Is blogging for you?
Before anything, I want you to ask yourself these questions: Do you love to write?
Do you have decent writing skills? Do you love sharing your opinions with others? Do you like learning new things? Because if you answered “Yes!” to at least one of those things, then blogging just might be for you!
Most of us have been trained to write different things in our lives—for work and for school. You don’t have to be the Shakespeare of writing to start a blog. All you have to do is channel your skills into something creative.
A blog is an online journal, your personal diary or collection of knowledge that you publish online. Many starting blogs are very personal—an avenue for you to express what you feel and share what you know.
Personal blogs are perfect, especially for beginning writers and bloggers. Think of your blog as a training ground for you so you can get comfortable with your own thoughts and writing style.
Some blogs are also created as a marketing tool for a business you own or advocacy you want to promote. Look at it as a promotional or marketing tool to get people to know about your business and what you’re offering. Your blog can become a hub that can connect you to the right market for your product or service.
As a retiree, blogging is also great as a mental activity. It will keep your mind active and keep you connected with readers who share the same hobbies and interests as you.
The 4 steps to starting your very first blog
Blogging may sound scary at first, but we’ll break it down to 4 simple steps for beginners and retirees. This is the absolute easiest way to start your blog.
Pick your topic or niche
Think of your blog like a book: it has many chapters, yes, but everything has to be coherent. This is very important if you’re serious about establishing your blog as your personal brand that can make money for you in the long run. For this to succeed, you have to figure out, fist and foremost, your topic or niche. This is the one thing that binds all of your content together.
Don’t go for something too broad, because people won’t know what they’re coming to your blog for. To start off, it’s easier to focus on a niche, a smaller topic, which eventually can grow as your blog grows. It makes your blog credible and gives your reader a sense of who you are and what you write. But keep in mind not to go too small a nice, too, as that can limit you too much.
For example, “lifestyle” might be a bit too broad. How about you narrow it down to “travel,” or “food,” or “retirement life?” Food may even be condensed even further to “baking” or “healthy food.” Use your topic as your parameters to keep your blog in the right direction.
When picking your topic, you should also keep in mind your audience. Who is reading your blog? Are they young or old? Are they located somewhere? Are they mostly male or female? This guides you when you write because you know who you’re talking to.
Create your blog name (business name)
Your blog name is your domain name: it gives you an identity and tells other people what this blog is about or who is this blog about. You can make your blog name easy to understand, or you can make it interesting. But keep in mind that your domain name is very important because that carries the personality of your blog. Are you a fun blog? Are you a serious blog with lots of good information? Are you a blog centered on travelling locally?
Think of it as branding. The right branding will bring in the right readers—and eventually, the right funding.
For seniors and retirees, they think creating the blog is the hardest part. Actually, the conception process is much harder! If you’ve got the first two steps done, this is the easier part. If you follow these steps, you can be done in 30 minutes or less. How easy is that?
To set up your blog, you need two things: a blog host and blogging software. A blog host is like an online hard drive that stores all the information of your blog. Blogging software is the platform or service that allows you to create and manage the content of your blog.
Think of it this way: The blog host is like your pantry of ingredients, where all your spices and food are stored. The software is the kitchen where you cook and bring those dishes to life.
Usually, hosting and software are bundled together, which makes things so much easier. This is the path that we will be showing you for today.
When starting a blog, WordPress is the first thing that comes to mind—and it makes sense because it’s used by millions of people around the world and is equipped with all kinds of customizable features that you can think of. But building with WordPress is very very tricky and usually requires technical support. This is why for beginners, we would recommend drag-and-drop blog builders to make the process easier for you.
Some of the best and easiest drag-and-drop blog builders are:
- Wix – https://www.wix.com/
- Weebly – https://www.weebly.com/
- Blogger – https://www.blogger.com/
- Squarespace – https://www.squarespace.com/
- Tumblr – https://www.tumblr.com/
Setting up: Free or paid?
There are two ways to set up your blog: the free way or the paid way. If you want to set up a free blog, you will be limited by the domain name that you want to use. Remember when we talked about the importance of your domain name above? You can’t get that with free because your blogs will always be hosted by the platforms we shared above.
It will look like: yourblog.weebly.com
Instead of: yourblog.com
For personal blogs where you just want to keep your thoughts and ideas, this is perfectly okay. In fact, you can upgrade it eventually when more people are reading you.
The paid way is not too expensive, and this is how you can even get your desired domain. You’re essentially paying for the blog host so they will keep your information. Remember that we mentioned that the blog host and software usually come together? You can buy your domain from the software directly, no additional step needed.
Just go directly to Wix or Weebly or Squarespace and create an account, choose your domain or blog name, pick your template, and you’re done. That easy.
Write your content
This is the most important part of creating your blog. Content is king and will drive your whole blog moving forward. So when thinking about your first blog post, focus on the story that you want to tell, the knowledge that you want to share, or opinion that you want to spark a conversation with.
There are three main categories that you can share as content in your blog:
- Stories – some blogs focus on fictional or non-fiction stories, and that’s great to share if you have some brewing in your head! Think of stories that will delight, inspire, scare, make people think, or make people fall in love.
- Opinions – opinion pieces are great ways to activate the brain—not just yours, but others as well. This is mainly why social media is so powerful because everyone has an opinion and you can spark some great (sometimes polarizing) conversations with a single opinion.
- Knowledge – share tips, knowledge, information, and guides on your blog. As a retiree, you have so much knowledge and information stored from all those years of working and living your life. Share these great life lessons, life hacks, trade tips, or knowledge that people won’t get elsewhere.
Your blog’s content is entirely up to you, depending on the theme of your blog. Just keep in mind to always be guided by your brand, niche, and audience.
Upskilling and continuous growth is important, no matter what venture you decide to take as a writer or as a retiree. Especially for beginner writers, polishing up on your writing and editing skills are very important when starting your first blog.
Check out these super great courses that we have here at 4Retirees to help you become a better writer and blogger.
Blog Creation Certification (85% OFF!) – This course will give you an overview of blogging – why you should blog, how to choose the right blogging platform for you, how to write high-quality content, and how to use a blog to further your personal and professional goals
The Complete Writing And Proofreading Diploma (65% OFF!)– This writing course bundle includes carefully curated content designed to help you become a better writer regardless of initial skill level. Everything from basic grammar skills to finding ways to consistently create new and interesting content is covered.
How To Write An Essay, Develop Grammatical Correctness, And Self-Edit (FREE) – a review of basic grammar terminology and understanding; writing effective sentences and paragraphs; introductions and conclusions; strategies for writing longer texts; and thesis statements.