So you’ve read our post on the benefits of blogging, and you want to set up your own blog, but you have no idea where or how to start. Luckily for you, we do. We’ll tell you exactly what you need to do to get started.

If you’ve already set up a WordPress website for your business and simply want to add a blog page, there’s only a couple more steps. Just check out this guide.

But if you’re looking to start from scratch, here is a step-by-step process to help you start your own blog.

1. Plan. Before you sign up for a blogging platform, you need to create a strategy. In the planning stage, it’s important to ask yourself: What is my blog’s purpose? Who am I trying to reach? What can I do to stand out from the crowd? How will I get eyeballs on the page? What will my blog focus on? How often will I write? Knowing the answers to these questions will save you time and money in the long run, and allows you to hit the ground running.

2. Decide on a platform. While selecting a platform isn’t a make or break situation, the platform you choose will determine how easy your blogging experience will be. There are several blogging sites you can use, including Weebly, JoomlaDrupal, Blogspot, Tumblr, and Blog, but the most versatile and user-friendly platform available is WordPress. There are two types of WordPress sites: WordPress.com, which allows you to set up a blog using the WordPress domain (e.g. www.myblog.wordpress.com) and WordPress.org, which allows you to create your own self-hosted blog. We recommend the latter, as it allows you to select your own domain name.

3. Register a domain name.  Once you’ve decided which blogging platform you’re going to use, it’s time to choose a domain name. This will be the URL used to access your site (e.g. www.myblog.com). You can register a domain name through services such as NameCheap, 1&1 or GoDaddy for as little as $10 per year. Take the time to find a domain name that reflects your business, is simple enough to remember and can differentiate you from others. Give yourself plenty of time to choose because it can be difficult and expensive to change it later.

4. Select a hosting company. While your WordPress site may be free, you still need to pay to have your blog hosted. There are dozens of hosting companies online, so it’s important to read reviews to separate the good ones from the duds. Some of the more popular web hosting services are HostgatorBluehost and 1&1

5. Get writing. The most important thing to do once your new site is up and running is to start cranking out content. Don't just rehash what everyone else is saying. Be original and write about topics that matter to your audience.