I strongly believe that everyone has a story to share with the world. Whether it’s a story of joy, a story of triumph, a a story of talent we’ve all got one worthy of blessing an audience with. Of course, the problem is choosing a platform to share your story when you have limited funds. Television would be nice, but who’s got the money for equipment, production crews and ad time on your favorite network. And then there’s radio, but again you’d have to worry about the cost of ad space, editing equipment, etc.
These days, the easiest and most cost effective way to share your story is via a blog. It’s easily accessible, easy to set up and inexpensive. No, it’s not free. But it’s something you can easily cover by cutting out your Starbucks run for one day. That’s right for $5 per month you can have your space on the internet to call your own without sacrificing quality. Just follow these easy steps.
- Choose a topic
This may sound like the easiest step but, it might actually prove to be the most difficult. The topic you choose can make or break you as a new blogger. Choose something too broad and you’ll get lost in the blogger shuffle on the internet. Choose a topic you don’t care about and you’ll struggle to create posts consistently. If you don’t already have a topic in mind, think about what your passion is. If you feel strongly about a particular cause, hobby, etc. then you your blog topic may be right in front of you. Don’t forget to consider what skills you have. Perhaps you are a skillful knitter and would enjoy sharing your tips with others. And of course, consider the things you enjoy doing in your spare time. If you it’s something you enjoy doing, it might be something you enjoy writing about.
2. Pick a domain name
Once your topic is chosen, you should choose a simple domain name that’s easy to remember. I liked the name Terrific Words because it’s easy, sorta has my name in it, and goes along with my theme of positive thinking. It’s a good idea to brainstorm a few options just in case your first choice is already taken. When thinking of a domain name keep these tips in mind:
- Avoid numbers
- Keep it short and simple
- Go with .com
- Make sure it is easy to type
- Avoid hyphens
3. Find web hosting
It might seem complicated at first, but a host is simply where your blog will live on the internet. Purchasing hosting is like buying a “house” on the internet where you can keep all of your “stuff” aka your web files. This will allow you to have website access by typing www. (your domain name). com
The options for website hosts are endless but I can’t say enough good things about FatCow web hosting. I’ve been using them for years and they’ve never steered me wrong. They’ve got 24/7 customer service via the phone and online chat, unlimited amount of mailboxes, and lots of storage. Hosting through FatCow will only run you $49 for the year or $5 per month. (Of course, for the most bang for your bank it makes more sense to pay for the full year upfront.) And if that’s not enough, your domain name is free with your FatCow hosting! Sign up here.
4. Install WordPress
WordPress is a content management system that’s king in the blogging world. It’s very easy to use, customizable and offers lots of options. Luckily, FatCow allows you to easily install WordPress from your control panel.
5. Choose a layout
Once WordPress is installed, you need to decide how you will design your blog. You can do these by selecting a series of themes available through WordPress. While many people choose to pay for a theme, I found no issue with using one of the free ones available through WordPress. You can choose a theme by logging into WordPress, clicking appearance in the left sidebar and then selecting themes form the drop down menu. You’ll then be taken to a page with hundreds of theme options to choose from. You can customize your search by inputting theme criteria such as colors, columns, and sidebars. Once the theme is selected and installed customize it to your liking.
6. Be Branded
If you think only big businesses like Target need to be branded, think again. Even small bloggers like yourself are in need of recognizable branding. That’s where a logo comes in. Luckily, it’s not necessary to pay a marketing company hundreds of dollars to customize logos. Just visit LogoSnap and design your blog logo for free! LogoSnap believes in affordability for small businesses so they offer the option for people like you to design a personalized logo for free. Just visit the website, click on “Design my Logo for Free” and click through the categories, shapes and colors available
7. Start writing
And now – it’s the fun part. Start writing! It may take a while before you get in the swing of things , but if you keep at it you’ll soon have a writing routine you can stick to. Play with your tone, length, and content organization until you get one that clicks. Keep in mind posts that get the most clicks are usually separated by sub titles or numbered lists.
8. Be Visual
You probably thought that your job was done once the blog is written, but you are so wrong. We now live in a visual society. If your blog doesn’t have a picture of some kind, it probably won’t get much traction even if it’s the best thing ever written. To date, about 70 percent of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest and that’s all because of the carefully selected visuals put in each post. If you can’t take your own photos you can get stock photography to use on your blog for free from websites like freedigitalphotos.com or morguefile.com Just make sure you credit photos appropriately if you aren’t using your own to avoid copyright infringement.
And there you have it – how to start a blog for less than $5/mo that people will actually want to read. Despite, what other big time bloggers might tell you, a quality blog doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Now head on over to FatCow, sign up for web hosting and get to blogging.
If you could start a blog, what would it be about? Bloggers, what were your early blog startup expenses.
Terrific Quip: We’ve all got something worth sharing.