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It seems like everyone is a blogger these days, from grandmothers writing about their favorite recipes, to trend-spotters writing about their new favorite looks for the season. The user-friendliness of web publishing tools and the ability to monetize those sites with minimal effort has lead to an explosion in the blog space. Recent stats from WordPress show anywhere from 15.1 million to 17.4 million blogs have been created on the platform alone.

What Is A Blog?
A blog is essentially a website that allows the users to post updates, photos and videos on an ongoing basis. Viewers can then read posts chronologically or search posts by different categories or tags.

Types Of Blogs
There are a number of different types of blogs from company and corporate blogs to personal blogs. A personal blog can chronicle a life event, like a child being born or ones travel escapades. Other people may use their site as a way to make money. Blogs allow individuals to make money either directly selling products and services on the site, or through advertisements that are placed on the site.  When people click on the ads, the blog owner gets paid a set amount. The more traffic to your site and the more ad clicks, the more money you can earn. One of the most popular blog platforms out there is WordPress because it is easy to use and free to install.

To Start
Before you can start a blog, you need to get a domain name, which is the URL address that people type into their browser to get to your page. To do this, you can go to a domain site like Godaddy.com to see if the URL you want is available. Typically, reserving your domain name will cost around $10 per year.

Choosing A Domain Name
When choosing a domain name keep in mind the topic and focus of your website. If you are starting a fashion blog, try to use something in the URL that makes it clear that it is a fashion blog. Using your target keywords in your URL address is a great way to get your SEO rolling from the start. Also, try to choose .com over any of the other options like .net, as .com is the most common.

Hosting
Once you’ve reserved your domain name you need to choose a hosting service. You can use Godaddy.com for hosting or choose another site. If you’re planning to use WordPress for your blog, one of the easiest things to do is choose a hosting site that offers one-click install of WordPress. A few of the hosting sites that offer one-click installation include: Webfusion, HostMonster, WPWebHost, and GreenGeeks. Once you’ve chosen your hosting service, log in and install WordPress through the hosting service.

Setting Up WordPress
Once you have WordPress installed you can go to your dashboard and start creating the theme of your blog site. You can choose a free theme or pay to upgrade to a more customized look.

Once your theme is set, there are a few things you’ll want to do within your WordPress dashboard to make it more likely that your blog posts will show up in search results. The first is to set up permalinks. Permalinks are the permanent URLs to the individual blog posts, as well as categories and other lists of blog postings. Set these up by clicking on settings and following the cues for permalinks.

Install Plugins
Plugins are free so take advantage of them and add the following plugins to your blog:
•    All in One SEO Pack – Allows you to add title tags and meta descriptions, within which you can add keywords to help increase search rankings.
•    Google Analytics – Allows you to track and analyze your website traffic.
•    Subscribe to Comments – Allows viewers to comment on posts.

Check out the image above for a few other tips on managing a successful blog. The most important and perhaps one of the hardest things to do is to post engaging and quality content on a regular basis so readers want to visit your site. Happy blogging!

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