In the past few weeks, I have been receiving a lot of queries regarding how to start a blog and launch a website. In this post, I want to tell you about how you can do this.
1. Identifying your passion
Before starting a blog and launching your own website, it is important to identify your passion - something that can keep you interested in working even after the inspiration has died. It is very easy to work when you feel inspired and when you are getting results, but very difficult when you are not motivated or feel that you are not getting any results; but if you do what you love, you will keep on keeping on despite any obstacles.
It usually takes a long time to make a blog or a website successful. It may even take a few years but if your work is your passion, you won't mind the wait. To begin with, you could start a blog, with your normal day job and work on it in your free time. When your blog becomes successful, you might be able to quit your regular job and make blogging your full-time profession. Sometimes, it may also happen that what you think is your passion may not actually be what you want. I started with a fashion blog, but, in time I found out that my main interest was traveling, so I switched to travel. I still love fashion and have a section on fashion in my travel blog.
2. Creating a website
After you have identified your passion, the next step is to create a website and buy a domain name that resonates with what you want to do. Luckily, these days we don't need to know complicated computer languages to create a website. There are many online platforms like www.squarespace.com and www.wordpress.com, that offer readymade templates and step-by-step instructions about how to create your own blog.
3. Creating Content
This is the most important. After you have created a website, the next thing is to start creating content. From my own experience and from what I have learnt from others, it may take one year or more to create great content. What people usually do is that they start marketing the blog without creating good content. The result is that sometimes such blogs die even before they were given a chance to succeed.
In creating good content, do whatever it takes to make your work stand out, after all it is your passion! Whether you need lessons in photography or you want to improve your writing skills, there are hundreds of online courses available to help you improve your natural abilities. I took an online photography course from National Geographic and learnt from other photographers. Also, don't get discouraged if you don't have the money to take expensive courses or invest in equipment. Make use of what you have. These days photos taken from smartphones are sometimes way better than those taken from a DSLR camera.
4. Google Adsense
After you start creating content, you can apply to Google Adsense to advertise on your website. However, since Google Adsense is one of the best advertising platforms in the world, it makes it that much harder to get an approval. Google Adsense has strict policies and procedures for approving websites, and my advise to you would be to go through these policies even before you start creating content. This would give you a basic guideline about how your website should conform to their guidelines.
By all means, start an Instagram account, be on Google+ and create a Facebook Page when you start your blog but don't start expecting results immediately. It usually takes 2 or 3 years for results to start showing up. I waited for three years before I became proactive about my Instagram account. I used this time to travel and create great content both for my blog and Instagram. The result is that my follower count is steadily increasing and the organic traffic to my blog is growing everyday.
Also check out my post on How I started my Travel Blog and got my first Brand Partnership.