How To Start A Blog: Complete Guide (7189 Words)
How to start a blog? It may look like a very complicated task, especially when you don’t have any technical background. When I first jumped into the world of blogging and wanted to start a blog, I had no idea about where to start and if I had found a guide such as this one, it would have saved me hours (if not days) of online research to get everything I needed to start a blog the right way.
This is the exact reason why I decided to put together this extremely detailed guide to start a blog on WordPress. It is designed to teach you everything you need to start a blog the right way. It covers a wide variety of topics from Domain Names, WebHosts, to Traffic Sources.
To start a Blog, You Need an Idea
Lets run that idea up the flag pole and see which way the wind blows!
Did you ever ask yourself what is the common point between every successful website or blog that you know? Google? Amazon? Ebay? Facebook? Well, you guessed it: the Idea.
Every last one of the successful websites that you visit on a daily basis have in common the fact that they are based on a strong Idea. For a website, it can be the will to answer a question visitors are asking or to fill a need.
Let’s take the example of Google, the visitor question could be: “where can I find the most relevant information about [insert_keyword]?” Amazon visitors question would be: “Can I buy anything anytime?” Facebook would be the answer to the need of empowering social interactions by providing an online tool to manage communications…
And same goes for all the websites you can think of!
Now here is an interesting thing that you may not have thought about. Did you realize that a lot of these websites are online application of offline concepts? Let me explain this point to you. Don’t you think Google could be seen as a tourism information booth? Amazon is one of the easiest: a huge store; Ebay: An auction place; Facebook: the campus cafeteria… This is as simple as that!
Successful blogs and websites are relying on a few key concepts. One of which is Passion: all the successful bloggers are passionate about their subject, whether you want to add content to your blog once per day, once per week, or once per month, you’ll need to know your subject. To be interesting for other people, you need to be interested.
My blog is focusing mostly on helping you start a blog and Making Money Online through Affiliate Marketing. So if you are serious about creating your very own blog, I’m going to ask you to do one thing before reading the next step. Please take a paper and a pen and take your eyes off of your computer screen for a few minutes, then come back here ;)
In order to start a blog, I’d like you to write down on this piece of paper a list of the things that you are passionate about. It can be Video Games, Music, Movies, Flowers, Cars… It can really be anything at all. Don’t be afraid to be as specific as possible. Maybe instead of Video Games, you would write PS3 Video Games, xBox Video Games, instead of music, that would be HipHop Music or Country Music…
Now that you have your list written down, you can get on the next step to start your blog: please take a few more minutes to rank all these subjects from the ones you are totally fond of and could talk about during countless hours, to the ones you are moderately passionate about.
Here you go! Now, look at the subject you ranked first on your list, and answer this question: Do you want to start a blog about this subject?
Congratulations, you have your idea to start a blog!
Your Blog Needs a Domain Name
The second very important step to start a blog is picking your Domain Name. Let’s explain what a domain name is by quoting Wikipedia:
A domain name is an identification label that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control on the Internet, based on the Domain Name System (DNS).
This may sound a little complicated but in fact, it’s the most simple thing in the world. The domain name is the name that you are typing to reach a blog. For example, my site domain is:
There are two ways to start a blog and pick a domain name:
- The first way is to pick a name related to the subject you want to start a blog about. For example, if your blog is going to talk about Xbox Video Games, you can try to get domains such as xboxvideogames.com, xbox-video-games.com, myxboxvideogames.com, bestxboxvideogames.com,… This way, your domain will be relevant to your subject, but when you start a blog this way, the downside is that the domain name is almost impossible to remember and it’s not really brandable.
- The other possibility to pick a domain name and start a blog, which is really more interesting, is to find a name which is personal to you. If your name was Bill Gates, you could try to register BillGates.com, Billsxbox.com or billyg.com,… The possibilities are endless!
Before you start a blog, you can check if the domains are available or not simply by typing them in the address bar of your favorite internet browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome,…). If you get an error message, you have a chance that the domain is not taken yet.
Once you find one or two domains which are available, you need to keep in mind that this could be a matter of hours or even minutes before someone registers your dream domain name and stops you in your effort to start a blog. So, once you find a good domain name, you should take action pretty fast to make sure you get it and start a blog.
Here is a table of some companies which let you register domain names to start a blog.
To start a blog the right way, I strongly advise you to register your domain names through NameCheap because they are one of the biggest company managing domain names on the internet and you are sure that they will not disappear with your domain. I personally use them to register all my domain names and I never have any trouble when I want to start a blog.
When people want to start a blog, I generally advise them to not take a package including both Domain Name and Hosting. For some technical and safety reasons, you shouldn’t have your Domain Names and your Hosting with the same company, I’ll go over this in more details in the next step of this guide explaining you how to start a blog.
Best Hosting Company To Start A Blog
Now that you found your blog idea and that you have registered your domain name, the next step to start a blog is to pick a hosting company.
Let’s refer again to Wikipedia definitions:
A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their own website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server they own or lease for use by their clients as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center. Web hosts can also provide data center space and connectivity to the Internet for servers they do not own to be located in their data center, called collocation.
To put it in simple words, now that you have bought your domain name (which is like a street address) to start a blog, you are going to need the hosting (which is like your apartment). This is the place where you are going to store the files of your website.
To start a blog, you have probably heard of Free Web Hosting, or if you haven’t, you will. Well, let me clarify this subject. Yes you can find hosting which costs $0. But the HUGE problem is that they usually add their own advertising when you start a blog, they do not let you personalize your site, and they can delete your blog in a blink, just because they decide to. You will have no way to get your blog back, because, well, it was “free“.
Now, if you are serious and want to start a Blog the right way (and I’m pretty sure that you are), you should keep reading this page, because I’m about to share with you some valuable information about picking the right Web Hosting Company to start a blog.
There are hundreds of Web Hosting Companies (further referred as WebHost) on the internet. All of which will offer you various solutions to start a blog. But picking the right one is a VERY important decision for the upcoming success of your business. Would you rent an apartment in a bad neighborhood? I doubt it. Well, the same applies to the WebHost choice to start a blog. A bad WebHost could mean your website being taken down for no reason at all without noticing you, it could mean slow website, as well as website not being available in some part of the world. Is it what you want when you start a blog?
Luckily for you, I did put together a table with the best WebHosts to start a blog:
Table explanation: The “Space” refers to the amount of data you can store on your WebHost. It’s like the size of the HardDrive of your personal computer. The “Bandwidth” refers to the amount of data your WebHost will transfer to your visitors. Think of it as if your computer had an upload limit. The more your blog is visited, the more your Bandwidth will be used. This is the reason why with Unlimited Bandwidth you don’t have to worry about getting too many visitors after you start a blog! You won’t be a victim of your own success.
To start a blog properly, once you have purchased your hosting with HostGator, there is a step you need to do on NameCheap website. Go to NameCheap website and log into your account. Now locate the Support page in order to send them a support request. You can copy the following message:
I recently registered the domain [Insert_Domain].com on NameCheap. However, following the advices of a friend, I purchased my hosting from HostGator. Could you please update the DNS records of my domain [Insert_Domain].com to point them to HostGator nameservers:
Thank you for your help.
IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to replace
ns2.hostgator.com with the nameservers you’ve received from Hostgator.
Basically this step is required when you start a blog so that your Domain Name forwards your visitors to the place where your blog files are hosted. It should usually take less than 24hours for them to update this information. Then you are all set for next step to start your blog.
Start A Blog: Installing Files On WebHost
Here comes one of the most exciting steps of the Blog Creation Process. This is when your really start a blog and see it come to life.
To start a blog, you’ll need a CMS (Content Management System). The choice of a CMS to start a blog is quickly made, we’ll go for WordPress because it is hands down the best user-friendly CMS you’ll ever find! And the community of people using it is huge, which means a lot of developer are working on developing Plugins or extensions that you can use when you start a blog. You can download WordPress on WordPress Download Page.
Now, in order to start a blog, I need you to take a look at the emails you received from HostGator. There should be some information regarding cPanel IP and Logins. Input the cPanel IP/url in your internet browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome,…) address bar. You’ll be prompted to input your login and password. cPanel is the administration page of your hosting.
Then, there are two ways to install WordPress. I’ll explain the non-techy way first, because it is the easiest if you don’t have any technical background and it will allow you to start a blog in no time.
1/ WordPress Installation using Fantastico
Fantastico is a software that let’s you do a one-click WordPress install, it allows you to start a blog quickly. It is not installed on all WebHosts, so I’ll explain WordPress installation with and without it.
- In your cPanel, click on the Fantastico icon.
- In the Fantastico interface, search the Blogs section in the menu on the left. In this section, you should see the WordPress link. Click it.
- On the following page, you should click on the New Installation link.
- You should arrive at the first of three steps in the one-click installation process. Here, you’ll be able to determine which folder you’d like to have WordPress installed to, as well as some other blog information.
- Installation Location. When you start a blog, if you want your blog to be your website’s homepage, ensure that you leave the space blank, otherwise type in the name of the folder you want WordPress installed to (make sure it doesn’t already exist).
- Admin access data. Choose the username and password you’d like to use in order to access the WordPress admin panel after installation is completed.
- Base configuration. Type a nickname you’d like to use throughout the blog. By default, the nickname is used whenever you leave comments or write an entry on the blog, so choose something you don’t mind the world seeing. The admin e-mail address is where notices, passwords, and other information about the administration of the blog is sent. Your blog’s name and description should be self-explanatory.
- To start a blog, when your blog information is complete, click on the Install WordPress button at the bottom.
- When you’re ready to start a blog, verify that the information you provided is correct and click on Finish installation. Fantastico will create a brand new database for you and create the necessary WordPress files to start a blog.
- When the process to start a blog is complete, you will receive a confirmation notice with the details of the installation. If you’d like a copy of the report for your records, you’ll have the option to send an e-mail to an account of your chosing with all the information you provided to start a blog.
You should be all set and ready for the next step. Customize. To start a blog, in case your WebHost doesn’t let you install WordPress through Fantastico, you can follow the second tutorial.
2/ WordPress Installation using MySQL Database Wizard
To start a blog, once you are logged into your cPanel, follow these steps:
- Click MySQL Database Wizard icon under the Databases section.
- In Step 1. Create a Database enter the database name and click Next Step.
- In Step 2. Create Database Users enter the database Username and the Password. Make sure to use a strong password. Click Create User.
- In Step 3. Add User to Database click the All Privileges checkbox and click Next Step.
- In Step 4. Complete the task, note the database name and user. Write down the values of hostname, username, databasename, and the password you chose. (Note that hostname will usually be localhost.)
If you need more detailed instructions about creating a database on HostGator, you can go to HostGator Database Creation.
To start a blog, after Unzipping the files from the WordPress Archive on your computer, you will need to upload the files to your WebHost. In order to do so, you will need a FTP Client. I personally use FileZilla because it’s open-source and free. You can download it on FileZilla Download Page (If you are a Windows user, it will be the first link at the top of the content). Once it is installed on your computer, we are going to configure it. Actually, the guys at FileZilla did an amazing job to put together a usage guide. I invite you to read it here: FileZilla Usage
Now go to the folder where you extracted WordPress Files and follow these steps to start a blog:
- Rename the wp-config-sample.php file to wp-config.php.
- Open wp-config.php in a text editor and fill in your database details.
- Place the WordPress files in the desired location on your web server:
- If you want to start a blog by integrating WordPress into the root of your domain (e.g. http://example.com/), move or upload all contents of the unzipped WordPress directory (but excluding the directory itself) into the root directory of your web server.
- If you want to start a blog by having your WordPress installation in its own subdirectory on your web site (e.g. http://example.com/blog/), rename the directory wordpress to the name you’d like the subdirectory to have and move or upload it to your web server. For example if you want the start a blog in a subdirectory called “blog“, you should rename the directory called “wordpress” to “blog” and upload it to the root directory of your web server.
- Then to start a blog, run the WordPress installation script by accessing http://example.com/wp-admin/install.php in a web browser.
- If you installed WordPress in the root directory, you should visit: http://example.com/wp-admin/install.php
- If you installed WordPress in its own subdirectory called blog, for example, you should visit: http://example.com/blog/wp-admin/install.php
If you need more detailed instructions about installing WordPress to start a blog, you can go to WordPress Installation Guide.
The Perfect Design For Your Blog
Now that you have WordPress installed on your WebHost, you probably wonder how you can start a blog that looks more personal because the current graphic design is the one included in WordPress by default, and there are probably thousands of people who are using it.
To start a blog properly, you definitely want to stand out of the crowd by having you very own custom graphic design. Here is a table presenting the greatest places where you can purchase some Premium WordPress Themes to start a blog that fits your own taste.
|Min Price||Max Price||Featured|
|Woo Themes||$70.00||$200.00||The Morning After|
|Ultimate Blogging Theme||$67.00||$97.00||Ultimate Blogging Theme|
|Affiliate Theme||$97.00||$297.00||Affiliate Theme|
|Elegant Themes||$39.00||$39.00||Cherry Truffle|
|Atomic Theme||$47.00||$47.00||Affiliate Theme|
|Studio Press||$79.95||$399.95||Lifestyle Theme|
You are probably wondering why I am advising you to go for a Premium WordPress Theme to start a blog. You are totally right to ask this question and here is the explanation.
You can always download some Free WordPress Themes to start a blog, but keep something in mind, there are hundreds of thousands of websites running on WordPress. If you download some Free WordPress Themes, chances are really high that you are going to end up with a theme someone is already using to start a blog. And believe me, there are not this many Good-looking Free Themes out there to start a blog.
So, if you want to start a blog with a Quality Graphic Design that will help building your Website and Brand credibility by giving it some eye-candy, Ultimate Blogging Theme is definitely the place you should check out!
Add Basic Pages To Your Blog
Now that you have your blog installed and that you have installed your Premium WordPress Theme, the next step to start a blog is to add some content to your blog.
In order to start a blog properly, you are going to add the basic pages that every good blog should have, which are a Contact Page and an About Page.
Pages are different from Posts. If you already read some blogs on a regular basis, you probably know that posts are like articles that you can add when you want to speak about the subject of your blog. They are generally displayed on the front page of your blog, except if you bought a special theme, and are ordered by date, the latest being displayed as the first one.
Pages, on the other hand, are erm… well… pages. They are easily accessible from every other page of your blog, generally through a menu that you can find at the top of your blog or in the sidebar. They are used to display general information about you or about your blog.
The next step to start a blog is to create the About Page. You should log into your WordPress blog by visiting the address: http://yoursite.com/wp-login.php and using the Username and Password that you provided during the installation process. Then, you must click on the “Pages” link in the left menu. There, you will see that the “About” page already exists. It was created during the installation process of WordPress. When hovering the title “About“, some links should appear just under, click on “Edit“.
There you can edit the content of your About page, write some things about your website, your biography, or any information that you want to share with your visitors. You can also add some pictures by clicking on the icon circled on the following screenshot. The process is pretty straight-forward. Once you’re done editing, you must click the blue “Update” Button. (If you forget to click the Update button, your changes won’t be saved.)
Now we are going to add the “Contact” page. This is an essential page when you start a blog because you definitely want your readers to be able to contact you. This can be used for feedback, for requests, for advertising…
As there is no built-in Contact Form in WordPress, we are going to need to add a WordPress Plugin.
Don’t worry, I’m going to explain how to do that step when you start a blog. For starters, you want to click on the “Plugins” link in the left sidebar of your WordPress Administration page. Then, you should click on the “Add New” link. On the page which just opened, you are going to input “Contact Form 7” in the searchbox, then hit the “Search Plugins” Button.
In the list which just opened, you should see the Contact Form 7 Plugin. Just click on the Install Now link under its name. Then validate in the box that pops right into your face. The installation will load, and when it’s done, you’ll need to click on the Activate Plugin link. You’ll be taken to your plugin list page. There you should click on the Settings link.
At the top of the Contact Form 7 Options page, you should see a brown box with some text in it, copy the Contact Form Code.
Once this code is copied, you should browse to the “Pages” page, and click the Add New link.
Name this new page “Contact” and in the content, simply paste the code from the previous page. And finally click the blue button to Publish this page.
Congratulations on successfully adding these 2 basic pages to your blog. The next step to start a blog is to Optimize Your Blog For SEO.
To Start a Blog, Optimize Your SEO
Now that you have added some content to your blog, it’s time to do some search engine optimization in order to start a blog properly.
According to Wikipedia, here is the definition of SEO:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a web site or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.
There are several ways to work on your SEO when you start a blog. The first thing we are going to do is install some plugins and change some settings on your blog to improve your Search Engine Rankings.
1/ Updating WordPress Permalink Structure
To complete this first step when you start a blog, please log into your WordPress blog by visiting: http://yousite.com/wp-login.php and using your Login and Password. Then, you should click on “Settings” and on the following page, click on “Permalinks“.
On this page, you can set the way your posts and pages will be organized when you start a blog. Right now, if you don’t change anything, you can see that your inner links are like this: http://yoursite.com/?p=123. This is the default way WordPress will organize your pages when you start a blog, but there is a problem with that: these links are not Search Engine Friendly. Which means that the links are not giving any information about the pages content to the Search Engines… But you want to be nice to search engines when you start a blog.
You should change it to “Day and name“. Your pages will be organized chronologically and each post title will be used in the page url. When you start a blog, it is very important to set a link structure using your post title. It tells the Search Engine what it is going to find on the page before it even visits the page itself.
Now that we did set the pretty permalinks, the next step to start a blog is to install two WordPress Plugins which will highly increase you SEO performance.
The first plugin that we are going to install, in order to start a blog the right way, will improve the interlinks between your posts and pages by automatically creating new links every time you will be using one of your post name in the content of the other posts.
2/ Installing WordPress Plugin: SEO Smart Links
SEO Smart Links is a very useful Free WordPress Plugin that will make your blogger’s life a lot easier when you start a blog, while improving the visibility of your website in Search Engines. Basically, it automatically creates links in-between your website posts and pages without you having to worry about it. Every time you will use a Post Title in the content of another Post, the magic will happen. You’ll save hours when you start a blog by not having to create all these links manually! Let’s go with the installation process.
Click on the “Plugins” link in the left sidebar of your WordPress Administration page. Then, you should click on the “Add New” link. On the page which just opened, you are going to input “SEO Smart Links” in the search box, then hit the Button.
In the list which just opened, you should see the SEO Smart Links Plugin. Just click on the Install Now link under its name. Then validate in the box that pops into your face. The installation will load, and when it’s done, you’ll need to click on the Activate Plugin link. You’ll be taken to your plugin list page.
In the Settings section of the menu, you should click on the link “SEO Smart Links“.
On the options page of SEO Smart Links, you should un-tick the “Process only single posts and pages” box, then click Update Plugin at the bottom of the page.
3/ Installing WordPress Plugin: Platinum SEO Pack
To start a blog, we have one last plugin to install in order to improve your Search Engine Optimization: it is called “Platinum SEO Pack“. This plugin is an awesome piece of coding which drastically improves your website SEO-wise when you start a blog. It will make a lot of tiny changes which, when added to each other, can make a huge difference regarding search engine rankings.
I won’t go over the necessary steps to Download and Install a WordPress Plugin because the steps are the same for every Plugin and you should be able to do it now. I’ll go directly to the configuration page.
On the Options page of Platinum SEO Pack, you should input a Title for your Homepage. This is the text that will appear in the search engine results as the title of your website. To start a blog the right way, make it clear, short (maximum 12 to 14 words), and highly relevant to the subject of your website. You should also input the Home Description, which is the text that will appear as your website description in the Search Engine Results. This part is extremely important when you start a blog.
The Home Keywords textbox is also a VERY important step when you start a blog. There you should list 10 keywords or keywords-phrase representing the 10 most important subjects you are going to write about on your blog. For example, if you start a blog about Video Games, your Home Keywords could be: “video games, xbox games, wii games, ps3 games, pc games, xbox video games, wii video games, ps3 video games, pc video games“. This will help the Search Engines know what your website is about, and it will improve your rankings for these keywords right from the moment you start a blog.
There is one last thing you need to change when you start a blog. On the Options page of Platinum SEO Pack: you should tick the box “Use Tags for META keywords“. The tags are keywords that you can input for each post that you publish. By checking this box, you make sure that the tags will indeed be used as Meta Keywords for each post.
Don’t forget to save your changes on this page by clicking the “Update Options” button at the bottom of the page.
Thanks to these three steps, you will see a great improvement in your Search Engine Rankings when you start a blog. You just took one more step in the direction of Success!
Search Engine Optimization is a subject that you should think about when you start a blog. Search Engines are a great source of traffic for your blog.
Congratulations for completing this step! Next you will learn how to make some profit when you start a blog.
How To Monetize Your Blog
Now that your blog is more optimized for SEO, it’s time to think about the ways you are going to make money.
Regarding the monetization of your blog, there are lots of different possibilities. In this section, I’ll show you four ways to monetize your blog. (I don’t want to oversell, but I’m already working on another guide to teach you in detail more methods to monetize a blog. Stay tuned for updates.)
1/ Offline Services/Products
If you start a blog to let people know of your offline business, you probably don’t need to add any advertisement on your website. Keep it clean and informative, make it easy for people to contact you, and give your visitors some valuable information about your subject. This way, you are “selling” them your offline products/services.
2/ Contextual Advertising
There are a few ways to earn some money by adding some advertising space when you start a blog. Here are a few advertisement providers.
- Google Adsense
When you start a blog and want to make some money from it, the first possibility is to add some Google Adsense advertising. This service provided by Google let’s you embed some ads into your blog. Moreover, thanks to this technology, Google is able to determine what your blog pages are about and you will see only ads relevant to the subject of your blog.
For example, if you have a blog about Video Games, Google will display mostly ads regarding Online Games and Video Games on your pages. This kind of advertising is really the easiest to implement when you start a blog because it will take you only a few minutes to get the add code to add on your blog pages.
To create your Google Adsense account, you can click on this link: Google Adsense. They did a great job to explain everything from account creation to implementing the ads on your pages, so I will not go into more details is this guide about how to start a blog.
- Amazon.com Associates
The second possibility you have when you start a blog is to use the Amazon.com Associates Program. Amazon did build a very interesting system. If you refer some buyers to the Amazon website, you will receive a percentage of the money paid by the visitor you referred. The commissions range from 6% to 8% depending on the volume your are referring.
You can get more information by clicking on the following link: Amazon.com Associates.
- Ebay Partner Network
Your third possibility for monetization when you start a blog is to join Ebay Partner Network. The Ebay Partner Network works in the same way Amazon Associates does. If you refer some buyers to the Ebay website, you will receive a percentage of the money they paid to win the auction.
You can get more information by clicking on the following link: Ebay Partner Network.
- Clickbank Marketplace
The fourth possibility I’m going to talk about in this guide explaining how to start a blog is called Clickbank Marketplace. It’s the biggest online marketplace for electronic products. For example, if you have a blog about Dog Training, you can advertise some Dog Training eBooks from Clickbank on your blog. It will provide your visitors with some very interesting piece of information about your subject, as well as earning you a little commission on the eBook sale.
To learn more about ClickBank, you can click on the following link: Clickbank Marketplace. Then click on the Promote Products tab.
TIP: If you want to make more sales when using Amazon.com Associates, Ebay Partner Network or Clickbank Marketplace advertise targeted products. For example, if you post some information about a precise Xbox game on your blog, create an ad which will lead the visitor on the Amazon page or Ebay page of this exact game.
Create your Adsense account today, and implement it when you start a blog! It’s by far the easiest way to start making some money from your blog. And you’ll be ready for next section.
Awesome Content For Your Blog
Now that your blog is ready to make some money, it’s time to create some valuable content when you start a blog to entertain your visitors.
1/ Keep it Simple
The first thing you should remember when writing content is to keep it as simple as possible. When you are writing articles after you start a blog, assume that your future reader doesn’t know much about your subject. This way you’ll be understandable by everyone.
If you are unsure about the clarity of your content, ask a friend or someone from your family, preferably someone who knows nothing about your subject, and ask them what they understand when reading your content. It will help you a lot to improve the quality of your content and to reach a wider audience.
2/ Be Friendly
Your reader is your friend. It’s as simple as that! Don’t try to oversell stuff. Maybe using a lot of adjectives like “incredible” or “amazing” worked before, but it doesn’t anymore. Internet surfers have seen way to much of this kind of crap. They are well aware that people would do anything to sell anything on the internet. Trust my experience, your best bet to gain trust from your readership is to be as honest and friendly as possible.
When writing new content, type it as if you were trying to explain something to one of your friends (but please avoid the private jokes that only 2 or 3 readers will understand).
3/ Stay Targeted
Staying targeted is an important point that a lot of people are forgetting when they start a blog. If you have a blog about Video Games, talk about Video Games. This can sound a little cheesy to tell you that, but I have seen more than one person talking about things totally unrelated to the subject of the blog. It’s something that can really push your readers away from you. Don’t lose focus.
4/ Stay Up-to-Date
When you start a blog, staying up-to-date regarding your subject is also a very important step you should never forget. People don’t want to hear the same old things over and over again. If you want your website to be attractive to your audience, post fresh news about your subject. A lot of people are eager to learn about the latest trends on every subject. Feed them with novelty!
5/ Be Controversial
This one is a little tricky. Being controversial is a great way to get new readers interest, to some extent. If you don’t have the same opinions as everyone else in your field, it can create some debate and some very interesting discussions with your readership.
However, some website owners, trying so hard to increase their number of readers are being douche every time they add content to their website. You don’t want to be the eager one all the time, people will get bored and will eventually end up hating you for criticizing everything. You can be controversial, but not always.
6/ Bring Value
There is a very important thing that you need to never forget. It’s the common point between all successful blogs out there, so it’s probably the biggest Tip I’m going to give you. If you want your visitors to be happy and to come back regularly to your blog, you have to provide them with some value. This is why it is so important, when building your blog, to pick a subject you are really passionate about.
If you are really interested in your subject, you could likely become an authority on this subject and have other people refer to your sayings when they’ll be adding some informations on their own blog. If you succeed in getting trust from your visitors, you’ll be able to sell them your services, your products, anything at all, as long as what you are trying to sell them is helping them with a problem they had, answering a question they were not able to answer by themselves.
Take the example of the guide you are following with me. I have built hundreds of successful websites, I have shown you that I know my subject really well, and I am helping you building your own blog, and you don’t have to pay me for all the useful information I did put together just to help you, completely for free. I really struggled when I built my first blog because I was not able to find one place with someone who would take me by the hand and help me build my first blog, one step after the other.
I figured that I was probably not the only person facing this problem, so it seemed pretty natural to me to help people who want to build their own blog. As I showed you that I can give you some very useful information, you are probably more likely to believe me when I tell you that a product is worth checking it. And believe me, all the products that I am advising you to buy, I have bought them myself before to make sure it is a quality product.
Let’s get to work and add some nice content to your blog! Next will be the last section of this extra long guide: Traffic Generation.
How To Get Traffic to Your Blog
Now that you did write some content for your website, it’s time to get some visitors on your pages and show what you have to say to the world.
One of the biggest misconception that people have about internet is that once you built a blog, traffic will flow to your pages and make mountains of cash for you. I’m sorry to break the dream here, but as anything else, building a blog and generating money from its traffic takes some work and some dedication.
To put it in a simple way, the more traffic you get, the more money you can make out of it. This is why getting traffic to your blog is VERY important.
I know this can take a lot of research to discover various ways to get traffic to your blog. Once again, blog owners are going to hate me, because I’m going to share with you some of their “secrets” to get some visitors FOR FREE to your blog.
1/ Offline-Online Contacts
The first and easiest way to get some visitors to your blog is to talk about it! Talk about it with your family, talk about it with your friends… Once they know about your blog, they will probably visit it, and if they know someone who is interested by the subject of your blog, they might give your blog address to the people they know.
The word of mouth is a very interesting way to get things rolling for your website. If you tell your friends and get them interested by your blog, they will tell their other friends who will then tell their other friends… And so on…
If you are really fond of your blog’s subjets there are some chances that you already ended up reading some forums about this subject. Don’t worry if you haven’t been to any forum yet, I’m going to explain to you how to use them. Forums are a great way to drive traffic to your blog and there are several ways you can do so.
I’m going to assume that you have never been to a forum before. If you already know what a forum is you can skip one or two paragraphs.
A forum is a type of website where people can exchange information and point of views on various subjects. To find some forums, you can do a search on Google for: “forum [your_subject]“. Take a look around to see how these things work.
The great thing about forums is that they are user-generated, which means that anyone can post information there. You generally just need to sign-up for a free account. I advise you to check the forums related to the subject of your website and to create accounts on 2 or 3 of them.
Once your account is created, you can start being active and answer to the other people messages. Try to be as helpful as possible, and always stay on the subject of the person post (posting unrelated answers can get on the nerves of the other users pretty fast). In these answers, don’t promote openly your blog. Just help people, it will build up your reputation.
TIP: if you go on the page to edit your profile on these forums, you can generally add a signature to all the posts that you will make. It is commonly admitted to advertise you website in these signature (but don’t be too pushy).
After a few days or a few weeks of giving helpful informations to the people on the forums, you can write an article about your subject. The list-type posts are really appreciated and can open some nice discussions with other forum members. You can make a post like “10 things you must know about [your_subject]” or “the 10 greatest misconceptions about [your_subject]“. Post this article on the most active forum you are a member of.
If people appreciate what you are writing, they will more likely be interested to read more from you, so they will click on the link in your forum signature to learn more about you!
Another very interesting way to get people to acknowledge your website is to find blogs related to your subject. Google is your friend to search for these.. Try something like “blog [your_subject]“. Once you found these blogs, you can comment on their posts. Make some constructive comments by adding some new quality information. You will get them wondering who is this person who seems to know the subject, and they will visit your blog to learn more.
When things go well and you start making yourself a name, people will even talk about your blog without you having to do anything more than updating your own pages, because you will be recognized as a source of valuable information: an authority.
4/ Social Media
Social Media sites like Twitter, Facebook or MySpace are great to connect with people who are interested in the same subject as you are. It can also be a great way to stay up-to-date by getting news from people in the same field.
Don’t try to sell them your blog. Just connect with them by entering into a conversation about whatever they are talking about and remember to be constructive. If they find you interesting and your website address is displayed on your Social Media site Profile, they will probably visit your website.
How to start a blog? You did it!
Congratulations! Now that you have your own blog, you are an active member of the World Wide Web. Welcome among us! I hope you found this guide helpful to start a blog. I’m always aiming at improving this guide for newcomers, so your feedback is highly appreciated! If you have any observation, any question or if anything doesn’t seem 100% clear, please post a comment below and I’ll try to improve this guide about how to start a blog!