Posts Tagged ‘blog’

How To Start A Blog in 9 Easy Steps

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Over the past few weeks, my friends and I wrote about different aspects of blogging and how to position your blog more successful. In this post, I would like to take a step back and talk about how to start a blog. Specifically, I will discuss how to start a self-hosted WordPress blog since we already established that it’s one of the best platforms to start on.

Launch
Photo by rocatis via Flickr

Please note the discussion below assumes that you are interested in monetizing your blog and attracting readership. It’s not as applicable to if you want to blog casually.

1. Establish a business plan for your blog

This doesn’t have to be a full business plan since blogging has a very low cost of entry. But before you begin, there are several things you need to consider:

  • What’s the main focus of your blog? — I discussed this in Key to Successful Blogging. Be sure to pick a topic that you are passionate and knowledgeable about.
  • What are you trying to accomplish with your blog? — Do you want to start a blog to complement your business, products, and services? For side income? For notoriety? To open doors to other opportunities? To help others? To keep yourself accountable?
  • What are your expectations? — How much time are you willing to commit? What level of traffic, subscribers, income do you expect 3 months, 6 months, and a year from now? What would you do if you fail to meet those expectations?

2. Find and register a domain name

Once you have identified your blog’s topic, it’s time to find relevant and brandable domain name. I discussed this topic in detail in How to Create an Amazing Domain Name. I currently use GoDaddy.com and I do recommend them for domain name registration.

3. Find the right web hosting company

Finding the right web hosting company is probably one of the bothersome aspects of starting your own self-hosted web site. I have used many hosting companies in the past, including GoDaddy.com Hosting.

I am currently with Media Temple and have been very satisfied.

I think the four most important things to do when you start out initially are:

  • Pick the Linux package over Windows. With Linux you will have greater flexibility with .htaccess and working with PHP.
  • Pick a host that offers cPanel and phpMyAdmin administrative interfaces.
  • Use the lowest cost package. Don’t worry, you won’t go over the limits any time soon.
  • Sign up for 1 month only. Extend an additional month if you are happy and slowly work your way up to full year commitment. Use the money back guarantee if needed.

Here are a few more web hosting companies you could choose from:

4. Install WordPress

Installing WordPress is not too difficult, but it could be challenging if you are unfamiliar with the web. The basic steps are as follow:

  1. Download WordPress
  2. Unzip and FTP files to your web host
  3. Set up database
  4. Set up database username and password
  5. Update wp-config.php file
  6. Run WordPress built-in installation
  7. 5. Find and install a WordPress theme

    One of the nice thing about WordPress is that there are literally thousands of theme to choose from. With minimal effort you can make your blog looks fairly unique. I discussed this in detail in How to Find the Right WordPress Theme.

    6. Install and set up essentials plug-ins

    Plug-ins are add on programs that enhance the functionality of WordPress. You can find hundreds of plug-ins at the WordPress plugin directory. However, the ones that I considered essential are:

    7. Set up companion accounts and integrate their functionalities

    Companion accounts are other online services that make your blog more effective. I shared more information in 12 Essential Companion Accounts for a Successful Blog. Basically, these accounts will help in different aspects like monetization, marketing, traffic generation, search engines optimization, and so on.

    8. Configure your WordPress installation

    Once you have everything set up and installed, you’ll have to make everything works together. This involves making configuration changes in the administrative control panel, as well as some minor tweaking of your WordPress theme. This latter part will involve a little bit of HTML and PHP programming.

    9. Start blogging

    That’s it! You’re done and ready to share your ideas with the world. At this point, you’ll want to read How To Grow A New Blog Efficiently and other fine articles to help your blog grow.

Key to Successful Blogging

Friday, January 25th, 2008

If you are planning to start a blog to make money on the web, you need to read this. I am not referring to people that have some tangible products or services to sell and want to start a web site as the digital storefront. I am talking about entrepreneurial people who felt that they can make money online by putting together some blog posts along with affiliate links, Google AdSense and a few ad spots to sell.

Key to Successful Blogging

Can money actually be made from a content-only blog? Absolutely, but its not that easy. Don’t look at high profile bloggers and fool yourself into believing that it’s easy. This is no different that watching Tiger Woods on TV and think that you can make millions playing golf.

To be successful online is no different than anything else. You need passion, persistence, and energy to succeed.

  • Passion — If your idea of making money online is to find the highest paying keywords for AdSense and blog about it, you will fail. Beside who can blog about “mesothelioma” day in and day out? If you really want your blog to be successful, find something you are passionate about. Write about what you love. Your knowledge, passion, and experience will shine through, resulting in a blog that people wants to read.
  • Persistence — Success doesn’t happen over night in the real world; it doesn’t in the blogging world either. Before you start, do some research so that you can set yourself some realistic expectations. Contact your favorite bloggers in the niche where you want to start and ask them what it took for them to get where they are today. You will see that it takes time and persistence to be successful.
  • Energy — Don’t think that it’s easy to write 3-5 times a week. It may be easy for you to whip out a few articles initially, or even for a month or two. But without passion, your ideas will dry up quickly. Even with passion, it takes some work to write a good article. It takes even more to write several good ones. You do the math. Can you dedicate the time and energy to do it for 6 months, a year, or longer?

If you feel that you have the passion, persistence, and energy to start a successful blog, then don’t wait — start a blog. We would love to have you with us and we are here to help.

Photo source: Pennsylvania Department of Education