How to Start a Blog

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How to Start a Blog 2017

Last updated on Mar 21, 2017 @ 5:13 pm

Do you want to make money online...


...and share an important message at the same time?


Are you ready to start a blog?


„How to start a blog?“ – this is the question that you will find out an answer to in this guide.



Blogging may seem as a complicated thing at first but it‘s not. It is a way of sharing a message in modern world of technology. You don‘t have to be an author and have a New York Times best seller in order to start a blog. You can simply write about something you‘re passionate about and want to share with like-minded souls. Blog is also a very useful tool for your online business because it gives you many more opportunities to get seen on search engines and gives you content to share on social media

Ready? Let‘s get started.


How to Start a Blog


The Alpha guide to starting a blog contains these parts:


  1. Targeting
  2. Keywords
  3. Competitors Research
  4. Blogging Platforms
  5. Hosting and Domain Name
  6. Platform Installation
  7. Designing Your Blog
  8. Start writing content

Let‘s start from the very beginning in order to set a good foundation for the future of your blog.


Targeting


You won't appeal to everybody - that's no secret. Some people might find your content valuable and some might find it completely useless. That's why it is important to have your niche and try to solve a specific (doesn't have to be that specific) problem that your target readers has. By doing that you will already have a clear idea what to write about in your blog and what type of content your potential audience would find interesting.

In order to do most simplistic targeting answer these 3 questions:


  1. What is your niche? (the more specific the better)
  2. Who is your target reader / visitor? (geographical location (can be global), gender, age, net worth, family/marital status, industry, interests, etc.)
  3. What is their problem and what solution you could offer to them?

Keywords


Choosing your main keywords is not as crucial as it used to be but it is still important. Search engines don't really care about keyword density that much as it used to but having main keywords that all content in your website would be around, gives a clear idea to visitor what is it about.

Selecting main keywords also gives you an idea on how big is the market. You can do a fast research on Keyword Planner . Try to type in different words regarding your niche and problem/solution and you will get keyword suggestions. Also you can check how many monthly searches has been made on specific keyword. Select a set of keywords (up to 5) that are most popular and fits your target audience the best.


Competitors Research


Next step is to check your competition. Now that you know what exactly your blog is going to be about, you can use that information to spy on your competitors. Easiest way to do that is searching on Google by using your main keywords or combinations that might be similar. Try to check at least two pages of results and look for websites that could be dedicated to your problem/solution or your niche. Top results are going to be top competitors who are most likely doing the best job and collecting majority of traffic from Google.

Moreover, social media popularity is another good indicator of success. So do the same with top social media platforms and get a overview of your niche on social.

Therefore, you should summarize your research by answering these questions:


  1. Is there a direct competition for you (offering the same solution and targeting same group of readers)? If yes, who are the top ones?
  2. What do the majority have in common?
  3. What are the advantages of your main competitors?
  4. What could you take from them and add more value?
  5. What are their disadvantages?
  6. What could you do better?
  7. How could you differentiate?

Blogging Platforms


It's time to move on to something more practical. Before setting up your blog, you should consider different options of blogging platforms.

There are free ways to create your blog and start writing. However, it comes with a few disadvantages. So let's have an overview of free blogging platforms.


Wordpress



Yes, Wordpress.com can host your blog for free. It's very easy to set up and use (no coding or design knowledge required). Also, you get to choose from lots of free themes and can move to self-hosted wordpress site whenever you feel ready to.

On the other hand, it's not as free as it may seem... They can put ads in your blog and collect revenue. In addition, you don't have that much functionality unless you pay for upgrades. And of course, you will only get subdomain which means that you blog address will contain ".wordpress.com" which does not look very professional.


Blogger



Blogger is another easy to use option for beginner bloggers who don't want to invest any money. You can even make some money on Blogger! How? Well, Blogger is owned by Google and it gives you possibility to connect it with different Google tools, including AdSense. Contrary to free Wordpress, you can place ads on your site and collect revenue. Also, you can access HTML code which gives you more customization possibilities.

However, it has some cons as well. It has way less themes and storage space than Wordpress. You cannot move to self-hosting, so you are completely dependent on Blogger and their offers. And of course, your site will have ".blogspot.com" in its address.


Weebly



Weebly promotes itself as more a free website-creation software, rather than blogging platform. It uses drag-and-drop system which makes it easy to create new pages and you get a bunch of free themes. It also offers you blogging possibility.

But as you already expect, it comes with a few cons as well: extremely difficult migration process, lack of features and plugins, subdomain and other.


Tumblr



Tumblr is something in between bloging platform and social media. It's easy to use and submit content because of well-made mobile apps, to some extent customizable and gives a very strong social sharing aspect through following, favorites and notes.

However, you get same cons as usual for free platforms plus a few new ones: difficult migration, lack of extensions, subdomain, dangers of adult content shared throughout Tumblr and porn bots.


In conclusion, all free platforms share the same disadvantages:


  • you don't actually own your website and it can be closed by the service anytime;
  • It's usually lacking of customizability and extensions;
  • You don't have your own domain;
  • Unless it's wordpress, migrating to another platform can be very difficult;
  • Harder to monetize;

If you are a beginner blogger who doesn't want to invest any money and just start writing something as a hobby in order to learn more about it, we recommend Wordpress. Eventually you will want to move to self-hosted website and Wordpress gives the best possibilities to successfully migrate to any platform because of ability to export all data in many formats.

In our opinion, best scenario would be to start with self-hosted site from the very beginning. It's not that complicated and, if you will follow the instructions in this article, you will very likely be able to set it up in a matter of minutes.

The best and most popular option is self-hosted Wordpress software. It gives you unlimited abilities through different plugins and themes to expand your blog into any type of website you will ever need.

That is what we will focus on and analyse for the rest of this article.


Hosting and Domain Name


In order to self-host and own your blog, you will have to choose your hosting provider and domain name. If you don't understand what it is, we will briefly explain it to you.


Hosting: It's easiest to see hosting as your disk on the internet. A company stores your information on their servers, so that everyone who has access to internet can see it. It saves your website and let's you manage it as you want. You own everything that you host on your space.

Domain: It's basically your URL (web address). Examples: google.com, alphaonlinebusiness.com, paulalionis.com and so on. You can choose between 882 domain extensions, including the most popular ones like .com, .net, .org, .name, .biz and so on.


We recommend SiteGround, which is an amazing hosting provider with many features, fast speed, and great customer support. It also gives you a free domain for as long as you use their hosting services which is just amazing since most of other hosting providers give it free just for first year. Just follow the instructions and you won't find any troubles setting up your blog .

Start by opening SiteGround by clicking here, it will open in new tab so that you could follow our instructions. Also you will get up to 50% discount!

Click "Sign Up" button to open their hosting plans.



Select a plan that best fits your needs. Most recommended is GrowBig plan because it gives you option to have unlimited websites and many more premium features like free SSL certificate for 1 year and others.

If you are just starting out as an online entrepreneur (all bloggers in a way are online entrepreneurs) and you have a tight budget, you can go with StartUp plan and upgrade at any time you want but you might not get discounts that you currently get on your new hosting plan.

Note: all plans include a free domain for as long as you use their hosting!

Click blue "Order Now" button in order to move to the next step.



Now it's time to pick your domain, if you don't have one yet. In this page you'll choose your new domain or use your existing one.

A few tips on how to choose a domain name:


  • Easy to say and to spell;
  • Easy to remember and share;
  • Does not include any symbols or confusing terms;
  • Is related to your main keywords;

If you want to learn a bit more, we have an article on how to choose a name for online business. Don't get confused, you can simply use your name or anything else you want. It mostly depends on what type of blog you want to start. You can even go a bit more creative and invent your own words or phrases!

After entering your new or existing domain, click blue "Proceed" button.



In the next page you have to enter your account info. Double-check if it's typed correctly.



Below, you have to type in your personal information.



After that follows the payment information. Type in your credit or debit card‘s information and scroll down.



Below, you have to select your plan period. Choose plan based on how far in advance you want to pay. SiteGround offers 12, 24 and 36 months plans. Also you can try it out for only 1 month but you have to pay a big setup fee, so it‘s not recommended. Also you can select server location. Choosing the one that is nearest from you is recommended.

After that, you have a few check extra services that you can choose from. I usually skip them but the one that you should consider choosing is Domain Privacy because otherwise, your personal information like address and phone number that you typed in would be visible to anyone who would like to find out.

The total is the amount you’ll pay today. You won’t have to pay again for 12, 24 or 36 months, depending on the account plan you chose. Don‘t forget to confirm that you have read terms of service.

When all of it is done, click blue "Pay Now" button.



You will get redirected to a new window that will notify you about your successful purchase. Click „Proceed to Customer Area“ button.

Platform Installation


If you did everything right, you should now have your own space on the world wide web. Next step is to install a blogging platform and start customizing it.

You will be redirected to „Account Setup Wizard“ page. Select „Thanks, but I don‘t need help“ and continue.



You will appear in User Area now. Click „My Accounts“ in top menu.



Click „Go to Cpanel“.



Once logged into your control panel, click "Wordpress" under "Autoinstallers" tab or „Wordpress Install“ under „Wordpress Tools“.



You will be redirected to another page. Click "Install".



On next page you will have to choose where to install Wordpress. Choose your protocol and domain from the list. Directory field must be left blank unless you want to create a subfolder. Scroll down afterwards.



Enter your Site Name or Title (could be anything like "Steve's Blog", "Alpha Online Business", "Men's hairstyling trends", etc.) and description. Choose Admin Username (simply enter your full or first name, do not choose "admin") and type Admin Password and Email.

You will use this information to log into your blog's admin panel.



Choose your language and click „Install“ button.



Make sure you will remember your login information, so it's best to save it in your notes.

If you have followed instructions, your installation is successful!



SiteGround Best Hosting

Now you should be able to see your website when you visit it. Well, unless you already had a domain and used an existing one. In that case you should go to the provider where you bought your domain and change name servers to SiteGround’s DNS information (User Area > My Accounts > Manage > Information & Settings > Account DNS).

Anyways, congratulations! You just self-hosted a Wordpress site! Now you can start switching and twiching to make it look as you want.


Designing Your Blog


By this time you probably already have checked out how your website looks. It looks pretty blank, doesn't it? If you prefer it this way, just continue working on the default theme.

If not...

Wordpress themes gives you many options. Many of them are for free but you also have premium options which comes with premium features and customizability.

Go to Wordpress admin panel (yourblog.com/wp-admin), log in and go to Appearance > Themes.



Here you can click add new and start browsing through thousands of options. Once you find something you like, you can install it and activate it.




However, we are recommending you a theme that we have been using for dozens of our internet projects, including this one. It is called BeTheme and it is the biggest Wordpress theme so far with more than 240 premade templates for any occasion. It also includes many great premium plugins which makes it even more customizable.



You can purchase and download it here.

Once you have it, you can simply add a theme zip file in your Wordpress admin panel > Appearance > Add New > Upload Theme and install it.

Tip: Upload both regular and child theme. Activate child theme and you will save all your changes you made in code (in case you will make any) once a new update comes out.



If you want to use any of BeTheme's templates, just go to Appearance > BeTheme Demo Data > Demo > Choose your template > Check "Import Attachmanets" > Import Demo Data. Also don't forget to install included plugins.




You can customize it for yourself by editing each page and BeTheme Options (Appearance > BeTheme Options).


BeTheme Best Wordpress Theme

Start Writing Content


By this time you should be all set to start writing your first post! Go to Posts > Add New in WP admin panel and start typing. Your content will be your unique value proposition which will attract visitors to come back again and again.

Maybe you won't be able to write an amazing blog post the first time, but remember - practice makes it perfect.


Conclusion



If you have done all these steps, you can officially call yourself a blogger. There is a long way ahead of your if you want to turn it into a profitable online business.

We wish you biggest success and if you will ever need help with your online business, we will always be there!


I am an entrepreneur and online business and marketing consultant. I am also a founder of AlphaOnlineBusiness.com — a website that you are in right now. Here you will learn how to build a successful online business from scratch to profit. ⬇ Visit my personal website ⬇

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