This is the second installment of a three-part series about blogging. Our last article discussed the various reasons why people start blogs and what is usually the driving force behind wanting to blog. The third post will discuss fine-tuning your blog for success.
Starting a blog may seem like an overwhelming task. There are many platforms for blogging. They range from highly customized solutions to as simple as 140 character microblogs (i.e. Twitter.)
Once you discover why you want to be a blogger, the next logical step is setting up your blog. Platforms like Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress, which is my platform of choice, are easy to set up. Go to their respective sites and sign up for an account. All of these platforms are free, but there may be costs associated with adding custom functionality and design customizations. (WordPress.com is FREE and hosted by WordPress, but if you want to take your WordPress site to the next level as far as functionality, you will want to use the WordPress.org self-hosted solution. Here’s an article I wrote about the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.)
Once you sign up for your desired platform, think about a name for your blog. Your blog’s name should say something about you or the topics you plan on writing about. The name really sets the tone for the audience’s experience and their engagement with your site. I strongly recommend purchasing a domain name when using WordPress or Blogger. Domain names can be purchased by domain registrars like Namecheap for as little as $8.95 per year.
Here’s the best tip no one told me when I started my first blog: Make sure the domain name you buy represents your brand well. If this is a business blog and you are just starting out, buy your company’s name. (If you don’t already own it.)
Now that your blog is set up, take some time and create an author bio. Let people know who you are, what your interests are, and what you plan on writing about. Here’s the author bio I typically use:
Greg Taylor, founder of Marketing Press. Hopelessly addicted to music. Phoenix Suns fan. WordPress enthusiast since 2005. Originally from Warren, NJ, now Tempe, AZ is home.
Real simple, but from that easy two-line bio you can get a decent idea as to who I am. Since I know it’s difficult to write about yourself — feel free to steal my author bio writing format.
[INSERT YOUR NAME], [INSERT WHAT YOU DO.] [INSERT A COUPLE OF INTERESTS -- make one highly relevant to what you do]. [CLOSING FACT ABOUT YOU].
Now that you have a place on the internet to call your own, customize your site page as much as you desire. Some blog customization takes HTML and CSS knowledge, and customizations are very simple and easy to do. Develop your blog to your level of expertise. If you desire more customization than you can handle, you can always hire someone to do the site customizations for you. Different blogging personas have different site customization needs, so design and develop accordingly.
Every good blog needs a strong about page. Think about how you want your company (or your personal brand) positioned. This may be the first time people are learning about your company. Make sure you leave them feeling secure in the fact that you are the subject matter expert for your site’s topical information.
OK, here comes the fun part — writing. Write away. Post all that your heart desires. Talk about your clients, talk about how your product or services solve problems. In the beginning, you will be bursting at the seams with all sorts of great ideas to write about and you will be tempted to post daily or many times a week. Be forewarned — this will not last forever. Most successful bloggers use editorial calendars to keep them on track and to spread their posts out throughout a specific period of time.
Blogging Tip: Schedule time to blog. You will quickly learn what days and times you are best at writing. The days and times that writing comes naturally and without struggle. Tap into that power and schedule time to blog. Trust me, it will make blogging much easier.
I’ve made this ‘How To Start A Blog’ article very simple. Starting your own blog isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Follow the above steps and you’ll be off posting to your blog in no time at all. Always remember: Write for fun, write for purpose, just write.
Still not sure how to start a blog or how to fine-tune it?
Be sure to check out the third and last post in this series where we will discuss how to focus your blog for success. We’ll talk about content strategy, SEO, lead generation, and metrics of success.