Blogging can take the form of a startup.
Like most new ventures, there are some lessons that we learn only through trial and error.
Since I’ve already experienced some of the hard-learned lessons, I write this post in the hope that it will minimize your pain—at least some of the technical woes—as you think about starting a blog.
First, don’t let money become an obstacle to starting a blog. You can start a cost-effective blog for anywhere between 200 and 500 dollars, depending on your short- and long-term goals.
Once you have a topic and an idea of how much you want to spend, you can use this post as a guide to further your research and select the best tools and resources that will fit your needs. Blogging is a continual learning process.
1. Domain Name
Choosing a domain name for your blog is part of creating a web presence for your personal brand or your company. When choosing your company’s domain, be mindful of the length of words you use, for your branding starts with the domain. It should be a name that people can easily remember.
Think of Star Wars, Nike, and Kreyolicious to name a few. These names are short, and they evoke a vivid image of what they do and stand for.
Your blog can be a standalone or part of your company website. When I started, I purchased my bienaimepost.com domain name from GoDaddy, but there are other resources available to help you start. Here are a few options to explore:
If these three options are not enough, you can also read “The 2015 Best Web Hosting Companies” article to support your research.
And if you have the budget, you can hire a web developer to build your blog. I have a few developers that I work with, and they are wonderful to do business with.
2. Hosting Company
A hosting company is where your posts, videos, and podcasts will live. There are some companies that are free, but if you’re serious about blogging, I would not build a blog on a free hosting company’s site. I believe in bootstrapping, but there are some things in life that you’ll need to invest in if you want to be successful and stand out.
Thus, the following companies offer hosting services, but they have a higher premium than the usual $1.99 to $3.99 hosting deals.
Your personal brand and business data are important, so you want to take every precaution, even if it means paying a few more dollars. Of course, with the Internet, nothing is 100 percent secure, but working with a solid hosting company will help you manage your data anxiety.
It is important to note here that Synthesis WordPress also owns a premium blog template company named StudioPress. I purchased my blog template from StudioPress Themes for WordPress. The company has over 40 beautiful pre-designed templates from which to choose.
I like StudioPress, because all their templates look professional and have a clean appearance. But more importantly, you can easily customize their look and feel to capture what you want your brand to represent.
Images are crucial to having a dynamic blog. They can either make your content come to life or render it boring. There are entire workshops that talk about copyrighted images and how to use them—but that is for another post. It’s essential to understand about licensing and copyright agreements before you start to use images.
Some images are free to use on any medium, and others have restrictions on how and where you can use them. One great site that I learned from is MarketingProfs; they directed me to Pixabay, a source for over 520,000 free images.
You can also tap into the following image companies:
Another option is to take your own pictures, which is something that I started doing recently. For instance, on my last post I used my own pictures, so I didn’t have to agonize about copyrights.
4. Copy Editors
After spending several hours doing research and writing an article, you need a fresh pair of eyes to scan your piece of writing in order to capture any typos or major red flags. You need to have two to three copy editors that you work with. I find the best ones are super busy, so you need at least two.
It is better to delay publishing a post than to publish it with a lot of errors. Even presidents of universities have professional editors read their work after they write. In their case, they have an entire team of editors and speechwriters with whom they work.
I recently discovered a British copy editor, who I think is fabulous. He is professional and competent, and his customer service skills are top notch. I asked him if it would be a problem to share his information with my readers, and he has agreed. You can find his information here for you to use.
5. Google Analytics
Measuring your content is important when it comes to blogging. You want to make sure you start quantifying all the posts you publish from the beginning. In order for you to assess your content, you’ll need a working knowledge of Google Analytics. Even when I do guest blog posts, I ask the publishers for the stats on the posts.
The Google Analytics tool will help you determine what kind of content is resonating with your audience. Moz has a great article that I would recommend you read, just to start wrapping your head around the concept of analytics.
BONUS: As a bonus, I would suggest you prepare at least seven articles before launching your blog. This was one of the best pieces of advice I learned from a successful blogger before I started. It is still paying off today.
You want to have at least seven articles ready because you want to manage the pressure you’ll feel in the beginning to publish a post every week. If you have seven posts ready, then depending on how frequently you want to publish, you’ll have some time to come up with new topics for the subsequent weeks.
More importantly, this strategy will give you time to engage with your readers and promote the posts when they’re published.
If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog to either start a business or build a professional presence online, I hope you find this post useful. And if you’ve already started a blog, I hope you were still able to find some of the information helpful.
Special note: This post is Part 3 in a series of posts I’ve been doing on blogging based on some questions a Haitian diaspora follower asked me recently. You can check bienaimepost for the previous two posts on the topic, and if you find this post useful, consider signing up for the blog to receive free updates and future posts.
Over to you: Is there a tool or resource that you’ve used and found particularly valuable as you start your blogging journey? I’d love to hear from you. Share them with me in the comments section below.