The internet has made it possible to share our thoughts with the world whenever we choose. Text, images, and media command our attention online all day long. Blogging is a powerful way to get your message out to the world easily and connect with like-minded people. That’s invaluable for growing startups that rely on connecting well with their audience!

I’ve had lots of readers ask me about the basics of starting a company blog, so I put together a quick guide for starting a blog in 30 minutes. Follow these steps once you’ve decided on a topic or theme for your startup’s blog.

Find your platform

The blogging platform you use is important, so don’t just pick a site and go with it. Do some research! The best choices aren’t free, so compare features and known issues before you settle on a platform.

In your research, you’ll see a lot of information about WordPress, and that’s not accidental. It’s the top blogging platform and has the most active users–over 72 million. This might help you make your decision. Here are examples of blogging platforms you might choose from:

  • Tumblr
  • WordPress
  • Blogger
  • Medium
  • SquareSpace
  • Ghost

Keep in mind that your company’s audience should play a big role in which platform you choose. Young, trendy audiences may respond better to seeing their favorite brands on Tumblr, whereas a blog on Blogger’s platform may not resonate as well.

Choose a domain name

Come up with a catchy, memorable name for your blog. It’s not essential that it share your company’s name, but if it doesn’t, it should be relevant and mention the brand in a subtitle.

Surf the internet for name inspiration, or try my synonym trick: Pull out a thesaurus and search for words related to your blog’s theme. You’ll come across words you hadn’t considered and it can kickstart your brainstorming sessions. If you’re having trouble coming up with the perfect name, you can always try a domain name generator to get the creative juices flowing.

What makes a good domain name? The best names have a few things in common.

1) They stand out.

2) They’re short and simple.

3) They’re not trendy.

4) They tell what your blog (and brand) is about.

You’ll have to make sure the domain name you choose is available, and anyone who’s been down this road before can tell you: Your first choice is usually taken. Your second choice may be, too, so don’t give up. Get creative and play with word order, find more synonyms, or see if abbreviations would be acceptable to use.

Run your final choice through copyright.gov to ensure you’re not infringing on any copyrights!

Select a web hosting provider

Once you have a domain name that’s available, you need someone to host your website. Your domain name reserves you a spot on the web; your web hosting provider allows you to make use of that spot and fill it up with all your bloggy goodies.

Web hosting providers range from grade-A to scammy, so this is another area you’ll need to do your research in. Web hosting will run you about $4/month, and it’s vital to your blog–it’s what stores all your website information. Startbloggingonline.com mentions that there are just 2 things you should consider when choosing a web hosting provider:

  • Page load speed – The average amount of time (in seconds) it takes your blog to load.
  • Uptime – 99.9% isn’t enough (it’s 42 minutes of downtime per month). You should be aiming for 100%.

Why do these two things matter so much for your blog? First, your readers will quickly get frustrated and leave your page if the pages aren’t loading fast enough, and second, you’ll lose out on return visitors if your blog is often unavailable to readers because it’s down. They’ll just give up on your blog, even if it’s full of information they like!

Once you’ve selected your hosting provider, your next steps will be designing and customizing your blog. This can take some time, and if you want the finished product to look professional and inviting, don’t skimp on it! If  web design is just not your forte, consider hiring a web designer to handle this part for you.

Getting your blog up and running won’t take more than half an hour, but your time investment will be much greater than that each day if you want the blog to be a treasure trove of resources for your customers and users. Don’t feel compelled to do this on your own! Hire a freelancer to handle weekly blog posts, send out newsletters to market those posts, and anything else you’ve outlined in your content strategy. The peace of mind will be worth it. 

Stay tuned for an upcoming post on tailoring your brand-new blog to your audience (and finding out exactly who your audience is)!