How to start a Blog
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Welcome to my step-by-step guide to starting a successful blog from scratch. And, you don’t need any prior experience. In today’s post, I am going to tell you all about:
- My blogging journey and how I got started with my blog.
- Exact steps I took to make my blog look professional and how you can too.
- My guide to writing the perfect blogposts and content strategy.
- How you can get traffic to your new blog.
- How to monetise your new blog.
This is kind of a long post, so you might want to consider copying this post’s url and mailing it to yourself, to read when you have the time. Or if you want, you can just enter your details below and I will mail you my FREE 7 day course to starting a profitable blog.
My blogging journey & How I started this blog?
I started this blog, shortly after getting married, back in 2017.I had recently graduated from my MBA post-grad. And I was going to start a new job in a few months. And this job was going to pay well. I had no intentions of making money from the blog, if I am being honest. Back then, I didn’t even know it’s possible to make money from a blog.
So, why did i even start?
I started this blog because I wanted a place to let out my creativity. I have always been a very creative person, even since I was a kid. I felt like I had lost connection with my creativity and that I needed an outlet. So, I started a blog because I loved writing and sharing my ideas and experiences with people and I wanted a space where I could do that.
I started my job, in June 2017, as was the plan. But by then I had already fallen in love with the process of writing and content creation. I still thought I can manage both the blog and my full time job side by side, or at least I had made all the plans.
And for about a year I did that. Of course at times, my blog suffered as I was not consistent enough. I was struggling to find the perfect balance. By then, I had already discovered Pinterest and had come across various pins from bloggers about how they make a full time income from blogging.
And I used to think whether it was something I wanted to do too, because I loved writing. But I didn’t have enough courage to do that. Also, when my husband and I were both working, we had gotten used to travelling a lot, because we both were earning well.
And quitting my job to try blogging full time was something that was really exciting for me, but I was still scared and had thoughts like “What if this fails?” or “Will we be able to afford to travel as much as we do now?”.
And even though I know people who build up their blogs as a side hustle, I knew I wouldn’t be able to. Because my corporate job that paid really well, happened to be a field job. And a pretty soul sucking one at that. Long hours at work and I often used to bring my work home too. And mostly because I had a client facing job and I couldn’t not pick a client’s call, even if they called at 9-10 P.M. You know how these field and client facing jobs go in India.
Along with that, I was already focussing on my health and treating my PCOS the natural way. And believe me, it is a lot of work. Watching what you eat and cooking fresh home cooked meals take a lot of time. At the time, I didn’t know much about meal prep because that’s something I had never see coming from a typical Indian household where meals are freshly prepared for each meal.
I was stuck in a rut, you know.
Going to work, working long hours, coming back home late in the evening, eating, watching a bit of tv and going to sleep. Now, I am not complaining about my job, it paid well. However, it wasn’t fulfilling and was highly monotonous. I felt like I was not learning anything new in that job and I was so frustrated 10 months into the job. I was looking for a way out. I was considering starting something of my own, probably go blogging full time. I knew it wouldn’t be easy and that for the first few months, we will have to cut a lot of expenses. But I was ready to work towards it. I told myself that freelancing wouldn’t be all that bad and I knew that for the first few months I will have to take up some freelancing gigs before I start making money from my own blog.
But I still hadn’t quit, because I didn’t have the courage. But then, Nitin got a job in another city, and a promotion and I thought that this was my chance to quit and start and I took it as a sign and resigned.
We moved to Pune, I started doing freelance gigs. Some of which paid well and I totally forgot about the blog. For about a year. Can you believe that. But then, I told myself that now is the time and I need to get serious with my blog if I wanted it to go somewhere.
And so, in the beginning of Jan 2020 I decided to go full time with the blog. I started focussing on content creation and on creating high quality content. I also started focussing on promoting my content and marketing across different platforms.
By this time, I had read hundreds of blogposts on income reports and how bloggers make “$10,000 a month or some even make $50,ooo per month” and I was ready to earn full time from my blog.
But you know what, I didn’t earn anything in the first 3 months!
No one gave me money for starting a blog and focussing all my energy into it. And even though I had read so many reports, I still didn’t know how bloggers earn money because none of these reports went into the juicy details.
Then I made a decision that I was going to give it my best shot and the minute I start earning from my blog, I am going to start writing detailed blogposts that really share the details of how to make money from a blog.
Within 3 months, I got the hang of the entire process. I focussed all my energy towards the blog and in the end of march 2020 I made my first income from the blog.
And within 6 months of “starting a new blog” I was already making close to my full time income.
Now, coming onto the juicy details. I am going to share exactly how I grew my blog into a full time income and how you can too.
SPOILER ALERT: It is going to be hard work. And yes, you will need to invest more than 2-3 hours a week. And anyone who says you can do it in just 1-2 hours a week is lying.
However, you don’t need to invest a lot of money in your blog at first. And you do not need any special experience to begin.
Now, let’s set up your blog, shall we?
So, What do you need to start a blog?
To start and set up a blog right now, the only things you need are:
- A computer : Going through this entire guide and setting up and starting a blog won’t be possible on your phone, I am afraid. So copy this link and mail it to yourself if you are viewing this page on your phone. And start later when you have access to a computer.
If you want, I can also e-mail my FREE 7 day course to starting a profitable blog, so that you can go through it when you are ready. Just leave your details below:
- Internet connection: Duh!
Now, before you start second guessing yourself,
IF I CAN DO THIS, SO CAN YOU.
And I promise I am here to share EVERYTHING you need to know in order to start making money from your blog. The FREE 7 day email course to starting a PROFITABLE blog will cover:
- DAY 1: How to set up your blog right:
- Everything about hosting, plans, domain names and niches
- DAY 2: How to make your blog look professional:
- Setting it up the right way, themes and plug-ins you will need
- DAY 3: All the tools and resources you will need as a blogger.
- All the tools that have helped us grow our blog and monetise it. All the essential plug-ins and everything we need to make pins for our blog.
- DAY 4: How to write quality content:
- Everything from structuring the blogposts, to finding content ideas, and optimising your posts for Search engines
- DAY 5: How to monetise your blog & ways to monetise:
- How bloggers monetise their blogs and selecting which one is best for you
- Our list of the best affiliate networks to join.
- DAY 6: How to market your content and drive traffic from social media:
- How to set up your Pinterest the right way
- How to get rich pins
- How to use keywords to increase your reach on Pinterest
- Everything you need to know to drive traffic while you sleep: Pinterest Marketing strategy
- DAY 7: How to stay motivated as a content creator and my top tips and tricks to stay productive and on top of your game as a blogger
HOW TO START A BLOG?
Okay, so first things first. I am just going to say it. You do not need a targeted niche to be successful as a blogger. I keep saying it every now and then on my blog, I do not believe in niches. I think that as humans, we do have various interests and it’s possible to make money from a blog that has more than 1 niche.
And you do not have to have your niche figured out. You can totally figure it out as you go. And yes, it is possible to make a successful blog in any niche. of course some niches like finance grow quicker than others. But, Right now, if you are thinking about starting a blog to make passive income, you just need to start. Because that’s the part that’s going to take the most courage. Of course the hard work will come later, but if you have been looking to start, the time is right now.
Alright, let’s get your blog started and ready to go now. Starting a brand new blog will have the following as the first 2 steps.
- Choosing a Name
- Choosing a Hosting
Choosing a Name:
Now comes the most exciting part. Choosing a name for your blog can be so much fun. It is also something that you need to put some thought into. Usually, I tell people to have a unique name for their blog that is catchy too.
If you are sure about what niche you want to write about then including words around that niche makes sense. Like Bruisedpassports.com or girlvsglobe are perfect for travel based blogs. Or like Budgetingcouple is perfect for a blog that talks about personal finance and budgeting.
However, if you not sure about what you want to blog about or if you want to have a lifestyle blog and want to talk about various things on the blog, then it makes sense to name your blog either by your own name or something like “life with your name dot com” or “Every girl”
OUR TOP TIPS for selecting a DOMAIN NAME:
- When selecting a domain name, make sure it is different and not something quite similar to a domain name that already exists. I have seen so many blogs that add an extra “s” at the end of a famous domain name. And that’s essentially hurting yourself because your blog won’t come up in google searches next to a really famous blog. More on this in the SEO part later on. Just make sure you have a unique name for your blog.
- Stick to dot coms instead of .in or .org
- Words that start with same alphabet work really well in domain names like “sequins and sangria” or ” girl vs globe”
- Don’t keep the domain name too narrow that you can only blog about one thing. Again, if you have no clue what you want to blog about, consider using your own name as a domain name. It will give you the freedom to explore the niches that you want to discuss on your blog.
If you want to check whether the name you want is available or not, check it down below!
Choose a Hosting:
OKAY, BUT WHAT IS HOSTING?
I know it is a bit technical, but let me explain in the easiest way possible. Hosting is like a spot for your blog on the world wide web. Pretty similar to how your car needs a parking spot, your blog needs a hosting service. It is also a place where all your website data is stored.
When you are first starting out with blogging and you are faced with options of self hosting your blog (for about $3.95/month) or free hosting with wordpress.com, chances are you will go with the free hosting.
And it makes sense for you then. Because you are just starting out and have no idea how blogging for money works.
But if you want to make money from your blog, I’d recommend going for a Self hosted blog. Treat your blog as a business from day 1 and think of this $3.95/ month as initial investment/ cost of running your business. We have all heard that in order to make money, you need to spend money.
In short, You CAN NOT make money from a FREE BLOG.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE YOU ASK?
Well, on a Self hosted blog, you can use ads and monetise using google Adsense or any other ad network.
But on a free hosted blog, like using wordpress.com, all your content is owned by WordPress and you can’t use adds or use affiliate links. You don’t even have a custom domain and your blog URL looks like www.myblog.wordpress.com instead of www.myblog.com, which really makes a difference.
Moreover, you can’t use any custom themes that your blog look really pretty and professional.
While on a Self hosted blog like wordpress.org you have a lot of benefits like:
- You have the rights to all your content
- Monetise however you want to, using ads, affiliate links and even selling your own digital/physical products
- Look more professional to your readers and brands that want to work with you
- Have a custom domain
And what is a platform?
Platform is the service that you will use on day to day basis to put up content on your website. WordPress.org is the best platform to use simply because of the customisation it offers. And anything you want to know, you can always find tons of help articles. However, it is not the easiest platform to use.
In the initial few weeks, you might find yourself struggling a bit, but if you stick with it, you will eventually get a good grasp of it. And the reason why I often say that WordPress is better than wix.com or square space is because it allows you to turn your blog into a business with the number of widgets and tools available. And while making a beautiful website is super easy with a builder like Wix because the drag and drop builder is amazing, but quite honestly, your options of scaling it will be quite limited.
WHICH HOSTING SERVICE SHOULD YOU USE?
I personally love Bluehost and can’t recommend it enough. Bluehost and wordpress.org is the perfect combination to go for your self hosted blog.
REASONS WHY I ABSOLUTELY LOVE BLUEHOST:
- It is the top recommend hosting company by WordPress
- You can monetise your blog however you want to with ads and affiliate links etc.
- It is also quite affordable, which is perfect for beginner’s when you don’t want to invest a lot of money in your blog
- You also get a free Domain for the first 12 months
- They have great customer service and you can always chat with the customer service rep to solve any issues that you have
- They have been working with WordPress since 2005 and they install WordPress for you
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH BLUEHOST:
Click here to go to Bluehost and click the Green GET STARTED button to select a plan. You will be redirected to a page where you have to select the plan that you want to get for your blog.
I recommend getting the basic plan which is just $3.95/month because when you are just starting out, all you need is the basic plan and you can upgrade any time you want to.
Once you have selected the basic plan, you will go to a page “Choose your Domain name” where you have a few options.
If you have a domain name in mind, simply check if that domain name is available. And if it is, the you can go ahead with creating a new domain.
However, if you have already purchased a domain from somewhere else, then simple choose use a domain you own. And if for some reason, you do not have a domain name in mind, simply select I’ll create my domain later.
Then, you will directed to your account info page. Fill out all the details here
After you have filled out your basic details like email and adress etc, it is now time to select a payment plan.
WHICH PAYMENT PLAN IS THE BEST?
Generally the longer your plan, the cheaper it will be for you. But if you are not sure than you want to use Bluehost for long term, then go for 12 month plan because:
- You get a free domain for the first 12 months.
- You need to try this blogging thing for atleast a year if you really want to make money from it. And this seems like a good way to commit to it.
However, if you have a little bit of cash at hand and are okay with making a relatively bigger purchase upfront, then I highly recommend going for the 36 month plan, because in the long term, it’s cheaper.
And if you are really serious about blogging and want to make it work, you will get your money’s best worth in the long run. Also, you won’t have to worry about the running costs down the line because you are ready for the next 36 months.However, if you are a little skeptical, try out the 12 month plan.
If you are on a tight budget, as most new bloggers are, go ahead and de-select any add ons like sitelock security etc.
Then go ahead and add your payment information and once you have read the terms of service click submit.
Then next thing you have to do for a self hosted blog is to install WordPress, but Bluehost does that for you. All you need to do is to set a password and you are all set.
Setting up your website:
And there you have it, your self hosted blog is now ready. Log in with your Domain name and the password you just created and fill it some basic details like what type of site it is.
Bluehost then asks if you want to select a theme for your blog and you can select from the themes available or buy a premium theme. This is honestly my favourite part. Selecting and customise a theme to how you like it.
Now all you need to do is go to WordPress from the top right corner and you will be directed to your WordPress dashboard, which you will be using from now on.
Congratulations! you have set up a blog. I know it was scary but I promise it will be the best decision you ever made in your life.
Now, Take a deep breath. celebrate and come back later for the next parts. We will be discussing in detail how to set up a professional looking blog and I will let you in on the best themes for your blog depending on your niche. We will also take you through things like setting up your pinterest account and how to drive traffic to your brand new blog.
If you haven’t yet, sign up for the FREE 7 day course to starting a profitable blog, so that you can go through it when you are ready. Just leave your details below: