How to Start a Blog: A Complete Beginners Guide
Do you want to start a blog?
Creating a fully functional blog is no rocket science – I will guide you through a very simple way so that you can create your blog.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a traveller, explorer, working professional, housewife, non-technical person, financial advisor, etc. Here I guarantee you, at the end of the day you will learn to build a fully functional blog of your own.
Why do you want to start a blog?
Every person’s answer will be different to this question. Here are the top four reasons I’ve found after hearing from different people. Believe me, I have finalised these four reasons after a lot of research.
1. It Will Advance Your Career
While blogging you will become an expert in your niche, as a result, any employer will see you as an expert. This will allow you to secure the best job for you.
2. You Can Work Anytime and From Anywhere
Your blog gives the freedom that you can work from anywhere and anytime, the only condition is that the information you are giving to your readers through your blog content is accurate so that you get good results from it.
3. Passive Income (Best way to Generate Income)
There are many ways to earn money from blogs but one thing we have to keep in mind; is to earn this passive income: requires time, concentration, dedication, patience, effort, etc. should be plentiful. If we follow the right monetization startup then blogging can become the key to our financial freedom.
4. Build Your Name (Making Your Name Proud)
We all want to make a name for ourselves. Blogging gives us a chance to make our name. If you move forward successfully in your blogging career, then you move towards making your name proud.
To start anything, it is necessary to take the first step. We should all have the courage to take the first step.
I have a question before proceeding
Are you ready to take your first bold step?
If your answer is “YES” then let’s move on.
How to Start a Successful Blog?
As we all know blogging requires time, concentration, dedication, patience, effort, etc. Some steps that new and aspiring bloggers should take for their successful blogging career.
Step 1: Choose Your Right Niche
To become a successful blogger or you can say that choosing the right Niche is the most important part of a successful blogging career. The fact is that the profitability of a blogging business can make or break your niche pickup.
If you choose the wrong niche, it doesn’t matter whether you are the best marketer in this world or the best and most talented writer, all your efforts made for the monetization of your blog will go in vain.
Finding the right niche for the blog is one of the most time-consuming processes. Keep in mind that this is the most important part of blogging success.
List of Top 10 Blogging Niches that you can choose from:
- Diet & Fitness
- Digital Marketing
- Movie and TV Reviews
- Fashion and Clothing
The above list is not just limited to the top 10, we have to remember that each niche has a huge pool of “Submarkets”.
Submarkets: It is the sub-set of the main core market.
Example: Yoga and Exercise is a submarket of Diet and fitness.
If you have chosen the broadest niche then it’s time for us to learn the next part viz micro-niche. The reason for the introduction of the micro-niche is very simple: it will be hard for a beginner to focus on the broad niche starting from scratch.
Micro Niche (Sub Niche)
The sub-niche under the main niche is called the micro-niche.
Micro Niche: Organic vegan cosmetics
Niche: Digital Marketing
Micro Niche: SEO, Content marketing, SMO, PPC, etc.
If you’re still not sure what niche you need to choose, don’t worry “remember: never be in the rush to choose the niche.”
Make an Excel List (of Niche Ideas)
Add ideas in one column:
As you might have come to several ideas of a niche in which you will start blogging. But to make your idea a concrete one just build an excel sheet of niche ideas you have come so far.
You can either make an excel list in “Microsoft Excel” “LibreOffice Calc” “Google sheets” or whatever spreadsheet tool you find the most convenient. Here the purpose to make an excel list of niche ideas is to have a clear and in-depth look at the ideas.
Add Monetization Opportunity in Next column:
Create a new column next to the niche idea as a Monetization opportunity. Here this will give you a bigger picture of the monetization opportunity of each niche.
Example In the Digital marketing niche, you can write down monetization ideas such as:
Fill out all the monetization opportunities in front of the niche ideas. Looking at this whole excel sheet will make it easier for you to choose the right niche.
Note Down the Pros and Cons of Each Niche
After making out the list of niche ideas and their monetization opportunity, we have to look at the pros and cons of each niche as there is no looking back after choosing it.
On the same excel sheet add columns of the Pros and cons of each niche just after the monetization opportunity. You have to picture the whole pros and cons of every niche in your mind and write it down in the pros and cons columns.
All the broad niches have huge monetization opportunities and it has fewer cons than the pros. A single disadvantage is worth equal to the thousands of advantages in it.
Real-Life Example: Before choosing this blogging niche I had planned to choose a “Review” niche. The monetization opportunity which I had in my mind was to review several (not the severals but huge numbers) products, services, tools, movies, web series, etc. Being an expert digital marketer, if the right topics, right keywords, and right online marketing is done then it will give me a huge opportunity to earn from affiliates.
Here is the catch (I can say the obstacles) :
The number of content to be published here is very huge.
The number of categories to be managed is very huge.
It would have been very difficult to market every content, every category.
Result: As all the products, categories, etc are very different from each other it will be very difficult to focus on the whole blog. Instead of this too broad niche, I have chosen the one in which I have expertise i.e Blogging.
Here is the mantra to choose the best niche for your blogging (I have personally learned from my years of experience)
- What is your core strength or in other words what you are good at.
- The demand for your niche.
- Will you get paid for it (Believe me if you give time, dedication, and effort you will find thousands of ways to get paid).
- Are you really happy with the niche choice?
Following the above steps (making an excel sheet of niche ideas, monetization opportunities, pros, cons, demand, and most important questions to ask yourself) will give you the right niche for your blog.
Bonus: 4 Tips to Choose the Right Blogging Niche
If you choose a highly competitive niche then your blog and its posts will be suppressed by the high authority website. On the other hand, if you choose a low demand or no demand niche then nobody will have any interest. It is advisable to choose the middle of the above and the one niche which you can monetize easily.
1. Pick a Niche that you enjoy writing and talking about
Most people give up on blogging after four to six months. Initially, it is quite fascinating to buy a domain and set up your blog. To overcome this you need to choose the niche that you enjoy talking about and writing about. The million-dollar question here is how you will find the about the topic you enjoy, to solve this I would suggest opening a notepad/word document or even pen and paper and start writing down at least 10 topics (headings) about the topic you liked most (precisely saying you are expert at it.)
2. Do Online Market Research
Now you have chosen the niche you enjoy talking about and writing about. It’s time to cross-check if it is in demand online or not. The best way to find out is by doing online market research. Use Google trends to find the trend of the niche. The graph on the Google trend will show the search data of your chosen niche/Topic.
3. Go for the Smaller Niche
Sometimes we tend to choose the niche that has high competition for example: – relationships.
You can check for the number of competitions on the Google search result pages. It is obvious that “Relationship” is a very broad term and there must be too many websites including high authority websites that will be in search results.
Scroll down to the bottom of the search and you will find the related search terms. This is the best suggestion to find a smaller or a low competitive niche.
4. Now Check if it is Profitable
Most of us run a blog to share information with our users. The other reason for running a blog is to earn income through it. After choosing the niche for your blog, now it is time to check whether the chosen niche is profitable or not. To check just do a simple google search for the keywords and find if it has google ads running or not. If the advertisement is running then you have picked up the right niche.
Even Though you can choose the right affiliate program to sell products.
Step 2: Choosing the Right Blog Name
A blog name should be easy to hear, write, type and pronounce. You should consider your blog as your baby, in that scenario you should name your digital baby truly unique. Before choosing the right blog name let us first know a few things:
Why Does Your Domain Name Matter?
It is said that “First impression is the last impression” and it is very true for the domain name also. A domain name is the true identity of your blog. It is the first thing people see either via typing in the web browser, or they find anywhere in cyberspace or even through word of mouth. If the domain name is fun to say/easy to say/accurate to say then people will get eager to know more about it. Choosing a good domain should be a one time process although you can change the domain name in future it will be a time-consuming process and it has its own positive and negative consequences.
It will be better if you can choose the right domain name at the starting. Like choosing the right niche, choosing the right domain name is the most important part.
Tips to Choose the Right Domain Name
Tip 1: Be Careful in Choosing the Domain Name-Extension
You must have seen websites’ domain names ending with .com, .org, .net, etc. These are called the extension of the domain name. These extensions .com, .org and .net are the top-level domain name extensions. Here Dot Com is one of the most used domain name extensions.
Nowadays domain name extensions are very vast. If you are targeting your blog to any specific country then you can choose the extension of that specific country.
Here the best thing will be to keep the .com extension for your blog.
Tip 2: Choose a Keyword-Based, Branded Name or Mix of Both
Keyword Based: Keyword based domain name specifically tells the user about the entire purpose of the blog. For example, a domain name having the keyword “food recipe” will tell the user about the content he/she will get in the blog.
Successful Keywords Based Domain Names Examples:
https://www.copyscape.com/ and So on….
Note: People (Different Experts) have mixed reactions about the exact match domain names. Here I leave it up to you if you want to choose the exact match domain name or not because it has both advantages and disadvantages.
Branded: A branded unique domain name will help you to stand out from the crowd. Choose a domain name that is short and easy to pronounce, next step for you is to do the branding for your blog.
We have seen so many examples of domain names that do not have keywords in them.
https://www.scoopwhoop.com/ and so on….
A mix of Both: You can do clever wordplay with the domain name. By doing this you get a good domain name that will attract the user’s attention.
Choosing the right domain name is a very fun part, it is indeed a story.
When your blog will get the desired success then you must have an interesting story behind the naming/choosing the blog domain name.
Here is my interesting finding while searching for the best hospitality stocks to add to my investment portfolio. I simply Googled the term “Best hospitality stocks”. The search result shows different domains that are ranking for the keyword, suddenly a domain name fool.com caught my attention. As we all know what exactly a “Fool” means.
Cambridge Dictionary Mean of Word “Fool” 👉 Here
So to my curiosity, I clicked on the website and after navigating to their About us section. I found a pretty interesting story written by them behind the chosen name “The Motley Fool” (domain name – Fool.com)
After reading the whole story and the reason behind their choice of selecting the word “Fool” gives me a surprise by how they deeply thought about naming it from William Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It”. Yes, I do like to read a lot. I put my head all day into reading plays, dramas, fictional novels, etc but I have never thought of naming my blog “The Motley Fool” (domain name – Fool.com) in such a creative way. You should read their “About Us” section on how they come with the domain name fool.com. This is a perfect example of telling the interesting story behind the choice of the domain name.
Tip 3: Avoid Hyphens in the Domain Name
By using hyphens in the domain name you might get the already existing domain name.
For example: – You might get the same domain name of https://searchengineland.com/ by using hyphens as https://search-engine-land.com/
However, hyphens are very hard to pronounce verbally and even hard to type that can lead your visitor to land on the wrong website.
Tip 4: Choose a Short Domain Name
There are way more advantages than disadvantages to choosing a short domain name. Short domain names are easy to remember, easy to type and can stay long in the mind. Short domain names are ideal for branding purposes.
Tip 5: Take Help of Domain Name Generators
I have chosen my blog domain name tapblogging.com with the help of https://leandomainsearch.com/. These domain name generators will give you thousands of suggestions that you can shortlist for yourself. Some of them even show the availability of the chosen domain name along with the available extensions.
Top Free Domain Name Generators
1. Lean Domain Search – https://leandomainsearch.com/
2. Nameboy – https://www.nameboy.com/
3. Bust a Name – http://www.bustaname.com/
4. Name Stall – https://www.namestall.com/domain-name-generator
5. Shopify Business Name Generator – https://www.shopify.com/tools/business-name-generator
Step 3: Time to Register Domain
Before registering your desired domain name you first need to check whether it is available or not. There might be a possibility if someone else has already registered the domain name you have chosen.
As per my experience, I have noticed that most of the common words and short domain names are already registered. It is important to know that all the TLDs (Top-Level Domain) are treated the same by Google. Those marketers who believe that only .com domains have the chance of high ranking should read Google’s John Muller statement.
Here is the best way to check the domain name availability
An internet record shows who owns the domain name and ways to contact them. It shows all the records if the domain name is not privacy protected.
Information such as:
Your desired domain is available or not
Which extension of the queried domain is taken or available.
If you are interested in buying you can make an offer.
Registrar data, DNS information, Diagnostics, etc.
The place where I used to work was strict about the website we are using; this includes the domain name registration and hosting websites. I have found who.is the most useful website to check the availability of the domain name. Also, the best part is just above the details section. It has a section named “Similar Domains”, in which similar domain names are shown. You can also check these domain name availability if you are interested in any of them.
Checking domain availability is very easy on Namecheap. Once you find it is available, your next move is to quickly register it. But before registering the domain name it is advisable to check its history.
Read: How to check complete Domain history?
You can register a domain name for cheap on IONOS. For the first year, they have very great offers. With their redemption period leave your worries that someone else will register it after the contract period ends.
Note: You are free to choose any domain name registrar, the only thing that matters here is the web hosting. Top hosting providers like Bluehost, Hostgator, Dreamhost, IONOS (1&1), etc give a free domain name for the first year.
Step 4: Time to Choose Web Hosting
Web hosting is the backbone of any blog. It will be a nightmare if the wrong hosting provider is selected for your blog. Most bloggers these days use WordPress as their preferred CMS. The reason for choosing WordPress is clear and there’s no doubt it’s a great CMS for bloggers.
List of Best WordPress hosting providers:
- WP Engine
- IONOS (1&1)
You are free to choose any other reliable hosting provider. Always make a list of your requirements and match it with your hosting provider’s offered plans.
One such example is hioxindia.com, with their lucrative offers I have purchased their low price hosting plan. The real problem started when the website went live. The website started to face internal server errors, PHP errors, speed issues, etc.
Step 5: Install WordPress
Why am I emphasising WordPress? It is because not only I, top bloggers use it for their blogs. Be it Bluehost, IONOS, Godaddy, SiteGround, Dreamhost, etc all have managed WordPress hosting plans. If you buy shared hosting then most of the cPanel have one-click WordPress installation.
Keep your admin email or username and password handy as it will be required to log in to the WordPress dashboard.
You can directly log in to WordPress by adding /wp-admin or /wp-login.php at the end of the domain name.
www.domain.com/wp-admin or www.domain.com/wp-login.php
Note: You can change the admin URL by adding a plugin because this will add an extra security layer to the website.
After login in through the WordPress credentials, you will be taken to the dashboard.
Bingo, Officially you are now a blogger and you have your website.
All the stuff like themes, updates, plugins, comments, etc can be found here. WordPress has a plethora of themes for all categories. By using any of the free themes you can have your attractive looking blog.
Customisation of the theme can be done through their documentation as it will be the best way to design your theme as per your requirement.
Tip: Import the demo content, if the theme has demo content. By doing this you will have a basic design or even an awesome looking design of your website.
Step 6: Start Posting
Congratulations, you have now customised and installed the WordPress theme for your blog. Now it’s time to start posting. But before posting you must first content it is essential to build your Homepage and essential pages.
The layout for the homepage should be simple.
- It should have a grid of your latest post.
- A small description about yourself in case it is your blog.
- Your most popular post.
- The footer must have a menu of essential pages along with social media page links.
How to Post First Content on Your WordPress Blog?
Here I am directly going to the content posting part because I assume that as a blogger you must have created your content calendar. If you are still in dilemma then read my post on What does a blogger do?. After reading it you will have a very clear idea about your goals.
Let us get back to the topic…
Posting the first content on your WordPress blog is not a daunting task. A newbie can also accomplish this task without any problem. To publish your first content on the blog:
From the left-hand WordPress panel
Navigate to Post > Add new
From the top bar menu
Click on New > Post
You will be taken down to the WordPress editor where you can simply add the post title and paste the content into it. After doing all this hit the publish button to live your first post on the blog.
Step 7: Start Promoting
Buying domain names, hosting and installing WordPress is not enough. The ultimate goal for any blogger should be getting traffic on the website. You will get a reward from blogging only if you promote it. You do not need to spend money, promotion can be done for free.
I have created a comprehensive guide on how to promote your blog and its posts, check it out here:
In this comprehensive guide you will learn:
This topic can never be wrapped up or have any conclusion. Starting a blog is a huge part of itself. Through this post, I have tried my level best to guide people who want to start their blogs.
What we have done till now:
What else are we required to start a blog? The answer is nothing. Yes, you have heard it right NOTHING.
Now as a professional blogger, start doing work like a pro, consistently post high-quality content, promote it via SEO, and SMO and build a brand. Once you will start to get decent traffic on the website the next important thing you can do is monetisation. Through monetisation methods, you can start earning from your blog.
Freepik and All screenshots were taken by the author, 18 June 2022