So you need to be a blogger: How to start a blog, purchase a website call, and gain a following in 10 steps

I’ve been blogging due to the fact that 2012 in some shape or every other, and starting a weblog way-lower back-when has gotten me almost every unmarried activity (and a few of the friends) I’ve had because. If it’s something you’re curious approximately doing, don’t allow whatever prevents you from diving right in. Here’s our step-by way of-step manual for what you need to recognize to begin running a blog.

1. Choose your subject matter and make a plan
What will your weblog be approximate? Blogging isn’t journalism (although it may be, in case you’re a journalist); it’s personal. It doesn’t shy away from the “I.” Starting a weblog is a commitment — you’ll potentially need to give you years’ worth of posts on a topic, so it must be something that speaks on your soul.

If it’s something you’ve got pre-current know-how in, bring that know-how to the desk. If it’s something you’ve continually wanted to recognize, carry a zeal for research, and be honest approximately where you’re starting — start as a beginner. What your followers are definitely inquisitive about, no matter if you’re speaking approximately donuts or automobile tires, are you so if you’re taking an adventure and learning new things (as all of us are, always, forever), talk approximately your process and the matters that marvel you.

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When posting content material on the net, you have got an obligation for reality. Yes, you are probably posting creative pieces or changing names — blogs are available in all shapes and sizes, in any case — however, what I tell every person after I speak to them about starting a weblog is that all of us have an obligation, as residents of the net, no longer to erode the records. That doesn’t imply you need citations (though you might, in case you’re laying out instructional arguments or using statistics). If you’re changing names, make a notice within the about segment. If you’re specializing in opinion, make it clear in writing. When unsure, hyperlink it out: in which did you locate the truth or tale or observe you’re blogging about? Stay as obvious as feasible.

Pro tip: Find your lane

You may not start out with expertise in a topic, and that’s ok, but be aware of the cultural and social records of the subject to hand. Are you running a blog approximately Indigenous Hawaiian Art while you’re neither Indigenous nor Hawaiian? Take a step back and reflect on consideration why you’re telling the story you’re telling. I’m now not pronouncing don’t write it; I am announcing locate ways to uplift the oldsters already speaking about it and attempt now not to pass yourself off as an authority. Remember: with regards to a weblog; your readers are interested in what YOU deliver to the table. So if you’re taking place on an facts journey, carry us along. Tell us precisely wherein you’re coming from (and how you’re coming to) a subject.

2. Build your network

The topic is nice, nice and precise, but a variety of subjects are fairly slim, and maybe you’ve were given five or six pieces on a topic in you before you’ve explored all you can. That’s why I say in conjunction with the subject matter, reflect consideration on the network. What groups at the net do you belong to? Where do you hang out? Who are you inquisitive about speaking with? Is it the lesbians who write erotica? The cryptozoologists? The folks centered mostly on skincare and makeup? Carve out your niche and create content material just for them.

When it comes to the internet, network wins whenever: the world wide web is ready connecting human beings to other human beings, in the end. So brainstorm a listing of your favorite humans to examine and concentrate on, and the varieties of communities they grasp out in. How are you able to participate in the communication?

Pro tip: Actually take part

I’m no longer simply speaking approximately responding to comments to your personal weblog, even though it begins there. I’m speakme about studying and commenting on other humans’ blogs who’re writing similarly. Follow them on social media and really engage, and no longer simply due to the fact you want them to characteristic you on their weblog, or to come to do a guest put up on yours (although collaborations are remarkable, and also you should totally do them). Participation handiest works whilst it is actual because you’re interested in what they’re pronouncing or doing and are not looking to get something for yourself.

3. Set a posting agenda — and stick with it

I’m going to get technical for only a moment. When it involves search engine optimization, blogs that aren’t up to date regularly fall inside the Google search outcomes. But more importantly, don’t depart your readers hanging! Pick an agenda and, unless deliberate holiday or general catastrophe happens, stick with it. Be realistic about that schedule — 3 times a day is probably no longer for you, except this is your complete-time activity (and even then, slow down, buddy). Does once weekly paintings? Once month-to-month?

Defining what achievement looks as if need to be an essential a part of the preliminary method. Step again and ask yourself why you want to do that. Is it because you’ve continually desired to make a webcomic and also you don’t care what number of parents see it? Or do you want to doubtlessly launch any other thing of your career or business? Whatever fulfillment means to you, recognise this: it doesn’t happen in every week. I’m providing you with permission to begin on the very starting. As Julie Andrews says, it’s a very good location to begin. Keep updating often and your success will come, something that looks as if to you. It would possibly take a minute, so sit down back and revel in the journey.

Pro-Tip: Write your first three posts
Before you even begin futzing round with platforms and website hosting, write your first 3 blog posts to see if you like your selected topic and you’ve got enough to say about it. Don’t placed them everywhere simply yet — use a software like Ulysses, iA Writer, or Byword that lets in linking (and publishes to a selection of platforms) to cut down on steps (and to get yourself a distraction-unfastened writing surroundings). This will permit you to sharpen your voice before you’ve ever devoted to placing a single blog submit on the internet.

4. Select a blogging platform

Now that you’ve were given a plan, it’s time to discern out the way you’re going to execute it. There are two locations you may need to start with regards to the technical elements — the first is a running a blog platform. While many internet site developers are great for static pages, make certain you’re deciding on software program made specifically for running a blog, or you’re in for a very frustrating time.


Squarespace is luxurious, however in terms of bang for beginner dollar, it’s an outstanding alternative. It presents the blogging content material supervisor, the host, and the domain name multi function cross. And with templates, the layout appears super proper out of the box. They also have 24/7 customer service and that they’re very powerful. If you have no preceding running a blog enjoy, I exceedingly advocate at the least thinking about a start right here. They’ve got a loose trial so that you can play around and see what operating with Squarespace might sense like.


I regularly advise WordPress as it powers, as of March 15th, 2018, 30% of websites. That way, even in case you stop blogging in a year or two, the abilities you’ve discovered are translatable to a whole lot of special jobs due to the fact probabilities are suitable that your employer’s website will even run on WordPress. I additionally advocate it due to the fact WordPress is a device that grows with you: whether you already know not anything approximately HTML or internet improvement, or you know lots, you may use WordPress at your stage. And as it’s so popular, a ton of designers have made free and paid templates for it, making the platform hella customizable. There are two one of a kind WordPresses. WordPress.Com is a earnings-based totally platform with unfastened and paid functions where you could host and get your domain name for a fee. WordPress.Org is the house of the open-source WordPress software, that is free but requires some more steps to installation (like acquiring hosting and a site call).


Listen, in case you want a strong searching blog and you don’t have any money and also you’re appropriate with a stunning (however common) appearance, Medium is an splendid desire, and it’s the quickest way to begin a blog out of any of the options indexed here. There’s loads that’s positive about Medium except that as well. Many courses run on Medium (think The Nib or drDoctor), so in case you occur to put in writing for everybody else who uses Medium whilst you’re running a blog, all of it stays to your Medium Profile. You can also start a collaborative weblog very effortlessly with Medium, so in case you’re searching at something you and a pal can do collectively, this one might be for you.

Other options

While the ones are my pinnacle picks, there are masses of running a blog systems available to try. A traditional one is Blogger by Google, that is unfastened and clean, but the ones blogs have a reputation for being a chunk on the unsightly aspect. Then there’s Weebly, which has a free version and exclusive ranges of pricing depending on what you need, starting at $four month-to-month to attach a website you have already got (more on that during a second).

Wix is pretty just like Weebly, with its most primary paid plan starting at $five. Tumblr is an alternative in case your weblog is geared toward fandom or every other die-tough community (think Studyblr, a network of analyzing college students, or Witchblr, a community of practicing Pagans), and it’s a free service. You can even use a site name you already have, however it’s a piece…superior.

Pro-Tip: Free trials

Do them! In fact, even for the structures which might be unfastened to begin with, make an account and strive them out. I can speak till I’m blue inside the face approximately the pros and cons of every, but in the long run and regardless of what I say, if you hate the usage of what you choose, you won’t blog.

5. Claim your area call

A area call is the URL that folks type into the browser to reach your website. It’s like your fingerprint on the internet — no are precisely the same. Which way when you have an great idea, you have to search it right away to look if it’s taken, and then snap it up if it’s now not. But in case you do snap it up after which you decide to go along with Squarespace, which comes with a website call registration, you’re paying needless money. There are such a lot of ways to move approximately this that a definitive step-by way of-step is nigh near impossible. All I can say is this: when you have a extremely good concept for a domain call right now, prevent reading and search it at one of the following registrars.


Namecheap is my non-public favourite registrar, broadly speaking due to the fact I’ve by no means had a problem with it (and I’ve sold domains from quite a few places). It’s smooth to apply with correct customer support.


Domainr lets you get a chunk more clever with your domains by way of supplying you with numerous options to spell what you type using the TLD (pinnacle level domain, in any other case known as “the bit after the period.” .Com is the most not unusual one). For example, I helped located and run a literary mag called qu.Ee/r — and that became our URL. .Ee is the Estonian TLD.

In the generation of internet beyond, the commonplace information became to take the call of your blog and make sure to get the .Com, .Org and .Internet URLs. That actually made a type of net gridlock and we now have a lot more TLDs to select from — such things as .Layout and .Camp and .Amusing. The commonplace knowledge doesn’t observe as tons, however if you can, clutch the .Com and a couple others with the identical call that also apply on your blog name.

Even in case you don’t simply plan to use it to its fullest benefit, you have to get your call so nobody can do belongings you hate with it and then have it rank number one in Google searches when human beings Google you. If you can’t get the .Com, use another TLD — some thing, something, just get a version of your call and put a landing web page with a résumé up there, or ahead it in your weblog through adding it to your host as a forwarded area.

Pro-Tip: Read ‘em out loud

I have a pal named Carmen Rios whose URL is carmenfuckingrios.Com, which sounds badass and on-brand for her. I use her internet site for example of a terrific domain name purchase all of the time. A pupil of mine who we’ll name John Michael tried to copy her and bought the area call johnfuckingmichael. He didn’t understand till after he purchased it that maybe this was no longer exactly the equal super preference for him. Remember: there are not any capital letters or spaces in a website name. Always read your domain names aloud and display them to a couple of humans you accept as true with earlier than hitting the “purchase” button, lest you land up here.

6. Find a host

If you’ve selected Squarespace, Medium, or the .Com sort of WordPress, you truly don’t ought to fear approximately this bit. But in case you’ve long gone the direction of the .Org sort of WordPress (or any quantity of other blog control systems), you’ll want to place your blog on a server. Basically all that means is a laptop that’s related to the net 24/7 and might serve it fast to browsers everywhere in the world, irrespective of the time or area. A host is a third birthday celebration that actually “hosts” your website on a server. Here are a few properly options:


Bluehost is fee effective and has amazing customer support. I use Bluehost myself, and each time I’m advising students or clients, I have them use Bluehost as well. You get a free domain with a whole lot of extraordinary programs, which means that your domain and your host can all be from one place (simpler to keep music of and easier to set up). And if you’ve selected to work with WordPress, they’ve got a one-click WordPress set up. Installing software program on a server is a little more complicated than doing so with out your computer, and you might have to do it with out the gain of an installer, so the one-click deploy truely is seize.


I carry this up because you might have already sold your domain through them. Namecheap also offers web hosting, and if you need the benefit of paying one company instead of numerous (and having the host and domain name paintings together without doing whatever in your cease), Namecheap is any other superb choice. They also have a amazing-reasonably-priced WordPress choice for one dollar a month. Perfect for a budding blogger!

Web Hosting for Students

If you’re working on multiple initiatives and you need the barest of bones and also you’re a pupil everywhere (not just at a university or university), you would possibly want to do not forget Web Hosting for Students. It’s $25 yearly for one website, $50 for 3 (so in case you and your buddies all want to begin blogs, getting into together on this is an first-rate deal), and $100 a yr for unlimited websites (high-quality if you’ve got an eye for dealing with websites as a business).

Other options

There are so many web hosting services that it’s nearly not possible to strive they all, so there are plenty accessible that could make feel for you that I don’t have non-public experience with. Among them are HostGator, which starts at $2.75 monthly, and Dreamhost, which starts offevolved at $2.59 month-to-month. (Read greater approximately some of the exceptional reasonably-priced website hosting structures right here.)

Pro-Tip: Name servers

If your area call is bought somewhere aside from your host, you’re going to must permit the area name and host to speak to each other — that means changing the DNS, or name servers. All hosts have one of a kind name server names, so appearance the ones up for your host first. Then head on your area registrar. Each one of these is distinct too, however likely you’ll click on on the domain call and there may be a section for DNS or name servers. If you’re the usage of Bluehost, right here’s a shortcut to their academic. If you’re the use of Namecheap, right here’s a shortcut to theirs as well. Most registrars can have documentation with a step-by means of-step that’s unique to their very own person interface. Remember that every so often this transformation is powerful pretty fast, and different instances it can soak up to 24 hours for it to arise.

7. Learn some fundamental SEO

When it involves search engine marketing (seo, or the art of appearing on the primary page of Google), some things continue to be a mystery. Google’s unique set of rules is a carefully guarded secret that they communicate about simplest vaguely, and understandably so. A lot of what we recognise about SEO are built through press release, wager, trial-and-mistakes, and to top it all off, it’s all probably to trade at any second. What we do recognize is this: human beings write engines like google to attempt to think like human beings. So write definitely and organize your thoughts like a individual could and also you’re golden. Also use some of those brief guidelines and tricks — they aren’t the be-all and cease-all, and if any of them interrupt your creative glide, feel loose to scrap them. But they could help humans locate you when they Google in your subject matter.

Organize the use of headers

Exactly like I’ve achieved right here, definitely label your sections with headers. Google ranks topics in headers as extra important than what’s on the rest of the page.

Stick to that schedule

Websites which are up to date frequently and maximum recently rank as more vital in terms of Google search. So take into account that agenda we mentioned way within the starting? Well stick with it—your readers will love it and so will the robots.

Links are endorsements

Whether or not it’s simply proper, search engines view links as endorsements for the content on that unique page. This is me telling you to link both accurately and nicely, and I am also letting you understand that when you collaborate and take part and other blogs hyperlink for your website, that’s useful. The robots study your content as straightforward, and therefore extra crucial.

Don’t rely on engines like google by myself

People seem fixated on search engine optimization, and I clearly discourage that fixation. The robots let you, however they can not prevent. Remember to domesticate a healthy social media posting agenda as well, and if you’re going to rely on whatever at all, rely on taking part inside the net communities that are running a blog about the same or similar subjects as you. Community wins each time.

Pro-Tip: accessibility

The right information is that a number of the search engine optimization seasoned-hints additionally make it simpler for blind parents using display readers to get entry to your content. So go in advance and caption that image in a surely targeted, descriptive way. You’ll be glad you probably did, and so will your readers who can’t see the show.

8. Learn to code.

All of the solutions indexed right here don’t require any information of code or web improvement to use. But the greater you already know, the more you may do. If you realize PHP, for example, you may customize WordPress templates or make your own subject. If you understand JSON, you can register as a Squarespace developer and do the identical. Here are a few places to get started out in case you’re feeling formidable:


I’ve used Treehouse for years to brush up on things as I neglect them (which is hastily). Treehouse taught me CSS and enough PHP to get myself into hassle. They could teach me greater PHP, in truth, if I have been a extra dedicated pupil. They have excellent boards, video courses, and badges for completing matters, which appeals to the Scout in me. It’s $25 a month, and they have a 7-day loose trial (always do free trials!). They additionally have an search engine marketing course, which has tested very informative.


Lynda is the getting to know website all of us is aware of quality, and boy is it attempted and real. Whereas Treehouse is focused on coding, Lynda has coding AND courses in design, photography — essentially in some thing and everything you’d want to do with a laptop. This might be specially important to you if you need to include any kind of pictures for your blog. Are you running a blog approximately fashion? Your domicile or farm? This is probably an excellent answer for you at $30 monthly (and of course, they’ve got a loose trial which you have to totally do).


If you’d like the equal breadth as Lynda for half the cost, Skillshare might be an alternative for you. At $15 monthly, you could get right of entry to extra than 22,000 instructions taught by using experts. As a platform, it also has a digital recognition. Learn on topics like making webcomics, gaining knowledge of Illustrator, or the basics of DSLR images. Depending on what form of production your blog requires, you may discover Skillshare very beneficial.


Coursera is a bit bit extraordinary in that these are publications from universities and colleges. You even have the option to get certificate via doing a couple of publications, most of which are $49 in step with month. The motive I consist of this one isn’t only can you do an internet design specialization, you could take guides in subjects such as artwork records, physics, and psychology. If you’re running a blog about a topic and you’re happening a know-how journey, taking such a publications for your subject matter of preference is probably a amusing manner to get thought. Udemy is every other wonderful choice for online gaining knowledge of — you may even take a class like this one on a way to begin a weblog.

Nine. Explore alternatives for multimedia
This entire article has operated under the belief that the tale you need to tell fits fine in a blog. But what if that’s no longer the case? There are such a lot of approaches to tell a story online.


If your topic includes plenty of demonstration — like make-up or painting miniatures — otherwise you’re simply very charismatic, then YouTube might be the place for you. When you’re figuring out which communities you need to be part of, test out the YouTube scene and ask your self if you’d favor to partake in the verbal exchange thru video as a substitute. The seasoned for that is elevated visibility. The autoplay function might help you out, for instance. The con is a higher barrier to access. Video requires extra equipment and software program than writing. Also if you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, do pay attention. YouTube is actively hostile closer to the LGBTQ community and demonetizes movies by way of queer creators. Consider using some other provider to host your motion pictures, like Vimeo, and putting in place offerings like Patreon or Ko-Fi to permit your viewers to pay you for content material.


I subscribe to 2 Substack newsletters (Mara Wilson’s and Daniel Mallory Ortberg’s, in case you’re curious) and without a doubt, in case you’re thinking about the kind of musings that the Golden Age of Blogging within the early aughts furnished (ones that are a long way less approximately topic and community, and extra about the exciting lives of the person creator and the methods in which their mind operates), Substack might be a better home in your tale.

The email e-newsletter is having a renaissance, and as it’s going straight to an inbox, it can be less complicated to manage nasty feedback (human beings appear less willing to depart them) and experience nicer to proportion some thing greater intimate (even though it additionally goes to your Substack web page). Consider how your voice could sound in an e-mail to make the selection between the 2. For your readers, would it not be higher to sense like they’re receiving a letter from a pal?


Microblogging on Instagram is another alternative, specially if your posts are pretty quick and continually include a video or a picture. For a few a hit microbloggers, test out Juniper the Fox and Desserted in Paris. If this kind of factor looks as if exactly what you’d experience doing, strive reading Styling for Instagram through Leela Cyd and Read This If You Want to be Instagram Famous, edited by means of Henry Carroll.

10. Most crucial of all: Follow your coronary heart

Seriously. Follow your heart. Go wherein you’re curious, talk to the humans you need to talk to. Try out a few different things. You’ll clearly make mistakes and path-correct alongside the manner, and that’s k. It’s all part of coming across what your corner of the internet goes to be about. Just recollect: make the world, both bodily and virtual, a better location with what you placed there. Now get obtainable and begin running a blog. See you on the net!

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