Starting a blog turned out to be a bit different than I expected. Actually a lot. There’re many ways to do it and yet there’re only a handful of bloggers who got it right away. So save yourself the frustrations and see what you should expect when starting a blog.
A blog is free, right?
You can indeed start a blog for free. However, if you want to keep it free, you have to agree to run it with very limited editing options and under a subdomain, such as for example me.wordpress.com. This is far from ideal but could work for you as long as you only wish to maintain a small blog with your friends as visitors.
If you want it to turn into something more, you must buy a fitting domain – and this in most cases means also hosting.
When you’re ready setting up your blog you can expect to pay from around 40 USD to xxx USD per year just for hosting and domain name.
There are in fact some free options for starting a blog with your own domain and professional hosting out there that might be worth to take a look at if you really want to keep it free.
Just to warn you, even when using the free options, you’ll end up paying for something – maybe just less.
I can name my blog just whatever I want.
Yes, you can – as long as you pay for it. Otherwise you have to live with a subdomain of the type mentioned above. You have to, however, be aware that the importance of a domain name is much bigger than you initially can imagine.
The chosen name is going to turn into your brand and should therefore fit and include all your current and possible future topics. It’s therefore smart to leave your domain name a bit open when you are starting a blog and maybe not sure how things will turn out.
Starting a blog doesn’t take much time.
To set up the blog in the beginning you’ll use anywhere between one day and a month – depending on the amount of initial content and the design you aim at. Beyond a domain name, you have to consider hosting, content strategy, and decide how much time and money you’ll invest in your blog.
After starting the blog, it’s truly up to you how much time you’ll spend on it. If you want to do it right, though, you have to work out a schedule and make yourself publish regularly. It’s also a must to regularly maintain your blog by updating all themes, plugins, and WordPress.
Let’s say you’ll publish one post a week. It will take you around half a day for research (if you do research and not just write about how your day was), an hour or two to write the post, half an hour to read it and correct it, half an hour to take care of style, page elements, media, etc., and half an hour to share it on social media.
So basically, one post a week will roughly cost you one day a week.
You should also prepare yourself to use minimum an hour, often 2-3 hours, for updates and maintenance a month or every other month.
All in all, it’s almost a whole working week you’ll end up using on simply 4 posts a month. If you start a blog with personal updates and simple design, you’ll likely use much less time on it, though.
I’ll get famous and rich.
No doubt, some do. Be aware though, that it really takes an effort to deliver what people want. Even if you do it very good, there’s no guarantee that you’ll succeed. There are billions of pages on all possible topics online and getting the attention of a loyal fan base is all but easy.
You’re most likely to spend a lot of time on posts that you’ll see no success with before you actually get discovered by someone who thinks that it’s worth it to read your blog. Most blog posts out there get either none or a handful of readers throughout their life span.
If you don’t have something specific to say but aim directly at money and fame, you’ll be better off writing on topics that have proved to be winners – write about all your wrongs and problems and try to make people feel for you or call you an idiot – after visiting your blog again and again.
I’m anonymous online and can therefore write whatever I want.
You’re not anonymous as a domain owner. There’s a public record of all owners of domains available via WhoIs’s search. Data as your name, address, and telephone number are made publicly available.
If you want to hide your personal data from the registry, you have to buy domain privacy from one of the many domain registrars or via your hosting provider.
Be aware though that this won’t save you from, for example, the authorities if you plan on using your site for something illegal or if you breach someone’s intellectual rights by using illegal media.
Starting a blog is just about writing blog posts.
Far from it actually. Yes, you can simply write blog posts that nobody ever hears of but is that what you want? Starting a blog includes serious considerations about what and how you should deliver, whom you’ll be writing for, how you’re going to reach them, and how you’re going to appeal to them.
Starting and maintaining a blog is much more about planning, strategy, and distribution than anything else.
You’ll figure it out eventually but you’ll be much better off following the basic rules of successful blogging from the very beginning:
- Research what angle could make your preferred topic more attractive to readers. Do that by researching what’s available online and what people are asking most often when performing a search in Google. It’s likely that the pages behind the top results in Google got it right, so you can just as well copy their concept. You can, however, also make the next step and combine their experience to create something better and unique.
- Write for a well defined target group. Yeah, it’s enticing to write for everybody and hope to become a hit. But it doesn’t work this way. You must appeal to a specific need a specific group of people has. You can either be very relevant to someone or not relevant to anybody. There’s no third option.
- Aim at achieving topical authority for 1000s of reasons.
- Use analytics to see which of your posts or topics are most demanded and optimize your content strategy accordingly.
- Keep an eye on how much you spend on small and bigger improvements or marketing. It can turn out that the small sums end up as a very big bill.