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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

      Freelance Writer

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      Last Updated on December 5, 2018

      How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

      How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

      Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

      We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

      How do they do it?

      By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

      1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

      There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

      If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

      2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

      Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

      According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

      Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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      3. Demand Learning from Your Team

      CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

      “The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

      His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

      Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

      “We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

      Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

      4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

      Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

      Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

      • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
      • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
      • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
      • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
      • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
      • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

      5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

      Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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      Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

      • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
      • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
      • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
      • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
      • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

        “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

      Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

      6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

      The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

      Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

      You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

      7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

      Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

      But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

      On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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      • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
      • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
      • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
      • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

      8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

      Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

      When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

      9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

      The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

      What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

      Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

      10. Empower Your Employees

      Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

      They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

      Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

      You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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      If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

      11. Nurture Your Company Culture

      Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

      Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

      However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

      Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

      Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

      Be a Leader, Not a Boss

      Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

      However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

      In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

      Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

      Reference

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