Are you looking for a step-by-step guide that will teach you How To Start a Blog in 2020 and ways to make money from your blog?
Starting a new blog can be a bit overwhelming if you are a beginner.
So here we are going to break down everything from scratch and guide you on how to create a blog step by step.
Choose A Niche To Start Your Blog
First and foremost you need to select a topic for your blog before creating a blog.
Now you might think, What is a niche & how to select a niche to start your blog?
What is a Niche?
You can consider a Niche as a subject or topic of a site or a blog.
For Instance, we write about Blogging & Digital Marketing that means our blog’s niche is Blogging & Digital Marketing.
How to select a Niche?
Select a niche while starting your first blog can be a bit intimidating but it is the most important thing anyone should care about before starting their new blog.
Here are some factors you should consider before selecting a niche to start a blog.
1. Passion & Hobbies
If you are passionate about something and you love to do something then it could be a great niche to start your blog.
There are many reasons to start a blog about something you are passionate about.
- You will never run out of idea for your blog posts
- You will be able to share everything in more details
- You will never feel bored
- Collaboration with peoples interested in a similar topic as you
- Will be able to learn more new things
Everyone has some experience in their life. You may have one. If you do then you can share your experience through your blog.
It could be a great niche for your blog because everyone wants to know something from a person who knows about the topic and can explain it easily.
Just getting a blog started about something that you love to do but wait…
What will happen? if we tell you just choosing a niche that you love to do can’t guarantee success.
Yes!!! that’s true.
90% of bloggers fail miserably because they choose a niche that is way too competitive for a new blogger to rank higher.
For Instance, Health & Insurance are two of the most competitive niches.
Select a niche that is less competitive and easier for a new blogger to rank quickly.
Though you can select competitive niches as well. But, it will take a bit more time to give you any results.
So if you are really passionate about something and don’t care about a quick result then it’s ok for you to go with competitive niches.
How To Choose A Perfect Domain Name?
Choosing a domain for your blog can be a tough task. It’s taken me around a week to decide the name ProBloggingWorld for this blog.
You should consider a few things before choosing a domain name for your blog.
1. Descriptive Name
Make sure your blog name should be descriptive so anyone can understand what your blog is all about just from the name.
For instance, Our blog name is ProBloggingWorld so if anyone reads our blog’s name, they will be able to understand it instantly that our blog is all about Blogging.
2. Top-Level Domain Name Availability
Before deciding any name, make sure to find out that the Top-level domain name of your blog is available or not.
.com, .net, .org, etc. are Top-Level Domains.
If TLD names are not available or someone has already registered any other top-level extension of your blog then change your name.
For example, If we choose a name Example but Example.com is not available and someone is using it then it’s better to choose another name.
3. Social Media Username Availability
Same as the domain name, Social media username should be available.
If the name is not available then you can tweak the name a little bit to get a name you want for your blog.
And once you have selected a name for your blog, Now it’s time to choose a blogging platform for your blog.
Best Blogging Platform
There are many blogging platforms available on the internet but we recommend self-hosted WordPress.
Self-hosted WordPress is a free Content Management System that gives you the flexibility to create any type of blog or website you want.
Suggested Read: 5 Best Blogging Platforms in 2020
But if you don’t have money to invest in WordPress then you can use Blogger (Blogspot) to start your blogging journey.
Suggested Read: How To Create A Blog In Blogger (Blogspot)
WordPress.org & WordPress.com
Usually, beginners get confused between WordPress.org & WordPress.com and they start Blogging in WordPress.com because it’s free with WordPress[dot]com subdomain.
But here we’re talking about WordPress.org (Self-Hosted WordPress).
WordPress.com is not a bad platform but It is too costly for a beginner with fewer features and control over your blog.
To get more control over your blog and more flexibility to run a blog you should consider using self-hosted WordPress.
Why You Should Choose WordPress as Your Blogging Platform?
If you need a reason to choose the self-hosted WordPress as your blogging platform over other CMS then we can give you hundreds of reasons.
Let me break down a few of them.
1) It’s Free: Yes!!! You heard it right. WordPress.org is a completely free and open-source CMS. You just need to invest in a hosting plan to install WordPress and host your blog.
2) Easy To Use: WordPress is a beginner-friendly CMS. The UI of WordPress is super simple and anyone can learn how to use it very quickly.
3) Flexibility: WP is more flexible than any other CMS. You can use it to create any kind of website or blog you want even without having any coding skills.
4) SEO Friendly: WordPress is SEO-Friendly. There are plenty of free plugins available that you can use for On-Page SEO Optimization.
5) Support: Despite being an open-source project, WordPress.org has a vast number of users and communities to solve your problem.
Apart from that, there are thousands of free online videos and blogs available for WordPress users.
6) Themes & Plugins: One of the main features of self-hosted WordPress is that it has huge numbers of free & paid Themes & Plugins available for users.
Choose A Web Hosting
Choosing a web hosting company and plans can be a bit tricky if you are new. Why?
Because there are hundreds of web hosting companies with thousands of hosting plans out there.
So how do you find a good web hosting company and how do you decide the best plans for you to start a blog?
Let me help you to find the answer.
As you are going to use self-hosted WordPress and WordPress itself recommended 3 hosting providers in their site.
Do you know the names of those hosting companies?
But, we strongly recommend SiteGround.
There are many reasons why I love SiteGround and recommend it. Here are a few of them.
- Recommended by WordPress.org
- 99.99% Uptime Guarantee
- Free 1 Site Migration (Starts From Grow Big Plan)
- Spam Protection
- Automated Daily Backups
- One-Click Backup Restore
- 24/7 Live Chat
- User-Friendly Client Area
- Free SSL Certificate
- Free Cloudflare CDN
- 1-Click WordPress Install
- 30 Days Money Back Guarantee
- SSD Storage (3X Faster Than HDD)
- Unlimited Websites (Starts from Grow Big Plan)
Best Hosting Poll On Facebook Groups
Don’t believe my words that SiteGround is one of the most amazing Hosting?
Here’s the proof. We ran 3 Polls on different Facebook Groups asking peoples about Best Hosting and here are the results.
As you can see 15 peoples have voted and 10 out of 15 Voted for SiteGround.
Let’s see other poll results.
On our 2nd poll, SiteGround won with 13 out of 39 votes followed by A2Hosting with 8 votes.
Again on our 3rd Poll, SiteGround won with 26 votes out of 53 votes followed by A2Hosting again with 15 votes.
On our every poll we got one clear winner “SiteGround“.
SiteGround is a bit costly for beginners and the resources you will get are limited. Such as Storage.
So if you want a hosting that comes with unlimited resources then as an alternative you can go with A2Hosting or Bluehost.
A2Hosting is the fastest shared hosting.
A2Hosting has an amazing Any-Time Money-Back Guarantee.
Means if you buy any hosting plan for 1 year or any time period and you want to cancel your hosting after 6 months.
In this scenario, another hosting company provides 30 days money-back guarantee means you will not get any money back after 1 month.
But you will get all the remaining periods money back from A2Hosting & full money back if you cancel your hosting within 30 days.
A2Hosting rice starts from $3.92 after applying the discount coupon. But if you want to host multiple sites then choose their “Swift Plan“.
Bluehost is one of the recommended hosting companies by WordPress with Unlimited hosting resources.
They offer unlimited resources if you choose their Plus plan or higher with unlimited website hosting.
Note: We’re referring to Bluehost(.com) here not Bluehost(.in).
The names are the same but the performance of Bluehost(.in) is very poor compare to Bluehost(.com) so we suggest you choose Bluehost(.com) not Bluehost(.in).
They have 4 shared hosting plans & 3 WordPress Hosting plans. WordPress hosting has all the similar plans as Shared but there is no Pro Plan in WordPress Hosting.
Bluehost has a similar 30 days money-back guarantee as SiteGround.
We’re going to use SiteGround this time. You’re free to choose any hosting you want.
If you face any problem while installing WordPress or anything, You can contact the hosting support team. They will resolve your problem.
Setting Up Your Blog In SiteGround
Follow this step by step guide to set up your blog and install WordPress. If you haven’t bought your hosting yet then click here to get started.
Now choose your Plan. We recommend at least go with Grow Big plan because it supports Unlimited Websites.
Once selected now click on Choose Plan Button.
If you already have a domain select I already have a domain, enter your existing domain name and click on proceed.
Note: It’s recommended to buy a domain from any other domain registrar because domain price is a bit costly in SiteGround.
But if you don’t want to manage multiple accounts for domain and hosting separately than select Register a new domain, select your domain you want to buy and click on proceed.
Now enter all the information on the checkout page.
Once filled out the form, select the Data Center location & Hosting service period and complete the payment.
Now we’re ready to install WordPress and start our Blog.
How to Install WordPress In SiteGround
Step 1: Log in to your SiteGround dashboard by visiting my.siteground.com and click on the Website’s options.
Step 2: Now simply click on “Add New Site”.
Step 3: Now you will get 3 options.
- Click on New Domain if you want to register a new domain with SiteGround.
- Click on the existing domain option if you have already bought the domain from another domain registrar.
- Temporary Domain means you will get a free SiteGround subdomain.
We’re using an existing domain for tutorial purposes. So simply click on the existing domain option, enter the domain name and click on continue.
Now it will give you the warning to change your DNS records. Don’t worry, just click on the Continue.
Step 4: Now you will get 2 options “Start New Website” & “Migrate Website”.
As we are going to start a new blog so click on the “Start New Website” option. Now select “WordPress”, “Enter login credentials” and click on the “Continue”.
Note: If you’re migrating one of your old sites then select the “Migrate Website” option.
Step 5: It will ask you to add SG Site Scanner. If you want extra security you can click on the “Add” option but we don’t need it so click on finish.
Step 6: You’re all set. Now simply change the DNS records of your existing domain and Point it to the SiteGround.
You can follow this guide to point your GoDaddy domain to SiteGround.
It can take up to 48 hours for DNS records to be updated. So be patient.
Once DNS records are updated means you’re done.
Yiipppeeeee!!! You’ve successfully created your blog. ?
Now you can start designing your blog & publishing your content.
Designing Your Blog
Blog Design plays an important role in the success of a blog.
If your blog looks messy and it is hard for your users to use. They will bounce back from your site.
Keep the design of your blog as simple as possible and don’t use more than 3 colors on your blog.
Yes!!! Rainbow looks good in the sky but it won’t look good on your blog.
To make your blog systematic and easy to use, choose a simple and clean theme.
Choose A Theme
There are thousands of free themes available on WordPress themes repository but choosing a lightweight and clutter-free theme should be the priority.
We use GeneratePress on our blog. Because it is the fastest WordPress theme.
GeneratePress Premium is an add-on plugin that extends the features of the Free GeneratePress Theme.
GeneratePress Premium Price: $49.95 for 1 Year updates & support for Unlimited Websites. You can use it after 1 year as well but you will not get the updates.
But there is Good news that you will get a 40% discount on renewal charges.
Apart from the GeneratePress Premium you also have a 2nd option of Astra Pro.
Same as GP Premium, Astra Pro is a premium plugin that extends the functionalities of free Astra Theme.
Astra Pro is perfect if you want more customization options.
It comes with annual and lifetime deals. If you are going to buy Astra Pro then choose the Lifetime bundle @ $249 for lifetime use.
The free version doesn’t have many options to customize your blog. But if you are on a tight budget then you can use the free version of GeneratePress or Astra Theme.
How To Install WordPress Themes?
Step 1: Log in to your WordPress blog dashboard.
Step 2: Hover your mouse over “Appearance” then click on “Themes”.
Step 3: Now search the theme or Upload the .zip file if you have downloaded it.
Step 4: Now click on “Install”.
Step 5: Now click on “Activate”.
Installing Necessary Plugins
There are over 50000 free plugins available on WordPress plugins repository. But using too many plugins can slow down your blog.
So here We are going to break down some handpicked free WordPress plugins that you can use on your blog.
1. Page Builder
Want your blog to look professional like some high authoritative websites but don’t have enough budget to hire a developer to design your blog.
So, to solve this issue you can use page builders to design your blog by simple drag and drops.
We’ve used Elementor Pro on our blog and if you don’t have enough budget then you can go with Free version of Elementor.
2. SEO Plugin
That’s the beauty of WordPress, here you will find many SEO plugins to help you with the On-Page SEO Optimization of your blog.
SEO is a crucial part to rank your blog in SERPs and drive free traffic from search engines for free.
There are many SEO plugins available in WordPress but we recommend Yoast SEO & Rank Math SEO.
If you want to use the free plugin then go with Rank Math & choose Yoast SEO Premium if you have the budget.
3. Anti-spam Plugin
Akismet is our favorite anti-spam plugin that blocks hundreds of spam comments on our blog every month.
Akismet filters every comment automatically posted on your site and it also helps you to check the total number of approved, spam & missed spam comments on your site.
4. Security Plugin
Cyber attacks are increasing day by day and the security of any site is more important today than ever before.
You can use the Wordfence Security – Firewall & Malware Scan plugin on your WordPress site. It’s available in free and premium plans.
There are many reasons to use Wordfence as your security plugin.
- Malicious codes and backdoor scanning
- WordPress core files modification scanning
- Firewall to block fake Google crawlers, IP Blacklisting & Whitelisting.
- Real-time traffic including Google Crawlers, RSS feed readers and all other crawlers. (Google Analytics does not include this data.)
- Brute Force Protection
- Email alerts for any problem detected on your site.
- and many other features.
5. Cache Plugin for Fast Loading Time
If you’re looking for a free cache plugin then W3 Total Cache will be the perfect choice for you.
Even the free version of this plugin can get the job done for you.
6. Image Compressor
If you directly upload the images to your blog then it can increase the size of your blog massively.
You Image compressor plugins to compress the images that you upload on your site to reduce the size of the images.
You can use Imagify or Shortpixel to compress all the images on your blog.
Note: It’s recommended to compress your images manually before uploading it to your site. You can use photoshop or online image compressor sites.
7. Push Notification
Sending push notifications to your visitors is a great way to get more traffic and returning users to your blog.
You can use OneSignal – Web Push Notification plugin for this purpose. It is available for free and you can opt-in for a paid plan if you need advanced features.
8. Social Sharing Plugin
We all know that Social Signal is one of the 200+ Google ranking signals.
Apart from being a ranking signal Social sharing helps you to get more Social traffic.
We use the free version of Social Sharing Buttons – Grow on our this blog and you can also buy their extensions for advanced features.
9. Redirect Manager (Optional)
404 Error can negatively impact the SEO of your site and to prevent this you have to redirect that 404 error page to any relevant page or post.
For this, you can use “Redirection”. It is a free plugin available on the WordPress plugins repository.
Note: If you are using Rank Math SEO plugin or Yoast Premium Plugin then this feature is available on both the plugins. You can skip this plugin.
10. Email Opt-in Plugin
To collect emails and grow your subscriber email list from your visitors you need to set up an email opt-in form.
If you use Elementor Pro then you will find the inbuilt feature of email opt-in templates and forms to use on your site.
But if you want a free alternative then you can use “MC4WP: Mailchimp for WordPress”.
How To Install Plugins?
Step 1: Log in to your WordPress blog dashboard.
Step 2: Hover your mouse over “Plugins” then click on “Add New”.
Step 3: Now search the Plugin or Upload the .zip file if you have downloaded it.
Step 4: Now click on Install.
Step 5: Activate the Plugin.
Note: Do not use nulled or cracked themes & plugins. There is a high chance (approx 99%) that it contains some malicious code that can help a hacker to hack your site.
Write content on your blog
Just creating a blog is not enough. To succeed in the blogging you have to share valuable and unique content regularly.
Valuable content means in-depth content that solves the visitor’s problem and provides a great value to them.
Make sure it is unique, not copied from anywhere. Copied content can’t help you to rank high in SERPs.
Writing a unique & SEO Optimized Content can be a bit tricky but we have a guide for you that will help you with that.
Recommended read: How to write an SEO optimized article?
Places to promote your blog
If your blog is brand new then it’s obvious that it will take some time before you start getting organic visitors to your blog.
But it’s not guaranteed that how much time does your blog and posts will take to rank.
So what should you do to generate traffic if your blog is brand new?
You can share an excerpt from your blog post and add your link at the last to drive traffic through Social media, Forum sites, Q&A Sites, etc.
Now you may think, where should you share your post to generate traffic to your brand new blog?
Here are some recommended platforms to share your post.
1. Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are one of the best places to drive traffic to your brand new blog. Simply join big groups in your niche and share your content there.
Note: Do not spam groups just by sharing links and links otherwise Group Admin will ban you. Provide value to the group members.
2. Facebook Pages
Create your blog’s Facebook page and grow your page likes to generate more visitors to your site in the future.
You can use Paid Facebook Ads to get more page likes and send your followers to your blog.
Medium has a huge base of visitors and as per Alexa, Medium ranks at #99 in global internet traffic and engagement as of 8th February 2020.
You can use republish your articles, in Medium to generate more visitors to your blog.
Twitter is a Micro-Blogging site with over 321 million active users.
You can share short excerpts from your blog posts with a link back to your post on twitter to get more visitors to your blog.
Pinterest is a social network with over 320 million monthly active users to share visual content.
You can also drive traffic to your blog through Pinterest as well because it has a huge number of users.
How can we forget Youtube? youtube is the 2nd largest search engine after Google with over 2 Billion monthly active users.
You may have noticed it that now Google started ranking Youtube videos on the first page of Google.
You can use YouTube SEO to rank your YouTube videos higher in YouTube and Google SERPs.
You can create videos and share relevant links in the description of your videos to get more visitors to your blog through YouTube.
How to earn money from your blog?
We hope many of you already knew that a Blogger can earn money from a blog. Many bloggers earn thousands of dollars from their blogs.
So let me break down some ways to earn money from a blog.
You can monetize your blog by showing Ad-networks ads on your site. Google AdSense is the biggest ad-network in the world.
You can apply and get approval for your blog to show AdSense ads on your site.
Other ad-networks are Media.net, PropellerAds, Infolinks, Adsterra, Taboola, BuySellAds, etc.
2. Affiliate Marketing
If you don’t own any product or don’t sell your own services then Affiliate marketing is the best way to earn money.
Most bloggers do Affiliate Marketing and they also earn thousands of dollars through affiliate marketing.
Some of the Affiliate networks are Amazon Associates, ClickBank, eBay Partner, etc.
3. Selling Own Services or Products
Most of the peoples or bloggers don’t have their own brand.
So selling your own services or products is the best way to generate more income than the previous two.
If you own a product or provide services then you can sell it through your own website.
These are just 3 ways to make money from a blog. There are many other ways to earn money from a blog.
Disclaimer: We’ve used affiliate links on this post. We may receive a commission if you buy any product or service through that link at no extra cost to you.
We’ve tried to cover everything in-depth as much as possible. If you think we can add something, please comment below and let us know.
BTW, which hosting are you going to choose? Which theme do you prefer? Which plugins are you going to use? Let us know in the comments.
And last but not the least, If you find this post (how to start a blog – beginners guide) helpful consider sharing it with everyone 🙂
- I am Rohit Singh. I am a Blogger, Digital Marketer & Founder of ProBloggingWorld and other blogs. Read More
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