For many of you out there, starting your own blog and making money from it is a dream.
It make so much sense to write on topics on which you have good knowledge and make money from it. You help other people out there on the internet with the information you publish on your blog and in the process make money using display ads or affiliate marketing.
Some of the common reasons that I see why people are attracted to start blogging:
- Money is the biggest and first reason
- Help people with their problems
- Creating a legacy
- Start a new trend
- Review technology and create relationships with companies
- Travel around the world for conferences
So for starting out, there are some first steps which need to be taken care of:
- Which Blogging Platform Should You Choose?
- Which Niche/Topic is best for you?
- How to register the perfect domain name?
- Out of so many hosting solutions, which one should be chosen?
- On the blogging platform of choice, how to setup the blog for success?
- Make a good looking blog design
- How to handle the legalities of running a public blog?
- Creating a content strategy that works
I will be answering all of the above and more in this article. By the end of this article, you will have good knowledge of how to run a successful blog.
Here are the steps to start a blog:
- Step 1: Pick a topic/niche that interests you
- Step 2: Select the blogging platform
- Step 3: Find and register a domain name that goes along with your content topic
- Step 5: Install the software named WordPress on your hosting space
- Step 6: Make the look and feel of your blog premium and attractive to the reader
- Step 7: Fine tune your blog settings with the help of WordPress plugins
- Step 8: Start writing content which is low in competition
- Step 9: Share your content on social media
- Step 10: Add ways to monetize your blog like display ads, affiliate marketing or sponsorships
- Step 11: Wait for the traffic to increase on your blog and then you just keep writing more content.
Note: Since I am giving an in-depth actionable tutorial, the suggestions can be fully trusted. I will be giving full details with regard to domains, hosting, platform which works for everyone.
How Should Beginners Start Their Blogging Journey
This complete blogging guide is for beginners and it assumes you are new to blogging. If you already know about a sub-topic in this article, you can skip it and move to next sub-topic.
With the tools that I am going to recommend, setting up the blog doesn’t take much time. Now a days technology has advanced and so the redundant old and time consuming ways of setting up blog are not used.
Step 1: Choose appropriate website name and corresponding domain name
When choosing the domain name, look for the following characteristics:
- The domain name is easy to remember for the visitor so that he can visit again
- It should not have complex spelling and plural characters
- The name is easy to pronounce.
You start with choosing the best name for your blog which invites the readers to keep coming again and again for new content.
While going through this process, you can first think about the name in simple words and try to comeup with words which best describe your motive behind starting the website. A few good examples from established websites:
- pontoonguide.com (pontoon is a type of boat)
When you are starting out, you are already running low on budget so I will help you get a domain name of your choice which is free of cost.
There are a few more points that you need to keep
Now, there are a few rules which will help you to pick the best name for your new blog. Here are some of the tips from my experience:
- Always go for a .com domain instead of other .net, .org or any other domain names. .com domains give more authority and trust in user’s eyes because they are so popular. When a user sees two search results in Google for same query, he is going to click on .com domain name instead of .net.
- Make it easy to speak your domain name. A long and difficult to remember name is not good choice. One such bad domain name could be AcbularStuck.com. Use simple and daily used words.
You should write down a few domain name ideas that come to your mind and check their availability using the search option of Bluehost. With so many people diving into blogging, many times the desired domain name is already taken so you may need to try a few domain name ideas. The Bluehost tool linked above will also give some related ideas.
Just keep it simple and follow the tips given by me in the form of bullet points above. Since domain name is so important, I am also sharing some dont’s which you should avoid:
- Say no to a longer domain name. The general rule of thumb should be 12 characters or less.
- You don’t need to register the domain names with domain extensions like .co, .pro, .cc etc. They don’t get clicks on them. Initially I also did this mistake by choosing websiteuplift.pro domain name and then switched to websiteuplit.com. This switch has cost me money and by following this advise, you can avoid wasting your money.
You also need a hosting to serve your blog’s web pages
A blog also needs a hosting for storing the content of blog posts.
A good web hosting solution will store your blog content in optimized form and will also keep it secured. A company will give you their server for storing the content. They have the server running all day and whole of the year which means 24*7*365.
As you would have noted, a good web hosting company is crucial for your blog success.
There are many web hosting providers out there and due to the competition, the prices have dropped a lot. Also some of them are giving sub-standard services. A fast web host is required to give a good experience to the blog visitor.
WordPress themselves have also recommended Bluehost web hosting company many times. They are an all in package and provide the following benefits in their plan:
- Free SSL certificate which builds trust with readers
- Unlimited bandwidth so you can have viral blog posts
- SSD based Unlimited storage
- Free domain name (Saving of $12/year)
- Easy to use cPanel
- Live chat for your technical and billing related support queries
- 30 days money back guarantee
Their cost is $3.95/month and service is top notch. They are able to provide an amazing experience at low cost because of the optimizations that they have placed in their servers. Grab Bluehost hosting for special price
Use the following steps to get yourself a blog which is hosted on Bluehost:
- Visit the Bluehost.com home page
- Click the Get started button as shown below.
You will be shown a list of plans. The higher tier plans are for hosting multiple blogs on one server. For your requirements, click Select the Basic plan.
Bluehost will ask if you already have a domain name registered or not. Since you also want that free domain name, enter your desired domain name in the “Create a new domain” text box. This will also register your domain name and also make it secure using SSL.
Bluehost will apply privacy protection on your domain which means no one can publicly see that you have registered this domain. It is good for your privacy.
Enter your payment information. You can also pay by PayPal by clicking on “more payment options“.
As soon as the payment is complete, Bluehost’s automatic service will setup your blog. You will get your login and password in an email from Bluehost.
This automatic setup from Bluehost is so amazing. They install WordPress for you and apply all necessary optimizations and security measurements too.
Follow these steps to set up the blog
The setup process is done by Bluehost for you. There are some steps which we need to do on the fresh WordPress install. All the settings are set to default in new install of WordPress. In this section, I will teach you how to configure your WordPress blog as per your needs.
Step 1: Which blogging platform is the best
In your blogging journey, you will come across this question quite often. The simple answer is WordPress. The whole ecosystem of Themes and Plugins available in WordPress makes it so easy and full of features as compared on any other content management system.
Every-time I have hosted my blog on Blogger platform, I have felt the need to modify it which is not possible. With WordPress, we get so many options to customize our website as per our needs.
There is difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org blogs. Like Blogger, WordPress also provides free of cost blogging platform but for your needs always look at WordPress.org. A WordPress.org blog is self hosted blog like I explained above.
Step 2: Shortlisting the niche/topic of the blog
Before you can even think of spending money on purchasing domain name and hosting package, a niche/topic has to be shortlisted.
Here are few guidelines that you should follow:
- Health, Wealth and Relationships are the most searched for niche.
- Always go 3 levels deep in the broad topic. So instead of Health, go for Legs related gym exercises which is 3 levels deep in the hierarchy.
- Choose the topic on which you have a good knowledge.
Keep your blog focused on one topic so that audience can be clearly defined. This also allows you to get focused on the content for the blog.
If you have knowledge in multiple fields then its better to open multiple blogs instead of single blog with mixed articles.
How to find the topic of your blog?
Since choosing the topic of your blog is important and long term, I want to give you a lot of information on that:
- Always choose a topic which you are familiar with. You should be able to teach that topic to anyone starting from beginner to advanced level. A guideline for this would be a topic on which you have lot of information to share and you can speak on it for hours.
- A topic that you daily come across is expected to be a good topic. This is because you will know all the secret tips and tricks of that topic.
- Your interest in the topic is also important. I see so many people start blogging and then leave it because of lack of interest. You are not going to see traffic and money for 6 months to 1 year. So its important that you have interest in the topic as it will help you keep publishing content even when no one seems to read it.
- All gurus will tell you to come up with 5 topics of your interest. Then shortlist the topics which are: Not going down in trend, have general public interest and has products associated with it. The products part will help you make money from your blog. I can give you basic list of topics and then you can use these or look for completely new niche. These are travel, fitness, software, home decor, home security, food, dance, makeup and automobiles.
I would also encourage you to start a second blog on your topic of interest only when you have completed 1 year with the first blog. Just focus on publishing as much content as possible and the results will automatically follow.
Thus, selecting the niche is important and makes the most difference on whether the blog will be successful or not.
Themes and Plugins to make your blog attractive
While content on your blog is super important, you also need to give it proper structure so that the readers can browse your blog without much difficulty. In this age, a simple and attractive blog is the trend.
For a website, there is something called web design which is about how the final website will look like. Thankfully, you need not hire web designer for your blog. There are ready to use themes available for one time purchase and they come with ton of options.
These themes can be customized as per the need of the blog. A food blog will look different from a travel blog. Therefore I highly suggest you pick a theme which can be customized for various kind niches. These themes will most of time come with life time free updates and support from the developer.
You can skip trying out free themes because their could be future support issues. When you pay for a theme one time, you essentially get a full package of awesome fast blog, great looks and developer support for technical issues.
Google pays a lot of attention to fast loading blogs because of better user experience. Thus I would suggest you invest in either of following 2 themes:
- Astra theme: It is a versatile theme with tone of options. It can fit into any kind of blog. The best part I like about the Astra theme is that it is very fast in loading the blog to reader. Their support is also top notch.
- Genesis: Genesis theme costs more than Astra theme. But I can guarantee you that this is the best option hands down. If you are confused between Astra and Genesis then go with Genesis. The only thing against Genesis is that it costs more. If you can afford it then nothing like it.
Everyday you will come across the next best WordPress theme but if you have chosen one of the above then you don’t need to even look at other themes.
The WordPress plugins that you need to install
As you gain experience with using WordPress, you will be excited to install a bunch of themes to make your website look great and have that extra feature. I highly recommend that you stick to the really essential plugins only which I will list below for you. Any extra plugin will make your website slow and can have compatibility issues in future.
Free plugins have more compatibility issues. There are thousands of free plugins in WordPress marketplace which were great once but now they don’t work because plugin developer didn’t update the plugin according to the updates in WordPress.
Here are plugins which you should have on your newly created WordPress blog:
Apart from these there are other plugins which you will feel the need for as you start to get traffic to you blog. One such plugin that comes to my mind is AMP. AMP makes your blog fast on mobile device but for a new blog, I wouldn’t recommend to install it.
With this section, we have complete the setup of your blog and you are ready to add content to the blog. I will show you how to add blog posts to WordPress and make them look great so that readers love reading them.
Create a content strategy
I always put great emphasis on being productive. There is no point in sitting before computer when you are not being productive. For being productive, one has to be organized and well planned.
So I want you to start using Trello which is a task management app. When you are working on a blog, there are number activities that keep coming up time and again and they run in parallel. It makes so much sense to get a free Trello account which you can upgrade if you like the tool.
Trello is a professional task management software which has web and app also. It is used by all kind of organizations for keeping track of daily progress and staying organized. You add a task in a Trello board and once it is complete, mark the task as Done.
You can create a plan for your blog about what content and when it will be live. This will help you not loosing trail of your work.
The first blog post that will give you confidence
While the setup of blog and planning of content is crucial, its the content that you write which brings eyeballs to your blog. After all, no one wants write for a ghost town.
The first blog post is your first experience. From my own experience, I can give you the following tips which I hope someone would have given me when I wrote my first blog post:
- You are writing content for your audience. Since you already know your audience, you can write words that make more sense to your audience. For example this blog post is for beginners to blogging. If I was writing for bloggers at advanced level, I would have skipped the website setup part. Hence you need to know your audience and write content as per their requirements. A satisfied reader is more expected to become a long term follower of your blog.
- Lengthy content beats short content on any day. Google loves lengthy articles. Even if you have great quality content with no fillers, Google will give you high ranks in the search results because Google also understands that detailed content on any topic give better experience to the reader and is bound to solve their related questions too.
- Adding multimedia content like photos and videos give your page higher rank on Google search results.
These pages are mandatory for your blog
Every company that you will be working with expects your blog to have some basic pages for sure. This adds more trust with search engines Google and Bing.
- About Me: This is where you tell your story about how you are expert in the topic and how can you help the readers with your blog.
- Contact page: This page helps visitors to contact you for any queries. There are plugins like Contact form 7 which can create this page for you free of cost.
How to get SEO Traffic
Once you write unique and high quality content, it will automatically get ranked in Google search results. There are a number of parameters which decide how well the blog posts will rank in search engines and content that gets read will be promoted high in search results by Google.
Once you have written on point and well researched article, there is no way that Google won’t send traffic to your website.
How to get social media traffic
The only tip I have for you regarding social media traffic is to keep sharing the blog posts on related social media accounts. You can also install revive old post pro plugin to share your old posts too on social media without you having to do any manual work.
The social media websites which work great with a blog are YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.
With content being live on the blog, how to monetize the blog
There is monetary benefit that a blogger seeks from his blog and there are a number of ways in which a blog can earn as listed below:
- Google AdSense
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored content (Get paid for writing reviews)
- Amazon affiliate program
- Direct ad deals
- Own info products like eBooks and digital courses
All of the above are covered in full detail in another making money with blog post by me.
Taking your blogging work to the next level
Improve your Blog’s SEO
Search engine optimization of your article and website is one time job but it pays off multiple times when ever someone visits your website due to SEO effort.
SEO traffic is free traffic in the sense that you are not paying google to promote your content on their search results. When doing SEO for your website and its articles, be aware of these 3 points:
- On page SEO: Content is king. The way you structure and write the content plays a major role in the discoverability of the specific article.
- On-Site SEO: This concerns your website as whole. If Google can’t know about what content is present on your website then it means you have done poor on-site seo work.
- Off-Site SEO: This is about promoting your website on other websites which is also known as building back-links from other websites to your site.
Your blog will need updates with time
As technology and information available about any topic gets updates so does your website and the content needs to get updated.
Its your responsibility to keep your blog website updated with time. For this, I would recommend join related Facebook groups. One type of groups that you need to join are related to the technology for hosting the website and other technical concerns.
The other types of groups that I want you to search and join are related to you niche. Both these steps would ensure you that you are surrounded by like minded people.
If you can’t find related Facebook groups then you look for online forums.
How to start a blog that is life changing (FAQ)
How do beginner bloggers make money make money?
For making money with blogs, you can place display ads on the blog or use affiliate marketing on your blog.
What is quality ideal blog post frequency?
While posting regularly is a great thing, you also need to maintain the quality of content. For writing this guide, I spent 4 days due to research, relevant information and structure of article. For lengthy articles, you can target to complete them 2 articles a week.’
If you hire writers on reaching intermediate level with blogging then 5 articles per week is a good thing.
How to earn money from a running blog?
Once the traffic starts to come in, it is so easy to try different monetization channels and see what works best. A combination of ads and affiliate links/banners is always great. You can also ask for some donations or sell an info product like digital designs.
This is your guide to blogging as a beginner. I have covered each and every detail and tried to use simple language which newbies can understand. Now go ahead with your blog and make a different in this world.