Creating a blog might sound intimidating at first, but following these EASY steps can make everything less confusing. When starting a blog, you must…
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If you are looking for the ultimate side hustle this 2020 with a lot of potential of someday becoming your main source of income, you came to the right place. By starting a blog and becoming successful, you will earn extra cash on the side, maybe even more than your main income source. A lot of bloggers, including myself, have quit our jobs and decided to take this route, instead.
In this guide, you will learn how to start a blog and make money in the easiest way possible by just following 9 easy steps. It may sound intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, you can start blogging and making money in no time.
Aside from sharing my own experiences, I also spoke with a couple of successful bloggers to share some useful tips on how they made it from zero experience to where they are today.
Starting On the Right Foot
With proper execution and the right tactics, you can start earning money in a matter of months. Even with the millions of bloggers that came before you, it is never too late to start blogging. Just remember; start your blog the right way.
If you are worried that all the topics have tough competition and you run out of things to talk about, I have one thing to tell you: It’s okay!
Blog niches and topics never run out. All it will take to start a blog is one idea and proper execution, and this guide will show you how. Even with competition, all you have to do is size them up and make sure your content beats theirs.
I’m not going to lie to you. There is a slight possibility of failing, and I have failed miserably in the first few tries. However, thanks to my trial and error, I learned the ropes of creating a blog. I came up with a working step-by-step method on how to start a blog, and I want to share it with you at no cost on your end.
Most people had to pay a big deal of cash to get information on how to create a blog, and I was one of them. I must admit, the classes helped a lot, but most of my knowledge came from personal experience.
Now, I am sharing everything I know to you—for FREE.
Think of this article as a free way to learn how to earn. So, before we dive deep into the discussion, here is a quick look at the 9 easy steps on how to make a blog and earn money.
9 Complete and Easy Steps on How to Start a Blog in 2020 (and make money!)
Think of your blog’s overall topic and niche.
Choose a catchy name for your website and check its availability.
Get your blog online through web hosting.
Design your WordPress site using themes.
Write content people need.
Write your first blog post.
Promote your blog through various channels (get traffic to your blog).
Commit to a regular publishing schedule.
Learn how to monetize your blog to generate income.
What Is a Blog?
A blog is a website that focuses more on regularly published content based on the experience and knowledge of the writer. It can be a personal blog that features stories and experiences based on a particular topic or a collection of product reviews, recommendations, etc. Successful blogs produce helpful posts that would answer some of the general public’s queries.
Think of a blog as one very long conversation that involves you and people like you who have the same interests.
Blog posts are often written in a casual tone, which is slightly less formal than editorials or news articles. It should feature light reading material so that it can attract more readers that would eventually become followers, ultimately reaching your goal of generating income.
Why Start a Blog?
Many successful bloggers, including Howard John from Coupon Lawn, (1) strongly suggest that the most important part of starting a blog is to know the reason why you want to have one. Preparing everything from start to finish is the only recipe you need to follow.
Benefits of Creating a Blog
Starting a blog has many benefits. If you do everything right, there are so many benefits that come with blogging, such as:
- Generate income and help you with your finances
- Help your existing business or business in development get its name on the map and earn income
- In blogging, hard work pays off
- You can work on your own schedule
- You are able to spend more time with friends and family
- You have more time to do what you love
Starting a blog gave me the freedom that I never had before. My previous job felt like a trap and I was not moving. I went through too much stress trying to keep up with my 9-to-5 schedule. I never had enough time to travel, enjoy my hobbies, or hang out with friends. Most of all, I did not have the drive or passion for my work.
It had me questioning my purpose. I wondered if I could ever find the courage to quit my job and do something I am passionate about. Having a job pays the bills and all that, but it also leads to a lot of stress that no amount of money can buy.
Now that I am a full-time blogger, I enjoy the benefits that come with it. Honestly, it can be stressful at times and things seem to fall apart, but nothing feels better than overcoming the challenges and keeping things afloat.
Blogging with No Technical Experience: Is it Possible?
Some people are intimidated to make a blog because of the lack of experience in so many aspects like building websites, editing photos, or writing.
The truth is, everything is made easy nowadays. In a matter of a few clicks, you can start creating and designing a website without having any experience or diplomas in IT or computer programming. Although I do think that having these skills will give you a significant advantage.
When I started my first blog, I never had any experience with website design or anything too technical. Fortunately, there were tons of tools that helped me create and design one within my reach.
As we move further into this article, I will point out the tools you can use to build and design your website with absolute ease.
How Much Money Can I Make by Starting a Blog?
Depending on the amount of effort you put in, you can make a lot of money from your blog, sometimes even more than working as an employee. In my case, I now earn more than what I used to make in a month.
I would never suggest to you quit your job right away. Remember, there are bills you need to pay, and it would take a minimum of 6 months or longer for a blog to really generate income. In some cases, if a blog is executed the right way, it can generate income much faster.
I can’t guarantee your success in blogging, but there are proven steps that worked for me and for a hundred other people that I know. In that case, it will most likely work for you too. All you need is to focus and have the determination to do it right!
There is a little bit of margin for error, and it is quite unavoidable. So, loosen up, relax, and learn how to start a blog (the right way).
1. Think of your blog’s overall topic and niche
A blog starts with one idea. Choosing the topic is the most vital step throughout the whole process of starting a blog. Remember, if anything goes wrong in the first step, it would affect the outcome of your whole project.
What Can You Blog About?
What are the possible topics can you write about?
In the process of ideation, you must consider several factors before sticking with the one niche. While some people take spiritual journeys to come up with the perfect topic for their blog, I can point out what you need to watch out for and help you think of a niche in the comfort of your home.
Ideally, the niche you should choose is something you know a lot about, something you are passionate about, or something you have interest in. At some point, you’ll be able to craft an unfamiliar topic successfully through research.
However, I suggest that you write something familiar in your first try. It saves you time and you can write a lot more about a topic you are an expert in.
A successful blog always comes down to the quality of the content. I spoke with Karl Armstrong, founder of Epic Win Application (2), one of the fastest-growing websites in the SAAS market. Karl told me that if you can only achieve high-quality content when you blog about the things you love and the things that you are truly passionate about. This statement is true not only for Karl but for a thousand other successful bloggers, including myself.
Aside from planning your content based on your expertise, hobbies, and passion, you should also consider establishing connections with other writers and bloggers. By encouraging interactions, you are building a great foundation and a community within your niche. The more you let other writers know about your work, the more they are going to take their time and read your content, which will lead to a bigger audience.
Building your audience might be a little way down the road, but it is always better to think ahead at this point. Starting your blog the right way is the best and only way to become successful and earn money quicker, which is one of the primary goals for creating a blog.
Helpful Tip: Don’t worry about your topic not sounding too profitable. Even the weirdest and most uncommon topics have the potential to make money.
Here are other factors you should consider before selecting a topic:
Potential Audience and Potential Revenue
A good topic should be about something that can gain a potential number of audience and followers, which will eventually lead to more revenue. Like I mentioned above, most topics have the potential to make money. What matters is the quality of your piece and how it can help readers.
If you like something, there is a chance that people also like the same thing. For example, if you are passionate about producing music, you can write about music because there are millions of others who like music. However, music is a really broad topic, so you can try to make it more specific, such as “music production”.
Although the topic “music production” is still too broad, so what I would do is narrow it down a bit more and choose “home music production.”
Now, I have come up with a niche that is not too broad yet not too specific that it would not have any followers. I can still get more specific and choose something like “home music production for beginners,” but it would lower down my options for topics to write since it will now only cater to beginners. What I would do is to just use “beginners” as a category on some of my posts, so I can still tackle topics about advanced home music production on my blog posts.
By incorporating my experience with music and knowing that a lot of people are like me, I managed to come up with a strong topic that would have many potential readers.
However, simply writing about your passion is not enough for a blog to succeed. You need to incorporate your topic with digital marketing tactics for it to work as a viable business.
One of the most common reasons for a failing blog is not following through with simple digital marketing tactics. Some blogs take years to get any results, and most bloggers cannot wait any longer so they give up.
Incorporating Your Passion with Business
Affiliate Marketing Potential and How it Works
Does your topic have an affiliate marketing potential? If you think there is a huge potential for partners, you have to dig deeper into affiliate marketing.
Let’s use the “home music production” niche in this example because I know that this topic has tons of potential for affiliate marketing.
First off, you can partner up with online distributors that sell music gear. This type of product is not cheap, and you can get a sum of money through a commission by writing gear reviews and list posts.
If your blog gains a lot of readers and page views per month based on the topic you are writing about, you can market products from affiliate links and gain commission once your readers click the purchase link from your website.
For example, you wrote a post about the “10 Best Condenser Microphones for Your Home Music Studio,” each of those 10 items will have links to Amazon or other online distributors. This content alone would give you loads of commission when people bite into your product links.
Opting for affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to get paid for your blog. If your topic has a lot of potential for doing product reviews, you should definitely look into it more once you are in the stage of planning your content.
Depending on your niche, affiliate marketing does not have to be physical products like musical instruments. You can also get affiliated with other websites and services. It is also better if you genuinely advocate for the products you are affiliated with so you can promote their products in good faith.
If you want to make sure that the blog topic you chose has a high search volume, you can do simple keyword research. The best free keyword research tool you can start with is Keywords Everywhere. It is a browser plugin that you can install on Chrome or Firefox.
Using search engines such as Google and Pinterest can also give you insight into the keywords with high search volume.
According to Jeremy Harrison, who runs a successful blog called Hustle Life, (3), the key to a successful blog is to find your niche based on keyword research. You can formulate your content from the keywords you search and build off ongoing consistent content from that.
If you go on Pinterest, go ahead and search a term. All of the results will quickly pop up. The keywords on the upper part of the screen have the highest search volume related to your topic.
Keyword research plays a big part in planning your content as well, and we will talk more about that later once we reach that step.
The last thing you should do to check if your niche is viable on the business end is to check your competition. It is better to have competition in a specific niche but make sure that you can beat the competition in terms of having better content.
Having no competition is like discovering an untapped resource, and you are lucky if you can think of a topic with zero competition to worry about.
On the other hand, having a little bit of competition is fine because knowing that someone else is making money out of that topic means you can make money, too. Make sure to beat your competitors by analyzing their blogs.
In the topic we chose as an example, there are tons of competitors. With that in mind, it just means that there is a lot of potential for you to make money and create a viable business.
2. Choose a catchy name for your website and check its availability
Now that you figured out what you are going to write about, it is time to pick a domain name or URL. The URL is the site address. For example, Google’s URL is google.com.
You don’t need to spend a lot of time thinking about the URL address, but you have to make sure that it can at least summarize the content that your audience would expect.
The best URL names are usually one-word URLs with a maximum of three syllables, which makes them easy to remember. However, if your niche is way too specific to put into one word, at least pick a word that is associated with the content of your blog.
Choosing a “.com” name is best because it gives off an illusion that your site has more authority and is more trustworthy. In fact, most of the most well-known and authoritative websites across the internet have a “.com” name.
What if the name is already taken?
There are instances that the best blog name you can think of is already taken. Do not let this simple hurdle bring you down because there are millions of other names you can use. The name you pick does not have to be perfect. After all, starting a blog and becoming successful is not about being perfect, it is about how you execute the plan.
Recommended Site: Namecheap
If you have already thought of a domain name for your blog, you can purchase the domain name from sites like Namecheap. This website offers the cheapest packages starting from $8.88 a year for “.com” names. They also offer free privacy protection that protects domain owners’ sensitive data. Having all your domain names stored in one place also gives you the option to switch web hosting platforms anytime you want.
Of course, there are premium names that will cost over a thousand dollars, but as a beginner blogger, I do not recommend spending too much on buying a domain name. The goal is to make money with spending as little as possible.
Pro Tip: Although you can purchase a domain name from web hosting services like A2 Hosting, it is better to purchase your domain name from a separate website like Namecheap because:
- Domain names are cheaper
- Comes with FREE WhoisGuard privacy
- You can manage all your domain names in one place
- You have the option to switch web hosting platforms without changing your URL
An important step to creating a blog is securing your domain name, so make sure you do it with a website you can trust.
Is it okay to change the name in the future?
Changing your site’s URL is possible but not entirely advisable, especially if your blog is already live. Changing the name will affect your readers and email addresses linked to the original domain name. If it is not done right, it can cause a lot of problems for your blog.
If you cannot think of a domain name right away, hosting platforms like A2 Hosting allow you to change the domain name associated with your A2 Hosting account.
Tips on how to choose a blog name
There are many ways to come up with a clever blog name. There are millions of different blogs on the internet, but despite that, you can still think of a name with enough effort on your part.
You should not spend too much time thinking of names and spend that time planning and writing content, instead. However, if you want to speed up the process of thinking of a blog name, here are a couple of tips that helped me:
1. Use your own name or nickname
A lot of bloggers resort to using their own names for their blogs. If you think your name is easy to memorize and all the content pieces are your ideas anyway, you can use your name as your blog’s URL.
2. Try alliteration
Names like Best Buy, Coca Cola, or PayPal are clever names and examples of alliteration.
3. Try using clever puns
In the world of blogging, using puns is quite common because some are clever enough to work. It helps your readers to easily remember your blog’s name if they decide to revisit your content.
4. Try reading a dictionary or thesaurus
A dictionary and thesaurus are the best word resource. You can use a thesaurus to find words related to your main topic and come up with an excellent title.
I would suggest flipping a physical copy of a dictionary or a thesaurus. For me, it just works a lot better than using your computer.
5. Read a book
Think of the last book you’ve read and check if there are interesting words that could make an excellent blog name. Flipping through books might give you an idea for a blog name, especially in those pages that really caught your attention.
6. Brainstorm words related to your topic
You can think of a name by simply getting a piece of paper and jotting down words related to your primary niche. If your niche is about home music production, you can write words, such as.
7. Use humor
Incorporating humor with good taste also makes for a memorable URL name. It makes people laugh, and people will also remember the blog because of that funny experience of reading your blog’s name for the first time.
8. Sometimes unrelated words work too
Depending on your niche, sometimes unrelated words will work. It’s all just a matter of branding, and smart branding does not always need to make sense.
9. Adding words to your niche
Adding words like squad, edge, and crew, to your niches will sometimes work. Here are some good examples:
Kristin Marquet from Fem Founder (4) says that securing a domain name and building its pages is one of the first steps she did to create her very successful blog. Choosing the name of your blog is your first step into branding and creating a name for your blog, so do not take this step too lightly.
Thought of a domain name yet? Click on this link to get started!
How to Register a Domain Name with Namecheap
Signing up and getting your domain name is super easy! Just click on this link to get started with the FREE sign up process.
Step 1: Fill up the required fields.
Step 2: After signing up, you can go to their homepage and search for an available domain name. Type in the domain name of your choice in the search bar and press enter to check for availability. In this example, I chose the name “homestudiosquad.”
Step 3: You will be redirected to the results page. If a “.com” URL is not available, you will be given more choices. In this example, the address I entered is available and even comes with a discount promo code, which makes it cheaper than buying a domain name from anywhere else.
Step 4: Click on “add to cart”, and get ready to checkout. Make sure you put the discount promo code and activate the discount if any.
One of the advantages of choosing Namecheap for your domain name provider is the free WhoisGuard privacy protection. This feature protects all your sensitive data, and it is FREE FOREVER!
After activating the discount code, you will notice a significant discount applied to your total bill. This discount applies for 1 full year, which is big savings when you start making money with your blog within the first year.
Step 5: Confirm your order and fill out the payment info. Now, you are officially a website owner!
3. Get your blog online through web hosting
Now that you have secured domain name from Namecheap (5), it is time to put your plan into action. The first step to doing that is getting your blog online through a web hosting service.
To get your blog online and start earning money, make sure you choose the best web hosting platform. A2 Hosting has the best service & support and provides visitors with the fastest loading speeds.
In this step, you will be selecting a blogging platform and a web hosting plan you will use to make a tangible blog that you will build from scratch. It is a lot of work, but it is where the fun begins. Even with no experience or technical computer programming skills, you can create and design a website from scratch using the helpful tools that I will show you later.
Web hosting makes your website accessible to other people on the web. You will need a host to keep all your website data safe and secure. Web hosts also make sure that other people can visit and access your blog when they type in the URL. It is the platform that will serve as the home that you will design and accept visitors.
Getting your blog online through web hosting is the next important step, so make sure you click on this link to get started with A2 Hosting, the fastest web hosting platform for any blog.
Web Hosting Prices
Web hosting prices vary depending on the plan. Some web hosting services will offer a lower price depending on the plan you will sign up for. For beginners, I recommend getting a 1-year plan to start. Some cheap hosting companies might attract you because of the low price, but don’t get easily fooled by a low price. Some services are just not worth it, and I will tell you why.
Disclosure: This “beginner guide on how to start a blog” is free for anyone to read because I get compensated whenever someone purchases an A2 Hosting plan through my affiliate link. Even before I was affiliated with A2 Hosting, I have been a long-time user of their services, and I will never promote anything that I do not personally support.
Recommended Web Hosting Sites
I have been using A2 Hosting (6) for a couple of years now because it provides the best service. I have tried using other web hosting services in the past, but nothing compares to the speed, convenience, and service that A2 can offer.
A2 Hosting has a lot of different plans, depending on your budget. Of course, the fastest plans will cost more, but they do have excellent startup plans for beginner bloggers just like you.
Avoid Bad Web Hosting Companies
As a beginner blogger with no experience with hosting companies, you will come across both good and bad companies, but you can avoid signing up with the bad ones by reading this section of the article.
A lot of bad hosting services will fool you because of their cheap prices, but with hosts that have overloaded servers will cause your site to slow down or even crash, which can eventually drive visitors away. Nobody likes a slow website.
Usually, bad hosting services also have bad support. Some are unresponsive and will take days to fix your problem and get your website up and running again.
One of my worst experiences from bad hosting services is their bad security measures. One of my sites had malware, so they had to take it offline, which is understandable. What is not understandable is that they had to take the other 7 sites I own offline as well. After that experience, I switched to A2 Hosting, and I’ve been with them ever since.
A2 Hosting Advantages:
- 24/7 Support: Their support team is always online and available to help you with your concerns anytime.
- Turbo Servers: Their servers are much faster than any other web hosting service in its price range.
- Budget-Friendly: Their starter package costs as low as $2.99 per month.
- Free Security License: You will get a free SSL certificate for free.
- Easy WordPress Installation: You can install WordPress with a single click in a matter of seconds.
- No commitment: A2 Hosting is pretty much the only hosting platform that allows you to get your money back at any time during your plan. Make sure you sign up for their 36-month plan because it is not only the cheapest option, you can get a refund anytime if you are not happy with their service.
A2 Hosting (How to Create an Account)
One of the best things about A2 hosting is that they will install WordPress for you, unlike any other websites, where you have to go through a lot of trouble just to install WordPress. Here are the steps on how to sign up for hosting and get your website up and running:
To get started, just head on the A2 Hosting website, choose your plan, and get started. For first-time bloggers, I recommend going with their starter package.
Transfer Domain Name from Namecheap
Once you choose your plan, the next page will show you a few options. If you purchased a domain name from Namecheap, make sure you click on the “transfer your domain from another registrar” option.
As you can see, you can register a domain name through A2 Hosting as well. However, the price is significantly higher than purchasing one from Namecheap.
To save money on starting a blog, make sure you register your domain name using Namecheap.
Customizing Your Hosting
After transferring your existing domain name from Namecheap, you will be redirected to the next page. Here, you can customize your desired options from the length of your plan to choosing servers and more.
Choosing the 36-month plan will grant you the best deal and get you the best prices. Don’t worry about commitment, because you can opt-out anytime with A2 Hosting’s money-back guarantee.
The best choice is to choose a server that is closer to your potential readers to ensure that their experience is much faster when they visit your blog. For North American sites, you can choose between the Michigan or Arizona servers.
Adding a Backup Plan
As a beginner, I suggest adding a backup plan. It costs less than $2 a month, but I am telling you, having a backup plan will save your website. When customizing your website, there is a slight chance of ruining the whole thing with one wrong move. Without backup, it would be a massive problem, especially if you don’t have experience with PHP and coding.
Before checking out, you will find additional options at the bottom of the customization page. Make sure you choose to automatically install WordPress. This option will save you a lot of time.
Secure your Login Details
The login details will not be emailed, so you must copy them before checking out. Missing this step will cost you at least 30 mins. of tedious work trying to recover it from customer support.
After configuring your settings, all that is left to do is to check out. Fill in your payment details and get ready to have your website online.
After checking out, A2 Hosting will automatically build and configure a WordPress site that would take approximately 10 minutes.
After your page is set up, your new blog page will pop up in your browser. Congratulations, you just created your website. Don’t worry, no one will see your blog until you publish content.
Alternative Web Hosting Platforms
I strongly recommend that you use A2 Hosting, but if you want to try other hosting services, it is completely up to you. Here are some alternative hosting platforms that might be up your alley:
Bluehost is a decent web hosting service that most beginners start with, but I did have a lot of not so good experiences with this service. It is a cheap hosting service with affordable plans for first-time bloggers.
WPX is an excellent hosting service. This service has one of the fastest plans, but it will cost you. WPX is not the most budget-friendly option, especially for beginners. If you want quality at a cheap price, A2 Hosting still takes the cake.
We are almost half-way through building your successful blog. The next step is where the fun starts. You get to create the physical aesthetic of your blog, but remember that content is way more important than how your blog looks. A well-designed and organized blog will still attract a fraction of your readers.
4. Design your WordPress site using themes
Now that we finished the most crucial steps of how to create a blog, it’s time to have a little fun.
Designing your WordPress site is one of the most fun steps in creating a successful blog, and this is the part where you will start to feel like your hard work is paying off. I can assure you that you would not need any technical experience in web design or graphic design when designing your blog. All you need is a little creativity, and you are good to proceed.
Most bloggers use WordPress for their blogging platform because it is simply the best content management system. It is fast and convenient, especially for those with little technical knowledge.
Content Management System
A CMS or content management system is the platform that you will use to write, design, and publish your fantastic content in the form of blog posts.
WordPress is the most popular and easy to use CMS. It lets you organize your content, upload images, videos, embed links, and gives you full control over your blog’s looks by using themes and other customization methods. 60% of all running blogs use WordPress including some of the most authoritative websites.
Is WordPress Free?
Yes, WordPress is completely free to use with most web hosting plans. There are other CMS options such as Wix, Squarespace, or Tumblr, but WordPress is the only option that most bloggers and I recommend, especially if you are starting a blog to make money.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org: What’s the Difference?
Don’t be confused by WordPress.com and WordPress.org. These are two different sites that have a similar name but have significant differences in services.
This site is the one you should avoid, and here are the reasons why:
- You can’t select a custom domain name
- Limited sources of income or monetization options
- Does not allow you to upload plugins that can help your site
- Limited SEO and analytics
- The suffix ends with the WordPress.com suffix, which you have to pay to remove
- Basic designs
This is the platform that you are looking for. On WordPress.org, you have:
- Access to themes for fully customizable design options
- No branding, so you can choose any domain name
- Unlimited plugin options
- Powerful SEO tools and features
- An option to add eCommerce store membership for extra income
- Free with most hosting plans
Choosing between the two is entirely up to you, but why should you settle for a mediocre platform like WordPress.com, if you can use WordPress.org?
WordPress.org is definitely the way to go if you want to create a successful blog and make money out of it.
How to install WordPress
If you went with A2 Hosting, you can go ahead and skip this step, but if you want to learn how to install WordPress through a different web hosting platform, keep reading.
To install a WordPress site for your niche, follow these next easy steps:
- Log in to your hosting service account
- Look for the website sections
- Select “install WordPress” and click on it
- Choose one of the domain names
- Edit the email address, username, and password for the blog, and write them down
- Agree to the terms
- Click the install button
- Add themes and create pages
Most web hosting sites will have similar ways to install WordPress, so it should not be a lot different from the steps I just showed you. Here is a couple more information on how to install a WordPress site through your dashboard.
You can create a WordPress site after deciding on a theme. Just go ahead and click “start building” to get you started in the customization process.
The first prompt will ask you if you are creating a personal or business blog. Click on your choice, and move on to the next page.
Next, you will be asked to set up your site title and description. If you cannot think about the description right away, you can always come back to fill in the necessary information later.
Here is an example of a Title and Description you can write depending on your website topic:
Home Music Production for Beginners
Learn how to build a home music studio and create music in the comforts of your home!
The next step is to verify the email address you used to create the site. After verifying the email address, it’s time to design your blog!
How should your blog look like
Designing your WordPress site is very straightforward and easy, but how should your blog look?
- Clutter-free and intuitive. The layout of your blog should be organized, making it easy for visitors to navigate through your site. Some sites are too cramped, and that will drive off visitors away from your site, which you don’t want to happen. Make sure you choose a theme, font, and design that is easy to read and straight to the point. Having too many pages and options can be confusing.
- Legible font. Make sure you use legible fonts that are easy to read. People come to your website to obtain information, and nobody has time to read cute but illegible fonts.
- Fast. Your blog needs to be fast, to keep visitors on your page scrolling through content without having to wait between loading screens. Some themes are faster than the others, and the speed will also depend on your embedded links and hosting service.
- Mobile-friendly. Most users nowadays browse the internet on their mobile devices. Make sure that your page does not only look good on a computer browser but mobile as well.
- SEO ready. Since the main goal is to make money, you should always design a website with search engine optimization as a priority. If you want to get more readers and subscribers, your content should be at least on the first page of the search results.
- Easy customization. A website should be easily customizable in a matter of a few clicks. This gives you more time to create content. You can also try using built-in shortcodes for faster customization.
- Support. Some themes will have problems, and if that occurs, make sure their developers are responsive enough to fix the problem as soon as possible. You can check reviews and ratings so that you can decide on a god theme based on user experiences.
How to choose a free WordPress theme
I do not recommend buying a premium theme right away, especially if you are a beginner. There are a lot of free theme choices that work great 100%, so you do not need to spend money on a theme, especially before your blog is up and running.
To start building your page, go to your dashboard and click on appearance, themes, add new themes, and popularity. Don’t worry about choosing the wrong theme at first, because you can easily change this part later if you decide on something different.
I strongly recommend using the Astra theme because it is clean and simple. Without too much lying around, this theme is much faster and easier to navigate through which makes it ideal for both beginners and pro bloggers alike.
Astra is the best free theme you can start with, especially if you are a beginner. It is straightforward to use, customize, and install. Plus, it is fast and it is simply astonishing. The theme alone will attract most readers to visit your professionally built website.
Astra Premium Paid Theme
If you can’t get enough of the Astra theme, you can gain access to more features if you decide to go with the Astra Pro Version. (7)
Astra Pro Features Include:
- Sticky Header
- Mobile Headers
- Page Headers
- Mega Menu
- More colors and typography
- More layouts such as boxed, full width, padded, fluid, and many more
- More fonts
- More color customization options
- More blog layout selections
- More eCommerce options and App integrations
8 Useful WordPress Plugins you Should Install Right Away
WordPress is an open-source online application that lets you customize your site in any way with endless possibilities. After choosing the Astra theme, you can go ahead and install these various plugins to extend your site’s functionality and features.
- UpdraftPlus: Customizing your blog is easy, but there is a possibility of running into trouble that would lead to ruining your blog, and I can’t stress enough how important it is to save your work regularly. UpdraftPlus is a backup plugin that will automatically save your work.
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress: This plugin is 100% free. It is a Google Analytics plugin that allows you to monitor your relevant data inside WordPress. It lets you know how many visitors you get and how long they stay. It also ranks your blog posts based on popularity. You can use this plugin to improve your blog posts based on what your page visitors like.
- WPForms: You can use the WPForms plugin to communicate with your readers and allow other bloggers to collaborate with you. This plugin is easy to use and allows you to just drag and drop contact info onto any page of your website.
- Lightweight Accordion: This plugin allows you to create collapsible menus and content boxes to keep your blog clean and organized.
- Cloudflare CDN: This free plugin can make your page load twice as fast. Readers prefer visiting fast-loading sites, and if you want them to come back to your page and read content, make sure you install Cloudflare CDN.
- Insert Headers and Footers: If you are not used to using code to add headers and footers to your blog, you can install this plugin so you can add snippets of code to any location of your blog.
- Rank Math: Rank Math is an intuitive and easy to use SEO plugin that allows you to optimize your page and make it more SEO-friendly. It is 100% free and better than most paid SEO plugins that I have used before.
- Ithemes Security: This security plugin protects your blog from hackers with malicious intent. If you want peace of mind, make sure you install this plugin to keep the bad guys out.
Advanced Page Building: How to use Elementor to Build Blog Pages
If you need the ultimate page-building tool for your blog, you should install the Elementor plugin. This drag and drop plugin allows you to create professionally made pages for your blog without breaking a sweat.
You do not need to buy this plugin right away, but it is something you might want to look into if you want the ultimate design and customization tool to make your website more enticing and gain more visitors.
The Best Free Blog Design Websites
Here are some free and useful tools that can help you edit photos or create visuals for your blog:
- Noun Project
- Subtle Patterns
5. Write content people need
Now that you got your page up and running with the theme of your choice, it is time to fill in the page with the best content.
Content is the most important component of your blog, and it is what attracts visitors the most. The design of your blog is one thing that makes people want to visit your blog, but the content is what keeps your visitors coming back for more.
How to Choose the Best Headlines for your Articles
When researching for the right content, NaheedMir from Rugknots.com (8), a long-time successful blogger, states that bloggers should focus on creating fantastic and amusing headlines first. Headlines will attract readers to read the content, so no matter how excellent the content is, it should always have powerful headlines so people will click on the blog post.
Here are some ways that could help you come up with amazing headlines for your blog posts:
- Numbers or List Posts: Numbered or list posts are one of the most popular headlines that many bloggers use to this day. For example, posts such as “20 Things to Avoid Losing Your Car Keys” are a lot more enticing than “How To Not Lose Your Car Keys.”
- Use Parenthesis: Another way to create more engaging headlines is to use parentheses. Here are some examples:
- How to start a blog in 2020 (and make money)
- 10 ways to Write Amazing Headlines (and triple your sales)
- Search for Other Articles: You can search some of the top-ranking posts on Google and base your headlines off of their winning formula.
- Use SEO Keywords: A lot of people want to incorporate high-volume keywords to their headlines to optimize search results. Make sure your headline would still stand out if you choose this method.
Pro Tip: Some headlines are just too long to show on the webpage. If you want your headline to read in full on the search pages, limit your headlines to 70 characters and below.
How to come up with smart ideas for blog posts
- Use a keyword research tool: By using a keyword research tool like Keywords Everywhere or Google Keyword Planner, you can search for keywords in your niche with the highest search volume. You can start creating posts based on the keywords you came up with and answer the questions of the public.
Before making this article, I found out over 135,000 people are searching for the term “how to make money blogging,” which is exactly why I am writing this article.
- Take advantage of your search engine (Google, Bing, etc.): You can take advantage of search engines like Google, Bing, or Pinterest by typing in search terms. Google’s autofill can help you come up with excellent blog ideas. Just type in a keyword, and let Google do the rest.
As you can see, just by typing in “music production,” Google filed out the next words for me. Now, all I have to do is come up with a headline and write content.
Pro Tip: When trying to come up with an idea for a blog post using Google’s search bar, make sure you are not logged on so that it brings up keywords that are not based on your search history. In this example, I used a different browser instead of the one I am logged into.
6. Write your first blog post
Why do people visit blogs? People read blogs because of what it says. Creating helpful content is one of the most crucial parts of starting a blog, and it will be your key to start making money.
Now that you have everything laid out, and you have several blog headlines that you can write about, it is time to write your very first blog post.
How to Write a Blog Post
First off, go to your WordPress Dashboard and click on “Posts” then “Add New.” From there, you will be redirected to an editor that pretty much looks like a Word document.
You can then start writing the headline, create headings, and write your heart out. Here are some tips on how to create an excellent blog article:
Tips on Writing a Good Article
- Make your article light and easy read. You can use the Hemmingway Editor (9) to help your writing bold and clear.
- Make your paragraphs short, concise, and less blocky.
- Don’t use fluff. Make sure every word in your article has significance.
- Don’t state the obvious.
- Use humor or drama.
- Use quotes.
- Make your blog posts readable and flow well by breaking paragraphs and sentences.
- Make use of H2 and H3 headings.
- Avoid comma splices.
- Add interlinks, but make sure they pop up into a different window so the reader will remain on your page.
- Make sure you always write original and honest content
Recipe for a successful blog post
- Write a brief introduction (about 150 to 300 words depending on the length of your article).
- Avoid going off-topic, especially in the introduction.
- The next paragraph should answer the question of the post. If the post is a “how-to” post, you can outline the answers using bullets or numbers and further explain each number in the body of the post.
- Write the body of the post and explain things further.
- Try to make the post longer by adding caveats that are related to the main topic.
- Add a “related questions” heading and answer them at the end of the post.
- Add a conclusion and summarize the idea of the entire post in about 200 words or less.
- Add pictures.
- Publish your post.
Make sure you customize your blog post’s URL and make it more SEO-friendly by keeping it short and avoiding the use of numbers. Always add the target keyword phrase in your URL, and use a dash to separate each word. For example: www.nameofyourblog.com/how-to-make-a-blog.
Choosing pictures for your post
Make sure that you include images that are relevant to your blog post. Always include an image at the top of your post because it allows readers to remember your blog verbally and visually. Do not worry about designing custom images at first, you can always use stock photos from these websites:
The Best Free Photo Resources
- Death to Stock
7. Promote your blog through various channels (Get traffic to your blog)
At this point, your blog is already live. It is time to promote your blog using various channels like social media to gain followers and readers, which will eventually help you make money off your blog.
There are many ways to get traffic to your blog. I will show you how you can take advantage of social media and other platforms to get more site traffic.
- Google SEO
Pro Tip: Start with one or two traffic sources at the beginning. You do not need to be on every platform to gain followers, you only have to choose which platform is right for the content on your blog. Focusing on one traffic source will give you a higher chance of succeeding.
Which Platform is the Best for your Blog?
Facebook is a social media platform with a high number of users but has a high level of competition. One of the best ways to use Facebook is to connect with other bloggers using Facebook Groups.
Facebook Groups will show you thousands of blogger groups where you can join and share your blog with millions of different boggers.
Just like Facebook, Instagram has a high volume of users and a high level of competition. You can promote your blog using Instagram if your niche is more visual, such as photography or travel blog.
Unfortunately, it is really hard to get people off Instagram and onto your blog because the platform is designed that way. Unless your blog has anything to do with producing fantastic visuals, this is not the platform you can use for promoting your blog.
YouTube is an entirely different ball game. Most bloggers do not want to promote via YouTube because they do not want to get in front of a camera, and it is understandable. Shooting videos is difficult and very time consuming, and not everyone has the resources to do it.
However, if you have the confidence and resources to create YouTube videos based on your content, you should definitely take this route. It is an excellent way to drive traffic to your site and eventually earn a lot of money.
Google is just like Facebook and Instagram. It has many users and a high level of competition, but there is one big difference. Google is a search engine. People who usually have questions will continue to type their queries on Google day after day, and you will get organic traffic coming in based on your blog posts.
Unlike Facebook and Instagram, content on Google will last longer. You can optimize your content from time to time to stay relevant for longer periods.
However, because of competition, it would take a while to get your post to rank number one, so make sure you optimize your content using high volume keywords.
If you choose Google, be prepared to be in it for the long haul. It might take at least 6 months until Google recognizes your content.
Pinterest is a search engine that gives you an opportunity for organic traffic, but unlike Google, Pinterest does not take 6 months to get results. Because of its speedy results, Pinterest is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog. As a beginner blogger, you should definitely start with Pinterest.
Turn your readers into fans
Most people are not going to buy any of your products unless they build a certain trust with you and your blog, and here are the best ways to build that trust.
Set up an email newsletter
Setting up an email list is an easy way to get people to trust your blog. It is also one of the most valuable assets to have as a blog owner. Setting up an email list is not as hard as you think. To start you will need:
- Lead magnet: A lead magnet is a simple download for people to have. It can be a guide to your website or a checklist that users can download in exchange for their email address.
- Add opt-ins to your website: Let the readers know that they can sign up for an email newsletter while they are scrolling through your posts.
By getting your reader’s email, you can send them updates of new posts and let them get to know you more. If you build that trust, it allows you to sell your products and make money.
What is Guest Blogging?
“Guest blogging is a great way to expand your network and have experts weigh in on topics in your industry. When done correctly, guest blogging can vastly expand your organic reach because you are not only targeting your audience but also the audience of the expert.”
– Natalie Kunz, Content Manager at GreenMatch (10)
Another excellent way to drive traffic into your blog is guest blogging. A guest contributor will share your posts to their audience through their own blog. If you contribute a post to an authoritative website, there is a high chance that you can drive users to your website organically.
8. Commit to a regular publishing schedule
Now that you have content on your page, and you are driving traffic to your site by promoting it through various platforms, you want to keep your readers coming back for more.
Your blog should condition your readers by creating a posting schedule at least once a week to keep them engaged.
According to Jeremy Harisson, Content Strategist for Hustle Life, posting regularly is essential to keep your audience fascinated. Make use of a calendar and schedule when to post your content. You can use WordPress to build a regular posting schedule and keep your fans enticed week after week.
If you do not have time to create content consistently because of your day job, you can hire freelance writers once you start to make money.
Useful tools to help you build your content strategy
If you ever decide to build a team to help you create regular content for your blog, here are some useful team tools you and your team can use:
- Google Docs
- Google Sheets
- Google Calendar
9. Learn how to monetize your blog to generate income
Lastly, after working so hard to create a blog from the ground up and generating traffic, it is time for the last step: learning how to make money off your blog.
The primary reason why you made the blog in the first place is to make money, and everything you’ve done from the beginning of this guide leads you up to this point.
Finding ways to make money off your blog is one of the easiest steps, so don’t worry. You already went through the hardest steps and it is all downhill from here.
How to make money off your blog (4 easy ways)
Here are some of the ways to monetize your blog, make money, and watch your plan come into fruition:
One of the most common ways people monetize their blog is through ads. Signing up for ads is an excellent way to make money, but relying on ads alone can be tough.
- Display Ads/ Pay Per Click
After being live for six months, you can start making money by signing up for Google Adsense.
It is a good way to start making money for beginners because it can be inspirational and give you motivation at the beginning, but it should not be your only way. Relying on Google Adsense alone is not enough.
However, once you get more than 300k views per month, you can sign up with a premium ad network, such as MediaVine, adThrive, and Propeller Ads, and make up to $4000 on ads alone.
- Sponsored Content
Sponsored content is a type of ad where a company pays you to review or write something about their product. You can either get paid by the commission if someone buys their product through your site. They can also pay you by giving you their products for free.
Depending on how big the company you write sponsored content for, you can make thousands of dollars if you have generated enough traffic to your site.
Sponsored posts are not for you if:
- You are looking for more of a passive income
- You are facing a lot of time constraints
You can find sponsored post opportunities on websites like Linqia, BlogDash, Blog Meets Brand, and many more.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a way to make money by promoting another person’s product in a form of review or list on your blog. If your blog topic is about music production, you can find ways to write articles that promote their products or service by adding Amazon links to your post.
If someone buys their product or service through your website, you will get a small commission. However, that is not where affiliate marketing stops.
You should learn and master affiliate marketing because it will become your foundation when you start to create and sell your own products, and it is the key step to becoming a successful blogger.
The best partner to start affiliate marketing is with Amazon Associates. Because almost everyone in the United States and other countries uses Amazon, there is a high chance of making your first few transactions when you affiliate with them.
To get signed up, just type in Amazon Associates on Google, click on sign up, fill in the details, and you’re good to go. After signing up for Amazon Associates, you can link any product from Amazon.
The moment you master the art of affiliate marketing, you can go ahead and sign up for bigger affiliate sites like ClickBank, ShareAffiliate, Rakuten, and many more.
3. eCommerce/ Sell Products and Software Tools
You can sell your own digital or tangible products to make money. Once you reach a high number of page visitors, you can sell your own products. If your blog is about baking or cooking, you can sell online cookbooks in the form of e-books to your valued subscribers.
Selling tangible products is harder to manage because you will have to create, manufacture, and ship the product. However, buying something tangible is more satisfying for the customer.
You can also sell online services, such as online courses. Whether your niche is about cooking or music production, you can sell online courses that will give your subscribers a complete and exclusive walkthrough and teach them everything you know about the topic.
Selling your own products can make you the most money since you are not getting paid based on commission, but you are getting paid for the whole product you own.
4. Sell Your Services
Another way to make money is by selling your services through your website. There are a thousand different services you can sell such as:
- Digital Marketing Services
- Dog Walking
- Freelance Writing
- Speaking Engagements
- Virtual Assistance
- Voice Over Work
- Music Production
- Music Mixing and Mastering
- And many more….
Since you are already building massive trust with your readership, it is a great way to promote your services. If you are writing a blog about music production, you can sell your services to your readers. You can create beats or master tracks for them. Whatever skills you have to offer, selling your services through your website is an excellent way to make money.
Conclusion: Starting a Blog
Now that you know how to start a blog, you can get started right away. To give you a quick recap, all you need to remember are these simple steps:
- Think of a niche and domain name
- Purchase your domain name through Namecheap
- Get your blog online with A2 hosting
- Design your blog
- Write content
- And monetize
If you look at it this way, starting a blog is simple. It will take a lot of effort and brainstorming, but creating a blog can be easy if you just follow these steps.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hey I’m Allan, founder of Dotcom Dollar. I started my own successful online business and quit my job in 2015 to travel the world. I started Dotcom Dollar to help aspiring entrepreneurs like you create a successful online business.