Here’s everything you need to know about how to start a blog.
There are so many different things to think about when starting a blog, and so many different blogging platforms you can use.
But first, we need to establish what type of blog you want to set up.
What type of blog?
Firstly you’ll want to have a goal in mind. What are you aiming to achieve through your blog?
Do you want to pull in more users to your sales pages by writing about your brand, to increase its publicity?
Do you want to build a blog that promotes brands and products from other companies?
Or do you just want to set up a blog documenting your travels around the world?
In order to pick the best website builder for your blog, you’ll want to have a grasp before you start of how big you’re planning on your blog being, whether you’re going to monetize it, and what type of blog it’s going to become.
For example, if you’re planning on building an affiliate blogging programme, where you promote other brand’s products and call readers to action to buy the products, you’ll be writing a lot of content and will benefit from having a more comprehensive blogging system with lots of plugins to promote sales.
But if you’re looking to just set up a personal, or a personal brand blog talking about yourself and your brand, you may not perhaps need as many comprehensive features as you would if you were building an affiliate blog.
You may also want to build an online portfolio of your work, which could require an entirely different piece of blogging kit, as opposed to the traditional blog that hosts articles and journals.
3 things you’ll need to start your blog
1. A blogging platform
After you’ve identified the type of blog you want to set up, plus whether you want to monetise it, you’ll then need to pick a blogging platform suited to your needs.
Many people chose to operate on WordPress as it is one of the most comprehensive blogging systems going, but they forget platforms like Wix and Squarespace that are great for both helping you save and make money and are best suited for those who are less tech-savvy and are new to the blogging game.
If you’re blogging for business, you might want to think about using LinkedIn for your business blog.
There’s also other free platforms such as Reddit and Medium.
2. A hosting platform
Every website needs hosting to store their website’s information on the internet.
A web host is an online service provider that will store your website’s information on one of its servers and keep your website online.
The best web hosts will perform a variety of functions for you, for example, Wix is an all-in-one package that will host your website for you, allow you to register a domain name, and has easy to use website design tools to help you start your blog.
Web hosting can be expensive for new starters, so make sure you pick the best value for money host that can cater to the amount of traffic you have running through your website.
3. A domain name
I’m sure by now you already know what sort of blog you want to set up, whether that’s a travel, blog, a blog accompanying your online store, or perhaps an affiliate marketing product review blog.
You’ll have a niche and an idea and now all you need is a name. Every website online has what’s called a domain name.
It’s included in the website address at the top of your search bar.
You’ll need to register a domain name after you purchase a hosting plan, to enable customers to find your site quickly and easily.
Pick a great domain name that is easy for customers to read and type into Google so they can find it easier online.
Do’s And Don’ts
Here are a couple of top tips to bear in mind when building your blog.
Don’t use complicated language too soon
With that in mind, do include language that your target audience will understand.
But remember they are still here to learn, so don’t drop people in at the deep end right away by using complex jargon off the bat.
Define terms and spell it out in layman’s terms for people at the outset, and as the post goes on, then introduce more complex writing.
Introducing technical jargon at the start of your posts is an instant turn off for most readers.
Don’t waffle — Keep it succinct
People want to get to the punchline now.
43% of people admit to skimming through blogs to get to the information they need, meaning to get your blogging site converting leads, you need to engage the reader early on and offer information succinctly throughout your post.
Plus don’t make your blog too long. Depending on what you’re writing, a lot of people will see large volumes of text and will switch off immediately.
There is no set limit for what a good and bad amount of text is, that’s something you’ll have to figure out per your industry, but from my experience, the shorter, the better.
Don’t make headlines too long
Also ensure that your headline is not more than 60 characters long.
If it gets too long it won’t rank well in search engines and people just won’t want to read it.
Check out this headline analysis tool which will analyse the effectiveness of your proposed headlines.
Don’t plagiarise or use credited images
Copying other people’s work is lazy and can land you in a lot of hot water in extreme cases if you breach a copyright regulation.
But it’s also just unfair on the person who has worked hard or been creative to write that work.
The same goes for images, people need to make a living from the content and photos they’re taking so don’t steal that off them.
Do write killer headlines
People are like goldfish. You only have about 3 seconds to get their attention.
That’s why it is important to write catchy, funny, and enticing headlines to draw your reader in.
One good way to do it is to use the “How To” and “10 Best” strategies.
These sorts of titles telling people ‘How to set up a blog’ or ‘the ten best web hosting platforms’ are search engine optimised, lead winning titles that rank highly in Google searches.
Try them out and see!
Do post regularly
The key to creating a great blog that builds leads is posting regularly. Although it is not the best idea to post regularly.
Ideally, you want to post 3–4 times a week to get the best influx of traffic to your site.
You’ll also want to check out when’s best to post for your target audience, for example, if you’re in the FOREX market, you’ll want to post your blogs perhaps at 8 AM, before the markets open when city workers are on their staring at their phones on their morning commuter trains to the city.
Check out these content marketing platforms to help you automate your blog posting.
Do share on social media
Share your content far and wide on your social platforms. Everyone is on social media these days and its outreach is simply phenomenal.
That’s why you should always share your posts to your social channels to get greater traffic on your website, and include share buttons all-around your blog to invite your readers to share your articles too!
Check out these social media marketing tools to help you automate your posting and increase content engagement.
Do use SEO keywords to drive more traffic
In a nutshell, SEO keywords are the phrases people put into search engines when they are looking for information on a certain subject.
They are how you get found on your website. Depending on what you are writing about, there is always a set of keywords relating to that topic that you can implement, to help you show up higher in people’s google searches.
For example, people might regularly search in google, ‘what is the best compost for growing sunflowers?’
When you come to writing about growing sunflowers in your blog, you might want to use these words or incorporate this question into your blog somewhere, to help you rank higher on Google.
These SEO tools to help you find keywords and improve your blogs SEO performance.
Do use call’s to action to take your readers to the next step
If you don’t challenge your reader at the end of your blog to follow you on Instagram, or check out your sales pages, you’ll never get the leads or sales you are looking for.
With that in mind, build compelling calls to action at the end of each of your posts, to pull readers into taking the next step.
Check out our landing pages design guide to see how to implement calls to action on your site.
Do identify a target audience
People will often tell you to write as though you were in the shoes of the person you’re looking to bring to your website, but it’s true!
Identify what type of people you’re writing to, for instance, if you’re writing a business blog about FOREX trading, you’ll write with potential traders in mind who have one eye on the stock market and the other on your blog.
Or if you’re a wedding florist, you’ll set your portfolio up to target those people looking to get married in the next year.
Blog Leads, Sales & Results
Blogging is one of the most influential marketing strategies in the world and the best bloggers can reap some awesome rewards for producing some truly awesome content.
It is fairly straightforward to get started and we advise if you’re a small business, or someone with minimal blogging experience, to try out Wix or Squarespace first before you jump into using more technical platforms like WordPress.
Once you’re up and running remember our top tips on what to do and what to avoid when writing your blog.
Plus don’t forget to think about optimising and adding useful applications to your site to help you build and grow your content.