Did you know that there are more than 600 million blogs on the Internet and that 77% of web surfers regularly read blogs?
Blogging has exploded since its humble beginnings in the 1990s, and many people today interact with blogs frequently, if not daily.
Setting up a blog gives you the opportunity to make meaningful connections with other people, whether you want to share your recipes, talk about your lifestyle, or sell products and services. Regardless of the topic, blogging serves as a starting point that can even become profitable.
Before you can see dollar signs, however, you need to set up a blog where you choose a content management system (CMS), set themes and color schemes, and reach out to your target audience.
This guide will help you set up a blog successfully on different platforms.
But before you set up a blog, you need to choose a CMS. Let’s get into that first.
How to choose a CMS
You can’t have a blog without a CMS or a content management system. As the name suggests, this is a system that manages your content. While you could certainly create a blog from scratch with sophisticated coding skills, a CMS does the hard work for you.
This software allows you to change the font styles, colors, and the overall theme of your blog with almost no effort. It also means that you can generate content a lot more easily just by clicking some buttons to add photos and videos.
All of these seemingly simple actions can be difficult to implement with HTML and CSS coding, which is why many bloggers choose to use a CMS. That way, you can dive right into great content.
When looking at different CMS platforms, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- User-friendly control panel
- Marketing skills
Let’s dive into each element to decide what you need in a CMS.
1. User-friendly interface
When choosing a CMS, you want to make creating your blog easier. When you’re having trouble navigating the dashboard or text editor, blogging is like a chore.
Look for a CMS with drag-and-drop capabilities. Avoid anything that requires extensive coding unless you have top-notch developer skills.
As we’ll cover below, it’s entirely possible to start a blog for free. However, if you’re looking for more robust features, you need to consider your budget.
When looking at paid platforms, think about what each CMS is getting for the price and check out the hidden fees.
You want your blog to look and work the way you imagined it to be. So make sure that your CMS allows for customization via various themes and templates that can also be customized as you wish.
For example, Ceros allows you to fully customize every element of the content you publish without adding a single line of code.
If your blog is having trouble writing an important post, you want to be able to get help exactly when you need it.
CMS support is broad – you might just find a digital manual or FAQ page with common issues and fixes with no number or live chat to reach urgent matters.
Or the platform may just have an email or number that is available during normal office hours Monday through Friday. In the meantime, some CMS platforms offer extensive support options, including agents who are available 24/7.
If you are new to CMS systems and want access to hands-on support, this should be taken into account when comparing platforms.
One of the most helpful features for CMS platforms is the ability to work with third-party extensions or plugins that add even more functionality to your blog.
There are extensions for almost anything you can think of. Whether you need help with search engine optimization (SEO) or the ability to create galleries or social media feeds on your blog, extensions and plugins can help you with that. If your CMS is incompatible with most of these applications, your blog can suffer.
Protecting your information and content is important. You could also lose the trust of your target audience and customers if your blog is compromised. Hence, you should make sure that the CMS you choose has numerous security features.
Verify that SSL, firewall, and content delivery network (CDN) are included, and make sure that updates and vulnerability checks are done frequently. This also applies to support. Do you have someone available to help you if your website is compromised? If not, run – don’t go – to another platform.
7. Marketing skills
Once your blog is up and you start producing content, make sure that you can make that content available to your target audience. Check if your CMS has social and email marketing options, or if it has compatibility with extensions like UpContent to make sharing your content easier.
How to set up a blog for free
If you are on a budget, you can certainly start blogging for free. There are some limitations, but you can always choose to update your content or move it to a paid CMS. To get started, you need to find a free blogging platform. Popular free blogging platforms include
- WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org)
Tumblr. Be aware that some free blogging platforms limit your freedom with domain names and may be limited in services like support, security, and customization. After you’ve chosen a free platform, log in and go to the dashboard to choose a free theme or design template. Then use the platform’s CMS to add content.
How to set up a blog
Regardless of whether you invest in a blog or go the free route, there are a few different ways to get started depending on the platform you choose. Here are some of the most popular blogging platforms, and how to set up your blog on each platform.
If you want to blog on WordPress, you need to choose a domain name and hosting service. The hosting service is the area of the server where the files and information of your website are stored and made available to others on the Internet.
Hosting is usually a paid service. There are free options, but look for security, support, and functionality when choosing a free host.
Once you’ve chosen the domain name like yourblog.com and a host, it’s time to create your WordPress account. From there you can access the dashboard, where you can define topics, add plugins and of course write and publish content.
If you’re looking for a popular and free CMS, Blogger, formerly BlogSpot, is a free blogging platform from Google.
First off, visit Blogger and create an account with your Gmail address and password. From there, choose a profile. If you don’t want your Gmail name to be associated with your blog, you can choose a restricted profile.
After that, you will be taken to the dashboard where you can choose your blog name and topic. Then it’s as easy as the simple CMS to write your blog.
Wix is another free and easy CMS to consider when setting up a blog. Just open an account and choose from templates.
Note that while Wix has many templates, it only has certain Wix blogs. If you select one without this application, you can still add it later through the Wix App Market.
Customize the template to suit your vision, then go to the Wix Editor> Menus and Pages> Show More> Rename to name your blog. Wix offers free hosting. However, if you want your own domain name, you’ll need to set it up and then connect it to your blog using the Wix Editor. Once that logistics are in place, it’s time to create a new post and start blogging.
Now that you know the pros and cons of starting a blog, you’re good to go! Rate CMS platforms based on support, security, and design and functional features.
Once you’ve decided on a CMS, the platform will make the rest of your work a breeze. Once this blog is set up, there are even more options like marketing and advertising to consider to get your brand known and even make a profit.