One of the biggest reasons I hear from people when I ask them why they haven’t started that blog they keep talking about is that they just don’t know where to start. I get it; the idea of starting a blog from scratch – especially if you want to use it for business – can be overwhelming.
The reality is, though, that the process is actually quite simple once you break it down and look at it. So, today I’m going to share with you all exactly how to start a blog from scratch and use it for business. The steps I’m going to be providing are specifically for people who want to grow and monetize their blogs, so some of them do cost money (less than you might think, though!) If you want to try hobby blogging out for free, it’s totally possible and there are a lot of resources out there for you!
Now, let’s jump right into it!
Step One: Choose Your Niche
I wish I had known how important it was to choose a specific niche when I first started blogging. There are conflicting opinions on the internet about the importance of this step, but – the simple truth is – if you want to use your blog for business then people have to know exactly what you’re an authority on.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to lock into this niche forever. I strongly believe that we learn as we go with blogging and with business, and we may find along the way that we are really good at something we didn’t even realize before. It’s okay for your blog to evolve, but you have to start somewhere.
Choosing a niche allows your desired audience (and potential clients/customers) to easily find you. If someone stumbles upon a blog post of yours and enjoys the content, but then they see that the rest of your posts are about different topics altogether, then they have no reason to keep coming back. People want to know that you can provide them with valuable and consistent information about a problem or interest they have.
Sign Up With WordPress & Choose a Domain
Yes, WordPress will allows you to set up your blog for free, and that’s awesome.
The free version doesn’t allow you to use a lot of the great WordPress features that can take your blog from hobby to business. For example, paying for a plan can allow you to create a custom domain for your website, monetize your blog with ads, choose from better blog themes, and install plugins that will make growing your business and attracting traffic to your site easier.
WordPress offers three different plans to choose from: Personal ($48/year), Premium ($96/year), and Business ($300/year). I highly recommend starting with at least a Premium plan so that you can monetize right away and choose from themes that will make your site appear more professional. You can upgrade to a Business plan later, at a prorated rate, if you find your site growing and want the additional benefits.
After creating your WordPress account, you’ll be prompted to name your blog and choose a domain. Be mindful of the fact that you want to create a recognizable brand, and don’t choose a name or domain that is super niche-specific if you think you might change direction later on. I’m a big fan of people using their own names for their blogs, but catchy and creative names can be a memorable way to stand out, too!
Customize Your Blog/Website
When I talk to people about starting their blogs, they are almost always overwhelmed by the idea of having to design a website. They imagine hours spent sitting at the computer trying to figure out coding somehow or having to pay someone more money than they’d like to design their site for them.
Fortunately, WordPress makes customizing your blog incredibly easy.
First, you need to choose a theme. The theme will provide the basic structure and design for your site, and you will be able to go in afterwards and tweak the details to suit your needs. There are a lot of great themes available for those who pay for WordPress Premium, and those who choose the Business plan will even have the option of uploading a theme of their own that they can buy form somewhere else.
Different themes will work for different people, so take some time to look through the options. Consider whether you will be uploading text posts, photographs, videos, or a combination of the three. Do you want a static homepage where you can sell a product, or do you want a blog that updates as you post? Find what works best for your specific business goals.
After you apply the theme to your site (which is as easy as pushing a button!), you can head into the customization section. Here, you can see everything you can change about the site and fine-tune it to your liking. The options vary from theme to theme but typically include color schemes, fonts, sidebars, featured areas, site layouts, and different widgets. It can seem a bit overwhelming, but try to have fun with it! You get to make your blog exactly what you want it to be!
Write Content that People in Your Niche Are Actively Searching For
Your site is ready, and it’s time to start posting content. The most important thing you can do to set yourself up for success early on is to write posts that your audience and potential clients are actively searching for. Good places to start are “how-to” posts in your area of expertise and anything else that answers a question or provides a solution to problems common in your niche.
And there you go! You have a blog and are finally ready to start taking your business goals to the next level!