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Are you looking for a side income? Do you want to work in the comfort of your home and still have sustainable earnings? Do you have a passion for writing?
If you do, you can make a career out of blogging! Yes, it is possible. And what’s better than making a passive income from your passion?
Believe it or not, you can easily create a blog in 11 easy steps.
Let’s take a more in-depth look.
Step #1: What Is Blog And Why You Should Start One?
A regularly updated website with frequently published latest content is called a blog. It is generally written in a conversational or an informal style. The primary purpose of a blog is to attract readers and generate online revenue.
People blog for several reasons, like:
- Documenting their thoughts
- Sharing their learnings
- Making money
- Free travel
- Free stuff and gadgets for review
and many more.
Are you also wondering if you, too, should start a blog?
Well, in my honest opinion, starting a blog is among the easiest ways of launching your business and earning an online income.
You can make money from any part of the world with a blog. One doesn’t have to be a web developer, an expert in their field, or a professional writer to start their blog. You don’t also require any credentials or degree for blogging and getting success in it.
You can be any age, live anywhere in the world, and have a minimum level of experience, yet you can build a rewarding online business. Everyone has some sought- off expertise. A blog is a perfect platform for sharing your knowledge of your field with the world, being an expert, and building authority over your expertise.
Starting a blog has become very easy in 2020, even if you have no technical background in developing or designing websites. A blog can be your backup in case you lose your job or want to quit your job. You can make money through yout blog. We’ll discuss the “how” of this further in this article.
Step #2: Best Platform for Blogging: WordPress vs. Wix vs. Medium vs. Squarespace?
It’s hard to choose a website builder, especially when there are countless options. It’s even more complicated, given how WordPress, Wix, Medium, and Squarespace are exceptional platforms. That is why I have carried out fundamental research on every platform to comprehend how they work. This article will help you make a fast-track decision on which website builder you should go for.
Must read – Best Sites for Blogging
Let’s take an in-depth look at their comparisons:
Launched in 2006, Wix has successfully attracted 160 million users. Designing a website is simple with Wix because of its drag-and-drop page builder. It’s a perfect choice for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and design professionals.
It’s super easy to add in everyday objects like photo galleries, text, and contact forms into the predesigned templates. Use the settings panel to make customizations.
Squarespace was launched in 2003. It has a professionally designed template, and you can add additional functionality according to your requirements. It gives more emphasis on mobile responsiveness, aesthetics of the website, and speed.
There are fewer customization options available in the templates compared to Wix. It does support third-party integrations.
WordPress is far and wide the most popular website building tool to create a wide variety of websites. It is very flexible and gives you absolute control over the website functionality and design.
It is recommended that you have some coding knowledge to set up, manage, and use WordPress.
Launched in August 2012, Medium is an open online publishing platform. It has 60 million + active users. Getting exposure for good stories is quick and easy. Publishing is free on Medium.
Medium pays the writers through their Partner Program each month depending on how the audience or the readers engaged with your published stories. You get paid “per clap” on Medium.
Let’s have a look at their comparisons based on some essential factors-
Ease of Use
|Wix has 500+ predesigned templates that are all customizable. Wix takes care of the hosting and SSL certification. Sign up process is quick and easy.||The latest version, Squarespace 7, comes with an intuitive interface that allows you to edit and style your content by clicking on about elements. You can add blocks to the page with the panel’s help on the LHS of your page.||You need to have your website host since WordPress is a self-hosted website. You can then make the customizations with coding. You get total customization freedom on WordPress.||Medium is comparatively more comfortable to use than WordPress. Its WYSIWYG design lets you create an account quickly and write content with little to no technical know-how.|
|There are 510+ on Wix, which cover 16 categories (e.g., Portfolio, Business, and CV, etc.) The themes are all mobile-friendly. You just have to choose a blank template and get creative. You cannot, however, change your theme after publishing.||Squarespace also comes with a wide range of professional-seeming templates that you can search through by category. You get more customization freedom on Squarespace as compared to Wix. You can also edit your mobile-responsive template with some coding.||WordPress gives the maximum design flexibility among all the platforms. It has thousands of themes to choose from with ample customization options. You can add plugins and use coding to tailor-make your website.||Medium has a uniform design, which is proven to be the overall strength of the site. The layout of the Medium site is pretty organized, sleek, and clean. You can make some modifications in the “edit” mode. Change the accent colors or the background in the editor panel on the LHS. But that’s all the modifications you can do on Medium.|
|SEO is super easy with Wix. It uses ‘SEO Wiz’ that guides you about the process and helps you create an ideal strategy.||Even though Squarespace provides some basic features for improving your website’s SEO, such as updating URLs, customizing meta descriptions, and editing the image alt tags, it does fall short with its lack of an SEO-specific app.||If you’re well-acquainted with what you’re doing, you can boost your WordPress website’s SEO with amazing plugins and features.||You can tailor most of the elements of your post on Medium. Medium has high domain authority that can boost the ranking of your article in all search engines.|
Help & Support
|Wix has the best Help & Support reach. You can phone/email or use social media to connect with the support. You can also directly contact the Wix Help Center.||Squarespace provides 24×7 Email Support along with a Live Chat feature and a comprehensive Knowledge Base.||Because WordPress is a free platform, there’s no email support, no call center, or live chat. However, there’s a robust support community where you can find tutorials, guides, and FAQs.||Medium provides email support along with social media connect option for any kind of help. There’s no phone support.|
|Wix is free. However, you can upgrade it whenever you like for not more than $5/month.||Squarespace is free in the first 14-day trial before you go Premium or pass. It costs $12/month- $36.||Even though WordPress software is free, but you will still need to pay for the hosting, SSL certificates, themes, and plugins.||Blogging on Medium is free. You can publish your stories and posts for free.|
Among all the fantastic blogging platforms, WordPress undoubtedly wins by a great leap. It gives you full command over every aspect.
It’s highly extendable with almost all kinds of additional functionality with the help of plugins. It has mobile-friendly themes. It gives you full ownership of your blog. It’s by far the best blogging platform for business owners.
Step #3: What is Niche and How to Choose Best Niche?
In general, a niche is a particular subject around which a website or a blog revolves. For example, if you’re into health and staying fit, you’d want to share lifestyle and fitness knowledge with the world.
Anyone who has a specific passion or profession can use that particular topic as their niche and create a blog around it. You can share your experiences and learnings through your blog. So if you know what you want to write and share about, you are well aware of your niche.
In case you’re not sure, I will suggest to you how you can pick your niche in this article.
Some niches do better than others based on readers’ interests and popularity of the subject. The top niches that are profitable and trending in 2020 are:
- Health and Food
- Travel and Lifestyle
- Personal Finance
You must be clear on the idea of your niche before you start blogging. Are you looking to build your brand around your niche, or are you looking to have a micro-niche blog?
List down a couple of niche ideas and start brainstorming. Make sure that whatever niche you list down, you should be passionate enough about it. It also needs to be a favorite or high-demand topic. Only that would make it a profitable niche.
I have got a detailed guide on How to Choose a Blogging Niche in 7 easy steps.
Finally, pick the niche that you would love to write about regularly.
Step #4: What is Web Hosting, Types of Web Hosting, and How to Buy
Getting your blog online is the second step in starting a blog. That’s where web hosting companies come into the picture. You select the blogging platform and a web hosting plan in this step. You need a ‘host’ to make your website approachable and usable on the internet.
The host helps in keeping your website files secure and safe. It makes sure that people can open your website by clicking on the link or typing in your URL. Now there are thousands of hosting sites that would offer you hosting at a low price as 50 dollars.
In my ten years of experience as a blogger, I have seen many newbies picking up the wrong hosting provider and then regretting it later. Hence, I am here you give you my honest opinion and a friendly suggestion on which hosting site you should choose, especially if you’re new to blogging.
Honestly, Bluehost makes it super easy to get your website up-and-running. It is a perfect choice because it offers everything that you need to create your blog:
- Free domain name (That saves you about 12 dollars per year)
- Unlimited Storage
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Free SSL
- Live chat support
- Easy-to-use cPanel
- 30 days money-back guarantee
Cost of Web Hosting
With Bluehost, you can get hosting at a low price (about $5/month) with high quality. It is a wise investment to put money into an excellent hosting company. I use Bluehost for my WordPress blog.
Buying and Setting Up the Hosting
- Select a hosting plan- You can go for a Basic Plan or a Plus Plan if you wish to start more blogs.
- Then claim your free domain name on the next page. In case you don’t have one yet, you can click “Choose Later.”
- Fill up your contact info on the next page. Uncheck everything leaving “Domain Privacy Protection” checked.
- Now you can make the payment through your debit or credit card or via PayPal under the payment information.
- Bluehost will now automatically create your blog in just 10 minutes.
Once you’ve purchased both hosting and domain name, Bluehost will install the WordPress software automatically on your domain name, which means that your blog is now installed and good to set up.
Step #5: What is Domain Name and How to Buy One
In simple words, a “domain name” is your website name. It is the address on which the users can connect with your website. It can be any combination of numbers and letters and can have any extension, like .net, .com, .in, etc. All the domain names are unique.
Check our detailed guide on how to choose a domain name for your blog or a business.
A domain name may cost anywhere between $15 to $25/year.
You need both a domain name as well as web-hosting to create your website. Your domain name and web hosting can be two different companies. You need to edit the “domain name” settings and enter Name Server info given by your hosting company. The Name Server info defines where the request is sent for the domain name.
Most good domain names are registered, and that puts the newbie bloggers under a lot of pressure to come up with a suitable domain name idea for their blog or website. That’s why I am going to help you choose an apt domain name for your website:
- Only choose a .com domain name as it’s easy to remember, most popular, and easy to promote.
- Make sure your domain name is under 15 letters and easy to remember.
- It should be easy to spell and pronounce.
- Avoid having any hyphens or numbers in your domain name.
- You can use the “domain name generator” for ideas.
There are several domain name registrars where you can purchase your domain name. It will generally cost you around $15/year. Some of the well-known domain name companies are:
- Name.com etc.
If you’re looking for a low-cost option, you should buy your domain name from GoDaddy. I have been using namecheap.com myself for years. Not only is it cost-effective, but it’s also useful for high security.
Step #6: Blog Setup
Setting up a WordPress blog is a 15 minutes deal. As simple as it is to set up your WordPress blog, it is still vital that you know what all you need to do and how to do it. That’s why I have put together a simple step-by-step guide for you. Let’s have a look.
- Sign up for web hosting. (I recommend Bluehost)
- Choose your hosting plan.
- Pick your domain name.
- Register the hosting.
- Install WordPress.
- Log in and start writing your blog posts.
Installing WordPress may sound a bit intimidating. But it’s not any rocket science, trust me.
After getting done with the sign-up process, you will receive a mail from Bluehost with the details about how to log into Bluehost’s customer area. Log in.
Bluehost will now give you a simple wizard that will explain to you the installation process for WordPress.
In case you don’t see the wizard, go to the “My Sites” area and click on “Create Site” button to launch the wizard. Now you can fill in all the details for your site name and username & password with which you will be managing your blog. The installation process is done.
Now you can access your dashboard at yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
Step #7: Install Best WordPress Theme or a Template
The primary benefit of creating a blog on WordPress is access to a vast collection of themes. You will have an active default theme as soon as you make your blog. You can design your blog on WordPress as you like using the thousands of themes available.
You can pick from Premium or free themes in the “Choose a WordPress theme” panel. The only difference is that the Premium themes generally have more features and detailed designs.
To get a free theme, you can look up on wordpress.org theme directory. Free themes, too, come with great functionality and aesthetic appeal. Some of the most popular free themes include Airi, Sydney, Zakra, Hestia, etc. If I were to recommend a free WordPress theme, I would suggest you go for OceanWP. You can work with it for all kinds of websites, including membership sites and eCommerce websites.
However, you will need a more comprehensive approach for premium themes. Here are some excellent options:
- Generate Press
- Studio Press
Astra and Generate Press are the top WordPress themes right now. They come with 15-16 modules in the premium version. You can set up and disable the modules as you like.
While Generate Press comes with more comprehensive customizing options, Astra has faster page speed. Both these themes have their advantages that can help you make a call to choose the best theme for your blog.
After deciding on the theme, here’s how you install it.
- Hover over the “Appearances” and select “Themes”
- Click on “Add New”
- If you’ve chosen a free theme from WordPress.org, look up the theme name and click on “install.”
- If you’ve chosen a premium theme, click “Upload Theme” and then upload the ZIP file you got when you purchased it.
- Once your theme is installed, click “Activate,” and you’re good to customize the theme as you like.
Step #8: Mandatory WordPress Plugins
There are chiliads of WordPress plugins. But I will precise-down the options to the plugins that you should install from the first day. Here’s the list of the plugins that you should install in your new WordPress blog:
- Yoast SEO
- Jetpack by WordPress.com
To make this step really simple, we have a list of 21 Best WordPress Plugins for your Blog, or Website.
There are many other plugins, but the ones mentioned above will guarantee that you get all the basics plugin installed on your blog.
Step #9: How to Find Content or Blog Post Ideas?
It is essential to have a content plan before you start with your first blog post.
You can use Trello board for the same. The free Trello board comes with a checklist option to help you create a perfect write-up. Create a panel called ‘article ideas’ on there and list down all the content you can write.
It’s always best to write this in just one sitting, and the next time, you can start writing your content straightaway.
Now for the blog ideas, here is a simple method that even I use to come up with specific blog posts for my blog.
- Writing down all the topics that I can think of and the keywords that I can use after a lot of brainstorming.
- Use the keyword research tool to get some more ideas.
- Now just do some refining and group together similar ideas.
- Create a spreadsheet and write them down on there. Prioritize.
- Now take your top priorities and set deadlines. Start writing with the most convincing one based on the keys that should fit your niche, genuinely help the readers, and drive more traffic to the blog.
There are also some creative ways to come up with new ideas, like:
- Checking out competitors’ blogs in the same niche as yours.
- Observing which post of yours is doing most well.
- Doing more roundup posts that don’t require much originality in the content.
- Chatting with other bloggers in the same line.
- Using social media sites such as Quora, Reddit, Twitter, and Trends etc.
There’s also an excellent online tool called Buzzsumo that can help you generate ideas and create high-performing content. It keeps a check on your performance and identifies the influencers for you.
Step #10: Drive Free Traffic to Your Blog
Now that you have covered everything and posted your first blog, it’s time to drive traffic to your blog. Driving traffic to your blog is not a piece of cake, and that’s where SEO comes into the picture. It is the single most source of driving blog traffic in almost an unimaginable way. My blogs get hundreds of thousands of views each month, and most of the traffic comes from search engines.
There are two prospects of SEO that a solo blogger can do very quickly:
- On-Page SEO – Optimizing the content for target “keyword.”
- On-Site SEO – Optimizing the content for search engines. Yoast SEO is a simple WP plugin that is quite useful in this aspect.
- Off-Site SEO – You must take care of the Tags, Titles, URL, broken links, Descriptions, etc. There are so many things required to be always taken into consideration when it comes to SEO.
Writing SEO-optimized content is not everyone’s cup of tea since it has so many steps, starting from doing Keyword research, SEO – friendly content, and then smartly promoting the content and earning links.
With a little bit of learning and some practice, these aspects can become the best driving source for your blog.
Keyword Research with Free and Paid Tools
There are also a lot of Keyword research tools at par with Google Keyword Planner that too can come in handy for you. Just add in the ‘seed’ keyword, and you’ll get tons of keyword suggestions along with search volumes. Here are some of the FREE keyword tools:
- Keyword Generator
- Google Trends
- Answer the Public
- Keyword Sheeter
- Keyword surfer
- Google search console
- Bulk Keyword Generator
Some paid keyword tools are worth the spent, namely Serpstat ($19), Search Term/ Query Reports, which is also kind of free-ish.
Writing 100% On-Page SEO Blog Post
One of the old-school tactics for on-page SEO optimized content is to use the target keyword in your blog post in the first 100 words. This is because Google gives more weight to the terms that show on early on in your page.
Another useful tact is to wrap up your blog post title in H1 Tag and the subheading in H2 Tags.
It’s also important to mind the frequency of the keyword in your content post. SEO pros bet that it always works to use the same keyword a couple of times in your blog post.
Use the external outbound links. It shows Google that your page focuses on quality information. External links help improve ranking.
Last but not least, and this one goes without saying, optimize your URLs for SEO. Your URL should be short and should have the keyword in it.
Promoting Blog Post – Off-Page SEO
The most popular off-page ranking determinants are- Social Media, Link Building, and Social Bookmarking. Hence, you must have well-thought-out strategies and techniques for off-page optimization.
Some of the significant Off-Page strategies for ranking higher on Google are:
- Link Building– It’s the application of building one-way hyperlinks or backlinks to a website. When one website is linked to another, it gives the impression that it is a useful resource.
- Establishing Expertise- It aids in improving your SEO, creating brand awareness,and bringing in repeat traffic.
- Digital Public Relations- It increases the visibility and reaches of your website by getting referral traffic.
- Brand Mentions- You can build mentions through guest blogging, strong customer service, and social campaigns.
- Video Production- Videos increase website ranking, web traffic, and online visibility and are 50X more effective in getting organic order than just written texts.
- Content repurposing helps you generate more high-quality content that leads to a more significant online presence.
- Be open to get reviews- You can encourage more reviews by creating incentives and creating spaces to write reviews.
Apart from these, there are indefinite ways of driving traffic to your blog. Some of the most common and used methods include:
- Commenting on blogs
- Guest posting
- Driving traffic through social media such as Quora, Reddit, etc.
Getting organic traffic is always beneficial for generating income from affiliate programs and advertisements.
Step #11: How to Make Money or Monetize Blog?
You can make money from your blog in several ways. Some of the most popular methods are:
- Google AdSense
- Affiliate Marketing
- Sponsored Content
- Amazon Affiliate program
- Own digital products such as online course or eBooks
- Direct ad sales
This is the most popular method for monetizing blogs. Google AdSense and Media.net top the list of Ad networks. These networks automatically show the ads depending on the article’s context and on the user interest.
Affiliate ads are among the most profitable way of making money through blogging. This is because a single sale can make a lot more money than a single click on some contextual ad. This is gaining more and more popularity day by day, and most bloggers rely on this method for earning money through blogs.
Sponsors or Sponsored Reviews
Paid reviews can boost your monthly income immensely. You can make $10 or more very quickly from just a small review post. Some things need to be taken care of while doing paid reviews.
- Are the paid reviews Bad, good, or ugly?
- Should you be doing a free review or a paid review?
In the end, it’s quite conclusive that a blog can only grow and be successful if you’re passionate about it. You have to be excited and continuously engaged in it. You need to give people a reason to read your blog. Create exciting content and connect with other people in a similar or same niche as yours. Share your experiences and knowledge, and the traffic, the monetization, and everything else will also follow.
I feel immense pleasure sharing this guide with you because starting my blog was one of the most empowering and life-changing decisions for me. And I hope that this will also give you enough confidence to create your blogging journey.
If you have any questions or queries, write in the comments below, and I will make sure I will help to the best of my capacity.