Are you planning to start blogging this year and write about things that matter to you and share it with the world? If yes, this post is for you. Most people might think that you must be a geek before you could create your own blog. Well actually, that’s not the case, and you’re not alone. Being a blogger for a few years now and having written several articles, now I would like to share my experience to help beginners get started by creating their own blog as quickly as possible without any technical knowledge.
In this post we are going to look at an overview of what blogging is, why you should think of starting a blog? How to create one? And how take your blogging skills to another level.
So before wasting much time let’s get cracking!
What is a Blog?
A blog or weblog is a web platform where you can post contents in chronological order (in order of time of post) and allow visitors to comment, like and share.
A blog has some differences with a website, a website usual contains static information that is not frequently updated like you would do on a blog.
Well, there could be different reasons that could inspire someone to start a blog.
Personally, I started blogging to share knowledge, because I have learned a lot from other blogs while I was getting started and that inspired me to start my own blog so that others could also learn from me.
These could be few reasons why you should think of starting a blog:
- You could start blog to share your thoughts or views on a specific topic.
- If you’re a freelance journalist you could start a blog to share news.
- If you’re a fashion designer or a hairdresser you could run a blog to showcase your creativity.
- You could use a blog to have a discussion forum or a Q&A platform.
- You could use a blog to update your customers or clients about new products or services.
- As a teacher, you could use a blog to create a knowledge-based platform to give your students another avenue to learn outside the classroom like what am doing on this blog.
- If you’re a photographer you could use a blog to showcase your photographic skills.
- Entrepreneurs use blogs to build an online portfolio.
- You could use a blog to share videos which is usually called a vBlog.
- If you’re into poetry or artistry a blog is a great tool for you.
- If you’re working in the science field you could share your discoveries or projects using a blog.
- Your reasons to blog could also be job-related, for example if you’re working for a newspaper company or sort of.
These are just few but there are many other reasons that could inspire you to get started with blogging.
Choosing a Blogging Platform
Choosing the best blogging platform might take you some time to decide and compare the difference among them. Thankfully, I’ll be working you through one of the best blogging platform and content management system to save you a lot of time.
There are many blogging platforms out there that are actually free to use, but am going to recommend just two of them which are WordPress and Blogger. Both of them are popular blogging platforms but I highly recommend WordPress which is far more popular and for the rest of this post am going be talking about WordPress.
Why choose WordPress?
WordPress by far is the most popular and easy to use blogging platforms existing. WordPress has already taken 27% of the web. It isn’t just a blogging platform but it could also be used to create a website. WordPress has many features compared to other platforms of its class. WordPress has an active community of support and it is much secured because regular updates are always available. .
WordPress came in two flavours, WordPress.com and WordPress.org usually called Self-hosted WordPress. WordPress.com provides a free WordPress subdomain and hosting that you can register to with an email address and then start blogging immediately without any technical knowledge in just about 10 minutes.
The self-hosted WordPress is an open source content management system available at wordpress.org which is totally free to download, modify and use. With this one you might need to download and install it in a web server and then configure it. This requires some technical skills but it is the one that gives you more control than the wordpress.com.
With the self-hosted WordPress you have access to as many plugins and themes as you want. Check out this post WordPress.org vs wordpress.com to have detailed comparison between the two. This blog was built with a self-hosted wordpress.org and almost all the sites I built I use WordPress.
Before getting started with a self-hosted wordpress.org blog unlike the wordpress.com which only requires an email address, you will need to get the following in place:
Register for a domain name and web hosting.
A domain name is the unique address or URL to access your blog or website. It’s your blog’s address on the internet. Example: ousfaal.com or faalen.com. You can get a domain for $14.99 / year from domain retailers like Godaddy.com or 123-reg.co.uk.
A Web host is where your blog or website lives. Is your website’s house on the internet. Every blog or website needs hosting in some way to be accessed via the internet. You can host with Bluehost which is a WordPress recommended hosting provider or you can go with Godaddy.com which is one of the domain and hosting providers I used for my clients. But actually there are a lot of hosting companies out there but these are my recommendations because I have used them myself and feels good with their services. You can host for $7.99 / month with most hosting providers.
Don’t worry you could get all these money back when your blog starts getting popular and attracts advertisers. Do you know that most popular blogs earn lots of money from their blog via advertising? Wonder how Facebook make millions? Most of their revenue is from advertising. We’ll talk about advertising later in this post, keep reading.
For now, as a beginner you might be saying What! Do I have to be paying all that just to start a simple blog? Well, the answer is NO! Like I said earlier wordpress.com provides all that for free but with limited features and control. If you create a wordpress.com blog your domain name will look something like this myblog.wordpress.com which is a subdomain among the tons of blogs hosted by wordpress.com.
I started this blog with wordpress.com and my address was faalacademy.wordpress.com and then later when I started getting serious about blogging, I decided to go for the self-hosted wordpress.org version. I bought a domain name and registered for hosting and then exported all my contents from the old blog and then imported them to the new one.
So if you just want to see how things work before you start spending money you can start with wordpress.com for now. So let’s see how to create one.
How to Create a Blog with WordPress?
Hold on a minute before you click the start button!
Starting a blog might need some little planning before you kick off. First, you’ll need to have an objective of what you’re going to share. Are you going to run the blog alone or with a team? But actually, you could start alone and then later add others to your blog as administrators, authors, editors or contributors.
Get a unique name for your blog to make it stand out and also decide on your wordpress.com address, the shorter and more precise the address is, the better for your readers to remember. For example, if you want to name your blog as Gambia News Blog you may use this address gambianewsblog.wordpress.com or gambianews.wordpress.com or maybegmnewsblog.wordpress.com. Take note, you can only use an address that is not being used by another person.
Below is a video I created that will work you through creating a WordPress.com blog in less than 10 minutes.
In case you couldn’t watch the video, you can continue reading with the step by step guide below.
Step1: Getting started
Open your browser and go to wordpress.com and click Start a blog or Get Started depending on what you see.
Step2: Choosing a blog layout
First, you will need to choose how you want your blog homepage to look like. Choose the one you prefer and then move to the next step.
Step3: Choose a theme
At this step you will need to choose a theme for your blog, WordPress.com came with lots of beautiful themes you can pick from and you can always change themes along the way.
Step4: Choose a domain name
At this step, you will need to choose an address for your blog, which I believe you’ve already decided before starting.
Step5: Pick a plan
At this point, you will be shown different plans to choose from, for our purpose we’ll choose Free.
Step6: Create your account
Now you’re almost done! At this point, you will need to enter your email address (which you can access), username and then a password.
Click Create My Account to let WordPress.com create your blog. This should take less than a minute so just be patient.
your email account to confirm your email to complete it setup.
Can I Make Money With My Blog?
Apparently, yes you can make money with your blog posts. A lot of bloggers are making money with their blog contents in the form of advertising. Fortunately, wordpress.com has an official advertising program called WordAds, but this is for those with wordpress.com Premium or Business.
To advertise using third-party ad networks like Google Adsense, OpenX, Lijit, BuySellAds and Vibrant Media you will need to have a self-hosted WordPress.
How does it work?
The advertisement networks will run ads on all your pages and share the majority of the revenue with you.
What are the requirements?
Your blog or website will need to meet the following beforehand:
- Get a custom domain name.
- Good blog traffic.
- Ensure you have a clean and readable blog with good navigation.
- Have original contents on your blog.
- Ensure you’re not using copyright images.
If these requirements are not met your application will not be approved or you will be given recommendations on how to improve your blog and then try the application process again. If you’re approved, they will send you a code for you to place on your blog. When ads start to display on your blog and users interact with them you can start making money. Most advertisers use a system called pay-per-click, they pay based on the number of clicks you receive from users of your blog on their ads.
Advertising companies will discourage the blog owner from asking people to click on ads to generate more income, this could terminate ads on your blog.
I hope this post was helpful and I believe now you have a better understanding about blogs and how they work. Now is your turn to get cracking and put some content on the web. I believe you can even if you think you can’t.
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Ousman Faal [Digital Vigilante] is a Tech Entrepreneur & Digital Skills Trainer who teaches both in the classroom and online. He has experience in various technologies and likes sharing it with others. Ousman has published 144 articles on this blog. He is the CEO of Faalen Technologies and Skills.gm.