So you’re wondering how to start your own blog, are you?
Well, running a blog is still a realistic way to make money online (well, until the AI take us all over).
I actually think creating a blog is an important step for anyone looking to create and grow a brand.
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 small site with a couple of posts to an income-generating machine with hundreds of pieces of content.
[I’m even tracking my journey over on Youtube.]
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.
[And if all of this is just too much information and you have the cash to invest in education, then just take this course – here’s my review.]
Quick Steps Needed to Launch your Blog
Do you already have a name and a blog niche in mind, and you’re ready to get started?
If not, here are some top niche ideas in the blogging world.
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.
I used to use Bluehost (which is ok for beginners), but I moved over to WPX.
You can read why I made this hosting move here.
Once my sites started to gain traffic, I move them to WPX hosting, because I became more concerned with site speed.
WPX is amazing because they will help move you over to their service at no charge.
Once your hosting is set up, 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. Previously, I used the Divi Theme. While I’m a fan, speed is now an important factor for you to rank. Now, I use GeneratePress on all of my websites.
- Start making content. Allow your thoughts to flow in a regular writing routine. But with a strategy. We’ll get to that shortly.
[Now, if you’re a visual learner, and want to create your own blog step by step via video, this one by WPBeginner is a great one. Watch it below!]
In addition to that tutorial, you can follow along with our blogging guide below.
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.
But for now, let’s get to the complete process of creating a blog to get you ready for your first blog post.
[Before we get going too much further, you might be wondering the cost to run a blog? Feel free to watch the video below before continuing on.]
Ok, let’s get into some heavy details on the steps for you to start a blog.
Let’s break these steps down…
Step #1: Decide on a Niche
Deciding on a niche is, without a doubt, the most crucial step for your blog.
Here are some top niche ideas.
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 profiting from.
Certain subjects tend to do better than others financially. You should choose a topic that appeals to a large audience while also appealing to you.
But I argue that you should choose the topic of interest over what you think may be the most profitable.
You’re going to be creating blog post after blog post – so you better enjoy the topic!
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.
If I had named my site around the sport of pickleball, it would have been hard for me to cast a wider net of topics in future blog posts.
Ok, so let’s review some things to think about in regard to choosing your 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 over 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.
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 about getting 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 to pivot as needed.
B. What are people into these days?
This is challenging.
You must discover what other people are interested in.
As you need blog post ideas.
Otherwise, you’re probably going to end up with a site that doesn’t attract readers.
For example, you could believe that a blog about your amazing dog is fascinating – but is it likely to attract many readers?
But a blog about how to care for and train dogs appeals to a larger group of readers.
You must take a personal passion and create a clear blog theme from it.
Consider how you first became interested in the subject. How did you come to know so much about the subject?
Consider how many questions you had when you first began and what helped you gain experience.
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.
Take a look at your list.
Do any of them fit into one of these groups?
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 even further.
You could wish to establish a personal financial website, for example.
Niching it down may mean creating something like this…
A personal financial website for $100,000-a-year millennials.
Or a site for those in their thirties who wish to retire early.
Ok, once you feel like you’ve nailed your niche, it’s time to get your official website name.
Step #2: Grab your domain name
Now we’ve come to the fun part: naming your blog.
This will happen early in your blogging journey, but it has pros and cons.
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.
Make them no more than 16 characters.
Also, When you mention your blog’s domain, you don’t want to have to spell it out all the time.
Use your name if you go with a personal brand blog.
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 also tough to spell out when hyphens are added to the URL.
See if your domain name is available
When you’ve come up with a domain you like, you need a website like Namecheap (I also like Porkbun).
Search to see if the domain is available.
If it is, that’s fantastic!
If not, you have two options:
1. You should keep looking until you settle on an available domain.
Looking for a good one is something I strongly advise you to do till you discover an accessible domain.
2. Invest in a domain name. While it is possible to buy a domain from someone who already has one, this is a more costly option.
You can find domains for hundreds or a few thousand dollars.
If that’s too expensive, continue looking until you find a domain that you can buy for like $10 straight from a domain registrar.
Note: 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 Possibly 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 personal name.
This is because if you change your domain later, you’ll have to start over on a new WordPress site.
You can remedy many errors later in blogging, but choosing the wrong domain is not one of them.
Let’s assume you pick a brand name.
After six months, you decide you’d rather be blogging about doctors instead of personal finance.
You’d have to register a new domain and start over.
Personal domains are far more flexible
After all, it’s your name!
So it’s not a problem 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 personal brand will be more challenging.
2. It’s not as sellable.
Personal blogs, even if they are profitable, are tougher 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 (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 brandable domain name is important, just get moving.
You don’t want to fall victim to the feared “paralysis by analysis.”
Instead, pick one based on the system mentioned above and grow over time.
I’ve seen folks that are still trying to decide on their niche after a year.
Don’t do this. Take Action.
Additional Domain Name Notes
If you don’t feel good about what’s available for purchase, you can always get one at auction.
Two good options for this are GoDaddy Auctions and Dan.com
Ok, let’s go get some web hosting!
Step #3: Register for Web Hosting
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 important pieces of your website puzzle.
There are so many hosting services out there.
But, in the end, Bluehost is a great option for beginners.
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 multiple sites that use it as their blog host.
Once you start getting website traffic, you can look at upgrading to a company like WPX (which I currently use).
[This video will show you what I love about WPX as a blog host.]
You may also want to look at a premium host like Kinsta if you have the funds.
In this article, we compared Kinsta to another top host called Siteground.
Just land a great blog host.
You may also want to compare Bluehost to Squarespace. That guide will do just that.
Ok, next up…
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 other 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.
Of course, you might be tempted to use a blog host CMS like Squarespace.
It’s a good company, but I’d recommend a Squarespace alternative (WordPress!)
There are several compelling reasons to use WordPress and create on your own platform.
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.
Ok, now you’re going to need a theme for your website…
Step #5: Pick the perfect WordPress theme
With WordPress, changing the appearance and feel of your site is a breeze.
The greatest part? You don’t even need to know how to code.
This is due to WordPress’s usage of “themes.”
A theme is like an outfit for your website.
Your site look 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 rebuild it completely.
For the time being, you’ll need to choose your first WordPress theme.
I’m overwhelmed by the number of themes available.
According to Hubspot, there are more than 9,000 free themes alone!
This is another place where you can get lost.
Do a bit of research and pick one. You can always change later.
I used Divi for a dozen or so sites, I have a lifetime license, and I loved it.
In 2022, I started getting concerned with website speed, and I switched all of my sites to the GeneratePress theme.
But if you prefer to get lost in a sea of themes, hop on Theme Isle or StudioPress and scroll away.
WP Engine bought StudioPress and now offers all of the StudioPress themes as part of its hosting plan. If you already intend on hosting your site with WP Engine, this is a wonderful bonus.
After you’ve purchased your theme, go to the Theme area of the WordPress sidebar menu in the WordPress dashboard located under appearance.
You’ll need to upload the theme files to WordPress and then activate it from there.
Go to Themes > Add New
And then, upload your theme file that you downloaded after purchasing your theme.
From your Themes area, you’ll be able to manage any themes you’ve uploaded to your WordPress blog.
Once you get that theme uploaded, you’re almost ready to write your first blog post, but you’re going to first need some plugins.
Step #6: Install essential WordPress plugins
One of the great things about WordPress is how flexible it is.
Because WordPress is open-source, thousands of developers have built tools for it.
Plugins are mini-tools — a piece of software that you may install in WordPress to add additional functionality.
This is how you can add features to your website without having to write any code!
However, use caution and avoid going overboard in your blogging journey.
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. The more you have, the more you can have potential problems on your blog.
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.
We’re also testing out Rankmath and are looking to switch our sites over to this SEO plugin.
It’s a must-have for many site owners since it filters a ton of comment spam, which is an issue for all bloggers.
I use this one less now, because I’ve turned off site comments on my blogs.
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).
In addition to plugins, you need to understand who is visiting your website and get some data from search engines and other ways users find you…
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.
Google has required the switch to their new version called GA4.
Many site owners are frustrated with the new analytics version (me inlcuded).
But that’s ok, we’ll adapt.
While there are many solid reasons to install Google Analytics, there are two major ones that I’d like to highlight:
First, Google Analytics keeps track of your data .
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.
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.
Sidenote: as of 2023, you’ll need to use GA4, as Google will be ending its GA3 version of analytics.
Ok, once you’re up and running, you need to capture info from your website visitors…
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.
Your email list is an audience that you own.
You can direct toward 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: Start collecting addresses on your blog.
Use a company like ConvertKit (who I currently use, although we also use Beehiiv and are looking to move over!) to begin collecting emails.
We also wrote this article comparing ConvertKit to ActiveCampaign if you’d like to have a read.
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, no worries.
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.
Ok, now it’s time to get organized with your new blog.
Step #9: Set a blogging schedule
Writing blog articles is a marathon, not a sprint.
In this way, blogs are similar to YouTube.
The best bloggers find a writing pace that they can stick to for a few years.
You won’t have instant traction, so stay patient.
Here are some general guidelines for posting frequency:
- Find a method to post once a week at the very least.
- Serious bloggers will publish at least twice a week.
- Larger websites can easily reach 5-7 articles each week. To do this, you’ll need to hire writers (I hired my first writers in 2021).
- Heavy hitters that push the envelope will put out 50+ postings each week on their blog. This isn’t a joke; it’s for major companies that use content marketing as their primary customer acquisition strategy.
[When I was hiring freelance writers, I made a lot of mistakes, but learned some tips to hiring VAs. In this video I share those tips!]
Here are some more items not to do.
Did you know that many bloggers only publish once a month?
Let’s face it, once a month isn’t even 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 it, and post the blog article on WordPress.
Successful bloggers know how to build an army of readers.
You can too…
Step #10: The Audience
If you have 1,000 real followers, you’ll be able to sustain your business.
You may quit your job and work from home, giving you total control over your life. Before you can reach for the stars, getting 1,000 true 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 schedule.
Even if it takes a few years.
Where to Start: the following steps should help you get a loyal viewership of 1,000 fans.
- 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.
Then you can begin making money from your blog.
Step #11: Profit from your blog by monetizing it
There are a few main ways for bloggers to generate money.
Affiliate programs are a type of marketing that allows you to earn by helping make sales for companies.
You collaborate with a company to advertise their products in exchange for a percentage of purchases people make by shopping through your links.
Here’s a great list of affiliate companies 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 my smaller websites, I use the Ezoic Ad Network to help deliver ads to my readers.
Ezoic has a premium version, and you can decide for yourself if it’s worth it.
In 2021, I switched to Mediavine after qualifying for their ad network.
I made a comparison guide of Ezoic and Mediavine for you.
Whatever you do, I’d suggest finding a Google Adsense alternative.
Other blog monetization methods to consider
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, public speaking may be a powerful brand booster.
Most speakers are never paid.
But with the right audience, a speaking engagement can be great for growing your blog.
Don’t rely on speaking engagements to make a living.
Instead, use them to supplement your income – getting paid fat checks is a bonus.
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.
I think that creating a podcast is important for your business brand.
And, as I can show you, starting a podcast is more affordable than you think.
You’ll also need a podcast host.
We originally used Libsyn and then switched to Buzzsrprout (which I recommend).
You can read about my switch here.
Ok, I know you’re tired. Me too.
Still want to start your own blog?
Blogging is great way to connect with folks 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.
Best of all, if done right, blogging can be highly profitable.
The world’s biggest 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 a few hours a week creating content and benefit from it long after.
Yes, with a blog, you can even make money while you sleep.
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 you still want more direction, help, and accountability, I’d recommend taking one of these blogging courses.
And one of the courses I took was from Adam Enfroy (a 7 figure blogger).
If you’d like to learn more about it, I wrote a review on Adam Enfroy’s course here.
See you out in the blogsphere!
Some Blogging FAQ
Heck yeah, you should! We wrote an entire article telling you why you should start your own blog.
You can, but I would recommend WordPress. If you’re set on trying WordPress, here’s an article where we compare it to blogger.
You promote goods that are useful to your audience via your content.
When your audience clicks on the recommendation’s link, they are given a unique tracking link. If they buy, you earn a percentage of the sale.
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.
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.
There are a lot of blog types — here is a list of blog types that make money.
Creating a lifestyle blog is still possible and I think will become more important as AI continues to grow.