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Do you want to start a blog the right way? Starting a blog can be a frightening thought especially when you are not a too much of a tech person. In fact, for a lot of people I have met over the last few years, starting a blog was as easy as saying “Just go to WordPress.com and follow the instructions”.
The series of posts that I am going to put here will help you to start and maintain a good blog, even if you have no technical or technological idea whatsoever in blogging. The process of starting a blog, although easy can be very complicated and lead to a lot of problems if you do not do it right.
When I started my first blog sometime back, I wish I had someone to tell me to do this or to do that or to explain what permalink meant or what “self-hosted” meant. Too bad I had to rely on Google every step of the way until I made all the mistakes a beginner would make.
Well, you do not have to make the same mistakes if you are starting a blog. This series will take you through the process of creating and maintaining a good blog, making your readers happy and satisfying your need to write or inform people.
In this series, we will tackle the following:
- Why Start a blog?
- Deciding on what to blog
- What you need to start a blog
- Setting Up Your Blog
- Writing Your Blog Posts
- Making Money from Your Blog
- Maintaining Your blog
If you would want help starting your blog, I offer a free WordPress Blog setup. But first, read everything on this page to understand what you are getting yourself into.
Got any questions about starting a blog? Leave them in the comment below and I will reply every last one of them. All the best.
Why Start a blog in Ghana?
There are a million reasons why you should start a blog. If you are a good writer and you feel you would want to reach a wide audience, then blogging may just be it – after all, there are about 8 million Internet users in Ghana alone as at 2016.
About from the desire to write, there are a lot more other reasons why you should start a blog. Here are some of them:
Blogging is relatively easy
Yes, you read that part right. Blogging is very easy if you follow the right steps. For most people, the most difficult part is setting up the blog in the first place. If you follow this guide step by step, that should not be a problem at all. Don’t forget I offer free WordPress Blog setup
If you would want to publish a book, the best way to start is by a blog. Publishers would always want to work with authors who already have an online presence because it makes it easier for them to sell their books. A blog also gives you the platform to market your books to your audience.
Blogging Improves your Life.
Blogging can help make you a better person in a number of ways. More basically, blogging helps you to improve upon your writing and communication skills. People who blog can express themselves much more than those who don’t.
Blogging can also help you build skills such as interpersonal relationships and good thinking abilities. For blogs that encourage comments and interaction, the blogger learns to respect the views of others.
Self-promotion and New Opportunities
If you blog in your “official name”, then when you apply for a job or position and your name is googled, your blog is likely to very much show up. Apart from giving you that very much needed online presence in today’s world, blogging can also help you tell the world what you can do and what your skills are.
If your blog gains a lot of recognition and respect, it will not be too surprising to have someone directly contact you with an offer or job opportunity.
You can make money out of blogging.
Yes, you can make money out of blogging but don’t get it all twisted in your brain. You should read the part of this series that talks about Making Money from your Blog. Don’t forget to also check out Misconceptions about Blogging in Ghana. The money bit was touched in that post.
Deciding on What Topics to blog on
It is not easy to decide on what you want to blog. Two things you would definitely want to look at when deciding on what to blog at are your readers and your blogging subject or niche.
First, keep in mind that you are writing for your readers (unless you want to write for yourself only). You need to blog about a topic that will interest your readers and help you gain the kind of readership you want.
Most people will read a blog post if it helps them to solve a problem. Therefore, try to get your blog posts to solve problems, if that is possible. Also, most readers will want to learn something new. It is no surprise that blogs that do a lot of “how to” gain more readers. People are willing to learn, and you can help teach them.
Your readers are going to be an integral part of your blog and you must satisfy them. Your blog should not be boring for readers as most of them want to be entertained in one way or the other. You should also provide quality content for your readers so that they know you are serious.
The other thing you need to look at when deciding on what to blog is the subject your posts are going to be about. It is true that you can choose to blog about everything and anything at all, but getting a niche is very important if you want to grow and maintain your blog.
Choosing a niche is a bit tricky, but you should choose a niche that is broad. For example, I blog about “Technology in Ghana” and not “Mobile Apps in Ghana”. Choosing a broad niche will help you to get content for your blog. When you start blogging, you would realise the need to have fresh ideas and cornering yourself to a very specific niche like “Life of Ladies in Teshie” would limit the number of posts you can churn out regularly. Another example of a bad niche is “Christian Events in Accra”.
You could make this a bit broad by saying “Events in Accra” or “Christian Events in Ghana”.
Also, check out other people in the niche that you want to enter. If there are people blogging about a subject and they are getting enough content, there is a good chance you would be getting the right amount of content too.
What you need to start a blog
After deciding on what to blog, you will have to jump into starting your blog.
There are three things you need to start a WordPress blog:
- Dedication and time
- A domain name idea (this will be the name of your blog i.e mfidie.com)
- A web hosting account (this is where your website lives on the internet)
The last two need to be purchased.
Choosing a domain name
Choosing a domain name is very critical for the success or failure of your blog. Your domain name is how most people are going to know your blog by. Before starting Mfidie.com, I spent close to 3 days deciding on what to use for a domain name. Most of the domains I wanted to use were already taken.
When choosing a domain name, you need to be smart and careful. You should choose a name that is “generic” enough, yet captures in entirety, or to a full extent your blogging niche. Here, I would like to state that avoid names that end with “gh”; they are not smart. My friends at 247filla.com and afrowired.com have testified as to why adding “gh” to your domain name is a bad thing.
For example, I could have chosen “techideasgh.com”. It was available all right but it wasn’t smart. I chose Mfidie.com because it was original and authentic. “Mfidie” in the Akan language means gadgets, and gadgets are a huge part of the technology bit.
A domain name should be something people will be familiar with. For example, you cannot register modernsecurity.com and say it is for a blog about shoes. It won’t work. For a fashion blog, you could go for a meaningful name like classywardrobe.com.
You can always check which domain names are available and which ones are not on whois.net. If you want to purchase a domain name for a cheap price, check out namecheap.com
Your Web Hosting
Web hosting confuses a lot of people. Buying a domain is not all you need to get your website up and running. To simplify this, let’s just say a domain name, is like the address of your home; web hosting, on the other hand, is the space of your house where you place your furniture and other stuff. Without the web hosting, your domain will just be a name without a body.
Web hosting is where your blog’s files are kept and this is always more expensive than the domain.
If you need help with choosing the right hosting, you should contact me and let’s talk.
Any questions? Send an email to [email protected] or leave a comment below.