How to Start a Purpose-Driven Blog
Hey, you may or may not know this but either way it’s a fact that you have a purpose! You’re here, on earth (and my blog) for a reason. Yup, God has given you an unique message to share with your corner of the world and I’m here to help! I want to help you share your heart, life lessons, and wisdom with as many people as possible on the wonderful world wide web by you named it, blogging!
Blogging has been an amazing experience for me. Blogging is actually a God-given assignment. Several years ago, early in my walk with God, I was crying out. Crying out and asking Him how can I help spread the good news. At that time I knew very little to nothing about blogging but it was clear as day, the Lord spoke to my heart with one word and said, “blog!”
I immediately jump up and ran to my laptop. Google search. What is blogging? The search populates with millions, maybe billions of results on blogging. Laptop closed. Chances are starting a blog has been in the back of your mind and on your heart for weeks, months or maybe even years now. In reality I didn’t start my blog for a few years later. I had to figure this world of blogging out. From clarifying my message, to learning WordPress, successful list building and marketing strategies.
I can save you that headache and simplify the process for you. Creating a blog is nothing that you need to be afraid of. If you would like to create a purpose-drive and successful blog this post is for you. I’m going to give you the rundown on starting and getting your blog in front of those you’re called to reach.
Alright, let’s get started, here’s what you need to know to start a blog:
Now, before I go and scare you off – if by chance you’re wondering, “what is my purpose?” Check out my blog post, 5 Ways God Reveals Your Calling. Knowing your purpose is key. When you know your life purpose, your blog will naturally have purpose too, plus longevity. I started not 1 but 2 blogs before I was clear on my purpose and you guessed it, I failed at not 1 but 2 blogs. After I got clear on my purpose and who God was calling me to serve everything else came easy. Knowing your purpose will also help you decide what to blog about and pinpoint your niche.
2.Select a Niche
With your purpose in mind, you want to choose a niche for your blog that you can establish yourself as an authority in. Your blog shouldn’t be an online journal of what you ate for dinner or what you did with your kids last summer. Those thing could be included to personalize your post but to build your readership, establish a brand, and develop devoted followers, you’d want to find a niche that offers value to those who read it. Topics such as faith, politics, poetry, arts, fashion, current affairs, or almost anything under the sun can be chosen. To be an authority and find a niche that works for you you want to make sure:
- You know the topic well enough to write about it on a weekly basis.
- It should be something you’re passionate about. Your passion will come through your blog post and everything else you do.
- It’s a topic others want to read about. (Tip: validate your topic by searching for other blogs on your topic? If you find others, that’s a good thing but ask yourself “can I make my blog better?”)
3.Hosting & Picking a Domain Name
Things are getting fun now! You know your niche and what you’re going to blog about. Now it’s time to make it official. I use and highly recommend you use WordPress for your blog. If you plan on taking your blog seriously and possibly create a business from it then wordpress.org is the way to go. Caution! Within WordPress, you have two options. People often confuse wordpress.com and wordpress.org. In this post I will show you the steps to start a self-hosted WordPress blog with wordpress.org (recommended).
The easiest way to create your WordPress site is through your web hosting service. All of your text, graphics, and media files on your future blog will need a home. Web hosting provides server space for your site and content. This step is very important, so you want to be sure you find a trustworthy hosting company. I’ve had great experience with Justhost. I use justhost to initially register my domain name and host my website for less than $4 per month. It’s so simple to do too.
If you want to check out JUSTHOST click on the picture below or by clicking here:
Select your plan
Creating an account with Just host is pretty simple and straightforward. First thing you’ll be asked to do is select your plan. Assuming you are a blogging beginner the basic plan should suite you just fine.
(Please note: Just host prices may have changed at the time you are reading this post. Just host also changed 12 to 36 months in advance when initially setting up your account)
Select your domain name
Now it’s time to thoughtfully select a domain name. One free domain name is included with your Just host account Win! Your domain should be a name that relates to your niche. If your domain name doesn’t relate to your niche or is not professional, it will make it difficult for potential reads, customers and search engines to find you.
Next, your Account & Payment info
This is self explanatory, enter your account, contact and billing information:
You will then have the option to also add on more options. This is your choice, I didn’t add anything additional. Agree to the terms and conditions and complete your order, and you should see a welcome message from JUSTHOST! That wasn’t so bad, right?
Now that you have an active account you’ll need to go into your cpanel. You should be able to do so by typing /cpanel at the end of your domain name (no spaces, be sure to include the /) in the web address box of your internet browser. For example: www.thebestyou.net/cpanel You’ll need your username and password for this
In Justhost’s cPanel, you’ll see a screen that looks like this:
Scroll down to the “website” section and click the Install WordPress icon. You’ll then be taken to the Mojo Marketplace, select the “Get Started” button and follow the on screen instructions. (Sorry, no screenshot pass this point since my site is already installed)
5.Select a Theme
It’s time to log into your blog! To begin editing your blog, you need to login to your WordPress blog. You should be able to do that by going to your domain URL and adding /wp-admin. For example, http://thebestyou.net/wp-admin. This will take you to your WordPress Admin dashboard.
The next step will be to select and install a theme along with the basic plug-ins that your blog will need. A theme or template is the design feature that will display your blog posts, sidebar content, etc. WordPress offers hundreds of free themes I however purchased my theme from themeforest.net Themeforest has THOUSANDS of WordPress themes. I have so much fun looking through their themes. They have themes for every niches and style. You can preview and test out all of their themes live too, the prices are super reasonable and most themes come with email technical support to help you with the installation process..
If you want to check out THEME FOREST click on the picture below or by clicking here:
Questions to consider before choosing a theme:
- Do you plan on displaying ads? If so, where? Choose a theme that has clearly defined areas where you can neatly display ads in a non-cluttered manner.
- Do you want to add social media plug-ins? If so, is this template compatible? If you have some technical skills, you could add them on your own, but if not, you’ll want to select a theme that will allow you to easily add your Twitter, pinterest, facebook, etc..
- Is there a particular set of articles you’d like to feature in a prominent spot for all of your readers to see? If so, select a theme that closely reflects your preferences. Again, if you have some technical skills, this can also be tweaked.
- Does this template vibe with my niche? Is it professional-looking and appropriate for what you’re trying to do? Or are you looking for something more out of the box and fun? Choose what aligns with your brand.
- Do you need a right sidebar, left sidebar, or both? The eye is automatically drawn to the left, since we read from left to right – using a left sidebar may cause some content to be overlooked. Right sidebars are most common.
Install your theme
- Download your chosen theme. It will come in a .zip file. Don’t extract the files, leave it zipped.
- Return to your WordPress Dashboard. Hover your mouse over “Appearance” until it opens the menu, and then click “Add New Themes.” This will take you to the Installation Screen where you will upload your downloaded theme.
- Click the upload link.
- Browse and select your theme. Click “Install Now”
- Click “Activate.”
Once you’ve activated the theme, you will now be able to view your blog online by visiting your URL.
Congratulations! It’s official – you’ve got a blog.
Set up your pages & post
- Pages are static pages, similar to webpages. They allow you to create different departments of your blog where readers can go for more information. You’ll want some basic pages (departments) for your blog.
- Your Home Page is where your blog posts will appear. The latest post will appear at the top of the page, older posts will continue to move lower and lower on the page.
- Blog Posts are your articles that you will post frequently to keep your home page updated.
6.Plan your Content
If you want to see your blog increase in value and receive free search engine traffic, the best way to do it, is by producing as much quality content as possible. I’d say you should launch your blog with at least five posts, and post at least once per week following.
Decide on three to five different categories (subtopics) that relate to your niche. Create those categories ahead of time to help you keep your blog focused. Your categories should be directly related to your niche and should NOT be randomly selected. Once you’ve got your categories you can create a rough editorial calendar for your blog, I created mine on google docs. You can also ask friends and other bloggers to contribute on your blog with guest post.
Every post should have a purpose. Here are some ideas you can write a post on:
- Answers a question
- Solves a problem
- Share important information or updates
- Gives step-by-step instructions
- Tells a story
- Reviews a book, another site, a product or service, or location
- Shares helpful resources such as links, books, or other “how-to-find” type information
You want to be sure your blog post have catchy titles. Consider how magazines use catchy headlines to get you turning pages. Blogging is no different. Also, use your keyword phrases and then add catchy elements to make your post irresistible to your readers.
7.Generate Traffic and Build Community
You blog is now ready to go but who is going to read it? Your family and friends will support you initially but what you really want is high traffic coming in daily to your blog, right? Here’s a few tips:
- Building an email list by offering subscriber incentives such a free eBooks in exchange for an email address. This way you can email your subscribers when a new post comes out.
- Get active on social media. Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram are my favorites. Study marketing strategies.
- Use great keywords to create organic traffic using SEO.
- Guest posting
- Find blogging communities. There are tons on Facebook.
My friend, there you have it! 7 steps to start a purpose-driven blog!