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Cheat Sheet on How to Start a Blog
You can start a blog now, in a matter of less than an hour! You need no coding or sophisticated web design skills to be able to get a blog running. The following few steps will make it a cakewalk for any novice thinking over how to start a blog for free and begin writing on it immediately afterwards. What you do need though is a spark and enough motivation to work consistently on the blog to make it a success. So here is all the information you need on how to start a blog.
1) Assess the Different Blogging PlatformsYou publish content on a blog through a blogging content management system (CMS). The CMS lets you edit your content, automate your posts, measure incoming traffic to your website and each of its pages and personalize your blog in terms of appearance and function.Each of the existing content management systems today has a certain set of features that make it more attractive to a certain blogger than the others do. WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento and Blogger are some of the most popular ones in order of the percentage of blogs worldwide that use them. Nearly 26% of the blogs from around the web use WordPress when starting blog. The platform offers many advantages like ease of use, reliability and feature-richness.
2) Choose a Niche
Chances are that you already have at least a vague idea about what you want to write in your blog. Now is the time to translate your ideas into a practical niche that sells on the Internet. Let’s say, you have an interest in fashion – the subject in itself is very broad and some sub-domains within fashion may be easier to get popularity in than the others. So do a thorough research on what’s trending, what keywords people are searching for the most when seeking information in your field of interest and where the maximum potential lies. Spend some time and thought in choosing and narrowing down your niche before starting a blog.
3) Register a Domain Name
Once you have chosen the niche, it is time for you to give your blog an identity. What you call your blog does make a difference in how easily people remember it and access it. At times, the domain name may also increase your search engine rankings if it has the right keywords.
Make the name short, easy to pronounce and easy to type. You could consider using keywords relevant to the niche. And avoid dashes and special characters as far as possible.
4) Choose the Right Extension for Your Domain Name
The domain name extension is what follows the ‘dot’ after your domain name. For example, .com, .in, .net and .org. Different extensions represent different types of websites. While .com is the universal domain name extension, there are many that are very specific to certain niches and instantly let the viewer know what the website is about. So take a look at all available extension and choose one based on your blog’s subject.
5) Buy a Reliable Hosting Plan for your Blogging Website
A hosting platform is something that puts your website out there on the Internet for people to access from around the world. Many of them are available to bloggers, with different usage plans. GoDaddy, BigRock and Bluehost are a few examples of hosting providers.
You can even get interesting offers like a free domain name when you buy web hosting. The scheme comes in quite frequently at Bluehost.com. So it will be a smart move to buy hosting before you register your domain name – it could save you a few dollars instantly.
6) Make a Content Plan
Some niches demand frequent and voluminous content while others ask for scholarly content with very little need for it to be frequent. Understand how much of and what depth of content your blog would need and plan to publish accordingly. Then think of whether you would like to republish content from other authority websites occasionally; or whether you would like more contributing authors to your blog besides you yourself.
7) Install Analytics Tools and Other Plugins on WordPress
A key ingredient to successful blogging is, knowing where your traffic is coming from and which posts are fetching you the maximum traction. Google Analytics lets you do all this for your blog. It gives you detailed reports from many perspectives. So install the plugin in your CMS as soon as you start blogging. In addition to analytics tools, you could install other plugins as well to enhance your blogging experience.
8) Keep a Promotional Strategy Ready for Your Blog
Where are most people in your domain going for their discussions, knowledge sharing and posting? Make a list of these platforms besides the usual social media platforms that you would need to tap into once you start publishing content on your blog. A remarkable post requires immense efforts in promotion for it to get the visibility it deserves.
9) Optimize your Content for Search Engines
Plugins like Yoast SEO make this step fairly easy even for a complete novice in the world of SEO. Organic rankings are extremely important in getting relevant traffic to your website. Use tools Google Keyword Planner to find the top ranking keywords LSI keywords for the topic at hand and customize the content accordingly.
Once you complete all these steps on starting a blog and your blog starts getting some traffic, immediately take action towards monetizing it. Affiliate programs such as that of Amazon offer a good starting point.