How to Create a Blog: A Beginner’s Guide

How to Create a Blog: A Beginner's Guide

 

I talk from time to time with college classes full of promising future journalists and writers. They will often ask about how you can write for a living. My advice to them tends to always be the same: start a block.

Blogging doesn’t seem to be in vogue these days, compared to becoming a “YouTuber” (also known as a vlogger), an Instagram / TikTok “Influencer”, or even a podcaster. But a complete blog, a term that dates back to the late 1990s, when “weblogs” began, is where the actual writing takes place.

If you’re not clear about the term, a blog is a regularly updated website that consists of posts that are usually displayed in reverse chronological order, so the most recent entry is the first one you see. Sometimes blogs are embedded in larger websites. Other times, the blog is all over the place. Content can range from personal essays in the manner of a diary to full-length reports and beyond. It can be written by a person or group where individuals re-enter.

The blog is not like what they have become social media. Twitter is called microblogging service because the posts are short. Facebook status updates are pretty much the same, although you can write longer pieces on them. While you can (and should) have images on your blog, no one would call Instagram or TikTok a blogging service, even if you can create smart hashtags on every post.

Blogs are mostly writers who want to get information quickly and receive instant feedback. If it’s you, but you have no idea where to start, here are the things to keep in mind and the services you might want to try to get them posted in bulk.


First steps

Throwing a block can be daunting. Here’s a quick list of things to keep in mind (thanks to Ryan Robinson’s article and infographic on RyRob.com, which you should read).

  • What will you write? Choosing a niche topic is key, unless you just want to make an online journal about yourself, which is a legitimate approach. But think about it: every time you hand out tips to someone, you shouldn’t hand them over everyone?
  • What will you call it? Your blog’s catchy headlines can get you noticed.
  • Do you want to have a domain name? Professionals have a domain (you know, like PCMag.com), but that will cost a few dollars a year and is not strictly necessary while you find your way.
  • To create About About pages. You’ll need more than blog posts, such as permanent biographies, contact pages, and more, depending on what you do.
  • Think about your schedule. The success of a blog depends on many things such as writing skills, interesting topics and more, but regular updates are the real key. If you can’t commit to a schedule, don’t worry. Remember: the average blog post takes almost four hours to create. But the more time you spend on a post, the better the results. According to Orbit Media Studios, the average blog post as of 2020 is about 1,269 words.
  • How will you create an audience? We can’t help it much: there are many articles and tips on how to do it. And if you want to achieve the ultimate goal: financial independence through blogs, also known as make money by writing—you will want to consider all the options. (Your chances are almost as remote as writing a novel and instantly achieving Stephen King-level success. But you have to start somewhere.)

There are other things to consider. Will you blog with a group? If so, you need tools that allow multiple users. Will you have an audio component, such as a podcast? You’ll need web hosting that allows you to upload and index audio with podcast syndication lists (if podcasting is the most important point, use a specific podcasting host like SoundCloud, Buzzsprout, or Transistor).

The service you choose as a blog posting tool, also known as your content management system (CMS), affects many decisions. Sometimes the CMS goes hand in hand with the complete creation of a website, sometimes not. This is what we will address below.


Create a website, add a blog

Website creators make creating an entire site a cake. Go to the online service, set up an account, and create pages directly in your browser. Almost all offer some sort of blogging option. For the most part, blogging is a secondary aspect of creating a general website.

Wix Blogs

There are two of the creators of Editors’ Choice websites WixWix i doubtsDoubt. Our analysts say Duda’s blogging feature is only “useful” at best, but they are fully praised by Wix’s rich blogs (pictured above). You can schedule posts, apply tags, provide RSS feeds, receive comments from Facebook or Disqus, and write posts entirely in a dedicated blog posting interface. (But don’t. Always write your blog posts to a word processor. Losing a long blog post on a web-based form is crazy. At least install the Chrome Typio Form Recovery extension for save almost everything you wrote in one shock.)

The Wix blog feature lets you add photos and videos and format everything to your liking. There are a lot of predefined templates, so you won’t have to design anything. Try it for free.

The rest of the website creators we reviewed usually offer blogs. There are also many web hosting services, such as Bluehost and GoDaddy, that include built-in website creation tools and blogs. If you already have a website with one of them, adding a blog is an easy option. Most use WordPress; more information below.


Use a specific platform for blogs

While the blogosphere wasn’t what it used to be, there are still sites and services that suit those who would like to create a blog and not much else. These are more for tech savvy guys who can fix HTML and scripting issues sometimes, depending on the service.

WordPress.com

Let’s talk about it again WordPress.comWordPress.com. We include it in our website creator summary because it is more than just a blogging tool. Don’t confuse it with the free open source CMS software you can get WordPress.orgWordPress.org, which can be installed on almost any web hosting service server, even for you. WordPress is famous for supporting plugins that extend its functionality far beyond the basics, adding from e-commerce to photo galleries.

You can find WordPress pre-installed with many web hosts. Sometimes these hosts offer extras like data backups. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll find it easier to use than in WordPress ’own commercial hosting effort: WordPress.com. At the same time, WordPress.com is limited in extras. It is complicated. For a complete breakdown, read Getting Started with WordPress.

It is estimated that 40.6% of the Internet runs on WordPress software, with the support of 14.7% of the top 100 websites. So learning it is a great skill to have as a budding professional blogger. Plus, it’s one of the few tools that makes it a little painless to transfer your blog to a new service if you want to do it in the future.

Blogger

There are other platform-specific platforms. Owned by Google BloggerBlogger is free and all sites are there first name.blogspot.com domains unless you buy a domain and can use Google tools to add advertising and (hopefully) make money. TypePadTypePad offers a free 14-day trial before you start paying $ 8.95 a month to get started, but it includes an assigned domain name and unlimited storage. There are even Postach.ioPostach.io, which lets you create a blog from a notebook full of things stored in Evernote.

GhostGhost presents itself as a “professional publishing platform” and started on Kickstarter. It has plans that empower individual bloggers (starting at $ 108 a year), as well as complete teams, if you want Ghost to host the site. You have the option to obtain the Ghost software and install it on your own web hosting servers. This is the CMS you probably want for a minimalist group blog that can go, especially if you think WordPress is too busy and complicated and you don’t need the extras that WordPress can offer, such as e-commerce.

There are also several high-end CMS, such as Joomla and Drupal, that offer blogging features and more. Keep in mind that working with these tools will be more helpful, but if you’re someone who likes everything “just like that,” it’s probably the way to go.

If you have developer stops, there are other tools you can install to create lightweight, distraction-free writing-oriented blogs, such as Bolt and Svbtle.

Some people subscribe to the “lazy blogging” process: write your thoughts to Google Docs or your preferred cloud-based word processor and then share the document with your friends. Anyway, your opinion is all you want and it’s less public than making a note on Facebook. Of course, this could also work in an email.

I think

If you want to have a blog-like diary just for you—A real online diary— but you want to store it completely online to access it from anywhere I thinkI think. It’s free, unless you want multiple magazines or additional security beyond password access. The Pro version costs $ 19.99 a year.


Use a third-party editor

When using a third-party publishing service, you are limited to being a small fish in a larger bowl. The advantage is that you are already part of a site that already has an integrated audience: people who could claim your writing if you market it well (true, it would be a influence). The biggest advantage is that you can focus primarily on writing and not worry about site maintenance.

Medium

The poster-child for that is MediumMedium. If you’re a reader, it has more content than you could ever consume. But it will quickly annoy you with $ 5 a month requests to read it all, even if you can open an incognito window to access it. As a writer, Medium is a great choice for simple writing; its minimalist interface generates beautiful, easy-to-read posts. Which makes sense, since Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter and Blogger, essentially founded Medium as an anti-Twitter. You don’t even need a password to get an average account.

You can use Medium to create your own “publication” or submit your work to other Medium publications in hopes of being “published,” but you must first write the entire document without any warranty. The term for this is to write “in specifications.”

Any online search will show so many posts indicating why Medium is a bad idea (you don’t have full control, promotion is tough, features are limited), as it will ask you to use it (simplicity, analysis, integrated audience, associated program to make money). Some major publications (like us) use Medium to reprint their own work from other sites, to help drive traffic to their main site.

Regardless of the tools you use to make blogs, the goal is to stay on top of it, share your work, and submit it, and try to get your writing noticed. Even if it never gets you out of the dark, it’s a practice that any real writer should pursue in their thriving career.