As a blogger for more than ten years, I feel I have enough say on this topic. Blog has always been and will continue to be the most effective platform to express personal opinions and to consolidate relevant information in one place. As a student, having a blog could be a hobby or a portfolio where you show your understanding on technical stuffs to future employers. Now everyone knows nothing comes exactly free in the world of capitalism, what choices do students have, and what are the catches?
Before you start, you need a damn good reason. Chances are if you are reading this you already know why! But if you don’t I have a few (not-so-persuasive) reasons:
- Record your daily life
- Engage with strangers online
- Earn money
- Share ideas and knowledge
- Advertise for your brand and company
As a student, you may want to start a blog because school life is really exciting, and you may have interesting things to share with people, or reflect on knowledge you just learned.
Where Do I Start?
There are a few steps to properly start a blog:
- Think of a topic
- Think of the name of your blog
- Get a domain name
- Choose your platform
- Build the blog
The above is an easy version, but to put simply, to start blogging you will first need to think of what you’re going to write. If you don’t have a specific topic, then you’ll treat it as a “Personal Blog”, where you write everything you want on the blog – Just like mine. Having a specific topic will determine the style of your writing, the design of your blog and your audience.
After you’ve decided what to blog about, you’ll need to think of its name. Everyone else writing a blogging guide tells you to think of a catchy name, but it can really be as simple as “Mary’s blog”, because why not? The rule of thumb is to make it related to the topic of your blog, you can use weirder names for personal blogs, but the name has to be meaningful.
Purchasing a domain name is not mandatory for blogs, but you’ll need to come up with one when you are getting free domains anyway, so start brainstorming meaningful and memorable domain names at this step. Always try to include the full name of your blog, this is how people remember your blog. Then you need to choose a suffix (if purchasing domain name), people may tell you always choose .com, .net and .org, I say it’s bullshit. It’s 2021 and you want to stand out among your peers, using an unpopular suffix smartly will impress your readers.
You then need to decide the platform you are going to use. Choose wisely, because the tools and limitations will be different, there is no best platform. You may need to first try all of them, and go with the one you like most.
After that you will need to start building your blog, configure it, add new widgets, write static pages, choose a theme, etc. It is again heavily subjective as to what fits your blog best, mix and match, and settle on what you feel comfortable with.
Free vs Paid services (platforms)
Free as in either Freedom or Free of charge. Both works, because we want to reduce costs on blogging as much as possible. There are many platforms that give you free blogs, and most of them give you free subdomains. This will be your only choice if you really can’t spare a few coins to rent a premium platform / service.
Paid not only in the sense of a premium service, but also paying for anything else. At least you will want a personal domain, I don’t suppose you would want an ugly and long domain like thisismyblog.blogspot.com. Paying for services and stuffs will help you build a professional image, to impress employers, peers, etc. Is it costly? Kind of. Worth it? Absolutely.
I will list some of the most popular free services that you may use when building a new blog in the next page. The list is non-exhaustive, I list only those I used.