How to start a blog and get followers

I would like to start a blog and get followers but I don’t know where to start. Sounds Familiar?

Well, Why do you want to start your own blog, Naheed Hussain?

If you know why you are getting into blogging, then it would be easier to choose what to blog about and then a name for your blog.

But before we go on, let’s discuss what blogging is. Look at blogging as an act of frequently updating your online journal. A blog is a place where you share your thoughts with your readers or followers on a frequent basis

I have two groups of bloggers, one of them has about 20k members(Bloggers Supporting Each Other) and the other has about 900 members(Blog Tools Corner Group). In one of my groups, (the smaller group) I asked a question about the challenges people face with regards to blogging and one of the group members, Naheed Hussain responded saying he didn’t know where to start. I’m writing this blog post to help him get started with blogging.

So, Naheed Hussain, this post is dedicated to you. Stick with me while I share my thoughts with you about how to get started with blogging.

Step One: Choose a niche(topic)

You may have heard the word “niche” before, but what does it mean when we talk about a niche?

In ecological biology, it is a term used to describe an organism’s role in an ecosystem.

“Not only does a niche include the environment a given organism lives in, it also includes the organism’s “job” in that environment.”

In marketing, a niche is a small but specific and well-defined segment of the population.

As an organism(blogger) you have to play a role in your ecosystem(niche). Your “job” will be to solve people’s problem.

Once you have a PROBLEM-SOLVING mindset, you set yourself up for success.

How do you choose a NICHE?

In blogging in order to choose a niche, you identify a particular group of people who have a particular problem that you can solve, you try to solve this problem through articles or blog posts on your blog. This way you establish yourself as an authority in that particular niche

I’d love to address a misconception. Many people tend to choose a niche based on profitability alone and not passion. While this is a good thing, it most often leads to failure. This is because with time, it will become boring and you will have no interest in it to continue and another thing is you will not look like you really know what you are talking about.

Before you choose a niche, ask yourself these questions first;

  • What are you interested in?
  • what are you passionate about?

This is how to find a profitable Niche that you can build an authority blog around.

Step 1: Sit down in a quiet area and make sure that you have a pen and paper.

Jot down all your hobbies, all the pains that you have been through and would’ve been willing to pay to find a solution

So basically, think of the things that you are passionate about.

Step 2: Now out of these, pick and choose one that you are extremely passionate about

Hold onto this because in the next paragraph we are going to discuss how to ensure that you can do this for the long term.

To ensure that you can do this long-term, This one topic you selected above, try to jot down at least 10 to 15 different but very specific topics that surround this one topic

so what we need to figure out if you can create a topic around your niche. If you got 10, GREAT!!! If you got 15, SUPER!!! If you got 20, AWESOME!!!

Did you get at least 10 in less than half an hour?

Sweet! That is a good sign, that means in your brains you are able to produce topics right away and that you’re actually passionate about this niche.

Or are you stuck?

If you were stuck that means you need to move to the next one.

So look back and list the pains and hobbies and go through the cycle again until you find the one that works.

Once you’ve picked a blogging topic(niche),  is this something you would feel like writing day in and day out about? Is this something that you would be willing to watch videos, read books, talk to other people about, surround your life with, and be happy though?

If you said yes to all these questions, then this should be YOUR TOPIC OF CHOICE.

Step Two: Choose a name

Sometimes coming up with a name for your blog can be a challenging one. Some people find it very easy to come up with a very creative name that reflects the theme of their blog.

Others find it difficult. If you are amongst the people who find it very difficult, here are a few tips to help you.

  • Write down words that are related to your topic of choice. If you can’t be inspired by these words,
  • Grab a thesaurus and look up different words that are related to the ones you wrote down.
  • After looking up a thesaurus, you may want to use a blog name generator if you have not found one yet.
  • Type the words you wrote down into google search, see what blogs come up on the SERPS(Search Engine Results Pages) and take a look at these blogs for inspiration.

If you did come up with many blog name options and are confused to as to which one to pick, you could create a poll in the group to see which name will have the highest votes.

When you have picked a name, consider  searching it on google to make sure no one is using your name yet

Step Three: Buy  A Domain Name

You are sure no one is using your name. Sweet! It’s about time to buy a domain name.

What is a domain name you ask?

Well, think of a domain name like an address to your blog. That is what people will use each time they want to access your blog.

For example, Facebook’s domain name is www.facebook.com and google’s domain name is www.google.com

Now that you fully understand what a domain name is, you can buy it separately from a website like NameCheap, It usually cost about $10.98 per year. Or get it for free when you are buying hosting from Bluehost. If you buy a hosting package through Bluehost, they give you a domain name for free.

Step Four: Choose a platform

There are so many blogging platforms you can choose from when you are about to start your blogging journey.

In this post, I will only talk about WordPress and blogger because these are the platforms which are popular and I have experience with.

Blogger aka Blogspot is a blogging platform that was developed by Pyra Labs and was bought by Google in 2003

To create a blog on blogger is completely free and you can have up 100 blogs for free. All you need to do is to have a Gmail account to be able to use the service and you can buy a custom domain name from NameCheap or use Blogger subdomain which is blogspot.com.

For example, before I bought a custom domain for my blog(www.blogtoolscorner.com), this  blog was hosted on BLOGSPOT subdomain (www.blogtoolscorner.blogspot.com)

The advantages of using blogger.

  • -It’s completely free to use ( This means you don’t have to pay a monthly fee for hosting for as long as you use it)
  • -It’s very easy to create a blog and get started.
  • -You can run Ads/affiliate links on your blog especially Adsense ads
  • -Unlimited upload limit or bandwidth.
  • -It’s lightweight and secure. You can hardly hear stories of people hacking blogger blogs.

The disadvantages of using blogger

  • -You don’t have total control over your blog.We are not praying that anything should happen but Google could change the terms of use and limit certain features of the platform and your business might crash.
  • -Certain ad networks and affiliate programs will not accept you into their program
  • -Many people might not take you seriously when they find out you are hosted on blogger.

Recommendations

I would recommend blogger if you plan on blogging for profit, but you’re working on little to no budget, I would start with Blogger so you can run ads and affiliate links without worrying about WordPress.com’s Terms of Service.

If you have the budget please start with self-hosted WordPress, this will help you avoid the headache of transferring your blog to WordPress in the future.

WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms powering about 30.4% of all websites in the world [SOURCE]

You should know that there is two version of WordPress; wordpress.com and wordpress.org. Most newcomers don’t understand the difference, so they tend to choose the wrong one, let me explain;

The one major difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is who’s actually hosting your website.

Think of hosting a house where your website lives. Most of the “free” blogging platforms like blogger are free because someone is paying for hosting on your behalf. In this case of Blogspot, Google is taking care of the hosting so you don’t have to worry about it.

The major advantage of going with wordpress.com is you don’t pay for hosting as well that’s why it’s free for up to 3GB of space and easy to set up a blog.

The cons of going with wordpress.com outweighs the pros, here are a few cons

  • -You don’t have complete control over your website. WordPress could delete your website if you don’t follow their terms of service.
  • -Wordpress displays ads on your content if you are with the free plan except you upgrade to a business plan starting at $36 per year
  • -You cannot upload plugins and custom themes
  • -You will have a “powered by WordPress” message in the footer. I personally find that annoying.

Recommendations

I would recommend you use wordpress.com if you blog for your family or blog as a hobby but if you would want to take your blog as a business please go self-hosted.

Self-hosted WordPress or WordPress.org is the best when it comes to choosing a blogging platform. Most professional bloggers use wordpress.org.

Self-hosted WordPress means you pay monthly hosting fees for your WordPress blog. That is the major difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org

Some other advantages of going self-hosted includes;

  • -You have full control and flexibility of your WordPress site. This means you own your website, all data, you can edit the source code and add more functionality with both free and paid plugins and themes
  • -You can design your WordPress blog to look the way you like.
  • -you can run your own ads and almost all affiliate networks will accept you into their program.

Recommendations

If we compare all the three platforms, you will see that wordpress.org is by far the best platform to use if you are serious about blogging and want to make money and grow your business.

To start a self-hosted WordPress blog you need to purchase a hosting account. And the company I usually recommend is called Bluehost.

Here’s why I recommend them

  • Premium customer service, reliability, and usability
  • Easy-to-use control panel
  • Custom-built servers to provide the most stable and reliable hosting environment
  • Quickly get started with our one-click WordPress install
  • Expert, the in-house technical support provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Unlimited websites, email accounts, and domains – all on one account at an affordable price
  • No gimmicks, no contracts. Enjoy the comfort of a 30-day money back guarantee and the option to cancel at any time.

And to sweeten the deal even more, if you sign up through this tutorial, you’ll get a special offer of shared hosting at $2.95/month for 36 months, as well as a free domain name for a year!

The chart below shows the promo pricing for my blog readers as opposed to the regular pricing.

Promo Pricing: Regular Pricing:
Basic Plan: Basic Plan:
12 Months: $4.95 12 Months: $5.45
24 Month: $3.95 24 Month: $4.95
36 Month: $2.95  36 Month: $3.95

To get started with Bluehost, you will need to access their home page and click on “get started now”

bluehost home page

Now, you need to select your plan.When you are just starting out I’ll recommend you start with the basic plan and upgrade as your needs increases.

bluehost pricing page

Next, you need to enter a domain name for your site. If you already own a domain name, you can enter it here, and you will just have to go through a few extra steps to make sure you get your DNS pointed to Bluehost. If you don’t already have a domain name, you can enter it in the box on the left, it’s completely free.

register a domain

Once you’ve entered a domain name,   it’s time to fill in your personal and package information.

personal and package information page bluehost

Once that is done you need to create a password for your account.This is the password you will use to login to your WordPress blog.

choose password page bluehost

choose password2

congratulations page bluehost

Once you’ve successfully created your password. Click on “login”. It’s time to pick a theme. Click on any theme of your choice. You don’t have to pick the perfect theme at this point, you can always change it later or buy a professional theme.

Pick a theme interface bluehost

All done

When you click on “start building” you’ll be able to access your new WordPress. The column on the left is your new dashboard, you will get familiar with it as you continue to use WordPress. Ignore the blue buttons on the center and click on “I don’t need help” to continue.

Welcome to wordpress

The next step would be to launch your new website. Click on the “launch” button.

launch your new wordpress site

After you click on the “launch button you’ll be taken to a page where you’ll be asked to enter your site’s title and description.It doesn’t have to be perfect at this point, you can always change it later.Click on “next step” to continue.

next step

Congratulations! You made it!

Now click on “Log in to WordPress” to access your new WordPress website.

login to your new wordpres site

Step Five: Design your blog

Many people recommend self-hosted WordPress because you can customize it to look the way you want. There are so many themes you can choose from both paid and free. Browse through the themes directory to select the best design for your needs.

I’m not going to impose a design on you but I’d love to draw your attention to the designs of some top bloggers in the world. I would like you to notice that no matter how they design their blogs, there always a CALL-TO-ACTION above the fold( the visible part of the webpage)

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The reason why you want to have a Call-to-action above the fold is so your users know what to do once they land on your page.

Once you’ve designed your blog, you want to make sure you have the following pages setup.

About page

Privacy Policy/Disclaimer page

Contact page

You can check other blogs for inspiration on how to come up with an about page for your blog. As for your privacy policy and disclaimer page, you don’t need to be a lawyer to write a good one, you can use free tools available online to generate a privacy policy for you

Step six: Start Writing

Before you start writing any post, always perform keywords research. This is how users will find your posts on google.

And while you write, always insert affiliate links into your posts. Affiliate links are links from vendors that pay you a percentage when someone buys through your link. That’s how you make money.

One very important question people always ask me, is how often to publish a post?

Honestly, it depends on you. Pick a schedule that’s convenient for you and stick to it. Once you publish your blog post, you need to promote it. Social media is the best option when you are just getting started. That’s how you start to build a following.

Further Reading:

 

By |April 3rd, 2018|Blogging|0 Comments

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