How to Start a Blog

Marie   December 21, 2015   20 Comments on How to Start a Blog

So you want to set up a blog – well this is the place to start.

This article is about setting up a blog site from scratch. As previous visitors to this site will know my website is designed for writers who are interested in promoting their own work and or writing for themselves and managing their own website and…

….the most obvious place to start promoting your work, is on a web site.

This article will guide you through this process step by step. All of the skills taught here can be used and adapted for anyone hoping to set up a blog site, either as a hobby or to start to earn an online income.

screenshot blogging 

What Is A Blog Site?

A blog site is basically a website that has the technology to allow regular posts or articles to be published and categorised.

It started out by people posting a journal or log about their daily activities, the name was eventually shortened from web based log down to ‘blog’.

The world of blogging has developed quite a lot from these early days and now there are a wide variety of themes to choose from, so the website can look as sophisticated or a simple as you wish.

Blogs have also progressed away from being purely about personal stories and sharing experiences, into professional businesses, that can earn their writers a full time income.

A Few Questions You May Be Asking.

The world of blogging is quite new and you may have heard lots of stories about people earning thousands of dollars whilst working a couple of hours a week. Well unfortunately life isn’t that easy in blogging.

If you are doing this as a hobby then it probably doesn’t really matter how much time and effort you put into it, you want to enjoy it and do it in your spare time.

However, if you are planning on earning money from your site, then a lot of time is required, and you must be prepared for very little financial return during the first few months.

So what other questions do you have about blogging, possibly some or all of the following?

image lonely seagull

Sometimes blogging can be an isolating experience

  1. Do I have to be a good writer?
  2. Do I need good IT skills or be able to use computer code?
  3. Is it expensive to start?
  4. Can I earn money from my blog?

 

Well to take the questions one by one;

 

  1. No you don’t need to be a good writer; nowadays blogs can promote all types of content including video, podcasts, reviews of products as well as writing articles.
  2. No you don’t need a lot of IT skills; you do need some, but anyone familiar with using Microsoft Word and basic word processing should easily understand blogging platforms.
  3. No it isn’t expensive in fact some blogging platforms are free to set up and establish which can be a great way to get started.
  4. Yes, you can earn money and there are a number of different ways in which this can be achieved.

Having answered those questions perhaps the next one to ask is… So How Do I Start?

 

STAGE 1 – Setting up a Blog

The first thing you need to do is to find a blogging platform and a web hosting service.

A Blogging Platform & Web Hosting

A blogging platform is the software needed to write and publish your blogs and a web hosting service places them on the internet, so that they are visible to others.

image blog

Photo by Stuart Miles Image ID: 100267239 FreeDigitalphotos.net

Many bloggers choose to use WordPress as their blogging platform, simply because it is one of the largest and most reliable platforms available.

WordPress has a simple interface which is not too difficult to understand. Even though it is more basic than a word processing site such as Microsoft Word, this can also makes it easier to use.

I am involved with the Digital Marketing University at Wealthy Affiliate who have developed the Siterubix website builder.

So this is the service that I am going to recommend, which is a combined web hosting and WordPress platform, so you don’t need to source a separate web hosting company.

If you already have a WordPress site or have your own domain name and want an independent web hosting company, then this article on business web hosting serviceprovides more information on this option.

Siterubix Websites

Siterubix offers a free hosting service which is ideal for beginners. Unlike other free hosting companies Siterubix also offers paid web hosting, which has a number of advantages when you are looking for a free account.

Many free web hosting services are vulnerable and have often suddenly closed, leaving site owners struggling to access their content. Many bloggers recommend only using a paid service, because it is more financially secure. It is also a good indication that the company is constantly investing in the quality of service provided, because this is their main business.

screenshot Site Rubix

Siterubix offers both options of paid and free services. So you have the advantage of a company that is well established and investing in its development and yet offers a free service to allow you to get started.

"your website deserves to be running optimally at all times. 
To make sure this happens, we limit not only how many 
other sites share the server, but how loaded the servers are."
- Carson, Owner Siterubix

Setting up a Siterubix site is very simple and easy to do

Siterubix is a site builder, in other words it sets up the WordPress site for you, you don’t have to manually add any code or do anything techie, as the diagram below illustrates.

There are four simple stages to setting up the website, and the owners of Siterubix claim that you can set up a blog in 30 seconds following this process (personally I think you need a lot longer, especially when looking through the themes and thinking of a name for your site).

There is more information in this article How to Build A WordPress Website including a link to a video showing you how this can be done. The four main stages are;

    1. Decide whether you want a free site or if you want the premium paid version.
    2. Choose a name for your site and check that it is available (i.e. nobody else has that current name).
    3. Choose from any of the free theme options available in WordPress, to make your site look professional.
    4. Let the site builder start the process.

screenshot siterubix platform

It really is that simple, in fact if you already have a name for your blog in mind, here is the direct Siterubix link so that you test now whether the name is available.

 

Domain Name

The Siterubix free site provides you with a sub domain name, in other words your website url will look like this;

yourwebsitename.siterubix.com

If however, you own your own website domain name, such as howtowriteandetpaid.com then you need to find a hosting service that will allow you to host your own name, or pay for the premium version of siterubix.

Domain names can be purchased at sites such as Namecheap or site domains at siterubix and then taken to hosting companies.

STAGE 2 – Learning About Blogging

The next stage is to start blogging, i.e. writing about what interests you most.

This is equally true whether you are blogging as a hobby, or whether you are planning on making money and setting up a a business.

What is Your Blog About?

No matter what your blog is about it needs to be set up in roughly a similar way. You need to have three basic pages;

  1. An About Page – explaining your blog, who you are and why you are writing about this topic.
  2. A Privacy Policy, this is especially important if you want readers to sign up for a newsletter and give you their email address.
  3. Content Page – Outlining the topics that you hope to cover and introducing the kind of content that you will be producing over the next few weeks.

Posting Content

 Your blog will then start to produce regular content, so that your readers know when to expect new pieces from you – either every week, every two weeks or daily depending on the type of blog you are doing.

The length of the posts will vary, depending on what you want to write on. This article on Writing Blog Posts explains the different length options in more depth.

STAGE 3 -Getting Paid for Your Blogging

So now you have a blog site and you have the basics set up to continue developing your site and beginning to build a following.

There are obviously lots of other skills that you will want to learn along the way depending on the type of blog you have established. If you are interested in earning money through your site then this resource page might be useful Make Money Writing.

I have also listed some other resources below that you may find useful if you are serious about blogging and want to learn some of the more advanced writing and marketing skills that are needed.

Resources For New Bloggers

There are lots of articles on this site that can provide support to bloggers and SEO content writers, and below I have selected a few of the key articles. As you have probably gathered by now most of my blogs will contain relevant links to other sections of the website as you read through.

 

Getting Support For Your Blog Writing

It is very hard to keep focused on writing content no matter how passionate you are about a topic. It can also be quite lonely spending so much time in front of a computer screen.

For this reason I would strongly recommend finding support from some source that works best for you. I have written before why it is that I believe that  Every SEO Content Writer Needs a Mentor, and I have also made suggestions about where to source a mentor.

 

 

If you are setting up a blog site and need more advice or information please feel free to leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively look through the site and the search bar to find specific topics on areas of interest.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found the content useful, any further suggestions please add below.

20 thoughts on “How to Start a Blog

  1. florence

    hi,thanks for the ideas I’ve been trying my best to start blogging BT I never knew about some of these informations now I have some idea ,thanks

    Reply
  2. Vidya Satish Iyer

    Thank you for making me understand what a blog is. Infact I was and is interested in creating a blog about teaching methodologies and different activity based learning. But am not confident in starting. Anyway you.have given me some ideas which will be useful to decide on it.

    Reply
    1. Marie Post author

      Hi Vidya sounds like a great idea and WordPress has some great plugins for helping you as well, best of luck, Marie

  3. Chaitra

    Hi Marie!

    Thankyou for listing down these pointers! They are quite helpful for clueless beginners like me as i am about to take my first few steps into the world of blogging. I have managed to complete a romantic fiction novel and hope to publish it …i would love to build a platform before that! Thanks again.

    Cheers
    Chaitra.

    Reply
  4. Nelson Stephen

    Hi Marie, i have been contemplating how to start a blog in order to promote my soon-to-be-released book. Now you have made the whole idea so simple and i feel i can go ahead and start as soon as possible. I will also need to have further information on blogging that you feel will help me kick start. thanks

    Reply
    1. Marie Post author

      Hi Nelson delighted you have a book to be promoted. I actually have a couple of posts that are aimed at writers using blogging to set up a writer’s platform, which may be of interest. The first is Create Your Writer Platform.

      I also looked at Wealthy Affiliate from a writer’s perspective Wealthy Affiliate Review – Is it suitable for writers?.

      Good luck and let me know if you need any help at all I have a lot of resources here to hopefully guide you. Marie

  5. Heathguy33

    Excellent post I’ve been trying to do this for the longest. But I was just going in head first without really knowing what I was doing. Your post has really helped me a lot. I haven’t made and cash yet but I’m going to stick to it and what you’ve said to do and I know that one day my hard work will pay off. Wish me luck.

    Reply
    1. Marie

      Hi and thanks for stopping by, I’m glad you found it useful and definitely I wish you all the best, keep me posted. Marie

  6. Cathy

    I think, a big part of starting a blog above all the technical and writing stuff is about achieving a certain goals. If it’s a personal site that you only wish to share with a few friends, than there’s nothing serious about it.

    But if it’s a site that you want to monetize for the long term, then you need to have a plan, prioritize and organize your schedule to ensure that you are learning and applying the techniques as your site grows.

    This can be very tricky if you have a day job, but it’s not impossible. I am a blogger by night and it takes a while to get used to it. But I don’t mind making the sacrifices now if this blog is something that can pay for my future bills and give me more time freedom.

    Reply
    1. Marie

      Hi Cathy I’m sure you are not alone in the night blogging! There is definitely a big difference between social blogging and business blogs, and you are right it does need a lot of planning and organisation.

      One of the other skills you need is an understanding of search engines and getting traffic, which you can read more about here 20 SEO Tips that All Bloggers Should Know

  7. Ray

    Hi Marie,

    Thanks for the great informative article. To me writing a blog has seemed so daunting, because I write slow and I’m not confident enough to be a good blogger. And of course whether I have enough IT skills or not has been a worry. But I feel better now after I’ve read your article, that you don’t have to be a “good writer”, you can use videos and write reviews.

    Also thanks for the step-by-step of how to set up a site. I’ve just read the 12 challenges that all bloggers face as well, very useful. Thank you!

    Ray

    Reply
    1. Marie

      Hi Ray thanks so much for adding your comments I appreciate it can be very daunting setting up a blog for the first time and hopefully by reading some of the articles here you’ll see support is available every step of the way.

      I think as well, having someone to follow or act as a guide is a help that I have found and I have shared some of my ideas on this in this article Why Every SEO Content Writer Needs a Mentor. Remember you are not on your own and if you ever need any assistance be sure to add your question in the comments section and I’ll get back asap.

  8. Jason

    This article answered many questions I have about creating a website of my own, thank you!

    I was particularly interested in start up costs and any required skill level when it comes to starting a website.

    This gave me the confidence to move forward and try it myself.

    I have created a SiteRubix website as instructed above and excited to begin. Will let you know how it goes!

    Reply
    1. Marie

      Hi Jason thanks for taking the time to comment and I’m delighted you have finally started on your blogging journey.

      If you need any assistance at all with WordPress be sure to check out this article Using WordPress – an overview and of course you’re welcome back here any time, especially if you’re interested in using marketing and SEO on your site.

      Bets of luck, Marie

  9. Seany

    Hi! Thank you so much for the informational post! I have learnt alot from your post on trying to get started. I always had a difficulty of finding a good platform to start writing, or creating a website per se. From what you have said about the easy to use interface, I will try out your recommendation!
    Have a great day!
    Seany

    Reply
    1. Marie

      Hi Seany thanks for commenting and I’m glad you found it useful. Hopefully once you have your writing platform started you can begin learning some of the other skills required for quality SEO work, and follow some of the other articles written on this site, so good luck and see you soon, Marie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *