How to start a blog: 10 steps to a money-making blog

Get a step-by-step guide on how to start a successful blog in 2021 that generates income.

Today, everyone wants to make money online and have a stable passive income. Because seriously, what could be better than that? When it comes to making money online, the word “blogging” often comes to mind. Blogging is a popular way to make money online. It has grown by 12% since 2015. The number of bloggers in the USA is expected to grow to 31 million in 2021. Wow! Crazy, right? But true!

People start blogging for many reasons: making passive income online, penning and documenting their thoughts and views, sharing new things they’ve learned and ideas along with skills, free gadgets, stuff for review purposes, traveling, and many more. It’s always better to follow your passion, so why not make passive income along the way? 

In case you don’t know what blogging is, the short answer is it’s a platform where a writer or a group of writers share their views on an individual or different subjects on an online journal or a blog website, presenting information in reverse chronological order. That is, the latest post appears at the top, along with the options to interact and discuss those subjects with the ever-growing community. 

Many people have already started blogging, and some are willing to start. If you have a little information about blogging, its income potential, and want to start your own blog, then trust me, this article is going to help clarify your doubts, confusion, and myths that could become possible barriers in the process of starting your own blog.

Starting a blog and working on it is not that difficult, but it’s lengthy. It might take a few days or a month to set up a proper blog and work on it, as initially, good research is required. Don’t worry, we have worked for you and prepared a step-by-step guide to help you out with the best possible way. Actually, we have summarised the whole process in 10 simple steps, easy to follow, and most importantly, help you learn how to start a blog! Are you ready? Let’s go!

1. Choose a blogging platform

This is the first step and is the answer to the question of where you should create your blog. The blogging platform is an online platform personalized for you to work and manage all the content of your blog. There are many blogging platforms you will find over the internet. Every one of them has its own advantages and disadvantages. Out of the blogging platforms available, two are popular and used by most bloggers worldwide. The first one is WordPress, and the second is Blogger. WordPress is paid, and Blogger is free.

Blogger is from Google. But still, WordPress is mostly used by bloggers all over the world, because it is easy to use and has a number of functionalities, along with customization, security, search engine optimization, and many more we’ll discuss further. 

It’s an interesting fact that more than 37% of the websites in the world are powered by WordPress. Whoa! Blogger is also good, as a significant number of blogs are hosted on Blogger. One must give Blogger a try for at least a month if he or she is very new to blogging and just wants to know how it all works. After you gain some experience and knowledge, you can easily switch to WordPress, start working there, and get the benefits.

There are some other blogging platforms that are also popular, such as Wix, Gator from Hostgator.com, Tumblr, Medium, Ghost, Squarespace, etc. Wix is also a trending hosting platform to build websites. It offers an answer for small businesses to create an internet site using drag-and-drop tools. You’ll also add a blog to your website by adding the Wix Blog app.

2. Select the niche of your blog

So, the second thing you need to do is to decide the niche. For those who don’t know what a niche is, it means the topic your blog is going to be about. Niche means the subject, the main topic of your blog. 

It’s important to decide a niche and work upon it, as things will not work if you try any random topic or niche, every single time. Working or blogging without a niche can be a big mistake. Google and some other top search engine also prefer the blog or website to build on a single niche or single topic and rank them accordingly on the top. 

The biggest ads network in the world, Adsense from Google, also does not approve these kinds of blogs or websites that don’t have a specific niche. So, long story short, get a niche. They’re your friend.

It’s always preferable to select the niche that you are interested in and have a lot of knowledge about. It’s like following your passion and writing it down. Your niche should be comfortable so that you write and engage yourself in your free time. 

This is one of the steps that works as a base for your blog or website, so choose wisely, and perform good research as well, because there are some niches and topics that are really competitive, such as health and fitness, technology, and others. If you have decided to work on a niche and find a lot of competition in a blogging community after doing research, then don’t demotivate; keep in mind that you have to put extra effort and time as well to secure a position in the blogging community and over the internet.

Choose the niche you’re most passionate about. This will motivate and ensure you do not back down. You can also add some topics to your blog that are similar to your niche, but again, don’t go off-topic. Keep to the niche as much as possible, and you can’t go wrong!

3. Choose your blog name and domain name wisely

Domain name is the URL of the blog or the website a visitor or viewer will use to open your blog. For example, to open Google, we simply write google.com, where the domain name is google.com, and blog’s or website’s name is Google. Just remember some point before you select your blog name and purchase a domain for it.

Your domain name reflects your blog, so it should be easy to remember and easy to type. If you are building a brand, then your domain name should be brandable.

You may get a free domain, but the problem is that you have to use the provider name in your URL. For example, you build your first blog named XYZ on Blogger,

then you will get a free domain XYZ.blogspot.com to use and open your blog website. Here you see that blogspot.com is added to your domain name. You don’t have to use it like that; instead, you have to use a custom URL or custom domain name purchased from a good domain and hosting provider. You can do research on the best domain name provider online.

There are many domain names like .com, .xyz, .co, .org, but we suggest using a .com domain name if you going to start your own blog or website. There is a reason behind it, and that is a different domain extension like .info, .net, .xyz does not rank well in search engines.

So, choosing a nice blog name and the domain name is not rocket science but still a crucial stage and requires good research. A clever combination of words is required. A good and suitable domain name also helps in the search engine optimization factor. Don’t keep it long and confusing; make it short, easy to remember, and search engine optimization friendly.

4. Choose the hosting for your blog website

This is an important step after you decide to choose your blogging platform. If you are using Blogger, then it’s fine; you don’t have to pay anyone. But as we discussed earlier, most bloggers use WordPress, and sooner or later, you will have to use WordPress. For that, you have to buy hosting from the domain and hosting-providing companies over the internet.

Web-hosting is a place where you have to install WordPress. Hosting can be understood as a server that stays online 24/7 and handles your blog design, templates, images, links, pages, and moreover works as a content management system or CMS for you.

There are many domains and hosting providers, which have their own plans and pricing. All of them have some advantages and disadvantages over others. You have to do research on which hosting provider services, plans, and pricing fits into your budget and plays a fair game for you. Most have cheap plans available for beginners, which motivates the upcoming blogger willing to run a successful blog.

We suggest you try the Bluehost hosting provider. It’s an ideal choice for every newcomer in the field of blogging. It has some good features and services with fair pricing.

For example:

  1. Free SSL
  2. Unlimited bandwidth
  3. Unlimited storage
  4. Free domain name 
  5. Easy to use cPanel
  6. Live chat support
  7. 30 days money-back guarantee
  8. Starting at low-cost of $2.95/month

Again, there are many domains and hosting providers. You have to compare and sort out which one is best for you. Just focus on the features, the local support 24/7, and the uptime of your hosting provider because last, all you have to install WordPress and work with it. Simple, right? Well, you’ll get it!

5. Setting up your blog

Setting up your blog after you purchased your domain and hosting is easy. The domain and hosting provider companies share the instructions on how to connect themselves on their websites. You have to follow them. Attach your blog with your domain name and connect it to your hosting. 

This will take a little time, but once done properly, there will be no issue or error in the future in operating and managing your blog website. So, fear not! Log in to your domain provider account and register your blog with the purchased domain name, change some DNS settings, and that’s that.

Now, you have to connect your blog to hosting and install WordPress. These are also easy steps, whether you are working with Bluehost or any other hosting provider. Most have a good guide on their website explaining how to connect your blog website and install WordPress. 

Setting up your hosting is easy, especially if you have purchased our suggested Bluehost hosting provider. You just go to their website, click on get started now, and select the basic plan (we recommend a basic plan for beginners). Now, on the next page, choose your domain name with the options given. On the next page, fill in the contact information, check packages extra, and choose only what you require. Now you have to pay the price for your hosting, and after that, Bluehost will create your blog in the next 10 to 15 minutes. 

Depending on your requirements, it automatically installs WordPress technology, and now your blog is installed, ready to be used. See? Easy peasy! They provide automatic services and installation that make overall installation hassle-free, beginner-friendly, which every blogger enjoys.

6. Now it’s time to design up your blog

So, in previous steps, you have made some major decisions. Now you have to use your creative skill and set up a beautiful-looking, user-friendly, easy-to-navigate blog website so that it attracts viewers and visitors and keeps them engaged. 

If you are working on Blogger, then you can use templates already available in the theme section of your blog. You can also install custom Blogger templates that are better and more customizable than the original template. If we talk about custom Blogger templates, then some of them are paid, as they have really cool extra features regarding customization and responsiveness. 

While most of them are free, you can easily download them and use them on your own blog website. Working on Blogger has one advantage: You don’t have to stress about the speed of your blog. Blogger is from Google, and it has good speed when compared to WordPress until and unless WordPress is not fully optimized in terms of speed.

However, if you are working on WordPress, then it’s a plus in setting up your blog. It is easy, even for a non-technical guy to set up an eye-catching and beautiful blog website using WordPress, as there are more customizable, drag-and-drop options available compared to Blogger. 

This is one of the major reasons why bloggers mostly use WordPress technology for their websites.

The blog or website build on a WordPress technology looks different and impressive compared to others. But always take care, don’t add any extra design or feature or element which is not required because it will slow down the reloading and loading speed of your blog or website. The slow speed of your website leaves a bad user experience and increases your bounce rate, which is not good for you.

So, out of many free and paid themes available for any blogging platform, keep in mind that the lines “The first impression is the last impression” works here, your design should look simple yet elegant, with easy navigation to a different section of your blog and pages, good spaces for ads presentation, an informative footer with contact us, about us, and some other important information.

We suggest you try some awesome and popular WordPress themes, like Divi, Ultra, Astra, Genesis, Hello, StudioPress, but it depends on you and your requirement which kind of blog are you going to build.

7. Install important WordPress plugins

You have to work on the WordPress blogging platform and WordPress technology if you are thinking of working on a long-term basis and making passive income.

WordPress plugins are PHP scripts that extend the functionality of WordPress. They enhance the features of WordPress or add entirely new features to your site. Plugins are often developed by volunteers and are usually free to the public. Plugins are available via the WordPress plugin directory, so that you can search and install the plugins, manually upload and install the plugins, or use FTP software, such as Filezilla or CyberDuck.

There are a huge number of plugins available. You will get to know about them gradually; they can be used for any purpose, for compressing images, for search engine optimization settings, for optimizing the number of a keywords in your article, which will definitely help your ranking in top pages of Google and gain more traffic.

For beginners, we suggest some important plugins, such as Yoast SEO or Rankmath plugin, which makes it easy for your site to meet the required highest technical SEO standards. It also gives you the tools to bring your content to the highest standards of SEO and overall readability. 

ShortPixels WordPress plugin is a free, easy-to-use, comprehensive, stable, and frequently updated image compression plugin supported by the friendly team that created it. Jetpack can be used for enhancing your site’s security, guarding you against any of the brute-force attacks, and notify you of unauthorized logins. Basic protection is free, while premium plans have their own benefits, as they add expanded backup and automated fixes. 

Jetpack’s full-suite features of security tools include

  1. A good spam filtering along with Brute-force attack protection and 24/7 downtime monitoring
  2. Daily or real-time backups of your entire site
  3. Full secure login, along with two-factor authentication
  4. Automated threat resolution along with malware scanning, code scanning
  5. A record of every modification on your site for perfect troubleshooting
  6. Fast, 24/7 support from WordPress’ expert’s team

WP Rocket WordPress plugin can also be used for the good speed of your blog and websites. Faster websites rank better in Google and give your readers a better experience. WP Rocket is a plugin that caches your pages, reduces your file sizes, and does much more to ensure that your blog loads faster for everyone. Everyone wins! Score!

Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress is a 100%-free Google Analytics plugin that allows you to see all your relevant analytics data directly inside WordPress. Connect the plugin to your Google Analytics account to find out who’s coming to your site, how long they’re sticking around, and what your most popular blog posts are.

There are many more plugins available that are useful in their own way. You can try them and find which one gives you the desired result. Remember, do not install unusual plugins, especially if you don’t use them. Using many plugins increases the load on your content management system and alternatively to your website or blog, resulting in slow processing and speed. So, take care to use them wisely.

8. Plan your blog content strategy

After all these steps, now you are ready to rock. Now you start the next phase of blogging, and trust me, this phase is the most important one. Now you start posting content daily, as per requirement. 

Before writing your first post, it is recommended you build a good content writing strategy and work on it. This will help you gain more traffic and a larger audience, sign-up for your email newsletter, sharing your posts, commenting on your posts, and lastly, you can drive your traffic to specific places you want.

If you are bad at content writing, you can learn it from impressive online educational sources, such as Udemy, expresswriters.com, and some others in a short span of time. You should also learn the term SEO, which is search engine optimization and will help you rank higher and gain traffic from anywhere. It is one of the most in-demand skills trending worldwide.

We have some useful tips for you. Great! Right? Right! if you are a beginner, try to write in the first-person point of view, as there is a single person who is reading your blog. 

Your content should be able to cover all the aspects of the topic the post is about. Please do not write short content or posts that are less than four to five hundred words. It looks less informative. 

Try to express your views and thoughts in your article with more than a thousand words. Don’t go over this too much. For example, if you post an article with more than ten thousand words, then the audience will think it’s too long and will likely skip it. 

If your article is informative and lengthy, try to break it into segments or forward your audience to specific posts by inter-linking.

You have to be consistent when it comes to posting content. Consistency is one of the key aspects to starting a successful blog. If most of your blog posts don’t gain a good amount of traffic, don’t demotivate; maybe one of them surprisingly gains more traffic, and that’s going to pave your way forward. 

You have to optimize and design your website in such a way that if a viewer comes to it from one post, then he or she will not leave the website or blog without viewing and reading other posts.

Use relevant and high-resolution images in your post. Don’t copy and paste; doing this for a long time can involve you in copyright issues. Use royalty-free images on your blog or website. Royalty-free is a type of license used by stock photography agencies to sell stock images. There are various websites you can visit to get high-quality images for free. Some are Pixabay, Pexels, freepik, and many more.

If you are working on YouTube, you can also add your or any relevant videos to your blog or website. That looks professional, impressive, and drives traffic as well.

9. Add important pages to your blog or website

There are some pages you have to add to your blog or website that give your audience and viewers an option to interact with you and get to know more about you, your blog, ideas, and thoughts. Adding them to your blog gives you an extra edge and a feel of professionalism. You can add as many pages as you want, but for a beginner, we suggest you add at least these important pages: 

a. About Us 

The about us page tells your viewers and audience who you are and what your blog is about. As users discover your brand, you need to distinguish what sets you apart and makes you different from others.

b. Contact Us

As the name suggests, this page should be built and added so that the audience, the visitors, do not face any problem if they want to contact you for any reason. You can make a tempting contact us form. There are many software and plugins that you can use to add a featured contact form on WordPress, such as the Jetpack contact form or WPforms and some others.

c. Privacy Policy Page

A privacy policy may be a statement or a legal instrument that states how a corporation or website collects, handles, and processes data of its customers and visitors. It explicitly describes whether that information is kept confidential or is shared with or sold to third parties.

There are several reasons for an internet site to post its privacy policy agreement on its website. Several are that they’re required by the law; they’re required by third-party services, and they increase transparency and the audience’s trust.

If you find it hard creating and adding the privacy policy page for your website or blog, don’t worry. You can get help from different privacy policy generators available online.

d. Disclaimer Page

A disclaimer is usually a statement that’s intended to specify or determine the scope of rights and obligations.

The disclaimer varies in term of its uniformity. Sometimes it varies depending on the specific context and bodies involved, while other types of disclaimers may or may not strictly adhere to a uniform or established set of formalities that are rare and never get modified, except under the power of authority.

If you find it hard creating and adding the disclaimers for your website or blog, again, don’t worry. You can get help from different disclaimer generators available online.

e. Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions agreements act as a legal contract between you (the company) who has the web site or mobile app and the users who access your website and mobile app.

Having a terms and conditions agreement is totally optional. No laws require you to possess one. 

We suggest you create your own terms and conditions page for better results and readability, like a professional. But if you still find it difficult to create and add a terms and conditions page, then you can use a terms and condition page generator available online .

10. Gaining traffic to your blog:

Now your blog or website is well-established. You post content daily; you are ready to interact with the audience. You have created all the important pages required as discussed earlier. You have fully optimized your blog in terms of speed and in terms of design. Now, what’s next?

Now, you have to work to gain more traffic on your blog or website. You have to promote your blog or website to gain more audience. When it comes to making money through blogging, then traffic is the real queen. More traffic on your website, more clicks and impressions on your ads, more conversion, and at last, more earnings. Awesomeness! 

There are many techniques you can use to drive traffic to your newly created blogs. We will discuss some of them so that you get a basic idea of what’s going on and how it’s working.

Search engine optimization, or simply SEO, is a basic but important method when it comes to driving traffic to your blog. That’s why we suggested you learn SEO as soon as possible in the best way and as in-depth as you can. Using SEO, you have direct control of your blog and an ability to make it discoverable in a Google search. SEO can be broadly divided into two categories. The first is on-site SEO or the technical SEO, and the other is on-page SEO or keyword optimization. 

You can use Yoast SEO or Rankmath WordPress plugins to perform good on-site SEO. On-site SEO also involves creating a sitemap of your blog or website and submitting it to Google through the Google search console using the Google Webmaster tool. This makes Google aware of the content you have on your blog, and voila, you become discoverable in Google search. Like magic!

For on-page SEO, you have to write a good SEO-friendly articles and do keen keyword research over the internet using Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, or any other keyword researching tool of your choice. You have to optimize the content of your blog for a specific targeted keyword. Initially, you will face challenges, but day by day, you will be able to produce high-quality content that has its own value. 

Drive your traffic through different social media websites. If there is a place where the world’s largest population can be approached in little time, then guess what? You are right; it’s a social media platform, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and others.

If we talk about Facebook, then it is the largest social media platform in the world. Anyone can drive large traffic from Facebook by working on it on a regular basis. Create a Facebook fan page or a Facebook group for your blog or website. You can also build a Facebook business page if you want to take your business online via blogging. Share those pages and invite to your group as far as you can go; tell your friends and relatives to do the same and share as far as they can. It will take time to grow, but as soon as it grows, you will be thankful for putting in the hard work. High five!

Most bloggers are now working on Twitter as well to gain high-quality traffic. Traffic from countries, like the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand is high-quality traffic because they provide a good conversion rate when compared to other audiences. 

You are missing out on a lot of potentials and a big chunk of traffic if you are using Twitter only for personal use and not for marketing and promotion your blog and website. It is one of the best alternative ways to make readers subscribe to your blog.

You should also work on social bookmarking sites as well, such as Pinterest, Reddit, Flipboard, to name a few. You could drive thousands to your blog in a short time if your post went viral. You should not ignore any opportunity to drive traffic to your blog if you want to be a successful blogger. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there, man!

You have to make powerful backlinks to drive traffic to your blog. A backlink is a link created when one website links to another. Backlinks are also known as “inbound links” or “incoming links.” 

Backlinks are an important factor in SEO. You can create a backlink on a website of your same niche with more popularity, but before you do it, just check the DA, the domain authority; the PA, the page authority; and its spam score. If you make a backlink from a good spam score website, then your website or blog will be assumed as a spam website or blog. And oopsies! You don’t want that!

Don’t miss out on the blog commenting section if you want an engaging audience and a healthy discussion. A good commenting section also lowers the bounce rate of your blog or website, as people like to read what other people think and react to the topic of the post. 

Like your commenting section, more popular websites and blogs also have their own commenting section. Now you can comment in their blog post and take part in the discussion, leaving your blog or website link there, which acts as a backlink to your blog or website. Genius!

There are many more methods for creating backlinks, social media marketing, driving traffic, search engine optimization, speed testing, etc., which you will learn while doing and gaining experience in blogging. 

We can only help you by providing useful information, tips, and tricks, but ultimately, you will learn it better by experimenting, researching, and getting to know what is best for you. Blogging has a huge income potential if worked for the long term, and this is the reason why blogging is growing rapidly.

Last, but certainly not least, blogging is all about patience, effort, and guts, which you must have in spades to start your blog. Blogging may be a passion for some, but most people start blogging to earn money at some point and create a passive income online. 

Every blogger gets demotivated on the path to becoming a successful blogger, but giving up is not the solution. Take heart, my friend! 

If you ever get demotivated during your initial days of blogging, go back to the very beginning: What comes to mind when you reflect on why you started blogging? What were your dreams that drove you crazy every night? What was your expectation, and what is the reality? Answer these important questions and renew your energy to get back in the blogging game!

Finally, you’re not alone. Join different local and online blogging communities to find like-minded people and grow together. You got this!

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Dani Thifa
My name is Dani Thifa and I am a husband to a clumsy wife, dad to two cute spider babies, uncle to triplets, and digital lead at #CGI. That's it!

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