It’s only a few months until 2024, and you may wonder whether it’s still a good idea to start a blog with the rising popularity of video-based content like TikTok. The truth is, if books could survive despite the rising popularity of television many decades ago, I think starting a blog can still be lucrative with the right tools and strategies.
If you’re new to blogging, you may want to start on the right foot to run a blog so you can do it right from the very start. In this post, we’re going to share some essential things you need to start a blog so you can be more prepared before investing in the tools you need for your first blog.
So, let’s dive into the essentials for starting a blog!
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7 Essential Things to Start a Blog
Starting a blog is pretty straightforward if you know what you want to do with it. However, it can be a little bit tricky if you’re not clear about how you want to run it, be it the topic that you want to pursue for the content within your blog or even the strategy you want to put in place to keep it running. So, what do you need to know before starting a blog?
#1 Choose a Niche
Picking a niche for your blog may sound like a simple thing to do, but it can be difficult to decide one especially if you have many interests that you can develop into content for your blog. However, narrowing down your blog to one specific topic can benefit you in the long run, as it allows you to target a well-defined audience and turn them into engaged and loyal readers for your platform.
By doing so, not only are they likely to return to your blog for more relevant content, but it can also increase the number of visitors to your website which could benefit you once you start monetizing your blog.
Choosing a niche for your new blog can be challenging, but you can always start by identifying your interests and passions. Whether it’s a topic that you know too well by profession or it’s more like a hobby that you’re passionate about, blogging should be about writing something that you genuinely enjoy so you can be consistent about creating new content about that particular topic.
While there are many bloggers that claim to earn five or six figures in a relatively short time, blogging in 2024 isn’t as lucrative as it was in the early 2010s. In fact, the blogging industry can feel saturated, especially if you don’t have a specific niche for your blog. It may take a while until you see traction in your monthly traffic or revenue, so specializing in a niche for your blog will make it easier for you to become an authority on that topic.
Niching down your blog can not only help you build credibility and trust with your audience; it can also help boost your domain authority later on, which can help your content rank on search engines like Google or Bing. So, whether you choose a niche like travel or finance, make sure to stick within that topic once you start developing content for your blog!
#2 Pick a Domain Name
Once you decide on a niche for your blog, it will be easier for you to brand your blog accordingly. For instance, if you want to niche down your topic about traveling around Oklahoma, it only makes sense to add an Oklahoma-related keyword to your branding. Once you know the brand name that you come up with, it will be easier to pick a domain name for your website later on.
Alternatively, you can also use a tool like Namecheckr to make sure that your brand name is available for your blog as well as on social media platforms. It’s important to minimize any branding dispute that can come up with the brand name, especially if the other party has registered or had the copyright for their brand. It’s not only important because the name will be your branding, but it’s even more risky since such a case may lead to legal implications in the future.
Once you come up with a blog name, it’s time to get a domain name for your website. You can purchase a domain name on platforms like Namecheap to secure your blog name. Even if you’re not in a rush to run your blog immediately, securing a domain name can ensure that no one else will use it until you’re ready to set up your website.
#3 Get a Web Hosting
Next, you will need web hosting to store your blog’s files and make them accessible to your potential audience. There are various web hosting options you can choose based on your blog needs, whether you want to test the waters of blogging and choose a simple web host with limitations like Blogger or you want to buy web hosting from companies like Namecheap or Bluehost.
You can always determine your budget before deciding which hosting provider you can afford for your blog. If you plan to stick to blogging only, a cheap hosting provider like Blogger or getting add-on hosting with your Namecheap domain may suffice. However, you may want to invest in a more premium plan, like the Online Store plan with Bluehost or even Shopify if you plan to run e-commerce on top of your blog on your website.
#4 Choose a Blogging Platform
After getting web hosting for your website, most likely at this stage you already know which blogging platform you want to use for your blog. As of 2023, there are around 810 million WordPress users in the world. Most web hosting providers can cater to self-hosted WordPress, but there are also some other blogging platforms on the market that you can embed on your website, such as BlogHandy or DropInBlog.
The reason why WordPress is popular is because of the level of customization you can implement on your website, including thousands of free website templates you can choose from. You can also use plugins like Elementor or Divi for more customization of the web design.
In addition, WordPress also offers millions of plugins to add some functionality to your website. Whether you want to add a social sharing tool or integrate your website with your email marketing and other tools, you can do it with a few clicks by installing a relevant plugin in the blogging platform!
#5 Design Your Website
Designing your website is probably one of the most time-consuming activities to do when you start a blog. Whether you decide to outsource the web design part to an expert or you want to do it yourself, it’s also one of the most essential parts of blogging, as your web design will be the first impression of your blog to your audience.
While some blogging platforms usually offer various free and premium themes for your web design, you can also purchase ready-to-use templates on platforms like Etsy or Envato Market. Most independent web designers sell their templates, and some of them even provide additional support to apply them to your website for free!
#6 Set Up an Analytic Tool for Your Website
Before you start creating content, you can set up analytic tools like Google Analytics or Google Search Console to track your website’s performance. These analytic tools are essential for understanding how your blog performs, while they also help you gain insights into your audience’s behavior and learn more about the type of content that gets the most traction on your platform.
Having Google Analytics set up will also benefit you once you want to start monetizing your blog through ad networks or sponsorships. Most brands want to know the metrics before working with bloggers, so you can add the numbers to your media kit when you start pitching for your content’s sponsors.
Some ad networks also require a minimum number on some metrics based on Google Analytics, making it essential if you want to incorporate ads on your website later on. For instance, Mediavine as one of the highest paying ad networks in the market requires a blog with a minimum of 50,000 sessions a month to apply for their networks.
#7 Start Publishing Your Blog Posts
Now that you’ve finished the planning parts of blogging, it’s time to start creating content on your blog!
Consistency is key when it comes to publishing blog posts on your website, so while you don’t have to publish fresh content on a daily basis, it’s important to maintain consistency to keep your audience engaged on your platform. After all, it’s better to create high-quality content that offers value once every week than publish a poor-quality blog post every day!
It’s also important to have an SEO strategy in place at the earliest stage of blogging so you can get your posts ranked faster on Google and any other search engines.
For novice bloggers, you can sign up for an SEO course at SEO Dude to help you understand more about blogging terms and how you can optimize your content for search engines. If you have an extra budget, you can also invest in SEO tools like Semrush to help you create optimized content for your blog posts.
Great preparation often comes with better results, and that’s why you need to prepare with some good strategy before starting a blog in 2024. Knowing the right tools and the strategy you need to implement so your blog can perform better is the right way to start your blogging business.
From familiarizing yourself with blogging terms like SEO or playing around with the blogging platform of your choice to get used to managing your blog, it’s a great way to start a blog before seeing the positive results from your blogging activities.
So, are you ready to start a blog in 2024?! Which stage are you at in starting your blogging business now?