Have you always wanted to travel the world and make a little money at the same? There are plenty of remote jobs that will allow you to make a decent paycheck from your computer.
One of the best careers to get into if you want to go this route is blogging. It will take a while before you start making real cash from it, but once it takes off, it takes off.
We can teach you how to start blogging successfully. Check out this guide for a few tips to keep in mind before you write up your first post for your adoring public to read.
- Pick Your Niche and Name
Before you can start writing up blog posts, it’s important to know what you’re going to be writing about. To this end, you need to choose both a niche and a name.
Tips for Choosing a Theme
The hardest part of doing anything is naming your project. It needs to reflect the theme that you have going on for your blog. This means that you’ll have to pick your niche first.
Your niche is the subject area that you’re going to dabble in for all your content. If you’re not sure about what to write about, we recommend the big three.
The first one is life experiences. For example, if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you can write about what that’s like and give tips to other moms like yourself.
The second one is hobbies. If you’re good at cooking or some other subject and know a lot about it, you can base your entire blog around it.
The last one is personal blogging. This is a blog that centers around your daily life. This category usually doesn’t have a real focus, but as long as you post engaging content, that’s all that matters.
Picking a Name
Once you’ve chosen your theme, you can pick out your domain name. People need to be able to see it and know what your blog is about without having to put a lot of thought into it.
For example, let’s say that you’re starting a cooking blog. You could do something like [insert your name here]cooks.com. It’s nice, simple, and to the point.
What If You Can’t Think of Anything?
Let’s say that you don’t like any of the ideas we’ve given so far. You have no idea what to write about. Should you throw your dreams of blogging in the garbage and continue working your 9-5 job?
The answer here is no. Even if you don’t have a focus quite yet, go ahead and get started. By posting a few blogs, you’ll at least get your name out there, so you’re not wasting your time.
There’s a good chance that you’ll stumble upon your niche as you write as well. You might realize as you’re going along that you do a lot of fashion blogs. Just like that, you’ve found your theme.
Can You Change Your Name Later?
What if you choose your domain name and realize later that you hate it. It’s cheesy, or you’ve discovered that it doesn’t bring you a lot of traffic. Do you have to keep it despite hating it?
Nope! You can always change it.
All it will take is buying a new domain name. So, if trying to find a name is what’s holding you back from starting your blog, choose a placeholder and use it until you can think of something better.
- Choose Your Platform
Now that you’ve chosen your domain name, you’ll need to pick a blogging platform to work with. There’s a ton of them out there that you can get started with. Each one has its own set of pros and cons.
First up on the list is one that almost everyone has heard of. WordPress.org is one of the most popular platforms around. Make sure that you don’t confuse it with WordPress.com.
The two are a little different. WordPress.org is free, but you will have to pay for your domain name and hosting. WordPress.com doesn’t require you to have either.
The trade-off for having to pay a little bit of money every month is the features. For one, you’ll have complete control over every aspect of your blog.
You can do anything you want, from selling merchandise to offering paid memberships to loyal customers. There are thousands of awesome themes that you can choose from to make your site stand out.
You’ll have access to a bunch of plugins that will help you grow your blog. Some of these include SEO plugins that you can use for easy optimization.
The only real drawback is that managing a blog to this degree can be a little much for newcomers. You’ll also have to take care of your own data backups and security.
If you’ve never had experience creating a website or blog, web.com isn’t a bad choice. Its drag and drop website builder makes it easy to get a blog going in minutes.
They might not have as many templates and themes as WordPress does, but they don’t have a bad set of options. The prices start at about 2 dollars a month, making this one of the most affordable options available if you’re starting your blog on a budget.
Domain names are included with every single paid package. If you have a question or concern regarding your blog, you’ll have 24-hour access to a customer service representative.
We will say that WordPress has a lot more plugins available for you to take advantage of. Web.com also doesn’t have quite as many blogging features, and if you want to carry your website over to a different platform later, this website builder makes that a little difficult to accomplish.
Wix is another platform that makes creating your own site super easy. Like Web.com, it works off of a drag and drop system. So, it shouldn’t take long for you to get your blog set up the way you like.
You better make sure that you do like how it looks before you hit the publish button. Once you choose a blogging template for your site, you won’t be able to change it at all.
You’ll have a bunch of third-party apps that you can use when you’re creating your site, but your choices are limited unless you’re willing to pay money.
If you want to sell things on your blog, you won’t be able to unless you have a paid plan. Speaking of payments, for about 20 dollars a month or more, you can have your own Wix site and domain name.
There’s a free version of the website builder that you can use. The main drawback is that ads will show up on your blog.
Last up on the list is Tumblr. It’s a bit different than the other options available because it walks a fine line between blogging and social media.
The best part of this platform is that it’s easy to set up and it’s free. If you want to have your own domain name, you can purchase one and connect it to your Tumblr account. There’s a bunch of themes that you can use to make your page as unique as possible too.
You will have a limited number of features that you can use. You’ll also have a hard time if you want to back up your Tumblr and move to one of the more professional blogging platforms later on.
- Hosting Vs. Self-Hosting
The most important decision that you can make for your blog is choosing between having your own domain name or self-hosting. The one you choose should depend mainly on how serious you are about blogging.
Pros and Cons of Hosting
If you only want to be a casual blogger, self-hosting isn’t a horrible option. If you want to make your living with blogging, however, you might not get anywhere if you go this route.
For one, your domain name will be a bit ugly. Users might not take you seriously if you’re using the yourblog.wordpress.com format. It makes you look like an amateur.
Most free blogging options come with a ton of limits. If you want to post anything else besides written content, you won’t be able to. You won’t have access to any of the good plugins either.
The scariest part of choosing the free option is that you don’t own your blog. It’s another website’s property. If they decide that it needs to go, they can simply delete it.
Pros and Cons of Self-Hosting
Think about self-hosting like having your own house. You can do whatever you want with it. If you want to renovate the entire thing, that’s up to you.
The main stipulation is that if something breaks, you have to fix it. There’s no landlord there to handle it for you.
To apply this analogy to self-hosting, you’ll have to handle your backups and security. The trade-off is that nobody can take your blog away from you, and you’ll have access to a lot of awesome plugins and features that you can use to make your site better.
- Customize Your Blog
It’s time to move on to the best part of starting your blog. Customization. Before you begin looking at blog themes, it’s a good idea to make a list of the features that you want.
Would you rather have a single column or do you think that having two would make things easier? What kind of header do you want? These are both important questions to ask yourself.
the next thing to keep in mind is that while features are nice, you can have too much of a good thing. If you load your blog down with a bunch of plugins, it will become cluttered. It could affect load times as well.
Most of your readers won’t be scrolling through your blog on a laptop. They’ll be looking at it on their phone. You need to make sure that whatever theme you choose works for both browsing options.
- Write Killer Content
So, you finally have your blog up and running! It’s time to write up your first post. You most likely have a ton of first-time blog topics swimming through your head.
If you don’t have a specific niche in mind, you can have fun with your first introductory post as long as it’s compelling and has a strong start.
Any blogging guide you read will tell you that the most important part of any post is the beginning. You need to reel your audience in with a catchy blog title.
Once you’ve got your title out of the way, it’s time to write the first paragraph. Make sure that it’s engaging and accurately highlights what you’re about to talk about.
Use Easy to Read Formatting
The more information you include on a topic, the better as long as you break it up. People get overwhelmed when you present them with huge blocks of text to read.
Keep your paragraphs on the short side, use lists when you can, and don’t forget to use headers and subheaders. Having these make it easier for users to skim through.
Post Original Content
If you plagiarize, your readers will call you on it. You need to post original content. That doesn’t mean that you can’t seek out outside sources to get research, but you shouldn’t copy them word for word.
Originality doesn’t end with your written content. Any photos you post need to be yours. You can use the occasional stock image, but don’t rely on them.
How to Start Blogging Successfully
Have you always dreamed of quitting your boring 9-5 job to take on a career that will allow you to make money from the comfort of your own computer? As long as you sit down and learn how to start blogging, you can make a lot of money from it.
It may take a while before you start seeing success, but as long as you follow the tips that you’ve read here, you’ll be well on your way. If you still have questions about getting your site going, check out the technology section of our blog for additional pointers!