You ever wondered how to start a blog and make more then enough money to quit your job?
If you want to learn how to start a blog like a business owner and not a hobbyist, you’ve come to the right place.
You can do it. Tons of new bloggers already have. With a large numbers of bloggers out-there, a lot of people think that it’s too saturated to make money blogging.
This guide for beginners will cover launch your blog with WordPress, how to pick the right niche for your blog, generate organic traffic, and monetize your blog in the fastest timeframe possible: all while working full-time.
It is also very particular and different from other articles you’ll find when you Google “how to start a blog.”
So, yes. Blocks of text and few images can generate life-changing amounts of money. This guide gonna shows you how to avoid the same mistakes I did. Not only will your path be easier, you’ll get there a lot quicker and effective.
In this article i will provide you with content you won’t find anywhere else, including:
- Why you need to pick your own name as your domain name.
- Why you only gonna need to write two types of blog posts to make money.
- Why you will need to focus less on writing and more on link building.
- How you can build a profitable blog without writing at all.
Table of Contents
How to Start a Blog the Best Easy Steps.
The first step to starting a blog is to get started with Bluehost the best web hosting service for WordPress. Get started (60% off your hosting plan).
We all know that your blog needs a niche: whether or not it is marketing, cooking, crossfit exercises, vegan dogsitting and whatever crazy blog topic, there are an endless amount of things to blog about.
Most professional bloggers gonna tell you to start with something that you are passionate about because it helps you (maintain a consistent writing schedule and push through failure to succeed.)
They will also tell you to choose a niche at the intersection of passion, experience and skills:
This blogging model is flawed because it is missing one major component: monetization. I decisively believe that with a blog, money drives passion more than passion drives money. And that’s why most blogs fail.
Some bloggers don’t know how to transition from blogger to business owner.
Then they mention: “blogging is just a hobby” and give up on their dreams. So we are going to flip the script and learn how to start a blog like a business from day one.
To do that, we have to choose the ideal blog niche, right? Not at first. The odds of choosing the perfect niche when you are just starting as a novice blogger are infinitesimally small.
Here’s why you need to choose your own name as your domain name:
- You gonna give yourself the freedom to pivot.
- You can test fresh new content ideas and choose your niche over time.
- Bloggers make money by selling information. People buy from people. The authenticity sells.
- You build solid and real influence on a platform that you own.
- Your blog turn into a digital resume, a launching off point, a blog that builds professional experience and leverage.
Choose your name and move on.
1. Audience Revenue Potential.
When you are starting a new blog, the most frequent question is: “What should my blog niche be?” The main access key is to find the range area that you really understand and solve this challenges for your audience.
You not only need to solve a pain point challenges, you need to solve a pain point challenges that an audience is willing to spend money on.
As a blogger, you need to understand your audience’s pain point deeply so that you can offer them exactly what they need. And the best place to start with is by looking at yourself.
Do I Enjoy Learning About This Topic?
If you don’t enjoy and love the topic, it will show in your writing. You shouldn’t even start a blog if you don’t love what you are blogging about.
Whatever topic you pick, you need to really love it, and naturally curious about it. If not, you will run out of ideas very quickly. Most importantly, you won’t be able to constantly create content that will build your audience.
If you are still lost, think about what your friends and family come to you for when seeking advice? It might be recipes, fitness, or relationship advice. You gonna know best.
Just try and ask yourself, “What audiences am I a part of?” and you are far more suitable to understand a specific groups struggles if you have encountered them yourself.
Take my blog, for example: I created this blog as a means to an end, a way to make passive income, escape my 8 to 5 and take back control of my time and my life.
My target audience are people similar to me:
- 25-45 years old.
- Working 8 to 5 but want to escape the daily grind.
- Ready to shove and put in the work.
- Skilled, smart and technically savvy.
- People who want to make passive income from blogging.
Understanding your audience is the very first step. The second (and equally important) step is to understand how much your audience is pleased to spend to solve their pain points.
This is your future audience revenue potential. This consent repeating: you need to understand your audience and how much they are pleased to spend on your (blog) solution.
For instance, let’s say you are planning to start a blog about job tips and human resources for Millennials. Your blog posts may capture different types of readers, including working professionals, job seekers, and college students.
To monetize your blog for this niche, let’s say you create a sales funnel:
- You write new unique content to attract an audience online.
- Then, you gonna build a “job interview checklist” lead magnet to generate email opt-ins.
- You start to place affiliate links to some products you want to promote.
- Lastly, you offer a $100 product titled “The Complete Job Interview Preparation Online Course.”
Nothing is wrong with this approach. This influence to be a common approach for most novice bloggers. If you were to put in a few years of unique content creation and building up your email list, I estimate you could start making your first passive income in 2-3 years.
By lightly altering your potential niche, you absolutely increase your blog income potential. All you have to do is change your target audience from job seekers to job employers.
Let me clarify: By adding a B2B component to your blog, you gonna shift your audience from individuals to businesses. Businesses have larger bank accounts and are very probable to pay you without hesitation.
The great thing about this approach is that your blog launch content, and marketing funnel are quite much the same. Anyway, with the B2B component, you don’t just stop at a $100 course. You can simply add the final component of 5-figure online consulting.
Considerably than writing a blog post on entry-level interview tips, start to position yourself as an expert and then go after the businesses themselves by offering something like HR audits or onboarding consulting for thousands of dollars/month.
When you're just starting blogging and your traffic is hard to come by, offering consulting services is a good way to generate extra income with less traffic.
It is very simple math: If your new blog has 100 visitors with 2% conversion rate, your two sales should be for thousands, not $19.99.
Rather then focusing on adding ads and affiliate links to your blog when you have very little traffic at the beginning, see if you can come to light with an exclusive consulting offer to build momentum and make money right out of the gate.
Remember, just understanding your audience’s challenges pain points isn’t enough.
To boost your revenue a portion of your audience needs to be in a lucrative business niche and pay on a monthly basis. These extra new funds will be used to accelerate your path to passive income, but we will leave it at that for now.
Let’s move onto something I am very passionate about, affiliate marketing.
2. Your Niche Needs Affiliate Marketing Potential.
Affiliate marketing is my preferred form of blog monetization. It’s the most passive and once you just start getting traffic, you can make money while you sleep.
Affiliate marketing is the act of recommending services and products of other businesses and making a commission on every sale.
Most companies they have affiliate programs you can join. Once you apply and are approved into their affiliate program, you can get your unique affiliate marketing links to add to your blog, view reporting on clicks and sales, and see any future payouts you’re scheduled to receive.
Here are a few steps to get started with affiliate marketing:
- Apply to a company’s affiliate marketing program either on their site or in an affiliate network. For this, you’ll need a blog or website and an email address from your domain: not just a Yahoo or Gmail email.
- Once approved, you gonna get your unique affiliate link and the just copy/paste it into any piece of text on your blog.
When a user clicks that unique link, a cookie is stored in their computer, which credits the sale to you based on the cookie duration – generally 30, 60, or 90 days.
Just now, when you think of the word blogging, what comes to mind?
- Perhaps it’s lifestyle blogs writing about what they’ve been purchasing for their family lately.
- Or a fitness blogger that’s giving you great advice on how to lose weight.
- It could be an interesting person writing their personal memoirs.
I want you to forget about these kind of blogs.
They may be very interesting to read, but they aren’t the niches that will bring you the most revenue.
Rather, consider this simple formula.
- To make money blogging, you need affiliate income.
- To make affiliate income, you need to rank on search engines and get organic traffic.
- To get organic traffic, you gonna need to rank for keywords that drive the most affiliate revenue.
So what are these keywords?
The answer: keywords with the word “best” in them.
Here are a few examples:
- In finance, it could be the best credit cards, best home insurance or best auto loans.
- In tech, the keywords could be the best laptop of 2020, best Mac accessories or best VR headsets.
- In marketing, it could be the best email marketing software, best website builders or best web hosting.
- In travel, keywords could include the best coworking spaces or best travel insurance.
These “best” keywords are searched by real people looking for product reviews.
They want to read a blog with detailed content on the “best” something before making a purchase (and they aren’t ready to go right to a company’s website and buy something yet.)
Think about it.
If you’re searching for a new notebook, you might type in “best notebook of 2021.”
Google this term now and look at the top 10 results.
Every website in the top 10 results is an affiliate. Notice how there are no actual companies selling notebooks. There’s no Walmart, Best Buy, HP or Dell – only just affiliates recommending notebooks.
Now try Googling “best credit cards.” What do you see?
Again, every single top 10 result is an affiliate site. Why do these affiliate blog's outrank brands selling the products?
They write long-form, detailed review articles that search engines (and readers) prefer.
Literally, 49% of consumers depend on influencer reviews and recommendations. You will begin to realize is that most profitable blogs are, in fact, review blogs making affiliate commissions from list posts.
And honesty, these recommendations are primarily based on how much money the affiliate site is making from their top recommendations – not the actual quality of the product itself.
Once you understand this when you learn how to start a blog, you’ll begin to see affiliate blogs everywhere.
So just now when you think of blogging and planning your blog niche, replicate sites like these:
- Finance: WalletHub, CardRatings, NerdWallet, Fool.com.
- Tech: Wire Cutter, CNET, Tom’s Guide, Techradar.
- Travel: Expert Vagabond, Nomadic Matt, The Points Guy.
- Business: FinancesOnline, The Balance SMB, FitSmallBusiness.
I think that the most profitable blog niches right now for new blogs are marketing, business, finance, tech and travel. But there are plenty of other options.
We’ll get to keyword research later, but you must know that your blog's should have affiliate marketing revenue potential.
Let’s dive in to the next weapon in your blogging arsenal – your professional leverage.
3. Use Your Professional Leverage.
After we bring to light a lucrative audience to provide value to, the next step of learning how to start a blog is uncovering your the best strategic advantages.
Just ask yourself:
- What is now my current level of professional experience?
- What connections do I have in my own industry?
- Can I leverage this experience into a productive and profitable blog?
- If I could point any website in the world to contribute a guest post, who would choose me from the start?
To build a genuinely successful blog, you first need to build influence. And to build influence, you gonna need to step out of your comfort zone and leverage your connections, professional experience, and everything at your disposal like you never done before.
With a new blog, you’ll also have to perform a lot of outreach to make new connections. This includes building valuable relationships so you can guest post on authoritative blogs in your niche to get relevant, high Domain Authority (DA) backlinks.
And when you’re just starting your new blog, you may not have many connections or published content out there. You might gonna say to yourself: “Why would anyone feature me?”
This is where leveraging your professional background helps enormously.
For instance, if you’re a photographer, you might have contacts from local meet-up groups, a base of clients, and even know photography influencers that you met in the past. If you can leverage these contacts in the next future, you can accelerate the growth of your blog.
Use without any exception the advantage you have at your disposal. These advantages gonna help you to build for your blog the early momentum with guest posts, backlinks, and social shares.
Now let’s dive in to the final (and the most important) factor in choosing your blog niche.
4. Keyword Research.
For me, the keyword research is the most important step when choosing your blog’s niche. It’s really simple. The people are searching for things you want to write about?
Every single blog post needs to focus on one target keyword. And if no one is searching for this keyword, you’ll never get traffic.
It’s a certainty – You gonna need to have a basic understanding of keyword research and search engine optimization (SEO) so that your blog can rank and get traffic.
Why the people are online six and a half hours a day?
People are searching on Google 63,000 times every second. That’s 3.8 million searches/minute, 228 million searches/hour, and 5.6 billion searches/day.
Also, the organic traffic from search engines is way more valuable than social media traffic. Instead than aimlessly browsing the web, people perform searches to discover solutions to their problems.
- Monthly search volume: how many times an individual keyword is searched for in a given month.
- Keyword difficulty: on a scale from 0 to 100, how difficult is it to rank for that individual keyword based on the competition.
- The average cost per click (CPC): this is how much the keyword value is worth if you were to create a PPC ad for it and pay for the click. It’s a indicator of the keyword’s value.
So what keywords do you look for? You want to find the keywords with high volume and low competition.
Here’s how we gonna rate these competitive metrics.
Monthly Search Volume:
- 0-1,000: Low
- 1,000-5,000: Low/Medium
- 5,000-20,000: Medium
- 20,000-100,000: High
- 100,000+: Very High
- 0-20: Low
- 21-50: Medium
- 51-75: High
- 76+: Very High
On my blog, there are two main types of keywords I target when it comes to SEO: high-volume to high competition and medium volume and low competition.
1. Revenue Drivers: Medium Volume, Low Competition, High CPC Keywords
The first individual keywords new blogs should search for are medium volume, low competition keywords.
Using Ahrefs Also Rank for Report, you can view keywords that the blog top-ranking pages for your target keyword also rank for in the top 100 search results. This allows you to find less obvious keywords that you can also include in your blog post’s copy and subheadings.
The key to finding relevant keywords from this report to use for your site is to search with more specific queries.
For instance, rather then “email marketing services” instead of “marketing” or rather then “cooking,” use “vegan recipes”
How to find this sort of keyword for your blog:
Use a SEO tool like Ahrefs and filter the results. Set the keyword monthly search volume filter to a minimum of 1,000 and the keyword difficulty filter to a maximum of 50.
For what these keywords are good for:
These type of keywords should make up the bulk of your blog posts and be the main revenue-drivers for your blog. The key is to find a good amount of long-tail individual keywords with medium volume and low competition in your niche.
If these keywords are preceded by terms like “best” and “how to” you’re good on your way to finding a profitable niche and solving a pain point.
2. Blog Builders: High-Volume and Medium-High Competition
The second kind of keywords that I target are super high-volume terms that aren’t as very easy to monetize but can bring in a lot of traffic.
For instance, take my blog post How to Make Money Online.
- Target keyword: how to make money online
- Monthly search volume: 103,000
- Keyword difficulty: 55
- Average CPC: $2.00
With high search volume and all of the potential keyword variations, ranking in the top 5 positions for this term could bring in 30,000-65,000 visitors per month.
With the keyword how to make money online, this end user could be interested in anything from starting an online business to podcasting or coupon clipping – we just don’t know yet.
So that’s why it’s regular CPC is $2.00 – it’s complex and harder to monetize. Anyway, this type of keyword can pull in lots of traffic and get readers to click your other higher-revenue blog posts.
How to find this sort of keyword for your blog:
Use an SEO tool alike Ahrefs and filter the results. Set the monthly volume filter to a minimum of 20,000 and the keyword difficulty filter to a maximum of 75.
What these keywords are good for:
These type of keywords should make up 5 to 10 pillar blog posts that you put a lot of time and effort into. While these high volume sort of keywords won’t generate immediate revenue, they bring in a lot of traffic to your blog and can increase the size of your email list.
3. Summing Up: Keyword Research
A blog needs a good mix of both high volume keywords and high intent keywords. This entire strategy comes into play when you are planning your blog’s first five posts.
For instance, a few blog posts should be large how-to guides with high search volume to bring in readers. And a few other posts should be low search volume to high intent keywords that can be monetized.
Here are some of the SEO tools you can use for your keyword research:
Wrapping Up: Picking Your Blog Niche.
Your niche needs audience revenue potential, affiliate marketing, professional leverage, and keyword research.
The blog niche selection above is longer than most other guides on how to start a blog because early planning is one of the most important keys to blogging success.
Let’s start to build your new blog.
2. Write Down Your Blog’s Goals.
Everyone knows the famous and acclaimed quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “A goal without a great plan is just a simple wish.”
This is true when start to build a new blog. After choosing your blog niche, you need a way to keep track of everything — not just your to-dos and unique content ideas, but also your goals, ideas, and motivations.
The key solution during this stage is not to overcomplicate things. When I start to build this blog, I kept track of everything in one document.
Your Blog’s Goals.
It’s about time to think big and start to write down what you want to accomplish with your blog in the short and long term. These must be your SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
Here are some examples when you start planning your blog:
- Write and publish my first five blog posts of 2,000+ words.
- Complete my About Me page.
- Publish five guest posts.
- Get 1,000 blog site visitors/month.
- Get 250 people in my email list.
- Obtain 100 backlinks.
Your Blog Profile.
In your planning document, you gonna need a place to keep track of your aimless ideas and selling points to direct in on your messaging over time.
Sections here may include:
- Your very unique value proposition.
- Your new blog’s headline and sub-headline.
- What is the problem you solve?
- Your blog’s “elevator pitch”: in 1 to 2 sentences, how would you simply explain your blog to a stranger?
- Your optimal customer personas.
- What are the main categories for your new blog?
- Future unique content ideas with the target keywords and search volume.
- Your blog post categories.
That’s it. The key solution is to make this a living document and update however you see fit.
To plan a new blog, set some simple goals, and write things down to better focus on your blog’s message, and understand who your audience is.
Just remember, when learning how to start a blog, you need to plan your blog niche and goals like a business from day one.
Why Are You Starting a Blog?
Your goals need to tie up to your why. We all start blogs for different and many reasons: to make money online, to build a professional, to create an audience around an individual topic we’re passionate about and unique resume, to enhance our writing skills – the list is unlimited.
But it goes much deeper than that.
For instance, if you want to learn how to start a blog to make money online, it could be for any number of different reasons:
- The accomplishment to increase your nest egg for retirement.
- The start dreaming of quitting your full-time job and saying goodbye to the 8 to 5 grind.
- Spending more time with your friends and family.
- Saving for an extra special vacation every year.
Go far deep into your individual “why statement” to understand not only your goals but also what accomplishing your goals will mean for your life. Me personally, I always dreamed of making enough money to avoid the corporate rat race. I extrem dreaded the thought of:
- Being frightened awake to an alarm every morning.
- Driving to work stuck in bumper-to-bumper horribly traffic.
- Being bossed around by a mini micro-manager boss.
Eventually, I was scared of spending 40 hours a week doing something I didn’t really like.
So the first reason I started blogging was time freedom. My second reason was to prove that extra something to myself – to live up to my very own expectations of what my life could be and avoid the mediocrity at any cost.
This personal survey proved to me that to build a successful and profitable blog, you need a complete approach that starts with three main disciplines: blog niche selection, content marketing, and monetization.
Let’s dive in to the next step in setting up your blog.
Ready to launch your blog with Bluehost?
3. Pick a Domain Name.
Choose a name for your new blog
Now for the fun part: naming your blog. This is your brand. Itis how people will remember you. But do not overthink it. The magic of a new brand gets built over time. Even if you feel stuck, keep moving forward.
The best way for a new blog it is to land on the perfect name is to start with brainstorming. In the last step, we talked about unleashing all of your ideas and nailing down your blog niche.
Now, it’s time to take those ideas and turn them into a name for your blog. Just so, open up a new spreadsheet or grab a pen and paper. Then spend about 10 minutes writing down every single word that comes to mind.
From there on, start combining words and phrases until something stands out to you for your new blog. Aim for 5 to 10 potential names and write them down.
Now, it’s time to see if those chosen names are available as domains. A domain name is where your blog lives on the internet.
Precendently, I took way too much time on this step. I comb GoDaddy for weeks trying to find the perfect catchy, niche-specific, short, memorable .com domain.
Try your potential names until an domain option you like is available. If none of your potential names are available as a .com, head back to the beginning and keep brainstorming.
It might take some time and effort to find the perfect name and domain name for your blog, but it’s worth it.
Here are some few tips for choosing an excellent domain name:
- Always choose a domain with “.com ” when possible
- Avoid using numbers, hyphens, and homophones (words that sounds the same but are spelled very differently)
- Keep it as concise and short as possible
- Should be very easy to say and understand
- Avoid complicated and commonly misspelled words
While this step is very important, it is probably not as important as you think. In the old days, it was possible to get exact-match keyword domain names like my domain startupam.com to help your search rankings.
Today, it is much more difficult. While common advice is to “niche down” and choose an specific name, I recommend you choose a blog name that is broad enough to allow you to pivot if necessary.
If your focus is too narrow and suddenly you lose passion for your niche or run out of topic ideas, you’re stuck with your new domain.
Even so, if you broaden your focus a little bit, you can expand your content and have enough fluidity to maintain consistency, avoid quitting, and better promote your blog for the long haul.
In the past, I tried starting online businesses and chose the very specific names. When I didn’t see immediate success, I got discouraged and thought, “Well, maybe this niche isn’t for me. I should quit and try something else.”
Here is what you could do instead: choose a broader name and worry about being specific in your blog posts and pages.
Here are some other things you need to consider before picking a name for your blog.
1. The Price of the Domain.
You have to buy your blog’s domain name from a domain registrar company. It should cost you about $10/year. If you get started with Bluehost web hosting, you get a free domain name for the first year.
Get started with Bluehost and get 60% off your hosting plan.
2. Should You Use Your Name as a Domain Name?
Today's blogs are living, breathing documents. They need to be given the freedom to adapt, pivot, and change over time.
Personal brand domains for a blog are the smartest choice and give you the power to pivot. If one sub-niche doesn’t work for your blog, you can pivot your content and adapt your blog to what is working.
Think about it. The #1 struggle new bloggers face is choosing their blog niche. Hands down – it is not even close. But what are the odds of a total novice choosing the perfect niche and making it work? Very slim.
3. Domain Extensions.
Domains come with different extensions: .com, .us, .guru, .sport, .com, etc.
- .us stands for the United States, .guru is used for coaching blogs, and .sport is used for sports blogs.
- .com is the top-level domain that is more inclusive and mostly favored by search engines.
Here is how internet users perceive some of the top-level domains in terms of trustworthiness, on a scale of 1 to 5:
Here are some other aspects to consider when choosing a domain name:
- Your blog domain name should not be too difficult and complex to type. It should be memorable and aligned with your brand. That is why a “.com” extensions are the best option.
- Do not confuse people with difficult spelling, so keep the domain name easy to spell and pronounce.
- Avoid using numbers and hyphens in your domain name as it can confuse people.
- Try to incorporate a keyword that matching perfectly and best represents your blog, if possible. It’s not as important to have a keyword in your blog name for SEO, but it might help users identify your blog niche right away.
Check out the tools mentioned in this article to generate your own domain – 27 Best Name Generators.
If your preferred domain name for your new blog isn’t available, most of the tools mentioned in the article above will provide alternate suggestions.
4. Choose a Blog Hosting Provider and Register Your Domain.
Now it is time to get your new blog live. It may seem complicated at first look, but do not worry. It is much easier than it sounds.
To get started, you gonna need web hosting (where your blog lives) and a domain name (your blog address). The good news is that Bluehost, my favorite web hosting provider, offers both as a package deal.
The performance of your new blog relies heavily on your hosting provider, so you should choose the best web hosting you can. A good hosting platform keeps your blog up and running without interruption, provides security, and integrates with WordPress. You should choose a web hosting platform that is reliable and comes at an affordable price.
At this stage, your best web hosting option is a simple shared hosting plan. I recommend Bluehost as the easiest web hosting option when learning how to start a blog.
Plus, it has some great features:
- 99% server uptime
- High-end security measures
- High-speed servers
- An easy-to-use dashboard that comes in handy for a novice
- Numerous hosting options to choose from
- 24/7 customer support
- Free SSL certificate
- Easy cPanel dashboard
- 1-click WordPress Installation
- Recommended by WordPress as the host of choice
- Low introductory pricing
- Money-back guarantee
You can also head to my detailed review here: Bluehost Reviews 2021
Next, we will register your domain name and choose a web hosting platform to launch your blog.
Follow this step-by-step guide to register your own domain along with your web hosting plan:
Step #1: Visit bluehost.com.
It is incredibly affordable. Your domain name is free for the first year. So, go head over now to Bluehost.com and click “Get Started Now.”
Step #2: Choose Your Web Hosting Plan.
On the next page, you will see 4 shared hosting plans.
Next, you will see 3 different plans, these plans include Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro. Scroll down and select the Basic Plan. It includes everything you gonna need when you are just getting started.
You can always upgrade later your web hosting plan if you need to. So, for now, select the just the Basic Plan.
For a step up, the Choice Plus Plan offers the Domain Privacy, which will help you protect your information and guard all your confidential details, including full name, email address, residential address, and phone number.
Step #3: Enter Your Domain Name.
So, you have already selected your domain name. Now, after you choose your web hosting plan, you will be directed to a new page where you will be asked to enter your custom name.
Next, either sign in using your Google account or enter manually your personal information. Then, just scroll down and choose your registration term from the dropdown menu under “Package Information.”
- You’ll get the best deal with a 36-month hosting plan registration by locking in a lower rate.
- You can choose a 24-month or 12-month agreement if you’d rather spend less today.
Now, you have some few extras to choose from.
Hosting Package Extras: What You Need and Don’t Need
Let’s take a fast look at these hosting package extras and walk through which ones you need and don’t need. Honestly, you only need one of them.
But, let’s briefly talk about each one:
- Domain Privacy + Protection: keeps your personal information off the public record by replacing it with Bluehost’s business information. I highly recommend investing in this extars.
- Codeguard Basic: creates daily backups for your new blog. There are other options out there, so you don’t really need it.
- Bluehost SEO Tools: straight up? You don’t need this. There are far much better free SEO tools alternatives, like Ubersuggest.
- Microsoft 365 Mailbox Trial: this extras is for managing your business email account. It’s free so you can try it out if you really want to check it out, but I highly recommend Google Workspace instead.
- SiteLock Security Essentials: protects your new blog from malware. There are much better options for this, so you don’t need it.
To recapitulate, domain privacy + protection is the only package extra you need.
It exists to keep your private information safe and secure. Without it, anyone can access your phone number, home address, and email.
Bluehost uses this example to show how the domain privacy + protection keeps personal information from becoming public.
If you have already selected your blog name, then you can add the information here. And if you need a new domain, you get your domain name for free for the first year. If you need more time to come up with a blog name, you can always sign-up and choose your domain later.
Step #4: Enter Your Details.
You are almost there – just one more thing left to do
Enter your payment information, read the auto renewal hosting terms, and hit submit. After this step, you are done with the hardest part! Congrats on your new blog!
Do not forget to follow the rest of the instructions to set up your hosting account. Then, you gonna be ready to move on to the next step.
5. Install WordPress – Your Blogging Software
After getting through the first phase of planning your new blog and choosing web hosting provider, the next step is to choose WordPress as your blogging platform.
Your blog platform, also known as a Content Management System (CMS), is where you will be writing, customizing, and publishing your blog posts. Essentially, you are going to need something powerful, user-friendly, and affordable. There are paid platforms and free blogging platforms available to choose from.
Here are the top blogging platforms and their usage:
Most folks run their blogs on WordPress, which is apparent from the stats above. WordPress also offers themes, multiple free plugins, and various ways to extend the functionality of your new blog.
You also don’t need to have any coding knowledge to get started. With most hosts, you simply use 1-click install WordPress, and you’re taken to your personal WordPress dashboard.
Before you get started, you should know a very important aspect – the difference between the .com and .org versions of WordPress.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org – Which one should you choose?
Here are some of the common differences between the two:
If your future goal is to make money through your blog, then think no further before selecting the self-hosted WordPress.org.
A blog is an important extension of your future brand and needs to be something that you own outright. You shouldn’t rely on a subdomain or blog platform site like Tumblr to host your blog.
The .com WordPress version has minimal options and doesn’t allow you to tweak settings or pick a custom domain name. (Eg: yoursite.wordpress.com). If you do want to use a custom name, you would gonna have to pay extra.
On the other hand, comes with limited monetization and analytics options. On top of that, with the .com WordPress option, you can’t upload plugins and themes from outside of WordPress.
WordPress.org, instead, gives you complete freedom to download tools and themes from different platforms and fully customize your blog’s design.
With Bluehost, you can install WordPress and run your blog in a matter of minutes.
Install WordPress with One-Click Installation.
Bluehost automatically one-click installs WordPress right from your personal hosting dashboard.
If you gonna decide to make a blog that is not on WordPress you will find that it is much more costly as WordPress offers thousands of free plugins that allow you to modify your own blog in any way, shape, or form.
Even without a technical technical experience, you can install WordPress.
After you get your free domain and hosting account, you just log in and use your very first click on the “Install WordPress” icon.
Here is how.
- Choose the “do it yourself” version and click the “Install” button
- Use your 3th click on the “Check Domain” button.
- Your last 2 clicks will be for acknowledging their terms of service and finalizing your install.
- Within a minute, you’ll have your fully functional WordPress blog up and running.
In the blogging world, WordPress designs are called themes. Out of the box, your new blog will look something like this:
It isn’t the best design out there, but it is workable. There are a lot of blog themes to choose from. But, it can be easy to get trapped in “Shiny Object Syndrome” and not walk away with anything.
You can swap out your blog theme any time, so don’t get too caught up with the whistles and bells . First, you gonna need to log into your WordPress admin. You can access this by going to yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
Here, you will need to enter your user credentials to log in.
After you are done setting up your account password, you are prompted to pick a blog theme.
There are plenty of free WordPress themes to choose from, including free blog themes.
If you want to pick your blog theme later, you can skip this step for now by clicking on the “Skip This Step” option at the end of the page.
From here, you’re directed to a new page where you gonna need to click on the “Start Building” option.
Next, select what type of blog you plan to create, and WordPress will help you in the process with prompts. You can also just click “I don’t need help” to go right to your personal dashboard.
Finally, enter your “Blog Title” and your “Blog Description.”
From here, you are directed to a page to decide the layout format of your new blog. You can either create a custom home page with the page editor or simply host your new blog posts on your homepage.
From here, spend some time making yourself familiar with the functionalities of your new WordPress blog. Make sure to test out all the features and play around with different blog themes to pick the one that best suits you.
This brings us to our next step – choosing a blog theme.
6. Pick Your Blog’s Theme.
Now that you have a WordPress personal account, you need to choose your WordPress blog theme. A WordPress blog theme is a collection of templates, files, and stylesheets that dictate the appearance and design of your WordPress-powered website.
Currently, your blog might look something like this:
This is the default WordPress theme, and on the left side is your appearance customization menu that helps you customize your blog theme.
While this basic blog theme isn’t the best, it can be used to get familiar with the appearance editor.
In the theme appearance editor, you can edit:
- Site identity – your logo, business name and other navigation items.
- Colors – you can choose the colors for buttons, blocks, fonts, and other items.
- Menus – you can edit the placement of your blog menu navigation and which pages to include.
- Additional CSS – this the place where you can place custom CSS instead of messing with your blog theme editor files.
There are a few blog design principles to keep in mind.
For instance, fonts should be between 14 and 17 points, legible, and easy to read. You should also have menu navigation that looks good on mobile and desktop.
The blogs with a poorly organized layout are difficult to navigate and impair your blog’s user experience.
Remember, you don’t necessarily have to spend money to install a paid blog theme if you find a free one you like.
Anyway, make sure it loads quickly, looks nice, and readers can access information easily. Finally, don’t overdo the theme design – a blog should be highly-functional and uncomplicated.
Install A New Theme For Your Blog.
How you can install a new WordPress theme for your blog?
First, log in to your WordPress personal account (admin page). You can always access your blog WordPress login page by going to yourdomainname.com/wp-admin.
If you are novice to WordPress, the dashboard might look a little daunting at first, but you will be an expert with a bit of practice.
Next, add your WordPress login credentials. Once logged in, your WordPress personal dashboard looks something like this.
To install a new WordPress theme, hover over the “Appearance” option from the sidebar menu. Next, select the “Themes” option from the “Appearance” section.
To search for the theme options WordPress offers, click the “Add New” button at the top of the page.
As you can see below, there are a lot of free WordPress themes to choose from.
You can scroll down and preview as many WordPress themes as you want before picking one for your new blog.
You can also filter out the WordPress themes based on three categories: “Subject,” “Features,” and “Layout.”
Here’s what the filter option looks like:
Apply the filters to narrow down your search options. You can then click on a thumbnail and get an instant preview of what your future blog is going to look like.
If you like a particular blog theme, you can click on the “Install” button.
If you don’t want to use a stock WordPress blog theme, there are a lot of sites like GeneratePress, StudioPress, and CSSIgniter that offer paid blog themes you can buy. When you buy a blog theme, a zip file is sent to you via email.
To install this external blog theme, all that you have to do is go to “Appearance” then “Themes” and click “Add New,” upload the zip file and click install.
Congratulations, you now have a WordPress blog with a new blog theme installed.
Extra Tips on Choosing the Right Theme.
- Read the descriptions of the various WordPress blog themes to get an idea about their features. This will help you get an idea of whether the blog theme will be compatible with your niche or not.
- Choose a responsive blog theme that works well on both desktop and mobile devices (most of them are).
- WordPress also allows users to give ratings to their own themes – make sure to check out the reviews to get a feel for the quality of the blog theme.
- Before installing a WordPress blog theme, make sure to check its demo or preview to know what it’s going to look like.
You can also install a large number of WordPress blog themes from other popular sites, such as:
- Thrive Themes.
- Elegant Themes.
- CSS Igniter.
Free, Premium, and Custom Blog Themes.
There are a lot of free blog themes available on WordPress.
Anyway, sometimes these come with very limited design options. That said, you can start your blog with a free blog theme and then move on to a more personalized one after your content is up.
As long as the blog them it loads fast and allows you to start publishing content, there’s no reason not just to get started and worry about your perfect your blog design later.
Premium blog themes mostly come in the price range of $30 to $500 and you can find some great blog themes from a company like Themeisle:
If you are looking for a specific custom-developed blog theme, you can hire a developer and expect to pay $500-5,000 for your new blog.
Let’s recapitulate where we are so far in this how to start a blog guide.
- You have selected your indiviadual blog niche based on market factors, not passions.
- You know your why statement and wrote down your new blog goals.
- You have chosen your blog’s domanin name and registered it.
- You selected your hosting plan and installed WordPress.
- You installed your new blog theme and have your blog’s framework ready to go.
That is a lot of progress.
We are about halfway through this guide and the following steps will cover setting up your new blog for success and starting your unique content creation and promotion process.
7. Install Your WordPress Plugins.
Since WordPress is open-source, you can customize your blog in an endless amount of ways.
And this starts with WordPress plugins.These are sets of tools that integrate with your WordPress blog and extend its functionality and feature set.
WordPress offers a lot of plugins with different functions, including everything from email marketing and calendar integration to opt-in forms and SEO tools.
These tools make learning how to start a blog very easy, as they perform a lot of best tasks without needing any coding knowledge.
It is not recommended to install to much of these tools on your blog as they tend to slow down your blog and can conflict with each other during updates.
Which plugins should you add to your blog?
I curated a list of the 15 best plugins to help you enhance your new blog (and the exact ones I use):
This plugin allows you to remove certain specific elements of code that aren’t necessary to load on every page.
As an example., my HTML and CSS files were loading on every blog post even though I only needed them only on two pages. With this tool, you can easily select which pieces from your code to keep and which to remove based on pages, posts, and other types of content.
This is the ecommerce plugin tool that you can use to sell your digital products. First I tested WooCommerce, but it installed four extensions, slowed down my site, and had a very ugly checkout experience.
BigCommerce for WordPress launched in December 2018 and runs via an API so you gonna handle all of your content in WordPress and your backend ecommerce in BigCommerce.
If you’re running into issues with the Gutenberg editor, you can roll back to the Classic Editor.
This plugin allows you without difficulty to add a Table of Contents into any blog page or post. The plugin will appear underneath your blog pages or posts, and you can select if every H2, H3, or any other header should be automatically added to the Table of Contents.
Tables of Contents are important for several reasons: they keep users engaged with the page (by clicking around) and help with user experience.
I frequently have a Table of Contents at the top of my new blog posts going to each section, then a “Back to Top” widget in the bottom right corner so that users can easily go back to the Table of Contents.
Elementor Pro is the best WordPress landing page builder, and it’s the plugin tool I used to create my home page and several other blog pages.
They have a free version of Elementor, but the Elementor Pro version takes it to the next level with much better templates.
While the Gutenberg block editor adds a lot of built-in functionality, if you’re struggling to build your blog pages, Elementor Pro is a good option. You can get started with Elementor Pro for $49 per year.
Widgets are areas on your WordPress blog that aren’t directly pages or posts.
As an example, sidebars, footers, and homepage sections can be considered widgets. Extended Widget Options allows you to expand the functionality of your blog widgets to make them more useful.
As an example, I use this tool to make some of my blog sidebar banners sticky so that they scroll down the page with the reader.
I use this plugin tool to convert documents into WordPress blog posts automatically. Since I get a lot of my initial first drafts written for me, I download them as a .docx file and insert them into my blog posts or pages with this plugin.
The Mammoth .docx Converter will appear underneath your blog posts pages, and it’s as simple as uploading your file and clicking “Insert into Editor.”
One detail is that you’ll want to make sure your document’s images have both names and alt text before uploading into WordPress.
OptinMonster is the one of the best email opt-in plugin on the market. With the unique ability to create exit intent, modal popups, in-content opt-ins, and more.
You can get started with OptinMonster for just $9 per month.
This plugin tool allows you to create simple blocks of content by adding shortcodes to your blog.
I primarily use this plugin to insert buttons quickly on my affiliate pages so that readers have very clear calls-to-action.
Shortcodes Ultimate plugin will appear in your WordPress page editor as a small button at the top (much like Bold, Paragraph Spacing, etc.), and when you click into it, you select your content block.
With buttons, you can preview them in the editor and choose the color, style, size, and more.
ShortPixel plugin compresses all of your images so that they are smaller files and your pages load faster. I’ve tested lots of different image compression plugin tools, and ShortPixel has been the best.
This is one of my favorite affiliate marketing plugin tools. ThirstyAffiliates takes your random affiliate marketing links (full of random numbers, letter strings, etc.) and cleans them up so that they look nice. As an example, which one looks nicer:
The second and third one are more clickable, leads to higher conversion rates, and can’t be stolen by malicious hackers.
One factor today on search engine rankings is recency of content, especially if you’re in niches with new information coming out.
This plugin tool allows you to easily show the date on every blog page or post so that search engines understand when it was last modified. As an example, with WordPress, it’s easy to show a date, but it will typically show the Publish Date, not the last time you edited it.
By giving search engines an easy way to pull the Modified Date, you will see this date appear in your search results, and may see a good rankings boost.
14. WP Rocket.
I have tried other speed plugin tools like Autoptimize and had some issues with it. WP Rocket plugin is the best, in my opinion.
You can get started with WP Rocket plugin for $49 per year.
15. Yoast SEO.
Yoast SEO doesn’t need an introduction. If you’re not using it, then you’re missing out on a lot of great Yoast SEO free features. I use Yoast SEO plugin to manage my sitemap, robots.txt, blog page titles/meta descriptions, and other add-ons.
Now that we covered the best plugins tools to install for your blog let’s move onto some unique settings to pay attention to.
8. Set Up Your Blog SEO.
A very important ranking factor is the URLs of your new blog posts and pages. When you add a new blog page or post, you see the page editor and can choose the URL after dot com.
Check out the link below:
This text after the dot .com is what a permalink looks like. Permalinks are static hyperlinks that will lead your audience to a specific web page on your blog.
By default, your blog permalink is set to “yourdomainname.com/postID.” This not only looks very unattractive but isn’t the best from an SEO standpoint.
Before you start writing content for your new blog, make sure to set a specific permalink structure. From your personal WordPress dashboard, go to “Setting” —> “Permalinks.”
You can choose from a couple set of options. Most high-ranking blogs follow the “Post name” or “Custom” structures below.
The main thing to know is that every blog post or page should focus on one target keyword, which should be in the area right after the dot com.
For blog posts page, this permanent URL is the only thing that needs to remain unchanged. You can change a blog page or post’s title, meta description, content, and headings, but the URL needs to stay the same.
This is because if you get inbound links to this blog URL, changing it would result in a 404 error and losing that link value. Finally, make sure to save the settings before exiting the blog page.
Also, make sure you set up Google Search Console and Google Analytics. These two tools are 100% necessary to index your new blog and monitor your traffic. These can both be simply integrated with the Yoast SEO plugin.
We have made a lot of progress so far in this guide.
You have learned all the technical set up of how to start a blog and have a functioning new blog inside of WordPress. Now, it is time to start creating content for your new blog.
Ready to create your new blog? Let’s do this! Get started with Bluehost and get 60% off your hosting plan.
9. Create Pillar Content for Your Blog.
After completing the framework of your new blog, it is time to start writing your first blog posts.
While you don’t have to be a experienced writer to learn how to start a blog, it is important to understand basic sentence structure and proper grammar. You also want to make sure that you gonna know how to write for the web.
As an example, images, short paragraphs and bullet points help break up long, monotonous blocks of text and keep readers engaged.
You can also check out my guide to the best grammar checkers to use with your new blog this year and why I use Grammarly.
Ultimately, your blog content creation process all begins with the keyword research we did above.
How to Add Keywords into Your Blog Posts.
Each new blog post should focus on one main target keyword, and here is where it should be included:
- Put the keyword in your permanent URL.
- Include the keyword in the title of your new blog post.
- Add your keyword to the first/second paragraph.
- Include the keyword inside of your blog post headings.
- Add the keyword throughout your post paragraph text. A good rule is to use a 1% keyword density so that your keyword is included once for every 100 words. If your new blog post is really long, this may be too many times. Use your the very best judgment and don’t keyword stuff.
- Add it to your blog meta description (optional).
Once you have a list of the top 5 to 10 keywords (topics) you want to cover, it’s time to start writing your blog post.
Remember, in addition to text, posts that have audio, video, photos, infographics, and other types of visual content perform the best and keep readers engaged.
In fact, 87% of marketing professionals incorporate visual elements like videos as a efficient marketing tool.
It is also essential to write unique content that answers a reader search intent and compels them to take action on your blog.
Writing Blog Posts that Match Search Intent.
When planning your blog content strategy, think about what your reader actually wants when they are performing an online search for your target keyword.
As an example, let’s say your target keyword is “How to Get Rid of Pimples.”
When you search for this term, you will see that a lot of posts feature titles including extra terms like Fast, Overnight, Quickly, and Home Remedies.
This shows that most users that want to get rid of pimples want them gone as quickly and discreetly as possible. And Google’s PageRank is pushing these blog articles to the top.
What does this mean for your blog content strategy?
You should get right to the only point and offer a list of the best ways to get rid of pimples fast.
Don’t write a long blog post about “The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rid of Pimples.” And don’t start your post with the heading “What Are Pimples?” like many SEOs did in the past.
Instead, match search intent and provide the individual solution your readers are actually looking for by understanding the meaning behind their search.
This is accomplished by looking at which terms are included in currently ranking content’s title tags and reverse-engineering the search.
Now that we’ve covered where to include your keywords and how to match search intent, let’s go over some few extra tips before you start writing.
Extra Tips On Content Writing.
- Your posts should always provide value to your readers. Start to write with a clear beginning, middle, and end outline structure.
- Present your blog content attractively and make it easily accessible to your users. Make sure that both textual and visual content in your blog are high-quality.
- Format your blog headings correctly with H2 and H3 tags, and use bulleted lists and images to break up long lines of text. No paragraph should be longer more than 3-4 sentences.
- Make your blog posts conversational to build a connection with your mew audience.
- Use 14 to 17 point fonts and use white space to keep your posts easy on the eyes.
- Add bullet points to help users skim down the blog without missing anything critical.
- Double-check for typos and grammatical errors.
- Bold some text to make it stand out.
Remember, when you’re learning how to start a blog, you don’t have to be absolute perfect.
A blog is a living document that can be updated over time. So don’t try to make your blog content perfect, just publish it without fear and update your blog post later if you need to.
It’s Time to Write Your First Blog Post.
Now that we’ve covered few content marketing basics, here’s how to write your first blog post inside of WordPress:
Click on “Posts” in the left sidebar from your personal WordPress dashboard.
Now, select the “Add New” button:
Next, you will head to the editor, where you can start writing your first blog post.
While crafting your new blog post, make sure to keep the above tips in mind.
The WordPress Editor works similar like Microsoft Word and lets you do the following:
- Align text center, left and right.
- Make text italic or bold.
- Add links and highlight text. You should also go to your site link settings and make any external links open in a new tab, that will keep readers on your blog.
- Add and align your blog images. On almost blogs, images should be JPEGs no longer than 800 pixels wide. Any wider and your image file size will slow down your site loading times.
- Add categories and tags to your blog posts.
- When you click Save Draft, your post will be saved, but not yet published.
- When you click Publish, your post will officially be published and appear on your blog archive page.
Make sure to download and install the SEO Yoast plugin. This allows you to hit on your target keyword and get recommendations on what to do for SEO.
The Yoast SEO plugin will provide real-time feedback, as you begin to optimize your title and description.
In Yoast SEO, there are four important sections to add:
- Meta Description
- Focus Keyword
Yoast SEO plugin helps you access real-time feedback on how your blog post might perform in terms of organic traffic for a particular keyword.
Aim for as many green lights as possible, but don’t stress if you are not able to get a perfect score.
Try to score as many green signals as possible. Once you hit 80% green light, it means you are good to go, and your blog is likely to perform better when it comes to SEO.
You can as well “Preview” your blog post before publishing it. If you are satisfied with the way your blog post turned out, go ahead and click Publish.
Once your new post is live, make sure to visit to your blog post URL and double-check to make sure the formatting and content look great.
Once you are finished with your first blog post, you can go to Google Search Console, enter the new URL, and submit it so that it can be indexed faster.
Congrats, you just published your first blog post!
Next, we are going to discuss the other important pages that any blog should have, including a Home Page, About Page, and Contact Page.
If you haven’t started your new blog yet and are ready to go. Let’s do this!
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Create Your Pre-Launch Pages.
Pre-launch site content includes the content for static pages of your blog, such as the Home Page, About Us, Contact, and more.
The nice thing is that the WordPress Page Editor looks and acts almost the same as the Post Editor. The major difference is that pages don’t have blog post categories and tags.
Before launching a new blog, you should have a few pages in your blog’s top menu navigation so that readers quickly understand your blog and find important information.
1. Home Page.
We all know what a home page is: it’s the main URL of your blog. This page shouldn’t include every little detail about your blog, its purpose is to sell your unique proposition in two seconds or less.
If a reader hits your blog home page and doesn’t quickly understand what your site is about, they may bounce and never return.
A WordPress blog home page can be edited with a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) page builder like the Elementor plugin.
This tool allows you to drag-and-drop blog content blocks, including text, images, videos, color blocks, and more.
If you are only just learning how to start a blog, keep in mind that a good home page should contain:
- A slider or hero image with a subheadline and headline.
- A section to tell readers more about what your blog is about.
- The main call-to-action button taking users to an important page, post, or email opt-in form.
- Internal links pointing to your important content to make it easy for readers to navigate around your blog.
There aren’t any rules for your blog home pages, so get acclimated with your landing page builder plugin and have fun with it.
The About Page of your blog should cover everything about you: what you stand for, who you are, and what your blog is about.
This section will help you connect with your users on a deeper level, so don’t hold back.
Make sure to cover the following in your blog “About” Page:
- Who you are.
- What made you decide to start your blog.
- Your expertise or background to build trust with your users.
- The pain point challenges you’re solving and how you’ve dealt with the same struggles as your audience.
- Your success story.
- A call-to-action.
When someone visits your blog and really likes your unique content, they are likely to head to your About Page to know more about you.
2. The Contact Page.
This site page is all about sharing contact details with your blog visitors so they can reach you.
You can share an email phone number, address, social media links, and a contact form on this page. Include only just what you’re comfortable providing to the general public.
This should be a simple page with a contact form, no need to overcomplicate it.
These are easy to edit and similar to the site main page and post editors, just in a different location in your WordPress dashboard.
To recapitulate, after planning your first 5 blog posts, you need to create the other WordPress pages that bloggers need. This includes your site homepage, about page, and contact page.
You also need to add some content to your WordPress widgets like sidebars and footers.
We have covered a great amount in this guide so far.
You have perceived a lot of concepts on how to start a blog and your posts and pages are published and ready to go.
Now that we have a great understanding of these principles, it’s time to create a long term content plan.
10. Create a Long Term Content Strategy.
Once you have published your first blog post, your work isn’t done. In fact, it is just beginning. Most blog posts take months to rank well on Google and perform only after making consistent updates.
Here is the strategy you have to use to scale the unique content creation and get posts to rank over time:
- Perform keyword research for the high-volume keyword you desired to rank for.
- Next, create an outline of the blog post and send it to your content writer. Also make sure to tell your writer how long the blog post should be based on competitor research.
- Once your article first draft is complete, edit and publish it at once. Don’t hesitate – it takes time to get traffic to new blog posts anyway.
- After carrying out some link building efforts outline in this guide below and the article begins to rank on the first 3-5 pages of search, update the content by increasing its length and improving its quality. This is done by adding semantic keywords related to your chosen main keyword.
- Once your blog post ranks in the top 2-3 pages of search results, join any applicable affiliate programs and add your affiliate links.
- Next, to maintain your organic search rankings, update the content regularly and continue to generate inbound backlinks.
- Finally, once your blog post gets to the first page and starts generating affiliate revenue for brands, you reached out to individual Affiliate Managers to see if you can get a commission increase.
This is the best way to plan your long term content strategy and publish more blog posts in less time. With this strategy, you will start to see your blog posts rank higher, and generate more organic traffic and revenue.
But simply writing great unique content isn’t enough.
It is imperative to have both a strong unique content strategy, as well as a great outreach strategy to build relationships (and links).
Here are a few other things to think about when formulating your long-term content strategy:
1. Remember to Solve Your Audience Problems and Provide Value.
Your blog must solve your audience’s pain point challenges. Whether it’s by sending helpful guides to an email list or writing affiliate product reviews, you need to tap into the problems your audiences – and the keywords they search for.
It bears repeating – you have to understand your audience and then create unique content to solve their problems.
As an example, if your audience primarily consists of podcasters, you should provide unique content around the best podcast hosting, equipment, and sound recording techniques to be successful.
Ranking in organic search takes time, so don’t be scared to hit the publish button and come back to edit your blog post later.
I usually publish an article and then submit it to Google Search Console so that it can be indexed and appear in search results.
Next, go back a week later and add semantic keywords.
As an example, if your blog post is titled The 10 Best Beaches in Southern California, search engines expect to scan the page and see contextually relevant keywords like the hotel, ocean, surfing, sand, etc.
While these aren’t the target keywords users are searching for, they are semantically related to your main topic and help you provide a better unique content experience.
You also need to optimize your blog post content based on long-tail variations of your main keyword.
Google is getting more smarter and able to rank content not only for one keyword but also many long-tail variations of that keyword. This is really true after the Google Hummingbird update in 2013.
According to Wikipedia, “Hummingbird” places greater emphasis on natural language queries, considering context and meaning over individual keywords. It also looks deeper at content on individual pages of a website, with improved ability to lead users directly to the most appropriate page rather than just a website’s homepage.
Use a SEO tool like the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer to find related keywords that are close variations of your target keyword. These should be used in your blog post headings.
As an example, if your main keyword is web hosting, other H2 headings that could work in the blog post might be:
- What is the Best Free Web Hosting Provider?
- What is the Best Web Hosting Provider for Small Business?
- What Are the Benefits of Web Hosting Sevices?
- Web Hosting Sevices Tips.
- How to Choose the Best Web Hosting.
By targeting one main keyword and close variations within your secondary blog post headings, you begin to rank for hundreds, if not thousands of keyword variations.
Remember, no one searches for the exact specific same thing – so you should understand which variations have the highest monthly search volume.
Also, these long-tail keywords don’t pose as much competition as their shorter counterparts.
To find suitable long-tail keywords for free, you can use the Google Keyword Planner.
Let’s say you want to write a blog on content marketing. Now to find long-tail keywords related to your specific topic, go to the Keyword Planner.
Type in “content marketing,” and then you will get your relevant keyword ideas. Make sure to look for the opportune keywords that are not only most in-demand but also relevant to your topic and have good volume.
Here is the detailed guide on how to use Google Keyword Planner to help you get highest traffic.
3. Tips to Schedule Your Blog Posts.
If you are planning a long term blog content calendar, maintaining a consistent schedule is important. You need to keep up with your blog posting frequency and stick to it.
As an example, if you are planning to post one new blog post per week, make sure you check your content calendar and follow through.
You should create a specific roadmap for the entire week or even a few months, depending on your writing frequency.
Working backward from there can help you decide which article for your blog post you need to publish and when. It likewise helps you avoid missing your deadlines.
You can keep track of this inside of a simple spreadsheet with columns for your future blog posts, including:
- Target keyword.
- Blog post title.
- Monthly search volume.
- Word count.
With so countless blogs out there, any field you choose will be full of competitors. But you can turn that to your own advantage.
As an example, let’s presume you run a digital marketing blog. Naturally, the audience of some other digital marketing blog in your vertical is your potential audience as well.
So, you can easily analyze the type of content your competitors are sharing and the ways they are using to increase their outreach.
After analyzing their strategy, you can also adopt some of the things you find useful. Many sites let you see the type of blog posts your competitors are sharing and their competitive metrics.
A great example is SimilarWeb.
SimilarWeb lets you search for and understand the sort of content the audience wants the most and their competitors publish. But it doesn’t mean that you mirror your competitors blindly.
Instead, focus your time answering the following questions:
- What are the gaps that your competitors failed to address?
- How long is their blog post content, and can you make it longer?
- How many inbound links go to the article?
- Do they have interactive media in their blog posts like videos or infographics?
- What is their Domain Rating?
- Is their blog post formatted properly?
With these questions answered, you begin to understand what it will take to outrank the competition.
We have seen how to identify the specific topics that interest your audience.
But what about the gaps? What about the issues that the users wants to read about, but there’s no content?
You could log in to a Q&A website like Quora or Reddit, where you can see the exact questions that people are asking.
Even better, use a tool like Ahrefs to view competitor traffic data. You can see which keywords you rank for, which ones competitors rank for, and where there is overlap.
This gap analysis gives you good keywords to target for future blog posts.
5. Analyzing Your Content’s Traffic Metrics.
You absolutely need to use analytics tools to analyze your blog content’s performance.
Since Google Analytics should already be installed on your blog, you can go to your GA personal dashboard to view metrics like site visitors, total page views, average time on page, and tons of other interesting stats.
You can view traffic to specific blog posts over any time period and compare it to previous periods to see if your blog traffic is increasing or decreasing.
Furthermore, Ahrefs is the best SEO tool to track your blog post’s rankings and inbound links.
You can view the keywords you’re ranking for and what position you’re in, which sites are linking to you, and a lot more.
11. Perform Link Building and Ongoing Guest Post Outreach.
Guest blogging is one of the best ways to promote your new blog.
Blogs have been saying that guest posting is dead for the last 7 years, but it shows no signs of slowing down.
It’s a best way to build authority in your niche, founders, meet other bloggers, and content teams, create lasting relationships and get backlinks.
And link building is another great way to build Domain Authority (DA) and increase your rankings. This is a hustle and a grind that includes a lot of email outreach.
Here are some of the essential steps to perform ongoing guest post outreach and link building:
1. Finding Guest Posting Opportunities.
Don’t think about the benefits you’ll get first, it’s very important to stress that you have to provide value to others.
The ones that stand out to me are the ones from blogs or sites that are providing value to me in return.
Whether it be a backlink from a social share, a guest post, or podcast interview, blogging is a 1:1 exchange. Your outreach emails need to highlight how you can provide value to the other blog or site.
To get started, you first need to research which blogs or sites to reach out to, and who to reach out to.
You can leverage the following blogs or sites and networks to connect with bloggers in your niche and find appropriate resources for guest post outreach and link-building:
Make sure to use a tool like Moz Link Explorer to check the backlink profile and Domain Authority of the blogs or sites first. The higher the DA, the higher the backlink value.
You can also search for something like “high Domain Authority [niche] blogs or sites accepting guest posts.” That will provide a bunch of list articles and blog posts with good ideas for outreach.
Some blogs or sites even have a separate guest posting outreach page containing the guidelines as well as the email address to reach them.
Here is an example:
Most blogs os sites will eventually get back to you, so wait a few days before you start pursuing them again.
Once you have a list of blogs or sites, you can look them up on LinkedIn or on their contact page. Then use a tool alike Hunter.io to obtain their email addresses.
You can check out my article on guest blogging for sample email outreach templates to use.
2. Planning Your Guest Post Content.
What should be the specific topic of your guest posts?
Naturally, it should be relevant to your niche and something similar to what you post on your blog.
The content also should not yet exist on the other blog site’s and have a satisfactory search volume. Make sure to check out any editorial guidelines for the guest posting blog or site and follow them closely.
Consider essential things like:
- What level of target audience do they have (advanced or beginner)?
- The sort of target audience. As an example, is the audience B2C or B2B?
- How long should the article be?
- What’s the type of content they’re looking for? Do they usually post listicles, how-to guides or tutorials?
Just like with your blog posts, make sure to offer value and try to pique the interest of the readers.
Most blogs or sites that accept guest posts can also provide content guidelines so that you know the exact length required and format.
3. Pitching Your Guest Post Idea.
If a blog or site’s interested in a guest post from you, you’ll typically have to pitch them a few blog post ideas.
These should be based on keyword research and competitive metrics.
This process can be time-consuming, but high-quality blogs or sites know the difference between a good pitch and a bad one.
Search for topics that their audience will enjoy and don’t yet exist on their site yet. Bonus points if you do research and find unique topics with high search volume and that their competitors rank for.
4. Writing the Guest Post.
Once your individual topic is approved and you receive the green light to start writing, keep these things in mind:
- Use Google Docs and format your posts properly.
- Follow the editorial guidelines closely.
- Use target keywords for SEO.
- Avoid grammatical mistakes.
- Add links to your blog in the content and guest author bio.
- Include images if necessary.
- Submit the post in a timely manner – most blogs or sites expect a completed post within 2-3 weeks.
When adding links to your own blog, make sure they are within the blog post content, relevant, and add to the quality of the article.
Make sure not to optimize your anchor text – Ahrefs recommends you only use exact match anchor 1-5% of the time. You should use a mix of phrase match, partial match, random anchor text and branded.
As an example, if you wanted to link to your blog post on podcast hosting, You wouldn’t use the anchor text “podcast hosting”.
Instead, use something that naturally fits: when hosting a podcast, pick a host, choosing a host, in your post, in your guide, etc.
Remember, in your comprehensive content strategy, keyword-focused, SEO-optimized blog posts aren’t enough. You also need high-quality links to your content from reputable blogs or sites in the form of guest posts.
5. Other Link Building Strategies.
Although guest posting is one strategy to get links to your own blog, there are plenty of others.
Let’s cover some of them.
Make sure your blog posts are “linkable” assets.
The best form of link building strategy is passively getting links without any involvement or outreach. People commonly link to the best content they can find.
So how do you make sure your own blog posts are “linkable”?
First, your blog content needs to be unique and high-quality. That’s the elementary entry fee to get into the game.
To take it to the next level, add visual elements to your blog posts.
These can be videos, infographics, statistics, case studies, and any other unique content that doesn’t exist anywhere else.
Extra Link Building Strategies
- Broken link building: Use a SEO tool like Ahrefs to find blogs in your niche with broken external links.
Send them an email that their link is broken and your individual resource is a better option. This strategy is good because you’re helping the blog fix their 404 error and (hopefully) getting a link at the same time.
- Link reclamation: Input your blog’s URL into the SEO toolAhrefs Content Explorer tool to find instances where your brand is mentioned but not linked to.
Here, you can reach out to the writer of the post, ask if they can add the link and thank them for the mention.
- Link partnerships: Form relationships with other bloggers in your niche to get links in their guest posts and vice versa.
- Competitor research: View which blogs or websites are linking to competitors to come up with new sites to reach out to.
If you are interested in more ideas, check out Brian Dean’s awesome guide to link building strategies.
Now that you have the basics of how to start a blog, get started with Bluehost.
How to Start a Blog: FAQs.
1. What is a Blog?
A blog is a frequently updated website, run by an group or individual, primarily consisting of written text in an informal, conversational style.
If statistics are anything to go by, in the United States alone, 42.23% of people from the ages of 18 to 49 read blogs.
You can find a blog for any specific topic you want and it’s a great avenue to increase your subscriber base, connect with new people, and make money online.
2. Why Should You Start a Blog?
There are so countless reasons to start a blog. One of the most notable reason is to influence and inspire online readers.
If you have well knowledge in your field of work and have decent writing chops, then you truly can help others.
If you know how to monetize your own blog, you can even make a decent passive income.
Blogging can provide you the perfect platform to:
- Develop yourself personally
- Improve your writing
- Build relationships and network in your field
- Share your knowledge with your audience
- Make a lot of money
3. How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog?
When you start a new blog, you have the option of using a free or paid blogging platform.
Both have their pros and cons. If you’re a beginner and want to try your hand at blogging without paying upfront, Blogger or Ghost are free blogging platforms that let you do just that.
However, there are lots of restrictions when using free tools.
As an example, you won’t have access to better themes, restriction on advertisements, and more.
That said, if you’re a seasoned marketer or even a beginner confident enough to start blogging, you could opt for paid blogging platforms.
Website builders like Wix and Squarespace provide excellent paid plans that help you customize your blog or site the way you want without restrictions.
Additionally, such platforms allow you to optimize your blog or site for search engines, add advanced features like an online store, drag-and-drop editors, and more.
Here are some of the essential expenses:
- Domain name: It may cost you around $10 per month
- Hosting: Shared hosting cost typically costs $3 – $10 per month. Then there are more advanced options like dedicated hosting, VPS hosting, etc.
- Optional expenses include a premium WordPress theme (costing between $30 – $60), marketing tools, and more.
- If you are considering blogging as a hobby, then it should be free blogging platform.
- If you aren’t that serious and don’t mind minimal features, then it may cost you about $50-$60 per year.
Now, if you’re planning to invest in additional features to scale up your own blog, then it may cost over $400 per year.
4. How Do I Get Readers to My Blog?
To get readers to your blog, you have to provide value to your users.
Here are a few steps that’ll help get you there:
- Master SEO – this can’t be understated
- Create catchy blog posts headlines – your post headline is the first thing someone reads.Help them figure out the real benefits by enumerating them. The ideal clickable headline is: Odd number + superlative + target keyword + year
- Publish blog posts consistently as it makes your users take you more seriously
- Use call-to-action (CTA) buttons and opt-in forms to make your users act
- Offer incentives to current users like product discounts and insider knowledge
- Share your blog posts on social media
If you put into action all the steps mentioned above can help you get some initial traction to your blog.
5. How Do I Start a Successful Blog?
Frankly, out there are more than 600 million blogs in the US alone. But 95% of them aren’t successful. Many determinant factors set apart successful bloggers from non-successful ones.
Few of the critical factors in starting and running a successful blog are:
- Understanding well the market viability and audience revenue potential.
- Being sufficiently versed in digital marketing – you need to have a know-how on SEO, keyword research, affiliate marketing, email marketing strategies, etc.
- Being great at self-promotion.
- Offering value-based unique content.
- Providing unique content consistently.
- Creating a schedule and sticking to it.
- Engaging subscribers proactively and solving their pain points challenges.
6. Do Bloggers Get Paid?
Yes, they do. Bloggers can get paid extraordinarily well. Others make nothing from their blogs.
Breaking it down, bloggers mostly get paid through:
- Affiliate marketing
- Online courses
- Sponsored blog posts
- Selling products
If your blog posts don’t offer much individual value, it is difficult to create an income and If you are looking at blogging as a full-time job, it very probably won’t make you a millionaire overnight.
7. How Do Bloggers Get Paid?
Bloggers can get paid via affiliate commissions, advertisements, course or ecommerce sales, and more.
The most popular metric on how much you get paid in affiliate marketing is EPC (earnings per click).
Another common metric is CPM (cost per 1000 impressions). For every 1,000 clicks on the ad, you gonna get paid a fixed amount.
Apart from this, you can also sell products on yor blog based on your individual expertise.
As an example, if you are running a travel blog, you could sell brochures on the best tourist destinations. Or if you are running a food blog, you could sell e-recipes of your best dishes.
Offer something that is well valued by a segment of your audience and bring paid subscriptions to enlist them.
The amount could be as low as $5 per month per user. But if you can create the unique value to attract large volumes, you can start to make a decent income.
8.How to Start a Blog for Free in 2021?
Starting a blog doesn’t have to cost much. You can start a blog with minimal investment and even for free.
When you start a blog, you gonna need to decide whether you want to self-host it or use a fully-hosted platform.
Commonly, using a fully-hosted platform costs a small monthly fee. But getting a free blogging platform is easy. Most beginners opt for free, self-hosted platforms, like Blogger or Tumblr.
Here is a list of some of the best blogging platforms (both paid and unpaid).
If you’re serious about blogging, I recommend you must start blogging with a paid option.
When you use a free blogging platform, you’ll have to abide by the platform restrictions and will rarely make money blogging.
With almost unlimited revenue potential, you should pay to host your own blog.
9. How to Start a Food Blog in 2021?
Food and recipes are one of the very popular things people search for.
Considering that everything is readily available these days, food connoisseurs are willing to try out and experiment with different cuisines and flavors.
Now’s as good a time as any to start your food blog.
Here are few steps to do just that:
- Choose your web hosting provider.
- Select a matching name for your food blog that is relevant to your niche.
- Choose the matching theme for your food blog. The right theme can attract viewers and help you increase your subscriber base.
- Run keyword research and choose a sub-niche in the food space.
- Start blog posting and learn how to write recipes in an SEO-friendly manner.
- Get backlinks and guest posts from other blogs.
- To sustain your food blog, you might also want to find out ways to monetize it. Third-party advertisements, selling exclusive recipes and affiliate marketing, are some ways to do that.
10. How to Start a Travel Blog in 2021?
Traveling is being something that most people are passionate about. If you are too, you can start your travel blog and make money from your recommendations.
There are many travel affiliate programs that pay when you recommend anything like hotels, Airbnbs, travel gear, travel insurance, etc.
Here’s how to get started with a travel blog:
- The first step is to determine the sub-niche of your travel blog. There are a lot of options, including luxury traveling, solo traveling, budget traveling, family travel, and more.
- The second step is to decide on a name for your travel blog that’ll be an instant hit with your target audience.
- Set up web hosting.
- Get the proper theme for your travel blog.
- Perform specific keyword research and choose a sub-niche in the travel space.
- Publish travel blog posts based on your expertise, and format them for SEO.
- Obtain backlinks and guest posts from other blogs.
11. How to Start a Fashion Blog in 2021?
If you’re interested in the latest fashion styles, starting a fashion blog and tapping into that interest is a good idea.
Fashion blogging it is a saturated space, which is why you have to make extra efforts to start and grow your fashion blog.
Here’s how you can start your fashion blog:
- Think about what type of fashion you want to talk about in your fashion blog. Fashion can be a broad term, so it’s essential to select a niche or style. Example: do you want to blog about street fashion or high-fashion? Gothic or Vintage?
- Get the matching name that will hit off instantly with the audience.
- Choose your web hosting provider.
- Select the theme that best suits your style and the fashion you want to talk about in you fashion blog.
- Create unique content consistently. Never miss out on fashion blogging.
- Promote your new fashion blog heavily, especially on social media platforms like Instagram.
- Since it’s fashion, you want to give it the highest exposure you can. Monetize your fashion blog through social media, advertisements and podcasts. You gonna need all the attention you can get.
12. How to Start a Beauty Blog in 2021?
If you have a passion for the latest trends and beauty products, starting a beauty blog could be for you. This type of blog is best paired with a Instagram account and YouTube channel.
Here’s how you can start a beauty blog:
- First, Think about what you want to talk about in your beauty blog. Dry skin vs. oily ? Dark complexion vs. fair? The list is countless, and it’s up to you to decide your focus area.
- Pick your beauty blog’s name. When it comes to beauty, a catchy and memorable unique name can attract the right audience.
- Again, choose a web hosting plan and install a beauty blog theme.
- Do specific keyword research on the how-to keywords that people are looking for.
- Schedule your blog posts and make sure to embed YouTube tutorials into your posts.
- Advertise your beauty blog on social media and via email newsletters.
- You can also provide unique video tutorials and share beauty tips to increase your subscriber base.
13. What is WordPress?
WordPress is the most simplest way to make web pages and makes up over 30% of the Internet.
WordPress helps you publish, create, and share webpages. It’s also one of the best most user-friendly platforms to host blogs. You just only have to pay for the custom name and web hosting.
It is a feature-rich CMS (content management system) that allows bloggers to edit, create and publish content.
It features a personal dashboard where you can edit blog posts, media, pages, comments, themes, plugins, users, website settings, and more.
14. Should I Use WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
These are two very different platforms.
WordPress.com offers an end-to-end solution to start a simple blog or website for free. You need to sign up, and you are all set to build your blog or website.
WordPress.org is an open-source platform that can be leveraged only through a paid hosting account.
Here are some key differences between the two WordPress platforms to help you make a more informed decision:
.org: It is entirely free to test but to make the blog or website visible and published, you need to buy web hosting and a domain.
.com: You can start a free blog or site with a WordPress name. To have a custom domain name, you will have to pay at least $4/month.
.org: Setting up a blog or site requires some level of technical expertise that includes buying hosting and domain name followed by your integration with your website.
.com: Guides the user in a step-by-step process to make the blog or site setup hassle-free.
.org: It offers great customization options through more than 7,500 free themes. Users also get to choose plenty of premium themes.
.com: It comes with limited customization options. Free and personal plans offer over 150 themes, and other premium plans offer over 200 paid themes.
.org: You get access to more than 50,000 plugins along with a lot of other third-party apps.
.com: It allows the installation of plugins in only ecommerce or business plans. These plans cost $25 and $45/month.
Now, it’s up to you to decide which WordPress platform aligns the best with your requirements.
How to Start a Blog: Conclusion.
Therefore, learning how to start a blog is pretty easy, but you need to consider your options carefully.
Turning your blog into a profitable money-making business requires a smarter approach, consistency, SEO mastery, and hard work.
To monetize your blog, go through my guide on how to make money blogging, where I talk explain in-depth on how you can scale up your content creation and earn money with affiliate marketing, courses, a podcast, Google AdSense, selling your products, and more.
We have covered more or less everything you need to know to start your blog. I will continue to update this blog post over time with the latest blogging techniques.
Now, it is your turn. Why not start a blog today with Bluehost ?