(This may take a while but you can bet your bottom dollar it will be worth it)
Don’t think that because there are over 500 million blogs in the world today, you cannot make a mark in blogging. Creating successful blogs has transformed many local stories and businesses (Individuals, corporations, SMEs and startups) global. For those who do not know exactly why they should start a blog immediately, did you know that: Companies who blog get 97% more links to their websites than the ones that don’t blog? Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trustworthy source for gathering online information? and 77% of internet users read blogs thereby increasing the traffic to websites? Blogging has become a very significant marketing tool that can help you:
• Build your brand awareness,
• Drive traffic to your website
• Improve your writing skills
• Attract potential clients
• Develop your expertise
• Earn good money
• Add value
There are always the challenges of know-how, developing a loyal and engaged follower base and consistency in generating new blog content. Yet, The positive effects that consistent blogging can have on the success of your business are massive. All you need is to take the necessary steps one at a time. The first step is to start a blog and this article is a complete guide that will help you realise that starting a successful blog is easy and inexpensive as long as you don’t miss any of The 8 Steps.
Step 1: Know why you are creating a blog
• Step 2: Build your brand
• Step 3: Find the best web host
• Step 4: Add WordPress
• Step 5: Add key Plugins
• Step 6: Create compelling content
• Step 7: Optimize your blog content for SEO
• Step 8: Promote your blog and content
Step 1: Know Why You Are Creating a Blog
To be sure of your purpose for starting a blog, think about your target audience, the key message you want to pass across to them, why and how to make it stick. Your blog ought to have answers, opinions or solutions to the interest of a group or more. Knowing this will help you align the topic of your blog around what will
grab and retain the attention of your audience.
Starting a personal blog and starting a blog for your company may require the same steps but different niche. For example, if you are a full-service online creative agency like dhrop.co, your blog should revolve around the importance of engaging content, digital marketing, web development and design, and how they
help solve the business problems of your clients. But, starting a personal blog may direct your thoughts differently. Internet users read blogs because they want to know more about a particular product, industry or subject and because you possess what they do not have (Knowledge, skills, capacities). This means that your blog should focus more on being informative, educative and engaging rather than on driving sales which your website wouldn’t complain about at any time.
You wouldn’t want your blog to be a theatre without an audience. So, try to figure out exactly what content your target audience needs and base your writings on intensive thorough research so that you can inform and engage them.
Without knowing why you are starting a blog, it will be very difficult to engage your audience because there are so many like-minds struggling to engage the same audience with you. knowing your aim helps you bring something new to the table. When others are talking about the beauty of a product, talk about the values of that product and when they entertain and inform, you should entertain, inform and educate at the same time. Many blogs do not navigate this path. This path makes you stand out in the noisy crowd and rank higher on Google.
Step 2: Build Your Brand Awareness
To what extent does a client or consumer recognize your products or services by their names? How do you promote new products and services or revive older ones and distinguish them from their competition? As you have understood your audience and their needs, it’s now time to stand out by making an enduring mark with your brand or services through your blog. First, you will have to find and choose a domain name because your name is your identity.
How to find and choose a domain name
Your domain name is the name of your blog. It is the same as your URL (uniform resource locator) and your web address – the address that people either type in their browser to get to your website or discover through search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. For example, our domain name is www.dhrop.co and that is our web address. This is a very important part of your blog. So, make sure to choose a unique name that goes with what your blog is all about – content, message and purpose. Do not forget to keep it short, simple and sweet and possibly avoid hyphens and whatever will make your blog name difficult to
remember or digest.
you may go for the highly popular dot com domains or other extensions like dot co, dot net or dot blog. Just note that the more recognizable and searchable an extension, the greater the level of trust it provides to visitors.
But where can you get yours from and how do you choose? There are companies responsible for registering and maintaining domain names. They are called domain registrars. They have specific tools to help you find the right name but this should not deter you from making personal research. You can ask Wordoid (a naming tool) for help to get a name for your blog. Before we talk about the best domain name registrars, let us examine a few criteria that will help us choose.
Criteria for choosing the best domain name registrar
1. Pricing and registration period
You pay for your domain name before you are registered and your registration has a minimum period. It is best to first know how much you are to pay for registration and how much you will pay for renewal because some domain registrars offer lower prices for the first year registration but significantly high
prices during renewal. The minimum period for domain name registration is 1 year but some may require a minimum period of 2 years. You should also look out for other charges like domain transfers and more which if you were aware of them in the beginning, you would make a better choice.
2. Domain expiration policies
There is always a specific duration for which a domain name is registered. Going through your domain registrar expiration policy and setting up automatic renewals for your domain name are the best things to do. Failure to do this may give someone else the opportunity of taking over your blog name if it expires. Some domain registrars do not have grace period while many do. look for the ones that have and make sure too that your credit card does not have any issue (expiration) that may affect your domain name renewal.
3. Domain transfers
You have the right to move your domain name from a domain registrar to another but not in the first 60 days. Good domain registrars make it easy for you to transfer your domain name to another company while some will charge you an additional fee. It is best to review the domain transfer policy before buying a domain name from any domain registrar.
There are always other services offered by your domain registrar. They are services like domain privacy, domain parking, WordPress hosting services, email hosting service and marketing services, and more. It is good to know if your domain registrar offers them. You never know when you will need them. Make sure to uncheck any add-on service that you don’t need because some domain name registrars can automatically pre check add-on services when you buy a domain name and this increases your bill.
5. Bad user experience
Some domain registrars don’t make their websites easy to use and this scares away customers. If you are using such registrar, it will make it difficult for you to change your domain settings. To make the right choice, don’t underestimate the registrar’s online reviews. They help you know if the domain registrar is user friendly.
4. Add-on services
Some domain registrars don’t make their websites easy to use and this scares away customers. If you are using such registrar, it will make it difficult for you to change your domain settings. To make the right choice, don’t underestimate the registrar’s online reviews. They help you know if the domain registrar is user
Top 5 domain registrars to buy a domain name
Bluehost is a popular provider of domain names with unlimited space and bandwidth to help you have as many domains to a website as you can. They are an official WordPress hosting partner and domain name registration is a part of their web hosting service. Their offer includes a free domain name, SSL certificate and a discount on web hosting. They have domain lock feature which helps you lock down your perfected domain to prevent unauthorised transfers. Bluehost comes with auto-renewals and allows each domain easy management to help you manage your site through a simple interface.
GoDaddy is a domain name registrar that manages over 77 million domain names. They have an easy to use domain management which allows the user to transfer their domain name or change their domain settings. The price is high but what should be of utmost interest is the registrar that will help keep your blog on its toes without hindrances.
Namecheap is among the most popular domain registrars with quick domain search tools that help you research the best names as long as you are a registered user. They also have domain management tools like private registration, easy transfers, DNS management, whois privacy protection and more. Their domain
management interface is clean but not as userfriendly as GoDaddy’s.
Domain.com is a renowned popular domain name registrar that allows you to register all TLDs (top level domain name extensions) and many ccTLDs (country code top level domains). They have all domain management tools that a top domain registrar is expected to have like bulk registration, whois privacy protection, easy DNS management, email account, private registration and others but they do not do web hosting. Come to them only if you need to register a domain name. They are very good at it and are always ready to help you out via live chat and email.
Just like few others, Hostinger is popular and user-friendly. Their management area allows you to transfer a domain if you need to. Their management tools include domain privacy and easy to use DNS
Step 3: Find the Best Web Host
The next step is to find the perfect host for your blog. Web hosting is one of the major components of a very successful blog because if you choose the right one, it will save you time, help improve your SEO (search engine optimization), and manage large flows of traffic.
There are so many web hosts out there. We will look at them and fish out the ones that are best for your blog but just like in choosing a domain registrar, there are things to consider before choosing a web host for your blog.
What to consider when choosing a host
If you are a small business that incurs ongoing costs, you will need an affordable and reliable host. This does not mean that you will have to spend so much. The average you should spend on stable hosting is between $36 and $300 annually. There are host providers that would offer low prices for the first year and significantly high prices in the next years. Be sure to see the whole picture and then decide.
Any host you choose should be able to provide technical support to you through a real person whenever you need it. Many host providers do so via live chats, telephone or email while some have fixed operating hours. Whichever one, the best support comes from in-house. Having access to more technical options is always recommended. Go through each host reviews to get insight before choosing your host.
User experience and interface
Avoid any host that does not have an easy-to-navigate interface. The need for customer support is there but there are simple tasks you should complete on your own.
If you cannot set up your email, install WordPress with ease, set up your FTP accounts and update and modify your site in a matter of minutes, it means that the host does not have an easy-to-navigate interface. You have enough time to find out if a host is interface-compatible since many hosting providers allow you a chance to test the software. Do not choose a hosting provider that is cheap but will not make blogging simple and enjoyable to you.
Features and add-ons
There are possible extras like offering credits for advertising with Google Ads. This could provide early exposure to your blog since it is an effective means of online marketing. Such offers exist because of the level of competition in website hosting. Such free offer tends to get many customers to any hosting provider who
gives them. It won’t be a bad idea if you check them out before choosing a hosting provider for your blog.
Growth and security
Of all the things a hosting provider should do, it should provide you with the room to grow. Naturally, you look forward to tremendous growth in your blog. You anticipate traffic growth, performance growth and security growth. Those that start basic hope to upgrade their accounts in the future and the hosting provider is expected to allow them such growth.
Make sure to review hosting upgrade options and select the one that gives you ease as to upgrading. Do this before choosing a host because if you don’t and later want to transfer to another host, it is always time-consuming and may be costly too.
Choosing the best host
Since the inception of Bluehost in 1996, it has grown to one of the largest developer names as long as WordPress hosting is concerned and is powering over 2 million websites. It is secured and certified as an official WordPress hosting provider.
We have been using Bluehost and have not had any reason for complaint. It is our go-to hosting provider. With Bluehost, we don’t have to worry about the speed of our website slowing down with mass traffic because it manages large flows of traffic.
It is simple to run and offers a free domain name making it a good option for whoever wants to create blogs from scratch. It has in-house WordPress experts that will back your website 24/7. If you have any questions, they will help you through the entire setup process.
- Now that you’re ready to get started, go to Bluehost and click the Get Started Now button.
- Next choose your hosting plan (the prices range from $3 to $6 per month, depending on whether you want a basic, single blog hosting plan or a more robust plan that allows you to create multiple blogs).
- After selecting your plan, you will choose or enter your domain name.
If you don’t have a domain name, enter your desired blog name into the New Domain box but if you already have a domain name, enter that into the I have adomain name box and click Next
Finally, create your blogging account.
Kinsta is a WordPress hosting provider powered by Google cloud. It has pro-active WordPress experts at your service. It is user-friendly and powerful. Although they are more pricey than most host providers, they have superb performance, support and user interface.
DreamHost powers over 600,000 blogs and websites and has been a committed host to WordPress for over 10 years. Their platforms are optimized for WordPress and grants total control of their server to the users and equally allows users to decide if to let DreamHost handle everything. They have unlimited space, bandwidth and SSDs. This makes your site over 150% faster.
As a secure and reliable host provider, SiteGround provides in-house WordPress speed and security solutions. They have tools to easily and efficiently manage WordPress sites giving one-click installation, automatic upgrades and WordPress staging. They constantly protect their WordPress sites from hackers.
SiteGround is one of few host providers that offer location-specific hosting with 3 data centres in the USA, Europe and Asia. When it comes to customer support whatsthehost.com says “they give you 24/7 phone support and chat support with an average wait time of 5 seconds.”
Step 4: Add WordPress
So far, you have achieved a lot and still have more to do. You already know your brand, have a domain name and a hosting provider to power your site. It’s time to set up WordPress. This is much easier because most hosting providers does all the work for you.
To install WordPress:
- Login to your hosting cPanel dashboard
- If your hosting supports 1-click-installs then all you have to do is click a link or button that opts you to ‘install WordPress‘ and add required details like a password and email address.
- Click Skip This Step on the Pick a Theme Screen because it will be done in a bit.
- WordPress is now installed, click Start Building to go to your WordPress dashboard and
- go to the next step.
Pick a simple theme
You can design your blog without prior knowledge of design and coding. A good Theme allows you to design your blog the exact way you want. Remember that themes can play a vital role in your blog’s overall usability. There are varieties of highly pictorial themes and more text-heavy themes for you to choose from depending on the kind of blog you are starting. Even if you cannot find a theme that suits your vision for your blog, there are many ways you can customize any theme that you choose. It means that you need to spend some money for a high quality theme from the premium theme template and add very little work to match your desire or pick a free layout and make it your own by investing some care and attention to make it unique and yours.
It is time to choose and install a WordPress theme. Don’t worry. Installing your blog theme is simple. Follow the easy steps below:
- Go to your WordPress Dashboard
- go to Appearance > Themes.
- Click Add new > Upload if you have a theme zip file or search the wordPress directory for a theme.
- Click Install to add a theme or preview to see what a theme might look like on your blog
- Finally, click Activate and your blog theme is ready!
Incorporate free images into your blog design
Using relevant and high-quality images is one of the best ways to build a visually appealing blog design. Websites like Unsplash and Pexels offer images that can be reused freely under Creative Commons Licensing. This frees bloggers from the threat of backlash that comes from reusing or repurposing pictures to fit their pages. You can get images that are labelled for reuse from Google search option.
Step 5: Add key Blogging Plugins
Blogging plugins are third-party appendages that add additional functionality to your blog. It is best to install a few and only the best plugins because too many and unreliable plugins can slow down your site.
Yoast SEO is also known as the defacto standard SEO plugin for WordPress. It evaluates your website and its content to indicate levels of SEO and helps boost its ranking in Search Engine result pages. It also provides content optimization tips, unlike many other plugins. Its readability analysis checks things like transition words, use of passive and active tones of voice, sentence length and paragraphs making it an excellent tool
for everyone and impacting SEO.
Once installed, Google can crawl, index and rank your pages. Yoast SEO configuration wizard makes it happen. It also allows users to configure Page Title Settings, provide social media data, easily integrate Google Search Console, to set the site type and much more.
Whenever it comes to adding meta descriptions and customizing SEO title, it good to see Google previews, Yoast SEO’s Preview Page allows users to see that and tells you if the descriptions are too long. Yoast SEO offers a free and premium version that cost $89 per year.
- Go to your WordPress Dashboard>go to plugins>Add New.
- Search for Yoast SEO. Click Install Now followed by Activate.
You can easily track your blog’s traffic and with lots of interesting data – traffic sources, overall traffic, views per author and category and more with Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights.
- Click the Add New button.
- Search for MonsterInsights and click Install Now followed by Activate
- Click the Launch the Wizard! Button to configure.
There are other plugins like Convertkit which allows you build an email list and keep in touch with visitors at all times even after they navigate away from your pages and WPForms which helps you generate interest in your business, create conversions, create payment forms and more. There are free and premium versions.
Step 6: Create Compelling Content for Your Blog
Congratulations! It is time to start blogging. You are about to start having fun and living your passion. You will need a menu – an about page, contact page, home page and any other important to your blog in the header. You will also need a photo of yourself and a basic logo.
Determine whether or not you want to receive feedback and directly engage with your readers and make room for that. Note: Feedback from your readers help you improve your content.
Another thing you cannot forget is to establish a social presence by creating social media handles for your blog on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Creating good content
It is the right time to be committed to a consistent posting of relevant articles that your target audience needs. WordPress is there to help you add new posts whenever you are ready. Just go to your WordPress Dashboard, got to posts and click Add New. Below are some helpful tips for each post:
• Add value. Each post must solve a problem, explore a topic or provide answers
to questions bugging the mind of your audience. Adding such value gets your
readers’ long term buy-in.
• Be original. Your perspective and creativity ought to be yours and not copied
from others. The topics you write on also exist in the minds of other bloggers
like you and may have been explored before you too but making your content
original builds brand trust.
• Keyword optimization. Your headlines are of central importance to driving
traffic and generating interest. They should be complemented by keywords in
your content. you have to select the right set of words that you think people
will type in a search fo find your content online. If you do, when search engines
crawl a specific web page of yours, it will be easier for them to know what the
page is all about and they will rank it higher in search results.
• Be honest and transparent. if you want people to read your blog, it needs to
feel real and authentic. Like Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the
world”. Embody whatever you write about. Follow your tone of voice and stay
true to your brand in each content.
• Use visual imagery. It is always monotonous to read all text especially very
long text but good use of imagery can break such monotony. Visual imageries
like charts and graphs can help.
• Format your posts. This has to do with structured paragraphs and
subheadings. They make reading easier. The reader easily points out the major
points to be assimilated. Sometimes, you can use features like ‘bold’ and
‘italics’ to make a point stand out.
You must not be noticed by your target audience immediately you start posting. Don’t give up. This does not mean that your blog will fail. It takes time most time because Google typically takes a little time before it understands what your blog is all about and the value you intend to add. Just make sure to write the most engaging online content with SEO in mind not forgetting the best keywords. Then wait for your online presence to be tremendously felt.
Create a consistent and organised schedule
It is necessary to have a consistent and organized schedule because it gives you an established writing routine and keeps your readers ready since they know when to expect new posts on your blog.
This might seem easy but it is not unless your blog is your full-time job and nothing else ever gets in the way. Whichever one it is, creating a writing and publishing schedule will help you satisfy your expectant readers who only wait for your well-researched article.
Plugins like CoSchedule can help you to manage your posts better.
If you create and follow a consistent and organized schedule, you will develop the habit of sticking to supposed-time. And if you stick to supposed-time, you will never miss the allocated time for writing or posting an article on your blog.
Step 7: Optimize your Blog Content for SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process used by website owners to drive traffic to their web pages from search engines like Google, Yahoo, Binge and more.
It is very important to optimize your WordPress blog for search engines because if search engines don’t can’t find your blog content, the about 53% of traffic to your websites will never happen.
SEO is very technical and involves creative thinking. A better understanding helps you know what attracts users and what converts users. Our knowledge of SEO has helped us to know the importance of creating an engaging content strategy that improves online strategy.
Get familiar with the techniques and perform keyword optimization and add SEO meta tags on each blog post or blog page. This way every content you post becomes visible to your audience through search engines.
Step 8: Promote Your Blog and Content
You can have the most beautiful blog with the most compelling content but without people knowing about it, you will never get noticed. You need to know various ways to promote your blog. The best way is through engaging content. how will people see that interesting content? you can:
Let your friends know about your blog
Inform everyone you know including your family and friends about your blog. Apart from informing them through word of mouth at any given opportunity, you can list your site name on all your social media profiles and include it in your email signature.
Submit your blog to bookmarking site
You submit your blog to bookmarking sites like Reddit, scoop.it and others anytime you publish a new post. They make your content known to the audience who are searching for such content.
Submit your blog to search engines
You can submit your blog’s sitemap to search engines like Google or ask it to crawl your web pages. This way, your website is indexed on Google.
You can offer to write blog posts for other reputable websites on content that is directly related to what your blog is all about. This way, your online presence is built and felt by your audience.
Be active on social networks
Social media is a huge avenue to market and promote your blog online. You can use the common ones like Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, to make people know about your blog. You can post articles on these social platforms that can take them to your website to see other content they might have missed.
Advertising on the web
We can also call this paid traffic. Appropriate use of paid media can give your blog the required online presence it needs before the naturally derived traffic comes along. Google AdWords takes care of this. Facebook also has a provision for such. You can also start building your email list of those who want to be notified of your new blog posts.
Congratulations again! You are officially a blogger but remember that for your blog to be a success, you have to make sure to follow the complete guide above. If you miss anyone, the blog setup may not be a success. And if after setup, you don’t depend on creating engaging content with SEO in mind, you will end up not getting your desired audience. What if your content is compelling and SEO based but you don’t promote your blog? There is no way the online presence of a promoted blog with compelling SEO-based content will get the same traffic as the blog without such.
I hope this article helped you maximize your content creating efforts. If you liked this article please consider sharing with others.
We hope to feel your presence soonest. Best of efforts on the journey ahead!