Got the idea of showing your online presence with a blog? Then, this guide will help you to understand how to start a blog. Before getting started, you should know that blogs are of different types and can be created in a number of different ways. You can create a free blog with some of the most popular blogging platforms like Blogger, WordPress.com, Wix, etc. But in 2020, the blog created using Free Blogging platforms don’t worth much and won’t help you to grow. That’s why if you really want to build a blog which grows with time and show you good results, you need to choose self-hosted blog option. Don’t bother much about this term right now, as this tutorial is concentrated for beginners, I’ll explain each and everything soon in the article.
In this tutorial, we’ll focus on creating a professional blog with self-hosted and fully customized platform WordPress.org. It is the world’s most popular blogging & website building software which already empowers 30% of the world’s websites. There are many reasons why people wanted to start a blog.
Apart from just sharing the tutorial to start a blog, I’d like to share the things that will help you run a successful blog in the future.
Blog Questions Before Getting Started
Before getting starting a blog, you should know about a few things and that we’ll discuss in this section in a Q&A way.
What exactly is a blog?
A Blog may have different definitions for different people. It is commonly defined as a website which is updated on a regular basis with a new piece(s) of content called blog posts. The Blog posts are also referred to simply as posts or articles.
In the above screenshot, you can clearly see the usage of the word Blog is quite new.
The term blog was coined from another term weblog. The word, weblog, itself comprises of two different words, web & log. Web means the Internet world and log means a piece of chronological information. Therefore, the term weblog means a piece of chronological information on the internet. This term is further simplified to just Blog.
As we are talking about chronological information, therefore the blog is also sometimes related to Daily Daily and people call it as your online Daily Diary. The activity of managing a blog is known as Blogging.
A blog has got some special features which are not commonly available with websites. Blog(s) are represented by authors or small group of peoples while most of the websites are just for businesses has the company or organization name as a representation for the information available on the website.
Also, blogs are focused to build a regular reader base. There’s a popular thing called as comments on blogs. Comments are something that lets the blog people interact with each other. Blog also gives you a better opportunity to make money online. A blog can be further categorized as per the content of the blog. Some of the most popular types of blogs are mentioned below.
- Beauty Blogs
- Travel Blogs
- Food Blogs
- Technology Blogs and more
These types have their own significance and add value to the blog and connect you with a particularly interested audience.
Why Should You Start A Blog?
There could be numerous reasons behind starting a blog. One of the most common reasons why just everybody wants to start a blog today is Money Making. Blogging has given numerous opportunities to earn money without the need for major investment or going anywhere.
I’ve observed that almost half of the people who’re interested in blogging are actually because of this reason. But there are people who run blogs for their own joy of sharing their experiences and knowledge with others. Even I personally think that nobody should start a blog just with the aim of making money from it unless or until you are into a serious business. Money is a byproduct of blogging which will automatically come if you are able to run a blog successfully and your blog gets good popularity.
Therefore, the reason could be anything. A successful blog can give you several other great opportunities.
Popularity & Fame. Thousands of people have got fame over the Internet & other media with Blogs.
Business & Brand Recognition. You can popularize your business by making its blog and sharing things related to business there. Business blogs are an important category of blogs. Even most of the multinational companies follow the blog culture with their business websites.
Community & UserBase. If you want to build a reader base and community which can help you grow mutually, then starting a blog is one of the best options. You can find people who are like you and interested in similar things as you with blogging.
Blogging & Success Rate
Not every blog is successful. Rather I’d day in Blogging world, the success rate is quite less if we include the people who ever started a blog. How do I define success here? In Blogging, we call success as a stage when the blog has got a good audience and reader-base. It gets good traffic and has the ability to earn money.
Most of the people, who starts a blog quits it in some time. Now this time varies for different cases. I have seen more than 70% of the people who start a blog, quits it within a year. Some people make it and show interest initially and forget about it later on. This is the reason that you can find out millions of blogs which once started but now are paused or not updated anymore.
The why I highly recommend, start a blog if and only if you’re actually interested and you believe that you can take it to a higher level. While there are so many unsuccessful blogs, at the same time, we have thousands of successful blogger who share their journeys with us on their respective blogs.
You can read the stories of those people who started from scratch and are earning millions now, every month from their blogs and has got good fame. In Blogging, you’ve to stay motivated even in the harder times when you are getting just nobody to read your blog. Promotion & Organic Traffic are two key parameters that will keep your blog alive. We’ll talk about these factors in a later section of this article.
Steps to Start A Blog
Here are the 5 steps on how to start a blog.
- Choose A Topic, Name & Get the Domain
- Get the Blog Live with CMS & Hosting
- Do Customizations & Make the Blog very own
- Start Writing the Content
- Do Promotion & Get Traffic
Let’s discuss each step in detail.
1. Choose A Topic, Name & Get the Domain
The first step to start a blog is to find a name that suits your blog. Before creating a blog, you should do brainstorming, what will you do on your blog, about what topic(s), you’ll write on your blog regularly. That’s why there are lots of guides available online, which helps you to decide the blog topics.
What I suggest you is to go with your interest(s). If you don’t go with the topic in which you’re actually interested, the chances of your blog succeeding the competition are almost zero. For example, say you are a traveler and you feel you can write experiences of your travel on your blog and you won’t get bor doing so, then you can choose to start a travel blog.
Important Tip. While you brainstorm the topic for your blog, include these factors in the analysis process, Popularity of the Topic on the Internet, Other existing blogs on similar topics, the search volume of topics related to your blog Topic, competition, etc. These factors will give you clear insights on whether you should start a blog with the chosen topic or not.
Once, you’ve chosen the right topic to start a blog, now you can find your search of the relevant domain name. It is the address that people will type in the URL bar of the web browser, to get your blog opened in front of them. Believe me, choosing the right domain name is not an easy task. Even it is one of such tasks, in which you should spend a lot of time.
Those were the days when just any domain name was available to purchase. But these, most of the common and good domains are already purchased and you can’t buy them. Even if a good domain is available, you’ve to pay exceptionally high to get it. That’s why in most of the cases, we need to think of unique keywords and new words to ensure the domain is available at normal cost.
Tips to Choose A Good Domain Name For A Blog
- Prefer .com but you can always go with other domain extensions. We all know, .com is the most popular domain extension and all of us also familiar with this extension. But if somehow, you are in love with some domain but its .com version is not available but you can get it with other domain extensions like .org or .net, just get it.
- Don’t go for country-specific domain extensions like .uk or .in, if you want your blog to be viewed by a global audience and oppositely, if you want the blog to target the audience of only a particular country, you must get the domain extension of that country.
- Try to include the main keyword in the domain. For example, if you are going to start a travel blog, then the inclusion of the keyword, travel or traveler will help you in SEO and Search Engine Rankings to get more organic traffic.
- You can use the words like my, the, a to ensure the availability of domain name in case your queried domain not available. Dashes and numbers can also be used for the same purpose of domain availability.
You can get the domain name from any of the domain registrars, the most popular and the recommended domain registrar is GoDaddy.
2. Get the Blog Live with CMS & Hosting
To make your blog accessible from anywhere in the world via the Internet, you require to have web hosting. Web Hosting is simply a web server which connects your blog or website to the Internet. Additionally, you’ll also require a blog management software which will help you to manage your blog.
WordPress empowers more than 30% of the whole world websites. It is preferred because it is self-hosted. You need to install it as a software on your web hosting platform. Being a self-hosted platform, it gives you full customization ability and control. You can make your blog, the way you want. It is so popular because non-technical users can create beautiful blogs and sites with it using simple methods like drag and drop.
WTMatter also uses WordPress.
Let’s find out how you can get the web hosting & set up a WordPress blog on it.
There are a lot of web hosting companies from which you can get it. You need to make the decision of web hosting carefully because not every hosting is good to go. We on WTMatter, share reviews of different hosting companies so that you can choose the best hosting service yourselves.
We recommend you to go with Hostgator Cloud Hosting. You can check out our review of Hostgator cloud here.
It is quite cheap and you can get the starting plan at as low as $4.95 per month. If you want an even cheaper option, you can go with their shared hosting whose plans starts as low as $2.95 per month. But I’d recommend Hostgator Cloud for a better experience.
Make sure you point your domain name to the web hosting service. It’s a simple step. Just find out the name servers from your web hosting in the cPanel and copy-paste these nameservers to your domain DNS settings.
Once you got the hosting, now you need to install WordPress on it. It’s pretty simple as Hostgator offers One-Click WordPress install option. Here’s a quick video guide to help you install WordPress on your Hostgator Hosting platform in 2 minutes with cPanel & Quick Install option.
Once, you successfully install WordPress, you can go ahead with the next step of starting a blog.
3. Do Customizations & Make the Blog very own
This is an interesting step. Now that you’ve successfully installed WordPress on the web hosting and you’ll be able to now access your website by typing in the blog URL. You’ll see the default WordPress installation page with a single demo post & page added. You need to delete these and do further customizations.
The first step you should make the General Settings like setting the Blog Title, Description, Timezone, and other related settings. WordPress gives you full control over your blog and you can customize the blog, the way you like it.
Here are some of my recommendations for better WordPress customization for beginners.
- Change the Permalinks structure to Post Name. It is SEO Friendly. Avoid using date or numbers-specific Permalinks Structures.
- Choose a Good theme. The theme is the design layout of your blog. Thousands of WordPress themes are available for Free as well as some paid themes are also available on the Internet. Free Themes are good for a start but if you’ve budgeted more and want to get a professional theme, get themes like StudioPress Genesis, Divi, Flatsome, etc.
- Plugins are a great thing in WordPress. Plugins let you add those features to your blog, which you desire. Make sure you use the recommended plugin, like All-in-One WP Migration for backups, Yoast SEO for SEO Recommendations and Jetpack for Site Statistics. There are many more plugins which you can choose according to your requirement.
This way with customization, you can give your blog, the look and feel you wanted. WordPress has a lot more to explore! We’ll share more on WordPress in the upcoming days on WTMatter.
4. Start Writing the Content
Once you’re done with the customizations with your new blog, you can start writing articles on it. Writing posts on the blog has been made simpler with WordPress. Log into your WordPress dashboard and simply click on New Button and then New button.
The above image has been taken from the guide whose link is given below.
With WordPress, you get two types of Editor to write Posts. One is the above described Editor, which has been recently released in version 5 of WordPress and it’s called Gutenberg Editor while the other one and the popular one is WordPress Classic Editor.
You can choose any of these as per your preference. As I am using WordPress for a long time now, I prefer the Classic Editor over the new Gutenberg Editor.
Ensure that you write good blog posts that people would love to read and at the same time you need to make sure that your article is SEO Friendly. There are various On-Page SEO Tips which you can follow to write articles that will get traffic from the search engines to your blog.
Subscribe our blog, WTMatter, to get notifications whenever we publish SEO tips for blogs and websites.
5. Do Promotion & Get Traffic
As we discussed in an earlier section of this article that you’ll get successful with your blog if you’ll get people to come to your blog and read the stuff you write. But how do the people will come on your blog? The three major sources of traffic on any blog are:
- Direct Traffic. The traffic when people directly search for your blog name or type your Blog URL in the browser.
- Organic Traffic. The traffic that you get from Search Engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. It is the most valuable type of traffic.
- Social Traffic. The traffic from Social Networking Websites.
Blogs and gets a mixed share of these types of traffic. There is one another type called Referral Traffic which you get when somebody links back to your blog from his or her website or blog. In the blogging industry, Referral Traffic is also a major source of traffic.
Direct, Referral or Social Traffic automatically comes when you get some fame because of your published articles. The traffic that you should focus the most is Organic traffic, the traffic from Google and other search engines. People make lots of queries and it will be great if they found the answer to your query on your blog.
For example, if you are a travel blogger and you’ve already published something like Best Tourist Destinations and people searching for the same would reach your website. This will increase your reader-base and audience. To get Organic traffic, you need to highly optimize your website for Search Engines. Again, SEO is the key for it. We’ll talk about more on this topic in the next section.
Derive Traffic To Your Blog
Deriving traffic to your blog is what all you should do right after publishing a set of articles on your blog. Once you feel that your blog have sufficient content, you can start working on your strategy to get traffic to your blog. Because starting a blog is not enough, to make it successful, traffic is a must.
In the last step of the previous section, I’ve explained the different types of traffic and that organic is the one which you should focus on the most. Therefore, in this section, we’ll talk about deriving the organic traffic to your blog.
Organic Traffic is a result of good SEO. Search Engine Optimization is nothing but a set of actions which you should do to ensure that your blog or sites get ranked by search engine higher and higher. SEO is categorized into two parts.
- On-Page & Off-Site SEO
On-Page SEO is all about optimizing the blog posts and pages, while Off-Site SEO is concerned about the things that you can do for your blog, but outside of your blog. Off-Site SEO simply refers to link building. In other words, in Off-Site SEO you build backlinks to your blog.
A backlink is a link to your blog given on some other blog or website, that refers back to your block when clicked by someone. Backlinks are further of two types, follow and no-follow. Your blog or site should have a good ratio of both. The most recommended ratio is different as described by different professionals, therefore, you need not bother much about it and let the backlinks be built naturally and focus more on On-Page SEO.
How naturally? If other people having blogs will like your content, they would automatically like to link back to your blog. The thing under On-Page SEO that you should focus the most is Content Quality. Content is all that can help you derive a lot of traffic to your blog.
Have a strong content strategy and publish articles regularly on your blog. What to publish regularly? Don’t just publish anything on your blog. Publish what people are looking for and what they’ll love to read. You can use tools like SEMrush and Google Keyword Planner or Google Trends to find out what people are searching in your topic area so that you can publish articles related to it.
Nobody would come to read at your blog if you publish just anything. Keep your blog concentrated towards a particular topic and avoid publishing about multiple or broad topics. For example, traveling is a concentrated topic, food is another topic.
Also, for referral traffic, you can contact other bloggers and ask for Guest Posting on their blogs. For Social Media Traffic, you have to show your presence on different social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. You can share notifications on social media whenever you publish a new article on your blog.
But again, at the end of this section, I’d recommend focussing the most on Organic Traffic. It can help you make your blog successful. Also, getting traffic to your blog is not at all an overnight game, it will take time. You should at least focus and work hard for a year to see valuable results.
Make Money With Your Blog
Let’s come to the reason why most of the people wanted to start a blog. Making money online is still the dream of many of us. You might have read or seen some people making thousands of dollars from his or her blog and got motivated. Well, you should motivate yourselves but at the same time, you should understand that in reality what efforts it’d take you to the stage of making money with your blog.
The first thing is that you should think of making money with your blog only once you started getting good traffic. Without an audience and good traffic, don’t even think of starting making money with your blog.
The concept of how the money will come with a blog is the same as most of the other media like Television and Newspaper. You have to display ads on your blog and more the people view and click on those ads, you’ll earn money. How easy it seems to be. But definitely, it’s not.
There are different programs for Advertising run by different companies. Google offers its Google AdSense platform to let publishers or bloggers place ads on their websites and for traffic viewing or clicking those ads, you’ll earn money. Google AdSense is used by millions of publishers and it is one of the most successful online business.
Likewise, Bing and other companies also offer their advertising program. Joining these programs is quite easy but they review your blog or site before getting started. If they approve, you can start making money with them but if they rejected, you need to try again or try with some other alternative. Most of the sites with Good traffic gets approval to these programs easily, that’s why I said earlier in this section that first get good traffic and then think of earning money.
Apart from advertising, there are several other ways to earn money from your blog like Affiliate Marketing. In Affiliate Marketing, you’ve to promote the products and services offered by some company and if you can do it successfully, then you earn commissions. Further, you can directly reach out to advertisers to get ads for your blog and in the case, your blog or site is so popular, advertisers reach out you automatically!
So, that’s a quick guide on making money with your blog.
Frequently Asked Question on How to Start A Blog
There are several common questions among the new bloggers, which I’ve answered in this section. Any question which is not here, you can ask in the comments section.
How to Start A Blog, Completely For Free?
As most of the beginners won’t like to spend on starting a blog, this question is one of the most asked questions. Well, yes, you can create your blog for Free but it has got many limitations. Like you won’t get a top-level domain and you’ve to bear with the subdomain blog like your-though-name.blogspot.com.
This type of sub-domain oriented blog is not good for growth. Even these days, they won’t work if you want to earn money from your blog. But for personal diary-like purposes, they are good to go.
I’ve shared a list of best Free Blogging platforms to start a blog on WTMatter. You can find the link of it below.
What is the optimal Blog Posting Frequency?
There’s no fixed value which can be described as optimal blog posting frequency. You can publish blog posts at any frequency. It’s just that you should try to maintain that frequency. If you’re publishing a post every two days, try to maintain this frequency. But there’s one thing, the more often you publish, you’ll get results better & faster.
That’s why if you’re serious about your blog, the blog posting frequency should not be less than once or twice a week. In other words, you should publish at least one or two articles in a week. Here at WTMatter, we try to publish at least one post a day.
What are the other Web Hosting Options?
Although Hostgator Cloud is the recommended hosting option to install WordPress, you can also go with other options like Bluehost, Siteground, Dreamhost, Hostinger, GoDaddy & Cloudways. I’ve published reviews on WTMatter for all of these. Simply, click on any of these to find out its detailed review.
You should choose the hosting plans according to requirement. If you just want to host one single blog and have just started, you can go with the starting shared plan of any of these.
In the end, I’d say starting a blog is quite easy these days and anybody can get a blog live within minutes by following this tutorial. But starting a blog is just not enough as you should focus on making the blog successful.
You can also contact us to help you set up your blog as here at WTMatter, we offer all kind of web development solutions also.
Hope you find this guide useful. If so, do share it with others who might find it useful as well. Also, if you have any questions in your mind, feel free to ask them in the comments section.