How to Set up, run your first blog, and not chicken out.
If you haven’t heard of blogging by now, I’d say you’re either living under a rock or simply not aware of what has been happening in the online business and marketing front.
The internet now is the ﬁrst point of contact for most startups and aspiring business owners and one major way to kick start your online business front is through blogging. People tend to confuse the term ‘blog’ and ‘website’ to clarify this a blog is a kind of website only that it is updated on a very regular basis whereas websites could just be static and used to display services or what a company is about. Normally websites are just maintained and kept running. A blog has more activity and can easily be likened to an online journal.
In recent times after launching my ﬁrst blog noobscreen media I’ve gotten people meet me and ask for a heads up about blogging and how to go about it. So I decided to write this post talking on how to set up and run a blog, it’s quite easy but a bit technical and also, how to stay commited to blogging, I have been doing so for almost three years now and it’s almost easy to note how many bloggers give up on blogging due to lack of drive or being unclear as to the purpose of their reason to blog. I would be addressing these issues in this book. Now that we have a clear understanding of what a blog is, before we dive into the topic of discussion let’s start by conﬁrming and disproving a few myths on blogging.
Here are the Good old myths
- You have to be a good writer to blog: To blog you would need to know how to write obviously but you don’t necessarily need to be that much of a writer to be a blogger. Just knowing your niche is enough.
- Blogging is all about content: There’s a saying among bloggers that the most important part of blogging happens away from the blog and that’s absolutely correct. The main leads in blogging are from audience targeting, content promotions and the likes. Content alone, no matter how good, is not enough.
- Blogging is easy: I could say blogging is fun, but easy, is not a word I would use. There are a lot of things involved like interpreting your analytics data, learning SEO and optimizing your site to name a few.
You are going to ﬁnd many blogging myths out there but the three I’ve listed above are the most common in the blogosphere and are usually the major factors that aﬀects most newbie bloggers. Now that we have debunked these common myths let’s get back to our topic. Setting up a blog is quite easy as I’ve said earlier, it just needs a little bit of technicality. Also it’s important to have a clear and solid proof reason as to why you want to blog. If you want to blog for the sake of fast fame, you would be surprised as it takes quite a while for your new blog to get popular.
How to set up your blog
- Picking a good hosting company – There are a couple of important factors to take into consideration when setting up your blog such as what hosting company to use which is also where you purchase your domain, I recommend Godaddy, their plans are very cheap and aﬀordable. ﬁrst click on the link above to go to their page.
- Choosing your domain name – This a fun part as you can pick whatever name you want to name your blog e.g @ www.mydomain.com but it depends if the domain is not taken, you can check the availability of a domain here. A important factor to note is making sure you pick a domain name that’s catchy and easy to remember. Ensure to avoid special characters and use a short and simple name.
- Choosing your extension – The recommended extension to use for your blog is the .com extension. You could also go for the .net extension if you have preferences.
Blogger or WordPress?
Most people who chose to start blogging get confused on which of the platforms to use and on whether one is beer than the other and the diﬀerences. I’ll be clearing the air on these issues and give you suggestions on which one to use and reasons why it’s preferable against the other.
Blogger is a free hosting platform owned by google, you might be quite familiar with the extension .blogspot.com. This means whatever blog you’re seeing is running on the service. The platform is very easy to set up and use. The pros of blogger is that it’s free hosted and you don’t need to pay for anything but on the other side, blogger is very limited and has little features.
You must have heard of wordpress I’m sure, wordpress is a self-hosted (paid) platform which means the blog is totally under your control and you can do anything or whatever you want with it. The platform has a lot of nice features and is more advanced, even more, it’s open source.
Easy to use and requires little to zero technicalities.
Very limited features.
Google can delete your blog as they own the service
Requires technical know-how (at a surface level).
So Blogger or WordPress, which do I start with?
Start with Blogger, why?
In most cases the preferred choice to begin a career in blogging people go for wordpress due to the features and specifications, this is actually not a bad thing but in the long run, starting with wordpress could be damaging. You’ll be so busy designing and working with plugins that you won’t even have me to blog. WordPress is usually an upgrade from blogger by a person who knows what he wants or has built a solid foundation with blogging. The price of running wordpress which is expensive could all go to waste after payment because you might give up on blogging in general, due to certain factors. Blogger’s free platform could serve as a ‘training ground’ for you as you ﬁnd your feet and then when you are serious about blogging you take the next step and upgrade or migrate to wordpress.
How to set up blogger
Blogger is prey straightforward and easy to set up. Start by vising their main page, click on the ‘create your blog’ button.
Next a sign in page would load where you would be required to sign in with your google account, this is the same account you use to sign into your mail.
Google might ask to verify your mail via phone number, if that happens ensure you have the number required available or accessible. Chose the ‘send a text op on’.
At the next page that loads you would see ‘create a new blog’ then head over to the box in front of ‘ title’ and fill it. This is the name you would like to call your blog for example ‘Trendnaijablog.
Next is choosing a blog address, this is the link people will use when they want to access your blog, it’s important you pick a name that’s very easy to remember, also it depends on if the blog name is available. If it isn’t you have to think of another available name.
Running your blog
Finding your niche
Blogging cuts across many sections, from food blogs to politics, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, these are called ‘niches’. Finding your niche is a very important aspect when it comes to blogging because you’ll be speaking about this particular topic for a long period of time. When picking your niche, it’s better you chose a niche you are passionate about e.g. I blog about movies because I love movies. Picking a niche, you love can be very helpful because it propels you to be consistent. More so ensure to research on how your niche is faring in the blogosphere, carrying out such a research would help broaden your scope and make you more rooted in your field.
Understand your audience
When blogging, ensure you are fulfilling a particular need because nothing attracts readers like value. one way to achieve this feat is by knowing your readers and giving them what they want and good way to do this is to draft a reader persona. You can analyze a reader persona the following details.
- What – Ask yourself, what does the reader want to read on your blog?
- Why – This is also an important question it answers why your audience would want to visit again.
- When – Are they likely to visit your blog again?
- Where – Are your blog posts going to be gotten?
One of the major challenge I’ve heard from people who are interested in blogging or are already into blogging, is how to stay committed. As I stated earlier blogging is like a marathon, it never ends. This notion makes it easier for one to give up at some point or to have a writer’s block because you would be talking a particular topic for a long period of time and giving up would look like the inevitable horizon.
So how does one stay committed when faced with these daunting feats? I’ll be dropping a few hints and posts below on how to get along.
Staying committed in blogging has a part to do with passion and also willpower.
Having clear goals can keep you motivated (reasonable goals, don’t expect to hit a million dollars in your first week. It would end in tears). Also, there’s also the subconscious belief and goal achieving force, harnessing these could propel you forward. Having these traits is very important, especially among bloggers who have intense amount of energy after launching their blog and three weeks later, it begins to wane. To beat this, it helps to build internal motivation and drive. It works for some bloggers and it doesn’t for some.
- Respond to comments; understand that it’s not easy to get people to comment on your blog, a simple “thank you” would suffice.
- Get a blogging friend; Sometimes you can’t just do it on your own, it would help to have a friend who is also blogging and encourage yourselves, you could also join a blogging group or community.
Grow the habit
Show up every day (at least try); remember that it’s easy to give up on blogging so showing up regularly even if you don’t write, just checking your stats and analytics can build inspiration.
- Try writing in public; Some mes you might just get red of staying cooped up in your room, go to an eatery or a public place, you might also get inspiration from there
- Take a break; After a while you may find out you have contracted the infamous BSS (Blank Screen Syndrome). When this happens. Don’t sweat it. Just take a short break, but ensure you return.
- Have a schedule; This can help as it also tells your viewers when to expect fresh content on your blog and more importantly, writing posts ahead of your publication date is also a great strategy.
- Capture post ideas when you have them; An idea for a topic could jump at you at random time, having a means of putting them down such as carrying a note pad with you could be very helpful.
- Survey readers; want to know what your readers wanna read? Just ask them
- Use Twitter to find out what’s trending in your niche.
- Troll Reddit and Pinterest for ideas.
- Comment on other people’s blogs, never forget the power of networking.
Blogging is a very lucrative and fun micro business and anyone can indulge in it. Have fun.
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