You have been pondering about how to start a blog, putting down your thoughts in writing, and sharing it with the world but you just don’t know where to begin.
Rest assured you’re not alone.
Taking the leap of faith to start a blog might feel like an overwhelming task for many, however, with the right tools and a little bit of guidance you can slay that giant in no time.
Yes, it’s possible to create your own professional, well-functioning, aesthetic, money-making blog in just a few hours.
With this step-by-step guide, we’ll take you through the entire process of building your very own blog layer by layer, brick by brick while avoiding all the pitfalls that often throw new bloggers off course even before they start.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Step 1: Select A Niche And Decide On A Domain Name
Select A Niche
A niche is a general idea surrounding your blog, what your blog is all about.
Most people already have an idea of what they want to write about before they decide to start a blog.
That’s great, but for your content to stand a chance in the vast array of online content, you have to be very specific.
That means you have to narrow down that general idea of yours into something unique.
For example, if you’re interested in writing about travel, fashion, tech, or food, choosing a niche will require you to narrow your topic down to something like travel for couples or a blog on fashion that focuses only on helping students, etc.
Here’s what you need to bear in mind when selecting a niche.
As fun and exciting as the plan to start a blog might seem, it’s very common to lose interest after a couple of months.
This is why it’s vital to go for a topic you enjoy or better still are passionate about.
Ask yourself: Will I still be motivated to write about this topic after 50 posts?
Or can I spend a year writing on this topic?
If the answer is YES! then you are on the right track.
It’s also important to pick a topic you’ll like to learn about.
You need not be an expert or a guru in the niche you choose but you must have the enthusiasm to get to know more on your chosen topic.
Simply find your passion, write about what you know and be bold enough to learn the rest along the way.
To be sure you are passionate about a topic, take a pen and paper and write down at least 10 blog post ideas on the topic you will like to write about.
If it’s the right topic, you’ll get it done in under 1 minute off the bat. Finding the right niche often gets overlooked but it’s one of the most important aspects of blogging.
Failing to pick the right niche will render every other exercise futile.
When you know what you want to write about, the next step before you start a blog is to find out if that niche is profitable.
How to start a blog that will attract readers?
Is there an audience and a market for your content?
How broad is your audience and what are the trends in your niche?
You can use Google Trends to carry out this broad market research. It will show you the number of people that are interested in stuff related to what you’re offering.
For example you are planning to start a blog on Vegan diets. Head over to Google Trends, put in the keyword “vegan diets” and you will be able to see the search trends over a period of time. You can also compare with other similar keywords by using the “Compare” button.
Another important aspect you should research is your competitors. Look at what they are doing and how well it’s working for them.
This will help you narrow down your content to what works best.
Do you ever wonder how to start a blog that also generates income?
Or if maintaining a blog is at all sustainable? Unless blogging is your hobby and you don’t care about making any money from it, you should be concerned about being profitable right from the start.
At some point, your blog will have to take care of itself, so when picking a niche, you must make sure there is money to be made in that niche.
See if your keywords are used to advertise products on Google.
Find out if there are relevant affiliate products with great commissions you can promote on your website.
Your name is the first thing everyone sees when they come to your blog.
It should be a reflection of what your content is all about. Ideally your blog name should be a unique combination of your identity and the general topic you’ll be discussing.
It could be an incorporation of two or three words, but it has to be broad enough to accommodate an expansion in the future.
Do not pick a name that is too specific, you’ll be unable to expand your audience beyond a certain level.
It will limit your business down the road.
There are lots of free tools like namecheap.com that can help you brainstorm names for your blog. You can then start a blog with a unique identity.
Deciding On A Domain Name
Like a person’s name, a domain name says a lot about you. It is your online identity.
When deciding on a domain name, bear in mind that most easy to find names are already taken.
You should go for something unique or go for an alternative ending such as .io, .co, .writer, etc.
Remember that your interest and target audience will keeping changing with time.
How to start a blog that doesn’t lose relevance over time?
Always leave room for change.
For instance picking a name like texashiker.com limits you if you want to expand your business beyond the state of Texas.
Rather go for something like hikewithme.com which gives you leeway to target an audience from anywhere in the world if the need arises.
Another good option is to start a blog with your name, that’s perfect because your name will never change and it allows you to write on anything you want.
Bluehost is one of the best places to start your journey.
It has a domain availability checker you can use to find out if the name you want is still up for grabs.
Buying A Domain Name
Once you have found the right domain name, the next step is to purchase it and then buy a hosting package.
Domains are pretty cheap.
Especially ones with an alternative ending (.oi,.co, .writer, etc).
Note: If you are buying your web hosting from Bluehost you will get a domain name absolutely free. We will be discussing this in more details in the next section.
If you are lucky enough to find that the domain name you want is still available, do not hesitate to buy it right away before someone else does.
Step 2: Getting Your Blog Hosted Online
What is Web Hosting?
There are different types of web hosting available in the market.
You can use any of them to host a website, the one you choose will depend on the needs of your website and how much you are willing to spend on hosting.
3 of the most commonly used are:
2. VPS hosting
3. Managed WordPress hosting
In our examples we will be using Bluehost for our web-hosting.
You might wonder “Why Bluehost?”.
Well! If going by the testimonies of over 60% of all blogs in the world is not reason enough, there are a thousand and one other reasons to opt for Bluehost.
Here are some of them:
How to start a blog without having to pay the for the domain name?
A Bluehost hosting plan comes with a free domain name and that’s a steal.
Bluehost offers a one-year domain name registration for free when you buy any package.
Your free domain name comes with a professional-looking email address which matches your domain name instead of the usual @gmail.com, @hotmail.com or @yahoo.com.
Other hosting platforms normally charge you extra for a professional email address and additional storage space that goes with your domain name as an extension.
One of the major selling points of Bluehost is that it is very easy to use, even for beginners.
There’s no need for any advanced knowledge or experience, Bluehost is extremely user friendly, making it ideal for newbies.
The platform has a clean interface with a straightforward layout and control panel.
Simply with a few clicks, its intuitive portal easily installs WordPress in less than no time.
It’s no news that security is at the top of the list of priorities for any serious blogger these days.
With that in mind, Bluehost has rolled out the red carpet for its users when it comes to security. No stone has been left unturned with regards to your site’s online security and privacy.
You are guaranteed that your name, email, and personal information will not be found anywhere online.
Advanced plans offer domain privacy protection, Spam Experts add-ons, server back-ups and many other benefits.
Bluehost also gives you a free SSL Certificate, access to multiple CMS integrations, eCommerce plugins, and lots of other great features.
With Bluehost you also get advanced security features such as SiteLock, to fight malware attacks, Codeguard to guarantee daily backup, and spam protection for your emails.
The most sought-after feature when choosing a web hosting platform is the server uptime, this refers to the overall period when your site is up and running.
According to industry experts the benchmark for the best uptime is 99.93%, but Bluehost sets the bar higher by maintaining an uptime of 99.98%.
This means there’s only a 0.02% window all year when users can’t have access to your site due to maintenance.