Having recently started my own website, I’ve realised that there is a huge network of engaging individuals connecting with a global audience (and each other). There is also a multitude of reasons for starting your own blogging site. Perhaps, you’re a budding journalist, hoping to get your name out there by gaining some exposure and experience. Or maybe you’d like to supplement the services your business provides or promote a product by providing useful posts containing hints and tips. It could even be the case that you just have a lot of opinions and ideas which you would like to share with the world. Well, whatever your reasoning may be, here’s how to start your own site from scratch:
1. Plan your idea
If you spend some time planning out your idea properly, doing some market research and looking at your competitors, the rest of the process will go smoothly and you may even gain some inspiration from other sites or your potential audience. Also, think about the practicalities of your site. Is it going to contain multiple pages and categories or just one reel of posts? Think about how often you’re going to upload content and be realistic with yourself, even if it’s just once per month. Readers appreciate consistency.
2. Come up with a domain name
If you don’t already have a brand set up, you will need to come up with a compelling name for your site. One strategy would be to keep the name very simple and explanatory. For example, if your blog is going to contain fashion tips, you may want to go with something like topfashiontips.com. On the other hand you may opt for a made up name such as Skype or something unique, which caters to your niche. A blog containing book reviews for instance could be called betweenthelines.com. You get the gist - either way it’s a good idea to have a name which reflects your content.
3. Purchase your domain name and host
First you will have to see if the name you have chosen already exists. Even if something similar exists, it’s better to go back to the drawing board because it makes things more confusing for your readership. An example of such would be creating a site called book-worm.com if bookworm.com is already a reputable site. The options available include .net, .info, .co.uk etc. but to my knowledge, .com is the most widely used and seems more professional. Your purchase should amount to around £60 for the year if you use cheaper services such as GoDaddy (for the domain) and HostGator (the host). The two will then need to be linked and you’re halfway there.
4. Upload content
The WordPress plug-in provides an excellent blogging platform, which comes with lots of free themes and widgets to get you started. It can be a little difficult to get used to, but I found that using Youtube tutorials was the easiest way to get my head around the technology. Use WordPress to start uploading posts direct to your site, after you’ve fiddled around with the way it looks. Don’t forget you can change the look of your site at any time, so you don’t have to waste too much time playing with colours and prettifying. Remember that strong content is what will make readers return to your site. This is where your plan comes in. If you’ve planned to do a weekly blog on current affairs, then you’ll be taking things one post at a time. On the other hand, if you want a multi-page site packed with information, then you might want to get around 20 pages of content ready before you go live.
Going live is so exciting! This is the part where you tell all of your friends and family, shout the name of your site from the rooftops with a megaphone if you like. To reach a wider audience, use social media. Pick a couple that work for you such as Facebook and Twitter, and use them to your advantage. Connect with other bloggers and contacts that can help promote your site to their ready-established readership. Use sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon to further enhance your scope. Offer a subscription service and engage with your readers and their comments to have them coming back for more.
Good Luck! Don’t worry if your site doesn’t get thousands of views in the first week. These things take time. Just, above all, be consistent, provide great content and cater to your readership. This is what will really make you stand out.