Definition of a Blog
In order to build a successful blog, we must first understand what the term blog really means.
The definition below is what I will discuss most often on Blog Basics:
A blog is a means of communication used to examine a topic that often consists of written text, video, audio or other ways to exchange information.
Now, that we’ve level set, let’s dive in and discuss specific tactics for setting up your blog.
Why You Should Build a Self-Hosted Blog
Many people decide to use a free hosting service when they initially start blogging. There are several free hosting platforms and new platforms continue to be released.
Two of the most popular free hosting platforms are Blogger.com and WordPress.com. You may decide to use one of these free hosting platforms initially and that’s fine. However, if you’re serious about building a popular blog, I don’t suggest utilizing one of the free hosting providers.
When you use Blogger.com, WordPress.com or any of the other free hosting platforms, they almost always add their domain name to the preferred domain name of your website.
Here is an example: If I had decided to use WordPress.com for Blog Basics, the domain name would be blogbasics.wordpress.com instead of blogbasics.com.
The result of using a free hosting service is a less professional domain name that is likely more difficult to remember for your audience. You will also have fewer options to customize your blog with limited plugins, themes, design options and monetization opportunities.
The only way I would recommend using a free hosting provider is if you only plan to blog for fun. This means that you have no intention of ever building a business around your blog or monetizing your blog. If there is even a remote possibility that you eventually want to have a serious blog, then I suggest you build a self-hosted website.
Below is a walkthrough of the steps that you will need to complete to setup a self-hosted WordPress.org website. I only recommend using WordPress.org due to simplicity, customization options and ongoing support. It’s easily the best self-hosted blogging platform available.
Creating Your First Website
In this guide, I will discuss the overall process that is involved in creating a website. This article is specially useful for those who wish to make a website, yet they lack the knowledge and the guidance to start the website of their dreams.
In this website setup guide, I will discuss some of the requirements needed prior to launching your site, how to buy a domain name and much more.
Unlike many people believe, with today’s simple technology, making a website is easier than ever and does not really require programming skills. Another misconception revolves around website expenses. In reality setting up a website with a personal domain can be as cheap as 3 to 4 dollars a month.
So if you wish to join the millions of business owners, bloggers, and other people who have set up their websites successfully, this guide will help you by guiding you every step of the way.
Setting Up Your Site
There are two fundamental parts of setting up your website and publishing it online:
1. Buying a domain name (example: www.blogbasics.com)
2. Purchasing web hosting services
Once you have these two elements your site will be online and available for the world to see. However, before we get there, we must understand domain names and web hosting.
What Are Domain Names?
A domain name is the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or website address of your site. Think of Google.com, Facebook.com, Twitter.com; all of which are domain names.
In order to set up your site you will have to purchase (also known as register) a domain name that has never been registered before or is currently available.
For example, a website owner closed down his or her website and the domain name is waiting for someone to “reactivate” it or purchase it for personal use. With this in mind, follow these tips when you are ready to buy your domain name.
Tips To Choosing A Good Domain Name
1. Domain names should “generally” be short and as simple as possible. You want something that is easy for people to remember. Another best practice is to choose a domain name that reflects what your website is about.
2. Because millions of domains are registered each year, there is a good chance that the name you want for your website is already taken. Try to think outside of the box when you create your domain name. Select something that can be branded. For example, I recently launched a beauty blog with the domain curlcentric.com. The website focuses on curly hair care. It’s short and can be easily branded.
3. If the domain you want is already taken, for example, blog.com, try to add more descriptive words to it, hence blogbasics.com.
What Is Web Hosting?
Often referred to as web hosts, hosting companies, or hosting services, a web host’s main purpose is to sell “digital space” and bandwidth to website owners to publish their websites. This digital storage space in which your site will be uploaded to is part of a network of thousands of computers or servers owned by the hosting company and maintained in their data center.
In short, a web host sells you storage space to publish your site on one of their servers, and although it is possible to self host your site, it will be extremely expensive in comparison to the price of a web host.
The Cost of Web Hosting Is Less Than $4 Per Month
Choosing the right hosting company is far from simple. Although all hosting companies might seem the same, some are slower than others, some have bad customer service and others are quick to scam you out of your money while offering horrible services.
The internet is also cluttered with thousands of people who recommend bad hosting companies. Individuals who do this are some times even paid by companies to write fake reviews about their services.
For this reason, I only speak from experience and recommend web host that I have used myself for many years without any complaints. The two web hosts that I recommend for beginners are Bluehost and HostGator. I use these two hosting providers to power nearly all of my online sites. The only two exceptions are my larger sites that I host with either WebSynthesis or WPengine. As you can see, I only recommend web hosting services that I actually use.
Creating Your Website: How It Works
Note that we focus on utilizing the WordPress content management system.
WordPress is a content management system or software that allows website owners to manage their site, add custom graphical elements, layouts, and more without needing to know any code. WordPress is the easiest to learn, most used website software in the world for blogging, e-commerce, and much more.
With WordPress you do not need to hire a web designer or design a layout yourself. Instead you can purchase predesigned web layouts or themes. WordPress website themes cost a fraction of time and money that you would spend designing a layout yourself or hiring a web designer. Another major advantage of WordPress is the fact that the software is installed on your website, and can be accessed online through any computer.
The layout of a WordPress site is customizable, however by default all WordPress sites come with a default graphical theme. If you wish to change the main WordPress layout, you can download new themes for free or buy one of thousands of WordPress themes available for purchase. Finally, before you start building your blog, let’s discuss the necessary steps to becoming an authority blogger.
How to Setup Your Blog
In this simple step-by-step website building process, you are going to work through purchasing your hosting, installing WordPress, installing the theme of your choice, then securing your new website.
For this tutorial, I will use the Genesis Framework and a Genesis Theme. If you decide to use another WordPress theme (not Genesis), then you will follow a similar approach with the theme of your choice.
If you are ready, let’s get to work!
Tools That You’ll Need
- WordPress Hosting: Bluehost
- WordPress Theme: Genesis Framework & Theme
- Recommended plugins: Yoast SEO, Akismet, & Stop Spam Comments
Step 1: Purchase Hosting
When you decide to host your website on BlueHost, you receive exceptional customer support in addition to getting your own free domain name complete with e-mail forwarding. Not only is this much easier to work with, it is much more cost effective in the end. A win, win, situation.
Once you arrive on the new page, simply enter your new domain name in the section marked “I Need a Domain Name”. Note that if you already have a domain name, then simply enter it in that “I Need a Domain Name” section.
If you were choosing a new domain name and it is available for purchase and registration, you will then proceed to the section where you need to enter your personal information and all of your billing details.
Look closely at the Package Information section, choose the preferred terms of your account, then choose Site Lock Domain Security, and finally check Site Backup Pro and Domain Who Is Privacy. Even though the Site Lock is a decent service, we are going to be setting up a much more superior product, Sucuri, further on in this tutorial.
Site Backup Pro is provided by BlueHost and will automatically backup your information nightly. This is a valuable service because if anything were to go wrong with your website, you will always have a fresh backup readily available. To purchase more advanced backup services like VaultPress, you will need to spend approximately $5 each month.
The Domain Who Is Privacy simply retains all of your private information in the Who Is database. Each domain must be registered with the ICANN and share public information with the Who Is registry,. While many simply have no problem sharing their personal information, this service allows you to keep your information private if you prefer.
Once your registration is complete at BlueHost, you will then receive a confirmation email that will provide you all the information that you will need to continue.
Step 2: Installing WordPress
Once you have completed the setup of your BlueHost account, it’s time to install WordPress. If you would rather go the manual installation route, then simply go to WordPress.org and follow their installation guide.
Open your BlueHost account by signing in with your credentials.
Once in the BlueHost panel, click on the WordPress icon within the section marked Website Builders.
This will take you to a new tab that will say MOJO Marketplace, this is where you are going to initiate the WordPress installation. Once here, simply click the button that says Start a Brand New Install.
The error message will pop up saying the installation direction is currently not empty. Click OOPS, something is already there!
Now proceed to Show Advanced Options, enter your Site Name, admin username, a very strong password, and then your e-mail address. Check the box next to Automatically, then check the Terms and Conditions box and then Install Now.
That was simple! Now your WordPress installation is complete!
An Introduction to Becoming an Authority Blogger
Over the last decade, the blog has morphed from being a place for rants against your boss or gripes about the coffee shop down the road into informative zones that attract steady streams of dedicated followers. Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects to the world of blogs is that even an average blog with a moderate following can actually generate a steady income for the blogger. While your blog about your tumultuous relationship with your partner might not net you a steady income, you may find that if you discover the ideal niche market, you’ll be well on your way to a passive income-generating business that can be operated on your terms, from anywhere.
There truly are no limitations to the types of blogs that you may find to be successful, once you start combing the internet to see what is already out there. From home breweries to pet care, from gardening to wedding planning, from satirical geniuses to military experts; there are countless bloggers transforming their interests from a mere hobby into a small business that generates the potential for limitless income.
This informative course aims to teach you how to transform your interests into a successful blog that will help you to build your reputation as an expert in your niche market, and a blog that will help to guide you towards being able to generate a passive income that has limitless potential.
Here is a brief rundown of the aspects to creating a successful blog that we will cover in this course.
1. How to choose the right topic for your blog. This part might come easy to some, but to others there may be a few hurdles to overcome. Being unique and standing out in the world of blogs is essential to being successful; but what if there are already several very successful blogs in the same niche market that you are interested in? How do you set your blog apart from the rest so that you stand out as the better choice in the arena that you have chosen?
2. How to develop the perfect blog name and brand messaging. Once you know where you are taking your blog, you need to come up with a catchy name and brand messaging that will help your potential followers gain a thorough understanding into what it is exactly that your blog will help them to discover. There are millions of blogs on the internet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with a truly incredible blog name. All you need is a bit of creative thinking coupled with the direction that your blog will be moving in.
3. How to design a great-looking blog. The face of web design is constantly evolving, but it is important to design a blog that is timeless while still effortlessly representing your topic and your stellar content. A poorly designed blog can have much more of a negative impact on your traffic than you might be aware of. A poor design can impart a sense of being less than professional.
4. How to create outstanding content for your blog. With your great design underway, you need to ensure that your blog has the outstanding and rich content that will keep your visitors coming back. This is why it is so important to create a blog with a topic that you have some familiarity with. If you are passionate about the topic then it will ensure your content is rich, engaging, and informative.
5. How to create your social media strategy. Setting up a visually appealing blog with incredibly rich content is a great start, but without the right social media strategy in your corner, you’ll find that it is difficult to get the traffic you need to launch your blog to the next levels of success. There is a fair bit to learn about social media and how it can work for you and for your blog’s success.
6. Creating your launch content. To attract site visitors and keep their interest, your blog needs to launch out from the starting gate with exceptional content. Whether you are offering a give-away to the first several subscribers to your feed or you are launching valuable tips and helpful information, your launch content is what will set the tone for your entire blog. It needs to be rich, relevant, and captivating.
7. How to develop your launch plan. When working on your plans and goals for your blog it is easy to get caught up in what your long-term goals are. But it is important that you have a firm focus on what your short-term plans should be. You should have a firm focus on what you will do to launch your new blog, and what you will do to earn that traffic once the blog has been launched. Without a plan you could just find yourself floundering a little bit once the site goes live.
8. How to launch your blog. With the right tips, you’ll learn how to successfully launch your blog so that you can make an impression on the right types of people. You’ll need to do a fair bit of marketing, a fair bit of networking, and do your utmost to ensure that your blog maintains the standards that will help to set you apart from the rest.
9. How to start making friends in the blog world. Let’s face it; blogging would be a lot less interesting if we didn’t have fellow bloggers to interact with. Not only can we get inspiration from other bloggers, make long-lasting friendships, and collaborate with fellow bloggers, but we can also tap into the traffic that they have on their own site. This can provide you with potentially thousands of fresh visitors to your website, each and every day.
10. How to build a thriving audience for your blog. Once you’ve got your first blog visitors hooked, how do you keep their attention, and how do you continue to attract addition visitors to your blog? Attracting and building a thriving audience will ensure that your blog’s success reaches beyond today. The better audience you have, the better your odds are at establishing a blog that will be around for many years to come. A key part to ensuring your audience keeps returning to your blog is to ensure that you allow yourself to interact with them on a level that they will appreciate.
11. Why your blog isn’t getting the traffic you were hoping for. There are a number of issues that can contribute to your simply not seeing the levels of traffic that you were anticipating. Even with the utmost in care taken to promote your blog, sometimes things just need a little bit of tweaking in order to get things right.
12. How to expand your reach using multi-media platforms. With each new social media site you tap into, you have the potential to expand your audience significantly. From making the most out of Linked-In, Twitter, and Facebook, to taking things to the next level with YouTube and podcasts; you need to make the most out of every available marketing tool.
13. How to make your first dollar blogging. You’ve taken all of the right steps. Your blog looks amazing, your content is second to none, you’ve built up a solid reputation in the blogging world, and you’ve got great organic traffic hitting up your website each and every day. But now what? How do you convert that web traffic into that very first dollar? There are several strategies that can stand you in good stead, and it is important to analyze each of them to make sure that you are employing the right strategy for the goals that you have for your blog.
14. How to develop your strategy for taking your blog to the next level. A blog that is not constantly evolving will soon become stagnant, which is something that you definitely do not want for your blogging venture. With the right strategy in play, you’ll be able to swiftly move your blog into the next level of success.
Starting a new blog is very similar in a lot of ways to starting any new small business. You need to put several plans, strategies, and goals into place if you expect to generate any income from the hard work that goes into the business. Certainly you want your blog to have an air of casual fun about it, especially if you are dealing with a topic that is related to something more whimsical and spirited, but you still need to maintain a strict sense of professionalism.
This course serves as a means of helping to guide you and your blog towards the success and the income that you have been longing for. It can be an arduous journey, for some. But with the right team on your side, you are assured nothing but the highest levels of success.