How to start a blog

Over the past months, I have received numerous emails from people asking me this same question: how do I start my personal blog or website? Well, two years ago, I was also asking myself this same question. I spent several months searching the answer online, but could not get the full information I needed to answer my question precisely as I would have wanted. Consequently, I had to integrate bits of information I collected from more than 10 websites to generate a step-by-step approach that helped me to create my first blog (https://biasharadaily.co.ke). In this post, I have compiled my findings and integrated them with my blogging experiences to help you understand how to start your own blog in just a few steps. So, in this post, I will be answering two questions whose answers are essential to any new blogger: What do you need to start your own blog? How do you start you own blog?

In general, here are four things your need to start a blog: blogging niche, domain name, web hosting, blogging platform. In the following section, I will provide you with a brief summary of what these resources are, why you need them, and what functions they will serve to get your blog running on the internet. Here is how you can start your own blog:

Step #1: Choose your blogging niche

Step #2: Choose a domain name for your website

Step #3: Find a web hosting service provider to host your site

Step #4: Select a blogging platform on which you will build your blog

Blogging niche

So, what is a blog niche? A blog niche refers to the specific topic you will write about. This means that most (if not all) of the content you will publish on your site or blog will rotate around your blog niche. The idea behind selecting a blog niche is that you cannot write about everything: there are too much to write about. So, you must narrow down to a particular topic. For example, my blog niche for this website is “blogging” –meaning that all my contents on this site relate to one topic –blogging. However, that may not be the subject you want to write about. Instead, you may want to focus on travel, food, food, environment, health, gaming, personal finance, education, crime, family, accounting, or money. All these are collectively termed “blogging niches.” The good news is that there are so many blog niches you can choose from. So, you do have to worry. In fact, the fact that so many blog niches exist is the reason I believe anyone can be a blogger.

However, I must emphasize that if you want to blog for money (blogging as a business), you will need to be careful with what niche you select to write about because some types of blog niches are more profitable than others. Specifically, you would want to select a niche that is interesting and profitable. “Interesting” means your content must be able to attract readers while “profitable” implies it should be able to pay you for your effort. If you are having problems with selecting a blog niche, you may want to check this website for more than 100 blog niches you can choose from.

Domain name

In order to start your own blog or website, the first thing you need is the domain name. Simply defined, a domain is a unique name that identifies your website on the internet. It is the address that you assign to your website to allow users to access your content on the internet. A domain name is something like www.yourname.com or https://yourname.com. For example, my domain name is safiweb.co.ke. This part, “safiweb,” is a name I chose to identify my site on the web. The other section, “co.ke” is called a domain extension, which can be anything from .net, .com, .org, .ca etc. If you are new to blogging or computing, these might sound scary to you, but you do not need worry because choosing a domain name is not anything difficult. Your domain name can be anything. In fact, you can use even your name as the domain name. For example, the blogger, Allison Lindstrom created her domain name by combining her two names into a single word and adding a domain extension (.com) to come up with “allisonlindstrom.com.” Yes, it’s that simple. In order to create a website or blog, you will need to choose a domain and register it with a web hosting company (which I explain below).

Web hosting

A part a domain name, the second important resource you will need to create your blog is a web host. Also called a web hosting service, a web host allows you to post a web page, website, or blog on the internet. Essentially, these are companies that provide hosting services or technologies that allow businesses and individuals to post products or content on the internet so that users can access such contents through their computers, smartphones, or any other electronic garget capable of accessing the internet.

An important point you need to understand here is that all blogs or websites are hosted on special computers known as servers. These computers are owned and operated by web hosting service providers. When you want to create a website, you will need to provide your hosting service provider with your domain (the unique identifier of your website on the internet). Note that all domain names are rented and not owned. This means that when you register a domain name, your ownership of the name is valid for the period you paid for the name.

Most web hosting companies will charge you $10-15 for domain registration. The registration typically expires within a year (12 months) after which you will need to “renew your domain” with your web hosting company. So, after registering the domain name, it becomes your “property,” but you need to renew the registration after every 12 months to maintain the ownership. In general, your web hosting company will require you to provide them with a domain name in order to host with them. You cannot be hosted, or in other words, own a website or blog unless you have a domain name. The good news, however, is that almost all webhosting companies help their clients purchase (and renew) their domain names. In particular, you will find that the company that hosts you is the same one that registers your domain. It is rare to have your domain registered with one company while your site is hosted by a different company.

Blogging platform

So, now that you have a blog niche, a domain name, and web hosting, what else do you need to start a blog? Well, in order to use these resources to publish content, you will need a blogging platform. These are broadcast-style communication systems that allow you (the author or publisher or blogger) to publish your content in the form of articles on your blog. A good blogging platform should also support user engagement functions such as emailing and comments –communication. There are many blogging platforms you would want to consider. A few of them are wordpress, Wix, Weebly, Big Commerce, Squarespace, Jimdo, Shopify, Joomla, Medium.com, Site123, and Webflow. I highly recommend using wordpress.com as your blogging platform because it is free and user-friendly with more resources and tools you can use to optimize your blog performance. You can check this site for more information about these blogging platforms.

Final Thought

Congratulations! You now have everything you need to start you own blog. The next step is to design and develop your blog and start publishing content. The “website development” side, however, is a bit tricky and may demand a bit of technical skills. If you lack the technical knowhow, you may have to consider hiring a web developer. I personally develop blogs for newbies and would love to assist you with doing the job for you. The good thing about having your blog developed by someone else with the required skills is that all you will need to do is to put the resources in place and have them do everything else for you. You may also consider buying a ready website from vendors such motioninvest.com or flipper. However, this is an approach I personal would not recommend because of some complications you may have to deal with including the possibility of being conned. So, my recommendation is that you consider creating your new site. In case you need additional help, feel free to contact me and I will be glad to help out. If you choose to hire me, you will not do anything beyond simply paying for the resources (which I will help you acquire) plus my service fee.

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