Are you thinking of setting up a blog? Or have you been considering it for quite some time and wondering if this is the right move? Could you do it?
What’s holding you back?
Are you thinking—-“What if no one wants to read what I’m sharing?” or “How do I even get started?”
I’m very sure that most bloggers who are now successful in the blogging world had asked themselves the very same questions when they first began their blogging journey.
But suppose you’ve done some soul searching and decided to take the first big step and move forward. After all, you’ve got nothing much to lose. The initial set up costs are affordable (This will be discussed in this post later).
By starting a blog, you’ll be opening doors of opportunities for yourself, possibilities that you’ve never dreamed of. You can make money from home, save time and money by not having to commute to your workplace, have your young children by your side, or replace or secure a better income than the pay from your current job.
So, once you’ve decided to start a blog, what next? You find out what bloggers are saying about blogging, of course!
What Bloggers are Saying
But that’s when the confusion begins. The more you read about what bloggers say about blogging, the more perplexing it gets.
Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. Why?
Bloggers seem to be saying that you need countless tools and resources to get everything off to a great start. There are so many different opinions, and the worse part is they often seem to contradict one another.
How do I know? I’ve been there.
But the good news is most of the important things that you really need to know for now has been addressed here. I’ll share with you the pressing issues that most new bloggers face and how to start right the first time.
As a newish blogger myself, I want to share all my experiences while they’re still fresh in my mind, so that you’ll be able to benefit the most from it.
Much of the information out there relates to the practical aspects of setting up a blog. But I aim to cover more than this. These pointers will hopefully steer you on the right path towards making good decisions when you start your journey as a new blogger.
So, read on…….
1. How and where do I start ?
The first question relates to the practical aspects of beginning a new blog.
You will need:
(a) A Domain name
When I first came across ‘domain name’, I had absolutely no idea what it meant at all.
However, after some research, I realized that a domain name is very much like an address. In this case, it’s a virtual address. I took weeks to come up with my domain name. On hindsight, I might have taken a tad too long. Having said that, note that you shouldn’t decide on a name hastily. Some bloggers have had to change their domain names later on in their blogging journey.
The first step when coming up with a domain name is to brainstorm. Write down keywords and its variations that you’re happy with. Use a thesaurus to help you.
Ideally, the name you love should be in line with what you are mainly writing about. So, for example, if you’re writing about finance, then a suitable domain name could include words like dollars, cents, money, wealth or wallet. On the other hand, words like potty training won’t be relevant at all.
(b) Web host
A web host is a provider that places your website in cyberspace. You’re actually renting a space in cyberspace for your website.
I started with Bluehost as my web host, but my need for better and more timely customer support led me to search for a better web host. I eventually signed up with SiteGround.
As a non-techie, I’ve found their help invaluable. They’re now offering a discount of 60% starting from only $3.95 per month. Click here to learn more about their affordable pricing plans. If you’ll like to read about how they have helped me, here’s my honest to goodness review of SiteGround.
I did notice that a number of bloggers were talking about Bluehost. The reason is that it’s slightly cheaper. That’s the main attraction if you don’t need much help along the way.
But I much prefer SiteGround, as it gives you better support fast. Often within a minute after I’ve asked my question, a knowledgeable and helpful tech support person would greet me politely. My many questions have all been answered, and my many issues have been resolved well. This is crucial to the success of both new and more experienced bloggers. For instance, among the things I did for my blog included the extremely important task of making my website a secure one, with its web address beginning with https.
I’m still learning as a blogger, but most importantly, with SiteGround’s patient and systematic help, I’ve improved my technical skills by quite a lot. You will too with the right web host.
2. Which platform should I use?
For most bloggers, the best platform is WordPress.org
If your goal is to make money from your blog, it’s better to go with WordPress.org and not WordPress.com
Many people including myself were initially confused because they sound similar. To give you a clear picture, I’ve included this link that compares WordPress.com and WordPress.org
This comparison chart explains the differences between them. It’ll help you decide which one will be a good fit for your blogging purposes.
3. What’s a theme ? Why do I need it ?
You need a theme – the ‘face’ and ‘look’ of your website.
There’re so many themes out there it’s mind boggling.
The good news is you can use a free theme if you want to. WordPress.org has a huge selection of free themes for you to choose from. The not so good news is that you’ve got to try different ones till you’re happy with its look and the way it works. I had to experiment with several before I found a decent one that is free and functions well.
So what were some other problems I faced with free themes?
Some of them are just not user-friendly. One theme comes with double search bars, and then asks me to pay for a theme with only one search bar!
Being non-techie, it was hard for me. I had to try out different themes before settling on this one you are looking at. I’ve read of other bloggers who just threw in the towel and asked for recommendations to have someone set up their websites, as every time they tried to get their free theme to work, new problems appeared.
4. Do I really need website protection?
This is Crucial. Without adequate protection, all your hard work could be wiped out by cyber nasties in an instant!
I’ve written a post on where and how to get free web protection that works well, and how you can get the best deals on paid web protection at the cheapest prices.
You can read it here.
Right, the next thing you’re probably thinking of is…….
Don’t I have to pay for online blogging courses to make a good head start?
- Do I have to buy blogging courses?
There’s some controversy out there regarding this. Some bloggers firmly believe that you needn’t attend online blogging courses. But others say that courses are crucial to prep and upgrade yourself.
I haven’t as yet bought any courses specific to blogging.
This was because of what happened to me last year.
Feeling uncertain and not knowing very much about earning online, I was persuaded through a webinar to sign up for an online course in early 2017.
I borrowed money from a relative as the course was going for almost $2,800. I still shudder when I think about it.
I was assured that there would be support available. Instead, I was left to flounder on my own most of the time, and ‘support’ was actually rather basic and slow in coming.
When I realized it wouldn’t work out, I asked for a refund. Thank goodness I got my money back.
This lesson isn’t just for bloggers – it’s for anyone who’s thinking about paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for courses that say they’ll teach you how to make money online. There are so many courses out there that say you can make great income online and leave your day job for good. Caution: Buyer beware!
As a beginner blogger, I need to keep my costs to a minimum, till I’ve earned some money to invest back into my blog or myself.
Before you part with your money, weigh the pros and cons. Can the course you’re considering really help you, both financially and on a personal level? The courses’ success stories obviously revolve around their top performers. If you look carefully, you’ll see a disclaimer in small print like “These results are not guaranteed and individual results may differ”.
To buy or not to buy? Use these tips –
– Delay buying a pricey course – sleep on it for a week or two. Beware of their claims and sales pitches.
– Consider buying ebooks or hard copy books on blogging – they are far more affordable. What’s more, books may be just as good, or even better than pricey online courses!
These are the essential steps you need to take if you are seriously considering setting up a blog.
As this post is long, the rest of the essential tips will be covered in my next post 15 Answers to Common Questions Beginner Bloggers Must Know. Pressing common questions like: How much can you earn from blogging and the ‘dangers’ of blogging will be revealed.
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Thanks so much for your kind help.
What other concerns do you have about starting your blog? Do leave your comments below.