Before we begin, I’m going to let you in on a little of my back story.
This website that you’re on is fairly new. Back in 2009, I started a now defunct website. It was very niche and only dealt with underground Hip Hop artists in a small region. Being an artist myself, I realized we were missing a platform in my area. It was tough and I didn’t know anything when I initially started but I pushed through the hurdles.
It took 5 years to grow it to the point of thousands of unique visitors daily. But I wanted to expand out of the region. I wanted to go worldwide. So I started over from scratch. Grassroots style. I’ve learned a lot in that time, to the point where I now work for an online marketing agency which helps small to medium-sized businesses develop a strategy and presence online.
As I said, it was hard teaching myself but one of the hardest things for most people is actually taking the initiative to just start. So if you love music or any topic for that matter and you want to start your own blog, I’ll give you six steps to help you get started.
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1. Purchase a domain.
You first want to start with a unique domain. Something that embodies the niche you’re going after but also easy to remember. A domain like www.this-is-a-hiphop-blog.org isn’t going to cut it. Short and sweet is the key.
There are many places to buy a domain. GoDaddy, Hostgator, & Bluehost are a few but for the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll use GoDaddy. Domains are cheap and affordable. For inspiration, think of the domains of some of your favorite brands. What makes them memorable? What makes them easy to share? Whatever you decide, choose wisely because this will be the home of your new website for quite some time.
2. Web Hosting.
There’s a bit of a war going on right with web hosting companies. Of course, probably the most popular of these is GoDaddy. But honestly, it all really comes down to your own personal preferences. You can do your own research with these different companies. Some have better customer service, while others have better or faster servers. Some are cheaper and some are more expensive. What really matters is your experience with these hosting companies. I prefer GoDaddy and for good reasons that I’ll have to delve into in another blog post.
Set up is extremely easy, even for first timers. These hosting companies all have particularly easy set ups. And one of the easiest and preferred way is WordPress. WordPress is a powerful tool and majority of the web uses it. GoDaddy has an easy install especially if you go with a WordPress Shared Hosting Plan. Watch the install video here.
Which brings me to the next section:
3. Pick a WordPress theme.
One of the reasons WordPress is so popular is because of the large supply of themes available. And these days, most themes are optimized for responsiveness, which is just a fancy word meaning that it will respond to the screen size of the device you’re using, specifically mobile. Responsive themes can fit to your phone, table, laptop or desktop without missing a beat.
The costs of themes can range from free to a few hundred dollars. If you’re not sure what to look for, one of the largest theme directories on the web is Theme Forest. The average price for a decent WordPress theme is around the $40 – $60 range.
Check out a few of these themes and their prices to get an idea:
A site that I particularly like is WPZOOM. Mainly because of the back-end. Really well-built and they have a number of themes that work well for a niche music blog. Check out of few of their themes also:
All of these themes are a little pricier at $75 and you have to renew the license yearly to get continuous updates for the theme.
One important thing to note is that most themes can be customized but do so only if you have knowledge or you have someone who has an understanding of WordPress, CSS and HTML. We can make you a custom site too!
Once you decide which theme you like, installing a theme in WordPress is very easy. Watch this video below.
Sometimes you may download a .zip file but it might not be the real theme. Sometimes you will have to extract the theme to get to the real .zip file that houses the theme.
4. Set up Social Media.
Social Media is a big part of setting up a niche music blog. If you’re focus is for indie rock bands, you’d be surprised at how much a rock band’s fans might share content from your site for that artist. And being present on social media can have big rewards. The most popular are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and more. But which ever you decide to go with, make sure you’re keeping a watchful eye on your analytics. You’ll be able to see which sites refer the most traffic to your website, and having those numbers are magic.
Be sure to also set up usernames and vanity urls that fit with your brand’s identity and are easy to find. Some people may not visit your website every day, but they’ll be on social media keeping a watchful eye on the content you post. Be sure to engage with your audience for greatest exposure and never ignore them. Keep an eye on your social media audiences as well, every network is different and they even have different personalities, so to speak.
5. Optimize for SEO
Event though social media can bring you tons of traffic, the number one way for most sites to get traffic is search engines. And by search engines, I mean Google. Optimizing your site for search engines is key and it’s always mind-boggling to see that some sites still miss the mark with this.
Because we’re speaking about WordPress, there are multiple plugins that can be used for SEO. All in One SEO and SEO by Yoast are the most popular but some themes also come with options to input SEO information without having to download a plugin.
SEO is very competitive and if done right can have lasting effects for your blog. But it can also be time-consuming and confusing for some people. Google isn’t the only search engine. There’s Bing which has grown recently in market share, Yahoo and even Yandex for your international audiences. The trick is to be optimized for all. If you’re unsure about setting it up SEO and how to optimize for all search engines, click here.
6. Launch / Get Content
Now you’re ready to launch. Once your site is launched be sure to get it to as many people as possible without spamming the bejesus out of people. Using Social Media, well written and thought out articles, good SEO and being consistent over time and you’ll develop a following. There are countless blogs that are out there that couldn’t keep up with the trends or they couldn’t make enough money to sustain. But it takes time so be patient.
To find out more about SEO Optimization Services, CLICK HERE.
Need a custom WordPress blog created CLICK HERE for our services.
If you have questions, feel free to email me.