Like you, I’ve toyed with the idea for a while. Not weeks, not months, YEARS! And even though I’ve set up the infrastructure for others more times than I can remember, I just never got around to putting pen to paper, (or finger to keyboard?) But here it is, my journey starts today, and hopefully, my sincere attempt at defining all of my conflicting strengths and weaknesses will help you decide to take the same actions to move forward, and show the world who you are, what you can do and why your voice needs to be heard.
Don’t worry, it’s safe to continue reading, the rest won’t be as soppy. It gets better and more practical, promise.
Let’s go through some the reasons why I’ve started this blog and see if you relate to any of these:
- I’ve got a message that the world needs to hear, I believe I can help people establish who they really are and want to provide a platform and guidance to becoming all they can be, starting with writing.
- Make some extra money. Even though this is the reason most of you are here, this is not the primary motivator here, but it’s a really awesome side benefit as you’ll see in my income reports as they roll-out from October 2017. (Starting with ZERO btw, just to show you how real this is to me, and how doable it will be for you)
- Provide exposure to different opportunities. Having an established, or up and coming blog bodes very well for peripheral business opportunities you may have, it speaks to an entrepreneurial character trait you have and also a network under your influence. People will speak to you and think one thing $CHA-CHING$!
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty stuff:
Step 1: What are you going to blog about?
Here’s hoping you’d take a page out of my book and do a quick (or long, long is better, much better) introspection on what you’re passionate about, what piques your interest and what you can do really well.
Very recently, I was having this very same discussion with a close friend who also wanted(and now has) to start his own blog, but was unsure as to the core theme of the blog. We went round and round in circles, discussing niches, doing Google Trends searches for hot topics, using Google AdWords Keyword Planner to establish search volumes using Facebook’s’ Audience Insights Tool to establish the number of people interested in a topic that would make it financially feasible and a number of others. This can, and did take a while. We eventually decided to just start a Social Media Agency for consultants and anyone who exchanges time for money, chiropractors, physiotherapists, lawyers etc. We figured if we could do research that well on topics we’re not interested in, we might as well get paid for doing it for other people. We circled back. We still don’t have a blog idea.
We met up one week later. He screamed! “I’m so stupid! I love cooking! I love weird food, and I love poking fun at vegans!” It was decided. It would be a food blog, with a bit of a twist. We both realized instantaneously, no research had gone into the idea. He didn’t care much about the stats or the search volumes, just that he came alive when he entered his arena(the kitchen), and he wanted to tell the whole world about it. At the risk of sounding philosophical, he did an internal search, which was merely observational. He only observed himself, it took a few days, (as it does for most guys) but he got there and knew he hit the jackpot, the worst part was over, the rest is just plug ‘n play, formalities and some semi-technical things that techies don’t really want you to know. But, that’s why I’m here, to guide you through every step.
Step 2: Writing Style
This will be short.
Be yourself! I’ve decided to do nothing less than 100% Bruce. My writing will sound like I speak, convey the tone and emotion I would as if I were speaking in person and do this regardless of the outcome, or the annoyance some people. Get the Grammarly plugin (free)to make sure you’ve got the basics covered, but other than that. JUST. BE. YOU.
Step 3: Blogging Infrastructure
That’s just a fancy way of saying, let’s get all the pieces of the puzzle together and start building this thing.
There are a few to choose from here, I’ve listed only the most popular.
- Hosted WordPress, or commonly referred to as “wordpress.com” blogs
- Medium.com, a fairly recent platform compared to WordPress
I’ve tried to arrange the above in order of popularity, but opinions on this may differ.
You could literally, start your blog for free. Money (or lack thereof) can no longer be an excuse for you not starting your blog.
That being said, the limitations are severe with these “free” platforms:
- You won’t be able to add a custom domain name for free
- You won’t be able to serve your own advertisements.
- Limited customization options
- You may not actually own your blog with these “free” versions even you have mapped a personalized domain name to it. There have many cases where blogs have just been deleted by the company that runs it.
OK, so what’s the point if I can’t start for free and I’m at risk of losing many hours of hard work and a reputation I’ve built up?
The point simply, is that it’s possible to start with nothing, but perhaps not advisable, as it would be almost impossible to monetize and scaling would provide very little benefit to you, if at all.
The first thing to understand here is the concept of hosting. In essence, hosting provides a piece of internet real estate for your blog or website and when someone searches or goes to your “address”, they are essentially calling up your hosting address and being served your website through the browser. With the free options as listed above, the hosting is provided for you, this carries a cost to the company and must be off-set against other means of monetization. Eg, they will serve their own ads on your free blog or charge excessively to add your own domain.
Back to Paid Options, and we have 1000’s, if not 10’s of thousands of options here. I’ll list the most popular, most trusted and easy to use, but also the most cost effective.
- BlueHost – Starting a $3.49 a month, you’ll have a hard time outgrowing this package. If you do, you’re already making big bucks. This is probably the most user friendly platform out there. It also offers a free domain name to go with your hosting. Whether you’re a techie, or a complete luddite, you’ll have no issues here, if you do, BlueHost offers a guarantee, if you decide it’s not for you, there’s not much to lose here.
- HostGator – Starting at $3.95 a month, priced similarly to BlueHost, but somewhat harder to navigate. The platform takes some getting used to, but you’re sure to receive tremendous value for money. With great support and consultants ready to walk you through the platform and set-up. Drop a comment if you’re considering this option, we may be able to get you started with $0.01 for the first month, if the special is running at the time.
- NameCheap – Starting at $8.88 a year for the first year, or 74 cents a month for the first 12 months, (paid up-front, of course), this is probably the easiest way to get started with a great blogging platform, with little to no cost involved. NameCheap has a super-friendly user-interface, with a gorgeous looking dashboard and the probably the best support I’ve ever seen. Depending on your needs, toggle between these 3, you’re sure to find something you need.
OK, OK, we skipped a step. How did we decide that WordPress is the way to go? Well, other than being easy to use, WordPress powers just north of 20% of all the sites on the net, has more than 2600 themes and more than 31000 plugins, is wonderful for search engine marketing and used and trusted by the likes of Google, Linkedin, Time Magazine, this is a pretty good resource if you’re still not convinced why you should be using WordPress.
Step 1: Do a quick (or long) internal search for what you love to do. Whether it’s football or raising kids, architecture or life hacks.
Step 2: Do You! Just You!
Step 3: Blogging Infrastructure: WordPress is the best blogging platform in the world, you could start for free if you wanted to, but there are some really well priced paid options to give you maximum value for literal cents on the dollar.
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