If you don’t have a blog yet, you are missing out! A blog can be a great tool to grow both personally and professionally. For instance:
- You can make money with your blog: As soon as your blog starts to grow, you’ll be able to make money by displaying advertising or by selling products. There are many people who use a blog to supplement their income, and some even make a full-time income with it!
- You can network with your blog: Blogging is a great way to share your ideas, demonstrate your expertise, and consequently to network with like-minded people.
- You can promote your business with your blog: If you have a business, you can certainly use your blog to promote it and to generate more leads and get more customers. Blogs are great marketing tools.
The cool thing is that starting a blog is very easy these days. You’ll just need to follow 4 very easy steps, as described below:
1. Choose a topic and domain name
The first step is to choose a topic for your blog. Ideally you want to choose a topic that is not too wide (e.g., cars), because you would face too much competition there, and not too narrow either (e.g., Mustangs of the 80s) because there wouldn’t be too many people interested in that. Choosing a niche in the middle (e.g., muscle cars or luxury cars) is usually a recipe for success.
Once you have decided the topic, you’ll need to brainstorm some domain names. My recommendation is to choose a domain with as few words as possible, that describes your topic and is easy to remember. MySuperFastCarBlog.com, for instance, is a bad domain because it’s too long. JohnDoesBlog.com is a bad domain because it doesn’t describe the topic of the blog. CoolCars.com, on the other hand, is good domain because is short and descriptive.
You can use the InstantDomainSearch.com tool to check whether the domain you want is free or not.
Notice that while the .com extension is the most popular one, .org and .net are also quite popular and therefore could be used for your domain if you can’t find a nice .com domain. You can always add a domain prefixes or suffix to your first choice name.
2. Get a web hosting company
Now you need to get a hosting company. You pay a monthly fee in order to host your site files on the company servers, and that is what keeps your site online. Choosing a good hosting company is vital for the success of your blog, as the hosting plan will directly affect the loading speed of your site and consequently your users experience.
I recommend WP Engine (review), as it’s one of the largest and best hosting companies around. Their plans are customized for WordPress users (the software you’ll be using on your blog), and are quite affordable.
3. Install WordPress and choose a theme
When it comes to blog software, WordPress is pretty much the default choice. It powers over 70% of all blogs around the world, and some mainstream websites too!
WP Engine users have the benefit of being able to install WordPress with just a few clicks. First, log into your hosting account (you should have received the login details via email). Inside the main dashboard, locate the “Software” section.
Click on “One-Click Installs,” and then click on “WordPress.” Follow the steps until WordPress is installed.
Now you need to customize the look of your site, and you can do that by choosing a different WordPress theme (a template). Log into WordPress (again, you will receive the login details via email) then go to “Appearance > Themes.” There you’ll be able to select a template that you like. You can start with a free theme then when you’re ready you can switch to a premium theme.
4. Start publishing content and promoting
That is it! Now you will just need to start writing your posts and publishing them on your blog.
If you want to grow and blog and make it popular over time, you need to focus on two things: content and links.
Content means publishing high quality posts on your blog regularly. For instance, you could start by publishing 3 articles every week.
Links means getting your blog mentioned on other sites and blogs. The more links you have pointing to your blog, the more authority it will have on Google’s eyes, and consequently the larger the amount of visitors that Google will send your way via its search engine.
I have published hundreds of posts explaining how you can promote, grow and monetize your blog. For starters check these posts about promoting your site, writing SEO friendly posts and finding advertisers for your blog. Once you’re been blogging a little while, come back and check the advanced keywords research post.