5 Tips for Starting a Blog the Right Way

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Blogging is big. Really big. There are many people out there making their living at it and far more simply sharing their interests, their passions, with the rest of the world. How do you get involved in blogging? It’s really not that hard. But maybe you are worried about doing it wrong. Well, here are 5 tips for starting a blog the right way.

Know your Topic

This is really two steps, so let’s break it down:

  • What is your topic? This is where you decide what you are passionate enough about to share with everyone in the world. What are you good at? What are you interested in? What would you like to learn more about? This first step defines so much of what comes after, you need to stop and take the time to decide.
  • Did you have a name in mind for your blog? Once you have a topic, you need a name for your blog and a Domain name to match. This can be tough, as there are a lot of them already in use, and only one use is allowed in the entire world.  As important as this is, don’t stress over it.  Head over to GoDaddy and start searching for domains that you might be interested in.   If you don’t find an exact match domain, don’t get discouraged just keep trying until you find something you like.  Try to make sure that the topic or subject name is also in your domain.  For an example if you love styling your hair, you might try searching for hairystyletips.com.

In the end, your blog will make your brand popular, not the other way around. Think of all the companies out there that are now household names.  Few are the perfect name for that business but they built the brand and recognition, not the other way around.

wordpress photoSelect a Platform

Surprisingly this is pretty easy. Decide what software you will use to create your blog and display it on the web. The default choice today is WordPress. There are others, and they are fine platforms, but WordPress dominates the world of blogging.  Think of it like computer operating systems. WordPress is as dominant as if Windows and Apple were combined. Thankfully it’s a very powerful platform with lots of options and ways to customize it. You can make your blog as unique as you are.

Choose a Hosting Provider

hosting photoAre you enjoying 5 tips for starting a blog the right way so far?  Now let’s talk about hosting.  This is less straightforward but nonetheless very important.   A host is where you will store all the data associated with your blog. Picking the right hosting company can be confusing. There are a variety of rates, supported features, and limits on data. But probably the two most important things to look for are reliability and customer service. Choose a host known for their excellent service, both in keeping your blog online and available, and in helping you when you run into trouble.

It’s unlikely you will need a lot of help after setup, but if you do, it’s likely to be technically challenging. You didn’t become a blogger to learn about internet technology (unless that’s your topic), you became a blogger to share your passion with others. Focus on that and let your hosting company do what they do best: handle all the technical issues.

There are free blog hosting sites available, even WordPress offers one. Think carefully before you choose to use one. When it is free, you have no ownership of the site. The host can choose to remove your blog at any time. The cost of ownership for hosting is low enough that it should be your first choice and free services a distant second.

Blog Setup

Once you’ve got your domain and your host, you need to configure your blog. The first few steps are easy, adding WordPress, or your chosen platform, is usually a simple process taking less than 5 minutes.  Most hosts have easy to read instructions on how to setup WordPress.  Once you have WordPress installed, you need to decide how it should look and how it will work. With WordPress this starts with a Theme.

A Theme defines the very basics, the bare bones of your blog. Besides the appearance of it, choose one that fits well with your topic. Don’t mix something oriented toward child care with your blog for surfing. There are huge numbers of choices, both free and premium. The premium themes are inexpensive, a one time cost, and just plain cheap when considered over even a year of your blog, so don’t automatically look for a free one.

blog photoThere are number of technical characteristics you should look for in a Theme. These are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing which you will use:

  • Simple, clean design, without clutter. Easy to read.
  • Mobile responsive. Automatically formats for mobile devices.
  • Themes can be optimized to load more quickly.
  • SEO compatibility. It should be easy to use Search Engine Optimization with it.
  • Painless customization. Changing aspects of the look should be a snap.

Adding Plugins to a Blog can make so many things easier. Plugins are just tiny add on programs that provide additional functionality.  A few kinds are basically indispensable:

  • SEO support
  • Filtering spam comments
  • Adding social media sharing
  • Analytics
  • Caching
  • Email marketing

A this point you have a complete blog ready to show the world.

writers photoWrite About Your Passion

You need to create content for your blog.  Do you have a topic, a subject matter you’re interested in, or skills you have and want to share with or teach others? Talk about it.  Some pointers on this key element of writing content:

  • Make good headlines. Think about what draws you and others into wanting to read more about something.  Your content will be easier to write by using the best headlines.
  • Keep your focus. Stay on topic. Focus on one or two things and dig in deep.
  • Add Value. Make your blog posts meaningful, helpful, or inspiring. Have people be glad they read them because of the value they take from them.
  • Be genuine. Find your voice, your own distinct style. Don’t copy someone else, be yourself. Talk honestly about your opinions and thoughts.

This is just the beginning. It won’t guarantee you fame and fortune, but it will help you get off on the right foot and avoid some of the more common mistakes others make. Now get blogging!

Read more how to articles at Cliché Magazine
Images provided by Flickr CC License

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