How to Start a Blog in 2020 (Step-by-Step Guide for Beginner’s)

How to Start a Blog

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In the era of the internet, blogging is considered the easiest way to earn money while sitting at your home. Moreover, with the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus, it is also being considered the best way to earn while dodging the risk of infection.

Writing a blog consumes a lot of time as it is not just about writing a topic on the internet. There are some other factors that affect the popularity of your blog on the internet. With this guide, you will not only learn about these factors, but this step-by-step guide will also help you in earning money from it.

How to Start a Blog (and make money) in 9 Easy Steps

A good blog can help you inform, educate promote, or even sell, but only if your intentions are clear from the beginning. Do you want to communicate something? Do you want to build a community for a cause? Do you want to keep your followers updated? Do you want to explain how your product or service work?

Hence, you must take some time to figure out your purpose in writing a blog. This brings us to the first and foremost step:

Step #1: Selecting a Perfect Niche

Before you start writing a successful blog, you must first find your niche and find out the ways to make it profitable. In short, niche is a topic that you are willing to write about most often in your blogs. Niche blogging is creating a blog to target and advertise a market. Niche blogs are easy to monetize and usually contain affiliate links.

For a successful blog, you need to choose the right niche and work on attaining the highest form of knowledge within that topic. Therefore, you must pick the one that appeals to you or the one that you are passionate about. By selecting the niche of your interest, you can easily share your ideas and differentiate it from the competitors.

Step #2: Selecting a Blogging Platform

Once you have selected a preferable niche, you must look at the best blog sites out there and determine the type of blog management tool you want to use. To get your blog online, you must get in touch with a web hosting company where you can select a blogging platform and a web hosting plan.

What is web hosting?

To make your website accessible for the people on the internet, you require a host. This host keeps your website files safe, secure, and ensure that people can access your blog when they click on the link.

What is the best web hosting service to use?

There are several great web hosting providers in the market. The company we found the best that checks all the key boxes for bloggers is Bluehost.

The best combination of a blogging platform and web hosting we suggest is a WordPress blog, hosted by Bluehost. Bluehost is one of the most established and reliable blog hosting companies in the industry. WordPress has been around since 2003 and now powers more than 60% of all blogs on the internet.

Working with WordPress grants you two methods of blogging. You can either use it as a free platform where you let the platform own your name. You are subject to their rules and restrictions, where they can also limit or prohibit ads on your blog or might place their ads.

The second way with WordPress is by using it as a self-hosted platform and run a blog with your domain name. You also get several choices when it comes to a self-hosted system also known as Content Management System. It is called a self-hosted system because it allows you to use your own web hosting space and name. To begin with the self-hosted platform, you need to first select a plan.

Selecting a Plan

To select a hosting plan, you need to be smart and go ahead with the best deal. We recommend using the Choice Plus plan as it comes to Domain Privacy, which protects your personal information. In case, you find any difficulty in recognizing Choice Plus, select the one that provides Domain Privacy feature to protect your personal information online.

Step #3: Pick a Suitable Domain Name

A domain name is a name by which your blog is known online, no matter what niche you choose. A domain remains yours until you continue paying its annual fee. Users aware of your domain name can simply search it in their browser’s address bar. Others can reach your website through search engines like Google and Bing. Your domain can be “.com” or it can be any country such as “.in”.

It is best to get your domain from Bluehost as you can get the best deal and they also offer you several options just in case your preferred domain name is already in use. Once you reach the page, you just need to type the domain name you need for your blog in the checkout process. In case, you need to run a quick check on the domain name for some suggestions you can do it quickly through the search domain options.

Apart from that, while using Bluehost you also get an option of selecting the domain name later (it is a popup that appears if you hover on the page for long enough).

Step #4: Choose A Web Hosting

Once done with selecting a domain name, you must select a reliable hosting service. The functionality and performance of a website depend on the selected WebHost. It is the function of a WebHost to ensure that your website is available for the potential users 24*7. It is also the place where you store website related files.

1. Creating a Bluehost Account

It is recommended to use Bluehost as your webhosting service. You must start by filling in your account details like your name, email address (up-to-date email address), and address. Your login details and account information are sent on your email address. It is also easy to connect your Bluehost account with Google account, which makes it a worthy player.

2. Selecting Right Hosting Package

Once you are done with creating an account, you need to choose an account plan based on the price you want to lock-in. Bluehost offers options for you to pay 1,2,3 or 5 years upfront. Whichever plan you choose, the price works out to be affordable and reasonable for starting your blog.

3. Which Pricing Plan is the Best?

We recommend 36 months or 3 years plan to lock in the lowest possible pricing for your hosting. You also need to select package extras, where it is most important to keep Domain Privacy Protection that keeps all your personal contact information private.

If you have selected the Choice Plus plan, your Domain Privacy Protection comes listed as “Free”. But with the Basic or Plus plan, it is a must to check the box to add Domain Privacy Protection. After this, you will see the amount that needs to be paid. Enter your billing information, check the box that you agree to Bluehost’s Terms of Service, and then hit the Submit button.

Step #5: Install WordPress

To start your blog, you must install WordPress to get the necessary themes and plugins. It is also important to launch your WordPress blog with Bluehost. By doing so you can easily start using your domain with WordPress and work on its theme and design.

For this, you must visit your Bluehost cPanel account, find the ‘My Sites’ section, and click ‘Install WordPress’. This is the famous One-click setup offered by Bluehost that makes blog creation a fillip.

If you want to make money out of your blog, WordPress is the smartest option for you.

Let us understand what makes WordPress a special platform or Content Management System (CMS) to run a blog.

WordPress is the most popular CMS with millions of bloggers using it every day. It is easy to use and offers various themes and plugin that reduce the hassle of designing a website. Moreover, it is also easy to publish a blog on WordPress as it is user friendly and allows you to change the format of your blog in just one click.

What do you mean by CMS?

A Content Management System or CMS is the space where you write, design and publish blog posts. A good CMS is easy to use and helps you in organizing your content, upload images, and videos.

Now, one thing to remember, is that WordPress comes with two platforms. WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

WordPress.com:

  • It is free to use
  • It prohibits you from picking a custom domain name
  • It has limited monetization options
  • It does not let you upload plugins
  • It comes with limited theme support
  • To remove WordPress branding from a domain, you need to pay
  • It offers limited SEO and analytics

WordPress.org:

  • Comes with loads of customizable designs, unlimited plugin options, and no branding
  • You get total control over monetization efforts
  • Effective SEO features
  • Helps you with eCommerce store feature
  • Comes with a small monthly fee

While the choice remains yours, it is important to spend time familiarizing yourself with the admin area of WordPress blog, explore and test things out. You can develop a much deeper understanding of its working, visual experience, and functionality.

Step #6: Customize Your Blog

Once you are done with installing WordPress and merging your domain name, the next step is to work on the outline, designing, and theme of your blog. We recommend you design your blog with free themes offered by WordPress. Once your blog gathers some traffic and justifies the investment, then it is smart to choose a premium/paid theme with more features and options. Spending too much, in the beginning, can be a distraction from your most important priority of bringing readers to your new blog. In the beginning, it is better to focus more on the content that you are planning to share on the blog.

WordPress comes with numerous free themes to choose from and to apply one among them, you need to visit – Appearance > Themes > Add New Theme > Popular and without spending much time you can select the theme that fits your blog’s layout.

Why is Finding the Right Theme Important?

The first thing your blog needs is a face, which is both eye-catching and practical. If you plan to go long way on the internet, your readers must recognize your website in the humongous world of the internet. You do not want your visitors to be distracted by the colour combination you choose or the unpractical format in which information is displayed. With an accurate theme, your readers can easily find the information they need to read, and it also helps in immediate acceptance of blog with new visitors.

The first thing any new visitor notices is the overall appearance of the blog, so it is important to choose that not only looks great but also works for unique content needs.

The next important thing that you must focus on customizing your blog is the essential plugins that you must install on your WordPress.

Essential WordPress Plugins you should install

There are literally thousands of plugins and blogging tools available to choose from. To cut through all the smoke, here are some essential plugins you must know about.

  1. Yoast SEO: The popularity of your blog is completely dependent on the number of people it reaches. Yoast SEO Plugin helps you optimize your blog’s titles, descriptions, content length, and other elements across the blog that provides better rank on different search engines.
  2. WPForms: You must always keep a way open for your readers to get in touch with you. It also encourages other bloggers who want to collaborate with you. WPForms is easy to use a plugin that allows you to drag and drop contact forms onto any page of your blog.
  3. Google Analytics Dashboard: Google Analytics Plugin allows you to see all relevant analytics data directly to WordPress. It helps you with data of who is visiting your website and how long they are sticking around, and which blog post is being read the most among all.
  4. UpdraftPlus: Things can go wrong anytime and so it is always smart to have a backup plugin that can save all your hard work on a regular basis.
  5. WP Rocket: With faster websites, readers get a better experience. WP Rocket plugin reduces the file size and ensures that your blog loads faster for the readers.
  6. Insert Headers and Footers: To edit your theme, you may have to add code snippets to the header and footer of your blog. Applying such codes in your theme directly can cause issues sometimes. This plugin allows you to snippets of code to select locations around your blog.

Step #7: Write Your First Blog Post

Till now you have successfully gained access over a domain name, WebHost, and designed your blog with the theme you seem to be comfortable with. Your framework is almost complete, and you are ready to go. Now comes the crucial part for which you have been making these efforts. You must write a blog for your website.

In the blogging world, any information that you transfer to your readers is called content. It must be something people find interactive and return either for a follow-up or to get information about something new. The next step is to figure out what type of content you are willing to provide to your readers. Content is not limited only till the words and sentences on your website, but all the images, videos, audio, graphics, etc.

Without content, even the most well-designed website can fail. Therefore, here are some points you should keep in mind while creating content for your website.

Your content is designed for a specific set of audience and provides value to them in some way. You must always remember it as the primary rule of writing content – It’s not about you, it’s about them.

Your content should be easy to access and should be presented in an attractive manner. You can take the help of the theme and design you have implemented on our blog and pay attention to the way you present your content.

The purpose of your content can be to gain commercial benefits, but you should never be commercially focused. Avoid using pop-up ads and banner ads on the website and greet your visitors with content.

Tips to Create Quality Content

These three points will help you in creating great content for your blog:

  • Point – Stay clear with your idea and direct your content in that direction
  • Prove – State an example of an idea you need to cover
  • Perform – Offer a simple way to execute that idea

Before you start writing content for the blog, you must clear your head about two blocks of content –

Pre-Launch Content & Post-Launch Content

Pre-Launch Content

Pre-Launch content involves the static pages of your blog that include About us page, Contact us page, Sidebar, Footer, etc.

  • About us page helps your visitors to understand what your blog is about, who you are, and why you run a blog on a topic. You must clarify whether your blog is for business purposes, personal, or just for fun. Depending on the niche you select, you must edit this page on your blog.
  • Contact Page helps your visitors with a medium to contact or communicate with you at any time. Try to keep it simple with your email address, social network links or you can use the contact forms that visitors can use to communicate with you.
  • Sidebar Content is a smaller column on the right or left side of your blog page. It generally contains blog categories, popular posts, ads, etc.
  • The Footer bar contains all the information related to your blog. Here you can use copyright for your content ensuring that your content does not get copied by someone else and remains unique on the internet.

Post-Launch Content

  • Blog Posts is a written piece you publish on your website. It can include content in the form of text, images, infographics, or videos.
  • To produce quality content, you must use imagination and originality.

Step #8: Promote your Blog

You have learned how to start writing for your blog to draw the audience. Now, it is time to ensure that your blog reaches the desired audience. You can write the most compelling copy on the internet, but it will make no sense if no one sees it. Marketing and Promotion is a never-ending process that happens every time you engage with current or future readers.

Let’s take a close look at the marketing and promotion strategies you need to perform to become a successful blogger.

  • Inform friends about your blog

Inform everyone you know about your new blog. You must include blog name and URL while informing along with social media platforms and use every opportunity to get the word out about your new undertaking.

  • Submit your blog on Search Engine

It is important to get your blog indexed on different search engines. To submit your blog on Google, sign in your Google account and click on submit URL option, you will find it in Webmaster Tools. For better reach, make sure to submit your blog on Bing.

  • Activeness in your niche

You must get active on relevant blogs, forums, and social pages that are related to your niche. Blogger communities are also a great way to connect with other bloggers and you can also build connections through these communities.

  • Submit Your Blog to Bookmarking Sites

Bookmarking sites have a lot of potentials to divert traffic on your blog. You must perform this activity every time you publish a new blog. Some popular bookmarking sites include Scoop.it, Reddit, etc

  • Stay active on social networks

Social media networks are another unique way to promote your blog on the internet. You must make use of all the potential social media networks that fit your niche and style.

  • Comment on other blogs

Commenting on other blogs is another way to build great relationships among bloggers on the internet. This activity not only informs other bloggers but also there is a great chance to attract their readers on your blog.

  • Develop Mailing List

Once your website starts getting minimum required engagement, it is always a good idea to collect the email addresses of the readers who want to be notified about your new blogs and articles. Once the people come to know about your blog, they will respond better to your efforts.

  • Guest Blogs

Guest blogging is another advanced step to promote your blog and increase reach among the readers. It is important that you select websites of your niche and write a guest post on those websites. If you upload content on your blog working for a different niche, work on guest blogging for better engagement results.

Always remember to find out new ways to promote your blog. Keep the basics in mind – keep it simple and sweet, stay focused, offer solutions and helpful information, and share practical advice.

Step #9: Monetize Your Blog and Make Money

Now that you have a customized blog with some content on it, it is time to focus on the last stage. How to monetize your blog?

There are several options that you can choose to earn money online using your blog. You should select the one that proves most beneficial for you.

1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate programs are a method of teaming with retailers to promote their products by carrying out sales through your blog. Some points you need to consider while entering an affiliate market –

Earning money through the affiliate market strongly relies on the number of people visiting your website.

The credibility of the website plays an important role in affiliate marketing.

You must also notify your readers about affiliate marketing by placing it in Terms of Use.

There are several websites that offer affiliate programs to start such as, Amazon, Flipkart, etc.

2. Offering your products and services

If you have started a blog to offer solutions to the readers, you can use your blog as a venue to sell your ideas, products, and services. Make sure to increase traffic on your blog, authority of your website, and popularity for better results. Make use of different plugins on your blog to make it more interactive.

3. Sponsored Posts

Sponsored blogs involve advertising any brand using their content and charging a certain amount for it. It requires some amount of readership on your blog to attract potential brands for sponsored blogging.

4. Running Ads

Running Ads on a website or a blog is the easiest way of earning online. It is also considered as the slowest way of earning through a blog and can always be considered as a long-term income method. You can select ads that justify your blog’s niche, or you can select ads that serve your purpose. There are several ways to start ads on your blog and among them, Google AdSense is considered the most popular choice.

As you can see, there are several ways to monetize a blog. Consider the best option depending on the nature of your website and start with the advertising process.

In the end, growing a successful blog comes down to dedication and engagement with your new blog. If you want people to visit your blog often, you need to give them a reason for the same. Once you start gathering attention over the internet, monetization and everything else will follow.

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