Getting a blog up and running can seem to be a monumental task if you are a first-timer. In fact, even though everyone is telling you that you really need one, you might be resisting. You’d love to hire the whole thing out, but your budget won’t allow it. Others are telling you that you can do this by yourself. It’s easy they say. Actually, they are right in some respects, and wrong in others.
Bottom line, you CAN do this, and you can do this on your own in two weeks, if you plan before you act.
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Step 1: Get a Domain Name and Choose a Platform and Host
If your blog is a part of your website, your domain name is easy – it is the same as your business URL name. If not, then choose a catchy, simple domain name that will be easily remembered. If your website is already established in WordPress, then setting up your blog is easy, even a standalone blog is easy to set up in WordPress. Are there other platforms? Of course, and you can certainly explore them, but we recommend WordPress. If you don’t want to do the work yourself, we do offer services, here at Blogelina.
Many platforms will “walk you through” a set up. But, a smart step is to choose Siteground for your hosting and then follow this easy step-by-step blog setup tutorial. With Siteground, you’ll find it easy to get your blog started – and that they offer AMAZING support for new bloggers and experienced bloggers alike (plus they’ll move your existing blog to their hosting for free if you need that done)!
Step 2: Choose a Theme
You want a theme that depicts who you are. There are themes from which you can choose, so you don’t have to understand coding at all. Choosing a theme may take some time because you’ll want to explore all of your options.
Themes can be reasonably cheap. Once you have purchased a theme, you own it forever, so it will be somewhat unique. But, once you have your theme you may want to tweak it a bit, this can be pretty easy to do. You want your personal or brand theme to reflect what is important to you and/or your company. If this is a business blog, for example, and you sell toys, you will want bright primary colors and elements that depict fun. If, on the other hand, you are selling luxury jewelry, then your theme will reflect sophistication, maybe in blacks, white, and grays.
Every brand, personal or business, has a “personality,” and you will want that personality to shine. This tweaking may take a few days, because you will want to think carefully, check out the “look” of blogs in niches or topic areas similar to yours, and make some decisions. Remember, you can always go back and tweak more later.
Step 3: Decide on Plugins
There are literally hundreds of plugins that you can add to your blog. The best advice here is to begin simply because you can always add more plugins later.
Here are plugins you want in the beginning:
- Sharing Buttons: Once you gain a following, you will want your readers to be able to share your posts with their communities. Who are the readers you are targeting? Do some research and find out what social media platforms they use most. Your sharing buttons should focus on those channels. Again, you can always add later.
- Conversation Thread: One of the things that assist in the brand recognition and spreading is allowing conversations and comments at the end of your posts. And you will want to participate in those conversations too. This is how you establish relationships with people and begin to promote yourself as a thought leader in your niche.
- Get Advice: Talk to other bloggers and get recommendations for other plugins they use. Or check out the WP Beginners Best WordPress Plugins site, and play around with some of the cool plugins that are out there.
Step 4: Start Creating Amazing Content
This is the hardest part. You won’t want to market your blog until you have some great posts created and published. And remember, if you write and publish poor content, your the initial visitors won’t stick around, nor will they want to share your content. Your reputation can be ruined by those first posts.
Amazing posts have the following:
- Short chunks of text, divided up in small stackable pieces, by numbering and bulleting– This will attract more readers.
- Always use visuals in your posts – these engage far more than just text. Photos, infographics, drawings, and videos are always good. Any time that you can use visuals as replacements for text, do it. There are tools you can use to create visuals, and many are free.
- Compelling Titles/headlines: title and headlines capture attention first. Journalists know this and they work as hard on their titles as they do on the articles they write. You should too. And, again, there are tools to use that will help you.
- Content must educate, entertain or inspire– And, it must be written in a creative, grammatically correct way. If you are challenged in this area, then you may want to contract out with a writing service that has a creative copywriting department.
- Watch Your Language: Your tone and style should, of course, reflect your targeted audience. But it is important to be grammatically correct of course. Reading level is also important. The general rule is to write at about the 7th grade level – simple, easy, informal style and vocabulary is best.
Step 5: Marketing Your Blog
Have a Minimum of 4 Posts! If you can get four posts created and posted within a week, you are doing great. But, you can’t stop there, you must continue to search for topics of interest to your readers and publish consistently, so that your readers can rely on you to have new content, regularly.
- You can begin to market your blog once you have at least four posts and you are adding at least one new post a week after your launch.
- Use your social media platforms to market your blog. Post “teasers” that will engage, along with a link to a specific post.
- The time of day and day of the week that your audience demographic accesses social media platforms is important to know. Find these times and use social media “announcements” about new blog posts during those times.
Two Weeks –It Can Be Done!
If you have your blog up and running with that minimum number of posts within two weeks, pat yourself on the back. You did well. But do not berate yourself if it has taken more than that. There are lots of decisions to make as you go through this process, and it is important to give thoughtful consideration to your many options.
What other parts of starting a blog leave you feeling stuck?
Please share in the comments below!
Eliza Medley is a passionate blogger and traveler from Orlando. She’s worked as a marketing expert at Get Good Grade for a long time. She loves photographing, arts and reading. You can follow her on Twitter.