Learn how to start a blog, in this quick-start guide. It’s a simple, 4-step process that even a beginner can do successfully.
Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and I will receive a commission if you purchase through them.
1. Select a Niche
Before you do anything else, I want you to think about a topic, or niche, for your blog. You need to consider the following:
- What do you like? Your blog should be about something you enjoy, so you won’t get tired of writing about it.
- What are your skills or areas of expertise? You don’t have to be an expert to write about something, but you should at least have some knowledge on the subject. As you write about your niche, you may find that you will eventually become an expert.
- What do people want? If your niche is too narrow or obscure, you might not find an audience. Make sure your niche is something that other people find interesting. Think about your ideal audience. Who do you want to read your blog, and what they would be interested in reading?
- What sells? You might not be in it for the money, but if you are, you’ll need to make sure your niche is something that will bring you some income. We’ll get more into what that means in another blog post.
When considering a niche, I want you to try to make it narrow, but not so narrow that you are the only reader. Why make it narrow? You want to make sure that most, if not all, of your content appeals to your ideal audience. If your niche is too broad, some of your posts won’t appeal to everyone.
Part of selecting a niche includes coming up with a name for your blog. The name should be memorable, short, and easy to spell. Start thinking of names now, and we’ll talk more about this in the next step.
2. Get a Website
When people ask me how to start a blog, they often already have a niche in mind, so I often skip to this part.
You need a website to have a blog. You might already have a website, and it might even have blog functionality enabled. If so, great! If not, continue reading.
For those of you without a website, you need to consider what platform you will use. While you can use one of the many free website builders out there, I’m going to strongly discourage that. If you want to be a serious blogger, you’re going to have to make some investment of both time and money. With that in mind, I want you to consider WordPress.
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that was made for blogging. It’s easy to use and very flexible. Plus it has a ton of options for hosting. If you decide to use WordPress for your website, and blog, I recommend hosting it through one of these providers:
Please note that without a consultation, I can’t tell you which of those providers will be best for you. We can set up a call to do just that, but before you do, I want you to come up with your own answers answers to the following:
- What’s my budget?
- How much traffic do I expect?
- How much support do I need?
As part of your hosting setup, you will need to select a domain name. The domain name is basically the address of your website on the internet. Some hosting providers will register the domain name for you, but if not you can use a domain registrar, like Namecheap or GoDaddy, and then get support to help you connect the domain name to your website.
Your domain name should be short and memorable. Remember the blog name we talked about earlier? Ideally that can be used as your domain name. For example, I started a blog called “How I Camp,” and was able to register howicamp.com. If that domain name wasn’t available, I would have changed the name of my blog to something that was available.
Setting up WordPress
Each hosting provider does this a little bit differently, so check with their documentation and support. I’ll write some specific instructions for providers we use on a regular basis in some later posts.
3. Pick Some Post Ideas
After you select a niche, and make a home for your blog, it’s time to start planning your blog posts. I try to do this in advance as much as possible, so I’m not scrambling at the last minute to come up with ideas for my posts.
Spend about 15 minutes every 3-4 weeks, and write down as many ideas as you can for your posts. Try to come up with more ideas that you will actually write posts for, so you have extras on hand if you need them.
If you’re totally stuck on ideas, grab a copy of my 14-Day Blogging Challenge Quick Start Guide. One of the pages in that guide has 21 ideas you can use.
4. Write the Posts
Now that you have a niche, website, and some post ideas, it’s time to start writing!
How often you write is totally up to you. When I’m doing a challenge, my goal is to write 1-3 posts per day during the week, so I can skip writing on weekends. If I’m not doing a challenge, then my goal is 1-3 blog posts per week.
Consistency is important, but so is quality. If you have trouble writing high-quality blog posts on a daily basis, try starting off with writing them once a week. I’d much rather you publish stuff that people will take the time to read, and get value out of, than a bunch of fluff posts!
After you have your blog underway, there are many follow-up activities you can do.
- Drive traffic to your website (Part 1 and Part 2)
- Monetize your content
- And more!
If you need help with any aspects of this post, make sure you join our Facebook group and ask for help! We would also love to have you join a 14-Day Blogging Challenge with us, to really jump-start your blog.