Have you thought about writing a blog, but don’t know how to get started? If you enjoy writing, and got a topic that generates interest, you already got the key ingredients to eventually become a paid blogger.
In this little tutorial, I will take you through the process, step by step, to help you get your blog up and running in no time, and show you some ways of how you can monetize your blog.
How to Start a Blog?
First of all, let’s go through the basic steps of how to start up your blog:
- Figure out what your blog is about. What would you like to write about?
- Choose a blogging platform
- Find a good domain name and web-hosting provider
- Find a good design and start adding content (pages and posts)
- Start growing your blog
1. Figure Out What You Want to Write About
The first and most important step is to figure out what you are going to blog about. The possibilities are endless and whether it’s fashion, finance, travel, cooking etc, you need to have a solid idea of what you are going to write about. Choosing something that you like and feel excited writing about would make it much easier for you to keep adding good content.
To help your blog stand out more, it would help to “niche down”, as your blog could get lost in a jungle of other blogs within a subject. For example, if you would like to start a cooking blog, you could niche down to a vegetarian cooking blog.
If making money is a key motivator for you in writing a blog, you also need to think about how your blog could grow and be profitable in the future. Understanding how SEO works is also a very important step in being able to bring people to your site and to get listed with the search engines. If you want to create a vegetarian cooking blog, you need to think about how you can incorporate affiliate links into your favorite recipe books and cooking tools, or where your advertisements may go in a sidebar. You should also find out what the competition is like within your niche, before you get started.
- Find a topic/niche that you would like to blog about
- Niche down
- Find out if it’s possible to be profitable within this niche
2. Choose a Blogging Platform
Step 2 is choosing a platform for your blog. There’s a lot of platforms to choose from, such as WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger and more. WordPress is by far the biggest platform, and in my opinion also the best one to use as it’s:
- Free to use(includes themes, layouts and add-ons)
- Easy to use and set up
- Customizable (Hundreds of free themes and plugins that adds functionality to your blog)
The other blogging platforms are all generally pretty ok, but WordPress gives you by far the best customization options and is a good choice when you are just starting out.
3. Find a Good Domain Name and Web-Host Provider
Instead of using a free blogging website as a host, you should self-host and have your own domain name. When using a free blogging website as a host you may experience issues as:
- Having your content removed and your blog shut down. Your blogging platform host controls all of your content
- Most free blogging platforms won’t let you advertise, making it much harder for you to ever make money from blogging
Starting a self-hosted blog on your own domain from day-one is the best choice as setting up a blog like this is way easier and less expensive than you may think.
To set up a self-hosted blog on your own domain name, you’ll need two things:
1. A domain name – domain names are what people will type into their website-browser to find your website. It’s your online address. There are different domain extensions to choose between (.com/.net/.org/…) but I would recommend using a .com, as that is the most trusted domain extension. If you want find to find out more about buying and selling domains, check out my article on domain flipping. I always use GoDaddy when checking if a domain name is available or not, because of the nice and clean search option on the site.
The cost of a domain name is usually around $10 a year, and you could buy one from GoDaddy, but a better option for you would be to sign up for web-hosting through Bluehost, as you’ll get one free domain name.
You should try to find a domain name that’s:
- Short, if possible
- Easy to remember and type
- Describes what your blog is about
2. Web-hosting – This will be the home of your blog address and content on your blog. Without web-hosting you’ll be unable to use your domain. The web-host will store all your content on your blog (blog posts, images and so on). The cost of web-hosting is usually somewhere between $3-6 per month.
There are hundreds of different web-hosting providers (like iPage, HostGator, Namecheap etc) that offers you similar services with a similar price, but I’d recommend using Bluehost, because of the price, the blog load speed and uptime, and the tech support they provide. If you have any issues, you will be able to get help within minutes through their live chat. They also have a 30-day money back guarantee if you don’t like it. You could also chat with them before you sign up, if you want to know more about how to start up a blog.
If you have planned what you want to blog about, picked and bought a domain, and signed up to a hosting service, you should now be ready to install WordPress.
This part is easy when using Bluehost, as it’s a one-click install button:
- Select your domain name from the options to install WordPress on
- Select advanced options and choose a username and password. The longer the password, the harder it is to break
- Select “Install now”
Now, your WordPress blog is set up!
4. Design Your Blog and Start Adding Content
Now, that you have done all this, you can go to your new domain name and add /admin to the end of your address to access the admin-area of your new WordPress Blog. You don’t need to deal with Bluehost or any other hosting service anymore as everything you do from here on out is all on your WordPress blog.
Once you’ve logged in, your Admin menu will look like this:
This is pretty much what every WordPress blog looks like. Here’s some of the main options that you will use:
- Posts – This is where you write your articles for your blog. You can go back, editing your articles whenever you may like. This is the “Blog-section” of the blog.
- Media – Every image/video you upload to your blog can be seen here. You can add images/videos within your actual posts and pages as well as uploading them here.
- Appearance – This is where you can choose and customize your themes and overall look of your site. “Themes” are basically like costumes for your blog. When changing a theme you will change the colour, fonts, and style of the blog.
- Plugins – Plugins are applications that gives you the chance to add new functionality and features to your WordPress website. The same way apps do for your phone.
5. Start Growing Your Blog
There are hundreds of ways to get traffic for your blog, but it’s important to understand that you have to have patience as you won’t get a lot of traffic overnight. If you keep adding good content, you will get more and more traffic eventually.
Let’s look at a couple of things you could do that could help you grow your blog:
- Optimize your blog for search engines – As mentioned before, SEO is very important to know about in terms of getting your blog and articles to rank well for relevant keywords in Google and other search engines.
- Publish longer content – Google and other search engines give preference to longer, comprehensive articles.
- Start an Email list – Email is a very influential medium for generating traffic, because when you’ll start having people sign up on the list, you’ll have the chance to reach all these people with your new content. There are free plugins that you can use when you are getting started with building an email list, like the SumoMe-plugin.
- Comment on other blogs – The right comment on a highly authoritative blog can potentially send you a lot of traffic. You should identify the top blogs in your niche and start to interact and comment on these blogs on a regular basis. This will get you noticed by the blogger and the members of his community, and this could lead to more traffic for you, and even an invitation to guest blog.
- Promote your blog on top forums of your niche – Forums can also be a good source for traffic. You can’t go spamming down the forum with your links. Instead, focus on giving valuable contributions to the forum in form of ideas, response to other peoples discussions, and be active in popular discussions. Make sure to have a link to your blog in your forum signature and on your profile page, and you might notice an increase in traffic.
Monetize Your Blog
There are several ways of how you can start making money from your blog. Let’s look at a couple of ways that you could use for your blog:
- Affiliate marketing – Affiliate marketing is an arrangement where an online retailer pays an external website commission, for sales or traffic generated from its referrals. As a blogger, you share a link to a product or service off another business’s affiliate program, and if one of the visitors on your blog clicks on the link and purchases the product/service, you’ll receive a commission. There is pretty much an affiliate program for everything, so you could just do a search on google (nameoftheproduct + affiliate program) and join. Remember, you should only promote products that are relevant to your niche, and products that you trust. A disclaimer is also something you should have on your blog, as to not mislead the readers.
- Google Ad-Sense – Another way is to make money by displaying ads on your site. Google Ad-Sense is one of the most used programs in that regard. There are two ways you could start earning money from AdSense. Either based on impressions; this depend on page views, or based on clicks; regardless of your page views, if one of your visitors decides to click on an ad from your blogsite, you’ll earn a cut of the ad-revenue. How much you will be earning will of course depend on how much traffic you’ve got.
- Paid reviews/sponsorship posts and banner ads – if you’re generating a decent amount of traffic, companies might approach you, looking to sponsor your site. Paid reviews/sponsorship posts or banner ads are usually the request you get in these cases
- Consulting/teaching – If you already are teaching your blog-visitors something through your blog, you could use this as an another way of making money through your blog’s traffic. For example, let’s say you have a blog about music producing. You could then charge $70 an hour for a private lesson on Skype, where you help your client improving his music producing skills.
Done, Now You Are Good to Go!
Setting up a blog /site through Bluehost, or any other hosting-provider is usually very fast and easy, and your initial blog/site-setup should now be finished and ready to go. Reading through this, I hope you have got a bit more knowledge about how you can get more traffic to your blog, and how you can eventually become a paid blogger.
If you by some unfortunate circumstances get stuck and need help, or have any questions related to blogging, feel free to use the comment section below, and I will try to help you as best as I can.