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how to start a blog 2017

How To Start A Blog

How To Start A Blog will give you all the skills you need no matter what your skill level is.

About three years ago I had one of those “waking dreams” where you’re not asleep and you’re not awake, you know? Well anyway, all of a sudden this word popped into my minds eye, and it was the word: Blog in large white letters on a blue background. Lucid dreaming reigns!

So in typical fashion I took the moment extremely seriously and I went back to sleep. Zzzzzz sleeping dog However, the word blog stayed in my mind and just wouldn’t leave, so finally after about a week of having that word pop up all the time, I Googled the word and got tons of information about something I really knew nothing about.

I had no idea what a Blog was, seriously. I thought a Blog was something that a teenage girl wrote in about school, boys, fashion or whatever. I was so out of touch.

Well, this journey into blogdom has been extremely eye-opening and has captivated my interest and time. I love blogging and spend lots of time in the blogosphere which led deep into the world of social media which led into monetization and on and on.

emailNow I have 14+ email accounts that I check daily (I’m desperately organized and have an email for specific subjects – I’m not a well puppy ), and keep looking for new insights to explore. If it wasn’t for that pesky sleep thing I could spend a lot more time online. (Yes parents, I know I’m not a good role model.)

So, let’s start in our How To Start A Blog 2017 journey by asking the very first question :

What is a Blog?

Wikepedia defines a blog as: “A blog (a truncation of the expression weblog)[1] is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (“posts”). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page.”

Pretty dull, huh? For me, a Blog is basically a venue on the internet that allows a site owner to disseminate information and/or products and services to the whole world. Think about that; the Whole World! If you’ve got an idea, no matter what it is, you can share your thoughts and creativity instantly to a potentially ginormous audience.

thinkYour only limitation is your imagination, and the more you study this odd little world of blogging, the more your imagination and creativity will be stimulated.

Many of the websites that you go to and are probably very familiar with (Huffington Post, TMZ, Business Insider, Mashable, TechCrunch, The Daily Beast, etc.) are actually Blogs. Just really, really good ones. It’s virtually impossible to be able to tell the difference between a Blog and a “regular” website. The main difference is the “platform” or the basic building structure of the site. They’re still all websites.

Why Start A Blog?

social mediaA blog’s purpose for being is only subject to the limitations of your imagination. You may be passionate about a subject or practice (politics, religion, a study, subject specific information, review site, e-commerce, etc.), or a product or service that you do or will offer to the general public. And any or all of these purposes can be grouped together to serve as an income source also.

So, the next question is: Why Use A Blog Format Instead Of A Regular Website Platform?

The answer is very simple. Since they all look virtually the same, the difference is what and how you have to learn.

If you’re building a “regular” website, you’ll have to know coding to some degree. Now there are some easy to learn website building programs (Weebly, Wix, SquareSpace, etc.) but to get into individualizing and customizing your site, you’ll at some point need to learn some HTML coding.

coding binaryWhile there could be some coding involved in getting a blog up and running depending upon the complexity of your proposed site, the vast majority has already been done for you. Sure, you can always learn CSS, etc. if you want to, but it’s not absolutely required.

Blogging is the easiest way you can think of to have a quality and professional presence on the internet, IMHO. Now, bear in mind there is homework to be done, but if you want to expedite the process, you can have a blog up and running in less than thirty minutes (with some design and name limitations).

Next: The Totally Free Way

Blogger, BlogSpot, WordPress.com (that’s WordPress dot com not dot org), are just a few of the free methods. WordPress dot com is a free version which will have a domain name something like – yoursitename.wordpress.org, or similar. See more info below regarding free blogging services.

Yes, you can get an internet presence and do so quickly, however you do so at the price of some very important items:

  • You won’t be able to get your very own domain name. A domain name is that part of the web address between the www. and the .com, or .org, etc. Your site name will most likely be something like: yourblogname.wordpress.com or yourblogname.blogspot.com, etc. Not cool if you really want to be well known.
  • Also, design limitations are just that, very limited. So if you’re a creative type or plan on expanding the scope and professionalism of your site, within a couple of days of study you’ll be regretting that you wasted your time.
  • Your domain won’t be a dot com name (.com) and if you’re not a philanthropic or benevolence site, you’ll quickly wish you had have tried to get a dot com ending. And even those more beneficent oriented sites, at least the successful ones, purchased a unique domain name.

world wide webThe Pay As You Go Method

If you choose a pay method, the cost still isn’t going to break the bank. First you’ll have to choose what’s called a Hosting Service. A web hosting service is where your site will store it’s numerous files that are associated with it. There are many out there such as Hostgator, BlueHost, GoDaddy, and others. My personal favorite is Hostgator. I’ve never had any downtime with Hostgator and their online tech support is excellent.

If you’re a newbie, their support will be extremely helpful to you. Click the banner below for extra savings.

Amazing Tip #1

Whatever you choose to do, always do a search on that term and include the word review after the term ( “Yoast SEO reviews” for example – as you study you’ll hear a lot about SEO and specifically Yoast). You should practice doing this with absolutely anything and everything you do on the internet so you can get information about whatever-it-is you’re thinking of implementing, from either review sites or people who have actually used the item/product/service.

Your Domain Namedomain name

This is where you grab the notepad and start writing down possible domain names based on your potential sites’ area of interest / focus / niche. Of course, to have a unique name you have to have a:

  • Service
  • Product
  • Information

that you feel will be of benefit to others. These are the only reasons for having a presence on the internet, all other purposes will fall under one or more of these three categories.

To have a good domain name it should reflect one of the three categories above but be more specifically reflective of your “brand.” Click here for a quick read on how to choose a domain name. There are others that you can Google but this one is quick and to the point.

You can “purchase” your domain name from your hosting provider. Typically you pay a very small annual fee for the domain name, usually from $12 to $25 dollars based on the services you desire (privacy, etc.).

The Last Thing To Choose

(I humorously say this is the last thing, because once you start the note taking process, and endless amount of other questions arise.), but anyway…

The last thing you’ll choose is which Blogging Platform you want to use. I’m not even going to waste time mentioning any other blog platform since WordPress is the eight hundred pound gorilla. It’s by far the best platform out there and there’s really not any reason to choose any other platform. Bear in mind that now we’re talking about WordPress dot org ( .org ). This can easily confuse people. You’ll learn more about the basic setup in some videos that are provided tow the end of this post.

Plus it’s free and that’s one of my favorite words.

The Blog Interface Itself

wordpress

As you examine a multitude of blogs that are similar in content and focus on the one you’re thinking of, you’ll notice that each one is different in how it presents information (content) and products to the public. In other words, how it looks and how the public interfaces with your site or more simply put, how it works is done through an interface known as a WordPress Theme. If you click the word Theme, you’ll be taken to a definition site that will clarify what a theme is.

You’ll encounter thousands of free themes (some are automatically included for free with WordPress) when you initially start your blog at startup and there are tons of paid themes. I personally have only paid for one theme and I’ve never really used it. With some creativity, you can make a free theme work quite well for most situations.

One reason that you can help a free theme become what you want it to be is through add-ins known as Plugins. Click Here to go a page that will explain what a plugin is. But in short, it vastly extends the ability of the website to be customized based on business or personal needs.

There are thousands of free plugins out there and many pay plugins, but usually you can find one to do what you need your website to do.

The Blogosphere

The items that I’ve mentioned are just the most basic things that you’ll need and should learn about when you start a blog. How To Start A Blog 2017, is just a basic idea of what is ahead for you once you get the blog-bug. I would strongly suggest that you get a spiral notebook (or two or five) for note taking for each subject and you can start your internet search and education by clicking the below links that will send you to helpful articles:

Research:

  1. What is a blog
  2. How to start a blog
  3. What is a domain name
  4. How to choose a domain name
  5. What is WordPress
  6. How to write good blog content (blog post)
  7. How to monetize your blog
  8. The best hosting services for your blog
  9. And BTW, once you start the learning process, other things you will want to know will pop up (trust me on this)
  10. Social Media and your blog
  11. What is a keyword search
  12. What is a plugin
  13. What is a blog theme
  14. WordPress Tutorials
  15. What is SEO
  16. What is eCommerce

Adding  the words “for beginners” or “tutorial” can assist new users in your searches, if you’re new to blogging. WPBeginner is a good choice to start from. (e.g. “WordPress for beginners”)

Amazing Tip #2

Always remember Amazing Tip #1

The Very Good News

Once you make the decision to start your own blog, you’ll find that most people,  services and newsletters are extremely willing to assist you in your growth and your blogging career.

YouTube has some very helpful, visual (obviously) and detailed videos and channels for you to view and learn from. Remember, that almost any subject you can think of, a video can be found about it. In any type of search, internet or YouTube, you want to make sure you’re getting the most current news available. While it doesn’t necessarily have to be posted within three weeks, you don’t want to “learn” something from the 2000’s either. Even one that is a couple of years old may still provide you with the info you need.

In general, I’ve found bloggers to be extremely helpful and willing to assist HOWEVER, always remember there are those out there that are ever ready to separate you from your money. There’s absolutely no reason whatsoever to pay for information about how to start a blog.

I hope that How To Start A Blog 2017 has been helpful. The items noted in this tutorial aren’t exhaustive but each one is vital and necessary to your blogging success.

Below I’ve included some YouTube videos which go into the details…

A couple of them are a couple of years old, but are still are a great visual way to understand and see in practice what’s going on.

 

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Acknowledgements: Videos: Katrinah - find her on YouTub more...

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