How to Start a Blog for beginnersA beginners guide to starting a blog with information on how to set up your first blog, choosing the right topic for your blog and the benefits of blogging.
Things You Will Need
Starting a Blog is EasyAll you need to start a free blog is access to a computer, an internet connection and an idea! Anyone can set up a blog today.
Choosing your Blog PlatformMy Recommendation:
When choosing the platform for your first blog I recommend you start out using a free Blogspot blog. Blogger is easy to set up and use, it costs nothing and is very easy to customize. There are many widgets and applications available and unlike Wordpress, Blogger allows you to monetize your blog which is important if your eventual goal is to make money from your blog.
Choosing The Right Topic For Your Blog
Once you have decided on the platform you want to use, you need to decide on a topic, the topic you choose also depends on what you hope to achieve from your blog.
If you want to write a personal blog to share with your friends and family most likely you will use your name as your blog title and in your URL.
However if you are planning on blogging for another purpose, like to promote your website, review products, share information on a subject etc, it is vital you choose the correct title and url if you hope to rank well in search engines like Google and Yahoo.
The best way for a beginner to do this is to first think about what interests you. You need to pick a topic you can write about easily and create quite a lot of content about. If you cannot think of more than two post titles straight away, you may need to do more research. Make a list of your interests in the order they most appeal to you and work from that, if you find that you can think of more ideas for one of the topics on your list, work with that one first. The best thing about a free blogger blog is that you can make and try out as many blogs as you like.
Picking your Url and Blog Title
The Url (Uniform Resource Locator or in other words website address) and title you choose for your blog is a very important step and you should think carefully before you start your blog as once you have built up your blog and readership, changing the URL may have an effect on your traffic and blog ranking later on.
The important thing when picking your url is to use words associated to your intended topic (these are called keywords and are the words your blog will hopefully be listed for in search engines) It can be difficult to get the exact url you want if you are planning on writing about a very popular subject so again write out a few words that relate to your intended content and play around with them a bit until you have a list of url's to try out.
The same goes for your blog title, although this is much easier to change at a later date, it is best to choose one you are happy with starting out. Pick a title that includes the same keywords you used in the Url, this will help search engines find out what your blog is about rank it accordingly.
If you follow these simple steps to start your blog you will already be sending a clear picture of your topic to potential readers and search engines.
Note - Blog Design and Layout
At this point many people who are starting out with their first blog will spend a lot of time choosing and changing the blog template. My advice here is to wait, the templates provided on Blogspot are sufficient for a new bloggers needs, not only that, they are very customizable and can be changed and improved at any time, furthermore the templates are free of errors and complications and are easily read by search engines, which is the most important thing for a new blog to get indexed quickly. Wait to develop the look and feel of your blog until you are quite accustomed with your blog and all the available features.
Content for your Blog
Writing your first post
Your first post should be an introduction to your blog, who you are, what you plan to write about and what benefit your content will be to your readers.
Tips for writing your content:
Keep it relevant to your topic - always, don't write about your chosen topic one day and the following day write about your pets (unless of course your blog is about your pets!)
Use your post titles wisely - use your title to attract interest and grab attention but don't forget to use one of your keywords in your title.
Spellcheck - proof read your content before publishing, make sure it is clear and free of errors, some of the most talked about turn off's for readers are spelling mistakes and poor grammar.
How much content before you start to promote your blog?
Ideally you should post at least three articles to your blog, your introduction and two others before you start promoting your blog to potential readers.
Publish and Promote
Once you have your blog setup and you have your first three posts published you need to start promoting it. Many people are under the illusion that if you write great content, readers will find it straight away, but chances are, nobody will come.
This is not a reflection on you or your writing skills, it is simply because they can't find it. This is where promotion comes in. Here is a quick guide to the basics of blog promotion.
- Sign up to feedburner and add your Url to set up your blog feed, you will be provided with a code to add as a widget to your blog which allows your readers to subscribe to your posts.
- Add your blogs url to a blog directory like my blog log, also add it to your my space profile, facebook profile or any other social network you are a member of that allows you to do this. If you are a twitter user, post a tweet with your blog title and url.
- Add your blog address (url) to your email signature.
- Sign up to google analytics and add the code to your blog, analytics tracks the visitors to your blog so you can find out how many people are reading your blog and how they found it. You can log in to your analytics account anytime and get updated on the traffic to your blog
The above are very basic ways to start getting your blog found online, there are many more ways you can do this, building links to your blog brings traffic and better search engine rankings.
You are now a blogger! You have just setup your first blog, if you have followed the above steps you have not only started blogging but you have started optimizing your blog for search engines, by using the keywords that relate to your topic in your url and titles, you are increasing the chances of ranking in the search engines for those keywords.
Starting a blog is easy, keeping a blog going is harder. Work on the three P's:
Post, Publish and Promote
Blogging is not overnight success but with work and determination you can achieve your goals. Keep working and learning, visit other blogs and learn from them too. Blogging is a very social activity and making connections with other bloggers will help you to build and develop your own blogging skills.