How to Make a Blog: a step by step Guidelines
Having a blog is great. It’s an effective tool for sharing ideas, opinions, and information online. It lets you reach, influence, and communicate with people from different parts of the world.
It even gives you an opportunity to make money. You can use your blog as a selling platform as well as for network marketing.
You can earn from ads and work with online merchants.
Then again, having a blog may seem easier to plan than to actually do.
What does it really take to be a blogger?
What do you need to do to gain a following as well as to maintain a strong online presence?
What are the tools that you need to be successful in this venture?
Can you do it for free or do you have to shell out some money?
Before you create a blog, see to it that you keep the following pointers in mind:
Identify your niche.
Although your blog can contain anything under the sun, you can get more readers if you focus on a particular niche.
When you become known as an expert on this niche, more people will recommend your blog to others.
To find your niche, you should figure out what you are passionate about.
What is it that you really like to do?
Perhaps it is cooking, working out, gardening, etc.
Focus on a topic or subject that you have an extensive knowledge about. For example, you can talk about books, review cosmetics, or give tutorials on programming.
You can choose any niche you want.
However, it is ideal to write about things that you really like.
This way, writing and blogging will be enjoyable and not feel like a chore.
Define your target audience.
Once you find your niche, it becomes easier to define your target audience. In general, your target audience refers to people who have the same interest as you.
For example, if your niche is fashion, your blog can feature the latest trends on clothing, designer bag reviews, and product recommendations.
Your target readers could be individuals who are stylish and interested in fashion.
If your niche is cooking, your blog can feature recipes, cooking tips, and tutorial videos.
Your target readers could be stay-at-home mothers and people who want to learn how to cook.
Add value and have originality.
Readers will keep coming to your blog if they can get something from it, such as new knowledge. So, your blog should not only be fun and interesting.
It should also be helpful and informative.
You can gain inspiration from other bloggers. Check out what their blogs are about, but be careful not to be a copycat. Online users are quick to pinpoint copycats and bloggers who steal other people’s ideas.
If you turn off your readers by copying other people’s work, you can have a bad reputation online and your following will decline.
There are plenty of ways on how to blog with originality.
For example, you can create your own version of a recipe. You can get a generic recipe online and tweak it to make it unique. You can also do song covers or article rewrites.
Most of the materials you see online merely circulate from one website to another.
A lot of people come up with similar ideas. These things just look different because bloggers modify them to have their own versions.
Be transparent and consistent.
You have to post blog entries regularly to keep your followers and readers interested. Remember that online users are quick to move on.
If they do not hear from you for quite a while, chances are they will forget you and they will subscribe to another blogger.
In addition, make sure that you’re transparent about your product reviews, write-ups, etc. People appreciate honesty and do not like those who sell out.
That means if you want your readers to keep patronizing you, you have to tell them if a certain product review is sponsored or not.
Be honest with the pros and cons of the product.
Try it yourself and show your followers its effects. Do not recommend anything that you do not believe in or use yourself just because you have been paid to endorse it.
Keep in touch with your followers.
Read the comments or suggestions of your readers and respond to them. Answer their questions and encourage them to give their opinions about your blog entries.
Your readers will appreciate you better if you regularly communicate with them. Make them feel that they are heard and valued by giving them your attention as well.
Be open to constructive criticism and maintain a positive vibe on your blog. Sometimes, anonymous readers drop unpleasant or harsh comments.
You can ignore or delete these comments and block the users so that they will not spread negativity on your blog.
You can also link your social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, on your blog so that your followers can follow you on these sites too.
Furthermore, you can have contests or product giveaways. This way, more people will be enticed to check you out and follow you.
Your current followers will also be thrilled to join your contests and giveaways. After all, people generally like rewards and freebies. These contests are also a great way to interact with your readers and encourage them to bond.
Steps on How to Create a Blog
Now that you have been briefed on the things that you need to learn and focus on if you want to have a successful blog, you can begin to actually create the blog.
Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to start a blog
Choose a blogging platform and domain.
It’s really up to you how you want to set up your blog.
If you are a beginner, you can choose from one of the many ready-made platforms, such as WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr. They are all available for free.
WordPress is the biggest blogging platform today. It has more than eighty-two million users. It offers a variety of add-ons and plugins that you can use to layout and design your blog.
If you go for a free platform, you can benefit from themes, layouts, and support forums without having to spend any money. This is great if you just want to test the waters and see if blogging fits you.
However, if you’re really serious about blogging, you shouldn’t choose a free platform. Free blogging platforms do not allow you to get your own domain name.
So, if you use WordPress, your blog’s URL will be ‘nameofyourblog.wordpress.com’.
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What’s more, you cannot fully monetize your blog with a free platform. You may not even be allowed to upload certain images and videos. This is because you do not own your blog if you use a free platform.
If you want to have full control over your blog, you should go for self-hosting and custom domain name. You can choose your own URL as well as benefit from unlimited bandwidth for images, videos, and other content.
For example, you can use Just Host for hosting and domain.
Domain names usually cost about $10 to $20 per year, but Just Host offers them for free if you avail of their hosting services. You can also use Bluehost, which costs about $2.75 per month. They also offer free domain names and discounts if you avail of their web hosting services.
Take note that website hosting and domain hosting are not the same.
Nonetheless, Bluehost can host both your domain name and website. You may also purchase your domain name from other companies, such as GoDaddy and Namecheap.
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Most hosting providers have one-click installation for WordPress. You won’t have a hard time installing it on your blog. Once it is installed, you can start writing new posts.
Choose a name or title for your blog.
The name or title of your blog is crucial since it would be the keyword your followers would remember and search for. It is the name that would be permanently linked to your own personality and ideologies.
If you are totally beginner then you can go to this post how to create a blog
You can choose any name for your blog, as long as it has not yet been taken by someone else. You can even use your own name if you want.
Nonetheless, a lot of bloggers choose names that go along with their preferred niche. This way, their followers can easily associate their blog with their topics as well as let new readers have an idea of what the blog is about.
For example, if your blog is about mountain climbing and hiking, you can use the title “Mountaineer Guy Adventures” or something similar for your blog.
The key is to use words or a group of words that your readers can easily associate with you and the topics you discuss on your blog.
If you are using your blog to promote and sell products, you should choose a name that reflects what you want to convey. Ask yourself what your brand or products are about.
Likewise, think about how you want your followers to see your business.
It would be helpful to put yourself in your followers’ shoes to get a better understanding of how they think.
If you’re a customer or client, what do you want to see on a blogger’s page?
What can convince you to buy something or do business with them?
Once you settled with a name or title, ask your family and friends what they think of it. You can also create a mini survey to find out how the title of your blog sounds to other people.
It may sound fun and catchy to you, but it may seem bleak and boring to others. Get as many opinions and suggestions as you can to help you make a final decision.
Design your blog with a theme.
The look and feel of your blog depends on the theme you choose. If you want your blog to be light and fun, you can use a cute and colorful theme.
If you wish your blog to look professional, you need a theme that gives off an aura of seriousness. If you aim cater to a female audience, you should use a feminine theme.
Whichever theme you choose, it has to match the content and purpose of your blog.
If you are not adept at coding, you can just use one of the available templates online. There are plenty of good choices that you can choose from.
These themes or templates will make it much easier to design and organize your blog. If you are using WordPress, you can choose from both free and paid themes.
Take note that aesthetics are crucial.
If you want your blog to be a success, you should not only focus on its content. According to a study done at the University of Basel, online users tend to judge websites based on their perceived functionality and aesthetic appearance.
In fact, the researchers have found that they make such judgments in just 1/20th to 1/50th of a second. They also use a psychological bias, known as the Halo Effect, to judge the other parts of the blog or website.
This proves that online users are very quick to determine whether or not they want to check out a certain website. If you want them to read your blog and subscribe to your future posts, you have to convince them to stay.
Since the first thing that they see is the layout of your blog, you need to make it compelling and enticing.
Good design builds trust. They tell users that you care about what they think and that you want to give them what they want.
Keep in mind that some of the best designs are clear and simple.
There is no need for you to fill your blog with animations and effects.
Make your blog easy to read and navigate.
Consider the theme of your blog an investment. After all, you will use it for a very long time. So, don’t dismiss the idea of hiring a web designer to create a professional theme for your blog.
This way, you will give the impression that you take blogging seriously.
Tips on How to Choose the Right Theme for Your Blog
You can check out the layouts of your favorite bloggers and gain inspiration from their designs. Then again, you have to realize that design is not the only factor that you need to consider.
You also have to put importance on the way the theme works.
Here are some tips to help you select the right theme for your blog:
Keep it simple.
Do not underestimate basic themes. The primary purpose of blogging is to share content that is easy to digest. Your readers should be able to read, watch, or listen to your posts without any hassle.
You have to share your ideas and thoughts, as well as interact with your followers with ease.
Unfortunately, most fancy themes are difficult to use because they compromise usability and legibility. They may make your blog look nice, but they may also make it slow to load or hard to navigate.
If this is the case, it would be so much better to use a simple theme that does not get in the way of your posts.
Consider the responsiveness of the theme.
The theme you choose should make your blog functional and viewable on all web-enabled devices.
In other words, your followers should be able to read and share your content, as well as communicate with you, whether they are using their laptops, desktop computers, or smartphones.
In addition, if you want your blog to rank highly on the search engines, you should use a responsive theme. Google favors websites that are mobile-friendly. It puts them at the top of its organic search results.
You can test the mobile-friendliness of your theme by copying and pasting the URL of its demo page on the Mobile Friendly Test page of Google.
This way, you can see if your text font is too small or your content extends far beyond the screen.
Check if the theme works in different browsers.
Aside from making sure that your theme works in different electronic devices, you also have to make sure that it works in different web browsers.
Majority of your followers are likely to use Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox.
Nonetheless, your other followers may also be on different browsers, depending on their location or preference.
Ask your web developer to test your themes across different browsers. You can also test it on your own.
Take note of the supported plugins.
Plugins are the essential add-ons to your blog.
They offer additional functionality to the website, such as e-mail capture, site analytics, search engine optimization, image optimization, and increase of page load speed.
If you want to give your followers the best user experience, you should use popular plugins. However, make sure that your theme supports them.
If you’re using WordPress, the following are some of the plugins that you may want to consider:
- Yoast SEO
It can help you optimize blog post titles, content length, descriptions, and other elements on your blog. This way, your blog can be found by search engines more easily.
This has a variety of tools that can help you convert readers into e-mail subscribers. It uses exit-intent popups to convince them to check out custom offers.
So, if you want to build an e-mail list, this plugin can be quite useful. It will not let readers get out of your blog without giving them a chance to see more of what you have to offer.
As a blogger, you want your followers and readers to be able to communicate with you easily. This plugin allows you to drag and drop contact forms across your web pages.
It can help you with e-mail captures, social media sharing, and other functionalities. This way, you can grow your blog and acquire more followers.
This is regarded as one of the best Google Analytics plugins for WordPress.
Signing up for a Google Analytics account is free.
You can connect your Google Analytics account to MonsterInsights to find out more about your followers and readers.
This plugin will give you information on who visits your blog, how long they stay on it, and which blog posts they read more often.
Sometimes, unexpected and unpleasant things happen, such as losing your valuable data.
This is why you should always be prepared for times like this.
See to it that you backup your work so that it can stay protected—and streamlining this process is what BackupBuddy specializes in.
- W3 Total Cache
It can help your website have a better ranking on Google as well as provide your followers a better reading experience.
More importantly, the plugin reduces the sizes of files so that the web pages can load much faster.
This can make static elements, such as images, faster to load.
Of course, if you want your readers to stay on your blog, you should not allow them to get bored by slow loading elements.
It can help you create subscriptions, set up payment options, and restrict content.
The plugin allows you to improve your blog’s security, making it a much safer place for your followers.
- Insert Headers and Footers
This allows you to add code snippets to the header and footer of your blog with ease.
There is no more need for you to risk encountering errors by directly adding the codes in your theme.
Test for SEO friendliness.
Search engine optimization or SEO is the backbone of websites.
Every web page you see on the Internet contains keywords or key phrases that make them searchable.
If you want your blog to be found by Google and other major search engines, you need to use relevant keywords and key phrases.
These are the words that online users type on their computers or devices to search for what they need.
Take note that some themes have bulky codes that make them difficult to read.
If you are developing your own theme, see to it that it is optimized for SEO. Here are some pointers for you to take note of:
- Use long tail keywords that go with the intent of your audience.
Your goal is not to use as many keywords as possible. Instead, you should aim to only use keywords that are actually related to your blog.
Remember that keyword stuffing will not get your blog anywhere. It will even hurt its search visibility.
The rule of thumb is to use one to two long tail keywords for every blog post. These keywords are usually question-based. They can keep your blog posts focused on the specific goals of your readers.
Thus, your readers will be more inclined to stay on your blog and read entire posts. After all, they are truly interested in what they are reading.
These keywords can increase your chances of converting readers into subscribers.
- Insert long tail keywords into specific parts of your blog entries.
In essence, there are four vital parts you need to add keywords to: title tag, headers and body, meta description, and URL.
The headline or title tag of your blog post can greatly affect the relevancy of your content. So, you need to use relevant keywords in your title, particularly within its first sixty characters.
This is where Google tends to cut titles off on the SERPs or search engine results pages.
You should also use keywords in your headers and body, but make sure that you scatter them around naturally. Read your content along with the keywords or key phrases out loud to see if they do not sound forced.
Remember that you need to focus on providing your target audience the material that they seek.
Search engines also read URLs. Hence, you should optimize the URL of every one of your blog entries. Aim to use one to two keywords with every URL.
Furthermore, you have to add keywords in your meta descriptions. These meta descriptions give online users and search engines information regarding your blog.
- Optimize your meta descriptions.
Meta descriptions refer to the additional texts that appear on the search engine results pages. They can have as many as three hundred characters.
They let online users know what certain links are about. Basically, they tell them what they can expect on such websites.
They help them decide whether or not they should click on your blog’s link or not.
Make sure that your meta descriptions are relevant and compelling. Plus, they should contain the necessary long tail keywords.
- Optimize the alt text of your images.
A blog that only contains text is boring. In order to make your blog more fun and exciting, you should also use images.
Keep in mind that images do not only attract the attention of readers, but they also help explain content.
Take note that search engines are also particular about images. They search for images that have alt text.
Aside from boosting the ranking of your blog, these images can improve the accessibility of readers who use screen readers due to poor eyesight.
- Refrain from using too many similar topic tags.
Topic tags are useful for organizing content. However, you should never overuse them. Otherwise, you can get penalized by the search engines for using duplicate content.
For example, the tags “blog”, “blogging”, and “blog post” are all too similar. Thus, you should not use them in a post.
Be mindful of the topic tags that you choose.
A good rule of thumb is to come up with fifteen to twenty-five topic tags and then use them to tag posts with similar keywords.
- Use URL structures.
These structures can help your followers or readers navigate and comprehend your blog better.
Remember that search engines tend to prioritize web page URLs that make it easier for them as well as online users to understand the content of the page.
Make sure that every URL is unique and distinguishable from one another. For example, you can use “http://yourblog.com/marketing” to indicate a page that focuses on your marketing endeavors. Likewise, you can use “http://yourblog.com/sales” to show a page that focuses solely on making sales.
Because of these structures, the search engines and your readers will know that ‘sales’ and ‘marketing’ are smaller sections or subdirectories within your blog.
If you have specific articles within these subdirectories, they will also appear on your URL.
For example, you can have the following URL to denote an article that is found in the marketing section of your blog: “http://yourblog.com/marketing/how-to-research-keywords”.
This way, you can say that URL structures also serve as categorization systems for readers. They let them know where they are on the website as well as how they can go to other pages.
This allows them to easily find the information that they are looking for.
- Link internally as much as possible.
The inbound links to your blog help show the search engines that your content is valid and relevant.
The same thing applies when you link internally to the other pages on your blog.
If you have written about any subject that’s mentioned in one of your posts to another post, web page, or e-book, you should link it to this page.
Check for customer support.
Customer support is very important. If you encounter an issue or problem, you should be able to ask for help. Unfortunately, most free themes do not come with customer support.
So, if you want to have this benefit, you should probably go with a theme developer that offers it. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
Consider the reviews and ratings of the theme.
You should always go for those with good track records. Find out what other people say about certain themes. Both free and paid themes show customers’ reviews and ratings.
If you are using WordPress, you can find these ratings below the download button. Likewise, you can easily check out reviews on third-party marketplaces.
You can also search around the Internet for reviews.
For example, you can join forums wherein the members share tips and advice on blogging.
You can ask your fellow bloggers about the themes that they use and which ones they recommend.
By getting first-hand information and recommendations, you can reduce your chances of getting a substandard theme.
Define your style.
When you have all the fundamentals ready, such as your blog hosting, domain, and theme, you can start modifying your blog to suit your personal style.
Now is the time to unleash your creativity and turn your imagination into a reality.
Do not be afraid to tinker with your theme.
Tweak it until it becomes your very own. Aside from Google Analytics, you may also set up a Feedburner account to encourage readers to subscribe to your blog via RSS and e-mail.
Create the Essential Pages
These essential pages include the About Me, Contact Me, and other pages that can help improve user experience.
Think of the reasons why you wanted to learn how to make a blog
Is it because you wanted to gain popularity and recognition?
Is it because you wanted to spread awareness about a certain cause?
Whatever your reason is, you need to appear credible and trustworthy. Otherwise, people may not pay attention or believe your posts.
Your About Me page should clearly describe who you are. It can include your educational attainment, professional awards and achievements, and even some personal background.
You can tell your readers about your story.
It should let your followers know who you are and why they should trust the information you offer them.
Tell your readers why you created your blog in the first place. Let them know about your vision and mission, as well as what you expect from them.
Inform them of your plans of forming a lasting relationship with them. It is important to build a connection with your target audience so that they would stay loyal to you and recommend your blog to other people.
Your Contact Me page should include vital information, such as your office address, e-mail, and phone number.
You can also link it to your social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you are worried about spam messages, you can use a contact form instead of giving out your e-mail address.
If you’re using your blog to promote your business, you have to provide the right information. This way, your followers can verify that you are legit. As you know, there are a lot of scammers and fraudsters on the Internet.
You have to make sure that you establish a good reputation online to protect and grow your business.
Write valuable and interesting content.
Finally, you have to make sure that your blog is something worth visiting. It is not enough to just have a beautiful website.
You have to keep your followers interested by regularly giving them updates. You need to continue uploading blog entries that they want to see.
Make sure that you exert effort in producing high quality content. Your articles should be informative, interesting, and free from grammatical errors.
If you are not confident with the way you write, you can hire an editor to help you polish your content.
Likewise, you have to edit your videos properly to make sure that they are watchable. Their visuals and audio should be clear. They should also be organized. You can hire a video editor to help you with this.
The content of your blog is what will keep your followers around. Keep in mind that online users tend to get bored and uninterested easily.
They know that they can find someone else who gives better content with just a click of the mouse.
Hence, you have to do continuous research on what your target audience wants to see on your blog. You can interact with them and ask them directly what they wish to see on your future posts.
You can give them surveys or polls and encourage them to vote. Reply to their comments online and consider their requests.
Likewise, you should stay up to date with the latest trends on blogging. Find out what the blogging community currently focuses on. A lot of bloggers stay competitive by discussing similar topics.
To gain more followers and readers, you should beat them by providing more useful, practical, informative, and interesting points of views regarding these subjects.
You can also collaborate with other bloggers to increase your following. You may contact a more popular blogger and ask to be featured on his or her blog. Conversely, you may invite other bloggers to be guests on yours.
Collaborating with other bloggers will let you reach out to more people. Thus, you can also entice their followers to follow your blog.
Moreover, you can provide better content for your readers when you collaborate with other smart and witty bloggers.
See to it that you share your collaborations on your blog and social media channels to maximize exposure.
The Path to Being a Blogger
Blogging sounds fun and exciting. It can even be profitable since you can earn from ads, commissions, and even fixed amounts if you work with online merchants or major brands.
The life of a blogger is a life that a lot of people want to have. They want to be popular and have followers. They even want to become social influencers, work with brands, and get various freebies.
However, it isn’t really that easy. It requires hard work and patience. If you want your blog to be a hit, you have to follow the tips discussed above.
You also need to continuously work on your blog in order to boost its ranking and popularity. Most importantly, you have to continue providing high quality content so that your current followers will stay and you can attract more.