If you have a passion for writing, or enhancing the marketing performance of your business, you may have wondered how to set up a blog. With a message to speak to the world, and/or a unique perspective to share on a subject, utilizing a blog is a great choice. Blogging is a wonderful way to reach a broad audience and share your knowledge, insights, and expertise. Not to mention, you can do all of this from your own customized platform. While starting a successful blog typically takes time and effort, there are relatively simple guidelines you can follow. This way, you can bolster your long-term success and overall satisfaction. Following a roadmap consistently will help you to reach your intended audience and keep them coming back. With that being said, here are our tips on how to set up a blog.
How to Set Up a Blog
Determine Your Why
The first and most important step in deciding to start a blog is to determine why you want to create it in the first place. Creating a blog on several miscellaneous subjects is a nice way to brush up on your writing skills, but it probably won’t do much to attract a devoted audience or leads. In order to make your blog successful, it will need to have a clearly defined purpose.
Maybe you spend your weekends elbow-deep in the Earth planting and maintaining your vegetable garden and want to share your gardening tips with a wider audience. Or, perhaps you have a passion for your business in real estate and want to share your knowledge and establish your credibility, leads, etc. Are you an expert photographer and want to help up-and-coming artists learn to home in on their skills? Whatever you are passionate about, whatever you have an extensive knowledge base in… those are the things you should be writing about.
Determining your why is a critical step in the creation of your blog, for it will directly impact each step hereafter. If you are having trouble identifying your focus, it can be helpful to reach out to your friends or professional colleagues to see if they have any insights that could steer you in the right direction. What do they hear you talking about most frequently? If they were to come to you for advice or a deeper understanding of a particular subject, what would it be? We all have a propensity toward something; you just need to figure out what your something is.
Choosing Your Blog Name
Knowing how to set up a blog includes selecting a name, if appropriate. Once you have chosen your niche, you can begin the creative process of naming it. The title of your blog presence should be catchy enough to get the attention of your prospective audience. It should also clearly reflect the type of content you will be writing.
A blog strictly about gardening tips and tricks, for example, would not go by the title “The Weekend Chef”. Even though the author may truly enjoy cooking on the weekends, the focus of their blog is about growing and cultivating the ingredients they cook with, not sharing healthy recipes. A more appropriate title might be, “Gardening with Gina” or “Ready, Set, Grow”. Both of these titles indicate the blog content will most likely have to do with growing flowers, fruits, and/or vegetables. Your title will be your readers’ first introduction to your blog, so make it something that will hook them.
Note: If you have a more comprehensive website and the blog is simply an add-on, then you likely won’t need a name for your blog. Using us as an example, we’re a digital marketing company. If you want to read our blog content, you just click on the “Blog” link in the menu and go to the blog. However, if we didn’t have a full website, and we just wanted a blog, it would be different. Our blog might be titled something like “The Digital Marketing Blogger.” So, consider whether or not a blog name is appropriate for your situation.
Taking Care of the Technical Stuff
The technical side of blogging might not sound as enticing as writing or sharing your thoughts and knowledge on something you are passionate about, but it is a necessary part of the process. First, you will need to figure out which blogging platform you want to use. There are multiple options out there, many of which are free (with options to upgrade later down the line). Free options are great for anybody who is just starting out, as they give you time to build a following.
Eventually, if you intend to make your blog more than a side passion project, you will likely want to use a self-hosted option (which basically means you have more control of the actual website your blog is on). This will cost a bit of money. The cost will vary depending on which platform you choose to use. As a general rule, if you’re just starting out, you could likely get hosting for around $100 per year. But, before taking that step, read this blog post… to make sure you have all your bases covered: Differences Between Maintenance, Website Security, And Hosting.
If you do not already have a domain name, this is the point where you will need to choose one. Then, you will need to choose a reliable host who can ensure your blog is accessible 24/7 to your audience. Most hosts will also offer domain registration options. Having your host as your domain registrar is a great way to stay organized and minimize the number of separate charges you are getting monthly/yearly. If you want some advice on picking out a good domain name, read this: https://jjlyonsmarketing.com/resources/what-should-my-domain-name-be-and-other-tips/
Once you have gotten all the technicalities figured out, it’s time to customize your blog site so it showcases your unique style and personality. This (and your writing technique) will be what truly sets your blog apart from others who are writing similar content. First and foremost, this will mean choosing a layout and color scheme (collectively referred to as a theme) for your blog. From here, you have the freedom to adjust the basic skeleton to further meet your own personal needs.
Your blog should contain an “About Me” section that explains to your readers why they should hear what you have to say and/or what makes you an expert in your chosen topic. There should also be a section providing information about how your audience can contact you directly. And you should consider what sidebar content to display, if you have a sidebar. This is a narrow column that usually displays on the right-hand side of your blog. Some options might include category lists, call to actions, recent blog posts, social media links, or search boxes, to name a few. Lastly, when designing your blog, take some time to think about which SEO keywords will be the most relevant to the content you are creating. This step is often overlooked. Read our blog post titled What Exactly Are Keywords For SEO? to learn more on this topic.
Schedule Your Content
You have already created some content for your site by writing your “About Me” section, but now you get a chance to really show your visitors why they should read your work. Your site should include a healthy mix of blog posts containing words, pictures, videos, and/or infographics, as well as cornerstone content [also called pillar content], which will remain relevant to your audience for years to come. Don’t forget, also, to include pertinent backlinks to related content from other sites. Creating relationships with other bloggers and/or brands may encourage them to link back to your content as well.
Creating a schedule will help you to ensure your posts are diverse enough to keep your audience intrigued, while still maintaining a level of cohesiveness and making sense with the general theme. A schedule will also help you maintain consistency. As your audience begins to know when to expect new content from you, they will know when to visit your site to look for it. It also ensures you are making the most of your blog by posting during peak times. Between 7-9 AM, 12-2 PM and 4-6 PM are when most blogs experience their highest traffic.
Promote Your Blog
The next step in successfully blogging is to promote, promote, promote! The easiest way to do this is to tell everybody you know about it and to encourage them to stop by and check out what you have put together. Promoting your site will also rely heavily on reaching out through social media and posting your content links regularly. Another easy way to get the word out is to submit your blog to search engines and bookmarking sites (such as Google, Scoop.it, and Reddit). Don’t be shy, either! Check out other blogs and leave comments on content that moves, inspires, or educates you. The more connections you can make, the more likely those bloggers are to go and see what you are up to as well. As those relationships progress, you might even seek out opportunities to contribute guest posts on other people’s blogs.
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Start Making Money
As your blog begins to grow, you might consider turning it into a viable income stream. Two of the easiest ways to do this are to start running ads on your blog or to enroll in affiliate programs. Your blog can also become a channel to promote and sell any products or services you offer. You might also choose to turn some of your existing content into an e-book you can market and sell separately. Lastly, consider seeking out opportunities to blog about the services and products you already use. Many well-known companies will pay bloggers to promote their products and/or services, particularly if you have a large following in their particular niche.
More on How to Set Up a Blog
As you can see, managing a blog is not all that complicated, although it does take some initial time and effort to get everything up and running. So, don’t let the fears of not knowing how to set up a blog stop you from doing so. With a lot of passion, a little creativity and the support of your friends, family, and online community, there’s really no end to how impactful your blog can become.
This blog post covered concepts on how to set up a blog, but not how to create individual blog posts. However, we do have a couple blog posts on that topic, which you may find interesting. Check out the links below:
If you ever need any help when figuring out how to set up a blog, please feel free to contact us. Our team is highly skilled in setting up and managing blogs for clients. We would love to assist you with all of the technical aspects so you can get started writing.