Why are you starting a blog?
Do you want to communicate something, like a message or an idea? Do you want to build a community around your love for a cause? Do you want to keep your followers and fans updated on what’s the latest with your brand? Do you want to explain how your product or service works and why people should buy it?
Starting a blog can help you inform, educate, promote and even sell, but only if you are clear about your intention from the start.
Hence, take some time to figure out your message and the purpose of your blog. In the meanwhile, here are several reasons why many people make a blog and enjoy blogging:
- To enhance writing and thinking skills
- To establish expertise
- To increase self-confidence
- To network with others in the industry
- To make money blogging
There are many ways to make money by starting your own blog; you can sell products and merchandise online or place ads and receive compensation from brands by promoting their products and services – considering that 61% of online customers make purchases based on recommendations from a blog, this could turn into a highly profitable endeavor for you.
Step #1: Select a perfect niche for your blog
Before you learn how to start a successful blog, you must first find your niche, figure out how to make it profitable, and figure out who your ideal readers are. In short, a niche is a topic that you write about most often, or even exclusively, in your blogs. Niche blogging is creating a blog to advertise to a particular market. Niche blogs are easy to monetize and they usually contain affiliate links, advertisements, etc., and that’s mostly how they become profitable.
How to choose a niche for your blog
To become a successful blogger, you will have to choose the right niche and work on attaining the highest form of knowledge within that topic. So pick the one that appeals to you—the one you are passionate about and most interested in. Strive for success, happiness, and recognition. By choosing the niche of interest and having your own point of view, you’ll be able to differentiate your personal blog ideas from the competition.
Step #2: Choose a blogging platform
At this stage, you’ll need to look at the best blog sites out there and determine the type of blog management tool you want to use. I recommend that you make your own blog using a self-hosted setup that I show in this guide. But before you ask yourself, how do I start a blog, let me describe each option. When it comes to popular blogging platforms, you have the following options: free and self-hosted (recommended).
For many new bloggers, the availability of free blog platforms such as WordPress.com, Blogger or Tumblr is tempting.
By keeping your blog on a free platform, you let the platform own your name. You’ll be subject to their rules and restrictions. If you are looking to learn how to make money with a blog, they may limit or prohibit ads on your blog, or they may even place their own ads. If you’re serious about blogging, you’ll want to move away from free blog sites.
Self-hosted platforms allow you to run a blog using your own domain. Aside from following your domain registrar and web hosting company’s rules, you’re fully in charge of your blog and its contents.
You have several choices when it comes to self-hosted systems (also called a Content Management System or CMS). The most popular is WordPress.org. This option is called self-hosted because you will use your own web hosting space and name. If you use our recommended hosting company, it will cost just a few bucks per month for the webspace (hosting account), and you will get a FREE name (domain) for the first year. The actual CMS is usually open-source and free
Step #3: Pick a domain name
Your domain name will be the name by which you will be known online, no matter what niche you choose. It’s your unique address on the Internet. Your domain will be yours as long as you continue paying the annual fee ($10 to $15 for a .com domain). Users who know your domain/URL (uniform resource locator) can simply type it into their browser’s address bar. Others will be able to discover you through search engines such as Google and Bing, so you definitely need to find a unique moniker.
Your domain name may be the highly popular “dot com,” or it may be country or niche-specific. The general rule is to go for a “dot com” domain, but some of the other extensions can work. For example, “dot net” or “dot me.”
If you can’t find the domain name you like, Bluehost will let you choose a Free Domain later. That will give you time to do some research and thinking.
Step #4: Get a web hosting account
After choosing a domain name, selecting reliable hosting services will be one of the most important decisions you make. To a great extent, the functionality and performance of your site will depend on your blog hosting. The host makes sure your site is available 24/7 to potential readers and it’s where your files are stored online.
Most hosting companies also offer domain registration services. Some people keep their domain name with the registrar company, separate from the hosting account. I recommend keeping it all under your hosting account for hassle-free management and maintenance.
Web Hosting Providers reviews
The wrong web host can cause many problems with your blog. Just imagine choosing a mobile company that has no reception. Your web host is a major piece of the puzzle to creating a successful blog; therefore, you must choose a reliable provider.
Based on our survey, a reliable provider is Bluehost. 99% of blogging experts suggest using it with WordPress.org.
Step #5: Starting a blog on WordPress
This section provides detailed information to help you sign up for the web hosting account and how to set up a WordPress blog. As an example, I will show you how to make a blog with Bluehost, and I included screenshots of the pages that you need to go through.
1. Visit Bluehost
Use this link to visit Bluehost. Then click the “Get Started Now” button.
2. Select your blog’s hosting plan
You should start by selecting your plan. If this is your very first one, you should go with the basic one – at least until you explore your options. The one called plus should be able to cover all your needs once you get going, and you should consider the pro version once your popularity skyrockets.
3. Input your blog’s domain name
Your domain name has a say in the success of your blog, so you should take your time to come up with something new. Just type in the desired domain in this “new domain” box and Bluehost will show you whether it’s available or not. If not, it will provide you with a list of similar names for you to choose from.
4. Register for Bluehost
After you pick out your domain name, Bluehost will take you to the registration page where it will be required from you to fill in your personal info, including the billing data. A couple of minutes are all you need.
5. Select your hosting options
Pay additional attention to your hosting options. Obviously, the 12-month package has the lowest price, but the other two are great when you want to make a long term investment.
You can feel free to uncheck the rest of the boxes – you can always get them later when you find them necessary.
6. INSTALL AND LAUNCH WORDPRESS BLOG WITH BLUEHOST.
Bluehost automatically one-click installs WordPress right from your hosting dashboard.
After you’re done setting up your account password, you’re prompted to pick a theme.
There are plenty of attractive free WordPress themes to choose from, including free blog themes.
However, if you want to pick your theme later, you can skip this step for now by clicking on the “Skip This Step” option at the end of the page.
From here, you’re directed to a new page where you need to click on the “Start Building” option.
Next, select what type of site you plan to create, and WordPress will help you in the process with prompts. You can also just click “I don’t need help” to go right to your dashboard.
Finally, enter your “Site Title” and your “Site Description.”
From here, you are directed to a page to decide the layout of your blog. You can either create a custom home page with the page editor or simply host your recent blog posts on your homepage.
From here, spend some time making yourself familiar with the functionalities of your new WordPress blog. Make sure to test out all the features and play around with different themes to pick the one that best suits you.
This brings us to our next step – choosing a theme.