A personal blog is a great way to tell the world your story. Sadly, many people die with never getting to tell others what only they can say. If you’re interested in starting a blog, I hope these few steps will help you as they are helping me.
“Today you are You. That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than you.” — Dr. Suess
Recently I’ve been going through a book by Ruth Soukup called “How to Blog for Profit without Selling Your Soul.” I’ve been needing to process what I’m learning, and thought that writing a post per chapter will help get the content out of my head and into practice.
Below are six easy steps that you need to start a blog.
- Determine the main theme, sub topics, and categories.
Determining your main theme can be easy for some but this did not come easy for me. I needed to rediscover a few things about myself before this step. Mainly, I needed to discover my voice. In life, we go through many phases in finding and developing our voice. Here’s a bit of my journey in this image below.
It takes some people years to find their own unique voice but you may already know it. Don’t overthink this one! If you’re not sure what you should write about, answer these statements below:
Describe the 5 people closest to you. // How would those five people describe you in three words or less. // What is the subject of your most enjoyable conversation? // What social injustice fires you up? // What did you last cry over? // What is the truest statement you know? // What superpower have you been hiding from the world that you can’t wait to tell us about?
These are just a few examples of discovering what you should be writing about. Personally it took a long time for me to land on a main theme because I’m a slave to variety. Don’t be like me.
- Pick a great name and a domain.
No matter what name you pick, don’t lose your name! I had timholman.com and lost it to another Tim Holman 10 years ago when I didn’t pay to keep it. No matter what you call your site, try to get your own name if you can. You can come up with the most creative title possible but people that know you will always search your name first in trying to find you. Don’t move forward until you have done step number one. Google domains is where I go but there are many sites to purchase a domain from.
- Set up a self-hosted blog on WordPress
There are two different WordPress sites. There is WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a free service that will have ads on your site which is a great option when you first start out. If you plan on blogging for profit, at some point you might end up going to something like WordPress.org. Look at both and decide what is best for you.
Sites like WiX and SquareSpace are also great places to get a website in a one stop shop. My friend Nick Sasala has a site called yourbreadbox.com that he designed on SquareSpace which looks amazing! Both WiX and SP are user-friendly and fairly inexpensive. Don’t be shocked when you see that there is a cost to blogging. Bottom line is that you get what you pay for.
- Begin creating compelling content for at least 3-6 months worth of material.
The author suggests that you compile 3 to 6 months worth of content before you actually launch which can seem discouraging. I don’t recommend this as strongly as she does because I see the value and just starting to write. With that being said you do need to write consistently. One post per week is standard and I wouldn’t recommend going below that.
It is wise to post at the same time and same day of the week. There’s nothing more frustrating for your readers than never knowing what they can expect from you. People want to actually read what you have to say but you have to give it to them in a consistent way to gain a proper following.
I wrote a blog a few months back how I got 54 block followers in 10 years. In it I spell out the reason why I didn’t gain any traction with a growing readership because of posting whenever I felt like it. I’d post 10 in one week and then go dormant for 10 months! I had nothing consistent to give people therefore I had no one returning to my site on a consistent basis.
- Get a professional well thought out design.
WordPress.com, WiX, and SquareSpace all have themes to choose from but this is not all that you’ll need in designing your site. I mean no offense, but the 40 and over crowd need not trust their eye on relevant design. I know a church that doesn’t allow anyone over the age of 35 to design anything which may seem harsh but they do that for a reason.
Art is a language and it changes rapidly.
You may have an art degree and a sophisticated eye for artistic detail but that doesn’t mean you don’t need help. Don’t let you pride get in the way. Your design is not THE message but it can become the message in a negative way.
I hope this helps and I’d love to hear what has helped you with your blog in the comment section below!