Why don’t you have a blog? Is it because you do not know how to create one?
Yes? You said yes, right? Fine, here is a free and easy step-by-step guide on how to create a blog that is beautiful and functional.
My name is Mulwa John, a Kenyan blogger, writer and the founder of Sleadas Co. When I was starting out (not too long ago), even though there was a lot of information written on blogging, I couldn’t find anything written just for Kenyans.
We, therefore, chose to close that gap. Starting a blog may seem very difficult and complicated. And It’s somehow true because there are so many people who can blog, willing and passionate but without one just because they do not know how to go about it. So, this free guide will teach you how to become a blogger in no time and with just the most basic computer skills.
What is a blog?
A blog is a regularly updated website that mainly focuses on written content (blog posts.) And blogging is the process of creating blog posts and updating them regularly on your website (blog.) Many of us know of news blogs like standard media, the star, Nation media or celebrity blog sites like Tuko, Ghafla and Mpasho among others, but as you’ll see in this guide, you can start a successful blog on just about any topic or niche imaginable.
In most cases, most bloggers write from a personal perspective that allows them to connect directly with their readers. Many blogs have a comment section where the bloggers interact directly with their readers. This interaction helps to further the connection between the blogger and the reader.
Connecting with the readers is one of the main advantages of starting a blog. It also allows you to build trust with your readers. Being trusted by your readers also opens you up to other blogging benefits like monetizing your blog and then start making money from your blog.
Why should you start a blog?
You have not to be a professional writer to start a blog. There is no conventional way on how bloggers write and thus most bloggers write in a very informal and conversational way.
In addition, you don’t need to be an expert on your niche in order to have a successful blog.
Blogging is about opening up your mind to the world through writing and by using the blogging platform to share your ideas and knowledge. It is advisable to choose a topic that you are passionate about. You can also write about more than one topic and as long as you are genuinely interested in and passionate about what you are writing about, you will shine through and in turn keep your readers interested too.
There are a few reasons why you should start a blog:
- You can make money with your blog.
- You will get a chance and be able to share your story.
- You will be recognized
- You will get a community to interact.
The good news is that the internet is exponentially growing since more people are online than before and this growth means potential readers for your blog. So, there is no better right time to start a blog than just right now.
Check out Brian’s article on how to make money in Kenya for more ideas on working online.
And without further ado, the following are 6 steps on how to start a blog.
1: Pick a blog name or blogs domain
Choosing your blogging topic is the first step in finding a good blog name.
This could range from hobbies and passion, life experiences and even around an area you are an expert in.
A descriptive blog name is recommended since potential readers can directly tell what your blog is about just by looking at the name.
For a personal blog where you discuss a variety of topics surrounding your lifestyle, personal ideas and opinions, then using your name is highly recommended, or some variation of it- since your blog is all about you. Like for example I once owned mulwajohn.com but it failed way back (that’s a story of another day.)
Once you have blog name ideas, you will have to choose a domain extension. This is something like; .com, .co.ke, .net, .org and so on.
It is also important to note that for the purposes of a blog domain you cannot have any spaces between words if your domain name contains more than one words. Like you cannot have ‘mulwa (space) john.com’, this automatically becomes “mulwajohn.com” but you can separate the two names with a hyphen (-) to look like ‘Mulwa-john.com.’
As you choose your name, make sure that no one else uses the same name as a domain name because it won’t be acceptable. In the case where you choose a name like mulwaJohn.com and you find it’s not available, you can try changing the extension from .com to .co.ke or .org but you can also try interchanging the domain name words say from mulwajohn.com to johnmulwa.com.
2: Getting online
Getting your blog online simply means hosting your domain name. To get your blog active and running you need to have blog hosting services and blogging software. These two are oftenly packaged together.
A blog host is a company that houses all your blog’s files and provides to the user (reader) whenever they type in your blog name. A blog host is a must-have in order to have a blog.
You also need to have the software to build your blog. In this guide, we will be showing you how to build a blog using WordPress blogging software because it is the most popular, customizable, and easiest to use.
The first thing first, identify a web hosting company and register your domain name. Some companies require you to pay for it but others when you combine with hosting package you get a free domain (renewable in the subsequent year.)
After registering a domain name and purchasing a hosting package, you will be provided with a Cpanel. A cPanel is a web-based control panel that is used for managing your web hosting service account(s).
3: Install WordPress
Login to your Cpanel and install WordPress. On the same place, you will be required to create a WordPress account. Here you can use any password you can easily remember because still, you can change later. Then Log in to WordPress and you will be logged in automatically to your blog.
4: Customize your blog
Once you login you will be in the WordPress administration area also referred to as dashboard, is where you can make changes on how you want your blog to look like. With WordPress, you can entirely change your blog’s layout and design with just clicks.
It is made much easier by the use of “Themes”–and no code is required.
What is the blog theme?
Themes control the entire design of your blog. To change your theme you are going to click on the “Appearance” tab on the left menu and then click on themes and then choose the one that pleases you. Once you find it, click download and then activate and you will be good to go- start blogging.
Now to write a post you will be (henceforth) be required to click on ‘Posts’ and then ‘Add new’ and follow up by writing whatever is in your mind.
For people to click and read your post, it is advisable to write eye-catching titles for your blog posts (but of course masking quality content.) For example, with a title like; ‘There will never be enough jobs in the formal economy’, people will want to find out; why? How possible? Or also find out what the writer is trying to say. And end up clicking.
You can also have a look at this title: ‘After being their customer for more than 10 years, they still denied my insurance claim. How could they? Why? — Ooh my God, what next now?’ (< Click to read.)
After you are done writing, editing and everything else necessary, the final step is to publish your blog post and in so doing, your blog will be live.
5: Promote your blog
Having a well-built blog and possessing great content, is just the beginning. To get readers for your blog, you will be required to promote it.
Sharing your content to social media accounts the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin etc, is the best way to get reader especially for the beginners. In this way, not only do your friends see your blog posts, but also your friends’ friend, especially when your friend shares your content with their friends. This multiplies your readers. If you have created high-quality content on your blog then social media is the best way to make it go viral.
6: Make money from your blog
Once you have put in the effort of creating great blog content and promoting your blog, making money from your blog is the next and actually the easy thing.
Some ways to make money blogging;
- Selling your own products or services,
- Writing products reviews.
- Sell advertising space.
- Affiliate marketing.
Once you have a popular blog, advertisers will look for you for the opportunity to advertise their products or services on your blog. Also at this point, you can take advantage of using Google Adsense. They find the advertisers for you and all you have to do is place the Google Adsense code on your blog to start running ads. And Google pays you for that.
Happy blogging and a lot of success.