Last week we talked about why every author should have a blog. We got a lot of questions about how to go about starting a blog and figured we would follow up with a post to dive into that a bit more. There are a ton of resources out there for newbies who want to start a blog.
Here are 10 steps to get you started:
Register with a blogging site.
There are many options, but two of the most popular are Blogger.com, WordPress.com (free), or WordPress.org (paid, self-hosted blog; allows for the most customization).
Buy a domain.
If you use Blogger or WordPress.com, the name of your blog will also have the site’s name in it, as such: myawesomeblog.wordpress.com. Want to shorten your blog’s name to myawesomeblog.com? You’ll need to purchase the domain name. Blogger will allow you to use that domain at no cost. WordPress.com will require you to upgrade to their premium plan to use a custom domain name. (WordPress.org users will have to purchase a domain no matter what.)
If you’re using Blogger or WordPress.com, there are free “themes” available to style and design your blog. It’s as simple as pointing and clicking. Not seeing anything you like? Check out Etsy for affordable options from web designers. If you’re using WordPress.org, there are literally thousands of beautiful themes you can purchase that are highly customizable (but be forewarned you need a basic working knowledge of web design). If you can, pick a theme labeled “responsive”; this means it will adjust itself to fit perfectly in the screen on tablets and mobile devices.
Get a logo.
As your setting up your site, think about what you want the overall look and feel to be. If you need to design a custom header image for the top of your blog, a logo, etc., you can use Photoshop to make one consistent image to be used on the blog and all your social media. If you’re a design novice, use a tool like Canva which has pre-made designs you can simply paste your details into. (There’s also logo & design services for purchase on Etsy!)
Make sure there’s a “subscribe to this blog” box in a very visible place on your blog.
You want to be able to send posts straight to your subscribers’ inboxes—don’t rely on them remembering to come back to your site.
Reserve your social media channels.
This means a Facebook page (not a profile), and any other channels where you think your potential readers like to gather: Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat or Periscope. Make sure to keep the name as consistent as possible across all channels.
Set up your writing schedule.
Be realistic; don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you know you can easily commit to publishing posts every Monday and Friday morning, do it. Blogs who consistently publish on the same days at the same time get far greater views than those who don’t. Keep a few posts on standby in case you need them.
Contact other sites and blogs, and ask to guest blog.
This gives their readers a chance to discover you! Look for sites that create the type of content that pairs nicely with your message or story, and ask them to link back to your blog in the post.
Share your blog with your friends, family, and email list!
Once your blog is ready, share it everywhere you can.
Stick to it.
Even if your readership levels are low at the start, stick to it and keep creating content! Eventually, your views will grow.