Disclosure: Posts on this site may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through those links. Please read our disclosure policy for more info.
So you are probably here because you are interested in starting a blog, right?
Well, let me tell you that if you do decide to go ahead with it, that decision will most likely be one of the best you’ve EVER made.
Why do I think that?
Because blogging literally changed my life for the better.
And I just know that it can change your life too.
Before we continue, I’m just going to address one thing because I know a lot of you might be thinking it: No, it is NOT too late to start a blog in 2020.
The blogging world might be a little different from what it was a few years back, but guess what? It’s also an ever-changing, dynamic, and vast reality that ultimately favors those who are able to connect with and bring value to an audience.
In other words, it doesn’t matter when you start because every blogger needs to keep relevant and stay fresh or else they will be left behind.
You can still squeeze your way through and SHINE!
Many bloggers have some doubts when they first get started, but the ones that end up successful, are the ones who focus on their end-goal and not let ANYTHING get in their way.
So… Are YOU ready to be your own boss and start living the life you love?
Let’s do it!
Side note: This post is quite lengthy and detailed, so be sure to pin this or save it for later so you can come back to it if need be! Do it now before you forget!
HOW TO START A BLOG FOR BEGINNERS
STEP 1 – Figure out what you are going to blog about (niche & categories)
First things first, what are you going to blog about?
You’ll want to choose something that you’ll enjoy writing about, but if you are intending to make money with your blog, it also has to be somewhat of a strategic choice.
To create a profitable blog, you need to write about things that will help solve peoples’ problems.
You need to hit their pain point, identify their struggles and be able to provide useful, quality posts to help them overcome those struggles.
And guess what?
You don’t even have to be an “expert” in the niche you are planning to write about. You just need to be able to create well-research content and write it in a helpful and clear format.
As long as you know more than the reader, you’re all good! So don’t ever think you’re not good enough!
To help you out, below are the top profitable niches of 2020:
- Personal Finance
- Health & Fitness
- Beauty & Fashion
Remember though, this list is NOT all-inclusive. These are not the only niches that will make money.
It IS possible to make money in ANY niche if you get creative with it, but it might be harder to do if you’re just starting out.
STEP 2 – Choose your blog name and register your domain
Now that you have figured out what your blog will be about, it’s time to choose a blog name!
This is often the hardest part for most bloggers because when you finally come up with a name, it’s often already taken.
What you can do is write down a bunch of words that relate to what you are going to blog about, and start playing around with those words.
Or you can opt to make it a self-named blog if you want to build a brand around yourself.
Whatever you decide, make sure it is:
- Easy to remember and spell
- Not too long
- Fits in with your niche
You also have to make sure that the domain name is available. And don’t forget to check to see if the name is available across the social media platforms you plan on exploring!
STEP 3 – Choose a hosting provider
Okay now it’s going to get a little more technical, but don’t be put off! Stick with me!
You will now need to decide what blogging platform you want to go with and where you are going to host your blog.
A blogging platform is basically a service that you use to publish your content online. Some of the blogging platforms out there are:
WordPress.org is the most popular platform, the one I use and the one I would recommend.
A hosting provider is a service that allows you to have storage space on the internet to store all your files, information, and data.
If your intention is to turn your blog into a business and make money blogging, then being self-hosted is a MUST and you’ll need to pay for hosting.
There a many web hosting providers on the market but the one I use for my blogs is Siteground.
I have done tons of research and have been with other hosting providers in the past. In the end, I find Siteground to be the best one in my opinion (by far).
Here are the reasons why:
- It’s a WordPress recommended host
- Has fast, reliable servers
- Outstanding 24/7 customer support
- Affordable hosting plans
- Value-packed with lots of features
- You’ll regret it if you don’t go with them from the start (personal experience)
For anyone who cares about having a fast loading website, good security and uptime, excellent customer support and all at an affordable price, Siteground is the obvious choice.
Setting up is super quick and simple, and they offer free site migration as well!
How to Set Up with Siteground
1/ Head over to Siteground HERE to start the process
2/ Then click on “Get Started” for WordPress Hosting
3/ If you are just starting out, the “StartUp” plan will be sufficient. As your blog gets bigger and your traffic begins to grow, you can upgrade to a different plan.
4/ Here you can either register a new domain or enter your existing domain. It’s your choice but I would suggest getting a .com
5/ Fill out all your information and payment details. I suggest getting the domain privacy just so your personal information is protected and won’t be publicly visible to anyone on the internet!
6/ Submit and you’ve completed the registration!
STEP 4 – Building your website (and blog design)
Now that you have your website, it’s time to customize it and make it yours!
1. Install your blog theme. There are tons of options for free and paid themes. You can opt to go with a free theme at first until you find a paid theme that you love.
You can find free themes in your WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Themes
When picking out a theme, focus on whether the theme is functional and responsive. Is the theme you’ve chosen mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, simple and pleasing to the eye?
2. Play around with the appearance/colors of your blog. You can change the colors and fonts of your blog to your choosing. Make sure you choose a color scheme that is clean and complements each other. Your fonts also need to be easy to read.
3. Add your header image, favicon, profile image.
4. Play around with widgets to see what the best configuration for your blog is.
It is easy to spend a lot of time customizing and designing your blog, but try not to get too caught up with it. You can always change it later!
STEP 5 – Add in a legal policies page, about me page and contact page
After you have customized your blog appearance to your liking, it’s time to set up the most important pages of a blog.
- Your ‘About Me’ page: Your readers will come to this page to find out more about who YOU are but most importantly, they want to find out if you are going to be able to help them. Readers want to know if they can resonate with you, and how you are going to change their life. Therefore, when writing up your About Me page, make sure you have an ideal reader in mind so that they know they are at the right place. Be real, be relatable and be compassionate.
- A contact page: This page is needed so that your readers know how to contact you! Whether it’s to collaborate, ask a question or to provide you with an opportunity, they will know where to find you.
To set up a page on WordPress is simple. Just go to your dashboard > pages > add new
STEP 6 – Install some plugins
Plugins are essentially applications/software that can enhance your blog by adding new features or extending functionality. And since you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, you get access to thousands of plugins to help customize and optimize your blog!
There are tons of plugins available but here are my must-haves (note that if you install too many, it may slow down your website):
- Yoast (an amazing SEO plugin. The free version is good enough)
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (keep track of your blog stats such as traffic, bounce rate, your most popular posts etc)
- Updraft (a reliable backup plugin. The free version is good enough)
- Grow by Mediavine (previously known as Social Pug. A highly customizable social sharing plugin necessary to encourage visitors to share your content)
- WP Smush (Optimizes your images so that they are not too large or slows down your site)
- Wordfence Security (protect your site with this anti-virus, firewall and malware scanner)
- Insert Headers and Footers (useful when you need to add snippets of code to your header or footer. This plugin allows you to do so easily without ruining your theme)
Search for and installing these plugins can be done by going to your dashboard > plugins > add new
STEP 7 – Publish a few quality posts (and brainstorm some more ideas)
Before you go live, make sure you have a few quality posts published.
It is totally up to you how many blog posts you should have at that point. The more posts you have on the site, the more legitimate it may look, but I personally think that starting with 10 posts (divided between each category) with quality content is a great start!
Make sure you have a few more posts drafted ahead of time because you’ll want to keep posting consistently and having backup posts is always a good idea.
STEP 8 – Resources for a great start
To help you get a great start to blogging, here are some of my favorite tools and resources which may help make your blogging life easier as well.
Flodesk: After LOTS of research and some jumping around, my choice of email marketing provider/email list builder is Flodesk. I love Flodesk because it is responsive, easy to use, has what I need, creates gorgeous emails and very affordable! You can try it FREE to see if it suits you too.
Bonus- Good news! I snagged up a special link for ya! If you join using this link HERE, you can enjoy a discount of 50% off per month and pay $19 (instead of $38 per month) forever! It’s a special beta price so don’t wait too long to sign up! If you sign up on the annual plan as well, you’ll literally save hundreds and you’ll get unlimited access to everything on Flodesk.
Canva: I literally use Canva SO MUCH. From making my Pinterest pins to making logos, I use it for ALL my design needs. Although I paid extra for the premium account, you can get by with the FREE version.
Tailwind: Tailwind is a Pinterest (and Instagram) scheduler. I got it to help me stay consistent on Pinterest (consistency is super important with Pinterest), to help give exposure to my Pins on Tailwind Tribes and to view useful analytics which assists me with my Pinterest strategy! You can also try it FREE.
Grammarly: Honestly, some days I just cannot English. Grammarly is perfect because it automatically detects errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, word choice and even style mistakes in my writing. So until I can afford an actual person to edit my writing, Grammarly will do! And I just have the FREE version!
Creative Market: My go-to online marketplace for all my creative needs. There are over 3 million unique fonts, graphics, themes, photos, and templates designed by independent creators around the world, so you’ll definitely find what you are looking for!
Website Hosting: As mentioned above, Siteground is a reliable, fast and affordable website hosting provider that won’t screw you over. Siteground is the obvious choice.
There are many FREE stock photo sites around now with amazing high-quality pictures you can use on your blog, but you need to double-check whether attribution is needed or whether you can use it for commercial purposes.
These are the ones I frequent:
If you are after something else, you can also choose to pay for licensed photos. This means that you pay for the license once to use an image, and you can use that photo forever within the accepted terms. With this arrangement, you won’t have to worry about being liable for accidentally using any images illegally (unlike with free stock images).
The sites I use to purchase my images from are:
- DepositPhotos: My go-to paid stock photo site. The main reason I love this site is they have a massive sale a couple of times a year – you get 100 images for an irresistible $49! I will do an email blast when this amazing deal is on, so make sure you join my email list if you don’t want to miss out.
- Adobe Stock
If you want to take this blogging thing seriously, you need to think of it like it’s a business. And with any business, you need to invest in it.
In the blogging world, part of investing in the business is to invest in self-education. Yes, there are a ton of free resources out there but nothing beats a good quality paid course.
I have personally purchased many courses and find them so helpful! Of course, there are lots of dud courses as well, but below are courses that I have gained valuable insights from and recommend.
- Pinteresting Strategies by Carly Campbell: An extremely insightful Pinterest course focusing on manual pinning.
- Blogpreneur Blueprint by Claudia Torres: Comprehensive blogging strategy course to create, grow and monetize your blog in record time (with a focus on driving traffic from Pinterest).
- The She Approach To Making Pinterest Possible by Ana from The She Approach: Thorough and valuable overall Pinterest course (perfect for beginners and those who are stuck).
- Pinterest with Ell by Ell Duclos: An affordable and excellent Pinterest course focusing on using Tailwind in your strategy.
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner: Popular affiliate marketing course from a blogger who makes +$50k per month on affiliate marketing alone.
After alllll of that, there’s only one thing left to do.
LAUNCH YOUR BLOG!!
And celebrate with a glass of wine, chocolate, a little happy dance or however you prefer!
When you’ve finished celebrating the launch of your blog, you’ll want to look into growing your traffic and making money with your blog.
Remember, keep learning and keep evolving.
I know you will achieve great things if you TRULY want it and work at it. It’s possible.
And for those who still have cold feet, I’ll just leave you with this quote by Hugh Laurie:
“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” – Hugh Laurie
Go get it, girl!
What motivates you to start a blog?
Don’t forget to pin this for later or share this post if you found it helpful!