HOW TO START A BLOG
WHY SHOULD YOU EVEN LISTEN TO ME?
I am not the first person to tell you how to start a blog and make money blogging. There are billions of other bloggers doing the same thing.
After blogging for a year I realized that you need to have a direction for where you want your blog to be. It is just like having a business with its MISSION and VISION clear from the very first.
Yes, many bloggers claim to earn 1000-2000$ within a 1-year launch BUT I am not that lucky.
Having no blogging goals and not knowing what the next steps should be will lead your blog nowhere.
So with this experience, I thought to write the post about the essential things you should care about if you want to create your own blog and earn online lucratively.
6 Steps to Start a Professional or Money-Making Blog.
STEP 1: DECIDE YOUR NICHE
This should be the first step before you set up everything or anything. There is no point to think about a successful blog business if you aren’t sure what to write about.
O You have a business and want a blog for that? Good. Go Ahead. Here you are already sure about the topic. But you cannot just write anything day in & day out about your business.
Your blog should be something that can provide value to the readers.
If you want to start a blog just to have your flexible work timing and to earn your living from it, just like me, then you need to know the niches which actually make money.
Yes, there are several bloggers who would say Go after your passion, but I would slightly differ here. I would say “You need to have a certain amount of interest in whatever topic you choose to write.”
Why am I saying this?
Because once you choose a topic then you would be writing everything about it on a daily basis. So if you hate your blogging niche then your readers would get that hint in your voice of writing and ultimately would leave your site in no time.
Choose a niche that you enjoy. Not necessary it’s your passion.
If you are SUPER CONFUSED with your blogging niche then check 7 blog niches to earn money.
The end objective is to make your blog an authority blog for that topic.
STEP 2: CHOOSE YOUR BLOGGING PLATFORM
WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms. That does not mean that your site also has to be on WordPress. There are several other blogging platforms like Squarespace, Tumblr, Wix, Joomla, Weebly, and others.
It is my personal choice to use WordPress as it is highly customizable and free and there are plenty of plugins to ease our work.
DO NOT get confused between wordpress.com and wordpress.org.
WordPress.com is a basic blog hosting service offered for free by Automattic (Company that created WordPress).
- You have to additionally purchase a custom domain name (Or else your blog will have www.domainname.wordpress.com as a suffix)
- Cannot use too many useful plugins
- Will not be able to run advertisements on site (So, no ad monetization)
- Less customizable
- WordPress may delete your site anytime if they feel you are violating their regulations.
Many bloggers start with wordpress.com and often shift to wordpress.org because of its limitations.
So here comes WordPress.org to the rescue.
WordPress.org is also free but it requires a hosting provider. (Coming to it later).
- It is fully customizable and gives you control over every aspect of your website.
- You can choose from thousands of beautiful themes or can use premium themes.
- Use as many plugins as you want.
- You can make an online store site, membership site, or any type of site you like.
- Most importantly it is SEARCH ENGINE friendly.
WordPress.org may require a bit of a learning curve, though there are thousands of free online tutorials to support you. The one-step solution for WordPress problems that I found is WPbeginner.
Next, I would like to speak a bit about Squarespace. This was another platform that I was thinking of considering. But WordPress won me over.
With Squarespace, you can create beautiful websites using its drag-and-drop feature.
If you do not want to indulge much in the tech part then Squarespace offers simple and easy features for beginners with mesmerizing professionally designed templates.
It also offers domain name SSL and HTTPS.
But the problem is for the personal plan limits you only to 20 pages and 2 contributors and you are also limited in using a few services and tools.
The personal plan starts at 16$ a month (12$ paid annually) and 26$ for a Business plan (18$ paid annually).
So to reduce expenses people also migrate from Squarespace to WordPress.
You should check the other blogging platforms as well before you start blogging.
STEP 3: CHOOSING A DOMAIN NAME
This will be the most confusing part of your blogging. Even after settling down with a domain name you will feel, I should have bought this or that.
Trust me, the domain name does not matter SO MUCH as you are thinking. Yes, it is a business name that is hard to change later as you will have your brand associated with that particular domain name. But you can come up with anything cool and build your brand and blog with that particular name.
If your domain is already taken then spend some time thinking of combining a few words which can best describe your site.
There are a number of sites that will give you domain name availability suggestions. Even without logging in you can check GoDaddy’s domain name search for free. It will give you some suggestions based on your keywords.
You can even get a domain name for under 1$ from NameCheap.
In fact, many web host providers already give you a free domain along with their annual subscription like Bluehost or GoDaddy.
.com, .co, or Something Else?
.com is the most popular one as it is the primitive TLD. TLD stands for the top-level domain which means it will be displayed in the URL.
I always prefer to choose .com as people are familiar to see it. The other TLDs feel like they are less important. Though the other TLDs are also becoming popular day by day.
Earlier Google search somewhat used to prefer .com (I felt), but nowadays the other TLDs are also coming up in searches. So if you really want to take a domain name, the TLDs should not matter much.
STEP 4: FIND A WEBHOST
It is another difficult task.
Different people have different opinions about which web host is the best one.
When you are just starting with your blog then you may not require many resources but as you grow, you will need more bandwidth and other flexibility and that is where choosing a hosting service suitable for your blog type comes into question.
Earlier I was with GoDaddy’s hosting service provider but later on, switched to site ground. Siteground provides amazing customer service.
I preferred SiteGround as they provide a free SSL certificate. This means you will have HTTPS:// before your domain name and Google loves that and also makes it more searchable. (BETTER SEO).
Another strong option is the WP engine. You may not know it but this is a dedicated web hosting to WordPress. WPengine is the best which can happen to your WordPress site.
Though it is a bit pricey so I prefer sticking to siteground which is good for every aspect of my blog.
Another popular and cheaper option is Bluehost. This is also a decent shared web hosting provider.
STEP 5: INSTALL WORDPRESS & CHOOSE A THEME
Most of the hosting companies provide some easy WordPress installation.
Whatever hosting companies you decide on, whether site ground, Bluehost or GoDaddy, or any other, you can always find youtube tutorials or posts about installing WordPress.
The next step is to choose your theme.
Once again you will be confused.
I would say at first publish a post. Then choose a theme.
It will give you a clearer picture of how your posts going to look.
You can definitely change the theme later but changing themes more often is not suggested as it will break your entire site structure and every time you will have to put things in place.
There are thousands of free themes which you can install in WordPress.
Just go to WordPress dashboard> appearance> themes
You can check Elegant themes.
It offers some premium and beautiful themes. The perks of having any premium theme are that you will get customer support and also support to set up your theme.
STEP 6: START BLOGGING
Now you are all set.
Just start blog writing. Put all your enthusiasm and love into your blog posts. Your readers should be able to know you by your posts. (It is the first step to Branding).
Write at least 15 posts before you start marketing your blog. For marketing, you can use Facebook, Pinterest, or any other social media at your comfort.
Do you think I missed out on SEO for marketing? Definitely, it is there but since SEO takes time to show results so it is better to use any social media platform at first.
I absolutely love Pinterest. You can get enough free tutorials about marketing free blog posts with Pinterest. There are several Pinterest courses too. I loved Carly’s Pinteresting Strategies.