Disclosure – This is only my interpretation of online marketing and although I’ve been doing it with relative success over the years, this whole article is up for discussion and debate, if you agree or disagree with any point of this article then let your feelings be known in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what you think.
So with that being said, here is what my aim is for creating this article.
I want this to be used as a getting started resource for anyone who is considering setting up a blog in 2018 or if you have set one up before now and it’s not getting any traction, then I hope that this will give you some clear tips and guidance that will help you get some traction and build some momentum with the blogging element of your online business.
A quick summary of what a blog is, just in case you’ve somehow ended up here searching for something other than how to set up a blog in 2018.
Here is a brief description from one of the worlds leading experts in online marketing, Neil Patel –
“A blog is a channel where you share your thoughts. Think of it as a public journal, diary, or even book. You can share personal thoughts, quick updates, or even educate others on what you learned. What you publish is up to you, but I recommend that everyone try to at least blog for 6 months. Why? Because it is a great way to get feedback from others. In which people can leave comments and give you advice.”
So let’s get started with the obvious first point.
Where do I set up my blog?
There are a few places online that you can use that will host your blog for you and you simply log in and post your content before logging out once you are done for the day. The other option is to self host your own blog and although this has a few extra steps, it often allows you to have more control over your blog. You see, if it is hosted with someone else, they could at any moment pull the plug on their business and then your blog could be lost, at least with your own hosting, as long you continue to pay the hosting bill of a few dollars a month then you should be fine.
When you consider your web hosting I would always recommend you do your research as although you’ll find some web hosts being consistently good and others consistently bad, some lesser known options may surface and be just what you need right now, which is as close to consistently good as you can get whilst keeping to a budget. If you’re not really sure, then I can recommend WPEngine which is around $29 per month, this would be up to 50% less if you pay for an annual plan up front, or if you want to consider something less expensive then you have options like Siteground or Bluehost which for their managed WordPress plans (more about WordPress later on in this article), with them coming in at $12 a month and $20 a month respectively.
The reason I talk about managed WordPress hosting is that you have a more optimised site for performance and often you get a better hosting package that can include things like a free domain name (your website address), daily backups of your sites content, free SSL certifcate setup (a security seal that confirms data sent between a user and your website is encrypted and secure meaning a level of trust can be established from the word go and it is also a search engine ranking factor too) and premier levels of customer support should you need it if something goes wrong.
Just to fill in a little blank here – WordPress is whats known as open source software. It is a blogging platform that has developed into something much greater than that although it has still remained true to its roots of being that blogging platform. When I say that it has become something much greater, I mean that it has become somewhat of a dream platform for web developers to create themes and plugins which directly integrate with WordPress and allow website to perform a huge variety of tasks and present information in a wide variety of ways.
Here’s an interesting statistic for you about WordPress, and although its from November 2015, it seems to be the latest statistic I can get my hands on at the time of writing this.
09 Nov 2015 – What percentage of websites are built on WordPress?
WordPress, long known to be the No. 1 content management system (CMS) in use online, has reached a new milestone: It now powers 25 percent of all sites across the web. That’s according to the newest data from W3Techs, a company that tracks the usage of different web technologies. Here’s the link to that report – https://w3techs.com/blog/entry/wordpress-powers-25-percent-of-all-websites This is a continuous upward trend since 2011 and there are no signs of this slowing down.
Pretty amazing for something in it’s core concept that is completely free and built by the online tech community. I think it’s pretty fair to say that right now, it’s a pretty safe decision to build your website using this platform.
Okay, so lets move on to the next step.
What kind of content can I use on my blog?
There are a few standard items that can be used on any blog and they include the four mainstream ways of communicating.
- Text or Writing
- and Videos
these are typical to what you will find on any given website and are really easy to add to your own site. For the text and images you simply need to put them into your content and using something like WordPress for your blog then it’s simply a case of clicking a few buttons and the content can be added to your pages just as easily as it’s done using some word processing software. I know people are generally fearful of technology sometimes but a blog is really the tip of the iceberg and if you are happy and content at that level then you have no need to dive further into what’s possible and instead stay within your comfort zone knowing you are safe there. Many business have successfully built their brand keeping things super simple so there is no reason why you cant do this too.
When it comes to video and audio files on your site then usually, for the best results, to keep costs down for your online site and the simplest way, is to host your files on a specific website that caters for those file types. For instance your audio files can be stored on SoundCloud or iTunes and your video content can be stored on YouTube or Vimeo.
In most cases, it’s really easy to palce these on your blog by posting the link to your video and just like magic, it embeds the video on your page. There are of course ways in which you can style these videos in terms of size on the page and that kind of thing and this is often made easier by some premium themes and their options panels on your blog but otherwise its down to the embed settings you choose on the platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.
It’s always good to mix up your content on your site using the variety of content types you can post. This makes your content accessible to a wider audience and it also means that it can be shared to various other platforms across social media meaning more eyeballs seeing the content you are posting. This is especially good if your content is helpful to your marketplace because it means more people are exposed to the stuff your business shares and if it’s actionable then people can get results with it too. This would be a huge win for them and your business if they tell others about it too.
When you have something good to share, it can go ‘viral’ and the power of viral content should not be underestimated. If you are on any social media platforms I’d be surprised if you haven’t seen something that has been viewed or shared millions of times. Imagine if that was your content and what that would do for you and your business. Millions of shares is not common, but hundreds and thousands of shares definitely more common.
What kind of content can I use on my blog?