As technology continues to improve, starting a blog is beginning to become easier. As a result, if you are thinking of starting a blog in 2020, all you need is a detailed step by step guide.
If you haven’t created a blog previously, the process might seem a bit difficult. Creating a blog involves designing the blog, choosing the right hosting platform, creating relevant content, SEO, promoting the blog, and many more.
However, with a detailed step by step guide on how to start a blog, anybody can easily start a blog without any form of technical know-how. This explains why there are millions of blogs online today. Although not all the blogs are active, many of the blogs are active with at least one post per month.
In this article, we have provided you with a step by step easy to follow guide on how to start a blog in 2020.
Picking a Niche and a Name
If you want to create a blog in 2020, the first thing you must do is to pick a niche and a blog name. If you are looking for a good topic to blog about, plays a great role in determining your blog’s success.
Generally, bloggers choose topics and blog names for several reasons. However, if you do not know a topic to choose, here are some ways you use to choose a blog topic:
- Passions, Hobbies, and Interests
One way you can choose a blog topic is by considering your interests, hobbies, and anything you are passionate about. Whether it is fashion, cars, sports, travel, cooking, religion, movies, and many more. Irrespective of your hobbies, your blog can be a success as your audience is anyone with access to the internet.
Cooking, travel, fashion, sports, and cars are all classic examples. But even blogs about more obscure hobbies can be successful since your audience is anyone in the world with access to the internet.
- Life Experiences
Irrespective of the nature of your life experiences, there is always a lesson to share. Even more, several individuals are willing to learn from your life lessons because they are also going through a similar situation.
These life experiences could be related to family, health, marriage, relationship, or any other aspect. For example, you could blog about how to avoid a divorce, how to prepare for childbirth, and so on.
- A personal Blog
Personal blogs are those blogs that share content about you. The topics could either be your random thoughts or your daily activities. A personal blog allows you to share tour thoughts about various issues without necessarily sticking to a single topic.
Here’s a three-step success validation tip to follow when choosing a blog topic
A 3-step blog success validation process:
- Check the niche size.
- Analyze your blog’s monetization potential
- Explore your competitors.
Selecting the Best Blogging Platform
After you have selected a niche and blog topic, the next thing to consider is a suitable blogging platform and blog management software. The best blogging platform should be responsive, reliable, and easy to use.
A blogging platform in simple terms is software that is used to manage and run your blog. The best blogging platform allows you to add content, create blog pages, add videos, add images, and any other thing you want to add.
Although several blogging platforms are available, some of the most popular blogging platforms are WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Ghost, Medium, Joomla, and many others. Some of the most popular blogging platforms are:
WordPress – This is unarguably one of the most customizable and popular blogging platforms today. It is easy to use and offers both free and paid services.
Joomla – Joomla is another commonly used blogging platform; however, it has a steep learning curve.
Ghost – Ghost is a fairly new platform but is gradually gaining more users.
Drupal – Drupal is also a popular blogging service. However, its downside is that it is a bit difficult to use for beginners.
Blogger – This is a free blogging platform from Google. It is easy to use and a great option for those who want to test blogging.
Finding Web Hosting and a Domain
The next step in starting a blog is to get your blog online, hence creating a web hosting plan and domain.
- What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is the process of making your blog accessible to everyone on the internet. The hosting platform helps to keep your web files secured and ensures that people can access your blog by clicking a URL or link.
Although there are several platforms you can use to host your blog, we recommend that you make use of a self-hosted set up to host your blog.
Often, most new bloggers are tempted to use a free hosting platform like Tumblr and blogger. However, it is worth mentioning that free hosting platforms have their limitations.
Some of the limitations that come with free hosting include having your blog name as a subdomain, for example, myblog.blogspot.com.
Even more, your blog will be subject to the hosting platform restrictions. If you just want to test your hands on blogging, you can use free hosting. But if you want to take blogging seriously, you need to pay for a custom domain and full services early.
- Self-hosted Blog Solution
There are several self-hosted blog solutions available today. Self-hosted systems or Content management systems such as wordpress.org make it possible for you to run your blog using your choice domain name.
Self-hosted platforms allow you to set up and run your blog using your own domain and web hosting. It gives you full control of both your blog and its content. Besides, if you plan to sell products, run ads, or provide paid services using your blog, it is vital to use a self-hosted platform.
Interestingly, hosting a website does not cost much as you can host your blog with a little and $5 per month. You can host your site using Bluehost due to their long track record of providing reliable service.
Furthermore, when it comes to choosing a domain name, you will need to first create an account with the hosting company, after which you can then search for the availability of your desired domain name.
Designing and Maintaining a Blog
Unlike in the past, you no longer need to be a developer or website designer to be able to create and make your blog look exceptional.
Blogging platforms like WordPress are equipped with several free pre-designed blog themes. More so, there are also many templates available depending on your desired color scheme and layout.
Customizing Your Blog
After creating your blog, you can carry out various customizations on the blog, including uploading your logo, editing tagline and blog title, changing the background image, editing homepage setting, and changing blog colors.
Irrespective of the theme you choose, you can customize them to suit your style. Some of the areas you can customize on your blog include:
Site Identity – This is where you can change your blog’s title, tagline, upload a site icon, and upload your logo.
Colors – Here, you can change header and footer colors, primary blog color, and background color.
Theme Options – If you want your blog to have a search icon, then this is where you can select it. Also, you can also add an author bio for the blog’s posts.
Cover Template – Although the blog’s template is pre-designed, you can change things like the overlay opacity, overlay background color, and overlay text color.
Background Image – Here, you can upload any image of your choice to the background of your blog.
Menus – This allows you to customize your blog’s social media links, change the location, and make modifications to your blog’s menu.
Widgets – This is where you add your blog descriptions, your physical address, and also customize your blog’s footer content.
Homepage Settings – Just like its name, you can change your blog’s homepage settings.
Additional CSS – Although the blog comes with a pre-existing code, you can also add your own lines of code to change the blog’s appearance and layout.
Previously, bloggers didn’t have to worry about having an SSL certificate when trying to start their blog. However, due to the nature of sensitive information of visitors, there is a need to protect and encrypt.
Even more, HTTPS is now a factor being considered when ranking blogs and websites. As a result, it is important to install an SSL certificate on your blog.
Tips for Your Blog to Stand Out
1. Create amazing images to increase shares, backlinks, and subscribers
Adding amazing images and backlinks to your blog will ultimately increase more traffic to your blog in no time. However, without the right images and reliable backlinks, this will not be possible.
Images and contents work hand in hand, hence you have to find a way to incorporate both on your blog. People tend to scroll through your blog to see if what your offering is of value to them, hence you have to engage them with amazing images as well as content to inspire them to read through and revisit your site.
Also, with the right images, it increases your shares as well as subscribers ultimately. However, images are not solely responsible for the increment of audience to your site. There are several others, amongst which are backlinks.
Backlinks are simply hyperlinking you get from other authoritative or relevant sites to your website. They are used to boost your search engine ranking that leads to more subscribers. They are included in your written article about a particular niche to show its relevance and authenticity. However, your article has to be link-worthy and of high quality to gain more subscribers.
2. Use Internal linking to help Google (and people) navigate your site.
Internal links are hyperlinks that are used to navigate or point you to a page within the domain of your site. They only function within your site and are not used as external links.
Proper use of internal links aids Google to understand all the pages on your site as well as find the index. Also, internal linking enhances high page ranking.
Your site cannot be ranked high without proper internal linking. Internal linking helps visitors or subscribers to easily locate (navigate) a piece of information within your site without your visitor having to scroll through to locate the information. Hence, it reduces the stress of navigating through your site for any information.
3. Format your blog post to make you look like an expert
One of the best practices to get a perfect blog post that will lead to more conversions, as well as subscribers, is the formatting of your blog post. Those who are seen as blog experts take out time to format their blog posts.
You must understand what the formatting of your blog post involves. Your blog post has to be easy to read, relevant, and of high-quality to get social shares as well as backlinks from other sites.
It is practically impossible to grow your audience or subscribers, enhance your SEO, or generate leads when you fail to format your blog post.
Some of the major practices you should incorporate when formatting your blog post includes the proper use of subheaders, keeping your post short and simple, using bold text, graphs, images, short paragraphs, and a call to action.
4. Add a call to action to get the most from your audience.
A call to action can come in any form in an attempt to get more information from your audience as well as visitors. These calls to action are designed to address different parts of marketing and with the right call to action, you can increase the conversion rate on your blog.
Take ample time to think about how your visitors can learn more about your company and how you can use the call to action to convince them to take the next step in their buying journey and taking action.
There are ways you can incorporate the call to action or CTA’s as it’s not every post that you publish that involves the use of all the CTA’s. Some of the CTA’s include:
- Bottom-of-the-Post Smart CTA’s
- Connect on Social CTA’s
- Tweet this CTA’s
- Blog Subscription CTA’s
- Comment CTA’s
- Slide-In CTA’s
- In-Line CTA’s
- Sidebar CTA’s
Whatever your choice of CTA might be, ensure it is persuasive to attract more conversions rate on your site. Your inability to make your audience to take the next step in conversation will make your business stay on hold. Hence, seek out for ways to get more conversions on your site.
5. Stick to a theme for better SEP and a stronger follower base.
These themes come in two forms namely the free theme and the premium theme. There are many themes out there you can choose from depending on your choice as well as your blog post niche. Also, you can decide to change your choice of theme as time progresses for a better SEP or stronger follower base.
The premium themes are costlier even though they have more features when compared to free themes. For new blog owners, we recommend the free theme for you if you are on a budget and as it can handle your blog as well as bring a free follower base for you.
However, if you have a bigger blog that is designed for business, we recommend the premium theme for you as it is capable of functioning best to bring more follower base for you. These themes help you to customize your blog with the right tools giving your customers the best user experience on your site.
With blog theme customization, you can create a logo, customize your blog, and you can add plugins to your blog.
6. Add Videos to your blog post to increase engagement
Videos on your blog help to increase the time visitors spend on your blog. Also, it keeps them engaged without getting bored of reading a long blog post.
Readers feel more inclined to stop and watch the video when you attach it to your blog post. They will tend to get engaged and click on the video when it stands amid the blog post text.
A recent survey shows that online videos make up 82% of customer traffic online. Before now, videos were only common on YouTube for marketing, but nowadays, several videos are watched on different social media platforms.
So adding videos to your blog post will go a long way in keeping your audiences engaged and always itching to revisit when they find the information relevant.
7. Stop writing intros like high school research papers.
Introductions that seem like high school research papers are not required when writing a blog post. It only bores your audiences and at the same time reduces the relevance of your article by Google.
Google prefers the use of short and descriptive articles with simple words over long articles that includes intros like research papers. Hence, we recommend that you avoid such an introduction in your blog post.
8. Submit your blog to search engine
Search engines help you to index your text easily, hence is vital you submit your blog. However, submitting your blog to search engines requires that you follow some steps.
Firstly, submit the URL of your blog to Google, then you proceed to sign up to your Google Account. After that, you go to submit the URL option in Webmaster tools.
9. Submit your blog to bookmarking sites
Bookmarking sites are beneficial as they offer your content to prospective viewers who desire to get some information that is within your niche.
We recommend that you always submit your blog to bookmarking whenever you publish a new blog post so that researchers can find your articles more easily. Some of these popular bookmarking sites include Reddit, Scoop, and so on.
10. Guest Post
People sometimes find it difficult to contribute content to another person’s blog as they don’t get paid for this service. However, agreeing to write a guest post is vital to the growth of your followers as well as more exposure to your blog.
You can use the opportunity to let the blog owner add a brief byline about you at the end of the post with a link back to your site. Also, take out time to carefully write original content that is of high quality and not something you recycled from another post. Remember, your first impression always lasts long.
Now that you have learned how to start a blog, there is a need to firstly own a domain name, then a hosting space, and you have successfully set up a blog. Next, you will need to get familiar with the dashboard of the site. For example, if you’re using WordPress, get used to its dashboard.
Make changes that are suiting for you. Then you can proceed to start creating content in different forms (text, videos, Call to action, and so on). Ensure that your contents are relevant enough to promote you to become a successful blogger.
Aside from this information about blogging, you need to have a drive or passion for your niche to be a successful blogger. Blogging has so many advantages aside from the money making quest. You can share your story for people to pick lessons from, you can affect a community through your content, you can increase recognition of your business and so many other reasons.
We hope you achieve your aspirations and dreams through blogging as you start this journey.