If you want any kind of online presence, then you need to start a blog. But how do you really start a blog? Having your own blog will allow you to express your views and opinions in front of a captivated audience, promote and sell products as an owner and affiliate and, most importantly, position yourself as an expert in your chosen niche or topic.
Blogs also provide a flexible platform from which you can make money from advertisements related to your interest, build a list of loyal followers who can spread your message virally, display topical videos that can become instant hits, and allow so much peer interaction that your name or brand can be propelled from obscurity to fame quicker than any other means today.
Finding A Niche
The first step to starting a blog is to base its content around a trending or evergreen niche or topic that has a lot of interest from people searching online. Trending niches tend to be focused on the activities of a celebrity or the release of a much-anticipated physical product.
These topics generally dominate the internet for a short period of time, and can generate a surge of targeted traffic to blogs created specifically to take advantage of their immediate appeal. Trending topics can be found easily at the following sites;
- Trending Today – http://www.trendingtoday.com/
- Google Trends – http://www.google.com/trends/
- Trend Reports http://www.trendreports.com/
Evergreen niches differ to trending interests in that they are long-lasting by nature and have almost limitless angles that can be exploited for content creation. It is preferable to create blogs around evergreen topics because their longevity means that people will always be looking for information about them.
A blog that is built around an evergreen niche has the capacity to contain thousands of content pages, build a huge following of like-minded fans, and gain a tremendous amount of ‘authority’ or bias in rankings from the search engines.
The most popular evergreen niches are those that pertain to any of the myriad of topics within the health, wealth and lifestyle markets.
Ideas for evergreen niche blogs are frequently sourced from sites that can be found at the following link; http://www.nichehacks.com/101-resources-discover-hot-niche-ideas/
Regardless of the niche that you select as the focus for your blog, it is important to confirm that there is enough interest in that topic from people searching for it online. There are many ‘tools’ that can reveal this information, one of which is the Keyword Planner that is accessible through your free Google AdWords account.
When you sign into your account, select the Keyword Planner from the ‘Tools and Analysis’ dropdown tab.
Select the first option then to search for new keywords. You can then enter your niche keyword, select your location, and then ‘Get Ideas’. Select the ‘Keyword Ideas’ tab to reveal the number of exact monthly searches for your keyword and other related niche terms.
While there is no hard and fast rule regarding search number levels, anything above 5,000 searches is an indication of a very worthwhile niche to enter.
Registering A Domain Name
Now that you have your niche established, the next step is to register a domain name that identifies your niche and captures in an instant the content of your blog. There are many sources from which you can purchase a domain name, with two of the most respected sites being Namecheap.com and GoDaddy.com.
In our experience, Namecheap.com is less intrusive with its advertisements, and a search online for “namecheap.com coupon” will provide a range of codes that can be used to obtain a discount when purchasing your TLD, a top level domain name that ends in .com, .net or .org.
While it’s not necessary to register a domain that explicitly matches your topic, it should at minimum paint a picture of the subject matter of your blog.
Finding A Web Host
If you are yet to obtain hosting, this will be your next and almost final step in getting your blog online. As with domain providers, there is a range of hosting platforms that can ‘house’ your domain and maintain the files that make up your blog.
A popular hosting solution is HostGator, and again you can find discount coupons online for your first month. HostGator.com will offer you a selection of packages. When starting out, the shared ‘Baby Plan’ will provide everything you need.
After you have created your account, you then need to ‘connect’ your domain name and hosting account which will allow your blog to be displayed online.
Simply log into your Namecheap.com account and navigate to your ‘Manage Domains’ filter. Check the box next to your domain name, select the ‘Transfer DNS to Webhost’ option, enter the two Nameservers that HostGator emailed to you upon sign-up, and save the changes. You are now ready to install your first blog.
As a matter of interest, there are sites that allow you to create free blogs. Some of the better known sites, which are often referred to as Web 2.0 sites, include;
While there is no technical ability required to create these blogs, we recommend them only as feeder sites into your main blog. It is not wise to rely on these blogs as your main site because you do not have complete freedom to post any content that you want on them.
When using your blog as a means to build your business, it is best to utilize a platform that does not have the constraints that apply to those mentioned above.
Choosing A Blog Platform
The most popular and recommended software with which to create your blog is on the WordPress.org platform. WordPress is a flexible and customizable script to which you can add thousands of widgets and plugins to make changes to your blog and even use it as a full content management system.
You can install your WordPress blog by logging into your hosting account and locating the software section within your hosting control panel. Select the ‘QuickInstall’ icon, then ‘WordPress’ and the ‘Continue’ tab. From the http:// dropdown menu, select your domain name, and be sure to leave the adjacent field blank.
Complete the remaining fields and click on the ‘Install Now’ button. Click the ‘here’ link that follows; you now have a newly installed blog! Video instructions to the process can be found on the HostGator.com support page.
When you have completed your blog installation, you can visit the homepage of your new blog by typing its domain name into your browser. The site that now shows is your blog on the WordPress default theme.
A theme is simply an install that you can change in your blog’s administration area to alter the blog’s appearance. There are countless number of both free and paid themes available; selecting one is generally just a matter of personal choice.
Now that you know how to start a blog, the fun begins with learning how to make it look and function specifically to your liking. There are many courses online that will walk you through the process. It may at first appear to be overwhelming, however if you take your training one step at a time, you may well become one of the next blogging professionals who started with their first blog in just the same way that you are now.