How to Start a Blog – For 2021 & Beyond
We are here because you want to start a blog, or are at least thinking about starting one, and I am here to simplify this process for you. No Technical Jargon. No complexities. Welcome to blogging, at its simplest.
If you want to skip directly to the steps, click here. If you want to know more about Blogging, why you should start one, and what Blogging niche to choose, follow along.
So, shall we blog?
What is a Blog, after all?
No, I am not going to give you a brief history lesson on blogging, you don’t need one. However, what you do need to know is, what defines a blog.
I am not one for textbook definitions, so here is my simplified version:
A Blog is a website, where you broadcast your opinions towards a particular subject.
A Website is a collection of one or more web pages.
To know more, click here ‘Every Blog is a website but not every website is a Blog’
If you are the type of person, who likes to know the ‘why’ of things before they get to the ‘how’, read ‘Why you should start a Blog’.
What to Blog About?
An even important question than ‘why you should blog’ is ‘what should you blog about?’ but it has a simpler answer than you may think: your Passions.
Yes, all those idiosyncratic things that you like, follow and celebrate, as insignificant as they may seem to you.
So, should you blog about all of them? No, that’d be quite a task, and really stupid, too. Instead, you must choose one.
Here’s probably the best exercise to choose from the multitude of your passions: lists.
You need to make a list of all the things you are passionate about. Here’s what mine would look like:
Your list can be shorter/longer, more detailed/less detailed than mine is, it does not matter.
In this list lies your ideal Blog niche/topic/domain, so let’s filter it down.
For all our Passions, there are some that we are better at, or know more about, than the rest of them. Eliminate the options you aren’t so good at or don’t know enough about.
In my list, I have spend a long time playing Tennis, but I have recently started to learn the intricacies of Gardening and playing the Guitar, thus I am going to eliminate the latter ones from the list.
Of the remaining items, I am a better Photographer than a Movie-buff or a verocious reader. Thus, I am better off giving Photography advice than recommending movies or books. I will now eliminate ‘Watchin movies’ and ‘reading’.
And then there were two!
Of the two options, I would choose Tennis over Photography. I have played the sport for 5+ years, I actively follow it, and I love discussing it.
So, Tennis it is!
The above was an example, your list will be different than mine, but the filtering criteria remains the same. If you are still confused on deciding what to choose, reach out to me here.
A 3-step Process to launch your blog today.
Now that we have our blog niche, let’s launch it!
Note: Please do not skip to this step if you haven’t decided on your blog topic/niche yet, click here to read the section on the same.
Launching your blog requires 3 simple steps:
Step One: Finalizing a Domain Name
Step Two: Purchasing a Hosting + Domain Name Package
Step Three: Setting up a WordPress theme
I will simplify these steps for you, but please follow the tips diligently, the last thing we need are wasted expenses.
Step 1: Finalizing a Domain Name
Let me first unravel the very meaning of a ‘Domain Name’. Here’s an ‘not-so-textbook-but-really-thoughtful’ version of it:
Domain Name is the address of your blog on the Internet.
Consider your blog to be this house party everyone is invited to, but unless you tell them the house address, how will people know where to show up?
It needs to be unique, else we’d end up with multiple websites of the same web address. Thankfully, it never happens, as once a domain name is assigned for a duration, it isn’t available for purchase.
Your blog needs a domain name, and it needs to be unique, preferably catchy, and easy to remember. Oh, and yes! It needs to be relevant.
A blog on world politics should have a domain name such as ‘theopinion.com’ or ‘theliberal.com’, the more relevance it has, the easier it becomes to remember.
Now, we need to figure out the perfect domain name for your blog, and to do so, we’ll need the old faithfuls: Pen and Paper.
Go through the following tips and write down possible domain names that are relevant to your blog.
Tips for a better domain name:
– Avoid long domain names, aim for something between 7-16 characters.
– The better it is to pronounce, the easier it is to recommend to people.
– Make it relevant to your Blog niche.
– You can’t put a space in a domain name. You can insert special characters such as ‘@,*,_,-‘ but it is advised to avoid them. Make sure your domain name looks pleasant altogether without spaces.
If I am making a list of possible Domain Names for a ‘travel’ blog, it would look something like this:
The above list is for illustration purpose only, yours will be different than mine. Remember, if a domain name really clicks for you, but its against the above guidelines. Ignore the guidelines.
Once we have the list of possible domain names, we need to run it through a Domain Name Registrar to check for availability. This is important because no matter how great of a domain name you come up with, if it’s already taken, it’s of no use.
There’s one final thing you need to know about Domain Names, their extensions.
Domain name extensions are what comes after the end of the domain name.
For now, know that we need the ‘.com’ domain name extension. If you want to know more about why the ‘.com’ extension is important, click here.
Run every possible domain name on your list through any of the links given below. Make sure you type in the ‘.com’ extension at the end.
If a domain name isn’t available, remove it from the list. Once you are done checking the entire list, and eliminating the options accordingly, you’ll get a refined list of domain names, that you like, and are available too!
Now, finalize any one from the remaining options but do not make a purchase, just finalize it for now.
Important: This step is meant to Finalize a domain name, that’s all. Do not make a Purchase right now, we have better buying options ahead.
Step 2: Choosing a Hosting
If you consider the Domain Name to be the address of your house, think of hosting as the house building.
If you’ve bought a piece of land but don’t built anything around it, all that people will see is barren land.
Here’s a simple-but-not-textbook definition of Website Hosting:
Web Hosting is the place where all of your blog files will be kept. Each and every one of them.
All the files of your blog need to be online 24 X 7, and this is what Web hosting services offer.
Every time you visit a blog, all that you see is loaded from an online computer. If the computer isn’t online, you’ll get a blank page. Thus, we pay web hosting services to host our blog files on their super-fast computers, which are always online.
Technically, you can ‘host’ your blog files on your own computer but it is highly ill-advised, to know more on this topic, click here ‘why self-hosting your blog isn’t advised’.
The two most important requirements of a Web Hosting service are ‘reliability’ and ‘customer support’. Reliability in the sense that their online computers are never down, because if they are, your blog won’t load. And in case something does go wrong or if you’re have an issue, it gets resolved by a call to the ‘Support’ team.
You don’t have to investigate Web hosting services for their ‘reliability’ and ‘customer support’, I have already done it for you.
I have linked two of the best plans for beginner bloggers. These include a domain name registration (for one year) and hosting services (for one year), and WordPress installation (more on this later).
Simply follow the below video tutorial to complete the process:
Step 3: Setting up WordPress
Let me give you a simplified definition of WordPress:
WordPress is a platform which eases the process of design and management of a Blog.
It was created so that almost everyone (even the non-technical folks) can design and maintain a website/blog.
Click on the video below to learn how to setup your blog using a WordPress theme.
If you’ve made it this far, Congratulations! You’ve successfully launched your blog into the online galaxies.
Ah! I don’t like to stop people in their ‘self-loath’ phase but we’ve got work to do. Launching a Blog is the first step but we are yet to create our Blog posts, learn about content, how to make money, and everything else. Follow the related articles below to get started.