Often times in the course of my work, I get asked about blogging and how to start a blog. While some folks say it is super easy to do, there are some essential processes that one must do in order to get things started. Given the plethora of information out there, this is a simple checklist for those who aren’t too sure about where to start.
Step 1. What is the blog about?
If you are an entrepreneur who is just starting a new business, and an online one at that, having a blog is useful for content marketing purposes. It helps to build credibility for your company and brand. Or maybe you’re just passionate about growing terrariums plants and want to share your knowledge with the world.
So think about what gets your creative juices flowing and start from there.
Step 2. Find a Hosting Company
I would recommend Bluehost as a hosting company. It’s affordable and the support is excellent. By the way, I wanted to let you know that if you decide to sign up with Bluehost, I have a referral link that you can use and don’t worry, the commission I earn comes from Bluehost, not you. It’s just me sharing what I have found valuable and the company’s way of saying thank you to me for spreading the love for them!
Step 3. Pick a Domain Name
Next you need to decide what to call your blog – this will be your domain name. For example, some people set up a blog site others set up a business or company page which includes a blog page. You can go to Godaddy.com to check whether the domain name is available and register it.
There are different types of top-level extensions for domain names – not every site needs to end with a .com but do be aware that the extensions are generally used for varying circumstances, e.g. .org are for non profits, and .gov are for government agencies. There are also country specific top-level domain extensions like .com.sg or .sg, if you are based in Singapore. For the former option, there are only selected organisations in Singapore that are authorised to issue a .com.sg domain extension, I would recommend Cybersite.
By the way, if you sign up with Bluehost as a hosting company, they provide a free domain registration. Plus if you need to transfer your domain from another registrar, the support team at Bluehost are very helpful. I recently did this and it was a very painless process!
Step 4. Start Using WordPress
I must confess that when I first started using WordPress years back, I found it rather technical. Do note that there is a difference between using WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
Just some of the thousands of WordPress themes out there to choose from!
Fast forward to 2018, it is much easier to use and honestly, in the process of designing my personal blog, I love how I’ve been able to switch themes around effortlessly to see the effects. You get access to thousands of free and premium themes plus a ton of plugins to add features to your blog. That aside, you will want to use WordPress because it allows you to build your website or blog or your own. As your blog grows, you can add in forums, online store and membership options to it. I like the fact that you can scale up when required.
There are other blogging platforms out there, such as Wix and Squarespace. While these are much easier to use, I find the templates are limiting, unless one pays for a premium theme. That’s when the cost for having a blog or website start to escalate. Also, there is a limitation in terms of syncing up with third party apps, e.g. I have a client who wants to use splash pages but unfortunately their website is not a WordPress site and we are facing challenges installing a third party app that will integrate with their site.
Step 5. Choose a Theme and Start Blogging
Once you’ve picked a theme that you like, you can custom design it with a little bit of coding. And if CSS and HTML scare you, most themes have very good support. I use Colorlib themes and it’s super quick for me to get a response on any issues I have.
Some of the themes by Colorlib
Why have a Blog?
If you are starting a business website, having a blog is a good long-term marketing plan. Not only does a blog help to reinforce your business or brand’s credibility, it also helps with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Google favours websites that have valuable content for their users. So if your website is attracting a lot of traffic due to good content, your site will start to go up the search engine rankings and be found more easily. Keywords planning is an important step here and you’ll need to use Google Keyword Planner to help find out what keywords are being used related to your business, product or service.