Are you asking "How do I start a blog?"? If you are, I'm here to answer your question. It's actually not that hard. Takes less than an hour.
Blogs are becoming very prominent lately. More and more people are starting a blog each year, and this is just the beginning. Ready to start a blog?
Are you trying to get on the "blogging train"?
You've probably seen lots of people blog about their passions and hobbies and make a living from it. Maybe you want to join in the game? Even start earning money from it?
Being able to share your thoughts on a subject is great freedom to possess, but you need to take the first step. You need to start doing it.
Are you feeling a little overwhelmed right now? Don't worry. I've collected all the tips and tricks you need to know to begin blogging.
The amount of information out there on starting a blog might be a bit too much for a beginner. In this article, I've tried to sum up all that information into a smaller blob of text.
The language in this post is very beginner-friendly, meaning anyone will be able to follow, even if you know nothing about websites.
I'll include screenshots in the hopes that I can make the process even easier for you.
Without needing to leave this post, you will learn how to create your blog, customize it, choose a topic and much, much more.
Are you ready? Alright, let's start.
As you begin packing your bags for this awesome blogging journey, there are probably a few questions you'd like answered before you start.
These are some common questions that are asked when starting a blog. If your question isn't here, don't worry, it's probably answered further below.
Is it expensive to start a blog?
Starting a blog doesn't have to cost anything, but it might not yield the result you want. While the method I recommend isn't completely free, it is also not expensive. You can start your blog for about $30 per year.
How much time does it take to start a blog?
It's not very easy to put a time-frame on it because it does depend on the person creating the blog and the topic they're gonna try to cover. On average, it shouldn't take you more than a day to fully create the blog. That includes creating the blog, customizing it and choosing a topic.
Why shouldn't I use a free platform for starting a blog?
Free platforms are fine for hobby-posting. But in reality, they're not good enough for you. They limit your control and take your blog into their hands, therefore risking your security. If a free platform was to shut down, you'd lose your blog. The method you're going to learn here will protect you and give you complete control over your blog.
Are there any special requirements for starting a blog?
There are no requirements for starting a blog. The only thing you need is a little creativity and good ideas to write about. There's no need to be very knowledged in anything.
Hopefully, you've found at least a partial answer to your questions connected to your main question - How do I start a blog?
To truly find the answer to "How do I start a blog?", there's gonna be a huge guide under this section. But for now, I want you to have a quick peek at what you're about to learn.
Other than the creative aspects of starting a blog, you will learn how to actually create a blog and get it online, in less than 30 minutes.
☑ Register a domain
☑ Install WordPress
☑ Set up your blog
☑ Integrate with social media
If you're starting a blog just for fun or trying to get a new hobby into your life, there's no need to read this section. Any topic will work for you.
Your topic can be anything you want. But if you want to make money, you need to take that into account when choosing your topic.
It's very hard to change your blog topic, later on, so you need to plan for a topic at the beginning. You need to put some effort into researching whether your topic has enough audience to efficiently monetize the blog.
There's no way to avoid this. If you don't enjoy writing about a topic, you're not gonna post enough and might even put a full stop to it. Make sure you choose a topic you enjoy writing about.
You might think that monetizing a blog is easy, but it actually isn't. It's very hard and takes a lot of time to reach the point of monetization.
There's no sure-fire way to success, so you'll have to keep posting for some time without any monetary incentives.
You need to pick a topic you can write about for a long time, and then keep writing when it starts generating money. You will need to post at least a few times a week, the more, the better.
This is gonna make a big difference.
The problem most blogs have is that they're writing in a very dense crowd. Because of that, they can't get enough organic exposure.
Enter your desired keywords below and you'll get a list of keywords and their level of competitiveness.
The main thing you should be looking at is the competition. Look for keywords that have low competition, but a high enough volume so that you can get a lot of visitors from search engines like Google.
You can definitely make money on any topic if you're creative enough. But some topic can make you a lot more money than others.
For example, let's say you have a blog about travelling. You can review backpacks and other travel equipment and include affiliate links for your viewers to buy.
If you own a blog about animals, for example, there aren't as many affiliate links you can put. If the animals are pets though, you can put affiliate links for toys or similar.
The other way to make money is with Ads. Most bloggers implement Google Ads for ad monetization. But this is usually done parallel with affiliate links and maybe other sources of monetization.
Choose your topic wisely.
This is the first part of answering your main question - How do I start a blog. It's also the most important part. The topic might dictate how your other steps are performed.
This is the easiest process. It involves a guide on how to purchase domain and hosting; But also how to install WordPress. You shouldn't use another platform for a blog.
Fun fact, I was also asking How do I start a blog before I created my first website and blog. It really helped me move into web hosting/development.
There's no reason why you shouldn't pick WordPress for starting a blog. It's especially important to pick WordPress if you're a newbie.
WordPress has an extremely huge community because over 30% of internet websites run on WordPress. That's gonna make your life easier.
In fact, I can guarantee you that you've used a website that runs on WordPress. Do agree with me? Trick question. The blog you're reading right now runs on WordPress.
If you, for example, need help with something, there's probably someone who already answered your question. All you have to do is input the question into Google. Easy and fast, right?
If the above didn't sell you on WordPress, here are a few more reasons to use WordPress. It will make your life easier.
Honestly, if I was learning how do I start a blog, I'd use WordPress. It's the easiest platform and now I regret starting with a different platform at the beginning.
If you've heard of WordPress before, you might be confused right now.
The thing is, there are two WordPress'. The one you should use is the self-hosted version. I'll explain the differences.
WordPress.com is a paid platform, built on top of the WordPress platform. The platform has a free plan which you can start with, but it's definitely not enough to run a website.
WordPress.com would really cut the answer to "How do I start a blog?". But that's not a good thing.
Furthermore, the least expensive plan that I consider usable is $8 per month, which is a lot more than the total costs you'll be paying with the self-hosted version of WordPress.
In contrast, shared hosting at $1.99/month + $15 domain equal to $40 per year. Less than half of what you'll be paying for WordPress.com
But the limitations don't end there. On the $8 plan, you can't use premium themes. The free themes are usable, to put it mildly. But they're not good looking and don't have any special features.
If you want to start blogging seriously, you need to use a premium theme that looks better and has some additional functionality.
The cheapest WordPress.com plan that allows you to upload a theme is $25. That same plan is the cheapest one that allows you to install plugins. Using WordPress, but not being able to utilize its plugins is really not pleasant.
So, a serious blog will cost you $25/month with WordPress.com. That is $300 per year. Exactly 7.5 times more than the cost of using self-hosted WordPress.
You're paying 7.5 times more and still can't utilize the full power of WordPress.
This is the download site for the WordPress platform and CMS.
There are no limitations on this one.
WordPress is open-source software. WordPress.com uses this open-source software for profit. And they put some pretty huge limits on it too.
All you have to do is download the platform from WordPress.org and upload it to your web host. That's it. You get 100% control of your website and it's contents.
Absolute control over what you install and how you want it to work is crucial to your success. The ability to make tweaks to your website in any way you want, even editing the code is possible.
You can monetize it however you want. This is a very big advantage of WordPress.org.
If you look at the plans and WordPress.com, you'll see that the first plan that lets you use SEO Tools and Google Analytics is the $25/month plan. But what's even more ridiculous is that the first plan that lets you sell online is $45/month.
With WordPress.org, all of these are free. You can implement Google Analytics and any SEO tools you want. You can also start selling by installing WooCommerce. It's literally that easy.
In short: If you're serious about starting a blog and monetizing it, don't use WordPress.com. It's a very limiting platform that will make you pay more with each new feature you want to use. Instead, buy hosting and use WordPress.org for free with 100% freedom.
Before starting a blog, you need to pick out a domain name for your website.
The domain name is basically the address of your website. Same as "visitinghost.com" is for us. It is usually affiliated with your name or brand name.
Naturally, picking a topic comes before this, but you've already picked your topic. Now it's time to pick your domain name. It should be related to your topic.
A few characteristics of a domain:
Domain selection involves a lot of personal choices and opinions. I might like a name and you might now. It's mostly up to personal taste. But here are a few things to keep in mind:
Already made your domain selection? Great, here's how you can check if it's taken.
Domains can only be registered to one person per domain so it might be hard to find a domain you like, especially one using .com.
After you check if your domain is available, you can click "order now" and you'll be redirected to purchase. Make sure to add hosting before you finish your order.
You can skip this step if you already purchased hosting along with your domain in the domain selection.
Despite what most blogs say about hosting services, they aren't so different.
Everyone says "this hosting service is better than that one". Right?
The thing is, there's no noticeable difference between most hosting services. The real difference is in the price. Some hosting services just sell it for a higher price than others.
You can't answer "How do I start a blog?" without learning how to buy hosting.
Just make sure not to purchase a hosting that will slow down your website. They're rare, but sometimes you can stumble upon one of them.
It's easiest to purchase hosting along with your domain. That way, you don't have to hop between sites and do any technical work like changing nameservers.
Hint: Our hosting plans include a one-click installer for WordPress;
Okay, I know this might look scary to you. It's really easy though.
You've successfully created your blog! Yay! Ready to juice it up?
The hardest part of "how do I start a blog" will be finding a theme you like. There will be many to choose from and you'll be stuck between a few. I speak from experience.
Here are the essential steps to completing your blog:
☑ Install a gorgeous WordPress theme
☑ Customize the WordPress theme to your liking
☑ Set up the categories, pages and similar
☑ Install the necessary plugins
☑ Publish your first post
A WordPress theme is the main component of how your blog looks. Some themes also add functionality, like custom home pages. The theme is like clothing, you like seeing people that are nicely dressed. Your visitors like a website that looks good.
The resource I use for finding my themes is Themeforest.
There are countless themes on there and an infinite number of themes you like. Your only problem will be choosing which one to use.
I recommend choosing a premium theme from Themeforest. But if you don't have the money for it, you can use a free theme.
To install a free theme, from your Dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes > Add new
Let's say you've purchased a theme from Themeforest. Now you want to install it. How do you do it?
Assuming you clicked the Activate button, you're now ready to customize your theme.
As of now, I haven't found a theme that outright doesn't support the Customizer, so we'll use that.
To launch that go to Appearance > Customize
This is what you're gonna be greeted with.
Different themes will have different options here. But there are some things that 99% of themes will support:
Premium themes will also have customization options through the back end. Some premium themes have a metric ton of things to customize.
This should be pretty straight forward, even for people with no technology experience. The back end is in English and you'll have screenshots to guide you on the way.
Setting up your categories is detrimental to the beauty and usability of your blog. They're gonna guide your readers into sub-topic of your topic.
For example, let's say I'm starting a blog about electricity and a green future.
The categories I'd go with are: Electric Vehicles, Solar And Wind and maybe a category for Elon Musk, the man is always on the news.
Another idea is to create the categories as tags. That way you don't need to restrict yourself with categories and you can assign as many tags as you want to a post.
Though it should be noted that you can also assign just as many categories to a post. Problem is, you can't list all your categories in the navigation.
My recommendation is to create a few categories and then create different tags as you publish new posts. This way, you can have broad grouping within the categories and then a tighter leash on it with the help of tags.
You've got the categories in mind. Let's create them now.
It's really easy.
Just go to Posts > Categories
The next screen is pretty self-explanatory. The first thing you need to do is rename the Uncategorized category into something of yours.
Slug is how the category appears in the address bar (visitinghost.com/category).
Then use the tools on the left side to create all the categories you'll need for your blog.
First, go to Appearance > Menus
Then, click Create A New Menu
Now, on the left side, you have everything that you can add to a menu.
Expand the Categories and then click on View All.
Now you can select them and click Add To Menu
If you're trying to add tags to the menu, you need to do it with links. Normally, the address for a tag is mydomain.com/tags/mytag. You can verify this by going into Posts > Tags and clicking View under a tag you've created.
When creating a blog, there are a few pages that are necessary to create. These pages will give information to the visitors and give them a way to contact you.
How to create a page?
Ever been to a blog which you liked and wanted to learn more about it? That's what the about page is for. It gives the blog some additional credibility that you wouldn't get without it.
It should also link to your social media profiles to help your readers learn about your posts faster.
The number of visitors that would want to contact you might surprise you. It does depend on what you're writing about, but it's definitely higher than you think
Give them a way to do that, maybe integrate a plugin like Contact Form 7 to make it easier for them to contact you.
You might think your website is pretty functional already. But the fact is, there are a few plugins you must install to fully finish building it.
The plugins you have to install fall into these categories:
Okay, now let's cover the plugin options for each category.
It's really easy. Go to Plugins > Add New
Search for the plugin you want to install and click Install, and then Activate.
Analytics is very important for every website. It gives you a clear view of who your readers are. Analytic tools usually track these stats(and more):
There are a few good plugins you can use for analytics. You should use one or more for the best results:
WP Statistics - This one's not connected to any third-party analytics software, but it does offer a lot of features. If you don't need/want to use third-party analytics, this one's the best for you.
Google Site Kit - This plugin will allow you to connect your website to various Google services such as Analytics and Page Speed without having to type any code.
Facebook Pixel - This one's the official plugin from Facebook, and I recommend using this. It does analytics for your website, but that's not its main purpose. It's very important to have this if you plan to advertise on Facebook.
After starting a blog, social media can play a big part in its success.
Depending on what you want to do with social media, there are multiple plugins you can use.
The functionality these plugins have is simple:
There are a lot of good plugins you can use, and the best ones aren't free. But the good news is, the free ones are good enough for most people:
Super Socializer - This one's an all-in-one. Includes Like buttons for multiple social networks, Commenting with Facebook or Disqus, Social Login with 10 networks, and Social Sharing for all the social networks you could ever want.
Social Warfare - Social Sharing made easy, there's a free and paid version for this, but the free version is enough. We currently use it on this blog. The free version supports 6 social networks, has stylish and floating buttons, and supports sharing counts.
Facebook Comments - Unofficial plugin to enable Facebook Comments on your website. It lets your readers skip the registration process in order to comment. Also, when commenting with Facebook, you can see who the person who commented is. This way, the comments are more credible and truthful.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is your most powerful weapon. In time, you'll be able to get organic visits from Google and other search engines. You can only do that by utilizing SEO.
There's really only one plugin you need for this and that's Yoast SEO. I've been using this my whole life, on lots of websites.
It is meant to boost your SEO score, with tips on how to improve your posts and pages for better SEO rankings.
It does require setup at the start, but it's not very hard to do as they've included a wizard to guide you through it.
Other than that, you can use it to choose how you want your posts to be seen on Google. There will be a new Yoast SEO under each of your posts that will let you change meta description, focus keyphrase and more. This tab will also inform you of any bad writing or other things that are bad for SEO.
There's one more plugin to take your SEO game to the next level. It's completely optional, but it's much better to have it than not.
It's called Google XML Sitemaps. It will create a sitemap that you submit to Google to help them better index your website. The end result is improved SEO.
You might think that an email newsletter isn't something you need from the get-go. Wrong!
Have you ever read a blog that you really enjoyed?
Did that same blog have a newsletter subscription box? Most likely!
The reason for that is simple. Without it, there isn't a sure way to create repeating visitors.
But with a newsletter, whenever you publish a new post, they'll get an email and then a repeat visit happens. This is good for you and your website!
There are two ways to do this:
Yes, you guessed it. Doing it through a third-party is the better way, but I'll include a plugin to do it directly through WordPress without having to rely on a third-party.
Because web hosts usually use the same IP Address for essentially thousands of sites, this IP might end up on one or more blacklists.
When an IP is on a blacklist, emails sent from that IP might not be received by some mail clients. Even if the email is received, it usually ends up in the spam folder. Outlook has the strictest rules about this.
If you plan to use an email newsletter directly through WordPress, make sure to check if the email can be received by all the major email services.
There are a lot more plugins for this, but these are the ones I've personally used and like. Currently, I use a third-party service on all my websites, because they're usually cheap and sometimes free until a certain point.
Newsletter - Yes, that's what it's called. This is a very advanced plugin for creating a newsletter from within WordPress.
SendinBlue - I use this third-party service for sending bulk emails, and also for my newsletter. It's easy to use and also has a free version that allows sending up to 300 emails per day.
Other third-party services with plugins for WordPress:
Wow, that was quick. You've finished creating your blog.
Now it's time to publish your first post. Are you excited?
Let's go through the post editor and I'll explain all the functions.
Go to Posts > Add New to start a new blog post
Firstly, if you've ever worked with WordPress, and don't like the new Gutenberg editor, there's good news.
You can install a plugin to disable the new Gutenberg editor. However, I recommend using Gutenberg, as it really is a huge improvement over the Classic Editor.
Most of the things are self-explanatory, so I'll try to cover only the things that are a little more complicated.
To add a block, click on the + icon. You'll be greeted with tons of options, with the most used ones being on the top.
Plugins can add their own blocs to the Gutenberg editor, so instead of copying shortcodes, you can just click on a block and it'll appear.
The sidebar has a lot of stuff on it, let's quickly run through them:
Status and Visibility - Lets you schedule when to publish a post. Also lets you set who can see your post.
Permalink - It's used to set the address for your post. It's auto-generated, but you can change it.
Featured Image - This is the image that appears on the blog page and at the top of the post if enabled.
Excerpt - It's essentially a short explanation of the post.
These were under the Document tab. If you click the Block tab, you'll see customizations for the currently selected block. These will differ depending on what kind of block it is. For example, for paragraphs, there's a setting to change font size and color.
Finally, we have Yoast SEO under the post. I hope you installed this plugin because, without it, you're one step behind everybody else.
The first tab is about the way the post interacts with search engines like Google. It's used to add a meta description and a focus keyphrase. You'll also be notified of any SEO problems you have.
The second tab lets you set the appearance on social media networks. You don't have to fill these.
The appearance on social media, by default, uses the Title as a title, the Meta Description from the first tab as a description and the Featured Image as an image.
You don't need to touch the third tab, it's not important.
After you're done writing the post and setting up the SEO for it. All you have to do to publish the post is click Publish. If you're using Gutenberg, it's in the top-right corner.
If you're using the Classic Editor it's on the right side, along with all the other stuff in the sidebar.
Instead of directly clicking Publish, you should first click Preview to see how your post would look to visitors. After you've determined that's how it should be, click Publish.
That's it! You've published your first post! Keep them coming and eventually, you'll reach the point of monetization.
One of the most important things included in the answer to the question "How do I start a blog?".
Social media is one of those things that you know is probably bad for you, but you still use it anyway.
It's the same for other people.
You probably follow a few blogs on social media, because you like their content and you have faster access to their posts by following them.
That's what your visitors would like to do as well. It's not rocket science to determine that social media is detrimental to the health of your blog. It might become your main source of visitors before you get good SEO scores.
There are a lot of social media platforms and you should consider all of them. But don't try to use 10 social media networks. Using only the major ones is fine in 99% of cases.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are the most important ones to integrate with. These are very popular and with a heavy focus on content.
Consider doing paid advertising using one or more of the social networks. Facebook might be best for this, just make sure you have a Pixel installed on your website before you do this.
You need to understand that you shouldn't even try to monetize immediately after starting a blog.
Installing ads right now will just increase your bounce rate and not really yield you a significant amount of money.
You'll probably need to publish new posts for some time before you can profit off of it.
That said, there are quite a few options to consider. Here are the main ones:
All of these can bring you a substantial amount of money. Let's quickly say something about them.
This is the one you're most likely to use. It's easy to implement and doesn't require any special work. It is automated, your blog will show ads that are related to the people visiting it.
People have been known to get a good amount of money from this. The disadvantage here is that you need a lot of viewers to make a significant amount of money from this alone.
With that said, you should really consider this once you have a substantial amount of views.
You might not want to implement ads on your blog because it might scare off the visitors. Read on below for more ways to monetize.
Affiliate marketing is basically promoting someone else's product for a percent of the sales price.
This works just like any other link. You implement it when you need to direct people to something. When your visitors click these links, they see the same thing as if they went to the website without an affiliate code. They don't lose anything.
But you get an affiliate commission from the sales that happen through your personal link.
You can integrate these links seamlessly into your blog when you're creating a tutorial or writing about a certain thing to consider.
With time, your blog will get more and more visitors and with the help of analytics, you'll know who they are.
This is the point when you should introduce a product into your blog. Catered specifically for your audience.
This product will help them in some way, maybe you're selling a great SEO tool to your SEO-interested viewers. Maybe you're selling a travel backpack to your travelling viewers. The opportunities are endless.
What if I told you you don't have to consider just one? It's true,
What's stopping you from implementing all of them?
That's right. Nothing. There's no reason why you shouldn't at least try to implement all of these.
Two out of the three are at no cost to the viewer and the other one will help your viewers in one way or another.
Why not triple your income?
Well, to be real here. This will not necessarily triple your income. All of these will provide different amounts of money.
But that's a good thing. If you know how you make the most money, you can focus most of your effort on that one thing and make even more from it.
From what we've said above, you've probably established that starting a blog is the easy part. That's true, but it's not as easy to build it into a money-machine.
To build a blog into a money-machine, you still need to commit long term. You'll need to be posting at least a few times per week in order to stay current and have a lot of content on your website.
Keep in mind, you don't want to overdo it to the point where you lose quality. People still stay for quality. Quality > Quantity
One of the most important things for a successful blog is great hosting. It's ultimately gonna determine how fast your website is. As I said before, most hosting services will not have a noticeable difference. Make sure to not buy one that's noticeably slow.
The last thing to do is integrate with social media, this is key to growing your blog. Social media, no matter how bad for the people using it, is still the best tool on the market for advertising. Use it wisely.