Are you tired of your job? Are you sick of commuting every day? Are you finally ready to make a change and take a step closer to following your dreams and being your own boss? Then look no further. This easy to follow 11 step guide will show you how to start a successful blog and get it up and running in no time.
So, are you ready to board the plane and experience one of the best journeys of your life?
Step 1: Choose your niche
What do you enjoy doing? Where do your talents lie?
Before buying a domain name and web hosting, it is vital to identify a niche for your blog. It has to be something you are passionate about and possess knowledge in. On top of that, it has to be profitable in the long run. Ideally, it is a topic that people search for and are willing to spend money on.
Just write down a list of things you can think of and explore those niches in a bit more detail in Google. If you want to write about “healthy meals”, you have to be a bit more specific about your topic.
For example, “healthy meals on a budget” or “quick easy healthy meals”. Google Suggest is a great tool.
Other examples of blog niches may include:
- Traveling + on a budget / by train / with a baby
- Healthy + dessert recipes / lunch ideas / family meals
- How to cope with + anxiety / depression / grief
- Lose weight + with yoga / with weights / after baby
Are you still stuck with your niche topic? Check out these 80 blog post ideas to get some inspiration.
Remember, a perfect niche is a combination of three ingredients:
- Your passion and interest
- Your knowledge and experience
- Niche profitability
Now that we have picked our niche, it is time to choose a domain name and purchase some web hosting.
Step 2: Purchase a domain and web hosting
How to choose a domain name?
It is very important to choose a domain name that is going to be descriptive and let your readers know what your blog is about. It also has to be quite short and easy to remember. We want to avoid lengthy names that are hard to pronounce and memorize.
Ideally, your domain name should:
- Be descriptive, contain some indication of your niche in it
- Be short and memorable (no more than 4 words)
- Avoid using number and hyphens
- Use the .com extension if possible
What web hosting to purchase?
I personally use Hostwinds and never experience any issues with them. Why did I choose them among other big names like GoDaddy or Bluehost? Because they offer more value for the same amount of money.
By paying $3.29 a month, you get:
- A free domain name, so no need to purchase that separately
- Unlimited bandwidth and unlimited disk space
- Unlimited email accounts
- Easy WordPress installation
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- and much more
“A little note: this post contains affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission that helps me keep this site going. Thanks!”
Step-by-step guide on how to purchase a domain and web hosting with Hostwinds:
- Go to Hostwinds and select “Basic Shared” plan for $3.29/mo
- Fill in your “Client Information” (First name, Last name, Phone number, Address, etc) and pick your “Domain” name (I have used wordpressblog2019.com as an example)
- Fill in your “Package Information” (Billing cycle – 12 months; Location – Dallas; Package – Basic Web Hosting)
- Fill in your “Payment Information” and pay the total of $39.42
That’s your domain name and web hosting sorted for a whole year. Now we are ready to pick a blogging platform that will best suit your blog’s needs.
Step 3: Pick a blogging platform
There a quite a few blogging platforms out there and each one of them has its advantages and disadvantages. I would highly recommend using WordPress if you are creating your first blog. According to various sources, approximately 30% of sites on the World Wide Web are powered by WordPress. If you a new to blogging, WordPress is the solution for you. It is perfect for beginners and offers some powerful tools that are easy to use and navigate.
Step 4: Install WordPress
It is super easy to install WordPress through your web host and I will show you how.
Step-by-step guide on how to install WordPress with Hostwinds:
- Go to your Hostwinds Client Area and click on “Manage”
- Go to “Login to cPanel” in the “Actions” menu
- Click on “Softaculous Apps Installer” icon
- Choose the “WordPress” icon
- Click on the “Install Now” button
- Fill in your details and click “Install” button
- Installation process complete! Now you have links to your brand new WordPress blog and its admin area (wp-admin)
Your blog is live and you can start customizing its appearance via the administrative URL (wp-admin).
Step 5: Choose a WordPress theme
The great thing about WordPress is that there are thousands of free themes to choose from. Depending on the topic of your blog, you can pick a theme that is most suitable for your niche – food and drink, photography, holidays, e-commerce, etc.
Step-by-step guide on how to choose a WordPress theme:
- Login to your admin area (yourdomainname.com/wp-admin). You are in your WordPress Dashboard now.
- Go to “Appearance” >> “Themes” >> “Add New”
- On top of the “Add Themes” page, click “Popular” and browse thousands of free themes (4057 to be exact)
- If you want to narrow down your search, click the “Feature Filter”, pick your filters, and click “Apply Filters”
- Once you have chosen a theme, click “Install” >> “Activate”
Now your blog has got a completely new appearance. Choosing a responsive and good looking theme is very important for your readers’ experience. In the example above I’m using the “Ashe” theme.
Step 6: Install essential WordPress plugins
Before creating your first page and post, it is necessary to install some of the essential WordPress plugins that will monitor and enhance your blog’s performance. No doubt you will be downloading dozens of more plugins as time progresses, but to start with, I would recommend installing these 3 must-have plugins:
#1. Yoast SEO – the number one SEO plugin for WordPress (create SEO-friendly pages and posts for Google)
#2. MonsterInsights – the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress (keep track of your performance and audience)
#3. WP Super Cache – WordPress plugin that produces static HTML files (vital for website load speed)
So how do we install these plugins? Find out below.
Step-by-step guide on how to choose a WordPress theme:
- Go to “Plugins” >> “Add New”
- Input your plugin name into the “Search plugins” bar
- Once you have chosen the plugin you want to install, click “Install Now” >> “Activate”
Repeat these steps for any other plugins you want to install. Remember to activate all the plugins and set them up later. Make sure to update them whenever a new update is available.
Step 7: Create your Home page
How to start a successful blog and make your readers stay on your pages? Create a killer home page. A home page is one of the most important pages on your blog. It has to be informative and tell the reader what your blog is about. It can also have some information about yourself, what services you offer, what you’re known for, your most popular posts and so on. At the end of the day, it is really up to you. But make sure to be creative and stand out from the other people in your niche. Don’t be a copycat. Be YOU!
I really like the Authority Hacker website. These guys have made an awesome and informative page that pretty much tells us what their entire website is about.
Obviously, our blog is empty as of now and we do not have much information to put on the home page just yet. But it is still essential to make it memorable. Tell people why you started this blog. Tell them your story. Be authentic. Now let’s get to the technical side of things and look at how to create a home page/
Step-by-step guide on how to create your WordPress home page:
- Go to your Dashboard and click on “Set up your homepage”
- I recommend choosing a static page for your home page. Choose “A static page” >> “Add new page” >> type “Home” >> “Publish”
Now your home page is ready to be filled with your information. Be creative and write from your heart.
Step 8: Perform keyword research for your first blog post
Before we can dive into writing our first blog post, it is vital to do some keyword research and find those profitable and competitive keywords in our niche.
The perfect scenario would be to find a keyword that has high search volume and low SEO difficulty. However, these keywords are extremely rare and chances are all the other big bloggers and marketers are already using them anyway. Therefore I advise every newbie to start publishing posts that focus on long-tail keywords – keywords that consist of 4 or more words and are very specific. These keywords usually don’t have thousands of searches per month, however they are easier to rank for as the competition is lower. In this instance, it is advisable to have a high CPC (cost per click) and low keyword difficulty.
My favorite free keyword research tool to use is Ubersuggest.
As you can see, “healthy food recipes” has got 22,200 searches per month, a CPC of $2.69, but a quite high SEO difficulty – 32. For us, it would be wiser to go for a long-tail keyword like “healthy food recipes for dinner”. We have a good chance to rank high for this keyword and gain a few hundred clicks to our post per month. Once your blog has a higher domain authority score, feel free to target keywords with higher SEO difficulty. But for now, I recommend targeting long-tail keywords.
Another good keyword tool I use is KWFinder. It is the perfect tool to find long-tail keywords with low SEO difficulty.
Although it is a paid tool, they have an awesome 10-day FREE trial that requires no card details to be put in. I definitely recommend using it and doing as much research as possible.
If you want to learn about keyword research in more detail, check out my Keyword Research for SEO guide.
Step 9: Write your first blog post
By now you should have a few keywords written down that can be used in your first blog post. Before we get to the technical side of publishing a post, let me share a few tips with you.
First of all, pick one keyword and come up with a blog post title. Remember to include your keyword in the title.
A few examples of blog post titles:
- Keyword: “how to invest in stocks” >> Post title: “How to invest in stocks: An easy guide for 2019”
- Keyword: “ways to save money” >> Post title: “100 Great ways to save money”
- Keyword: “cover letter template” >> Post title: “Best cover letter template to land your dream job”
Second of all, aim to write blog posts that are 2000 words long or more. According to several findings, the average word count of a Google first page result is 1,900 words. What’s more, several other studies found that longer content generally performs better in Google searches.
Now let’s create our very first blog post.
Step-by-step guide on how to create a blog post in WordPress:
- Go to “Posts” >> “Add New”
- Enter blog post title and text, aim to keep the word count to 2000+ words
- “Add Media” – upload all the necessary images
- Chose a category (add a new category if necessary) and add some tags
- Click “Publish”
That’s it! Your first blog post is ready and live.
Step 10: Register with Google Analytics and Google Search Console
I highly suggest registering with Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Google Analytics is a must-have tool to track your website’s performance. Check out the Google Analytics for Beginners official tutorial below and learn how to create an account and implement the tracking code on your blog.
Google Search Console is another important tool to have as it not only measures your site’s traffic and performance but also alerts you of issues your site experiences and helps you fix them.
Backlinko has a very good guide about Google Search Console that shows you how to use it, how to add your website to it, and introduces you to all the main features and settings.
Step 11: Start driving traffic to your blog
We cannot have a successful blog without traffic. After you have created your home page and published your first post, it is time to start driving some traffic to our site. I think every blogger wants his or her content to get noticed and read by people.
In the beginning stages of your blog, I would recommend using the following tactics to drive traffic:
- Implement on-page SEO – use your keyword in the post title, URL, and throughout your text; use relevant outbound links and internal links; optimize your images and include the keyword in the file name and Alt text; use social media sharing buttons; make sure your post length is 2000+ words.
- Create micro content from your blog posts – create short stories, infographics, memes, GIFs and share them on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn are the platforms I would focus on)
- Join niche related subreddits, post useful content, engage in discussions and answer other people’s questions
- Create a Quora account, answer people’s questions and link your answers to relevant content on your site
- Make YouTube video guides and tutorials – if you are comfortable in front of a camera and knowledgeable in the topic you present, do not miss out on this opportunity to drive some extra traffic
Today you have learned the basics of how to start a successful blog. However, if you are serious about blogging and want to make it a full-time venture in a year or two, things don’t stop here. Knowledge is power and experience is everything. So make sure to learn new things, read industry-related articles and write content EVERY DAY. Keep up the hard work and the results will start showing.
Got any comments or questions? Please leave them in the comment section below.