7 Steps To Start A Blog Today

One of the best steps you can take in creating a successful internet business is setting up a blog. Blogs can be used to promote your product, generate a loyal following, build a list, and more.

Blogging is also a great way to get loads of targeted free traffic by ranking high in the search engines. In addition, it allows you to update your site easily with new content…so you’re never held hostage by a website designer.

Here are the 7 steps to getting a blog started today:

1. Choose a Domain Name and Web Host.

When choosing a domain name, do some keyword research on your market and find out which keywords are most popular. Also, consider naming your domain what it is your are going to write about, ie. www.sellingwidgets.com. I would not recommend naming your blog after yourself, unless of course you’ve made a name for yourself in your niche already (meaning people are already searching for your name).

For domain names, I actually own a reseller account so I purchase domain names from myself at http://www.mylowcostdomains.com (meaning I get commissions off my own purchases).

See how you can setup a similar site selling domain names here…

Reserve your own hosting service that you can install and run your blog on. Sure, if want to start for free you could use a free account through WordPress.com, but I highly recommend getting your own hosting. This way, you will have complete control over your blog. The host I recommend even has a Fantastico easy install system for a WordPress blog.

2. Choose Blogging Software.

People will talk about Blogger.com, WordPress.com, Moveable Type, and other blogging software programs. Don’t be confused by all the options. Use WordPress. You can download it for free at their site…

If you want to try out the software first, just sign up for a free account at WordPress.com (linked to above).

Why WordPress? It’s easy to use…and there are a ton of plug-ins to help you expand just how functional and useful it is.

3. Setup a Theme for your Blog.

WordPress has hundreds of free themes to choose from at http://www.themes.wordpress.net. Since you are setting up your blog to promote our products and build a list, find a simple theme that will appeal to your ideal customer.

You can also do your research and find a premium WordPress theme such as the Revolution one (premium themes mean you have to pay a one time fee for them) or you can hire someone to develop an exclusive theme for you.

Here is another area where WordPress shines. You can easily change the design of your entire blog site by changing your theme. All your content is automatically updated with the new theme (I do recommend making a backup first though).

4. Install Free Plugins.

A plugin is a specific software that ads functionality and special features to your blog.

Some of my favorites are Akismet, Do Follow, and social bookmarking plugins. See the most recent plugins I recommend at this previous post http://www.terrydean.org/new-blog-design-and-plug-ins/

5. Create your First Blog Post.

Your first post should be extremely content rich. Some will even call these first few posts you make your foundational content for you to expand your blog on. Create some content that is so good you could sell, but instead give it away free from your blog.

I’ve found just from my own writing that often lists are some of the best ways to create this kind of strong content. For example, check out these posts:

7 Practical Ways to Earn More By Working Less

How to Get A Copywriting Education for Under $100
20 Ways to Add Value to Your Products and Services
25 Ways to Increase Conversion
18 Possibilities to Build Your Unique Selling Position

6. Setup Email Capture and RSS Feeds.

Capturing your visitors email address should be a top priority of your blog. This will allow you to promote your products via email by using autoresponders and even make special offers to your email list only.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is used to subscribe to the feed of a website. This will allow your readers to be notified and will display your blog posts into their software or feed reader service like Google Reader. You will notice the big square orange icon at the top right of this page. This is the industry standard icon for RSS feeds commonly seen on blogs.

I also use Aweber.com to build my email list. In fact my Aweber broadcast list for this blog is MUCH larger than the RSS subscriber numbers…and I want it that way! Those email list subscribers are worth more per subscriber than the RSS subscribers are. You may have even noticed I use a popover to offer the Aweber list on this blog (it’s currently set to only appear for you once unless you delete your cookies).

7. Promote your Blog.

Get out there and PROMOTE!

Just a few ways you can promote your blog are to submit to blog carnivals, use social bookmarking, post blog comments, participate on forums, submit articles, create press releases, etc. And that’s just getting warmed up.

You can even use PPC advertising although I’d recommend not sending visitors directly to your blog. Send them to a squeeze page where they sign up for your blog broadcast list instead of directly to your blog to maximize the visitor value.

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