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For a very long time, I have been postponing the creation of a blog because I didn’t know how to get started. In this article, I will explain how you can start a blog based on my personal experience.
It is important that you can define the purpose of your blog. Only when the purpose is crystal clear, you can develop something extraordinary. A blog is essentially a digital business: You need to be well-aware of what product you are offering, who your target audience is, and why the product is relevant to them.
While the development of a blog does not require a lot of technical skills, you need to be clear on the purpose and the topic/niche of your blog. Subsequently, you need to launch the blog on the internet by selecting a website hosting company, and deciding whether to use a blogging platform or creating your website from scratch.Table of Contents
- 1. Determine the purpose of your blog
- 2. Choose your topic/niche for your blog
- 3. Select a website hosting company
- 4. Decide whether you want to use a blogging platform or create your own website
- 5. Don’t worry, support is available
- Conclusion: Now it is your turn to make your dreams come alive!
1. Determine the purpose of your blog
One of the biggest mistakes of starting bloggers is that their purpose is not well-defined. I started my blog for a variety of reasons:
- Share knowledge: I have always liked to provide people with valuable knowledge and actionable insights. Being able to help other people makes me happy.
- Adventure: To start a blog was my first internet endeavor. I realized I would have to overcome a lot of challenges and learn new skills. However, that thought also excited me because I have always been keen to increase my knowledge.
- Monetization: The decision to start a blog was very much inspired by a book by Timothy Ferris called the 4-Hour Workweek. The book is about achieving financial independence instead of living from paycheck to paycheck. This is also my ambition! I realized that a blog does not require a lot of financial resources to start. It essentially limits the risk to the purchase of hosting space and a web domain. However, the creation of high-quality, engaging, and unique content is quite time-consuming.
Only when the purpose of your blog is crystal clear, you can develop something extraordinary. A blog is essentially a digital business: You need to be well-aware of what product you are offering, who your target audience is, and why the product is relevant to them.
2. Choose your topic/niche for your blog
Your blog needs to cover a topic about which you are passionate and knowledgeable. It is so much easier to write about something that you truly like compared to something for which you have little to no interest. We are also much more resourceful about topics we are interested in. Passion and knowledge are often strongly correlated.
The reason I choose personal finance, expat finance, and entrepreneurship is that I am genuinely interested in these topics. I worked as a banker for almost 9 years. Since 2008, I have also been investing in the financial markets and I have helped fund businesses as part of crowdfunding campaigns. You can find more information about my background here. In short, these are the subjects I enjoy talking about. What about you? What are you passionate about?
3. Select a website hosting company to start a blog
To start a blog, you will need a hosting space. There are many hosting companies out there. My website is hosted by SiteGround because of the following reasons:
- SiteGround is a high-speed cutting-edge platform with extraordinary customer support and the highest level of server uptime. Their staff is very customer-orientated and willing to go the extra mile to solve any technical issues you might experience;
- The Company has 6 data centers across the world: 1 in the USA (Iowa), 2 in Asia (1 in Australia and 1 in Singapore), 3 in Europe (1 in Germany, 1 in the UK, and 1 in the Netherlands). The location of the data center impacts the ranking of your blog in the search engine results. It is an important driver regarding the overall traffic on your website;
- SiteGround offers different packages for different needs. The pricing for new clients is advantageous and allows you to lock-in the introduction price for up to 3 years. It is strongly advisable to do so, so you can benefit from beneficial pricing for a longer time and reach your breakeven point faster;
- 30 days money-back guarantee.
4. Decide whether you want to use a blogging platform or create your own website
Now you have a website hosting space, the next step is to decide whether you will build your blog from scratch or make use of a Content Management System (CMS).
Because I do not possess website coding skills and because of its time efficiency, I went for a CMS called WordPress. There are several CMS out there, but WordPress is by far the most popular one. According to Joost De Valk from Yoast, WordPress is the #1 CMS with a market share of 39% as of November 2020. The #2 CMS is Shopify with a market share of barely 3.1%. Another important consideration for me was that big corporations trust WordPress, for example, Microsoft News, Facebook News, TED Blog, BBC America, The Walt Disney Company, Vogue, and many others. All major web-hosting providers, including SiteGround, have easy WordPress installation.
You can find a lot of pre-made website templates in WordPress. Although you can have a graphically appealing website up in minutes based on one of these free templates, there are also several disadvantages associated with a lot of them, such as limitations in terms of support, features, and functionality.
After trying out several themes, I quickly experienced unresolvable problems with the layout and/or the loading speed of my website. So, I went with a popular theme called Astra. Astra is well-known to be a fast, light, and highly customizable theme. It has a free and a premium version. Another hugely popular theme is called Divi. Divi is a premium theme that comes with 110 pre-made websites. The pre-made templates include a wide range of websites in art & design, business, lifestyle, and eCommerce.
The key difference between Astra and Divi is that Astra is a theme, while Divi is a theme and a website builder. Choosing between them is mostly a personal preference. Some people prefer to only have a theme or to edit the theme with the website builder of their choice, such as Elementor. The following review might help you decide between Astra and Divi. Both Astra Pro and Divi offer lifetime access, and can be used for unlimited websites. Their lifetime deals are also priced identical at $ 249. There are also annual options, but I like to lock in these prices because they are the heart of your website. This way you can avoid some recurring expenses down the road and the initial payback period is 2.8 years for Divi and 5.3 years for Astra.
5. Don’t worry, support is available
Both SiteGround and Astra / Divi themes offer exceptional support to get you started. There are a lot of tutorials and videos out there to help you get your website up and running.
You could also outsource the entire graphical design of the website to a freelancer specialized in WordPress websites. In that case, you only need to focus on the creation of high-quality content. Fiverr is a popular marketplace where you can hire expert freelancers at a competitive rate.
Conclusion: Now it is your turn to make your dreams come alive!
As you can see, creating your blog is not that complicated. You just need to decide on (1) a website hosting company, (2) a website name, and (3) a Content Management System. You can’t go wrong with having your website run on Astra/Divi theme and hosted on SiteGround. The most important to get started is that you are absolutely clear about the purpose of your blog, and the topic/niche in which you want to specialize. You should cover a topic about which you are truly passionate and knowledgeable.