There are a few types of thoughts that come up for me when I think about starting a blog:
- Inspirational Thoughts (and feelings)
- Strategic Thoughts (macro/big picture)
- Technical Details (microfocus)
- Futurist Mindsets (possible futures)
- All the tools and resources I use
I’m specifically writing this post for a few friends who I’ve spoken to in the last couple of weeks, who either have business ideas or personal voices they want to manifest into the blogosphere.
I’m thinking about the mother of two, who has journeyed through a rollercoaster in life and is ready to release her wisdom into the world, and let it contribute value to others’ lives.
I’m thinking about the successful real estate professional, who’s finally fed up with the system and tasted the joy of his own value reflecting itself back to him this year (he endeavored into a new venture “on the side” and, naturally, it’s blossoming as his clarity is refined).
And I’m thinking about you, whoever you are, reading this. You’re here to learn, but what is it that I can offer you that’s the most helpful? Inspiration, Strategy, Technical Details, and/or Future Possibilities?
Fuck it, I’m leading with my gut.
And by doing that– I hope you do the same thing.
If that’s not what you’re here for and this ain’t your cup o’ tea, skip the bullshit and read how to write a blog post. Or just straight into the blogging tools and resources section, which you can use to accelerate your success.
Decision #1: What Do You WANT to GIVE?
If you’re willing to trust, or at least experiment here… just DO these steps. Do them. Don’t just read them.
Right now, pause, and answer the question. What is it you want to GIVE, as you consider creating content (this is the heart of blogging… content creation)?
- Do you want to offer entertainment?
- Are you aiming to influence a reader’s moral values?
- Is there a teacher in you looking to simply provide information?
Decision #2: What do you want to RECEIVE?
These are the essence of your agenda. Relationships are reciprocal– if they aren’t, that’s not a relationship (at best it’s narcissistic and codependent).
You’re looking for a reciprocity right? What is it you want to get back?
- Do you want to feel a certain way? (valuable, admired, important)
- Are you hoping to earn money in this?
- Is social impact your currency? (influence and change-make in the world)
Let’s say that your goal is to help educate people. You want to reach multitudes with the information they are looking for and supply it.
You want to help people.
But you also want to make money, and you’ve decided that dollars will be a quantitative metric for you to gauge your success.
The qualitative measure will be “how much I helped others” and you’ll quantify it by seeing how much money you earn.
This is the water for your tree.
It’s the way you get fed. It’s how you receive the energy and nourishment to keep offering value in the reciprocity of relationship.
The relationship between you and your readers.
Write Down Your Two Decisions
The ones we just examined above. What do you want to GIVE and what do you want to RECEIVE?
These are going to help you stay the course, friend.
What I Love About Blogging
Among 10,000 other things… I’ve spent a good portion of my agenda-focused life craving work that cascades and compounds on itself.
Work that grows, births children, who grow…
And outside of my goals, that’s my favorite thing about blogging.
But it also means it’s slow and steady work. It starts small.
We don’t throw a blog post out (or 100) and find ourselves with a captivated audience of 10,000 inspired readers. It takes more time than that.
So be prepared.
Let’s look at some other reasons you might consider worthy of your time, energy, and investment.
Why Start a Blog?
- Profits ($$$)
I don’t mean to over-spiritualize a matter that you might see as dollars and words, but I’m just telling it like it is for me.
My top three reasons for starting a blog are the essence of my life.
Personally, doing work day-in-and-day-out that doesn’t matter just won’t work anymore. My daily grind needs to have purpose and meaning. I realize these are subjective matters, I’m not asking you to share my opinion of purpose.
But I would strongly encourage you to do work that feels purposeful to you.
Pursuing purpose doesn’t mean leaving profits out. Did you know bloggers are earning as much as $104,000+ each month ?
More on that below, so stay tuned.
Dancing With Presence and Profits
In a culture dominated by doing and performance, it’s been hard for me to simply be present to life.
To just… be .
To get present in the moment. To be with all my feelings, thoughts, doings, and imagination.
It’s also very possible to get rich if you decide to move forward and start your own blog.
They aren’t mutually exclusive.
Monetizing your blog for maximum reward could be more lucrative for you than you could ever imagine at this point. The wealth that you could create for yourself, your posterity and your personal brand will blow you away.
You are creating a masterpiece of marketing for yourself that will last a lifetime and beyond.
Think about this… if these bloggers walk away from their blogs, what do you think their earning power is at a new job?
This is one of the perks of doing work online: your name grows in value. Your personal brand enhances.
The investment you make isn’t just returned in dollars. You build yourself at the same time.
Bonus Round! The Future is Creative
If you have a futurist mindset (anyone can learn to), you recognize the shifts happening in the world. Right now, if you aren’t being creative in your work, it’s time to get started.
By 2030, it is estimated that between 30% and 45% of all present-day jobs will be automated.
There is no competition between big-data algorithms and human beings, we lose to the robots. Sorry about that if you were confused. We already cannot compete with the capabilities of machine learning. It is astounding to witness the sheer volume of data being collected today.
Feeling down? I have great news for you. You don’t really want to be competing for the jobs these robots are automating anyways.
You are an innately creative being, and your joy comes from creativity. There is no greater joy in this life than that of exploring and expressing that which is within you, around you.
Your life is truly remarkable. Even the stuff of your subconscious is creative, pulling raw material from your daily life to form imaginative dreams.
Why is Blogging Future Resilient?
Because blogs are the superhighway of decentralized influence. Marketing is now the most powerful industry on our planet, and three things are necessary for effective marketing: attention, access, and trust.
We want to know you, we need instantaneous access, and we want your authenticity.
Today, with technology, we can ask questions (and find instant answers) like:
- How many toddlers are searching for lemonade this month?
- Are there any existing lemonade stands? If so, what do they look like?
Are you starting to see the light?
Blogging is connecting people with what they are looking for through the medium of words.
Sustaining Blogging Long-Term
Your blog is a resource that can provide you a place to work out the pursuit of meaning. Writing about a topic, becoming an authority and a thought-leader will be a crucible that both accelerates and challenges your purpose.
Communicating with 7 billion people has a way of calling bullshit on your authenticity. If you don’t really care about what you’re saying, you’ll find out eventually.
If you do care about it, you will have discovered a long-term sustainable way to market something that brings you fulfillment, joy, and money.
Writing is like having an ever-deepening conversation with yourself. You are present, clear, and more aware, your thoughts are crystallized with intention.
Get Started. Begin Your Blogging Journey TODAY
I love that when you first install WordPress, it titles your post, “Hello, world!” What a perfect statement. Getting YOU on the map.
This is YOUR blog written with YOUR voice! Use it.
Speak up about the things that have impacted your life (for better or worse), tell us if you have a strong opinion about a book we must read.
And do this for me: Get started.
In 2006 I started a personal finance blog that, retrospectively, was doing quite well for a new blog. I gave it up after a few months because I wasn’t getting the immediate, unrealistically huge results I wanted.
Now that personal finance blogs have exploded as one of the most lucrative niches to blog about, I see a lot of them. And my content was better than theirs!
It’s frustrating to look back in hindsight sometimes. But we learn. And I learned two things: get started and don’t give up.
Get started as soon as you see the vision.
If you feel the energy. Just start. The energy is there for a reason.
It wants to be converted to work! But work with vision, purpose, and presence.
Don’t give up. Even if it takes a long time.
Even if results don’t come immediately. You’re building an asset.
It’s worth it because it will snowball. The beginning is the hardest part.
Here’s what you do right now.
- Register a Domain Name
- Select a hosting company for your blog
- Connect your domain and your host
- Install WordPress
- Pick a theme for design and function
- Choose your three content pillars
- Decide on a monetization strategy
1. Register a Domain Name
Pick a domain company, and pick a URL. We recommend NameCheap for beginners for it’s low-cost and reliability. (This is an Affiliate link! But we do think that NameCheap is the best domain company out there, at least for new bloggers)
When choosing a domain name, think about what your audience will be searching for. It’s tempting to try and get cute and clever with your domain name, and you’re free to do that, but you’ll find domain authority and position ranking much easier if you pick a domain that has the right words in it.
Pick words for your domain that will be searched for by your ideal audience.
Find a domain starting at $0.88
powered by Namecheap
For example– hookedtobooks.com has the word “books” in it, and that helps us rank on Google (and other search engines).
As you consider your own blog, this is a great place to start.
2. Select a hosting company for your WordPress blog
There are several considerations for selecting a hosting company for your blog, but most of the important considerations come in down the road once you have substantial traffic.
At that point, you should consider upgrading to a more premium host, like WordPress Engine (Save 20% off your first payment at WP Engine if you use our link)
WP Engine (ready to upgrade?)
Premium hosts give you top-tier support and often cater to your specific Content Management System (like WordPress). They also have powerful features like automatic backups, and often throw in premium themes complimentary. (e.g. Sign up for a WP Engine plan and receive the Genesis Framework and 35+ StudioPress Themes free!)
As you grow your blog, your traffic increases and you need server speeds to be blazing. This is important for your SEO optimization as well as User Experience (UX).
BlueHost (getting started)
But at the beginning when you are just getting started, your top concerns are support and cost. Even uptime is debatable because all of the top hosting options are going to have incredibly high uptime ratings.
Some of the top companies get a bad reputation, and particularly amongst bloggers who are affiliate marketers (like we are).
But despite complaints, we have used each of these three hosting companies and will share that we have no major issues. We did not find Siteground’s user interface to be the easiest, and while we wouldn’t complain about the support offered by Hostgator, it wasn’t our favorite.
Keeping all of this in mind, for low budgets and beginners, we do recommend BlueHost.
Bluehost has an easy WordPress setup. We had excellent customer service experiences with them, though we’ve heard others have not.
HostGator offers exceptional pricing packages and top tier uptime, just like the others.
SiteGround has a reputation of excellence and superb backend functionality, we just found that it wasn’t as easy to get around for us.
3. Connect your domain and host
If you’ve chosen to register your domain and purchase your hosting through the same company, you’re all set!
Your domain and host are already connected.
But if you’re using two separate companies for your domain and hosting, you’ll need to point them to each other. This is a simple process that involves something called nameservers.
Log into your domain registrar and, in your control panel, find the section that allows you to change your nameserver.
Once you’ve located the nameserver section, you’ll need to remove the default nameserver values and change the values to nameservers of your hosting company.
That’s it! The changes can take up to 24 hours to propagate but usually occur much quicker.
4. Install WordPress
Most hosting companies make it incredibly easy to install WordPress on your website.
Once logged into your host, access your control panel and look for a section called “Apps” or something similar.
Once you’ve found the WordPress app, click install and let the wizard walk you through the initial setup.
5. Pick a theme for design and function
There are literally thousands of WordPress themes available for purchase. I would recommend choosing a theme that has a proven record of reliability and that has a good and dedicated support team.
What you don’t want is to purchase a theme, get it installed, run into an issue and get left stranded with no help from the developers.
Make sure and read reviews for your theme before you purchase and buy from a reputable and good-standing company.
In order to get your website looking the way you want it to, you’ll also want to choose a theme that is highly and easily customizable.
Lastly, think ahead a little bit and ask yourself if the theme has room to grow! As your blog develops and grows, you may need room for expansion.
A well-designed theme will have many features, page types, and options.
- Looking for an elegant, feminine-styled theme? Check out the Simply Pro Theme
- Need something a bit more Macho? (Masculine Styled Aesthetics) Try the Monochrome Pro Theme
- Astra Themes – another blazing fast set of WordPress themes
6. Choose Content Pillars
The most successful bloggers have a strong sense of purpose behind what they are doing. They want to be adding real value to their readers.
This is the most important part of blogging. Understand your audience and reader, and adding genuine value to that person.
Walk them through a journey of transformation.
Arguably the second most important is Search Engine Optimization, which is basically writing for the robots.
You write (and code) in ways that bring attention to the core content of your blog posts, and the bots pick up on those things, and this helps you rank in higher positions on Google.
Both of these important components benefit from you constructing content pillars for your blog.
As an example, DollarSprout.com pushes (1) Make Money, (2) Save Money, and (3) Invest Money.
But the premise is “get rich”.
7. Decide on your monetization strategy
The three (primary) monetization methods in blogging are advertising, affiliate partnerships, and direct sales (products and services).
Each of these three has its own advantages and disadvantages. In general, the more passive options are a lower return on traffic, but also much less work.
Once you’ve completed these steps…
You’re on your way to greatness! There’s a long road ahead of you, but if you have taken my advice to write stuff that matters to you, pursue purpose, presence, and profits all together… it’s a beautiful journey.
As always, I hope that this has added value to your day and your life.
But I understand that’s not always the case.
Either way, please tell me in the comments.
If you were helped, please say so. If not, please tell me what I can add to this post, and I’ll do my best to keep it updated with the info you need.
And if you REALLY liked this post, share it with others! Tell them about it, link to it in your own blog, and/or email me to say thanks.
I’ll appreciate it.
Also, if you want more helpful content like this, and you’re considering blogging (or just getting started), be sure to signup for my emails. We’ll journey together.