Okay, so you’ve set up your hosting, picked a theme for your WordPress site, and come up with a list of topics to write about, What next?
Now it’s time to start writing.
Writing can be a daunting adventure for many people. In fact, it was once upon a time for me too.
I remember when I first started blogging, I wasn’t a writer in the traditional sense by any stretch. I just shared my thoughts, emotions, tips, tactics, and inspiration in a format that people could digest. It turns out they liked it.
You don’t have to be a masterful writer to start and run a successful blog. Blogging is therapeutic. It’s an outlet. A way for you to share and connect with the (believe it or not) millions of other people out in the world who are just like you. You just haven’t discovered each other yet!
But, if you are still daunted by the task of writing a blog, here is a 3-part formula you can follow for making every blog memorable:
Write a mind-blowing headline that entices people to click and read your blog when they discover it.
Hook readers in with short, punchy sentences, storytelling, and emotive language.
Keep people engaged with visuals such as screenshots, infographics, videos, image quotes, and GIFs.
Just remember blogging does not solely rely on how best you are in writing and in English grammar. Blogging also involves on how you connect with your readers, how to entice them, how to keep them to always read you blogr posts, and having more sense of humor in your blog. Here are one of the lists to take in writing a blog and to generate traffic.
Engage with your readers.
Come up with the best and unique topic.
Know how to generate real and organic traffic.
Use the free but really best source of engagement to get traffic the social media site.
Know how to use back-links.
Avoid illegitimate and doubtful free traffic source.
Lastly, always be upbeat and always keep the fire up.
If you want to learn how to sleep better, then you’re in the right place. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know if you want to get better sleep. I’ll explain the science of sleep and how it works, discuss why many people suffer from sleep deprivation without knowing it, and offer practical tips for getting better sleep and having more energy.
Plain and simple, the purpose of this guide is to explain the science of how to sleep better. You can click the links below to jump to a particular section or simply scroll down to read everything. At the end of this page, you’ll find a complete list of all the articles I have written on sleep.
I. The Science of Sleep
The Purpose of Sleep
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
The Cost of Sleep Deprivation
The Theory of Cumulative Stress
Ok, But Can You Catch Up on Sleep?
II. How Sleep Works
The Sleep-Wake Cycle
Age-Related Sleep Changes
The Circadian Rhythm
The 2-Process Model of Sleep Regulation
III. How to Sleep Better
How to Fall Asleep Fast
How to Improve Sleep Quality and Duration
Daily Habits for Better Sleep
Natural Sleep Aids
I. The Science of Sleep
Sleep is one of the strangest things we do each day. The average adult will spend 36 percent of his or her life asleep. For one-third of our time on earth, we transition from the vibrant, thoughtful, active organisms we are during the day and power down into a quiet state of hibernation.
But what is sleep, exactly? Why is it so important and so restorative for our bodies and minds? How does it impact our lives when we are awake?
The Purpose of Sleep
Sleep serves multiple purposes that are essential to your brain and body. Let’s break down some of the most important ones.
The first purpose of sleep is restoration. Every day, your brain accumulates metabolic waste as it goes about its normal neural activities. While this is completely normal, too much accumulation of these waste products has been linked to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Alright, so how do we get rid of metabolic waste? Recent research has suggested that sleep plays a crucial role in cleaning out the brain each night. While these toxins can be flushed out during waking hours, researchers have found that clearance during sleep is as much as two-fold faster than during waking hours.
The way this process occurs is fairly remarkable:
During sleep, brain cells actually shrink by 60 percent, allowing the brain’s waste-removal system—called the glymphatic system—to essentially “take out the trash” more easily. The result? Your brain is restored during sleep, and you wake up refreshed and with a clear mind.
The second purpose of sleep is memory consolidation. Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation, which is the process that maintains and strengthens your long-term memories. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can hamper your ability to form both concrete memories (facts and figures) and emotional memories.
Finally, sleep is paramount for metabolic health. Studies have shown that when you sleep 5.5 hours per night instead of 8.5 hours per night, a lower proportion of the energy you burn comes from fat, while more comes from carbohydrate and protein. This can predispose you to fat gain and muscle loss. Additionally, insufficient sleep or abnormal sleep cycles can lead to insulin insensitivity and metabolic syndrome, increasing your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
All of this to say, that better sleep is critical for your mental and physical health. Before we get too deep into this sleep guide though, let’s pause for just a second. If you’re enjoying this article on sleep, then you’ll probably find my other writing on performance and human behavior useful. Each week, I share self-improvement tips based on proven scientific research through my free email newsletter.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Alright, so sleep is important, but how much sleep do you really need? To answer that question, let’s consider an experiment conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Washington State University.
The researchers began the experiment by gathering 48 healthy men and women who had been averaging seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Then, they split these subjects into four groups. The first group had to stay up for 3 days straight without sleeping. The second group slept for 4 hours per night. The third group slept for 6 hours per night. And the fourth group slept for 8 hours per night. In these final three groups—4, 6, and 8 hours of sleep—the subjects were held to these sleep patterns for two weeks straight. Throughout the experiment the subjects were tested on their physical and mental performance.
Here’s what happened…
The subjects who were allowed a full 8 hours of sleep displayed no cognitive decreases, attention lapses, or motor skill declines during the 14-day study. Meanwhile, the groups who received 4 hours and 6 hours of sleep steadily declined with each passing day. The four-hour group performed worst, but the six-hour group didn’t fare much better. In particular, there were two notable findings.
First, sleep debt is a cumulative issue. In the words of the researchers, sleep debt “has a neurobiological cost which accumulates over time.” After one week, 25 percent of the six-hour group was falling asleep at random times throughout the day. After two weeks, the six-hour group had performance deficits that were the same as if they had stayed up for two days straight. Let me repeat that: if you get 6 hours of sleep per night for two weeks straight, your mental and physical performance declines to the same level as if you had stayed awake for 48 hours straight.
Second, participants didn’t notice their own performance declines. When participants graded themselves, they believed that their performance declined for a few days and then tapered off. In reality, they were continuing to get worse with each day. In other words, we are poor judges of our own performance decreases even as we are going through them.
The Cost of Sleep Deprivation
The irony of it all is that many of us are suffering from sleep deprivation so that we can work more, but the drop in performance ruins any potential benefits of working additional hours.
In the United States alone, studies have estimated that sleep deprivation is costing businesses over $100 billion each year in lost efficiency and performance.
As Gregory Belenky, Director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University, puts it: “Unless you’re doing work that doesn’t require much thought, you are trading time awake at the expense of performance.”
And this brings us to the important question: At what point does sleep debt start accumulating? When do performance declines start adding up? According to a wide range of studies, the tipping point is usually around the 7 or 7.5 hour mark. Generally speaking, experts agree that 95 percent of adults need to sleep 7 to 9 hours each night to function optimally. Most adults should be aiming for eight hours per night. Children, teenagers, and older adults typically need even more.
Here’s a useful analogy for why sleep is so important.
The Theory of Cumulative Stress
Imagine that your health and energy are a bucket of water. In your day-to-day life, there are things that fill your bucket up. Sleep is one of the main inputs. These are also things like nutrition, meditation, stretching, laughter, and other forms of recovery.
There are also forces that drain the water from your bucket. These are outputs like lifting weights or running, stress from work or school, relationship problems, or other forms of stress and anxiety.
The forces that drain your bucket aren’t all negative, of course. To live a productive life, it can be important to have some of those things flowing out of your bucket. Working hard in the gym, at school, or at the office allows you to produce something of value. But even positive outputs are still outputs and they drain your energy accordingly.
These outputs are cumulative. Even a little leak can result in significant water loss over time.
Keeping Your Bucket Full
If you want to keep your bucket full, you have two options.
Refill your bucket on a regular basis. That means making time for sleep and recovery.
Let the stressors in your life accumulate and drain your bucket. Once you hit empty, your body will force you to rest through injury and illness.
Recovery is not negotiable. You can either make time to rest and rejuvenate now or make time to be sick and injured later. Keep your bucket full.
Ok, But Can You Catch Up on Sleep?
Extra sleep can remedy some of the negative effects of several bad nights of sleep. New research found that catching up on sleep on the weekends brought daytime sleepiness and inflammation levels back to baseline; however, cognitive performance did NOT rebound.
What exactly does that mean? If you’re not getting enough sleep during the week, you cannot depend on catch-up sleep on the weekends to restore your focus and attention. The only way to keep levels of those performance measures high is to make sure you’re getting adequate sleep every night.
Now does this mean you shouldn’t even try to catch up on sleep? No. If you’re already sleep deprived, you should definitely try to get some extra sleep. But the best thing to do, both for immediate performance and for the long-term, is to prioritize sleep every night—not just on the weekends.
II. How Sleep Works
The Sleep-Wake Cycle
The quality of your sleep is determined by a process called the sleep-wake cycle.
There are two important parts of the sleep-wake cycle:
Slow wave sleep (also known as deep sleep)
REM sleep (REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement)
During slow wave sleep the body relaxes, breathing becomes more regular, blood pressure falls, and the brain becomes less responsive to external stimuli, which makes it more difficult to wake up. This phase is critical for renewal and repair of the body. During slow wave sleep, the pituitary gland releases growth hormone, which stimulates tissue growth and muscle repair. Researchers also believe that the body’s immune system is repaired during this stage. Slow wave sleep is particularly critical if you’re an athlete. You’ll often hear about professional athletes like Roger Federer or LeBron James sleeping 11 or 12 hours per night.
As one example of the impact of sleep on physical performance, consider a study researchers conducted on the Stanford basketball players. During this study, the players slept for at least ten hours per night (compared to their typical eight hours). During five weeks of extended sleep, the researchers measured the basketball players accuracy and speed compared to their previous levels. Free throw shooting percentage increased by 9 percent. Three point shooting percentage increased by 9.2 percent. And the players were 0.6 seconds faster when sprinting 80 meters. If you place heavy physical demands on your body, slow wave sleep is what helps you recover.
REM sleep is to the mind what slow wave sleep is to the body. The brain is relatively quiet during most sleep phases, but during REM your brain comes to life. REM sleep is when your brain dreams and re-organizes information. During this phase your brain clears out irrelevant information, boosts your memory by connecting the experiences of the last 24 hours to your previous experiences, and facilitates learning and neural growth. Your body temperature rises, your blood pressure increases, and your heart rate speeds up. Despite all of this activity, your body hardly moves. Typically, the REM phase occurs in short bursts about 3 to 5 times per night.
Without the slow wave sleep and REM sleep phases, the body literally starts to die. If you starve yourself of sleep, you can’t recover physically, your immune system weakens, and your brain becomes foggy. Or, as the researchers put it, sleep deprived individuals experience increased risk of viral infections, weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, mental illness, and mortality.
To summarize: slow wave sleep helps you recover physically while REM sleep helps you recover mentally. The amount of time you spend in these phases tends to decrease with age, which means the quality of your sleep and your body’s ability to recover also decrease with age.
Ae-Related Sleep Changes
According to Harvard Medical School researchers, “As people age, it takes longer to fall asleep, a phenomenon called increased sleep latency. And sleep efficiency – the percentage of time spent asleep while in bed – decreases as well.”
Based on my calculations of the above data, the average 80-year-old gets a whopping 62 percent less slow wave sleep than the average 20-year-old (20 percent of the average sleep cycle versus 7.5 percent). There are many factors that impact the aging of body tissues and cells, but it stands to reason that if your body gets less slow wave sleep to restore itself each night, then the aging process will accelerate as a result.
In other words, it seems reasonable to say that getting good sleep is one of your best defenses against aging quickly.
The Circadian Rhythm
What is your sleep-wake cycle dictated by?
Answer: the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is a biological cycle of different processes that happen over a time span of about 24 hours.
Here are some key points in the typical 24-hour cycle:
6 A.M. Cortisol levels increase to wake your brain and body
7 A.M. Melatonin production stops
9 A.M. Sex hormone production peaks
10 A.M. Mental alertness levels peak
2:30 P.M. Best motor coordination
3:30 P.M. Fastest reaction time
5 P.M. Greatest cardiovascular efficiency and muscle strength
7 P.M. Highest blood pressure and body temperature
9 P.M. Melatonin production begins to prepare the body for sleep
10 P.M. Bowel movements suppressed as the body quiets down
2 A.M. Deepest sleep
4 A.M. Lowest body temperature
Obviously, these times are not exact and merely display the general pattern of the circadian rhythm. The exact times of your circadian rhythm will vary based on daylight, your habits, and other factors we will discuss later in this guide.
The circadian rhythm is impacted by three main factors: light, time, and melatonin.
Light. Light is probably the most significant pace setter of the circadian rhythm. Staring into a bright light for 30 minutes or so can often reset your circadian rhythm regardless of what time of day it is. More commonly, the rising of the sun and light striking your eyes triggers the transition to a new cycle.
Time. The time of day, your daily schedule, and the order in which you perform tasks can all impact your sleep-wake cycle.
Melatonin. This is the hormone that causes drowsiness and controls body temperature. Melatonin is produced in a predictable daily rhythm, increasing after dark and decreasing before dawn. Researchers believe that the melatonin production cycle helps keep the sleep-wake cycle on track.
The 2-Process Model of Sleep Regulation
In 1982, Dr. Alexander Borbely published an article in the journal Human Neurobiology describing something he called the 2-process model of sleep regulation. This conceptual framework for sleep describes two processes that occur simultaneously to regulate sleep and wake states.
Process 1 is sleep pressure. Basically, sleep pressure mounts from the moment you wake up, to the time when you go to sleep. While you’re sleeping, pressure decreases. If you get a full night of sleep, you start the next day with low sleep pressure.
Process 2 is wake drive, which counteracts sleep pressure and is controlled by a 24-hour rhythm that repeats in a wave-pattern.
It’s important to understand this process because it helps reveal an important point about sleep in our modern world that I learned from sleep scientist Dan Pardi:
For millions of years, humans and our ancestors have evolved to sleep at night (when it is dark) and wake during the day (when it is light). However, in the modern world, we work inside all day, often in areas that are darker than the outside world. And then, at night, we look at bright screens and televisions. Low light during the day, more light at night: It’s the opposite of naturally occurring cycles and it seems quite likely that it could mess up your wake rhythm and circadian rhythm.
The result of this shift? Drowsiness and impaired function through the day. We’ll talk more in just a minute about how to sleep better, including actionable steps you can take to anchor your rhythm, but it pretty much comes down to this: Use common-sense light habits. Get outdoor light exposure during the day, and turn down the lights and turn off your screens after dark.
When Should I Go to Sleep?
If you’re getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep, does it matter when you get it?
“The time of night when you sleep makes a significant difference in terms of the structure and quality of your sleep,” said Dr. Matt Walker, head of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley.
The ratio of REM to non-REM sleep changes through the night, with non-REM sleep dominating cycles earlier in the night and REM sleep kicking in closer to sunrise, Walker said. That means a late night could result in insufficient amounts of deep, non-REM sleep. As we discussed earlier, it’s crucially important to get healthy amounts of both REM and non-REM sleep.
So how early do you need to be to bed to get enough of each type of sleep? Walker says there’s a window of several hours, about 8 p.m. to midnight.
The best time for you, though, will vary.
Till Roenneberg, a professor of chronobiology at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich who studies the biological roots of sleep, says each person has a unique internal timing profile called a sleep chronotype that determines where on the scale from “early bird” to “night owl” we fall. Your chronotype is largely genetic.
When choosing your bedtime, try not to fight your physiology. The best bedtime will differ a little bit for everyone, but it’s crucial that you pay close attention to your internal clock and what your body is telling you. As long as you’re getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep, just focus on finding the time that works best for you.
III. How to Sleep Better
How to Fall Asleep Fast
Develop a “power down” ritual before bed. The light from computer screens, televisions, and phones can hinder the production of melatonin, which means your body isn’t preparing the hormones it needs to enter the sleep phase. Specifically, it is the blue wavelength of light that seems to decrease melatonin production. Developing a “power down” routine where you shut off all electronics an hour or two before sleep can be a big help. Additionally, working late at night can keep your mind racing and your stress levels high, which also prevents the body from calming down for sleep. Turn off the screens and read a book instead. It’s the perfect way to learn something useful and power down before bed. (Another option is to download an app called f.lux, which reduces the brightness of your screen closer to bedtime.)
Use relaxation techniques. Researchers believe that at least 50 percent of insomnia cases are emotion or stress related. Find outlets to reduce your stress and you’ll often find that better sleep comes as a result. Proven methods include daily journaling, deep breathing exercises, meditation, exercise, and keeping a gratitude journal (write down something you are thankful for each day).
How to Improve Sleep Quality and Duration
If you want to know how to sleep better and boost your performance there are 3 levers you can “pull” to give yourself a boost.
Intensity refers to how well you sleep. The percentage of sleeping time you spend in slow wave sleep and REM sleep largely determine the quality of your sleep each night.
Timing refers to when you go to sleep. What time do you go to bed? This factor is important for two reasons. First, if you get in bed around the same time each night, it is easier for your body to develop good sleep habits. Second, the time you go to sleep should be in accordance with your circadian rhythm.
Duration refers to how long you sleep. This one is simple: how much time do you spend sleeping each night?
How can you use these 3 levers to sleep better?
When it comes to intensity, the truth is that there isn’t much you can do. Your body largely manages the intensity of your sleep cycle (how much time you spend in slow wave sleep and REM sleep) for you. It adjusts automatically based on what you need and how much time you are spending asleep. Exercising consistently, being smart about light habits, and getting proper nutrition will help, but these actions only indirectly improve sleep intensity.
This is actually good news because it simplifies things for you. Because your body manages the quality of your sleep on its own, you only need to focus on two factors: timing (when you go to bed) and duration (how long you’re in bed).
If we make another assumption, then we can simplify the situation even further. That assumption is this: You wake up at approximately the same time each day.
If you wake up at about the same time each day, then your sleep duration is basically determined by when you go to bed. Generally speaking, if you get into bed earlier, then you’ll end up sleeping more. Improve the timing and you’ll improve the duration as well.
And that brings us to this practical punchline…
From a practical application standpoint, timing is perhaps the most important of the 3 levers of sleep. The intensity of your sleep is managed automatically by your body. The duration of your sleep is largely dependent on when you get into bed (assuming you wake up around the same time each morning). And that means getting to bed at an earlier, more consistent time is critical for improving the quality and duration of your sleep.
Daily Habits for Better Sleep
Next, let’s talk about how to sleep better by harnessing the power of a few simple, daily habits.
Get outside. Aim for at least 30 minutes of sun exposure each day.
Turn out the lights. When it gets dark outside, dim the lights in your house and reduce blue or full-spectrum light in your environment. F.lux, a free software app for your computer, makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.
Avoid caffeine. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, eliminating caffeine from your diet is a quick win. If you can’t go without your morning cup of coffee, then a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is “No coffee after noon.” This gives caffeine enough time to wear off before bed time.
Stop smoking or chewing tobacco. Tobacco use has been linked to a long line of health issues, and poor sleep is another one on the list. I don’t have any personal experience with tobacco use, but I have heard from friends who have quit successfully that Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking book is the best resource on the topic.
Use the bedroom for sleep and sex only. Is your bedroom designed to promote good sleep? The ideal sleeping environment is dark, cool, and quiet. Don’t make your bedroom a multi-purpose room. Eliminate TVs, laptops, electronics, and clutter. These are simple ways to improve the choice architecture of your bedroom, so that sleep is easier and distraction is harder. When you go to the bedroom, go there to sleep.
Natural Sleep Aids
Exercise. There are too many benefits to exercise to list them all here. When it comes to sleep, exercise will make it easier for your brain and body to power down at night. Furthermore, obesity can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns. The role of exercise only becomes more important with age. Fit middle-aged adults sleep significantly better than their overweight peers. One caveat: avoid exercising two to three hours before bedtime as the mental and physical stimulation can leave your nervous system feeling wired and make it difficult to calm down at night.
Temperature. Most people sleep best in a cool room. The ideal range is usually between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 21 degrees Celsius).
Sound. A quiet space is key for good sleep. If peace and quiet is hard to come by, try controlling the bedroom noise by creating “white noise” with a fan. Or, use ear plugs (here’s a good pair).
Alcohol. This one is a slippery slope. It is true that having a drink before bed — a “night cap” — often does help people fall asleep. However, while it makes it easier to fall asleep, it actually reduces the quality of your sleep and delays the REM cycle. So you fall asleep faster, but it’s possible that you’ll wake up without feeling rested. It’s probably best to improve your sleep through other methods before resorting to alcohol to do the job.
Final Thoughts on How to Sleep Better
Cumulative sleep debt is a barrier between you and optimal performance. If you want to know how to sleep better, the answer is simple but remarkably underrated in our productivity-obsessed culture: get more sleep.
Four years ago on a sunny April morning, I slinked into my new office building, suit slightly too big, 24-years-old and clueless. It was my first day working at a large, prestigious bank in downtown Boston. The first day of the career that would ostensibly define the rest of my life.
I felt strangely powerful as I collected my new security badge and gained access to the sleek silver elevator. This was it. I was finally a real, live, functioning adult.
But that sense of power vanished once I was led to my new cubicle. Grey, sterile, joyless. I looked around and noted the smattering of other ambitious 20-somethings about me, awkwardly stuffed into cheap suits and business attire. Some worked furiously at their consoles, invigorated. Others slinked in their chairs, lifeless and a paper jam away from putting a shotgun in their mouth.
I would soon be one of the latter.
I sat, nervously sipping my energy drink as I waited for my new supervisor to come train me for the morning. She arrived around 8:30 AM and by 9 AM had shown me enough pointless procedures to make even the drabbest college textbook shout with a vibrant life in my memory. I woke up at 6:30 AM for this?
By 11 AM I silently asked myself when the soonest I’d be able to quit would be. I was two hours into my lifelong career choice of finance and I was already contemplating an escape route. “This is not a good sign,” I thought next.
I quit six weeks later.
I would love to tell you leaving the bank was one of those triumphant movie moments, where I walked out of the office with a sly smile and Kevin Spacey fist pump. The reality is that I felt like an idiot. I trembled as I put my two weeks in to my manager. When he asked what I planned on doing instead, my shaky reply of some sort of website blog thing sounded just as ridiculous to me as it probably did to him. By lunch, the news has spread around my team. Most of them were so confused, they awkwardly avoided talking to me and didn’t say goodbye. I imagine they believed I had just flushed my future down the toilet. Part of me believed the same.
I get a lot of emails from readers asking me how I manage to travel the world without holding down a so-called “steady job.”
The short answer is the internet. Before this blog, I ran a number of websites and projects that earned some money. Then I did some freelance work. Then I wrote a book. Then people started telling me to write more stuff and jump ahead five years and about 500,000 words and here I am.
Many people dream about dropping out of the rat race. They want to let go of the career ladder and find a way to spend more time doing what they love. I wholeheartedly endorse this life decision. Although I felt stupid when I left the bank and would spend most of the next two years scared out of my mind, broke, and working all hours of the day and night, it was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.
There’s already a lot written out there in this area: quitting your job, making money online, starting a business, vagabonding around the world, etc. A lot of it’s great. But a lot of it doesn’t talk about the emotional realities — dealing with doubt, finding the motivation, addressing the strains on your friends and relationships. I want to paint a realistic portrait of this life change. There are a lot of challenges, both mental and emotional, but I encourage you to take the leap.
WHY YOU SHOULD TERRIFY YOURSELF
Honest question. Do you love what you do?
If the answer isn’t a resounding, knee-jerk, “Yes! I live for this shit,” then I encourage you to seriously consider doing something about it. That may sound extreme, but seriously, in 100 years you and everyone you know are going to be dead and your great-grandkids aren’t going to get misty-eyed remembering how you got that quarterly bonus or a corner office. This is your life and every breath you take is killing you. Stop screwing around.
Chances are the thought of leaving your day job terrifies you. This is normal and expected good even.
When I left the bank that day, I had only a vague idea of what I would do. I made a little bit of money here and there online. It wasn’t anything close to a full-time living, but I knew it was a new market that was growing quickly. And with some hard work combined with my savings, I (naively) believed I could have a full-time business up and running within a few months.
It turned out to take almost 18 months for me to earn a full-time steady income. I went broke a number of times, was supported by my ex-girlfriend for a time and then moved back home with my mother. For most of 2008-2009 I worked 10-16 hour days and the majority of my projects failed and made little or no money.
It was stressful to say the least.
People ask me what motivated me through this period. The answer is terror. Complete and unequivocal daily terror. I was absolutely terrified to fail. Granted there was some love in there as well (I loved my job and still do). But that’s also where the terror came from: the idea that I would never make money doing what I love; the terror that I’d have to go back to living off a job I hated; the terror that I would have wasted two years with nothing to show for it; the terror that all of my friends and family who thought I was crazy would be proven right.
This fear kept me up at nights, and more importantly kept me up at nights working.
I’ve met a number of people over the years who want to quit their jobs, to start their own businesses, to develop new streams of income. And they’re scared. Obviously. They should be. But instead of leveraging their terror into action, they spend all of their time planning and planning and planning and not doing anything.
80% of your plans are going to fail no matter what you do. Get used to it.
It’s not because we’re poor planners, it’s because there are simply too many unknowns. And the only way to uncover the unknowns and adjust for them is by getting out there and failing. So yes, you should be terrified of failing. And that is why you should do it anyway.
When I wanted to leave the bank, a number of friends and family members suggested that I continue to build my business on the side until I had a steady income. In hindsight, I think if I would have done that, I would not have made it. Giving up would have been too easy. I wouldn’t have had the time or energy necessary to do it. That ever-present fear motivating me would have been gone.
The terror that jumping in headfirst gave me was my most powerful asset. I was committed. I’d win or die trying. I sold my possessions (video games, computer, furniture, guitars — everything). I stopped most of my hobbies. I lost contact with a number of my friends. I knew all of these things would return once I became successful. But failure was not an option.
Intellect is great. Work ethic is great. Ability to adapt is definitely necessary. But you also need the emotional drive to push you to achieve your dreams. Everyone’s had the feeling where you know what you should do in your gut, feeling it and wanting it, but not having the emotional drive or wherewithal to actually get up and do it. So you continue sitting in the desk you hate day after day, year after year, waiting for something that’s never coming, trapped by your comfort and safe in your mediocrity.
Terrify yourself. Use it as your ally. Give yourself no option but your dream.
“There’s no reason to do shit you hate. None.”
PLANNING YOUR ESCAPE
OK, that’s all well and good, but let’s talk about reality. Especially if you have kids, house payments, car payments, student loans or health problems. What do you do?
1. SELL ALL YOUR USELESS CRAP AND GET YOUR FINANCIAL HOUSE IN ORDER
Excess possessions are counterproductive for pursuing a remote lifestyle. And they’re often counterproductive for achieving happiness in general. If you own something that is eating away at you financially (furniture, car, etc.), consider cutting your losses and getting rid of it while you can. Debt is the devil. I wrote an entire post on getting rid of excess crap you don’t need here.
Doing this may make you squirm at first. Or you may be sitting there (once again) thinking I’m a total nutcase and unrealistic and you could never get rid of your super-double-upholstered Italian sofa that just ties the room together, but fuck you, sell it anyway. There are a million sofas in the world, your life experiences happen once. Get on it.
In extreme cases, this may involve selling your house. That may sound insane and may be completely unreasonable for you, especially if you have a family. If so, then rent it out. Obviously mileage may vary depending on who you are and what your life circumstances are. Why be miserable and financially stuck in a house when you can be happy and free in an apartment? Boom.
2. FIGURE OUT YOUR SOURCE OF INCOME
People seem to believe they’re trapped within the typical 9-to-5 career track, but in fact there are a lot of options. In the US, we’re rarely exposed to the options we have outside of our nation’s borders (minus the military). You just have to be willing to take some risks and work a bit harder.
An incomplete list of options to get your ass abroad and exploring the world:
Join a volunteer organization. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and putting yourself in some extreme environments, then volunteer organizations, both NGO’s and otherwise (i.e., Peace Corps) are always looking for help. You’ll most often be sent to developing countries, but some developing countries are surprisingly pleasant to live in (Thailand, Colombia, Philippines, Peru, etc.). Once you’re on the other continent, bouncing around from country to country is rarely more than a $50 bus/train/plane ticket away.
Teach English. The pay is low and the work is hard, but this will get you a paid trip to another continent and often with really good vacation time. Asia and Latin America are the go-to continents for this with no experience or foreign language required. If you teach in Europe, you’re going to have to know the destination language at the least. A friend of mine taught English in South Korea for six months, took the money she made and went to India for three months, then taught in the Philippines for another six months and then bounced around Southeast Asia for a while after that. Not a bad experience.
Find a source of mobile income. Poker. Stock/options trading. Freelancing. Consulting. Internet marketing. Blogging. Graphic/Web design. Writer/journalist. These are all professions I’ve run into on the road. These are all forms of income which can be earned regardless of location (and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few). Some of them have a steep and long learning-curve, but there’s never a better time to start than now.
Start an online business. This is a massive topic which other people can cover much better than I ever could, but internet startups can often be created and managed from anywhere. In fact, there are a number of startup “incubators” around the world where internet entrepreneurs congregate in places with high qualities of life and very low expenses (Chiang Mai in Thailand, Bali in Indonesia, Medellin in Colombia, etc.).
Convince your company to let you work remotely. Not an option for everybody, but if you’re a programmer, developer or designer, then this could be an option for you.
Get transferred overseas. Another option if you work for a large international corporation such as Procter and Gamble or Yahoo! is to get transferred to various locations around the world. You can often gain a lot of vacation time by working in other countries as well which will allow you to explore.
Find odd jobs as you travel. This is easy in some countries and impossibly hard in others. But finding jobs in hostels, bars and restaurants in cities you travel to can be done to support yourself wherever you go. A number of people do this. It takes time and effort and obviously is quite stressful, but it can be done.
Work on a cruise or for an airline. Seriously. These people have amazing flexibility with their time at sea and where they get to go. I met a woman who worked on a cruise in Costa Rica and she had been to over 75 countries, living in a dozen for more than six months. She was in her early 30’s. Same concept applies to working for an airline but to a lesser extent (and far more jet lag)
Start your entire career abroad. In a number of developing parts of the world, particularly Asia, there’s an extremely high demand for university-educated Westerners for high-paying management positions. Countries like China, Brazil, Malaysia, and Singapore, are importing a lot of western talent. Not only can a recent college graduate skip multiple rungs on the corporate ladder by moving to one of these countries, but they can see a major quality of life increase at a lower cost-of-living. Let’s just say that making $60,000 a year in Shanghai goes a LOT further than making $80,000 per year in New York City.
You can combine a number of these strategies. Sometimes you can just take off with your savings and begin to figure it out as you go. Someone can leave with their life savings, start a blog on the way, do some freelance consultant work online, work some odd jobs here and there, and by the time their savings run out, they have a modest location-independent income. But as always, Google is your friend. There’s no shortage of websites and resources on NGO’s, internet startups, marketing, expatriation, backpacking, vagabonding, etc.
3. CALCULATE YOUR “ESCAPE VELOCITY”
Do some research and choose your first destination(s). Do you want to try an internet startup in Asia? Work for an NGO in Central America? Backpack through Europe and pick up odd jobs on the way? A lot of people come to me and say, “I want to live abroad, how can I do it?” Well it depends where you go. You can live like a king off $1,000 in Thailand or the Philippines, or spend that much in a week in Brazil. It depends where you’re going and what you’re doing.
The other factor is your financial obligations. If you have debt back home you need to factor that in. If you have health problems, then you need to do a lot of research on that as well. The good news is if you’re an American, you’re going to save a LOT of money on health care by leaving the country.
Calculate the amount you need to earn passively per month to survive wherever you want to go. This may involve getting a job once you’re there. It may involve saving up a bunch of money now and selling stuff. It may involve creating passive streams online. Either way, budget it out so you know when you’re ready.
4. PULL THE TRIGGER
Once you know your target level of savings and/or location-independent income, work towards it with everything you have. This may involve killing your day job off immediately in order to free up more time to work for it. This may mean setting a financial goal for the day you can put your two weeks in.
Get creative and don’t have an ego about it. A friend of mine decided to throw himself into this lifestyle 100% and moved back in with his parents for almost a year before he got on his feet and running. I lived on a friend’s couch for a while. Later I moved back in with my mother until I had enough money to buy a plane ticket to Argentina. Once I was there I could live well off about half the income I needed to live in the US. From there I built my business up further.
But, like I said, planning will only take you so far. Plan the best you can, but then throw yourself into the fire. Leave yourself no option but to come out on top. It will be hard and nerve-wracking, but that’s how you grow. That’s how you squeeze all of juice out of life. Terrify yourself. Then laugh about it.
LONG-TERM TRAVEL COURSE
If you’re serious about this and want to really get into the nitty-gritty of building a life of long-term travel, you can check out my course, Escape Plan, that’s part of the membership to my site. I cover everything I know about travel and living and working abroad, from finding cheap flights to supporting yourself financially to making new friends in foreign countries. Living life with full of happiness, no regrets, enjoy at its fullest, helping others, and being great to yourself is one of the best thing we could do. Travel to different places will give you more rooms of experience, knowledge, ideas, meet with different people, know different cultures, great experience in life, and have fun in life.
In this digital age, it has never been easier to share one’s favorite entertainment with the rest of the world. Personal blogs can be used to discuss a blogger’s favorite music, movies, books, and performing arts. Posts can be archived according to specific topics such as the date of release of specific films or songs. Similarly, such blog posts can be classified by actor, singer or performer. Bloggers can have plenty of fun in creating their own personal archives featuring short statements or entire articles about anything related to entertainment. This could very well be one of the reasons why personal blogs rock.
When blogging about personal interests such as entertainment, it is important to keep in mind the type of readers that will be exposed to the posts. Often, friends and relatives will be the most loyal followers of such personal blogs. However, it is also a good idea to share some personal interests with fellow workers and other individuals from the workplace.
For example, some teachers are more than happy to share their thoughts about music and movies with students. Teachers might seem “cooler” if they have similar tastes in entertainment as the youth. Similarly, parents of students might also be interested in finding out about the personality of teachers.
Personal entertainment blogs can also act as “icebreakers” for professionals who start a new job. It’s a great way to bond with co-workers by using blogs to talk about specific interests in entertainment or sports. A young professional like Lindsey Stone and other ladies are examples of individuals who blog about their favorite kind of entertainment.
Blogging platforms and social networks actually allow individuals to encourage others to enjoy specific movies, video games, songs, books and more. For example, it’s quite easy to post a link that leads to a movie trailer or review on an external site. Similarly, links could be posted to official websites of video game publishers.
While ordinary individuals blog about their favorite entertainment, companies are also taking advantage of online platforms. For example, recent movie releases or classic films can be downloaded online and then watched on any platform. Users can select to download file formats for an HDTV, desktop computer, laptop or tablet. Before making an online purchase, customers get the chance to preview the movie by watching an extended trailer version.
Before downloading songs or entire albums online, customers have the chance to listen to samples. There might be different versions of a single song such as those for radio play and original album releases. Up to 30 seconds of actual soundtrack can be heard for free before making a purchase of the full-length song. Similarly, video game demo versions could be downloaded for free before making an upgrade to the full-length editions.
Blogging about favorite books is enhanced thanks to external links to websites that might have full versions of specific titles. In fact, most classic literature is available for download for free because copyright laws didn’t exist centuries ago. Marketplaces for digital multimedia are loaded with electronic versions of books that can be downloaded without any charges. Of course, there are also plenty of new releases of books that can be purchased. Before buying electronic books, customers can preview several pages of actual content. Full-length descriptions of books are also available in traditional synopsis format. Sharing these snippets on blogs can attract readers and help bloggers discover new favorites.
Finally, blogging is therapeutic. Where else in your life can you talk endlessly about any subject of your choosing? Likely, nowhere (If you do have somewhere you do this in real life, perhaps you should evaluate how others feel about this).
An entertainment blog can be tailor-made to suit your needs as a writer. Want just a few readers? Only tell your friends. Want your thoughts to be read by the masses? It’ll take a little more work, but there are abundant resources available online to help you learn to expand your readership.
Blogging is a great activity that accommodates all types of writers. Many people, though, have trouble writing that first post. My advice? Just write it, publish it, and then publish more. Expecting big after doing small things could become one of the biggest mistakes bloggers must avoid. Not many people will see the first post. By the time they catch up with you, you’ll have posted 20 times or more. You’ll be better at it from the practice, and your blog will start to have its own identity. The only way to get there is to start, so I encourage you, start your entertainment blog today.
Not only is blogging a great pastime, but with a blog, you can express yourself in a unique way, help others with problems you’ve overcome, establish yourself as an expert, and even make some money.
However, getting started the RIGHT way in your blogging career can mean the difference between a blog with a growing, loyal readership…
…or worse, another addition to the internet graveyard.
If you’re new to blogging, it really helps to have someone to point you in the right direction and help you avoid fatal mistakes.
As you’ll soon find out…
That’s why I’ve put this page together for you – to give beginners a fast, foolproof guide to starting a blog without having to learn HTML or waste your time reading long, boring tutorials.
In fact, over 9,500 newbies just like YOU have already setup blogs using this guide!
I’ve put this comprehensive resource together to walk you through the process to set up your blog in just 5 easy steps…
Here’s How to Start a Blog:
Choose a blogging platform.
Register a domain name and hosting.
Design your blog.
Add posts and pages.
Start growing your blog.
The goal of this page is to help you get started the right way today.
Not tomorrow, next week, or next month…but right now.
From 5+ years of coaching and helping friends with their blogs, I’ve found that many pupils make the same exact mistakes when starting a blog, sometimes resulting in them abandoning the project altogether…
We don’t want that to happen to you.
Here’s the deal:
Today I want you to take the time to thoroughly read this post. It’s about 4,000 words long (20 minutes), so get comfy and set aside some time.
I’m going to walk you through the entire process of setting up your self-hosted blog, so you ‘get it right the first time’ without any of the frustrations or headaches I experienced with my very first blog.
Ready to create your blog today? Alright, let’s get right into it.
Step 1: Choose the Right Blogging Platform (Hint hint: Use WordPress)
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Before you can even start worrying about how your blog will look like, you’ll need to choose your blogging platform.
There are A LOT to choose from. You are able to create a blog with many different blogging platforms, such as WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger and more…
However, given that there are over 72 million active users using WordPress today (1), it’s clear which platform is the boss.
All of my own blogs and sites are built with the WordPress blogging platform.
It’s FREE for everyone to use (including themes, layouts, and add-ons that many other blogging platforms don’t provide).
It’s super easy for you to set up on your own. I’ll show you exactly how in a little bit…
It’s safe & secure; WordPress is always updating their software and keeping everything sound and secure, so there’s rarely a worry of having your blog come under hacking attacks. No wonder NASA, Time Magazine, and even top university blogs are using WordPress (2).
It’s HIGHLY customizable. There are hundreds of free themes and plugins that add more functionality to your blog, from contact and subscribe boxes to plugins that improve blog performance and more.
While the other blogging platforms are generally all pretty okay; nothing, in my opinion, has ever come close to matching the freedom and customization options that WordPress offers.
So without a doubt, go with WordPress. Especially when you are just starting out.
Why You Shouldn’t Create a Blog on a Free Blogging Platform
Without a doubt, you need to self-host your WordPress blog. This means you are in complete control of your own website and content.
Think about it – what famous, successful blogger you know is using a free blogging website like “www.startbloggingonline.freeblogsite.com” instead of their own domain name like “www.StartBloggingOnline.com”, for example?
It’s not just that – free blogging platforms will cause you other headaches too.
It gets worse:
You don’t control your content – the blogging platform does. They could shut you down anytime, and for any reason (3).
You’re not allowed to advertise on most free blogging platforms, making it much harder to ever make money from blogging.
All of these limitations apply to the WordPress.COM blogs.
What you really want is to self-host a WordPress.ORG blog – it’s the same software without all the limitations!
If I were you, I’d start with a self-hosted blog on my own domain from day one. That way you won’t have to experience the massive technical headache I did when transferring from a free hosting to self-hosted blog.
Setting up a blog like this is WAY easier and less expensive than you might think, especially with the special deal and coupon code I’ve got for you below…
Finding a Domain Name and Web Hosting Provider
Now to the exciting part!
To set up a self-hosted blog on your own domain name, you’ll need two things:
Domain Name – This will be your personal blog address where people find your awesome articles over and over again. For example, Google’s domain is http://www.Google.com. Your new blog domain name will be http://www.YourBlogName.com, except you’ll choose what’s going to be behind YourNewBlog.
The cost of a domain name is usually $10/year, but if you follow this guide all the way, I’ll show you how to get one for much cheaper…
Web Hosting – This will be the home of your blog address and content that’s on the blog. Without web hosting, you’ll be unable to use your domain. Think of it as a computer hard drive that stores all your content on your blog (images, blog posts and so on).
The cost of good web hosting is usually somewhere between $10-15 per month, but you will get over 70% OFF with the coupon code below.
With my special deal for you below the total cost will come out to less than a venti coffee at Starbucks a month – so it won’t break the bank.
It’s a relatively small, yet extremely important investment for your long-term blogging success.
Where Should I Get My Domain Name and Hosting?
When it comes to web hosting, there are only two things that matter.
Page load speed – The average amount of time (in seconds) it takes your blog to load.
Uptime – How often your site is up and running. 99.9% isn’t enough (that’s still 43 minutes of downtime per month). You should be aiming for 100%.
There are literally THOUSANDS of different web hosting providers.
They all offer you a similar service (domain name + hosting) with a relatively similar price.
And luckily for you, I’ve already done the research to narrow the list down to the one and only reliable service you should consider using for your first blog.
Note: As a longtime customer and independent review site, we get compensated if you purchase from the referral links below – at no additional cost to you. In fact, we have a killer discount so you will actually pay less for the same service through the links below.
Remember, I want to help you avoid the same mistakes I made when I first got into the blogging world, and save you from experiencing any sleepless nights from scrambling to get your website back online.
I’ve dealt with and monitored many famous and recommended web hosting companies like Bluehost, iPage, Godaddy etc…
Nothing has ever come close to HostGator for me in terms of blog load speed and uptime (see below):
HostGator has great performance, they are easy to use, and it’s absolutely the best pick for beginners like you.
Additionally, HostGator is one of the few web hosts that now offers Free SSL Certificates. This not only adds trust with Google, but with your site visitors as well!
With an SSL Certificate, your domain name will start with HTTPS and show up as Secure with a green padlock next to the URL in a browser like this:
Basically, with HostGator your website will look legit from Day 1.
You can always go with another web hosting service as long as it’s fast, reliable, and offers unlimited storage & bandwidth. This helps you to avoid problems later on.
Now that we’ve gone through the basics of blogging platforms, it’s time to start walking the walk! With the next step, we’ll get your blog set up and running.
Let’s get crackin’:
Step 2: Set up a Blog on Your Own Domain Name (Self-Hosted WordPress)
If you don’t have a hosting or a domain name yet – don’t worry. I’ll be showing this in a minute…
At the end of this step (2), you will have a fully working self-hosted WordPress blog on your own domain name!
Sounds promising, huh?
If for some odd reason you don’t want to use HostGator, you can always choose another hosting provider. I can’t promise they’ll be that good, but the registration and the setup process should be somewhat similar.
Some hosting companies do not have one-click install for WordPress. If that’s the case, see this guide for installing WordPress manually (not recommended for beginners, though).
Don’t delay since this amazing deal with the link above expires at the end of October 2018.
2. Pick a Domain Name For Your Blog
Already have a domain name? If not, why not check out our post here to see how much a domain name actually costs.
But if you already have one, then just write it in the right box (I already own this domain) and keep moving to the next step by scrolling down a bit.
How do I choose a good domain name?
Choosing a bad domain name is one of the most common mistakes I see bloggers make. Be sure you choose a domain name that is…
1. Easy to Remember – Don’t choose a nonsense name, something tough to spell, or a long name full of dashes. “www.best-tech-gadgets-in-the-world.com” won’t ever stick in someone’s head, but something like “www.techgeeks.com” rolls off the tongue.
2. Unique and Descriptive – You want a name that reflects who you are and what you care about. Be creative and build an identity you’re excited about!
3. Trustworthy – Domain extensions like “.com”, “.org” or “.net” are the most popular, with “.com” being the one most people think of first. Try to avoid crazy extensions like “.rocks” or “.biz”, as these are less commonly used, tougher to remember and not as trusted.
Type the domain name you want to use in the box, then click “next”. If the name is available, you’ll be able to claim it. If it’s not available, choose another one.
If the name you want isn’t available, HostGator will show you some alternatives that are similar – or you can punch in a new name and try again. I’d suggest you use something that ends with .com, .net or .org
3. Choose Your Blog Hosting Plan
I recommend the “Hatchling” plan for now – you can always upgrade later if you decide you want more advanced features, but you get more than enough to get started with the Hatchling.
4. Complete Your Registration
Once you’ve chosen the Hatchling plan and found a name you like that’s available, you’ll need to register it by putting in your contact and billing information.
You’ll also have a chance to customize your package a bit.
This is a chance to save some more money, so don’t skip it! Be sure to apply the discount code “STARTBLOG” for 72% off.
I would take a look at each of these additional services to see if you want any of them, but they are not 100% necessary for you at this stage.
5. Log In To Your New Account And Install WordPress Blog
It may take a few minutes for HostGator to register your account, so be patient. You will get a confirmation email when your new account is officially ready.
Once you’ve logged in to your control panel (all the information you need for that should be in your inbox), it’s time to install WordPress. Thankfully, this takes just one click!
Log-in to your Hostgator control panel
At the top click “Get Started With WordPress Today”
If WordPress isn’t there for some reason, scroll down a little bit on the control panel and click on “Quick Install” under the Software & Services section. Look at the top of the page, in the left sidebar section for WordPress.
Once clicked, you’ll be automatically transferred to Mojomarketplace.com – don’t panic, this is just a site that helps HostGator install platforms (like WordPress).
You should immediately see a screen where you’re offered to “Install” or “Import” WordPress. Click “Install” to get to the next step.
When you’re finished, “Install WordPress”. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a loading bar at the top of your page that will eventually tell you that your WordPress blog has been installed and you’ll see your log-in credentials.
6. Log In And Check Out Your New Blog
Once the installation completes, you’ll get an email that shares your login information, including an “Admin URL”. (In case you missed that notification bar)
Congratulations – you now know how to make a blog using WordPress. You’ve installed WordPress and set up your blog, all on your own! As you can see, it was really easy and straightforward.
Now that your blog is set up, read on to learn how to design your blog and make your very first post.
Step 3: Designing Your Blog
In this section, I’ll show you some WordPress blog basics, including:
Changing your blog’s design
Installing new WordPress plugins/features
Making your blog search engine friendly
If you’ve set up your blog, you’re now ready to start using WordPress and customizing your blog. I promise – it’ll be pretty easy and fun at the same time.
Remember: You can log in to your blog by going to http://www.yourblog.com/wp-admin/ and using the credentials you set up with HostGator or any other hosting company you used.
Sample of a customized WordPress blog (SmartPassiveIncome.com)
Changing Your Blog’s Design (Themes & Layouts)
WordPress blogging platform uses design templates called “WordPress Themes” to figure out how your site should look. Changing your blog’s layout and design is as simple as installing a new theme.
There are over 2,000 professionally designed, fully-customizable and free themes to choose from – so you’ve got a lot of options. If you want to see premium themes and designs like the Genesis Framework, head over to Themeforest.net
Here’s How To Find And Install A Theme You Love:
When you log in for the first time, you’ll see a dashboard or admin panel that looks something like this:
Mouse-over the “Appearance” tab in the WordPress sidebar, then click on “Themes”.
On the next screen, you’ll see several themes are already installed. If you don’t like those, click the “Add New” button at the top, or the great big “Add New” square to start searching for a theme.
Now, you’ll see tabs where you’ll find featured, popular and brand new themes, as well as a “Feature Filter” and search bar.
I really like the “Feature Filter” option, because you can choose themes in certain color schemes, select specific layouts and even choose themes with built-in advanced features.
Just choose the options you want, then click “Apply Filters” on the left hand side. If you’re finding this challenging, just search by keyword – there’s no wrong way!
When you’ve found a theme you like, click “Install”. You’re nearly done!
Once the theme has been installed, all that’s left to do is click “Activate” on the next screen:
Configuring Your Blog To Be Search Engine Friendly
There are some things you’d need to do to make your blog more search engine friendly.
See the difference? One is filled with irrelevant information and the other one is short, clean and neat.
In order to change your links to a more cleaner, click on the “Settings” -> “Permalinks” and use the following settings:
2. Spam comments – Unfortunately, lots of people want to leave automated spam comments on your blog. They do that for a couple of reasons – to get people from your blog to their blog and to advertise their services/products.
To avoid that, make sure you moderate your comments. Here’s how to do that: Go to “Settings” –> “Discussion” and tick those two options.
Step 4: Adding & Writing Blog Posts and Pages
By now you should have a fully working WordPress blog on your very own domain name. You should also have a custom blog theme that fits with your blog’s topic.
Congrats again – you’ve done a LOT and I’m proud that you’ve managed to get so far.
In the LAST step, I’ll show you how to write your first blog post and share some tips for writing blog posts.
In this section, I’ll show you…
How to write a post in WordPress
How to add images, links and format text
Some quick tips and tricks for writing great content
Using WordPress to Blog
Adding a New Post
To add a new blog post, click the “Posts” section on the left-hand side-menu, then click on “Add New”.
On the next screen, you’ll see something like this:
You can add the title to your blog post in the top field, and your content goes in the big text box below the title.
You can save your draft or publish your content live by using the box menu on the far right of the page. You can even schedule the post to be published later – or make the post private so only friends can see it.
Once published, your new post can be found in the “All Posts” section of the “Posts” tab, so you can edit it anytime.
Let’s take a quick look at some things you can do to spruce up your post:
To add an image to your post, click the “Add Media” button right above the lower content field.
Tip: Before you click “Add Media”, be sure you’ve left your cursor inside of your blog post where you want the image to show up. Otherwise, you’ll have to move it later on.
Next, click the “Upload Files” tab on the screen that pops up, then click “Select Files”.
Once you’ve found the file, double-click it and WordPress will upload it automatically.
When the upload is finished, make sure the image you want is selected, then click the “Insert into post” button to add the image to the post you’re writing.
Adding a Link
Linking out to other websites is a great way to build relationships and share interesting content.
To add a link, click on the icon in the toolbar that looks a bit like a chain link.
On the pop-up, you’ll need to enter a few important bits of information.
URL is the web address of the link you want to share. Make sure you include “http://” before the “www.” address, or your link will be broken.
“Link Text” is the text you want people to click on to get to your link. It might be “Click here”, or anything you choose.
“Open link in a new window/tab” – it’s a smart idea to check this box. Otherwise, when someone clicks your link, they’ll leave your blog.
If you want to link to an existing page, you can use the “Search” section to find a post or page you’ve already created and click it to add a link.
Finally, click “Add Link”, and your link will be added where you left your cursor in the post you were writing.
Adding Headers & Editing Text
It’s a good idea to use headers and bolding to make your content easier to read and scan.
To add a heading, click on the drop-down menu on the bottom left of the toolbar.
Try to only use “Heading 1” once within your page (usually at the top), and use “Heading 2” or “Heading 3” for other sections in the copy, as this is better for search engines.
Tip: You can also highlight the text you want to change in your blog post, THEN click on the drop-down menu and select the format you want the text to be in.
You can also bold, italicize, underline and even change the color of your text in a click or two.
“B” is for bolding
“I” is for italics
“U” is to underline your text
“A” will open a dropdown menu where you can select font color
As you can see, this is all pretty simple for anyone who has worked with Microsoft Word before.
Step 5: Start Growing Your Blog
Now that you have set up your blog and know the basics, it’s time to make your blog successful. Many beginners struggle at that point, thus I’ve put together a handful of guides to get you going easier.
If I were you, I’d suggest you go and check my resource page here. It contains all the content that I’ve published on StartBloggingOnline.com over the past couple of years.
Analytics from StartBloggingOnline.com (taken from my personal laptop)
Things To Do After You’ve Created Your Blog:
The first thing I’d do is create a proper About Me and Contact page.
Q: Are blogs social media? A: Blogs can be considered social media because they have comments and social interactions. However, from a technical standpoint, analytics software does not count blog traffic as social media traffic.
Q: What’s the difference between a blog and a website? A: Blogs are frequently updated with articles while a website is generally “set it and forget it”. Blogs might have fewer features than a website and just focus on creating really good content. For this reason, a blog is more socially active, with shares and comments.