How and why should you start a blog? - Extensive Guide for Beginners.



How to start a blog? That's the one more question which is asked most of the times. Well as I always say, it is very easy to start a blog. Starting a blog is way easy compared to maintaining one. There are many reasons one can opt for blogging and honestly if you want to write your heart out just go for it but there are a few things which you should keep in mind before you head on for the adventure.

Just like every adventure you need to pack light but keep all essentials, blogging is the same. You need to be light with your website but at the same time keep all the essentials intact. As a hobby blogging is quite an investment of your time. Before we begin talking about how to start a blog, let us first talk about why should you open one and why not?

Why should you start a blog?

This question is honestly a very controversial question as per my opinion. For some a blog is a way to express themselves while for some it is a way to just showcase their writings to the world. For some it is a space to vent out all emotions while for some it is a place to show their unusual side to the world. For some it might be just another timepass but for some it is a bread earner.

Coming to the answer for this question, one should start a blog if they can produce unique content for a long time consistently. Just ask yourself this question and reflect your actions upon its honest answer. If it is a strong yes then just go for it. At times you might be nervous if someone will read your content or not, but at the same time you are confident about your content, just go for it.

You can start a blog just to keep yourself occupied as its a very investing hobby, both in terms of time and money. You can start a blog if you want some work experience in writing as well as can't have time to work as part-timer for some institute.

Why you shouldn't start a blog?

Now this question is quite in the gray area as I  actually am not the deciding entity whether you can or can't begin one but I'd try to give out my reasons for why you might not be the cut-out for blogging.

If you are starting the blog with the sole aim to monetise it and earn from it, honestly don't bother opening one in first place. Monetizing blogs is quite a secondary option that is also intended towards the developed blogs. Most people who begin blogging for earning money thinking you just have to write to get paid huge cheques, it is not for you. Although there can be an exception if you have a well thought out business plan but that won't be blogging hence the conundrum.

If you are thinking blogging is a super easy way to get quick success and it is one way to reach the imaginary heavens of the career world then you need to calm down and come back to earth as that's reverse of what blogging is.

Blogging is super hard in various ways in which I would explain later in this post but when its comes to one step success, it might look like to unknowledgeable eye but its not the case. There's a lot in background and just like I said, the website you see and access is just a tip of an iceberg.

How to start a Blog?

Now, coming to the main topic, first you have to decide whether you want to invest in blogging or not? Ask yourself that question and then choose a path accordingly. There are various ways to start a blog but I'd generalise a lot of things here including this one for the sake of the article size, else it'd be a thesis for sure.

Self Hosted Blog or Free Blogging Platforms

If you are a newbie with literally zero experience on what blogs are, how they work and other things then I would strictly advise you against going self hosted. Still if you think you can afford the costs and you just want to take a risk and try it out for once then you can surely go ahead with it.

If you are someone who just wants to play around with the idea of owning a blog and just want to express yourself via a medium which isn't plain social media then just go for free blogging platforms. There are several of them including micro-blogging platforms. Look up on the Internet for them as new ones always keep popping up.

Difference between Social Media and a Blog

Before we head into further details about blogging, let me explain the key differences between a blog and a social media outlet.

I am going to use 'social' for the ease of reference and discussion but things like Tumblr (Micro-Blogging Platform), Twitter (Micro-Blogging Platform), Reddit (Micro-Blogging Platform with Perks), Quora (QnA Platform) also account as social medias because of their usage patterns as well as several other usage policies which includes content policies.

There are very tiny yet significant differences between a social media and a blog. A blog is technically a website which is personalised and is updated with content in a particular format ( Not a textbook definition ). Whereas social media account is more like a piece of a huge blog. I would account Youtube more of a social than a blog as it follows more patterns as a social which is used for vlogs or video blogs.

  1. You don't own the content on social medias. There might be different content policies but at the end they hold the right to remove your content or at times even modify as well as use for their personal purposes. For such details dig deeper into their content and privacy policies before beginning.
  2. Some Socials don't allow you to use personal account for businesses. Either you have to define it as a business account with proper credentials or just stop doing that altogether.
  3. Social medias don't give you the control over the content and platform that you use like a blog provides. A blog is as good as you can spend and your imagination but social media on the other hand limits your options that you can do with whatever the main company offers you.
  4. It is extremely easy to use social media when compared to blog but similarly it is extremely to get your content copied. All you can do when you find that your work was copied is that you can complain like that annoying kid who always snitches to the teacher and then it is upto the teacher to pay you attention or not.
  5. There are limits on what you can and can't upload on a social media both in terms of content guidelines as well as content form factors as well as the audience that you would find on that socials. In a blog you have your own curated audience and they all are connected with just you. Social media is like a having a stall at fair. People come to the fair and browse all stalls depending on what is best at grabbing their attention.
  6. Driving traffic to social media is very easy than compared to driving traffic to a blog. You'd literally cry out after a few months if you get views that you can count on your fingers on everything you post on blog until you crack several pro things which I will talk about later.
  7. Social media makes it very easy for people to connect with you as well as follow you. There's no one way or maybe comfortable way for people to follow blogs even as of yet in 21st century. Emails and RSS are a few popular ways but not quite extensive and helpful much like socials.
  8. For getting views on blog, you'd have to depend on a social and it would be a chicken and egg story. Your socials won't get attention much since your blog isn't that famous and your blog won't get that much traffic just because you aren't as much popular on social media. If you crack one of any, that might change the things out for you, until then it is an endless vicious draining cycle which might lead into depression.
  9. Maintaining a blog is 10x harder when it comes to handling a social. Blog gives you a sense of ownership and responsibility. I feel blog vs social is an argument like buying or renting a house. Find which one makes more sense for you and take the one which suits your need the best.
  10. Lastly, on a social you might be subjected to the trends which rise on the platform more quickly and have to change your content producing schedules and quality depending upon the platform. On a blog it is more of the way you want it to do approach.
If you think a social would be better than blog then you might not be wrong, check out this article where I have explained why for most a social is better than a blog.


What to take care while going Self-Hosted?

Self hosted blogs are often called fully owned websites. Everything right from a piece of code to the loading speed of the website to the legalities that your content has to deal with in different regions is totally your responsibility.

Choosing a Good Hosting and Domain

When it comes to going self hosted first thing that should come to your mind is choosing a good hosting service and Domain.

You can host a server from your house as well if you have a powerful enough computer combined with fast and steady Internet and electricity. Else you can be a smarty one and pay for a good hosting from a wide range of hosting companies that you would find at a simple search on the Internet.

Always choose a server with good ping and access speeds. There are mainly two speeds, download speeds and upload speeds. For a server you'd need better download access speeds than upload access speeds unless 100 people are going to upload the content on blog at the same time.

Check for the reliability of the hosting provider before buying the space. You can choose any of the plans you feel better. Many providers also offer you domain names in a package along with the hosting but I'd recommend to look for cheaper and good domain service since you can change hosting anytime and much easily as compared to the domain names.

Choose a good domain name and not completely rubbish that you thing is trendy. Domain names are something which should be as small as possible or of lengthy as easy as possible to remember. Avoid domain names which might either get you banned in some country or cause you legal trouble. If possible avoid .com domains for a number of reasons unless you are a business and want to establish yourself as a legitimate company.

Take up some friendly domains like .in, co.in, .us .uk, .net etc... Avoid domains like ,gov, .org, .tk, etc.. which might get you banned or make you look like a malicious source or don't suit your profile. There are some new weird domains in the market as well but as far as the fancy names go domain names doesn't matter that much in terms of SEO unless its one of things which make you look malicious.

Always hire a good developer

I know this might irk some of you but unless you are really good at coding or have someone to annoy at one ring of a phone call 24/7 who is a developer or knows their way around websites, HIRE A DEVELOPER.

When you go self hosted a number of things might go wrong and most of the times you might not even be aware about it. It can affect your blog's SEO, loading times and other significant performance issues which might happen at any time.

If you have a developer who can maintain or help you with your blog then it gets things way easier like piece of cake. Else it would be like you talking to an alien who is grumpy and about to vaporise you with his gun.

Some developers just make websites for you while some offer nice and good after sales service and maintenance plans which would leave you with just the hassle of dealing with content and not bother why some button has started behaving weirdly or some random plugin isn't working.

If you are adventurous enough and want to learn as you go then you can surely take a deep dive in the ocean of technology and explore the coral reefs of programmings languages and endless plugins.

Some other personalisation tips

You have a endless imagination and can do whatever you want with your space on the internet. A website is your own space on this huge web and while you can do anything with it, there are somethings which you have to keep in your mind before you start dancing in the la-la land where you the supposed god.


  1. Avoid things which might land you in legal trouble. I want to keep this as my first tip as there's endless possibility of what you can upload on your blog or how you can make it. Ensure you aren't breaking any laws in the countries your website might be visible in. You can also region lock your website so as to avoid headaches or things which you just might want to show inside your own country.
  2. Ensure that your website's loading speed is good enough to not just drive traffic away. Since you are the one in control of the hosting, it depends on you how fast your website can be accessed. There are more factors which decide the loading speeds of a webpage but at first you need to ensure it is not the fault from the servers.
  3. Always have a full backup of your website, including the code and plugins. If you don't have it then you can ask your developer for it. Keep accounts safe, if possible give only admin access to the developer and not the owner level access as at times some one may lock you out of your own website.
  4. Don't host any malware, upload anything which might cost you a DMCA takedown or anything in similar pattern. Always try to keep your content original as possible.
  5. Host only the things you want and don't end up making a plugin mess or something which drives attention off your articles all the time.
What to take care when using a Free-Blogging Platform

Many of you might be wondering why I called YouTube a social and would be calling Blogger another service by Google a Blog. There are a lot of differences in the usage pattern and restrictions that make that difference. But here we are going to explore free-blogging platforms.

There are many free blogging platforms like Blogger, Wordpress, Wix, Squarespace, etc. Many of them have a freemium model only exception being Blogger. Blogger I feel by far is the best you can get when it comes to free blogging platforms. I will explain the reason why later at the end of this section.

Choosing a nice URL
When it comes to choosing URLs in these free platforms keep a few things in mind.
  1. A URL can be only assigned once to a person hence don't waste URLs like single use plastic. It is free doesn't mean you exploit it. Someone else won't get a URL just because you didn't fancy a particular one and wanted to change.
  2. Keep a sane URL which people can remember with as less dots '.' as possible in it.
  3. In free blogging platforms all you get is a subdomain and not a domain. A sub-domain is like a domain within a domain. You own the subdomain but not own it at the same time. It is like a section inside a hard drive or say, a section inside your locker. You might own that locker but not the whole almirah.
  4. Choose a URL which connects with your blog and makes some sense. for example, 'mybookishworld.blogspot.com' and not 'itsmybookandiwillreviewitasilike.blogspot.com' or 'mybookworld.blogspot.home.blog.com'
  5. In these free platforms choosing a URL is like choosing a good username. It will help you when it comes to search engines both within the free blogging ecosystem of your platform as well as the open internet.
Choosing a nice theme

It is very important to choose a nice theme when it comes to blogging. You might not get a free and full access to whatever you want to do on your blog and have to choose from a very limited palette of themes available.

Choose the one which gives you the ability to customise extensively and which is as minimal as possible so there are less chances of you deleting anything by mistake.

If you are trying to edit and customise the themes yourself there are some easy to use tools if you are tech savy but a little knowledge of HTML and CSS is recommended if you are going to get your hands dirty even a little bit. It isn't compulsory bit might turn out handy anytime.

Choose a theme which is legible and don't customise in a way that makes your page load slow or wonky. Turn on the mobile support for the themes if it is not turned on by default.

Blogger as Exception and Best of Free Blogging Platforms.

Here I am explaining the differences that blogger offers when it is compared to other free blogging platforms.

  1. Blogger allows you to use your own domain name with blogger. So you can use blogger as a hosting service and use your own domain name to connect with your blog.
  2. Blogger allows you to upload custom themes and side load plugins if you are tech-savy enough to do so, or have a helping hand.
  3. Blogger allows you to customise your blog as much as you can leaving very few boundaries between going self hosted and using a free platform.
  4. Blogger adapts your website according to regions it is served in, for ex GDPR notices in EU region. You don't have to worry about even making it go from HTTP to HTTPS as long as your theme doesn't interfere with any of it.
  5. Side loading plugins is easy and hosting files can be done by using some workarounds.
  6. You can sign up for Adsense and earn using blogger.


Things to take care of while blogging on free platforms.

Free platforms that allow you to blog have their own content guidelines for what you can and can't upload or what you can and can't do with the free space that they are alloting you. As far as you are within those ver basic guidelines then you are free to explore your blogging world as you like it.

Somethings to take care of before you begin your blogging journey.


  1. Your blog theme should be legible, don't use fancy fonts or overly tiny fonts.
  2. Keep your blog as minimal as possible. If you wish you can make it super vibrant and shiny and glittery but then that will drive attention off your writing into other things which will just increase your bounce rates.
  3. Create links properly for every webpage and post and link them properly to each other.
  4. Avoid redundancy as far as you can in terms of links, texts, logins etc..
  5. Try that you don't divert traffic outside your blog as far as possible.
  6. Use Ads and affiliates in non-intrusive mannerisms.
  7. Avoid link spamming on posts.
  8. Create a nice post sharing mechanism. ( Email, RSS, Socials, etc)
  9. Make it easy to comment and share your posts. Use appropriate methods for that.
  10. Upload good quality of content and don't disappear after a few months.

Here I have tried my best to compile a list of things that a newbie should take care off before heading on the blogging adventure. I have generalised a lot of things here and don't quote this as some legal or official statement. I have emphasized more on the true meaning and context as compared to barebone technicalities.





Do comment and share your thoughts about it! I'd love to know what do you think. Also, I'd keep updating it quite often so do follow the Website to get all the updates by clicking here.

Also, a minor headsup.... Obsessed is free to read on Kindle Unlimited! Do check it out. I'd be glad to read your reviews!
Share :

Are you getting regular fresh content updates? If not click on the button below.

2 comments:

  1. Well researched. Hopefully someone will benefited by this. There's lot of information. Good job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot. Took me time to compile and organise the content.

      Delete

Do comment and share your thoughts.