So you want to start a blog? That’s a great idea.
I’ve been blogging since 2006, and my blogs have gone through a lot of changes. One of my early blogs was called behindtheleaf.com – a backstage look at life as a pastor. From there, I launched a blog called heretolead.com, where I talked about life and leadership.
Today, my blog address is simply my name and I continue to write to offer help and hope to leaders of all types. My blog is like my home base on the web. I’ve got outposts on Twitter and Facebook and a few pages here and there, but my blog is the central hub.
Watch this ScreenCast Video of How to Set Up a Hosted WordPress Blog in Less Than Ten Minutes
You can see how simple everything is in this video, and if you follow the steps I suggest, you can be up and running in ten minutes or less
Here are five reasons I think you should start a blog.
1. It’s a personal connection to your tribe.
Just because you work for a company, or you ARE a company, doesn’t mean you have to be faceless. You can bring personality and humanity to what you do by connecting with people on a blog. A blog is a great place to share your stories, experiences and insights. People really do care about what’s interesting. But you can also connect people, facilitate conversations and build a tribe.
2. It will help you build your platform.
Michael Hyatt says a platform is the stage you stand on if you want to be heard, and blogging will help you build a platform. If you write helpful, interesting and quality stuff, readers will find you. You’ll earn the right and obtain permission to speak into their lives. I’ve met friends and clients because of blogging.
3. It will help you connect with other people in your field.
Blogging doesn’t have to be a one-way street of information. If you work hard, you can create conversations, and those conversations will lead to connections with other leaders. I’ve connected with many people in person who first interacted with something I wrote on the blog. And I’ve gotten to know many people through their writing before ever meeting them in person.
4. Words are powerful and writing is good for you.
Throughout history, words have changed the direction of nations. Your blog might not start or end a war, but your words still have the ability to be influential. Capture your thoughts and write them down. And if you want to become a better writer, there’s no better way than by simply writing.
5. It can be a source of income.
Through affiliate links and products, it can be a source of income for you. This will take some work, and you might not get rich, but I bet you could find a good use for a little extra income.I don’t write on my blog to make money…I write because I have something to say. I want to help people, share my experiences and share some of the why behind the what. While making money is not the goal of my website, I do make money blogging. I think you can too. Here’s a post I did on this very topic.
Here are three simple steps you can take RIGHT now to get started.
1. Choose a domain. Though there are services that will give you a co-branded domain name (like yourname.wix.com or namehere.wordpress.com), you want to go with a real domain name. I’ve chosen to use my full name, but you could choose anything really. Just head to Bluehost and start trying word combinations until you find something available. A lot of names are already taken, so you might have to spend some time on this step. Stay away from names with dashes and I still prefer a .com extension.
2. Set up hosting and install WordPress. There are hosting providers that charge upwards of $50 a month for hosting, but you probably don’t need that. 95% of bloggers should stay with one of the low-cost providers. I recommend Bluehost for hosting and WordPress is free. Bluehost will walk you through the setup process and you’ll be rocking and rolling in no time. There are other hosts (most are more expensive), but Bluehost has been good to me. I had to call their support one time, and they were fantastic. And with one bluehost account, you can host all the blogs and domains you want.
3. Optional Step: Install a Theme. If you follow the steps at Bluehost, your blog will be set up and running. You can start posting content. But I prefer one other optional step and that’s getting a more professional looking theme. A theme is like the clothes on your website. I use StudioPress themes – they are super fast, responsive (that means your website will automatically resize for smartphones and tablets) and give you lots of options. Again, you can use one of the ones WordPress sets up for you, and you can always change later.
4. Optional Step: Plugins. Here’s another optional step for you. Plugins are like the accessories of blogging. There are social media plugins that will let users share your posts to their followers. There are SPAM blocking plugins. There are email capture plugins. You don’t need these to get started (in fact, StudioPress comes with some great plugin-like features already built into the theme). Here are some free plugins I recommend or use on my own blog.
- Related Posts – this plugin will automatically add a few related posts to your new posts…it’s a great way to give readers a next step and keep them on your site.
- All in One SEO Pack – SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This plugin will let you control what Google and other search engines display and find.
- WP-DB-Backup. This plugin will automatically back up your site according to your own preferences.
- Ad Buttons. I use this plugin on my site to place some ads. Some of these link to affiliate programs. Others link to stuff I just want to share with my readers.
- Attention Grabber. This plugin ads a little drop down bar to the top of your site. It’s great to call attention to something – like a Facebook like or a email sign up.
- Bottom of Every Post – this plugin will add some text or code to the bottom of every post. You could use it for a bio or for next steps.
- Twitter Facebook Social Share – this little plugin gives people the option to like your post or share it on social media.
- WP Greet Box – this plugin adds a short message to the beginning of your posts based on how people arrived. If you come to a blog post from a Twitter link, it will display a custom message like “Hey friend from Twitter…”
- Pippity Popup – this is the only plugin I use that costs money. It puts a popup box on different pages and allows me to emphasize products or my mailing list. Since this generates revenue for me, this plugin is worth it.
You can find all of these free plugins by going to the plugin tab inside your wordpress blog and doing a search.
Download My Free Ebook on How to Launch a Really Good Blog
Just click the image below (or this link) and download the PDF – no registration required. I’ll show you exactly how to get started and give you step by step instructions that will have your blog up and running in just a few minutes. Seriously, you can get it set up in about ten minutes and be ready to share your ideas with the world.
Once you’re up and running, here are some next steps you can take to improve your blog.
1. Ebook from ProBlogger – Build a Better Blog in 31 Days. I’ve gone through this eBook and it’s fantastic. If you want to really improve your blog, or start your first couple of months with a bang, get this eBook.
2. Here’s a great post from Michael Hyatt called How to Monetize Your Blog without Selling Your Soul. If you’ve got a few readers and want to start earning a little money from your blog, this post will help. You might also want to get Michael’s book Platform: How to Get Noticed in a Noisy World. It will really help you promote your blog.