Blogging is a great way to express your thoughts and opinions, connect to online communities, and can even be a lucrative endeavor through monetization. It is so prevalent, that you may not even realize that some of your favorite websites are blogs. Many popular news sites use the medium as a way of providing great content with a personal flare.
If you have always wanted to create your own blog, there is no better time to do so than now. Where once blogs were limited to ugly platforms that limited user control, you can now select from dozens of different services that allow you to customize every single element of your page – all without any coding experience required. This is thanks to the latest website builder tools.
Website builder software enables even the most novice of users to create beautiful websites in just a few easy steps. This is achieved through drag-and-drop technology, which works similarly to your smartphone interface. If there is an element you want to add or remove, you can simply drag it onto or off of your page. What you see is what you get.
The result is a blog that looks great, takes little time to set up, and can be maintained at a reasonable monthly rate. Let’s get started!
#1 Find Your Subject
Before setting up your blog, you should have a good idea of what you plan on writing about. Although you don’t have to limit yourself to a specific subject, you will get more readers writing about a single topic rather than using a blog as your personal diary or a catch-all for your random thoughts.
It is important to choose a subject that has always interested you and which you can see continuing to remain as a topic of interest in the future. This is because you will mainly be writing about things related to that topic and if it is something that you are not interested in continuing to explore and write about over time, you will become fatigued and possibly give up the pursuit. If you are not interested in your writing, your readers won’t be either.
On that note, it is also vital that your topic of interest be something on which you can expand upon and grow with. If, for example, you start a blog about technology, you will always have information to share. If your blog only relates to a single technological component, the pool from which you create content will dry up over time. You may not see yourself blogging for years, but you should at least have the option of doing so.
As mentioned above, blogging allows users to add a personal flare to their writing. While this can be refreshing, you need to consider how open you are in your writing. Remember that a website can be accessed by anyone and everything on the internet remains archived forever. If you don’t set boundaries, you may end up revealing information about yourself that you regrets.
Finally, consider a blog that people will want to read. While it is likely that if you have a passion for something, so will others, make sure not to write about something too niche. While you shouldn’t expect everyone to care about your blog, you still want to be able to reach as many visitors as possible. Browse websites that are similar to the one you want to create to learn about what people react to and interact with most.
#2 Choose a Blogging Platform
It is important to choose the right blogging platform because you will likely be using it for the lifetime of your site. It is for this reason that you should try out a few different platforms to ensure that you select one that you will be comfortable editing on, posting to, and potentially expanding in the future.
The most basic consideration is ease of use. Not only should a website builder be easy during the initial setup, but also whenever you want to add your latest blog post. If it is difficult to do something as basic as adding new blogs to your site, you should look elsewhere.
Because your site will be dedicated either partially or completely to your blog, you should look for a website builder that provides advanced editing features and rich word processing with the option of adding various types of media to each post. Archiving, search, and social media integration are all important additions to consider pursuing.
If you have ever read a blog you know that one of the best features can be the comments section. Often times the user-added content can be just as useful as the article itself. Of course, not everyone is looking to add positive discourse online so if your platform includes a comment section, ensure that it has a strong spam filter built in.
#3 Select a Domain Name
Once you select a blogging platform you will be direct to enter a desired domain name. A domain name is the web address your users will type in every time they want to access your website (i.e. www.example.com). Although you shouldn’t overthink it, choosing the ‘right’ domain name does take some effort. There are a few things you should keep in mind before selecting your domain name.
The first thing to consider is your brand. If your blog is part of a larger business, then obviously you should use your company name in your domain. If your blog is personal, your name might work well. If, however, you want something more specific to your content, you should choose a domain name that consists of words that are related to your topic. If your blog is political, you can choose words relating to politics, political parties, or anything in between.
A domain name should be short. After all, your visitors will, in part, be accessing your site directly by typing your URL into their navigation bar. Long web addresses are a hassle to type and are more prone to mistakes. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find a lot of available short names as many of the best domains are already registered. Fear not, though, as you are bound to find something eventually through the help of automated suggestions.
When you first create your website you will want to bring it up in conversation as much as possible. Therefore, the domain name should be easy to say and should conform to standard spellings. Although removing vowels is a common trick that sites like Tumblr have successfully employed, it can be confusing for smaller sites with infinitely smaller marketing budgets.
Numbers and hyphens are allowed in a domain name, but they generally disrupt a typist’s flow and are best ignored. As a thought experiment, list the sites you frequent that use a special character in the domain name. You may have trouble thinking of a single one.
Finally, ensure that your domain name is something you can grow with. Many users fall into the trap of selecting a web address that is extremely specific and then reconsider it later on when they want to branch out. Think of a name that represents your new blog, but doesn’t limit it to whatever you are writing about at the moment.
#4 Customize with a Theme and Add-ons
Once you’re done with all of the technical stuff, it’s time to get creative. No matter what platform you end up using, you will find hundreds of themes to apply to your new blog. No matter what mood you want to set, there is something for literally every sensibility imaginable. The theme you choose will give your website its character, will set your fonts and colors, and control your settings.
Consider if you want to pay for a theme. While all website builders include great free themes, many offer premium themes that can give your site a unique look. This can mean the difference between a blog that looks like everyone else’s and one that truly stands out from the crowd. Of course, you could always simply create your own theme from the ground up.
Different themes provide varied options. Some are more mobile friendly, while others focus more on media than on text. It is up to you to decide which features are most important to you and, just as important, to your users. You may get feedback from readers and you may decide to make changes later on. There is nothing wrong with changing your site and most people appreciate a freshening up every now and again. Once you find the right balance you will know it.
Theme functions are limited to whatever the designers deemed most important to their overall look. That is why you should consider adding plugins and other addons to your site. A plugin increases the functionality of your page by offering features such as social sharing, SEO tools, caching, ads for monetization and more. If you don’t use these addons, you will miss out on some powerful expansion options.
With that, it’s time to begin blogging. The more content you create, the more users are likely to find your website. You may find yourself an audience quicker than you think. The trick is to create great content, have passion, and ensure that your site is an integral part of the community at large. We hope that we have inspired you to spread your passion and hope you find your voice online.