Blogs give people a brilliant way to share their philosophies, creativity, and discoveries with the world. If starting a blog feels right to you, congratulations! You’re going to join a thriving community. How do you start, though, and how much does it take to launch a new blog? We’ve laid out a game plan including all the things you should consider as you begin your journey.
Choose a Niche to Launch a New Blog
When selecting your niche, you want to consider two major things. First, you want a topic you feel passionate about. Writing consistently about a subject you love will prove much easier.
Second, make sure your niche has an established audience. This is what will lead you to have a successful blog.
Oddly enough, the more blogs that exist around a topic, the more likely your blog will also thrive. Scout out the success rate of other blogs within your same niche. If you see high success rates, then you know you’re on the right track.
Understand How You Will Monetize
Do you, eventually, want to earn money through your blog? Then you need to know what that would look like.
Monetizing comes in many forms. For example, running ads tailored to your niche will generate some passive income. However, they can negatively affect user experience by distracting your readers or making your blog look low quality.
Enrolling in affiliate programs has grown in popularity, though its success depends on your blog’s visitors and your trustworthiness. With affiliate links, you partner with companies that offer high-quality products or services that will benefit your audience. Your readers may purchase the product, and you earn some commission in return.
Other options for monetizing include freelance writing jobs, guest blogging on another website or creating an e-book. You can also sell your own services and products if you have a business.
Buy a Domain
A domain name serves as your primary identifier and first impression online. It’s featured in your internet address, email and on social media. It also clues people in on whether or not they want to read your content.
Because a domain name defines a website, bloggers can often fall into the trap of taking forever to decide on a domain name. Luckily, stressing over it isn’t productive or necessary.
Instead, think about your audience, niche and the benefits people get by reading your blog. These three fundamental things can help you create a domain name that’s simple but memorable. Once you settle on one, you can purchase it through your web hosting site to ensure it’s yours.
Choose a Blogging Platform
Now, you have to find a blogging platform. Beginning bloggers may want to try a free platform like Blogger.com or Tumblr, but people who feel seriously about blogging will want to use self-hosted WordPress.
WordPress software dominates the blogging industry. The site offers a simple set-up, countless themes and a professional look. All of this makes it a solid foundation for your blog.
A free version of WordPress exists, but most seasoned bloggers will recommend you choose a self-hosted platform. With a self-hosted platform, you use your unique domain name and run the blog through a web hosting company. This gives you complete control over your blog and its content.
Connect Your Web Hosting
Choosing a secure, dependable web hosting company will make all the difference in how your blog runs. Web hosting companies maintain your blog, store content, offer customer support and manage security.
At this point, the cost comes into consideration. Domain names and web hosting come with a fee. Usually, web hosting costs a few dollars per month, and a domain name costs around ten dollars per year.
Starting a new blog requires investment at the beginning to see long-term benefits. Opting for a self-hosted blog with a web hosting company gives you better functionality and control. For examples of different plans, check out Broodle Host, Hostgator, and Bluehost.
Get a Logo Designed
A logo contributes to your brand identity. Using icons and typography, you can create a logo that people instantly recognize and associate with your blog. Through this visual, new readers will get a sense of your unique personality, style, and niche.
You also want a logo that looks professional. Programs like InDesign and Adobe Photoshop work great when you can create your own logo, but if you don’t know where to start, logo creators like Tailor Brands will give you a bunch of options to choose from.
When designing your logo, think about the audience that is going to be reading your blog. Personal bloggers may want to use a wordmark (text only) that mimics a signature for a more individual look. Niche bloggers—in industries like food, fashion, or DIY—would do better with a combination mark (both text and an icon) to better signify to your audience what your blog content is about.
Once you have a logo, you’re ready to build out the rest of your visual brand identity to complement it—starting with your blog theme.
Choosing a Theme for Your Blog
Platforms like WordPress supply countless pre-designed themes to their users. Themes give you a fantastic starting point that you then supplement with content.
You want your theme to feel professional and neat. Think about how users will experience your website and prioritize navigation and user experience.
You should also consider the pages you want to include on your blog. Do you want your home, about, contact, and blog pages to be separate? Will you combine them? Remember that photos, especially a high-quality photo of yourself, will help people connect to your website.
Prepare Your Content Plan
At this point, you probably have several ideas brewing in your mind that you’re eager to share with the world, but take time to plan your content.
Content needs to engage people’s attention and encourage them to come back for more. Not only that, but your content should help or benefit your readers in some way.
Creating quality content on a regular schedule can seem daunting. Do the same thing here that you did with your niche, and find out what interests and engages people. Listicles, how-to’s, reviews and commentary all receive a lot of readers and may be the perfect place for you to start.
Create a Marketing Plan
Alright, you have your blog. Now tell everyone. Promoting your blog should receive the same attention as creating content.
Start small. Choose one social media platform — like Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest — that suits your blog and learn to use it. You can also slip your domain name into your email signature and profile bios on social media.
Your marketing plan should also take into account how you want to participate in the wider blogging community. Staying active on other blogs, reaching out to bloggers and asking to guest blog on someone’s site will build relationships. Reaching out to select influencers who may mention or share your blog can also bring in new readers.
Time to Begin!
You now have everything you need to get your blog up and running. Remember to go in with a plan for your niche and how you’re going to grow, and only then to start choosing the right platforms to help you get started. Make sure to go through the above steps, and you’ll be ready to put your blog out into the world in no time!