This is a complete guide to How to Start A Blog from start to finish. If you would like the short, quick version on setting up your blog you can check out this tutorial here.
We also offer a Modern Blogger’s course that goes even further to explain the modern way to make money with your blog in 2016 and beyond. It’s completely free and you can enroll here or at the bottom of the post.
Blogging is an amazing experience that let’s you express yourself to the world, educate others and/or promote your business. It is a wonderful creative outlet for your interests and if you are persistent and ambitious you can make tons of money. REALLY, the potential is truly endless. Just take a look at some of the biggest Bloggers today like John Chow, Jon Morrow of SmartBlogger, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, Neil Patel and so many more. Check out Michelle Schroeder-Gardner who runs a finance blog called Making Sense of Cents. She started of as a hobby blogger who new absolutely nothing about blogging but now, only a few years later she makes over $100,000.00 A MONTH! If that doesn’t blow you away, I don’t know what will. I could go on and on.
All you really need to succeed is determination, Education, a Passionate interest, some aggressive ambition and a bit of extra time. Do you have what it takes to become a Blogger? I bet you do. Blogging is life changing and Everyone who is interested should try it! You won’t be sorry so stop putting off doing something great.
You can start a blog for just a few dollars a month so there should be nothing holding you back. In this Ultimate Guide To How To start a blog, I will guide you through the steps to take and provide the framework and education you need. Let’s get started…
Before you can create an online empire you’ve got to know the basics, and that’s what this section is about — getting setup for success.
So, what do you need in order to create a successful online presence? You need a catchy domain name; you need some web hosting; you need a logo and web design; you need a platform that’s extendable.
Let’s get started:
What’s a domain name? It’s simply what your customers will type into their browser in order to visit your website.
Mine is www.BlogBright.org
A domain name will be the lowest investment cost to getting your online presence created. On average, it will be around $10 to register your domain name, and it will be around $10 per year after that to keep it registered.
Make sure you get a .com if you can. That is the most popular and most searched. Unfortunately they are not always available, which was my case and I regret not going on to find a .com instead of a .org.
Once you get the domain name you will need to find some web hosting. You, however, will not want to pick just any web host… You will want to pick a web host which will work with the web platform we’ll be using. The best Platform for blogging is WordPress Of course.
There are a few things we need to look for in a good web host. The main features are: they offer Linux and cPanel hosting, have PHP5+ and have a good bit of bandwidth and hosting space available.
Web hosting will vary between a few dollars per month to around $10 per month. While this is a larger investment than getting a domain name, it’s still shockingly cheap and affordable.
I recommend you use BlueHost. Not only is the service astoundingly good but they are also very cheap AND you get your Domain for FREE. Their monthly hosting fee is usually around $3.95 a month but they have sales all the time and I have seen it as low as $1.95!! They also have WordPress.org one click install which makes the whole bit super easy.
Sometimes Folks still have a little trouble with the install if they are not tech savvy. If you are one of those people, I will help you install your WordPress and a couple of your most important plug~ ins for free. Just Get BlueHost through my link and email me your information and I will do it for you. I would be happy to help you.
You can go ahead and check your domain ideas below in the box. Have you already thought of your blog’s name? Check it here~
Go ahead and check out BlueHost HERE and sign up if you have a few moments. It’s a very exciting step to take and you won’t regret it.
Logo & Web Design
In order to establish your online presence and develop your brand you need a business logo and a good website design.
They have everything you could possibly want. You can buy logo kits or you can get something custom done. The WordPress themes there are the absolute best on the web, from feminine blogging themes to Serious E commerce ones. They have pretty much everything you need to set up your online business. I go there for every single thing I need when it comes to my creative Endeavors. Check them out Here.
Now let’s discuss Website Platforms.
What’s a website platform? It’s a piece of online software which takes the technical aspect of creating a website and simplifies the entire process for us laymen.
Using a website platform you DO NOT need HTML knowledge… You do not need PHP, JAVA, Flash and so forth knowledge. All you need to know is how to click a button! If you can use Microsoft Word you can create a compelling website WITHOUT the need for a web designer or a web developer.
Fact is, this one little piece of knowledge will save you untold thousands of dollars! Many people who are developing a business feel it’s necessary to Hire a Web developer and spend upwards to $1000 to $5000, But you really can do the whole shebang yourself.
There are a number of website platforms out there: Joomla!, PHP Nuke, Blogger, WordPress and many many others.
We are going to focus on WordPress as I mentioned earlier. I personally believe it’s the best. WordPress is a free blogging platform which also acts as a CMS solution.
WordPress will work with any Linux host which has c Panel and PHP5+, I recommend BlueHost as I mentioned earlier. Best part? It’s free, the search engines LOVE WordPress websites and it’s highly extendable with plugins, widgets and themes.
WordPress uses a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor. Simply type what you want into the text box area, upload whatever images and videos you want, then, publish the post.
When you click the publish button WordPress will automatically transform your typed message into HTML, and make the web page go live on your website. Also, you can use this same easy feature to edit already live web pages.
What does this mean? No more paying hundreds of dollars each and every time you want to add a new web page or need to edit an existing one. Instead just do it yourself. This will save you tons in the long run.
You can download the latest version of WordPress from www.wordpress.org, and follow the simple steps they give you to install it onto your web host, or you can use BlueHost and use their ONECLICK install feature that makes the whole process easy peasy.
We will be using WordPress for the duration of this blogging guide.
Once you do that, then, you can tap into the power of WordPress’ themes, plugins and widgets. We mentioned themes earlier but let’s talk about that a little more.
What are themes? Well, simply it’s a web design that works with the WordPress platform. And there are thousands upon thousands of FREE themes you can use with WordPress. A free one may work at first if your needs are simple.
Most businesses and Blogs require a bit more than the freebies have to offer though. When you are ready, You can purchase a premium WordPress theme for next to nothing. The average price is between $40 to $60… And you have yourself a dynamic website design. Again, you can find the best of the best at Creative Market.
You can also access a directory of free themes directly from your WordPress backend. Let me show you how.
When you first log into your WordPress back-end you will go to: YourWebsiteDomain.com/wp-admin
You should see something similar to the following:
Next you will enter the login details you created when you installed WordPress onto your web host.
Once inside the back-end you will click on Appearance then Themes.
Once you click on themes you can either manage the themes you already have, or you can install a new theme. We are going to install a new theme. So click on the Install Theme button.
You can do one of two things: search for a specific theme using a keyword OR keep the search box blank and hit the search button. If you do the latter you can view all available free themes which are in the WordPress database.
(Note: These are not all the free themes available to WordPress. There are hundreds more… These are just the ones that are in the WordPress searchable database.)
Okay. We have talked about WordPress themes, and I have shown you how to get your own free or premium theme. But what about plugins?
What are WordPress plugins? And why are they so powerful?
Well, a WordPress plugin is an extension to the WordPress platform. It is either developed by WordPress, or it can be developed by a third party. This is what makes WordPress a great platform to use… The plugins. And there are SO many plugins out there. This is all due to the HUGE community that surrounds WordPress.
The core of WordPress is designed to be lean and lightweight, to maximize flexibility and minimize code bloat. Plugins then offer custom functions and features so that each user can tailor their site to their specific needs.
For instructions and information on downloading, installing, upgrading, troubleshooting, and managing WordPress Plugins, see Managing Plugins for more information. Also check this post for The top 23 Plug~ins to start with on your site.
Here’s a link to the Plug~in for WordPress as well~
Capturing leads For Good Business
Now let’s talk about Email Lists and Capturing Leads.
One of the reasons you create a website is to generate targeted leads for your business. And what way better to capitalize on those leads than to “capture” them?
Capturing a lead is nothing more than getting their contact information. This can be their mailing address, their phone number or their email. When you’re marketing online you will want to get their email address.
What happens once you capture their email? Well, you can email them anytime you desire. You can email them to give them some tips and advice. You can email them to let them know about a new service or product you’re offering. You can email them to let them in on an email exclusive special coupon of 25% off everything in the store.
Pretty much the opportunities are unlimited! But the first step is capturing those leads, and WordPress has some plugins which makes this process easy for you.
But before you can begin using these plugins to capture those leads… You need an autoresponder.
What’s an autoresponder? An autoresponder is an online service which will automatically respond to your customers when they enter their email and name to join your mailing list.
These mailing services will host your email list for you, and will allow you to grow your mailing list to however large of a size that you need it to be. From their back-end you will be able to setup autoresponder series, and send broadcasted emails to the entire list with a simple click of a button.
They are an essential part of online marketing, and are fairly priced. I recommend using ConverKit. It’s what I use and their platform was created for Bloggers by Bloggers. It is hands down the best system for this purpose. You can create email courses or create free incentive downloads to capture your opt~ins. I wrote a post on Opt~ins that goes into a little more detail here. It gives you examples of ways to build your list.
Once you have your autoresponder service in place, then, you are ready to setup your own email capture system.
There are different ways you can capture your consumer’s email from your blog, but there are only two we are going to focus on: an email capture form on the website itself, and via a popup email capture form.
It’s recommended that you add a form in several places. You should add one in your sidebar if you have one, Your footer, the top of your site, on a welcome mat, and at the end of your posts. It may seem like a lot but it’s what you need to do to make sure you remind them to opt~in. Just make sure that they are well placed and blend seamlessly with your blog. ConvertKit has a nice Plug~in to help you accomplish this. A Plug~in called SumoMe has some great features as well. You can add a free incentive to get your audience interested so that they will exchange their email with you. That’s what just about everyone does these days and it WORKS. Just check out the post I mentioned earlier about Opt~ins.
You can also do a pop up if you think that will work with your site.
But when you use a popup you do not want to over do it. You don’t want to show it to your visitor EVERY time they visit your website. So, there are WordPress plugins which will allow you to create an email capture popup that is shown only once to your visitor per every so many days… And you get to choose this number of days.
I am going to show you how you can install your very first free WordPress plugin — WP Super Popup.
First, log into your WordPress back-end. Once there go ahead and click on Plugins and Add New. Next you will want to do a search for WP Super Popup. Once you find WP Super Popup in the list… Go ahead and install it: After the plugin is installed you will want to activate it.
Once it is activated, then, all you need to do is follow the plugin’s instructions and create your very first email capture popup form. It’s that simple!
And WP Super Popup has a “pro” version you can buy, too. This pro version gives you more bells and whistles than the free version. Such as, putting an email capture form directly onto your website anywhere you choose to do so (even directly within a blog post).
But there is more to taking your blog and brand to the next level than just email capture forms. There are ways you can actually increase your readership, visitor traffic AND credibility… All at the same time!
One way to do this is Guest Blogging.
Guest blogging brings your business’ blog fresh content which both your customers and Google will love. Guest blogging brings your customers a fresh perspective and something new to look forward to.
But guest blogging does more than bringing new ideas and new blog posts to your website… It’s a bird killer. It kills two birds with one stone! How is this?
It’s because when these other industry experts write a post on your business’ blog, then, it associates you with that expert. When that connection is made, then, it ups your credibility in the eyes of those that read your post.
How do you get Guest Bloggers? Well you can make nice in your blogging community. Subscribe to their blogs, leave comments and email them. Be friendly and join blogger’s groups. You can also check out the site Fiverr.com . They have lot’s of opportunities that you can utilize for your website including Guest Bloggers. I use them for so many things on my blog and it’s a real time saver.
Social Media Integration
Now let’s talk about how Social Media can boost your Blog and Business. Everyone uses Social Media! It is a great free route to take to get traffic to your blog, gain fans and get quality back-links.
So, what you do is create an account at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and all these other social networks. Then, you link your business’ website and blog with it. This way you can tap into the viral power of social media.
I am going to show you a series of different ways you can integrate social media into your website, and how it will take your business and blog to the next level.
So Where do you begin? First you need to set up new social media accounts for your blog. On Facebook you can set up a business page. I recommend you setting up a Pinterest account as well. I personally love Pinterest and have a very good, long post on getting started with it Here. Pinterest is crazy useful for bloggers and it can up your traffic by 80% or more so don’t skip it. Make sure it’s a business account so you can get all the benefits of that.
You should also set up a Twitter account too. Twitter still drives pretty decent traffic to blogs. It’s just behind Pinterest and Facebook. There are other good social networks as well like Tumblr, Reddit, and Stumbleupon. You can pick what best suits your blog. I recommend picking ONE to focus on and Pinterest is the best choice for most blogs. You can’t do EVERYTHING you know? There’s just not enough time during the day to constantly post to social media so concentrate on one and the rest you can just get to when you have time.
There are quite a few social media automation systems available and once your up and running these are definitely tools you will need use. For example, you can use Tailwind or Boardbooster for Pinterest. This will make the whole process much easier for you.
Now let’s go into how to add these accounts to your blog. There are many different types of Plug~ins to help you do this. I personally really love GetSocial. They allow you to add floating share bars and follow bars on both your website and On your Mobile site. They also have a welcome bar and a subscribe bar you can add. It’s the whole package. You just set up your account and add the links to the Social Accounts that you have and pick which option you would like. If you want to take a look at GetSocial you can do that here.
You will also need to Add some Plug~ins for Pinterest Optimization. You will want to add a plug~ in that allows your audience to see a “Pin It” option when they hover over a photo and perhaps a “Pin It” at the end of each post as well. I don’t recommend any Pinterest Plug~in over another so I will let you check those out and decide which is best for you. They are all pretty great.
Most good themes will have Social Icons built in and you can utilize these as well. I recommend you using those AND a floating bar. You want to remind your followers often to follow and share so don’t be afraid to add it into several places as long as you don’t overdue it.
Creating Social Media accounts and optimizing your site for them will help bring in good traffic for your business and it will allow you to remind them of your products or services often. So make sure you spend extra time working on your media accounts and getting it integrated into your website.
Now you have the knowledge and tools to move forward and Start A Blog or website. It’s all here and if you need more help you can send me a message and I will be glad to assist. You just need to take action and do something great for yourself that you’ve always wanted to do.
All the tools and knowledge means nothing IF you do not act upon what you learn. I would love to see what you can do!
Do you have any questions or comments? Let us know below…
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