Looking to launch your blog? Look no further. Everything you need to do that is in this post, and the links mentioned in this post.
Step 1: Figure out what you want to blog about
- Make a broad list of things you are interested in. e.g. Cricket, Movies, Carnatic Music or Food
- Expand each item in the list into three, more specific, sub sections. e.g. Fast Food, Foreign Cuisines, Street Food
- Look at the top performing blogs in the topics you chose. As a thumb rule, it’s necessary that you have other successful blogs in the same space as you – it gives you creative ideas and validates the demand for your topic.
- For each sub section, list out at least 6 different blog post titles – to see if you can come up with ideas. e.g. 5 fillings for Pani Puri, 11 places to have unique desserts in Delhi, 7 places where street food is better than 5 star food
- Narrow down to three topics by eliminating topics for which coming up with titles was tough or boring
- For each topic, do the hex. It helps you understand how to position your blog and how to talk about it. See http://arvindhsundar.com/hex
- Once you’ve done the hex for the three topics, pick one. If you’re tied between two of the topics, just pick one. You can do the next one later.
- Remember: Focus is key
Step 2: Getting your platforms ready
- I recommend going with a self-hosted WordPress setup. An alternative is to use Medium.com. I’ve given the differences and a walkthrough in the video below.
- Hunt for the right domain name. You can do this at domainr.com, namemesh.com, wordoid.com, impossibility.org or leandomainsearch.com. Ensure that the domain name you pick is descriptive and clearly communicates what your blog is about. It’s not necessary to have a short name, but it helps.
- After you found the right domain, you need to buy the domain name – and the hosting. For this, head over to either Speedhost.in (my favourite) or to GoDaddy, buy the domain and the hosting. Get the one year plan for starters – you can always upgrade later. If you’re stuck with this, just call the number provided on their site or search on youtube for instructions.
- Connect the domain name and hosting by ensuring the nameservers for both the domain and the hosting match. Again, if you’re stuck with this, google, call up tech support or search on YouTube. For the domain name and hosting to be linked properly, it takes about 48 hours, so chill.
- Get a standard set of profile images, cover images and other graphic identities that you want use across all your platforms.
- Set up email services for your domain. Once again, your service provider can help here. If it’s too difficult, just go with a gmail.com id.
- Install WordPress. If you went with Speedhost or GoDaddy, they provide installers for you to set up your own. Their tech support may also help.
- Find a theme that suits you. You can find many good themes for free inside WordPress itself. You can buy premium themes on ThemeForest.net.
- Install the theme you chose.
- Now, book relevant social media ids on the sites you use – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc. Use the email id you created earlier.
Your platforms are now ready.
Step 3: Getting your content ready
- The biggest asset you will have in your blogging journey is your editorial calendar. It’s a document that helps you plan and track the different types of content you put out. You could use a google sheet, but I recommend going with a Trello Board and multiple lists. See this: http://blog.trello.com/moved-to-published-using-trello-as-an-editorial-calendar
- Brainstorm ideas for posts. The best way to do this is to ask your target audience – the ones you described in The Hex. Apart from that, searching on AnswerThePublic.com, BuzzSumo.com or, my favourite: http://tweakyourbiz.com/tools/title-generator/index.php
Now that you have a list of ideas, bring it down to 8 titles. This is important. You will be using the 8 in this way: 4 to start as seed content in your blog, 4 to use as a buffer.
- Write the posts. For this, I have a really useful checklist that I make my team follow. It’s long, hard and effective. See this: http://arvindhsundar.com/write-distribute-blog-post/
Step 4 & Beyond: Making it a routine
- Publish your first 4 posts.
- Distribute them according to the post & your networks.
- Look for comments, feedback and more. Use these for fuelling your future articles.
- Set up a schedule in your calendar for when you will write. Set aside around 4 hours per post.
- Obey the calendar. Write. Also, this is the hardest damn thing to do.
If you want an easier way…