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A Step-by-Step Guide for Writers

Starting a blog can seem like a lot of work -- but we’ve made it easy with this step-by-step guide just for writers. Here’s how to start a blog from scratch.

So that you need to begin a weblog?

For those who’re a author, it makes good sense: You should use a weblog to function your writer platform, market your e-book or discover new freelance writing shoppers.

However the place do you start? Although you’ve received the writing half down, the remainder of the method might be overwhelming. Internet hosting, themes and all that different techy stuff can stand in your method for years.

Nicely, immediately is the day that ends. We’re right here that will help you navigate each step of beginning a weblog, from selecting your area identify to publishing your first publish.

Right here’s the right way to begin a weblog as a author:

1. Decide a website identify

First issues first: The place are individuals going to seek out you on-line? As a author, you’re your model, so we advocate utilizing some variation of your identify. To examine availability, merely go to Bluehost and click on on “new area.” Or, search this useful domain-name checker!

Even when yourname.com isn’t out there, you may discover it with a unique ending, reminiscent of yourname.co or yourname.io. In case you’re tremendous dedicated to this entire writing factor, you may as well  attempt tacking a “author” onto the top of your identify, as in susanshainwriter.com.

Alternatively, you might go for a artistic weblog identify — however keep in mind your pursuits and audience might change because the years go by. Once I began running a blog in 2012, I targeted solely on journey journey and named my weblog Journey Junkette. After increasing  my area of interest and providers, I switched to susanshain.com as a result of my identify gained’t change, it doesn’t matter what I’m running a blog about.

Though it wasn’t an enormous deal, I want I’d began out utilizing my identify because the area, and would advise you to not make the identical mistake I did.

When you’ve settled in your area (or domains, for those who’re like many people writerpreneurs!), don’t wait to purchase it. Even for those who’re not prepared to start out a weblog proper now, domains are low cost — and also you don’t need to danger dropping the one you need.

Earlier than you truly click on “buy,” although, you may need to learn the subsequent step; we’re going to inform you how you can get your area identify free of charge.

2. Buy a internet hosting package deal

Now it’s time to decide on an internet host. Your internet hosting firm does all of the technical magic to ensure your website truly seems when individuals sort your area identify into their browser. In different phrases, it’s fairly essential.

Whereas we use MediaTemple to host The Write Life, it’s sometimes higher for blogs with plenty of visitors, so that you in all probability don’t want that in the event you’re simply beginning out.

For a brand new weblog, attempt Bluehost. It’s utilized by prime bloggers all over the world and is understood for its customer support and reliability. Bluehost’s primary internet hosting plan prices $three.95 per thirty days — and as a bonus, the corporate throws in your area identify free of charge once you enroll.

Be sure you put your buy (and all of the purchases listed on this publish) on a enterprise bank card and hold the receipts; as investments in your small business, they’re tax deductible.

three. Set up WordPress

We’re virtually by means of with the techy stuff, we promise!

You’ve gotten a number of totally different decisions for running a blog platforms, however we like WordPress greatest. Not solely is it completely free, however it’s straightforward to study, gives all kinds of themes, and has an internet group and abundance of plugins that make running a blog accessible to everyone.

You’ll be able to learn complete directions for putting in WordPress in your new weblog right here. When you’ve accomplished that, you possibly can formally log into your weblog and begin making it look fairly.

four. Put your website in “upkeep mode”

Whereas working in your weblog’s look, you may need to put up an “beneath development” signal to greet guests.

You don’t need any potential shoppers or readers to Google your identify and discover a half-finished website. (You could assume you’re going to complete establishing your weblog tomorrow, however everyone knows how writers procrastinate when there are not any looming deadlines!)

To arrange upkeep mode,  simply obtain this plugin. In your upkeep web page, you may even embrace a hyperlink to your e-mail publication or social media profiles so guests have an alternate means of getting in contact with you. Once you’re able to share your weblog with the world, merely deactivate and delete the plugin.

5. Select a theme

Now we’re attending to the enjoyable stuff! Your theme determines what your weblog appears like, and also you’ve obtained a whole lot of choices to select from. Sure, there’s a variety of free themes, however when you’re critical about running a blog, the customization and help provided by paid themes can’t be beat.

Right here at The Write Life, we use Genesiswhich is likely one of the hottest premium themes out there. One other well-liked and versatile theme is Thesis. On my first weblog, I used Elegant Themeswhich has a wide array of lovely themes at an inexpensive worth. All of those themes include limitless help — important once you’re beginning a weblog.

If you’d like your weblog to be a advertising device on your writing providers, you may search for a theme with a static residence web page (like mine). That approach, your website will look skilled and interesting to everybody — whether or not they’re there to learn your newest submit or rent you for a venture.

No matter you do, ensure that your theme is “responsive,” which suggests it routinely adjusts to look good on any gadget. Since greater than half of web site visits are made on cell phones, that is essential on your weblog’s aesthetic.

6. Create a header

I feel it’s all the time value getting a customized header for a brand new weblog.

You possibly can ask your favourite graphic designer, create one with Canva  or order one on Fiverr. I’ve had nice luck getting headers and different graphics designed on this on-line market, the place hundreds of individuals supply their providers for $5 per gig.

7. Write your pages

Although you’re beginning a weblog and never a static web site, you’ll nonetheless need a number of pages that don’t change. (“Pages” are totally different from “posts,” that are the every day/weekly/month-to-month entries you publish in your weblog.)

Listed here are some pages you might need to create:

About

The about web page is steadily touted as one of many most-viewed pages on blogs, so don’t overlook it. Embrace knowledgeable headshot and temporary bio, and clarify why you’re running a blog and why the reader ought to care. What makes you an skilled? How are you going to assist them?

Don’t be afraid to let your character shine via — running a blog is a private affair!

Contact

You need your readers to have the ability to get in contact with you, proper? Then you definitely’ll want a contact web page.

It doesn’t should be something fancy; simply inform your readers how greatest to succeed in you. Keep away from placing your full e-mail handle on right here, as spambots might get ahold of it. To work round that, you should use a contact type plugin, which we’ll hyperlink to under, or just write one thing like “yourname AT yoursite DOT com.”

Portfolio

It’s your weblog, so flaunt what you’ve acquired! Present your potential shoppers and readers that you simply deserve their time and a spotlight with examples of your previous and current work.

You possibly can see examples of nice author portfolios right here; personally, I really like Sara Frandina’s.

Assets

Do you could have an inventory of favourite writing instruments? Or perhaps books which have impressed you? Readers love assets pages, and for bloggers, they may also be a intelligent solution to earn revenue from affiliate gross sales. Take a look at The Write Life’s assets web page for inspiration.

Begin right here

You in all probability gained’t want this at first, however a “begin right here” web page is sensible after you have an honest quantity of content material. It’s an incredible alternative to precise your mission and spotlight your greatest work, so your readers can see the worth of your weblog with out wading by means of months or years value of posts.

Joanna Penn does a great job with hers, encouraging readers to obtain her e book after which select a subject that pursuits them.

Work with me

For those who’re utilizing your new weblog to promote your writing providers, this web page is important. Be clear about how one can assist individuals and the way they will get in contact with you. You may even listing packages of various providers, like Lisa Rowan does on her website.

When you’ve arrange all of your pages, be sure they’re simply accessible from the house web page. In the event that they’re not displaying up, you’ll have to regulate your menus.

eight. Set up plugins

Plugins are nice for everyone, particularly these of us who’re much less snug with the technical aspect of issues. Consider them as apps in your weblog; they’re free instruments you possibly can set up to do quite a lot of issues.

Although having plenty of plugins can undermine the performance and safety of your weblog, there are a number of we advocate everybody look into:

Higher Click on-to-Tweet: Encourage readers to share your content material by together with a click-to-tweet field inside your posts. This plugin makes it straightforward.

Contact Type 7: If you wish to keep away from placing your e mail handle in your contact web page, use this plugin, which is ceaselessly up to date and receives good critiques.

Whats up Bar: Need to get readers to join your free publication? Or need to announce the discharge of your newest guide? This plugin lets you create a banner for the highest of your weblog.

Mashshare: These share buttons are just like  those you see right here on The Write Life. One other minimalist  choice is Easy Share Buttons Adder. It doesn’t matter which plugin you select; it’s simply necessary to  make social sharing straightforward on your readers.

Google Analytics Dashboard: This plugin tracks the guests to your website so you’ll be able to see what individuals are all for and the way they’re discovering you.

Akismet: One of many complications of running a blog is the plethora of spam feedback. This plugin will assist you scale back the variety of spammers that sneak by means of.

WP Tremendous Cache: One other plugin that’s not attractive, however is necessary. Caching permits your weblog to load quicker — pleasing each your readers and Google.

Yoast search engine optimisation: This all-in-one search engine optimization plugin helps you optimize your posts so you will get natural visitors from search engines like google and yahoo.

9. Set up widgets

In case your weblog has a sidebar, you may need to spruce it up with a number of widgets, aka small bins with totally different features. That stated, the minimalist look is in — so skip this step if you wish to hold your sidebar easy.

Listed here are some concepts:

About field

You’ve in all probability seen this on plenty of blogs; it’s a field within the higher proper hand nook welcoming you to the location. Take a look at The Write Life editor Jessica Lawlor’s weblog for a superb instance.

Social media icons

Make it straightforward on your readers to comply with you on social media by together with hyperlinks to your profiles within the sidebar. Your theme will in all probability embrace this function, but when not, right here’s a primary tutorial.

In style posts

When you’ve been running a blog for some time, you may need to spotlight your hottest posts within the sidebar, which you are able to do with a primary textual content widget. We do that right here on The Write Life so yow will discover our hottest content material shortly and simply.

10. Buy backup software program

Don’t overlook this necessary step simply since you don’t have content material but! It’s higher to put in this software program early than to start out running a blog and overlook till it’s too late.

Free choices exist, however I’ve by no means had good luck with them — and for one thing as essential as my whole weblog, I don’t thoughts paying just a little additional. (It’s a enterprise write-off, keep in mind?!) In style backup choices embrace VaultPress, BackupBuddy and blogVault.

11. Begin your e-mail listing

I do know, I do know — you haven’t even began running a blog and I already need you to construct an e-mail listing. Belief me; you’ll be so glad you probably did.

Alexis Grant, founding father of The Write Life, agrees with me. “If I might return and do one factor in a different way for my enterprise, it will be beginning a publication earlier,” she writes. “My e-mail listing is THAT necessary for my enterprise, bringing visitors to my web site, buys of my merchandise and alternatives I by no means might’ve anticipated.”

Even when you don’t have something to ship, simply begin accumulating e-mail addresses. One of the simplest ways to entice individuals to enroll is by providing a free e book or useful resource. For an amazing instance, take a look at The Write Life’s Freelance Author Pitch Guidelines.

My favourite e-mail publication platform is Mailchimp. It’s intuitive, enjoyable and free for as much as 2,000 subscribers. There are numerous  instruments to select from, although; listed here are a number of extra choices for constructing your e-mail record.

When you’ve created your record, encourage your readers to enroll  by including a subscription field to your sidebar, and perhaps even putting in a plugin like PopupAlly.

12. Write!

For those who actually need to begin a weblog, you’re going to wish to…begin running a blog.

We advocate creating an editorial calendar — even when it’s simply you running a blog. It doesn’t should be fancy; it will possibly even be scribbled out in a pocket book.

What’s necessary is that you simply plan your posts prematurely, so you possibly can maintain monitor of your concepts and persist with a schedule. It’s additionally an opportunity to evaluate and tweak your content material technique. What do you need to write about? How will you draw readers in?

Don’t overlook you’re writing for the online, so your type must be totally different than should you have been writing for print. Maintain your tone conversational, use “you” phrases to talk to the reader and break up textual content with bullet factors and sub-headers. Lastly, maintain search engine optimisation in thoughtsand seize a function photograph from websites like Unsplash and Pexels to make every publish shine

13. Promote, promote, promote

You’re virtually there! Now that you simply’ve began writing, it’s time to get readers. And I hate to be the bearer of dangerous information, however for a lot of writers, that is probably the most surprisingly time-consuming facet of running a blog. Although it’d be good if we might simply write (that’s what we like to do, proper?), it’s nicer to have individuals truly learn your work.

You possibly can attempt visitor posting on different blogs, reposting on websites like Medium and LinkedIn, or together with hyperlinks when writing responses in boards, Fb teams, or on Quora. Simply ensure you’re including worth — and never spamming individuals together with your URL.

Social media is one other nice strategy to get extra visitors and develop your writer following. As an alternative of merely tooting your personal horn, be sure you work together with editors, writers and bloggers, too.Share their content material together with your group, touch upon their posts and help them when and the place you’ll be able to. Hopefully, they’ll return the favor!

14. Get assist when you want it

In case you really feel caught at any level, don’t be afraid to spend money on a course or e-book like these:

Typically somewhat outdoors assistance is all of the increase you want.

Aside from that, making a profitable writing weblog is about onerous work and consistency. Maintain posting useful and interesting content material, optimizing it for search engine marketing and sharing it together with your networks — and also you’ll quickly see your new weblog begin to blossom.

Congratulations, you’ve now formally began a weblog as a author. Guess it’s time to get writing!

This submit incorporates affiliate hyperlinks. Meaning if you are going to buy via our hyperlinks, you’re supporting The Write Life — and we thanks for that!

This submit was up to date in February 2019 so it’s extra helpful and related for our readers!