First off, congratulations! Starting a blog is a step in the right direction on the digital marketing path! Blogging is full of benefits like establishing expertise, increasing site traffic, a new medium for exiting news and specials, and it can help your site’s search engine rankings. There are a lot of different directions you can take your blog, so let’s go through some of the most popular means.
1. Blogging Niche
This is a crucial decision that will affect the entire life of your blog. There are three factors that should play into this decision: who your target audience is, what you are passionate about, and what your end goal is. The meeting place of all three of these will be where you find the most success. For example, if you goal is to reach out to vacuum salesmen but you’re writing about your obsession of Disney movies, chances are you won’t effectively reach your target audience. Or, if your goal is to make money with your blog but you don’t pick a topic that is of any interest to your audience, the income potential will be hindered.
2. Hosting and Domains
There are several articles on this site that shed light on website hosting. eHost is a great hosting solution and one of the best for newbies, learn more on Jerry’s eHost review.
You can find a lot of great articles on domains here as well. Be sure to think the name of your domain through. Most commonly it is related either to your organization name or a specific campaign/product, but feel free to be creative. However, make sure it is easy to remember or you might lose out on visits from people that can’t remember the URL.
3. Content Management System (CMS)
Gone are the days that you need to know web development to have a website. Several websites are already customized with a CMS and may have a blog plugin that you could easily install on to your website. There are also a lot of great blogging (CMS) that you can choose from. Among the myriad free systems, WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, and Joomla are my favorites. They are all easy to use, have simple interfaces, and large resources for support, plugins, and themes. You can also check out this article for a list of several more of the common blogging platforms.
4. Design Your Blog
When choosing a design, you will want to pick something that is conducive to your blogging niche. For example, if you are a photographer, having a design that allows a lot of images will be important. If you are looking to pursue affiliate marketing, make sure there is room to place the ads.
There are three different levels of themes you can proceed with: free, purchased, or customized.
Free templates are quick and easy to install, but don’t usually offer the same level of support as purchased or customized. They also are offered to everyone so the chances of another site using the same template as you are a pretty good.
Purchased templates are usually better designed than the free templates, the developers offer more support, and you can often get exclusive rights to the theme so no one else will have it.
Customized templates offer the most flexibility but carry the biggest price. If you need something to fit exact specifications this is the way to go.
If you are familiar with HTML and CSS, any of the options will work and you can customize the template to fit your needs.
5. Install your Theme and Configure Your Blog
Here is where things become very different. Everyone has their own preferences and each platform has its own configuration steps. Thankfully, all of the sites have great how-to’s on setting a site up (WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, Joomla).
6. Social Media Syndication
If you want people to know about your great new blog, you have to set a means to tell them and earn new followers from the social media platforms. The Internet is becoming very cross-connected and you can integrate your blog posts with the major social network platforms very easily.
First, most of the blogging platforms have the option to syndicate within the configuration. If they do, use that process. If not, there are several web applications that you can use (my suggestion is Twitterfeed). These applications scan your blog regularly for new posts then post new articles to the networks you indicate (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).
7. Start blogging!
Once you have your blog set up and ready to go, it is time to start writing content! If you’re looking for more tips, check out Jerry’s 47 Blogging Tips For Newbies.