The first, most important step to building a personal brand is to have a place where you can post your ideas, presentations, white papers or whatever you choose to produce to demonstrate your expertise and experience in your field.
Why a blog? Because you own it. Posting to Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. are all great ideas and you should use them, but you don’t own those websites so you are subject to their whims and preferences, changes in their terms of service, etc. Not a big risk, but the best strategy is to send all your readers to a property that you own.
Will you post to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.? Absolutely. But your objective at those sites is (a) to build followers that you can (b) drive back to your blog, which is your own, branded property.
So what are the steps of setting up a blog, at least my recommendation:
1. Purchase a domain name
2. Purchase an annual hosting plan (suggestions here)
3. Install WordPress (a website “shell” which was originally designed as a blogging platform)
4. Select and install a free “theme” which determines the appearance of your website/blog
5. Start blogging
The truth is that each of these steps takes a little time to complete, are technical in nature to some degree, and will take you some time. But … they’re very doable, tens of thousands of people do this every year. In 2000, it was a huge chore. Today, it’s a 30 minute task if you know what you are doing, and maybe 2-3 hours if you don’t.
There are many ways you can accomplish the 5 steps I outlined to set up your blog. I’ll elaborate on how I would approach it, but if you have a different way that’s fine. Stephen Covey famously said “Begin with the end in mind”, and in this case the end is getting a basic website and blog up and running.
One word of caution: Forget perfection, or anything close. The only thing that merits some time and serious consideration is your domain nane. You will be investing heavily in your domain name, because if you spend 6 months or a year building up a name, reputation and personal brand around “JavaGenius.com” then change your domain name, all that work becomes diminished (there are ways to handle that, but best to get a domain and stick with it).
Spend the least amount of time on the other steps except your domain name. You can change theme, logo, blog content, all of it later if you choose. Just get a domain name you are happy with.
One more thing: If you can, start writing your blog posts even before your blog is up and running. Just save them in Word, Google Docs or wherever you write to create a backlog. It will help you maintain the consistency you need for a blog if you’ve got 10-20 good posts written and ready to go.
* Or … for $75 we will automatically set up WordPress for you including the same plugins we use here to optimize your blog for SEO, allow people to contact you, etc. Click here…