You may have heard this before, but - if you fail to plan, then you’re planning to fail. This saying is really good advice to bear in mind if you want to start a blog. Planning is a really important first step. Hint: if you plan correctly, the rest of this guide to start a blog in 2019 will flow easily for you.
The Phases of Planning Your Blog
So let’s break the planning phase into it’s main sections:
- You need to decide on the topic (or topics) that you will be blogging about - loop back to the previous section if you need a recap.
- You need to decide on your blog name (something related to your topic) - loop back to the previous section if you need a recap.
- Next, you will choose a domain name - this is really easy if you’ve decided on your blog name. Your blog name isthe domain name you will choose (just with .com appended) - only deviate from this if you’re servicing a local audience where, for example, .uk or .co.uk would make sense. In all other scenarios - 99,9% of the time, stick to .com.
- You need to decide on a blogging platform
- You will pick a web host.
Personally, we recommend you use Bluehost and WordPress. This guide continues on the assumption that this is your choice. Which, as a beginner, you shouldn’t really look to deviate from.
If you already have a domain name reserved, you can jump straight ahead to Step 2: Set Up Your Blog.
Choose Your Domain Name
The domain name for this website is blogired.com. From anywhere in the world, if you type this in - you’ll arrive at our home page. Hi! Welcome. So, a few good tips to follow for choosing a good domain name:
- A good domain name is descriptive - describing (or, at the least, inferring) the purpose of your blog
- Your domain name should be unique - it should stand out and be memorable
- Avoid hyphens and numbers in your domain name - it’s just not a good idea, unless the context makes sense.
Want to see if your preferred domain name is available?
[Domain Name Search]
You may well find that your ideal domain name / blog name has already been taken. If this is the case, just get a bit more creative (and consider alternative words). Some really good guidance from our side (based on making this mistake before):
- Don’t fall into the trap of appending “a” or “the”. It looks tacky - you know it does!
- Whilst you can make an offer for your preferred domain name - most of them are reserved and available for purchase - don’t! Cyber squatting is an unfortunate (and opportunistic) aspect of the internet. Don’t feed the problem.
- No, hyphens don’t help.
- Once again - stay away from .net, .org and .whatever.
By the way - unless you’re blogging about yourself (or your daily routines), we really don’t think your blog name should be your own name. It’s very - limiting. Also, from an aspirational perspective, you’re blog should reflect who you are (and your values) - but you are not your blog.
As for the domain extension, we think we’ve conveyed our view strongly enough. .com, and only use a local alternative if the circumstances make sense.
Choose a Blogging Platform
A blogging platform, which is also sometimes called a content management system (although this means something a bit more than a blog), is the software that you load onto your website to power your blog.
At Blogired, we have a great deal of experience with a number of leading blogging platforms. We could recommend quite a few (and for different reasons). However, as a beginner - you shouldn’t look any further that WordPress. WordPress is the world leader in powering blogs and, since it’s humble beginnings, has grown to be far more that just a blogging platform. As your blog grows - WordPress can scale with your aspirations.
Choose a Web Host
A web host (or hosting service provider) - we also call this the blog host - is a service provider that enables your blog to be visible on the internet. So, in a nutshell - you need a web host to make your blog available on the internet.
But, this is also an important decision. If you choose the wrong blog host, you might have a slow loading blog or issues transferring your blog elsewhere in the future, etc. That’s part of why we recommend BlueHost. They provide affordable entry level options that punch above their weight, but also have more advanced options to upgrade to as your blog evolves.
Use this link to get a starting special with BlueHost. You will then get a reduced rate for your initial period - which can be 12 months, 24 months or 36 months. Signing up for 3 years might be a bit more to cough up at the beginning, but they you’ve locked in the lower rate for 3 years. Oh, you’ll also get a free domain name and SSL certificate for your blog.