You’ve finally decided that you want to start a blog. Whether the blog is for a business for a nonprofit association or as a personal blog has little importance, the important thing is to have a plan an the know-how.
Define Your Blog’s Strategy
First of all you need a strategy for your blog. What do you want to write about? Does your blog have a theme a niche or is a bit of all. Most successful blogs have a certain theme. Once you’ve decided on your blog’s topics you need to define the goals of your writing. If it’s a personal blog most likely you don’t need any goals. But on the other hand if it’s a business’ blog your main goals could be promotion of your business main website, drive traffic to specific areas of this website, or simply a PR campaign. How often and who will write content and who will publish/approve your posts?
Once you have determined the initial steps you can go forward and think about the technical details of your blog.
You want to start blogging today, is that possible? Yes it is, if you don’t have any special requests that can delay your initiative.
Starting a blog is not as hard as it might seem.
If you want to make it simple go with the same provider for both your domain name and your website hosting. It’s easier, and you get support for all of your services in one place.
If you need more control over your domain name and hosting account then you definitely want to host with one company and register domains with another company.
I always use for my blogging needs a combination. I use Godaddy for domain names and hosting with one of the Hostgator or Hostmonster.
The Simple Free Alternative of Blogging
Choose a Free Blogging Platform
Although many blogging platform exist, the best for professional blogging is WordPress. One can argue about the competition: Typepad, Blogger, etc… But in the end WordPress is great for its flexibility, features and community. It is the most spread blogging platform. Create a free account with any of these blogging communities and start blogging. Is that simple. The addresses are typepad.com, wordpress.com and blogger.com.
Pick A Domain Name for Your WordPress Blog.
Choosing a domain name is one of the most important decisions you will take for your blog.
The ideal domain name will be short enough to remember and write down and will contain the most important keyword of your business, the one you want high ranking on search engines. Don’t avoid the dashes they are totally fine. Great gTLDs are .com, .net, .org, .info, etc…
Choose A WordPress Hosting Provider.
As I said before my personal favorites are hostgator, hostmonster, but if you have reliable information about another good hosting company go with that, I don’t know them all… (And by the way I am not hiding that this is an affiliate link.)
Install WordPress Using Control Panel
Installing WordPress is really trivial. If you are totally nontechnical then you can watch this video that shows you how to do that. After the initial installation, however things are a little more complicated.
Choose a WordPress Theme
There are hundreds of free themes and commercial themes. The differences between free and commercial themes are design flexibility and SEO features. Premium themes will give you way more design options and will be optimized for SEO. A premium theme will also be better optimized for speed.
Take the time to tweak the chosen theme. If you are non technical you definitely need a premium theme to allow you to set up features like font type, background colors, layout and site dimensions. You need a nice looking blog because that retains visitors.
SEO Aspects to Be Fixed in WordPress
Optimize Your Website’s Address
More Sites to Ping to
Add some more sites to ping to. This way every time you post or update an article these services will be announced of your changed content. Search engines will pick up the this information from your site and from the pinged sites, improving your chances to get your content indexed. You will do this into your Update Services section.
Home Page Optimization for SEO
If you want to optimize your blog’s first page you need to set up your blog as in the image. You can do this from your reading tab in the Settings control panel of your dashboard. This will allow a full optimization of the page for both speed and keywords, etc…
Set your Blog’s Permalink Structure
The default permalink structure for WordPress is not optimized for SEO.
The best for SEO is the following A good SEO permalink structure has to be keyword rich, using the categories and post names. You can use either /%postname%/ or /%category%/%postname%/. If the latter is used careful attention is needed when the category is chosen. You will do this from your permalink tab.
Install Essential Plugins to Your WordPress Blog.
Plugins are an excellent way to improve your WordPress website. You can install whatever works for your site, but be cautious because bad plugins can do harm to the performance of your site or to your traffic. Choose wisely and install only what you need. The basic minimum is: Akismet, WordPress Mobile Edition, WP-Optimize, WP Super Cache, All in One SEO Pack, Google XML Sitemaps.