So, you want to know How to start a Blog? Great!
If you have made a firm determination of starting a blog, believe me, you have taken one of the finest decisions in your life.
I will walk you through step by step guide to start a successful blog. No technical experience required! It won’t take more than 20 minutes to start a blog.
Why do you want to start a blog?
You may want to make money with blogging, or you just have to pursue your hobby of writing.
You may want to generate more traffic & leads for your business, or you just want to be an influencer in your niche.
No matter what is the reason, this guide will help you to make your blog up & running.
If money is the motivation behind your blogging start, I would love to share monthly income of a few bloggers. Once your blog becomes ready, you will learn different ways to make money blogging.
I have taken the income figures from the income reports from the respective sites.
An Indian blogger Harsh Agarwal of ShoutMeLoud is making more than $30,000 a month. He makes most of the income from Affiliate Marketing & runs a few other sites along with ShoutMeLoud.
Matthew Woodward is making more than $20,000 a month. He also earns most of the income from Affiliate Marketing & runs an SEO Agency.
One of the famous bloggers Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome is making more than $130,000 a month. He also earns most of the income from Affiliate Marketing & Online Course Selling.
He also runs several niche sites & podcast player software.
Would you like to earn such a handsome income by being your own boss?
It is so hard to make such a huge money, but it is POSSIBLE. You should have qualities like passion, patience, hardworking ability, etc.Follow your passion & love it, The money will come eventually.Click To Tweet
I have created this guide especially for the beginners, so it includes a lot of screenshots which will be helpful.
I always buy a hosting account in every three months to check out screenshot changes and update them accordingly.
Follow my step by step advice and start your journey of blogging.
Starting a blog is very simple. It involves seven easy steps to start your blog successfully.
- Decide the topic
- Choose a blogging platform
- Find available domain name
- Buy a web hosting
- Install WordPress
- Configure SSL Certificate
- Design your blog
A topic is the base of your blog.
You have to choose the topic which makes you happy while writing about it. Do not decide the topic for the sake of being popular or because it has a high earning potential unless you are interested in that topic.
If your blog’s topic is too broad, you will end up in competing with other blogs & If it is too specific, you will not have that much information/knowledge to write a blog post.
So, decide your blog’s topic carefully.
Steps to choose the best blog topic:
I have created a two-step process to help you to decide the best topic for your blog.
In the first step, you have to write as many ideas as you can & later finalize the best topic out of those ideas.
Put everything coming out of your mind on paper or in a note taking app.
- Ask questions below & come up with some killer blog ideas:
- What are things in which I have knowledge?
- Which things can I teach others?
- What is the one thing I could do without resting in my life?
- How do I spend my free time?
- What are things I love to learn & read?
- What are my hobbies?
These questions will help you to brainstorm blogging ideas.
You might have ended up with the huge list of ideas. So How to finalize the topic?
- Ask these four questions:
- Am I interested in this topic?
- Am I expert in this topic? If not, Should I have a desire to get expertise?
- Is this blog topic popular?
- Would people buy the products & services relevant to this topic?
If your answers to these question are positive, then you have chosen the right topic. If you don’t know the popularity of the topic, use Google Trends to see the popularity of topic over time.
Most of the people choose the niche in which they have earned professionalism so that they could offer services. It will also help them to establish authority.
The blogging platform is a system which is used to create, publish & manage the blog posts, therefore, it is also called as Content Management System (CMS).
There are plenty of CMS in the market.
- Weebly etc.
But WordPress beats them all in popularity & usage. It is a most popular content management system (CMS).
It powers over 28% of the internet & has over 59% of a market share.
The WordPress CMS is an open source platform. Therefore, it is free to use. But you need a server (which is not free) to host your website on WordPress platform.
I highly recommend using WordPress to create your blog.
A domain name is your website address. For example, mine is dmarketer.com
We are using Bluehost Hosting Service to register a domain name & host a blog. If you had already bought a domain from any other domain name provider, skip this step.
Here are few tips on choosing a domain name:
- Choose .com over other domain extensions. It is very popular domain extension & people remember it easily.
- It should be memorable & catchy.
- Keep it short, Do not add hyphens, numbers or complex characters.
- It should be easy to say & spell.
- The domain name should convey some meaning which would be related to your blog niche.
Use the tool below to find your expected domain name. I have created this tool especially for you. It will show you whether a domain is available or not.
If you are not able to see the tool, you can access it from here.
If your expected domain name is available, you are lucky. If it isn’t, search until you get the right domain name.
You will receive a free domain name (for one year) with Bluehost hosting.
So, you found a domain name which is available or you already had it from another domain registrar then its time to buy a web hosting.
A web host provides a server which will make your site accessible all over the internet. It means anyone can access your site by entering the website address in the browser.
Let’s buy a web hosting.
I recommend Bluehost web hosting for all newbie bloggers. It is inexpensive & easy to use hosting provider in the market.
Visit https://www.bluehost.com (link will open in a new window).
Now, Click on “get started now” green colored button.
In this step, you have to choose an appropriate plan.
I would recommend selecting either plus or prime plan because of great features such as unlimited websites, unlimited email accounts & storage & spam experts.
If you are on a tight budget, choose a basic plan. You have the freedom to upgrade your plan at any time.
Now, Move on to the next step.
Here, you will see two boxes. If you found a domain name which is available for registration, enter it in the left side box. Choose a domain extension (.com, .net, .org, etc.) carefully.
If you already had a domain from another registrar enter it in the right side box. Click on the next button and move on to the next step.
In this step, you have to enter account information such as your name, address, email, etc. You will receive email verification mail after the creation of your account.
Kindly enter your working email address to avoid further problems.
Now, scroll down & you will see package information section.
A Bluehost hosting doesn’t contain only domain & hosting. It provides a lot of add-on services & you have to configure them in this section.
First of all, select the account plan billing term. Bluehost charges you for one, two, three or five years at a time but the price is very fair if you consider per month cost.
You don’t need any add-on services at this time, so disable all options except Domain Privacy Protection.
You should enable Domain Privacy Protection option depending upon your choice. Anyone can use whois registry tool to check personal information such as name, email address, phone number, etc.
If you don’t want to expose your information then simply enable Domain Privacy Protection option otherwise de-select it.
Check the total amount before making payment. Scroll down, and you will see payment information.
Enter your credit card information, agree to the terms & conditions & click on submit. You can also use Paypal to make payment, click on “more payment options”.
After successful payment, you will be redirected to the cross-sale page.
Bluehost may try to sell more related services (Cross-Sell in marketing term), but you don’t need to buy any extra services at this initial stage so click on “no thanks” link.
(The image you see here may vary completely from the ones you see on your screen because Bluehost cross-sells different services. )
On the next screen, Click on the “create your password” button & set up your password.
Enter the strong password or click on “Suggest Password”. Copy the suggested password and keep it safe & never share it with anyone.
You can use service like LastPass to manage your passwords.
Click on the “next” button & Bluehost will create a brand new hosting account for you.
After a few seconds, you’ll see below screen.
Click on the “log in” button, and you will be presented with your awesome web hosting dashboard:
In the future, you can use this link to log into your Bluehost account.
Meanwhile, you will receive account activation email. Click on the “Verify Your Email” button to activate your account.
I have already discussed why I recommend WordPress blogging platform.
So let’s install the WordPress:
In your Bluehost dashboard, find out the website section & click on the “Install WordPress” icon.
On the next screen, Click on the “Continue Installation” green button.
(You may or may not see this screen.)
On the next screen choose your preferred domain.
You have two options (Domain Structure):
- Domain without www: yourdomain.com
- Domain with www: www.yourdomain.com
I recommend using yourdomain.com
Keep the Directory option blank. You also have the option to add two plugins Contact Form & OptinMonster plugin.
The WordPress plugins are used to extend the functionality of your website.
But, at this initial stage, you don’t need any plugins so uncheck plugin installation options & click on the “Next button”.
If you get any content warning as shown in an image below, just tick the checkbox.
Again, Click on the “Next” button.
In this step, you have to fill out WordPress admin information. This information will be used to do log into your WordPress site.
Enter your website title, username (do not use “admin” or any other common name), email address and password (It should be strong enough), agree with the terms & click on the “Next” button.
Bluehost will install WordPress for you. You will get a confirmation email from Mojo.
Now, Anyone can see your website by entering the website address in the browser.
You can log into your WordPress site by going to this URL: http://yourwebsite.com/wp-admin/ (replace yourwebsite.com with your domain)
Enter your email address & password then hit “Log In” button.
You will see a dashboard where you can create & publish blog posts, change themes, install plugins & update any setting of your site.
Important: What if you are using domain from another registrar?
You won’t be able to access your website. Yes!
This thing happens because your Bluehost hosting account is not connected with the domain from your current registrar.
To connect your hosting with the domain, you have to update Bluehost name server details into your domain registrar.
If you don’t know how to do this, contact your domain registrar to help you out.
Name Servers are:
(This user interface may vary depending on your domain registrar)
One more important thing to note here, If you are migrating a website from your old hosting, after updating name servers, your site visitors will able to see the new website.
So, properly set up a website at Bluehost & then update the name servers. Till then, you can use temporary URL sent by Mojo in their welcome email.
Do some required WordPress Customizations
Once you have access to your WordPress dashboard, do some required customizations.
Change Permalink Structure:
Permalinks are nothing but the URLs of your blog post. Go to Setting–>Permalinks from your dashboard & click on “Post name” radio button.
If “Post name” option is already set, then no need to do anything here.
This setting makes your blog post URLs SEO friendly.
Change or Remove Tagline:
Tagline appears below the title of your website. You can either change it or delete it completely.
Go to Setting–>General and change or delete the tagline.
Uncheck “Search Engine Visibility” option:
If “Search Engine Visibility” option is checked, then search engines may not index your website articles/pages.
Go to Setting–>Reading. Uncheck the”Search Engine Visibility” option. If the checkbox was already unchecked, then leave it as it is.
SSL certificate makes your website secure. Search engines may give ranking bump if you are using SSL certificate for your website.
So, I strongly recommend using SSL certificate for your website.
Bluehost has already installed SSL certificate for three months. Later, you will be charged $4.17 per month.
If it seems costly, you can buy SSL certificate from other vendors at low price & install it for your domain. Check out this post for more information.
SSL installed HTTPS websites get a green padlock in the browser’s address bar. You can access your secure website by entering HTTPS URL in the browser.
Even if Bluehost has installed SSL for your domain, your website is not HTTPS SEO optimized (Search Engine Optimization for Secure Websites).
You should take necessary steps to avoid SEO problems in the future. Below are two necessary steps to make your website HTTPS optimized.
You have to change your WordPress Address & Site Address from HTTP to HTTPS.
Go to Setting of your WordPress dashboard and change both the WordPress and Site Address to HTTPS.
After making this change, You may need to again login to your WordPress dashboard.
Your website is accessible using both HTTP & HTTPS protocols. Search engines will treat it as four duplicate copies of one website.
And Google will penalize your website for having duplicate contents.
The simple solution to avoid this tragedy is to redirect all requests to only one version of your HTTPS site. In our case it is https://yourwebsite.com
Replace “yourwebsite.com” with your domain.
Go to your Bluehost account dashboard and find “files” section & click on “File Manager”
A pop-up box will open, Select the domain & click on the checkbox with option “Show hidden files.” It will open a file manager.
- Click on the “public_html” from the left panel.
- Select “.htaccess” file from right section.
- Click on “Edit” option from the toolbar.
Paste the copied code at the top of the file. Don’t forget to replace “yourwebsite.com” with your domain. Click on the “Save” button from top-right corner.
Check if your website is properly redirecting all requests to HTTPS by entering the HTTP URL in the browser. If it isn’t working, remove the code & contact Bluehost support.
In the WordPress platform, you can design your blog in three ways:
If you want to use a free theme from WordPress marketplace, go to your website dashboard. Click on Appearance–>Add New
You can also browse the themes from different categories like Featured, Popular, Latest & Favorites.
Featured Filter can be used to filter the themes according to Layout, Subject & Features.
Once you found a theme of your choice, hover the mouse on the theme and click on the “Install” button. You can also see a theme preview before installation.
After successful installation of a theme, click on the “Activate” button and check your website by entering the site address in the browser.
You can also search for free WordPress theme on Google.
Please note that most of the free themes are neither SEO optimized nor Secure. Sometimes a free theme vendor blocks an important feature & asks you to buy a paid version of it.
So, I wouldn’t recommend using free themes.
You should buy a WordPress theme from the top-quality vendors.
I prefer using themes developed with Genesis Framework.
It is the robust and yet simple framework developed by StudioPress. It speeds up the development by reducing theme development time.
7 Reasons to use Genesis Theme Framework:
- It is SEO Optimized & Google friendly. It is built on great SEO standards.
- You can update your website without losing customizations.
- It delivers responsive designs.
- It is developed & backed by dedicated team of developers, so it is always up to date.
- A lot of plugins available to extend its functionality.
- It makes the site more extensible, faster & secure.
- It provides required core structured data for every element of your blog.
Please note that Genesis Child Theme requires Genesis Framework. So you should buy Genesis framework first.
If you bought Genesis Framework, you could buy Genesis Child themes from below sites:
If you don’t want to spend money on Genesis Framework & theme, you should consider sites given below.
The themes provided by these sites don’t require Genesis Framework:
If you are not a developer, I would recommend hiring WordPress theme developer from Codeable, but it is an expensive option.
How to Make Money Blogging
There are different ways to make money blogging. Below is the list of ten best ways to earn income using your blog:
- Use Google Adsense
- Sell Advertisement Space
- Start Affiliate Marketing
- Sell E-Books
- Sell Online Video Course
- Offer Coaching/Consulting
- Offer different Services
- Receive Sponsorships
- Sell Physical Product
- Sell Software & Mobile Apps
You can easily create your blog in a less than 20 minutes, but it requires a lot of hard work & patience to make money with your blog.
Your blog should generate enough traffic to earn a decent income.
Do not rely on one strategy to monetize your blog, use more than one strategies effectively & try to figure out which strategy is giving you more returns.
Google Adsense is a publisher network of Google. It is Pay Per Click (PPC) system; it means you will get paid when someone clicks on your ad.
You have to place the ad on your blog. Mostly, Bloggers put the ads on the sidebar and header to generate more clicks.
Ads are displayed to your website visitor & when a site visitor clicks on the ad, you will get money in your Adsense account.
Later you can withdraw that money from Adsense to your bank account.
A major problem with ad networks like Adsense is an increasing use of Adblocking Extension in the browser. Ad blocking extensions prevent ads from displaying to the visitors.
According to PageFair, 615 million devices are using Adblock extension & 11% of the global internet population is blocking ad on the web:
So I don’t recommend using Google Adsense but if you want to give it a try follow this guide from ShoutMeLoud.
You can also use media.net as Google Adsense alternative.
Once your website starts to receive high traffic, you can sell an ad space. It is one type of a Native Advertising.
26% more consumers were measured to look at native ad placements more than standard banners.
You can sell your ad space depending upon four factors:
Impressions are nothing but the views. You can set ad space cost per 1000 impressions also known as CPM (Cost Per Milli).
You can charge advertiser on per click basis. This method is also known as CPC (Cost Per Click).
When your website visitors purchase the product of the advertiser, you will receive some percentage of commission out of the cost of the product. This method is also known as CPA (Cost Per Action).
This tactic is a very straightforward. You can place the ad for specific days and charge the advertiser based on the number of days ad was placed.
So, How can you set this CPM, CPC, or CPA prices?
One simple trick is to approach the website which has a similar niche and asks the site owner How much will you charge If I want to place an ad on your site & Why?
Most of the time you’ll get this information on their advertising page.
Once you figured out a way to sell ad space, create Advertising page using your WordPress dashboard & include all possible information in it.
You may need WordPress plugin to manage ad space. Check out some ad management plugins here.
BuySellAds.com is also a great platform to sell ad space, but Adblock Extension will block the ads placed via this site.
Here are few tips on selling ad space:
- Place appropriate & relevant ads.
- Define some rules for placing the ads.
- Don’t place the ads from untrusted advertisers. If possible, use the product before placing ads.
- Place the ads which are not from your competitors.
- While naming the ad banners, do not add words like “ad,” “advertise,” “advertising,” “advertisement” etc. Otherwise, adblocker extensions will block the ads.
- Do not add a lot of ad spaces.
Affiliate marketing is, by far, the most effective way of making money. Pat Flynn generates over $80,000 per month income using affiliate marketing.
It is the process of promoting third-party products to earn the commission out of each sale.
You have to find out the product that fits in your niche and beneficial to your audience. Most bloggers recommend the product they have already used & had good experience with it.
You can use below websites to find out the product. Visit them & signup as an affiliate marketer.
Search for the products that your audience would love to buy:
If you found any suitable product, apply to it to become Affiliate Partner. If your site gets approved, you will get a unique affiliate link to promote the product.
You can promote that product by creating product review or tutorial post. You should include affiliate link of the product in your posts.
Whenever your website visitors buy a product via your affiliate link, you will get a commission.
Over 80% brands utilize affiliate marketing to drive sales.
If you want to check whether your favorite product is offering the affiliate program or not, you should check their header and footer links for an affiliate page.
One more important thing to note is you should cloak your affiliate links using the plugins like ThirstyAffiliates.
E-Books are present in the form of a downloadable digital document.
Find out the major & frequent problem your target audience is facing & create the E-Book to solve that problem.
Create enticing, practical & high-quality content. Give a great title. Add images, charts & format it properly.
Hire the proofreader which could find grammatical mistakes and correct it for you. Design a great E-Book cover that attracts visitors attention and increases appetite to learn more about it.
You can hire proofreader and designer from UpWork.
Once your E-Book is ready to sell, create a page which describes Why you should buy the E-Book. Write a compelling & storytelling copy that attracts visitors.
You can hire a developer to create payment page that integrates with Stripe or Paypal.
If you don’t want to hire a developer for payment integration, you can use Gumroad which makes selling digital goods very easy.
Here are some features of Gumroad:
When you add an E-Book into Gumroad, you will get a unique URL. You have to add this URL into your E-Book explanation page.
There are a lot of bloggers who are making thousands of dollars by selling video courses. Melyssa Griffin earns six figure income by selling online video courses:
Making video course requires some initial investment to buy different types of equipment like Video Cam, Mic, Video Editing Software, etc. but it gives a higher return on investments later.
You should come up with the solid idea which solves the problem of your target audience & should have a higher level of expertise in chosen topic.
You can use a video camera like Canon EOS 70d to produce videos.
You can hire a person for Video Editing or use the Final Cut Pro by Apple to edit the videos yourself.
Create the structure/outline of your entire course and shoot the videos. At the first place, you might think you are not doing it well, but you should believe in yourself.
I suggest using any of these three video course hosting services:
You will get a unique link after hosting your video course on these platforms. You can add that link to your video course explanation page.
A coaching & consulting both have a high ticket price. So, It is possible to earn huge income with these business models.
First, you have to create interesting & engaging contents on your blog. It will increase the trust of the prospects, and they will attract to you rather than your competitors.
You can start coaching and consulting in any niche like health & fitness, dating, relationships, finance, business, digital marketing, etc. Of course, it depends on your blog niche.
Life coaching is the most popular type of coaching. In the online marketing space, SEO consultant could earn huge amount of money.
Bret J. Fox offers to coach for Startup CEOs. He creates a lot of high-value contents that matters to the CEOs who are jus starting up.
Bret charges $797 per month to $6,997 per month for his coaching services.
Even if coaching & consulting business is similar in nature, but they have a lot of difference. You will find the differences here.
Here are few coaching and consulting tips:
- Define the common goal points for a client. When you start coaching or consulting, you will be aware of common problem your client is facing.
- Motivate the clients to reach their goals. If you are consulting you should also provide technical help.
- Help your clients to overcome challenges. Define the solutions for their every problem.
- Talk to the clients with extra care. They are paying you a huge amount of money, so you shouldn’t disappoint them. Change their negative perception towards the challenges they face into a positive attitude.
You could offer different services to your audience.
If you have marketing blog like me, you should offer SEO, Link Building, Content Creation, etc. services. If you are running designer blog, you could offer services like Logo Designing, Blog Template Design, Website Design, etc.
53 million people are doing freelance work in the US.
You should also collect the leads directly on your website by making the pages of services you offer.
The client you have earned because of your website keeps more trust on you as compared to the clients from freelancer platforms.
Show your expertise in your niche by creating the high-value contents & provide the services to your audience.
You can get sponsorship for writing a blog post or product review, making a podcast, sending a newsletter, etc.
Blog Post Sponsorships:
You can write a sponsored blog post or review & make a good amount of money in a single shot.
There are a few websites where you can find the advertisers who are interested in providing sponsorship:
Signup to these sites & become an influencer.
You should also add Blog Post/Review Sponsorship section in your Advertise page.
Podcasts are extremely popular these days. Productive people utilize their free time to listen to the valuable podcasts.
You could start the podcast for your audience in your niche. Podcast sponsorships will pay you based on CPM, CPA or flat rate.
Pat Flynn generates over $25,000 per month with podcast sponsorships:
Read this post from LifeHacker on starting the podcast.
Curated Links Newsletter Sponsorships:
I have subscribed to the curated links newsletters which are making money with sponsorship.
Usually, they send newsletter weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis & get a sponsorship depending upon subscriber count of a newsletter.
They send an email containing a few links collected over the internet which could be valuable to the subscribers. The email contains the link to the advertiser’s website.
You can start curated links newsletter in your niche using a GetRevue platform. It is one of the low-cost content curation platforms.
Like digital products, you can also sell the physical products using your blog. Physical products will take more time and money.
It takes series of actions such as manufacturing or finding the products, Storing, Packaging, and Shipping.
You could easily set up your shop online with the services like Shopify or Etsy. Shopify is most popular and widely used service to create your E-Commerce store.
First, you have to find out the what type of products your audience wants to buy? Once you know the need of your audience, then create the product yourself or outsource it.
You can use private label the products and sell it on your website.
If you are running Fitness blog, then you can sell bodybuilding supplements. If you are running kids blog, then you can sell toys.
Once you made a sale, you have to package the product and ship it to the customers. You could also use fulfillment services to ship the products.
Selling software or apps require very high level of expertise. You could create your software or resell another vendor’s software.
If you want to create your software or app, then you should know How to hire better people, product management, version control, feature deployment, etc.
Pay Flynn has created SmartPodcastPlayer software for Podcast hosters. He is making over $20,000 per month by selling this software:
If you are in Productivity niche, you could create a Time Management App. If you are in SEO niche, then you could create a software which analyzes SEO problems of your audience website.
Starting a blog is an easy process. You just have to find out the right niche, good domain & best web hosting.
If you want to make a living with your blog, you should create the high-value content which solves the problems of your audience & should promote those contents and build backlinks to it.
This way you will start receiving organic traffic to your website.
If you don’t know SEO or any online marketing concepts then growing your blog will require a lot of time & patience.Creating a Blog, Driving Traffic, Making Money is very easy. It only requires Patience & Hard work.Click To Tweet
Which money-making tactics will you use on your blog? Which is the most important thing you learned after reading this post?
Thanks in advance for sharing this article.