- Choose a blogging platform and domain name
- Get a logo for your new blog (if you don't have one already)
- Choose blog design/template
- Time required: 15-30 Minutes (more if logo design takes longer)
Free Domain Names
There are lots of blogging platforms for you to choose from, with two of the main ones being Blogger and Wordpress. Both are completely free if you are happy with not having a custom domain name. For example, if you set up a blog with a service this way it would be something like the following:
However, as you can see, it doesn't look very professional and I wouldn't recommend setting it up that way.
Good news though - there are plenty of very low cost ways of setting up a blog with a custom domain name that will help it stand out and appear more professional.
Custom Domain Names
This is probably the most important thing to do when setting up your blog - do this first!
A custom domain name is super important. Think of difference between having 'www.yournewblog.blogspot.com' and 'www.yournewblog.com' - it just looks much, much better, doesn't it?
One way of having a custom domain set up for your blog is to set it up through a hosting company. There are literally thousands of these companies around, although I've found that the best value and service comes from Bluehost - hands down.
For example (at time of writing), you can benefit from all of the following for under $5 per month:
- One click Wordpress blog installation (no messing around with files and uploads)
- A free custom domain name for your blog (see above)
- Fast and reliable blog/website hosting
- All for well under $5 a month (currently $3.95 at time of writing)
Next: Get Your Logo (If You Need One)
If you have a business the chances are that you already have a logo that you can use, or that you know a designer who can help. However, if you need one, there are also free options available when it comes to logo design.
One of my favourites is CoolText - it's a free, no catch logo designer that you can use online. You can be pretty creative with this and you should be able to come up with something unique in a few minutes.
When you have your logo, you just need to upload it to your site. With Wordpress (and just about every other blogging platform) this is easy - you just add it to your site in pretty much the same way that you'd add a picture to a Word document. It really is that simple.
Next: Blog Design - Default/Free Template, Custom Design Or Bespoke Design?
Another choice you'll have to make is what kind of theme you want to use on your blog (another way to think of a theme is to think of the template or overall site design). Again, you have three main options to choose from here:
- You can use a free template, or the default design of the blog
- You can use a custom design
- You can have a bespoke design made up
What's the difference between a custom design and and a bespoke design? Well, a custom design is a template that you can buy from a third party developer, although the same theme will also be available to other blog owners to buy also.
A bespoke design would be a completely unique design that you would have made only for your blog. When it comes to a custom design you can buy them from Themeforest, or similar, and for a bespoke design you'd normally contact a design agency or freelancer.
However, the default Wordpress template that you'll get when you set everything up through Bluehost is really, really good- and it's free. So this doesn't have to cost you anything, at least to start off with.
Then: Blog Objectives - What Do You Want To Achieve With Your Blog?
When you actually have your site built, you'll want to focus your attention on setting goals for your blog. Here are a few important things you might want to consider:
- Are you going to use your blog to drive traffic back to your main site?
- Is your blog going to offer downloads in exchange for contact details itself?
- Is it's primary function to set you or your brand up as a though leader/respected resource for information?
The reality is that you'll probably want your blog to function as a mix of a few different areas. At the very least it's worth thinking about these before you start - good planning never hurt anyone :-)
Then: Blog Content - What Are You Going To Blog About?
Another thing to think about is what exactly you are going to blog about. Some sectors have it much easier than others in this regard. For example, a company involved in the adrenaline sports industry would naturally have exciting material to write about. However, a small accountancy firm might not be so lucky.
The thing to remember is that - whatever sector you are in - there is always something you can write about that will be worth reading. The key is to find an angle that will engage your target audience. For example, if you run a small accountancy firm, you don't have to create content about accounting all of the time - perhaps your blog could be themed around general small business advice and news?
For more information on how to write individual blog posts, please see this post. Also, don't forget that you can hire marketing freelancers to write up blog posts for you - read this guide to find out how.
Then: Post Frequency - How Often Will You Post?
This seems to be quite a hotly debated topic - how often should you post for maximum impact? Some people say you should post once a month, others will say once a week or even daily. I'm not sure of the exact answer myself to be honest, although here are some guidelines that should help:
- Have a look at your competitors and see if there is a trend as to how often they post
- Only post when you can publish something that adds value and should be interesting to your readers - if this is once a week, great. If it's once a month, that's what you should do
- One thing I'd advise against is feeling pressured to put up content and making a bad job of it - that won't help anyone. Just take your time with your content and enjoy creating it!
Now, Just Get Started
Hopefully this has given you an idea as to how you can get going with setting up and running your blog. It easy to get started, and it's definitely worth doing so.
Best of luck and let me know if you have any questions!
By Alan MacDougall
The Revenue Builder Blog is a small business marketing strategy and tips blog designed to help small business owners and startups maximise sales revenue.