What Is Blogging & How To Start Your Free Blog

by Mehdi BAH

It is easy and very cheap to create a blog in 2020.

The most popular blogging software, WordPress.org, is free. Professionally developed WordPress themes and plugins are free. And there are millions of free tutorials to get you started (including this one). The only cost associated with starting a blog is the money you pay for a web host and domain name.

Introduction: What is Blogging?

At the very beginning, before the word “blog” was invented, a blog is usually referred to as a “weblog”.

A weblog is an online journal that displays information in reverse chronological order, with the most recent posts first.

As the internet grew and technology matured (mostly in the late ’90s), people saw the benefits of blogging. News services used blogs for public relations and opinion-forming, companies used blogs for marketing and customer service. Niche bloggers use blogs to reach more people who are interested in certain topics. Blogging has become mainstream.

Today anyone with a computer connected to the Internet can become a blogger.

Ten Warning Signs Not To Blog

Even though blogging has numerous advantages, there are also good reasons not to blog. A blog that is careless or for the wrong reasons can quickly develop into full-blown reputation damage. A lack of engagement in your blog sends a clear message – but unfortunately the wrong one.

So before you start designing or creating a blog, we recommend that you compare your goals and expectations with the following warning signs.

  • You are fundamentally enthusiastic about the possibilities of a blog – but experiments or new formats rule you out from the start.
  • One article per month is enough. You don’t want to invest more time.
  • You assume that your blog and articles only have to do with you.
  • Comments and feedback are welcome – however, critical comments should be deleted immediately or not activated at all.
  • After three to four months at the latest, you want to see results, otherwise, the blog has failed in your opinion.
  • You are aware that other blogs also write about the topics you have chosen. And you see the relevant bloggers as competitors, not network partners.
  • You don’t even plan active networking around the blog. In your opinion, good content must speak for itself.
  • Link other blogs? No way! You’re not helping the competition.
  • They think SEO is a new social network or board game.
  • Active monitoring? Much too expensive.

Start Blog: Where Should I Start?

You have decided to start blogging, are ready to invest time and effort into your blog and are serious about it, now you are wondering how to start. It starts with the question: What do I want to blog about?

Take your time to answer this question. The answer includes thinking about what area your interests are in. What inspires and moves you? But that alone is not enough. In addition to interest, you also need a knowledge background to write useful and to be able to exchange ideas with other bloggers and readers.

If you answered the first question, you now have to decide which form your blog should have. Should it be a video blog, microblog or text blog? Of course, formats can be combined and a blog can also be set up in a multimedia way, but you should always decide how you want to communicate.

If it is the classic variant, you will have to choose a hosting service. There are two options here:

1- You Use a Free Hosting Service:

 If you want to set up a blog quickly and free of charge, you can use blogs hosting services such as “blogger.com” or “wordpress.com”. However, these have the disadvantage that only selected designs and plugins are available and the domain refers to the service, for example, “xy.wordpress.com”.

2- You Host Your Blog Yourself:

At “wordpress.org” you can download the technical system free of charge to install your blog yourself on a web server. It is a little more complex at the beginning, but the longer you blog, the more you will appreciate the design options.

3- You Are Using A Managed WordPress Hosting Provider:

If you want to use the full range of functions of WordPress without having to take care of the hosting yourself, a provider who specializes in hosting WordPress sites is a perfect choice. In general, four areas distinguish a WordPress host from a normal hosting provider:

  • Support. The team of a managed WordPress host usually consists of professionals with specific knowledge of WordPress core software, themes, and plugins. This way, technical WordPress problems can be solved faster and more efficiently.
  • Updates. Automatic updates of the WordPress software, plugins and themes are included in many managed to host packages. This means that security gaps are closed promptly and the website is always up to date.
  • Caching. Caching ensures faster page delivery by holding individual pages in the clipboard. Many managed packages include caching in the hosting offering. Some WordPress hosters also rely on proven third-party solutions ( e.g. CloudFlare.com ) to offer a wide range of functions.
  • Flexibility. The advantages of managed WordPress hosting are its technical and contractual flexibility. Resources can be added or reduced if desired. There are no limits on storage space, traffic or the number of WordPress installations. Even peak loads can be easily compensated for thanks to the special server configuration. Flexible managed hosting is especially important if the blog is likely to experience short-term peak loads – for example, due to a TV commercial or reports in media with a strong reach. There are also contractual freedoms with providers: contracts can often be terminated monthly.

Find Blog Topics: What Should I Write About?

Now you can start. You have chosen a focus, but where can you find ideas for your articles and contributions? Here is an aid:

  • Other blogs and websites related to your topic
  • English articles and blogs, the contents of which serve as an inspiration and a free basis for translation – of course not without your ideas and additions
  • Magazines, (specialist) journals and books
  • Youtube channels and podcasts
  • Talks and discussions with colleagues or business partners
  • Experiences in the workplace or a professional context
  • Situations and circumstances that at first glance have nothing to do with your topic

Capture Inspiration And Ideas

The list shows what you probably already knew: Ideas and topics for new blog posts can arise from almost any situation and situation. Most of the time you get the best ideas if you don’t expect them at all. Who doesn’t know the brilliant idea of ​​weekend shopping or taking a shower?

To capture and use these fleeting ideas, you must write them down promptly. Whether you use pen and paper, your smartphone’s note application, Evernote, voice memos, a photo or other methods are of secondary importance. It is only important that …

  • You can derive the topic from the note later.
  • You can capture ideas in any situation.
  • the effort for a note is minimal.
  • You systematically file the notes later and use them for your topic planning.
  • You choose a method and use it consistently.

The Perfect Blog Article: How Does it Look?

Everyone can blog, only nobody likes to read. Numerous bloggers experience this sobering experience every day. It is extremely frustrating to invest time and effort and still be able to count the readers on one hand. Therefore the top rule is:

Good blogs offer readers added value on interesting and exciting topics.

What Does Added Value Mean In This Context?

  • Insights into companies and work processes.
  • Practical tips and tricks from the respective department.
  • Approaches to solving specific problems.
  • Inspiration and food for thought.
  • Reason and help for reflection and course correction.
  • Knowledge and little-known information and aspects.
  • Portraits and information from employees or famous people.
  • Testimonials can serve as a role model.
  • Good entertainment and a good sense of humor.

How To Write Blog Articles Worth Reading:

Photo 1476242906366 D8eb64c2f661
  • Formulate an interesting headline. Choose a headline that is exciting, promising, provocative, or entertaining. Formulate them briefly and succinctly and take your time. A good title often decides whether your readers pay attention to the article at all. Find out exactly what a good headline needs here.
  • Keep the promise you make. With your headline, you fuel expectations and make a promise to your readers. Do it! In other words: if the title promises practical tips, they must also be included in the article. Otherwise, you will lose your readers.
  • Build-in pictures. We cannot say it enough: blog articles without pictures are boring. You can offer the best content, but with pure text deserts, you hardly attract readers.
  • Think about the layout. Speaking of text deserts: In addition to the pictures, the layout and design of your articles also play a role. Subheadings highlighted sentences or keywords, text boxes and lists loosen up an article and increase readability.
  • Speak the language of your readers. Write clearly and choose the right wording. Anyone who uses unnecessary technical terms or too much Denglisch often effectively sells readers.
  • Structure your texts. This applies not only to the look and layout but also to the content. Make it easy for readers to follow the common thread.
  • Bring examples and experiences. Valuable information is good, but if you enrich it with your own experience, it will be even more popular with readers – in our experience.
  • Write with wit and humor. Humor or irony is not appropriate for all articles, but they can make texts more appealing and put a smile on the face of your readers.
  • Use different formats. Checklists, guides, tutorials, practical examples – all of these are article formats and elements with which you can make your contributions more interesting.

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