The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Blog

The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Blog

If you’re striving to be financially independent and secure, a bit of extra money can go a long way. Or perhaps you’re just looking for a way to express your creative side–no matter the reason, a blog can be a great way to communicate across a variety of audiences.

But it isn’t as simple as you might think. With a few simple tips from Jason Hartman and his team, you’ll be blogging in no time!

Set some goals

Your very first step is to determine why you’re starting a blog. If you’re doing it to make money, you’ll think about it a bit differently than if you’re simply using it as a means to communicate something you’re passionate about.

Read a lot of blogs in this phase of development. Find subjects that interest you or are similar to the one you’re hoping to blog about, and read a ton of different blogs. Write down the things you like or don’t like and keep a running list. Find examples and record contact information in case you wish to be in touch with (or seek advice from) your favorite blog owners at a later time.

Next, you’ll need to sign up for an account at blogger or WordPress (or another site of your choosing).

Or…

If your blog has ambitions to become a business, you might want to consider your own hosting platform.

You’ll get better access to web analytics and have more control overall. Let’s assume that you’ll be hosting your own blog.

Name it!

Choose a name for your new site so you can really get going on it! The best domain names are those that entice people to check out your site but don’t seem so overly specific that your content is limited. Make sure that it doesn’t sound spammy and is written in correct english–you’ll be surprised to see how many do not.

Choose a hosting service–there are a ton–at get writing!

Build it!

If you’ve got a sweet name, you’ll need to build a sweet site! A website builder like WordPress is great for putting together a good looking website yourself. If you’re hosting the site yourself, you’ll still be able to use it–it’s easy and intuitive, even for a beginner.

Once you’re working within WordPress, you’ll be able to build and customize as you see fit. The WordPress interface makes everything easy and will be where you publish, make changes to your site design, add plugins, and so on.

Now you’ll want to add a site name and then a tagline. WordPress gives you the option of choosing a theme, so you’ll want to browse your options (some are free while others charge a fee). WordPress themes vary in level of professionalism, font choice, colors, etc. Different themes give the site a totally different feel, so experiment with a few different ones.

Design it!

Now that you’ve got the skeleton of a site, you’ll want to spend some time designing it. Begin by installing the theme that you’ve settled on. Most themes are somewhat difficult to alter (in terms of look and feel) so pick something versatile that suits your needs. Preview your site before saving changes.

Search for plugins that will make your site easy for users and more effective. Make it aesthetically pleasing–and run it by a few of your friends before going live.

Generate content

The content that you’re creating will be different, depending upon your overall goals. As a general rule, remember that you should have a mix of media present. This means text, pictures, infographics, videos.

To post, simply click New Post in the WordPress interface and directly type your content or cut and paste it into the form. Enable search engines to be able to find your site, which will make it more discoverable to users.

Focus on curating content that others will find useful or otherwise valuable. This means that they will be inclined to interact with the things you are writing in some way–reading, commenting, and sharing.

Which brings us to our next point…

Promote your content

If you’ve gone through the trouble of starting a blog, you’ll want to share it with others. Social media presents an amazing and potentially free opportunity to do this. Infographics and memes are particularly shareable, so make a point of including those in your assortment of content.

Facebook is one way to share content, but remember that it certainly isn’t the only way to do so. Twitter attracts a potentially different group of folks willing to read blogs, so having a comprehensive social media plan will likely benefit you.

Google+ is also worth a mention, as the almighty Google search engine tends to favor their products. It may not be as easy to use at first, but Google+ has a unique way of drawing together followers with similar interests, so it’s certainly worth a glance.

You should also think about other ways to promote your content. Guest posting on blogs that share a similar mission can be a great way to maximize exposure to your words. Approach blog owners with a genuine desire to write a guest post for their site (and offer to let them do the same) and you’ll increase your audience and work toward building relationships with others in your industry.

Make sure that you’re always offering quality content–if you wouldn’t post it on your own blog, why would someone else? And, while it may seem easy to promote your own blog in the comment section of someone else’s, resist that urge. You likely see it all the time on the blogs you read, but don’t do it–it’s generally bad practice and will not be looked upon favorably.

And then…

Don’t expect to make money from your blog right away–getting sponsors, advertisers, clients, takes a bit of time. You’ll want to spend some time experimenting with your blog before you begin cashing those checks, so be patient.

Seek the help of blog owners you admire and trust, and know that your blog will grow into what you want it to be–but it may not be easy.

Write on!

(photo credit: Huasonic via photopin cc)

Read more from Young Wealth: 

Understanding Student Loans

Wallet or Purse Strings? Women and Financial Literacy 

The Young Wealth Team

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