Do you want to learn how to start a blog? If yes, then you’ve come to the right place. In here, you will learn how to start a blog in 7 easy steps that will take you about 20 minutes or fewer. Meaning, in the end, you will have your blog up and running. On top, I will show you how to monetize it on the side or full-time. [bctt tweet=”How to Start a Blog. Easy to Follow Step-By-Step Guide for Beginners.”]
Now, before we dive into the action steps. First, I want to give you a summary of what you are going to learn and some valuable facts about blogging in 2020 and beyond. I hope you have your laptop in front of you. And most importantly, ready to explore this world of blogging.
How to Start a Blog Today, 7 Simple Steps
- Step 1: Choose a niche and blog name
- Step 2: Choose a blogging platform
- Step 3: Set up a hosting account
- Step 4: Pick a theme and design your blog
- Step 5: Write your first post
- Step 6: Promote your content and blog
- Step 7: Make money blogging
Valuable Facts About Starting A Blog Today
Starting a successful blog requires two things, the right mindset and knowing your “why” For instance, do you want to build a blog as a side business to supplement your monthly income? Do you want to promote or sell something? Or do you want to share your life story and experiences with the world? Your why will help you stay focused, develop the right mindset, and reap the benefits of blogging.
Step 1: Choose a Perfect Niche and Blog Name
First things first, before learning how to start a successful blog, you need to pick a specific niche and name (domain name). A niche is a topic targeting a tight group of people in the broader market. For instance, Health and fitness is a broader market. A niche focuses on one specific topic in the market like muscle gain, weight loss, ulcer diet, vegetarian diet, and outdoor workout.
Narrowing down to focus on a smaller group of people will help connect with your audience fast. The easiest way to pick a perfect niche is by exploring things you are passionate about, like travel, fashion, money heist, hike, camping, paintings, politics, gaming, cooking, and photography.
After picking a niche, now choose a name for your blog. Ideally, a domain name should represent the topic you write about, or it could be your name. A blog name is what differentiates you from millions of other blogs out there. So, you should focus on developing a brand out of your blog.
A blog name or domain name is your unique identity or address online. It’s what readers see in the header section of the blog – it could be something like TrainGermanShepherd.com, or even your name like Samuelkhaemba.com.
Readers who know your domain URL (Uniform Resource Locator) will be able to type the Domain or URL into their browser to access your content online. So, make sure your blog name is clear and easily memorable.
Step 2: Choose a Blogging Platform
You have a name and niche. Now at this stage, you need to decide your blog management tools, and most importantly, how you want it to look. There are two types of blogging platforms, hosted (free) and self-hosted. However, in this tutorial, I will be focusing more on how to start a blog using a self-hosted platform (WordPress.org)
Free Blogging Platform
When planning to start a blog, it is quite tempting to choose a free blogging platform like wordpress.com, blogger.com, medium.com, tumblr.com. The good thing about them is no set up is required, and the downside is that customization is highly restricted, monetization is very hard, not great for SEO, and you have no full ownership.
It is self-hosted because you use your preferred name and hosting space. There are several self-hosted platforms like, wordpress.org, which comes with lots of customization and features that give your blog professionalism and fresh look. It also allows you to run a blog on your domain, full control, and ownership of your content.
WordPress.org is the most popular self-hosted blogging system, also called Content Management System or CMS. As at the time of publishing this guide, wordpress.org CMS market share stands at 60.4%, and it’s trusted by most popular brands online.
Even though you have the option to pick a free hosting platform, I strongly recommend you go with self-hosted because of customizations, full ownership of content, and it’s more suitable if you consider building a recognizable brand online. In the next steps, precisely, I’m going to go into details on how to start a blog on wordpress.org (CMS)
If you take my recommendation, together with the hosting company I recommend to you, you are going to get a very affordable hosting plan and a FREE domain name. The CMS is open-source and free for life as well. Sound good? Just hang in there, I will tell you more about it later in this guide.
Step 3: Create a Hosting Account (Take Your Blog Online)
You have picked a niche, domain name, and WordPress (CMS). Now, it’s time to set up your blog hosting account. The first step taking your blog online is buying a domain name and hosting.
The best-recommended hosting company is Bluehost. Since 2003, Bluehost has grown to be the best web hosting service provider. Follow the step below to set your hosting account.
- 3.1, first, confirm if your preferred name is available for registration. Type below and Check Availability.
- 3.2, if available, proceed to the Bluehost (best hosting company recommended by WordPress.org). With Bluehost, you get free domain registration and affordable hosting at around $110 for 36 months (3 years).
- 3.3, Fill your billing information and proceed down the page
- 3.4, at the extras package section, check the first option and leave the rest. This option is significant because it will help protect your data on the internet.
- 3.5, scroll down the page and check the last box to accept Bluehost terms of service
- 3.6, confirm if your information is all correct. Although this is not so important since you can change any time you like. Lastly, press the submit button.
You did it? Congratulations! You just completed the vital step in taking your blog online.
In case you have not registered your blogging account with Bluehost because of some reasons and want to check out some other options, I am still here for you, I want to give you two (2) alternatives.
The 2 Best Bluehost Alternatives For Blog Hosting Worth Considering
- DreamHost is one of the other few companies recommended by wordpress.org (CMS). Likewise, with Dreamhost, you also get a free domain and all other similar benefits like 0ne-click WordPress install, 24/7 support, free SSL, bandwidth unmetered. The best part, depending on your budget and needs, you can pay your hosting each month as opposed to other companies that allow one annual payment. Check Out DreamHost.
- HostPinnacle is another excellent hosting company out there. In the same vein, here you get amazing features and services like one-click WordPress installation, 24/7 support, unlimited websites on all hosting plans, free domain for life, unlimited email accounts, and affordable plans. Check out HostPinnacle.
Learning how to start a blog can be a massive undertaking and overwhelming. So, if you feel like something is not clear, or you need a little more assistance on how to start a blog. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime. Use the contact page here, and I will be happy to help you out. Meanwhile, all you need is to have your domain name registered right now.
Step 4: Pick a Theme and Design Your Blog
Five Important Things to Consider When Choosing a WordPress Theme
Different WordPress themes cater to different needs and markets across the internet. Therefore, you should pick one that complements blog your blog content. And consider the following:
- Responsiveness. It’s the ability to adjust across different devices. Some themes may look great on the computer but are not mobile-friendly. Responsiveness is no longer an option in the eyes of google because a majority of the people search happen on mobile.
- Simplicity. You may come across catchy themes with flashy animations, buttons, colors, and complex layouts. The problem is some of them may slow down your website. No one loves slow websites, not even Google. Look for a simple WordPress theme that improves ranking, and readability.
- Supported plugins. WordPress plugins help you do anything with your website without writing coding. Keeping this in mind, any theme you pick must support ta a good number of plugins without causing problems.
- Support when you need help. Sometimes you may experience issues with your site because of the things like theme updates. The problem is many free themes come with no guarantee of support. Keeping that in mind, choose a theme with proper documentation on the help tab.
- Ratings and reviews. Look at the ratings and reviews by other users. Open the reviews tab to see the star ratings and what people say about it.
Choose a Theme and Customization Your Blog
At this level, I believe you have completed the initial steps, you have confirmed your email, and created the password as well. Right? Cool, let’s now logging into a hosting account, pick a theme, customize it, install essential plugins, write the first post, and publish
4.1, log in to your hosting account. Once in your account, you will be asked to choose one of the themes provided by Bluehost. Even though you can pick it from here, I want you to scroll and skip it for now.
4.2, you will be redirected to the start building page. Proceed through to the page below. Fill in your site title/name, description, and proceed.
4.3, now it’s time to pick a WordPress theme. In your dashboard, navigate to the Appearance tab and click Themes.
4.4, you will find some default themes provided by WordPress. Click the plus sign to open more theme options, as shown below.
At this stage, explore the themes as many times as you like. But again, I highly recommend Astra, the theme powering this website.
4.5, once your theme installs, activate, and customize the way you want your blog to appear.
Congratulations! You just completed two essential steps learning how to start a blog!
The 5 Essentials WordPress Plugins Worth Installing Right Away
A WordPress plugin is a small piece of software designed to give your extra features and functionalities without editing the HTML code of your theme directly. Plugins let you add more features and elements like forms to collect subscriber emails, improve loading speed, boost ranking, and analyze the behavior of your readers.
To add a plugin, go to plugins then click Add new. The problem is there are thousands of plugin and tools. I recommend installing the following plugins right away.
- Yoast SEO. Help you to optimize your entire content and posts for readability and ranking on the search engines.
- Elementor. Help you build custom pages, sections, headers, and footers. It comes with other useful features and customizations for your blog.
- WPForms. Help you create forms like the contact forms. Your subscribers and other bloggers in your niche will be able to reach out to you more easily.
- Insert Headers and Footers. You’ll need this plugin to add small code snippets like google analytics tracking code on your blog without editing the theme. Google Analytics will help you understand where readers are coming from, how much time they are spending on your site, and which pages they visit. Create your free google analytics account here.
- ShareThis. Help you add social share buttons to your pages and posts for readers to share the content they like.
Create Your Main Pages (About and Contact)
Before writing and publishing the first post, you want to make sure your essential pages are in place. They will help blog visitors know what you are all about and get in touch with you.
The About Page
The About page tells visitors what your site is all about, who you are, and why they should care about your content.
To craft the About page, think about how to attract the attention of your visitors. Write the description with your readers’ needs in mind.
Talk about the value your readers will get from your content and position yourself as a leader in your niche.
The Contact Page
The contact page allows blog visitors to get in touch with you. It’s essential for building connections with other bloggers, readers, and potential clients.
Use the WPForms plugin to add a contact form, including your email address, and social channel as well.
Step 5: Write Your First Post
People don’t read the blog posts because they have admirable colors or because of frequent publishing (Although it’s significant). They read because they care about the published topic.
As I mentioned earlier, do you know your “why?” Do you know your audience and their needs? And lastly, do you care about the topic you are writing?
Use keyword research to write relevant posts that rank on search engines. Keyword research will help determine the exact phrases people are using to search for content, search volume, and location.
Writing Relevant Posts Using keyword Research
There are thousands of keyword research tools(free and premium). The choice depends on your needs. While free tools are great for a start, premium tools give you more insights and more useful and detailed information.
Use free keyword tools like Wordtracker.
Search any topic in your niche, and the tool will bring you a bunch of keyword suggestions, search volume, and other useful information like keyword competition. For instance, here, I used “dog training” as my root keyword and got the results below.
Select one keyword from your results and investigate it further.
At the top left, you can adjust the search engine (google, youtube, amazon), On the right is the territory (location)
Other Keyword Tools Worth Considering
Learn how to do efficient keyword research here
At this level, you have what it takes to take your blogging to the next level. Right?
Once you have decided what to write, you will navigate to your WordPress dashboard > Posts > Add New.
Enter your title, write your post, and hit publish. That is the same area to access and update or edit your posts.
We have completed the fundamental and technical parts of setting up a blog. Next, we dive into promoting a blog and monetizing your content.
Step 6: Promote Your Content and Blog
After learning how to start a blog, it’s time to learn how to sell it to potential readers. Because without promoting, no one will find it. Meaning, all your effort was in vain.
The internet is full of noise. Therefore, cutting through it, you will need to spend some time promoting your blog content. Therefore, at this point, I want to look at six promotion and marketing activities you could do to send traffic to your blog.
1. Be active on social media.
Find out where your readers hang out online. There are lots of social networks, but not all are suitable for all niches. Find social media channels in your niche and post content that encourages engagements.
2. Let your friends know about your blog.
Ask them to read and share your posts on their social media profiles. Inform them to check out your articles every time you publish.
3. Be active in your niche forums.
For instance, join relevant Facebook groups and take part in meaningful conversations and provide value. Comment on blogs in your niche, connect with other bloggers in your niche to build relationships. As you look to market your site, remember not to spam those forums with your links. You might be banned.
4. Guest blogging in your niche.
Take your relationship building to another level. Write and publishing to other websites in your niche. Guest blogging is the easiest way to connect with the already existing audience in your niche. Repost your content on established blogging sites like Medium, and bookmarking sites like Scoop.it.
5. Build an email list of subscribers.
Once you start having some traffic on your site, start collecting their emails. The easiest way is giving away something valuable like an ebook in exchange for emails. With an email list, you will be able to promote new content to your existing audience through a monthly or weekly newsletter. Use list building programs like GetResponse to grow your subscriber list.
6. Paid traffic (Paid advertising)
Get tons of traffic to your blog using paid advertising on major search engines like Google AdWords and Facebook. However, here you will need to spend some time researching your audience before going on paid traffic.
If you have made it reading this far, you should now be in incredible shape on your journey to fine-tuning your blog, writing compelling posts, promoting, and now monetizing your content.
Step 7: Make Money Blogging (Monetize Your Blog)
We have successfully covered how to start a blog and how to promote it. Finally, it’s time to learn how to make money blogging. After spending time and other resources to create valuable content and promoting your blog, you now want to generate income from your effort.
There are many ways to monetize your blog but keep in mind, like any other business, money is a result of value (solving problems) Meaning, you should propose to provide value before expecting money.
[bctt tweet=”Starting and monetizing a blog.”]
7 Ways to Monetize Your Blog
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning commissions by promoting other person’s (or company’s) products. Find the affiliate products and programs in your niche and sign up.
Once you sign up, you will get a tracking link (affiliate link) that you will embed in your posts, emails, and anywhere within your content. When your readers click through and complete a purchase, you will earn a commission for referring new customers. Learning how to monetize your blog with affiliate marketing is a game-changer.
2. Selling Your Digital Products
Digital products include eBooks, courses, videos, software, and other downloadable materials. For instance, create a course or eBook for readers in your niche and promote it on your blog and email newsletter.
3. Selling Your Physical Products
Physical products are those that require physical shipping. Add a shop on your blog to sell physical products like t-shirts, caps, and other products that appeal to your readers. Use your blog as a source of traffic for your online store hosted away from your blog.
4. Selling Your Service (Freelancing)
Sell your expertise. If you have the skill to sell in your niche, it’s time to consider creating a Hire Me/Work With Me Page on your blog to attract freelancing jobs and deals right away.
5. Selling Ads Space (Joining Ad Networks)
Sign up for Ad networks like Google AdSense, Carbon Ads, and others. Once a member, start displaying ads on your blog. Take ads around your niche to give value both to your readers and the advertiser. Usually, there are two types of ads to sell on your blog,
- Pay Per Click (PPC), also called Cost Per Click (CPC). Usually, it appears as a banner. Each time your reader clicks on them, you get paid for that click.
- Cost Per 1000 impressions (CPM), where you get paid a fixed amount depending on how many people view the ad.
6. Sponsored Content
Depending on your niche, and the number of readers you have each month. You can strike deals with big brands in your niche to have their content in front of your readers.
If you have decent traffic, businesses will reach out to you wanting to publish content on your site, at a fee.
7. Business partnerships
Partner with other bloggers in your niche to create and launch other products. Share the profits generated depending on your partnership agreements.
Provided you are giving enough value to your readers, growing readership, and monetizing your blog has no limits.
The Last Word
Well done! You have completed learning how to start a blog, how to promote, and how to monetize it. Now look for more tips about topics that matter to your niche. Also, look around your WordPress dashboard to get more familiar with its features.
One last thing before you go. If you loved this article, please share it and let me know what you think in the comments below.
Thanks for reading. Cheers!