Wondering how to start a blog but unsure where to begin?
This guide layout everything from how much it costs to set up a blog, how to set up what to blog about, generating traffic, monetizing, and more.
Before starting, let’s cover some uncertainty you may have about blogs and blogging.
Do I need technical skills to start and manage a blog?
Starting and managing a blog does not necessarily require technical skills, but having them can make the process easier and more efficient. You can avoid paying freelancers for blog design, optimize your blog for SEO, and cover aspects that can help grow your blog.
Can I create a blog for free?
Yes, you can, but there is a catch. Free blogging platforms hold a lot of crucial features back. They do not give you complete control over your blog aspects.
Investing in a self-hosted blog service is essential if you’re serious about making money off your blog. You will sound professional, authoritative, and credible this way once you start publishing content.
How much does it cost to start a blog?
With HostPapa, you can register your domain name (blog name) for free and pay $2.95 monthly to set up your self-hosted blog.
However, if you want a more professional and appealing blog, you may need to invest in a premium theme ($30 to $200), depending on your goals and the level of customization you need.
How to make money from blogging?
There are many ways to make money out of a blog. Some popular methods are affiliate marketing, sponsored content, offering services, selling digital products like eBooks and courses, running ads, etc.
How long does it take for a beginner to start making money?
It’s important to note that making money from a blog can take time and requires consistent effort. You’ll need to build an audience and establish your blog as a trusted source of information in your niche before you can start earning an income. However, most beginners pick up momentum within one to two years.
How much does a beginner blogger earn on average?
A beginner blogger will earn between $50 to $300 monthly. These numbers can grow and are highly influenced by blog authority, relevant blog traffic, and engagement factors. So, a blogger must continue finding ways to be creative and offer value to their audience to secure their trust and eventually grow income.
Let’s dive into the actual topic – how to start a blog.
Step 1: Find the right blog niche.
A blog niche refers to a specific area of focus that a blog is centered around.
Some examples of popular blog niches include food, travel, fashion, technology, health and wellness, personal finance, and more.
Here are a few reasons why choosing a blog niche is vital:
- A niche helps you identify your blog’s target audience and tailor your content to their specific needs and interests.
- By specializing in a specific niche, you can become an authority and establish your blog as a go-to source for the audience’s problems, increasing engagement and readership.
- Search engines tend to rank blogs that are rich in topical authority.
Let’s learn how to select the right niche for your blog.
List your passion and skills
A jumping-off point for finding a blog niche is listing your skills and passions that you’re good at and enjoy doing. There are two good reasons for this:
The first reason to start with the area you’re passionate about is that building a profitable blog business takes time and financial investment. This involves investing in content marketing, SEO, and backlinks to attract a relevant audience and monetize your blog. This chore is best done as the chore of love. If not, you will soon give up.
The second reason to start with things that you’re good at is that the audience must feel that you’re authentic. It probably won’t pay off if you don’t have sound knowledge or the zeal to master your niche. A greater understanding of your target group and their needs makes you unique.
Identify Content gaps to fill
Dig into the niche you want to begin with and find if content gaps exist.
Look at your competitors’ content and see what topics they are covering. This will give you an idea of what is already out there, what content gaps exist in your niche, and how you can surpass the competition by filling those gaps.
Assess niche potential
It is essential to determine whether a blog niche has the potential to be profitable, engaging, and sustainable in the long term.
Here are three popular ways to do it:
Keyword Research – With SEMrush, you can determine the viability of a niche by entering relevant keywords and analyzing their monthly search volume. The more the search volume, the bigger the market for the niche.
Look at the trends – Using Google Trends, you can gain insights into the popularity of keywords and make an informed blog niche selection.
Competitor research – The final step in evaluating your niche is competitor analysis, which helps you understand the potential for monetization.
Identify how the competition is earning income from their blogs.
- Is it through affiliate marketing? If yes, what is the range of products you can promote? How do they incorporate those into their content?
- Is it through digital products? Are audiences purchasing eBooks, courses, webinars, and consultation services?
- Is it through advertising? If yes, what’s the revenue model? How much a blogger makes with a certain amount of traffic?
Analyzing these elements helps you build an apt content strategy.
So what's the deal about choosing a profitable blog niche? Well, the best blog niche can be spotted somewhere where your passion, audience needs, and market potential align. So take your time getting to that. Also, Read: 15 Best and Profitable Blog Niches
Step 2. decide your domain name
A domain name is a unique web address that identifies and provides access to your blog on the internet.
For example, My blog address is www.bloggingexplained.com. My friend Nikola Roza uses his blog’s full name as a domain URL.
A professional, easy-to-read, and brandable domain name helps you stand out and improve your online presence.
Step 3: Choose a web hosting service
You must be thinking about what web hosting is.
In layman’s terms, you rent space on a server to store your blog’s data. The server is connected to the internet, making your blog accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
Since you’re starting, exploring web hosting choices in the market can be overwhelming, so I recommend HostPapa. Here’s why:
- Budget-friendly and comes up with monthly plans.
- Free domain name for the first 12 months, typically saving $10-$15.
- Free SSL certificate (HTTPS).
- Easy setup wizard to start your blog in just a few clicks.
- Help 24/7 via chat, phone, or email.
- 30-day money-back policy.
Step 4: Setup your blog
Start by signing up for the plan that fits your requirement and budget.
You can choose the billing term from monthly, yearly, and 36 monthly plans. I suggest you signup for the 36 months to save up to 75%.
Check/uncheck the website addons as you need.
Register your free domain name.
Enter your billing details and make the payment via PayPal or Credit card.
Congratulations! You’re about to be a blogger.
HostPapa should email you new hosting credentials. Your web hosting dashboard might look like below one:
Click on the “MycPanel,” and it will take you to your Control Panel.
In cPanel, click “WordPress Manager by Softaculous” under the Software section.
WordPress is a popular Content Management System (CMS) for operating a blog. With WordPress, you can control your blog in terms of design, content creation, functionality, and monetization - all without requiring any technical expertise. The ease of use is one of the greatest advantages of using WordPress for blogging.
Choose a template or design your blog from scratch using the tools provided by WordPress.
Step 5: Design Your Brand New WordPress Blog
When the installation is complete, you can use the admin URL to log in to your WordPress dashboard. It usually looks like https://yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
After you log in, it will take you to your WordPress dashboard, where you can run and manage your blog operations. It might look something like this:
1) Five Initial essential WordPress settings to do
WordPress has a default configuration, and you need to tune some settings before calling your blog ‘ready.’
The following settings are simple and can be done in 10-15 minutes, so don’t get cold feet.
1. Reset your admin password: Weak and default passwords can make your blog vulnerable. So create a hard-to-crack password and lock it safe.
You can reset your admin password by accessing your profile from the dashboard’s top-right area. And then, scroll down to the Account Management section, as shown in the image below.
2. Configure general settings – You will need to navigate to Settings –> General to do so.
- Site title: Change the default title from “My WordPress Site” to your blog name.
- Tagline: By default, it is “Just Another WordPress Website.” It should be such that it resembles your blog.
- Membership: Uncheck to avoid spammers.
- New user default role: Subscriber.
- Timezone: Set it up as per your regional time.
3. Delete dummy content – A “hello world” dummy content will be created on your page and post sections by default upon WordPress installation. It may look as shown in the image below:
Although it does not harm you, delete it to make your blog more professional.
4. Set permalink structure – Permalink refers to the default URL structure of your blog posts. In WordPress, by default, the blog post’s URL structure is www.yoursitename.com/?p=123, which is not communicative.
To make it right, visit settings–>permalinks, select “post name” structure and save it.
5. Moderate comments – Don’t allow spammers to enter your blog with junk comments. You must approve the comments before they go live on your blog. Here’s how you set such moderation:
Visit settings–>discussion–> Check the “comment must be manually approved” option and save.
2) Creating pages and posts
The next step is to learn to create essential pages like ‘Home,’ ‘About,’ and ‘Contact’ for your blog. Remember, the exact process works for blog posts too.
To add a new page to your WordPress website, click Add New under Pages.
You will see the WordPress editor with blocks. Each block has controls, like adding a new paragraph/heading/visual/list/quote/table/colors/button, etc., and can be accessed with the ‘+’ icon.
Next, add the page title content, set the custom permalink for the page, upload a featured image that resembles your page, and preview the page to check if everything seems fine. If yes, hit the publish button.
Once you have published the page, you will see an acknowledgment that the new page is live and ready to view. You can edit and update options whenever you want to modify page/post information.
3) WordPress plugins
WordPress plugins can be used for various purposes, such as adding new features, changing the appeal of your site, or adding new functionality without sinking your teeth into coding.
There are many different types of plugins available for WordPress users. Some plugins are free, and others have a cost associated with them.
I recommend reading the 20 Best WordPress Plugins for New Bloggers guide I created to learn which plugins help your blog the most.
4) Customizing blog design
If you are ever dissatisfied with the appearance of your blog, you can switch to a different theme and personalize it in the way you want.
While WordPress has thousands of free and paid WordPress themes available on its repository and third-party websites, I personally like the Kadence theme. It is vibrant, simple, lightweight, and SEO-ready and comes in free and premium versions.
You can access the theme repository from Appearance–>Themes from your dashboard. Once you install your favorite theme, you can start customizing it from Appearance –>Customize.
Most themes can be customized using the Theme Customizer, which allows you to change colors, fonts, backgrounds, and other design elements.
Step 6: Write and publish the first blog post
If you’ve started a personal blog, your first blog post is a great opportunity to introduce yourself and share your experiences and blogging aspirations. This is a chance to go beyond the information you’ve shared on your “About” page, allowing your audience to better understand who you are and connect.
If you’ve started a niche blog, you better belt up from day one. Think of a core topic from your niche you’re good at and publish it.
Remember, your first blog post is essential, but that’s not all. Don’t aim for perfection; it will only cause stress and lead to inaction. Instead, start, and thrive on being better.
Here are some ways to find inspiration to write your first blog post:
- Write a pillar blog post.
- Steal content ideas from competitors.
- Use SEMrush.
- Use Quora to find questions (topics) from the target audience.
Must read: 20 Best Blog Writing Tips for Beginners
Content creation tips
With 8m+ articles published online daily, it’s hard to stand out with mediocre content. So take your time and ensure high-quality in your blog posts.
When I say quality blog content, here are some of its qualities:
- Leverage SEO
- Target a single purpose
- Speaks to your target group
- and brims with your personality
If you ever need help in content creation for your blog, please consider hiring me as – Freelance content writer. My rates are affordable, and I can significantly impact your overall blog’s success.
5 Blogging Tips for Beginners
1. Define your target audience: Identifying and targeting the ideal audience helps you effectively write and engage with your most valuable readers. For example, I blog about "blogging for beginners," and my ideal readers are beginners who want to clear the path toward building successful blogs. 2. Add value: Provide actionable, original, and authentic information that addresses your readers. This is the only way to attract and build a connection with your readers. Write in a conversational tone as if speaking directly to your audience. I learned this after blogging for years and building a loyal community. 3. Infuse your personality: People stopped reading and encouraging blogs that run faceless. To distinguish yourself in a saturated market, infusing your personality into your writing is important. This can be achieved by writing in a conversational style, incorporating personal experiences and views into your content, and allowing your unique voice to shine through. 4. Publish actionable content: Producing content that appeals to humans and ranks well on search engines is essential to build a thriving blog business. The best way to make it happen is by understanding keyword intent and delivering information that resonates with humans and robots. In other words, your ability to write compelling content that gets people to action is the key. Leverage Grammarly to improve your writing by detecting and correcting grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style mistakes. It also suggests word choice, sentence structure, and tone to write more effectively. It has a free extension you can use, and if you want to go pro, a discount for Grammarly Premium is available. 5. Implement SEO: Implementing SEO can allow you to position your blog posts to the audience's search queries, ultimately driving more organic traffic and generating revenue. If you're not on page 1 for your target keywords, you need to be because your competition is already there winning. Focus big on publishing high-quality content and building backlinks - that's 90% job done to rule SERPs.
Final note – How to Start a Blog
As a beginner, it is important to understand that building a successful blog takes time. Still, with patience, persistence, and smart work, you can establish yourself as an authority and achieve your blogging goals.
Keep learning and evolving. SSHhhh, that’s my little secret!
Whew! I guess that’s all about how to start a blog. Drop me a line if you have any questions.
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