How to start a Blog

How to start a blog
how to start a blog

How to start a Blog (in-depth guide in 13 simple steps)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

Introduction

How to start a blog and make money.                                

You want to start a blog.

You’ve searched the internet for hundreds of articles on how to start a blog. 

Read dozens of how-to posts.

And yet still feel like you have no clue what starting a blog is all about.

All you’ve gotten out of this is a headache and the overwhelming feeling that you are in way over your head.

With no idea what to do next. And how to start a blog seems more complicated than you thought.

Stuck in the analysis paralysis mode.

I was in it for four years ( I created a free WordPress blog four years ago and I just forgot about it. psst. you want to start a WordPress.org blog if you want to monetize it)                                           

I know.

Horrifying.

I’m a serial procrastinator. But I got out. Obviously.

Or you wouldn’t be reading this ultimate guide on how to start a blog.             

I can help you get it. So believe me, if I could do it so can you?

I am nothing special.

We are going to start by taking action.    

I think the main reason people procrastinate is that we are not clear on the steps we need to take. I’m going to take you step by step through what you need to do to start a blog.

From picking a profitable niche, the perfect blog name, choosing your domain and hosting, creating quality content, starting an email list, all the way to promotion, and ways to make money with your blog.

I know you don’t feel ready.      

Trust me. You will never feel ready.

You will never feel you are ready to get out of your comfort zone.

Noticed how much I used the word feel? That’s how much we let our emotions rule us.                          

We need to break this cycle.                               

Fear is keeping you from moving forward.                   

But your goals and your dreams are much more important than your doubts and fears. If you are willing to work hard, I can help you move from fear and uncertainty to faith and being sure of yourself and your abilities.                                                  

Before we start here are a few blogging statistics from oberlo.com and optinmonster.com                        

1) There are 1.7 billion websites on the internet, 600 million of those are blogs. That is A lot of blogs.                     

2) As of this year 2020, the United States will have an estimate of 31.7 million active bloggers online.                       

3) The average blog post is approximately 1236 words long.              

4) Most bloggers take an average of 3.5 hours to write a blog post.                        

5) 70 million blog posts are written every month by WordPress.                        

6) Every month 409 million people on average view 20+ billion pages.                                                                                  
Essentially,  blogs are very popular and show no signs of dying out.     

Start a blog with Bluehost and get a free .com domain name.

Let’s get started in this step-by-step blogging for beginners’ guide

Believe me, it is not as daunting as it seems.

Step 1

Have a million-dollar mindset                            

There are a whole lot of blogs out there on the web.

But there aren’t that many successful, money-making blogs.

Why?

Because blogging is Hard Work.

We like the idea of making money while we sleep. But don’t like the idea of giving up sleep to start implementing the steps towards passive income. And we definitely don’t like it when it takes us a year to start generating income.

If you want to learn how to start a blog, you have to go into blogging with an open mindset. Be prepared to work your behind off, without getting paid and without comparing yourself to anyone.

The most important thing you have to do first is to work on your mindset.

And so you have to believe that you can do it. That is half the battle won. Because if you believe in yourself nothing can stop you.

A positive (million-dollar) mindset is much more creative than a negative (poor) mindset. Visualize yourself as already being a successful blogger.

What I also did before starting my blog was to fast and pray. I prayed that God would bless my plans and give me the strength, creativity, knowledge, and wisdom to succeed. That he would bring everything that he put in me, out. In order to leave the world a little bit better than it was before.

Now I know that not everybody is religious, spiritual, or Christian. And I’m not trying to impose my beliefs on anyone. But because of my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it was important to me to do this. I also believe that during times of trouble or when you are about to undertake something challenging or difficult, you have to call on someone/ God/The Devine/ The creator of the universe higher than yourself. However, as I said, it’s not for everyone and that is ok.

Have Faith in yourself and your abilities. You can do whatever you set your mind to.

 Find your why.                         

Why do you deserve your dream?     

What will be different when you get it? Really think about these questions and answer them honestly, it will carry you through the difficult times that will come.

Commit 100% to your blog.              

At times you won’t feel like creating content or learning new ways to grow your blog. But push past that feeling, acknowledge it then do the work anyway. Your goals are more important than your feelings.                

Step 2                        

Do your research                              

Let’s face it. Blogging involves a lot of research. 

You want to produce the best content that you possibly can for your audience.                                              

So you have to learn everything there is to know about blogging.                    

Like what exactly is a blog?

What skills do you need to start a blog?

And how much will it cost you to start a blog? 

What will you blog about and how profitable is the niche you choose?

What will you name your blog?

Who are you blogging for and what are their needs?

How to promote your blog?

How to make money?

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Google, Pinterest, and youtube are your best friends, my friend. Everything you do has to involve research. It is crucial for the growth of your blog.                       

Step 3                                            

Find your audience/ niche                               

Who is your audience? What is their biggest problem? How do you plan on helping them? Can you relate to them?   

Find their problem and provide a solution. It will always have a monetization strategy. It will also narrow down your niche. Helping a very specific type of people.

I help stay-at-home moms who are ambitious. Want to start an online business, and make money blogging, to help provide for their families. I teach them how to be independent, chase their goals and dreams, while still raising their babies.

Very specific. Still an evergreen niche though.

With lots of ways to make money, which is the end goal.

Just keeping it real. 

When using this method of choosing a niche, you won’t get stuck on how to pick what to write about.

Most people struggle with it because they make it more complicated than it has to be. It doesn’t. Find a problem and solve it. Give your audience what they want. But make sure that you at least like to write about the topic. You are going to create content about it for years.        

Here are some top niches that make money faster

Personal Finance

Make Money Online

Health and Fitness

Food

Travel

Lifestyle

Parenting

Beauty and Fashion

DIY Crafts

Related Blog Posts:

How to start a Money – Making Blog in 2021

9 Monetization methods to make money Blogging

11 Mistakes to avoid when starting a Blog

How to create your first Opt-in Freebie

How to choose the ‘Perfect’ Niche

Step 4                                        

Choose an Epic blog name                            

Don’t overthink this step either. People spend way too much time on their blog names. Instead of what’s really important. It’s not about the name (not really). It’s about great content.

But do brainstorm names that are easy to spell and remember, that tell people immediately what your blog is about or something unique and eye-catching.  

Don’t use a long name that is difficult to spell or pronounce. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find and remember your blog.                                 

If you can’t come up with anything, you can always use your name. Also make sure you use the top-level extension, meaning .com. It’s the most popular extension and what people usually type in after what they search for.

Your blog name is important but not the be-all and end-all. So choose something simple but good and move on to the next step.                                       

Start a blog
start a blog

Step 5                                   

Create your pillar posts                       

Great content is king.

You can have a beautiful site but if your content sucks no one will read your blog.

Write 10 to 15 sensational blog posts Posts that people want to read and share.

Your pillar posts should be in-depth, helpful, and have long content. 

It should be a round-up of what your blog is all about.                    

And should all tie nicely together.            

Therefore it should be super informative and solve your readers’ most pressing problem. A blog usually consists of one main topic and 3-5 categories. Figure out your categories and write 5-10 posts of each category. And make it a mixture of how-to posts, top 10 posts, list posts, and your pillar posts.

They tend to do their best on search engines.                                      

You should also interlink all your pillar posts to other blog posts. Pillar posts are your longest posts, usually around 4000 words long. Any number above 1000 words is fine as long as it is helpful information and not just a bunch of fluff. So 1500+ words will also give you lots of love from Google SEO.         

How do you write a blog post if you’ve never done it before?               

Decide what to write about

Always make sure you have a bunch of blog post headline ideas. That way you don’t have to start from scratch. Work on your title, it should catch your reader’s attention immediately. And remember to include keywords to make sure people would want to click on them but please don’t be clickbaity. 

Deliver on what you promised your reader. You are trying to build trust here.

Research your topic

I used to be in research mode for days, don’t do that. Research for an hour or so then start writing, using 

keyword research.

  • Ubersuggest is very helpful for long-tail keywords and content ideas.
  • BuzzSumo helps you understand which topics receive the most social shares. You get five free searches per day on a website.
  • Answer The Public generates questions people have about a keyword

Who are you writing for? Who is your audience?

The clearer you are on who you are writing for, the more specific and helpful your content will be.

Solve the problem that you promised in the headline. And give them a reason to stick around and read to the end. 

Outline, write and edit your post

Write down your main points then fill in what you want to say. Provide value.

And optimize your post for SEO then give a clear call-to-action.

Break up your post into two to three sentences and add quality images. 

Edit, publish and promote.                          

Be prepared to spend a lot of time on your longer in-depth posts. They are very time-consuming.                  

Step 6                                              

Purchase your domain and hosting.        

What are domain and hosting? And where do I buy them?

If you want to start a money-making blog, you need a self-hosted website. In order to have a website, you need a domain and web hosting. You can buy them together or separately, as they are separate services.                    

(Yes, unfortunately, you have to make a teeny tiny investment. Believe me, I looked for ways to start a blog for free but none of those methods provided ways to make money. So I went for the next best cheapest way.)       

If you buy your domain and host separately, you need to point your domain name to your hosting company by editing the DNS settings. So I think that it’s better when you buy them together to avoid that extra step.

If you are on a tight budget like I was, I would recommend you go with NameCheap. Like the name says it is cheap but also reliable. It’s great when you are just starting a blog. I also chose them because you can pay on a month-to-month basis for hosting.

It was a huge help at the time with my lack of funds. Also, 100 + dollars is a lot of money in my currency. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you are in the same position I was in, I would definitely recommend you take this route.

Moving on.                               

What is a domain name?               

A domain name is a .com name. The name that you name your blog after. The address of your website that people type in the URL browser. 

There are different types of domain extensions. The .com is the most popular.

Namecheap is the best place to buy a domain.

  • Their WhoisGuard is always free and they offer free SSL protection at $7.88/year.
  • The renewal prices are less expensive than their competitors.                      
  • I chose them for my hosting and domain name.                             
  • They have 99.9% uptime                  
  • Great customer support.              
  •  So they are overall just a very reliable web hosting company and domain registrar.

If you choose to go with another hosting company like Bluehost, they offer a free domain for the first year. But it is much more expensive for the renewal. I would suggest you start with NameCheap from the beginning to avoid any future hassle.                                                  

What is Hosting?                                

Hosting is the place where your blog lives. The home of your website. And in that home, you add your furniture which is your blog content.              

If you want something very good and have the dough for it I would recommend siteground. They are among the best where hosting is concerned.

They offer 24/7 support. 

Fast site speed is good for Google SEO. 

They also have ultimate security and protection for your site.       

Now they are a bit on the pricey side if you don’t have much capital, but definitely worth your money spend.             

You can always go for Bluehost, which is what a lot of bloggers recommend. It is very popular and easy to use.

Here is the affiliate link if you choose Bluehost.

Step 7                                                              

Choose a CMS (content management system)                                  

A content management system is just a fancy word for a blogging platform. Which is a software service used to publish content online. The best and most popular is WordPress.org. It is the go-to platform for bloggers. Most bloggers start a blog using WordPress.

It powers  36% of all the websites on the internet. It’s great when customizing your blog, and when you want to add features through different plugins. It is a bit complicated to understand and navigate in the beginning, but the many functions and monetization benefits outweigh the steep learning curve.

It took me many sleepless nights to figure WordPress out. Bloggers don’t warn you about that. Be prepared and use Google and youtube to guide you through the process. There are tons of good videos that walk you through the steps.                                                                                  

Other blogging platforms are

  • Squarespace
  • Weebly
  • Wix
  • Blogger
  • GoDaddy
  • Tumblr

Step 8                              

Choose a theme and customize it         

Here is where we start talking about branding.                                         

What is branding?                        

Branding is just the overall look of your site, the colors, the fonts, your logo, and the overall aesthetic of your site. Your site has to be a reflection of your personality. What colors do you like? Choose three to four colors and use them throughout your blog. On your logo, in stock pictures, and in your pin images.

The same goes for when it comes to choosing a theme.WordPress has plenty of free themes to choose from. Pick something that more or less reflects who you are and what your brand stands for. It has to be functional, easy to navigate, and mobile-friendly. 

When starting out, it’s perfectly ok to use a free theme. A good free theme that I can recommend is Astra. It is simple and easy to navigate. As far as free themes are concerned it is very nice looking. From there you can download the Gutenberg templates it comes with built-in pages. Very convenient.

I chose a free theme because, again, I didn’t have the dough. And I wanted to keep my costs as low as possible at the time.

When you decide to purchase a high-quality theme that you love. I would definitely recommend a theme called Divi. It has a lot more features and you can customize it to suit your personality. 

But this is totally optional. Don’t worry too much about your theme. People don’t care. What they care about is your content and how you can help them.               

Step 9                                                 

Start an email list                            

The money is in the list. We have all heard it before.                   

It is true, the money is in the list. The list is your subscribers, whose trust is in you. They trust you to deliver on what you promised them. You solve their problem and they pay you. It’s a win-win.

Social media promotion is good, especially Pinterest, but your accounts could be shut down tomorrow. 

Your email list is yours, you own it.   

Email Marketing is still alive and well, it is your chance to connect with your audience on a deeper level. You get to know one another in an intimate sort of way by building a relationship with them. You learn more about them. What their struggles are and how you can help them. And they learn to know, like, and trust you.                                                                                                                                                                                        

Oftentimes your list will be repeated customers who buy from you again and again. They become your fans, telling everyone and their mom about you and your amazing products.                    

How do you start an email list?           

Good question.

You create an opt-in freebie that will help your audience with their problem. Your freebie is a solution to their most pressing problem. Create multiple opt-ins for all your categories. Make sure they are irresistible freebies.

Start small. With a printable or checklist. It doesn’t have to be a 30-page ebook. Although that would be awesome and would mean you are a total badass boss mom.

After you create your opt-in, write a welcome email, thanking them for signing up and asking why they are here. Follow it up with a couple more emails, adding more value through free content. 

This is called an email funnel.

It’s never too soon to start an email list. I recommend you start from day one. Even when you have nothing to sell. Building relationships take time. When you do have a product to sell, you have already built trust with your audience and they are much more likely to buy.                                                   

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start a blog
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Step 10                                           

Install the most essential plugins.           

After starting your blog you are going to need to install some essential plugins. A plugin is software that you can add to any WordPress website. It makes it much easier to run your blog. As plugins tend to slow a website down, it is necessary for you to only install the most essential plugins that you will need. There are over 50k WordPress plugins available. So it can get pretty overwhelming to decide which ones to pick.

Here are a few of my free favorites:                                        

1) Wordfence security or social welfare. 

They both protect against attacks.             

2) WP super coach.  

It is a Cache plugin that if someone visits it saves a copy of your latest website                                     

3) Updraft plus

 Is used to backup your website                                                 

4) Shortpixel image optimizer. 

It compresses and reduces the size of images. But know that you should reduce the size of your image before you upload it as well                                                       

5) Yoast SEO                                             

Yeost is an SEO plugin. It helps to optimize your site for search engines      

6) Growth social pro                              

Social media sharing buttons to make sharing your content easy        

7) Google Analytics

Where you find out who, what, when, and how they visit your website

Step 11                                                     

Make your blog legal        

Before launching your blog you need these three important pages to ensure you are blogging legally, as you do not want any legal problems down the line to stop you in your blogging tracks.                                              

A privacy policy:

A privacy policy is a page that discloses all the ways you gather, disclose use, and manage the reader’s data. It serves as a legal requirement in order to protect the reader’s privacy.  

Terms and conditions page:

Terms and conditions or “terms of service” inform the reader what they can expect from your website and what they should know and agree with before using anything on your blog. It’s also a way to protect you and your work.

Disclaimer and  Disclosure page:

A disclaimer and disclosure page states what you are not legally responsible for. This is especially important if you blog about health, finance, or sell something. There is always a chance where people can misinterpret information and use it. It protects you from them taking action against you.                                                                                       

From potential lawsuits. You have to tweak it to your specific niche and make sure that it’s easy to understand and written in plain and simple English.

Other necessary pages include

About Me page

What is an about me page?

Well it’s not about you. 

Sorry

It’s about your blog and what it’s going to do for your readers. How are you going to help them? Tell them how you are going to change their lives. Give them a reason to stick around and become raving fans.

Contact page

A contact page is a page where your readers contact you. You can use contact form 7.

Resource page

All your resources, free and paid on one page. A resource page is a page that contains all your recommendations that will help your audience get what they want. It’s great for displaying affiliate links.

Step 12                                             

Share your blog with the world          

Phew! We are finally getting to the fun stuff. 

Before pressing publish you should proofread your pre-written blog posts. Check your grammar. You can use Grammarly for this. Check and recheck your post.                  

Make sure your content is SEO optimized. Written in small paragraphs, and have applicable high quality images on.

You can find free stock photos on                                             

Unsplash                                           

Pedals                                

Pixaby                                        

Depositphotos                              

Picjumbo                                                       

Flickr                                           

Pxhere

You can also buy paid stock photos if you can afford them to add more uniqueness to your blog. 

The best place to promote your blog is Pinterest.

It brings in around 80 to 90% of bloggers’ traffic. I love Pinterest! I can get lost in it for hours. Looking at all the beautiful pins and getting inspired.

See how distracted I get when I start talking about Pinterest.

Anyway. Back to promotion. 

There are other bloggers that prefer Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It’s good to promote with all social media platforms. You need to diversify your traffic source.

But focus on mastering one social media platform at a time to avoid spreading yourself too thin. Or become too overwhelmed that you end up not growing at all.

See what works best for you and your blog and do more of it. 

You should also start writing with SEO in mind from the beginning in order for google to start ranking you as soon as possible. Which usually takes three to six months.  Google brings in the best traffic because it is consistent and passive once you’ve done all the keyword research upfront.

After proofreading, create at least 2-5 eye-catching, clickable Pinterest pins per blog post. You should already have decided on a color scheme, fonts, and stock photos for your graphics. Having these ready will make creating images for your blog very easy.

Pinterest loves new content. Keep creating new pins for your posts.

Add the necessary affiliate links. Interlink to your other relevant posts. Add external links (linking to others’ websites) then publish your post.

Promote your blog as if your life depends on it.

Your tribe will not come to you.  As much as I wish that were the case. You have to go find them. Find out where they hang out (Pinterest and Facebook Groups) and become their bestie by showing them how you can help them.

Always remember to be consistent in your blogging schedule. Whether you are posting once a month or three times a week. Make sure you do it consistently with quality content.      

Other places where you can promote your blog post                                            

1) Reddit                                                    

2) Quora                                                     

3) BlogLoving                                                      

4) Mix.com.                                                

5) Medium                                                   

6) Blog post-vote up                                  

7) blogarama                                            

8) Youtube                                    

Step 13                                               

Make that money honey                       

Now the reason why we all start blogs.

To make money.

It’s ok to admit you want to make money. You work hard to provide value to your audience and you should be compensated for it. As long as you don’t do it just for the money. 

There are many ways to monetize your blog. Figure out how you are going to make money. 

Different methods work for different people. Think big.

Find out what works for you.

I suggest starting with one or two methods, really taking the time to learn how you can make money with it. Once you’ve mastered them, move on to the others. The easiest to start with are ads and affiliate marketing. 

Some bloggers are against ads and I understand why. But then you find those who swear by them and make a lot of money with it. That’s why I love blogging. So do you boo.

There are unlimited ways you can make money with your blog.

After a while start adding sponsorships, creating your own products, freelancing, services, and/or coaching. Creating your own products will give you more control over how much you earn along with more passive income.                                                                                 

Different monetization methods

1) Affiliate marketing is where you recommend other people’s products and services in exchange for a commission. Amazon associate is a great place to start with.                                                  

 2) Ads having Google Adsense ads where if people click on it you get paid a small amount per thousand clicks                

3) Sponsorships are where brands pay you to write about their products in order to get in front of your audience.                                                  

4) Create your own products and get a hundred percent of your earnings. Because it’s your own product you are in complete control of everything. However, it takes a lot of time to create. But it is passive income at its best once it’s done.       

5) Freelancing is very cool because you can start making money now by advertising your writing services on your blog and getting clients.

6) Services are almost the same as freelancing, you offer a service like becoming a virtual assistant or managing other bloggers’ social media accounts. 

7) Coaching is basically teaching an individual or a group of people about something that you have a lot of knowledge about and is of high value to them.

Conclusion                                           

Starting a blog is a lot of hard work. With lots of ups and downs. We really don’t know how much work it takes when we start the journey.

It took me weeks to write my first blog post and I still felt like it was crappy.

But it gets easier.                              

The more you do something the less time it takes.                                     

The easier it becomes.


If you do all of these steps consistently and commit to it, you will definitely start seeing success with your blog.

The main takeaways from this post are 

  • Have a million dollar mindset. Believe in yourself and your abilities.Commit 100%. Have a goal and keep your eye on it. Know your why. Visualise yourself as a successful blogger. When adversity comes, push through and don’t give up.
  • Create quality content by helping your audience solve their problems. If you help enough people get what they want, people will want to help you get what you want. Life is give and take.
  • Promote your content 80% of the time.                                
  • Use the other 20% to write great content.                                    
  • In the beginning, it was 50% 50% for me because I was taking so long to write a post.             
  • They were guideposts, long, and in-depth.                                  
  • Use different promotion tactics and see what works for you.           
  • Learn marketing and market the heck out of your content.
  • Have clear monetization strategies. Starting with one or two, and making sure you know the ins and out of how to make money with each strategy. Trying out different strategies, keeping the ones that work, and dumping those that don’t.       
  • Then only moving on to the next.                                      
  • Rinse and repeat. 

Please tell me. What steps did you take to start your blog? Steps I didn’t mention that might help someone else.

                                                                                                                     

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