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OK, then. You want to start a blog. Hey, that’s great! Congratulations!
OK! Now what? How do you go about it?
Well, first of all, I know you have lots of questions and that’s good. You should always find out everything you need to know before you get started on a project.
And, believe me, a great blog is a—project! A big project! But, if you have that blogger gene in your DNA, it’s a one of those projects you’re really going to love and enjoy doing!
There are some important steps you need to take to get off on the right foot. And you definitely want to do that, right?
OK, so let’s get started. First let me list the steps for you. Then we’ll dig a bit deeper into each step. OK?
- Decide why you want a blog.
- Pick a domain name.
- Choose a software platform to use.
- Pick a hosting company and plan.
- SEO or no SEO?
Those are the 5 steps. Let’s look a bit closer at each one, shall we?
- The first thing on the list is deciding why you want a blog.
Are you looking to kick start your business? A good blog will definitely do that for you!
Do you need a blog to tell your life story? Everyone likes to hear great stories.
Maybe you just want to write a diary or use it to offer pointers to folks about what you’ve learned over the years.
Those are all super reasons for starting a blog, but you do have to decide why you want to do it. That’s the first step!
- Then you have to think seriously about your domain name so that it’s catchy and tailored to fit your purpose.
The domain name is the part that goes between the dots like “mynewwebsiteorblog” is in “www.mynewwebsiteorblog.com”. You need to give some pretty deep thought in choosing your new domain name. This is a crucial step (OK, they’re all crucial!) because that’s how people will find you on the internet and in the search engines (you know, Google, etc.)
Your domain name should say something about your product, if you’re a business, or the subject of your blog, if you’re a blogger. You know, like “solarwidgetsinomaha.com” or “airtraveltothemiddleeast.com.” A simple, descriptive domain name will do great things for your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (more about this later). Try not to use actual numbers (5, 4, 23) or hyphens ( – ). They’re distractions and actually make it less likely for you to be found—and thus successful!
The “.com” part in the example above is known as the Top Level Domain or TLD. We used to be restricted to just a few of these: .com, .net, .org and so forth. But that’s no longer the case. So many more have been introduced lately that it’ll make your head spin. Take a look at this Wikipedia article to see some of the new ones and you’ll see that you can pick one that will be just right for your new blog—one that will make your blog sizzle.
If you’re a photographer, how about “.photography” or “.vacations” if you’re writing a travel blog? So that would make your new travel blog “airtraveltothemiddleeast.vacations”! Cool, yes? The possibilities available to you now are almost endless! The old “.com” is kind of the standard, but it can also be a bit jaded and blah! I suggest you pick one that will really showcase your wares and your talents.
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- Now you need to pick the platform you would like to use. There are a number of them available for you to use.
Take the advice of this old codger and go with WordPress. WordPress is the most widely used platform for blogs and regular websites too. The list of world class companies that rely on WordPress is legend. You should too. It’s easy to use and very reliable and secure. WordPress continuously provides new feature and security updates to keep your blog safe from the bad guys.
There are zillions of different themes for you to choose and plug-ins that will do anything you need to do.
Just trust me on this one, OK?
- Now’s the time to pick a hosting company and hosting plan.
Of course there are always the ones like Blogspot and Weebly. They are one stop shopping platforms, where you pick your domain name through them and use their simple drag and drop software to build your website or blog. But there are some serious limitations to those guys and I would advise against it.
First of all there is the matter of control. You want to be able to control everything about your website. With these you don’t really control your domain name, and you are not using a private hosting company that YOU are paying for and have complete control of.
You should always purchase your very own domain name and pay for your own hosting using a reputable hosting service like The Oggie Web. (I know, I know! I’m blowing my own horn! But, hey, I can offer you a terrific deal.)
Hosting isn’t really expensive at all—especially if you’re going to be doing the work yourself. In fact, I always offer you the first year of hosting for free is you’re doing it yourself as long as you mention this blog post! After that it’s only $60 a year. Hey, that’s only $5 a month. What a deal, huh?
Your hosting company can probably offer you a reasonable servicing plan as well.
If you’re good at this, you probably don’t need a servicing plan, but if you’re not familiar with this stuff, I’d recommend it. These plans usually aren’t very expensive either but can be invaluable to you depending on what features they include. Check with your host to find out about this to see if you think it’s worth it.
- Lastly there’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The question is should you invest in SEO or not? And the only correct answer is “Yes, you should!”
Newcomers frequently consider this as an afterthought. But it’s actually just as important as your blog itself.
What is SEO? Here’s a brief, simplified definition from WhatIs.com. Like it says in the article, beware of quick fix and expensive solutions.
SEO is not really that difficult, but, if you want to do it yourself, it will take a lot of study and research on your part. If you’re new at the website game, I would advise you reach out for some assistance.
If you have a webmaster, he should be able to help you with SEO. Usually this is an add-on feature that can be arranged through your webmaster. And it can cost a lot if you’re not careful. I’ve seen plans quoted for $300 a month and up—way up! But that’s absolutely outrageous. Your webmaster should be able to take care of it for you for much less. If he can’t, you have the wrong webmaster.
If you have any questions about SEO, please call me at 325-346-0607. That’s my cell phone number. Don’t get caught up in spending a lot of money you don’t need to on something that won’t help you much.
My last bit of advice: If someone tells you they can guarantee getting you on page one of Google, cut off the conversation right now! They’re lying to you! No one can do that!
There you have it! “How to Start a Website or Blog in 5 Easy Steps”.
I tried to make it as simple as I could, but I wanted to make it as complete as I could too. Don’t be too afraid of the process. It’s not as fearsome as it sounds.
If that little bird was right, get busy on your new blog or website. Follow my tips and you’ll find it’s a piece of cake.
If you have any questions at all, please call me, Oggie, anytime at 352-346-0607.
Thanks for reading my blog. I hope you enjoyed it and learned something from it. Y’all come back now!