Starting a blog for your business is the foundation of a strong marketing strategy to generate awareness, engagement, leads and sales. Not only is a blog an inexpensive marketing tool, but it also provides a meaningful way for your business to connect with your current and potential customers. Successful business blogs provide useful and relevant information to the reader. Many businesses make the mistake of turning their blog into one big sales pitch. Instead, you should think of your blog as a platform to build trust which, in turn, will help foster future sales growth.
Getting your business blog off the ground is easier (and cheaper) than you might think. Below is a step-by-step guide to get your business blog started in under 5 minutes:
1.) Domain Name & Hosting
If you already have a business website, then you might be able to skip this step. However, if you are starting from scratch then you will need to begin by registering your domain name. I recommend and use BlueHost for buying domains and hosting my websites. Their cheapest hosting plan starts at $3.95/month and includes a free domain name. Hosting is like renting the space that your website/blog will occupy on the internet. Follow the screenshots below to claim your domain name and setup your hosting account:
Go to www.bluehost.com and click the “Get Started” button. I recommend choosing the basic plan to start.
Once you choose your hosting plan it’s time to register your domain name. Keep in mind that even though your preferred name might not be available as a .com, you can try other options like .co, .net, .store, etc.
Now that you have found the perfect domain name, proceed to the next step and enter your account information.
Next, you will have to select your package information. I recommend adding Domain Privacy Protection; otherwise, your name, address, and phone number will be available for anyone who wants to look up your domain registration details.
Congratulations! You now own an address and some space online. Now I’ll show you how to construct a blog in that space.
2.) Blogging Platform
While there are several blogging platforms to choose from, WordPress is hands down the industry leader. WordPress has an easy-to-use interface and allows for a good amount of customization for non-web developers. The following screenshots will guide you through the WordPress installation process:
Log into BlueHost using the account information you created in the previous section. You will be automatically redirected to your cPanel Dashboard. Click the icon labeled “Install WordPress” as shown on the screenshot below.
A pop-up window will ask you to select which domain you want WordPress installed on. Select your domain and click the “Submit” button.
WordPress is now installed. Click the green button to configure the password for your new WordPress blog.
Choose the username and password you want to use to log into your blog.
Now your WordPress setup is complete! Type in your new website URL followed by /wp-login.php to login to your WordPress Dashboard. The final step will take you through the fun part – choosing a theme for your blog.
3.) Layout & Design
This is where your creative side can shine. WordPress makes installing pre-designed themes straightforward and easy. If you’re blogging on a tighter budget, WordPress offers plenty of free themes to choose from under Appearance –> Themes. Be sure to select a theme that fits your business’ identity.
Select “Add New” to visit the WordPress free themes page.
You can search and filter through the free themes. Once you find a theme you like, you will have an option to install that theme.
After you install the theme you like, you will need to activate it in the themes section.
Since free themes don’t offer a ton of features and customization options, I highly recommend spending a little extra on a paid theme. ThemeForest offers hundreds of unique WordPress themes ranging from $40-60. You can follow the screenshots below to install a custom theme:
Go to www.themeforest.com and select Blog/Magazine themes from the WordPress menu item. Just like the free themes above, you can search and filter through all of their premium themes. Once you purchase the theme you like, you will receive a downloadable .ZIP file.
Just like before, select the “Add New” button in the themes section of your WordPress dashboard. You will have the option to upload a theme. Select that option and upload the .ZIP file you downloaded from ThemeForest.
Be sure to activate the new theme to make it live on your new domain. All of the premium themes from ThemeForest will include documentation and instructions on how to customize the theme to your liking.
Now you have your very own business blog! Take some time to familiarize yourself with WordPress and all of the available theme options. Blogging takes dedication and a lot of practice, but often times the hardest part is taking that first step. Now that you know how easy and inexpensive setting up a business blog can be, you have no excuse not to start. As always, feel free to ask any questions or provide feedback in the comments section below.