How to Start a Blog (and Make Money in 2020) – The Ultimate Guide
If you are planning to start a blog and want to make money out of it, this article is for you. In this guide, I will help you to learn how to start a blog and make money online in 10 easy steps.
I created this blog along with my day job. Initially 6 months, I was struggling to make my first $100 from this blog but starting this blog has helped me to generate more than $2000 monthly after one year.
If I can generate over $2000 per month from this small blog, why can’t you do it. You can also do it. Trust me, I will help you in learning how to create a blog and make money. Don’t forget this golden rule, if you want to become successful in any industry.
“Believe in Yourself”
“Stay Focused, Be Consistent and Never Quit”
“If You Quit Once, It Becomes a Habit, So Never Ever Quit”
Here my goal is to explain you all the necessary steps which I have learned and experimented along the way to create my own blog (smartbloggingideas.com). I started this blog in Jan’2017 but I am blogging since Jun’2015.
I learned so many things with this blog and would like to tell you one thing that there is no technical knowledge and experience required to create a personal or professional blog. You just need to follow this step-by-step guide and I will help you from starting a blog to earn money online.
How to Start a Blog?
Starting a blog is not a big deal but making a renowned blog is little bit hard. In fact, more than 3,00,000+ domain names registered every day but you can see yourself how many of them became brand.
More than 284 Million Domain names are registered on the web but renowned blogs are very less in Numbers. So if you also want to make your blog a brand then don’t forget the golden rule “Stay Focused, Be Consistent and Never Quit”.
Let’s discuss what are the key steps that will help you to start a blog and make your presence in the world.
10 Key Steps to Start a Blog in 2019
- Decide a Niche
- Choose a Blogging Platform
- Pick a Domain Name
- Find a Reliable Web Host
- Install WordPress
- Choose a Theme and Design your Blog
- Configure your blog (Basic recommended settings)
- Create and Publish your first post
- Secure your WordPress Website
- Useful Resources for Blogging
- Bonus: How to Make Money with Your Blog
Step #1: Decide a Niche (What to blog about)
If you are a part of any business, company or organization, this will be easy to determine. Your blog should be related to the product(s) or service(s) you provide.
If you’re an individual, you have more flexibility with the topic you enjoy like Tech Blog, Travel blog, Vegetarian blog, Romance blog, Affiliate Marketing blog, Political blog, Religion blog, Fashion blog, Photography blog, How to Guide blog, WordPress Guide blog etc.
Most importantly, choose a niche in which you can establish yourself as an authority. Don’t choose a niche in which you are not comfortable or can’t write anything.
Forget what others are writing, just write what you love about. This is the only key factor that will keep motivated to become consistent and focused.
If you are not a professional writer, you can google about “how to write a blog” and start blog writing.
Step #2: Choose a Blogging Platform (self-hosted recommended)
There are many blogging platform you can use to start a blog or website. You may be tempted to use free blog sites like blogger.com or wordpress.com but you will be limited with these services. If you use any of the these free services then you will get the domain name like http://smartbloggingideas.blogspot.in/ or http://smartbloggingideas.wordpress.com/.
I personally use self hosted WordPress blog (WordPress.org) and appreciate its flexibility, functionality, ease of use and large community of people who share tools and ideas. This is the biggest blogging platform for beginners in the world, with countless plugins and add-ons and almost infinite ways to design and layout your blog.
There are more than 82 million active users of WordPress. WordPress has 58.50% worldwide market share in content management systems (updated on Jan’2017).
To start your new self-hosted WordPress blog, you need to decide on two most important things: 1st a domain name and 2nd a web hosting provider. Our recommended host is BlueHost who provide a special deal for our visitors.
Step #3: Pick a Domain Name (Choose a name for your blog)
A domain is a web address like SmartBloggingIdeas.com and its very important because:
- It’s your “first impression” for your visitors.
- It affects your rankings in search engines like Google & Yahoo.
- The most important, It defines your brand.
Your Domain name should be unique, concise and easily memorable so that your readers can easily remember your website address.
TIP: If you haven’t bought a domain name yet, go with BlueHost. They’re currently offering FREE domain name for anyone who signs up for their hosting service.
You can also register your favorite domain name with world’s largest #1 domain registrar GoDaddy.com that offers .COM Domain name in just Rs. 349 or $0.99 only.
- 10 Best Tips to Find a Perfect Domain Name for your Blog/Website
Step #4: Find a Web Host (Reliable web hosting provider)
Finding a reliable host is very important for any successful blog. If you accidentally host with a bad host then you may face customer support issue, hidden fees and frequent downtime with your blog.
To escape from these issues always go with highly recommended hosts.
WordPress.org itself recommends BlueHost, SiteGround, DreamHost & FlyWheel as Best WordPress Hosting Provider.
Personally I recommend BlueHost (www.bluehost.com) as best and reliable web hosting provider. As they provide best security & best features in the hosting world. Apart from this, you will get a major benefit of FREE Domain Name.
- Top 15 points to Choose a Reliable Web Hosting Provider
What you need to know about a Host?
Whatever host you sign-up they should provide you minimum following features:
- FREE Domain Name
- 1-Click WordPress Install
- Unmetered disk space, unmetered bandwidth, and unlimited email accounts.
- 24/7 customer support through chat, phone, or email.
- Minimum 30 days money back guarantee.
- Their service should be extremely easy to use, and specifically tailored for WordPress blogs.
How to Create your WordPress blog with BlueHost Hosting
This section will help you to setup a web hosting account with BlueHost and FREE Domain Name. BlueHost offers all the above features with their Shared and WordPress hosting plans.
Step-1: Click here to visit BlueHost website and click on “Get Started Now” button to checkout different hosting plans.
Step-2: If you are just starting out, you should go with basic hosting plan to explore the options. As soon as you get decent visitors, you can upgrade Basic to Plus hosting plan. You should consider Prime version if your popularity shoots at the top.
Step-3: Next step is to search your desired domain name. If you don’t have a domain name then type your domain name in “new domain” and click on next button. If you already have a domain name with someone else and want to transfer then type your domain in “i have a domain name”.
Step-4: After selecting your domain name, BlueHost will automatically take you to the registration and package information page. Fill account information and select package information which you want to buy.
You can uncheck “Domain Privacy Protection”, “Site Backup Pro” and “SiteLock Security -Find” options if you don’t want to buy right now.
Step-5: You can make payment either with Credit Card or via PayPal. Select your payment mode and make payment to get your Domain with BlueHost.
Your Domain Name is ready with BlueHost Hosting account.
Step #5: Install WordPress (Takes about 5 minutes)
You have already registered your FREE domain name with BlueHost hosting provider, next step is to install WordPress on your website. This is just a 1-click WordPress installation and detailed guide with screenshots is mentioned below.
Step-1: Login to your BlueHost cPanel Account. and click on “hosting” tab at the top of the cPanel. Now scroll down and look for the “Website” section click on “Install WordPress” icon.
Step-2: Click on “Install” button under Do it yourself (FREE) option.
Step-3: Next option is to select your domain name for installation and enter a folder name in directory option or leave it blank if you are installing your first main website. Click on “Next” button to proceed for installation.
Step-4: Click on “Show advanced options”.
In this step, you can enter website title, user name and password. Keep a check mark on “Automatically create a new database for this installation”. Now read the terms and conditions and put a check mark on “I have read the terms and conditions of the GPLv2” option.
Click on “Install Now” button to install the WordPress on your website. The whole process will take about 1 minute. Don’t close the page until you see the confirmation message “Installation Complete”.
Step-5: Congratulations !!! Your WordPress installation is completed. An email will be sent to your registered email id about the login name and password information.
Finally you can login to your WordPress dashboard using your user name and password.
Now it’s time to login to your website dashboard and start writing a blog post.
- Auto & Manual Guide to Install WordPress on BlueHost Panel
- Top 10 Most Recommended Things to do after Installing WordPress
Step #6: Design & Use your Blog
Blog design is a very important part of your website. Choose a WordPress theme that looks professional and pretty easy to customize. Remember, your blog’s design should reflect both you and your personality.
On top of that, it should be easy to navigate if you want people to stick around. If it’s tricky and difficult to move around it, people won’t stay. Don’t use FREE WordPress themes as they have their own limitations. Use paid and SEO optimized WordPress themes.
- How to Choose Best WordPress Themes for your Blog
- Top 25 FREE Responsive WordPress Themes
- Top 25 Premium Responsive WordPress Themes
Step #7: Configure your blog (Basic recommended settings)
After designing the blog, there are some basic settings which are highly recommended for every blogger.
These settings are very helpful for SEO and search engines.
The permalink is the full URL of your article which you see in your browser’s address bar. You should choose your website’s permalink wisely because it badly affects your website’s SEO rankings.
Let’s see some examples of ugly and bad SEO URL.
Let’s see another example of best URL from SEO perspective.
You can see the difference yourself. All the ugly URL’s are filled with irrelevant information which is of no use while the other one is vert short, neat and clean. Even the best URL can be easily read by your readers and google boats.
How to Change Blog Permalinks?
In order to change your website’s permalinks, go to your website dashboard, click on the “Settings” tab then clikc on “Permalinks”section and change your website’s permalinks to “Post name”. Click on “Save Changes” to make the new permalink active.
2) Spam comments:
As a beginner, you must know the basics of SEO.
If you are not aware what affects your SEO ranking, your website will lose visitors as well as Google ranking.
Let’s see how spam comments hurt your blog or website. Lots of people leave automated comments on your website and they do it for couple of reasons like “link-building” (post low quality links) or “to Advertise their product/services“.
You can avoid such type of comments by activating the moderate settings. Never publish a single comment without moderation. Let’s see how you can enable this setting.
Go to “Settings” tab > click on “Discussion” section and tick following two options as shown in below snapshot. After this setting, comments will not be published without your approval.
Step #8: Create and Publish your first post
First login to your website dashboard and move your mouse over “Posts” tab on the left side dashboard menu. Here you will see four different sections, click on “Add New” section to write your first article.
Note: After WordPress 5.0’s release, WordPress content editor is changed to default “Gutenberg editor” or you can say “block editor”. This block editor is really confusing and completely ignored by entire WordPress community. You can see the downgraded rating of Gutenberg here.
People like me still using old classic editor. To disable or change block editor, you need to download classic editor WordPress plugin. Till March 2019, more than 3+million active installations have been observed.
As soon as you activate the classic editor, default editor setting for all users automatically changed to classic editor. To open this setting, go to “settings” section > then “writing”.
Now you can use classic editor for blog writing.
After adding a new post, you have to add title, media (pics, videos, etc.) and content for your post. After crafting the whole content, click on “Publish” button. If you want to schedule you post, you can change the date as shown in below snapshot and click on “Schedule” button.
Once your article is published, you can see your new post in “All Posts” section of the “Posts” tab. If you want to edit your post, you can edit it from here.
Congratulation!!! you have learned how to start a blog. Now you can start your blogging journey.
Step #9: Secure your WordPress Website
WordPress is the most popular blogging and CMS system on the Internet which makes it a favorite target for hackers. Having a WordPress site means that you have to make some extra efforts in order to protect your and your visitors data.
If your website is a business, then you need to pay extra attention to your WordPress security. Because a hacked WordPress site can cause serious damage to your business revenue and reputation.
- 25 Simple Tricks to Secure Your WordPress Website
Step #10:Useful Resources for Blogging
Plugins are the heart of WordPress and they are the most powerful resource for blogging. Whether you want to take a backup of your website or want to secure your website from hackers, plugins play a very important and crucial role.
I have made many mistakes in my blogging career and learned so many things. That’s why I share everything which I learned during my blogging journey. You don’t have much time to repeat those mistakes again and again so learn from other experienced bloggers and always share your learning on your blog.
Whether you are a newbie or experienced blogger/webmaster there’s always a room for more learning and improvement. Following articles may help you to avoid some of the growing pains when it comes to your first blog.
Recommended things to do after creating a blog:
After successfully registering your domain and hosting with BlueHost, you need to configure, design and tweak your blog. You will find step by step guide below to configure wordpress blog and create your first blog post.
- Create a Perfect about us page (This page should tell everything about you and your blog).
- Add a contact us page/ form (So that your reader can contact you for any query or suggestion).
- Setup Social Accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn to drive huge traffic to your website.
- Top 10 Websites to Create FREE Logo for your Blog/Website (Branding a Blog)
- Top 25 Best WordPress Recommended plugins you should install.
- How to Create Quality Content for your Blog?
Bonus: How to Make Money with Your Blog
There are so many ways to earn money online but only few bloggers find those perfect ways. In following articles we have explained how you can make money from your blog. Bookmark this page as we are continuously updating this with latest ways to earn money online.
- How to Make Money Blogging – A Beginner’s Guide
- Make Money Blogging with Hosting Affiliate Program – $10500/Month
More Frequently Asked Questions
Why you Should Create a Blog?
Sometimes people get confused and think why they need to create a blog when they are doing a reputed job and getting a handsome salary.
There are many reasons you might consider for starting a blog. Let’s see some popular ones:
- Blogging has quickly become one of the most popular ways of communicating and spreading information.
- It’s a great way to express yourself and your story with others.
- You are a writer and it’s your hobby to write about your interests.
- Author a book – It’s a lot easier to sell books to people who already know you.
- You can make money while working from home and even you can make money while you sleep.
- You want to become your own BOSS and want to get rid off 9 to 6 job.
If you see yourself in any of the above category, you must start your own blog right now.
Which is the best blogging platform?
There are so many platform like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento and more but we highly recommend you to create a blog on WordPress.org. WordPress has over 58.5% worldwide market share in content management systems (CMS). This is the best blogging platform on the internet for starting a blog.
How much does it cost to start a WordPress blog?
Starting a self-hosted WordPress blog is not as expensive as it was few years ago. If you want to host your website with reliable, secure and affordable WordPress hosting provider, we recommend you to go with BlueHost.
BlueHost is highly recommended by WordPress.org. You can buy BlueHost hosting package as low as $3.95 per month with Free Domain Name and Free SSL Certificate.
What are you waiting for? Start your WordPress blog today.
Can I start a blog for free?
Conclusion on How to Start a Blog and Make Money
Starting a blog is easy but creating a brand takes time. Always write quality and unique content for your readers. Your readers are your customers and you already know “Customer is King”.
If you think that you are running out of idea, you can join Quora, Forums and Yahoo Answers. By this