I’ve been blogging over fifteen years now, so it always surprises me how many people are still looking for information on how to get started with blogging. I’ve decided to start a blogging section on this site. Here you’ll find my basic blogging instructions for beginners.
As time goes by I will probably write about more complex blogging issues, but why not start at the beginning? If you have any specific questions about blogging, leave questions in the comment section on this page. I will be happy to help in any way I can.
Do you really need a blog?
The first thing to ask yourself is whether you really need a blog. With today’s social media, it could be easier and more effective to start a Facebook group or Google Plus community. Go where the people are.
Social media groups and communities are definitely easier to post to, and your messages are more likely to go viral. Blogging is a lot harder to succeed at, and most blogs hit the bit-bucket or at least are severely neglected within a few years, so don’t start one unless you’re sure that’s what you need.
Why do you need a blog?
Do you need a blog to promote your profession? Do you want to try to make money with blogging? Do you want a blog to learn to express yourself in writing better?
These are all valid reasons to start a blog – and surely there are many other good reasons to start blogging. You are the people I’m writing these basic blogging instructions for. I want you to succeed, and I have a talent for explaining things in easy-to-understand terms, so I hope you’ll get help from my blogging articles.
Blogging to learn to write better
If you want to learn to write better, blogging is a good way to do that. If your intention isn’t to make money, but just to write about something you care about, why not start at Blogger.Com or WordPress.Com? My first blogs were at Blogger.Com and I still use some of them. Example: Linda’s Life in Idaho
Blogger.Com will allow you to place advertising on your blog. WordPress.Com will not.
There’s a BIG difference between WordPress.Com and self-hosted WordPress.Org blogs.
1. With WordPress.Com you’re blogging for free on a website owned by someone else. You agree to blog by their rules.
2. With WordPress.Org, you place WordPress files on your own server space (usually rented from a hosting company). To do that most people have to buy a domain name (renewal fee annually) and hosting server space (monthly fee). Expect to pay about $120 annually, more or less. Fees vary depending on which companies you deal with.
Because of the costs involved, it is important to consider your options carefully before you get started. If you want to try blogging on someone else’s site, remember that later, if you decide blogging is something you love and will enjoy doing for years, you can probably transfer those posts to a self-hosted WordPress site.
Here are two recommended free sites for beginning bloggers
WordPress.Com is a wonderful site for people who don’t mind putting their blog on someone else’s server. This is for people who don’t want to make money with their blog, and who would like the support of other bloggers in a community atmosphere.
Blogger.Com is great for easy beginner blogging, with options to place ads for money-making purposes. This site is owned by Google.
I have blogs at both these sites – but they are not my money-making blogs. I do have a few advertisements on my Blogger.Com blogs but very rarely get any clicks on them. No clicks, no money – that’s how blog advertising is. I’m sure there are some people out there making good money with a Blogger.Com blog – but that’s not my experience.
Some people blog at Weebly.Com, another free blogging site. I’ve never used their services and can’t say whether I could recommend them. I’ve read about difficulties in getting Weebly blog posts transferred to WordPress sites.
Blogging for money
If you’re considering blogging for money-making purposes, it is true that a Facebook group won’t do. Money making opportunities exist for Facebook, but the big money is still in blogging, if that’s what you’re aiming for. You could advertise your blog on Facebook, but that’s something I’ll have to cover in a different article.
Blog writing isn’t easy money, and usually isn’t going to happen quickly. Blogging will require sustained effort over the course of many years in order to approach a healthy and dependable income for your family. As a professional blogger you will always be learning new skills.
If you are committed to earning money as a blogger, you should have your own domain name (renewal fee every year) and a server to use (hosting fees due monthly). That’s the best way to gain traction as a professional blogger.
There are many blogging platforms, but by far, the best is WordPress – which comes from WordPress.Org. This Bennachti site is built on WordPress, as are all my privately owned websites. WordPress makes life easier for website owners.
I’ve tried other content management systems like PhpNuke, Drupal and Joomla, but always went back to WordPress because it is easy for me to understand and make improvements on. I need easy-to-use blogging software.
Though WordPress is easy to use, there’s a learning curve, and a WordPress site must be constantly maintained and kept secure from spammers and hackers. I can teach you how to do that, and plan to write about those issues in upcoming articles in this basic blogging instructions series.
Blogging for your profession
If you’re looking into getting a blog because you need a site for your profession, it is best to do it like a professional blogger would – by buying your own domain name and renting server space for hosting. That’s the best way to uphold a professional reputation.
If you put your professional site on someone else’s server, it could damage your professional reputation. Consider what the public wants to see, and invest the money for a site worthy of your business intentions.
You can set up WordPress to look like a website rather than a blog. An example is my River Girl book site. I have a blog there but it isn’t on the front page.
Basic blogging instructions, to get started as a professional blogger
1. Buy a domain name. I recommend GoDaddy.Com for domains.
2. Purchase server space. I’m using Kualo.Com and have been there ten years. They have great customer service – I always get rapid replies to my questions through their online help desk. Wherever you decide to get your hosting space, remember to ask for a cpanel site with Softaculous Auto Installer, a utility that will help you set up your WordPress blog automatically.
3. Go to your cpanel, and install WordPress via Softaculous. This is easy to do. I’ll post more information about Softaculous in another article in this series.
4. Install the blog in the root directory, not in a sub-directory of your server space.
More basic blogging instructions later
Blogging, on whatever blogging platform you choose, is a complex topic. It will require many articles to answer all the questions you’re going to have.
Please feel free to ask questions in the comment section of this page – I will be happy to answer in future articles.
Also, if you have any experience with blogging, you’re welcome to discuss it here.