4 Things You Need to Know Before Starting a Blog

Things You Must Know Before Starting a Blog

Welcome to the first part of the Blogging Tutorials Series for a beginner

Have you ever asked yourself why you want to blog, or what is your intention behind blogging? This is the most important question we need to ask ourselves before creating a blog.

In the beginning, It seems very simple and stupid, but this is where most of us get wrong. This question can help us to identify our blogging strategies, competitions, and many more. In fact, it can save us tons of time and effort. So, let’s try to find the answer for our intended blog with these topics: ‘Type of blogging’, ‘Niche/Topics’, ‘Intended Audience’, and ‘Monetization’.

Type of blogging

The direct answer of ‘how we want to run our blog’ and ‘why we want to start this blog’ gives us the answer to What type of blogging we will be creating. For simplicity, we can categorize our intended blog in the below ways.

  • Personal Type Blogging
    • Main intention is personal branding
    • Generally, the domain name represents the author
    • Author will have more flexibility to write in a personal blog.
  • Business Type Blogging
    • Main intention 
      • Branding of service/product
      • Sales oriented content
    • Generally, the domain contains the name of the business/product/service.
  • As a Product: News, E-learning platform
    • Main intention is providing information
  • Others
    • Hobby
    • To earn some extra bucks

Niche/Topics

This is the topic that you want to write about. This will help you to identify the competition. Some niche you can select for your blog

  • Travel
  • Education (Tutorials, Online Learning, Trainings)
  • SaaS
  • E-Commerce
  • Entertainment
  • Health
  • Finance
  • Services (Plumber, Electrician)
  • Sport
  • News

Intended Audience

These are the people who will be reading your blog. This will help you to identify how large is your audience and how competitive it will become.

  • Geographically (Nepal, India)
  • Particular Group (Blogger, IT student)
  • Age group

Monetization

This is how you want to take a return from your blog.

  • Sales of product/service
  • Advertisement
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Brand Review
  • Subscription
  • None, only for branding purposes.

There are no hard rules on how you can describe your blog but I find these most appropriate. Now, you need to analyze these parameters and decide whether this is the best option or not.

This will give you an idea of your competition, audience type, and the effort you will need to achieve the result.

For example:

If you plan to create the Nepali General News site, then you will need to cover every incident to gain trust. Also, there are many established news sites so you will need to find the option to beat them. News content will have a very short span.

[Means: General News content has High Competition. You will need an active team that can collect every news content. Requires extra effort unless you already have a team of journalists.]

Your intended audience will be the people from Nepal, so you may need to write in the Nepali Language.

Nepali doesn’t have a habit of buying from online. Only a few people have international master cards. So, you won’t be able to promote affiliate products effectively for monetization.

Also, AdSense has a very low CPC [Click per cost] in Nepal so your earning will be low with AdSense.

If your content is in the Nepali language then you won’t be able to apply for AdSense.

You can go for a Facebook Instant article but it will not cover your whole expense/effort.

Then, local advertisements are the only best option for your website. It will need a marketing person to find these local ads.

This will help you to prepare the solution to the problem that you may face in your blogging journey.

Now, let’s see my intention for a blog that I am going to use as a case study.

  • Type: Personal branding
  • Audience: Global, Tech enthusiastic
  • Niche: Educational (Technology related tutorials, how-to)
  • Monetization: I am not looking for a direct monetary return from this blog. But I will be using my blog one way or another like promoting a product/service I like or develop.

How to choose a domain name for your blog?

After understanding your blogging intention you can easily choose a domain name for your blog. 

  • For personal type blogging, you can go with a domain containing your name or any name that represents you. 
  • Similarly, for business-type blogging, you can create a blog on the subdomain/subdirectory of your business domain or can be an alternative domain related to business/product/service.

You can go with any suitable digitally identifiable name that defines your intention. It helps you to maintain your identification and authenticity on the web. 

This is why big brands don’t allow us to promote their product in blogs that are similar to their domain name. Most of the company clearly mentions things like “Affiliates are not allowed to use the domain that is similar to [product/domain name] or a variant of these domains and can’t contain these words xyz, xy, yz, etc.” in their terms. If you are planning to promote affiliate products in your blog, you need to check their terms before promoting their product, if it allows you to promote within this particular domain. Otherwise, they may block your entire account in the middle and your effort will be wasted.

Case study domain name: nil.pro.np
This includes nil which is my name and pro which represent professionals as I will be sharing professional tips that I learn in the tech industry. Due to this reason, this domain is best for me.

How much does it cost to start a blog?

Other than your effort, only things that will cost money to start a blog are domain and hosting purchases. Everything else can be done for free with little effort. 

Dotcom domain costs around USD 8 to 20 dollars per year [ you can check here ] and shared basic hosting can be found from $20. This costs a total of $40 per year which isn’t that expensive to start.

Note

  • These cheap hosting will have some limitations like speed, uptime, etc. which is ok for starting and you can easily upgrade to more reliable hosting when you progress.
  • While purchasing these basic hosting, if you don’t have an international payment debit/credit card then you should go for a local company/person that you know as you can easily ask for support with them for initial blog setup, domain pointing, etc. If you have international payment then there are a number of hosting providers like Bluehost, Hostgator that are affordable yet provide quality service.

 
Many developing countries provide country-level domains for free like .com.np is free in Nepal. Then, you will only have to pay for hosting. You can read How to register free .com.np domain? to get any .np [.com.np, .pro.np] domain for free.

Case study total cost for me:

Nil.pro.np domain is free and I will have to pay only $20 [around Rs. 2000] per year for hosting which is a total cost I will have to invest in this blog.

Update: I have configured a hosting server for this blog in AWS with free credit, so I don’t have to pay anything for the next 6 months. And, now It cost me zero to start this blog.

CASE STUDY SUMMARY:

  • Domain: nil.pro.np
  • Type: Personal branding
  • Audience: Global, Tech enthusiastic
  • Niche: Educational (Technology related tutorials, how-to)
  • Monetization: Has no plan to monetize at the moment but definitely will use it in the future.
  • Domain cost: Free
  • Hosting cost: free with AWS credit [Updated] shared basic host (Rs. 2000)
  • Total cost to start a blog: zero [updated]

Can I find free hosting?

This is another frequent question I am getting in my inbox after starting this blogging tutorial series. In short, yes you can get like I am hosting this now but it’s not advisable to use all freely available hosting. 


If you have any confusion following this blogging Series or any topics on this Nil blog, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section. You can also reach me on Twitter.

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