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So, perhaps you’ve been wondering whether to start blogging? Perhaps you’ve even heard about people making money from blogging and you’re wondering whether that could ever work for you? Though perhaps you’re feeling a little bit indecisive?
There are MANY “how to start blogging” blogs out there and some of them can even overcomplicate things. However, starting blogging is relatively straightforward and, what I would like you to consider is, what have you got to lose?
Reasons to start blogging:
• It’s cheap
• It can become a good source of passive income
• Making a professional looking website isn’t all that difficult
Honestly, there are many more reasons to start blogging (such as satisfaction, telling your story, creating opportunities), and the risk factor is VERY low.
So, take the pressure off yourself and let’s take one step at a time…After all, Rome wasn’t built in one day! The key to blogging is consistency in the long term, not short inconsistent bursts.
However, you should also be aware that, if you’d like to start blogging with the hope of making some serious money, there are a few additional points to consider:
1. Make sure to blog competently on popular and accessible topics
2. Or, if you have a specific topic in mind, at least do some research to check whether it has a reasonably-sized, worthwhile audience
The internet is a big place but if you start blogging exclusively about vacuum bags, for example, will not only be pretty boring but will make your potential audience very narrow! Don’t waste your time. This is, of course, if you want to make good money…If you don’t care about making money then blog about whatever you’re passionate about (even if that is vacuum bags!)
So, let’s just assume you have an idea of what you’d like to start blogging about. Let’s move on now to talk about the next step, which is: choosing a domain name and a hosting service.
Choosing a Domain Name
Ok, first of all, you’ll want to choose a great domain name (a domain name is what people type in on the internet search bar to find your website, e.g. my domain name is www.syrupbee.com).
To help get noticed, you’ll need a good domain name. Something catchy, memorable and short. You’ll also want your domain name to end in .com if possible, although .org and .net are decent compromises.
I personally spent around 2 to 3 hours coming up with a list of domain names. I passed on many choices once I found that their .com’s were already registered, and I asked for feedback from others even after I had whittled my list down – sometimes you can spend too long in your own head when you’re being creative and can need a second opinion! Don’t be surprised if this process takes even longer for you. Blogging shouldn’t be difficult, though it should sometimes require patience.
If your domain name can be relevant to whatever you’ll be blogging about, then even better! Personally, I knew that I wanted the word ‘bee’ in my domain name since I like them and thought it’d make it easier coming up with a great logo design (something else to consider!)
Choosing a Hosting Service
Secondly, you’ll want to choose a great hosting service. Now, a hosting service is simply what gets your website up and running. Your hosting service is the foundation and heartbeat of your website – it needs to be strong, fast and reliable.
Now, at this point, most blogs will have told you to go for an alternative hosting service called ‘Bluehost’. We’ve used both and we’ve found that SiteGround beats Bluehost in every department.
SiteGround is Cheaper
For the cheapest plan, Bluehost will cost you $2.95 per month, whereas SiteGround will cost $2.75 per month.
Bluehost may offer more Website Space (meaning you can upload my pictures and files to your website) but the 10GB of space offered by SiteGround is more than enough for starting off.
However, this is not the real reason for choosing SiteGround…
SiteGround is the Fastest
This graph shows 12 identical websites tested using different hosting services. As you can see, SiteGround is the fastest! One of the reasons for this is because SiteGround comes with a free excellent plugin called ‘SuperCacher’ which makes your website up to 4 times faster. This plugin is not available unless you choose SiteGround.
The average web-loading time for websites using other hosting services is 4.7 seconds, compared to 1.3 seconds with SiteGround.
SiteGround is Safer and has Superior Support
SiteGround also has the added bonuses of being pioneers in hack protection and account isolation in a way unparalleled by other hosting services. This added security matters a lot to us.
Now a bit of praise about SiteGround’s support…We ordered our domain name through SiteGround and, after waiting 1 minute after contacting support, then had WordPress installed and our website up and running within 5 minutes. On the other hand, when we were using Bluehost, we would often wait 20 minutes for support and generally found their staff to be busy with other clients, less knowledgeable and satisfied with offering the bare minimum. To put it bluntly, Bluehost are a big company with nothing to prove, yet SiteGround is still relatively new and so have everything to prove. This makes their offer a no-brainer. Go with SiteGround!
Making Your Website
So, whatever hosting service you’ve ended up going for, your next step will be asking them for help in installing WordPress on to your site (SiteGround can actually do this all for you). It must be noted, however, that there are alternatives to WordPress such as Joomla or Ghost that you can ask your hosting service to install instead, though we highly recommend WordPress (over 2 million websites can’t be wrong!)
With WordPress, there are many great free themes to use for a jumpstart in designing your website. For a blogging website, we would recommend this premium theme if you can afford it (it’s the theme we use!) And, if you have a bigger budget at your disposal then you can also hire a website designer to make a website exactly to your specifications (though keep in mind this can cost around $500) We personally decided to pay for a premium theme costing around $35 and then tweaked it ourselves. A point to remember, however, is that a specialised, personal and professional website design is only vital if you plan to make money from your blog.
Making Use of Social Media
The next step is to make social media accounts connected to your domain name. If your domain name is already taken on social media websites, simply make social media accounts with a similar name to your domain name. For example, if your domain name is called ‘www.boredombanisher.com’, then you would make social media accounts with the username, ‘boredombanisher’ or ‘boredom-banisher’, whereas if both of these names were taken you could compromise with the social media account names ‘boredom-banished’ or ‘boredom-banishing’. A better strategy, however, is to only purchase a domain name that you know is also available as usernames on your most important social media channels.
But what are the most important social media channels for a blogger? Glad you asked!
The best social media channel for you depends on your desired audience. For example, if your desired audience is mainly female then you’ll definitely want to create a Pinterest business account.
And, if you’d like to use Facebook, then make sure you create a Facebook page with your blog’s name AND a few Facebook groups named loosely after the topics you’ll be blogging about. For example, a few Facebook group names for a blog that blogs about lifestyle and food might be ‘Lush Lifestyle Blogs’ and ‘Fabulous Food Recipes’. To learn how to use these groups effectively click here.
But keep this in mind! Whatever social media channel you decide to use (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), make sure you use it consistently. For example, at Syrup Bee we only use Pinterest and Facebook – we’ve never even posted on Twitter or Instagram! The important thing is that you use your social media accounts effectively to drive people to your blog. The last thing you want to be doing is sending people in a circle around your different social media accounts!
This concludes the first few steps in how to start blogging, but the journey doesn’t end there! Since we actually use Pinterest and Facebook at Syrup Bee, I’d like to now offer you a few pointers in using each effectively. You can read my blogs here on How To Use Facebook To Boost Yout Blog and How To Use Pinterest To Boost Yout Blog.
Have a great day! And remember…patience, consistency, good content and strategy are the keys to remember as you start blogging!