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You’ve decided that it’s finally time for you to start your own blog.  You know that it will be good for your small business, but you are not really sure what you need to do to get started.  It’s time to learn how to get started the easy way.

Note: If you have an existing WordPress website, you can start a blog using your WordPress dashboard.  If your business has another website type, you may need some assistance to add on a blog.  Continue reading if you are planning on starting your blog from scratch, and using these five steps will get you started today.

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Step One – Platform Choice

The first step is choosing what platform you want to use for your blog.  There are several platforms you can choose from, but for the sake of this example, WordPress will be used.  WordPress is an excellent choice because of how user-friendly and adaptable it is.  You can use either WordPress.com or WordPress.org.  WordPress.com will provide you a blog with a WordPress domain that you can use right away.  This is typically a better choice for someone looking to hobby blog.  For your business blog, you may be better off utilizing WordPress.org.  It may require you to seek a little help for setting it up as it is a bit more complicated than the .com version, but it is worth it for the benefits that can be found.  Both of these options are free to use, but there are some cost associated with your blog that will be covered in further steps.

There are some other platforms that are also free with an easy setup that you can look into, as well.  These include Drupal, Blogger through Google, Joomla, and Weebly.  You may find that these other platforms are not as versatile as WordPress when it comes to functionality, SEO and design.

Step Two – Theme

Design is one of the big reasons that people choose to blog through WordPress, and it’s pretty easy to customize your blog with themes that are available through their website for free or other websites online that offer themes that will need to be purchased.  There are even theme designers that will create a personalized theme for your business if you do not find one that fits what you are looking for when it comes to design.  Your checklist for picking a theme should include a few questions. Does it give you the customization that you are looking for with the colors, menu, widgets and buttons?  Is it responsive?  Does it have any customer support or a forum where you can ask questions for help?  Will visitors be able to see it correctly no matter what device they use to visit your blog?

Step Three – Domain Name

Most blogging platforms will offer you a free domain that you can use for your new blog, but it will have the blogging platform’s name in it.  Buying a personalized URL through sites like GoDaddy, NameCheap, or 1&1 is the best option to create brand recognition.  You can expect to pay around $10.00 a year for your domain, but there are some options that will allow you to pay a lesser price, such as coupon codes or paying for multiple years.

You will want to use your business name as part of the blog domain name, and it can be a good idea to choose .com even though there are other options to better help customers find your blog.

Step Four – Web Hosting

Another cost that comes from using WordPress is web hosting.  This service pays for a server to run your blog online.  You can get your web hosting through some of the services previously mentioned, GoDaddy and 1&1, but you can also choose to use services like Bluehost and Hostgator.  This can typically be a monthly fee that you have to pay.  Think of it like renting Internet space.

Step Five – Posting

The hard part is finished.  Now, it’s time to write and post to your blog.  At this point, you should make a plan on how to best use your new blog.  You should think about what purpose you have in creating the blog objective-wise.  This can help you pinpoint the type of posts you want to create, such as showing off your expertise or bringing in new customers.  What type of voice do you want to use to write your posts?  You can make your blog more casual or formal.  Thinking of the audience you are looking to bring in can help you determine your voice.  For instance, if you are trying to show off your expertise to other businesses to make business to business sales, you may want to go with a more formal voice.  Also, how often do you plan to post to your blog?  You should try to commit to at least one post a week, but try to get in two or three posts to keep your readers engaged.  Finally, what interactions will you allow readers on your blog?  Will you have a call to action with a space for a quote request, a place to sign up for a newsletter, a link to you main website, or all of the above?

Now, that you have a plan execute it.  Get writing that first blog post and hit submit to get it live.  Try to add originality and value to what you are writing to keep readers coming back for more. Is writer’s block hitting already?  Check out a topic generator for help in getting the writing ball going.