How to Start a Blog?- The Ultimate Guide

Looking to start your first blog? Welcome to the detailed step-by-step guide where you will get to learn how to start a blog from scratch.

The web is full of “How to blog” guides, most of which are highly confusing and lack the important stuff that we are going to discuss in this post.

We promise, this guide will not only tell you how you can setup your very first blog but, it will also discuss the scope of blogging and how you can turn blogging into a full-time revenue generating business.

So stick tight and start reading with an open mind. There is a lot of ninja info that you won’t find easily on the web.

how-to-start-a-blog

Before starting the discussion about blogging and how to set up your very first blog, let’s first understand what is a blog. Again if you are just looking to setup your very first blog then click here.

The term ‘blog’ came from the word weblog. A weblog used to be a personal journal for writing about your day’s experience. Blogs gradually evolved from journals into platforms where you could share the information by setting up a website on the World Wide Web.

In the present scenario, blogs have evolved from a simple information sharing platforms to a recognized business on the internet. Yes, you could turn your blog into a full-time revenue generating business. We’ll see how to do this further in this post.

Let’s first see the important topics that would be covered in this detailed step-by-step guide.

1What is a Blog?

what-is-a-blog

We have already discussed the basic definition of a blog. Again, if you missed it, a blog is a simple website platform on the web where you could share your information with people who can access your website over the internet.

The blog posts are the regular informative updates done on the blog. A blogger is a person who updates the blog and maintains it.

Though blogs are also regular websites, they are a little different than the regular websites you visit daily like Facebook and Google. This is because a blog is mainly a static website. It has limited features as compared to a custom designed websites with dynamic features.

2Why Should You Blog?

why-should-you-blog

You should blog to get your information spread among the web community. Everybody has got something to say, some skill or knowledge to share with the world. Blogging allows you to do that from wherever you want.

The freedom to be able to blog about any topic in any niche allows you to learn about, think about and share about anything that you like.

Blogs can be of different types, such as celebrity gossips, hair-dos, make-up tips, parenting, cooking, dance, music, photography, business, science, computers, etc.

So, moving to the main concern, you should blog if you are keen to help others. You should blog if you are good at some skill and you feel that others could also utilize that skill to their benefit. Moreover, you should blog as you can make it a full-time money making business.

3How to Start Blogging?

how-to-start-blogging-

Starting a blog is not difficult at all. The main concern is to choose a niche in which you want to blog about.

Niche selection is a very important step if you are looking to achieve huge success in your blogging career.

Let’s learn how to go with the niche selection so that we can setup our blog in the right away.

4Choose a Blogging Niche

choosing-a-blogging-niche

A niche is a subject or a broad topic of interest where your interest lies. You could start a blog in the specific niche in which you feel that you have enough knowledge and experience. Some of the niche examples are travel, photography, gossip, fashion, technology, spirituality etc.

You can also delve deep into sub-niches. For example, under technology, you might want to write only about smartphones or gadgets. In this case, smartphones and gadgets is a sub-niche. You can select any niche or sub-niche that you are passionate about.

To create a successful blog, it is recommended that you follow just one niche. Going into multiple niches becomes complicated in the long run and is not suggested until you have an experienced team of content curators who can write in those specific niches. You cannot write about unrelated topics on a single blog.

Here are some points on which you can brainstorm and decide your final niche for your blog.

  • Passion– You must select a niche you are truly passionate about. When you write about what you love, you will always feel motivated to create great content for your readers. Secondly, you will always find enough ideas to write about. Passion gets reflected through your work. More passionate you are about your writing, more readers will love to come back to your blog because passion is contagious.
  • Audience – Once you find a niche that you are truly passionate about, think about who is going to be your audience. Who will read your content and why will they read your content? What are they getting by reading your blog? Carve your niche according to the interests of your target audience.
  • Long-term– Don’t just think about creating a blog to make money instantly. Think about long-term. You must understand that, once you start spending a lot of time with your blog, it will start growing in all aspects. Content will grow, quality will improve, the audience will grow, social media presence will be wider and so on. Where do you see your blog in six or seven years from now? An answer to this question can significantly help you choose your niche.

Once you have decided your niche, you are just a few steps away from setting up your first blog.

In order to start a blog, you have two options, a self-hosted blog, and a free blog.

Both the options come with their own pros and cons. However, let’s first understand the basics and know what type of blog is good for whom.

5Choose Your Blogging Platform

choose-your-blogging-platform

There are so many different free platforms you can choose from such as Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress.com, etc. WordPress.com is the most popular platform followed by blogger. In this post, we are concerned to give you the knowledge about the best platform that is used by the majority of the people on the web. Thus, we would be discussing how you can set up a stunning blog using WordPress.

Again, WordPress also has two versions, one is the free one and the other one is used when you are using your own server space which comes for a little money initially.

Now, before you get confused, let’s first understand the basic difference between the free website platforms like Blogger, WordPress.com, Tumblr etc and the self-hosted WordPress website.

6Self Hosted Blogs Vs Free Blogging Platforms

self-hosted-vs-free-blogs

There is a major difference between the self-hosted and the free blogging platforms.

For example, if you are making a free blog using WordPress.com, you will get a subdomain name in the below format:

https://YourSite.wordpress.com

In this, “YourSite” will be the unique name that you will be choosing while setting up your free blog.

Now consider the other case when you are setting up a self-hosted blog, you will get the domain name in the below format:

https://YourSite.com

In this, “YourSite” will be the unique name that you will be registering using a domain registrar (like Godaddy, NameCheap etc).

Now, let’s understand the difference between the two:

Ownership

You completely own your self-hosted blogs. However, you are not the owner of your blogs on the free blogging platforms, such as WordPress.com, Blogger.com, etc. Instead, they own your blogs and you are merely a contributor.

Comparing the above to the self hosted blog, you are a complete owner of your website. This means, the content, design, logo, idea belongs to you. You can even claim copyrights if someone uses your idea, content or logo without your permission.

This means that on a self-hosted platform, you are actually the owner of your website.

How much will it Cost?

The domain name registration costs and hosting costs are associated with the self-hosted blogs. Yes, it costs a few dollars to buy the hosting space and the domain name for yourself and it is totally worth it as you are the sole owner of it.

On the other hand, for free blogging platforms, you don’t need to pay a penny to start your blog. But hey, don’t feel so overwhelmed as they too start charging you after a certain limit. So if you are looking to start a blog professionally, hands down, a self-hosted blog is your best bet.

Domain Name

You can decide your own unique domain name with an extension you prefer like .com, .org, .net etc. It totally depends for what purpose you are setting up your blog. The .com extension, however, is the most preferred version.

Free blogging platforms do provide a unique name but you don’t have the flexibility to choose an extension in this case as they are set up as a subdomain of the main website.

This means that your complete domain name on the free platform would be something like YourSite.blogspot.com in the case if you are setting up your free blog on blogger.com or YourSite.wordpress.com in the case if you are setting it up on WordPress.com. Thus the domain name in the case of free platforms contains the name of the platform. This typically is not preferred if you are working as a professional.

Freedom of Customization

On the self-hosted platform, you are the sole owner of your website so you can set it up as you wish. You can design it and customize its functionality to any extent. This is a major advantage as you can introduce new functionalities on your site. This enables it to look distinct and different than the other millions of website on the web.

The free version of a blog offers very limited options for customization. You cannot fully design the website according to your wish and also, the functionalities could be only implemented to a certain extent.

Monetization

You would never want to use a free platform if you are looking to set up a blog for monetary benefits. This is because the free platforms allow limited monetization only. You would have to give a certain portion of the revenue to the website on which you have set up a free blog.

In the case of the self-hosted blog, you are the owner of your web property and thus all the revenue generated solely belongs to you. Can you see some dollars coming? We bet so!

Risk

The risk is involved in both the cases, however, it is more in the case of a free blogging platform.

First of all, if you are blogging on a free platform, you are just a contributor and not the owner. In this case, the company can claim the rights on your blog anytime they wish.

On the self-hosted platform, you are the owner of your site and its content. However, your website will risk the ban from the search engine if you are not following the guidelines of the web. For eg: you copied content from other websites and did not give them credit or, you are running an illegal business on the web. Well, such ban is also valid for the free blogs as well.

So, that was all about understanding the difference between the free and the self-hosted platforms.

So, which platform did you choose? We bet, it would be the self-hosted platform as you can use the blog with full freedom as it is solely owned by you.

Now that you know what you have to do, let’s get started with the real game i.e. picking up and registering the domain name. Let’s learn how to do that.

7Picking up a Domain Name

picking-up-a-domain-name

People recognize your blog with your domain name. You should choose a domain name while keeping several factors in mind.

Unique– Pick a domain name which is unique and carves out a space for itself in the user’s mind.

Easy To Remember– The domain name should be easy to remember and should contain terms through which people can relate to what your blog niche is all about.

Short & Simple– Don’t try to put too many details into your domain name. Choose a one or two-word domain for your blog. You may find that many domain names that you choose for an instance may not be available. You must make a list of your preferred domain names and see which one are available for your blog.

Pro tip: Never use hyphens in your domain name. It makes the domain name hard to remember.

Purpose and Audience of your Blog– You should keep the purpose of your blog in your mind while choosing the domain name. You should also keep the audience in your mind. Who is your audience? Think about terms your audience can instantly relate to. The terms that define the purpose of your blog as well. Your domain name’s goal is to stick inside the mind of your readers.

Keywords– Search for the keywords using tools like Google Keyword Planner and find out the keywords for your niche. You can use keywords in your domain, but it is not necessary.

Now, you are just a few steps away from setting up your very first blog but, before that, it is time to understand about different types of hosting.

8Choosing a Hosting Plan

choosing-a-hosting-plan

What is a web host?

Before you go ahead and think about purchasing a hosting plan, it is important to understand what web hosts are.

Web hosts are the servers where your website is hosted. All the files related to your sites such as index.html, HTML files, CSS files, Javascript, PHP files, your content, media, plugins, themes need to be saved somewhere from where they can be accessed either by you or the user.

Web hosts save everything related to your website and make your content available on the web.

Web hosts power your website and give you the needed options to control the interface of your site. Most web hosts offer cPanel from where you can control everything related to your hosting.

cPanel is the most popular interface to manage your hosting account. It is a control panel which is easy to use and lists all the options related to your hosting plan. You can also install CMS like WordPress from the cPanel itself.

Types of Web Hosting:

There are many different types of web hosting you can choose from. The list below can help you decide the best one according to your needs.

Shared Web Hosting

For most beginners, shared hosting plans are enough to start a blog and work on it for a few month till their traffic increases to some extent.

Shared hosting is like sharing your room with others. All the resources are available for common use. In the beginning, shared hosting is the best option as it costs you the least and serves the purpose well. You can always upgrade your hosting plan later when your present hosting is unable to handle the traffic well.

Typically, a shared hosting can handle around 200-500 people in real time. Generating such traffic on your new blog will take a good time and effort thus, shared hosting is the best when you are just starting out with your new blog.

VPS(Virtual Private Server)

VPS is not actually a private server, but virtually it looks like one. With VPS, you share the server with other website owners, but virtually it is like a private server.

Even if the other sites on the server get infected with some malware or use up all of their resources, it cannot affect your site. Setting up your website on a VPS is like owning a private room in a house. You share the house with others, but the area assigned to you is your private space.

Once your traffic increases to more than a few thousand daily visitors, you should start thinking about switching from a shared hosting plan to a VPS. VPS are more expensive than the shared hosting and can cost you more than $25 per month.

There are dozens of different types of VPS plans available, and some of them can cost even more than some basic dedicated server plans.

Dedicated Web Server

A dedicated web server is renting one physical server from a hosting company. You can have root permissions and absolute control over the server you rent. Dedicated servers are like owning a private house, and you control everything that happens inside it.

Dedicated servers are expensive, and they can cost more than $100 per month. However, dedicated servers have an additional cost attached to them. They also need to be administered by a technical expert. That’s why most web hosts offer plan managed dedicated hosting plans.

Reselling Hosting Packages

The reselling hosting packages are just like renting one room and then dividing that room into multiple rooms and then again giving the rooms on rent to multiple people.

Companies selling the reseller hosting packages themselves rent the dedicated servers from another company and then further rents it by sharing the server with multiple clients i.e. by offering shared hosting packages.

Reselling packages sell from $20 – $50 depending upon the plan and features.

Cloud-based Web Hosting

Hosting companies combine hundreds of servers together that act together as one large server. As the requirements increase, they can always add more servers and expand the cloud.

The biggest advantage of cloud-based hosting for website owners is easy scalability. If your site grows, you don’t need any data migration with cloud hosting. Traffic spikes can easily be handled without service interruption and downtime.

You can always begin with basic plans that can start from a couple of dollars a month and upgrade your plan as the site grows. Upgrading won’t require you to shift your data from a machine to another physically.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Many web hosts have started offering managed WordPress hosting with the growing popularity of the WordPress. With managed WordPress hosting, the service provider manages the WordPress installation besides providing you space and other resources. WordPress installation, updating becomes the responsibility of the hosting company.

So, you only have to care about your website and work from WordPress Dashboard. Although WordPress installation and maintenance is quite simple, you can also go for an unmanaged WordPress hosting too.

9What Is The Cost Of Blogging?

what-is-the-cost-involved

You don’t need a considerable sum of money to start blogging. Most people who use the Internet can easily afford the expenses. Where do you need to spend money for blogging?

Domain Name – Domain names cost less than $10 per year. You need to find out your unique domain name. You can use sites like NameCheap, GoDaddy to purchase the domain name for your website.

Hosting Space – Basic shared hosting plans can cost around $3-$10 per month. You can buy your first hosting from Bluehost or Siteground which are some reliable hosting platforms for the money.

10How to Make Money from your Blog?

how-to-make-money-from-your-blog

Yes, you can make money out of your blog. Once you grow your audience and most of your audience is targeted, it is easy to make money out of your blog. Some of the ways to make money from your blog are advertising, affiliate marketing, selling subscriptions, tools, and eBooks.

11Different ways to Monetize your Blog:

different-ways-to-monetize-your-blog

To earn professionally from your blog, it will take time, effort and dedication. We would suggest you not to fall for short term benefits. Yes, you can monetize your blog but do not think of earning from it from the very first day.

Building a blog is just like building your business. Once you decide that you have to provide value to your website users,  your blog visitors will soon start to increase.

Later on, there are various monetization models which you can implement on your blog to earn and make money from it. Some of the methods include the following:

Advertising

You can implement advertisements on your website. there are various ad networks like Google Adsense, Media.Net etc which would enable you to put relevant ads on your website. Whenever a user sees/clicks on an advertisement, you will earn some money. This earning on per click basis is known as ”Cost Per Click”.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is probably one of the best ways to make your blog generate significant revenue. It includes promoting affiliate products or services. Whenever a user buys a product or avails a service using your affiliate link, you will earn a commission out of it.

Some of the best affiliate networks include Amazon Associate, CommissionJunction, ShareASale, Clickbank, etc.

Pro Tip: Always give genuine and unbiased reviews about the products. It helps you to generate more trust from your users who will eventually help you to generate more revenue from your blog in the long run.

Sell Your Products

If you have a product which is related to your blog content, you can sell it on your blog. If you think your product is of high quality, you must promote it on your blog.

You can also sell products on sites like eBay, Amazon, jvzoo.

Pro Tip: It becomes easier to sell once your users start trusting you thus, always focus on delivering true value to your users. Creating a brand name always helps when it comes to blogging.

Sell eBooks and courses

Once you start driving traffic to your blog, you can share your expertise with your audience by selling your ebooks and courses. They are a great way to generate revenue from your blog. The best part, all the revenue generated will be in your pocket. You can also enable affiliate offers and let other publishers promote your products.

Flipping Your Blog

There are many companies and people all over the web who are looking for buying sites which are developed and are already generating some revenue.

It is a great opportunity for you to flip or sell your blog once it starts generating some revenue. You can sell your sites on sites like Flippa and EmpireFlippers where you could find the potential buyers for your website.

Now that you have learned in detail about blogging and how you can monetize your blog, it is time to finally press the accelerator and set up your very first WordPress self-hosted blog.

Setting up a WordPres blog is not too technical. So if you are a 50-year-old mom or a young chap who does not know how to ride a bicycle, follow the below step-by-step instructions to set up your very first amazing WordPress blog.

12How to start a WordPress Blog?

You can start a WordPress blog in less than 30 minutes we bet. This would include the following steps:

  1. Choose a blog/domain name
  2. Choosing a Hosting
  3. Installing WordPress

Step 1: Choose a domain name

Go to a domain registrar like NameCheap or GoDaddy. Here we are showing you an example of Godaddy.
Domain-Name-Search-Godaddy

Type in your preferred domain name and click on search. If the domain name is available, well and good otherwise go for another domain name.

Step 2: Choose a hosting

We have already explained you the importance of hosting. It helps you to store your website data and lets your viewers access your website 24/7.

We would highly recommend you to go for Sitegrounds shared hosting plan. It is super affordable, fast and they have a great customer support as well.

Step: 3 Install WordPress

Installing WordPress can seem to techy for a beginner but it is not. We bet, it won’t take more than 20 minutes for you to set up your very first blog, even if you are a complete beginner.

WordPress installation is very easy. Most web hosts allow you to do the one-click installation of WordPress on your site from the cPanel itself.

There are many auto-installers built-in the cPanel. You can use Softaculous, Mojo Marketplace, QuickInstall, etc. for super quick WordPress installation.

13Steps to Install WordPress on Siteground

We highly recommend you use Siteground hosting for your first blog. It provides great service at an affordable price. Now let’s see the exact steps to install WordPress on our website.

Step 1: Go to Sitegrounds login page.

Login-to-siteground
 

Step 2: Login to your Hosting Account and click on MyAccounts

Go-to-My-Accounts
 

Step 3: Go to cPanel

go-to-cPanel
 

Step 4: Go to “AutoInstallers” and click on “WordPress”

 

Step 5: Install WordPress

Install-Now-WordPress
 

Step 6: Enter the Details

WordPress-Details

After filling in the details such as username and password, proceed further and install WordPress. It would show a message in the end like as shown in the below image.

Installation-complete

14Installing Essential WordPress Plugins

Now that you have installed WordPress, it is time to add some plugins.

WordPress offers countless options for customizing your blog through Plugins and have complete control over your website.

WordPress Plugins are the add-ons that you can install on your WordPress site within seconds. They add different functionalities to your site. For, e.g., Plugins such as Yoast SEO helps you with search engine optimization of your website.

Here is how you can install the plugins:

Step 1: Login to your WordPress Dashboard

plugin-username-password
 

Step 2: Hover to “Plugins” and click on “Add New”

Add-new-plugin
 

Step 3: Search/Upload and Activate the Plugin

Activate plugin

You need to activate the plugin after installing it. This will activate the plugin on your WordPress website.
You can also upload a plugin file from your computer system. Just click on “Upload Plugin” and add the plugin file from your desktop.

Now let’s see some important plugins that you can install on your website right away.
Here is a list of some necessary Plugins you will need to get started with.

Plugin for Spam controlling

Spamming is the dark reality of the Internet, but it should not discourage you from running a blog. You just need a good plugin like Akismet or Antispam Bee for spam protection.

Plugin for taking Backups

Frequent backups are necessary for bloggers. You cannot afford to lose your site, content, business and everything in case of a hardware failure or a malware attack. You can use plugins like My WP Backup or My WP Backup Pro to take a frequent backup of your website.

Security Plugins

You should aim to make your site as secure as possible. Plugins such as Sucuri will protect your site from Brute Force Attacks, Malware, DDoS attacks, etc. Sucuri’s firewall protection can protect your site from many potential malware, trojans, etc. Plugins such as Defender will inform you about the possible vulnerabilities of your website.

SEO Plugin

You need an SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO. This Plugin gives you tons of options to optimize your site for Search Engines. You can check your post’s readability score, use it for keyword implementation and a lot more SEO related things.

Plugins to Improve Speed

You can use plugins such as W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. It can improve your site speed.

Improving your site speed to an optimum level is important. Sites that load slowly are preferred to rank lower in the search engine listings. Caching plugins serve compressed and cached files to your visitors. It reduces the burden on the server and results into a faster website. Plugins such as WP Smush can compress your images and make your site load faster.

15Customizing your Website Design

To design your site, all you need is a good theme. WordPress website comes preinstalled with a basic theme. If you want to customize your site, you can always install a theme that suits your needs.

A WordPress Theme is a collection of predesigned templates to create a graphical interface for a website with necessary features. WordPress themes are extremely easy to install and uninstall. There are a lot of free and premium themes that you can choose from to install on your website.

Free Themes Vs Premium Themes

Free Themes

There are tons of free themes available on the WordPress.org Themes Directory. You should not install any free theme from an unreliable source. The official directory is the most reliable source. Also, check the last updated and reviews section before you install any Theme or Plugin.

Zero Cost

As free themes don’t cost you anything, you can get your site designed free of cost. Though the themes are free, they often go through strict approval tests before getting a place in the official WordPress directory. The question arises, Why Theme Developers give away their Theme for free?

No Support

Though free themes from the official directory work smoothly in most cases, in case there is a problem, you may not get support.

Limited Features

Free themes offer limited features and functionality for your website. Unlike Premium themes, you don’t get a large number of options to customize your site. Still, there are enough options to customize your site and make it look decently attractive.

Premium Theme

Premium Themes are always recommended over free themes for numerous reasons.

Tons of Features and Options

Premium themes come bundled with a lot of features and functions. Premium themes allow you to exclusively design your website in a more appealing way. You could add various customization options as well. The features range from choosing your own color combinations, typography and a lot more.

Regular Updates

Development team continually works to find any bugs and fix it in the minimum amount of time. They have an obligation towards their customers and want to keep them happy.

You would thus receive regular theme updates from the theme provider. This is necessary as WordPress keeps changing its features and comes with regular updates.

Customer Support

Premium theme developers have a support team which is responsible for answering their customer’s queries and solving their issues. You would get instant support and reply from the theme provider in case you get stuck anywhere using the respective WordPress theme.

Great Design

Free themes can never match the design of premium themes and that is a fact. This is the major reason why all good and professional looking websites run on a premium theme only. Lastly, premium themes ought to be fast, SEO ready, responsive and lightweight.

Great effort is put into creating beautiful themes. Premium themes make your site look incredibly beautiful and professional. Free theme developers can probably never afford to put so much time and effort into something they have to give away for free.

We would highly recommend you try free or premium themes from MyThemeShop. They are the premium provider of WordPress themes and plugins and have got amazing reviews from their customers. Not only that, they do provide a precise and quick support to all their customer queries.

16Publishing your First Blog Post

Publishing your first post is really simple.

WordPress-Dashboard-Login

Just log in to your WordPress dashboard.

Add-New-Post

Click on “Posts” -> “Add New“.

Add-tags-featured-image

Now write your first post, add the relevant tags, featured image.

publish-post

In the end, add the relevant category and click on “Publish” to make your post live on your blog.

Pro Tip: Preview the post before making it live in the blog. It would give you an actual idea how the post will look when it goes live. You can make the relevant changes in the post before publishing it.

Congratulations! You have successfully published your first blog post.

17Promoting your blog

Now that you are ready with your blog, it is time to show the world what you have created.

Promote your blog on your social networking profiles like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, G+, LinkedIn etc.

This will help you to drive the initial traffic to your blog and would help you to get reviews from your audience. You can further use the initial reviews to make your blog better in terms of design, engagement, and content.

Congratulations for setting up your first WordPress blog. Wasn’t that easy?

Now it’s time to be consistent and post regularly on your blog. Over the time you will see that you will soon start getting visitors to your blog and your audience would start engaging with you.

There no pro tip involved to make a successful blog. Just use your passion with dedication and keep on providing your users with valued information. You will soon see yourself on a pedestal.

We hope you enjoyed reading this detailed guide. Don’t forget to share it with your friends.

Happy Blogging 🙂

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