So you want to start a blog? I’m guessing, since you’re reading this post, you’re in one of two camps:
- You know just enough to be dangerous
- You have no clue where to begin
In either case, you need some help if you want to save yourself some valuable time.
These 4 tips will save countless hours when planning for the setup of your new blog.
Why You Need These Tips
As with everything in life, it all starts with planning.
You wouldn’t build a house without a blue print would you? You don’t go shopping without knowing what you want to purchase. You don’t start coding without knowing your requirements. Heck, you don’t start any type of project without doing the proper planning. If you do, the result typically doesn’t turn out the way you envisioned.
The same holds true with blogging. Sure you can jump right in and start cranking out posts in WordPress, but if you don’t have a plan, your blog will fail!
These tips are based upon my past experiences. These are real life examples, not some pie in the sky theory that hasn’t been practiced.
Let’s get into the planning tips…
The 4 Tips To Save Countless Hours When Starting A Blog
1. Follow A Guide
There are countless guides on the Internet on how to start a blog. Read them! Don’t assume you know what to do. Even if you think you know, read these guides.
At a minimum, you’ll glean a tip or two that will save you time down the road. Your total investment, maybe 30 minutes of reading. It’s well worth it.
Most guides will cover the following basics:
- Picking A Domain Name
- Selecting A Hosting Provider
- Using WordPress
- Writing Your Content
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
I can’t stress this point enough. This will save you re-work down the road.
2. Plan The Setup Of Your Blog
Most new bloggers think, I just need to install WordPress and I’ll be off and running. What they fail to comprehend is if you don’t set things up properly at the beginning, it will lead to more re-work. Who has time for that? Get it right the first time, and you can focus on your content and gaining traffic for your blog.
Get your permalink structure right before you publish your first post. This is important for SEO purposes. If you fail to address this now, you’ll have all kinds of problems down the road. Sure you can change this structure at any time, but be prepared with having to implement redirects for all of your posts. More time consuming administrative work that you don’t need.
Think about where you want to install the WordPress instance on your site. Is it going to be at the main domain, in a sub-directory, or as part of a sub-domain? Think it doesn’t matter? It most certainly does if your at all concerned with SEO.
3. Pick A Theme (and stick to it)
The theme is the basic design of your site.
If you’re just starting off, pick a theme and move on. You’ll have plenty of opportunities down the road to change the theme. It really shouldn’t be something you put a lot of focus into right now.
When it comes to theme’s, you have two choices — free and premium (paid). Personally, I would go with the free route if you are just getting into blogging.
A light weight free theme I’ve used in the past that is both fast and optimized for SEO is the Swift Basic Theme. There are a ton of things you can do to customize the design of this theme. I’ve had great success with it in the past.
If you’re interested in the premium route, look into the Genesis Framework (that’s what I use on Blogging Flail). There are many child themes to choose from that run with this framework, and you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to find the right one. Since you’re just starting off, keep it simple, and use the Prose Theme.
4. Don’t Pay For Backlinks
Once you have your blog up and running, you’ll be dying to get traffic, comments, and social media shares. This is by far the most frustrating part of blogging, and the primary reason so many blogs fail.
If you’ve done any research on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you know a key component of Google’s algorithm is the number of links that are pointing to your site.
You’ll be tempted to do anything, and I mean anything, to get these links. Under no circumstances should you pay anyone for a link. Not only is it a waste of money, but your blog could end up being penalized by Google which will only hurt your rankings.
One of the easiest and cheapest ways of getting links is by using a service called Fiverr. For a measly $5, someone you’ve never met will give you 100’s of links or offer you a guest post on some high Page Rank blog. Don’t fall for it, it won’t help, I’ve done it before.
Wrapping It Up
It all comes down to planning. Resist the urge of jumping in to create your blog as soon as you have an idea. A little bit of planning will go a long way and save a tremendous amount of re-work (time) in the long run.