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Side Hustle

How to Start a Blog

Starting a blog is ideal for those who enjoy writing and want to make money online. If you have a knack for writing and are knowledgeable about a particular topic or topics, then starting a blog is an easy way to start an online business to generate extra income or even full-time income, depending on how committed you are to it.

Blogging is not a get rich quick kind of business. It will not make you thousands of dollars in a few months. But if you are willing to put in the effort and time, then it can happen in a few years. 

There are many bloggers who are earning a healthy income from their blog each month. You can do it too if you start your blog the right way. The niche or topic of your blog is a key factor in your blog’s success. 

If you already have a blog name and niche in mind, it is easy and inexpensive to start a blog. All you then need to start a self-hosted WordPress blog is to buy a domain name for your blog, buy the best web hosting service from a reliable web hosting provider (e.g. SiteGround or Bluehost), and install WordPress.

This blog post will tell you everything you need to know to set up a blog from scratch. 

Resources you will need to start your blog:

Web Hosting Site

Legal Bundle – contains all 3 legal pages you need for your blog: Terms & Conditions, Disclaimer and Privacy Policy

Email marketing service

How to Monetize Your Blog

How to start a blog

So here is how to start a blog from scratch:

1. Find a blog topic

2. Choose and purchase the perfect domain name

3. Purchase hosting from a reliable web hosting company (e.g. SiteGround or Bluehost)

4. Install WordPress (this is where you will build your blog on)

5. Legally protect your blog

6. Launch your blog 

You can follow the steps outlined above to set up your self-hosted WordPress blog in under an hour. 

Now I will go into detail with each step mentioned above before showing you different ways to monetize your blog.

Find a blog topic

The first step to starting a blog is to choose a topic (or niche) for your blog. Your blog’s topic is what you are going to be writing about to attract readers who are interested in the topic. 

You can practically write about any topic, but you need to choose a topic you are passionate about and that appeals to a large enough audience if you want to make money from your blog. Some topics tend to do well when it comes to attracting traffic to blogs that are built around those topics and monetizing those blogs. 

However, if you choose a topic for the sake of just monetizing your blog, then you will lose interest in it soon and people will see that you do not enjoy writing about it. So choose a topic that appeals to you and that has a  big audience, i.e. lots of people are interested in reading about it. If you cannot decide on a topic, ask yourself a few questions to help you decide on a topic, like:

• What do I talk about a lot?

• What do I want to know more about?

• What do other people ask me for advice on?

• What am I good at?

• What skills have I built up over the years?

• What do I love to do in my spare time?

Once you have identified 10-15 topics you are interested in, next check to see if other people are interested in them too. Then choose one that appeals to more people in your blog’s topic.

Here are a few popular blog topic categories that might help you get an idea on what topic to choose:

  • Budgeting
  • Mom life
  • Careers
  • Travel
  • Homeschooling
  • Gardening 
  • Fitness
  • Freelancing
  • Investing
  • Personal finance
  • Beauty
  • Fashion
  • Internet 
  • Technology

Once you have picked your blog topic, pick a name for your blog. Ideally, this should be the same as your blog’s domain name.

Choose and buy the perfect domain name for your blog

You are probably going to find it difficult to choose the perfect domain name for your blog, as your chosen domain name may be already taken. If not, you are in luck. However, if your chosen domain name is taken, you can still find a perfect one for your blog. You just have to brainstorm ideas.

Your domain name is your blog’s URL or address on the web. This is what people will type into their search bar when they want to visit your blog. So it is very important that it is short, easy to spell, and does not include numbers and hyphens.

Choose your domain name with a .com extension, as it is the most popular on the web and easy for people to remember too. However, other extensions, like .net and .org are also popular.

If your chosen domain name is available, purchase it as soon as possible. You can buy your domain name from a domain registrar like Namecheap.com. Some web hosting companies offer a free domain name (for one year) when you buy hosting services from them, but I do not recommend this. You should not buy your domain name and hosting service from the same company.

You can buy a brand-new domain name for about $10 or so from Namecheap.com.

Buy web hosting service through SiteGround

Choosing the right web hosting provider is one of the most important decisions you will need to make when starting a blog. Every blog or website needs a web hosting service. When you buy a web hosting service from a web hosting provider, you get server space online to host your blog so people can see your blog live online. The web host you choose to host your blog determines your blog’s page load speed, uptime, and security.

So you want to choose a web host that is popular, reliable, and trusted by their own customers. That is where SiteGround comes in. Since you want to create a self-hosted WordPress blog, SiteGround is the best hosting choice, as it is one of WordPress.org’s recommended hosting providers. They are very popular and reliable, as they offer exceptional site speed, uptime (99.99%), security, and customer support.

When it comes to customer satisfaction, SiteGround is the best web host in the industry. For your new blog, you can choose the StartUp shared hosting plan to host your blog. If you want to host multiple sites, then their GrowBig plan is right for you.

Install WordPress

WordPress is a blogging platform, also known as CMS that stands for Content Management System. Once you have set up your hosting account and connect your domain name to it, you have a website, but to build a WordPress blog you will need to install WordPress on your SiteGround‘s hosting account. 

SiteGround provides a 1-click WordPress installer feature so all you have to do is to go to the admin panel of your hosting account and click on “WordPress Installer”. During this process, you will choose the domain you want to install WordPress on and create a new username and password to login to WordPress platform that you will use to create and publish content on your blog.

Once WordPress is installed, you have your own self-hosted blog set up. Next, you will design your blog.

Design Your Blog

Before you start blogging, you will want to set up your blog first where you will design your new blog. WordPress is super easy to use for customizing your blog. Here are a few important things you can do to design your blog:

Pick a professional theme

First, you will want to pick an eye-catching WordPress theme.

The theme determines the layout of your blog. One of the best things about WordPress is that you can change various features of your theme without any coding knowledge at all. The way your blog looks depends on your theme. If you change your time, your site also changes. 

There are some good free WordPress themes, but I recommend you choose a premium WordPress theme from StudioPress or another reputable theme vendor. You can buy a theme anywhere from $20 to $50, depending on the theme.

Once you have purchased a theme, you can now customize the colors, layout, and design of your theme to make your website look great. 

Install important WordPress plugins

One of the best features of WordPress platform is the WordPress plugins. There are free and paid ones. These are basically software you can install to add more functionality to your blog or enhance your blog’s performance. You can use them to make changes to your blog. With just a few clicks you can install them.

Here are a few of the most popular plugins you can consider installing on your blog:

  • Akismet – to filter comment spams on your blog
  • Yoast SEO – to enhance on-page SEO of your blog
  • Contact Form 7 – to create a contact form on your blog so people can contact you
  • Mailchimp for WordPress – to build an email list
  • WP Super Cache – to speed up your blog

You can add a few more necessary plugins, depending on your needs. Just make sure to install only the necessary plugins. Installing too many plugins will cause problems to your site.

Legally Protect Your Blog

One of the first steps to taking your blog or online business seriously is making sure all of the “legal stuff” is in order.

The Legal Bundle that I recommend comes with (1) a Privacy Policy, (2) Terms & Conditions and (3) a Disclaimer for your website.  On their website, just answer a few questions about your website and it’ll automatically generate customized legal agreements for you!  It takes less than 5 minutes.

The problem with not having legal pages on your blog is that it could end up costing you thousands in fines or legal disputes. 

The best way to protect yourself and your blog is to have legal pages on your website that are comprehensive and drafted by actual lawyers.  Erika Kullberg (an attorney from Georgetown Law) created this Legal Bundle which contains all 3 legal templates you need to legally protect yourself and your blog: Terms & Conditions, Disclaimer and Privacy Policy

I purchased it and loved how simple it was to get set up on my blog, and that it saved me from sleepless nights worrying about whether my blog is legally protected.

Add Google Analytics

You can add Google Analytics to your self-hosted WordPress blog to see how your blog is performing. All you have to do is create a Google Analytics account within Google and then install it on your blog to see your total traffic on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, or right now, where the visitors to your blog come from, find what devices they used to visit your site, and so on.

Set up an email list

One of the best ways to grow your blog and make money from it is to build an email list. This is where you will collect emails from blog visitors to build a list of people who can be your potential clients for your own products,  or services or your affiliate products and services. The email service I use and recommend is Flodesk.

To build an email list, you will need to use an email marketing service. There are many email marketing services, Just choose one that is popular and reliable to start collecting emails on your blog from people who visit your blog.

If you write high-quality content on a regular basis, people will be more interested in subscribing to your email list. You can also offer freebies, like an eBook, a printable, or anything else that is highly valuable to your audience, depending on the niche of your blog, to entice people to join your email list.

>> Get 50% off Flodesk for life here!

Start blogging

Once you have designed your blog, you are now ready to start blogging. You will want to write and post a few basic pages such as “Home” “About” and “Contact” pages first before you write and post your first blog post.

Next, you will write blog posts on a regular schedule to attract people to your blog. If you want to make money from your blog, you will need to get traffic to your blog. Try to write at least two high-quality blog posts each week for several months after creating your blog to give your target readers something new to read every week. As you continue to add regular posts to your blog, it will get more traffic over time.

Promote Your Blog

Promoting your blog is key to getting more targeted traffic to your blog. Of course, writing regular content that is helpful to your blog is the best way to drive traffic to your blog. You will need to use other ways to promote your blog when you are just starting out.

There are many ways to promote your blog. Sharing your blog posts on popular social media sites is one of the best ways to get more traffic to your blog. Optimizing your blog’s layout and using keywords in your blog posts’ headers, subheads, and main content are important on-page SEO tactics you can use to increase your blog’s visibility online. 

Write guest posts for reputable blogs in your niche to promote your blog.

Conclusion

As you have seen, starting a blog is easy and a great way to grow your business and brand, or even blog as a hobby.

If you are looking to take your hobby to the next level and make money from it, check out my course Dreamer To Profitable.

what do you think?