You’ve been thinking about starting a blog for months or even years. You’ve been putting it off for a variety of reasons. But now the time has come. You want to blog, but you don’t know where to start. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place!
I learned how to blog by blogging. I started in 2008 by creating a series of Quips and Tips blogs. I now call them She Blossoms, and I’ve been earning a full-time living since then.
In Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, Ann Handley shares tips for writing better, plus easy grammar and usage rules tailored for business in a fun, memorable way. After you set up your blog, you need to learn how to give audience the gift of your true story – told well. Empathy, humanity and inspiration are key to writing blog posts your readers will love and share.
If you want to learn how I started blogging, read How I Became a Blogger. The learning curve for setting up my blog was steep – and still is, in many ways! But it’s well worth it. Here, I describe what I learned so you can set up your own blog. Since I’m a writer, these steps to setting up a blog are geared towards writerly folk. But, they’ll help anyone interested in starting their blogging journey.
How to Set Up a Blog
The benefits of blogging – especially for writers – include:
- The joy of writing articles or shorts that you don’t have to sell first.
- The satisfaction of immediate publishing.
- The freedom to write about the things you love.
- The motivation and discipline to write regularly (I definitely feel a sense of obligation to write for my blogs, and I write even if I don’t feel like it. Mostly.).
- The opportunity to increase your writing skills.
- The potential to meet new people (I love when people email me or comment on my blog posts!).
Below are my five steps to creating a blog, with or without blog software…
1. Settle into your blog’s hook, niche or focus
My focus for Quips & Tips for Achieving Your Goals (now called She Blossoms) is helping people achieve their personal, career, and social goals. I always try to include a quip with my tips. When you’re creating a blog, make sure you find something you love to write about — that won’t dry up in a couple of months or even a year. I love achieving my goals, I love life tips, and I love inspirational quips, so this was a no-brainer for me.
2. Decide if you want to make money blogging
See the Amazon book links and Google Adsense ads salt-and-peppered throughout this blog? Decide if you want that when you’re creating a blog. This is how people make money blogging and writing. On the downside, many online readers don’t like those Google or Amazon ads. You get to decide if you want to earn a few bucks – or even earn a living as a blogger – by advertising products and services.
If you don’t know much about search engine optimization (which is necessary if you want to make money blogging), read SEO Tips for WordPress Blogs.
3. Choose a blog hosting site and blogging software
I’m familiar with WordPress.com, WordPress.org, and Blogger. I like them for different reasons. That said, my “Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals” blog is a WordPress.org powered site. That’s because I want to include ads, and Wordpress.com doesn’t allow ads. Deciding whether or not you want advertising on your blog can determine which blogging software you choose.
4. Choose a blog theme or “skin”
If you go with WordPress.org or WordPress.com, you’ll need to choose a WordPress theme. There are hundreds of free themes out there – and lots of blogging software – but I found none that offered all that I wanted.
When I first started blogging I bought the WP-Magazine Theme for Quips & Tips for Achieving Your Goals from Solostream. It worked well. Even better, theme creator Michale Pollock offers great, fast support. Anyway, there’s a lot of work in creating a blog – just because a theme is already created doesn’t mean you get a free ride.
5. Blog often
Writing for your blog every day is a huge task, but the more you write, the more traffic you’ll see. Plus, the more you do it, the quicker and better you’ll get at blogging. If you focus your blog on something that you love writing about – such as inspirational quotations from strong women in history for me – then writing for your blog won’t be a chore.
The benefits of blogging for writers definitely outweigh the hassles of creating a blog. For more help, read Tips for Choosing the Best WordPress Theme for your blog.
My websites are hosted through SiteGround – their technical support is also amazing. They’re knowledgable, friendly, polite, and offer 24 hour support.
What’s holding you back from starting your blog? If you’re ready to start blogging but have questions, fire away below….