How (And Why) To Start A Blog

I’ve written before on why starting a blog has been one of the better decisions I’ve made in my life, and why I recommend the idea to most people:

Why (Start a Blog, That Is) – One of my first posts.

Why You Should Start A Blog – Self-Explanatory

I also recommend in the Freedom Twenty-Five Book that you start a blog to chart your progress in whichever goals you’ve set for yourself. This page is a short guide to the technical aspects of starting your own blog. The process is either completely free and ridiculously easy (if you start a WordPress.com blog), or fairly easy and pretty cheap (if you buy your own domain).

Starting A Free Blog

Step #1) Signup for a WordPress Blog

A free WordPress blog will offer more than enough functionality for the vast majority of writers. Click over to the WordPress.com Signup Page and follow the painfully easy steps. It’s 100% free, anonymous, and there is no obligation to ever upgrade or otherwise pay anything.

Step #2) There Is No Step #2

I told you it was easy. Click the link above, and you’ll have a decent-looking blog in exactly five minutes and zero dollars.

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If you want more customization options, you’ll have to upgrade to a self-hosted domain.

Unless you want to sell products, run ads, or otherwise make money off of your blog, the free WordPress platform will probably be more than enough for you. In any case, you can always switch from a free blog to a self-hosted domain later on, so if this is your first attempt to dip your toes into the blogosphere, put your credit card away and just start writing.

If you’ve got some spare time and money though, and want to get serious, self-hosted may be the way to go.

Starting A Self-Hosted Blog

Buying a domain, paying for hosting, and building your own self-hosted blog is a more involved process, and it will cost you a buck or two. That said, if you feel constrained by the free WordPress platform and want to make some larger tweaks to your site – including a few that might earn you some money – it’s easy and inexpensive to build your own site.

Step #1) Buy A Domain And Hosting Plan

Freedom Twenty-Five has been using Dreamhost from the start, and I’m a satisfied customer. For less than ten bucks per month, you can host as many domains as you like.

#2) Buy a custom theme

Freedom Twenty-Five uses The Thesis Theme. It has a ton of cool customization options, and it’s easy enough to use that someone with very limited technical and graphic design skills (i.e. me) can use it to make decent websites.

Thesis Theme for WordPress:  Options Galore and a Helpful Support Community

(FYI: Both of those are affiliate links, so I earn a commission if you buy hosting or themes after clicking on them, at no extra cost to you. Hey, we all gotta eat!)

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Finding Readers

How does a young, unknown writer find an audience? Obviously this doesn’t apply to anyone blogging to keep track of their goals, or someone who views their blog as a tool for their online business. But for those of you who want to blog because you want to write, it’s an important question.

I’ll have much more to say about writing, finding an audience, monetization, and the future of publishing it in the future. But for now, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version:

1) Find other writers in your niche, and network with them

Build a blogroll, link to other posts you find interesting, email, tweet at and comment on the blogs of writers you think would relate to what you’re writing. But don’t just harass them – add value. Make a list of bloggers you want links from and Hack Their Minds.

2) Write Guest Posts

Many established bloggers love getting good guest post submissions. It’s free publicity for you, and a welcome respite from looming self-imposed posting deadlines for them.

3) Whore Yourself Out

Get yourself on Ferdinand Bardamu‘s Linkage Is Good For You posts, and Delusion Damage‘s Manosphere Updates Blogroll. The links above are to their contact pages, and they’re always happy to pimp out good new bloggers to their audiences.

4) Write Good Content

You should be doing steps 1-3 if you want your audience to grow as quickly as possible. But no matter how well you self-promote, no one will care about anything you write unless it’s worth reading.

In all likelihood, you will have to write a lot of crap before you find your voice. Most writers will never find much of an audience, and many of those who do still won’t be able to write for a living. For these reasons, I strongly discourage anyone from trying to make it as a writer unless they genuinely love to write.

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Whether you want to start a blog to track your workouts, make money, or win a Pulitzer – good luck. Once you’ve written 10+ posts, send me an email (freedomfrost25-at-gmail-dot-com) with a link to your site and I’ll be happy to take a look.

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Turner November 13, 2012 at 7:14 am

Amen brother. Good dose of reality. It is a lottttt of work running a blog, but you can learn a lot.

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