Have you always wanted to start your own blogging website? Actually it is really quite easy and does not cost a lot. I will show you a checklist so you can avoid some mistakes and start everything almost right.
Forget about free hosting on WordPress.com or Blogger, get a nice domain name and host it yourself. This gives you much more flexibility and control especially at a later stage when you might be able to monetize your blogging website.
A nice personalized domain name will also show that your blog is professional and you are serious about the whole blogging business.
A domain name costs probably $10 to $20 a year and a web hosting service about $120 a year. I won’t really save this money. If you are targeting primarily the Singapore audience, your can refer to my recommendation of a Web Hosting Provider. You can get your domain name there as well.
When deciding your domain name, spend some time thinking through. What are you going to blog about? Can the domain name be descriptive about your subject matter (like fancifulcoffeemug.com)? Some people choose to just use their own given name which is fine as well.
After getting your domain name and web hosting, load up WordPress which is absolutely great for blogging. In fact, WordPress was designed for blogging website. You can start off with any of the free WordPress theme, but once you get familiar with WordPress, I also suggest that you look around for a good paid theme as the investment is going to be worth it in the long run. You can read up about free vs paid WordPress themes.
For a blog to be successful, meaning having many followers and commanding great readership, content is king and in fact everything. There is already a huge amount of contents on the internet, so the reasons why your blog should exist could be:
- your content is original, or you provide special insights and points of views
- your content is easy to read, or your are able to break down complex issues into simpler byte-size pieces
- you have nice and interesting images, photos or videos
- you have subject matter expertise and provides valuable answers, solutions in your area of expertise
- you curate information available out there and condense summaries all at one place
- you review products and services and only recommend the best solution
In other words, does your blog add value to your target audience in some unique ways? Usually, narrow down your subject matter into a special niche helps.
Do you have to spend a lot of time writing? Well, a cautionary note is that if you want to blog, you must love writing and probably fairly good at it. By that, I don’t mean you need to have a major in English (assuming that is the chosen language) or literature but you must have a certain language proficiency.
In fact, the blog writing style should be similar to when you are speaking to others, more informal and friendly in nature. The last thing you need is big, pompous and esoteric words.
What if you run out of blogging ideas? Well, time to head over to my Blog Writing Tips.
Monetize Your Blog
If you have a special purpose why you are starting a blog other than monetary reason, then you don’t really need to worry too much about monetizing your blog initially.
I would be more concerned about generating traffic. And to do that, I would want to have a good social media presence to accompany my blogging website, the Facebook Page, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and a YouTube channel especially if I am good with making or taking videos.
Learn about SEO so that you rank well for selected keywords and articles. Understand that there is opportunity to rank your every single post.
At some point when you have good amount of traffic to your website, there are actually a number of ways you can monetize your blog, example ad revenue through Google Adsense, sell advertising space or writing sponsored blogs or do endorsements for selected merchants in your niche area.
Accordingly, your social media accounts may also pick up a good following which will also come useful turning into cash.
I would also suggest that you progressively build up a mailing list and engage your followers at regular intervals. Not everyone will be revisiting you blog, so it pays to engage them from time to time.
Monitor Your Blog
I will use analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Google Webmaster (they are free to use) to understand the traffic coming to the blog, the keywords used landing on the website etc. It is good to monitor how your traffic is doing over time and what kind of articles attract readership so you can tailor your content writing accordingly.
Blogging can be fun and fulfilling and I welcome you to join the community.