How to start a Blog
7 Simple Steps to Creating a Blog the Right Way
Before starting a blog you should honestly answer the following two questions:
- Do you have a strong opinion or a lot to say about a particular topic?
- Do you want the whole world to hear your opinion?
If you have truthfully answered yes to both of these questions then you should definitely start your own blog and let the world know what you think.
I have put together 7 simple steps you need to follow to become an expert blogger. Here we go:
Create a name that everyone will remember
I have put together some tips to make it easier for you to think of a great name for your blog.
Using your Own Name Vs. Brand Name – A lot of people struggle with this, but there's really no difference. The only problem you may have is trying to sell a business named after yourself like "Joe Smith Plumming" to another owner who is not Joe Smith. Other than that there really is no difference.
You can start a coaching blog using your Full Name and turn that into a 6 figure business, or you can start a blog under a brand name like “FatBurner” and show people how to lose weight and also make six figures. One thing I would keep in mind however is making sure the name you pick stays relevant as time passes. Don’t pick a name like “FunnyCrazyTeen” when you are not going to be a teenager anymore in a few years. The last thing you want to do is spend all that time building up an audience around a name that won’t be relevant in the future. So think ahead and where your business might end up - you may want to branch out into other products as your business grows. Think of a name that will still be relevant a few years down the line.
Here are some concepts that were used to come up with the most popular brand names in the world. I recommend you play around with these to help you come up with a name for your business.
- Word Twist – pick two words and twist them together (also try misspellings like Foto instead of Photo). For example NetFlix, iTunes, Fotolog
- Word Mash - Write down a bunch of words to describe your business. Then start mashing them together to form a catchy name. See if anything good comes up. Here are some examples “WikiPedia”, FedEx, Microsoft
- Alliteration – find two words that start with the same letter. For example: “Weight Watchers”, “American Airline”, “Paramount Pictures”
- Name by a problem – think of a problem that your customers have. For example “NeverLate Electrical” or “StreakFree Windows”
- Name by desire or benefit – think of something that your customers want. For example: “5 Hour Energy”, “Loans Approved”, “Slim Fast”
- Own a dictionary word – you should probably see a trademark lawyer for this, but here are some examples: “Apple”, “Sharp”, “Amazon”
- Invent your own word – for example look at: YouTube, LEGO, Orio
Get YourBusinessName.com for FREE
The absolute best way to run a blog is to:
- Do it on your own hosting account – this will save you a ton of money. You can have as many blogs as you want for about $5 a month. I recommend opening a hosting account with BlueHost. They are very reliable, have great customer support and are experts at hosting blogs. Read my step by step guide on how to make a website/blog - click here.
- Registering your-own-name.com – FREE when you sign up for BlueHost - Click Here. If you sign up for webhosting with BlueHost, they will give you a domain name for free for the first year. This is a really good deal because you are saving about $10-12 bucks. If you already have a domain name then you can get webhosting separately and link your domain name to it later.
- Use the best blogging software in the world – the best things in life can actually be FREE. In Step 3, I cover why WordPress (which is used by 25% of the entire internet) is the most popular blogging software on the planet. It’s also open source, which means it’s free to use and modify however you like with no restrictions. I list some specific benefits in Step 3.
Pick a Website Builder (Platform)
The best and most popular blogging platform in the world is WordPress. If you sign up with BlueHost as your webhost, this will automatically be available to you. Read my free tutorial on how to built a website/blog using WordPress - click here
WordPress runs about 25% of all websites/blogs in the world – and it’s FREE. It is by far the number one choice of all professional bloggers. You can’t proudly say you are a blogger and expect other bloggers to take you seriously if you are not running WordPress.
Here are some of the benefits you will get using WordPress.
- Free – One click install with BlueHost.
- Easy to use – Easily add new posts, pages, videos, pictures, buttons, etc.
- Has a strong community with millions of people using it.
- Search engine friendly (Search engines tend to list your site in the search results pretty quickly if you are using WordPress)
- Highly customizable (thousands of free plugins that can add any functionality you can dream of to your blog)
- Free themes/templates (thousands of free templates)
- Premium Templates (if you want a website that looks like it cost thousands to design, consider spending $50 on a premium template) Get them from ThemeForest
- Social Media Friendly (tons of plugins that let you add social buttons and icons)
- Add Videos, pictures, or any content you want.
- Create a blog or a full website – you can use WordPress to either make a blog or a website or both at once.
- Ecommerce friendly – you can turn your blog or website into an ecommerce shop with the Free WooCommerce Plugin.
- Turn your blog/website into anything you want (add a paid members area, add e-commerce, make a forum, create a social network)
- Easy backups
- Allow users to register for your site to post comments or write articles for your blog/website.
- Create a membership site where users have to pay monthly to be allowed access to your website.
- Anything you can think of can be done with WordPress. It’s very flexible.
Design & Layout
After installing WordPress you should be able to choose a free template to get you started with your blog. I have written a complete guide on how to make a WordPress website here. If you want something really amazing, then consider spending $50 bucks on a premium theme to really spice up your blog/website. You can get some really nice themes from ThemeForest.
Logo – You can start off by having a simple text logo. Most web templates will allow you to type in some text that will appear as a logo which you can replace later on with a custom image. If you want to make your own logo I recommend keeping it simple. Use a unique font or color to make it stand out, but don’t make it too complicated. Most of the famous brands you know have very simple logos.
Use LogoMakr to make a Free Logo - Click Here
Image Editing - A really good FREE image editing tool you can use is: pixlr.com
Look at the logo that I have made for this website. It’s simply text - I even removed the picture that was there before. You may not like it, but basically this is how you make a simple logo without spending money, and get your website up and running fast.
Colors - I recommend keeping the background color white and text black - to make your blog easy to read and easy on the eyes, but you can play with different combinations.
Pictures - use pictures/photos to add some liveliness to your blog. Pictures can evoke feelings and emotions and make your content that much better. Think about flipping through a popular magazine that has no pictures and just text – pretty boring isn’t it?
You can get FREE pictures from Unsplash.com
Write Great Content
Focus on quality over quantity. Of course the more content you write the better, but make sure it’s well written and has no grammar/spelling mistakes. You want your readers to take you seriously after all.
How often should you post – The more the better but, try aiming for at least 2-3 posts a week at the minimum. This will encourage your visitors to come back and not forget about you. Also write long form content - meaning 2-4 thousand words per article (this will definitely get you some search engine traffic).
Video – if you really want to take it to the next level, you may want to consider doing videos for YouTube. It's like having your own television network. You can pretty much talk about what you wrote in your blog post. Videos are a really good form of content as most people are pretty lazy and would rather watch/listed than read.
Audio/Podcast – You can record yourself speak about what you wrote and put it up on your blog. This way your visitor can just click to play and listen to you while they are cooking their dinner or something. TIP: If you have already made a video, you can rip out the sound and use that on your blog or podcast.
Promoting Your Blog
Some of you may find this to be a little frustrating because it requires using your imagination and being creative with your content strategy (Put on your marketing/creative hat when you are doing this). Just remember to keep your content useful to your readers and provide value. If you do that, and utilize the tools I have listed below, you should be able to get a big social media following and start getting free search engine traffic fairly quickly.
- Social Media Channels> - Think of these places as hang out areas where your customers go to kill time and relax – kind of like when people used to kill time watching tv or reading a magazine or something. A lot of people these days are hanging out on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc. That’s where they find content they like and consume on daily basis. A lot of people used to say back in the day that social media is a stupid fad that’s going to go away. Well, that doesn’t really matter anymore, it’s taken over people's lives and rightly so – there’s way cooler sh**t on the internet than in print or TV. The point is, there are millions of people on these channels right now and you want to get your product or service in front of them asap. Here’s what I mean: Create profiles with your blog/business name across all the top social media channels. For example if your blog is called TechCrunch, you should register that same name on different social platforms. I will definitely recommend FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube. If your blog has a lot of pictures and you want to reach a large female demographic then also create a Pinterest account and consider using Instagram as well. A lot of people have built 6 figure business promoting on Instagram.
- YouTube – this is a great place for driving traffic to your business. Think about it this way - YouTube has pretty much replaced Television for young people (even some adults). Millions of people watch YouTube because it’s free for content creators and viewers. You can put up a video for free and millions of people can view it. This is probably the most powerful way to promote your blog or anything in the world for that matter. It might be a little intimidating at first, since you have to think of all the stuff you are going to talk about and then go on camera in front of the whole world. Well, if you want to be rich and famous - you gotta do it! An easy way to approach this is film yourself talking about the content you wrote in your blog. Or, if you are brave enough you can do the video first, and then covert what you said into a written blog post. It’s that simple. You just gotta do it, that’s all.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – What this means is you have to make sure your website is properly build in order for the search engines to like it and rank it higher in the search results. This is very important because it pretty much means free traffic to your site. If you can get your blog on page one of Google for a popular keyword that gets a lot of monthly traffic, you can pretty much say goodbye to your day job.
If you have bought a premium WordPress theme from ThemeForest, then you don’t have to worry about SEO too much as most premium themes are built with SEO in mind. However, if you have built your website using a free WordPress theme, your site may need some custom adjustments. I would highly recommend using a premium WordPress theme to take all the SEO frustrations out of blogging and focus on what’s really important – good quality content.
Some bonus SEO tips
Make sure your article titles contain keywords that you want to rank for in the search engines. For example if you wanted to rank for “New York Photographer”, you would want to use those keywords in the title and the body of your articles (don't over stuff your articles with the keyword because it will look spammy and may get you negative results). Once you have a lot of posts on the photography topic and you have placed relevant keywords in the titles and body of the articles, your main blog and all of your articles will slowly start to rise in the search engines rankings.
Make sure your page/post titles are using the <h1> tag
Write lots of interesting content - go for 2-4 thousand word articles
Ask people to share your posts. Once you have set up your blog with WordPress (Click here to read the Step-by-Step Tutorial) you can get a free plugin like “Shareaholic” to create social icons across your blog. When people share your stuff, your site will become more popular in the search engines as well.
Pick a theme that's Mobile Friendly (Most Premium Themes come Mobile Friendly out of the box) - Get Premium Themes Here at ThemeForest
Use Google analytics to see where your traffic is coming from. You will be able to better understand who your audience is.
If you can get these 3 things right. Social, YouTube and SEO, then there is no way your blog should not be a success.
Making Money From Your Blog
Affiliate Marketing – The best way to think of affiliate marketing is as follows. Pick a brand/product related to what your blog/website is about. Find someone who has an affiliate/partner program selling such a product. Sign up for their affiliate program and sell their product on your blog in return for a commission. For example, if your blog is about ‘pet food’ or about ‘how to trade stocks’ you can easily find an affiliate program that already has products you can sell related to pets or stock trading. Such affiliate programs usually have promotional materials for their affiliates to use. So you can simply log in and get banners and graphics of their product that you can cut and paste to your website. After you make a few sales they will send you commission via PayPal or Cheque.
Here are some Affiliate Programs you may want to check out.
- Click Bank – Has a ton of various products, physical and digital. Commissions can range anywhere from 5% - 70%
- Amazon – They pay a commission of anywhere from 8 – 20% depending on the items you refer sales for.
- Other Small Businesses – There are tons of business selling all kinds of stuff on the internet these days. You can simply search for a product and look at who makes it. Then look to see if they have an affiliate program you can join.
Google AdSense> – Google has an ad network that displays ads from advertisers in two places. The search results and partner websites. You can become a partner by signing up for AdSense where you will get a piece of code that you “Cut and Paste” to your blog that will start displaying ads on your blog. The ads displayed will be based on the written content of the blog. So if Google reads your page and thinks it’s about pet food, then the ads will be about pet food. The money you make from these ads can be anywhere from 1 penny to roughly $20 a click (keywords related to Legal/Law are very expensive). Remember that the competition in the search engines for a top spot can get pretty severe for the high paying keywords. Don’t waste your time going after something like “Cheap Loans” - you have to compete with guys who’ve been doing it for years.
To get started with AdSense all you need is a Gmail account - click here to go to Google AdSense
Advertising Directly – Once your blog gets popular and you start seeing a lot of traffic you can start approaching businesses who could potentially be interested in advertising on your website. They can pay you per impression or per click on their ads, you just have to negotiate a private deal with them
Create your own product – after all you don’t have to sell other people’s stuff, you can sell your own. You may want to consider creating your own product and using your blog to promote it. It can be a digital product or a physical product. The difference is that with a physical product you have to worry about shipping, with a digital product you can make money on autopilot while you sleep. The choice is yours.
How to Make a Website/Blog
Step by Step Tutorial
Now that you understand the basics of what it takes to make a successful blog - you are ready to start building.
I have written a step-by-step guide on how to set up your own website/blog - You can read it here.
You will learn how to: