So, you want to start a blog, Right? Sure, it’s a Great idea!
But how do you get started? Not Sure? Alright! There is a lot of information on the web and everyone is sharing different ways to get started. But you are not sure whom to listen and how to give a perfect start to your blog?
When I was a beginner, I’d faced the same problems that you are facing now. So, you are not alone to have this problem.
I built my health and beauty blog (ShoutMeSidd) way back in 2015 and I had no knowledge about blogging. In fact, It just took a few weeks to me to know what a blog was.
I started my blogging career, made a lot of mistakes, got penalized by Google, depressed a lot but I didn’t give up and learnt from my mistakes.
Don’t worry! I’ll never let your blog punish by Google because now I know much about blogging.
I can be the best person for you to show you the perfect way to build a blog like mine so that you can set up your own blog too. I’m not saying that I’m perfect but I know the basics that can help you to give a solid start.
After reading this guide you will not only be able to start a professional blog but also be able to finalize your blogging platform.
Why Should You Start a Blog?
Before starting a blog, this is a common question to ask newbies that why are they going to start a blog? If you already know that why are you going to start then you can read this as a reminder and if you don’t know then you need to read this:
- Blogging is a great way to share information and ideas for anything you are passionate about. It is one the best ways to communicate with the people in your industry.
- It’s the best way to express yourself and a wonderful way to get noticed around the world with your ability.
- Blogging establishes you as an authority in the space that enhances your professional image to share your thoughts. It’s just like business cards in the 1990s.
- Blogging can be quick mean to communicate with your audience just like speaking engagements & press.
- And Yes! You can make money too! (mostly the reason behind creating a blog)
So, let’s get started…
Before starting a blog, having a clear vision about your blogging topic or niche can give you best start of your blogging career and you will be sad to know that most people don’t know which one to pick.
Most people quit blogging just because they pick the blogging topic irrelevant to their interest.
Choosing the right blogging topic is primary step to your blogging career.
So, only choose the blogging topic that you are interested in!
Here is the list 15 best blogging topics that are popular around the globe:
- How to’s
- Beginner Guides
- Online Marketing
- Personal Reviews
- Professionals Advice
You may have the interest in one more than one topic or you may not sure which one to choose. Don’t worry you can experiment with different blogging topics and see which works best for you.
You don’t need a technical bone to start a blog. You can easily setup your website within a matter of minutes.
Choosing the Domain Name For Your Blog
You have to choose a domain name for your blog. Some people take advice from friends & family while some have a clear idea while purchasing the domain name.
And Yes! You should take time while choosing the domain name because your domain name is what that people need to remember on the web and recognize you or your brand on the internet.
Most of the competitive domain names have been taken already with .com but you should not need to worry because there are many extensions available that you can choose for your domain name. Here is the list of 882 domain extensions that you can use for the domain name. (Extensions are ending part of domain name whether it can be .com, .net, co.uk, etc.)
Here are some tips for you that can help you to find the best domain name for your blog
Tips to find the best domain name for your blog
- Choosing the domain name with your personal name or on a specific topic can be two different choices. If the blogging topic is about you or on your foremost interest then your personal name can be the best choice for your domain name. It gives a clear message to your audience about your interest. (For example sujanpatel.com, babersidd.com)
- Don’t use the domain name of similar to someone blog’s name. It can give some extra traffic to the blog whose name you selected for your domain name. (I did that mistake when I just started blogging & you shouldn’t do that).
- Use easy to read the name of your blog. Avoid using the complicated domain name as it can be difficult for your audience to remember your name.
- Use the short domain name so it will be easier for your audience to remember it. They will do less mistake while typing your domain name. Using the short domain name has the search engine ranking benefit too as it gives more space to Permalink to appear in search engine. Avoid using the lengthy domain name!
- If you don’t want to use your personal name then use only the domain name that makes sense and gives a clear message to reader and search engine (mainly Google) that what’s the blog is about. (For example besthealthmag.ca, nerdfitness.com)
- Avoid hyphens and number in your domain name. It becomes difficult to read them and looks spammy too!
- Don’t use other company slogans or tagline in your domain name. They will come to you and will shut down your blog!
- If you believe that your content will be valuable to the specific region or country then using the country TLD in your domain name is a best practice as it boosts ranking in search engine for the particular region.
I hope these tips can help you to find the best domain for your blog.
Time to search for your domain!
The domain name can cost around $10/year in most domain hosting websites. The charges can be varied as some companies add additional features to the domain.
You also need a hosting provider where you can host your domain name and its collective data.
Hosting plan is necessary for having online access to your data. Without this, no one can have access to your content, not even you. Web hosting server provides access other users around the world to access to your blog or online content.
Selection of right hosting plan is important as it will affect the speed of your website which is already a Google ranking factor.
There is a number of hosting servers on the internet, selection of the best hosting server is also a challenge.
I’ll help you to find the best hosting server for your domain.
Here are some important features of the best hosting server:
- Suitable Amount of Storage
- High Amount of Bandwidth
- Email Accounts with Features (so you can have email like firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Database with Features (File Manager)
- Customer Support
- Language Support (Php, Java etc)
- Backup Service (it can save your data from being stolen or destroyed)
- Subdomain Feature
- Up Time
Note: If you don’t know some of the terms given above then you can read this article to learn better.
I highly recommend Bluehost. They are well-known and have significantly low prices than other web hosting services. Prices start from $3.99/month. I’m sure you will have the best experience with them.
They can help you out with your hosting plan depending on your needs and they will scale with you. So you will stay in budget without wasting money on additional features that initially you don’t need.
Recently I partnered with Bluehost to give you the plan on best prices. So, if you will purchase the hosting plan with my affiliate link then I can make the little commission with it.
Check now which hosting plan fits best to your requirements.
Selection of Blogging Platform
Selection of right Blogging Platform is the most important step to start a blog. Wrong selection can result in the waste of your time, money and efforts.
If you are serious about your blogging career then you should never start a blog with any free blogging platform.
A large number of blogging platforms available on the web but I’ll highly recommend you to choose WordPress (Paid Version) to start a blog.
Free blogging platforms have a number of problems that keep your business in alarming situations.
The reasons behind avoiding you from choosing the free blogging platforms are given below:
- You’ll not have additional features to control your content. You can control your content within given limits provided by free blogging platform.
- They have certain policies that you need to follow and if you’ll mistakenly or anyway violate any of their policy then they can shut you down anytime even you’ve done the work of years on it.
- Your website address will have the name of your free blogging platform that can be difficult to remember and not look authoritative if you have a personal brand name or company name.
- You can’t customize the theme and style of different elements on your blog so it can result in poor user experience and ultimately poor search ranking.
- They have limited features for your blog to make money with it which is the most unaccepted case if you are serious for your blog.
Limited features can’t be a good choice for your long term business.
I highly recommend you to choose WordPress (Self-hosted) platform with Bluehost for your blog.
Here is the list of widely used blogging platforms in the world.
- WordPress (Self Hosted)
- WordPress.com (Free)
- Blogger or Blogspot
Here I’ll give you the in-depth detail of each blogging platform so you can choose where you want to start a blog. It’s very important for your business to host on best blogging platform as you have to use it for a long time.
Let’s get started…
WordPress (Self Hosted)
WordPress is the most popular and easy to use blogging platform. Now more than 26% websites on the internet use WordPress blogging platform. In the simple mean, one out of every four websites using WordPress. That’s Crazy!
To be honest, I’m lovin’ it!
After purchasing your hosting plan, you can just download WordPress software directly from WordPress.org and upload it to your web server. Else you can ask the support team of your hosting company to install it for you. It will be set up on your custom selected domain name.
Now mostly hosting companies offer 1-Click Install WordPress installation feature so installation of WordPress software has become much easier than ever.
It will take just 2 to 3 minutes to install completely then you can just start using it.
After the installation of WordPress, you need to set up the theme on your WordPress blog.
WordPress provides hundreds of free themes but I’ll recommend you to not to use the free theme for your blog.
Here are the reasons:
- Free themes have limited features than paid themes. If you don’t know much about coding than you can’t set up free theme properly on your blog.
- Free themes don’t have as high speed. Don’t forget websites speed affects your ranking in search engine!
- Free themes usually don’t provide any kind of support.
- You can’t expect updates time by time so you can’t enjoy the latest features as paid theme do.
It’s my personal experience that when I started blogging I used free theme because I never had any idea that selection of flexible theme also important for my blog.
I was hardly getting 70-80 visitors in a day. Then I switched to paid theme and surprised to see that my blog traffic increased by 250% and I could be able to get 250+ visitors per day with the same number of articles on my blog.
Google loves websites that have higher loading speed and paid themes normally load faster significantly than free themes.
I highly recommend you to use paid theme to start a WordPress blog as it requires only one-time payment so you don’t have to buy again and again. They will send you updates time by time which will keep your blog up to date with latest features.
I highly recommend you to use StudioPress themes. I personally use Studiopress theme especially the Genesis Framework. They have a large number of the highly flexible themes that you can choose to start a blog.
After the selection of theme, you have to install the plugins on your WordPress site. Plugins are the programs that add an additional feature to your WordPress site without any coding or hiring a specialist.
There are thousands of WordPress plugins available today. Some of them are free and some are paid.
Paid plugins can cost $20-$100+ and they really worth it.
But you can also use free plugins for your blog to enjoy extra benefits.
If you are not sure which ones you need to install for your blog so you read this article. That’s worth it. Don’t install so many plugins as it affects the speed of your website, just install only required plugins.
Now you are ready to create content for your WordPress. I’ve discussed in detail to write an epic blog post that gets shares.
For whom WordPress (Self-Hosted) is perfect?
- People who are looking to make money online.
- People who want to build an online business.
- Hobby Bloggers (who want to have control on everything)
WordPress.com is a hosted version of WordPress. It doesn’t require any kind of WordPress installation or coding skill to start a blog. You don’t need to buy a domain name or hosting plan. Just you need to signup with your account and you are ready to go. You can start your blog within a matter of minutes. Seems easier than WordPress (self-hosted)? Alright!
I’ll tell you why you shouldn’t choose WordPress.com blogging platform for your to start a blog.
With wordpress.com you will have a subdomain name by default that ends with wordpress.com. For example, yourblog.wordpress.com
WordPress.com offer 3 different pricing plans:
- $0 – Basic plan (best newbie bloggers)
- $99/year – For Professional Bloggers
- $299/year – Suited for Advance Businesses
WordPress.com offers different themes that you can use for your blog. Customization of the theme is only in paid plan so you need to switch to paid plan if you want to enjoy extra features.
WordPress.com doesn’t provide many theme options as WordPress (Self-Hosted) provides.
Your blog must follow their policies, violation of any policy can result in shut down of your business that’s another big problem with the free blogging platforms.
They don’t provide you multiple options to show ads on your content or they may not allow placing ads. Even they can show ads to your content and can earn commission with your efforts.
WordPress.com is the simplified version of WordPress (self-hosted) platform. If you just care about blogging and don’t want to test custom blogging features then you can use wordpress.com for free.
For whom WordPress.com is Perfect?
- Hobby Bloggers
- Bloggers who are not interested in spending money and want things free to start.
- People who don’t have any issue with their name hosted with wordpress.com
Blogger or Blogspot
Blogger is one of the oldest free blogging platform hosted by Google. You can simply sign up for Blogger or Blogspot with your Google account to start a blog.
Blogger is easy to use blogging platform and you can start a blog within a matter of minutes with no coding skill required.
It’s free of cost and hosting doesn’t require any additional payment.
It’s similar to WordPress.com as you will have subdomain be default with URL ending with blogspot.com. For example, yourblog.blogspot.com
You can also use the custom domain for your blog but you need to buy to use it on Blogger. It’s little outdated as compared to advanced blogging platform WordPress (self-hosted).
You will have default template with no custom editing features and plugins. You need to follow their policies strictly.
You can place ads on your blog only when it will qualify for their policies.
For whom Blogger or Blogspot is perfect?
- Hobby Bloggers
- Small Personal Blog
Tumblr is a social network aspect microblogging hosted platform.
Tumblr is a such a blogging platform optimized specially for bloggers who want to share short-form content.
Tumblr community is highly active and responsive to valuable content such as GIF, images, videos, quotes etc. People are more likely to promote the content and love to comment on each other’s blog.
Tumblr also doesn’t require any additional payment for hosting or domain name.
By default, you will have a subdomain with the URL ending with tumble.com. For example, yourblog.tumblr.com
You can also use the custom domain that you need to purchase elsewhere (Bluehost recommended).
You can customize it freely but most of the customizing features need to be purchased. You can’t use any kind of plugin or extension on this platform.
Tumble can be the best choice if you are not looking for extra customizing features for your blog.
For whom Tumblr is perfect?
- Blogger who are interested in sharing GIF, images, quotes, videos, and posts.
- Hobby Bloggers
Squarespace is a user-friendly website builder and web hosting provider.
It has quite essential features plus you can use to launch blogs, different business sites, e-commerce stores and different others sites.
Subscription service of Squarespace ranges from $8-$24/month.
Squarespace provides you hosting service with the custom domain name. You can also use your own domain with hosting on Squarespace.
It’s newbies friendly website building service so you can make the good looking website or blog without coding skills.
They have intuitive and powerful user-friendly interface.
They have custom layout option enabled, however, you like using simple drag and drop option.
Squarespace popular on the internet for their trendy and great looking designs that give professional look to your blog or e-commerce stores.
Mostly the Squarespace has built-in features but you can add different plugins from other sites to have more features in your blog design and functionality.
From whom Squarespace is perfect?
- Business owners looking for professional looking website designs.
- Newbies friendly (who don’t have coding skill to make good looking website)
Wix is user-friendly blogging platform with its own website hosting service.
It is similar to Squarespace but with a different toolset. It offers same features in terms of website building and blog building ability.
Just like other free blogging platforms, Wix also has default domain name with URL ending with service provider name. For example, yourblog.wix.com
Additionally, if you are interested in having the custom domain name then you can purchase it there and host your blog on it with Wix.
Wix price ranges from $0-$18/month
It has a number of designs even more than 500+.
The installation process is quite similar to other blogging platforms, just you need to complete few steps during installation and you are ready to start a blog.
Wix has a number of site-managements software built-in and you can have additional plugins and extensions to make your site more user-friendly. Apart from that, you can extend your site with Wix App Market.
For whom Wix is perfect?
- Newbies (who want beautiful looking website without coding skills)
- Business owner (who wants great looking website design to promote their business)
- People who want to promote different offers and are looking for good looking landing pages.
Weebly offers your the hosted platform with drag and drops feature.
You can start a blog in a matter of minutes without any coding or technical skills. You can easily add blogging application without any extra cost and free of charge.
Weebly offers you a number of great looking free themes for your blog.
In addition to free version, Weebly platform offers a paid version too which is known as Weebly Desing Platform.
Weebly paid platform allows you to remove any kind of branding from your site that is given in free platform.
Paid plan ranges from $8 to $50 per month.
In addition, Weebly Design Platform allows customizing the CSS or HTML which can help you enjoy more features in your theme with your coding skills.
For whom Weebly is perfect?
- Hobby Bloggers
- Business who are looking for the professional looking website.
It can be hook easily on your custom domain name.
Pricing plan depends on the number of blogs and the volume of traffic:
- Downloadable blogging software (free of cost but hosted not included)
- Pro-hosted version (specifically ranges from $8-$200)
Ghost also provides you a number of free themes. Apart from that, you can also get paid theme with different prices just similar to WordPress (self-hosted).
They have built-in plugins and extension, you can’t upload any external plugin for more features.
For whom Ghost is perfect?
- Hobby bloggers who are passionate to experiment web development to improve their skills.
- Bloggers who like to experiment with the new platform.
Drupal is more a content management platform than blogging platform much like WordPress.org.
You can use it to start a blog, corporate websites, forum, and e-commerce site. So, it’s not intuitive to use it as a blogger.
Drupal doesn’t offer custom domain or hosting plans so you need to purchase both domains and hosting plan from the web hosting company.
As compare to WordPress, Drupal is a bit difficult to use so you need to learn it first to enjoy its features.
You can use a tool Drupal Garden that creates content creation interface so you can easily publish your content.
To be honest, Drupal isn’t a newbies friendly platform to start a blog. This is a complicated platform so I’ll recommend you to use a simple blogging platform instead of using Drupal.
Drupal Pricing ranges from $12 to $80 per month.
For whom Drupal is perfect?
- Professional Skilled Bloggers
- People who are not interested in WordPress for any reason can use this platform as a secondary choice.
Magento is the content management platform but it’s mostly used as the e-commerce platform.
Primary function is to enable e-commerce users to start a blog for their store.
It’s not a newbie friendly platform because it’s require coding skills. Anyhow it’s not a difficult platform to learn. You can easily learn it in short period.
For whom Magento is perfect?
- E-commerce store owners who want to start a blog
- For Professionals with coding skills
Medium is easy to use newbie friendly platform to publish your content more efficiently.
In the last couple of years, Medium gained a lot of popularity and more than a million people switched to this blogging platform.
You can use it free of cost on their hosting plan. You can use your custom domain to individual stories on Medium.
If you don’t want to use a custom domain then you can use a subdomain under their profile. (For example. yourblog.medium.com)
In short, it’s the community of bloggers and writers who love to share the content.
You don’t need any coding skill to use this blogging platform as it’s very easy to use.
You can start a blog within a matter of minutes, just you need to sign up for Medium and then you can start publishing your content.
They provide you only one design and you can’t use any other theme on it.
They have built-in feature. You can’t use external plugins or extensions to enable more feature.
For whom Medium is perfect?
- Blogger who are interested in building their own brand
- Hobby Bloggers
- Blogger who want to experiment new blogging platform.
Joomla is an open source content management platform just like WordPress.
It’s a self-hosted platform so you need a domain and hosting plan to use it properly.
Joomla is very powerful blogging platform that you can use it to start a blog. It has a small community as compared to WordPress.
You’ll have a variety of designs so you can use which one fits best to your needs. They don’t have a number of extensions (apps for Joomla) to get more features for every element of your blog or website.
Support is limited to Joomla community and if you want paid support then it can be costly.
They don’t provide you security, backup and updates so you need to take care of all the things by yourself.
Joomla can be expensive for you as a newbie. The first month it’s free then you need to pay $20 to $100 per month depending on the additional features you will get from them.
For whom Joomla is perfect?
- Skilled Web Developers
- Establish Business Owners who are not interested in using WordPress blogging platform.
I’ve given you the detail popular blogging platform in today’s world.
I recommend you to start a blog with WordPress (self-hosted) as it gives you all essential features to customize elements more easily.
Again, before choosing any blogging platform must think if it meets your goal or not.
If you are ready to start your blogging journey then let me know on which blogging platform, you’re going to start your online business?