How to Start a Blog: The Complete Guide From Start to Finish
So you want to start blogging?
That’s great, nowadays it’s very easy to get a website up and running in a matter of a few hours. Which can also be a burden.
If you are serious about becoming a pro blogger, then you need to get started on the right path. A wrong move now, can become a serious roadblock later on.
We’ve laid out a Blogging 101 roadmap for you.
Blog 101: Setting Yourself Up for Success
Becoming a professional blogger is not going to happen over night. However, someone who has drive and is focus will find it a lot easier to build a blogging career.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
Art of Blog is filled with content to get you started on the right track.
It will take you some time, but all you have to do is read and take action.
What To Blog About
Your blog niche is going to be the most important part of your new journey. You don’t just want to write about anything.
Just writing won’t make your blog successful.
Your writing needs to be remarkable.
The easiest way to set yourself up for remarkable content… is to pick a topic that you are passionate about.
If you aren’t passionate about your topic… you will be fighting an uphill battle. You won’t give your blog a chance to be successful.
I want you to watch this video and read this post, What to Blog About.
Once you have a good topic… you’ll next need to find a domain name.
Picking The Perfect Domain Name
Your domain name is extremely important, since most of the time it will be the first point of contact that your audience will have with you.
Your name needs to be memorable, easy to spell and it should give people an idea of what your website is about.
Most importantly, try to include one of your keywords in the domain name… so it you are blogging about guitars. Your domain name could be something like AmericanMadeBluesGuitars.com.
I want you to read this post, Your Options for Grabbing a Good Domain Name We go into detail on how to grab a good domain name.
You’ll even learn a few insider tactics that will insure that your domain name isn’t a dud, we’ll tell you which types of domain names to avoid and how to find premium domain names.
Once you are settled on your new domain name, your next step is to register it and to grab yourself a hosting package.
WordPress Hosting: Do It Right, From The Start
The hosting game is extremely competitive… when you have heavy competition, you as the consumer win.
But don’t let Super Bowl commercials sway your opinion.
If you are new and really want to understand hosting make sure to hosting check out our hosting guide which will show you the difference between Shared Hosting, VPS hosting, and Dedicated hosting.
If you are Lazy we also have reviewed the top 3 hosting companies. You’ll find what we discovered, before you buy your domain and pay for hosting.
This guide will save you from future headaches, and show you that hosting for your new WordPress site is actually very affordable.
Once your hosting situation is set… your next move is to actually install WordPress.
Not too long ago, installing WordPress was somewhat of a pain.
You had to configure files, upload folders, generate passwords… and so on.
It took awhile.
But fast-forward till today, and installing WordPress is just a click away. Especially if you picked one of our top 3 recommended WordPress hosting companies.
If you need some handholding… that’s okay. We all do at some point. I want you to take a look at this post: WordPress Installation : What to Expect.
You’ll learn a few different ways to install WordPress.
Once you’ve installed WordPress, you’ll see that have access to a dashboard. It can get a little overwhelming.
WordPress Beginners Guide
You’ve installed WordPress, and you are staring at it’s backend… or the dashboard.
The dashboard is the command center of your WordPress blog. You’ll be able to manage everything from here.
Right from the start, let’s get your blog set-up correctly. I want you to read this post: Installing WordPress and Setting Permalinks and set up your permalinks correctly.
This will help you out in your SEO efforts… because your post title will use keywords instead of the default numbering system that the default instillation of WordPress uses.
Then visit our handy guide: WordPress Guide For Beginners.
This guide will show you the ins and outs of your dashboard. You’ll learn specific WordPress terminology and most importantly… how to write your first a post.
Once you are familiar with how the WordPress backend works, you’ll want to make sure you are using WordPress Pages Like a Pro.
Now that you know how to create content for your site… let’s get to the fun part.
We are going to talk about WordPress Themes.
Your WordPress theme is very important… you’ll get to express your self-creativity. But more importantly, if your theme is poorly coded it will harm you.
The search engines have many factors that they take into account when they are ranking websites and some themes just flat out miss most of these factors.
Many people when they are just starting out decide that they want to use a free theme instead of a premium theme.
While free themes can be great lots are junk.
If you are planning on going with a free theme, we suggest you check out this two column theme called: A Dream to Host.
A Dream to Host has all the features you would expect in a high quality free theme including, custom background, custom header images, custom menus, and even Google analytics support.
Now if you plan on taking your blog to the next level you may want to look at getting a premium theme such as Thesis, Genesis, or Headway. Each of these premium themes are much more robust than any free theme you will find but that comes with a price tag.
Each premium theme has a loyal following and their own pros/cons. Do make sure you do your research before you buy below you will find our reviews of each.
We also went into a ton of detail comparing Thesis Theme vs Genesis Theme a while back.
Premium Theme Quickstart Guides
Wrapping your head around what each theme can do can be confusing so make sure you check out our quick start guides.
If you still trying to figure out what theme is right for you check out this post we did on: Blog Design – Where to Get the Best WordPress Themes.
Now that you are up to speed on themes let’s talk about your logo.
Logos: Getting A Good One
Logos are important… the better they are, they more memorable your brand will be.
Just think about the golden arches, or the swoosh… I don’t even have to say the brand names. You instantly recognize them from their logos.
In How to Get a Good Logo we talk about the different options that you’ll have, from the free route to hiring a designer.
You’ll learn a simple way to find free artwork and options on customizing it. It’s a pretty cool way of designing your own WordPress Header.
Did you know that you can actually have a crowd of professional artist competing to create your logo?
In CrowdSPRING Offers a World of Artists at Great Prices, we review a creative method to having a group of artist submit their logo ideas for you.
Logos are fun, along with your sites design it showcases your brand personality.
Now let’s talk about reach… we’re talking about social media.
Social Media: Grab Your Name Before It’s Gone
Picking up your name across the Social Networks is something that you must do. Not only will it protect your reputation, shady marketers have been know to look for unused brand names.
Everyone can be a target, not just large multi-national brands.
But the other reason, is to expand your brands reach. If you have a presence where your target audience hangs out, then it’s only reasonable to think that they have a greater chance of finding you.
We show you the social media properties to register, and how to go about doing it on: Register Your Username on Social Media Sites.
Don’t forget to also take a look at KnowEm Review: How Much is Your Username Worth?
This service let’s you check to see if your user name is available across a multitude of social networks… a time saver in anyones book.
Let’s flex some WordPress muscle right now… it’s a good time to talk about WordPress plugins.
WordPress Plugins: Unleashing Your Blog’s Power
Plugins make WordPress even more powerful… but you have to be careful!
Some plugins aren’t coded very well, or are just not compatible with your websites theme.
A rouge plugin can bring your entire site down… and it’s not that the developer was malicious, in all fairness. The developer might be a one-person team who is underwhelmed with development and fixing bugs.
So be careful about just installing any WordPress plugins that you find. Use our 15 Incredibly Useful WordPress Plugins to Make Your Life Easier.
It’s a great roundup of some amazing WordPress plugins… you’ll find our recommendations for speeding up your site to eliminating comment spam.
Now that your site is up and running let’s talk about your websites content.
Content Is King
Your content, your writing is what is going to give you a fighting chance over the big boys.
If what you write is just blah… then don’t expect to actually make a living from blogging.
Copywriting 101 Series:
To bring you up to speed we created a 7 part Copywriting 101 Series.
Bad content… is bad for everyone. Make sure your content doesn’t stink.
- Copywriting 101: Essential Tools of a Copywriter
- Copywriting 101: Writing With Authority
- Copywriting 101: Repetition is Not a Bad Thing
- Copywriting 101: Thinking Strategically
- Copywriting 101: Be Persuasive
- Copywriting 101: 7 Deadly Traps Copywriters Fall Into
Beef Up Your Writing:
If you are still looking to take your writing to the next level make sure you check out these other popular copywriting articles.
- You, A Three Letter Power Word
- Because, a Power Word Because It Says So!
- Why – A Simple Power Word
- How to Make Your Writing Interesting
- Write Like You Talk
- Transparency in Copywriting
Timeless Core Content
The main goal of your writing should be that it will become more and more valuable as time goes on.
Most blogs are about the moment… they focus on fashion, breaking news, gossips and the such.
Unfortunately that type of writing becomes old news, pretty much as soon as it is published. We don’t want that to happen to us.
Don’t focus on that type of writing… focus on creating something with substance.
Take a look at Core Content Defined and Examined. We go into detail about what core content is, it’s importance and specific strategies to develop it.
Read What’s in It for Me: 7 Types of Timeless Core Content… and reread it.
This is important… this will make your site and writing remarkable.
Remember, your content is going to separate your from the rest of the pack.
While you are working on creating your core content… you should also think about your writing style.
Checkout this great guide on Typography: Typography Basics – Some Fundamentals for Body Copy.
You’ll also want to learn how to keep your readers attention… with so many distractions popping up online today you won’t want to passup on this important subject.
Grabbing Your Readers Attention.
It’s important to write what your readers want. Once you learn what your audience wants and expects from you… everything becomes much easier.
Make sure and read What Readers Want: A Guide to Converting Readers With Short Attention Spans.
Put the tactics to use… remember we are moving towards your goal of becoming a pro blogger. Learn how to do it right, from the start.
Your fundamentals skills will never let your down.
You’ll also want to check out our ultimate guide to using photos as a blogger this post could save your butt from getting sued.
Let’s move onto creating systems… I hope that you got into blogging for personal freedom. If you business doesn’t scale, you are in for a heap of headaches.
Inspiration doesn’t always hit at the right moment, but when it does take advantage of it.
In Blogging Tips and Tricks: Creating Systems we talk about setting up systems.
Systems help you scale your business and maximize productivity.
You’ll learn how to tweet at the most effective times… and it’s on autopilot. We’ll also talk about organizing your blog post ideas.
You have tons of free tools available to you, Google Docs is one of my favorites. As a blogger you should completely take advantage of it.
You’ll be able to jot down your ideas, thoughts and notes… and they will always be available anywhere you have internet access.
Now that you are thinking about organizing your thoughts… let’s look into writing timeless content.
Once you’ve got content up on your site you’ll want to focus on getting visitors to your site.
Building traffic isn’t hard, in fact it can be done in two simple steps.
While you can do all sorts of marketing tips and tricks everything comes down to promotion and ranking well in the search engines.
Once you get the basics down, check out this simple search tactic to get more traffic.
Building an Email List
Once you have traffic you may want to push your visitors to subscribe to your email list.
If you are wondering why would want to do that — make sure to check out our guide on Push vs Pull Marketing. This guide goes over why email marketing is so effective.
Once you understand that you’ll want to check out our 5 steps to increasing your newsletter conversion rates and how to get started in affiliate marketing.
This is a lot of reading, but don’t get overwhelmed. Just do one step at a time.
Use this site as your personal reference, bookmark it and comeback. Feel free to ask questions in the comment sections.
If you feel that you have some challenges and are not sure what the future will bring… don’t worry. We all are uncertain about taking a new direction in life.
Read this post: How to Overcome (And Even Harness) Uncertainty. The stories shared are from people who are actually successful, online.
They have all been at the starting line, I hope that these short but powerful stories will keep you focus on your dream of becoming a blogging professional.
The internet and blogging is evolving… so expect that we’ll make changes with this reference.
We’ll constantly keep it up to date with the important information, cutting right to the chance and giving you the exact steps to achieve your goal of becoming a professional blogger.
If you haven’t yet, sign-up to our mailing list. We’ll send you a 5 part no-nonsense blog marketing crash course and you’ll stay up to-date with our site updates.