Interested in starting a blog?
There's a lot of overwhelming information out there about how to get it done.
I won't bore you with any of that.
I'll show you how to get your blog in front of the largest audience available, and if you so desire, make money from it.
Making money isn't the only reason to start a blog. You may want to:
- Write about something you love
- Gain exposure for a business
- Teach people about something that interests you
Whatever your reason for starting a blog is, you definitely don't want to be bogged down by unnecessary information. In this intro I'll give you an easy to navigate guide for getting your blog up and running.
Then, if you're interested in growing a massive audience and making money from your blog, I'll show you the best practice tips for doing so. The best part, it can all be done almost entirely for free.
Here's a look at the outline of this guide, chapter by chapter:
How to Choose a Blog Platform
There are two main types of blogging platforms to choose from, hosted and self-hosted.
For a few reasons, I recommend self-hosted. With a self-hosted setup you own your content, you can monetize your blog however you like, and your blog can be customized in infinite ways.
Here's a simple look at the difference between hosted and self-hosted:
- Free and simple to set up a blog
- Support staff
- Can't advertise/make money on most platforms
- Connect with other blogs
- Limited customization
- Domain name not fully personalized (added .wordpress/.tumblr/.blogger extension)
- Risk of account suspension
- Pay for a domain name ($7.99 to $14.99 per year) and web hosting ($2.99 per month and up)
- Fully customize website themes and widgets
- Can be easily monetized through ads, affiliate links, e-commerce
- Slightly more compicated setup (more customization = steeper learning curve)
The main hosted blog platforms include Blogger, Tumblr and Medium.
The main self-hosted blog platforms include WordPress.org, SquareSpace, Wix.
Choosing a Web Hosting Provider
There are a ton of different hosting providers to choose from. Which one you choose will impact your blog in a few way.
Web host providers offer varying levels of service with regards to:
- Website up-time
- Page load speed
- Customer service
Most people will recommend Bluehost, it's the most popular option. When you compare their service side by side with other hosting providers, there are a couple of other hosting providers that make more sense.
My personal favorites are A2 Hosting and SiteGround. They are both very impressive as far as website up-time, page load speed and customer service. The most important feature for new bloggers being customer service.
Once you've chosen a web hosting provider, install WordPress. For most of the major providers this is a one click install.
You'll then be able to start customizing your theme and adding some plugins to your WordPress site.
Later on, we'll provide you with some guidelines for:
- Choosing an effective theme.
- Installing plugins that every WordPress site should use.
For now, we'll assume that you haven't yet chosen a niche or domain name. The next two chapters will provide some framework for doing so.
Even if you have chosen a niche and domain name, we recommend briefly looking over these chapters before moving forward.