How to Start a Blog

The Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Successful Blog in 2022

Anya Skrba
Updated: March 18th, 2022
25 min read
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How to Start a Blog

Do you want to learn how to start a blog?

Hi there, my name is Anya. I’ve been blogging for more than eight years and I love every moment of it. Blogging helped me to find my first job and continues to be my lucrative side-gig.

In 2010 when I was learning how to create a blog, I spent a lot of time searching for helpful information online. I was only able to find it piece by piece on a variety of websites. To save you time, I’ve created this free step-by-step blog tutorial to teach beginners how to make a blog quickly and easily. It’s not as complicated as many people think!

FirstSiteGuide is a free resource that is 100% supported by readers.

Disclosure: If you purchase products through links on our site (i.e. Bluehost services), we may earn a commission. It comes at no extra cost to you, but it supports us in creating more useful content.

More than eight thousand people have started their blogs using this free guide.

This in-depth guide is 8400 words. I share everything new bloggers should know for starting a blog in 2022. You can take your time and read at your own pace!

If you want to skip the intro and just learn how to build a WordPress blog with one-click install, use the link below:

Jump to Step #4: Start a blog by setting up WordPress software

P.S. If you have any questions about this guide or get stuck with the steps, I am more than happy to assist you. You can get in touch with me and ask for free advice.

Kind words from top bloggers and influencers:

“If you’re just starting a blog or want to level up your skills, make sure to check out @firstsiteguide.”

Mark Schaefer
Mark Schaefer

“Blogging guide for beginners via @firstsiteguide. Super helpful!”

Mari Smith
Mari Smith

“New to #blogging or looking for additional blogging resources? Check out @FirstSiteGuide.”

Neil Schaffer
Neil Schaffer

How to Start a Blog in 9 Exact Steps

Here is the table of contents. This guide covers a lot of useful information, but don’t get overwhelmed, go through each step and you will succeed in blogging.

Before you move into action, here are some valuable facts about why you should start a blog.

Think about why you are starting a blog

Do you want to communicate something, like a message or an idea? Do you want to build a community around a topic you enjoy? 

A blog can help you to accomplish many things, such as: inform, educate, promote and even sell. 

Here are some reasons why many people create a blog and enjoy blogging:

  • To use it as an outlet for creative expression.
  • To establish expertise and build an audience.
  • To network with others and grow a business.
  • To enhance writing and thinking skills.
  • To become self-employed or make more money.

Blogging has a lot of benefits, and for some people, it can be a great way to earn extra income online. 

A quick primer – Blogging for beginners

All in all, there are four important steps to making a blog quickly. If you are familiar with these things, you can set up a blog in 15-20 minutes or even less:

  • Pick a blogging niche (topic) 
  • Select the best blog platform
  • Get a domain and web hosting
  • Install WordPress software 

Creating a blog is your first step in entering the blogging world. However, to be successful online you have to learn more. There are more than 100 free guides and resources on FirstSiteGuide to help you to succeed on the web!

Step #1: Pick a niche for your blog

Before you start building a blog and make it as a blogger, you have to select a blogging niche. 

In simple terms, a blog niche is a specific topic area that you will be writing about most often, or even exclusively.

To pick the right niche for your new blog, begin by making a list of all of the topics that excite you and make you want to talk about them. There are no restrictions – you can include any personal or professional interests in this list.

  • Think of things that you enjoy doing in your spare time. For example, are you an amateur photographer, or an avid programmer? 
  • Consider all of the things that you would like to learn. For example, do you aspire to take cooking classes and become a better cook? 
  • Lastly, contemplate all of your plans and projects. For example, do you plan to go back to college to complete your education?

There are no restrictions – you can include any personal or professional interests on the list.

This simple exercise will help you to select a niche that you are the most interested in. That way you will follow your passion and enjoy your blogging journey. 

Step #2: Choose a blogging platform

At this stage, you’ll need to look at the currently available blogging platforms and determine the type of blog management software that you are going to use.

When it comes to blogging sites, you have a few options. Below are usage statistics showing the distribution of blog technologies in the United States.

blogging technologies stats
As of 18.03.2022, source: BuiltWith.com

As you can see from the graph, WordPress software is by far the most popular technology for blogging, with over 90% market share in the U.S.

I recommend building your blog using the self-hosted WordPress blog setup that I share about in this guide.

You will set up your blog using a custom domain name and web hosting (I’ll show you how in the next step).  

That way, you will be in total control of your blog and its contents. It will cost just a few dollars per month for the webspace (hosting account), and around ten dollars per year for a domain. The actual blogging software is free and open source.

What about free blogging sites?

For many new bloggers, it’s tempting to start a blog using free hosted platforms such as Blogger or Tumblr.

However, it’s important to understand that “free” always comes with limitations:

  • First, your blog name will be set as a subdomain (examples: “yourblog.blogspot.com” or “yourblog.tumblr.com“).
  • Second, you’ll be subject to their rules and restrictions. 

Free options come in handy for testing a blogging platform. But, if you’re serious about starting a blog, you’ll have to start paying for full services and a custom domain name sooner or later.

Step #3: Choose a domain name and get blog hosting

To make your blog using WordPress.org, you need two important things: a domain name and a web hosting company.

Domain name 

Your domain name will be the name by which you will be known online, no matter what niche you choose. It’s your blog’s unique address on the Internet.

Here’s what you should consider when choosing a blog name: 

  • It should be short and catchy, easy to pronounce and type. 
  • You can also use combinations of your first and last names (e.g. johnsmith.com or tim.blog).

The general rule is to get a “.com” domain, but some of the other extensions can be used too. For example, “.net” or “.blog”. In the end, it’s about being memorable, so if a different extension helps you to stand out, then break the rules!

Have a name idea for your blog? Use this quick domain search tool powered by Bluehost – our recommended web hosting provider (I’ll explain why in a moment).

If you can’t find a domain name you like, don’t worry.  Bluehost lets you choose a free custom domain later before your blog goes live. That will give you time to do some thinking and research.

Web hosting 

After choosing a domain name, selecting a reliable hosting service will be one of the most important decisions you make. 

To a great extent, the functionality and performance of your blog will depend on your hosting provider. The host makes sure that your blog is available 24/7 to potential readers and it’s where your content is stored online.

If you are a new blogger, I suggest using Bluehost hosting.

Here is why you should be confident going with this company:

  • Ease-of-use: With Bluehost, you will be able to set up your blog with a few clicks of a button. 
  • Good value: You get reliable service with excellent customer support at an affordable price. 
  • Room to grow: They offer a great set of features that you need to start, run, and grow your blog. 
  • Security: Free SSL certificate included and pre-installed to keep your blog visitors data safe.
  • Verified provider: Bluehost is a recommended hosting provider on the official WordPress.org website. 
  • Used by many: I personally use their services, and so do many blogger friends and family members. 
  • Survey winner: Based on our research, Bluehost is a top choice in the opinion of many blogging experts.
1st choice for new bloggers
4.8 / 5
Starting at $8.99 $2.75/month
  • Free domain name
  • 63% off regular price
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Set up a blog with a one-click 
Visit Bluehost website →

How much does it cost to start a blog?

Below are the costs of a 1-year Bluehost basic hosting plan and what extras you get with it. I was able to negotiate a special deal only for our visitors. Use this link to get an exclusive 67% discount.

WordPress.org + Bluehost
Blog hosting service $2.75 per month (billed for 1 year)
Domain registrationFirst-year free (after $17.99 per year)
Custom email Free Web-Based E-mails/ Forwarding
SSL CertificateFree SSL certificates
Storage space*50 GB
Bandwidth*Unlimited
Total price$33.00 (for a 1-year plan)
* Storage space shows you how much space you can use for your blog and media files. Bandwidth is the amount of data your blog can transfer to visitors. These two parameters are important when your blog starts to grow and get more traffic.

Get a blog hosting account (+ free domain name) 

This section provides detailed information to help you sign up for your web hosting account. I have included screenshots of the pages to take you through the process.

Step 1. Visit the Bluehost homepage

Go to the Bluehost.com website. Then, click the green “Get Started Now” button.

bluehost home page

Step 2. Select your hosting plan

You will start by picking a hosting plan. If this is your very first blog, you can go with the Basic plan. Later, you can easily upgrade to a Plus or Choice Plus plan once your blog starts growing. Explore what each plan offers, e.g. Choice Plus plan comes with Domain Privacy and some extras.

bluehost hosting plans

Step 3. Set up your domain name

Your domain will be your blog’s address, so you should take your time to come up with something unique and memorable. Just type your desired name into the “new domain” box and Bluehost will show you whether it’s available or not. If not, it will provide you with a list of similar names to choose from. 

Don’t worry if you can’t find a good name right away. You can skip this step and pick a name once you start a blog.

bluehost blackfriday domain

If you have already purchased a domain name somewhere else, you can use that name. Just type it into the “Use a domain you own” box.

Step 4. Register with Bluehost

After you choose your domain, Bluehost will take you to the registration page where you can fill in your personal info manually, or you can Sign in with your Google account to make the process even easier!

Add your account information

Start by filling out your personal information.

bluehost account info
Select your hosting package

At this point, it’s time to select an account plan from the available options. Bluehost offers 12, 24, and 36-month packages. 

With a 12-month package, you will pay a lower amount upfront, but with the other two packages, you will get a better deal if you are ready for a longer-term commitment.

bluehost hosting plans
Package extras

Review your package extras carefully. Not every extra is essential, and by unchecking the boxes of extras that you don’t need, your total amount owing will decrease. 

You can always add extras later if you find that you need them. I do suggest that you keep the Domain Privacy Protection box checked. This service will hide your personal contact information from the global database, which is publicly visible to anyone on the internet.

bluehost package extras
Payment information

Now, enter your payment information. Check the box that you have read and agree to the TOS (Terms of Service), and click on the green “Submit” button.

bluehost payment info

Bluehost will send you a confirmation email when your payment goes through. You will also receive an email to verify your email address to activate your domain.

Next, you will set up your Bluehost account. You are one step closer to starting a blog!

Step 5. Create your account

Let’s create your account with Bluehost.

bluehost create your account
  • Step 1. Click the “Create your account” button.
  • Step 2. Enter your password and complete the account set up.
  • Step 3. Your account is ready to go. Click the “Go to login” button.
  • Step 4. Fill in the fields “Email or Domain Name” and “Password”.

You are all set. Next, you will start working on creating your blog.

Step #4: Start a blog by setting up WordPress

Once you log in to your web hosting account, Bluehost will offer a 4-step process to help you create a blog. I suggest that you go with this procedure if this is your first time starting a blog. 

You can also click the “Skip this step” button and work on blog construction on your own inside your Bluehost hosting account.

Four steps blog set up assistance process:

  • Step 1. You will start this process by answering 3 questions: What kind of site? What type is it? And who is it for? In my example, I selected: Blog, Personal, Myself. You can select the same choices or pick what fits your individual case.
bluehost create a website step1
  • Step 2. With this step, you can pick what else you would like to add to your site. Bluehost gives you a few options to choose from.
bluehost create a website step2
  • Step 3. In this step, you need to answer a few questions such as the name of your blog, tagline, and how comfortable you are with creating websites. Note: you can always change this later.
bluehost create a website step3
  • Step 4. Check out the suggested themes from Bluehost and see if you like any of them (if you don’t see a theme you like, skip this step). You can always change your theme and use a different one later. More information on this further on.
bluehost create a website step4

Once you finish setting up your blog with these 4 steps, you will be taken to your Bluehost account page. At this point, the WordPress software is installed and your blog structure is set up!

Launch your blog

Inside your Bluehost account, you will see options to further customize your WordPress blog site based on Bluehost’s recommendations. These options are here for you to do some pre-launch customization to your blog.

bluehost hosting account panel

After you click the “Launch My Site” button, your blog will go live!

If you open your website in a web browser, don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t look quite right. This is just the first draft. Inside the WordPress dashboard, you will have to apply a few changes and add some content to make it look polished and complete. I will show you how to do this later!

You can access the WordPress blog dashboard from your Bluehost account by clicking the blue “WordPress” button in the top right corner of your screen.

Did you start a blog yet? → Click Here to Get Started

Next, as promised, I’ll show you how to find the right theme for you, and how to customize your blog.

Step #5: Select a theme and design your blog

The first thing your blog needs is a face (design and layout). 

Installing a new WordPress theme is exciting and fairly straightforward.

Inside the WordPress dashboard, under the “Appearance” tab, click “Themes”. You will be presented with some popular options. You can click on the WordPress.org Themes button and search for free themes. There are more than three thousand themes available on WordPress.org.

wordpress appearance theme

The look and feel of your new blog rely on the theme you choose. Your first-time readers will notice the overall appearance of it before they even take a look at the content. Select a theme that looks great, but also works for your specific needs.

Here’s a quick guide for choosing your theme by searching within the WordPress dashboard:

  • Read the description – Most themes come with a short description of features and functionality. Reading it can help you to figure out if the theme matches your needs.
  • Preview the theme – Preview the theme (demo) to get an idea of the overall look, layout, and how customizable it is.
  • Check the ratings – Star ratings will be visible in the preview and under theme details to give you a clear idea of how good the theme is.

If you can’t find a theme that you absolutely love, don’t worry. Settle on one that you like, and you can always change it in the future.

Once you install a theme, don’t be surprised if it still doesn’t look quite right. It is just a skeleton of a blog. To make it appealing, you’ll have to fill it in with content (text, photos, videos, etc.).

Should you choose a free or premium theme?

In my opinion, there are more than enough free WordPress themes to choose from for any blog topic. 

If you don’t feel like searching through thousands of themes, you can easily start things off with either Twenty Twenty or Twenty Twelve themes. Both free themes are presented by WordPress.org and are popular with creators.  

Remember, you can always pick a different theme later as you continue setting your blog. All of the pages and unique content that you create will be transferred automatically to a new theme layout.    

If the current stash of free themes does not satisfy your particular desire, you can check the available premium themes. These themes are usually designed by third-party companies and sold on different WordPress theme sites. The price range for single-use licenses ranges from $30 to $500, depending on which premium theme you choose.

Blog theme customization

Remember, your WordPress dashboard is the back-end location where you will manage your new blog. It provides you with fast access to all of the tools you need to add content and fine-tune your blog functionality for the ultimate user experience. Your first step towards mastering WordPress is learning the dashboard.

WordPress has unlimited customization options so it’s impossible to cover everything in this “How to start a blog” guide. Instead, I’ll cover the first most important changes you should apply to your blog. For this example, I’ll be using the Twenty Twenty theme

Make your blog’s logo

Inside your Bluehost account, you can find the “Make your logo” tool. If you didn’t do it yet while launching your blog, now is the time to get it done. 

Once you click the checkbox, you will be taken to an AI-powered logo maker. It’s an easy-to-use tool that you can use to create a beautiful logo for your blog in seconds. Start by entering a name and slogan (if you have one), the tool will automatically generate different types of logos.

bluehost logo maker step1

Select one logo you like the most, click on it, and further customize it according to your taste.

bluehost logo maker step2

When you are done with your logo design, click the Download button and a new page will show up with your logo files ready to be saved to your computer.

Customize your blog

Now, let me show you where you can do general customizations of your blog. That includes: uploading the logo you just created (or will create in the future), editing the blog title and tagline, changing colors, uploading the background image, and making homepage settings changes.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ll be showing you how to apply these changes to the Twenty Twenty theme. If you picked a different theme the process could be slightly different. However, in most cases, all themes have similar customization options.    

To start optimizing your blog, go to the WordPress admin dashboard. Locate the Appearance tab on the left-hand side and choose the Customize option.

wordpress customize theme

Each WordPress theme will customize a little differently. In my case, I’ll show you the customize options for the Twenty Twenty theme.

On the left-hand side, you will see the following Customizing menu options:

  • Site identity – Upload your logo, change site title and tagline, and upload site icon.
  • Colors – Change your blog’s background color, header, and footer colors, and customize the primary color.
  • Theme options – Select if you want to show a search icon in the header of your blog and show an author bio for your posts. 
  • Cover template – Make additional changes to the page template such as the overlay background color, overlay text color, and overlay opacity.    
  • Background image – Upload any custom background image you want to start using on your blog. 
  • Menus – Customize your blog’s menu, social media menu links, and change locations where they are displayed.
  • Widgets – Customize your footer, add a description, and how to find you if you have a physical location.  
  • Homepage settings – Choose what’s displayed on the homepage of a blog. It can be the latest blog posts or a static page.         
  • Additional CSS – Add your own CSS code to customize the appearance and layout of your site (advanced option). 

You can also check how your blog looks on different devices by using the menu at the bottom with three icons: desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.

wordpress customize twenty twenty theme

Many themes (e.g. the Twenty Twenty theme) come with the new Gutenberg editor that revolutionizes the way users build pages and write posts inside WordPress.

Gutenberg is a visual editor that works on a blocks principle. So, when you decide to add a new paragraph, heading, image, video, or anything else, there are blocks you can quickly add to new pages or blog posts.

This way, creating blog content is much easier for beginners, whether you’re building a landing page or writing a new article. Blocks can be rearranged into a layout you like, and they’re here to make your life easier.

Add plugins to your blog

Plugins are bundled pieces of code that affect the way your site looks and functions. They can add new functionality to your WordPress blog, extend your theme’s capabilities, and personalize a blog as a whole or in part.

While the majority of plugins are free, there are many that are offered for a fee, based on their unique functionality. At the moment, WordPress.org has more than 57,000 different plugins in the repository. 

By default, when you set up your blog, Bluehost will automatically add some plugins they think are important for any website. You can review these plugins inside the WordPress dashboard and add new ones by clicking the Plugins tab on the left-hand side.

wordpress add plugins section

Here you can install new plugins, deactivate, delete, and update them.

Below, I’ll show you some suggested plugins that you should be using.

List of recommended plugins for bloggers

To save you time, I’ve selected some important plugins (free) for your immediate blogging platform needs:

  • MonsterInsights – Google Analytics plugin for WordPress, to monitor and analyze your website traffic.
  • Yoast SEO – A comprehensive SEO plugin for your blog, to optimize your content for search engines.
  • WP Super Cache – Helps with the load time of your WordPress blog and delivers content to your readers faster.
  • Akismet – Protects your comments and contact form from spam and prevents your site from publishing malicious content.
  • Contact Form 7 – A contact form with flexible email options. It supports CAPTCHA and Akismet spam filtering.
  • Disqus – An alternative to the basic WordPress comment system with advanced administrative and comment capabilities.
  • YARPP – Creates a related blog posts list at the end of each piece of content automatically to encourage people to continue browsing your site.

Congratulations, you just learned how to customize your blog and make web design changes! 

The next step is to learn how to write content for your blog.

Step #6: Write and publish blog content

So far, you’ve established a domain name, chosen your blog hosting site, set up a blog theme, and you are ready to go. Your framework is complete. 

Now comes the moment of truth and you can actually start blogging. You need to learn how to write your first blog post. On the web, any useful information or experience that you share with readers is called “content.” It must be something valuable that people will want to interact with and come back for more.

WordPress CMS is structured in a way that you can publish your content as Posts or Pages.  

Before you begin publishing posts (day-to-day writing) on your blog make sure you fill in all the important static pages with content (such as About us, Contact, etc.). Let’s explore those types of pages.

Prepare and publish content on main pages

Depending on your individual needs you can decide what pages to publish. The following are the most common pages bloggers use: 

  • Homepage – This depends on what type of layout you choose. As I described above, when customizing your blog you can choose to display the homepage as a static page. In that case, you will have to prepare content for it.      
  • About us – The most traditional page on any blog is the “About us” page. This page tells new visitors what it is all about, who you are and why you run a blog about your niche topic. 
  • Contact – This page allows visitors to your blog to communicate with you. It can be a straightforward page with your email address plus your social network links, or you can use a simple contact form that visitors can use to communicate with you. 
  • Products, Services, Resources – Static landing pages with any additional information that you want to include on your blog.

The guidelines to publish a new WordPress page:

A blog page provides static content or information to the readers. Standard pages that bloggers use include: About, Contacts, Products, or Services. A page also can be a cornerstone (or evergreen) content with information that continues to be relevant to its readers. For example, this guide you are reading right now.

  • To create a blog page, log in to your WordPress dashboard admin area using your login details (username and password).
  • Hover your cursor over the “Pages” menu item on the navigation menu located on the left-hand side of the Dashboard. Click “Add New”.
Click on Pages menu item

Write your first blog post

Creating blog posts inside WordPress is nearly the same as creating pages. However, for a blog post WordPress lets you select categories and tags while pages don’t. 

Wondering how you can write quality blog posts? It’s simple. 

Here is a simple 3-step approach to making great content of any type:

  • Point – State your main blog topic idea that you are covering.
  • Prove – Give an example of the idea you are covering.
  • Perform – Give a simple way to execute the idea.

The guidelines to publish a new WordPress post:

In your first blog post, you can take a moment and introduce yourself. Tell your readers who you are, what motivated you to blog, and what you will write. The title of the post could be “Welcome to my blog”.

  • Inside the WordPress dashboard on the left side, you will see Posts menu item. 
  • Hover your mouse cursor (or click) on the Post item. Then select “Add New”.
Add new post in WordPress

Next, I’ll talk about how to optimize your content for search engines.

Step #7: Optimize your blog for search engines

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process that website owners use to get more traffic to their web pages from search engines (such as Google).    

According to recent studies, 53% of all traffic for websites comes from organic search (.pdf). This number shows how important it is to make sure that you optimize your WordPress blog for search engines. 

SEO involves many different tactics and techniques. As a blogger, you will have to get familiar with these. I won’t be talking about any advanced processes here. As a bare minimum, you will have to do the following for every blog post or page you publish on your blog: perform keyword optimization and add SEO meta tags on all pages.   

Keyword optimization

This is the process of researching and selecting the right set of keywords that you think people will type in a search to find information like yours online.  

Ideally, keyword optimization should be performed for any blog post or page. It’s important to select the main keywords (and related words) that you want to target for each page and make sure that you include these (and related words) within the content. This way it will be easier for search engines to understand what a specific web page is about when they crawl it and you have a better chance to rank higher in search results.

SEO meta tags

When you publish a new blog post or page, you will need to add SEO meta tags for each piece of content. 

These are the SEO title and SEO description tags. These tags are not seen on the actual page, but Google will use metadata to better understand what the webpage is about.

SEO meta tags
Example of Title and Description meta tags in Google search results.

If you want to start ranking your content in search engines, this is an important step to complete. SEO tags should be prepared and added when you create a new page or a post inside WordPress. You can add SEO meta tags via free plugins, such as Yoast SEO.  

The title tag length should be between 50-60 characters (this is what Google typically displays) and the meta description tag can be between 50-160 characters.

Step #8: Promote, market, and grow your blog

By now, you’ve learned how to start a blog, how to create blog content, and how to get it discovered by search engines. 

It is important to understand that you can write the most compelling copy in the world and design a blog interface that would sell people their own shoes. However, if no one sees it, all of your hard work is in vain. So, you need to know how to promote your blog.

Before you start promoting your blog, check if it’s ready:

  • Make sure that your content is live and ready for promotion.
  • Test your blog on different devices (desktop, tablet, mobile) and browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge) to check that pages open correctly.
  • Check your contact info and test your contact form to see if it works well.
  • Test your social sharing buttons so that people can easily share your content. 
  • Ensure that you interlink your content so that people can easily find other important information on your blog.  
  • Give your visitors one or more ways to connect with you and subscribe to your email list.
  • Set up Google Analytics to track your blog’s performance and visitors.

Let’s look closely at the basic promotion and marketing activities that you can apply to grow your audience once you build a blog.

Let everyone know about your blog

Get started by informing your friends, family, and colleagues about your new endeavor. Basically, you should let anyone know who might be interested in reading your content.   

You should also do the following:

  • Include your blog name (URL) in your email signature. 
  • Include it in your social media accounts or any online communities you are involved in. 
  • Use every opportunity to get the word out about your new undertaking.

Be active within your niche

Get active on relevant blogs, forums, groups, and social pages. 

Blogger communities are a good way to connect with other bloggers in your niche. You can engage, build friendships, and help each other in spreading content.

Here are some popular activities you can do:

  • Blog commenting. Start posting comments on other relevant blogs. It’s a great way to build relationships with top bloggers within your niche.
  • Social media marketing. You should make use of the social media avenues that best fit your own niche and style. Choose the one (or ones) that best fit your needs and start promoting your content to grow your audience. Some of the most popular social media networks that bloggers use on a daily basis are Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
  • Guest blogging. Take the relationship a step further and offer to write guest blog posts for another website. Just be sure that you guest post on reputable sites and that the content is directly related to your niche. Guest posting is an excellent way to build an online presence.

Promoting your content through other platforms 

Before your blog becomes popular and starts to grow, you should look into leveraging other platforms on the web that already have some audience and readership. To give you a better idea, here are some of the techniques that you can use: 

  • Bookmarking sites. Submit your blog content to bookmarking sites that can offer your content to a lot of potential viewers who are searching for information within your niche. You should do this every time you publish a new blog post to spread the word. Here are some popular social bookmarking and content curation sites: Scoop.it, Reddit, Flipboard, etc.
  • Content republishing. You can publish the same or slightly repurposed content on platforms such as LinkedIn and Medium. It’s best to publish content on your blog first, wait a few days while it gets indexed by search engines (Google), and then you can start posting it on other platforms. Also, make sure to link back to your original article as a source. You can learn about a republishing strategy here.  
  • Repurpose content. You can repurpose your content, create graphics, slideshow presentations, audio files, or even videos and publish it all on the platforms that support different content formats. Here is how you can make 64 pieces of content in a single day (PDF). 

Getting organic traffic from search engines

By now, you already know that it’s important to optimize your content for search engines. 

However, in order to increase your organic traffic, you will have to learn how to get your content to rank higher in search results. 

There is no magic formula for higher rankings, but you should focus on the following factors: 

  • Create useful content for your readers, not search engines. 
  • Consistently create fresh and quality content. 
  • Make sure that the user experience is flawless.  
  • Ensure that your blog is secured (HTTPS), mobile-friendly, and loads quickly. 
  • Interlink your content and work on getting external links.

Advertising on the web (paid traffic)

Appropriate and well-informed use of paid media can help you to gain exposure and attention before your organic (naturally derived) traffic takes hold. 

Paid traffic avenues include: 

Remember that you can always find other ways to promote your new blog.

Start building your email subscriber list

After starting a blog, you will begin attracting new readers and visitors. It’s a good idea to collect the email addresses of those who want to be notified when you publish new blog posts or share promotional offers. As people come to know and trust you, they will respond better to your promotional efforts.

Rely on the blogging fundamentals: a clear and well-functioning blog, focused and helpful information, engaging conversation, and practical advice. Your authority will come from helping and giving advice to your audience.

Step #9: Make money blogging (optional)

Monetization is the process of translating your blog activity into earnings. 

You should keep in mind that blogging isn’t just about making money. It is about creating useful content and writing blog posts that will attract readers and make them come back for more.

When starting a blog think about adding content that will generate future income. Based on my own blogging experience, as well as from working with other bloggers, I’ve learned that specific kinds of content are more effective for generating money. 

Here are types of content that you should consider writing and adding to your blog:

  • Listicles or top list 
  • How-to guides
  • Tutorials and manuals 
  • Product reviews 
  • Product comparisons 

Now, let me show you some different ways how bloggers make money. 

Blog monetization channels

Our case study of the blogging industry shows that 59.8% of bloggers make money through blogging. 

But, how can YOU make money blogging? There are several options available, but below I’ll show you the best ways to earn income from a blog:

Running ads on your blog

There are seamless possibilities for you to run ads on your blog. Regardless of your niche, you can opt for ads that are specific to what you are writing about or ads that simply better serve your advertiser’s purposes. 

Google Adsense, Mediavine, and Adthrive are some of the most popular choices for blog ads.

Enrolling in affiliate programs

Affiliate programs are ways of teaming up with retailers to promote their products and benefit from successfully carrying out sales through a commission.

Some things that you need to consider when enrolling in affiliate programs:

  • The number of affiliate sales will strongly rely on the number of visitors you have.
  • You need to be credible enough for your visitors to click on your links.
  • You may want to consider placing a notice on your Terms of Use page that you do use affiliate links.

There are a few popular online platforms that offer affiliate programs if you want to get started, such as Amazon Associates, ShareASale, and ClickBank.

Selling your products and services

If you are creative and entrepreneurial, you could consider using your blog as a venue for selling your own products and services. This is an option especially as your blog grows in readership, authority, and popularity.

There are WordPress plugins, such as the WooCommerce plugin, that you can easily integrate into a blog and start using to sell products online.

Selling sponsored posts

Advertisers are always looking for exposure and are willing to pay you for placing a sponsored post on your blog. 

Those posts usually promote advertiser products or services and are a good way to make money from your blog. In the future, if you’re able to build a popular blog and become an authority in your niche, the advertisers could approach you to publish their posts.

Above are the most popular choices to earn money. However, there are more ways to monetize your blog.

7 ways to make money blogging

Consider the possibilities, and then choose the method or methods that best suit you and your audience. 

As a minimum, you should – from the very start – begin compiling an email list of your readers through subscriptions. Then, when you are ready to recommend products, you will have ready access to those who want to hear what you have to say.

FAQs before starting a blog

Few more things before you get started with your journey. Below are some helpful facts and common questions that many people ask before they start blogging.

Is blogging worth it and still relevant in 2022?

Simply put, Yes, blogging is still relevant in 2022 and beyond.

Technologies change. Business processes evolve. But I believe that making a blog today is still as worth it as it was 10 years ago. Blogs are a fantastic way of introducing your ideas, products, brand, business, and content to the world. 

I’m not saying that blogging is easy. To be successful as a blogger you have to work hard and give your blog the attention it deserves, especially at the beginning. You’ll have to create quality content, interact in the comments section, promote your blog on social media sites – and then repeat.

Will you be able to motivate yourself to do it right, day in and day out?

Blogs are an excellent tool for community-building, but if you’re not willing to be the central voice, i.e. the focal person for it, you’ll have trouble maintaining it. Blogging is a public act that will put you in the spotlight. The more successful you become, the more attention you will receive for your words.

How do you start a blog for free?

This is one of the most common questions people ask. Let me explain to you some ins and outs of free blogs.


Several platforms allow making your blog for free. You can register a free account (free blog) on WordPress, Blogger, or Wix, but you should know a few things before you get started:

* If you sign up for a free account, you will get to use the service on a subdomain of the platform. Your blog name will look like this: “blogname.wordpress.com” or “blogname.blogspot.com”. In the blogging community, this type of blog is a sign of an inexperienced beginner who likely won’t be taken seriously.

* Your free blog will be subject to rules and restrictions set by the platform. Free platforms may limit or prohibit you from using ads, or they may even place their own ads on your blog. If you’re serious about blogging, you’ll want to move away from this option sooner rather than later.

So, what is the best way to build a blog?

To take any blog to the next level, you will have to start paying for it. That way you can get full control of your blog, access to more features, and a custom domain. 

To get started right, I strongly suggest setting up a self-hosted blog and installing WordPress software (free open-source) on any web hosting account. 

If free blog hosting is currently the only option for you, create an account on one of the free platforms mentioned above.

Does it cost money to start a blog?

Starting a self-hosted blog is not as expensive as you might have initially thought. If you choose to host your blog with Bluehost that I recommend, you can have the environment ready for as low as $2.75 per month!

While usually, a domain would cost you around $15, with Bluehost, you will get one for FREE! The basic package also includes a free SSL certificate (which protects data transfers on your site and makes it safe), 50GB of storage, and unlimited bandwidth which means you can have as many visitors as you are able to attract to your blog. And this is more than enough to start with.

What to do if I already have a free blog?

For starters, don’t worry. If you decide to switch to a self-hosted WordPress, you can quickly and painlessly move your free blog to your new host.


Most of the blogging sites allow you to export the content to another site. And WordPress features a ton of tools that will automatically import the info to the new blog.

If you are running a Blogger (Blogspot) site, let me show you how to move it to WordPress, step-by-step.

What should I blog about?

Often, people think that they should start blogging about popular topics so they can make money. And while the truth is that you might be able to attract a larger audience if you write about smartphones instead of blogging about something specific like tuna fishing, that’s the wrong way to go.

In this case, it would show that you are writing about something that you might not completely understand and love. The result would be an unsuccessful blog that not even you would enjoy. Instead, new bloggers should start a blog and write about something they love or follow. Even if it is a smaller audience, their passion and expertise will attract just the right people. If you choose to blog about something that you are passionate about, you will be able to connect with your audience, which will help you to grow and even earn money.

How do I find a profitable niche for my blog?

So, now you have picked a niche of interest, everything seems to be going great. What now? How do you start making money off of it?


Do a market search

The first thing to do is to check out the competition. Here is what you can do:

* Perform a simple Google search for your niche main keyword and look who ranks in the first ten results.  
* Check out social media networks, or even paper magazines to figure out your competition and see whether you’ll have the audience you want. 
* Use free SEO tools to get insight into the volume of searches so you know what you’ll be dealing with.

If search volumes are very high with a lot of competitive websites, you might want to narrow your niche down. Explore all of the possible keyword ideas that would be of interest to the audience, so that you can find that sweet spot between great demand and low competition.

Check out how profitable your niche is

If you are planning to make money off a blog, you need to find out whether the niche you’ve chosen is profitable. You can once again easily check this with a Google search. When you type in your keywords, do you see any ads that pop up as the first result?

When brands or businesses are paying to advertise their products or services related to your niche, you’ll know you’ve picked a good topic, and you’ll be able to monetize your blog with ads.

Another method for monetizing a blog might be through selling affiliate products. Amazon, for example, has a nice affiliate program that allows bloggers to get up to 10% commission when they send a buying customer to them. For example: if you are blogging in the yoga niche, you could link to Amazon affiliate products like yoga pants, mats, etc.

How do bloggers get paid?

There are two main categories we can talk about when it comes to getting paid as a blogger. One is promoting third-party products, the other requires you to sell your own products or services. 


1. You can get paid while promoting different products and services on your blog through affiliate programs or ad networks. 

* Affiliate programs – you can get paid a fixed amount or a percentage for sale that comes from your site (CPA model) or some programs offer a revenue share model where you could be constantly getting a percentage from the amount your referred customer spends.
* Ad networks – with ads you get paid for pay-per-click (PPC) or pay-per-impression (PPI), also sometimes referred to as pay-per-mile (PPM). You get paid for the number of visits (impressions) on the page where your ads are displayed.    

2. You can earn money and get paid through selling your own products or services on your blog. It’s a straightforward process but needs some involvement from your side. Here are some ideas to earn extra income as a blogger: 

* Selling courses, training, and coaching
* Publishing sponsored posts and listings
* Selling products or consulting services 

These are just some popular ways of earning money while blogging. Learn more about it through our beginner’s guide.

How much money can I make from a blog?

Can you make money and how much you can make depends on many factors. 

Are you just starting out or have you been blogging for some time and have a group of people who trust you? Is it your primary focus or do you manage your blog in your spare time?

According to Glassdoor, bloggers in the United States on average earn $52,000 per year. Obviously, some earn a lot less, while there are influencers who have millions of people following them and can earn more than $100,000 per year. Some even say blogging for money gets them more than a million dollars per year.

Do you want to know how to make a living blogging?

Once you start your blog, you will have to work hard before getting that first paycheck.

Also, passive income needs time to start increasing. Different advertisements and banners will make sense only after you have a well-established blog. While it is possible to get a few bucks per click on a Google ad, you will have to develop your site and build an audience before that becomes a reality. So, when starting out, you can expect only a fraction of a dollar for each click, but do not let that discourage you. Everything has a start, so does your income from a blog.

How do I learn WordPress?

I always love to hear that someone is interested in learning WordPress or in general how to blog for free. That’s because I enjoy sharing the knowledge and experience I have been collecting for many years in this business.


I have dedicated an entire section of our site to learn WordPress where you can level up your WordPress skills and understand the best practices. The section will guide you from the very beginnings of your WordPress site to advanced techniques that will teach you how to develop a unique site that both you and your visitors will love.

What to do if your domain name is taken?

Unfortunately, gazillions of awesome domain names have been already taken, especially if you aim for the most popular .com domain. But don’t worry. If you can’t get the domain you want while registering for a hosting account, Bluehost will help you by letting you choose one later.


In this guide, I describe how to set up a blog and get a free domain name after. Just by clicking the button, you can skip the domain registration process and install WordPress first. Try thinking about other options or maybe another extension like .net or any other that may be a good fit for your blog.

I have put together a guide to help you come up with a great domain name, so take your time and consider all the factors before registering a domain name.


choose domain later

How to secure your WordPress blog?

To secure your blog, all you need to do is turn on the SSL certificate. It controls the data transfer on your site and makes it unreadable to nosy people who might sniff the data from the outside.

But before you start worrying that only tech-savvy experts know how to do this, let me show you how you can get a FREE secure connection in just a few steps:

1. Login to your Bluehost account, choose the “hosting login” tab.
2. Click on “My Sites” from the menu.
3. Hover over the thumbnail that represents your site.
4. Click the “Manage Site” option that will show up over the thumbnail. 
5. Select the “Security” tab at the top. 
6. Turn on the “Free SSL Certificate” by clicking the switch to “On”. 

After toggling the switch, you should wait up to one hour before the changes become visible on your blog.

                        secured domain example 

To quickly identify if the SSL certificate was successfully installed for your domain, check for the icon next to the URL of your blog. If using Chrome, you should see a little green lock followed by the word “Secure”. This will indicate that the certificate has been successfully installed and that your blog is secured.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You’ve learned how to start a blog. You have your own domain name, hosting space and your blog is set up. Next, you will need to get familiar with the WordPress dashboard, make desired changes, start content creation, and promotion to become a successful blogger. Check out all our resources for starting a blog and learn how to blog successfully.

198 comments on “How to Start a Blog”

  1. Prosperity

    Thanks so much. Such an in-depth and step by step guide. Found it really helpful.

  2. AlignBee

    I love the itemization of the costs in step #2 so that it’s clear how much it would cost to run a blog. This info makes it helpful for setting up a budget. Thank you.

  3. Amelia Arden

    I really appreciate your effort in writing this post. You may never know how much you inspired me with this guide. I’m definitely giving blogging another shot, and I hope it works this time.

    Thanks again!

    • Ogi Djuraskovic

      That’s great news. We wish you good luck with your blogging journey and feel free to contact us in case you need anything.

  4. David

    Hi Anya,
    Thanks for the very thorough and in-depth article. There’s never been a better time to start a blog. I would add to your promotion section that you should also use Pinterest as a search engine, not just a social network, as it can be the ideal source of traffic for new blogs.
    Best Regards,
    David

    • Ogi Djuraskovic

      Thanks David for reading our guide. We agree with you, Pinterest is indeed a very good search engine on its own. It might not be suitable for all blogging niches but is definitely worth using as an additional source of traffic.

  5. Chihnwi Joshua

    Wow! Thanks a lot Anya. This post has been a great blessing to me. I plan to start a sports blog and I will definitely be using the information I got from you. Thanks again.

  6. Julia David

    The information you’ve shared in this guide is remarkable. Thanks for sharing such quality information.

  7. Daniel

    Thank you for this great guide. I have three questions.

    1. I’m hoping to start a blog that will require a lot of sports images from a major sports team. I see other local bloggers use Getty Images. Is this easy to do? Is there a cost for that?

    2. Also, I want to add a message board and

    3. live chat functions.

    Are those expensive or hard to integrate?

    Thanks very much!

    • Ogi Djuraskovic

      We’re happy to hear that you like our guide, Daniel. Hopefully, it helps when starting your new blog.
      Answers to your questions:
      1. You can find and use many royalty free and stock photos but if you want to up to date sports images you will need to pay. For example, Getty Images is famous for having images from every major sports event but their monthly plans can be expensive.
      2 & 3. You can easily add a message board and live chat functions to your WordPress blog via plugins. It’s easy to install and set up.

  8. Amrit

    I really appreciate the work you have done, you explained everything in such an amazing and simple way.

  9. Cheyenne

    Is there any other information regarding security? Like preventing people from hacking our website and things of that sort . Also , very concise and informative guide! I wish more guides were like this

  10. Aleks

    Hi Anya,

    Thanks so much for this post – super useful. Just one thing I’m a bit confused about. If the Bluehost and WordPress are both hosting providers – what is the WordPress you are mentioning within Bluehost?
    Sorry if this is a bit confusing but trying to understand it properly 🙂
    Thanks in advance for your feedback!

    • Anya Skrba

      Hi Aleksandra,

      Sometimes new bloggers get confused. I’ll try to put it simply for you.

      1. WordPress.org is an open-source (free) software but in order to use it you need to install it on your own web hosting account. This process is covered in our guide. If you don’t have a web hosting account yet you can use Bluehost (or any other hosting company).
      2. WordPress.com is a hosted blogging solution, which means that they offer all-in-one service including hosting and domain name for premium plans. You can check this guide.

      Personally, I prefer to use WordPress.org since you get more flexibility that way. But depending on your situation you can go with either option.

      Hope I answered your question. Good luck.

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