The 4 steps to start a blog
- Decide what to blog about.
- Choose a blogging platform.
- Find a host.
- Pick a domain name.
Don’t worry, I’ll walk you right through. Frequently asked questions are clearly indicated by “FAQ.”
Why start a blog?
There are many reasons to consider starting a blog. Here are a few popular ones:
- Make money while working from home. I make a full-time income blogging. Many others do the same. Making money as a blogger is hardwork, but it’s low risk, low overhead and low barrier to entry.
- Become a published author. It’s no secret, these days publishers rarely work with authors who don’t have an online presence. The reason is simple: it’s a lot easier to sell books to people who already know you. A blog is one of the easiest and most effective places to start.
- Get more exposure for your existing business or organization. A blog gives anyone, from individuals to large companies, the ability to reach a large number of people at very little cost.
- Just write. If you want to write, share your story, encourage others and build a community, a blog is a great place to do that.
Do you see yourself in any of those? Can you see how you would benefit from a blog? Keep reading!
FAQ: Can I start a blog for free?
Yes. However, here’s my advice from personal experience: a free blog is fine if it’s a hobby. If you want to make money from your blog I don’t recommend starting a free blog. Why? A few reasons:
- Some free services limit monetization (i.e. making money) unless you “upgrade” to a higher level. You’ll have to pay for that upgrade of course, so it defeats the purpose of having a free blog in the first place.
- Companies don’t offer free blogs out of the goodness of their hearts. They still want to make money somehow. If you’re only using their free service, they’re not making money from you. Therefore, they don’t have a lot of incentive to keep you happy. Sometimes this means you’ll have little to no support. Other times it means you’ll be badgered with offers for their paid-for products.
- Most free services have only basic features. This might not be a problem at first, but as you grow, you will almost certainly feel the pinch. Expandability and flexibility are key, both of which are limited with free blogging services.
- If you ever want to switch to a better service (very common among those who start a free blog), it’s a hassle and can be costly. Doing it yourself takes a lot of time and know-how. Hiring someone to do it for you correctly costs hundreds of dollars.
- You might not be able to do what your favorite bloggers are doing. This happens to new bloggers all the time. They start a blog for free. Soon they notice cool features on other blogs which they want too. The problem is, it’s not possible on their free service.
- Accountability. In general, we value things we pay for. Blogging is hard work. One way to keep yourself accountable is to pay just a little bit for it.
If those 6 common pitfalls don’t convince you, or a free blog is truly your only choice, I would go with Blogger.
Here are my easy-to-follow steps to get start a hosted WordPress blog, no technical experience required.
Step 1: Decide what to blog about
If you’re part of a business, company or organization, your blog should be related to the product(s) or service(s) you provide, or the cause you promote.
If you’re an individual, you have more flexibility when choosing a topic. I talked about it here, but the main things to remember are:
- Blog about something you enjoy. If you aren’t excited about your topic, writing about it will be drudgery. Who wants that? Also, why would readers be interested if you aren’t?
- Blog about something with plenty of room for discussion. A blog requires a lot of content to get going and remain interesting. You’ll be at this a long time so make sure you have plenty to talk about.
- Choose a niche in which you can establish yourself as an authority. You probably won’t be the first person to blog about the topic you choose. It’s almost guaranteed someone else has thought of it before you. Don’t fret about this, come up with a unique angle. Do you have a reasonable chance of making your blog better than others talking about the same thing?
The goal for any blog is to become the go-to resource for its topic or niche.
FAQ: What if I can’t decide on a blog topic?
Start anyway! A common beginner mistake is thinking you have to be sure of a topic to start. If you’re like most of us, you’ll either switch topics or settle into something as you go.
Step 2: Choose a blogging platform
If you want to cook, you need a kitchen. If you want to blog, you need a blogging platform.
There are many blogging platforms to choose from. WordPress, Blogger, Squarespace, Wix and Weebly are a few.
All have pros and cons, but WordPress is by far the most popular (source), and for good reason. It’s flexible, functional and has a large community of users who share tools and ideas.
I use and recommend WordPress (but not through WordPress.com).
If you choose WordPress, you have two options: hosted or self-hosted.
- Hosted WordPress blogs, sometimes called WordPress.com blogs, are free but limit your income potential.
- Self-hosted WordPress blogs, sometimes called WordPress.org blogs, cost a little money but give you much more control, and do not limit your income potential.
This guide will teach you how to start a self-hosted WordPress blog, the platform preferred by beginner and veteran bloggers alike.
Note: Even though a self-hosted WordPress blog is sometimes referred to as a “WordPress.org” blog, you are not limited to a .org at the end of your name. You can still use .com or .ug, just like webhosting.ug/blog.
Alright, let’s get set up!
Step 3: Find a host
Hopefully I’ve convinced you of the merits of WordPress, but there’s one more thing to know. WordPress is simply software. You can download it to your personal computer, but then your blog will only be accessible to you. In other words, WordPress by itself, won’t make your blog live on the internet.
In order for your blog to be online, and accessible to anyone, you need server space. You get server space from a hosting company or “host.”
What host should you use?
Step 4: Pick a domain name
A domain is a web address. For example, webhosting.ug is a domain name.
If you don’t already have ideas, use your name, or think of something short, catchy and shareable.
If you have not previously registered a domain you may use Web Hosting Uganda domain services
Go to the website www.webhosting.ug or call tel: +256773038017