[This blog post is a real-time blog post, I’m setting up my another blog while writing this, basically, this is how I set up my blog. No doubt, I’m considering the best available on the Internet. Let’s start with this ultimate guide on “How to start a blog”.]
Want to know how to start a blog and make some decent and passive income online?
You might have questions like, is it worth to start a blog in 2020? Would I be able to make money with a blog in 2020? and so on…
Yes! Blogging in 2020 too can open the doors of opportunities for you if done strategically. And if in 2020, you’re thinking to start a blog, then this blog post is definitely for you, it’s gonna answer all your questions that you may have like I had when started this blog.
When I was thinking to start a blog back in 2016, I was not familiar with anything like:
- What is a domain name?
- Which platform is best to purchase a domain name?
- What is hosting and how does it work?
- How I will set up and publish my blog?
- How I’m gonna make money with my blog?
- How long does it going to take?
and many more questions were there…
Today, after four years, I’m running a successful blog sharing my experience and all the best stuff and resources available on the Internet to make your path smoother.
Just walk through the whole blog post and consider every point, I promise you won’t be stuck anywhere.
Most people believe, blogging is not worthy these days. The reason I have heard most often is, there is a lot of competition out there. And of course, there is! Since there are over 2 billion blogs and websites on the Internet.
But, from the very starting, I use to believe, there is no competition of creativity. If you’re creative, you’ll stand apart and shine out of the crowd.
How to Start a Blog in 2020 [From Scratch to $4783 per Month]
In this blog post, I’m gonna cover each and everything you need to know about starting a blog. I will start from the very scratch like choosing a niche and what steps you need to follow for driving results and finally making a decent amount from your blog.
I’ll also cover various methods using which you can generate income from your blog like affiliate marketing, monetizing your blog, etc. This definitive guide on how to start a blog will make it easy for you to set up your blog without any technical skills required.
Everything will be covered in this blog post, it doesn’t matter if you’re a complete beginner or a bit experienced, this page has something for you, keep reading…
Before I get started, I have some motivation for you. Here it is:
Bloggers like ShoutMeLoud and AnkurAggarwal are making over $40000 per month, which is a good amount. To support my words, I’m attaching an image here from their official sites.
Neil Patel from his blog is making around $381,722 each month, which is a huge amount. I’ll not say you will also be making the same amount but yes you can make 1/100th of this amount easily, which is around $3817 a month, sounds good.
If you’re thinking that starting a blog is a complicated task, then make it clear, it’s not. If you’re ready to start your blog today then you’ll find yourself to new heights after 3 years or maybe soon.
I never do fake promises to my community, if you want to see some significant results from your blog, prepare yourself to invest at least 3 years before you give up. Although results may be seen within 6 months but here I’m talking about heights and significant results (not ordinary).
Quick question for you, which of the following is/are the reason(s) you’re starting a blog?
- Sharing your knowledge
- Social impact
- Documenting your thoughts
- Passive income
- Reviewing stuff and gadgets
- Getting invited to conferences and bloggers meet (influencer)
or any other.
I’m so curious to know your answer, drop your answer in the comment section. I’ll give my answer as well at the end of this blog post.
Here is the list of questions that a person should have while thinking to start a blog. These are the question that I’m going to answer in this blog post (in detail):
- Which is the best platform to start a blog? (Where to start)
- What niche you should choose? (Topic of the blog)
- What name should I give to my blog? (Domain name)
- Where to buy the domain name?
- What is a web hosting and where should I host my blog?
- How to buy hosting for your blog?
- How to install and set up your blog with the domain name?
- What design I should choose for my blog?
- What are the essential elements for a blog?
- How to write and publish my first blog post?
and so on.
You know what? When I started this blog, I have not done my homework thoroughly which lead me to a mistake. The mistake was choosing WordPress.com but I had to choose WordPress.org. This is why I’ll highly recommend you to research thoroughly before making any decision.
WordPress.com vs Wordpress.org
In short, Wordpress.com is a limited platform and hosted on WordPress itself. You do not have full control over your website with WordPress.com.
On the other hand, Worpdress.org is a self-hosted platform where you’re responsible to control your blog at fullest. You can even access the source code of your blog.
Are you ready to spend the next few hours setting up your blog?
Grab the cup of coffee and let’s start.
How to start a blog in 10 steps
- Step 1: Choosing a perfect niche for your blog
- Step 2: Selecting the blogging platform
- Step 3: Buy a domain name and hosting for your blog
- Step 4: Installing the WordPress for your blog (Detailed tutorial is given)
- Step 5: Pick the right theme and set up your blog (blog design)
- Step 6: Installing the essential plugins
- Step 7: Write your first blog post (masterpiece)
- Step 8: Promote your content and blog
- Step 9: Drive traffic and make your online presence count
- Step 10: Monetize your blog and make money blogging
Note: As mentioned, this is the easiest way I’m going to share with you on how to start a blog. I’m creating my other blog while writing this blog post so everything here is practical and it’s what I did for setting up my blog. This is universal and works for everyone. The platforms here I’m suggesting are the best (in my opinion) to get started.
Before diving into the action steps on how to start a blog, I want you to walk through some of the common questions and terms. This is not mandatory for you to walk through these common questions. If you’re not interested, you can skip this section and jump to the action steps.
What is a blog?
There are a few people who don’t know what is a blog in actual. Some people find it hard to distinguish between a blog and a website.
In short, a blog is a kind of website that focuses mainly on written content. The written content is known as blog posts.
A blog is a short form of the term ‘weblog‘. A blog can be considered as a journal or informational website that provides us the information. On a blog, a writer or a group of writers share their opinions over a topic or provide information regarding a topic.
In a blog, content is required to remain updated and also you have to publish blog posts regularly.
While a website is more about the static content. The content of a website can be used for years without getting outdated.
A blog contains text, images, videos, links to relevant pages and other kinds of media like infographics, and so on.
Websites usually contain static pages and landing pages or product pages. Websites do sell products or services commonly.
On a blog, a reader can comment and communicate with the author while it can’t be done on a website. Since websites pages rarely do have comments section enabled.
I won’t go in detail for this question here, but I’ll keep on providing you the best links for more details.
Want to know more about What is a blog?
Let’s move to the next question.
How to start a blog for free?
Yes! You can start a free blog too. Using platforms like Wix, Blogger, WordPress, or Tumblr, you can create a free blog and make money online. But the problem with most of the free blogs is, you can’t monetize your free blog (Except blogger).
Blogger allows you to monetize your blog and make money online with Adsense. Apart from monetizing, the free blog has several disadvantages like they do not rank better on Google, they usually come with a subdomain name.
Let’s say you want to create a free blog with WordPress and you choose a domain name ‘XYZ’ then your domain will be like this, ‘xyz.blogspot.com’. This is another disadvantage. The third disadvantage is you can enjoy very few features with a free blog.
Still, if you want to create a free blog and make money online, I’d suggest you go with Blogger. This is the only platform that allows you to monetize your blog by putting Ads on it associated with Adsense.
Blogging for beginners
Here are five basic and proven steps to start a blog easily. These steps will let you create your blog from scratch in no time (less than 30 minutes). Here are the steps:
- Choose a niche, and pick a name for the blog and register a domain name
- Choose the blog hosting and blogging platform
- Design and set up your blog
- Strategically map your content
- Promote and monetize your blog
There are many blogging platforms on the Internet including Wix, Blogger, Tumblr, Medium, Gator by HostGator, WordPress, etc.
Every platform has its pros and cons, but this blog post is not about how to choose the best blogging platform. I won’t cover their pros and cons.
I’ll suggest you choose a self-hosted WordPress.org platform for blogging. This is the easiest and biggest blogging platform. The reason is, you can scale up your blog to any level with WordPress.org. Just because of its popularity, several tutorials about multiple things are available on the Internet, you won’t get stuck anywhere.
One of its key advantages is, it supports the most themes, countless themes are available to use with this platform. I’ll recommend you to choose some minimal and professional theme that contains English colors for your blog.
Web host and domain name
You know, there are tons of restrictions and limitations with a free blog. So, you have to go with a self-hosted WordPress blog that allows you to fully own your blog.
Remember, you have to go with WordPress.org and not with WordPress.com (This was the mistake I made with this blog, I have used WordPress.com for the first year and then transferred it to WordPress.org in 2019).
For the hosting, just go with Bluehost because it’s affordable and their services are worth it. The best part, if you’ll sign up and purchase from my referral, you’ll get the domain name for free (1st year), since you’re my blog reader, I want you to grab this offer.
After a year, you’ll be having enough knowledge, you’d be able to make the best decisions for you. When your domain will expire, you can transfer your domain to GoDaddy or BigRock for the subsequent years.
If you have chosen WordPress then congratulations, you have countless freemium designs to choose from.
But if you are just looking for free themes and templates, no worries, they have a decent amount of free designs as well to choose from. Just choose one for you depending on the niche you belong to and what kind of blog you have.
Do bloggers make money?
A BIG YES! As I have mentioned at the very starting of this blog post, thousands of people are making millions of dollars every year by doing nothing but blogging.
But the fact is, they are not making money overnight, they have put all their efforts and energy to make that income. You have to do the same.
Why should you start a blog?
In this section, I’m going to mention a few (out of many) reasons, why you should start a blog.
In my case, I was not a good writer before I started this blog, it made me a great writer and thinker.
- Blogging can make you a better thinker and writer
- Blogging around a specific topic will make you an expert
- Above two points will lead the third point that is a boost in your self-confidence
- When you will have your online presence, you’ll be able to make a network with other bloggers
- Monetizing your blog will allow you to make some side cash and passive income online
and many more.
How to start a blog in 2020 with no experience [Step-By-Step]
Ready for starting a blog? Follow the same steps mentioned here.
Step 1: Choose a perfect niche (Unleash ideas within you)
This is the very first step while you’re creating a blog. Once you know what will be your blog topic, you can easily think of a relevant and catchy name for your blog.
For those who are confused about the niche:
What is a niche?
In general, a niche is a topic that you choose to write on your blog. For example, my blog is about ‘Digital Marketing’ so I write about digital marketing here.
First thing first, choose a niche for your blog. While choosing your blog niche, make sure it’s super-specific.
Doesn’t matter if you’re knowing multiple things and have knowledge in various fields, but the blog must be about a specific topic.
Drop the idea right here, if you’re planning to write on several topics and make money. This is not going to work in 2020 and your blog won’t rank and you’ll probably fail.
I know it seems so easy when said but considerable when done. The second mistake I made was, I started a blog back in 2016 where I used to write about multiple things like blogging, making money online, SEO, academics, etc. That was a super fail blog! After a year, I deleted that blog and started this one.
I don’t want you to make this mistake, be as specific as possible. Like if you want to start a blog about crafts, then don’t write about marketing there even if you know marketing.
Both Google and users prioritize the blogs which walk around a single topic. I know, you can’t conclude everything overnight and it’s ok, take time.
All I can say starting a blog and dedicatedly working on the blog with determination and patience will take you a long way.
Now the next big question that you might have
How to choose a blog niche?
Here are two questions that you need to ask yourself. When you’ll ask these two questions to yourself and try to answer these questions, you’ll find around what topic you can start a blog and make money online.
Do you enjoy discovering surrounding the topic?
None is perfect but you can make yourself better than others. People are gonna appreciate and follow you if you are better than others in your niche. And for betterment, you need to attain the highest level of knowledge within your topic.
Attaining the highest level in any topic is only possible if that particular topic interests you. You must love learning around that topic and it should make you feel curious about learning new stuff.
If you don’t love a topic and you started a blog about that topic, you’ll soon run out of ideas. It’s hard to generate quality content consistently on a topic that doesn’t interest you.
Think, when and for what about your family and friends come to you? What kind of advice or help do they seek for? What topic do you love to talk about when sitting with like-minded people? About what you can speak or write for hours?
For newbies, I recommend brainstorming. This is how you have to brainstorm.
- Take a pen and paper and list down your hobbies and interests. Be it Fashion, Healthcare, SEO, Money Making Tips, Finance, Technology, Film making, and many more.
- Narrow down this list. How? Just pick out the topics that you have deep knowledge of. How deep? Deep this much that you can think and write 5 articles on your own without doing research.
- Now you are having very fewer topics left in your list. These are the topics that you have great knowledge of. But there is a difference between having the knowledge and experiencing things. So, from this shorter list, choose one that you have experienced before.
For example, I have deep knowledge of SEO, Social Media Marketing, Content Writing, Arts & Crafts, etc. But I have experienced blogging. So for sure, I’ll choose ‘how to start a blog’ because I have experienced this before. This is how you have to choose a blog niche for you.
The second question you should ask yourself is
Are others interested in your topic?
Let’s say, you chose the topic ‘Yoga’ thinking that only a few people are talking about Yoga. Just perform a quick search on Google with the term ‘Yoga’.
As you can see, 1,69,00,00,000 other people are talking about this topic.
The chosen topic is quite broad, how you’re gonna outrace the competitors? For that, I’d recommend you, as a beginner, stay away from these kinds of terms.
Narrow it down even further and choose something like ‘Hot and Bikram Yoga’, ‘Kundalini’ or something else (long-tail keywords).
Here is one more question that I want you to consider if you’re intended to make money out of your blog. The question is
How to find a profitable niche for a blog?
You already know the niche of your interest, you are also done with narrowing it down. Now, you might have such questions, “Will this topic be able to make money?” If yes, how will you start making money with your blog?
Do market research
What you have to is, to choose a less competitive niche with great volume. Let me break it down.
Make it clear, you can easily make money online with your blog in 2020 if you are getting traffic. I’ll cover how to drive traffic in detail later on this page.
But what steps you have to take here is, choose and target keywords which have less competition and higher volume. Which means keywords that people are searching on Google and fewer people have written on that topic. Understand? If not, leave a comment.
Now, where to find the keywords? Google suggests itself is a great way to find the keywords.
You have plenty of keywords here!
Choose and write on the topic that has less competition and higher volume, great demand for low competition.
How to determine the profitability of a niche?
It’s easy to determine whether a blog is profitable or not, here’s how?
With the help of Google, it’s easy to get to know about it. Just perform a Google search with the chosen keyword and check, is there any ad in the search results? If yes, then this is a positive signal that you can make money online monetizing your blog.
If not, then check, are there any products within your niche that people buy? If yes, then you can do affiliate marketing to make money with your blog. With affiliate marketing, you can get up to 10% commission on physical products and up to 60% commission on digital products for every product sold by you.
Let’s consider the example taken above, in the Yoga niche, you can sell yoga mats, yoga pants, etc.
Once you have an audience, there are many more ways to make money with your blog.
Identify your ideal readers
To know about your ideal reader, you have to put yourself in the consumer shoes. Think from their frame of reference. What they are looking for and then try to give them that.
Once you know who is your ideal reader, you can improve your blog. You can write in their tone, their language, and typography they like, etc.
Knowing their demographics will help you to know about their behaviors, their spending power, what they like most, and so on. Then you can put before them what they are most likely to buy, this way you can skyrocket your earnings.
Step 2: Select a platform for blogging
Done with pen and paper, let’s sit on the computer and choose the blogging software. It’s not possible to start a blog without a blogging platform. I recommend using a self-hosted WordPress blogging platform (WordPress.org) for your blog.
I’m using it for my blog as well because it’s free, powerful, and user-friendly. I won’t tell you any other blogging platform here, as you’re a beginner and nothing is best except WordPress (Self-hosted).
If you’re thinking to choose a blogging software other than WordPress, it’ll cost you a lot and you need time, energy, and efforts. After investing this much, there will be uncertainty.
Why WordPress is the best option?
WordPress offers thousands of plugins and themes using which you can share your blog in the desired way.
The best part, you do not need any technical skills, a theme or a plugin can be installed within a few clicks.
I’ve used the term ‘Self-hosted‘ that I think you should know about.
Self-hosted platforms are the ones where you can run a blog with your chosen domain name and where you buy a hosting of your choice. (Hosting is a service which allows you to put your website or a webpage on the Internet in a way it can be viewed by other internet users)
On a self-hosted platform, you fully own your website/blog, you can customize it yourself. You can set your terms and conditions and rules on your blog.
One of the best and well known self-hosted content management system (CMS) is WordPress.org, powering around 30% of all websites worldwide and responsible for 76.5 million sites. Not just me, it’s a recommendation of every expert blogger.
Should I also use Wordpress?
Of course Yes! I’ve already given you many reasons why should you go with the self-hosted WordPress blogging platform. Once you start with WordPress.org, you’ll experience a lot more benefits.
You can install it in one click and a few more clicks will make your blog publish within minutes. As mentioned, they have thousands of themes and customization features available.
Before going ahead, you now need a domain name and web hosting ready that will be covered in the next step, right below.
Step 3: Buy a domain name and hosting for your blog
This is quite an easy yet important step that will take you a few minutes only. You’re not required to overthink this step. What matters most is to get a start and gain momentum.
Let’s start by picking a domain name.
A domain name is a name you give to your blog. It’s the name by which people will remember your brand or blog or business. A domain name is a unique name using which people can search for you online.
For example, mine is ‘TermInternet.com’. On average, a domain name costs between $10-$15 per annum. You can own a domain as long as you are paying the annual fee.
While choosing a domain name consider these three things. A domain name must be:
- Easy to type
- Easy to remember
- Easy to pronounce
As a beginner, go with .com extension because domains with .com extension are easy to remember. But if you’re targeting a specific country, you can choose another extension like for India, you can choose a domain with .in extension, for the United Kingdom, you can choose .uk domain extension, and so on.
You can buy a domain name either from GoDaddy or BigRock. But for the first year, claim your domain for free from Bluehost (since you’re my reader). After one year, you’ll have a better understanding of domain and domain providers. For now, don’t buy a domain because you’ll get it for free (1st year).
While naming your blog, consider these points.
- Choose a .com extension, as mentioned, they are easy to remember.
- Keep your blog name small enough (2-3 words or less than 12 characters), a single word is also good but it might have taken. In my case, I have two words in my domain name, first is ‘term’ and the second is ‘internet’.
- Use a keyword with your domain name relevant to your niche. In my case, I do provide Internet marketing services, so I used the keyword ‘Internet’ within my domain name. This is a good way to signal Google.
- Don’t use numbers, hyphens, or underscores because they are hard to remember.
- Make sure the name of your blog is memorable and catchy.
- If you’re naming your blog for personal branding then use your name or variation of it.
The second thing you need is web hosting. I’ve already told you what is web hosting.
There are many choices for hosting, but, you have to go with what I and experts suggest. You always have to be careful with your blog hosting because if it’s not reliable then it may cause many problems for you.
I do highly recommend Bluehost. Bluehost is powering over 2 Million websites already across the globe. It is a globally known and biggest hosting company. I have talked to them and here is the deal. If you will sign up with my reference you can get started with ~ $2.95 per month* (plus a free domain for one year). Prices may vary sometimes!
Tip: To get additional discounts, I’d recommend you check for coupon codes online for Blueshot.
Bluehost is the ideal choice for your blog as a beginner because it has everything you need for your blog initially. It offers:
- Free SSL
- Unlimited storage
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Free domain name (worth $12/year)
- Live chat support
- Easy to use cPanel
- 30 days money-back guarantee
It’s time to purchase hosting for your blog. Follow the same steps that I’m showing you right here (with images).
What I’d also recommend you is, choose a basic or starter plan for hosting because it’s cheap. Also, keep the web hosting from Bluehost until you hit 25,000 visitors a month to your blog. When you’ll have this much of visitors every month, you can upgrade your web hosting with Bluehost.
Click here to get TermInternet’s Bluehost special.
How to sign up with Bluehost and buy hosting for your blog?
#1 Go to Bluehost.com
#2 Tap on ‘Get started now’ button
#3 Choose a basic plan if you want to start with a single blog or plus plan if you’re thinking to start multiple (more than one) blogs.
#4 After you’re done selecting the plan, on the next screen, time to claim your free domain name. If you’re ready with your domain name, just type in the domain name in the new domain section and click next.
(You can skip this step, it can be addressed later as well, in case you’re not ready with your domain name yet, click on the link “I’ll create my domain later”).
#5 Next page! Fill up the billing information on this page carefully. In the package extras section, uncheck everything except domain privacy (if) to save some bucks.
#6 At last, payment. You can make the payment using a credit card (default option). If you do not have a credit card, just click on the link ‘More payment options’ there you would be able to make the payment using a debit card as well. Apart from this, you can pay using Paypal, Check or Money Order, and so on.
Now, when you’re done with the domain name and web hosting, time to install the WordPress – blogging platform.
Step 4: Installing the Wordpress for your blog (Step-by-Step)
I’ve already mentioned, which blogging platform is best and why should you choose WordPress (self-hosted). Now, check out how to install WordPress for your blog.
You are already having a Bluehost account, right? Log in into it and after logging in, on the dashboard screen you’ll have an ‘Install WordPress’ icon. Click on it.
Choose ‘do it yourself’ version and click on the Install button.
After that, click on the ‘check domain’ button.
Three clicks are occupied, two clicks are left, these two clicks will be used to agree to their terms and conditions and finalize the installation.
Within a couple of minutes, you’ll have a fully operative WordPress blog up and working.
Step 5: Pick the right theme and set up your blog (blog design)
The fun begins from here that every blogger as a beginner enjoys. The design and layout of your blog is the face of your blog with which a user interacts.
“Your first impression is the last impression“, you have to follow these words while choosing from WordPress designs (also called themes).
For now, your blog probably looks like this:
On your blog, you have to create a kind of environment that is both practical and eye-catching. Consider user interface and blog design seriously. If your blog interface is good, a user can easily navigate and walk-through your blog. And blog design lets the user stay longer on your blog.
Think this way, I visit your website. Now, I’m facing difficulty on your blog to navigate through pages because of UI (User Interface). What will I do? I will bounce back from your blog.
Let’s take another case, if your blog colors are in a way that my eyes are not comfortable with, in this case too, I’ll bounce back. I’m pretty sure you’ll not be wanting your visitors to go back or choose something else.
So, from here, your search for the best WordPress theme begins (for your blog). Choose a theme wisely that is great enough to keep a user on your blog. It must be unique and compatible with your niche.
There are thousands of themes to choose from, be it free or premium. I’d recommend you to go with a free theme (as a beginner). Apart from all these things, make sure you’re not getting stuck with choosing the theme. Because it can be changed later anytime, from the blog dashboard.
How do you get to the blog dashboard? It’s simple.
You have to log in to your WordPress admin. For that, visit yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
You’ll be asked for user credentials (Username or Email and Password). Enter your username and password here and hit enter. Credentials you’ve created at the time of Installation.
Probably you haven’t seen the WordPress dashboard before, so here you go. WordPress dashboard looks like this, it seems complicated, right? No, it’s not! You’ll be just an expert with a little practice.
As mentioned, from here you can swap themes from your blog, let’s dive into it. From the dashboard side menu, go to “Appearance”, a pop-up menu will appear with several menu items. The very first option in the pop-up menu must be “Themes”, click on it.
By default, there will be a few themes.
You opt to search for many more themes. To add a new theme, click on the “Add New” button.
Now, you have access to thousands of themes, but before you choose a theme, I want you to consider:
A quick checklist to choose a theme for your blog
- Read the description: Most of the themes contain a description that includes themes’ functionality and features. By walking through the description, you might be able to get a rough idea about the theme.
- Check for responsiveness: You have to make sure that the theme is mobile-responsive which means it’s compatible for both desktop browsers and mobile devices. It is a considerable part of ranking on Google and highly recommended by Google itself.
- Check the theme rating: Check the theme rating and reviews, it’ll give you a better idea, how better the theme is. More positive reviews and more star rating, the better is the theme.
- Preview the theme (Demo): This is the best part that ensures if the theme will work for you or not. In the preview of the theme, you can check the features and functionality of the theme easily with demo data. If it fits into your shoes, great! Or you have many other options left. You can here check the layout and overall appearance of the theme. Colors don’t matter that much as long as you have an option to customize the theme.
These are a few points to consider. Apart from this, you can check:
My approach for choosing the theme for a website/blog:
I don’t know whether it’s good or bad (please let me know in the comments section). But, for my website, I’ve used these steps that I’m about to share with you.
Step 1: Let’s say, your niche belongs to ‘education’. Then, perform a Google Search with keywords like this “Best WordPress themes for educational sites/blogs”.
Google will return you with some results.
Here, you have articles talking about ‘best WordPress themes’, go and check them.
Step 2: Read the articles and test each theme that interests you. You can do so by clicking on the link given in the article.
If there is no link in the article (rare case), you can type in the name of the theme on Google and check the demo from the themes’ official site.
Step 3: After checking, finalize a theme.
This way has already saved your time, it turns to use the selected theme for your blog.
Step 4: Go back to the WordPress Dashboard. Navigate to Appearance > Themes > Add New
From here, just search the name of the theme that you have recently finalized for your blog. I’ve here searched for the theme “Business Consultr”.
Out of my approach, back to the topic.
While choosing a new theme, you can use filters as well, this way you’ll be able to save you more time. It only works best if you have a rough idea of the desired theme.
Like you have already imagined the layout of your blog, then you can filter them accordingly.
Applying the filter will show you tons of themes to choose from. You can choose subject-wise, layout-wise, and feature-wise.
Once you’re satisfied with the theme, install it by clicking on the ‘Install’ button.
Once the installation is done, click on the ‘Activate’ button appears just after installation in the same place. You’re good to go.
If somehow, you don’t like any of the free themes, you can go and check premium themes. Here is the list of best sites to buy premium themes:
With premium themes, you will be getting support, pro features, and the latest updates. This is a plus point for beginners.
Blog theme optimization and customization
This section will cover half of Step 6: Installing the essential WordPress plugins of this guide ‘How to start a blog’.
There is no end for the customization and optimization for the WordPress blog. But I’ll try to cover which matters most or you can say, that are essentials.
By default, the core functionalities available with WordPress themes. But, you can add plugins to extend the functionality and features of your WordPress theme.
Let’s say, you want to add a contact form or forums in your blog, then you can do so by adding plugins to your blog. Understand? Let’s go ahead and customize your blog. You can customize your active theme, for that, click on the “Customize”.
Alternatively, you can customize your active theme from the blog dashboard, just navigate to Appearance > Customize.
Now, you must be on a screen, where you’re having a side menu (usually in left) and on the rest of the screen, you should have the preview of your blog. It might be possible that your menu is different, it’s because of the theme you have chosen.
Let’s start with “Site Identity” (Site Identity is the first option in the sidebar). Here, you have to add the name of your website and tagline. When done, click on the ‘Save & Publish’ button.
As mentioned, there are tons of things to customize, and it varies from theme to theme. So, I can’t describe the customization here. But, what you can do is, search the tutorial for the chosen theme customization on YouTube and Google.
It’s time for blog optimization which is common and highly recommended for every blog and every theme.
Optimize your blog for Search Engines
You’ll wonder to know that alone SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a multi-billion dollar industry.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a method of driving the quantity of quality traffic to your website through organic search engine results for certain keywords.
SEO, this may be appearing you a bit complicated but WordPress has already made it easy. With WordPress, you can easily optimize the technical aspects of your blog.
After technical SEO, you just have to focus on creating awesome content and promoting your content among real people. As a blogger, your job is to provide useful information to your readers and build relationships with them.
Tip: Images, videos, and multimedia help in creating better content that can engage a reader.
Now, optimization here will start with a plugin called ‘Yoast SEO’. Let’s move to the next step.
Step 6: Install the essential plugins
I was talking about the optimization of your blog for search engines, right? Now, before optimization, your blog needs a plugin, so we have jumped to step 6.
Now, when everything is clear, let’s install the first plugin.
How to install a plugin on WordPress?
From your blog dashboard menu, go to plugins > Add New.
On the next screen, in the search bar, type the keywords ‘Yoast SEO’ and hit enter.
The very first result is the required plugin. Click on the ‘Install Now’ button.
After the installation is done, click on the “Activate” button.
Installation and activation of the Yoast SEO plugin? Check!
Now, you have to access the plugin’s setting. How to get there? Easy, head over the new SEO menu item (in the WordPress dashboard sidebar menu). Alternatively, you can click on the icon of the plugin, can be found at the top.
Within the settings, jump to ‘Your info’ from ‘Dashboard’. Here you have to introduce the grounds for your blog.
On this screen, you have to check/fill your website name & tagline and your name or company name.
After done checking or filling the required details, click on the “Save Changes” button.
After that, go to the “Webmaster Tools” section. Click on “Google Search Console”. Google search console is a webmaster tool helps you to optimize your site and submit your site to Google’s search index.
It’ll ask you to Sing in with Google, be it your Gmail account or Drive account. Enter your credentials and log in.
Once you’re done with the login, go with ‘Alternate Methods” and select “HTML tag”.
A drop-down will appear, from here you have to copy the alphanumeric string (without quotation mark) from the meta tag.
Come back to the Yoast plugin’s setting screen, under ‘webmaster tools’ section. Paste the copied code into the box right before the “Google Search Console” link. Then, click on the “Save Changes” button.
Again, go back to the Google Search Console tab and click on the “Verify” button.
Now, head to the ‘General’ section and click on the “Open the installation wizard” button.
This is a 10 steps optimization wizard for your blog optimization, it won’t take long. Out of these 10 steps, the first step is just a welcome screen, skip this step.
In the second step, you’ll be asked to choose one from three given options. You have to choose the first option i.e., “this is a live site with real traffic”.
In the third step, you’ll be asked the site type, choose “blog” from here and move the next step.
In the fourth step, you’ll be asked to set your info as personal or a company, we have already done this, skip it here.
In the fifth step, you’ll be asked to add social profiles associated with your blog. If you have already social media profiles, add them and click next.
In case, you don’t have social media profiles already, skip this section and add it later.
In the sixth step, you’ll be asked to set up the post type visibility. The default settings must be the same as shown in the image. These settings are pretty fine, just click on next. It’s a good practice to set “Posts” & “Pages” to visible and “Media” to hidden.
In the seventh step, you’ll be asked to choose if your blog will have multiple authors or not. If you’re thinking to add more authors to your blog so that they can write and publish articles on your blog, check the “Yes”.
If you’re or will be the only author at your blog, choose “No” and click Next.
Don’t worry, these settings can easily be changed later.
In step eight, this is an optional step, if you wish to you can set it up else skip this.
Here, you’ll be asked to pull in data from Google Seach Console. If you want to set it up, click on the “Get Google Authorization Code” button.
A new screen will appear where you have to allow Yoast to access the data from the search console. Click on the”Allow” button.
In step nine, you opt to verify your site name and choose a separator that would be inserted in between the site and title.
Choosing a separator is your personal preference, choose one and click next.
In the final step, there is nothing to do, it’s just a congratulations message on successfully optimizing your blog.
Last but not least, the Yoast SEO setting that is worth considering and configuring is XML sitemap. An XML sitemap contains the list of the URLs of your blog.
XML Sitemap helps search engines including Google to crawl your blog’s new posts and pages. Yoast have a plus point here, you have to set it up just once, thereafter it’ll keep on updating itself.
Go to the “Features” tab in Yoast settings. Enable the “Advances setting pages” and save changes.
Next, you’ll see that a new group of menu items has been added under “SEO”. Where SEO is a menu item of the WordPress blog dashboard screen. From the sub-menu items, click on the “XML Sitemaps”.
Head over to the “User Sitemap” and Enable “Author/user sitemap” and save the changes.
You are free to play around with these settings. Since I’m writing this blog post primarily for beginners, so these sets are perfect to start with the right track.
Set up permalinks
Permalinks are the static hyperlinks that direct to a specific blog post or page. By default, WordPress sets your link to yourdomain.com/postID.
Neither this permalink is sexy nor it helps anyone to understand your topic.
Here’s how can you fix it?
It’s easy to fix and change the permalink structure.
In the sidebar of the blog dashboard screen, hover over “Setting” and click on “Permalinks”.
Here you can choose any of the given options. I’d recommend you which I use personally, go with the “Post name” structure.
Once done, save the settings. You’ll recognize this in operation later.
Here are some other plugins that you can install on your WordPress blog.
The Perfect SEO Setup for WordPress: 8 Plugins to Skyrocket Your Rankings and Traffic
WordPress made it easy for anyone to create a website. It’s easy to use and it’s fast. It does not require a lot of technical knowledge. Even someone like me who’s not a developer can do things like SEO and modify WordPress with the breeze.
Here is a list of 8 Plugins to skyrocket your rankings and traffic.
Some of the most important factors that Google looks into, to rank your site are some of the following.
- User experience
- On-page SEO
- Site speed
- Internal linking structure
- Structured markups
All these things impact your rankings and there are hundreds of other factors. There are over 200 factors that Google includes in its algorithm.
Today I’m gonna share with you, plugins that’ll help you do all of these things plus more in a really easy and controlled way.
#1 W3 Total Cache
Look, low time is super important. Especially, because people using mobile devices now. Yes there’s 4G there’s 5G you know LTE, whatever you want to call it.
But the problem with mobile devices is if you’re in a place that doesn’t have the best reception. I don’t care if you have a 5G phone. You’re not going to load websites fast.
The W3 Total Cache plugin ensures that your site will load fast as possibly can. It’ll prove low times, it’ll help you connect with CDNs, it makes better use of your server resources.
That way your server does not need to continue to push the same content over and over again. Instead, it can deliver the user as quickly as possible.
If you have a really good hosting provider they have cache built-in. Most of the hosting providers that I’ve seen don’t have to cache built-in. Hence, I’m recommending the W3 Total Cache plugin.
Another plugin that you need to check out is:
#2 Smush Image Compression
If you’re creating blog content and you’re on a WordPress blog or WordPress CMS. There is a good chance you’re having at least a blog article too.
In the blog article, what do you think you’re including?
If you’re not going to add images, change the angle and add images right away.
The Smush Image Impression, what this does is, ensure that your images still look good in quality so that when someone looks at him they don’t look all pixelated and fuzzy.
They still look sharp but this decreases the size of the image. I’m talking about the server-side, right the hard drive space that is taking up. some people paying your site, it loads much faster.
#3 Yoast SEO for WordPress Plugin (Already mentioned)
Yoast SEO for WordPress Plugin does everything from On-Page optimization, improving your meta tags and title tags. It even analyzes your content telling you if you’re doing a good job or a bad job.
It creates a sitemap for you, helpfully structured markup. It does pretty much what most things that you need if you want to ensure that your WordPress blog is SEO friendly.
Now look, WordPress out of the box is pretty SEO friendly but this plugin puts last final touches that are important.
Most people think if I do most of the things that’s fine. No! that used to work 5-6 years ago and SEO has changed.
Now Google wants to do it every little thing right and when you combine them all that’s when you see the climb in the ranking, that extra search traffic. And this plugin will help you get there.
If your website gets hacked your rankings and traffic will go down. When it goes down and you fix it, it’s hard to recover. Sucuri helps prevent you from getting hacked now it’s not going to be perfect but it’s better than nothing.
The last thing you want to do is get your site hacked and lose all their traffic. I’ve seen this over and over again. Someone gets hacked, they figured out after a week or 2, the rankings go down. They fixed it and they don’t recover in 30 days.
Eventually, they recover, sometimes it takes 2 months, 3 months. If they’re lucky it happens quickly and they’re like, “Hey my businesses in the sugar. I’m losing a lot of money all because of this one the silly thing”, make sure you don’t get hacked.
#5 AMP for WP
The fifth plugin is AMP for WordPress, this helps with mobile users. If you want to rank high, you want to get in the Google news, you want to make sure that your site has AMP framer.
In other words, your textbase articles load faster. Cool just pull it on there and they’re leveraging their framework. And I found that in the United States by lovers of AMP framework.
I don’t get much more mobile traffic but in other countries, we’re mobile devices and the structure isn’t as well such as Brazil I saw a huge increase in mobile traffic by just leveraging this plugin.
#6 a3 Lazy Load
When you use images on your site even when you compress them, it still takes time for that web page to load.
You want to make it work, those images must load when people scroll. That way you do not list loading up all these images on a page and it takes forever for that web page to load. It is preferred by Google and other search engines as well.
If you want to improve your search visibility by showing rich snippets between the page title, you’ve got to use this plugin.
It’s great, it’s simple to use, it is one of the best things that I’ve done out there.
Now with schema markup, what you’ll find is, some people are like, Yeah! We are going to use all the schema markup and all these tags even though our site isn’t relevant to specific schema markups. You don’t want to do that.
For example, I wouldn’t be using stuff from schema markups that are relevant for restaurants because I’ve been in the digital marketing space.
Google doesn’t like it and it’ll hurt you in the long run. So, when you’re using this, be nice and kind. Don’t try to abuse schema markup.
#8 Really Simple SSL
90 percent of websites that rank at the top have SSL installed. It’s pretty much become a pre-requisite if you want to rank well so use SSL.
Now, it does not need through this plugin, maybe your host provides it, maybe your domain provider provides it, whatever it may be. You want to secure your site.
What you’ll find is that some browsers even notify users saying, “Hey this site isn’t secure” and that’ll cause people to bounce back, get away from your site. And over time that can decrease your rankings.
You want to make sure, you have as SSL, it’s that important. So, use this plugin you’ll find your rankings will start going up over time.
Combining all these plugins can make a huge difference in your WordPress site.
If you’re still reading this blog post, then you have captured the domain name and chosen the blogging platform and web hosting. Also, you’re done with customization and optimization.
It’s time for:
Step 7: Write your first blog post (masterpiece)
Instead of just going out and write your first post, I want you to brainstorm the topics for your blog. You will need to brainstorm in starting only, after that your blog topics will come from your experiences.
Here’s is my own approach to come up with ideas:
Step 1: Visit your competitor’s website. Just to clear you, I’m visiting a random blog here.
Step 2: Visit any blog post here.
Step 3: Look for what’s already popular. To check, what’s already popular, you can have a look at blog post’s shares. More shares a blog post has, more popular is the topic.
There will be several blog posts that are already popular. You have some nice ideas now.
To get more ideas, visit more of your competitor’s site and find what’s popular on their blog.
Step 4: You are now having the list of topics over which you can write. You know what topic you have to write on.
Next, after choosing a topic that fits you, perform a Google search with the keyword of the topic.
Step 5: From the Google search result, pick up 5-10 blog posts that are already ranking on the first page of Google.
Step 6: Walk through the chosen blog posts and extract all the information.
With the extracted information, create your own content. Make sure your content is super-thorough, bounded, and most detailed.
If some user visits and reads your blog post, (s)he must be like, “Wow! This is the end of all the blog posts, I don’t need to go anywhere else,…”
Now, you have a topic and you know what and how to write, let’s start writing.
Pro tip: To avoid Grammatical errors, you can use Grammarly.
Write your first blog post
This section will cover the interface and functionality of WordPress’s blog post editor.
WordPress has a really easy to use editor. To get started, you have to click on “Posts” from your WordPress blog dashboard sidebar.
On this screen, you’ll have a list of all your blog posts in the descending order. Because you’ve not written before, you might have nothing here.
To write a new blog post, click on the “Add New” button near the top.
You’re on the blog post editor window. You can now start writing here.
Click on the “Toolbar Toggle” icon to explore a few more options to edit your blog post. This will help you to create heading and sub-headings, and other text formattings.
Now, at first, I’d recommend you to write the title for your blog post.
As soon as you’re done with writing the title, WordPress created a permalink using the keywords you have mentioned in your title.
Pro tip: Edit permalink and use short URLs that must contain the primary keyword.
Come to the large blank area, you can start writing the body of your content in this area. Write, write, write, until you’re not satisfied.
Since multimedia files are a must for great user experience, add images, embed videos within your blog post. Here’s how can you add visuals to your blog post.
To add images, make sure the cursor is on a place where you want to insert the image. Then, click on the ‘+’ button and then “Image”.
Now, you can either drag and drop your image into the media library or you can upload the image using the window “upload files”.
Once your image is uploaded, select the image and click on the “Insert into post” button. You opt to change the format size and add links to your image if you want.
Pro tip: Use Alt Text in your images, it helps Search engines to determine your image.
Your image has now inserted within the blog post.
Similarly, you can embed videos, infographics to your blog post.
Keep on writing until you’re done.
When your article is completed, optimize your article using the Yoast SEO plugin.
Yoast has some real-time settings that help you to optimize your content so that it can be loved by Search engines. You can find these settings just below the post the main body text area.
Yoast SEO plugin helps with 4 main settings that are: Title, slug, meta description, and focus keyword.
Create a catchy title and meta description that explains your blog post topic. Also, include your focus keyword in your title and meta description.
Try to get as many green lights as you can, if you have got an 80% score, then you’re good to go.
Like in YouTube videos, we have thumbnails, blog posts have featured images. A feature image is an image that appears above the blog post.
To set a featured image in your blog post, click on the “Set featured image” link in the right sidebar (you can find this link in the bottom section of the blog editor screen).
When you’ll click the link, a pop-up of media files will appear, you can either drag and drop the image or you can upload the image. Once done, click on the “Set featured image” button.
Now, you’re ready to publish your blog post. But before you click on the publish button, make sure to preview your blog post. To preview, click on the “Preview” button.
Before publishing a blog post, you have to consider these points:
- You’ve used multiple relevant headings in your blog post
- Content flow is natural
- Paragraphs are bounded
- No paragraph has more than 5-6 lines
- Your post has well-divided sections and subsections
- Post must be in a conversational tone
- Include bullet points and lists
- There must not any grammatical errors and typos
If everything is fine, go and publish your first blog post. You can find the “Publish” button at the top of the right sidebar.
Hurrah! You’ve just published your first masterpiece. Feeling awesome, right?
Step 8: Promote your content and blog
Till here, you’ve already made a lot of effort. Guess what, you’ve written an awesome article which is useful and detailed, but it has not reached to the right audience. Think, if no-one has ever reached to your content?
All the efforts, energy, and money will go in vain, right?
So, it is required to promote your blog and content. Promoting the blog lets the user engage with your content.
Here are some proven and actionable strategies for promoting/marketing your blog so that you can reach a more targeted audience:
Let’s start with the very easy and quickest way of promoting your blog…
Let your network know about your blog
After publishing your first blog post, share it with your existing network using WhatsApp, Facebook, and other social media platforms.
One more thing you can do is, include your blog name & link to your blog in your email signature. Update all your social media profiles and include your blog link in your profiles.
Submit your blog to search engines
Submitting your blog to search engines help your blog posts to get indexed faster. You can submit your blog to Yahoo, Google, Bing, and other search engines.
Use Yoast SEO plugin to submit your blog to these search engines. Go to Yoast? Webmaster Tools.
Add your blog to social bookmarking sites
Bookmarking sites can drive a decent amount of targeted traffic to your blog. You have to submit your content to social bookmarking sites every time you publish a new blog post.
Some popular social bookmarking sites are Scoop.it, Reddit, etc.
Remain active in your niche
Being active in your niche and share your knowledge and helping others is the best way to build relationships. Share your thoughts, answer the questions on other blogs, forums, and social pages. This way you can spread your content and blog among the interested audiences.
Remain active on social media
Did you know? Every brand is present on social media Popular and big brands make use of social media to connect with their customers/followers.
You can do it too, instead of connecting with existing followers, you can use social media to build an audience by providing the value. Share valuable and useful content on social media platforms that will help you to build an audience that can visit your blog.
Engage with other blogs
You know what, I have visited several blogs through the comments on an existing blog post. Let’s say, I’ve written an article on “Money Making Methods” and someone left a useful and relevant comment on my post, the comment is like, “You have mentioned a great way, but I know one more way that I’ve used to make $1754 in 7 days…”
What now? People who are visiting my blog can check this comment and will try to know more about the comment, for that they may visit the comment author’s blog.
You have to do the same, just leave relevant and helpful comments on other blogs.
Guest blogging is writing for other blogs and taking a backlink in return. Guest blogging on popular sites can make a huge difference.
This is one of my favorite methods to promote my brand or blog and also to drive referral traffic to my blog. Guest blogging also helps in ranking on Google.
You can also build an email list and can use paid advertising, which I think you should consider later, not now.
Apart from the mentioned methods, there are a lot more ways to promote your blog.
Step 9: Drive traffic and make your online presence count
I’d recommend you if you want to go long, do SEO for your blog.
Here’s the ultimate guide to SEO: SEO: All You Need to Know About Search Engine Optimization [Ultimate Guide]
Step 10: Monetize your blog and make money blogging
Once, you have a decent amount of traffic on your blog (say 3000-10000 visitors a month minimum), you can monetize your blog. There are several ways to monetize your blog, be it affiliate marketing, advertising on the blog, selling a product, and so on. I’ll give you a brief about all the money-making ways via blogging.
Make money with ads
This is the first way every beginner gets to know about to make money online with a blog. I am one of them.
I monetized my blog by putting Ads on the blank spaces of my blog. You can make a passive income with this method easily.
You can either put the ad of the advertiser on your blog by charging them a specific amount or you can Sign up with Google Adsense or Google Adwords or something similar. The recommended platform as a beginner is, Google Adsense.
Make money with affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.
There are several platforms you can join including Amazon, ClickBank, ShareASale, etc. to start affiliate marketing.
Suggested Reading: What is Affiliate Marketing and How to Get Started?
Sell products and services
This way of money-making can help you to set up a six-figure business. When you’re having an audience on your blog, analyze them, analyze their problems.
Keeping your reader’s problems in your mind, you can create a product and sell it or you can provide services. Like I sell services on this site, TermInternet and I sell physical products on my other blog Your Favorite Crafts.
You have to understand your audience before selling your product and services.
There will be some changes you’ll need to make to sell products and services, like with WordPress, you’ll need WooCommerce plugin to sell so that you can accept payments.
Get paid for sponsored content
Several brands and advertisers look for gaining exposure and they do pay well. Once your blog has huge traffic, brands and advertisers will approach you to publish their content on your blog and in return, you may get up 1000s of dollars for a single blog post.
You can register yourself as a blogger/creator on some sites so advertisers can find you easily.
Write and sell ebooks
Being in space and consistently sharing helpful content will help you to gain knowledge about that niche. When you’ll have a piece of great knowledge about a certain topic, you can write e-books that could be sell.
Final words to conclude
Starting a blog is easy but taking the blog to a level and making a decent amount from a blog is quite difficult. You need determination, hard work, strategy, and dedication. Along with all these things, one thing you need is patience.
But once you have all these things, you’re golden.
Today, blogs are affordable and accessible. In the past, it was expensive and comparatively harder to run.
Very obvious, you might face obstacles that may discourage you, but you have to continue. In such a case, you’re free to contact me, I’m here to help you. I’ll keep trying to encourage you to chase your passion and share your knowledge with the world according to your frame of reference.
Someday soon you’ll be bright. All you need is to get started today, if not today, it’ll be tough tomorrow.
Be adventurous. Be you. Be honest. Be transparent.
As you’ll push out quality content regularly, you’ll see significant results.
Authors Bio: Mayank Kumar is the Co-founder at TermInternet (Digital Marketing Agency) and a passionate writer. Till date, he has worked with several companies and startups to give them a kickstart and grow their business faster.