Are you an aspiring blogger?
If you can’t wait to share your travel experience, recipes, or personal viewpoints online, this post is for you.
Starting a blog can be a somewhat confusing and frustrating process if you don’t know what you’re doing.
The reality is, starting a blog is easy.
Follow this guide, and you’ll have yours ready for launch in a few hours.
1. What Blogging Platform Do You Need?
There are plenty of choices for starting your blog.
You have the option of going with a dedicated, self-hosted website or a free alternative.
Choosing the right platform for your blog makes a significant difference in the operation and costs surrounding the development, launch, and maintenance of your blog.
Let’s unpack the differences between the two.
WordPress is the world’s most popular Content Management System (CMS).
With over 70 million blog posts being published monthly by individuals, companies, brands, and entrepreneurs using WP as the backbone of their site, it’s arguably the largest CMS in use in the world.
While any simple tasks can easily be completed with WordPress, if you want to customize your theme or change things from their default, you may require some coding work to be completed.
There are tons of free themes as well as themes for purchase out there, so you should probably be able to find something you’re fond of that doesn’t require further customization.
WordPress does have the advantage of being completely free.
You’ll need to purchase a domain for your blog as well as hosting, but fortunately, many companies offer cheap shared hosting packages to reduce your startup costs.
The advantage of working with WordPress is you get the best of both worlds – Use a well developed CMS and have full control over the code of your theme, allowing you to make whatever changes you like.
If you have no coding experience, using a website builder may be the perfect fit.
Popular web builders like Wix or Weebly let you design and build your site, with no coding required to set up and launch your blog.
Website builders are a great choice for beginners, thanks to the user-friendly interface.
They’re typically an affordable service, offering a significant saving on the development costs of your site.
You have complete control over the design, with an integrated drag-and-drop builder that makes creating your ideal an effortless experience.
Dedicated Blogging Platforms
There are a handful of dedicated blogging platforms offering free services to aspiring bloggers.
However, with these sites, you don’t actually own your blog.
The blog remains on the server and is the property of Blogger.
The domain URL for your site will include the name of the platform.
Therefore, your blog doesn’t have the feel of an independent site; you have to work within their framework and comply with the terms and conditions of the service.
If you want to start a blog and use it to promote a personal brand, we recommend going with LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has a great platform for blogging, and it continues to gain traction among professional circles.
If you have specific professional knowledge you want to share with an audience, LinkedIn is the best option for launching your blog.
If you need a recreational or hobbyist platform instead of a professional option, we recommend Medium.
Medium offers you a platform for building a blog, giving you tools and advice for starting your blog.
However, it’s important to note that you’ll have to abide by the platform’s terms and conditions of service, like the dedicated blogging option.
2. Hosting Your Site
After selecting your blogging platform, it’s time to choose a domain.
WordPress sites require you to set up your blog using a custom domain name, available from providers like GoDaddy or Namecheap.
It’s not necessary to go for a .com domain, however .com is well-known around the world.
If you’re using a site like LinkedIn or Blogger, you don’t have to worry about purchasing a domain as the site’s servers host your blog.
However, some sites do offer integration with custom domains.
After picking out your domain, you’ll need to settle on the hosting for your blog.
Here are your options.
Some website builders and domain providers offer free hosting services for your blog.
However, they’re typically an unreliable solution and not suitable for handling high traffic volumes to your site.
It might be ok if you’re starting out and trying to get a feel for things, reducing your startup costs while building readership.
Shared hosting is a step up over free hosting.
However, you’re sharing a server with other sites.
Therefore, if another site on the server is hogging resources, you get slower loading times.
It’s another affordable choice for beginners.
Dedicated hosting offers you the best option for your blog.
However, it’s not necessary for the beginning.
If your blog blossoms into a coveted destination with thousands of visitors a day, you can look into dedicated hosting as an option to have dedicated resources available for your blog.
Some dedicated blogging platforms offer you hosting with your account.
It’s similar to the free hosting model where you don’t pay a cent in fees.
However, you have less control over your blog.
3. Designing Your Blog
When building your blog, you have the option of going with two design choices.
Website builders are efficient, effective, and affordable design tools to help newbies with no design experience.
These platforms come with drag-and-drop design functionality, and there’s no coding experience required to design your site, resulting in a fast development process.
You save money on your website design and get easy maintenance of your site through the platform.
Drag-and-drop design elements, videos, images, and content directly into your page templates and publish with a click of your mouse.
From WordPress, to Squarespace to Wix, many of the platforms have free and paid templates which you can load onto your site.
After loading the template, you have some degree to which you can customize the template.
As you’re newly starting out, a pre-built template is a great option to get you going for free or at a low cost.
Using a Design Professional
If you’re looking for a custom design for your WordPress blog or are choosing a build a blog that doesn’t live on a CMS, you’ll need to hire a website developer to take your ideas to reality.
This is going to be the most expensive option however allows pretty much full control of how everything looks, where elements are placed and how things function.
For those starting out, there really is no need to start with a fully custom website.
4. Launching and Maintaining Your Blog
After designing and populating your blog with content, it’s time to launch! When you’re starting, you may want to limit your content drops to twice a week.
As your audience grows, you can add more drops during the week.
Starting with too much too soon results in writer and creator burnout.
You’re likely to end up hiring writers to meet your demand.
All this is pointless when you don’t have a readership, and adds to the costs of running your blog.
Maintaining your blog is somewhat simple, regardless if you’re using WordPress or a fee alternative.
What’s the fastest and easiest route to setting up your blog?
Choose a website builder that’s free or has cheap monthly fees, and you could be launching by this evening.