How do I start a blog?
In case you were wondering, "How do I start a blog," I have created this resource to give you some information about beginner blogging. The fact of the matter is that there are literally millions of blogs on the internet already. But, as their are, literally, billions of people who use the internet there is not any current threat of saturation. Now, that is not to say that there are not some topics which are not currently saturated, because indeed there are, it is only to say that there is plenty of room in the aggregate for new blogs.
There are lots of reasons that a person may want to start blogging. But the two main ones are that they either want to make money blogging or want to write about a topic near and dear to their heart. And, of course, there are people who wish to accomplish both. However, you need to be aware of the fact that blogging for profit and blogging for passion are not necessary exactly the same thing. For instance, if there is a cause that you wish to blog about or if you just want to share personal pictures, you will probably be best served with a blog on a free host such as Google's blogger.com or wordpress.com. If you want to make money blogging you are probably best served by buying a domain name for your blog and paying for hosting.
Note: There are some people who successfully use the free blogs to make money. However, for a beginner blogger I do not recommend this as there will be many obstacles for you to overcome. The good news is that you can buy a domain for less than $10 a year and purchase reliable hosting for less than $10 a month, both of which will be very small investments if your blog turns out to be a money maker.
I want to focus this article for those people asking the question how do I start blogging for income. I have no problem with the people that simply want to blog for fun, but I am more interested in making money blogging and it is that approach that I want to address.
How to get started with a blog that makes money
OK, are you ready to get started? The first thing that you think that you are going to need is a topic for your blog. A good topic (which is often called a niche) will be something that has some commercial potential and that does not have too many competing blogs. You can get a sense for the commercial viability of any topic by going to Google keyword tool and entering the main keyword for the topic. This will tell you the number of searches that the keyword gets per month (make sure you set the tool to the "exact" setting) and you will also be able to see how much adwords advertisers are paying per click to advertise on the front page of google for those searches -- you can do this by selecting show "CPC" from the menu.
If your keyword's CPC is very low then you know that you will have some trouble making excellent money from this niche -- at least from Google adsense. So the keyword tool is a good way to kind of get a feel for the viability of the topic. Even if you are not planning on monetizing with Google adsense, the keyword tool gives a pretty good indication to the value of a particular keyword.
If you see decent CPC for the main keyword of the niche, then you might think that you have an interesting prospect for a blog on your hands. And... you might. However there are a number of considerations that go into whether a topic is suitable for a money making blog. The most important of these considerations is how easily will it be to get traffic to your blog.
How do I start a blog?
Okay. Now if you have an idea for a blog and you think that it is commercial enough that you will be able to profit from it, then what is your next step? The next thing that you will need to do is purchase a domain name. The best domain name is .COM though a .NET and even a .ORG will suffice. I would not recommend that you go into the more esoteric TLDs such as .MOBI, .INFO, .TV etc. Stick with one of the originals.
It is pretty important if you want to be able to draw search engine traffic quickly that you get your main keyword in your domain name. For instance, if your blog is about real estate investing, the very best domain that you could ever get would be REALESTATEINVESTING.COM. Seeing as this will not be an option for you, you are still better off going for something with that keyword in the domain such as REALESTATEINVESTINGSCHOOL.COM rather than something "original" like FORTUNESWITHNOMONEYDOWN.COM. You will have a much easier time getting a blog to rank on the search engines if it tells the search engines what it is about in the domain name.
Once you have a domain name, the next step is to lock up hosting. There are literally thousands of internet hosting companies out there. It is wise to go with one of the largest and I would recommend a company like hostgator which will charge you about $10 for unlimited domains. You may be able to find a smaller hosting company with which you can save a couple of bucks a month, but hosting is pretty important and saving $2/month should not be your primary objective.
You can learn how to setup a blog with a host in a couple of hours and a big hosting company like hostgator.com will give you 24 hour phone support for free. Then, from within the control panel, you will need to install wordpress (basic, free blogging software) on your domain. You will assign yourself a password, and you will be good to start blogging in a matter of minutes.
This may sound like a lot to take in, and in some ways it is. However, I want to assure you that everything that you need to learn to get started blogging can be learned in an afternoon. You do not need to have any special technical ability in order to be successful and the start-up costs are minimal. Obviously, there is a little more to some of the minutia than would fit in this guide, but I want to assure you that all the information that you need to know to be a successful blogger can be found on the internet free of charge. I also want to encourage you to get started. There is a learning curve with blogging. The first month you are not likely to make a lot of money. But it is critical that you get that first month behind you so that you can begin to earn the second and third months and so on. Therefore, the important thing is that, eventually, you stop reading posts like this one about how to start a blog and just go out there and start one. You will learn so much by doing... You will be amazed where you will in just a couple of weeks.
How do I start a blog?