Maybe you’ve read a blog here or there and thought, “Hey! I could do that!” If you’ve got words to share, there’s no downside to giving it a shot. It’s a great way to grow your business and build a community of followers.
Don’t worry if you have no idea where to begin. You can go from zero to making regular posts in a matter of a few hours. There are probably hundreds of ways to improve any blog, but none of that is necessary at first.
All that you really need to get started is a host, a free account, and something to say.
Where to Put Your Blog
First, you need a home for your blog. Free hosts are fine, and you can set yours up at WordPress in minutes. Blogger is another free choice, but many businesses prefer WordPress for its professional look.
Although WordPress has premium and business accounts for a fee, you only need a free one to get started. You can always upgrade later if you like. After registering, WordPress will walk you through other steps, such as choosing a gravatar, which is an icon image that represents you, and choosing a title for your blog.
Learn the Dashboard
Your dashboard is where you’ll find ways to personalize your blog, write and manage blog posts, manage reader comments, and everything else that you need for maintenance. Your options are on the left of the dashboard, and some of them have drop-down menus. If you don’t land at your dashboard when you log in, just click “My sites” and it will take you there.
You should see options such as View Site, WP Admin, Stats, Plugins, and others. View Site shows you what the blog looks like to the public. And WP Admin takes you to a secondary dashboard with all of your nifty controls for writing, scheduling and publishing posts.
Choose Your Theme
Your theme is how your blog displays to the world. It’s your layout or design. WordPress has hundreds of free ones, all of which you can try before selecting, and most of which you can tweak later on as you grow more comfortable with blogging. When you make your selection, your blog instantly transforms into that theme’s layout like magic.
Simple themes tend to work better for the first-time blogger. They’re clean-looking, and easier to manage. And if you decide to switch themes later, just pick a new one and your blog will automatically repopulate with its new facelift.
You can technically start blogging as soon as you choose a theme. But you’ll probably want to add some personality. That’s where customization comes in. Don’t worry; it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
Your header is the space across the top of the page where color, images or special text can fit. Most themes let you upload a photo as the header. And if you have a custom designed one, that’s even better. Here’s a WordPress article on creating your own. You can also choose font and font colors. Keep a good color contrast and use a simple font (skip the fancy ones) for easier reading. If the background is white, you’ll want a dark font.
Write Your First Post
WordPress automatically generates a first post titled “Hello, World!” You’ll want to delete that from your admin dashboard, and write your own. Click on “Posts” and then “Add New,” and you’re ready to roll. Enter a title for your blog post in the Title field, and write your blog post in the body of the template.
Your first post can be anything that you want it to be. But it’s usually a good idea to introduce yourself. Images help boost readership, so most of your posts should include at least one. Remember that images online belong to other people, but you can always upload your own. Creative Commons can help you find free images to use on your blog. Just be sure to credit the photographer at the bottom of your post. Once the post is done, click on the Publish button and it’s live for the world to see.
Promote Your Blog
Unfortunately, writing and publishing blog posts won’t guarantee that anyone can find your work. That’s where promotion comes in. If you use social media, it’s a perfect spot to launch your promotional campaign. Invite your followers to read and comment.
Start Blogging Online also recommends making your blog posts more searchable. That way, Google does some of the promotional work for you. Here’s a great Google guide that explains search engine optimization (SEO), what to avoid, and how to do it the right way.
Blogging gives you one more avenue for reaching potential customers. The more that you have to say and the more authority that you carry, the more your reputation as a great home inspector can grow.
Blogs don’t require a major investment. You might not need any investment at all besides your time. Decide on a regular posting schedule, such as once or twice a week, and stick to it. In time you could enjoy a broader customer base as well as a good reputation as a knowledgable home inspector.
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