You like big blogs and you cannot lie? Might as well face it, you’re addicted to blogs? Now that you have read them all and subscribed to the best, you are ready to start your own website and blog, and join the massive movement of sharing your passions with the world?
Great. The good news is that starting your own website and blog is fairly easy. Where you take it from there, how you market it and gain followers, and whether your blog rises to the top of your passion and niche is up to you, and a little more challenging. For now, let’s just explore a simple guide to starting your own website.
What’s in a Name?
Your domain name, what your blog is called matters a great deal, especially at first. Huffington Post, named after founder Arianna Huffington, did not become a household name and a high authority site overnight, but it met some simple criteria that helped it rise to the top. Sites like Techco, Business Insider, and The Verge all follow the same principles.
When choosing a domain name, the founders understood it needed to be relevant first of all. This means it is either your name, (Huffington Post), what you blog about (Techco and Business Insider), or relevant to your readers (The Verge).
Secondly it needs to be easy. All of the above are easy to say, spell, and type into a browser or search engine. Because they are simple, there are no awkward abbreviations or words run together that form something amusing or even inappropriate. These are things (and internet lists) that you don’t want your site to be on.
As long as you follow these ideas from the beginning you will be off to the right start.
Hosting the Party
Choosing the right host also matters. This has not changed much over the years, and you still essentially have three choices. You can host your own site, a very expensive option with a lot of maintenance. This means you have your own servers and you self-host your site on them. Other than large enterprise level companies, most do not use this option because of how costly it is.
The most common type, where most blogs and websites live, is shared hosting. This means you share a server with other websites, usually through a service like Go Daddy or JustHost. This is the cheapest way to host your website, and unless you start to get a large amount of traffic, it works well for most sites and blogs.
The final choice is dedicated hosting. This means that there is a server dedicated to just your site. For enterprise level sites or even the ones mentioned above, the traffic is sufficient to justify this type of hosting. Many hosting companies offer both. so you can switch to suit your needs as you grow.
No matter what your choice for hosting is, you simply need to make one as a place to start. You can always change if you need to down the road.
The next key is that you must design your site. This either means doing it yourself or hiring someone. No matter what platform you build your site on, there are templates designed to help you get started. None of these are perfect for every site, but they usually have enough customization options for you to set them up the way you need to.
How do you decide what that looks like? There are a number of ways. Look at your competition’s site, or other sites and blogs in your niche. What design elements do they use? Are their sites easy to navigate? What fonts do they use, and how do their photos look? Are their sites responsive on mobile platforms and easy to read?
Don’t forget to look at colors. Colors set the tone for your site and have a great impact on the mental reaction of readers. Some colors offer comfort and others create anxiety or signal danger. Keep in mind the mood you want your readers to take away from your blog and your articles, and don’t ignore the psychology of color when planning your design.
Ready, Set, Go
You are ready. Now you need to work on adding content to your site. Remember, there are different types of users, so you will want to have some content to appeal to all of them. From short-form content that is quick reads to long form content that gives them all of the details on a topic, a variety of content will keep your fans engaged.
At the same time, you need a variety of types of content as well, from video and photo to written content of all types. Infographics still work for some things, and studies and statistics expressed visually work as well.
Keep in mind that most users read content on their phones or mobile devices, and so your content needs to be compatible and flow on those devices. If you don’t understand the Google AMP project and the Google Mobile First Search program, get familiar with them. They are changing the way users see sites and discover them. Which brings us to our last point.
Share the Word
For your blog to rise to the top, you will need to share it with people. This can be through social media, an email list, or even paid ads and other marketing efforts. The point is that for people to find your site, it needs to be visible and show up in Google searches as well.
This means that beyond sharing, you will need to know about SEO, keywords, long-tail searches, and more.
Fortunately, there are a ton of blogs out there that explain how all of this works. For a blog addict, they should not be hard to find. Following these steps will ensure that others will love your big blog.