HOW TO START A BLOG
Two years ago when I started The Alma Chronicle, I remember being overwhelmed by all the information I came across on the internet. I spent countless hours trying to make sense of words I had never come across and somehow never figuring out what exactly I wanted or needed to do. Over the years, I’m proud that I’ve managed to single handedly grow it to what it is today.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be doing a series called “Owning your blog”, sharing pointers from how to get started as a blog/website owner to creating compelling content and even content management. There’ll be 4 engaging posts to this series published every Thursday in the month of March and I hope at the end of it, someone’s work will be made a lot easier.
This first post outlines the basics of getting started.
Domain Name & Hosting:
This is the first step to owning your website. When I started, I remember being confused on the meanings of a “domain name” & “hosting” & why they were necessary. A domain name is the unique address to a webpage or in this case, your blog. It is essential to your brand identity as it’s what you will be known for for years to come so please take it seriously. After deciding on a name, check for its availability & register it with a Domain Registrar for a fee. The most popular ones are GoDaddy & Bluehost.
Next thing is to integrate this domain name with a blogging platform such as WordPress or Blogger. Luckily, the domain registrars mentioned above have a simple, free, one-click installation process. Spending on a domain name and hosting is not necessary for everyone. I recommend it if you want a more professional looking site. On the other hand, if you’re just looking to try out blogging with no intention of committing, I suggest starting with a WordPress.com (e.g xyz.wordpress.com) which is free.
(Tip: Domain registrars typically go on promotions from time to time so be on the lookout to get a desired domain name at a cheaper price)
Choosing a Theme/Brand Identity:
A theme sets the tone for your blog and overall brand. This is the first thing users see when they click on your link and you want to make sure it represents you and your brand identity to the latter. Before picking a theme, do an overall blog/brand analysis and make a mental picture of what you want your brand to be known for. Think colours, name, overall aesthetics, fonts, photos, layouts, etc.
Most platforms come with decent pre-installed and free themes that I advice people to take advantage of when they’re just starting out. You know, get a hang of blogging and decide it’s something you want to do/commit to before you start throwing some major bucks into it. If you decide to go a step further to make your blog look more personal and professional, I recommend purchasing a pre-made theme from a theme developer and customizing it to your preference. That way, you don’t stress with the technicalities behind web design and focus on tweaking the theme to your taste; and creating content. You can purchase themes off a lot of websites but my favourites are Etsy, SquareSpace, & Theme Forest to name a few.
This varies depending on what your blog is centered around. Contrary to popular belief, blogging isn’t as easy as it looks. A lot of work and thought goes into creating content, especially when it’s done for a living. Overtime, analyze your audience demographic and be intentional about every content you put out. Be it be entertaining, inspirational, educational, etc. Make sure it adds some sort of value to the person on the other side of the computer screen.
Have fun & be consistent:
Just like everything else in life, consistency is key to growth; but blogging shouldn’t be a chore. It’s important to view your blog as your brand and have fun nurturing it so it can grow. For me, I’m happiest when I’m in front of my computer editing photos or creating compelling content such as this one for you guys. It’s also amazing how many opportunities and doors this platform has opened to me and I’m forever grateful.
Please let me know if you found this post useful & leave any questions you have in the comment section below, I’ll be sure to get to it as soon as possible!
The next post in the series will be up on the 9th March, 2017!
Till next time,