Blogging is the new bandwagon and has now turned into mainstream media and business from being a mere hobby.
It is time that you too leverage this phenomenal web 2.0 boon to let out your thoughts to the world, making some passive income all the while.
Setting up a blog these days is as easy as ABC. With many intuitive tools, all you have to do is take up blogging and the rest just happens with time.
But be aware that blogging like any other undertaking becomes easy only when done with passion. You must be ready to learn every day and follow some proven golden rules of the business to make it big in the blogosphere.
In this short yet comprehensive guide I will be helping you set up your own blog in less than twenty minutes. You will also find some handy tips I follow myself. So let’s get started.
But, What Is A Blog?
A blog is a kind of journal or a personal diary that is updated daily (or any according to specific frequency as chosen by the author). A blog can be called a “weblog”.
A blog is a website which has entries listed in a reverse chronological order. Over the past few years many blogging platforms have been created that can make writing blogs very, very easy.
YOU as the blog author can choose any blogging platform that you like just choose the platform, write your article and hit publish and that is it. Your article can now be viewed by anyone who visits your blog.
Many bloggers have not got enough programming skills to create a website therefore they simply create a blog which is much easier than a website.
An also a blog is also treated as a website so there are no con’s of creating a blog. If are thinking of creating a new blog then you must not make any more delays…
So just choose any of the blogging platforms mentioned below. Some of them are free while you will need to pay for others.
How to Start a Blog in 5 Steps:
In order to Start A Blog you will need to work through these 5 simple stages:
1. Decide What To Blog About
2. Choose Your Blogging Platform
3. Pick A Domain Name For Your Blog
4. Sign Up With A Web Host And Get Your Domain Name
Cost: $2.75 per month and up.
5. Launch Your WordPress Blog
Why Start A Blog In 2018?
Here are some reasons why blogging is catching up with more and more generations to come. While some of these are quite obvious reasons, some others are often unrealized and seldom snubbed.
The benefits of blogging are too captivating to be ignored.
Here they go:
Make A Good Income From Home
One of the best things about blogging is that you can make a very good living from it, even in 2018. Do you think I am exaggerating? Did you see income reports of famous bloggers?
The truth is that you can make over $10,000 a month from your blog if you add lots of valuable content and there are many ways to make money blogging. You can create your own products (ebooks, online courses, membership site) or promote other’s products.
Get New Clients For Your Business
Whether you like it or not, more and more online businesses start blogging and if you are not doing that, you are missing out on a lot of potential customers.
If you add new valuable posts to your blog, Google will start rewarding you and you will get lots of organic traffic which will bring more clients and sales. I would not lie to you if I would say that almost every successful business has a blog these days, so you should have one if you do not want to be left behind.
Get Better At Communicating
The moment I said ‘communicate’, the first thing perceived by you is probably ‘better writing’. Of course blogging makes you a better writer.
You mostly communicate through text; hence it is apparent that you make progress in your writing skills. But that is not it. Blogging gets you indulged in communicating with n number of people for n2 number of purposes like negotiating, advising, counseling, coaching, and so on.
All of these not only require good writing skills, but also need you to combine your writing with empathy and assertiveness. All of these are part of the most needed new generation communication skills.
Makes You A Fierce Learner
Like I said earlier, blogging is an amalgamation of numerous tasks ranging from writing to social engagement. You, as a blogger are bound to learn all of these in order to find success with blogging.
While such things aid you in maintaining and promoting your blog; the essence of your blog – your content needs to be fresh and the latest in your niche. Hence you end up updating yourself and learning more about your niche too.
Makes You Creative
Blogging is by now established and can with no doubt be called a long lasting bandwagon. This sole reason is pulling in abundant new players into the market.
To be able to stand out from the crowd and get noticed, it is vital that you do something out of the box. This requirement of today’s blogging world ensures that you trigger the creative corners of your mind.
Make You Inspirational
You would do your best to be projected as the apex in your niche if you take your blogging serious enough. Once you take up being the best you do the most liked and adored things.
Such people are always inspirational to others. Your readers especially your followers, see you as an expert. This provides immense satisfaction to you and is far above making money and fame through blogging.
Should I Start My Blog For Free?
The short answer to this question would be:
Yes, you can, but I will advise against using so called free blog platform or host for reasons that I will list right below.
The sad truth is that such free services are very tempting for newcomers and that is why still people use websites like Blogger or Tumblr to create their own blogs.
But before you use any of these “free” blogging sites, you need to know that:
- The domain name of your blog will be very long, unprofessional and it will scream that you are not trustworthy. Ask yourself now if the web address like myblog.freeblogging.com would instill trust in your potential clients? You would not be taken seriously by visitors that would come across a blog with such an amateurish name.
- You can not add your own ads on your blog if you are using a free platform, unless you upgrade to a paid plan which is going to cost you way more than it is actually worth.
- As if this was not bad enough, sites like 000webhost will place completely unrelated ads on your blog and that is how they earn lots of money off of people that do not know any better and are just starting out in the blogging world.
- It is hard (especially for newbies) and costly to move your blog from a free platform to a paid one in most cases. Free platforms do not want you to leave them so they will lock your data so you can not move your blogs away from them. Can you afford to pay hundreds of dollars to hire a professional to help you with that?
- Google does not like such free services. Do you care about your potential clients finding you on the search engine sites? You will be insane if you would not because there maybe thousands of people searching for topics that you write about on your blog. Google and other similar websites are not fans of free Blogger blogs because they are coded very poorly, load slowly and use very not SEO friendly web addresses like myblog.blogspot.com. If you want your blog to be found on Google then go with a self hosted platform instead.
I really can not think of any logical reason as to why you should start a free blog in this day and age since you can get your own domain name like myblog.com and a paid hosting for less than the cost of a big mac.
Step 1: Decide What To Blog About
The niche of your blog plays one of the biggest roles in the success of your blog. The right niche gives the right results, else your chances of making it big are minimized to a large extent.
The right niche for you may vary depending on the demand of the hour, the expertise you hold, the interests you keep and the availability of resources to blog about the certain niche.
Here are few tips that can help you choose your blog’s niche prudently:
Go By The Trend
The likely niche for your blog will be something that can keep your blog posts searchable. People search for stuff that is trendy. So pick up something that is in vogue and blog about it. Half you traffic generation concerns are handled!
Is It Big Enough?
The niche you pick must be deep enough for you to come up some hundreds of topics to write about within the niche itself. Check if the niche is evergreen. Check if you can come up withat leastt tens of good how – to articles, some advisory content, and some regular new pertaining to the niche.
A niche that is subjected to continuous change like the technology and automobile niche give more opportunity for new booming posts as there is always some new to be spread or some update to be shared.
When a niche gets branded as evergreen or highly fetching, more bloggers tend to get inclined towards. This makes some niche highly competitive. But unfortunately, the competition is inevitable.
Other bloggers too, just like you are in search of the best niche. All you can do is search for a blogging niche that is more in demand but has relatively competitors in store for you. Rare talent helps in taking good advantage of such niche; as such niche would hardly have anyone with the required expertise.
Are You Into That Niche?
Before taking up a niche, the first things you need to ask yourself are –
Am I up for it?
Do I really like it?
I am I so much into it that I can blog about it?
Unless the answers to these questions are positive, do not proceed with the niche. While the former 3 points are of value, they only hold good only when you like the niche you choose.
What is the point if you choose to do something that is not of your interest?
Would blogging be fun anymore?
Think about it. Be passionate about your niche. Better not to blog, if it is just for the sake of it.
Step 2: Choose Your Blogging Platform
This is yet another major decision involved in blogging. Blogging is basically for people to quickly share stuff the world at large.
A blogger definitely does not want to get bogged down into details of manually creating a set of webpage for his/her blog. This fact leads to the creation of something called blogging platforms or the CMS (Content Management Systems). These are nothing but predefined systems that let even a non geek make wonderful web pages.
To use a CMS one need not know a dash of technical stuff like coding (It is an added advantage if you know though) or programming. Most of the content management systems are WYSWUG (What You See is What You Get) applications. They make blogging a piece of cake for both pros and newbie players.
But the catch is – which CMS or blogging platform do you opt for? Which CMS meets your blogging requirements? Which one among the many available platforms helps you get the most out of your blogging endeavor?
There are tons of great established blogging platforms you can choose from. Each one is made for a certain section/kind of bloggers. There are broadly two types of blogging platforms:
Third Party Hosted Blogging Platforms
Third party hosted blogging platforms are those that spare you the pain of getting into contract with a web hosting company and get your pockets emptied for the same.
The blog is hosted by the CMS provider itself. All you need to do is create an account with the platform and get going with your blog.
This option is seldom preferred by newbie bloggers as relatively less work is needed in setting up a blog as compared to self hosting the blog. Most of these platforms are quickly learnable and cost you negligible amount ( many are free as well)
Some such popular blogging platforms are:
Self Hosted Blogging Platforms
These platforms are often opted for by pro bloggers as they need a better technical knowledge about hosting a webpage, hosting files like text and images in a CMS, installing and setting up the CMS, using custom blog themes, and so on.
Unlike these things seem when you hear about them, they actually are simple; you just need to get your feet wet.
Self hosted blogging platforms have an edge over the third party hosted CMS when it comes to trying numerous add-ons and plug-ins. However, to enjoy the perks, you also need to shed some cash for stuff like signing up with a hosting service provider, buying a theme (can always go for the free ones too).
Customizing a blog hosting by yourself gives you much more power and opportunity to fiddle with your blog without knowing much of coding. All you need to do is install the CMS application to your hard disk.
Some popular self hosted blogging platforms are –
Now the obvious intricacy is – which type of blogging platform suits you?
The good news is that you can try and shift to either whenever you want to (It is not very advisable though).
The third party hosted platform takes good care of your low budget apart from giving you experience in the basics of blogging, while the self hosted ones are great if you want to look like a pro and have a budget better off.
I suggest that you get started with the best self hosting CMS for blogging – WordPress.org. This is what most new and experienced bloggers are opting for today.
Step 3: Pick A Domain Name For Your Blog
If you are pretty much naïve about what a domain name is? Here is what it means in the blogging arena –
The domain name of your blog is the web address of your blog. It is the main gateway to your blog which provides access to your blog and its content.
The domain name of your blog forms the URL (Uniform Resource Identifier) to your blog’s index or home page.
Example domain name: wikipedia.com
The two parts of a domain name that you must be concerned about are:
Top Level Domain
This refers to the section of a domain that follows the period/dot (.)
For wikipedia.com, the top level domain name is ‘com’.
The mostly used top level domain which is also considered to be the best in terms of fetching wide traffic is the dot com (.com); and hence is usually the most expensive one among the options available.
I suggest that you opt for the dot com version unless you want your blog to be perceived as a local entity or pertaining to some kind of organization/group (in which case you may choose specific alternatives like .gov, .edu, .in, .nz, .fr, .org).
Second Level Domain
The section that precedes the dot (.) in your blog’s domain name is the second level domain. In our example, Wikipedia is the second level domain.
You need to get the second level domain registered from an ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) accredited registrar.
Well to start a blog you need not know much about the ICANN. All you need to check for is whether the registrar you choose to register your domain name with is accredited by the ICANN or not.
The best and most opted domain name registrar is NameCheap. This firm has been leading the domain name registrar business for over a decade from now.
The domain name is the second most important decision you need to make in you blogging pursuit proceeded by choosing the right blogging niche and followed by choosing the right blogging platform and hosting service.
These tips for choosing a domain name for your blog are picked from the experience of some big shot bloggers and can surely help you choose the right domain name for the first time itself (as domain name once selected and registered cannot be changed).
Keep It Short And Simple
Like I have told earlier, the domain name can be synonymous with the address of your blog in the web. The simpler the address is, the better are the chances that people and search engines find your blog.
Avoid using lengthy sentences as the domain name. Restrict it to 1 to 3 words.
Also, ensure that the name is relevant to the niche you choose. Suppose you are blogging about vintage photography, an ideal domain name would be:
But surely not:
Spell It Perfect
The domain name of the post must be spelled rightly as a misspelled domain name may mislead your visitors resulting in a heavy traffic loss besides projecting you as an unprofessional blogger.
Use Keywords Effectively
The keyword pertaining to your niche must be embedded into your blog’s domain name as well. This not only make your domain name more relevant to your blog, thus making it easier to remember, but also serves SEO purpose making your blog rank better in the search engine’s results page (SERP) for your niche or at least for the chosen keyword.
Redirect From Other Extensions
It is always safe and better to register your domain name such that second level domain is used with multiple top level domain like .com, .info, .org, .net and so on. With so many possible extensions it is likely that people may mistake your blog to be .in for .com or vice versa.
Why not take advantage of this situation by registering your domain with different extensions and then point (redirect) all of them to your main domain name?
Keep It Unique
Before registering the domain name make sure that there are no other closely related domain names already on the web. Keep it as unique and fresh as possible. Lack of uniqueness may also lead to copyright infringement landing you into deep trouble.
Step 4: Sign Up With A Web Host And Get Your Domain Name
Like mentioned earlier, there are two ways that you can get your blog up and running. One way is to go with the third party hosting option like Weebly, Blogger; the other is to self host your blog while using a CMS like WordPress.
It is always advisable that you host your blog yourself or get a web hosting firm do it for you unless you are too naïve about using moderately intuitive applications like Wix.com or choose to go for platforms like Blogger.
The web hosting company is responsible to see that your blog is up and running all the time. Hence it is important that you sign up with a highly reliable and trustworthy firm to host your blog.
Here are few tips on how to choose a reliable hosting provider for your beloved blog:
WordPress and other similar CMS have certain basic system and hosting requirements like having SQL database and support for programming languages like PHP, Perl. Check for these requirements and if the chosen host is providing the same.
There ought to be a good team of people in place who can help you install your CMS to the host, help you in troubleshooting if any and be there for you anytime.
You do not want to wait long before your concerns are addressed as a broken blog may lead to loss of traffic or even loss of prospective business.
With the number of players in the market, the additional features are no more add-ons; they are a must. Check if your host has a great community created around itself with active forums.
Since setting up a blog through self hosting is kind of technical you may want to check if your host provides video tutorials for doing the same.
Cpanel is another must have feature. It allows you to install and get your blog published within few clicks.
Your host has the power to make or break your blog. Being highly trustworthy is one parameter you must look for before signing up. Google the host name to check its past performance and talk about it in the market.
Where Should I Get My Domain Name And Hosting?
Many new bloggers overlook the important fact that choosing a hosting is a very important decision because a web host company is responsible for storing all of the files for your blog and making sure that your blog is working fine all the time so anyone can visit it.
A bad web host can cause you lots of headaches, so you will face all kinds of issues including a constant down time, a long load time, a very rude customer service and having your server infected with malware or even hacked due to a poor security.
All of these things have happened to me and believe me, you do not want to go through any one of them.
One of the best blog hosting firms that have been in the business for over a decade and have been responsible for innovations and raise in the hosting standards is BlueHost.
I have to say that it is the only one company I can recommend to you since I am hosting all of my blogs with them and I have been their very happy customer for six years now.
All the above mentioned prerequisites are effectively met by this amazing company.
I think that it would be fair to mention some reasons why you should use them yourself:
- Their services have been recommended by big companies like WordPress for so many years.
- They offer very affordable deals and you will receive a domain name (worth $12) for free if you use them.
- They will give you a free SSL certificate and a free site builder.
- They started in 1996 which makes them older than Facebook or even Google.
- They have a newbie friendly support that is always available to help you with any problems you may have.
BlueHost is perfect for new bloggers who are looking for a reliable and affordable web hosting for their very first blog.
NOTE: If you use any BlueHost link in this post, you will get a special discount as it applies only to StartABlog2Day visitors so make sure to take advantage of it today.
They will pay me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use them and you will get a one domain completely for free and you will save 50% on all hosting plans by simply clicking any link you will find here.
I would be more than happy to help you if you have any issues with setting up your new blog, you can either contact me or leave a comment right below.
Set Up Your Domain And The Hosting Account
Here is how you can sign up with a hosting company. For the sake of example, I picked up my favorite site where I host my blogs. For the rest too, the process is more or less the same.
You need to visit the web hosting page of BlueHost so click here now to get a special discount deal and click the green “Get Started Now” button:
Now, look for the section that shows the available plans:
It is advisable that you go for the basic hatchling plan as it suits beginners. Once your blog grows, you can anytime upgrade to higher version plans. Hit the ‘Select’ button (In green).
If you want a register your domain name with BlueHost for free, you need to use the form on the left side of this screen.
Else, if you have already bought and own a domain name, enter it in the text box of the form on the right side. Now hit “Next” button.
The screen reveals the billing information form wherein you need to enter details like mode of payment, identification, et cetera. Once you finish the entries, and before proceeding further, scroll to the bottom of the page to check the summery of your contract and then check the “I confirm I have read and agree to the Terms of Service” checkbox.
Now click the “Next” button.
After your purchase is complete, you will need to choose a password for your account.
You are done with signing up with your blog’s host.
Having trouble installing your blog? Please leave a comment below or contact me 🙂
Step 5: Launch Your WordPress Blog
In this tutorial, I will be showing you how to install a WordPress blog with the host that you signed up with.
I choose WordPress because it is the most widely used platform as it is extremely intuitive and super easy to install with BlueHost.
Check for the mail you got from the web host providing you the login and password for your hosting account. Login to your hosting account.
Once you have logged in, you will just need to press a big blue button saying “Start Building” for easy installation of WordPress.
You are now done with the installation process.
Use the login id and password you chose in the previous steps to log into your WordPress application and get dogged into blogging.
Your WordPress Dashboard will look something like this:
Why You Should Get A Professional Premium Theme
Now, that you have a solid hosting, your own domain name and you have installed WordPress blog, you will need to think about your theme.
You can easily use a one of the free themes that WordPress offers you but if you want to have a blog that looks professional and unique and you have the extra $50 then I would highly recommend you to grab a one paid theme from the MyThemeShop.
I will give you below just a few reasons why I am using MyThemeShop‘s themes on most of my blog now:
User friendly. Their themes are so easy to work with that even my grandpa would manage to change things like the logo or the size of fonts. They made a very job at making sure that new bloggers that use their themes can easily customize their blogs and make them look how you want them to look.
Optimized for Google. While having a great content on your blog is a very important thing if you want to get a lot of organic traffic, but a theme also plays a crucial role in SEO and having a well coded theme will significantly improve your Google rankings so more people will be able to find your blog on search engine sites like Yahoo, Google et cetera. All MyThemeShop’s themes are built with SEO in mind so if you use one of their products, you can easily outrank your competitors and get more traffic.
Make your blog load in less than one second. The reality is that visitors will simply leave your blog if they wait more than three seconds to load your web page. MyThemeShop’s themes load blazing fast and they have hands down the best products in terms of the loading speed I have ever used in my blogging career.
Helpful support. If you are using a free theme and you encourage some issues with it, you are basically on your own so if you are not good at coding then you will hire someone every time there is, for example, a bug that needs to be removed from your free theme. On the other hand, MyThemeShop’s customer support is always friendly and helpful even for newbies that do not know a thing about coding.
A month ago, I switched to the MyThemeShop‘s Schema theme from the free theme on one of my blogs and not only the bounce rate decreased, but after two weeks I noticed some gains in ranking on Google which has led to improving the sales by almost 50% in such a short period of time!
I am really happy that you have created your own blog and I am pretty sure that you are very excited now but you wonder:
But, now what?
Well, it is time to start blogging, my friend. It is going to be hard at the beginning to publish and edit your first posts, add new pictures and generally get familiar with the WordPress, but believe me, it is worth it.
You are going to learn lots of things quickly if you are willing to learn and build a successful and profitable blog this year.
Start Writing Your Posts
After you have successfully installed WordPress, delete all the unnecessary comments, posts and dummy pages.
Start your Blog by Creating an “About” page for your blog. Pages will not appear with your regular blog posts, so make sure you provide links to them.
Optimize Your Blog For Search Engines
Now, that you have created your blog and have also written articles, it is the time to inform search engines about your blog, and also to optimize your Meta tags and title tags of your blog.
Not to worry about all that, as WordPress has a very large collection of plugins, simply go to WordPress.org and find some great SEO plugins which will be best for you. However, we recommend you to use WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast, or All in One SEO Pack.
Make Money Blogging
Once you have added quality posts for your viewers and your site is getting some love from Google aka organic traffic from them, then you should really think about monetizing your blog.
There are dozens of ways you can earn cash blogging and you need to know that some popular ways are not that profitable in comparison to the other ones.
Look, you will see many gurus tell you that you should just place an ad on your blog and after two weeks you will become an Internet millionaire.
Well, I am first to tell you that it will not happen because you will need to have literally millions of visitors come to your blog every week if you would want to make any significant income with ad networks like Google AdSense.
Look, I actually tested this way of monetization a few months ago. I added a one ad from the AdSense on my three years old blog that gets give or take 50,000 unique visits every day and guess how much money I made with them in a one month?
Just a little bit more than $1,000 which is a ridiculously low payout considering how much traffic my blog gets.
On the same blog, I promote someone else’s products through affiliate programs and I make almost five times that number and I am also promoting my own ebook which made $4,500 this month alone.
If you are starting out in the blogging world, then I would highly recommend you to monetize your blog with an affiliate marketing which means that you will promote products others, like I do on the blog that I mentioned right above.
For even more in depth information on that topic see my guide to making money blogging here.
The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Blogging
How much does it cost to start a blog?
It is a very valid question, I have to say 🙂
Let’s say that you are on a very tight budget right now and you can afford only the most basic things to start your own blog.
If you just buy the most affordable hosting plan and get a domain name, then you will pay around ten bucks a month.
But if you start your own blog with the BlueHost, you pay just around $4 a month.
We have worked out a deal with Bluehost to get the best deal possible for StartABlog2Day’s readers so if you use this link, you will have to pay only just 2,75 per month for hosting and you will be given a free domain name!
Now, if you want to invest more money, I would recommend you to spend additional $30-50 on an amazing premium theme from MyThemeShop, especially if you are serious about your new online business.
Like I said before, I am using their products on most of my blogs and I love them. You can not go wrong with them, seriously.
It is worth mentioning that it will use a free theme, it will make your blog look ugly and visitors will leave your blog right away even if you have the best content in your industry.
How much money can you make from a blog?
It is all up to you, really!
I have read somewhere that 95% of bloggers do not make more than $100 a month but there is a reason why it does happen.
The sad truth is that it is super easy to start a blog and anyone can create one (even my grandpa) but only a small percent of people are willing to put in the effort.
I frequent many forums and every day I see new bloggers pop up and they share their blog addresses and they usually put up a few low quality posts and they think that they will suddenly become rich.
But after a one or maximum two months, they are gone and their blogs disappear from the net.
Bloggers that run successful blogs are those that create new valuable content regularly and they simply do not give up.
The highest earning blogs out there are believed to make millions every month.
For example, CopyBlogger makes $1,000,000 per month and Perez Hilton earns almost 7,000 blogging every day.
I have to say that I am nowhere near making those kinds of numbers but I do earn a solid five figure income a year from my blogs and I am not a pro so you can make easily as much as I do.
Can I start a blog for free?
Of course you can, but the question should be if it is really something that you should do?
You definitely should not start your blog on free platforms if you are ever going to make any money off of it.
Well, I would not recommend such services even if you are planning to create your own personal diary, because free platforms come and go which means that you can lose your blog literally at any time and they never announce that they close up shop so you will end up having all data delete including your posts.
You will face many other issues like very slow load times, constant malware infections and non-existence of support staff.
The bottom line is this: If you are serious about your blog, then going with a paid web host is the only right way for you.
If you are new to blogging and you want to learn things and get some useful tips then here are some posts to help you along the way:
- 8 Simple Tips To Improve Bounce Rate Of Your Blog Today (I mention techniques I use all the time)
- Reality Check For New Bloggers That Want To Make A Quick Buck (This is a must read for everyone)
- How Many Hours Does It Take To Make Money Blogging? (Make sure to check this one as well)
- 10 Ways To Make Search Engine Love Your Blog (If you want to rank higher on Google)
- 5 Crucial Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Very First Blog (Learn these things that will save you from costly mistakes that I made)
I really do hope that this post on how to start your blog is helpful for you but please…
Do not hesitate to contact me anytime if you have any issues at all with setting up your blog and if you have any questions regarding blogging, leave a message in the comment section.
I am here to help you and I can not wait to see you succeed.