Blogging is an ingenious way to promote a product or service over the internet to all who are interested in our offerings. This simple guide is created to help you learn about creating a blog and to post engaging content on it.
Setting up your blog
To set up a blog you require a number of resources all coming together forming a single easily available, user-friendly website. You need to know what the blog is about, how to buy the domain, getting the blog up and ready to publish content, etc. This guide covers a few topics to bring you up to speed with the fast-growing, ever-changing world of blogging.
What do you have to offer?
To start a blog you need to find your true calling, something that excites you. Or at least keeps you motivated enough to work on it enthusiastically. Some people have started their blogs in music, others like to travel, you just have to find your topic of interest.
You can start by finding a niche for your blog :
- What are your top three interests?
We all have been working to find our interests from school days. Some like playing football and others like to swim, we all have aspects we are good in. Find out yours and list them down.
- What do the trends indicate?
Once you have the topics settled, you can start by searching the internet for the latest trends around the topic. There are a number of market research and studies available around innumerable subjects. Reading a few of these resources will help in identifying the one topic that can be your topic for this blog.
- Generic or specific?
Before taking off with the topic you decided to ask yourself once or twice these two questions:
Is the topic too specific, like a review of the iPhone?
Is this topic too broad, like sports or technology?
To be able to find long term traffic and create more content you should be able to balance these two.
Assess growth for your blog :
- Each blog must solve a problem for its readers. List down at least three problems that your niche addresses. Do it for all your interests, to pick the right one
- Research on the internet for search behavior around that problem
Settle on one topic :
- Finalize your topic based on the above. Assess your observations time and again to find out your precious
- Search for websites and blogs already posting content on a similar topic. Read their content to validate your ideas – Read their content for the post type, length, topic, etc. You will soon be generating ideas for your blog
What’s a blog without a domain?
Now that you have settled on a blog you should find out a domain name for it. Your domain name is the name of your website followed by a “.com”
While buying a domain name keep in mind that the name of your website/blog is short and easy to type, spell and speak. At the same time keep your blog in a top-level extension. It could be a .com, .net, .org or a country-specific extension like .in, .co.in, .uk, .us
A straightforward approach to decide on your domain name is mentioned in the below steps :
- List down related websites relevant to your niche topic
- Play around with the words to find out the domain name available in the top-level extension.
- You can find your domain on any of the many domain providers. Once they show you the domain you are looking for, they show you the domains which are related to yours. You can quickly find the one you have settled on.
But, Am I ready to write my first blog post?
In order to write your first blog, you will need to host your website on a server. Once you have your website hosted, you will require a CMS software running in the background for you to manage content on the website/blog.
In the beginning, it may look a little costly to invest in a web hosting plan. To get you started we will start with a free service. The following steps will guide you to host your website on the amazon web services server and later to install WordPress as a CMS for your hosted blog.
Go to aws.amazon.com and register for a personal account under “create an account”. After successfully registering ( which will cost you INR 1 or 2 for Amazon to verify your card) verify your account with your phone.
After completing the step above head to “sign in to the console”. Once you have reached your console, select the server location for which free tier is available. This will enable you to host your website for free.
You will now need an instance to host your website on. An instance is a server you create with your required specification to host your site on. To know more about this, I suggest you read it here: https://aws.amazon.com/ec2/
While launching your service click on AWS Marketplace on the left side pane and find WordPress by Bitnami. You will have to install this service on your instance to be able to blog.
WordPress: It is an open-source content management system based on PHP and MySQL. It has an admin area just like many other services and in the admin panel, you can create posts and manage your website’s content. You can find all about WordPress at https://wordpress.org
Once you have your instance launched and initialized you will be able to find your blog ready and available for publishing your content. In your instance you will find the public IP Address. The IP Address, when entered in a new tab, will take you to your WordPress blog default theme. All you require now is to redirect your domain name to this IP Address by following the steps below.
Alternatively, you can follow the tutorial to set up your blog.
At this stage, you have your blog ready on a public IP Address. You go to the admin panel of your domain or contact the service from where you have purchased your domain to direct your domain to the public IP Address. You will need to change the A-Type DNS entry in the list of DNS entries and change the value parameter to your public IP Address. This will redirect your domain to the blog you have earlier created.
Alternatively, you can follow the tutorial to redirect the website to the created blog.
You have your WordPress installed on the domain you purchased. All you need now is to become a WordPress user. Once you get a grip on the way it functions you will be ready to create your first blog post.