So you’re thinking of starting a blog, but not sure where to get started. There are so many different voices telling you what’s the best way to get started, but they all say the same thing: start.
Since 2005, I’ve started many, many blogs. I have gone through a lot of trials and errors. I was once a newbie, like yourself. My passion of learning is why I’ve been working in digital marketing since 2012. Now, I’m here to answer any questions you might have about blogging marketing in a digital world.
What is a Blog?
A blog is a shortened version of the term ‘weblog’ from way back in the late nineties. It is a regularly updated series of content is displayed in reverse-chronological order where the reader sees the newest information first. When a domain loads, you can tell if it is a blog when you scroll and see a collection of frequently published content. These are called posts.
For example, my friend Tracy has a blog called What’s Going on Dallas. She is using a basic two-column blog layout. In the image below, the left-hand column lists her posts and the right-hand column is the information side-bar. The right-hand column does not change from post-to-post and acts as a frame around the post content. It guides your reader to explore more of your content.
Your website can be blog style, like above, or your homepage can be static content with a blog feature. Take a look at Three Dog Bakery‘s website. The homepage is static with a lot of various information. The homepage lists some of their featured bakery treats (with the option for you to check availability at one of their locations). But, as you scroll towards the bottom, they list their recent posts. You can see by looking at their domain, that they organize their blog under their About page: threedog.com/about/dog-tales/
So why do I need a blog?
A blog is crucial to your hobby or business if you are helpful to your audience. If you’re selling a product, your blog is where you want to talk about the features of your product, practical uses in the consumers life, or how to properly care for said product.
Or, if you’re a fashion blogger who features photos of your favorite fashion finds, then you’ll want to use your blog to talk about the products that you’re wearing. Or, if you’re a baker, then you’ll want to showcase your recipes and teach your audience how to bake this particular recipes while giving tips and tricks of baking.
The point is, if you want to be a resource for your audience to provide them with something of value. If you’re thinking of starting a blog, you must know your value.
Maybe you take pretty pictures and want to share. Do you need a blog to do that? No, you don’t. You can start sharing your photos easily on Instagram. But maybe your audience starts asking you for tips on how you take your photos. You have an engaged audience and they want to learn more from you. You can start a blog teaching your techniques to your audience.
So, whether you’re a small business owner, fashion or recipe blogger, or even a photographer, you’ll use your blog as a platform to give your audience informational content. This is content that helps them in some way. You can educate your audience. You can tell them why one product is better than another. Or you can simply keep a diary if that’s your motivation to start a blog.
How do I get started?
If you want to get started for free, then there are easy options like WordPress.com or Blogger.com. These platforms host everything for you and your domain name will look something like this: mybusinessnamehere.wordpress.com. They often offer premium upgrades allowing you to purchase a unique domain name for a monthly fee. This upgrade removes the “.wordpress” out of the domain. The biggest downfall with this is that you don’t own your blog because it’s hosted on their servers.
If you’re ready to invest in your blog, the other option is a self-hosted WordPress.org website. A self-hosted WordPress website requires you to have a little more technical experience, but allows you to have more control of your website. Plus, you own your blog. I’m a very big advocator for a self-hosted WordPress. If offers you more flexibility when measuring your digital marketing efforts.
Which path is right for me?
Whether you choose a free plan or want to pay for the control of your website, it is completely up to you. If you don’t have the money to invest, then start on a free plan. Get your voice out there. If you have the funds to invest, then do it right the first time. This route will save you time later one when you need to switch. If you want to monetize your blog, then you need to go self-hosted.
I highly recommend taking the self-hosted route. This is what I’ve done with this website. If you need any help, please reach out to me.
Are you ready to start blogging?!