How to start your own blog. Step by step tutorial for beginners.
This is a comprehensive guide on how to start your own blog, promote and monetize it! Learn how to start your own blog and make money from your passion.
Why You Should Start your own Blog…..
- Blogging offers you a creative outlet. You get to share your talent, skills or expertise with your readers.
- Blogging is a huge confidence boost. If like me you are a shy and definitely prefer being behind scene, your confidence and self assuredness grows as you put more of yourself out there.
- Your blog could become your main income or a passive income earner. Nothing better than earning an income from something you are passionate about.
- A lot of successful blogs started out with the intention of helping others. If you have found a solution to a problem you had as a parent of young children, chances are other parents are going through the same thing and would benefit from your insights.
- Putting out content on consistent basis will improve your organisational skills, research skills, goal and writing skills.
Ready to start your own blog?
Start Your Own Blog and Earn Money in 12 Basic Steps
- Find a Niche For Your Blog.
- Set The Main Goals For Your Blog.
- Choose Your Domain Name.
- Get Web Hosting.
- Install WordPress.
- Configure SEO and permalink Settings.
- Choose WordPress Theme.
- Install Plugins.
- Customise Your Blog.
- Start Blog Posting
- Promote Your Blog Content.
- Monetise Your Blog.
1. Choose The Right Niche For Your Blog
You need to ask yourself a few questions and carry out some research before finally deciding on the perfect niche for your blog.
It is very important to do due diligence beforehand to save you time and money.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Niche For Your Blog.
- Passion : Are you passionate about it or you only seeing the dollar sign? If the passion or interest isn’t there, the likelihood of quitting is very high.
- Audience : When you start to publish quality content, will there an audience for it? Will readers in that niche be interested in your offering especially if they are currently getting it elsewhere.
- Profit : Although, many blog as a hobby but we all want to earn passive income or even full time income from blogging. It makes sense to consider the monetisation options that a particular niche has to offer. Monetisation options range from ad placements, sponsored posts to affiliate marketing related to that niche.
- Competition : Is the niche saturated with bloggers writing about the same topics you are hoping to write about? You will have to work extra hard to build an audience when competition is very high.
Follow These Tips When Choosing A Niche
- Take that niche you are passionate about and ask these questions ; “Will my content help solve a problem? Will my content be similar to what is already out there?” Come up with ways to be different in your chosen niche.
- Take a piece of paper and come up with 10 content ideas on the spot making sure to address the questions in step 1. This should confirm that you are indeed passionate about the niche you have chosen.
- Do market research on the size of the audience. Try a simple google trend search on your topic. You can figure out if people’s interest have increased or waned over a period.
- Do market research on competition. Use keyword Planner, familiarise yourself with keywords your competition currently rank for to give ideas for keywords to target. You should factor in average monthly searches and level of competition whether high or low.
- Do market research on profitability. Read up on bloggers in your niche on how they monetise their blog, find out the kind of sponsors you can work or if your content is appropriate for ad networks like Adsense or Mediavine. Furthermore, some monetisation methods like affiliate marketing may not suit your type of blog. For example if you have a review blog for products that can be purchased on Amazon, customers may just go directly to Amazon to read the reviews on the site rather than read your’s. Ensure monetisation methods are appropriate for your blog.
2. Set The Main Goals For Your Blog.
Consistency is key to growing your blog and in order to do that you need to set goals. Long term and short term goals, daily, weekly and monthly goals.
As a new blogger, it is especially important to set goals because there is so much to do and it can be overwhelming. This way you won’t lack direction or even forget what needs to be done.
Your blogging goals need to SMART ie clear and lacking in delusion. You should be able to see it on visual board or excel spreadsheet and immediately understand what to do and how it should be done.
How To Set SMART Goals For Your Blog.
- Specific. Your goal should be specific and not ambiguous. For example, “I will add content to my blog” is not specific. ” I will post recipes to my blog” is specific.
- Measurable. You should be able to correctly track your progress. ie I will post four recipes on blog every week.
- Attainable. Make sure your goals are achievable. Maybe four recipes a week might be ambitious for you at this stage as beginner. Perhaps, two recipes a week is feasible.
- Relevant. Ensure the goals you are setting is relevant to your niche. If you are a food blogger posting vegan friendly recipes, stick to that niche.
- Timely. Set a time in which the goal has to be completed. This keeps you motivated to stay on track to complete the goal.
Tips to make goal setting easier for bloggers
- Write down your goals both long term and short term then apply the SMART formula to decide which ones to set
- Have a content ideas vault. It sounds grand but it needn’t be. It could be a simple note book or your notes app on the iPhone. When an idea pops into your head, you simply write out down so you don’t forget.
- Arrange content ideas into categories. For example a food blogger may put “Turkey stuffing” under Christmas recipes. For effectiveness, the goal may be set to publish the recipe weeks ahead before christmas.
3. Pick A Domain Name
The domain name is your address on the internet. This is how users will find you on the web so try and make it unique.
You probably already have an idea of what your domain name will be but you don’t want to run into trouble by not doing your due diligence first.
Carry out these checks before purchasing your domain name.
Do a quick google search to make sure another website doesn’t have a similar domain. I once bought the domain aldermis.com without doing a check and turned out aldermis.co.uk is already in use.
Doing a simple check helps prevent possible trademark issues which may result in a cease and desist long after you have set up your blog.
Very Useful Tips For Choosing Your Domain Name
- Keep it simple and go with the obvious. If your brand name is H Bracket, why not go with www.hbracket.com. Make sure it is easy to spell and pronounce.
- Avoid hyphens, numbers or any character on the keyboard that isn’t a letter. Remember to still keep it simple so you can be found easily on the web.
- Use keywords when choosing your domain. If you repair iPhones, let it be obvious in your domain name. ie www.iphonerepairs.com
- If your domain name of choice is taken, try synonyms. Using the above example, if iphonerepairs.com is gone try www.iphonefixers.com
- Use an applicable domain extension. They are the suffixes at the end of a web address ie .com or .org. You should go for the .com if you can as they are the most popular of all websites on the net. If you can’t find the domain name you want on the .com extension or if your site is niche specific, consider .co or .biz for e-commerce sites, .org for non profit organisations, .info for informational websites.
Try Bluehost’s Domain Checker to see if your domain name of choice is available
You get a FREE domain name when you get web hosting with BLUEHOST
Found your perfect domain name? Great! Let’s get hosting..
4. Get Web Hosting
A website and a web host go together like a house on land. To make your website visible to everyone, you will need a good web hosting service.
The host keeps all the site files and ensure users have access when they click on the web address.
Questions To Ask When Choosing A Web Host
- Price: Is the low price an introductory offer? Is it always that low? If so, will they be able to provide quality and reliable hosting?
- Security: Is your website data safe with the host? Will they provide free SSL certificate and other security features?
- Technical support: If and when you need technical help, how prompt is the response? Are there multiple ways of getting support ie by telephone, email, instant messaging etc
- Email feature: Can you create multiple professional sounding business email addresses from your domain name?
- Ease of use: Is the user interface user friendly even for someone not very tech savvy ?
- Back up of data: Do they provide back up of your website? In the event that web data is lost from your end, you will be able to restore it.
- Reputation: What do other users of their web hosting service say about them?
Bluehost and Siteground are the two very popular web hosts that i have used. I currently use Siteground.
They both have all they essential features required of good web hosts, however just one or two features might be the decider for you
Bluehost Vs Siteground (Decider)
- Bluehost and Siteground lets you back up your website daily. This available on all Siteground plans but only available on Choice Plus and Pro Plans.
- You can request on demand copies of your back up on site ground whereas this is not available on any Bluehost’s plans.
- Bluehost gives a FREE domain name when you sign up for hosting. Siteground doesn’t offer this as a perk
- If you already a have a website and you want to switch to a new provider, Siteground offers free web transfer on its Growbig and Go Geek plans. This is perfect if you don’t have the technical skills and you don’t want to risk losing your website data.
Click the button shown below to start the process
Select your hosting plan
Choose the choice plus plan to take full advantage of the daily site back up and domain privacy + protection. The domain privacy hides your personal contact information from the WHOIS database (A database that allows you to find the owner of a website)
Get Your Free Domain Name
Remember the domain name you checked earlier for availability? Enter it in the first box that says “create a new domain”. You have now received your free domain name.
If you have not decided on a domain name just yet, click on ” I’ll create my domain later“
Create Your Bluehost Account
Enter your name, address, email address and phone number. You will receive your login credentials as well as receipt for payment and any correspondence from Bluehost.
Or you can skip all that and just sign in using your google account.
Choose Your Hosting Package
You have a 12 months, 24 months or 36 months package for any plan chosen. I recommend choosing the 24 months or 36 months package because the price is locked in for that duration. However, a 12 month package is still value for money.
Note: Although, it shows price per month, annual upfront payment of hosting is typical of most providers.
Complete Your Purchase
Skip all the extras and enter your payment information. Agree to the terms and conditions and click submit.
Hooray! You have just purchased web hosting for your blog.
An equally great alternative is Siteground
The only alternative i can recommend simply because i have used them is Siteground. While you will have to buy your own domain either with them or elsewhere, the advantage they have over Bluehost is the Free site transfer if you are moving from another host.
Also you can make on demand copies of your website backup.
5. Install WordPress
Now that you have your domain name and web hosting, let’s set up install wordpress and do some basic configurations.
When you completed your web host purchase, you will receive payment confirmation which will include your bluehost account information. Make sure to change the password from the link provided.
Once logged in, answer a few questions and let Bluehost do the installation for you. Choose the type of site whether a blog or e-commerce site, the type of website it is and if it is a personal or Business website
Enter the name of the website, the tagline and e-commerce functionality.
Choose from a range of Free and Premium themes that would suit your site. Your theme is basically the look and functionality on the front end and backend of your website.
I recommend free themes if you are starting out. There are a lot of excellent themes that comes at no cost.
If you want to change to another free theme, simply go to Appearance – Themes – Add New Themes
WordPress Themes For Niches.
You may decide to go all out from the start and pay for premium themes. This is especially appropriate if your niche or the theme of focus requires certain features that free premiums don’t have.
Here are some themes that cater to and has all the elements required to make your website or blog functional.
Find the Perfect Theme For Your Blog at themeforest.com
The following are just recommendations for themes based on the Blog Niche
Lifestyle niches may include Health and Beauty, Nutrition, Fashion, Travel, Fitness and more. You want a multipurpose theme that is flexible, easy to use and easy on the eye for your users. These type of themes usually suit any niche.
A food blog requires a theme that will showcase food recipes and articles making them the focus. Best practices that factor in SEO friendliness, Mobile friendliness and other technical stuffs are programmed into the themes so you don’t have to. You especially want a theme that will not cause conflict with recipe plugins.
You need a theme that not only has product review features but also allows the product review elements to easily fit into your blog posts.
Community and Membership Blogs
Interaction and user generated content is usually a focus blogs in this niche. Users will have profiles and they will be able to post content on your site thus building a community. Think of it as your own version of facebook but with the ability restrict or allow certain privileges.
Blogs in creative niches may include painting, crafts, photography, graphic design etc. You want a theme that allows you to showcase your work, promote and sell your work.
7. Configure Blog Settings
Theme installed! Let’s configure some important settings for your blog.
Change the default site URL: After a fresh wordpress installation, you are likely to see your url showing https://mysitename.com instead of https://www.mysitename.com. To make that change go to Settings > General .
In the wordpress address (URL) and site address (URL), type in ‘www.’ after the forward slashes and save.
You have the option of setting your homepage static page where you can do all sorts ranging from selling a product to displaying a gallery. There is also the simple option of setting the homepage to display all your latest blog posts.
As a beginner blogger, with fairly little content, it is best that you set your homepage to display your latest posts.
8. Install Essential WordPress Plugins
When starting out, you don’t want to be overwhelmed with putting out technical fires especially as you may still be familiarising yourself with the wordpress interface.
So as a beginner blogger, these plugins are very essential for the smooth running of your blog.
- Yoast SEO: It helps you to optimise your blog post for google and guides you by suggesting with overall SEO good practice to ensure google ranking of your content.
- Contact Forms: No beating about the bush with this one. As it’s name suggests, you can create as many forms as you want for users to contact you. It is a light plugin and doesnt slow down your site
- Akismet anti-spam: It holds comments and contact form messages that are likely spam and prevents your site from publishing spammy or malicious content. Practical ways to stop bots and spam comments explains why you need to be on top of your game when it comes to protecting your site.
- Sassy Social Share: This is a free plugin that enables your users to your post on social networks, apps and even email.
- Updatedraft Plus: Probably the best plugin for backing up your website just in case you lose the content of your site. It offers the capability to automatically or manually backup your site.
- W3 Total Cache: Installing this plugin improves reduces load times and speeds up up your site which is sends good SEO signals to google.
- Short Pixels: This is an image optimiser which compresses images on your site without compromising on image quality. This results in good user experience and good search ranking from google.
9. Customise Your Blog
You have come this far laying the foundations of your blog. It is time add your essence to it. Let prospective leads or followers know what your blog is about and in fact who it is for.
You will need to add or customise the following on your blog
When writing your about page, you need to consider the following factors when writing your About page.
Will my offering be adding value to readers? If you are adding value, you are more likely to have users return to your site for more. That is the first step in developing a following.
Who is your blog for? “This blog is dedicated to finding and providing useful resources for new veterans”. Veterans reading will immediately feel a sense of community and you instantly grab their attention. Be intentional about this part of your About page.
Personal Bio. Write a bit about yourself especially how it relate to your blog and the content you will be offering. You are more likely to be seen as an authority if you have had and solved a problem your reader currently have.
Identify your readers. Know your audience so you know how to write for them. Are they teenagers or young adult? If so, an informal writing tone is just fine. If they are older, professional and the niche of your blog calls for it, you might need to strike a more professional tone in your writing.
Add information about yourself that would make readers connect with you. If you blog about parenting, tell of how you solved the problem of your child’s difficult bed time routine. This is a scenario parents are familiar with and this relatability connects you with your readers
Finally, add a Call to Action to your About page. Your call to action to could be a subscription to your email list with an opt-in freebie. ie “Looking for ways to entertain the kids this winter? Subscribe to our regular content and you will receive ….. “
Delete the menus that came with the installation of the theme and create your own. You may keep it simple or elaborate based on your content.
Use hierarchical menus to arrange pages and categories for enable user friendliness and accessibility to your content.
To create or adjust menus, go to Appearance < Menu.
Design Blog Appearance
Choose the colour theme and typography of your blog. You can customise the colour of text as well as the fonts used on your blog. Customise the colour, size, font, image sizes etc. Design the blog to show the essence of your blog.
Create a contact page where users or prospective collaborators can contact you.
I recommend WPForms. It has more than enough free basic features and is easy to set up. Create a simple contact form and add the short code to the contact page and you are good to go.