This week, we’re running the Blog Like a Pro Challenge, and you’re going to want to be a part of it. What does this entail? 7 days. 7 blog posts. 1 epic challenge that will leave you a better blogger.
But before you jump in, you’d better have a blog. So let’s talk about that.
Why do you need a blog?
Three important reasons:
- Because blogging is accessible. Anyone can do it.
- Because blogging is relatively easy once you understand the tools, which I argue even your grandma can figure out.
- And lastly because blogging is powerful. It’s a simple way to get your words out into the world. If you have something to say, why wouldn’t you have a blog?
But lots of people launch blogs that never make an impact. How will yours be different? Well, there are a few things that I think lft a professional blog apart from the rest of the clutter on the Internet:
First, a professional blog is owned by the author. In other words, it's a self-hosted blog, which really means that you pay to host the website elsewhere as opposed to letting a free service like WordPress.com or Blogger host it. There's nothing wrong with those services, except that they can put up ads or any kind of other distractions on your website whenever they like. Why gamble by placing the controls to your content in someone else's hands? Own your words.
Second, a professional blog is branded well. What I mean by that is you should be using a .com or .org version of your domain name if at all possible (the domain name is the web address people will use to get to your site). A good domain name should be short, memorable, and relevant to the blogger's message. In other words, dancing-girl-1352.net doesn't work. Find a good domain name and use it.
Third, a professional blog is designed well. This is why I recommend WordPress. It's free to download, cheap to host on any number of sites (like Bluehost, for example, which I have an affiliate relationship with and love recommending), and has a ton of free resources including a treasure trove of nice-looking free themes. What makes a theme design a winner? Clean layout, simple graphics, and nothing that distracts the readers from the copy. Invest in the design of your site, and you won't regret it.
Ready to start blogging?
Okay, so now that I’ve made my case, here’s what you need to do:
- Set up your blog. I recommend a self-hosted solution like Bluehost (watch the 8-minute video below to get set up). For less than $4/month, you can get rolling with your very own, customized website. Pretty amazing, right?
- Choose a domain name that matches your brand and message. It could just be your name, the subject about which you’ll be blogging, or some kind of mashup of the two (for example, my name is Jeff Goins and I’m a writer, so I chose Goinswriter.com).
- Install a WordPress theme. These range from free to fairly expensive (a few hundred dollars). I recommend something simple to begin with like the Twenty Sixteen Theme, which doesn’t cost a thing. You can always upgrade later.
- Start blogging! The first thing you want to write is your about page, because that’s one of the most important pages on your website that many bloggers ignore.
If you get stuck, there are tutorials for all this stuff (Google is your friend). But keep in mind, that’s why we’ve built this community of bloggers — so that you can get the help you need. If you need something, just pop into the Intentional Blogging Facebook group and ask your question. I’m sure someone will help you.
And if you don’t have a self-hosted blog, I highly recommend getting one. You can follow my quick tutorial here. Or watch the video below.
So that’s all for today. Get started blogging and make sure you’re signed up for the daily email updates on the challenge if you don’t want to miss a thing. A week goes by pretty fast!
Assignment: Set up your blog. Share the link in the comments.