If you are a columnist, it gives rise to the reasonable value: You can utilize a weblog to fulfill your motives as a writer in the writing outlet, need of your work, or discover new freelance writing customers. Blogging is also a thoughtful means to search with your writing technique.
If you’re looking out for an accurate way to share your thoughts, emotions, and expertise, now is a fantastic time to start a blog. This is the age of content material — humans are constantly looking for greater to absorb, and your unique voice has a location on the vast, limitless interwebs, too.
We’re here to assist you to navigate every step so you can begin a blog stress-free — from choosing your area identity to publishing your first post.
Here’s How to Start A Blog
1. Pick an Area Title (And Get That Domain Title For Free)
First things first: setting up a blog. Where are human beings going to discover you online? As a writer, you are your brand, so we endorse using some variant of your name. To test availability visit Bluehost and click on “new domain.” Or, search this accessible domain-name checker!
Even if yourname.com isn’t available, you may discover it with an exclusive ending, such as your name.co or yourname.io. If you’re extremely committed to this whole composing stuff, you can besides attempt pinning a “writer” onto the center of your name, as in susanshainwriter.com.
Alternatively, you may want to choose for a creative blog title — however, remember your pursuits and goal audience may additionally exchange as the years go by. When I started running a blog in 2012, I focused fully on a journey and named my weblog Travel Junkette. After increasing my area of interest and services, I switched to susanshain.com because my title won’t change, no remember what I’m blogging about.
Although it wasn’t a big deal, I want I’d started out using my identity as the domain, and would advise you now not to make the same mistake I did.
Once you’ve settled on your area (or domains, if you’re like many of us (writer-prefers!), don’t wait to buy it. Even if you’re not equipped to start maintaining a proper blog now, domains are low cost — and you don’t favor possibly take a chance on losing the one you want.
If you’re having a hard time choosing a URL, assessment our greater distinct put up on how to select a domain name. Before you sincerely click “purchase,” though, you would possibly desire to examine the next step; we’re going to inform you how to get an area name for free.
2. Purchase a Hosting Package
Now it’s time to select a web host.
What’s a net host? Well, your hosting employer does all the technical magic to make positive your website simply appears when humans kind your domain title into their browser. In other words, it’s pretty important.
While we use MediaTemple to host The Write Life, it’s typically higher for blogs with loads of traffic, so you probably don’t need that if you’re simply starting. For a new blog, try Bluehost. It’s used using top bloggers around the world and is recognized for its purchaser service and reliability.
The Write Life has a partnership with Bluehost whereby they allow our readers to buy internet hosting for $2.95/month. The cool part is that INCLUDES your domain. Oh, and pro freelancer tip: Put your buy (and all the purchases listed in this post) on an enterprise credit card and keep the receipts; as investments in your business, they’re tax-deductible.
3. Install WordPress
You have numerous one-of-a-kind selections for running a blog platform, but we like WordPress best. Not solely is it free, however, it’s convenient to learn, offers a broad variety of themes, and has an online neighborhood and abundance of plugins that make blogging accessible to everybody.
You can study comprehensive guidelines for installing WordPress on your new blog here. Once you’ve accomplished that, you can formally log into your weblog and start making it appear pretty.
4. Put Your Site in “Maintenance Mode”
While toiling on your blog post’s image, you may choose to accommodate a sign which indicates “on construction” to meet new visitors.
You don’t desire any attainable consumers or readers to Google your title and discover a half-finished site. (You may think you’re going to finish placing up your weblog tomorrow, but we all be aware of how writers procrastinate when there are no looming deadlines!)
To set up a renovation mode, just download this plugin. On your maintenance page, you could even include a hyperlink to your electronic mail e-newsletter or social media profiles so visitors have an alternate way of getting in touch with you. When you’re equipped to share your blog with the world, truly deactivate and delete the plugin.
5. Choose a Blog Theme
Now we’re getting to the enjoyable stuff! Your theme determines what your weblog appears like, and you’ve received a lot of choices to choose from. Yes, there’s a large vary of free themes, but if you’re serious about blogging, the customization and assist supplied through paid themes can’t be beaten.
Here at The Write Life, we use Genesis, which is one of the most famous top-class issues available. Another popular and flexible theme is Thesis. On my first blog, I used Elegant Themes, which has a huge determination of stunning topics at a reasonable price. All of these subject matters come with unlimited assist — quintessential when you’re starting a blog.
If you choose your blog to be an advertising tool for your writing services, you may appear for a theme with a static home page (like mine). That way, your website will look professional and attractive to absolutely everyone — whether or not they’re there to study your modern-day publish or employ you for a project.
Whatever you do, make certain your theme is “responsive,” which capability it automatically adjusts to appear desirable on any device. Since more than half of internet site visits are made on cellular phones, this is indispensable for your blog’s aesthetic.
6. Create a Weblog Header
I think it’s constantly well worth getting a customized header for a new blog.
You can ask your favorite picture designer, create one with Canva, or order one on Fiverr. I’ve had terrific good fortune getting headers and different photos designed in this online marketplace, where hundreds of humans provide their offerings for $5 per gig.
7. Write Your Weblog Pages
Though you’re establishing a blog and now not a static website, you’ll nonetheless prefer a few pages that don’t change. (“Pages” are exceptional from “posts,” which are the daily/weekly/monthly entries you submit on your blog.)
Here are some pages you might also additionally choose to create:
The about net page is regularly touted as one of the most-viewed pages on blogs, so don’t overlook it. Include a professional headshot and quick bio, and explain why you’re running a blog and why the reader has to care. What makes you an expert? How can you assist them?
Don’t be afraid to let your persona shine through — blogging is a private affair!
You prefer your readers to be in a role to get in contact with you, right? Then you’ll choose a contact page.
It doesn’t have to be whatever fancy; without a doubt inform your readers how great to acquire you. Avoid putting your full email tackle here, as spambots have to get ahold of it. To workaround that, you can use a contact shape plugin, which we’ll link to below, or except a doubt write something like “your name AT your site DOT com.”
It’s your blog, so flaunt what you’ve got! Show your workable customers and readers that you deserve their time and activity with examples of your preceding and current work.
You can see examples of great creator portfolios here; I love Sara Frandina’s.
Do you have a checklist of favorite writing tools? Or perhaps books that have motivated you? Readers love source pages, and for bloggers, they can moreover be a clever way to earn income from affiliate sales. Check out The Write Life’s sources page for inspiration.
You possibly won’t desire this at first, however a “start here” web page is smart once you have a decent quantity of content. It’s an incredible chance to specify your goal and feature your decent chore, so your collections can be seen as the tax of your blog post without stumbling via months or years adequately worth of posts.
Joanna Penn does a true job with hers, encouraging readers to download her book and then pick a concern that interests them.
Work With Me
If you’re the usage of your new weblog to sell your writing services, this page is essential. Be clear about how you can aid people and how they can get in contact with you. You ought to even record purposes of one-of-a-kind services, as Lisa Rowan does on her site.
Once you’ve set up all your pages, make nice they’re except issue reachable from the home page. If they’re no longer exhibiting up, you may additionally have to adjust your menus.
8. Install Plugins
Plugins are super for everybody, precise these of us who are much less comfy with the technical aspect of things. Think of them as apps for your blog; they’re free tools you can set up to do a range of things.
Though having a lot of plugins can undermine the performance and safety of your blog, there are a number of we advocate each physique seem to be into:
Better Click-to-Tweet: Encourage readers to share your content material with the aid of including a click-to-tweet container inside your posts. This plugin makes it easy.
Contact Form 7: If you choose to keep away from placing your digital mail address on your contact page, use this plugin, which is frequently up to date, and receives exact reviews.
Hello Bar: Want to get readers to signal up for your free newsletter? Or prefer to announce the release of your contemporary book? This plugin approves you to create a banner for the top of your blog.
Mashshare: These share buttons are related to the ones you see proper here on The Write Life. Another minimalist option is Simple Share Buttons Adder. It doesn’t understand which plugin you choose; it’s quintessential to make social sharing handy for your readers.
Google Analytics Dashboard: This plugin tracks the visitors to your internet website so you can see what humans are concerned about and how they’re finding you.
Akismet: One of the complications of running a blog is the plethora of junk mail comments. This plugin will help you reduce the extent of spammers that sneak through.
WP Super Cache: Another plugin that’s not sexy, however, is important. Caching permits your weblog to load faster — charming each of your readers and Google.
Yoast SEO: This all-in-one search engine advertising plugin helps you optimize your posts so you can get a natural website online traffic from search engines.
9. Install Widgets
If your weblog has a sidebar, you would perchance pick out to spruce it up with a few widgets, aka small containers with one-of-a-kind functions. That said, the minimalist seem is in — so pass this step if you desire to keep your sidebar simple.
Here Are Some Ideas:
You’ve probable considered this on a lot of blogs; it’s a container in the higher proper-hand nook welcoming you to the site. Check out The Write Life managing editor Jessica Lawlor’s blog for an exact example.
Social Media Icons
Make it convenient for your readers to comply with you on social media with useful resources such as hyperlinks to your profiles in the sidebar. Your theme will in all likelihood include this feature, however if not, here’s a basic tutorial.
Once you’ve been running a weblog for a while, you would possibly desire to spotlight your most famous posts in the sidebar, which you can do with an easy textual content material widget. We do this here on The Write Life so you can find our most famous content fabric unexpectedly and easily.
10. Purchase Backup Software
Don’t neglect this quintessential step just due to the fact you don’t have content yet! It’s higher to installation this software early than to begin jogging a weblog and forget about till it’s too late.
Free choices exist, however, I’ve by no means had suitable accurate fortune with them — and for some element as necessary as my whole blog, I don’t think paying a little extra. (It’s an agency write-off, remember?!) Popular backup preferences include VaultPress, BackupBuddy, and blogVault.
11. Start Your Electronic Mail List
I know, I will be conscious of — you haven’t even commenced blogging and I already want you to assemble an electronic mail list. Trust me; you’ll be so blissful you did.
Even if you don’t have some issues to send, surely begin amassing email addresses. The fine way to entice human beings to signal up is through using supplying a free book or resource. For a terrific example, test out The Write Life’s Freelance Writer Pitch Checklist.
My favored electronic mail booklet platform is Mailchimp. There are several categories of the appliance to choose from, though; straight here are some rarely tremendous options for assembling your digital mail list.
Once you’ve created your list, encourage your readers to sign up by which includes a subscription container to your sidebar, and maybe even putting in a plugin like PopupAlly.
If you accept a doubt prefer to begin a blog, you’re going to need to…start blogging.
We propose creating an editorial calendar — even if it’s truly you blogging. It doesn’t have to be fancy; it can even be scribbled out in a notebook.
What’s crucial is that you plan your posts, so you can keep the song of your ideas and stick to a schedule. It’s also a risk to verify and tweak your content strategy. What do you favor to write about? How will you draw readers in?
Don’t forget about you’re writing for the web, so your style has to be special than if you have been writing for print. Keep your tone conversational, use “you” phrases to communicate to the reader, and injury up textual content material with bullet factors and sub-headers. Lastly, keep SEO in mind, and take preserve of a feature photo from websites like Unsplash and Pexels to make each publish shine.
13. Promote, Promote and Promote
You’re nearly there! Now that you’ve begun writing, it’s time to get readers. And I hate to be the bearer of lousy news, however for many writers, this is the most particularly time-consuming aspect of blogging. Though it’d be brilliant if we should just write (that’s what we love to do, right?), it’s nicer to have human beings truly take a look at your work.
You are also free to strive for visitor broadcasting on various blogs, uploaded on web sites like Medium and LinkedIn, or along with hyperlinks when composing reactions in forums, Facebook groups, or on Quora. Just be confident that you’re encompassing rate — and no lengthy spamming mortal lives with your URL.
Social media is every different pinnacle notch way to get greater traffic and grow your creator following. Instead of in basic terms tooting your horn, be positive to engage with editors, writers, and bloggers, too. Share their content fabric with your community, remark on their posts, and useful resource them when and the place you can. Hopefully, they’ll return the favor!
In the end, growing a profitable weblog is about hard work and consistency. Keep posting really useful and alluring content, optimizing it for website positioning, and sharing it with your networks — and you’ll quickly see your new blog start to blossom.
Congratulations, you’ve now formally begun out a blog as a writer. Guess it’s time to get writing.