This a guide on a step by step guide on how to start a blog and make money online. This guide will help you to start a blog, run it in a free time and make money consistently if you put in the hard work
What is a blog?
A blog is a regularly updated website or web page written in informal and conversational style, it is run by an individual, a small group or company. Blogs are a type of website where content is represented in reverse chronological order i.e. newer content appears first.
Blogs are different from websites because they are regularly updated and are very dynamic unlike websites where content is organized into static pages and isn’t updated frequently. Oftentimes business websites run blog sites as part of a larger website to help inform and educate their customers easily and fast. Blogs can be in simple terms called websites but not all websites can be called blogs.
In this article, you will learn how to start a blog in a few easy ways as below:
- Set up your blog.
- Choose a profitable niche.
- Setup and install WordPress.
- Choose your blog’s theme.
- Install a few easy WordPress plugins
- Create or hire great content.
- Promote your blog through social media
You can use WordPress to create both, and most business owners use it to create their small business websites.
In this article I want to show you how to register and run a blog after you set it up. Anyone can write and start a blog these days.
In the early days of blogging, users needed to have HTML and PHP coding skills to even update blogs. Nowadays, there are plenty of blogging tools like WordPress, Medium, Blogger, Wix, Squarespace, etc. that allow you to easily create your first blog without needing to learn or write code. Choosing the wrong blogging platform can be a problem at times but with our guide, that mistake won’t be made. We recommend using WordPress, it is the world’s most popular blogging platform and website builder. Over 41% of all websites on the internet are built using WordPress. If you don’t want to go through the whole article, see below for the step by step instructions to setup a blog.
1. Choose Your Blog’s Niche.
Every blog needs a catchy niche. You need to choose a niche that you are passionate about and audiences can never lose interest-topics people are searching for – whether it’s exercises, cooking, travel, dogsitting, Lifestyle, fashion, software reviews select a niche that will have a long term monetary return.
Always choose a niche that intersects between Skills, passion, experience, and monetary gain.
Topics can vary from fashion, food, personal lifestyle, travel, product blogs to even weird topics about dancing, different cultures, art.
Most professional bloggers would advise that you start with blogging something you are passionate about because it helps you maintain a consistent writing schedule and be able to push through failure to succeed. In this module, you choose your niche between your passion, skills, and experience. But the best practice is to do the market research because the last thing you want as a beginner is to blog about the stuff no one wants to read.
Here are some questions to ask yourself;
- Can you make money from your Niche? if not look at the best niches to try
- Do you have the passion to keep going?
- Do you have information on a given niche?
Choose a niche that you would like to talk about with others.
See below for some niches you would like to write about;
- Personal & Finance
- Health Fitness
- Food and Recipes
- Tech Products
Blogging is fun, but only when you are talking about the stuff that you like. Because to be successful in blogging and to rank your blog you need to regularly update it.
And when you are blogging about the things that don’t interest you, you’re most likely to give up after a while. So always go for the topic that makes you happy while learning or blogging about it. In this way, you will stay motivated and patient through the process.
If you are not really sure what interests you the most, go to platforms like Google.com, Read from the most popular bloggers and read 10 or 20 blogs on different topics. After doing so take a pen and paper and write down about 5 blog post ideas that you’ll be able to write. Then write on these topics and see how it turns out for you.
Don’t go for the niche that you don’t properly understand. Because if you can’t portray yourself as an expert, people won’t listen to you.
Note: When choosing a niche, its time to brainstorm about it;
- What do you want others to know
- Where you have a long experience
- Any industry leverage about a niche
- Where you can passionately extract value
● Market research
This is one of the most important steps in this starting a blog. You can’t just make a guess that the niche you are choosing has a certain amount of audience.
For this, you have to use the proper tools to see whether the niche you are choosing has a proper audience or not. One of the best tools to use here is google trends.
Google trends will tell you how much traffic you can potentially get on a particular topic. So go on to the google trends search for the topic that you are going to blog about and see how many people are searching for it. And the best thing about it is that it shows you the graph where you can see the trend increase or decrease.
So if it’s decreasing it is better to stay away but if it’s increasing it will be great to board that train and hope that it carries your blog towards success.
● Choose a medium-size niche
After choosing the topic you are going to write about and doing the research about the trends, the next thing you’ll be doing is to go on to google and search for these terms.
If there are a lot of results and there are very high authority websites already blogging about that topic it’s better to stay away from it. Scroll down to the bottom of the results page and check the relevant topics and search them. If competition is low, write on these topics. And it is one of the best practices to do while you are a newbie to write on the micro topics because there is less competition on the small topic and the chances to rank are higher.
You can also use Google AdWords planner to see the monthly search volume and decide accordingly. If a particular search term gets 1000 to 15000 visitors per month and the competition is not very high, that’s perfect to write. Anything less than that is like swimming in the bathtub.
Many blogs on the internet make well over $100k a month in revenue and some even make millions. But these are blogs run by teams of professionals. They publish multiple posts a day and they have a proper sales mechanism on their website. If you want to be like them, you will have to choose the monetizable niche. If the niche is about something that is not related to any kind of product and or service, it will not make a lot of money. So always choose a niche that has multiple monetization options.
Just remember, it will take you more than 2-3 years to start making money from your blog, so this needs patience and continuous blogging to see results in the long run. One way to do that is by going to the competitor’s websites and see what methods they are using to make money.
Whether they are using ads or they are putting affiliate links, or both. So it will be best for you that you can monetize your blog in multiple ways. One of the benefits of multiple monetization is that if one gets cut off you can rely on the other one.
Build trust with your reader by giving them valuable information and that can be your unique selling point. People don’t buy stuff from everyone. So in order to make sales, you need to stand out from the competition and build an identity for your brand.
Choosing The Most Profitable Niches
Choosing a blog niche is more crucial than ever since there are hundreds of blog entries created every day. A narrower blog niche helps you stay on point and establishes expectations for your viewers.
If you’re a blogger, you’re probably familiar with the monthly revenue reports that are posted on sites like SmartPassiveIncome, Chiara Ferragni, Gina Horkey, and Michelle Schroeder-Gardner.
They generally do this if they’re selling their information items because they’ve previously demonstrated their knowledge in their blog genres or topics.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing a niche;
- Can you make money from your Niche? if not look at the best niches to try
- Do you have the passion to keep going?
- Do you have information on a given niche?
To better understand how lucrative blogging might be, look for other people’s blog revenue reports in the area you’re interested in.
Only the most lucrative blogs will post revenue data, so keep that in mind.
When choosing your niche, you need to think about;
- What do you want to share and teach your audience.
- What experience do you have in that given niche.
- Do you have any industry expertise in that niche ie Certifications, degrees.
- Can you extract maximum value from that niche.
These revenue reports may show you whether a certain area has the potential to be lucrative. Only a few hundred dollars per month may separate those who can create tens of thousands from others who are barely scraping by.It all depends on your blog’s specialty, the quality of your material, the amount of your readership, and the way you’re monetizing it.
Methods for getting money from your blog:
- It is possible to make money promoting and selling other people’s items via affiliate marketing networks.
- You may make money by displaying advertisements for relevant items on your blog and by earning affiliate fees from those who click on those ads, which is known as “blog advertising.”
- You sometimes get paid when a business asks you to write about them or their goods on your blog, it’s known as “sponsored content.”
- You can also sell eBooks on a subject that is similar to your blog’s content and then market it for a profit.
- In order to make money online, you may build and offer online courses that teach your readers a certain skill (perfect for anyone learning how to blog).
- Products that you manufacture and sell, either via dropshipping or by opening your own online shop.
- Selling your services, such as consulting or coaching, in which you make use of your knowledge and abilities to benefit your clientele.
Bloggers that are successful at monetizing their blogs do it by combining many of these strategies. It all begins with the first one, and then they move on to another.
2. Choose your Blog Name and Hosting
When it comes to naming your blog, you need to choose either use your name or a combination of descriptive words referencing the niche you’ve chosen. Let’s say the blogging niche, you can go with MyNewBlog.com.
Before even getting WordPress, think about the following;
- The name should be easy to remember and not too difficult to type, easy to pronounce and spell.
- Avoid using numbers and hyphens as it may confuse your readers
- And finally keep the name a bit broad in case you may need to switch niches
After choosing a domain name, selecting a reliable hosting is the next important decision to make. To a great extent, the functionality and performance of your site will depend on your blog hosting. The host makes sure your blog is available 24/7 to potential readers and this is where your contents and files are stored online.
3. Start your Blog
At this point you must be looking at hosting blogging platforms and deciding which one to use. Most hosting companies will also provide you a free domain for the first year when you buy their services I recommend using WordPress because it is self-hosting, and there are only a few blogging sites that have this feature. The wrong web host can cause you very many problems with your blog, your webhost is a major piece of the puzzle to creating a well-functioning blog. Based on my research and information available on the official wordpress website, Bluehost is a top choice in the opinion of many bloggers.
4. Pick a simple Theme and Make your Blog your own.
A WordPress theme is a collection of themes, templates, files, and style sheets that dictate the design of your blog. You can choose to go with a free theme with limited options or a paid theme. The look and feel of your blog rely on the design and layout you choose. All your first-time readers will notice the appearance first before the content. I advise you to select a theme that looks great but also works for your specific needs.
Note: If you don’t have enough money to invest in a theme, I would suggest you start with a free theme and upgrade after a few months.
In the WordPress dashboard to your left, you will find the themes under the appearance tab. Some popular options will be presented first, you can click on the WordPress.org themes button and search for free themes.
Here’s a short guide for choosing your theme by searching through the WordPress dashboard;
- Read the description. Most themes come with short descriptions of features and functionality. Reading through must help you find one that matches your needs.
- Preview the theme. WordPress provides you with a demo to help you see the overall look, layout and how customizable it is.
- Check the ratings. Under theme details star rating will be visible to give you a clear idea on how good the theme is.
Note: Look at other people who are successful in your niche and verify which theme/s they used.
Take note that even if you don’t find a theme you love, you can settle with something you like as you create the rest of the blog for you can change it in the future. At this moment your blog might not look quite right, that’s okay, to make this skeleton of a blog appealing, you need to fill it with content i.e. text, photos, videos etc.
There are thousands of free themes that WordPress offers; you can check the best below;
- OceanWP – Best for Multipurpose use.
- Astra – Best for Finance, Tech blogs.
- Hestia – Best for small businesses, ecommerce, freelancers.
- Albar – Best for business, online shop.
- Neve – Best for Startups, small business.
- Simple – Best for magazines, fitness, restaurants.
- Sydney – Best for companies, freelancers.
- Fremedy – Best for lifestyle, Travel, fashion, personal blog.
- Agama – Best for web agency, business, personal blog.
- SeedProd – Best for corporate business, small business.
- Prolific – Best for Multipurpose use.
- North Shore – Best for Travel, ecommerce, small business.
- Foodica Lite – Best for food blogs, magazine
- Ascend– Best for finance, consulting.
You can always pick a different theme later or upgrade to a paid one as you continue your blogging journey.
All of the pages and unique content created will be automatically transferred to the new theme and layout. If you are not impressed with the present stash of free themes, you can check out the available premium themes. These are designed by third party companies who sell them on the WordPress theme sites. The price ranges for single use licenses may range from 30 dollars to 500 dollars depending on the premium theme you choose to use.
Customize your blog
Most themes have similar customization options, so it doesn’t matter which theme you chose, in this case we are using the twenty twenty theme. But they vary in many other ways, just follow the tabs.
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.
*If you don’t have the skill to design and customize your blog, I suggest you get a designer on Upwork.com or Fiverr.
On the left hand side you will see a menu
- Site identity. Here you shall 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.
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.
5. Add two key Blogging plugins to find your readers and track stats
Plugins are bundled pieces of code which integrate with your website and extend its features and functions. You can extend your themes capabilities, add new functionality to your WordPress blog, and blog personalization and customization. It is important to choose the best ones for SEO and site speed.
Majority of plugins are free, but there are many that are offered for a fee, based on their unique functionality. In the WordPress repository it is possible to find over 57000 different plugins at the moment.
Best WordPress Plugins
- Smash Balloon
- Yoast SEO
- Contact Form 7
- WordFence Security
- WP Rocket
- Elementor Page builder
- WP Smush
Siteground will automatically add some plugins they think are important for any website by default.
You can review these plugins inside WordPress dashboard and add new ones by clicking the plugins tab on the left hand side.
Here you can install new plugins, delete, update, and deactivate.
6. Write Compelling, well-detailed and Good Content.
At this point, you have completed your blog framework ie established a domain name, set up hosting for the site, blog themes have been set, etc. you now need to learn how to write good blog content.
If you can’t write your own content, use one the platforms below to hire experienced writers;
- Constant Content
*If you’re a new blogger, I suggest you start with around 4-5 blog posts a month, either by getting writers from upwork.com or just writing the posts yourself.
Content, in this case, is informed by videos, pictures, texts among others, and any useful information you may need to share. your content has got to be very valuable that people will want to interact and later come back for more. Which form of content you should be putting on your blog depends upon the way you want to draw traffic onto your site. And that will be discussed later. The type of content that draws the most organic traffic to your site is blog posts and articles. So now we’ll learn how to write a compelling post that makes readers stick to the content and makes them your potential customers.
Steps for writing an engaging blog post or article
There is a very common misconception out there that if anyone is good at writing will be a good blogger.
What does a researcher think is a good article?
An article with well-researched content and the information backed by the data from reliable sources. But when you are solely focused on that you’ll end up with an article that looks like legal documents and readers are probably going to hit the back button. So in order to make your article from looking like a wall of words to an engaging piece of information, you need to consider the readability and visuals of the post.
Follow the steps down below to write a piece of content that will make your reader stick to the website and increase your revenue.
● Selecting the right topic.
In the above niche selection section we’ve talked about how important it is to choose the right niche.
Since you’ll be working with a niche-specific blog you are going to select a topic within your niche. You can do the market research using the methods we discussed earlier.
*When researching for the perfect niche, choose one that intersects your passion with profitability.
● Do proper research on the topic
After finalizing the topic that you are going to write about, do a google search with the exact title. When the result appears, read each and every article on the front page.
Look for the things your competitors are talking about and find where they lack. Try and improve on those and you will have a better chance to rank.
On the other hand, if your article is not going to be better than any of those on the front page don’t waste your time and look for something else.
Points to consider when you’re researching your niche are;
- Assess your niche in the market
- Research about the competitors
- Solve problems for your audience
- Always do keyword research
- Find a unique selling point
● Making an outline for the post
When you do your research it’s always a good practice to keep your doc editor open. Since it will help you to take notes from the competitor’s articles and you’ll be able to make an outline for your own article.
Use one of the following note taking apps;
- Apple Notes
- Google Docs
- Standard Notes
Take notes about the things that you are going to talk about in the article. Write down heading and subheadings first. In this way, your article will start taking shape.
● Start writing your post.
After making an outline, now you can start writing your blog post. For this, you can use WordPress dashboard and any other text editor like Ms. Word or Google Docs.
But as a beginner, we will recommend using Google Docs because it has plenty of useful extensions that will help you write easily and effectively.
When writing your first blog post and in the future, always focus on one main target keyword and include it in the blog posts below;
- Add the keyword in the blog’s permanent URL
- Add the keyword in the title of your post
- Add the keyword in the first and second paragraph
- Add the keyword inside of your headings
- Add the keyword throughout the blog post.
Tips to Improve Your Writing as a Beginner.
- Your blog posts should always provide value for time to your readers. always write with a clear introduction, middle, and end structure.
- Present your blog content neatly and make it easily accessible to your readers. Make sure that both text and visual contents in the blog posts are high-quality.
- Always format your headings correctly with H2 and H3 tags, use bulleted lists, images to break up long lines of text. make sure there are no paragraphs longer than 3-4 sentences.
- Fonts and use of white space is encouraged to keep your blog posts easy on the eyes for the readers.
- Always write your blog posts in a conversational way to develop a connection with your readers.
- Double-check for any typos and grammatical errors before publishing any blog posts
- Add bullet points to help readers skim down the blog without missing anything critical.
- Use Bold text if you want to make it stand out.
● Writing a good introduction
The first impression is the last impression. If you want to hook your readers to your content you need to write a killer intro. Once you succeed in doing that consider 50% of your work has been done.
Different writers write intro at different stages. We will recommend writing the intro at first and then you can write the whole content that complements that. But you can also take a different approach and write an intro at the last that complements the whole content. Either way, the intro is the most important thing here.
One way to write an intro is to put a question that the reader wants to be answered and then answer the question in such a manner that the reader gets impressed with it.
● Write like the way you talk
While writing, take care of the person you are writing for. Don’t make your content sound like a piece of a research paper. Your writing style should be such that it feels like a friend is answering a question from a friend. You can use slang words if you like to.
● The article should be skimmable
Not many people read the whole blog post when they head over to a website. So the best practice to do is to structure your article in a way that the reader can easily navigate to the piece of information he wants from the post. Use heading and subheadings. By doing that you’ll be providing the reader an opportunity to get what they are looking for. On the other hand, if you fail to do that, they are probably going to hit the back button and head to another website.
● Don’t present just a wall of text( Use images and other visuals)
Your content should visually appeal to the readers. That’s one of the ways readers stick to the page and read the whole article. If it’s just text and no visuals, they are going to get bored and leave.
With the immense social media time and endless scrolling through different platforms, people’s attention span has become very short, and due to apps like Instagram people are now accustomed to visuals. So it’s super important to use images and other visuals.
- Always remember in addition to text, blog posts should have audio, video, photos, infographics, and other types of visual contents so that you can keep the reader engaged.
When we said that you should be using images in your blogs, now you would be thinking where would I get those from? Don’t worry because there is a simple solution for that.
There are a lot of websites out there that provide copyright-free images and you can use them by just giving credits to the owner and sometimes not even that.
Some of the best websites to use are pexels and pixabay. You can also use Canva, and they have a lot of stock images. You can also edit your images on Canva, so you don’t have to pay for the expensive editors..
Summary of the list to Start a Blog:
- Research a profitable Niche
- Pick a blog name and web hosting
- Install WordPress
- Pick and install your blog’s theme
- Install WordPress plugins
- Create good content
- Promote your blog
Nothing comes easy, it will take around 2-3 years of 5-6 hours a week of consistence for you to see any results.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Start a Blog:
What is a Blog?
A blog is a regularly updated website that can either be used for personal use, commercial or business use. A Blog is typically run by one person, or a small group of people create and present information in a conversational style.
Why You Should Start a Blog?
One of the most important reasons why someone starts blog is to influence, inspire and share their experience with online readers
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog?
For a summary on what it costs, see below:
- New domain name: around $10-$20 per year.
- Hosting: $10 – $15 per month. plus privacy protection $10 per year
- Optional expenses include; premium WordPress theme (costing between $30 – $60), marketing tools,
- Plugins: $20-$40
- Optional WordPress Designer: $50-$60
- Optional Content writing: $20-$30 per month
We hope our article on How to Start a blog and Make Money Online will help you to chase your dream of starting a new blog easily and effectively. I will advise you to follow our tips and tricks for bets results. Another that you need for running successful blogs is consistency and passion with your work and soon you will see the results.