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Whether you already have a website and want to add a blog to it, or you want to build a website that’s exclusively a blog, there are a number of benefits in starting a blog.
Blogs are a great way to build trust among clients or to share your knowledge of a variety of subjects.
They’re also easy to set up.
A typical blog only requires a few simple steps:
1. Choose a topic. Pick something you are knowledgeable in so you never tire of creating new content.
2. Choose a website builder. There are many options out there that let you completely customize your site or to choose from a template to make web building quick and easy.
3. Claim a domain. Find a web domain that relates to your blog and is short and catchy to make it easy to find.
4. Choose your design and layout. Once you know what you’re writing about and have set up an account, you’ll need to decide on the look and feel of your blog.
5. Start creating content
6. Share your work!
Why start a blog?
Canadians start blogs for a variety of reasons.
Some use their blog as a way to build their own personal brand or to show thought leadership by working to be an “expert” in their chosen field.
Others build blogs for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes.
A blog is a great way to continuously add new content to a website that can be filled with keywords that will help build your brand’s visibility on search engines such as Google.
If you are a Canadian business owner, a blog is a great way to help sell your products or services as well.
This helps them gain a reputation online while helping them become more visible and easier to find on search engines.
If you are a Canadian business owner, or simply would like to start a blog to build your own personal brand, here’s an easy step-by-step guide to creating your first blog from scratch.
Here are 6 steps to creating a successful blog in Canada:
1. Choose a Topic
The hardest thing about creating a blog may be choosing the topic (or topics) you want to cover.
It’s always best if you look for a broad topic that’s of special interest to you, especially if you will be the one doing all of the writing.
For those looking to build their personal brand, a blog that focuses on aspects of their professional life may be best.
A marketer may want to discuss marketing best practices for example.
For others who already have a business, the blog might be about their product or service offerings.
No matter what your topic is, take some time to think about and write down a list of potential blog posts.
Successful blogs are blogs that are updated often publish fresh content on a regular basis, so it makes sense to think about what you want to write about and to start listing ideas.
Make it a habit to think about what you’d want to talk about and write down ideas often so when it comes time to create more content, you have options ready to go.
Once you’ve decided on your topic, consider how you’d want it presented as well.
A clothing store that’s starting a blog will want to consider a more visual layout to show off their latest offerings, whereas an academic may want a sleek, clean layout that spaces their written content well to make it easy to read.
This will help you target your content so that you know which keywords your target customers use when searching for the content related to your topic.
Use either of these tools to give yourself a leg up and ensure you will gain more visibility online once you’ve built out your website.
2. Options for Website Builders in Canada
Canadians considering starting a blog have a wealth of options when choosing a platform to build it on.
While some solutions, like WordPress, are extremely flexible and allow knowledgeable coders to build a site however they like, there are also so many drag-and-drop options that are perfect for individuals who are completely new to website building.
Each is extremely customizable and start at just a few dollars a month for a premium plan that would allow you to choose your own domain.
Wix offers over 500 templates to choose from, however, Squarespace is often the platform of choice for bloggers that want more artistic templates that allow for impressive image and video displays. Weebly, recently purchased by Square, is great for e-commerce.
Once you’ve decided on your web building platform, you’ll have to sign up for the service.
Typically this process simply requires a name and email address. You may also need to pay in advance if you want some premium services (like a customized domain and/or email as well as e-commerce capabilities).
It’s a good idea to consider upgrading to an account that will allow you to choose a customized domain.
It will make your blog/website easier to find and more memorable in the long run.
It also looks more professional which, for many, is well worth the price as it helps a blog writer’s potential clients and readers take them more seriously.
Note that, in the case of WordPress, you will have to register a domain and add hosting before you install WordPress (for free!).
After that, you can choose your theme and start creating your website.
In contrast, website builders, like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace, allow you to try out templates, add your content and set up your website before having to subscribe to a paid service.
Each has their pros and cons, however WordPress will allow more flexibility as you can get into the code and changes things if necessary (or hire someone to help) whereas the website builders may be limited in this aspect.
3. Register a Domain
As a Canadian blogger/business, it may make sense to look for a .ca domain, however, don’t be discouraged if your first pick isn’t available.
Other options include .net, .info, .co, .io, etc. and almost any of those can easily be purchased either directly through your website builder, or through a Canadian hosting provider like HostPapa, CanSpace Solutions or Green Geeks which also offers domain registration services.
When you purchase a domain directly through your web building platform, the web builder will be your domain host.
However, if you decide to purchase a domain through a domain registrar (or have an existing domain), you will have to get it to direct to your new platform by linking the domain.
Note that Wix doesn’t allow you to buy a.ca domain name through them directly, but will allow you to connect a .ca domain via another domain registrar.
4. Design Your Blog
Once you’ve chosen your website building platform and you have your domain, you can choose a template and begin to pull everything together.
Website builders often have a wide variety of templates in different styles to suit the needs of any blogger or business.
Some really focus on visuals and are perfect for portfolio-style blogs that want to show off editorial-style pictures.
Others have a tech or start-up look and feel.
There are also some that are largely text-based.
Choosing your layout is a personal decision, but know that once you choose a template you’ll also be able to further refine the look and feel by playing with colours, sizes, and fonts.
Many website building platforms, like Wix and WordPress also allow users to look for themes created by third-party designers.
If you want to look for more template options and you’ve decided to go with WordPress or Wix as your website builder of choice, a good place to look for hundreds of unique options is Themeforest.
While each theme costs money, usually the charge is minimal.
5. Start Creating Content
After settling on a design, it’s time to put that predetermined list of topics to use.
It’s a good idea to create a few pieces of content right away, starting with an introductory blog, introducing yourself/your brand, and what you hope to achieve by sharing your insights.
Be sure to speak to your audience about topics that they care about.
If you are a plumber, for example, it makes sense to write about typical plumbing issues and how to fix them, or why a reader needs to consider hiring a professional (like you!).
Once you’ve started a blog, it’s important to add to it regularly.
This consistency not only gives people a reason to come back to your website, but it also helps improve your SEO and visibility.
Consider making a content calendar to help you stay on track.
This may include writing down what you will blog about on any given week and what day/time you will post it.
Creating a content calendar helps you stay on top of your blog and ensures you always have a new blog idea every week or month, so you’ll never run out of ideas about what topics to cover.
6. Share Your Work
Once you’ve posted your first blog, it’s time to start sharing your work!
Many website builders have social plugins built right into their templates, so it’s easy to add social media buttons to your site and to share your content via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.
If you’d like to automate the process, look for platforms that help post your content for you right to your social channels.
No matter why you’ve decided to start a blog, don’t feel intimidated!
With many website builders being template-based and offering drag-and-drop functionality, even the least tech-savvy among us can get up and running in no time.
After all, blogs are a great way to share our knowledge and spread the word about your products and services.
Building one can also help your existing website gain more traffic and visibility on search engines.
It will make it easier for your potential clients to find you and show your depth of knowledge or understanding about your industry.
With so many templates to choose from and so many ways to customize your site, your Canadian blog will be uniquely your own in no time!