Blogging has come a long way, and the idea of starting a blog for the first time can be exhilarating yet intimidating and overwhelming. Whether you want to promote your brand or looking for a creative outlet, you may have no idea where to start. Fortunately, starting a blog isn’t that hard. Additionally, we’ve created a step-by-step guide on how to start a blog in 2020.
What is a blog?
A blog is a consistently updated website or webpage that contains content (blog posts) written informally and conversationally. Traditionally, most blogs revolved around entertainment or celebrity news. However, in popular culture, you can create a blog about anything and everything imaginable. The best part? You don’t need to be a professional writer, you just need to provide relatable content.
Generally, bloggers write from a personal perspective in a manner that establishes a direct connection with their readers. Additionally, most blogging sites have a comment section that allows a reader to give feedback or interact with the blogger.
Why should you start a blog?
Anyone can start a blog with proper guidance. But to start a successful one, you need to be passionate about blogging first. Generally, there are various reasons why people start blogging, including:
- Promote your brand or business
For a business to grow, it needs to attract customers to purchase its products or services. Today, brands can’t rely on the “build, and they’ll come” approach. Why? Because the competition is fierce and chances that there are millions of brands or businesses offering the same services as you are high. What’s more, they are blogging about their services and products, meaning their brands are more visible to consumers.
In this case, blogging is essential and useful. Unlike cold calling or leveraging other expensive marketing techniques such as paid ads, your blog can be the secret sauce to your business’ success. The gist is to provide your target audience with useful information that answers some or all of the questions they might be curious about. Doing this will not only position you as an industry leader, but it will generate more traffic, create brand awareness and ultimately lead to a return on investment.
- Blogging to make an income
Well, if you feel you need a break from an 8-5 job, then you should try blogging. However, if you want to generate revenue from your blog it’s imperative to create content that people actually want to read about.
Write mind-blowing content, promote your posts on social media platforms and find ways to convert the traffic into money. It’s really that simple.
Nonetheless, don’t expect overnight success. It takes time to make money from blogging. So, don’t be too quick to quit your job unless you have a solid back up plan or blog starts to pick up.
- Creative outlet
If your creative juices are flowing and you would love to share your creativity with the world, then you should try blogging. Besides, sharing your opinions, you can provide advice about useful skills, accumulated experience, or a craft you’ve mastered, and so on. A blog is a perfect place to share your personal journey in life, shed light on careers, health or just providing insightful information to help others.
Moreover, you can blog for fun or other personal reasons. For instance, some people treat blogging as a form of journaling. They find joy in being able to express themselves and their personal journey with the world. Also, being able to learn and enjoy ideas from complete strangers from different parts of the world through interactions in the comment section.
6 Tips on how to start a successful blog in 2020?
1. Choose the right topic
Whether you’re starting a blog for an existing business or personal gain, it’s an excellent way to engage with your audience and build your brand. Therefore, investing time in determining your audience personas is vital to ensure you provide content or posts that are useful to them.
For instance, if you have a clothing line business, your customers will be interested in fashion ideas, what to pair with what, recent trends, and so on. Similarly, if it’s a personal blog, consider your target audience. Don’t just blog about anything, try to target a specific audience.
Here are some guidelines to help you select a relevant topic:
- Create a topic for a specific audience. To establish your brand as an industry leader, you must create posts that people are interested in within a particular field.
- Your target audience should be big enough. In general, choose topics that other bloggers are already talking about and come up with a unique way of presenting this information. Moreover, you venture into uncharted territories and provide useful information about topics that are not at all popular. Just remember to ensure that the niche you choose has a significant amount of audience.
- Your blog needs to be useful in some way-inform, entertain, provide answers or solutions. Among the top-performing blogs include those that relate to human needs such as self-esteem, relationships, security and so on.
It helps if your blogging niche or topic is about something you love talking about. Mostly, if it’s something that you’re conversant with or passionate about, it’ll be easy to write useful and helpful posts. Posts that provide value to your readers is what helps you achieve your goals, from generating an income to building your business. Below is a list of some profitable blog niches, although not extensive:
These are just a few niches to help you get started. Typically, you can blog about anything as long as there’s an audience. Starting to blog is the only sure way to determine what works. Select two or more topic ideas from the list and start, if it doesn’t work out, you can always shift to a new niche.
2. Find a web hosting platform and claim a domain name
To build your blog, you’ll need a hosting platform that allows your blog to be online and available for users. Secondly, you’ll need a blogging platform where you can edit your content and organize your blog posts. Also, you will need a domain name that informs your readers what your blog is about. When picking the right domain name to consider the following tips:
- Don’t use hyphens as they are hard to remember
- Refrain from using numbers
- Avoid typos
- Consider the location of your target audience. Generally, “.com” is best if you are targeting an international audience
You can opt to choose WordPress, which is by far the most popular because It’s easy to use, flexible, and exceptionally functional. Moreover, it has a massive community of users who all share ideas, tools, and plugins. Alternatively, you can use Namecheap or and Bluehost as your hosting platforms. The significant advantage of Bluehost is that it’s an affordable one-stop-shop for web hosting and domain name registration. However, there are other web hosting companies. Regardless of the one you choose, always consider the following before making your decision:
- Track record
3. Customize your design
Now it’s time to choose a blogging theme. While there are various free themes readily available, you can opt to get yours from external sources. Moreover, if you’re truly serious about your blog, buying a pocket-friendly theme is a good start.
Purchased themes usually come with customizable headers or hero image (above the fold images) section that boosts conversion. You can check out Bluchic themes or ThemeForest for popular themes and filters. Once you find the right one, go to WordPress<Appearance<Theme<Add. Basically, you add the .zip file you receive after paying for it.
Here are a few suggestions of what to look out for when selecting the right theme:
- Simplicity: The goal of your blog is to provide readers with content that can easily be consumed. The fancier your theme is, the harder it will be for your readers to concentrate on the content.
- Responsiveness: Your theme should be supported on all devices, whether laptops or mobile phones. Additionally, it should seamlessly function in a variety of browsers.
- Plugins: The right theme should support all the popular plugins to add extra functionality to your page.
- SEO friendliness: Choose a theme that allows people to easily find you when they search for information that’s closely related to your blog.
- Support: Whether you are using free themes or not, you need to be able to speak to someone to help you fix the problem.
- Reviews and ratings: Look for themes that have a good track record.
Mainly, you want your blog to make the best impression on your target audience. Therefore, you need to focus on the design aspects of your blog, which includes:
- Clarifying your vision (what do you want to achieve with your blog?)
- Defining your niche (What are you going to be discussing?)
- Social media presence
- Consistency in your website design
If you are using WordPress, you are going to come across the following:
- At a glance: This section displays the general information such as your theme, the number of posts and pages as well as updates.
- Posts: This is where your articles or the main content of your blog go. Generally, this section appears in an organized way to allow your audience to search for topics that they are interested in.
- Comments: In this section, you can moderate the comments left by your followers.
- Appearance: This is where you can implement all the changes to your blog, including themes, adding menus, or widgets.
- Plugins: This is where you include software add-ons to enhance your blog page with extra features. Some of the plugins include Yoast SEO, WP Smush, insert headers and footers, Google Analytics dashboard for WP, Autooptimize and more.
5. Content Marketing: Create unique posts
Once you have chosen your blogging platform and your design, it is time to write engaging content. It’s essential to write your first article and place it in the blog, because:
- It’s challenging to see how your blog looks without any material.
- Content Marketing is the most essential part of your blog.
- It allows you to spend more time on what is really important, which is getting your blog up and running.
The trick is to keep it simple. However, use catchy headlines, tips, and how-to posts to encourage people to read your work. Once done, post your article on your blog.
6. Promote your blog
One of the most effective tools to promote your blog is through search engine optimization (SEO). This ensures your blog appears among the top on search engine platforms such as Google. To ensure you are using the right search terms, do keyword research to find out what your target audience is search for. You can use tools such as Ubersugest, LSI Graph, Google Keyword Planner among others, to find these search terms. Next, incorporate these keywords in your article as naturally as possible.
If you wish to make money from your blog, you’ll need to go a step further in promoting your blog. This might include email marketing the people who’ve subscribed to your newsletter and sharing your posts on social media.
Moreover, if you are willing to spend a few bucks, you can splurge on paid promotions on Facebook. This will boost traffic to your site and possibly establish your blog as a thought leader in that specific niche. Moreover, you can create internal links within your blog to redirect your readers to additional useful information.
Blogging is a fulfilling and enjoyable venture to undertake, both as a hobby or a fulltime job. However, like most other things worth doing, just start. Now that you are in the know of how to start, nothing should stop you. Whenever you hit a glitch you can always refer to resources online including video tutorials.
About the Author
Fazreen Razeek works for a Grafdom and had the leading web designer in dubai when he’s not pursuing his passion for education technology, Fazreen writes engaging content that aims to offer advice on trending web development and designing tools.