How to Start a Blog

The Beginner's Guide to Creating a Blog in 2020


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Do you want to learn how to start a blog?

blog sign

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!

NOTE

This guide takes 25 minutes to read (8231 words). Yes, that might be a lot of reading, but I share everything new bloggers should know for starting a blog in 2020. You can take your time and do it at your own pace!

I will show you how to build a WordPress blog with a one-click install.

Jump to “Step #5: Starting a blog on WordPress” section

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 your blog or want to level up your blogging skills, make sure to check out Anya’s @firstsiteguide.

Mark Schaefer
Mark Schaefer
@markwschaefer

How to Start a Blog via @firstsiteguide. Super helpful!

Mari Smith
Mari Smith
@MariSmith

New to #blogging or looking for additional blogging resources? Check out Anya and @FirstSiteGuide.

Neil Schaffer
Neil Schaffer
@NealSchaffer

How to Start a Blog in 8 Easy Steps

introduction to blogging

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

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

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

A quick primer – Blogging for beginners

There are five main steps you need to know for creating a blog quickly. We will focus on how to start a blog on WordPress later, but for now, it’s important you review these steps. If you are familiar with these things, you can build a blog in 20 minutes or less.

Picking a niche and a name

Your blog’s niche is the particular market (topic) you will be targeting. Choose a topic you are passionate about. Also, make sure your niche has enough interest around it and that people search for topics related to your niche.

When it comes to naming your blog, you have countless choices. You can use your own name, last name or some combination of the two. Or, you can use a descriptive combination of words.

Selecting the best blogging platform

The next step is to find the best-suited blogging site to start creating your own blog. There is a wide selection of platforms with all kinds of different features.

I recommend using self-hosted WordPress.org software if you are serious about blogging.

Finding web hosting and a domain

A web hosting provider acts as the foundation for your blog. Selecting the wrong web host can ruin your hopes of running a successful blog.

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

Designing and maintaining a blog

These days, you don’t have to be a professional web designer or developer to make your blog look beautiful!

Platforms like WordPress.org come with many pre-designed free blog themes. They offer templates that you can choose, based on your preferred layout and color scheme.

Reading useful resources

Launching your own blog is your first step in entering the blogging world. However, to be successful online, you have to learn more.

We have more than 100 free guides and resources published on FirstSiteGuide to help you succeed online!

Before you start these steps below, let me cover some helpful facts and common questions people ask before they start blogging.

Why are you starting a blog?

Answering this question will help you establish clear goals for your blog.

Do you want to communicate something, like a message or an idea? Do you want to build a community around your love for a cause? Do you want to keep your followers and fans updated on the latest news with your brand? Do you want to explain how your product or service works and why people should buy it?

A blog can help inform, educate, promote, and even sell, but only if you are clear about your blogging intention from the start.

So, take some time to figure out your central message and the purpose of your blog. Here are some examples of why some people create blogs and enjoy blogging:

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

Interesting fact, did you know that 61% of online customers make purchases based on recommendations from blogs?

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 blogging platforms allow people to launch their blogs for free.

You can register a free account (free blog) on WordPress or Blogger, but you should know a few things about free blogging sites 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 your 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 name.

To get started right, I strongly suggest setting up a self-hosted blog with free open-source WordPress.org software that you can install on any web hosting account. I will show you how later in this guide, so keep reading!

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

Is blogging worth it and still relevant in 2020?

Simply put, Yes, blogging is still relevant in 2020 and beyond.

Technologies change. Business processes evolve. But I believe that launching 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.

Step #1: Select a perfect niche for your blog

blogs solve problems

To start and run a successful blog, you have to select the right niche for your blog.

First, make sure to pick a niche that you are the most interested in – the one you are passionate about. That way you will follow your passion and enjoy your blogging journey.

Second, you must pick a niche that has enough audience interest.

Once you select a niche, I also suggest you validate it. Below is a 3-step formula to confirm your niche for success.

A 3-step blog success validation process:

  1. Check niche size.
  2. Explore competitors.
  3. Analyze monetization potential.

This process will help you obtain a clear idea of the size, competition, and monetization potential for your proposed niche. If you are not sure how to select and validate a blog’s niche, read our detailed guide.

Read more: How to Find and Validate Your Niche (Step-by-Step Guide)

Step #2: Choose a blogging platform

wordpress platform

At this stage, you’ll need to look at the best blogging platforms out there and determine the type of blog management software you are going to use. I recommend that you make your own blog using the self-hosted setup that I show in this guide.

When it comes to popular blogging sites, you have the following options:

  • Hosted blog solutions (free or freemium plans).
  • Self-hosted blog solutions (free open-source software).

Hosted blog solutions

Blogging statistics for top blogging platforms in the United States
WordPress 96.02% Blog usage in U.S.
Blogger 2.78%
Tumblr 0.81%
Ghost 0.16%
MovableType 0.08%
Pagekit 0.01%
Posthaven 0.01%
Svbtle 0%
Blog Engine 0%
Anchor CMS 0%

Source: BuiltWith.com

For many new bloggers, it’s tempting to use free hosted platforms such as WordPress.com or Blogger.com.

It’s important to understand that “free” always comes with limitations. First, your blog name will be set as a subdomain (examples: yourblog.wordpress.com or yourblog.blogspot.com). Second, you’ll be subject to their rules and restrictions. Free options come in handy if you want to test the platform. But, if you’re serious about blogging, you’ll have to start paying for full services and a custom domain name sooner or later.

Self-hosted blog solutions

You have several choices when it comes to self-hosted systems (also called a Content Management System or CMS). The most popular is the free and open-source system WordPress.org.

Self-hosted platforms allow you to set up and run your blog using your own domain and web hosting. You’re fully in charge 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 custom domain name. The actual blogging software is free.

If you plan to run ads, sell products, or services via your blog, then this is the best way to go. Many hosting providers can help you maintain an e-commerce blog.

How much does it cost to start a blog?

Below is a basic 1-year plan pricing comparison table of the 3 most popular blogging solutions, with a custom domain name. For WordPress.org CMS hosting services I will show Bluehost company’s pricing plans.

WordPress.org WordPress.com Wix.com
Blog hosting services $4.95 per month (billed for 1 year) $2.75 per month (billed for 3 years) $5.00 per month (billed for 1 year) $8.50 per month (billed for 1 year)
Domain name registration First year free, after
$17.99 per year
First year free, after $18.00 per year First year free, after $14.95 per year
Storage space* 50 GB 6 GB 3 GB
Bandwidth* Unlimited Unlimited 2 GB
Total for the first year $59.40 $60.00 $102.00

* 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.

NOTE

To create a WordPress blog, you need to decide on two important things: a domain name and a web hosting provider. If you are a new blogger, you should try using Bluehost, a company that powers over 2 million websites worldwide.

I was able to negotiate a special deal only for my visitors that includes:

  • Free domain name
  • Discount price of $2.75 per month
  • 30-day money-back guarantee period

→ Click Here to Claim an Exclusive 65% Bluehost Discount Offer ←

Step #3: Pick a domain name

pick 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. Your domain will be yours as long as you continue paying the annual fee ($10 to $15 per year for a .com domain).

Users who know your domain (/URL – uniform resource locator) can simply type it into their browser’s address bar. Others will be able to discover you through search engines such as Google and Bing, so you definitely need to find a unique name.

Your domain name may be the highly popular “dot com”, or it may be country or niche-specific. The general rule is to go for a “dot com” domain, but some of the other extensions can work. For example, “dot net” or “dot blog”.

If you can’t find the domain name you like, Bluehost will let you choose a Free Domain later. That will give you time to do some research and thinking.

Recommended tool:

In the end, it’s about being memorable, so if a different extension or country code helps you be memorable, then break the rules!

Read more: How To Name Your Blog (50+ Good Blog Name Ideas)

Step #4: Get a web hosting account

choose 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 site will depend on your blog hosting. The host makes sure your site is available 24/7 to potential readers and it’s where your contents and files are stored online.

Most hosting companies will also provide you a free domain for the first year when you buy their services.

The wrong web host can cause many problems with your blog. Just imagine choosing a mobile company that has no reception. Your web host is a major piece of the puzzle to creating a successful blog; therefore, you must choose a reliable provider.

Based on our our research and information available on the official WordPress website, Bluehost is a top choice in the opinion of many blogging experts.

wordpress recommends bluehost hosting

Step #5: Starting a blog on WordPress

This section provides detailed information to help you sign up for your web hosting account and set up a WordPress blog. As an example, I will show you how to make a blog with Bluehost. I have included screenshots of the pages that you need to go through.

1. Visit Bluehost homepage

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

bluehost get started page

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. If your budget allows, go with the recommended plan.

bluehost hosting plans

3. Set up your domain name

Your domain name will be your blog’s address, so you should take your time to come up with something unique and memorable. Just type in the desired name in this “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 domain name later.

bluehost choose domain name

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.

4. Register with Bluehost

After you choose your domain name, 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 have to pay a lower amount up front, 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 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 the payment goes through. You will also receive an email to verify your email address to activate your domain name.

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

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.

6. Create your WordPress blog with Bluehost

After you log in to the account, Bluehost will offer a 4-step process to help you create a website (blog). I suggest you go with that process if this is your first time creating a blog.

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

Four steps blog set up assistance process:

  • Step 1. You will start the 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 would you like to add on 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 chosen themes by 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 it and use a different one later. More information on this further on.

bluehost create a website step4

Once you complete 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!

7. Launch your blog

Inside your Bluehost account, you will see options to further customize your blog 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 blog inside a web browser don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t look quite right. It is just the first draft of your blog. Inside the WordPress dashboard, you will have to apply a few changes and add content to make it look polished and complete. I will show you how later!

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

Did you launch your blog yet? → Click Here to Get Started with Bluehost

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

Step #6: Select a theme and design your blog

More on themes

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

Installing and setting up 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 readers will first notice the overall appearance of your blog before they even take a look at the content. Select a theme that looks great, but also works for your specific content 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 your 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?

Free, premium, and custom themes

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 to customize your blog. All of the content 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.

Read more: The Best WordPress Themes for 2020

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 one 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 your blog 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 blog title and tagline, changing blog 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 customizing your blog, go to the WordPress 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 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 use for your blog.
  • Menus – Customize your blog’s menu, social media menu links, and change locations where they are displayed.
  • Widgets – Customize your footer content, add a blog description and how to find you if you have a physical location.
  • Homepage settings – Choose what’s displayed on the homepage of your blog. It can be your latest posts (classic blog), or a static page.
  • Additional CSS – Add your own CSS code to customize the appearance and layout of your blog (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

Note: Many themes (e.g. the Twenty Twenty theme) come with the new Gutenberg editor that revolutionized 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 is a block you can quickly add to your new page or post. This way, it is much easier to create new content 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 blog looks and functions. They can add new functionality to your blog, extend your theme’s capabilities, and customize your 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 blog. You can review blog plugins on your 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 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 posts list at the end of each of your posts automatically to encourage people to continue browsing your site.

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

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

Step #7: Write content and promote your blog

writing blog content

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

Now comes the moment of truth. You must learn how to write blog content. In the blogging world, any useful information that you share with readers is called “content.” Your content must be something valuable that people will want to interact with and come back for more.

Your next step is to determine what content to make for your new blog and the best practices to follow. It’s time to decide if your blog will be composed of words, photos, graphics, audio, video, etc.

Three things your content should do

Your content will be the bait that draws your online crowd. Truthfully, few will come just to see your new site. Without great content, even the most well-designed, tightly-structured blogs will ultimately fail.

  • Your content should speak to a specific audience and provide value to them in a significant way. If this sounds suspiciously like our Commandments, you are correct. Drill the idea into your mind and never forget it: It’s not about you; it’s about them.
  • Your content should be easily accessible and attractively presented. Your presentation must equal the quality of your content. Don’t cut corners on low-quality graphics or designs. Everything about your blog must attract your visitors and encourage them to interact with your content.
  • Your content may be commercially purposed, but should never be commercially focused. Never greet your visitors with pop-up ads and giant banner ads. Greet them with content and reasons to engage with that content. Let them know you are there to help them, not to use them.

As a blog owner, you might get overwhelmed by all of the available types of content and the ways that you can deliver it to your readers. You have to remember that the content delivery method is less important than the actual content and its quality.

Wondering how you can create quality content? It’s simple.

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

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

There are two blocks you need to worry about, pre-launch and post-launch contents:

Pre-launch content

Before you start writing your day-to-day blog posts, you will want to make sure that static pages (such as About us, Contact, etc.) and other parts of your blog (Sidebar, Footer, etc.) are filled with suitable information. Let’s explore each of those content areas:

  • Homepage – This depends on what type of blog layout you choose. As I described above, when customizing your blog you can choose to display the homepage of your blog 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 to your blog 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.

Post-launch content

  • Posts – A blog post is an entry (article) that you write on a blog. It can include content in the form of text, photos, infographics, or videos.
  • Pages – A blog page provides static content or information to the readers. Standard pages that bloggers use include: Products, Services and Resources. A blog 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.

Note: When you publish any blog post or page, you will need to add SEO (Search Engine Optimization) meta tags on them. These are SEO title and SEO description tags of each page (not seen on the actual page, but you need to have it ready). This will help search engines to identify what the content is about and include it into search engine results.

Read more: How to Write Blog Content – Posts, Pages, and More

Content is not limited to written material. Other types of material are easily overlooked! It is often best to utilize numerous forms of content and give your audience more than one way to obtain knowledge from your blog.

To produce quality content, you will have to use originality and imagination. You will also learn that some content performs better than others on your blog. You should start creating content that you feel comfortable with, that is right for your readers, and for your blog.

Read more: 100+ Types of Digital Content You Can Make

Start promoting your blog

promoting blog content

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 the blog, all your work is in vain. Marketing and promotion happen every time you engage with your current and future readers. The success of your blog promotion will depend on your ability to engage in your chosen niche.

Let’s look more closely at the variety of promoting and marketing activities you can take to become an authority online and a successful blogger:

Let your friends know about your blog
Inform everyone you know about your new endeavor. You should include your blog name and URL in your email signature, list it on all of your social media profiles, and use every opportunity to get the word out about your new undertaking.

Submit your blog to search engine
Having your blog indexed on search engines is a quick and useful task. To submit your blog URL to Google, sign in to your Google Account and go to the Submit URL option in Webmaster Tools.

Submit your blog to bookmarking sites
Bookmarking sites can offer your content to a lot of potential viewers who are searching for content within your niche. You should do this every time you publish a new blog post to spread the word. Some popular social bookmarking sites are Scoop.it, Reddit, etc.

Be active in your niche
Get active on relevant blogs, forums, and social pages. Blogger communities are a good way to connect with other bloggers within your niche. You can engage, build friendships, and help each other in spreading content. Commenting on other relevant blogs is a great way to build relationships with top bloggers within your niche.

Be active on social networks
Your business is unique, and 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 become an expert at leveraging them to help reach your goals. Some of the most popular social 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 a guest post for another website. Just be sure your work goes on reputable sites and that the content is directly related to your niche. Guest blogging is an excellent way to build an online presence.

Start building your mailing list
Once your blog gains new fans and readers, it’s a good idea to collect the email addresses of those who want to be notified of new articles and offers. As people come to know and trust you, they will respond better to your promotional efforts.

Read more: The Complete Email Marketing Guide

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 Google AdWords, and Facebook.

Remember that you can always find other ways to promote your new blog. 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 other people, your fans, or readers.

Read more: How to Promote Your Blog (In-depth Guide)

Step #8: Make money blogging

make money blogging

Monetization is the process of translating your blog activity into earnings. You should keep in mind that blogging isn’t just about making money. Blogging is about creating useful content that will attract readers and make them come back for more.

After producing great content for some time and by engaging with your niche market, you will become a recognized expert who will be able to build a significant list of followers and visitors to your blog. In the meantime, you could consider adding content that will generate income.

Blog monetization channels

Our 2020 study of the blogging industry shows that 59.81% of bloggers make money through blogging. But, how can you monetize a blog? There are several options from which to choose:

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 is one of the most popular choices for 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 that you can enroll in such as Amazon Associates, ShareASale, etc.

Selling your products and services
If you are more on the creative and entrepreneurial side, you may want to consider using your blog as a venue for selling your own products and services. This is an option especially when your blog gains in readership, authority, and popularity.

There are plugins that you can easily integrate into your blog and start using to sell, such as the WooCommerce plugin. It comes with product pages, cart, checkout, secure payments, etc.

Writing and selling an Ebook
Another great opportunity to make money is to gather existing content from your own blog and offer it as a downloadable ebook. Your ebook can be sold independently if your blog has a commercial platform (such as Bigcommerce), or it can be sold elsewhere. A great publishing opportunity is offered by Amazon and their KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program.

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 earn some additional income 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.

Read more: How to Make Money Blogging (In-depth Guide)

As you can see, there are numerous ways to monetize a blog.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

What is a blog?

Some people still don’t know what is a blog? A blog (in the early stages called “weblog”) is known as many things—a digital magazine, diary, newscast, collector’s meeting place, a showcase for your art, information sharing, teaching hub, a place to learn and…well, almost anything you want it to be. A typical blog combines text, images, videos, and links to relevant pages and media on the Web. Blog readers can leave comments and communicate with the author. In fact, dialogue and interaction are a popular part of a blog’s success.

FAQ

What should I blog about?

Often, people think that they should blog about popular topics to make the most amount of money. And while the truth is that you might be able to attract the 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 writing a blog about something they love and 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.

FAQ

How much money can you make from a blog?

How much money 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 blogging your primary focus or do you manage your blog in your spare time?

According to Glassdoor, bloggers in the United States on average earn $30,000 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?

If your blog is completely new, 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 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 want to make money off your 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 you to get up to 10% commission when your blog sends 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.

FAQ

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

FAQ

How do I learn WordPress?

I always love to hear that someone is interested in learning WordPress or to learn blogging in general. 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.

FAQ

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. Just by clicking the button, you can skip the registration of the domain. That will give you time to do some research and thinking. Try thinking about other options or maybe another extension like .net or any other that may be a good fit for your blog.

Free Domain Later
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.

start blog book

How to Start a Blog PDF

This guide takes you from learning the basics of blogging to becoming a talented blogger.


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 my Resources and learn how to blog successfully.

171 comments on “How to Start a Blog

  1. Thanks a lot, initially I thought that it would be more complex to start some standard blog, and I was almost in a chaotic situation, but after reading your content I got some handful of ideas. People like you are the ones that I am looking for cause nothing is greater than the valuable words from veterans.

  2. This is a detailed blog on blogging in which all the concepts are explained. I was looking for a blog like that, thank you so much for giving such excellent information.

  3. Hi Anya, thanks so much for this wonderful guide! It was so helpful to me! I do have one question: is it possible to secure a domain name so that nobody else can take it, without “publishing” your blog yet or allowing it go live? I would like to secure my domain name, and then hammer out the details of my blog/design the website before letting it go live, but I’m not sure if that’s possible. Thank you!

    • Also, what is your advice as far as copyright and trademarking your blog or brand goes? Do you recommend doing this immediately or waiting to see growth for your website? Do you recommend copyright, trademarking, or both? Thanks!

      • Hi Isabella,

        In my opinion, you don’t have to worry about copyright and trademarking your blog. We don’t do any of these for our website.

        In the United States, you own the copyright as soon as you put the original work on your blog and you won a trademark as soon as you use your name and logo for marketing your business.

        However, some people like to use it for certain products and names. You can read our guide – How to Trademark and Copyright a Name or Logo

    • Thanks for the kind words, Isabella. 

      Yes, you can definitely do that. Just go through the process I described in this guide but don’t launch your blog right away. Inside Step #5: Starting a blog on WordPress (Section 7. Launch your blog), you don’t have to click the “Launch my site” button. Instead, you can do pre-launch changes on your blog (design, content, etc.). And launch it when you are ready. 

      I hope this information will help! 

  4. Thanks for this tutorial on starting a blog. I started my blog a while ago but I didn’t understand much about WordPress but now thanks to this information I know more.

  5. Hi Anya! I have a question. I chose a domain name, but that is not what is in the search bar when I am previewing the website. It is a bunch of random words, letters, and numbers. Just wondering if you could help! Thanks!

    • Hi Sarah,
      Your hosting provider has probably assigned you a temporary domain name. It usually takes 24hrs for your main domain to show up.

      p.s. sorry for the late answer!

  6. I’ve read through a lot of “How To Start a Blog” guides and I must say that this one is the most detailed and helpful one I’ve ever come across.

    Thanks for sharing this info, it was really helpful.
    My friend and I will be launching our blog soon called thefroavenue.com and its all thanks to this guide.

    Many thanks!

  7. This is an excellent guide on how to create a good blog. Thanks a lot Anya for sharing your knowledge.

  8. I have read through your Guide for wannabe Bloggers. Quite Impressive, I must say. In spite of the detailed explanations, I still find the process of setting a Blog so complex. I doubt if it is something I can do myself, or will I need an expert to set it for me?

    Stanley Moses.

    • Hi Stanley, the actual process is pretty straightforward if you follow the steps I’ve outlined. You will have your live blog in 15-20 minutes. Keep in mind that after you get your blog online, you need to work on your theme design and content. Feel free to reach out to me via our contact form if you have any questions along the way. Good luck!

  9. A great guide in precise words. I was just thinking about beginning my own blog but had no clue how it works. Thanks for the information conveyed here. It had been a great help.

  10. Thank you so much for giving me the needed push to get this moving! Your post covers so much information and answers so many questions! Thank you again for sharing.

  11. I am really grateful for this information. It’s so helpful to me as I have been planning to start my own blog for some time now.

    • I’m happy to hear that Hayinday. I hope my guide will help you get your new blog live. Let me know how it goes and good luck!

  12. Thank you so much for sharing these great tips! I am living in the US now, but will soon return to Brazil. Will I be able to keep my blog running with Bluehost and WordPress? Can I change the payment details later? Do you know if my domain will show up from searches outside the US? Thank you so much again!

    • Hi Maria. Your blog will work just fine anywhere so don’t worry about it. And with Bluehost, you can always update your payment preferences. All the best!

  13. Loved your guide. It is super helpful and complete. I do have one question. If you already bought a domain, would you be able to use the hosting service you recommend?

    • Hi Christine. You can transfer your domain to Bluehost and still be able to use it. When you come to the step of choosing your new domain, just select the option “I already own a domain”. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  14. Hey Anya,

    I hope you are doing well.

    This guide on starting a blog is one of the most precise and easy to consume content for beginners. I just started exploring your other content as well and hoping to enjoy it. Be safe and have a nice day there!

  15. This is an excellent guide on how to create a good blog. Thanks a lot, Anya for sharing your knowledge. Really useful!

  16. Thank you. You made it quite simple. As a beginner, this is all we need to know. I got almost all the answers. Thank you again.

  17. Hi Anya, I am a novice when it comes to blogging. You have invested a lot of effort and time, to come up with this, “to the point” and “easy to understand” article. I now have a fair idea of what is blogging. Thank you 🙏.

    • Thank you Suresh! I really appreciate it when people recognize the effort…this means a lot to me. Thanks once again.

  18. Outstanding post, well done! Couldn’t agree more, your profitable niche is the most important step. Because all keyword and search phrase placement is dependent on that. Without which it will be impossible to dominate search result pages.

  19. This was such a wonderful guide! I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a little while but never knew where to begin. I’m actually excited now and brainstorming a domain name. Thank you for your helpful tips and step by step instructions!

  20. This was very helpful, thank you! Your step-by-step instructions helped me understand where to start and how to get to where I need to be.

  21. This is an amazing article that helped me in deciding on how to start my blog. I appreciate the step by step process you went through to explain on how to start for beginners.

  22. Thank you for the information. It is really helpful. Please note you have a small word omission under the sub heading- “Submit your blog to bookmarking sites”.
    Bookmarking sites can offer your content …… You should (do) this every time you publish a new blog post to spread the word out. Some popular social bookmarking sites are Scoop.it, Reddit, etc.

  23. I must confess, I haven’t read an easy-to-implement guide like you have provided here, for a very long time. I’ve always wanted to start my blog and now I’ve found help. Thank you so much!

  24. What an incredibly informative article. Im looking to start a blog for my company and i love this article. In fact you are now bookmarked as my blog bible. Any problems i can and will probably run into getting it off the ground you cover. Thank you truly for sharing and helping others take a creative step in the right direction. Im not sure i get evergreen content. I mean i get the gist of it but is it like if i ran a food blog and had recipe for a soup that was popular and people kept coming back for it? Or am i missing the point? Sorry it may be obvious and i am just not getting it.

    • Thank you Megan for your kind words.
      My explanation of evergreen content is this:
      Evergreen content is content that continues to be relevant to its readers and gives them value years after the publish date. It remains informative and retains its original quality. As its name implies – it is timeless.

      I hope it helps. Feel free to reach out if you need any help!

  25. It’s such an in-depth guide on how to start a blog. You have given a clear picture of how to start a blog, hosting services, etc. It will be a goldmine for new bloggers.

  26. It’s such an in-depth guide on how to start a blog. You have given a clear picture of how to start a blog, hosting services, etc it will be a goldmine for new bloggers.

  27. This is the most detailed guide I have ever come across. Starting a blog is one of the most difficult tasks for newbies because they are always confused to find the right steps. You explained very well to buy a domain name and hosting for the blog. I am happy to see that you recommended one of the most used CMS WordPress in this article.

    Thanks for putting this awesome article.

  28. Thanks for sharing the nice article. I really enjoyed reading it. This is a very good guide for people who want to start up a new blog.

  29. I recently started my blog after procrastinating for so many years, It has always been my dream. This is so comprehensive and it is helping me through the early phase. Thank you so much.

      • Hello Anya Skrba, I really liked your cost-effective guide. I now speak to myself, it’s time to start blogging. Let’s get in touch for more guidance, please. Thank you.

    • I’m really glad that you find it useful!
      Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any trouble with starting your blog – we are here for all blogging newbies 🙂

  30. Great blog!!! Great guide with an excellent idea!Thank you for such a valuable article. I really appreciate this great information.

  31. Awesome article! Starting my own blog has helped me personally in achieving a lot of goals. Apart from the fact that it makes my personal brand quite prominent in my niche it also allows my readers to get useful and applicable information regularly.

  32. Often, when I speak with people who quit blogging, I tend to get answers that revolve around the hardships in the promotion.

    I like the tips listed above as they are very efficient promotion methods.

  33. Great article. Blogging is one of the best freelancing options to work from home and make money. Your post covered all important aspects of starting a blog. Well written.

    All the best,

  34. After reading some posts about blogging, and finally this, I start wondering if blogging is also meant for poor writers. Here’s my big question: can a ‘poor writer’ start a blog and hire some persons to create content? How bad does this affect new bloggers?

    • Hi Jane,

      Blogging is in fact supposed to help with your writing. The more you write, the better you will get! And of course, you can always hire someone to help you with the content.
      Good luck!

  35. I’m a bit scared to be honest…I’m reconsidering if blogging isn’t a bit of a big step for me… Oh, what to do guys? 🙂 You made it sound like a piece of cake but is it really?

    • Hi Simon,
      I suggest you go over our section “Know why you’re starting a blog” again. I hope it will help you understand the benefits of blogging.

    • Blogging is extremely intimidating. That’s how I felt, Simon, when I started in 2016. My site, Just Add That, was supposed to be a couponing website. But I didn’t know what I was doing, and I didn’t know where to start. Burn out happened quickly. Off and on for the next year, I tinkered and learned the basics of blogging following articles like this one at First Site Guide.

      After learning the ropes, I felt much more confident and continued to build my following and promote my site. Just Add That went from nothing to something in just a few years. Is it work? You bet. Is it worthing? COMPLETELY! Be brave and be bold. You can do it! Good luck, Simon!

  36. Do you really mean that 77% of internet users read blogs? That’s quite a huge audience to tap from! Too bad, I gave up on my blogging career years ago. I’m tempted to give it another shot now.

  37. Choosing a domain should be in line with one’s financial capability and blogging idea, I guess. You wouldn’t want to spend much on renewing your domain plan when you’re yet to earn from your blogging activities.

  38. Blogging appears to be a full-time business for many online entrepreneurs, and they make a good living from it. However, I’d like to know your take on the idea of a newbie blogger going all in, and possibly dropping off a low-paying 9-5.

  39. OMG! 6,7 mill of people are blogging now?! That’s like…wow… I had no idea.
    Good idea to point this information in the infographic – the number is astonishing!

  40. I really used to think that starting a blog would cost a whole lot of money. I had a friend who blogs about recipes and I’ll always see her buying stuff, paying for videos and photographs and all that and so I imagined that it was that way with the rest. But I think I understand it better now. Thanks a lot for this simple yet comprehensive guide.

  41. Someone was telling me that I need to have a large number of following before I can be accepted to place ads on my site. I have tons of subscribers but haven’t monetized my blog because I feel I still have a long way to go. After reading this post I have checked some tools and I’m surprised to see that I can do well if I monetize it now.

  42. I used to make and post content on YouTube but honestly, it costs me a lot to make a professional video. Now I’m really thinking of moving to a blog because from this post I can see that it won’t cost me as much as it does with video uploads.

  43. I have a blog which I’ve long forgotten about it because I wasn’t getting traffic as I expected. I’ve always thought I wasn’t cut out for this but right now, I have realized that I didn’t push it out to the public well enough and so I’m going back to give it another go! This has really caused a spark of energy within me.

  44. Thanks for the great article Ogi. I am a great fan of FirstSideGuide’s web design and graphics. Creating a blog isn’t a tough process. The real difficulty is in marketing our website to reach the audience. Though people say you can do that easily with SEO, the competition in each and every niche is damm too big. On the other hand, the low competitive niches have very low traffic volume.

  45. Awesome content! I was looking out for the promotion ideas because I have a blog in Travel Niche but it’s not performing well at all. I’ll have to try paid traffic option. Do you have other promotion ideas you could suggest?

    • Hi Sandra,

      you should check out our guide on blog promotion. Hopefully, you will get some more ideas to help you promote your blog.
      Good luck!!

  46. 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!

  47. Thanks for sharing this guide. However, you talked about choosing a niche in line with passion and hobbies. Does this make it impossible to choose a niche that “pays” as people would say? Even though it doesn’t dance in tune with one’s passion.

    • Hi Williams,

      You can certainly create a blog to make money off of it. There are various monetization strategies you can apply once you start your blog.

  48. I just really appreciate that you guys covered the costs of starting a blog! This way I know how to manage my budget 🙂

    Thanks a lot for this!

  49. Thanks for sharing the nice article. I really enjoyed reading it. This is a very good guide for people who want to start up a new blog.

  50. This is an easy step by step guide for starting a blog. All new blogger needs to read this once. I am sharing this on my social media. Thanks for sharing.

  51. What an amazing guide you have shared on starting a blog. I really appreciate your effort in writing this post. Thanks for the great share. I will be sharing it with my new blogger friends.

  52. This is the most comprehensive guide I’ve read so far and I decided to go with it!
    I particularly appreciate you guys also covered later development like WP dashboard navigation and content creation and promotion – this helps me a lot with my blog plans!

    • Hi Shawn.
      WordPress.org CMS is free. But keep in mind that you need to have a web hosting account to set up a WordPress CMS!

      Let us know if you have any other questions. Thanks!

  53. Great information in simple easy language that a non-tech can understand. I was thinking of starting a blog but knew nothing about it as to what to do how to do. Now I know all that is needed to know.

    Thanks

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