This is an easy, simple, practical tips to help those who are interested to venture into blogging but have no idea what to do first.
How do you start a blog? What should you do? Can you set up a blog for free, no expense at all?
There are lots of resources online to answer the questions that newbie bloggers will ask. Tons, and tons of info out there from how to articles and video tutorials. Read as much as you can and understand, but the more important thing is to take action, to implement what you’ve learn.
On this iSensey post I will try my best to share what I’ve learned after 20+ blogs and 6 years of web publishing. I hope you’ll learn a thing or two to start you off on your blogging journey. 😉
First thing first, choose a blog topic or niche
Blogs are categorized into ‘niches’. Niches are the main topic(s) of the articles that will be published on a particular blog.
iSensey is a general blog with focus on becoming a resource site for everyday Pinoys. The topics here are mostly about how to guides, banking tutorials, personal investment journey, government services topics, sharing tips for newbie bloggers, and inspiring stories.
There are other niches which are very focus on one topic, these are called micro-niches
Examples of micro niche sites:
About Cebu travel and destinations – mycebuphotoblog.com
About Personal Investment – readytoberich.com
About Filipino Food and recipe – panlasangpinoy.com
You have to decide what you want to write about, where your interest lies? It is very important that you are truly interested in the topic you want to write about so you can sustain creating articles after articles.
Choose a good website name
It is recommended to have a website name that reflects the topic of the blog. Check again the sample micro-niche sites we listed above, from their website name a reader will already have an idea what the topics of their blog posts are.
If you don’t want to choose a blog site name closely associated with the post topic, I’d recommend you choose a name that is easy to memorize, to spell, simple and unique.
This website’s name is “isensey”, the branding for this site is also ‘iSensey’. Why I’ve chose iSensey? This word has a personal meaning for me; plus, I believe this is a short, simple name which could aid easy recall among future readers.
Branding and Consistency of Blog Name
It is best if your website name, domain name and branding is consistent.
This site website name: iSensey
This site domain name: isensey.com
This site branding: iSensey or iSenseyBlog
How do you do site branding?
Site branding is part and parcel in marketing your blog. How do you make sure to have a consistent branding for your website or blog? I would recommend that you get all the social media accounts using the same name or at least close to it.
Example the Facebook page of this site is: http://facebook.com/iSensey
The twitter handle is: @iSenseyBlog
*It would have been best if I were able to get the Twitter handle @iSensey but someone already registered this twitter ID way back 2011, so the next best thing I could do is to choose a username that is as close as it can get for branding, hence ‘iSenseyBlog’.
The Goole+ page is also ‘iSensey’
Using similar name across social media accounts is a basic branding strategy. There are other ways to push for website branding.
Register a personal domain name for your blog
If you have the budget and is really committed on this blogging journey, I really suggest that you go all in and invest in your blog at the onset.
The first investment is buying a personalize domain name. How? By registering your website name in any of the domain registrar companies. My favorite domain name registrar is Namecheap.
Expense: A “.com” domain usually cost $12 to register. Then every year you need to renew the domain name for about the same price.
Before buying, google for ‘webhost coupon code month name” to search for discount coupon. Like “Namecheap coupon code May 2016”, a discount coupon code of $1 to $2 usually comes up. You can then use this to shave off even a little off the domain registration cost.
Choose the TLD that you want
Now, focus on the “.com” portion of “isensey.com”, this is the website domain TLD extension. TLD means ’top level domain’.
There are lots of TLDs available for domain name registration; perhaps the most popular are .com, .net, .org, .info. There are also special TLDs like .rocks, .ninja, .edu, .xyz, .photography, etc. There are also country specific TLDs like for the Philippines there is .ph and .com.ph, for the US it’s .us.
Choose the TLD that you want, but if I am in your shoes I’d choose the ‘.com’ TLD, this is because readers are very used to typing in “.com” for a website.
.com by the way means “Commercial”.
Choose where to host your website – PAID OPTIONS
The second investment is signing up for a hosting package. You need a website host or web server to host your website. All your website files and details will be stored in your web host, and when someone loads your website, your host will serve your site to the reader.
The cheapest hosting package would be Shared Hosting. You can usually choose to pay monthly, quarterly, or annually.
Expense: A good shared hosting on Namecheap is the Professional Package which is around $20 on the first year and $79 on succeeding years. This package allows up to 10 websites to be hosted. Namecheap has a cheaper package called “Value” which is only $9.88 per year, and $38.88 on succeeding years, this allows you to host up to 3 websites. If you want to check out Namecheap, check here.
Some would prefer buying their first hosting package with A Small Orange, Bluehosts, or Hostgator. Different hosting companies, different prices and promo offers.
Tip: Web hosting companies from time to time offer promo on their hosting packages, watch out for it. Not to miss are the rounds of huge discounts on US Thanksgiving weekend, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday deals.
*iSensey is hosted on a VPS server of WiredTree, check here to visit WiredTree.
Choose where to host your website – FREE OPTIONS
If you just want to test the waters first, to see if you are really fit for blogging and web publishing, you can set-up a blog on FREE HOSTING platforms. When it comes to free blogging platforms the most newbie friendly are WordPress.com and Blogger.com.
If you chose to have your blog hosted in WordPress – your website name will be “yourwebsitename.wordpress.com” – there is no need to buy and register a personal domain and a web host. Register on this link.
If you chose to have your blog hosted in Blogger – your website name will be “yourwebsitename.blogspot.com” – no need to register a personal domain and web host. Your need a Google account or Gmail account to sign up to Blogger. Ready to register? Check here.
(Optional for Blogger) you can register a personal domain and still host your site in blogger.com. – Check this ADDING CUSTOM DOMAIN to BLOGGER for Namecheap purchased personal domain name.
1.If I am newbie blogger who is not willing to spend on hosting and personal domain name or doesn’t have the budget yet, I would choose to set-up my blog on blogger.com.
INVESTMENT = 0.00
2. If I am a newbie blogger who has the budget to buy a personal domain name but no budget for a web host, I will set-up my site on blogger.com.
INVESTMENT on domain = USD 11 TO 14 per year
Blogger.com which is under Google allows users to buy a personal domain name and still be hosted on their free blogging platform.
If this is the case, you will see your website as “yourwebsitename.com”, instead of “yourwebsitename.blogspot.com”
You can buy a domain name from any registrar, popular ones includes GoDaddy, Hostgator, Web.com.ph, A Small Orange, etc. iSensey’s favorite domain registrar is Namecheap.
3. If I am a newbie blogger who have money to spend on buying a personal domain name and web host, I would set-up my blog in WordPress.org.
INVESTMENT on Domain = USD 11 to 14 per year
INVESTMENT on Hosting = USD 9.98 and up depending on your chosen hosting package per year
- WordPress.ORG is for websites with its own host.
- WordPress.COM is for websites that will use the free wordpress blogging and hosting platform. (You cannot use Google Adsense in WordPress.com)
All my websites have personalized domain names on own web host and are built on WordPress.ORG.
Everyone started as a newbie when it comes to blogging. So don’t worry too much about making mistakes along the way. The most important thing is you TAKE ACTION. Start implementing NOW. Go and create your very first blog!
Cheers to your blogging journey! 🙂
*Here’s the link for the rest of iSensey Blogging Tips.