Starting a blog is a great way to share your ideas, expertise and make a living online. This step-by-step guide will teach you how to start a blog in less than 30 minutes.
Before we jump in, why should you start a blog?
There’s a lot of reasons, but here are a few popular ones.
- You can make money blogging. You DON’T have to create the next Google or Facebook to make money online — people across the world have started profitable blogs, ranging from shaving advice to toilet training cats. Most bloggers make money through ads, selling courses, affiliate links and sponsorships. You don’t need to make money to enjoy blogging but whether you make $50/year or $50,000/year, it’s nice to have a hobby that actually pays you back.
- You’ll inspire others. Blogging is a tool that not only will change your life but changes the life of the people that read your blog. Once in a while, I get emails from readers who tell me that I inspired them to go full-time with their blog. Hearing stories like this makes it all worth it.
- It’ll serve as a personal journal. In many ways, blogging serves the same purpose in many ways as a personal journal. Your blog becomes a place of reflection as well as a digital record of your life that can be never destroyed or stolen. I love going back to my old posts and see how I’ve changed as a person.
The 7 steps we will cover in this tutorial:
- Decide what to blog about
- Choose your blogging platform
- Sign up with the web host
- Install WordPress
- Choose a theme/template for your site
- Plugins & customizations
- Get traffic and monetize your Blog
Don’t worry, we’ll walk through all of it step-by-step!
Step 1: Decide What to Blog About
The best place to start a blog is to ask yourself, what are you passionate about? Is it cooking? Is it online marketing? Is it running? Being a mom? I highly recommend starting a blog around something that you truly care about.
If you start a blog around your passion, you’ll have so more fun working on it and you’ll stay more consistent with your writings long-term. Here’s a list of broad topics to get you thinking:
- Personal Stories
- Health and Fitness
- Beauty and Fashion
- Personal Development
Maybe you want to go completely different direction. Here are the most popular blog categories:
Don’t over-stress choosing your focus at this point. At this point, just get started and you can easily spread into other areas of interest.
You can experiment with several topics, and see what feels the most natural and matches with your passions.
2. Choose Your Blogging Platform
You need to have blogging software to get started. This blog also runs on WordPress. Why?
Because, WordPress is user-friendly, free, and powerful.
WordPress powers 25% of the World Wide Web, and when it comes to the world’s top million sites, WordPress platform is selected half the time.
Honestly, I’ve worked with a lot of platforms, and it’s flexible and easy to work on.
WordPress also has thousands of themes make your site look top-quality. The only thing you have to worry about is getting a domain name and web hosting.
3. Sign Up With The Web Host
Web hosting is a service that keeps your site accessible to everyone. Choosing a good host is important because many bad hosts overuse servers to cut costs, which potentially leads to your site being down.
This site runs on SiteGround, and I highly recommend them because,
- Their customer service is FANTASTIC. They’re live-chat is available 24/7 and the support team is highly knowledgeable. There have many instances, where I’ve had technical questions and their support has helped me out instantly.
- SiteGround is stable in times of unexpected traffic spikes. One of the worst things that can happen to your blog is if you get a spike traffic and your site goes down completely. With SiteGround this won’t happen.
- Many free add-ons. There are so many free add-ons, but two of my favorite are one-click WordPress install and “Let’s Encrypt SSL” that makes your site more secure and trustworthy.
The bottom line, SiteGround is one of the most trusted web hosting companies, powering millions of websites. They are officialy recommend by WordPress and you’ll get top quality hosting for just $3.95/mo. Their pricing is a steal compared with other web hosts of lesser quality.
Since we’ve partnered up with SiteGround, who gives our reader’s 60% off on web hosting. This is a crazy good deal.
Disclosure: Because I’ve used SiteGround and found their hosting great, all links to SiteGroundare referral links. I’ll earn a commission if you make a purchase and you’ll get a discounted price. This is how I keep BlogProfits up and running.
On the next screen, you’ll be able to choose your plan. StartUp and GrowBig are most popular.
Next, you’ll be able to choose a domain name.
It might take a bit of time and effort to find the right blog name, but it’s worth the thought. Here are a few tips that help with naming your blog.
- Choose .com extension over others (If you really love the domain name, feel free to go with .co; .net or .org)
- Most one word domains are taken, so aim for 2-3 words since it’s easier to remember it
- Avoid numbers and hyphens
- Try to use keywords that possibly represent what your blog is about
- Consider using your personal name or a variation of it
Once you choose your domain name, uncheck the extras since you can always get them later if needed.
Afterward, you’ll fill up your personal information and you are set.
Once ready, you’ll get a confirmation email with all of your details that you’ll be able to log-in to your web hosting control panel (cPanel).
Step 4: Install WordPress
Once you log-in to your cPanel you’ll see a lot of icons, which most of them you’ll never end up using. At the top, you’ll see AutoInstallers section where you can click on the WordPress icon.
It takes less than 30 seconds to get WordPress installed. Once it’s ready, you’ll see a screen with your WordPress login URL and password. You’ll be able to log-in to your dashboard at http://yoursite.com/wp-admin/
Step 5: Choose a Theme/Template for your site
At this point, your site looks very basic and similar to everyone else. Customizing the look and feel of the blog is one of the most fun parts of starting a blog.
You can change your theme by going to your WordPress dashboard and on the right side clicking on Appearance » Themes.
You’ll see thousands of free themes from the dashboard. If you want to go for a different look, I highly recommend heading over to ThemeForest, where you’ll find a HUGE collection of themes at varying costs.
If you are just starting off, I’d honestly spend some time going through the free themes, since you’ll be able to find some amazing gems.
Once you’ve found a theme you like simply click “Install” followed by “Activate”.
Step 5. Creating Your First Blog Post
To create your first blog post, head over to the left side and click on the Posts » Add New in your dashboard.
Once you’re ready to publish, just hit the “Publish” button.
Step 6. Plugins & Customizations
There are 45,000+ WordPress plugins available that allow you add extra functionality to your site. You can easily add features like contact forms, galleries, sliders, etc.
You can add plugins by going to Plugins » Add New in your dashboard.
Here are 3 plugins that are crucial.
- Yoast SEO for WordPress: If you want to make your site more SEO friendly, this plugin takes care of title tags, meta descriptions and more.
- Google Analytics: With this handy plugin, you’ll be able to track your visitors/traffic by connecting with your Google Analytics account.
- Contact Form 7: Set up pretty contact forms, so people will be able to fill a contact form without having to log into their own email provider.
That’s just tip of the iceberg!
7. Get Traffic and Monetize Your Blog
Some bloggers make insane amounts of money directly from their blogs. Some people monetize their blogs through Google Adsense, others sell courses and some are just earning passive revenue through affiliate links.
If you want to build a successful blog, it starts with great content that provides value to the reader. Make your content scannable with headings, short paragraphs, and high-quality images. It’s a good idea to make writing a habit and stick to a publishing schedule. It could be one article a week, it could be one article a month. Whatever it is, try to be consistent as possible.
For now, here are some tips to get started promoting your blog:
- Set up an opt-in to collect email addresses of your visitors
- Answer questions on Quora and link back to your blog
- Post and promote on relevant subreddits
- Write guest posts for other blogs
- Leverage SEO
- Republish your content on bigger sites
There are a lot of marketing tactics, but the key is to pick a few that work well and practice them constantly.
Next Steps To Take:
- Head over to SiteGround and get your blog setup
- Spend some time choosing a theme and getting the look you want
- Write your first blog post (it could be a post about introducing yourself to the readers and topics you are planning to cover on your blog