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The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Blog

 

The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Blog


Updated: 09 Sept. 2023


Have you been toying with the idea of starting a blog, but don’t know where to begin? Are you overwhelmed by all the information available on the web and don’t know how to make sense of it? Well, you’re in luck – I’ve put together this comprehensive step-by-step guide just for beginners like you!

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    I’ll walk through everything you need to know, from choosing a domain name and hosting service to designing a theme and writing content. This guide will also give you advice on how to promote your blog and start making money from your hard work. So put away all those questions swirling around in your head and get ready for the ultimate beginner’s guide to starting a blog!

    Selecting Your Blogging Niche 

    Choosing your blogging niche is a critical decision when embarking on your blogging journey. It can either be the simplest or the most challenging aspect of starting a blog.

    Once you've decided to dive into the world of blogging, one of your initial choices is to determine the subject of your blog. At this stage, the key is to select a niche in which you can establish yourself as an authority or expert.

    In the vast blogosphere, a common mistake new bloggers make is launching a blog without offering something unique or distinctive.

     If you're blogging purely for fun or as a hobby, having a tightly defined niche might not be as important. That's the case of me 😌


    If your goal is to make money through blogging, you must focus your efforts on a clearly defined audience or topic. Make sure you are known for what you are blogging about. If readers realize that you are consistent and anytime they want to read on that topic they would have to come to you. Even this will aid Search Engine like Google to label your blog for it's topic and this will favor your visibility and growth.

    Remember that professional bloggers aim to build a reputation. You can't build a reputation for everything; you need to specialize in something. So, before you start your blog, give careful thought to what you want to write about.

    Select a topic that genuinely interests you and aligns with what people are searching for online. Passion plays a crucial role in blogging because it takes time and energy to establish your reputation and generate income from your blog. Without passion, it's easy to lose motivation.

    To make things easier, begin by concentrating on a single blog niche initially. In the long run, you can expand to cover other topics. Note that if you have the financial resources to hire quality writers or a team, you can explore multiple niches. However, if you're a solo blogger, focusing on a single subject is advisable.

    To discover your passion and interests, brainstorm by asking yourself questions like:

    1. What topics do I often discuss with my friends?

    2. What solutions and services can I readily provide to individuals and businesses?

    3. What are my hobbies and talents?

    4. What types of movies do I enjoy?

    5. How do I spend my money?

    6. What books and magazines do I read?

    7. Which websites do I visit regularly?


    When choosing a niche, it's crucial to opt for one with a substantial local or international audience. Avoid niches that are so unique that you're the only one interested in them.

    If you can't envision yourself writing about your chosen topic in the long term or if you don't feel particularly passionate about it and can't afford to hire qualified writers, consider selecting a different niche.


    Lucrative blogging niches examples include:

    - Affordable Apartments

    - Agriculture

    - Banking and Finance

    - Beard Oil

    - Book Publishing

    - Business Startups

    - Celebrities' Profiles (Net worth)

    - Cheap Flight Tickets

    - Cheap Hotels

    - Cooking Guides and Tutorials

    - Cryptocurrencies

    - Education

    - Electronics

    - Entertainment

    - Event Planning

    - Fashion Design

    - Football News and Score Predictions

    - Forex Trading

    - Free Browsing Cheats and Tricks

    - Healthy Eating

    - Job Search

    - Kids' Security Tips

    - Kitchen Appliances

    - Latest Phones

    - Lifestyle

    - Mini Importation

    - Moringa Benefits

    - Movie Reviews

    - Music Downloads

    - Natural and Herbal Remedies

    - New Baby Lists

    - News and Gossip

    - Penis Enlargement

    - Prayer Points

    - Real Estate

    - Relationship and Marriage Advice

    - Scar Removal

    - Scholarships

    - Sexual Health and Fertility

    - Skincare

    - Sports Betting

    - Study Abroad

    - Table Manners

    - Tech Tutorials and Gadgets

    - Travel Abroad

    - Weight Loss


    To help you find the right topic for your new blog:

    - Explore other successful blogs to identify gaps in the market.

    - Utilize Google to discover what people are searching for using suggested searches and auto-complete. More tools that can help on that

    - Search forums for frequently asked questions to determine what people need advice on.

    - Consider different types of content, such as tutorials, reviews, interviews, or lists.

    - Getting more specific is a good approach, like a travel blog focusing on extreme budget travel or an agricultural blog specializing in the palm oil business.


    Don't worry if you can't decide on a niche right away. Start by writing about your interests, and as you gain experience, you can fine-tune or change your focus based on what works best for you.


    Choosing the Right Platform: WordPress, Blogger, and More

    A blog platform is an online software that facilitates the creation and management of a blog. It empowers users to compose, format, and edit their posts while allowing the incorporation of multimedia elements like photos and videos.

    Additionally, a blog platform provides an intuitive interface for customizing the blog's appearance to match the blogger's ( your)  preferences. It may also offer plugins and widgets to enhance the blog's functionality and cater to the readers' needs.

    When starting a blog, you want to make sure you choose the right platform for your needs. To ensure that your blog is successful and reaches its full potential, it’s important to pick the most reliable platform.

    Selecting the right blog platform from the outset can be a crucial step because switching platforms can involve technical challenges. Therefore, your choice of a blog platform deserves careful consideration.

    There are two primary options for setting up a blog: using a free blogging platform or creating your own website. Here's a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of each:

    Free Blogging Platform:

    Advantages:
    1. Ideal for those not seeking to monetize their blog.
    2. Simple setup process and entirely free to use.

    Disadvantages:
    1.  Limited customization options.
    2.  Often unable to display banner advertisements or incorporate affiliate links, which are significant revenue sources for most bloggers but you can locally do this like me
    3. Your blog's URL may include platform branding, like 'www.yourblog.wordpress.com', www.yourblog.tumblr.com, www.yourblog.meduim.com or 'www.yourblog.blogspot.com.'. (This is depending on your free host platform)
    4. The platform retains the right to delete your blog.
    5. Limited ability to generate income from your content.

    The two most popular blog platforms are WordPress and Blogger.

     WordPress is an open-source platform with lots of features and customization options, allowing you to create a complex website. 

    On the other hand, Blogger is simpler and more basic and freer. It’s suitable for those who don't need as many features or customization options. Blogger has the options but requires some coding and technicality to get extra features and customizations. 

    The Blogger community is active so setting up things for a start shouldn't be hard.


    Other self-hosted platforms such as Medium, HashNode, Squarespace, Tumblr, and Ghost are available as well. And there are even new Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms that automate everything and you only have to focus on blogging.  If you need help setting up your blog on any of these platforms, there are a number of tutorials available online, search on this site too or just hit me up.

    Sometimes you would only need a Content Management System (CMS) which will aid you in writing, and managing your blog.

    The most recommended CMS I love is WordPress (WordPress.org is a CMS version of the free WordPress.com platform)  Other CMS for blogging to consider is Joomla, and Drupal. 

    Note: These Blogging platforms makes all your focus on blogging only but the CMS option can aid in creating any type of site or integration to your blog like E-commerce, Forum, and others. Since this post is on blogging here is more on CMS


     Depending on the platform you choose, there might be some cost associated with hosting your blog, but this cost can be easily offset by monetizing through ads or affiliate programs.


    Naming Your Blog and Registering the Domain

    An important step when starting your blog is picking out a domain name and registering it. Your domain name is what visitors will use to find your site.

    To be clear, your domain name is going to be the name of your website and this is what your users (blog readers) will type in their browsers to visit your blog. It's like street address and an apartment online for your blog. 

    So, it’s important to choose one that reflects the purpose of your blog, as well as something that your readers can easily remember.


    When deciding on a name, it should meet the following criteria:

    • Short and memorable

    • Relevant to the content you write about

    • Unique and different from existing websites

    • Easy to spell and pronounce.

    • Doesn't infringe upon any trademarks or copyrights.


    Once you've settled on a name, you'll be ready to move onto registering your blog's domain. This is where you'll buy the rights to use that specific URL so no one else can take it away from you. There are several options available, but it’s best to use a reliable hosting provider like GoDaddy, Porkbun or Namecheap for safe results.

    As a beginner, this can be a tough decision to make, but those three I mentioned are the best I recommend

    You can register a domain for 5 years. It's like renting an apartment for five years.

    When selecting a domain registrar, here are important factors to consider for a sensible and user-friendly experience:

    1. Ease of Use: Your chosen registrar should offer a user-friendly interface, especially for beginners. It should be easy to navigate, and there should be guides or accessible customer support to assist you.

    2. Scalability: Ensure the registrar allows you to upgrade your plan easily. As your blog grows, you may need more resources, so flexibility is crucial.

    3. Quality Service: Opt for a registrar known for providing top-notch service in terms of reliability and support.

    4. Uptime:  Check the registrar's uptime record. Higher uptime ensures that your domain remains accessible to visitors consistently.

    5. SSL Certificate: Security is paramount. Look for a registrar that offers an SSL certificate, which enables the "https" secure connection for your website.

    6. Sub-Domains: Having the option to create sub-domains (e.g., blog.example.com or video.example.com) can be valuable for organizing different aspects of your blog or projects.

    7. Customer Support: Exceptional customer support is essential. Prompt and helpful assistance can save you time and headaches when dealing with technical issues.

    8. Web Hosting Solution: If your registrar also provides web hosting services, it can simplify your setup process. Look for packages that include both domain registration and hosting if needed.

     Some domain hosting company also offer a one-click WordPress installation host feature called WordPress managed hosting. It can be incredibly convenient if you plan to use WordPress for your blog as a beginner. You would skill those backend process of installing a CMS. This is the best option if you want to use WordPress.org. 

    9. Money-Back Guarantee: A flexible money-back guarantee is a bonus, giving you peace of mind in case you're dissatisfied with the service for any reason.

    Choosing the right domain registrar that aligns with these criteria can contribute to a smoother and more successful blogging experience.

    You can make your own research but as for me after considering all these namecheap happens to be the beat option for beginners and even pro alike.  

    Namecheap has competitive pricing (one of the cheapest out there with Porkbun). Namecheap also have pro features, web hosting options, and impressive 99 percent uptime, making them a compelling option for domain registration and hosting services.

    That’s a lot for beginners who are just starting out.


    Note: You can't change a domain name after purchasing it, so make sure it's something you want to use forever. when time comes you want to change, you will have to buy another domain. Buying new domain is entirely a new site address is like renting another apartment. It's possible another person owns and house on that domain (like an apartment).


    Hosting Your Blog: What You Need to Know

    Choosing the right hosting for your blog is essential because it determines where your website will live on the internet. Your hosting provider will be responsible for your website performance, security, and reliability. Blogging platforms like Blogger, WordPress.com has free hosting, Same as Platforms like Medium, Tumblr, Hashnode host for free. Blogger is totally free and others may have an upgrade option. So this step is not necessary if you decided to host your blog on any of those.

    For growth purposes, freedom and flexibility I strongly recommend you host your blog yourself. This is called Self-Hosting. It would require you to choose a provider like Blue host, Dream host, Namecheap hosting, GoDaddy hosting, Whogohost, Hostinger, True host, HostGator and many more.

    When picking a hosting provider, you should consider:

    1. The type of hosting - you may want to look at shared, VPS (virtual private server), or dedicated hosting plans.

    2. Cost – cost of the plan and additional features like domain registration, etc.

    3. Your website’s sophistication – the more complex your blog, the more features you may need from a hosting provider

    4. Bandwidth and disk storage limits - you need enough to accommodate all your blog posts, images, etc.

    5. Customer service - you want a reliable provider that can help if there are any issues or problems with your site.

    6.  Reputation – look for customer reviews online to see what people have said about different providers.

    7. Security features – make sure they offer SSL certificates and other forms of protection against potential hacks or cyber threats.

    Don't forget that some providers also offer additional services such as website building tools or analytics software that can be beneficial for bloggers looking to grow their brand and presence online.

    Some hosting company also offer free domain for a limited time and later on would require you to buy the domain

    Don't be confused Domain Host is Different from Web host. Let me simplify the difference between a domain host and a web host:

     Domain Host: 

       - Think of it as your website's address book. 

       - It's where you register and manage your website's address (e.g., www.yourwebsite.com).

       - The domain host helps people find your site on the internet.

       - Popular domain registrars include Namecheap and GoDaddy.


     Web Host:

       - This is like the house where your website lives.

       - It's where you store your website's files and data.

       - The web host makes your site accessible to visitors.

       - Common web hosting providers are Bluehost and HostGator.


    In summary, a domain host deals with your website's address, while a web host handles the storage and accessibility of your website's content. Both are essential for a functional website.{alertSuccess}

     

    Installing Your CMS and Designing Your Blog

    Did you choose the Hosting And CMS path, When you’re ready to start installing your content management system (CMS) and designing your blog, the process may seem daunting. But don't worry, that's where the right guide comes in. With this guide, you’ll have the step-by-step instructions to tackle each task, one at a time. Read this for more on CMS. I have personally used WordPress and Joomla they are good with great with adaptive interface. I've also tried Wix and Blogger but use can't use them unless hosted on their platform.


    Choose a Content Management System

    The CMS is like the skeleton of your blog—it can be thought of as its basic structure and necessary tools. For example, WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) out there. It has lots of great customization options so you can create an amazing design and get it online quickly.


    Pick a Domain Name

    Your domain name will be your link on the internet – it adds credibility and helps your potential readers find you. So make sure it is recognizable, memorable, and reflects the purpose of your blog. You can either buy a new domain or purchase one from another seller—just make sure you go with a reputable website for purchasing domains.


    Look for Themes, Plugins and Widgets

    Themes are also called Templates. They provide an assortment of different design elements that you can use to customize how your blog looks and functions. Most CMS platforms offer a wide selection of exciting themes (like WordPress) that are both esthetically pleasing and easy to use. And if you have technical skill, some CMS platforms also offer developers’ access to HTML/CSS customization capabilities.

    To enhance the function of your blog, optimize it, make sure it loads quickly and delivers a great reader experience you will need to install and activate certain plugins.

    Although you might need to install more plugins later (depending on your needs).

    Some Important Plugins include  SEO integration, Backup and Storage of your site, Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails, Social Share buttons,  spam comments protection... Plugins and widget beautify and perform functions that add to the structure, functionality, and accessibility of your blog.


    Now that you have an understanding of what goes into starting a blog, you're ready to get started! Just follow these three steps—choose a platform, pick a domain name, look for themes—and you'll be on way in no time.


    Write Necessary Pages


    Make sure you write your blog’s pages by clicking on the links on your dashboard.

    Before you blog, try to create the following pages:

    An “About” page that tells your readers about you and your blog.
    A “Contact” page through which your readers can contact you.
    “Disclaimer”, “Privacy Policy” and “Terms of Service” pages.
    A “Hire Me” page that highlights the various services you can render for your readers (especially if you’re a freelancer).

    Here is a list of Pages that could be on a site


    Finding Content Ideas for Your Blog Posts

    When you're just getting started with a blog, one of the biggest obstacles is coming up with content ideas to write about. With so many other blogs out there, it's important to make sure your blog stands out from the crowd by offering unique content that adds value for readers. This might be helpful read this.

    Brainstorming

    Begin by brainstorming some ideas of topics that interest you and that could be relevant to your target audience. Jot down any thoughts or keywords related to those topics and use them to come up with different angles or perspectives on each topic. It’s also helpful to look through your social media feed for inspiration.


    Doing Research

    After you’ve got a few ideas on paper, spend some time researching those topics and finding additional information from reputable sources. Make sure to cite those sources so readers can fact check if they need to. You should also reach out to industry experts who can provide even more insight and valuable information related to your topic.


    Creating Content

    Once you've identified a great topic and gathered enough information, start writing! Use the structure of your blog post as an outline for organization as you go - starting with an introduction and main points followed by a conclusion or call-to-action at the end. Write in short paragraphs, use headings when appropriate, keep sentences concise, and break up long blocks of text with images or videos if possible. After finishing your first draft, proofread it carefully before publishing it on your blog . I shared some tips on this here

    Creating a successful blog involves more than just designing a great-looking site; it's about producing high-quality content consistently. 

    Here's a simplified breakdown of key points to remember when it comes to blog content:

    1. Plan Your Content:

       - Don't rush to publish posts without a plan; it won't lead to success.

       - Quality content is essential to attract and retain readers.

    2. Characteristics of Great Content:

       - Great content is both useful and strategically uses keywords.

       - It answers key questions and provides value.

       - It's unique, easy to understand, and may include images, videos, infographics, or other media types.

    3. Content Variety:

       - Content isn't just text; it includes videos, infographics, podcasts, and more.

       - Be versatile in your content creation.

    4. Consistency Matters:

       - Decide on a posting frequency that suits you (e.g., a few posts per week).

       - Regular updates engage readers and boost SEO rankings.

    5. User Engagement:

       - Active blogs keep readers engaged.

       - Posting regularly helps retain your audience.

    6. SEO Impact:

       - Google prefers blogs that publish fresh, valuable content.

       - Regular posting can positively affect your SEO ranking.

    7. Seek Inspiration:

    No one is an island 

       - Visit top blogs in your niche for ideas.

       - Don't copy, but gather topics, ideas, and inspiration.

    8. Unique Voice:

       - Add your unique style and perspective to borrowed ideas. 

    9. Overcoming Writer's Block:

       - Reading more can inspire you.

       - Plan your content before writing.

       - Find your unique voice.

       - Keep writing to improve.

    10. Consider Outsourcing:

        - If you're not confident in your writing skills or have the budget, consider outsourcing.

        - HIREWRITERS.COM is one option for quality content. 🥴 Or you can just hit me up. I've written with and for Many. I hope you are enjoying this write-up by me 🫡 Read on

    Remember, consistent, high-quality content is the backbone of a successful blog, and it's worth investing time and effort into its creation.


    Monetizing Your Blog: Ad Networks and Other Options

    Now that your blog is up and running, it's time to think about monetizing it. You have many options to consider; here are a few:

    Ad Networks

    Ad networks like Google AdSense, Media.net, and Propeller Ads allow you to place ads in your blog posts or sidebar and earn money when people click on them. With most networks, you'll need a certain amount of traffic before you're accepted, so it might not be an option if your blog isn't getting much attention yet.


    Affiliate Marketing

    As part of affiliate marketing, you can promote products and services associated with your niche and receive a commission for every sale. To get started, search for reputable affiliate programs that match the content of your blog (Amazon Associates is a great place to start!). When joining an affiliate program, make sure to read their requirements as some may ask you to use specific links or products in your posts.


    Paid Sponsor Posts & Reviews

    If you'd rather work directly with companies or brands, consider pitching them for sponsored posts or reviews where you get paid for talking about their products or services on your site. Keep in mind that sponsored content requires full disclosure; make sure to let your readers know that the post was sponsored if that's the case!


    Finally, check out online marketplaces such as Fiverr or Upwork where other companies may be interested in paying for longer term sponsorships or working with you as a freelance writer for their sites. No matter what option (or combination thereof) you choose to monetize your blog, there is an abundance of ways to bridge the gap between blogging passion and profit!

    Bonus: Have a Work-flow, Tool set and Pipeline.

    To run a successful blog, it's essential to establish your own efficient blogging workflow and pipeline.
    As a beginner, you might not have nor have realized it yet. This is a process of how you work and things you do that would become a routine on your blogging journey. There is no specific way to blog or a method to blog. You can adjust and go for tools you are proficient at anytime in blogging as long as it's working for you keeping you relevant and valuable.

     Here's a breakdown of key steps and tools to consider:

    1. Planning:

    I will still continue to stress this. Planing is the sole of anything big thing.

       - Define your niche and target audience.
       - Create an editorial calendar outlining your content strategy.

    2. Content Creation:

       - Use a word processor or writing tool (like Microsoft Word or Google Docs) sometimes your Blogging platform is enough. As long as it's something you are used to.
       - Implement a grammar checker (e.g., Grammarly) to ensure error-free content.
       - Consider using SEO tools (e.g., Yoast SEO for WordPress) to optimize your posts.

    3. Editing and Proofreading:

       - Review and edit your content for clarity and consistency.
       - Proofread for grammar and spelling errors.

    4. Media Creation:

       - Use graphic design tools (e.g., Canva) to create images and graphics.
       - Edit and optimize images for web use.

    5. Performance Tracking:
       - Use analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics) to monitor website traffic.
       - Track user engagement, page views, and bounce rates to refine your content strategy.

    6.  SEO Optimization:
    SEO is a never ending sail and very versatile. 

       - Research relevant keywords using tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush.
       - Optimize your content with appropriate keywords and meta tags.
       - Ensure your website's technical SEO is in good shape (e.g., site speed, mobile-friendliness).

    7. Social Media Integration:

       - Share your blog posts on social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
       - Use social media scheduling tools (e.g., Buffer, Hootsuite) for consistent posting.

    8. Email Marketing:

       - Build and maintain a mailing list using email marketing platforms (e.g., Mailchimp, ConvertKit).
       - Send newsletters and updates to engage with your audience.

    9. Publishing and Promotion:

       - Publish your content using your blogging platform 
       - Share your posts across various channels.
       - Engage with your audience through comments and social media responses.

    10.  Monetization (if applicable):

        - Consider different monetization strategies (e.g., affiliate marketing, ads, selling products).
        - Implement monetization tools and track your earnings.

    11.  Maintenance:

        - Regularly update and refresh your content.
        - Monitor your website's security and performance.

    12. Learning and Improvement:

        - Stay updated with industry trends and best practices.
        - Continuously improve your blog based on feedback and analytics data.

    By establishing a well-structured workflow and utilizing the right tools, you can streamline your blogging process and focus on creating high-quality, engaging content that resonates with your audience.

    Check the tools recommendation label on this site to see tools I use and recommend.

    Conclusion and Recommendation

    Starting a blog from scratch can seem daunting, especially if you have never done it before. But if you take it one step at a time and follow this guide, you can be up and running in no time. You'll be well on your way to creating an amazing blog that you can be proud of.


    With a Blogger blog, you have full control over your blog's design, content, and performance. Plus, Blogger is a free, backed by Google and a vibrant worldwide community. There are plenty of tutorials, help documentation, and even support forums to help you out if you get stuck. 


    Wordpress.com is a best bet when it comes to blogging with the best past of not having to worry about technicality. But note WordPress free can't be monetized except outside the box - locally. If you like writing and don't care about tweaking things WordPress is good and whenever you want to monetize, you'll subscribe to a plan. It affordable actually.


    So, what are you waiting for? Start your blog today and begin sharing your ideas and knowledge with the world!


    Check this out to know more about picking the best platform for you




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