A blog is a great way to communicate with your audience, showcase your products, post viral content, develop your reputation as an expert in your niche, and even drive traffic from the search engines.
So there are a lot of really good reasons to start blogging. But the question is, how do you get started? Check out this mini-guide…
Step 1: Download and Install WordPress
If you start really looking around, you’ll see plenty of content management systems (CMS) and blogging platforms. But there is only one that I recommend, and that’s WordPress (www.wordpress.org).
Now, there is a good chance that your webhosting dashboard includes a “one click” installation for WordPress (WP). That is one very quick and easy to install WP on your site.
However, many WP security experts suggest that you download and install the software manually. WordPress.org includes both an overview of how to download and install it, as well as step-by-step instructions. If you have some tech knowledge, it will take you less than 10 minutes to get it all set up. If you’ve never done anything like this, then of course it will take longer – but it’s worth the effort.
Step 2: Customize Your Blog
One of the benefits of using WordPress is that you can quickly customize the look and functions by installing a theme and plugins.
First, let’s talk themes, which is basically the design of your blog. When you log into your dashboard, you’ll see “Appearance” on the left-side navigation menu. You can search, download, and activate themes directly from there. Alternatively, you can go to www.wordpress.org/themes/ to find a good design.
TIP: Choose a responsive theme, which means it will look good on a variety of devices, from phones to tablets to desktops.
The second thing you can do to customize your site’s function is to install plugins. However, heads up: don’t just install plugins because you read somewhere that you should install plugins. Instead, figure out what you REALLY want and need on your site, and then search for a plugin to help you create it.
For example, maybe you’re not doing anything with search engine optimization, so it makes no sense for you to install the SEO plugins that everyone tells you to install. On the other hand, maybe you DO want to integrate your site with your social media platforms. In that case, search within your dashboard or go to www.wordpress.org/plugins/ to find what you need.
Step 3: Populate Your Blog
The final step in getting started is to populate your blog with content. That way, you can engage your visitors once you start advertising your blog.
Now before you start creating or posting content, it’s a good idea to come up with a publishing plan. In other words, don’t just toss stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Instead, define your goals for your blog… and then create content that seeks to achieve these goals.
Ask yourself these questions:
What is the main goal your blog?
Your blog should have one PRIMARY goal, which is what you focus on every time you post anything. And while you may have secondary goals, you want to create content with the purpose of achieving your main goal.
Here are examples of goals:
- Build your mailing list.
- Make more sales of your own products.
- Make affiliate sales.
- Develop your brand in the niche/establish yourself as an expert.
- Share news and announcements.
- Get people to call you.
- Post viral content.
Again, pick one overall goal, but define your secondary goals as well. And then ask yourself this question:
What type of content will support your goals?
Of course you should provide a variety of content to see what your audience responds to best. However, your content should support your goals. So, for example:
- If your goal is to sell more affiliate products, then your blog might include product reviews and comparisons.
- If your goal is to establish yourself as an expert, then you might post several detailed posts on topics of interest to your niche.
You get the idea. Make sure the majority of your content supports your overall blogging goals.
So the quickest way to get started with blogging is to install a WordPress blog and populate it with content that’s designed to help you meet your business goals.