How to Start a Blog The Right Way In 8 Steps
I’m not gonna lie, the reason I first learned how to start a blog was when I heard how much the top bloggers actually make!
Ryan Rob easily makes $30,000 monthly as a blogger.
Adam Enfroy earns $80,000 a month from his.
John Morrow makes over $ 1 million every year from his blog smartblogger.com alone.
I could have gone on, but you get the gist. Still, are these even real numbers?
Yes, you can make such high amounts of money from blogging.
But these are huge names in the blogging industry. The only person who knows me is the pizza delivery guy.
Indeed, they are big names. But they were at the same place you’re in right now just a few years ago.
They asked the same question but responded differently. It’s an action that catapulted them to the limelight.
So you think you want to give this blogging thing a shot? Congratulations! You’re just in time where I’ll give you all the tips on how to start a blog.
My free and straightforward guide will show you how to start a serious and functional blog that will fill your wallets with thousands of dollars in a couple of months.
Let’s dive right in.
“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”- Vince Lombardi.
Is Blogging Still Relevant?
This shows you the amount of data available on the net on how to start a blog.
According to GrowthBadger, the keyword “how to start a blog” is searched 121,000 times per month on Google alone. That makes about 4000 people who think about starting a blog every day.
You see, since the invention of the internet, anything done online became a goldmine. We’re currently witnessing an “online goldrush” like never before.
Everyone wants a piece of the pie and the first step to their financial freedom is starting a website or blog.
Businesses are putting up websites to market their products. Professionals are creating blogs to advise their readers on a particular niche.
As of today, there’re 600 million blogs. WordPress alone receives 77.8 million blog posts every month (That’s a whoping 4000 blog posts every minute) and 54 million comments.
With all these staggering numbers, doesn’t it seem impossible to start a blog and make money with it?
Don’t be too quick to judge.
Surprisingly, blogging is becoming more relevant and there is still room to be successful. Check out this case study on why blogging is the backbone of content marketing today.
However, you have to make it an outstanding blog. It’s the only way that will set you apart from the masses.
Why Should You Start a Blog Today?
Many bloggers create blogs for different reasons.
Some want to make passive income and leave their soul-sucking 9-5 jobs; others want to get a secondary income source while others want to share their passions with the world.
These are good reasons, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg.
Below are more benefits of starting a blog today.
How Much Do You Need To Start a blog?
Starting a blog isn’t like setting up a multi-million dollar business.
I can compare “blog-preneurship” to nurturing a dairy cow. You start it small like a calf. You don’t have a lot of expenses at this point. Likewise, the traffic you get is minimal.
But if you give it the right ration every day, you’ll start getting more litters of milk in a couple of weeks.
So you see, the starting capital isn’t something to worry about. Ideally, you’re good to go with a little as $35 to $65. What matters is how you’ll grow it.
Now that we have cemented the foundation, let’s get down to business.
1. Choose the Right Niche
First things first.
This step involves picking a niche that you’re interested in. A niche is a general topic where your content will revolve around.
For example, my blog’s niche is making money online.
All the articles here are in-depth guides that aim to help you gain your financial freedom with online income.
I’ve listened to most experts and they advise that you find a niche you’re passionate about or to blog about something you know.
These are useful tips, but I will add one more thing. Remember that you have bills to pay at the end of the month. So the niche should be profitable too.
Neil Patel gives the following advice when picking a niche;
I also stole some tips from John Morrow that might give you an idea of finding a niche with a big enough audience.
The feasible niche should answer all these questions.
If you answered yes to all these questions, you’re good to go.
How the Right Niche Sounds Like
I firmly believe that 99% of bloggers that fail do so because they don’t generate enough revenue to keep them going.
Look at it in this way.
What will be the reason for spending money on website hostings, blogging platforms, or even training but you don’t get something in return? The only option remaining will be to pull down the blog.
But it doesn’t have to be the story of every failed blogger.
You need to get it right from the word go. And that means getting the perfect niche. Here’s what I mean.
● A huge Audience with High-Revenue Potential
The primary reason for starting a blog is to solve the pain points of your targeted audience. In return, your audience should be willing to pay you for solving their problems.
Let’s take the examples of Alex and Lauren of Createandgo.com.
They started their blog because;
So their blog targeted people with these characteristics.
Although their first blog failed terribly, they learned through their mistakes to create the most successful blog on the internet today.
It’s this strategy that has been generating over $100,000 every month for the last three years.
Look, it’s simple. Get a niche that many people are interested in, create in-depth and highly informative articles, and let the blog do the magic.
● The Niche should have high Affiliate Marketing Potential
Affiliate marketing is the number one method of monetizing your blog. If you’re able to get lots of traffic to your blog, you’ll be making money while you sleep.
So what’s affiliate marketing?
It’s the act of recommending someone’s products to your blog audience. You make a commission if someone purchases the product.
You help businesses sell their products by connecting them to the right people searching for the product. And you make money in the process. This is a win-win-win scenario.
The niches with high affiliate earning potential include;
Of course, you’ll have to narrow down to get a viable sub-niche you’re passionate about.
2. Pick a Blogging Software
If you didn’t know, Facebook, Instagram, Medium, or Linkedin are forms of blogging platforms. But you only use them to promote the actual blogging software that we’ll talk about in this chapter.
The most popular blogging platforms are WordPress, Wix, Blogspot, and Tumblr. The last two are weak platforms (in my opinion), and I wouldn’t recommend them.
As a beginner, you’ll consider a blogging platform with a low learning curve, easy to set up, and doesn’t need technical coding skills.
The platform should also be flexible to grow with you. Why? In the future, you might want to add new features and tweak the website’s look to accommodate your growing audience.
You can’t change a blogging platform in the future, so you’ll have to be very careful to avoid a disaster in the long run.
Since you’ll be starting a serious blog, WordPress and Wix are the go-to guys.
I want to keep this brief. I won’t compare between the two. I’ll instead give you my suggestion for the better blogging platform, which is WordPress.com.
37% of all websites on the internet use WordPress. These include huge blogs like Techcrunch, Microsoft, Mercedes Benz, and… Smartexpertsecrets (coughs).
● Why Pick WordPress as your blogging Software
Before I continue, let me make this clear. There are wordpress.org and wordpress.com. Both come from the same company but are different in many ways.
WordPress.org is where you’ll find the core WordPress software. You can download it and install it on your server to create a self-hosted website or blog.
WordPress.com, on the other hand, will take care of all your hostings. No need to pay for the hosting or downloading the software. You’ll, however, be required to create an account or upgrade to get premium features.
For many bloggers, using free hosted platforms like wordpress.com might seem a good option, but it comes with many limitations.
For instance, it will set the name of your blog as a subdomain. (Example, yourblog.wordpress.com).
To me, this won’t appear as a serious website. Besides, free hosted platforms don’t give you much room to make money as a blogger. Plus, it will subject you to many infringing rules.
That’s why I prefer self-hosted platforms (also known as a Content Management Systems CMS) like wordpress.org.
Self-hosted platforms give you the freedom to set up your blog using your domain Webhosting. Plus, it gives you the right to manage your blog however you want.
How much does it cost? Well, the actual blogging software is free. You’ll only need to pay a couple of dollars to get the hosting account and custom domain.
I love WordPress because of the following reasons.
3. Pick a Domain Name
The second most crucial thing after settling down on a niche would be getting a powerful domain name. This will be your blog’s name.
For example, my blog’s name is smartexpertsecrets.com. It’s like my phone number on the internet. If you key in the words it will direct you to the home page.
Many newbie bloggers stress out when looking for the perfect domain name.
I hate bad news, more so when I’m the bearer. But I’ll tell you the truth anyway.
The domain name you choose doesn’t make your blog unique in any way. It won’t magically drive thousands of traffic to your website however how sleek it may look.
It’s the work behind the domain name that matters.
Below are three tips on how to get a domain name that will be easier for your visitors to remember.
- According to the Niche Topic: It’s the best place to start searching for a good name. It describes your niche clearly and concisely. (For instance, artforcraft.com, writingisfun.com)
- Name by mentioning the benefit: These domain names answer why people should come to your websites. For instance, you can choose becomeabetterwriter.com, Biggerpockets.com.
- Name by Audience: This is one of the easiest ways of getting a domain name when stuck. What you do here is calling out the audience in the domain itself. Good examples of such blogs include smartblogger.com and afineparent.com.
Are you still stuck? I’ve got more tips under my sleeves. You might have come across them if you’ve read a lot of articles on how to start a blog.
● Stick with .com
There are many domain extensions apart from the normal .com. There’s also .org, .net, .info and .blog. Although these may seem fancy extensions, it’s important to stick with .com when starting.
It’s the most common extension people are used to. It performs better than .blog extensions, which have passed over 100,000 registrations.
Visitors who aren’t tech-savvy don’t know anything about .photography (Yes, there’s such a domain extension). Suppose your blog domain name is Davy.Photographer, they are likely to key in DavyPhotographer.com.
● Keep it short
Let me show you something interesting.
llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.co.uk is the longest domain name on the internet. Pretty sleek, right?
It went over to win the longest URL website in the world in the Guinness world record book.
As much as this domain name above seems fascinating, we can’t deny the fact that it’s extremely hard to memorize. I tried to read it but got lost somewhere after “fair.”
The right domain name should have at most 15 characters. More extended domains are hard to remember.
Now, let’s look at the shortest domain name on the internet. The domain name is g.cn. Google purchased it in 2007 to make it easier for Chinese users to access Google.
● Don’t use Hyphens
If there’s a mistake you should never do is using hyphens as part of your domain name. Such domains are associated with scams that tarnish the reputation of your blog.
Plus, they are prone to typos. Let me assume that this blog’s name is smart-experts-secrets.com, and I had a competitor whose domain name is smartexpertesecrets.com.
If anyone tries to access my site, they will likely forget the hyphenated part hence land on my competitor’s website. In short, I’ll be destroying my website and building my competitor’s.
● Use a Flexible Domain Name
Moving a site to a new domain is common, but it’s the most frustrating thing you will ever do.
It won’t be less stressful if you pick a domain name with room to expand. Picture this, for instance.
You’re a fashion enthusiast and want to start a blog specifically about ties. So you give it the name ties.com.
In a few years, your blog becomes big and most of your readers start pestering you to talk about other outfits. You’re afraid that if you change the name, you might lose your readers. (which is usually the case)
It’ll be hard to expand to accommodate other types of outfits.
What about if you named the blog allclothes.com and had different categories for each type of clothing. Scaling up will be much easier.
More on Getting a Domain Name
You can use all the steps above to generate great blog ideas. To make it even better, why not use a trusted blog generator? You can use a fancy tool like namestation to get a couple of available domain names.
You just need to enter your keywords you think are essential and get name suggestions. The tool works very efficiently.
The name should be descriptive to tell your future readers what your blog is all about. Also, don’t hang on one word as they are too broad.
For instance, you can’t name your blog, “marketing.com,” as it’s a bit vague. But you can use “prodigitalmarketing.com.”
If you want to start a personal blog, it will be better to use your name. Why? Your blog posts will mostly revolve around you.
But this isn’t limited to personal blogging. Neil Patel’s blog is named under his name and it performs pretty well.
4. Get Your Website Hosting
Are you still with me? Awesome! It’s just about to get better.
I need you to do one thing for me. Stay focused because we will cover a wide area in this chapter.
Here are some of my favorite features it comes with.
You can combine Bluehost with WordPress to create a fully customized blog in minutes. I’ll show you how to do this in a moment.
For now, let’s see how to get started with Bluehost as our web hosting platform.
I. Choose Your Preferred Pricing Option
Bluehost comes in three pricing options. Below is a screenshot of the features of each option.
Experienced bloggers would advise you to choose the “Choice plus option.” It has royalty features like domain privacy that protects your personal information.
While this is important (hey! We live in a world full of jerks), it’s not that serious when you’re just starting your blog. The Basic Plan is fine
You can upgrade later.
Choosing a plan is simple. Click on the big green “select” button, and it will lead you to the next stage
II. Enter Your Domain Name
Remember the blog name you picked earlier? It’s time to bring it to action.
After choosing your preferred hosting plan, you’ll be presented with a page like the one below.
You’ll add the name on the left box. If you didn’t have a name yet, you can get a new domain name for free for a whole year. This is an outstanding offer available with Bluehost only.
It’s reliable since some companies will charge you when starting.
You can as well select the option to choose a domain name later if you don’t have the time now. The option is a pop-up that will appear on the screen if you stay on the page for a long time.
III. Creating Your Bluehost Account
This is the second step where you’ll fill your details. These include your email address, name, phone number, and business name.
Quick Tip – If you don’t want to do all the filling, connect your Bluehost account with Google, it works like magic.
After you’ve entered your correct details, you’ll scroll down to the “package information section.” Then choose the best account plan you’re compatible with.
Note that the options are in years, not months. These are either 1, 2, 3, or 5 years upfront. Most website hosting companies that accept monthly payment options charge very high.
For starters, I recommend choosing the “Prime 36-month price” since you’re working on the lowest budget for now.
The plan secures your blog at the lowest rate and you’ll forget about paying Bluehost for three years which is pretty cool.
IV. Choose the Right Package Extras and Enter your Billing Information
There isn’t much to worry about in the package extras. You can only consider using the Bluehost SEO tool.
As you already know, your blog can’t go anywhere if you don’t have SEO skills. Go to the payment information section to seal the deal when through extra packages.
You can pay using a credit or Paypal. Check the box that you agree with BlueHost’s terms and conditions and hit the green submit button.
V. Create Your Account and Set a Password
You are almost done, so keep going.
This is the last stage of Installing Bluehost. You’ll receive an email that will request you to confirm your account. Enter your domain name and create a strong password.
You’ll log in to your account then head on to the next step.
5: Install WordPress Using Bluehost
Since you chose WordPress as your blogging platform, it’s time to bring them together with Bluehost and make your blog go live. And remember it’s wordpress.org.
No worries, the process is effortless even if you decide to use other website options. It’s practically the same.
Follow the following process to get started.
Step 1: Log in to BlueHost
After logging in to your new Bluehost account, go to my sites tab and click the “create site” button on the screen’s top-right page corner.
Step 2: Key in your website Information
The next thing will be entering your site’s details. These include the site’s name and taglines.
Step 3: Select domain for installation
Choose the domain name you registered when you created your Bluehost account. You’ll be presented with an image like the one below.
At this stage, you’ll be asked if you want additional Bluehost plugins like Monsters insight and WP forms. These are free plugins and they will help to run your blog, so click on all of them.
Step 4: Install WordPress on Bluehost
This is the last step where Bluehost will install WordPress for you. It’ll display your login details like the one below.
To open your new WordPress blog, click the” login to WordPress”. It’ll take you to your new blog.
6: Design Your Blog with WordPress Themes
Your WordPress blog is still basic, which isn’t great for readers. You need to dazzle it with WordPress themes.
WordPress themes are the design of your blog. You’ll have to be creative here to get the most attractive themes.
There are tens of thousands of WordPress themes to choose from, and most are free. These may seem reliable as you have more than enough options. Not really.
“having too many choices can lead to decision-making paralysis.”
psychologist Barry Schwartz
I couldn’t agree more with Barry’s quote. It begs the question of how to choose the best theme for your blog.
I got some differentiators that might help you in your search process.
● Choose a Lightweight WordPress Theme
Speed is critical for any blog. While there are many ways to strengthen your site’s speed, there is none better than using a lightweight WordPress theme.
If you switch from a regular WordPress theme (free options), you’ll be surprised how much your page load time will drop. (around 42%.)
How do I know that a WordPress theme is light? Good question.
You can google “The best lightweight WordPress themes” to get a few options. Or you can use a performance testing tool like GTmetrix. The tool works best for free WordPress Themes.
For premium themes, you can run it on the public theme demo. The tool isn’t that perfect, but it will give you an idea of how well optimized the theme is.
● Look for a very Responsive Design
According to a study, 52.2% of traffic came from phones in 2019. It’s almost four times the same traffic generated by phones in 2013.
What does this imply? More people find it comfortable to access the internet from their phones.
With this in mind, it’s essential to get a WordPress theme that automatically adapts to the user’s device. Anyone should enjoy browsing your website, whether they use a smartphone or laptop.
I know most themes will claim they are responsive, but how responsive? Here is what I mean. Before choosing any theme, open the demo site on the phone and play around with it.
● How’s the Customer Support Policy
The theme you choose must have a robust customer support system that can seamlessly help you whenever you experience a problem.
Most developers will promise 6 -12 months of updates and responsive support. Confirm this on their site.
You don’t know what will happen for free themes. Some developers are generous enough to extend their hands through their WordPress.org forums. On the flip side, others won’t offer you any help unless you pay them.
● Check Reviews
Reviews have never been as critical as they are today. It’s the only way to “experience” a product without using it.
For premium themes, you can check the rating on the sidebar if you bought it on ThemeForest. Check the comments section. No doubt that you’ll get something worth noting down.
How to Add a WordPress Theme
Follow this process to add a theme to your blog.
First, log in to your WordPress account using your credentials you registered with earlier.
You will see the image below after logging in.
On the sidebar menu on the left, you’ll see the icon “appearance.” Click on it. Another menu with options will appear. Choose the “themes” option.
There are two things you can do from here. You can either;
Search themes using the WordPress.org directory
Click the upload theme icon to install the theme you downloaded from another source like Astra or Thrivethemes.
Since you’re likely to download a theme from a third party, I’ll only walk you on how to do this.
The first step is to click the bold “Add new” icon.
You’ll see three boxes to apply filters ranging across the layout, the features, and the subject. You will be presented with hundreds of unique themes to choose from.
When you click one, you’ll get a preview of the theme on your blog. Choose the theme according to the topic you’ve chosen and personal taste.
Install the theme and click the “activate” button to complete the process. You can now customize the blog to go with your needs.
Customization builds trust with your future readers. Don’t go overboard with animations and colors. Still, don’t use a monotonous color. Just make it simple, clear, and easy to read.
Before I ramp this chapter, I’d love to give you another bonus..
Critical Plugins to Install to Your WordPress
A plugin is like an add-on feature to your WordPress. It gives more functionalities that make it easy to manage the blog.
WordPress has thousands of plugins to choose from. You don’t have to use all of them. There are, however, four you must incorporate to your blog. These are:
A plugin is like an add-on feature to your WordPress. It gives more functionalities that make it easy to manage the blog.
WordPress has thousands of plugins to choose from. You don’t have to use all of them. There are, however, four you must incorporate to your blog. These are:
The site’s loading speed is critical at this stage. Apart from using website hostings like Bluehost with impressive uptimes, you need a third-party tool to do what Bluehost can’t do.
This will be the work of a WP rocket. The plugin will cache your page and reduce file sizes. It is this simple feature that ensures your blog loads faster to avoid losing impatient visitors.
This plugin comes in handy when you begin to craft your content. It helps you write articles that are SEO optimized to rank high on search engines.
It will help you optimize the titles, meta descriptions, word count, and other essential SEO factors.
Do you want to edit your themes? Headers and footers will help you in the process.
When editing the theme, you’ll need to add snippets to the header and footers. But you can’t do this in the code of your theme.
You’ll need this plugin as it allows you to add small snippets and to select locations on the blog easily.
Now, there is something I’ve deliberately left out. Why? I don’t want to overwelm you with too many details.
This is your blog’s SEO set up. I know I quickly brushed over it, but there’s more you need to do. For this, you can hire an SEO expert (if you have the budget) or tackle it on your own.
I will leave the SEO master, Neil Patel, to walk you through this. Check out this ultimate guide on how to Optimize your website for Google.
You can do this later. For now, let’s move to the next chapter.
7. Create Killer Content
We live in an epic world; you have no other choice than to create epic content. They say content is king, but I’ll counter by saying only the best content is king!
This is the moment your blog begins to come alive. You’ll soon start getting lots of readers if you have the most informative content.
The Process of Writing Killer Content
This is the fun part.
And they have to be damn good.
Good content brings massive results. For instance, this post by John Morrow went viral and generated 70,000 reads in two hours. It’s now on track to get a million reads.
What was his secret?
Killer and compelling content.
Let’s get things moving.
I. Headline Generation
The first step to writing compelling content is getting good blog post ideas. You’ll have so many of them when starting out.
You need to get as many blog post ideas as possible to overcome headline generation dry spell.
I use a few tools that help me generate killer headlines to arouse interest. You can check them out.
Creating a Blog Post in WordPress
Log in to your WordPress account and click the “Posts” icon. Click the “add new” icon. It will lead you to a page like the one below.
In the large “add title” space, write your heading that you came up with earlier. Move to the empty space to write your content.
Below the “Add title” icon, you’ll see the top bar menu with the features you need to write your content. These are the bold, hyperlinking, and italics features you use when writing on Word Doc.
Once you’re done with the content creation process, you’ll optimize the design and the layout to make it appealing.
You do this by making the blog posteasier to read. Use simple and straightforward words with a featured image. You can then publish your blog post.
The above process is what you’ll use to write all your articles. One thing you should never forget is to continue learning. Learn about SEO and how to write epic content that drives more traffic.
8: Make Money Blogging
If not for making money, you couldn’t have started the blog in the first place. You have to get something in return for your hard work.
I’ve talked about this in-depth in one of my previous posts. I’ll just keep it simple to get an idea. You can check the post for more information.
There are many ways of making money blogging, but I’ll speak about the most common three.
● Affiliate Marketing
I know I talked about this before, but I just want to mention it again. Talk about blogging and the first thing to come to your mind will be affiliate marketing.
Most people have written content about affiliate marketing claiming to earn thousands of dollars per month. The thing is that the internet is a hot mess. You never know who’s telling the truth and who isn’t.
But here is the thing – Affiliate marketing isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. Read that again, even thrice, if you can.
Don’t get me wrong, though. You can make good money with affiliate marketing. The bloggers I shared with you earlier make most of their money through it.
So what do you need to do to be successful in affiliate marketing;
1: Be patient – It can take time, but your hard work will pay off after some time
2: Choose the most attractive products – Consumers don’t buy less appealing products.
3: Leverage your traffic – Don’t use one source of traffic. Use SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing altogether.
4: Use tools: Tools allow your site to continue working as you sleep. These include chatbots, sales funnels, email marketing software.
Have a look at my recent post where I give you an all-inclusive list of over 100 affiliate programs working in 2020.
● Sell Your Products
Selling your digital products is one of the best and reliable ways of making money with your blog. You don’t get paid as a commission because you get 100% of the proceeds.
So you ask, what are the products I should sell? Good question.
I. Ebooks: You can write ebooks about something you’re passionate about. If there is good value in it, people will gladly pay you for the content.
II. Courses: Selling digital courses is a hotcake right now. Most influential bloggers I’ve come across have courses and they’re minting millions.
Spencer Mecham, the Clickfunnels affiliate marketing guru, has a course on it. He sells it for $897. And you know what? Hundreds of students are enrolling in the course.
III. Physical Products: Do you have an electric store but don’t generate enough sales? Blogging can help.
You can write articles to show your expertise in the niche. Once you’ve gained enough trust, start recommending some of your products to your readers. Tools like Clickfunnels can help you create effective sales funnels.
IV. Freelancing Services
Are you a writer, transcriber, or virtual assistant? Why not sell your freelancing services through your blog. It shows you’re an expert at what you do and that’s what huge clients are looking for.
To make money with ads, you must have massive traffic. It’s the first step to gain trust with your advertisers.
Once you have gained a semblance of readers, you can now become a broker by sponsoring ads.
Writing sponsored posts is the most common. It means allowing a company to write an article on your blog to promote a product. Alexis of fitnancials.com makes $3000 every month from sponsored posts.
You can also use adwords from google, or companies like mediavine, you enroll and let them post ads on your site, you then get paid by the number of views.
I get it.
You’ve read tens of articles on how to start a blog. So you’re pretty familiar with most of the things I’ve talked about.
Nevertheless, kudos if you’ve made it this far. You’re a member of the small percentage of people that actually read the article to the finish line.
The next thing right now will be to start working. It won’t help if you’ve taken your time to read this piece and throw the information to the wind.
“Some people want it to happen; some people wish it would happen, others make it happen.”- Michael Jordan.
Become a part of the last group that makes it happen.
Tell us in the comments below where you are in your blog creation process!