In my last post in this series, I examined the importance of planning your blog as well as how to choose a niche; I used my own examples to make it practical.
Today’s post will be talking about how I chose my domain name, set up my blog, and how I create “key pages” on my blog.
For a refresher, this is part 2 in a series of 4 posts that shares how I built a 4 figure monthly blog in 3 months, and how you can do the same.
Here’s what this series covers:
- Part 1: How I Planned My Blog and Chose a Niche
- Part 2: How I Chose My Domain Name, Set Up My Blog, and Created Key Pages
- Part 3: My Process for Writing Key Posts that Drive Income
- Part 4: How I Market My Blog
The Hard Reality About Choosing Your Domain Name
With over 2 years of experience blogging before I started the blog I’m discussing in this series, I’ve discovered how critical it can be to choose the right domain name for one’s blog.
Your domain name won’t necessarily make or break your blog but choosing the right domain name can significantly influence your chances for success.
While I can credit the quick success of my blog to a lot of things, I believe the domain name had significant impact; this was evident when I got my first client, who discovered me through the Google search engine, when I had around 3 posts on the blog and I had not even started marketing.
He saw that my domain name reflects someone who has the solution to his problems and he hired me to help him handle, first, his guest blogging campaign, and then his overall content marketing.
I’ve also guided a few people towards choosing a domain name that accurately depicts what they can offer so I can tell you how critical it is to choose the right domain name.
So unless you are Zac, whose name is synonymous to affiliate marketing online due to years of success and established authority, you would lose more than you would gain if you decide to register your name as your domain name unless you have a killer strategy.
My Simple Process for Choosing Domain Names
When choosing a domain name, I have a process. The first step in my process is to determine the main keyword for the niche I will be starting my blog in; in my case, it was “guest blogging.”
If you don’t have a niche yet, make sure to go back to part 1 of this series for some ideas to help you determine your own niche.
Now that I know that my main keyword is “guest blogging,” it is obvious that guestblogging.com and other relevant domain names have been taken years back. So, how do I choose a domain name that accurately depicts what my blog will talk about?
Here are some tips I use:
1. Use power words: Words that give more meaning to your blog, further defining its topic.
These are words you can add to the beginning or end of your domain name to ensure your domain name clearly shows the topic you’re talking about, that it has the keywords you plan to rank for in Google eventually, and that it isn’t difficult to pronounce.
In my case, this word was “tactics.” So, I added “tactics” to the end of “guestblogging” and I came up with guestbloggingtactics.com
This gave me the advantage of letting people know what my blog will be about while also making it easy for me to rank well for relevant keywords; with my blog ranking in the top 10 results several times for the term “guest blogging,” especially when I’m updating it regularly, and with several people linking back to me as an expert on the subject of guest blogging, choosing that domain name was a wise choice.
So make sure you think of a word that doesn’t significantly change the message of your blog, a word that enhance your message if possible, and look for a way to add it before or after your domain name.
2. Use Prefixes/Suffixes: Another approach is to add prefixes or suffixes to your original keyword; they won’t change your message significantly, and they can be very easy to remember.
If you just can’t come up with an idea for your domain name, you might want to check out Panabee.com. It will automatically generate these ideas for you, mostly using the above tips.
How I Set Up My Blog
Now that I’ve decided on my domain name, the next step was to register my blog and install it. Here was how I approached it:
1. Registering my domain name: I’ve had great experience with Namecheap in the past, so, for this, I used Namecheap to register my domain name.
2. Choosing a Blog Host: I’ve had great experience with Hostgator, so I used Hostgator to register my blog.
Thankfully, Zac has an option to help you install your blog for free on Hostgator if you decide to go with them. Check out Zac’s offer!
3. Powering My Blog: The next step was to bring life to my blog; I needed to make sure it is optimal and easy to use. I’ve had great experience with the WordPress CMS, so this was a no-brainer for me. I installed WordPress to run my blog; this was easy with QuickInstall in my Hostgator Cpanel.
4. Choosing My Theme: While I would have loved to recommend a certain theme, I’ve changed the theme I installed on my blog a few times. However, I purchased all the themes I have used on Theme Forest
5. Installing Basic Plugins: In other to ensure my blog was functioning properly, I had to install some basic WordPress plugins.
Some of the plugins I installed are:
- Akismet; to combat spam.
- Gravity Forms; my favorite plugin for creating good looking forms.
- Smart Archives; to create my archives page.
- Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin (GASP); to combat spam, and it is more effective than Akismet.
- Google Analyticator; to link my blog with Google Analytics for stats tracking.
- Clicky for WordPress; to link my blog with Clicky Analytics for stats tracking
With the above, my blog was properly set up and ready to launch. Now, I just had to create some key pages and start updating my blog.
Creating Key Pages on My Blog
Before launching my blog, I had determined that some pages are critical to the success of my blog. Some of these pages are:
1. My About Page: People needed to know who is behind the blog as well as what his main motivations are. My about page was created to answer this question.
Since I started my blog under a pseudonym, and as a part of a public challenge, the about page was short and told people my reasons for starting the blog. You might want to follow a proven formula when creating yours and, for that, I recommend this article by Michael Hyatt.
2. My Contact Page: The more readers get in touch with me, the more of their problems I know and the more effective my blog can help them solve these problems. My contact page is a very essential part of my blog.
3. My Services Page: Now, I wanted to make money. In fact, the title of this page promises to show you how I built a 4 figure monthly blog in 3 months, so this page is essential because it is critical to achieving this success.
The main way I planned to make money from my blog was by offering my services, and my services page showed people how they can hire me.
I occasionally linked my services page in my blog posts, in my navigation bar, as well as in guest posts on other blogs.
For detailed instruction on my process for creating services/hire me pages, read this article on my blog.
4. My Archives Page: When I started getting requests for this, I later created a page that featured all the posts that have been published on my blog.
This is where today’s post will stop. The next post in this series will talk about my process for writing key posts that drive income; these posts are a key part to getting clients that help me make money, so you won’t want to miss out on the next post in this series.
Bamidele Onibalusi is a blogger, freelance writer, and the founder of Writers in Charge, a popular blog for writers. If you want a proven formula for getting writing clients by blogging.