A good friend of mine wanted to start blogging and he has started to ask for my advice on some blogging tips.
So I thought, there may be other people who want to start blogging but don’t know how to start or where to start. I’m planning to make a post series about “Introduction to Blogging” from zero. I’ll not cover the advanced topics (there are so many blogs out there that do), but at least cover the basics so that new bloggers know what information to look for to improve their blogs.
If you are a blogger like me and have a friend who wants to start blogging, you can either explain them the basics yourselves or hopefully you can just refer them to simply read my introduction series to cover the basics.
Today, I assume that you haven’t even had a blog set-up yet. Before you decide what to blog and where to blog, please read this post carefully first.
Before we go to the core of blogging, you simply have to ask these questions first before you start your own blog:
What’s my main motivation to blog?
Now, this may not sound important, but believe me, it does. There are a few reasons for people to blog (feel free to add more on the comments section):
- To make money from the Internet (either legitimately or not)
- To blog out of passion (on topics that you like to tell about)
- To meet/connect with other people through the Web
- To tell other people how miserable you are
- To gain popularity
- To tell others all the good tips that you found / to share your knowledge to others
- To be felt accepted by the community outside of your own
- To show off
- Many more
As you can see, there are so many motivations and each blogger usually has more than one motivation to blog!
Mainly though, I’d like to generalize the main motivations of blogging into 2:
- To make money from the internet (I call this “the dark side” heh heh)
- Because you are passionate about the topic (or “the light side”)
Choose carefully, as the first steps of your blogging will be decided on your motivation.
The Dark Side of Blogging (“Money, money and money!”)
So you’ve heard about John Chow, Zac Johnson, or maybe other people who can make thousands of dollars from the internet and you think you can become one? Then your first steps should be:
- Research on topics, keywords, and trends that are popular at the moment. This will give you a good traffic to your blog, if you optimize it correctly.
- Research on keywords that are paid high per click. If you are going to put CPC (Cost-Per-Click) advertisements, you need to know how much you are going to get paid when someone clicks on your ad. Most of the time you’ll find that posts about mortgage, yahoo domain, mesothelioma (a cancer disease), diet, and hair laser removal are some of the highest paying keywords.
- Based on point 1 and 2, decide on a niche or a topic that you want to blog.
- If you want to have your own domain name, then register a domain that contains at least a keyword from the topic you want to blog. So if you are going to blog about mortgage, it’d be better if your domain name has the word “mortgage” on it. This will be a plus to get more visitors from search engines.
The Light Side of Blogging (or “The money can come later” or “Making money is a bonus”)
- This will be easier. Simply blog about what you like. You can focus on one general topic (Sports, Technology, Parenting) or one specialized topic (Formula 1 cars, Tips on Dieting, Windows tips and tricks), or you can do a “mixed bag”. Mine is focused more on Technology, but it’s kinda a mixed bag too.
No matter which side that you choose, you need to put some thoughts onto:
- Decide where you want to blog. There are FREE blogging services out there that you can use. However, you have to think whether this is really the path that you are going to take. Once your blog is established, it’ll be a pain if you decide later to move to your own URL.The most popular services are Google Blogger and WordPress. There are a few more out there, but I haven’t tried them yet. Most of these services require you to use their URL as part of your blog’s URL. Keep in mind too that they have total control of your blog. If your blog is against their TOS (even without you realizing it), they can simply put your blog out of business. If you have established your blog for a year, then bad luck!
- If you really are serious about blogging, then you should get your own domain name and hosting. It’s so cheap nowadays that you only need to pay $5-7 a month for a very good hosting plan with a domain name.
I myself have used LunarPages for many years and in my opinion is one of the best hosting out there. It offers a great plan with a great price and a great technical support. Lunarpages also gives you free domain name if your blog is still hosted with them.UPDATE: I have moved to HostGator.com (don’t forget to use CRAVINGTECH25OFF HostGator discount code to get a 25% off) – better support, better performance. Really happy about it (read my HostGator review post if you want to know more why I did the move)
I also recommend going for WordPress (which is an open source blogging platform that you can download and install on your own host/server). It’s constantly being updated and it has many useful extensions that you are going to need in your blogging “career”.
That’s it for now. Happy researching and feel free to ask any questions here. On the next series, I’ll explain about what to do on your first few days of blogging, after you have got yourself a blog!