Learning how to start a blog has never been easier. Did you know that you don’t even need coding skills or technical knowledge to create and monetize one?
Of course, you will need some guidance, especially if you’re not familiar with the industry.
In this article, I will walk you through all the crucial steps and help you create a successful, robust blog!
So without further ado, let’s get into the article and learn how to create a blog in just a few easy steps!
How Can You Benefit From Having a Blog?
You might wonder how exactly you can benefit from having a blog?
First of all, a blog is a great space for self-expression. Whether you’re a writer or a photographer – you can use a blog as a platform to showcase your creativity.
What is more, blogging is a form of content marketing. It is a highly beneficial strategy to increase brand awareness and increase conversion rates. Implementing good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) practices can bring huge amounts of traffic to your website.
Many businesses have blogs to educate people and guide them towards purchasing their products or services.
You, as a blogger, can make money off your content as well – displaying ads, writing sponsored posts, becoming an affiliate or even selling your services is a great way to monetize content and make bank!
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
So let’s get into it and learn all about how to start a blog!
Self-hosted or Free?
When launching a blog, you need to choose between self-hosted and free platforms.
Free platforms will host your website on their servers. There are plenty of options out there, with various plans and resources. If you’re unhappy with the free plan, you can always upgrade to a premium one.
Self-hosted platforms will require you to buy a hosting service. Without it, your blog won’t be visible on the internet.
So which one to choose?
If you are looking to have a very robust blog and want full control of your content, you should use a self-hosted platform, such as WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla. These content management systems offer the ultimate control, flexibility, and customization.
What is more, with the right hosting provider, you will have excellent website security, dedicated support and extra features, such as SSL certificates, protection from malicious actors, a domain name and more.
Blogging platforms offer hosting services right off the bat. They usually are easier to manage and set up, so if you have little to no technical knowledge it might be the right fit.
Keep in mind, that with free blogging platforms you will only get a sub-domain and minimal resources. On top of that, you won’t have full control over your content.
Free Blogging Platforms
Their popularity is not without reason!
Using a free platform gives you a great opportunity to familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of blogging, tweak your content, and start building an audience. All without spending a penny!
If you’re not too concerned about customization, you can make use of the pre-made website design templates. Tumblr alone has thousands of available themes for you to use!
Of course, there’s a catch.
You will only get a subdomain, meaning if you start a blog on blogger, your domain name will be example.blogger.com. So if you are planning to monetize your blog, this won’t make you look very professional.
What is more, these platforms are free to display ads on your blog. This can be extremely annoying, and you won’t make any money out of them!
Free blogging platforms are also pretty rigid when it comes to customization. Although you can change themes, most of the time, you cannot edit add or remove specific sections from their templates. So you can’t do a lot if you are not satisfied with your blog’s visuals.
Since you’re hosting under the platform’s name, that means you need to comply with their rules. If you breach their terms and conditions, your blog might be deleted.
With all that said, free blogging platforms are best suited for those who are not interested in monetizing their blog and are content with certain limitations.
If you are looking to create a robust website and want to monetize it in the future – choose self-hosted platforms.
There are thousands of various themes to choose from, you can even modify them as you see fit. What is more, if you’re familiar with coding, you can create a completely unique theme and use it for your site.
What is more, platforms like WordPress offer many great plugins to further increase the functionality of your website. Should you need an extra hand with SEO, security, or even setting up an online store – you’ll find a plugin to help you.
You will be able to post what you want, manage your site with ease, edit and publish your content, and even monetize your blog! Best thing? You have full control over your blog and content. It belongs to no-one but you.
However, there are some disadvantages to self-hosting.
The first disadvantage is money. You will have to spend money on plans since you need a hosting provider. Thankfully, the prices of hosting services can be very affordable, so you won’t have to break the bank.
Another downside is maintenance. Since you host the blog on your own, you need to maintain it by yourself. So if you have no idea how website management works, this can be a huge issue.
All that being said, I always recommend the self-hosted option. While it might require more effort to set up and maintain, it is an overall better choice in the long term.
Taking Care of the Basics
Okay, now we have covered one of the most important decisions to make. Let’s move on to the process of actually setting up your blog!
1. Picking the Right Web Host
First of all, if you decide to go with a self-hosted platform, you will need to choose the right hosting provider.
All providers offer different plans with different features. As a new blogger, you need to pick a plan that won’t empty your wallet all at once. Plans with many features might be appealing, but they are also more expensive. Moreover, are the extra features necessary for your current goals?
For a beginner, I always recommend purchasing a shared hosting plan, as it is always the most affordable option and requires minimal technical knowledge to control.
I will use Hostinger’s shared hosting as an example. They have three plans ranging from $0.80/month to $3.45/month. The most affordable option – Single Shared Hosting – has the features necessary to start a blog. Meanwhile, Hostinger’s Business plan is for advanced bloggers who need to scale their site.
Another matter you should consider is customer support. Should you ever run into any issues, customer support is your saving grace.
Before buying any hosting plan, make sure to read some reviews online and do your own research.
2. Buying a Domain Name
A domain is like your home’s address. Without your address, people won’t know how to get to your house. The thing with websites is that you can choose your own address name. A good domain name should be short, and memorable.
Make sure your domain name represents your blog’s niche or your brand, making it easier for your potential audience to recognize you and what your content is about.
Once you have set your domain name, you need to register it with a registrar. However, you need to do a background check first.
A safe and trustworthy domain registrar must be accredited by ICANN. It should also have a clear policy on the price, registration period, and domain expiration.
You can get a free domain name with an annual subscription to Hostinger’s Premium or Business shared hosting plans. Alternatively, you can use Hostinger’s domain name search tool, to see if your ideal name is available:
- Choose the appropriate plan for you. As I mentioned before, Premium and Business hosting offers a free domain name.
- Next type in your desired domain name to see if it’s available, then pick an extension.
- Once your domain is approved, check your cart. You will see your domain in it.
3. Set Up the Blog
Once you have set up your hosting provider and domain name, it is time to pick your CMS.
You can pick any CMS suitable for you. However, as I mentioned before, picking WordPress is one of the best choices you can make. Around 75 million websites use it.
Best of all, WordPress is free and available with most hosting providers. When using Hostinger, you can use the one-click WordPress installer to get your site up and running in minutes!Click on the WordPress icon, and you will be directed to your dashboard.
Set up Your Blog
Setting up your blog is not as difficult as you might think. Let me guide you through the steps (assuming you already have web hosting, if not, refer to the above paragraphs).
1. Pick Out a Theme
Next, you should pick out your blog’s theme. For those who want to save money, you can opt for free themes available at the WordPress repository. They have thousands of both free and freemium themes.
However, free themes only have the necessary features. Meanwhile, premium themes have some extras that can further improve your site.
After you picked your theme, you can install it through your dashboard. The steps are as easy as one, two, three:
- If you have installed the theme, it will appear under Appearance -> Themes. Hovering over the theme will make two buttons appear. Click on the live preview if you want to test the theme, or press activate to use it right away. If your theme is not installed yet, you can add one by pressing Add New.
- Pressing Add New will redirect you to the Add Themes section. Type out the name of your desired theme the search box.
- Pressing the Details & Review button will result in the theme’s live preview. If you are satisfied with the preview, you can press the Activate button at the top left corner to use the theme.
2. Install Plugins
Plugins are add-ons that help WordPress do more.
Of course, having too many plugins is never a good idea. You will have a hard time managing them and they might slow down your website.
Just like themes, installing plugins is not hard at all:
- In your WordPress dashboard, go to the Plugins section. The section can be accessed from the sidebar. To add a new plugin, click Add New.
- Type in the plugin you want to look for in the search bar. Once you have found your plugin, press on Install Now located above the plugin’s description.
- You will know your plugin is successfully installed when the green Activate button appears. All you need to do to turn on the plugin is press the said Activate button.
- Congratulations, you just installed a plugin! To check the list of currently installed plugins go to Plugins -> Installed Plugins.
3. Create and Publish Content
Now that you’ve installed plugins, it’s time to create your blog’s content!
The key to blogging is consistency. You need to update your blog regularly, or else your audience won’t grow.
Regular updates show your readers that you do take care of your blog. You should also give extra attention by replying to comments. That’s a great way to engage visitors and keep them on your site.
Unfortunately, all your effort to pull readers will be in vain if you don’t create high-quality content.
A high-quality post is not that hard to create. There are, however, some aspects you need to remember when writing a one
Make sure you do your research. Giving false information will make your reputation go down the drain.
An outline is an excellent way to organize your thoughts and ideas. It will help see how your content flows. Remember, writing is a process, and the perfect content piece can’t be written in a day.
4. Generate Traffic
You need to have a strategy to bring in traffic. For this article, I’ll cover the three heavy-hitters: SEO, social media, and engaging your audience.
The higher your pages rank on search engine results pages, the more organic traffic you will get. The three fundamental pillars of a good SEO strategy are keywords, quality, and links. The more websites link to your page, the potentially better your rank is. The same goes for keywords – you need to consider which one to rank for carefully.
Search engines look at the quality of your content. If your content is generic, copied, or non-useful, no matter how many keywords and websites linked to you, your rank won’t go up, in fact, it would go down. That is why quality content is important.
You can start using SEO strategies by researching keywords. The best keywords are the ones with a high search volume and reasonable keyword difficulty. You can research keywords by using Ahrefs or similar tools.
After that, create a post and slip the keywords in naturally. If your content is good enough, other websites will link to your page, and good traffic will follow.
2. Social Media
You can generate traffic by sharing your latest post on your social media. This keeps your subscribed audience in the know and gives them an easy to share it with their friends, further growing traffic. You can also use hashtags to make your posts easier to find.
If you’re creative, you can take social media up a notch.
A famous example of good social media marketing is Wendy’s Twitter account known to be snarky and sarcastic. Nobody likes to be insulted, but apparently, people love it if it’s Wendy’s. While this might not work for every company, this example of finding your unique voice is one of the best on the market. What’s the big deal? Wendy’s replies and tweets often get shared, screenshotted and even go viral, greatly increasing brand awareness.
3. Engaging Your Audience
In Wendy’s case, we can see that audience engagement and interaction matters. You should give your audience the attention they deserve.
Interaction can also be done in your blog’s comment section, by making the audience feel at home when they visit your blog.
It’s not hard to stay engaged with your audience. Just make sure that you reply appropriately. If the reader asks a question, give him a satisfying answer.
Bonus Tips: How to Make Money From Your Blog
If you have set up your blog and have steadily increased traffic, congratulations! You are ready to monetize your blog.
There are various ways to monetize your blog. In this article, I will tell you how to make money from advertisements, affiliate marketing, and selling your products.
Displaying Ads on Your Blog
Displaying advertisements is one of the approaches for passive income. All you need to do is show ads on your blog and posts. However, remember not to plaster them everywhere. Putting too many ads will distract your audience, and it might even make them leave permanently.
The most popular platform for advertisements is Google Adsense. You rent the space, the platform automatically picks ads related to your niche and you can earn.
There are two types of advertisements with Adsense. They are CPC and CPM ads.
If you use CPC (cost-per-click) ads, you will get paid when someone clicks on the ad. With CPM ads, you will get paid based on one thousand impressions. In other words, you get paid for displaying the advertisements without any clicks.
Whichever ad you pick, everything depends on your traffic and ad placement. A Quora user started at $100/month, and then went up to earn $500/month! Not bad for passive income, right?
Registering for the AdSense program is not hard. Here is a quick guide:
- Follow the link above and fill in the required information, read and agree to the terms and conditions.
- After editing your address and payment method, Adsense will give you the HTML code for the advertisements. All you need to do is copy the HTML code to your blog’s code.
- All you need to do is wait for their email. If your status is approved, Adsense will show the advertisements as soon as possible.
Affiliate marketing is like killing two birds with one stone.
With this method, you endorse the sale of products. If a customer buys the product through your link, you will get a commission. To convince people to buy the product, you will have to do reviews while urging visitors to make a purchase through your affiliate link. So you will get not only a new post but also money for promoting the chosen product.
However, you need to be careful when you post an affiliate review — honesty matters. If you give a fake positive review, people will remember that and probably not trust you in the future. It is best to disclose your agreement with the seller and do an honest product review.
If your reputation soars as a believable reviewer, you can earn a lot of revenue. $1000/month can be just the tip of the iceberg!
The most common affiliate program is Amazon affiliate. Here is how you can join it:
- Sign up through their website, enter in all the required information.
- Fill in all the required information about your website, marketing, payment options, etc. in the profile section. Don’t forget your Associate ID, since that will be your username for the program.
- When you’re done with your profile, continue with verification through the phone. Once you have finished, you will be sent to your Amazon Affiliate dashboard. The dashboard is the place where you will find products relevant to you, so explore it to your heart’s content.
Selling Products and Services
Selling your products or services is another way you can earn money. After all, you are the one who controls the production and marketing.
Having your products and services also gives you creative freedom. You can sell whatever you want. You can also offer your hobby as a service (such as painting and photography). Just make sure your products/services are in line with your blog’s niche.
However, you will spend more energy simply managing your products.
If you are ready to start your online store, you can use several WordPress plugins. I am going to use WooCommerce as an example:
- In your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins -> Add New. Type WooCommerce in the search bar, and install it like any other plugin. Once you have installed WooCommerce, you will be directed to its main page.
- On the main page, you have to set up several things. The store address, shipping, and payment options.
- When you go back to your WordPress dashboard, you will see WooCommerce’s new section at the sidebar. This is where you can edit your store.
Once you have a grasp of WooCommerce’s sidebar section, it’s time for you to debut your online shop!
We touched every aspect of blog creation in this article. A blog can be anything, from your personal diary to a great way to earn. However, there are some things to consider before starting. You can use a free blogging platform, but remember that paid hosting gives more freedom.
Once you’re set on your hosting provider, you may set up your blog. Here are the steps on how to start a blog:
- Pick out a theme ‒ find a theme that will fit your niche.
- Install plugins ‒ find plugins that will help run your blog and improve user experience.
- Create and publish content ‒ create high-quality content that will make the audience come back.
- Generate traffic ‒ build your traffic through SEO, social media, and interaction with the audience.
- Monetize your blog ‒ make extra cash through your blog. You can earn extra cash by displaying advertisements, joining affiliate programs, and selling your products or services
The steps are not as hard as they seem. After all, you’re now armed with the knowledge required. Besides, who wouldn’t want to earn some money while doing something they love?