Starting a blog how to is a beginners guide to starting a blog. Starting a blog how to is a comprehensive and detailed step by step guide on how to set up a blog from A to Z. If you’re considering starting a blog and you read until the end of this post, you will be rewarded with a fully operational blog site in a relatively short period of time.
Is starting a blog a good idea? Why should anyone start a blog? If you are looking for a hobby that you can build into a full-time income, you should consider starting a blog.
In this article, I intend to make it comprehensive and detailed. I will explain to you why you should start a blog, how to set-up blog traffic, and earn money from it.
Get yourself a pen and notepad, and let’s get into it.
Disclosure: This article may contain Affiliate Links. If you purchase anything after clicking an affiliate link, I will receive a commission from qualifying purchases. That’s how I maintain this website. This is at no additional cost to you. In fact, I can guarantee you get the best price when using my links.
Is Starting A Blog A Good Idea?
There is a school of thought where everyone that wants to be their own boss should quit their jobs and start a blog. So they resign and start writing and expect their blog to become their full source of income in a month or two.
Blogging is not a money printing career,
Starting a blog is relatively easy, but making money from it, well, not so easy. But if you are consistent and patient, it can change your life.
There are so many names in the blogging industry earning a lot of money blogging.
Let us take Michelle Gardner of MakingSenseOfCents.com, her blog has been operating for over 9 years, and she talks about frugal living and saving.
She started her blog in 2011, and after blogging consistently for 6 months, she made her first $100. She quit her job as a financial analyst in 2013 to focus on her blog full time.
In 2013 her total income totaled $116,519. In 2017 her total income totaled $1,536,732.
“Blogging completely changed my life for the better, and I urge anyone interested to learn how to start a blog as well. Blogging has allowed me to take control of my finances and earn more money. It means I can work from home, travel whenever I want, have a flexible schedule, and more!”- Michelle Schroeder-Gardner”.
Are you excited yet? Let’s take a look at another blogger killing it in a different niche, Lindsay Ostrom. She is the owner of PinchofYum.com, where she shares recipes and pictures of the meals she makes.
PinchofYum has been running for 7 years and has made millions of dollars through affiliate marketing, advertising, and selling her products and services.
There are a lot of success stories, all in different niches and all making a difference in their own little corner of the internet.
Benefits of Starting a Blog
- Having a blog or a website on the net is very important. It is a place that people can come and find out more about you and what you are all about.
- A blog is virtual real estate and an asset that should increase in value over time.
- Building a blog does take some work initially but it does give you authority and will provide your readers with value, which in turn builds trust.
- To inspire people: Knowing you are making a difference in the life of your readers gives your life more purpose. Influencing people to make better decisions with their life can be a humbling experience.
- To live an independent lifestyle: If you are tired of getting sucked up in the rat race of, you should start a blog. It gives you something to be excited about. You can think up ways to add value to your readers. You need not do something that bores the heck out of you, with blogging you can be your own boss.
- Blogging helps you become a better writer: The more you write, the better you become at sharing your thoughts with the world. Who knows, one of your articles might find its way to the homepage of a popular news publication.
- Because you want to share your knowledge: Most people that start and own blogs have something they are very good at. It could be about being a parent, make-up, cooking, destinations to travel to.
- If you are looking for a way to share your knowledge with the world, start a blog.
- Build a network: If you are looking to build your network and meet many people, starting a blog is a guaranteed way to do so. Someday, some influential people or an organization might stumble on your blog and request an interview or ask you to write an article for them.
- The possibilities for building a network are endless. Robert Kiyosaki once said: “The richest people in the world build networks. Everyone else looks for work.”
- To make a lot of money: I do not remember where I saw this, but the author said, if you provide enough value for people, the money will follow, and this rings true forever. When people trust that you provide value that can change their life, they will not hesitate to pay you for 1 on 1 consulting sessions or subscribe to a course you release.
Focus on giving value, and the money will follow.
I have explained why you should start your own WordPress blog; starting a blog can be a life-changing experience for you and your readers.
You are probably thinking: What are you going to blog about? You know what you are passionate about; you can start a blog around your passion or something you want to learn about.
But listen, some ideas are not profitable. Let me tell you how you can know a profitable blogging idea.
Starting a Blog Ideas
Simple answer: anything. But to grow a portable blogging business, your niche should be:
- Not too competitive.
- What you are passionate about or something you want to learn about.
A profitable niche is one people are actively searching for a solution to. Your niche should be able to address a pain point for your readers.
I will give an example of an idea that is not too good but looks like a fantastic idea.
We all love a good movie. But if you start a niche that talks about movies, the chances your blog might not be profitable is high. Truth be told, people are looking for good movie recommendations, and your review might rank high in a movie’s search result.
But, I cannot think of any way you can monetize this kind of niche, except through Google Adsense, but that’s it.
A great niche for a blog will be a travel niche. People want to travel (even though most of us only dream about it).
If you travel a lot, starting a blog as a travel expert can be of immense value to people looking to travel.
You can make money from affiliate marketing, sponsored posts from hotels and organizations, and even airlines. How cool is that?
Not Too Competitive: You do not want to be in a niche that is too competitive or has no competition.
Why? You ask. Sometimes, large companies that dominate some niches have the budget to pay for keywords on Google.
A good example will be a news blog; if you are interested in writing about the latest happenings around the world. You will compete against the big sharks like news channels and publications. Find the right fit, a small corner of the internet where you can thrive.
Last, pick a niche you are passionate about; nothing drives a man more than passion. Find out what you are passionate about and start a blog around it.
A niche you can spend hours researching and writing about, and when you check the metrics of how well your blog is doing, but only one reader reads your blog, it does not dampen your mood because passion drives you, not the number of people visiting your blog.
What tools can you use to check the viability of your niche:
For example, let us say I want to start a blog on baking.
A quick search in Google trends shows people are interested in baking, and the search results have been pretty consistent for the past 90 days.
Searching the same term on Ubersuggest.
Shows the search term for baking is 90,500 per month.
A thorough research on your niche would help you understand if it is a profitable niche to start in.
Should I Use A Self-Hosted Blog or a Free-hosted Blog?
What is a self-hosted blog?
A self-hosted blog is hosted on your own space or server, a space or server that is provided to you by a website hosting company like Bluehost.
A self-hosted blog owner has full control over her blog. She has complete access to the backend.
It is like having your own digital space on the internet. You can customize, optimize to your taste. What you can do on your self-hosted blog is limitless.
A free-hosted blog is when your website is hosted for free but with many restrictions and terms of service (TOS). The access you have on this kind of blog is limited.
The resources you can use for your free-hosted blog is limited, and it is heavily dependent on what the company provides to you.
A free-hosted blog adds an extension to your name; you get a domain name like blogformoney.blogspot.com or blogformoney.wordpress.com.
But for a self-hosted blog, your domain name is unique to you. Your website’s name (known as a domain name) can be whatever you choose with a “.com” or “.net” at the end e.g. blogformoney.com.
For emphasis, a self-hosted blog is like buying your own land (hosting server), building a house (website) on it, and decorating however you want.
For a free-hosted blog, you live in a rented apartment, and you can only do very minimal interior decor, and of course, the landlord can change the terms and conditions of your agreement anytime.
I have heard some cases that an entire hosted blog was closed down with no explanation to the blog owner.
When you spend hours writing, and you hit publish, they own your content, not you but the free hosted platform.
It goes without saying when you are starting your website or blog you should self-host it on Bluehost, why? It is the best blog hosting platform for any newbie that wants to start a blog.
I am going to dedicate an entire sub-topic explaining why I love and use Bluehost, and why you are going to love using them. Hang on.
Starting a Blog with Bluehost
Bluehost was established in 2003 and has been home to over 2 million blogs and websites. Bluehost is also an official WordPress recommended hosting provider.
When I started a blog, I got a lot of recommendations on what hosting service platform I could build my blog on, and I spent more time trying to figure out how stuff works as a new blogger.
It had to be easier than this.
I went on forums to find what everyone one is using, and Bluehost stood out as their preferred hosting platform.
According to Shoutmeloud,
“I have four WordPress blogs hosted on Bluehost, and many of them are seeing the traffic of close to 10,000 hits per day, and yet Bluehost ensures that my sites never go down!“
I reached out to their customer service and asked some questions; they were so courteous and helpful, and to think I wasn’t even a customer yet.
I didn’t think twice before I purchased blog hosting on their platform.
And it even gets better, their hosting plans are so cheap, it costs as low as $3.95 per month.
I got a free domain for one year, and also a free SSL certificate.
An SSL certificate is short for Secure Socket Layer. It is standard global security that every website must-have. It encrypts the data that’s transferred between a website and a web browser. This is the padlock sign you see at the top of most websites you visit. It protects your personal information like a credit card, email addresses, and other personal information from being accessed by third parties.
I realize that Bluehost is a company that cares and caters to all their customers, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned blogger. Bluehost has all you need to get your blog up and running in no time.
It was a seamless experience for me. Building my blog on their server was just with a click of a button, and Bluehost automatically installed my WordPress website on their platform.They’ve been excellent and reliable for me and I’m very satisfied.
Bluehost uses cPanel, the hosting software that allows you to set up your entire website even if you have little or no technical knowledge. cPanel is so easy to understand and its graphical interface is so simple to navigate.
It even gets more safe with Bluehost.
For instance, you’ve started your blog, and you stop blogging and quit your business with them within a month, Bluehost will give you a refund, no questions asked.
In detail, here are the reasons why I and a over 2 million blogs use Bluehost:
- They offer one of the best customer service experiences than any other hosting service out there. They’ve experts available 24/7 via chat or calls. They mean it when they promise to help you succeed.
- They offer a free domain name for 1yr and also an SSL certificate.
- When you join, you get access to a ton of Premium themes.
- They have a very beginner-friendly user backend interface (cPanel). You will not find it hard to figure how to get things up and running, if you need help, support is always happy to help.
- They have available plenty of plugins (think of plugins as apps for websites) to help you give your audience a wonderful browsing experience.
- They’re an official WordPress recommended hosting provider.
- Building a WordPress blog on Bluehost is seamless, you can build a WordPress blog in a matter of minutes.
- They are affordable to host your WordPress blog in minutes.
- No downtimes, your website stays up and running for as long as it needs to.
What Domain Name Should I Use for My Website?
A domain name is literally the name of your website on the worldwide web (WWW). It is a name that leads your audience to your website.
Choosing the right domain name for your website is very important. A good domain name is:
- Easy to remember
- Easy to spell
- Related to your niche or brand
- One you are going to be using for the long haul
- Not too niche so you can expand your blogging horizon if need be.
- Easy to pronounce
Picking the right domain name can take minutes to even days or weeks on end. Take a pen and paper and write every website name idea that comes to your mind.
Join your name and your business idea, so you can get something marketingwithmark.com (digital marketing blog), or yummytastewithadrien.com (food blog)
Use short phrases and keywords related to your niche, you can come up with letsgetcooking.com (food blog) or gearstickfever.com (An automobile blog).
Share them with your family and friends and ask them which they like best.
You can even make a Google form with all the names you have thought up, send them to your family and ask them to pick which they like best.
Some tools can help in generating a domain name. I’ll list them below. We have:
- Shopify Domain Name Generator
- Name Mesh Domain Name Generator
- Instant Domain Name
- Nameboy Domain Name Generator
Remember: take your time to pick the right domain name, changing your domain name in the future will affect
- Your website’s search result ranking; you might have to build your traffic again from scratch.
- The traffic you have worked hard to grow over the years.
- Your website’s popularity.
- And your blog’s overall brand.
Moving on, now that you have decided what domain name you want to use, go to Bluehost and take advantage of their free one-year domain name offer.
I assure you, reader, this is value for your buck. If you buy a domain name from other domain name providers, it will cost you at least $10.99 for the first year.
Buying a hosting plan on Bluehost automatically gives you a free domain name for one year.
One more thing, ensure a domain name with a “.com” extension, that way is easier for people to remember.
What Bluehost Plan Should I Get?
Before we move on to the best hosting plan to pick your business, there is some bit of WordPress I forgot to mention earlier when I was telling you the difference between a self-hosted blog and a free-hosted blog.
You have probably heard of WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Even though they may have the same name, they are not related. Stay with me, I’ll explain.
WordPress.com is a free hosted platform like Blogspot.com, but with a ton of restrictions.
WordPress.org is an open-source software 100% free, you use to build your blog.
They are entirely different, but the name: WordPress, is a registered trademark under the WordPress Foundation, and it turns out that the Co-founder of WordPress.org, Matt Mullenweg, is also the founder of the company, Automattic, which owns WordPress.com.
Now that I have gotten that out of the way. Let’s talk about what Bluehost Plan is the best for you as a new blogger. Bluehost offers shared hosting plans which are cheap with great performance. Bluehost’s shared hosting plan delivers a powerful, proven platform that’s perfect for hosting your website. On top of that shared hosting plan is powered by a built-in cache solution that helps speed up your website.
If you’re looking for more technical details on the shared plans and other hosting options, then you might be better to read my Low Cost Hosting Plans For New Bloggers guide.
Bluehost has 4 shared plans. The Basic plan costs $3.95, The Plus plan costs $5.95/month, the Choice Plus plan costs $6.95/month, and the Pro costs $13.95/month.
The Basic plan is enough for you, as it has all you need to start a money-making website. It has a lot of great features such as SSD storage, unlimited bandwidth, free domain, free SSL certificate and free Backup.
If you want to pay $3.95 it only applies to customers that pay for the 36 months plan, making it $142. (I think it is a great deal!). If you can’t afford it, go at least for 12 month plan to get free domain name.
That is the current plan I am on, and the experience I have with Bluehost has been worth the expense.
What Bluehost Package Options Should I Pick?
Tick the Domain privacy protection at just $0.99/month. To protect your personal information.
- https://www.bluehost.com and click on “Get Started”.
Once on this page, choose the Basic plan.
Type in your domain name and click Next to check if it’s available, if not try again with another name or select another extension “.org” or “.net”.
- If the domain name is available, you’ll get this green message saying “The domain is available”. Enter your personal information and choose your billing term. The longest the term you go with, the less is the monthly cost you pay. You can sign up for a 36 month, 24 month or 12 month plan.
- Package Extras
- Make sure to uncheck all other options as they are pre-checked.
- Enter your payment information, agree to Bluehost’s terms of service and cancellation policy and click Submit.
Installing Your WordPress Website On Bluehost
It is a seamless experience installing your WordPress website.
After you have paid for your desired Bluehost hosting plan. It will require you to put in your payment information; then you will receive an order receipt and a confirmation email.
Right on the receipt, they give you a link to create a password and access your Bluehost account.
Create a long and complex password to secure your account. Use a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols to make it complex; avoid using any personal information.
WordPress Blog Themes
A good theme has certain characteristics:
- It should be mobile-friendly
- Very responsive
- SEO friendly
- Simple, and clean design
You can always change your theme later. After you pick a theme, they take you to a window that says: All Done!
Bluehost will automatically install your blog on their server, Bluehost saves you as a new blogger a lot of time. No techy or coding stuff; Bluehost just works.
When you have your blog all set up, it is time to populate it with some very important content. These are some content you should have on your blog.
- About Us Page: Let your audience meet you. Let them know why you are setting up your blog, and what you are all about. It helps your readers connect with you on a deeper level.
- Contact Us Page: This is where your readers can fill a form to get in touch with you.
- Category Tabs: Category tabs are tabs that contain topics you might create content around. For example, you can have a marketing category tab made, and in there you can find articles on email marketing, influencer marketing, and so on.
Here is how to add a new page on WordPress dashboard:
WordPress Blog Plugins
For you and your readers to enjoy what your blog has to offer, have plugins installed on your website.
There are a plethora of plugins that can do virtually anything you can think of. They are like apps for your web-blog.
But as a new blogger, I will suggest you install these plugins to get started.
- All In One WP Security & Firewall: is website security & protection plugin that delivers peace of mind. Stop worrying about website security threats and get back to providing good content and value.
- UpDraftPlus: This plugin allows you to backup your entire website to an external storage like DropBox. It simplifies backups and restoration. This plugin is used by more than 3 millions websites.
- Yoast SEO Plugin: This will help you properly optimize your pages to appear in Google search results.
- Akismet Anti-Spam to check for spam that may appear in Contact Us forms and check for spam in comments.
- Google Analytics Dashboard For WordPress By MonsterInsights for you to track and analyze your blog traffic.
- WPForms is a plugin that can help visitors get in touch with you.
- WPOptimize plugin will help your blog load speedily.
- Jetpack is another useful plugin. It will help you manage your blog and security; from measuring your blog’s metrics, SEO, social media sharing buttons, and so much more.
To add and activate a new plugin
Once installed, click on Activate.
Using Content To Bring Traffic
Depending on your niche, you can use Quora, Reddit, Google trends to generate content for your blog.
Tools like HubSpot Idea Generator and Answer The Public are good places to find titles for your content.
Create beautiful, engaging and visually impressive content. I am using Thrive Architect to build my pages and posts. Thrive Architect is a visual page builder that integrates with WordPress. With 269 page templates and instant drag and drop editing, you can create beautiful pages easily and in a short period of time.
How To Make Money Blogging
- Before you can make money on your blog, set goals to drive a substantial amount of traffic, and grow an audience that loves what you are offering.
- To monetize your blog, sign up with advertisements companies like Google AdSense, Medianet.com, Revenue hits, and Pop ads.
- Or register with affiliate companies where you get a commission when you talk about a product or service on your website, and make a sale through a referral link you place on your website. Some affiliate companies you should sign up are Share-a-sale, Impact, Commission Junction, Rakuten, etc.
- You can sell your own course or materials when you become an authority in a niche.
- You can make money when companies reach out to you to write about their products or services. They pay you to use your influence in a niche to talk about their products or services to your audience.
- If you’re looking for more effective blogging monetization strategies then you might be better to subscribe to this 100% FREE Affiliate Marketing Training.
Starting a blog is very easy, but growing a blog that can bring you thousands of dollars every month, not so easy.
Set out goals you want to achieve for your blog each month. Goals like writing 3 articles a week, bringing it at least 20 readers per week. And so on.
Make use of various social media channels to grow your drive traffic, like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest (especially Pinterest).
If you have any questions about starting a blog how to, reach out to me in the comment section below. I will provide help to everyone starting a blog or set up a website.