if you want a unique, classy and stylish theme for your website that exudes professionalism. These themes cost around 29 to 99 dollars and offer a vast variety of features. Here are a few sites that offer a plethora of premium WordPress themes to jazz up your website and make it look more visually attractive.
We have build lists of WordPress themes for several niches.
Step 7. Customize Your Theme
If you do not possess enough technical know-how about HTML and CSS but have a clearer sense of vision, then you can skip the coding process and use pre-defined modules or plugins to make the most of your site.
Plugins can help you
- Improve your SEO rankings
- Boost the responsiveness of your site
- Create backups of your site
- Add an extra layer of security – Link
- Add social share buttons and other forms
Here is a list of a few basic plugins that every blogger must incorporate into their site:
- Yoast SEO – Yoast plugin will help you optimize your website to boost your search engine rankings – Check our guide to install Yoast Plugin
- W3 Total Cache – Improves the speed of your website by minimizing files. Check our step by step guide to install w3 total cache
- Akismet – filters comments and prevents spamming
- Jetpack (premium) – creates regular backups of your site and all its content – Read the steps to create schedule back-ups using Jetpack
- Sucuri (Premium)– prevents security breaches and protects against viruses
If you lack the technical know-how, you can hire professionals and freelancers from websites like Fiver and Upwork. With an array of professionals in the field available at your beck and call, picking out one is not only made easier but also convenient.With average web developers costing from $20 to $50, and with the extremely skilled web developers costing around $100 to $250, finding the perfect one according to your needs has never been so easy. As you put your requirements forth, you can outsource your work to an expert with the best abilities and the most convenient cost, making outsourcing nothing less than a sound investment. Work with different kinds of designers to get a better understanding of the creative process and the trends within the market.
With these simple tricks and steps, your blog is ready to catch the viewer’s attention by offering more than just the best content!
Step 8. Activate SSL on your Blog Domain
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layers and it is a security protocol that is established by the presence of a digital certificate. This certificate ensures safe transactions and is considered an absolute necessity for websites in this day and age. Failure to comply with the rules results in the website being marked as unsafe by the browser and this makes your website seem unsavory as well as less trustworthy to the audience.
Why get an SSL certificate for your site?
- Having SSL certificates makes your website appear more legitimate and not mistaken or dismissed for a scam.
- The better certificate (based on encryption) you have in your arsenal, the better the credibility of your website and it gets more recommendations.
Hosting services such as Bluehost and Siteground also offer free SSL alongside their hosting services. You can also use the following sites to buy an SSL certificate, and it would only cost you around 46 dollars per year:
Read our guide to install Siteground’s Free SSL on your blog domain.
Step 9. Content guidelines to grow your Blog.
Content is basically the most crucial part of your website. The quality of the content you publish and put on your blog will directly impact the amount of traffic you generate. You can fill your website with mediocre content but anything that is subpar or below is guaranteed to stay under the radar and almost never get picked up by the search engines, therefore you really need to make your content fresh, engaging and interesting. This is where the challenge lies and it might take you a while writing inside your niche to get the hang of it.
You can do your own research and look up other more popular blogs that have a similar niche as yours. For example, if you’re an aspiring tech blogger, then you can follow blogs like TechCrunch, Gizmodo,and Mashable and see how they generate useful content.
It helps to have more specific niches because you can seek out ideas and guidelines better in this manner. For instance, if you write about WordPress tips and tricks, you can analyze and study the content published by the likes of wpexplorer.com and gain a better understanding of the content that is more popular in this niche.
How to identify latest trends?
- If your blog is programming related, you can always head over to stackoverflow and dive in a little to find the topics people seem to be struggling with, and then write a helpful and informative guide on it. You could share the link on their help forums as well to bring in the viewers. If people like your content, they will share it around, which will generate more traffic to your site free of any costs.
- You also need to get into the habit of exploring Google Trends, in order to identify what topics are trending and getting more hits lately. Capitalizing on that for your blog posts will certainly go a long way as well as incorporating SEO techniques into your writing so that your website is a top search for the relevant query.
Step 10. Regular Maintenance.
Now that you have the basics of blogging down and your blog is up and running, you will have to perform routine maintenance of the website. This usually is not a challenging task, as the technical aspects are taken care of by the hosting service.
If your website is self-hosted, then you are surely qualified enough to go over your codes and perform the maintenance yourself. This also means making sure that your plugins are updated and your widgets are working fine. Keep an eye out for certificate expiration and any other reported issues.
If you find that this guide is a bit too complex or tech-savvy for your needs, here is another guide that is a more simplified version of the content we’ve shared with you up until now.