Opening a blog is very easy. Almost any can do it without spending that much time or effort. There are some great websites like Blogger.com, WordPress.com to serve a huge market. They are free and setting up a blog is almost painless. You do not need to know any coding, programming or even graphics design. It becomes complicated when you want to go for self hosting and earning money through your blogs. Not only that, just singing up for Blogger or WordPress.com may finish your formalities for opening a blog but still you need to do some more things if you want to stand up among millions of people. Here, in this entry, I am going to tell you the Ten most important things that you need in order to start a blog.
Blog Name and Topic
I believe that deciding on the topic of your blog and name is the most important thing before you start doing anything. Just don’t be in a hurry and jump into something rashly. If you do so then you may have to regret later. You can take help of Google Search to find more information about websties and blogs related to the topic you want to target. You can also search for the name of your blog. For example, I have given the name of this blog: Blogging37 and when I searched in Google, I realized that there is no blog with this name. Not to mention that before everything, I decided to start a blog on Blogging and that is why, I selected this name. Of course, I have another 3 blogs with “37” at the end like Sports37.com.
Buying a domain is very easy. It does not cost a lot of money either. If you buy a domain from a company like Godaddy or Blue Host then it should not cost more than $10 a year. In fact, you can get a domain name from Godaddy in around $7.50 a year by using Promo Codes. Just search in Google: “Godaddy Promo Codes and you will understand” what I mean. I am sure that you will come and thank me for this idea. Domain url is very important thing to select. I am against big url addresses. Here, for this blog I have selected: “blogging37.com”. I have kept the keyword ‘blogging’ in the url and this indicates the topic of my blog. If you do not want to spend money for hosting, then you can sign up with Blogger.com or WordPress.com. However, remember that in WordPress.com free blogs, you cannot put any advertisement codes and thus if you have any plan to earn money with your blog then WordPress.com (free blogs) is not the right thing for you. In that case, go for Blogger.com free blogs. Your blog will have url like this: yoursite.blogspot.com.
Hosting is a very important issue. You can find many attractive advertisements in Internet. Many of these ads pay almost everything. Some ads will promise that you can have unlimited space and bandwidth. Of course, most bloggers even cannot finish 1 Gigabyte of Space or even monthly 10 GB bandwidth. So, you can go for any of the big names Web Hosting Industry. The hosting of this blog has been taken from Godaddy. By the way, you can get 10%-20% discount on the price of Godaddy Hosting if you use the promo codes.
One word of caution: Remember that most hosting companies give you shared hosting in which your website is hosted in a server along with many other websites. So, if a lot of persons come in your blog at the same time then you may see your website down. So, if you are planning for a big website that will attract thousands of visitors every day then go for Dedicated Servers (Hosting) which some expensive.
If you do not want to spend money for hosting then Google Blogger’s Custom Domain Hosting is the King.
The best part of this hosting is that you get your own domain at $10 but the hosting is completely free.
Set Up Process: Take Expert Help if Needed
If you decide for a free version of Blogger or WordPress or Blogger’s Custom Domain Hosting then you should be done by now as far as the set up process is concerned. If you decide to go for a self hosted WordPress blog then it will take some time. The good thing is that most web hosting companies these days have made WordPress basic installation an easy process. However, the problem starts when you want to customize the basic WordPress theme. For this, you need some technical know how. My assistant, Animesh Chandra Bain has set up more than 30 self hosted WordPress blogs until now and I took his help as I am not a skilled person on this. So, if needed take help from others.
Visitor Tracking and Stats
Some people may argue that at first no one will visit your blog. So, you do not need to put any visitor tracking program. I modestly disagree with this kind of idea because reality is that most blogs get indexed by Google within 2-4 days and some people start to visit your blog. If you do not have any tracking device then you will be a like blind person. My choice is: Sitemter and Google Analytics and they are free. Of course, there are many other programs that are free.
Feed and Ping
Do you have any idea about Feedburner? This is a very useful thing both for the readers and the bloggers. When I open any new blog, I must add a Feedburner within one hour. In fact, you can get updated to this blog through a Feed Reader and Email. One important thing is to determine whether you want to give your readers full or partial content of your blog through your feed.
Inside, Feedburner, there is an option to Ping various websites. It (Pinging) basically tells some important websites that you have uploaded a new entry and they should index it.
Technorati, Twitter and Facebook
Technorati is a search engine about blogs. It tracks more than 100 million blogs. You should open an account there and add your blog. With passing time and some visit to Technorati, you will understand the benefits. By the way, I must admit to you that I do not have any account in Facebook or Twitter because I do not have any time for them. However, if you have time then you can open account in these two places at free of cost. Then, you can inform your friends about your blog.
Google Webmaster Tools
For this go to this url: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
Of course, if you have opened a Blogger.com free version blog or custom domain hosting blog, you can submit your blog to Google Webmaster Tools from your Dashboard. It will automatically submit your site to Google search Engine and hopefully, Google will index your blog very fast.
Submitting to other Search Engines
It is true that Google is the dominant search engine has the lion’s share in this market. However, don’t neglect other search engines. Yahoo and Bing can bring you some traffic too. The more visitors you can get the better.
Submitting to Directories
There are many directories and some of them are really useful for us to find some quality blogs. However, remember that many of the directories are not free and many others require that you give them link as they list your blog. I always avoid both of them. Instead, I would advice you to submit in directories that are free and do not require any reciprocal links.
I said 10 things – didn’t I? Well, here is a free bonus for you. You know what is Digg, don’t you? If not then go to Digg.com and get an idea. Social Bookmarking sites can always bring you new visitors unless you try to spam them.
Blogging is fun but it can be hard work too. I have written this entry because it can save a lot of time for you. If you want more information about the 11 things that I mentioned today, then no problem. I will write separate entries about all of them. Do you have any question? Then let me know in the comment section.