If you are looking for easy, step-by-step beginners guide to how to start a blog in 2020 and grow your career in blogging, you are at the right place.
Blogging is one of the emerging careers, Isn’t it?
After all, a successful blog could bring everything that you would want: authority, influence, fame, money, and knowledge. But when you think about starting a blog, things could look impossible in terms of money and process. That’s why I made this detailed guide covering all the details a wannabe blogger required in 2020.
In case if you don’t know me yet, I am Mudassir, FOUNDER of this blog.
Before we move further I want to ask you one simple question.
“Why do you want to start a blog anyway?” Are you clear? I want you to ask yourself and get clarity. Because blogging without goals is like a vacuum in a space, you could get lost. So get answers!
I don’t know the exact number but as I see how most people start their new blog full-on energy and excitement and quit after six months or even in less time. I don’t want you to join that list.
So check out Is Blogging A Right Career Choice For You.
Once you come back, I have the basics covered. Let’s start.
What is a blog anyway?
A blog is an online website that contains information related to a specific niche or a topic(s) in the form of pages and blog posts. It could be about the local news, health tips, sports updates, celebrity gossips and so on. Writing content and engaging frequently with the readers help you build trust in the long run and eventually, money.
Benefits of Blogging
- The quickest way to communicate something that you know and spread the information.
- The coolest way to express yourself: No one is going to ask you questions like ‘Why’ or ‘Why not’ unless you have enabled auto comments 😉
- Improve skills like writing, reading, SEO, designing and researching.
- You can master the niche and build personal authority.
- The best of all! You can make money with all the above skills and can say goodbye to the regular job.
Anyone could learn how to start a blog and techniques to grow the blog that makes money as long as they are focused on their goals.
How to start a blog from scratch (Step by Step guide for beginners
Developing the right blogging attitude
Most people start their blogging thinking that it could be a shortcut to quit their hefty jobs and enjoy the life they’ve been dreaming of.
Oh yeah! that blogger? he works from home and earns great passive income and enjoy the luxurious life.
That’s true somewhat but are you able to see how that works?
Writing a couple of blog posts without any research, promoting them in some Facebook groups, placing ads or affiliate banners all over your blog; Strategies like these are not working anymore in blogging to make money.
What you need is planning and measuring – Short term plans & long term plans. See yourself, how are you doing, where you’re lacking and focus on those areas to improvise. That’s the attitude I’m talking about.
3 years ago, I tried to pursue my dream of becoming a blogger: I had been making money for publishing irrelevant sponsored content and placing shady ads all over my blog.
I was unable to improve readership, thus my earnings. Every time some Google update comes, my blog’s SEO ranking would go down. So I use to become confused, scared, hopeless and desperate for earnings. However, I had this thing in me – Passion to write. So I never gave up, started looking at ways to shine myself. I did find good people on the way who taught me well and uplifted. Now I feel much better and loving what I am doing.
See, anyone can get better after failures, we just have to keep going with hope and putting relative efforts.
Why running for money may not work?
According to many polls and surveys that I have observed on social media, an average of 3 out of 10 make at least $100 a month. There are so many reasons why bloggers end up quitting their blogs in the frustration of not making money, however, here are the top two reasons I’m able to analyze:
- Procrastinate a lot and fall behind.
- They aggressively do the ‘blogging’ thing and ignore the basics.
These are the kind that doesn’t like the hard way and would want to make instant bucks without investing time and hard work. So is the reason they fail horribly.
Instead of thinking about money from the day-1, here is what I want you to do:
- Invest time to learn keyword research.
- Find the keywords that could bring traffic, search them, visit competitors, analyze their content and try to create 7x better content than them.
- Build a plain and easily readable blog that is mobile optimized and technical errors free.
- Build relationships, earn guest post opportunities and build backlinks.
- Always try to impress readers as well as search engines with your content.
On the bottom line,
Learn first–>Serve the readers–>Earning happens eventually.
Let me guess, you have some questions about how to start a blog in 2020:
–> How long does it take to set up the blog?
- To buy domain and hosting – 15 to 20 mins approximately.
- Blog installation – 30 mins to 2 hours approximately.
–> How do I start a blog for FREE?
You can start a blog for free on platforms like blogger, wordpress.com or Wix. But that is not recommended if you want to grow and monetize your blog.
–> How much it cost me to start blogging?
In down sections, you will find my recommended hosting. It shall cost you $57 to $63/year (domain, hosting, https, speed optimization plugin and a lot more).
–> Does blogging really make the money?
Yes, if you learn the fundamentals in the right way.
–> How do I make money?
There are tons of ways to make money from blogging, I have covered it at the end of the article. So keep reading.
–> Is it easy? The setup and maintenance?
Damn easy! You don’t have to be an I.T develop or hire an agency to set up the blog. Everything can be done by yourself, just focus.
Let’s get into the 2nd step.
Pick the RIGHT niche for your blog
What is a niche?
It is the topic on which you want to create content.
This is a very important part. Your blog’s niche must cover your passion, knowledge and industry demand to make money eventually. Use tools like SEMrush to do keyword research.
I want you to choose the niche that is already crowded and has bigger potential in terms of market-rate and demand. Because what’s the point of blogging on a niche that has got no audience at all? Moreover, how do you know your best when you write on a silly topic? The more the competition, the opportunity to grow.
Selecting the right niche is key to grow in blogging
Niche keeps you motivated so that you could write consistently, be creative and stand out in the crowd. The time comes in the future when you might feel like giving up for not seeing the expected results and that’s the time your passion comes handy and keeps you doing what you are doing.
Here’s the Neil Patel’s video I want you to watch about Niche selection
Two steps to choose the perfect niche for your new blog
- Think about what you love (not only in the short run but also think from the long-run perspective). Know your inner passions like forever.
- If you want to make big money then you must also think about the demand for the niche. Whether people are interested to read topics on your niche or not. If yes, how many people? Use the ‘Google keyword planner’ to understand search volume for the keywords of the niche.
How to find out search volume of the keywords
- Sign in to Google Adwords Keyword Planner.
- Click on ‘Discover new keywords.’
- Enter the keywords from your niche and see the search volume.
I searched for “Health tips” on the keyword planner.
Here’s what I got:
There are 1015 keywords related to it and search volume, competition, CPC of each keyword as you can see in the above picture. There were so many keywords that had competition ‘medium’ and search volume of even 100 to 1k a month.
As you can see for the health tips niche there is an average search of 10k to 100k a month which is highly competitive. I want you to pick niches like this which are having a high volume search. Of course, there will be competition but there shall also be a fine scope to grow. Agreed?
Just remember – “Great things can’t be earned so easily.”
How to figure out your passion?
You need to find that out on your own!
Get alone, close your eyes and think about what is that one thing that you are good at and has been loving for a long time. Don’t worry if multiple things come into your mind; take a pen-paper, write them down and filter out until that one topic triggers strongly and gets attached to your personality.
Take time, figure out!
Make sure to check out my article if you need more information How to pick a niche for you to blog.
Domain name & Hosting
Registering the Domain name
Many people brainstorm their heads while choosing the domain name for their blog. I don’t think you should invest more time researching for the perfect domain name. Because there is nothing like perfection.
While this is important, probably not so much.
Earlier, marketers used to buy domain names with keywords to rank easily on Google.
Today? Don’t even think about it.
My advice is either you
- Go with your name as a domain name. Still, hesitating? Think of the world’s No.1 Digital marketer & Blogger – Neil Patel. His website is www.neilpatel.com. So don’t hesitate to go live with your name.
- or pick a random & niche relevant word out of the Internet.
Whatever you choose as a domain name; top-notch content, authority backlinks, and a great UX play a key role to rule over search engines like a pro. But yes, make sure the domain is short and easy to remember.
Get 10% OFF on buying a domain from Domain.com using my exclusive link with a coupon – DOMAIN10.
I had made a mistake of going with random host providers.
For the 1st year, I hosted my blog on Godaddy: I faced so many issues in terms of downtime and technical team’s lack of ability to understand the issue.
For the last 2 years, I had been associated with a local cloud host which was good but I felt like my data was not safe with them anymore. So I had to move to my current hosting provider.
Wondering who’s my current hosting provider?
Siteground – Yes, I recommend Siteground hosting for your brand new blog.
There could be so many technical reasons. However, if I cut down to main, I expect three things from my provider:
- My data should be safe and secure with daily automatic backups, SSL certificates, CDN, etc.
- Since I’m non-techie-person, I would need expertise that walks me through the process in an easier way.
- My blog must load instantly without any technical glitches.
Siteground answers the above concerns in a clean and transparent way. Plus, you have a 30-day money-back guarantee in case if you don’t find it as a reliable host. You can contact them via chat, email, and toll-free numbers. Plus, there are hundreds of articles, tutorials in their knowledge base section which makes your job easier in getting what you want.
Never search for cheap hosting providers on the Internet. Most of them are crap and filled with fake reviews. You may get the service for damn cheap rate but don’t expect the quality and support levels after then.
So always prefer to go with standard and reliable companies so that you could stay hassle-free. If you want to know more about my hosting, read my SiteGround review.
How to purchase Siteground?
- Go to Siteground
- Click “Managed WordPress Hosting”
- Now you shall see plans – StartUp, GrowBig & GoGeek. Since you’re new to blogging, you can just go with the StartUp plan by clicking “Get Plan.” Do note that after 3 months, you can renew the plan with 50% OFF on regular price.
- Now you can see the two options:
- Register a new domain at the cost of $15.95/year.
- I already have a domain. You can choose this option if you have purchased from domain.com and connect it to Siteground.
- Put your details like name, email ID, and address. By default, you can make the payment through the credit card that is enabled for International payments. You can also use PayPal to pay for your hosting services, contact their sales team through chat for the PayPal method.
Alright, after the payment you are likely to receive a payment receipt and login details from Siteground.
Blog Setup (Theme, plugins & initial settings)
Now you have niche topic, domain & hosting. The next step is to choose the right CMS (Content Management System) for blogging. CMS is like an admin application using which you can create, modify and publish the content for your readers without knowing anything about coding.
If you ask any blogger or a business owner about popular CMS, you are likely to hear WordPress.org as an answer. In fact, isitwp stats show that WordPress has got approximately 61% market share of all CMS platforms.
There are other CMS options as well if you want to explore, such as Wix, Blogger, Squarespace, etc. But I never heard an established blogger using any of these. The best part of using WordPress.org is that you don’t have to know anything about programming skills unless like HTML. Everything is readymade before you in the form of plugins, themes, and tools.
Now, one more thing you need to be careful of is that going with the right WordPress.
If you search WordPress on Google, you will find two platforms with the same name but different domain extensions.
That is WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
These are a lot different in nature with each other. The major difference is that WordPress.com is paid to use, design (themes+plugins), and limited customization whereas WordPres.org is free and has everything that you want to grow.
On the bottom line, If you want to make money through your blog, go with WordPress.org.
How to install the blog on WordPress.org?
- Login to Siteground account
- Click setup new website
- Select WordPress
- Put the details like admin email, username & password for your new blog
- Click confirm and complete the setup
On average your blog will be ready in 30 minutes to 2 hours.
If you have purchased the domain through domain.com here’s what you need to do:
- Login to your domain.com account
- Go to the domain section
- Remove existing Nameservers (two) and replace with the new ones from Siteground (Kindly connect with Siteground team (sales/support) and ask them to give your nameservers.)
After that, you shall wait till your WP account is ready. Once it is ready, go to the Siteground tools’ security SSL section, add SSL (https to your blog).
Remember, if you need any assistance, Siteground is there for you through chat, ticket, and call.
Designing your WordPress blog
When I accidentally visit a new website, the first thing that hits my subconscious is the design of it. If it is plain and accessible, I would stay to read the content else I would leave.
Design indirectly tells readers that you are serious about your blogging. This doesn’t mean to make it colorful by fancy widgets or animations over the blog. Keep in mind that the simpler and clear your blog appears the higher the chances people love it.
Now you know the importance of having a design to the blog, let’s build it!
- Log on to www.domainname.com/wp-admin ( For my blog it is, www.nettyfeed.com/wp-admin).
- Enter the username, password that you have created while SiteGround account setup.
- That’s it, you shall see your admin dashboard.
What you can do on the dashboard?
Blogging, Yup! the dashboard is everything for you to run, build and monetize the blog. However, I am going to teach you the basics. You can:
- Modify and publish content with the help of an editor.
- Create, manage pages and categories.
- Design and customize it the way you like it.
- Manage users, admin accounts, and contributors.
- Personalize profile settings, permalinks, moderate comments, and so on.
Now let’s design the blog with a great theme that is beautiful, SEO friendly and secured. As I already mentioned in the above sections, WordPress.org has more than 5000 themes absolutely for FREE.
Points to keep in mind while choosing a theme
At the very beginning with the null content on your blog, you cannot evaluate a theme’s design. So produce some content in terms of pages, categories, and articles. Then move to find the best theme for your blog – Be it a FREE or paid. It is undeniable that premium themes come up with more features in terms of design, customization, and speed. However, as a newbie blogger, it is totally fine to get started with a FREE theme.
There are a few themes that give an awesome outlook but not functionally great. Remember, the easier it is to navigate and find the information, the better.
- Keep it clear: The final goal of producing content is to give content to readers in an easier way.
- Responsiveness: Is the theme’s layout looking good on computer and mobile? Are the links, pages getting opened? Are you able to navigate from one page to others? Find the answers.
How to install a FREE theme?
- Go to appearance–>themes.
- Search for any theme if you have in your mind or just click on ‘Add new.’
- Explore the themes and choose the best that fits your needs.
- Now go to customize section to design your blog interface.
I use the premium Astra theme on my blog. Do you like it? Let me know in the comments.
Installing Essential Plugins
You might be thinking now what is the plugin.
A plugin is the most heard word in the WordPress community. It is more like a tool that is used to customize your blog’s appearance and performance. There are literally 11K+ plugins on WordPress.org. You have to be very careful when it comes to plugins because adding too many of it definitely slows downs your blog. As a beginner, you don’t have to add every plug in that you find on the Internet. I have compiled the list of plugins to help you build your blog in a better way.
Yoast SEO or Rankmath
You can streamline the process of optimizing the content properly using these plugins. Such as optimizing your page/post title, URL, description, and a few other elements so that your chances of appearing SERPs could be improved.
Well, as per my findings, Rank Math has got more popularity than Yoast with an awesome collection of features like Schema.org, link manager, Search console integration, etc.
Social Snap is one of the easiest and effective plugins on the WordPress platform. The main goal is to let you and readers share your content with 30+ social media networks.
Recently, I had the opportunity to purchase the pro version of Social Snap for my blog and to review it for my readers. You can read my complete review of Social Snap and check out how this plugin could be handy for your blogging pace.
Monster Insights is one of the most popular plugins to connect your WordPress blog to Google analytics account. The setup is quick and easier. When you hop into your WordPress dashboard, you will be able to see stats like Sessions, page views, bounce rate, etc.
If you upgrade to the pro version, you can also see extra reports like top-performing pages/posts, user behavior and a lot more. The plugin could be the deal maker to analyze your visitor behavior and optimize the content for higher conversions.
Elementor is a top visual drag and drop builder for WordPress sites. With the plugin activation, you get totally separate and cool interface to design the posts and pages the way you want. It doesn’t require special coding skills – everything is available through a click of drag and drop. The best part is you can preview the work right next to your interface.
Putting it all together, you can literally improve the look of your blog space through Elementor and it’s sub plugins. We can count it as a time and money saver if we cannot afford to hire a premium developer.
My home page is designed with Elementor (FREE version) and just Imagine what we all can do with pro version!
Table of Contents
Did you observe the table of contents section at the top of this article?
If no, go again and check what magic it does.
It automatically generates a table of content for your posts. However, you can fix the settings about to configure where and when to insert the table of the content section. You can choose which headings could generate the table, font style, custom theme, and a lot more cool features.
Go to plugins–>Add new–> Search for Easy Table of contents
The main benefit of using this plugin is that it lets the reader jump to any section he wants to read instead of scrolling down and wasting their time.
My buddy, Nikola has published a detailed tutorial about how to get this plugin running on your blog.
By default, you will get Gutenberg editor, after some new update that happened from WordPress. Somehow I am not comfy using it So I shifted to the old editor by installing a plugin called “Classic Editor.”
I’m not sure about should you use it as well or work on Gutenberg!
Here is the beauty of Siteground hosting – It gives you a FREE inbuilt optimization plugin/tool to get the best performance for your blog. It handles caching system settings and all the necessary configurations for a blazing-fast website. With the SiteGround Optimizer enabled, you’re getting the very best from your hosting environment!
- Super cache
- Front end optimization
- Media optimization
If you are not able to understand and apply the right settings, contact Siteground support and tell them to do the best possible setting for you.
Siteground gives you a free Cloudflare CDN account with any plan that makes your blog load faster in any part of the globe by caching its content and distributing it over multiple data centers. It delivers the content faster from the closest center.
Cloudflare also protects your blog by identifying and blocking malicious threats and traffic to it.
Just login to your Siteground tools, Click Speed and Cloudflare and signup for a FREE account by entering your details. And that’s it, it automatically optimizes the necessary settings on its own.
Basic blog settings to do while installation
Someone asked me in the comments about this step, so I thought of adding the information.
Setting 1 – Go to settings –> General
Here you will need to add your blog details like Home page title, WordPress URL, admin email ID (yours), new user default role as “Subscriber”. Remaining all, you can leave blank or add as you wish.
Setting 2 – Go to settings –> Writing
- Default post category – If you don’t add any category while publishing the blog post, the post appears in the uncategorized as a default post category.
- Post format – Should be standard
- Default editor – I recommend installing the ‘Classic Editor’ plugin as it is pretty easy and intuitive. Save changes.
Setting 3 – Go to settings –> Reading
Your home page display: Do you want it to be the latest blog posts or static page?
- If you choose the static page then you need to enter which page should be the home page. Go to pages, create a home page using Elementor builder and select that page name in this option. Make sure you create a blog page too and add ‘Blog’ in the ‘posts page’ option (Example: https://www.nettyfeed.com/blog).
- If you don’t want a static page, you can just display your latest blog posts in a grid or column format.
Apart from it, you can choose how many posts you want to display on the category archive or blog posts page, etc.
Setting 4 – Discussion
Here you can make settings related to commenting (Auto approval, moderation, how many days, the default user avatar, etc).
Setting 5 – Permalinks
Here you can add the default permalink type for all your upcoming blog posts. I suggest you select the post name as mentioned in the below picture. It is professional and helps in SEO point of view too.
As you use Yoast or Rank Math plugin, you can customize the blog post’s URL (slug), title, description while publishing. You can easily find this feature at the bottom of your article on your WordPress dashboard.
Well, the above are a few basic settings that I recommend to any new blogger. With time and consistency, one can learn everything.
Install Google Analytics
To track how much traffic you are getting and their behavior, you need to set up Google Analytics for your new blog. As I mentioned in the plugin section above, you can do it using Monster Insights WordPress plugin.
First, signup at Google analytics by entering your blog details. Next, Install Monster Insights on your blog, connect it with G.A with the help of authentication code.
Install Google search console
It is also known as Webmaster tools which are absolutely free that enables you to add, maintain, and troubleshoot your digital presence. It can also help you find and fix technical errors, sitemap submission, etc.
- Signup with Google search console account
- Add property as your blog URL
- Verify the ownership by connecting search console with Google analytics account by simply adding tracking code
Creating important pages
Every blogger should show up and tell the world about him or her. As a part of it, add the About page. It is the page that readers like to read to know more about you, especially if you are a newbie. When they feel honest about you, they trust you. When they trust you, they listen to you and purchase. That’s how you do baby steps to monetize. So, create the about page with more value and reasons to listen to you.
Just imagine…Readers are visiting and loving your blog’s content and they want to know who is the person behind it through about page.
Now you can either give them the same routine introduction (like most bloggers). Or, you can tell them a story and make them subscribe to you.
What should you add in the ‘about’ page?
- Tell the readers that you care for them by giving them valuable content that they would come looking for.
- Understand your audience category and let them know how you can help them. It creates a fine impression and makes the reader confident that he came to the right blogger.
- What kind of articles that you are focused at
- Where should they begin
- How did you start blogging and why
Share your personal tracks to connect with the audience better. So be honest!
The key is that you cannot make every visitor happy and that’s okay. Try to find out the right audience base and serve them well instead of serving everyone.
Add a ‘contact form’ or page with contact details like email ID, Twitter handles or Facebook ID to allow readers to get in touch with you. I’m not so big fan of the ‘Contact’ page so I don’t have one on my blog. I want my readers to know me well first through my about page and if they make till the bottom, they can find my email address to connect with me.
Privacy and Disclosure pages are mandatory to create if you plan to sell affiliate products on the blog. Check out my blog’s Footer space for a better idea.
For my blog, I know the readers are here to read tips to blog better or beginners who want to get started. And so I show them through easy navigation menu and home page’s sections.
How to create a page and design?
Go to pages–> Add a new page to create one.
Later then you edit the page with Elementor drag and drop builder that enables you to design stunning pages for your blog. Remember, not to over-optimize the design, keep it simple and elegant.
Writing your first blog post
Congrats! you have set up the blog and everything on the track.
Now it’s time to do actual blogging. And that means writing your first blog post. Thinking of this, you might develop fear and confusion.
What blog post should I be writing?
A lot of pros advise new bloggers to write the first blog post with the theme of introducing themselves to the readers. I’m not sure I should agree with that.
What’s the point of talking about yourself when you have already shouted about yourself in the ‘about’ page? Makes sense?
As a newbie, don’t write these as your first blog post:
- Why did I start blogging?
- How I got here?…etc, type posts
What to write?
Take a pen and paper, Write down your niche.
Segment your audience
Who is it you are targeting? Audience type – beginners, mid-level, pros’. Let’s say if you are targeting beginners in modeling and somebody comes to you and says “I don’t know anything about modeling, I don’t know the scope of the career, how to get into it…” and so on.
- Think of a pillar article like Definitive guide, How to start a blog, or how to start a business, etc type evergreen posts.
- Write something that you know it on an extreme level and you love it.
- Come up with a good headline.
- Develop step-by-step instructions, link to quality sources.
- Add Images, videos, bold the sentences, words.
- Write it for your audience, think of would they understand?
Now you got an idea of what to write.
At the same time, focus on establishing your authority and that means you need to show them what you are talking about. Don’t just tell your readers what you know of but tell what they should do step-by-step by giving them actionable steps in a clear way.
If you want to be successful, focus on a single niche. Along with the time, cover all the topics from the baby steps to master tutorials. When you create such detailed content covering everything from your niche, readers trust you and endorses you.
Still, struck with something?
Do research…Researching and taking actions are the pillars of your blogging success.
- Find out your targeted audience
- Identify what kind of content and queries are flowing through social media and Internet
- Use SEMrush, search your niche related keywords that will bring you traffic
- Create content
Make your readers feel good by producing content in your unique voice. It comes with time and experience, however, I believe in “practice makes a man perfect.”
Creating a long run content strategy
Right from THE BEGINNING, I want you to create a killer content strategy for your blog.
I’m going to give you a top content strategy advice that helps you sell yourself and satisfy your readers at the same time.
Creating content that helps and sells – it’s hard, time-consuming, and there are no easy ways. You need to produce content that is easy to read, inspiring, take an action, and better than any other content on the search engines. That kind of content rolls out on the Internet as valuable and linkable resources.
Let me explain in a bit broader way.
Find out your audience’ expectations
Find what kind of questions are people asking – Quora is a fine place to get this started.
Note down the questions and pick the base topic of all those questions. You might want to cover those base topics in-depth, interesting and should address a broader audience with at least 2,000 words and more.
Now you have the base question – you can create sub-topics under it and these sub-topics could be counted as various sections of your base (main) topic.
Here is the framework I want you to do:
- Search the base question on Google, note down the relevant Questions you see from various sites.
- Think like a reader and brainstorm the questions that a common reader would want to know about the topic.
- Go to Quora and find out a variety of related questions through threads.
Use these methods to create a comprehensive question and build content for it. And such a long-form guide has the more chance to appear on 1st pages of Google for multiple keywords.
It’s Time…to create content
Now you have a big question in front of your eyes.
How do you prepare an answer for it?
Since you are a beginner, I don’t expect you to do the analysis and create content on your own. I want you to search the base keyword on Google, visit at least 20 pages, analyze how and what they have published. Once you’re done, use your creativity, prepare content in your own words and publish. Throw your personal experiences if you have any.
And remember, have fun while creating and give some entertainment. People want to hear (personal + professional) advice but not just the professional. Build your unique voice for your brand, Nobody can mimic it any point in time.
Few basic rules to follow while writing content
- Use plain and easy to read sentences.
- Add humor, fun to your content.
- Organize with better visuals by managing shorter paragraphs, headings, bullet points, bold, etc.
- Talk like a human, not a machine. Always use, “I”, “You”, “We”, “They” to make the flow more personal.
- If it is long-form content that you are going to write then consider adding images & videos to the relevant scenarios. Most people like visual content than text and they are likely to remember it for a long time.
Update the content more frequently
You followed the above tips, published an article and waiting weeks or even months to see the article on 1st page SERPs. But no luck, right? Here is what you should do:
Go back to that article, read as a common reader.
How is the content sounding?
Silly? Perfect? or lacking something?
I’m sure that no blog post on the Internet is perfect for the mark. You will always have something to polish in it. Update the blog post with fresh content, such as adding stats, links, etc.
The more the edits, the more incredible it would be.
Here is my secret…I have re-purposed this how to start a blog guide for at least 200 times and counting.
How frequent you should publish a blog post
Committing to a regular publishing schedule is an important task for any blogger. It gives clarity to your readers so that they can pay a visit when you publish. We all do fine with deadlines, so create them.
If you write exceptional content, I’m sure that readers either bookmark your blog or add their calendar to visit you regularly. That’s what I do in my case.
Let me tell you my take on this – I’m not a big fan of publishing daily posts or even weekly. 1 post in a month is good enough if you are bringing a great value along with it. As a beginner, you might have so many fresh ideas in your mind, but don’t rush to publish articles with zero or less value.
Whatever the frequency – Stick to it. Be consistent. The more you are consistent, the bigger the rewards you could get.
Use tools like Google Calendar, Trello or Todoist to keep yourself a reminder and track the time.
Along with writing text content, it is also important for you to add the spice with the help of images. There are so many ways that compelling images could come into the daily blogging picture.
Do you know, Content with visuals gets 94% more views? Source
Moreover, you need
- Brand new logo
- Images to develop your profile on social media
- Cover images for your blog posts
- Customized visuals to add to your content
- Quotes images for your social media accounts
But where do I find such quality pictures at a low price?
It is not an expected move that you would hire someone to do all this for you.
Well, what if I tell you that Canva.com is the solution for all your visual requirements for your blog. You get access to tons of resources. These are all stock images with incredible quality and copyright FREE.
How to promote your articles as a beginner
Till now, I have talked about creating top-notch content but your job doesn’t finish with it. If the article has got a great value package, it will automatically draw some traffic by appearing on SERPs for keywords. But don’t you think you should push the content to a broader audience?
Here is my take – Most bloggers say, “Content is king” and I say “Promotion is Queen” and “backlinks” are people. With the combination of all, it makes a happy kingdom, i.e, Blogging.
Now I want you to promote your content as much as you can in the right way. There are ways to promote your content easily and effectively.
The FREE and finest way to get blog traffic that converts is “social media.” It is easy to create a brand account on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Triberr, Quora, Reddit, etc in just minutes of time. However, to see some genuine traffic, you really want to extend your patience levels.
Social media has always been a great source of traffic for me. Currently, I spend almost 5 to 6 hours a day on Twitter, Facebook, and Quora. You can also join blogging groups where you can leverage networking and make more relationships with other bloggers.
If you’re in relationships with fellow bloggers for quite a time, they automatically help you by sharing your content for their audiences. What a sweet gesture, Is n’t it?
What do I mean?
Simple, your fellow blogger or competitor has written a new article or already have articles. Pay a visit, read their content, and share your thoughts in the bottom comments section by entering your name, email ID, and URL in the respective columns.
Damn easy, Isn’t? But why?
- To get traffic to your blog
- To build relationships with the blog owner and fellow bloggers
In my case, all the success I have today, it all started from blog commenting. So I’m sharing my secret below, keep scrolling.
Smart bloggers find the opportunity like this and turn it for their good. Millions of people would notice if your comment gets approved on top blogs like backlinko.
But how to make the comments approved on top sites like that?
Here are some blog commenting tips:
- Go to gravatar.com and create one for you with a real name and picture.
- Use gravatar’s email ID while commenting.
- Greet the author, address the author with his/her name.
- Read the post completely and understand so that you could drop a confident and genuine opinion on the topic.
- Be real and honest.
- You don’t have to talk about everything that is mentioned in the post. Instead, pick a section that triggered you, comment about it.
- Never hesitate to ask questions from the topic, if you have any.
- Do not drop a lengthy comment unless there’s a great value you’re attached to it.
- Do not repeat the same lines that are already mentioned in the post.
We all have a personality, some have their own and some copy others. Use it in cases like blog commenting.
110%, the guest posting strategy is the finest way to grow your blog. There are three major benefits doing it:
- Build authority by sharing your knowledge with others.
- Get huge traffic to your blog.
- Build backlinks for your blog which are essential to your SEO.
Guest posting is not so easy for new bloggers but not impossible at the same time.
But how do you find the guest blogging opportunities?
Well, there are so many traditional ways to find. But I don’t want to discuss them all, as most are crap and waste your time and energy. Moreover, most PBN bloggers accept your guest post for a certain amount of money ($20 per link, $50 per link, etc). It is a black hat SEO technique and Google has already stopped considering such SEO practices.
How to find the guest post opportunities the RIGHT way
- Step 1: Think ‘Guest posting’ as a long-run strategy but not for the one time.
- Step 2: Make friends, the more you have, the more benefits.
- Step 3: Help them by sharing content, commenting on their posts, having a little chat sometime, and so on.
- Step 4: When the time is right, ask if they are interested in mutual guest posting opportunities.
Tips for guest posting
- Produce content as if you were writing for your own blog.
- Take time, do your homework about the topic, summarize experiences, publish detailed stuff.
- Reach out to beginners like you as established ones might not accept the guest posts from newbies.
- Find out if the host blogger has guidelines to follow.
- Use tools like Grammarly to avoid grammatical mistakes. Re-read your content and see if you can do some betterment.
Maybe you would want to check this awesome post from Ryan about Guest posting blitz.
How to get creative blog post ideas
You have published your first blog post. What next?
What to write?
I usually get blog post ideas while reading other’s content. To keep your audience engaged, you need to come up with new content topics, find and rank for the keywords that users are looking on Google.
Here are two ways to do that:
1. Keyword research
Signup for a FREE account on SEMrush.
Enter the topic name or keywords into SEMrush’s Input column and hit the search.
The search tells you which questions and how many people are searching on the Internet.
In a month, 90,500 people are searching with the word “green tea.”
There is a total of 38,725 keyword suggestions.
If you can rank for all the keywords, you can get at least 840,980 users in a month to your one article.
You can see the list of keyword phrases that can be optimized into your content and rank for more searches.
Similarly, you can try keywords like “how to start a blog”, “how to make money”, “how to start a business”, etc keywords on SEMrush and understand their popularity.
There’s so much you can do with the world’s #1 SEO tool – SEMrush. Try it today!
2. Steal from your competitors
I was a fool to think that I should publish only the new content on my blog. Then I was exploring for fresh blog post ideas on Google.
Here is the truth,
You search on Google, “How to save money for retirement.”
You’ll encounter hundreds of pages already on the Internet teaching you how you can save money for retirement.
So, what do you mean by original or fresh content? Whatever you search, the Internet has an answer for it.
Now I made my mind.
You can go visit competitors and get an idea about what kind of content they’re publishing. Look at their main topics and see if you can write on a similar topic but only by adding extra value from various angles. Do not even think of copying a single line of other original work, it is their hard work.
Moreover, you will fall in the eyes of Google if you copy the content and you might get screwed legally for stealing other’s work.
I want to make that sure.
3. Go social
I do not mean roam outside 🙂
Your audience is likely to hang out most of their time on social media. So I want you to keep an eye on social media to know what kind of questions do they have.
Here are some places you should be visiting to get cool ideas for your next blog post.
Even today, most of the established bloggers ignore Pinterest. I was too but not anymore.
In fact, I’m just loving Pinterest. Check out!
These are the stats of February 2020.
Well, it is not easy. You have to put creativity and energy in bringing compelling images, right hashtags, and titles.
It could be your biggest asset.
Now how to get blog post ideas from Pinterest?
Simple. Search the main topic or keywords related to your niche in the search box and see for yourself how much potential Pinterest has got in terms of ideas.
Here is my Pinterest profile if you’re interested to connect with me there.
Quora has got you covered with almost everything.
It has a range of Questions & Answers right from topics like Sex, relationships to technology, education, sports, politics, etc.
It is easy to get started with Quora through an email account, Gmail and Facebook. While setting up the account, you can customize your interests and preferences so that you can see the content you like.
Once you’re ready, type some keyword or question related to your niche in the search box. You’ll see the related topics and Questions that already have on Quora.
See the ‘Add Question’ button?
By clicking that you can ask a question to the niche Influencers and top writers to get various opinions.
Once you search for a question and land on it, in the sidebar you’ll see “related questions” that are already asked by the users.
Now it’s your turn to understand the intent behind those questions and prepare the next blog post topic for your blog.
4. Blog post topic title generators
Till now, if you’re not sure how to get your blog post idea, probably tools could be your best chance. Using the below tools you can get cool ideas as well as compelling titles.
- Hemingway share through
- Tweak Your Biz
- Impact bnd
- KickAss headline generator by SumoMe
These are some tools that can help you get triggered with some cool ideas. Remember, these are the tools used by thousands of bloggers and marketers out there, which means people might have already used those titles. But hey! don’t get disappointed, as I said, with unique writing style and voice, you will have the chance to outrank them all.
Eight bonus secrets for powerful blogging
1. Become a specialist
With the deep neck competition, people wouldn’t just listen to a random blogger who talks about routine tips & strategies that are already rolling out on the Internet. You need to master the niche and become a GURU.
Why should people listen to you unless you have proven experience in the subject?
That experience my friend comes from consistent learning and putting efforts to know even a tiny detail about your niche.
2. Don’t be self-centered
It means helping others – Be it readers or fellow bloggers.
Remember? Numbers and profits flow through human beings.
Here are 2 ways you can do that:
- Connect with people, start having a little chat about blogging, and engage with their content by sharing and commenting.
- Buy their product if you feel it is valuable for you; drop a review and promote it.
- Mention them in your content with a backlink and endorse it.
The more you help others, the more you get noticed.
3. Be you
I have seen a few new bloggers immediately start copying the style of established bloggers – Content writing style.
Don’t do that. While it is good to observe the habits and style of successful bloggers but I would suggest you develop your own. Be you, brainstorm creativity and write content from your heart.
Tell stories and inspire people with your writing. You get all the success in the world if you know how to play the 26 alphabets’ game in different ways.
4. Kick the Procrastination
The Internet is a boon.
By simply sitting in a home you are learning how to start a blog.
We get to see so much knowledge with the help of the Internet. We think of developing a course and sell, or publishing an eBook on Amazon, we dream but don’t act on it immediately.
That is called Procrastination – Postponing things that we want to do. Always waiting for the perfect timing to get started or being lazy to do something.
Believe me, it is your biggest enemy and stops you from being successful.
How to overcome it?
- Feeling uncomfortable? That’s the best time to get yourself to work.
- Kill the fears and self-doubts.
- Never care what others think if you do it, If you think it’s right, just do it.
- Manage the work calendar ( Through apps like Google Sheets, Todoist, excel, etc.).
- You don’t have to do everything at once. Break your work into small parts and finish one-by-one. This way, you don’t see it as a bigger task.
- And finally, develop more passion for your blogging. Have a strong vision to achieve your goals.
Guys, life is too short to postpone things. Do not cringe yourself, let the emotions flow through yourself and put them into the actionable mode.
New ideas come in a flash and go, so always carry yourself with pen-paper or mobile to note down. Importantly, let go of the fears and free yourself from everything that weighs you down.
5. User experience
Do you know your blog’s appearance tells “why you are blogging.”
- If it is flashy with crazy widgets, ads all over, and banners – It means you’re not serious for your readers.
- If it is simple, plain and easy to consume – It means you care for your readers.
The user experience of your blog could be page loading speed, navigation, and display.
This is one of the major reasons I suggest Siteground hosting. It’s inbuilt SG optimizer plugin optimizes everything that helps your blog load in less than 3 seconds. You can visit Gtmetrix.com and check my blog speed, on average, it loads in 1.8 seconds with most resources optimized.
Even, reports tell that, if a page loads under 4 seconds, it is considered as poor user experience.
Font type, font size, spacing, colors, etc.
These elements define most UX part of your blog.
Here is my suggestion for them:
- Font type – I won’t suggest fancy fonts that are hard to read and give a bit of stress to the reader. Make the reading experience convenient, that’s all you should care about.
- Font size – See what fits the screen and easier to view.
- Spacing – I’m talking about the space between each line and heading to the line. This should be in balance so that the reader can go with the flow without distraction.
- Colors – Depends on your theme. Colors are powerful and can change the moods of a reader. Try to keep a white background with some dark color for headlines and other elements.
Your readers might not stay on a single page. So give them easy navigation choices to explore your blog in an easier way. Give them an easy way to access all your pages and posts.
- Header menu with pages like About, Resources, Categories, Blog, and get to start guides, etc.
- Breadcrumb (optional)
- For internal and external links, I suggest you mark the blue color.
- Sidebar – The space that is available to the right side of the blog. You can enable sidebar and add the latest posts option, email subscribe or any other widget or you can just skip and run the blog without sidebar. Experiment what works best for you.
UX is truly rewarding. You just need to do it the right way.
6. Be passionate about SEO
For a long time, I ignored SEO and couldn’t understand that SEO would be a game-changer for me.
It is an art – Creating content, optimizing with right keywords, title & other elements in order to appear on search results for particular keywords that you desire.
It is very important to learn and understand the modern techniques of SEO in order to achieve huge blogging success. On the bottom line, here is what I want you to do:
- Put all your energy in writing a masterpiece article even if it is taking months of time.
- Invest the same or more energy in constantly promoting and repurposing it.
- Develop relationships, write guest posts and build backlinks to your blog.
- Use the interlinking strategy smartly.
- Build a personal brand.
- Be real and helpful on social media; your least focus should be promoting yourself.
7. Repurpose old content
This is my favorite and keeps me going. You can call it ‘content audit’ as well.
Do you believe, I had deleted almost 8 categories and 400+ blog posts last year?
Yes, I had to do, to push myself forward and keep the pace. You cannot hold on to old things in blogging that holds you back.
As your blog grows, often old content is ignored. But here’s the thing:
You always (maybe every month or less than that) need to visit your blog as a common reader, read the content and see how it is sounding. If I am not wrong, every time you visit, there must be something you feel like needs to change/update with fresh words or stats.
It is not difficult to do. Often, bloggers run for new ideas to publish and forget that they already have a lot of content that needs to be shaped and to be ranked on Google. Every article on your blog deserves top position to site on Google.
So go optimize it!
8. Mind your hard work
You are learning new things, applying to your blog, bringing success to yourself. Now, what if all of it vanishes with a server crash or hacker hacks your blog?
Gosh! a nightmare to imagine, right?
That’s why I always say invest decent money in hosting. My recommendation is Siteground. Here are some benefits if you go with Siteground hosting.
- It creates daily automatic backups. If you want a manual, you can do it by yourself in a minute.
- Inbuilt CDN (needs to activate manually under tools) to protect your blog from online threats and spammers.
- Be default, their servers are set to use the latest PHP version.
- IDS/IPS system which blocks malicious bots.
- SSL certificate (https)
- ModSecurity firewall is installed on their servers that continuously monitor and control the websites from intruders.
Unfortunately, most new bloggers opt for low quality and cheap price hosting providers and then opt to suffer. I don’t want my readers to be like that. Be wise, choose the right host, and be safe.
You absolutely deserve Siteground. Go for it!
How to make money blogging?
I share this not to demotivate you but guide you through the right way. Very recently, I made my first affiliate sales and it’s taken three years to make it. It doesn’t mean I didn’t make earlier, I made, but not decent sales that I made through the affiliate.
The point is, never distract yourself to the monetization until you build your blogging tribe.
Actually, I didn’t want to discuss this part in this how to start a blog guide.
That’s because…Since you are starting a blog today, you should not be focusing on money-making methods.
You need to build content, bringing the audience, giving value before you try to monetize by selling something to them.
Blogging can be your next 7 figure income job. But it is not easy and takes time to reach that point.
There are so many ways to monetize. But do they all really work?
It depends on your niche and you. However, here are some fine monetization ways that work great for any type of blogger:
1. Affiliate marketing
Not a big thing.
You go about building as a big audience as possible.
Then, within the content that you’ve produced, you recommend some products that are related to your niche and are helpful to the readers. If the reader clicks the link, make the purchase, you get a handsome commission.
As you can scale up traffic, you can recommend products through email, product reviews, banners, and other ways. Till then, focus on building trust and relationships with the audience. Some big brands might even pay you $500+ money for 1 sale.
- Product reviews ( Example: Review of OnePlus 7, give your honest review, place your link, and get commissions if the sale happens).
- Case studies ( How I reduced my weight from 120 kgs to 80 with this Spin Bike in 3 months).
- Product comparisons ( One Plus 7 versus iPhone 11).
- Via banners, adding links into your content
Keep in mind
- Whatever the way you pick out of above, always give accurate and honest information.
- Promote niche relevant products.
- Focus on a single product at once instead of all.
- Do not ruin your blog UX by slapping the banners all over it.
- Promote only those are reliable and you believe in/used.
eBooks are sort of books that are published online, can be downloaded online and read on mobile, laptops, Kindle, etc devices.
I launched my 1st eBook in October 2019 and made less than $50 over each of the first 3 months. However, I may not be focusing on eBooks for some time as I am busy with affiliates these days 🙂
How to make money through eBooks?
- Make yourself clear about what you want to write (main topic and chapters).
- Pack it with extra value ( Share your knowledge, experiences, and stats).
- Focus on solving the reader’s problem but not on the increasing word count in the book.
- Create a compelling cover page by hiring an expert or by yourself through Canva.
- I suggest Amazon in the first place for obvious reasons.
- Download Amazon KDP software, upload your word doc and convert it into Amazon’s readable format.
- Add product description, title, details and set the price.
With platforms like Amazon, you can publish eBooks with various formats, such as digital, paperback and audio.
Once you publish the eBook, don’t forget to promote it on your blog and with your email subscribers. Also, try to get more reviews as reviews can help the new users to make the decision faster.
3. Sponsored content
A sponsored article is when you get paid to talk about a product or a business on your blog.
Brands, startups, and enterprises always want to promote their products with a larger audience base. And they prefer bloggers to take their word out. You need some big numbers in order to close the sponsored content deals – depending on your blog’s authority and traffic, you will be paid.
Unless you have a strong organic presence, it will take a good amount of time to grow through this monetization method. However, it is a great way to scale your income and give new products to your readers.
How to make money through sponsored content
- Grow your audience base.
- Create an ‘advertise’ page with your blog numbers and previous collaborations (if any).
- Reach out to small brands first, as they pay much attention to grow their exposure. Go easy with short and straight to the point communications.
- If the deal stands, publish the content on your blog with a ‘sponsored’ label, as you don’t want to confuse Google and readers between general and sponsored content.
If you are a health blogger, you can reach out to fitness product brands to ask them to promote their products with your audience. You can charge according to your blog traffic, engagement, efforts involved in publishing, and other benefits you are providing.
Keep in mind, do not undervalue yourself as a blogger, as any blogger must keep the confidence in reaching out to brands and proposing the service for a fixed price.
4. Sell your knowledge (Freelancing)
It’s the quickest method to make money after starting a blog.
You have started a blog and understand how all this thing works – Like purchasing a domain, hosting and setting up the blog, etc stuff. So you can simply sell that knowledge as a service for beginners. Cool, Isn’t it?
When I was working as a day employee, I did a couple of my first FREELANCE WRITING gigs. And that blew me away how can someone earn pocket money by doing this thing.
I went through that idea and somehow I got a good amount of writing gigs for myself. I will not forget my first payment for writing a 1000 words article on ‘Antique products sale’ and got paid $10. The reward was small, but the confidence I got was accountable.
How to make money through Freelancing
- Create a pitch. You should build out ‘Hire me’ or ‘About’ pages and sell yourself by putting the value first.
- Put your talent deliverable on a design. Use canva or hire a designer to design a banner for you that increases the prospects’ mind to hire you. Something like this:
- Eventually, you can pitch niche prospects for
- Graphic designing
- Blog setup
- Consultation services
- Social media management
- Web designing
- Paid ads and so on.
Freelancing is not a cup of coffee. You constantly need to work on giving an extra benefit to your clients to keep them happy and coming to you. Moreover, small businesses are willing to give out their projects only for freelancers by thinking that they would work with extra care. So why not we give a try and keep their promise?
Your family and you deserve the big financial FREEDOM 🙂
What about other monetization methods?
Well, I’m not sure because I haven’t given a try yet. Here is the list you could try:
- Public speaking at events
- Ad networks like Adsense, Medianet (Tried for some time but couldn’t make money)
- Selling courses & physical products
- Podcast sponsorships (Recommended tool: Podbean)
FAQs about How to start a blog
I was a beginner once and I’ve been learning all the way through. Here are some questions I guess most beginners would have in their mind.
How do I differentiate a blog and a website?
- The modern definition of a blog – A blog that has got information about a particular niche in the form of articles and pages. And the blog is likely to be maintained by a person (blogger) or more.
- Website – Likely to be maintained by a firm (LLC, Inc, public limited, Pvt ltd) to showcase their services, portfolio in order to make business.
Can I create a blog for FREE?
Free blogs look like
- yourwebsite.blogspot.com – if you create on blogger.com
- yourwebsite.wordpress.com – if you create on wordpress.com
Still, if you want to know how to start a blog for free, here is what you need to know about them:
- A free blog is not yours to take control of. Data can be taken down at any point in time by your blogging platform owners.
- Features and customizations are limited.
If you are serious about blogging, I suggest you start with a self-hosted WordPress blog as mentioned in the above sections.
What should you do if you need some technical help?
First, don’t panic. You can contact me, I would be glad to help.
I would suggest you join bloggers groups on Facebook or forums or even Twitter so that you can get help.
Some things never come free: like the great design or a premium plugin. So don’t step back to invest money while you learn new skills and apply.
I am not good at English, Will I succeed?
Don’t even worry about it. Keep practicing to write daily; offline or online. Just make sure you keep the flow. No one is perfect in the beginning. Use tools like Grammarly that correct your sentence formations and grammar mistakes. It has a FREE version as well with limitations.
How often should you publish articles?
There’s no particular rule for that. Few bloggers publish articles every day and few do it once in a week or even a month. Quality is more important than quantity so focus only on delivering value to the audience.
How many words should I write in one blog post?
- I would suggest 700+ words depending on the keyword popularity if you look with an SEO point of view.
- You can conclude the article with even 500 words if you want to answer a general query of a reader.
Always write high valued, lengthy and detailed guides if you want to rank for high competitive keywords. You wouldn’t believe if I say there are some articles on the Internet with even 20,000 words.
Make sure you don’t drag the content for the sake of word length.
- Short posts are super effective that are interesting and straight to the point.
Should I get a paid Logo for my blog?
I don’t think so. Visit canva and design it for FREE, if you don’t like the designs there, just hire someone to do it for you.
If I don’t get traffic and results how long should I wait before I quit?
I’m not giving you any timeline to start making money. But as I see most bloggers start seeing income after a year or even more, in my case, it is three years.
Traffic and blog authority comes along with time and consistent hard work. If things are not working for you, it means something is going wrong in the blog’s technical aspect or with you.
- If it is with the blog, a site audit with SEMrush could figure the issue.
- If it is with you, the only person can find out is ‘you.’
Even my blog had so many technical errors earlier. However, I have resolved with the help of my friend Nikola.
Any final advice on how to start a blog?
Create daily, weekly and monthly goals. Work smart and hard to achieve them without being lazy. Keep a track of your progress and see if there is a scope to do better. The initial focus should be on learning and building a community. Once you have the audience and quality content on your blog, there are multiple streams you can open to make loads of money.
Well, that’s all for now.
As you start blogging, you shall explore more. Don’t worry about the competition: Be consistent, give your best, look back and improve. To know more about monetizing your blog, go through my article on How to make money blogging.
Now you have learned all about how to start a blog and it’s your turn now to show some magic.
Thanks for keeping patience and reading till here, I appreciate that. I wish you great success, happiness, and health.
Disclosure – This article has affiliate links which means we may get a small commission if you buy through them. Please read the complete disclosure for more details.