HOW TO START A BLOG IN ONE HOUR OR LESS
Everyone has stumbled upon a blog at some point. Whether you were searching for recipes or information on your favorite sports team, you’ve probably found yourself on a blog.
In fact, you are on a blogging platform right now. But what is a blog? If you want to get real technical, here is how Google defines a blog:
“a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”
According to Google, that is the “official” definition of a blog.
Look, it is basically written content on a website that either instructs you or informs you.
Interesting fact: the term blog is a combination of the words “web” and “log.”
What is blogging then?
Well, the Google definition is pretty straightforward:
“add new material to or regularly update a blog.”
But blogging is more than that. It can be fun. Blogging is a great form of creative expression.
And the thing is, everyone has unique thoughts and a unique writing style. Blogging is when you take those thoughts and that writing style, put them together, and then share them.
What should I use a blog for?
Anything and everything you want!
It is completely up to you what you use your blog for.
You could decide to make a personal journal or a hobby blog. It could be solely for creative expression. Blogs can be used to teach others. Businesses or individuals also use blogs to sell products or promote brands.
The list goes on. I have some blogs that I am working on. Right now my project is a sports blog, which I would put underneath hobby at the moment. I am monetizing it, but it isn’t something I do for the sole purpose of making money. I actually really enjoy writing about my favorite sports team: Baltimore Ravens.
What exactly should I blog about?
That is entirely up to you. It really depends on the goal you have for the blog.
Maybe it is just personal. And that’s okay.
Or maybe you want to make your blog into a business. If that is the case then you need to treat it like a business.
You can approach this however you see fit. You can post about updates within your business, a product you like, or something you want to recommend to people.
Some people blog just to have a creative outlet or to have a place they can show to potential clients as a portfolio of their work. Blogs can be great for networking.
The thing is, though, some post ideas will always end up doing better than others.
Well, what is it that makes a good blog?
I am sure everyone has a different answer for this, but I would say a good blog is determined by the connection it has with its readers.
If you can connect with your readers, your blog will have more reach and ultimately be able to make more money if that’s your goal.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have the most readers, but you have taken the time to develop a deep connection with those readers. Many times smaller blogs with a dedicated following make more than blogs with a huge, not so dedicated following.
What blog niches are there?
The list is honestly endless on this. New blog niches are being created all the time. But its important to remember that the niche actually needs to have a following, meaning it can’t be something only you like.
Many of the niches that you see develop some sort of following fall under one of these 5 categories:
Passion or hobby
Challenge (or crash-test-dummy) blogs
Passion or hobby blogs are exactly what they sound like. A passion or hobby blog is a blog where someone takes their interest or passion and focuses on that specific area. This could be many different things, from football to woodworking to playing guitar.
A lifestyle blog is basically when you leverage the personal brand of someone’s name and post about their lifestyle. This could also be a personal blog where you blog about your own life.
Niche review blogs are blogs that focus on a specific industry and review products or services within that niche. These blogs work well because they are usually focused on a very targeted audience.
Then you have opinion or controversial blogs. These are blogs that take a bold stance on divisive issues. These are the types of blogs that people either love or hate. Either way, you will get traffic.
Finally, a challenge or crash-test-dummy blog is a blog where the author takes on some kind of challenge and writes about their experience — the ups, downs, and everything in between. People love these blogs because they want to do what it is like to go through something from start to finish.
Which blog should I choose to start?
This is entirely up to you because everyone is different, especially when it comes to blogging.
You should consider what your goals are with blogging.
If it's just personal, then stick to things you enjoy writing about.
But if you want to make money, it is best to choose something you either love to write about or won’t absolutely write about. And remember that it has to be something others will want to read.
How do you start a blog and make money?
First, you have to choose your niche as stated.
Then, to start, I would consider some of the most basic ways to make money blogging:
Ads (such as Google AdSense)
Recommending products in your articles (like Amazon affiliate products)
Sell other people’s products (affiliate marketing)
Selling your own products, like ebooks or courses.
Some people write on sites like Medium to make money.
How do I get started blogging?
Well, you can actually start a blog in one hour or less!
I have been dabbling in blogging for a while now. I started young, but it was mostly for personal reasons and creative expression. I knew that you could make money through a blog and I knew how, but it wasn’t until recently that I even pursued the business side of blogging. The point of me telling you that is you can set up a blog much easier than you think, regardless of your reasoning for wanting to blog in the first place. Even as a newbie with no web design experience, I was able to start a blog in one hour or less. Now that I do have some web design and blogging experience, I would like to share with you exactly how to start a blog. I want to do it in a way that anyone, even those who aren’t tech-savvy, can set up a blog.
What should I blog about?
If you are considering starting a blog, I am sure this question is running through your mind. I know it ran through my mind. Honestly, it still does because I like to question myself.
Or maybe you don’t even know what a blog is and want to learn more. Either way, you have to come to the right place.
Deciding what to blog about is a very important step to make before you start a blog. This is actually the most important step. You may want to spend more than an hour on this. I will write a more in-depth guide for this as well.
You have to find the niche you want to blog about. If it is just a personal blog for creative expression, the topic really doesn’t matter as much because you aren’t trying to turn it into a business.
But if you do want to make your blog into a business that people can find or create a blog for your established business, I will give you an example of what a blog I am currently working on. I love the Baltimore Ravens and have a childhood dream of being a sports writer, so I decided to start a sports blog.
How did I know that this was a topic that could work?
I considered a couple of different things.
First, I made sure it was something that I could continuously write about without getting either tired of it or running out of things to write.
Second, I had to make sure it was something that people actually want to read. That was easy because I know there are a lot of football fans.
Third, I knew it would have a following, but I had to make sure there wasn’t too much competition.
How did you find out if there was too much competition?
I did a google search of the top Baltimore Ravens blogs. There honestly weren’t that many good ones. I was surprised by that. The ones that were good, though, are definitely authorities in that niche. So, I had to use this keyword tool Wordtracker (there are many others), to check to see if I could potentially rank for keywords (I will write a more in-depth article on this as well).
I knew that I could write about the Ravens without getting tired of it or running out of ideas. I knew there were people who wanted to read about it. I knew there weren’t too many good blogs on it, but there were blogs that obviously were cemented as the authorities in this niche. So, I used the Wordtracker keyword tool to make sure there were keywords I could potentially rank on. It gave me the confidence that as long as I brought a different approach to it that my blog could be successful too.
How's it going so far?
Interestingly enough, it is going well. This particular blog I just recently started. But it seems to be moving faster than it has in other experiments. I tried something different this time. I experimented with a tip I found here on Medium. I decided to republished each article on Medium to help my articles rank and get them to more people.
By the fourth article something amazing happened:
Because I used Medium to republished my article, and I always share to ManyStories, somehow Bleacher Report found my article and shared it to their Baltimore Ravens blog. This got me over 2,300 views and 2,200 reads to my article in less than two days. The experiment worked and I got traffic to my blog. The lesson that I learned is that it is important to take chances. Believe in yourself and your writing.
Hopefully, what I said helps you give you some motivation to decide on a topic.
What do I do after I decide on a topic?
Great, you have a topic (niche)! Before you can start your blog, now you need to decide on a blog name or a domain. When I decided on a name, I wanted it to be something that reflected what my blog was going to be about, easy to remember, and as short as possible.
That’s how I came up with Ravens Rundown.
Once you have your name, you have to check to make sure it is available. I used Namecheap to check if my domain was available and to purchase it.
If your domain is available, great, you are also going to need a hosting plan. I also used Namecheap for this. I used Namecheap for all of my blogs currently. I highly suggest purchasing a domain and hosting plan together because you save the most money this way. The domain usually ends up being free. You can get started here through this Namecheap affiliate link for a discount on hosting and a domain.
Please note, this article does contain affiliate links. Affiliate links provide me with a commission on any product or service purchases you make BUT at no extra cost to you. Remember — I only recommend products I personally use myself.
Now that you have your domain and your hosting, it’s time to get started. Namecheap has a great support team, by the way. They respond instantly and pretty much do whatever you need. I had an issue setting up an SSL on one blog and they did it for me in 7 minutes (an SSL is essentially what adds the ‘s” to HTTP(s), it makes your domain secure, all shared hosting plans come with SSLs).
To get started, login into your Namecheap account. I would reach out to Namecheap support and have them install your SSL if you have issues with that. If you scroll all the way down to the bottom, there is a button on the right side that says live chat. Just click that and tell them you need help with the SSL. You can get started while they are doing that.
You are going to want to move your mouse over account at the top. Then click on hosting list. Underneath hosting subscriptions, you should see your domain. Next to your domain should be a button that says “GO TO CPANEL.” Click the down arrow and then click the manage button.
You will click that button and it will take you to CPANEL. Now this may be a lot and you may seemed confused, but don’t worry. It honestly looks like more than it really is. There is only one thing I really need you to worry about here: scroll to the bottom of the page until you reach a section that says “SOFTACULOUS APPS INSTALLER.” Now click on WordPress.
This is what you should see before you click on WordPress:
Click that WordPress icon. Push install.
You should see something like this under the WordPress portion after you click install:
All I need you to do here is change your site name to whatever your blog is. I wrote “Ravens Rundown” under the site name. Make your site description whatever short phrase you want that describes your site. Mine is “Baltimore Ravens news and analysis from a fan’s perspective.” Choose your username and password, then push the blue install at the bottom. Don’t worry about choosing your theme right now.
Once you install, you are going to want to go back to that first page of CPANEL. And click on WordPress Manager under software.
It should take you to a page that looks like this:
Click login. Or if you want to skip all of that you can always type yourdomainname.com/wp-admin and then login. Obviously, put your domain where it says your domain name.
Now you have a blog that is started in less than an hour. You are still going to need to add a theme, though. I will give a more in-depth article on how to do this next. However, just to give you a general idea:
Once you are in the dashboard of your site, look down the sidebar.
Click on themes. Click add new at the top. Now you can search until you find something you like. Personally, I like Neve as a free blog theme.
Have you learned "How to Start a Blog"?
You can select live preview to view a preview of the theme. Then activate to add it to your site. In the next post, I will show you how to add posts. Or you can choose to play around with things until then.
Thank you for reading and I hope this helped you learn how to start a blog!