Do you want to become a blogger? Once you have made up your mind to become one, the next step is to get your own blog instead of using a free blog. In other words, you are now getting your own domain name which host on your own preferred web hosting company and at your own preferred design. All these will give you better control and flexibility over your own blog than a free blog. However, to start your own blog from scratch and then turn it into a popular blog, you will need careful planning and thinking. There are a list of things you need to consider carefully before taking the plunge as this will affect your blog’s long-term performance and success.
Here are the checklists to get you started.
You can either get your own domain name using your own name (provided it must be a unique name) or a domain name based on the topics you are going to blog about. The domain name must be something unique which can help to create your image and branding. It should not be too similar to your competitors as it will create confusion. You should do a research on domain name availability check here before registering for a domain name.
Your blog need to host in a stable environment so that the public can access it without any difficulty. Be aware of those web hosting companies who provide ultra cheap hosting plan as they might not be providing the latest server configuration and software. Consequently, your blog would load very slowly and might experience more technical glitch over time. It is highly recommended you check out the web hosting company credibility and its server configuration before signing up any hosting plan. In addition, a reliable web hosting company should provide prompt technical support and advice when problem arises.
The most popular blogging platform is WordPress as it has many free plugins to make it powerful but many new bloggers are confused with WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The former allows you to create a blog directly from their server but subject to many restriction, for example, you can’t customize the blog theme or backend code or even add in advertisement to the blog. The later is a website that allows you to download a free WordPress software and you can install directly to your own web hosting company server. You will have absolute freedom to do anything you like or want to your blog.
The look and feel of your blog will make or kill your blog success so you have to consider whether you want to design from scratch or are happy with the ready-made themes available in the market. If you lack the design knowledge, you can always find a blog designer who is able to customize the blog theme for you. Some blog designers offer a one-stop solution where they can build a blog from zero to hero but you will need to check with the designer the exact work scope offer and the cost involved.
The blog layout will very much depend on your goals and niche market you are targeting. For photography and design blog, it is recommended to utilize the whole screen to fully display the bloggers’ portfolio while a normal blog can go for standard two columns layout where the sidebar is generally utilize for advertisement, social connection and user profile purposes.
Many people like to access blog using their smart phones so the blog must be mobile friendly and able to change its layout to a smaller screen when a smaller reading device is detected. Tell your designer before you start creating your blog so that he/she can factor this in during development.
Eventually, you will be the one take over the blog so it is necessary that you know how to operate the blog with ease and confidence. The basic function like writing, editing and publishing the blog content as well as approving, replying and deleting spam comments. If you lack the fundamental knowledge, it is advisable to get a training course on using WordPress so you will not feel so restricted and frustrated.
The number one concern for any blogger is to get massive traffic to one’s blog. If there is nobody visiting your blog, there is no point setting up a blog. If you are a serious blogger, you have to select the best channel to reach your target readers. For example, some readers like to hang around in social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. You must use the right social media platform to drive traffic to your blog. It is not necessary to include all of them as they will demand a lot of your energy to keep them all active. Just focus on one and two social media and build up your followers from there.
Building a Mailing List
Besides the above marketing method, building a mailing list is one of them. Using social media is a great way to build followers but you do not have ownership of their profiles but building a mailing list using an email marketing system such as Constant Contact allows you to do so. You will know your individual followers as Constant Contact gives you clear report of their email address, names and whether they open your email when you broadcast message to them. If you plan to earn revenue from your blog, building a huge mailing list is like a goldmine as you already have a solid pool of potential customers.
Last, you need a long-term maintenance plan so that your blog will be always up to date and bug free. The WordPress will always undergo constant upgrading for its software due to security reason so your blog need to keep up with the changes. In addition, the various free plugins your have installed will need to be updated as well otherwise they will soon run into compatibility problems so either you learn how to do it yourself or ask your designer to help you with the update.
The above list is not exhaustive but gives you a rough idea of what you need to consider when starting a blog. Building a blog is an evolutionary process so you need to be patient and realistic. You can start with something small and slowly progress to your final goal.
If you have problem creating your own blog, you are welcome to contact us for assistance. We are happy to help you to become a proud owner of a beautiful and functional blog.