There are a lot of reasons to start a blog. You might start a blog:
--As a side hustle to generate additional income.
--As a public forum that helps you clarify your thoughts.
--As a means to connect with like-minded people.
--To learn how the internet works, how Google works, and the basics of digital marketing.
Take The Credit Card Points Game To The Next Level
I started Mighty Investor for all of the above reasons, but there was a final reason that I never considered. When you create a blog, you create a potential business. You can now sign up for business credit cards, which have some of the most generous sign-on bonuses in the world. (How generous? Like 80,000 sign-on points if you qualify. Crazy.)
This is why I recommend that all Mighty Investor readers start their own blog if they haven't already started a business in some other capacity. If for no other reason, you can lock in thousands of dollars in credit card sign-on bonuses for free.
But how does a MightInvestor.com reader quickly start a blog? Let us begin.
How To Start A Blog
I encourage you to start this as a hobby – as soon as possible. You will be more playful and relaxed. Just write about what you find interesting. Get going as soon as possible -- because there is a learning curve to working in technology and you only learn it by doing.
Get Started With WordPress.com
Start with a free WordPress.com account. The great thing about WordPress.com is that the editing interface that you use online is quite similar to the WordPress.org software you will use if you decide to go out and buy a domain name and create your own website. This means you are learning website management skills from the outset with WordPress.com
Action Step For Right Now: Go to WordPress.com and set up a totally free blog that you don’t own. Start playing in there. Create a homepage and write some initial blogposts.
Write, Write, Write
Once you get your site up and running, focus on creating content. You don’t need to tell anyone about it yet if you are worried about looking like an amateur. When you are writing posts, work on getting in the habit of actually producing content and getting it published quickly. Don’t create half-written posts that never get put online. If you feel you need to do research, you could write a stripped-down version of the post, get it online, and then circle back and flesh out later. As they say in the startup world, “ship the product.”
Keep in mind that, in general, you are better off keeping your site focused on a specific niche. Your readers don’t want musings on "everything but the kitchen sync." Readers have a specific interest, and they should come to your site to scratch that particular itch.
At the very beginning, don’t worry about Google keyword research and search optimization. It’s pointless to worry about optimization a website with no content. Get your content created. If you want to go back later and change titles and content to optimize for Google (a good idea), do that later, once you have some content created.
Purchase Your Own Domain Name
If you don’t fizzle out after a couple of weeks playing on WordPress.com for free, it's time to buy your own domain name and get a web host. Get a ".com" address whenever possible. If you hope to create a business, stay away from ".net" ".org" and the rest.
Discuss your potential domain name with friends and family and gauge their reactions. They will point out things you didn’t think of. Make sure there isn’t some inappropriate word embedded in there. For example, I almost bought a domain once that had the words skills in it, but realized that the word kills was also sitting there and might jump out at people when they look at it.
Take your time choosing a name, but don't take forever. You can always circle back with a new domain later if you change your mind about the name of your business.
Domains names are cheap. They cost about $10 per year. I suggest you use NameSilo.com to purchase your domain name. NameSilo.com is wicked cheap and solid customer service.
Go Fast For A Buck or Two More - Use SiteGround To Host Your Site
In addition to purchasing your domain name, you have to pay for a "web host." This is the company that "hosts" your site on a bunch of computers called "servers."
My number one piece of advice in this post? Don't go for the absolute cheapest deal you can find on a webhost. For a buck or two more a month (seriously, the cost of a cup of coffee per month), you can get a shared plan with a host that focuses on website and server performance.
I suggest SiteGround.com (affiliate link). The host is lightning fast, and--equally important--SiteGround's customer service is off the charts. Seriously, SiteGround has blown my mind every time I contact them. (I started with Bluehost and HostGator and regretted both. Don't make that mistake.) You can get set up with Siteground for less then $50 for the year.
Don't Buy A Website Theme Yet
A theme is a piece of software that you install on your site that makes it look fancy. Some themes are free, some cost money.
Don’t immediately buy a theme. You won’t even know what you need in terms of themes until you’ve explored writing and creating a site. Just stick with one of the “twenty something” themes that the WordPress.org open source folks have created. These themes are called “twenty thirteen,” or “twenty fourteen,” etc.—named for the year they were released.
Spread the Word
Don’t worry immediately about getting traffic to your site. Just write, write, write. Get a decent amount of content out there.
Once you are ready to “open your kimono,” the simplest thing is to just tell your friends, family, Facebook contacts, Twitter followers, anyone else, that you are up and running. Don’t hesitate to ask them to spread the word online.
- Set up a free blog on WordPress.com. Play around. Write some posts. See if you fizzle out or not. If you are consistently creating content and enjoying the process, then proceed.
- Buy a domain and get it hosted.
- Pick a free theme. Keep creating content. Focus on actually getting posts written and published—rather than writing the perfect post.
- If you are still energized and creating content, you can then think about buying a premium theme and purchasing plugins that make life easier.
- Once you have a basic minimum of content created, you can begin spreading the word about your website.
P.S. - Get A Blog Going Just For The Credit Card Points!
The total cost for setting up your own website that you own is less than $60 per year to get started. With even a minimal blog, you are now ready to sign up for business credit cards and lock in their mega bonuses!
See this post for additional information on how to pay the credit card points game. Better yet, sing up for Mighty Investor's free course Credit Card Madness, and become a total credit card travel hacking pro!