setting up a blog

How to start your own blog

Writing your own blog can be a lot of fun. But a little bit of research, before you dive in, can help you avoid some potential pitfalls later on. Here are some pointers to get you started.


Why?

The first question to ask yourself is why you want to blog. Do you have something you’re passionate about? Something you’re an expert at? Can you add value?

Before you start, it’s important to do your homework. Understand who your readers will be. Look at the other blogs you’ll be competing with. Why should people read yours as well as, or instead of, these? Do you have something new to say? A unique perspective? Insider knowledge? Perhaps you just have a refreshing way of talking – an engaging ‘voice’?

Why not?

Above all, you should blog because you enjoy it. Blog for the wrong reasons, and you’ll set yourself up for disappointment. So what are the wrong reasons?

Money

Most bloggers don’t give up their day jobs!

Fame

Very few blogs make their writers famous. It is possible, but don’t count on it. Just write because you have something to say.

Traffic

Volume isn’t everything. A few high quality readers can be better than loads of traffic – especially when you’re starting out. Small can be beautiful.

Domain name and hosting

Okay, so you’ve found your niche. Something you’re passionate about. You know who your readers are. Now you need to find a domain name (URL) for your blog and someone to host if for you.

Do you want to own your blog?

Another question you have to ask yourself is do you want to own your blog or not? If you host your blog somewhere free – wordpress.com or Google’s blogger, for example – they own your blog not you.

Paid hosting?

If you want to own your blog and your blog’s domain name, you should pay someone to host it for you. Shop around and you can find webhosts that charge next-to-nothing. As with buying anything, the lowest price doesn’t always offer the best value. Some web hosts are simpler to use than others. And some have faster, better quality hosting and excellent 24/7 customer support.

What’s your blog called?

You need to choose a domain name (URL) for your blog. Keep it short. Make it unique. Ownable. Something that reflects your style, attitude and subject. Your name, or a spin-off of your name is a good starting point. Most web hosts have a search tool for you to see which domain names are available. We recommend starting with a “.com” domain name, as these are the default choice and most well known. But there are a growing list of alternatives worth looking at, from country-specific options such as “.co.uk”, to areas of interest such as “.tv”, “.coffee”, “.kitchen,” and even “.guru”.

Choose your platform

There are many ways to build your blog. Google’s Blogger and Wordpress.com are probably the best-known free options – they’re websites that make it simple to build your blog.

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Self hosting?

WordPress also have a free blogging platform that you can host yourself.

It’s the world’s most popular blog platform – with 82 million active users. It’s also free and easy to set up. And most good web hosts can install it for you at the press of a button.

Theme design

Once you’ve got your blog software up and running, you should think about how you want your blog to look. Is it going to be image-heavy? Or words? Will it look simple and clutter free? Or busy like an online magazine?

WordPress, for example, comes with several free themes so you can transform the layout and appearance of your blog at the touch of a button. Search for ‘free wordpress theme’ online and you’ll find hundreds of beautiful blog themes for you to download and try. And, if you don’t mind paying, you can get an even greater choice and more elaborate features. Envato.com and themeforest.net are two popular sites to buy themes.

Plugins

Once you’ve settled on your blog’s theme, why not add some plugins? WordPress offers thousands of great plugins that add extra features to your blog. Like themes, many are free. But don’t go crazy with them, as adding too many can slow down your blog.

Comments and moderation

Blogging isn’t a one-way street. One of the best things a blog post can do is create debate. Readers’ comments are often better than the original post. But, before you allow comments on your blog, it’s worth taking a moment to avoid some rookie mistakes. As blogger Scott Stratten warns, in this informative post there are five words that can kill your blog: “your comment is awaiting moderation”.

Writing: Find your voice

A hundred people could write a blog on the same subject, but what makes yours different is you. So be you. Be authentic. Be honest. And don’t try too hard. In time you’ll find your own style – your ‘voice’. But why not start by writing the way you speak? That way your personality will shine through.

Watch outs

Blogging is publishing. So you should be aware of what it is and isn’t legal to publish. It’s a good idea to understand at least the basics of intellectual property rights, copyright and defamation. Knowing a little can help you steer clear of potential legal troubles.

As a general rule, it’s best not to post anything that infringes the privacy of others without their permission. When writing about others, consider using false names or, at the very least, first names only.

Social media

Social media can be a useful way of promoting your blog – particularly Twitter and Facebook. But social media can be distracting – so it’s good to remember that it’s the content on your blog that matters most.

The M word

Okay, so you’ve done the important thing – set up your blog for love not money – but there’s this fifteen-year-old blogger you heard about who’s already a millionaire and...

In a survey of 1,723 UK lifestyle bloggers, the Telegraph reveals typical earnings of around £1000 per year from affiliate marketing. So, for most people, blogs are a useful source of cash, on the side, rather than a main source of income. It’s reported that the bloggers who made more than this included those that use their blogs to sell their own products.

Over to you

Well, that’s it. We hope you’re inspired to have a go yourself. So get out there. Share your passion. And, above all else, be you.

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I found this information really useful I have always wanted my own blog a real persons blog where others can learn what's going on day to day and maybe find out useful tips so this is a good stepping stone for me to start

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