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Beginner’s Guide: How To Start A Blog In 6 Easy Steps

Beginner’s Guide: How To Start A Blog In 6 Easy Steps

Blogs are big business. Everywhere you look on the internet, you’re faced with weird and wonderful blogs of all different types and conveying lots of great information. You can seem like a small fish in a big pond when it comes to starting a blog, but that by no means should be a reason to not start one. Blogs are a great outlet for thoughts, advice, and creativity, and can even be used to make money.

If you’ve always wanted to start a blog but just weren’t sure where to start, then I’m here to tell you that it’s actually very simple and can be achieved in as little as 20 minutes.

The thing that throws most people off is deciding which platform to build your blog on. There are a plethora of different domain name companies and hosting accounts to choose from which can all seem daunting and can cause you to give up and just “do it later.”

If you want to learn how to start a blog, here are some simple steps to highlight what to expect from the process.

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Step 1: Decide Your Reasons For Starting A Blog

We all start blogs for different reasons. Perhaps it’s an added feature of your business, you have a unique issue that you want to talk about, as a way to allow people to better understand something you’re doing, to offer advice, or just to get yourself published and practice your writing skills.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to know for yourself why you want to start a blog, as this will give you a better drive and sense of direction.

Step 2: Choose A Blogging Platform

This is the most daunting part of how to start a blog as there are many many blogging platforms to choose from. There are two differences when choosing a platform and that is whether or not you want to make money from it or not.

There are sites like Tumblr and Blogger which you can check out but WordPress is by far the most popular. This is because they offer both a free platform and a self-hosted platform and is already used by millions.

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  • Free blogging websites: Free to use and almost no fuss to set up but if you want to make money then this prevents you from doing so. Your blog domain name will usually have the hosts name stuck on the end. Fr example, myrunningblog.wordpress.com.
  • Self-hosted platforms: These cost money to set up and it takes a bit more time but they give you the freedom to make money from them through placing ads and you will pay for an own your own domain name such as myrunningblog.com.

It really depends on whether your blog will be purely personal or if you intend to build it up and make some income from it. The latter will give you greater freedom. If you just want to play around and get a feel for blogging then the free option is probably best. It is possible to transit to a self-hosted platform down the line but this can be a bit tricky (but doable).

If you want to go for the free option then visit any of the blogging sites and sign up for their free options.

wordpress-org-vs-wordpress-com-infographic
    infographic via bluchic.com

    Step 3: Choose a Domain Name

    If you’ve opted for the paid self-hosted platform, then this is where it starts to get exciting. Thinking up a domain name is what will be the first thing that people see and represents your blog and potentially what it’ll be about. For example www.myrunningblog.com is simple and self-explanatory. It’s always a good idea not to pick a name that’s too long – you want people to be able to remember it.

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    Head over to a domain hosting site like DreamHost.com. This is a great site because they set up your domain name and web-hosting at the same time. Alternatively you can choose separate sites for each; it may be cheaper that way but it can be easier to have it all under one hosting umbrella.

    If you want to choose a domain name separately then NamecheapGoDaddyName.com and HostGator are all great places to head to. Some of which also set up web hosting too. You can pay as little as $10 a year for your domain name but prices vary depending on who you decide to go with.

    Step 4: Set Up Your Web Hosting

    Web hosting is basically connecting your domain name to the internet. You are effectively renting space on the world wide web and allowing people to have access to your blog.

    If you haven’t opted for a contained domain name and hosting package then there are a lot of web-hosting sites to choose from. The top three are DreamHostHostGator and BlueHostBlueHost is particularly recommended for WordPress sites and regularly do lower monthly prices. You can pay as little as $4 a month for web hosting. All these have excellent customer service as well so if you need a bit of extra support then they’ll be on hand to help you out.

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    The web-hosters will point you in the right direction for installing your site and if you’ve opted for WordPress this will be really straight forward.

    Step 5: Log in and Set Up Your Theme

    This is where it gets creative! Once you’ve logged into your new site you will be faced with a blank canvas so it’s now that you need to think how you want your blog to look. There are numerous free themes to go for while you think about it, some of which are pretty nice and stylish.

    You can opt to buy various themes and get extra plugins thrown in for free. Take your time to navigate your way around and get used to it all. It may seem over-whelming but just spending a day or two thinking and planning about the way it’ll look will allow you to come to a concrete conclusion to move forward with.

    Step 6: Write Your First Blog Post

    Once you’ve set up your theme and written an About page introducing yourself and what your blog is about, then it’s time to write your first blog post. Here are some tips on how to write the perfect blog post:

    Good-To-Great-Infographic-edit-750x3208
      infographic via webhostingsecretrevealed.net

      Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

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      Jenny Marchal

      A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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      Published on September 16, 2020

      12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

      12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

      Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

      Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

      Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

      Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

      Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

      Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

      1. Organization

      When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

      When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

      Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

      To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

      To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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      2. Flexibility

      You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

      Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

      For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

      To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

      To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

      3. Collaboration

      As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

      Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

      To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

      To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

      4. Poise

      Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

      When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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      What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

      To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

      To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

      5. Communication

      Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

      When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

      To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

      To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

      6. Good Computer Hygiene

      Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

      Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

      To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

      To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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      7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

      Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

      Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

      To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

      To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

      8. Respecting Feedback

      In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

      Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

      To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

      To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

      9. Project Management

      Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

      To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

      To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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      10. Staying up to Speed

      Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

      To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

      To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

      11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

      “Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

      To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

      To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

      12. Teamwork

      Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

      Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

      To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

      To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

      Final Thoughts

      Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

      More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

      Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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