Blogging is not only a medium to showcase your voice, it’s also a viable career option.
Many youngsters are jumping into the blogging world to earn part-time passive income. Some (like me) are even earning a full-time professional living.
But starting a professional blog requires lots of things, and if you are planning to make blogging your career, you (at least) need to have a blog business plan and a professional appearance.
Rahul asked me this question:
- How can I start a professional blog?
Here’s his full question:
I am blogging on a free WordPress.com blog now, and I want to get a blog for professional blogging. Should I move from WordPress.com to a “professional” platform? I want to know how much it will cost to create a new blogging website & how much I should be paying per month. And what about hosting? Where do I start, and what do I do?
Starting A Professional Blog
I’m sure Anil is not the only one facing this problem, and many of you probably want to jump from a casual blog to a professional blog.
Now, before I start answering Anil’s query, here are a few questions which you should ask yourself:
- What makes a blog look professional?
- What’s the difference between your blog and a professional, well-established blog?
- What are you doing to get yourself to the “professional” level?
Best Platform For Blogging
There are many blogging platforms out there. Most newbies start with BlogSpot or WordPress.com, as these require zero investment.
However, the professional approach would be getting a self-hosted blog. There are many platforms out there, but if you wish to make it big, you need to get the best fit for your project.
I advocate for WordPress because it not only meets all of our blogging needs, it also helps us to extend its basic capabilities. And one of the best things about WordPress is that regardless of which platform you are on now, you can always migrate to a self-hosted WordPress blog via an inbuilt importer.
- Read: Easy Way To Migrate From BlogSpot To WordPress
- How To Import BlogSpot Images To WordPress
When you migrate your WordPress.com blog to a self-hosted blog, the people over at WordPress.com will help you keep it search engine friendly by maintaining a 301-redirection for $15/year.
How much will it cost to create a new website?
For a self-hosted WordPress blog, it all depends upon how much expertise you have and how much you want to spend. I’d say from a newbie perspective, $75 is typical.
Right off the bat, you will need a domain and hosting. This will cost around $60. (List of budget WordPress hosting.)
After that, you can start with either a free WordPress template or premium WordPress template.
- Check out: Free WordPress Theme vs. Premium WordPress Theme
- 10 Best Premium WordPress Theme Clubs
WordPress is easy to learn and understand. You can do mostly everything yourself, and the things you can’t, you can learn very quickly. You can refer to my WordPress guide to get started with the basics of WordPress.
- Read: How Much Does It Cost To Start A Self-Hosted WordPress Blog?
What is web hosting?
A web host is a company which provides the space for your website.
Basically, your web hosting is where your website will be stored. You will have remote virtual access to it, and you can perform everything you need to do from this remote place.
- Read: A Beginner’s Guide To Web Hosting Packages
- Why Shared Hosting Is The Best For New Bloggers
If you wish to start a professional blog, you will need a hosting account. I recommend starting with Bluehost. It’s good, secure, and affordable.
But before buying hosting, you will need to select a domain name for your blog.
- Read: How To Pick A Great Domain Name For Your Blog
I have a domain name and hosting. What’s next?
So once you have a domain name and hosting, you can refer to the following tutorials on how to install WordPress:
- How To Install WordPress On Bluehost
- How To Install WordPress On DreamHost
- How To Install WordPress On HostGator
I have installed WordPress. What’s next?
So after installing WordPress, there are many things which you need to do.
Follow these guides to get you going on the right path:
- 8 Essential Things To Do After Installing WordPress
- How To Install WordPress Plugin From WP Dashboard
- Submit Your Blog Sitemap To Google
- Submit Your Blog Sitemap To Bing
- Add Google Analytics To Your Blog
- Burn Your Feed Using FeedBurner
WordPress Theme Resources
There are various WordPress theme resources out there.
Check out a few of them here:
- Elegant WordPress Theme Club
- WooThemes Club
So now you have your blog set up and ready.
Now, when I talk about a “professional” blog, I’m talking about a well-maintained and well-branded blog. Your brand is the most important thing you have, and you need to nurture and sustain it over time.
- Check out: How To Make A Brand For A Blog
- How To Build A Personal Brand
You also need to maintain a proper publishing frequency, and your articles need to be better than what others are offering.
Plan out a strategy for your blog, and treat it like a real business. When I say “business”, that means you need to continually work on improving its quality, getting new readers, and properly marketing your blog.
You also need to keep improving as a blogger, and learn how to grow.
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