I have been blogging for several years now. What I have found is that the business benefits of blogging far outweigh the pain of getting started.
And what I mean by “the pain” is everything that a non-techie like me had to learn.
Sure; I knew my way around the internet. But I really didn’t have a clue about the big picture; what was really involved with domain names, hosting, setting up a wordpress blog, and all of the other million things you need to know about to start a blog. When a man at the hosting company told me all I had to do was “point my name-servers where I wanted them to go”, I just had to tell him that I had no idea what he was talking about. I must have been pretty convincing, because he actually took pity on me took care of it.
Well, all I can say is that a lot has changed in the last couple of years. I have managed to learn all of those “terrifying things”, one thing at a time.
Blogging and Your Expert Status
Blogging gives you a voice within your industry. It also helps you to achieve that “expert status” that directly translates into dollars for your business. One of the unexpected benefits for me was that I found I actually loved doing it since I had never really considered myself a writer. Since I first started my blog I have been invited to write for four national publications, and I have been used as a source for numerous industry articles, written guest posts on other blogs and have been included in many interviews about real estate investing. So for me, it has definitely been a good thing. I cannot say enough good things about the exposure you will get right here on this awesome site BiggerPockets.
Blogging will give you the confidence to do other things you never thought you could do. Taking calculated baby steps in your business will lead to massive positive change over time. So if you have been holding back and haven’t yet gotten started, make it your goal to take some steps toward creating your blog this first month of this New Year.
A Quick Start Guide to Setting up Your Blog
There are some “first steps” you need to take to start your new blog. I am going to give you a “quick start” guide to help you get going. If you get stuck on something, there is most likely someone here on BiggerPockets that can answer your question.
What Type of WordPress Blog Should I Set Up?
WordPress is actually pretty easy to use, so that would be my recommendation for a blog platform. There are two basic types of wordpress blogs.
- The first is a blog that is hosted by WordPress at wordpress.com. It is completely free, but it has what I consider to be some significant limitations. The biggest one for me is that wordpress.com can decide at any time that they are unhappy with your blog and shut it down. That one is a deal breaker for me. And if you ever think you might want to sell information products or even some type of actual physical product you can’t do that with this blog.
- I would recommend that you get a self-hosted wordpress.org blog. That is what most serious bloggers have.
Get Your Domain Name First
There are a number of places where you can get your domain name, and it will probably cost about $10-$14.00 for a .com name. It will also cost you about this much to renew it each year. If you can get a .com name rather than a .net name, get the .com.
Give some serious thought to what you want your blog to be called. You want folks to be able to find on the internet. If you have a real estate blog, it is good to have the word “real estate” in the title, but there are a lot of other keywords that work very well like “property” and “invest.”
There is a retail store here that sells ice cream and yogurt called “Red Apple”. Would you have ever guessed in a million years what this business does? Choose your name carefully.
Many of you have a business already so you might look for “yourbusinessname.com”. In my case, my blog was specifically for real estate investors. I don’t want motivated sellers coming to that site, so my blog does not have the name of my business associated with it. I do have another site with that domain name.
Your Self Hosted Blog
If you decide to have this type of blog (and you should) you will need a hosting company for your domain name and your blog. Your hosting company provides a place on the internet for you to put your blog and store your content. There are a lot of hosting companies where you can pay less than $10.00 a month for multiple blogs. In fact, some are even less than $4.00 per month. My advice to you is to go to one of the better known companies. They do a great job, they are economical, and if you need help quickly even in the middle of the night, they have 24 hour support.
Setting Up Your Blog
The hosting company will have a “backend” called cPanel where you can install the blog. They have all sorts of help topics and videos in there too.
There is a program called Fantastico that is quick and easy to use in cPanel to set up your wordpress blog. If you want to really take the easy way out, head on over to my favorite site of all times where you get help for just about anything: fiverr.com (No affiliation here). You can get someone to set up your blog and install some basic plugins (tools) all for $5.00.
Pretty and Functional
For most of us our blog needs to be easy to work with, and it needs to look good. Once again your blog should be a reflection of YOU and your individual personality. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
Wait a Minute; I’m not Really a Writer.
I know this is a concern for many people. They say they just don’t know what to write about, and their spelling and grammar is terrible. What I would say to you is to just sit down and write your stories, share your experiences or teach something to others. There are folks online that can help you with the editing process if you need that. It is your “voice” that people will ultimately connect with. The most important thing is to just get started.
Feel free to ask any questions you might have. And if you liked this post, please share it.