How to create and run a blog?

So, a while ago, a friend of mine mentioned that they were thinking of creating a blog for some DnD-related content and I honestly loved the idea and figured that a lot of people would probably love it! Hence, I encouraged them to create a blog of their own and they’re now thinking of maybe programming something themselves and going self-host or whatever, which is fine, technically, but at the same time, it’s not what I’d recommend either. Hence, I decided to write a post on how you create a free WordPress blog like mine (#notsponsored) and what I’d recommend doing before and after running your blog. If you’re new to the blog, my name’s Dan or Magi and I’ve been blogging for more than two years now over here, so I got a bit of experience, I guess.

To start a blog, you basically go to WordPress and create your own thing. You select a name, theme and domain before you select the features you’ll need… which is a step you won’t need to do. You can skip that, essentially. The last thing you need to do is selecting your plan. You can choose between the free plan and the shit plans. I mean, sure, you can get premium themes and new domains on top of ad revenue and other stuff with the paid plans but the issue is the price point, especially as the WordPress Support sucks. If you’re at the point where you’re thinking that you’re really into blogging, then I’d recommend going for a self-host plan at a different provider, in which case the Blaugust community has plenty of opinions and advice to give.

The most important thing for Blogging is that you get started and try it out. You can stop at any time. You don’t have to be frequent. You don’t need to worry about any of the “SEO” stuff or whatever… Write because you wanna write, blog because you wanna try it out! Carpe Blog-em! So, now that you selected a domain name, theme and other stuff, you’re essentially ready to go!

But what do you write about? Well, write about anything you want to. The choice is yours. Originally, I only wrote about Indie Games in review-style posts but eventually, I decided to create these other categories with different styles of posts. This post here is in my “The Stray Sheep” category where I talk about non-gaming related topics. Meanwhile, there’s “The Lookout Post” about demos, first impressions, and titles that are yet to come. “Indietail” is where I post my reviews. “The Gaming Journal” is for anything gaming-related that isn’t informative or a review. “Humble Choice” is for Humble Choice, duh, and then there’s that “Bleeding Purple” which is about Twitch and stuff. You don’t have to give a lot of thought as to what you want to name your categories. In fact, you don’t even need to name them. You don’t even technically need categories, to be honest, but it makes it a lot easier if you organise it a little bit. 

For example, if you had a blog about knitting, reading, and gaming, you could have a category for each of the three. When you click on “Customize” in your WordPress settings, you could then have “The Knitting Nook”, “The Book Corner” and “The Gaming Cranny” or something like that. Again, these names can be changed at any time and hardly anyone notices a change really. Then you can add these categories as buttons to the sidebar, the top section of your blog, etc. As you can see on my blog, I have categories, subcategories, static pages (About and DMCA), as well as a page with the blog feed. The homepage is a different thing as well that you can customize. My blog basically has a carousel with featured reviews that I change every now and then… and it also shows the latest few posts that aren’t featured there.

Tags are a mysterious thing that everyone uses differently. I personally use categories to bring order to the blog and tags to give you that “more like this” effect. When I review a game, I add a tag for the genres, the developer, the publisher, and whether or not I recommended it, usually. Because of that, you can click on the “roguelike” tag and find all my reviews and other posts with that specific tag. That view, however, isn’t bound by categories, which is why I use categories to group posts that are similar in their contents while tags are labels that I use for posts to describe what is in them specifically. Obviously, you can also do it the other way around or you just don’t use any tags at all, which is totally fine!

The great thing about blogging is that there is no pressure in starting anew or completely rebranding everything. I change my theme every so often (although I’m quite happy with this theme right now) and I sometimes change small things like the layout of the posts or how the menu is displayed up on my blog. As you go on, there are plenty of things you may not understand immediately but you’ll get through them quickly and worst case, you can message me or other bloggers about it and you’ll most likely get an answer relatively quickly. Generally, speaking I would say that Blogging is really chill overall. Take YouTube with its algorithm for instance: You don’t get any views unless you do specific things… and you have to be super frequent with your content or else it won’t amount to much at all. Meanwhile, blogging lets you produce content as you please and it will always find its way to people unless of course your blog is set to private.

I believe that the most important thing is to just give it a go and get started. I personally can really recommend WordPress free plan for that. Once you’re bigger or once you want to earn money off of it or once you’re fed up with the limitations, you can buy a domain and self-host the blog somewhere else for a world full of freedom, but I just personally don’t think it’s a good idea to pay a lot of money immediately when you’re not even sure if you’re going to like it or stick to it if that makes sense. The free option is there and while there are other options out there, I honestly enjoyed writing more on WordPress compared to stuff like Blogspot. Blogspot also has the issue that it’s owned by Google, which tends to bury some projects quite frequently. WordPress is most likely going to stick around for ages, especially with how many people are interested in blogging nowadays.

So, if you have any questions! Hit me up. This was basically just a quick post I wanted to make, explaining how easy the set-up is and how little you need to know about some of the terminologies. Sure, there are things like the Search-Engine-Optimisation and stuff out there but I don’t think you need to worry about that. I personally am doing just fine on my blog but I don’t necessarily care about all of that SEO madness.

Did I help you? Do you wanna add anything? Comment below!


This post is part of the Blaugust 2021 event. For more information on that, check out this post!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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