Running a blog is still a realistic way to make money online. I actually think creating a blog is an important step for anyone looking to create and grow a brand. In this post, I’m going to teach you how to start a blog in full detail. Read on to learn about how to set up a blog and dominate your little corner of the web.
My blog evolved from a modest little site with a few posts to an income-generating machine using a few proven techniques. And now I’m going to reveal my secrets to you. So as you read, learn, and put action in place, know that you can start small with your blog and grow it over time.
The Beginners Approach To Blogging
Do you already have a name and a blog niche in mind, and you’re ready to get started?
First, you’re going to need hosting (this is the company that stores your website and shows it to others when they visit it). We’ll get into further detail later in the article.
Sign up for a Basic Plan at BlueHost for just $3.95 per month. This service is the most exemplary web host for novices, and it’s the quickest method to start a fantastic blog.
Yes, this pricing is for a three-year plan, but it is the best bargain available. There’s no question about it. Bluehost isn’t the best long-term, but it’s the best to get started (as my sites gain traffic, I move them to WPX hosting).
First, you’ll need to create a user account. Second, you’ll have to choose domain privacy and protection when it asks what you want to add on (believe me, it’s worth it).
You’ll need to do the following to complete your blog:
- Install WordPress on your blog. It is, without a doubt, the most fantastic website builder available. This is where you’ll really be blogging once you’ve installed it (technically, it’s a CMS, but you don’t have to know all of that.
- Decide on a theme. These designs determine your website’s appearance. Currently, I’m using the Divi Theme and am a huge fan of it.
- Start making content. Allow your thoughts to flow in a regular writing routine. But with a strategy. We’ll get to that.
If you want to generate money, you’ll need to create an audience and find customers.
Of course, there are several methods to earn money. We’ll get into it a little later.
Now, let’s get to the complete process of creating a blog.
Step #1: Decide on a Niche.
Deciding on a niche is, without a doubt, the most crucial stage for your blog.
The topic (or niche) of your blog affects the remainder of the website’s trajectory. This is what you will be making content about and, ideally, profiting from.
Don’t worry about it too much because a willing audience for almost any topic you could be interested in.
However, certain subjects tend to do better than others. You should choose a topic that appeals to a large audience while also appealing to you.
Warning: Don’t go too small on the niche. I have a side project I wanted to start around pickleball (America’s fastest-growing sport). While doing keyword research, I saw that there were lots of other sports topics that I could write about and rank, so I instead when one step broader and created a site about trying out new sports.
Related Reading: How Much does it cost to run a blog – See Here
You’ll need to answer two questions to determine the ideal blog niche:
A. What topic am I interested in?
What is your favorite subject? Is there anything you’re obsessed with? Answering this question is where your blog’s niche begins. After all, you wouldn’t want to write about a subject every day if you’re genuinely interested in it.
I recommend looking at the following topics to address your question:
What skills and expertise have you gained throughout time? Maybe there is something you studied in school that you can now write about. Consider academic topics or abilities such as language learning and auto repair. Keep in mind, it might not be in the field where you currently make your income from.
Passion and Hobbies
Is there anything you’d want to learn more about? Think about what you like to do in your free time. It may be reading literature, writing a fantasy novel, or restoring that old vehicle in your garage. The following is an excellent list of blog ideas to write about. Better asked – when you’re not at your job, what do you like to do?
Do you have a natural knack for something? It could be anything from a sport to a musical instrument.
Your current job might be an excellent topic for writing. For example, if you’re a startup developer, you might start writing about front-end development or the tech sector.
Where to Start: Make a list of 10–20 subjects that interest you. Make a Word document or a piece of paper and write this down. Do it, right now – grab some paper. You can also refer to it afterward while making your final selection.
If you are worried to get cornered into a specific niche corner and want to avoid that, then develop a site around your personal brand (like I have). This will allow you the ultimate flexibility and creativity to pivot as needed.
B. What are people into these days?
This is a more challenging question to answer. You must also discover what other people are interested in. Otherwise, you’re probably going to end up with a site that doesn’t attract many readers.
For example, you could believe that a blog about how beautiful your dog is fascinating – but is it likely to attract many readers?
A blog about how to care for and train dogs, on the other hand, appeals to a far larger group of readers.
You must take a personal passion and turn it into a global one. Consider how you first became interested in the subject. How did you come to know so much about the subject?
Consider how many questions and misunderstandings you had when you first began and what helped you acquire experience.
To help you out a tad, here are a few common categories that consistently do well:
- Food Recipes
- Personal Finance
- Health and Fitness
- Real Estate
- Test Prepping
Where to Start: To find out how frequently people search for a particular category or specialty, use Google’s Keyword Planner tool. It will tell what folks are interested in and what they don’t care about.
Take a look at your previous to-do list. Do any of them fit into one of these groups? It’s OK if you don’t! One of your themes is likely to have a receptive audience.
Alternatively, I’d like you to pick a topic from your list that you’d like to develop into a blog. Once you’ve done that, you’ll narrow it down and make it even more particular.
You could wish to establish a personal financial website, for example.
Niching it down may mean creating a personal financial website for $100,000-a-year millennials or for those in their thirties who wish to retire early. Or whatever else comes to mind.
Step #2: Grab your domain name now.
Now we’ve come to the fun part: naming your blog. This step has both positive and negative aspects.
Negative: The majority of the “best” domain names have already been grabbed. The internet has been around for decades, so it makes sense.
Positive: It doesn’t matter since we’ll discover the perfect option for you.
Here are some useful rules to remember while picking a name for your website:
Always go for a .com, .org, or .net (preferably .com)
These are the domains that people are most likely to recall.
The simpler, the better.
Allowing potential visitors to access your website without having to write a bunch of words is the best-case scenario. No more than 16 characters, in my opinion.
Also, When you mention your blog’s domain, you don’t want to have to spell it out all the time.
Include your name.
Your name is almost always available as a domain name. As it is so, it’s an excellent choice for a personal blog. (sidenote: check domains for your child. If it’s available, snag it. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can later give them).
Do away with numbers and hyphens.
It’s not just cumbersome in the URL, but it’s also tough to spell out when hyphens are added.
Where to Start: When you’ve come up with a domain you like, use BlueHost’s domain tool to see whether it’s available or hop on Namecheap. If it is, that’s fantastic! If this isn’t the case, then you now have two options:
1. You should keep looking until you settle on an open domain. Looking for a good one is something I strongly advise you to do till you discover an accessible domain.
If you’re planning to write a blog, practice your synonym abilities by looking for alternative words and phrases. This is a critical skill to have as a working blogger.
2. Invest in a domain name. While it is possible to buy a domain from someone who already has one, this is a more complex option that may quickly become costly. You can find domains for hundreds or a few thousand dollars. But prices can get much higher fast.
Continue looking until you find a domain that you want and can buy for approximately $10 straight from a domain registrar.
I like to buy my domain names from a separate place as my web hosting. I do this because I don’t want the chance of a web host having any control over my domain should I decide to move my hosting to a different company in the future.
Why Use Your Name as a Domain
If you’re setting up a blog for the first time and aren’t sure what you want to write about, I recommend using your real name.
This is because if you change your domain later, you’ll have to start over. You can remedy many errors later in blogging; having the wrong domain is not one of them.
Let’s assume you pick a brand name. After six months, you decide you’d instead be blogging for doctors about personal finance. You’d have to register a new domain and start over.
Personal domains are far more adaptable – after all, it’s only a name. So it’s not a massive issue if you switch categories after a few months. Remove any old content that is no longer relevant to your new direction, then begin adding fresh stuff.
Personal domains, on the other hand, have two primary drawbacks:
1. It’s not as scalable.
Later on, recruiting additional authors and expanding your blog outside your own brand will be considerably more challenging.
2. It’s not as sellable.
Personal blogs, even if they are profitable, are considerably more challenging to sell. Buyers desire a site that isn’t reliant on a single individual. But, you might be like me, and not have the intention to sell your personal name blog. It can actually become the starting point for other brands you can launch from (one of my goals).
However, these are relatively advanced issues to have. If this is your first blog, the advantages of utilizing your own name as the domain name outweighs the expenses you’re likely to run into down the line.
Where to Start: Decide on a domain name and stick with it.
While choosing a decent, brandable domain name is crucial, the most important thing to accomplish in this phase is making a decision and going on. You don’t want to fall victim to the feared “paralysis by analysis.” Instead, pick one based on the system mentioned above and go with it.
I’ve met plenty who a year later are still trying to decide on their niche. Don’t do this. Take Action.
Step #3: Register on BlueHost.
A web hosting service gives server space on which your blog can be stored. A host is the “home” of your website.
Visitors use this server to visit your website. I can’t stress this enough: A blogging host is one of the most crucial aspects of your site.
There are so many hosting services out there.
You want a popular, trustworthy, easy-to-use, dependable, and reasonably priced host for your first blog. There’s no need for anything extravagant.
This is where BlueHost comes in. The most significant thing is that its monthly rates begin at $3.95. Given how many excellent ratings it has, that’s a great deal.
For the great majority of people who are just getting started with blogging, BlueHost will be the ideal option for hosting their site.
Where to Start: Become a member of BlueHost. BlueHost is ideal if you’re just getting started with web hosting and want something that’s both cheap and trustworthy. While this site is no longer hosted with it, I still have dozens that are.
Step #4: Install WordPress.
A content management system (CMS) is a must for your blog.
There is one all-encompassing solution: WordPress.
Simply put, I wouldn’t go with anything else than WordPress. That’s because it’s one of the most efficient, easy, and customizable content management systems out there.
I have heard of others, but I just wouldn’t do it.
Almost half of all websites on the internet use WordPress. That’s how well-liked it is. End of story: use WordPress for your blog.
Because WordPress is so popular, most site providers provide a one-click installation option. It’s a breeze.
There are several compelling reasons to use WordPress and create on your own platform. You’ll have more control over who your audience is and what you write if you do it this way.
Where to Start: Install WordPress on your web hosting account. Here are the steps to quickly and easily install WordPress on BlueHost:
- Go to your Bluehost account and sign in.
- Go to the side menu and select My Sites.
- Select Create Site from the drop-down menu.
- Fill in the title and tagline for your blog. Then click Next.
- Select the domain on which you wish to install WordPress.
- Select the location where you want it to be installed. Then click Next.
Step #5: Pick the perfect WordPress theme.
With WordPress, changing the appearance and feel of your site is a breeze. The greatest part? No, you don’t even need to know how to code.
This is due to WordPress’s usage of “themes.” These are little code packages that may be switched in and out as needed. Your site will change whenever you change your theme, but your blog content will remain the same.
This makes it incredibly simple to evolve your site over time without having to completely rebuild it.
For the time being, you’ll need to choose your first WordPress theme.
I’m overwhelmed by the sheer amount of themes available. There are quite a few.
This is another place where you can get lost. Don’t do it.
Do a bit of research and pick one, you can always change later.
I use Divi for a dozen or so sites, I have a lifetime license, and I love it.
After you’ve purchased your theme, go to the Theme area of the WordPress sidebar menu, which is located under appearance. Then, to add the theme, follow the instructions.
You’ll need to upload the theme files to WordPress and then activate it from there. Go to Themes > Add New, which is a button at the top, to discover the upload option.
From your Themes area, you’ll be able to manage any themes you’ve uploaded to your WordPress blog.
Step #6: Install essential WordPress plugins
One of the most remarkable things about WordPress is how adaptable it is. You may alter it to do whatever you want because it’s open-source.
Plugins are the most convenient method to make modifications. Plugins are little packages of software that you may install in WordPress to add additional functionality. This is how you can add a slew of new features to your website without having to write any code. However, use caution and avoid going overboard.
Warning: you’re able to install a plugin for anything. Some bloggers may install hundreds, of plugins. Don’t do this as they all have to ‘talk’ to each other.
Not only may plugins generate unanticipated conflicts with one another, but they can become a security risk because it’s doubtful that every plugin owner would keep his plugin updated over time.
When you have so many plugins, it’s impossible to know which one is creating an issue.
Personally, I try to keep my plugins to a maximum of 5–10 great plugins. Only install what is absolutely necessary.
Where to Start: Install plugins that will benefit you. Here are some of my personal favorites:
Yoast SEO is the most widely recommended SEO plugin since it automates many SEO activities and makes on-page SEO duties a lot easier.
It’s a must-have for every site since it filters a ton of comment spam, which is an issue for all bloggers. Akismet is
one of the few plugins for which I am willing to pay for an update.
Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is the most widely used contact form on the internet. Create a contact page on your site, then use this plugin to create a contact form that will send you an email whenever someone fills it out. It’s straightforward. (tip: if I want to avoid yet another plugin, I just create a google contact form and embed it on my site).
Step #7: Use Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free website analytics tool from the search engine giant. It enables you to perform tasks such as:
- Check the number of visitors who have visited your website.
- Find out what your visitors’ demographics are.
- See which blog posts and pages are the most popular.
However, it may soon get quite complex. As a result, we’ll disregard the bulk of Google Analytics for the time being.
It’s as simple as setting up a Google Analytics account and installing it on your site.
While there are many solid reasons to install Google Analytics, there are two major ones that I’d like to highlight:
For starters, Google Analytics keeps track of your data throughout time. You’ll be glad you’ve been gathering data since the beginning when you’re ready to dig in later.
Second, it’s thrilling to watch visitors come to your site for the first time. On my first blog, I recall being out of town and seeing that there were close to dozen people on my website at that very moment. That’s when I knew I could grow a long-term business from my blog.
Seeing those initial visitors will give you a significant boost in your drive. Even if you simply use Google Analytics to observe your total traffic, the effort it takes to set it up is definitely worth it.
It’s also relatively simple to set up. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial to get you started:
1. Sign in to Google Analytics.
This is straightforward. Go to Google Analytics and choose Start Measuring from the drop-down menu.
It will prompt you to log into your Google account if you are not already logged in. Use it if you have one. If you don’t have one, make one and use it to log in.
2. Set up your Google Analytics account.
You’ll be asked to provide a name on this screen. For this, give the name of your website or blog.
For the time being, ignore the boxes with checkmarks. You can always edit them later if you want to. After that, go to the bottom of the page and click Next.
3. Select what you need to measure.
You must select whether you want to measure a website, an app, or a mix of both on this screen.
Because you’re starting a blog, go with “Web.” Then press the Next button.
4. Put in the details.
It will now ask you to provide information about your site, such as its name, URL, industry type, and timezone.
After that, go to the bottom of the page and click Create.
5. Link your site by copying and pasting the tracking code.
Voila! That is all there is to it. Google Analytics is now tracking your website.
Step #8: Build your email list.
Emails have been at the heart of every marketing machine I’ve developed for businesses.
There’s a reason for this: email lists are the most effective marketing tool. Consider your email list as a massive laser ray that you can direct towards whatever offer you choose.
Are you selling consultancy services? Make a pitch to the reader about your list.
Do you want to write a new blog post? You should place your list at the bottom of the blog article.
Have you recently been interviewed on a podcast? Pitch your list to the listeners of the program.
Nothing compares to the power of a high-quality email list among all the marketing channels that have come and gone over the years.
It’s OK if you have no idea what to send your email subscribers. The critical thing is to start accumulating a list of subscribers and laying the groundwork as soon as possible.
Where to Start: Make a mailing list. Start collecting addresses on your blog using a company like ConvertKit (who I currently use) so that the list is available for you as soon as you need it. It takes time to create a substantial mailing list, so start now. Your future self will be thankful.
Even a simple opt-in in the sidebar of your site would be enough to get you started.
If you don’t want to send any emails right now, don’t worry about it.
Just start building your email list now. If you get a few thousand members, email lists may be a gold mine, and once you have 10,000 or more, the money starts rolling in.
Step #9: Set a blogging schedule.
Writing blog articles is a marathon, not a sprint. The most excellent bloggers find a writing pace that they can stick to for a few years. You won’t have instant traction, so you’ll need patience and persistence.
Here are some general guidelines for posting frequency:
- Find a method to post once a week at the very least. This must also be a substantial post, with at least 2,000 words. I recommend that you begin here.
- Serious bloggers will publish at least twice a week.
- Larger websites can easily reach 5-7 articles each week. This necessitates the use of several writers (I hired my first writers in 2021).
- Heavy hitters that push the envelope will put out 50+ postings each week. This isn’t a joke; it’s for major companies who use content marketing as their primary customer acquisition strategy.
Did you know that many bloggers only publish once a month? But, let’s face it, once a month isn’t nearly enough for your followers to expect a new blog article from you.
If you publish once a week, you’re already blogging more frequently than 37% of other blogs, giving you a significant edge.
If you have the resources, and you don’t have the time to write, it’s time to hire writers. But don’t go to this step until you fully understand the entire writing, editing, and posting process.
Where to Start: Make it a habit to post at least once a week.
That still leaves you with the bulk of the week to work on other parts of your site while also providing you a break from constantly producing blog entries.
It might take 8 hours or so to write a truly excellent piece. You have research and outlining. After that, you have to complete the post, proofread, and post the blog article on WordPress.
Also, make every effort to improve quality. Writing content that is more valuable than what others have already registered in your field is the key to developing a site and traffic over time.
Step #10: The Audience.
If you have 1,000 real followers, you’ll be able to sustain yourself completely. You may quit your job and work from home, giving you total control over your life. Before you can reach for the stars, getting a very modest target of 1,000 real fans is crucial.
You’ll steadily grow your audience of a thousand real followers by blogging.
I promise you’ll get there if you stick to a rigid schedule. It usually takes a few years.
Where to Start: the following steps should help you get a loyal viewership of 1000 members.
- Make sure you publish a post at least once a week (don’t miss a week).
- If you can, start publishing posts 2-3 times each week.
- Make every post as high-quality as possible. Look up the topic on Google, check what other people have written about it, and then consider how you might improve it and make it your own.
- Find a unique angle or point of view on your themes that haven’t been addressed before.
- So that others can get to know what you’re all about, you have to find your voice and be honest. This helps you connect with your audience more quickly.
- Get involved in other online groups to push yourself even more. Do anything to boost your visibility — post in Facebook groups, conduct podcast interviews, obtain speaking engagements when you can – In these communities, be as helpful as you can.
- Always ask yourself “Is this the best possible piece of content I make?” for all of your material.
As your blog’s following grows, you’ll want to adjust your traffic growing methods.
Step #11: Profit off your blog by monetizing it.
There are three different ways for bloggers to generate money. There are just three of them. They are as follows:
Affiliate programs are a type of marketing that allows you to earn. You collaborate with a company to advertise their products in exchange for a percentage of any purchases. Here’s a great list for beginners.
Freelancing and Consulting
Freelancing and consulting are two options. Your blog serves as a platform for attracting clients and customers for your own services.
Online courses, webinars, e-books, and other resources are all great ways to share your knowledge and make a profit while you’re at it.
Ads on a site can be profitable. Many of the large brands that you read online make a large amount of their income from advertising. On this website, I use the Ezoic Ad Network to help deliver ads to my readers (in late 2021, I switched to Mediavine).
How do you make money with affiliate programs?
It’s pretty straightforward: you go about attracting as many people as possible. Then you promote goods that are useful to that audience via your content. In this article, many of the links are tracked so that if you choose to use those companies, I am paid a commission for helping send new customers.
When your audience clicks on the recommendation’s link, they are given a unique tracking number. If they buy, you earn a percentage of the sale.
The primary disadvantage is that only a tiny number of individuals will ever click-through, and even fewer will make a purchase. So, to generate enough money from your site, having a large volume of visitors is a must.
How do you make money through freelancing and consulting?
While info products and affiliate marketing are the most common ways to generate substantial money, they require a lot of traffic to be effective. At the very least, if you want them to work hard enough to earn six figures a year.
That is why I feel freelancing and consulting are the most significant ways for new bloggers to make money quickly.
This is by far the finest way to generate money rapidly. It’s also the most straightforward.
Anyone can make a blog of that magnitude and utilize it to generate freelance leads. Building a customer base that pays you $3,000 or more each month is sufficient. That should be enough to convince you to leave your work.
It’s also a lot easier to do than building a full-fledged affiliate or digital marketing engine. You can always create those things later if you want to.
How do you make money with digital products?
This is something I could write a book about. For the time being, we’ll keep things simple. Here’s how it works:
- Encourage visitors to come to your website.
- Give your visitors a reason to join the email list on your website.
- Run them through a launch funnel once they’ve become an email subscriber. These are email funnels created particularly to offer information items. These are usually courses that comprise a number of video lessons.
- You’ll convert a % of these folks into becoming paid customers of your education.
Are there other methods of monetization to consider?
I’ll be honest and say that the vast majority of them are a waste of time. The financial impact is minor, yet it may become a complete distraction. A few are worthwhile undertakings in terms of marketing and branding. The remainder should be ignored entirely. Here’s a list that every blogger tries at some point:
Virtual events are interesting to me and I do think that I will launch one soon. It’s just finding the right timing in order to do so. Here are software options should you decide to launch a Virtual Summit.
When done correctly, occasional public speaking may be a powerful brand booster. While it may sound fantastic to be paid $15,000 per speaking engagement, it isn’t nearly as impressive once you realize that most speakers are never paid.
It’s likely that you’ll be sick of hotel rooms after the first year that you’ll never want to travel again. Don’t rely on speaking engagements to make a living; instead, use them to supplement your income.
It’s ideal for marketing. Your brand will get a lot of trust as a result of this. However, there will be little effect on revenue unless you sell thousands of books.
Related Reading: Lifestyle blogging – Read Here
Blogging is an excellent method to meet individuals who are passionate about the same topics you are.
Blogging allows you to teach these individuals from your own experience while also allowing you to learn from your followers.
Best of all, if done right, blogging may be highly profitable. The world’s most excellent bloggers clearly make a lot of money, but even a part-time blogger may expect to make a decent profit if everything is done right.
The best thing is that blogging is a passive income type since you can spend just a few hours a week creating a piece of content and benefit from it long after you’ve stopped writing it.
If you’re determined enough to stick to the steps I’ve laid out above, I’m sure you’ll have a successful blog in a few years.
If after all this, you still want more direction, help, and accountability, I’d recommend the course from Adam Enfroy (a 7 figure blogger that’s got great education). I wrote a review on his course here.
See you out there!