You want to have a body of content before you really start promoting your blog (even if it’s a small one to start). A blog with only one article won’t give people much of an idea of what to expect or why to come back. If you have a number of interesting posts already published on your site, visitors are more likely to read, enjoy your articles, and decide to come back later for more.
Why You Should Start a Blog
There are a multitude of reasons to start a blog. Whether you’re looking to generate traffic for your existing site, share your perspective with the world, brand yourself as an expert, or gain enough of a following to monetize your blog via ads or affiliate links.
To start a successful blog you don’t need to have Faulkner-level writing skills. And actually, Faulkner’s writing style wouldn’t be a great fit for blogging, where the simpler and more conversational you write, the better. People don’t turn to blogs to read textbook-like prose or great literary writing. Instead, they want down-to-earth practical information that’s based on real-life experience.
If writing isn’t a strong suit now, consider trying out some tools to help you write like a pro or finding a writing course or coach to help you build your skills. Writing can be learned, and you’ll inevitably get better as you get more practice (just ask any successful blogger how they feel about the earliest posts they wrote 😬).
The main prerequisite you need to consider starting a blog is a mix of knowledge to share, and curiosity to learn more as you go. After all, you need to make sure you have something valuable to say, or what will all your blog posts be about?
How to Start a Blog in 10 Steps
A blogging niche is more than just a topic or segment of a market. It’s about how you’re going to address this topic, your unique background, and the audience you’re speaking to. Your niche will give your blog a focus, help guide the design of your site, and illuminate the unique value you’re giving to your visitors.
If you’re wanting to create a personal brand, then think both about what you’re interested in, and what your goals are. Do you want your blog to help you get a job or find clients? If so, make sure you’re covering topics that will be relevant to the type of businesses and people you want to work with, and what you hope to get hired for.
If you want to start a blog to share your thoughts on a topic you’re passionate about, then you don’t have to think as strategically (unless your ultimate goal is to monetize it). But still sit down to work out the main types of topics you want to cover and point of view you want to represent. Adding one more blog to the world about food isn’t likely to attract as many followers as figuring out a more specific point of view, like how to make allergy-friendly food that kids will eat. There’s a specific audience out there looking for that content—they’re more likely to find you than the much larger audience of people who eat food.
Your 5-minute guide for how to start a blog today
You’re going to learn a lot more about all of these topics in this guide. But before I dig into the nitty-gritty details, I want to give you a bird’s eye view of the actual technical steps that you’ll need to take to launch a blog.
And because it’s hard to change your blog’s topic later on, if your end goal is monetization you need to put some effort into figuring out whether you have an audience and monetization options before you build your blog.
1. Do I enjoy writing about this topic?
2. Are other people interested in this topic, too?
KWFinder – This free tool lets you input a “keyword” to see how popular it is. A keyword is essentially any phrase that people search for in Google. If lots of people are searching for the topic in Google, you can be pretty sure there’s a good-sized audience.
You should see a bunch of results with a number that indicates how many people search for that term per month. Ideally, you’ll want to see numbers with thousands of monthly searches. For example, the topic of this post (a very popular topic) gets over 110,000 searches per month:
3. Can I make money from this topic?
This example is kind of commercial, but if you had a popular blog about strategies for using credit cards better, you can bet you’d have a boatload of credit card companies knocking on your door wanting to throw money at you.
Need more help choosing a blog niche?
Step 2: Pick a blogging platform – I recommend WordPress
Not only does WordPress power this very blog you’re reading, but it also powers 33% of all the websites on the Internet. Yup! More than one-fourth of every single website that you use is powered by WordPress.
Why is WordPress the best platform to start a blog?
You shouldn’t use WordPress.com, though
Self hosted WordPress with WordPress.org, means you install the free WordPress software on your own web host, which means you’re 100% in control of your website. It’s a little more involved to get started with, but the payoff is definitely worth the extra effort.
Here’s the bottom line: If you’re serious about your blog, having a self-hosted WordPress blog is a better option than using WordPress.com, even with WordPress.com’s offer of a “free” (but limited) blog.