Social media is great for keeping in touch with people, but what happens when you have more to say than will fit into a Facebook or Twitter post, or if you want a bigger audience for your thoughts? A blog is ideal if you want to be able to write extended pieces on things that interest you, and the great news is that it’s never been easier to set up your own blog. Keep reading as we guide you through the process of getting your new blog up and running.
1. Decide what you want to blog about
The great thing about blogging is that it gives you a platform to air your views on absolutely anything under the sun – or nothing in particular. Your blog could be a journal-like space where you tell everyone what you’ve been up to in your day-to-day life, or it could be a place for you to write detailed opinion pieces on a subject close to your heart. Whatever you decide to blog about, this will be your own corner of the internet to do what you like with.
2. Choose your platform
WordPress.com is arguably the best platform for beginner bloggers, as it makes editing your posts straightforward and you can choose from literally thousands of free themes to make your blog look professional. Blogger, Medium and Tumblr are also popular options, and while services such as Weebly and Wix are mainly aimed at those wanting to build a website for business purposes, they can also be used for building a blog.
If you want greater control over your blog – for instance, a better choice of themes and plugins – you may wish to try WordPress.org, which gives you greater flexibility while maintaining the same user-friendliness of WordPress.com. Unlike WordPress.com, WordPress.org is a content management system that you need to install on your web hosting platform – this is usually straightforward as most web hosts provide a ‘1-click’ install, but it still requires a bit more technical acumen than the alternatives. The platform you end up choosing will depend on your blogging aims. For example, if you want to get your posts seen by as many people as possible, Medium’s built-in audience might appeal, while bloggers with a younger target audience may prefer Tumblr, which is popular with younger readers.
3. Grab a custom domain
When you first set up a blog using platforms like WordPress and Blogger, you’ll be given a domain name that includes the platform name, such as ‘[YourBlogName].wordpress.com’. However, these look rather messy and are more difficult for people to remember, so it’s better to get a domain name of your own.
Choosing a UK domain gives your blog a trustworthy feel and tells readers that you’re UK-based, and it may also help your website rank better in UK search results. What’s more, you can pay a little extra and protect your personal details if you’re buying a UK domain; this means that if someone looks up your domain name in one of the many domain look-up services out there, they won’t be able to find out your home address.
There are numerous domain registrars where you can buy your own domain to make your blog more personal to you; if you’re confused by the choice, check out our advice on choosing a registrar. You may have to try a few different names before you find one that’s available; here are some more tips on choosing a domain name.
4. Choose web hosting
Most beginner blogging platforms include web hosting, which means you won’t need to pay extra for this, or go to the trouble of finding a good hosting company. If you self-host your blog, you’ll have a huge choice of hosting companies to choose from (if you search for your domain using our search tool, you’ll find all the domain registrars also offer web hosting). A good hosting company will be able to pre-install your preferred platform (such as WordPress) on your domain, so you won’t have to worry about doing anything too technical.
5. Start writing
You can launch your blog with a single post, so once your blog platform is all set up, all that remains is to write your first post. If you’d like it to have a bit more content before you let the world know about it, you can bulk it out by adding an ‘About Me’ page, or by writing and publishing a few posts before you start sharing your work on social media. You can also get lots more tips on growing your blog by browsing our other posts about blogging.