Now that you’ve decided that you’re actually going to start some kind of blog, you’ve bumped up against the BIGGEST barrier to actually DOING it — Getting started.
What’s involved in actually starting a blog?
- Choose a platform.? To start blogging you’re going to need a blogging software – otherwise known as a “platform.” ?There are several to choose from such as Blogger, WordPress or TypePad. In fact, there are about ten main blogging platforms you can choose from. Read about the 10 best blogging platforms in 2010.
- Decide if you want to be hosted or not hosted.? The next decision you’ll find yourself agonizing over is whether or not YOU should host your blog or have it be hosted. The decision really depends on what your business is and your technical know-how. One recommendation I would make is that WordPress has BOTH a self Hosted and a hosted option. They are the most flexible so you can START a hosted blog and move to a self-hosted blog effortlessly.
- Picking a theme.? If you’re a real visual person – you’ll agonize over what your blog should look like. I won’t kid you – I’m going to push you toward WordPress because it’s the most flexible and cost effective and sports tens of thousands of developers creating themes — many of which are FREE. The point I’m making is don’t get caught up in picking atheme – they are as easily changed as a sweater. So pick something simple and go. You can always change it later.
- Creating a name.? You might find yourself struggling with creating a name for your blog. This is a great opportunity to do some brainstorming. Create a list of words that describe topics and ideas for what you intend to talk about. You can list nouns, adjectives, verbs, colors, animals, anything that remotely describes your topic. Open a word document and them open the Thesaurus so that you can play around with synonyms and names. Don’t agonize – just give yourself about an hour to do this and decide that at the end of the hour you will have your name.
- Buying a domain name.? You have the option of having your blog have its own domain name. Another place to help you brainstorm a domain name will be searching for a domain name. I like to use GoDaddy to brainstorm domain names. Their search system is one of my favorites. Search for terms as domain names and see what comes up for you. You can buy more than one domain name and have it all pointing (forwarding) to a main domain if you like.
- Finding your voice.? Finding your writing voice is a very important aspect of writing blog posts. You might find yourself being stopped because you don’t feel that you’re as much of an expert in an area. Don’t let that stop you — that is just an excuse. Instead focus on what OPINIONS you have about your topic. It helps to create what I call a soapbox list. A list of things that you “know for sure” . Your blogging voice is an opportunity for your personality to come shining through. For example, if humor is a standard part of your conversations – then put humor into the way you write. If you are more formal – then be more formal. The most important thing in creating a voice for your blog is that you have the ability to sustain the personality over the long term.
- What to write about.? Take the soapbox list you’ve created and start brainstorming ideas. Another source of ideas is to read other blogs on the subject. Here is a great list of the different kinds of articles you can write.
- When to write.? Create an article a day for at least 30 days. This is how long Google needs to FIND you and decide that you are serious about what you’re doing. After that initial spurt decide how often you want to post an article. Do at least an article a week. It’s better to do two a week if you can.
- How to promote your blog.? Promote your blog by leaving comments on other blogs, linking to blogs that are bigger than yours, but not so big that they won’t acknowledge you. Also use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to promote your blog posts. Another way to promote your blog is by guest-posting on other blogs.
Take these steps and get started blogging. You will start seeing results within three months or so if you’re consistent. Remember to BE CONSISTENT. Do NOT STOP. Blogging is a lot like gardening and farming. You plant seeds, water, fertilize and they need time to grow. So start blogging and keep blogging to build your business