If you’ve been wondering how to start a blog. In this guide, I will help you create your first blog (even if you’re a complete beginner). This guide is absolutely simple and straightforward.
You’ve probably seen several articles on how to start a blog. Which blogging platform to choose? How to register a domain name? How to get blog hosting and so on.
Don’t get discouraged with all the heavy details before you even start blogging!
Sit back, relax and let me have a bit of your time. I’ll take you through the right steps you need to take to create your blog – even if you’re a complete newbie with no prior knowledge of HTML, coding or other technical stuff.
Step 1: Know your WHY – why do you want to blog?
Driving without a map is a sure way to get lost. The same principle applies to blogging, without a reason to start blogging, you’d always find a reason not to start.
So, think of your reasons to start a blog as a quick road sign towards the right direction. It would help you make the most out of your experience and enjoy the journey even more.
Reasons why people start blogging
People may start blogs for different reasons, these may include.
- for the love of writing
- to make an impact
- to make some money
- to become popular
- as a stepping stone in their career
No matter your reason, blogging can opens more doors to you. The key here is to be clear on why you want to start blogging. This reason may change over time but having a reason is always a good place to start.
Now, suppose you a clear reason for starting your blog. Let’s move on to the next step.
Step 2: Know your WHAT – what topics do you plan to blog about
The appeal of blogging is that you can write about pretty much anything you like. You’re your own content creator.
This is where I will introduce the word – NICHE. A niche in this sense can be described as a group of (or specific) interests or topics you’d write about.
Your main niche becomes the primary focus of your blog’s content. You can have a single niche or multiple niches as long as you can keep writing on those topics.
Popular blog niches in Ghana
- Food and Cooking
- Finance and Economics
Why you need to have a niche
- A niche will help you build a strong reader base because people will know that you stand for something
- You can become an online autority on a particular subject
- Blogs with niches perform better in Google search rankings
- You can monetized better since your audience will be within a certain group, which will attract advertisers intrested in them.
How to choose a niche
In the words of Mark Twain, “Write what you know”. Think of something that comes naturally to you and you enjoy writing about. It could be a hobby, something you have experience with or even something you are currently learning.
The bottom line here is to aim for a broad enough niche but spice it up with a speciality to give you the edge. For instance, you can run a food blog but have a special focus on African dishes.
Step 3: Choosing a blogging platform
A lot of newbies may struggle with choosing a blogging platform, simply because there are so many of them.
There are dozens of blogging platforms out there. To begin with, you need to decide whether you want to start on a free or self-hosted blogging platform.
That is to say, if you have some money to spend on blogging, try a self-hosted option. On the other hand, if you’re just testing the waters and not ready to commit financially, go with a free plan.
[You can read a separate in-depth article on ‘How to Choose the Best Blogging Platform‘ here.]
Let me walk you through the major differences.
As the name denotes, you do not pay any charges for creating a blog.
A number of free platforms include Blogger, WordPress, Wixsite, Medium, and so on.
Most blogging platforms have both free and paid versions. You’d come to realize that the free versions have limited features and access.
A free blog’s web address will look like this:
yourblog.wordpress.com or yourblog.blogspot.com
Self-Hosted (Paid Plan)
A self-hosted blog means that you own an independent domain for your blog. A domain name can be purchased from a web hosting company.
For example, yourblog.com is what a self-hosted blog will look like. Note that it does not include .wordpress or .blogspot as seen in the free plan.
Free vs Self-Hosted
There is some limitation to the free plan as already stated which include:
- Restriction in blog monetization. Thisis not as stringent as other points since you can still earn will using a free plan (mainly by ads). It may be difficult to attract businesses for sponsored articles or display ads when you’re on a free plan.
- Limitation in design and customization. There’s only so much you can do on a free plan. While certain design elements and website templates can be modified up to your liking, you may not be able to create a truly custom feel for your blog.
Step 4: Choose the right hosting provider and domain name
A domain name is the web address where your reader will access your blog from. yourblog.com is an example of a domain name.
Choosing a domain name can be a time-consuming process when you’re starting out. There’re a number of ways to choose a domain name.
- Use your name or nickname. This method is popular in Ghana, examples of blogs named after their creators are AmeyawDebrah.com, ZionFelix.com. My blog for example QuarmeCaptain.com is a hybrid nickname I created.
- Use a name related to your niche. Common examples of this evident in entertainment and tech blogs. TechCrunch.com, GhanaCelebrities.com. A part of the domain name is the niche of the blog. This is personally my favourite because it gives new readers an idea about your blog before they read it.
- Use a Business name or Innovation. Here’s where you can think outside the box. A couple of blogs that use this are Nkonkonsa.com (Nkonkonsa meaning Gossip), Circumspecte.com (Circumspecte.com doubles as a digital agency)
Choosing a Hosting Provider
To have an active domain name, you’d have to purchase it from a hosting provider. The list below contains the top hosting companies in Ghana.
Top Hosting Companies in Ghana
- UltraHost Ghana
Hosting companies differ based on their payment plans, support, and other added benefits.
Step 5: Start blogging!
After you complete step 5 above, your hosting provider will send you an email with your login username and password to access your Dashboard (cPanel).
Visit the link and then log in with your cPanel username and password.
I’d recommend installing WordPress on your site.
On your WordPress dashboard, you can see various sub-menus, which allow you to command various actions on WordPress.
Click Posts > Add New to access the post editor and start writing your very first blog post:
There’s a bit of learning the ins and outs of WordPress. I’d advise that you experiment on each of the sections to understand your formatting options better. Hit “Publish” to share with your readers.
If you’ve come this far, you deserve a round of applause. You’ve just created your blog in under 30 minutes. Yay!
If you encounter any problems while creating your blog, just hit me up on Instagram @quarmecaptainn I’ll do my best to help you for free!
If you want me to a do detailed breakdown of any of the steps in this post, let me know in the comments.