How to Start a Blog in a Day
Starting a blog is a great way to learn some essential web, writing and design skills. Plus, blogs can provide great income when successful in communicating valuable information and sending referrals for sales. The key to creating a quality blog is knowing your audience and making sure your content appeals to their needs and desires. If you’re interested in blogging, start here. We’ll walk you through the steps to create a blog in a day.
Step 1. Choose an Audience and Subject
The first step is simple but can easily send you down a spiraling rabbit hole of choices: find your audience and subject. The most important part is the audience. Who are they, and what do they want? What sparks interest for them?
The most obvious path forward is to create an audience based on your own interests. In other words, you’re the first member of this audience.
Now, pick a subject. What are you passionate about? What do you want to learn about? This is where you should start, and remember that you can always refine and change things as you go—and you should because your audience will change too.
A great example of choosing an audience and subject can be gleaned from the Succulents and Sunshine blog. We heard this blogger speak at a conference about how she didn’t know much about keeping succulents in general, let alone in a state with cold winters.
She used that interest as an opportunity to learn more about succulents, care and maintenance through blogging. Now, Succulents and Sunshine has a huge audience based on a small niche subject choice.
This story shows how you can really fall into a great blog concept by thinking about the things you want to learn more about. As you learn, you can share your findings and that in and of itself is a great blog concept.
If you’re bursting at the seams with great ideas, you shouldn’t have a problem finding your subject and audience. However, using a free tool like Hubspot’s Blog Idea Generator couldn’t hurt for getting the juices flowing. You may want to do this regardless. Even if you already have a subject idea, you’re going to need content ideas—lot’s of them—to get started.
Step 2. Create a Content Calendar for this Year
Before we get into the details of creating a website for your blog, we should really make sure your idea is appealing to you. There’s no better way to do that then planning out your content for a year. This means setting a weekly schedule and cadence for your posts, brainstorming article ideas and themes and putting it all on a schedule that you can keep to.
As you start planning out content, it should quickly become clear if you’ll enjoy it or not. Successful blogs put out high-quality content consistently on a schedule their audience comes to expect. If you don’t like what you’re writing about, the quality will inevitably suffer, and your readers will look elsewhere.
Planning a content calendar can be as simple or as complex as you like. CoSchedule offers a free content calendar template to help you format and find topics and article ideas for your blog. I also recommend using CoSchedule’s headline analyzer as a rule of thumb for writing engaging headlines for each article.
Step 3. Create Your Blog Website
Creating your blog website will be one of the most fulfilling parts of the process. Before you start, though, run through this checklist to make sure you’re ready to dive in.
- Know your audience
- Know your subject
- Research blogs with similar topics for best practices
- Create a content calendar/schedule you can handle
- Come up with 3-5 names for your blog (in case one of them is taken)
Website Hosting and Domain Name
A lot of people understand websites, but how websites are hosted is less common knowledge. Basically, a website is a group of files that you access over the internet and load on your computer. Those files need a place to live, and that’s your hosting plan.
Hosting companies have come a long way, and you’re in the golden age of DIY websites. Before you start customizing your website and creating content, you’ll need to get a hosting service and domain name. Many hosting providers offer you a free or cheap domain name with the purchase of a hosting plan.
Next, after setting up your hosting and domain name, it’s time to install WordPress. With most hosting providers, installing WordPress is as simple as clicking a button and waiting.
A note on WordPress: it’s the platform that powers 1/4 of the internet, and it’s built around blogging. We sell a variety of website CMS, or content management system tools, to accommodate preferences. However, we’ve seen the best user experiences and best results from WordPress sites and tools. WordPress offers you amazing flexibility and expansive options.
Once you’ve installed WordPress on your website, you should receive an email with your login credentials. These will get you into your WordPress admin dashboard, which is where you configure all the settings for your website. You can access this login page any time by typing in your website URL with /wp-admin added to the end, for example: yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
Choose a WordPress Blog Theme
The next step is choosing your WordPress theme. A WordPress theme is a template and user interface for creating your own custom website. Themes vary greatly, from free to premium, and each offers different features and ways to customize.
Installing a good WordPress theme can save you incredible amounts of time and money and give you an up-to-date, functional design without requiring you to code or hire a web designer. Premium themes run about $59 on average, and provide incredible features and customizations that you won’t find with free themes.
Read our guide to choosing the perfect WordPress theme for your project or browse the top selling blog WordPress themes on MOJO Marketplace to get some ideas. Keep in mind that you can try any theme demo and experience all the options and styles before you buy your theme.
Install Your WordPress Theme
Once you’ve chosen your WordPress theme, it’s time to install it through WordPress. Remember that installing a theme doesn’t mean it’s active, so you can install as many themes as you like and preview them with an existing site’s content. When you’re ready to push it live, you can click Activate on the theme you like by selecting Appearance > Themes > Activate (on the chosen theme).
Import Your Theme Demo and Customize
All WordPress themes come with a demo design, or multiple demo designs. These designs are professionally crafted by the web developer who created your theme and are often designed to the current trends and specifications for specific types of websites, such as blogs.
By importing a design, you can have a fully fledged website up and running in seconds. Then all you have left is customizing the content and branding. Check out these two guides to import a demo and start customizing:
Now that your WordPress site is set up and customized, you’re ready to start writing content, taking photos or designing images, and pushing it all out to your audience via social media and email marketing.
Before you begin, read our post on writing your first blog post in WordPress. This post will give you a primer on the WordPress content editor and show you how to schedule content to publish in the future (wow technology!). This is where you can start putting your content calendar to use.