What is blogging? How would you define it to a first time blogger? We all know it comes from the term “web log.” Originally, it was as simple as that. It was a log kept on the web. It worked more like a diary, and was more personal. Today, there is more to it.
Now, blogs offer perspective with a wide range of content. Consistent entries in the blog, called posts, mean that there will always be a new insight or topic discussed as time goes on. Readers stick with blogs that match their preferred tone and subject matter. So if you feel like you have a great idea for a unique take on a popular topic, try creating a blog.
If you are looking to get started with blogging, check out the table of contents below.
Table of Contents
Equipment for a Beginner Blogger
What do you really need to start blogging? First, you need access to a computer. That is mandatory. You do not specifically have to own one yourself. However, you do need reliable access to it. There cannot be a chance that you will not be able to access the computer for significant stretches of time. Blogging is an ongoing thing.
Of course, that computer will need reliable access to the internet. Computers with internet access are typically available for use at your public library. If you need help tracking down your nearest library, you can find a list of your local libraries over at WorldCat.
WordPress for First Time Bloggers
Once you are comfortable with your equipment, you can start preparing. The beginning step in starting your first blog is to acquire WordPress.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is where you build and design your blog. It is classified as a content management system (CMS). Think about how you might use Microsoft Word to write documents. WordPress is a content management system like how Microsoft Word is a word processor.
Why do you need WordPress?
You need WordPress because you need a way to build your blog. There will have to be some software you use for this. But why specifically WordPress? It is true that there are many CMS programs out there, but WordPress is your best bet. It began as the premier blogging tool. Today, it is commonly considered the best CMS for blogging. Also, it is the most popular, so there is a lot of how-to and tutorial information available.
Best Sites for First Time Bloggers
The best sites for you right now are ones you can reference for help and ideas. There are a few sites that can help get you on the right path.
There is no shortage of tutorials for beginners to the website scene. If you work better with videos, YouTube has hundreds of results of people showing you how to get started. The same is true if you care more for step-by-step instructions. Even Wiki-How has a wide selection of these guides.
If you need more one-on-one instruction, there are many online classes you can take. Many are one or two session classes that can go over the basics with you. This way, you can ask questions and get more personalized instruction. Of course, the difference with this choice is that it will cost money.
You absolutely need a list of blogs that are similar to what you want to create. It is important to keep a finger on the pulse of what you are blogging about. Following similar blogs that are already successful can give you ideas for what works and inspiration for what to do next.
No matter what, do not steal content from these blogs. I say this more in regards to how easy it is to accidentally do this. It is easy to see the best image for your idea and know the perfect place for it. Before you know it, you have used the image on your site without permission. Commandeering artwork, text, or even full ideas is never okay.
Tips for First Time Bloggers
Starting something new can often make you feel like you are running in the dark. You cannot see where you are going, so you either stop moving or you chance to fall on your face. In this case, sometimes all you need is a slight push in the right direction. Below, we highlight a handful of tips in regards to blogging for the first time. In general, there are a few things to always keep in mind.
Do not shrug off how often you will make content. You need a consistent schedule. Make it a concrete one too. Vague schedules are not sufficient in keeping your content running. Readers want to know that they can expect new content at least every week. Any variation to the schedule is noticed. At the very least, a post about how you are not able to post this week even gives your reader enough information to stay interested.
Also, search engines need to see that your site is current. There are many dead sites on the internet. Google tells them apart from others by seeing when the latest posts were. This way, they know they are putting fresher content and websites higher in the search results.
You need to participate outside of your blog. Before you find an audience, you need to become part of groups that match your blog’s topic and focus. Get involved in the discussions and make connections in these groups. It requires an investment of time, but it is important to get integrated before asking for members to read your blog. Else, it comes across as you spamming ads that will alienate people fast.
When you do collect a few readers, interact with them. Respond to comments publicly. Reply to direct messages. Today, visitors are looking for more than a faceless website. They want to be part of something they can interact with.
Hosting for a First Time Blogger
When blogging for the first time, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. The topic of hosting your website does not help that feeling. There is a lot that goes into hosting a website. But first, we need to look at what we mean by website hosting.
What is web hosting?
Think about this blog post you are reading right now. Where is it? You are reading it on a computer or phone screen, but it is not actually in your phone’s storage. You do not have the site, text, images, and other resources saved on your phone. But those things have to be saved somewhere, or else the site would not exist.
Everything that makes a website (the assets) are all saved on a server. This server is connected to the internet and is configured to allow people to access that website content if the user enters the appropriate address. Of course, clicking links works also. That server and the person or company maintaining it is your host.
What are the different kinds of hosting?
There are quite a few options for hosting your site. First, you likely have seen a few options for free hosting. These are not typically safe options. On the best day, they load your site with ads you have no say in. The host also might sell your data to third-party companies so they can call and email you all they want. The threat does not end there, however.
Free hosts can load up their servers with as many websites that will fit. Having so many users on one server not only hurts performance, but it is a big security issue. You have no way of knowing how these other users are or how safe they are being. All it takes is one breach in that server for someone to gain access to your site and data. In general, free hosting is a bad idea.
When you look at paid hosting, though, you still see a few options. Especially for first starting out, you want to look for managed WordPress hosting. These hosts are not only designed to work well with WordPress sites, but they manage a lot of the maintenance involved with hosting. They take care of the day-to-day operation so you do not have to sweat it. For example, WP Super Host monitors for WordPress updates. We also keep an eye on your plugins to ensure there is no conflict happening behind the scenes. That is not all. We have speed reports available, and we make sure your site has the most consistent uptime possible.
Another option is self-hosting, However, the worst thing to do is to try and take on complicated website hosting on top of learning how to blog for the first time. There is a huge investment of equipment, money, and time to gets started with self-hosting. And even after that, it is up to you to keep an eye on it to make sure everything is up-to-date and secure. Instead, make sure to secure managed WordPress hosting for your blog. This way, your host can take care of the maintenance of your web hosting.
When you want to know your hosting is the best it can be, you can count on WP Super Host. On top of the extra features above, we offer incredible speeds and the bandwidth and storage your blog needs to operate. All of this is available with our user-friendly and intuitive dashboard. Our expert team and seamless features will have you sleeping easier at night. Your blog is in good hands with WP Super Host. When you are ready to get your blog online, make sure to look into our top-notch hosting.
The final thing to know as a first time blogger is to play around. Especially if you have a host with staging environments, you can feel free to get creative with your blog. After a few months, you will realize that you learned the most of what you know by experimentation. Play around with different styles, themes, schemes, plugins, and more. The more comfortable you get with your blog, the more natural it and your content will be.