In the last few posts we have been talking a lot about blogging. I say ‘we’ because I very much visualise my blog as a conversation with you (and always love to hear your comments at any time).
However, I am aware that many of you may not have made the leap as yet and might well be wondering about the best steps to take when starting a blog.
So, I thought it was high time that I wrote a blog post about creating a blog post. So to speak.
First of all, let me reassure you if you are worried in any way.
Starting a blog doesn’t have to be difficult, complex, overwhelming or expensive. Indeed, by following these five steps, you can be up and running in a matter of minutes.
So, as time is of the essence, let’s dive in.
The five steps that you need to take in order to create a blog are:
Step 1 - Purchase A Domain Name
Step 2 - Arrange Hosting
Step 3 - Design Your Blog
Step 4 - Consider Your Content
- Step 5 - Promote Your Blog
Step #1 Choosing Your Domain
Your first step is to secure a good domain name for your blog. This is the address that people will type into their web browsers in order to find you.
There is a lot of advice and theory out there regarding the science of choosing a good domain name.
However, it all boils down to one thing - simplicity.
You want your domain name to be simple so that your readers will remember it (and will also be able to type it easily). I would suggest that you avoid:
Any complicated words that could be misspelled
Any fancy mix of numbers 4 words
Overly long domains that your readers will find tricky to remember.com
- Inappropriate domain extensions - for example, do not use ‘.gov’ if you are a company. Try to buy a ‘.com’ if at all possible
Domains can be powerful tools for search engine optimisation (SEO). As a result, include some of your keywords if possible.
If you have a good idea for a domain name for your blog, do not waste any time in buying it.
Visit a domain provider such as Go Daddy and type your preferred domain into their search engine. You will then see if that domain is available for purchase and, if it is, how much that domain will cost.
You can see from the images above that my domain search for www.blogblogblog.com has been unsuccessful. I can either consider one of the other domain extensions suggested or go back to the drawing board.
Step #2 Choose A Hosting Provider
Once you have chosen and purchased your domain, you will need to secure your website hosting. This is the online real estate where your website will live.
I decided to follow the latter route.
Indeed, in 2012, I built my first website using Jimdo and I have not looked back. I have now created lots and lots of Jimdo websites for clients and was so pleased to be chosen by Jimdo to become one of their select group of ‘Jimdo Experts’.
The reason I love Jimdo so much is because their websites are both simple to use and highly functional. They are also safe and secure and Jimdo offers awesome customer service if ever you should need it.
If you want to build a blog that not only looks amazing but is also simple to maintain and update, I would really recommend using Jimdo.
Simply visit their site and get started. You can create a blog for free if you don’t mind some advertising and including ‘.jimdo’ in your domain name.
If you would prefer to have your own domain and no ads, a Jimdo blog site is extremely cost effective. I would suggest that you select Jimdo Pro (there is a more expensive Business option too but I don’t think you will need this for your blog site).
Jimdo Pro costs just £60 per year and this includes your domain and hosting fees.
Step #3 Blog Design
Once you have signed up for a Jimdo website, you will need to select your template. This is the style that you would like your blog to have.
Having chosen your template, you can start to customise your blog. Do you have a colour scheme in mind?
If you need colour inspiration, I would recommend checking out the palettes at Colour Lovers. You will also need to consider your fonts at this stage. (Jimdo offers a wide range of fonts.)
As you can see from the image below, you can make changes to your new blogging site via a drop down menu on the right of your screen. Click on the loud speaker icon and activate your blog. Your blog posts will automatically appear on your home page unless you would prefer them to live on another web page.
In the second image below, you can see how easy it is to add extra pages to a Jimdo website. Simply click on ‘Edit Navigation’ and add a new page. You can then move that page to where you want it in your navigation bar or you can remove the page from the bar altogether if you want to keep some pages secret (just click the icon with the eye crossed out).
Jimdo websites are built via a series of elements. You can see these elements in the third image below.
In my blog example, I have started with blog header, then selected a photo element and then added a text element. However, you can see from my own Pic Presents Blog that I use the Text With Photo element.
You can play around and choose a combination of elements that best suits your blog. I typically segment my blog posts with medium and small headers, photos and sometimes videos.
I then write my blog post using Google Drive and copy and paste (paste as plain text so that you can maintain the blog fonts that you have chosen) into my Jimdo blogging area (you can find this area by clicking the loud speaker icon again).
Once you have designed your blog, it is time to consider your content.
Step #4 Blogging Content
What do you want to write about? It is a good idea to have a list of your first few blog post topic ideas before you launch. Creating an editorial schedule is also a good idea. If you are stuck on blog topic ideas take a look at this blog post: The Ultimate List Of Blog Topic Ideas.
In addition, you will need to decide just how often you will want to publish your blog. It is best to be realistic with the time you have available. It is far better to publish a blog post once a week (as I do) and be consistent about it than try to post every day and have your blog become unreliable.
For me, the best way to create a list of potential blog topics is to think about my audience. What does that audience struggle with? Can I help ease their pain points or save them some valuable time? These helpful types of blog posts will always be the most popular - particularly if you can draw on your own experience.
Step #5 Blog Promotion
If you are considering starting a blog, let me warn you now that it can take time before you start to see results or engagement. This may not be the case, but if it is, keep going as I promise it will be well worth your time and commitment. If you are still questioning why you should create a blog for your business, you may find a post that I wrote recently for Jimdo’s blog interesting: 10 Things I've Learned From Blogging For My Small Business.
There are ways in which you can help your blog to find its audience quicker. Tips to help promote your blog include:
Telling your friends, clients and colleagues that you are starting a blog and asking for their topic suggestions and
Including social sharing buttons on your blog so that your readers can share your content
Sharing your blog on your social media platforms with posts that include a link back to your blog
Commenting on other relevant blogs - if your comments are useful, readers may decide to check out your blog
Guest blogging - if you have the time, guest blogging can be a highly effective way to promote your own blog.
Joining other bloggers on sites such as Tribber where you join a tribe of fellow bloggers who read, comment on and share
interesting blog content (click here for other content curation straties).
I hope that you have found this guide to starting a blog useful. If you would like to create a blog using Jimdo, feel free to get started by clicking the link below.
Just to let you know, I will receive a commission payment if you do sign up in this way but I would never ever ever suggest a product or service that I did not use myself or highly recommend.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care, Jane