This is Blogging For Beginners: A Step By Step Guide PT 1. So you have always wanted to start a blog but have been a bit nervous or put off. Perhaps you hate the thought of strangers reading your posts. There is also the cost element and how do you even go about starting a blog. My blogging for beginners series is here to help you get started.
Lee, what has this go to do with making money? Well blogs that have great content and a passionate blogger behind them can make money. In some cases enough money for it to become your full-time job.
Building a side job in blogging is quite a worthwhile thing to do at the moment. Yes, it takes time but that is what a good many of us have spare at the moment with this damn virus lurking about.
Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves though. I have been writing online for around 10 years and have been running this blog for around 18 months at the time of writing.
So what makes me so qualified to give you blogging for beginners’ guidance seeing as I’m a relatively new blogger with around 18 months of experience.
Well, number one is I have made money with my blog and quite a nice amount of money with my freelance writing I did a few years back. Not only that but sometimes it can be a little off-putting to read how to start a blog by a blogger who is making £10,000 per month and started several years back.
If you are looking to just get your blog off the ground and running then why not read it from someone like me who has done it all really recently. Blogging for beginners by someone who was recently a beginner. Kind of.
This will be part 1 of a series of blogging for beginners and this part will focus on your Blog name or Domain Name and setting up Hosting which is how people get to see your blog online.
As a relatively new blogger, the main thing you will see is that I will not bog you down with technical jargon which for me was one of the hardest things to get to grips with when I started out with this blog. So first things first let’s talk Domain Names.
What Is A Blog?
What is a blog? Now, most of you already know this but for those that don’t the word, “Blog” is short for “Weblog” A list of things you have logged onto the web if you will.
It is essentially an online journal or information website for others to read and gain knowledge from.
Most blogs online a few years back were actually journals of people’s lives and some of them became really well known. Nowadays most blogs are informational websites designed to help the reader, such as the one you are reading now.
Blogging for beginners is an informational post helping you the reader. So now you know what a Blog is let’s move onto your Domain name.
Your Domain Name:
A Domain Name is simply the website or blog name. Firstly let me tell you this. No matter what your blog is about you will need to think of it as a business. Do not pick a domain name just because you think it’s amusing or clever.
Lots of other people won’t agree. At the very least run it past a good majority of your friends and family.
Thinking of your blog as a business gets you off on the right foot straight away.
Before picking your Domain name I’m going to go ahead and assume you already have figured out your niche. Your Niche is the topic of your blog be it personal finance, mom niche, or perhaps health and fitness.
Whatever you choose make sure it is something you can write about on a regular basis without getting bored or fed up.
When picking a domain name you will get the choice of a .com or .co.uk or .org address. Ideally for me, as I am based in the UK I would pick both the .com and .co.uk but if you have to I would pick the .com address just to play it safe.
Try and make sure that keywords are included in your domain name. For example, if you are starting a mommy blog then try and use the word Mommy or Mom in the title if possible.
It can be difficult to find domain names with your keywords so dont stress out if this takes ages. I would suggest simply picking something close and moving on.
Keep your domain name short and easy to spell and understand. You want people to read your great content and then remember what the blog is called.
Do a bit of research first to make sure that the name isn’t already taken by a large global company which would be pretty Awkward.
Namechk is the website I used to check not only if my domain name is available but also the social media names as well. This meant I could get my domain name Earningsportal.com but I also snapped up the Pinterest name and the Twitter handle.
You can get your new domain name from anywhere as there are lots of sites dedicated to this. I would go for a well-known one like GoDaddy domains or 123-reg. These are both searchable on Google.
Before you do go looking at where to get your domain name from I would suggest we talk about hosting. Now you can host your blog for free at places such as blogger but you won’t have the proper domain name. So mine would be www.earningsportal.com/blogger. Not so appealing is it? Plus you won’t be able to monetize your blog at a later date.
Hosting is how you get your blog onto the web. Some hosting companies do deals that give you a free domain name so it pays to look at hosting before you commit to your domain name.
As this is blogging for beginners I will walk you through what hosting and hosting companies do. So by this point, you should already know your niche and also have a pretty good idea of what domain name you would like or at least a list of 3 or 4 different ones just in case your first choice is taken.
A WebHost or Hosting Service Provider is a business that provides the services required for your website or blog to be seen or viewed on the internet. (Hosted on the internet). That is about as simple as I can make it. Well, it is blogging for beginners so hopefully, it was simple enough.
In order to have a popular and growing blog and or website and to have your blog monetized in the future which in turn leads to you making it a business you will need to have web hosting.
There are lots of different types of web hosting companies out there and I will let you know about the hosting company I use and the other ones out there that are good enough for you to pick.
I made a bit of an error when I started this blog in that I didnt do my due diligence when it came to web hosting. I already knew what web hosting was and how it worked as I had had a little experience with it in the past.
Basically, what this meant was I didnt need to do any further research because I knew it all right? Wrong!
What I did and what I’m telling you not to is I purchased my Domain name first then looked at hosting. The eventual hosting company I choose could have got me my Domain name for free!! Lesson learned. This is why I started my blogging for beginners’ guide.
My Hosting Company:
So the company I use for my hosting is a company called Siteground. When I knew I wanted to start a blog I joined a few blogging for beginners groups on Facebook and while lurking in the background I saw the topic of hosting come up quite a bit.
The resounding amount of replies usually led to 2 or 3 different web hosting companies but there were way more saying they were with Siteground.
Picking hosting can be confusing so let’s get this simplified as much as possible. The first screen you will be confronted with when on Siteground is this one.
As you can see it all looks terribly confusing already doesn’t it? Dont panic. This is why I created blogging for beginners as we all needed help when we started blogging. There are 2 types of hosting you may use here which are Web hosting and WordPress hosting. WordPress is the most used platform for building blogs.
If you choose the web hosting you may have to set all of this up by yourself so unless you are pretty technically savvy I would head straight into WordPress hosting.
As you can see from the above image you can start your blog from as little as £2.95 per month. The next page (See above) will look like this and you now have some more options. Again do not panic. For most of you new to the blogging world the first option will be more than enough. I’m assuming you only have one blog niche and idea.
I choose the second option as I have a second blog that is not up and running yet but I knew I wanted to have more than one blog on different topics at some point.
So it is up to you as to which option you choose. If you can afford it I would also choose to have a longer plan of 2 or 3 years.
It does cost more as you have to pay it all up front but if you notice in the small print above you will see the actual normal price of hosting. It is a lot more expensive when not on a deal so getting the deal price for a longer period makes perfect sense.
Now as mentioned above WordPress is the platform you will be using day in day out to write and edit all of your posts and to change the way your blog looks and acts.
The first thing I wanted to know before going any further and purchasing my domain name was how to install WordPress. If you are also wondering how to install WordPress then wonder no more.
Siteground has an amazing one-click installer which pretty much does the whole installation for you and then leaves you all ready to dive into your new blog. Told you this was blogging for beginners right?
Even if you do struggle Siteground and I would imagine most other hosting sites have a hell of a lot of support in the form of videos and tutorials for installing WordPress.
Once the installation is complete you will be taken to your WordPress dashboard. This is where you will spend the vast majority of your time writing posts and changing the outlook of your site.
The above image is what your WordPress dashboard will look like and although it is a little daunting at first with all the options on the left-hand side, you will soon be whizzing your way around here like a true pro.
This dashboard is where you will be writing your first post and installing plug-ins and making changes to the appearance of your blog with themes
These are some of the things we will talk in-depth about in pt2 of Blogging for Beginners.
Plug-ins are little programs that help with the running of your blog and themes are the programs that make your blog look pretty. Writing your first post can also be a little daunting. My fear was accidentally publishing it before I was mentally ready to do so. My blogging for beginners series will help you navigate the next steps with ease.
We will be going over all these things and more in the next chapter. Good luck in picking the right hosting for you and I hope in the meantime you will be thinking of some topics for the first post you write.