I have been holding off on blogging about starting a blog for a while now. Reason being is that I’m still new to blogging. But, I’m getting requests from friends and family in South Africa and abroad to share how I started my blog. I also have an IT background and I learnt how to create a basic website, I do have the knowledge to share although I’m not an expert. This post will answer questions such as how to start a blog for free, what the best blogging platform is and what a hosting service is. So let me stop rambling, here’s my take on how to start a blog.
Choose the type of blog
You have to make it descriptive according to my research. Honestly, blogs with vague names make me interested in what the content is. But, try to choose a name that fits with the overall theme of your blog. There are different kinds of blogs but most can be slotted in the following themes.
Hobby blog: travel, knitting, poetry, reading(book reviews), cooking blogs these are a few examples of hobby blogs. You will share your hobby with your readers and draw them in with your passion as you will be writing about something you love doing.
Personal blog– This blog is all about you. Your thoughts and things you do. It’s called a lifestyle blog as well and it gives you the freedom to write about anything that matters in your life.
Life experiences– You might want to share life lessons, maybe you are just divorced, or you are dealing with a breakup, grieving or you are a mom who wants to blog about being a mom these are life experience blogs.
Academic– If you are an expert in a study field, a student or you work for an academic institution you might be interested in writing up an academic blog. This blog will write about academic topics so a political science blogger will write about 9/11 and it impacts on security in the USA for example.
Mixed– This is where you mix two or more of the themes above and blog about it. My blog focuses on travel, but it also provides tips on studying, travelling and I’m planning on sharing recipes etc.
It’s all in the NAME
Now that you know about the kinds of blogs; you should choose what you are going to write about and come up with a catchy name. If you are a hobby blogger who will be writing about food trends and recipes then a name like “Somethings Cooking”, “The Meltingpot” or “Whatsfordinner” will fit with your blog.
Be careful though don’t limit yourself if you are a travel blogger a name like “travelling-on-a-budget” or “budget-travel” is restrictive you will have to take many cheap vacations/holidays and you cannot write about fancy trips or four-star restaurants ever. You should also stay away from blog names with the words Nomadic in them, adventuress, wanderer and gypsy. These names are overused, established travel bloggers are using them such as NomadicMatt and some Romania people find the use of the word gypsy offensive. I changed my blog name because of this.
What blogging platform should I use?
You have to use blogging software to create a blog which you can find online. There’s many options out there Wix, Blogger, Tumbler, Medium etc. I use WordPress blogging software because it is the most popular online with one-fifth of the internet belonging to WordPress, WordPress is customizable, and for me, it’s the easiest blogging platform to use. If you want to learn more about the different blogging platforms click the link:https://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/best-blogging-platforms-121413634
For me, WordPress is the best blogging platform.
What is a Web host?
“A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server owned or leased for use by clients, as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center. Web hosts can also provide data center space and connectivity to the Internet for other servers located in their data center, called colocation, also known as Housing in Latin America or France” (Wikipedia,2018)
What is the most popular Web hosting service?
As a blogger, I follow other bloggers and have researched Web hosting. Bluehost comes recommended by bloggers such as YoungAdventuress who are well-known travel bloggers. The reasons for Bluehost’s popularity are listed below:
- Bluehost will register your blog name for you for free, making sure no one else can take it.
- Bluehost offers a no-cost, simple installation of WordPress blogging software
- Bluehost has been recommended by WordPress since 2005 and presently host more than two-million blogs and sites.
- Bluehost has 24/7 customer service, you can phone or web chat with support staff.
- Bluehost has a money-back guarantee if you are unsatisfied for any reason
Why is hosting important?
If you have a site and want people to see it, then you have to get assistance from a web hosting provider. When people search for terms included in your posts or for your site they will find it easier if you are using a web hosting service. Right now I cannot do this and I can already see how it’s hampering my blogging. Google publishes my posts on its back pages never on its front page. So if you can afford it, unlike me at the moment go and use hosting. To learn more about hosting and questions which you need to ask when picking a web hosting service click the link:https://www.techprevue.com/web-hosting-service-importance-business/
How to Log in for the first time on WordPress?
You need to login to your blog. Go to http://www.yourblog.com/wp-admin to bring up the login screen replace the “yourblog.com” with your domain name). Your domain name is the name of your blog. If you are unsure of your login name or password, check the email that was sent to you from Bluehost that has this information. If you aren’t using a host then check the WordPress email. For a short tutorial on how to log in click the link:https://promediapublishing.com/blog/login-to-wordpress-for-the-first-time
WordPress offers a number of plans and if you are a beginner use the Free Plan. You need to get a feel for WordPress and decide if you like the platform before investing financially. To read more about the free WordPress option-click the following link:http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/why-is-wordpress-free-what-are-the-costs-what-is-the-catch/
How to customize my WordPress Theme?
Once you login you will be in the WordPress administrator area, you are the administrator of your blog. This area is where you can make changes to your blog. You can change the look and layout design of your blog very quickly in WordPress.
The blog design layouts are called Themes on WordPress. These Themes are the core design layout of your blog.
To change your Theme to click on the Appearance tab on the left menu.
You will see several Themes if you have a very specific look that you want you cannot choose any of these themes. But, I recommend you use one of these Themes in you are a beginner to make the process easier. Click on the Theme you like and click Customize and it is done.
To read more if you are a bit confused click here:https://www.siteground.com/tutorials/wordpress/customize-themes/
Alternatively, check out the video below:
Write a post and publish it
It’s time to actually do some blogging! Go to the left menu and click on Posts. There will be a default post created by WordPress there you can delete this by clicking Trash. To begin writing a new blog post, click the Add New icon. You are now on the post editor screen. Enter the title of your post in the top box where it says Title or Enter title here and then begin writing your blog post in the lower box. If you want to include a picture to your post, click on the Add Media button and click Select Files to upload a picture from your computer. You can make adjustments to the image size as well on the next screen the options will show. Then click Insert and it will appear. If you want to know how to embed an Instagram image on to your blog read my article by clicking the link to learn how: https://nikkidiscovers.wordpress.com/2018/05/16/how-to-embed-a-image-from-instagram-to-wordpress
How do I Promote my blog?
I’m still new at blogging like I said. But, I can provide a few basic tips on how to get people to read your blog for now.
Firstly write good content. This means you should check for spelling and grammar issues. I use Grammarly to help with spell checking. Write in a way that is attractive keep your sentences easy to read. Add interesting attention-grabbing titles. Include sub-titles to break up information. Always try to include good quality images to your posts. If you need to edit them use apps such as PicsArt or Snapseed which are available on the Google Play store. Include links to other blogs and websites to add more information, this provides your readers with helpful resources.
Secondly use other social media platforms my blog is linked to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ I also regularly promote my blog on my Instagram feed. I have included my blog’s URL in my Instagram Profile and I write about my blog in some of my image captions.
Thirdly tell your family and friends about your blog encourage them to read it. Send them links email them an invite. They love and support you so bug them and get them to support your blog.
I do more than these 3 things and will write more about it once I have more readers. I don’t want to be pushing advice without more experience. To learn more about promoting your blog from marketing experts, you can click the link: https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/09/08/10-ways-to-promote-your-wordpress-blog-for-beginners/
If you want to know how to get your blog on to the first page of Google’s results the video below shows you how to achieve SEO (Search Engine Optimization). It’s 42:25 minutes long and on YouTube.
Lastly, this post is terrible or if you are still wondering what to do and How to start a Blog just check out the video below. It’s only 41:31 minutes long.
Unrelated sidenote: I love Daragh’s accent the guy who is the instructor in the last two videos.
I’m hoping this helps you and that you will start blogging soon. Thank you so much for reading this blog post and for visiting my blog. If you have anything to add any questions or critique please drop me a line. I love reading comments on my blog.
Wishing you happy travels through the journey of life! & HAPPY Blogging!
xxx Nikki xxx