Did you know that Neil Patel, one of the most popular Digital Marketing expert and blogger, earns $400,000 each month through blogging itself?
In this era of digitalization, there are millions of businesses as well as individuals all across the world trying to establish their dominance online.
And if you want to take your first step, blogging is one of the most effective ways to get your journey started.
Not only can blogging help you reach out to your target audience, but it can turn out to be one of your biggest passive sources of income.
But the thing about blogging is, not many people know how to get their journey started.
They aren’t quite familiar with the entire process.
They find it really hard to set everything up and post their first blog post.
What if I told you that getting your own blog started is just a piece of cake?
All you should do is follow a few steps, and you’ll be up and running in just no time.
Let’s get started straight away.
(Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase through my link, I may earn a small commission, without any extra cost to you. It helps to keep this little blog afloat. Thank you for your support.)
Listed below are the 15 easy steps to start a new blog from scratch:
- Choose Your Niche
- Select A Domain Name
- Select A Hosting Provider
- Point Your Domain Name
- Install WordPress
- Choose A WordPress Theme
- Customize Your Blog
- Optimize for SEO
- Install Google Analytics
- Brainstorm Topic Ideas
- Write your first blog post
- Set Your Email List Up
- Create Editorial Calendar
- Build an Audience
- Monetize Your Blog
1. Choose Your Niche
That’s the first and most important step right there.
Prior to starting your own blog, it’s really important for anyone and everyone to choose a niche.
What will you be writing about?
I’ve seen various people come up with questions such as:
Why should I even select a niche?
Why can’t I write about just everything?
But if you really want to build an audience, increase traffic and monetize your blog, sticking to a specific niche will help you achieve your goals even faster.
For instance, let’s just assume that you landed on one of my blog posts, namely “How To Rank #1 On Google” and you found it to be really valuable.
Once you read it, you subscribed to my email list.
And a few days later, what if I sent you an email informing you about one of my recently published blog posts, named “How To Organize Your Closet?”
How would you feel?
You’d hate it.
That’s because you didn’t opt for such topics.
Instead, you signed up for totally different.
You might be looking forward to content focusing on helping you rank #1 on Google.
Plus, talking about the Google Algorithm, Google prefers blogs that focus on just a single topic, instead of the ones that don’t.
All you should do is ask yourself:
“Which Category Interests Me The Most?”
Listed below are the top categories that you can choose from:
- Digital Marketing
- Personal Finance
- Online Business
- Health & Fitness
The Best way to come up with the niche is to write down all the things that you’re interested in. Don’t worry if you’re not an expert on the subject.
Once you come up with the list of ideas, go through each of them and conduct market research. Find out who your customers are and also look for how your competitors are doing.
That will give you enough data to choose from.
Now, choose the one niche which has fairly large customer demand. Don’t stress about the competition.
Almost all niches nowadays are bombarded with bloggers. As long as you will put high-quality content out, you will do great in any niche.
The key here is to find the problems of your customers and provide answers to them.
Now once you choose a niche, narrow it further down.
Categories will be tough when they are focused too much on the consumers and have a huge target audience.
For instance, let’s talk about celebrity blogs.
They are a whole lot of people competing in this area.
However, the money, when compared to other blogging categories, is comparatively lower.
Brutal combo, right?
Too much work with a little-to-no payoff.
Avoid categories like these.
All in all, choose a niche you’re most interested in and also have a huge market.
2. Select A Domain Name
Before I help you choose the right domain for your blog, let’s take a look at how the website technology works.
What Is Domain?
A domain is your website’s URL.
You may think of a domain as your business’ address.
You can buy your domain from a domain registrar.
A domain registrar is the company where you’ll be buying your domain from and will hold it for you.
They’ll be storing your domain and pointing web traffic towards your website.
What Is Web Host?
A web host is a company that will be hosting your website.
Your website will be on the web hosting company’s servers.
Listed below are the top 5 web hosting companies you should know about:
- BlueHost (I Personally Use and Recommend)
Website Building Tools
Gone are the days when people, all across the world, used to learn HTML & CSS to design their websites.
Nowadays, most of the websites are designed by a variety of tools available in today’s world.
These tools do most of the heavy lifting. Plus, you don’t even need to worry if you aren’t good at coding.
One of the most famous tools is WordPress. Not only these tools help you design your website, but they act as a content management system (CMS) as well.
All you should do is install WordPress on your host and in no time, you will be able to start designing your website.
Now, let’s get back to the question.
“How To Find The Right Domain For Your Blog?”
Make sure that it’s related to your category.
Plus, it should be available for purchase as well.
Note: some hosting providers such as Bluehost, provide free domain name for first year, when you purchase web hosting from them, so you don’t need to buy domain seperately.
Listed below are the top 10 domain registrars where you can buy a domain for your blog:
- InMotion Hosting
Can I Use My Personal Name as My Website’s Domain?
Is it your first blog and you aren’t completely sure what it’ll be focusing on?
Well, then! I’d advise you to go with your name as your domain name. Why?
That’s because you’ll have to start entirely from scratch if you decide to focus on other niches.
For instance, if you choose digitalmarketingexpert.com as your domain name, and after a few weeks, you decide to focus on personal finance, the domain name will turn out to be entirely irrelevant.
You’ll have to buy an entirely new domain and begin from scratch.
Whereas, that’s not the case with personal domains. They are comparatively more flexible.
However, there are two huge downsides to a personal domain:
- Sellability: Personal blogs are comparatively harder to sell. Nobody would prefer to buy a website domain with a personal domain.
- Scalability: You’d find it really difficult to hire other writers as your blog grows over the course of time.
Tips To Choose The Best Domain name For Your Blog
- Opt for a .com over others. People are able to remember them easily.
- Go with 2-3 words. I’ve never come across a single world domain that’s not been taken.
- Implement keywords that help your visitors know what the blog’s about.
- Don’t use hyphens or numbers.
- Think of something catchy and memorable.
3. Select A Hosting Provider
Each website needs a hosting provider…PERIOD.
The hosting provider is a company which will store your website on their servers.
In the above section, we mentioned a few of the top hosting providers you should know about.
Let’s take a look again:
Best Web hosting For Beginners
From my personal experience, Bluehost will be just perfect for you if you are a beginner.
They also provide a free domain for one year if you purchase their hosting plan.
I personally use Bluehost and I just love it!
Bluehost’s popular, reliable, easy to use, trusted as well as reasonably priced, starting at $3.95 per month.
Bluehost is the REAL DEAL.
Best Web Hosting For Advanced Bloggers: WP Engine
Once you hit more than 30,000 unique website visitors a month, then you can opt for WP Engine.
There are tons of additional features that come with WP engine such as scalability as well as security.
Plus, WP even maintains all the maintenance stuff that you need to take care of in order to keep your website healthy.
Plus, they have an outstanding support team.
The only downside to choosing WP Engine is that it’s comparatively expensive.
4. Point Your Domain Name
Note: skip this step if your domain name provider and web host is same
Once you have a domain as well as web-hosting, it’s time to point your domain towards your host.
This will help you make sure that people end up on your website when they click on your website’s URL and hit enter.
Each host has varied settings.
You’ll have to configure at your domain registrar.
You may even find a support doc in order to have a better understanding.
5. Install WordPress
Once you’re done with the above steps, it’s time to install WordPress.
It’s no secret that you’ll require a CMS in order to build your website and manage your blog.
And there’s nothing better than WordPress that can help you throughout the entire process.
A few years back, there were some competitors such as Blogger, Typepad, Joomla that stood toe-to-toe with WordPress.
However, not many people use any of them anymore.
Due to its ever-rising popularity, you’ll find many website hosting providers to offer a one-tap install for WordPress.
Log in to your web host, search for the install WordPress option and follow the instructions.
6. Choose A WordPress Theme
WordPress’ the foundation of your blogging website.
If you want to change the feel and look of your website, you don’t need to worry about having to code to make it perfect.
Instead, all you need to do is to select the theme of your choice and get started straight away.
WordPress themes are packages of code that you can swap in and out.
Upon changing the theme, the way your site looks and feels will change entirely.
However, there won’t be any changes to your blog post content.
And that’s exactly what makes it so flexible.
After a few years, you can change the way your site looks and feels without even having to build anything from scratch. It’s entirely flexible.
Right now, you need to finalize a theme.
The first step is to log in as a WordPress admin.
All you need to do is to head over to “yourdomainname.com/wp-admin.”
Log in using your credentials.
If you are entirely new to this, you will find the dashboard to be a little complicated.
But don’t get scared.
With a little practice, you’ll get used to it and turn into an expert.
Head over to the “Appearance” menu as you can see in the image.
Let’s choose some flashier themes which will capture your attention straight away.
Hit the “Wordpress.Org Themes” button.
Once you do, you will have come across thousands of themes right in front of your eyes.
It’s no secret that your taste will be entirely different from mine.
That’s exactly where the “Feature Filter” saves the day.
You can simply search for the theme that will be a perfect fit for you.
Listed below are the three categories:
Apply the filters as per your needs, and you’d come across thousands of themes.
Hover over the thumbnail of the theme to get a preview of what your blog will look like.
Does it fit my personal style?
Does it match the niche that I will be working on?
Once you finalize a theme, it’s time to hit the “Install” button.
After installation, hit the “Activate” button.
I use Astra theme currently, it is clean and nice. Most importantly, it’s FREE!
For this tutorial, I’ll be using Astra theme.
If you didn’t like any of the free themes, you could even head over to various websites such as:
- Elegant Themes
- Thrive Themes
- Studio Press
Once the theme’s activated, it’s time to customize it.
7. Customize Your Blog
Customizations that you can make are endless.
In this guide, we will focus on the essentials.
Themes are the foundation of your site. They even include the core functionalities.
WordPress has some plugins that will help you customize your themes, even more, to make it a perfect experience for you.
For instance, you can add contact sliders, add forums, etc.
These might be entirely basic.
However, you won’t find them as default.
Let’s learn how you can customize your WordPress theme.
Add Site logo and Site title
Hit the “Customize” button on the active theme.
Options in the sidebar will vary differently depending on the theme you chose.
Click on “Header”
However, “Site Identity” is where you need to begin your groundwork.
Add your blog’s name and tagline.
Hit the “Save & Publish” button to save the required changes.
To get started your blog, you’ll need a few pages such as About me and Contact us.
let me show you how can you add pages.
On your dashboard, Hover over to the “pages” and click on “Add new”
Now, Add the title of the page
Write content, and hit “Publish”
That’s how easy it is.
Similarly, you can create contact us page and other essential pages for your blog.
Now let’s create a menu for your blog.
Head over to the “Appearance” section on your dashboard and click on “Menus”
Now click on “Create a New Menu”
next, write “Menu name” and click on “Create Menu”
Now, let’s add the about page that we just created to the menu.
Now click on the pages option on the sidebar as shown in the image below.
select “About” and hit “Add to Menu”.
Similarly, You can also add pages, categories or custom links to your menu.
Add all the things that you want to show on your menu and hit “save menu” as shown in the image.
Here’s how your menu will look like.
Pro tip: Create a dropdown menu
To create a dropdown menu drag sub-items and place it under the main category as shown in the picture.
It will look like this.
Now, let’s move on to the next step.
8. Optimize For SEO
Looking forward to attracting more traffic?
SEO’s the key.
If you are totally new to this, then this process can get a bit complicated.
However, WordPress will make the technical aspects entirely easy for you.
The most vital thing that you need to keep in your mind is to create high-quality content for your website.
Create content for real people and not for search engines.
It’s more about adding value to the life of your visitors, rather than just aiming to top the search engine results.
All you need to do is to download the “Yoast SEO” plugin.
Install Yoast SEO Plugin
Head over to the “Plugins” option in the sidebar. Click “Add New.”
Search “Yoast SEO.”
You will find it to be the first one appearing in the results section.
Hit the “Install Now” button.
Once the installation’s done, it’s time to click the “Activate” button.
Set up Google Search Console
Click on the Yoast SEO icon at the top of the dashboard
Visit the “Webmaster Tools” tab. Click “Google Search Console.”
Google Search Console’s the tool that will help you submit your website to the search index as well as optimize visibility.
Now, it will ask you to Sign in to your Google account.
After logging in, click “Alternate Methods” tab.
Select “HTML tag.”
You’ll see a new drop-down appearing with your search console meta code.
Copy it entirely without quotation marks.
Paste it to your Google Search Console box and hit “Save Changes.”
Hit the “Verify” button.
Once you explore the Webmaster Central, you will have access to too many data-insights such as errors on your blog, keywords that you are ranking for as well as Google’s ability to give a nudge while you post a new blog post.
Now, head over to the “General” tab in the Yoast SEO settings.
Begin the configuration wizard.
You will be taken through 10 steps by Yoast to optimize your blog.
Step 1, you have to choose the environment best suits your website.
Step 2 is choosing your website type.
Step 3, Select yourself as a company or a person.
Step 4 is for search engine visibility.
Select pages that you want Google to index.
Hit “Next” after completion.
In Step 5, Choose whether you will go with a solo blogger or multiple authors.
Don’t worry if you go with a solo blogger. You can change it in the near future.
Step 6 is all about verifying your website and choosing a title separator.
Title separator is known as a symbol that helps you separate the title of your blog post from the name of your website in the meta title information.
Step 7 is about training videos from Yoast SEO
When that’s done, you will come across a message that congratulates you to have optimized your SEO settings successfully.
Listed below are some of my personal favourite WordPress Plugins that I recommend you to install on your blog.
My Favourite WordPress Plugins
- Yoast SEO (SEO plugin)
- Elementor (Page builder)
- Imagify (Image optimizer)
- wordfence security (Security Plugin)
- Ninja forms (Form builder plugin)
- pretty links (Link shortener)
- Thrive leads (paid plugin for popups)
Anything you intend on doing with your WordPress website, there will be a plugin available for it.
All you should do is hover over to the plugin page and choose the right pick.
9. Install Google Analytics
It is one of the best analytics tools…PERIOD.
Plus, the best thing about this tool is it’s entirely FREE.
Analytics is terminology for website data.
It may seem overwhelming and complicated, but tracking it is one of the most effective ways to know where you exactly stand.
Create your Google Analytics account. Once that’s done, it’s time to integrate it with your blog.
One of the most useful things about this tool is that it stores your website data over time. You’ll be pretty thankful to know that it stored all of your websites’ data up until now.
You will be amazed when a person visits your website during the initial phases.
It’s really easy to set up.
All you need to do is to head over to Google Analytics and set your account up.
Copy and paste it to your website.
Once it’s done, Google Analytics will start tracking your website data straight away.
10. Brainstorm Topic Ideas
Blogging isn’t a sprint. Think of it as a marathon. Or maybe a multi-week backpacking trip.
Be consistent. That’s the only way forward.
Listed below are few rules of blogging:
- Post at least a single blog post per week. Try to keep your word count at 1800-2000.
- If you are too serious about it, post about 2-3 each week.
- Larger websites post 5-7 blog posts per week. They have multiple authors.
You need to think of an outstanding topic. Not just one! You need to keep up.
Here’s how people ask questions:
- What should I blog about?
- What to write about?
- Should I begin blogging?
You might have a few questions of your own.
All you need to do is to follow these tips, and you’ll have at least 50 topics in your mind by the end:
Pull out a paper and a pen or your favourite editor.
Listed below are the questions that you should ask yourself:
- What will interest, excite or stir passion in my readers?
- What are the most common difficulties my readers face?
- What character traits are possessed by my readers?
- What do my readers just love about this niche?
- What do they hate the most?
Come up with a catchy and compelling headline.
Keep your readers engaged right till the end.
Once that’s done, hit them with a compelling Call-To-Action (CTA) to make them take the desired action.
11. Write Your First Blog Post
It’s time to write your first masterpiece.
You have chosen a niche. You have the tools. You have your own platform.
Spill it all out.
WordPress has an intuitive editor.
You can create new entries from the WordPress admin.
Hit the “Posts” section on the left.
If you’ve already published blog posts in the past, you will see a list of them in the decreasing order.
Since we are new to this, you won’t be coming across anything.
Hit the “Add New” tab in the sidebar or at the top.
You will land at the editor. It’s time to begin blogging.
You will be able to come across various editing options by clicking on “Toolbar Toggle.”
These tools will come in handy while you create subheadings.
While brainstorming your topic ideas, you might have thought of some headlines.
Add one in.
Now, Setting up Permalink is very important.
Go to the settings>>permalinks>>choose post name.
Begin with your article’s body in the large text area.
You can add in a few images as well using the “Add Media” option.
Drag & Drop the image.
Once it’s uploaded, choose your image. Hit the “Insert into post” option.
You can add hyperlinks as well as format sizes as well.
It will be inserted in the post automatically.
Here’s how your post will be looking like:
Once you’re done with the writing part, it’s time to optimize your article by making a few tweaks using the Yoast SEO Plugin.
You can find a few of the Yoast settings under the main text area.
Listed below are the main settings:
- SEO Title
- Focus Keyword
Once you add all of the information in, you will get a preview of your blog post in the Google Search Engine Results.
Make sure that your SEO title is attractive.
Add in meta-description to make sure that the people on Google know what your post is about.
You will even have real-time feedback upon optimizing your title as well as a description.
Your aim should be green.
Make sure that you score more than 80% green lights. Don’t worry if you don’t. it is just for the reference.
Next, Does your blog post have thumbnails?
Make sure to add in a featured image.
They are the images that appear with each post at the top.
Choose “Set featured image” option
Before you publish your first blog post, make sure that your blog post is entirely perfect:
- Tone is conversational
- A natural flow of content
- Proper Utilization Of Headings & Sub-Headings
- Lists & Bullet Points
- 100% Plagiarism-Free
- Unique Content
- No typos
- No Grammatical Errors
- Easy To Read
If all of it checks out, it’s time to hit that publish button.
Congratulations! You have successfully published your first blog post.
12. Set Your Email List Up
If you have been in the marketing field for long enough, you might have already have come across to something like:
“Email Marketing delivers outstanding ROI than any other existing marketing channel.”
Email marketing will deliver outstanding results.
However, in order to get started, you need to make people sign up for your newsletters.
Email is comparatively more responsive.
Making people sign up for your email list will be pretty hectic.
And that’s where most of the marketers struggle the most.
Email marketing is the core of any successful marketing campaign.
Aren’t quite sure about the kind of emails that you should send to people on your list?
Send them emails which provide value. for example, notify them for your new blog post which might be helpful for them.
Use email autoresponders. Set up effective email automation series. Remember, email marketing is the best way to turn your blog visitor into a customer.
I use Getresponse to send emails to my subscribers and I love it! it is a great tool for beginners with some cool features such as A/B Testing, list segmentation and perfect timing. Moreover, they have 24 × 7 customer support, so if you feel stuck anywhere, you can always contact them.
They also have 30-day free trial. Try it yourself and learn how to create newsletters and automation.
Set one up, and you can start collecting the emails on your blog.
It will take time. In the end, it will be worth the time and efforts that you spend on building your list.
it sounds like too much work, right?
Don’t worry! I have written a free guide on email marketing which will help you to start building your list from scratch, so don’t forget to check it out!
13. Create Editorial Calendar
Not equipping an editorial calendar is one of the biggest mistakes that I have seen most of my fellow bloggers make.
They just post when they feel like it.
Your target audience is looking for some valuable content.
And that’s the thing they aren’t able to deliver.
Either a new Netflix show will catch your attention, or you might come up with a deadline in your office.
You’ll come across various hurdles in your blogging journey.
There’ll be times when you feel like you aren’t progressing.
I’ve seen consistency to be undervalued.
And that’s the only thing you need to keep #1 in your priority list.
I write lots of articles. I post them regularly. But I don’t write them at the speed of light.
Instead, I have an editorial calendar.
Schedules aren’t quite limited to various big publications like the Huffington Post or the New York Times.
Editorial calendars keep you organized. They streamline your email marketing and social media marketing efforts.
You’ll be amazed by which an editorial calendar makes you progress and motivates throughout your entire blogging journey.
The more consistent you are, the more traffic you will be bringing in.
But how do you begin?
How much will you have to pay?
What if I told you nothing?
Open an Excel sheet.
If you have multiple authors, you can create an online doc.
It should consist of 4 columns:
- Publishing Date
You might have different columns based on your requirements.
But the main point here is to create an editorial calendar.
Keep it simple, and it will be easy to digest.
Think about your goals. Ask yourself a few questions.
Don’t miss deadlines as it will be the end.
During the brainstorming process, you would have come up with various topics, right?
Add them in the sheet.
Titles don’t need to be perfect.
All you need to do is add in an idea.
Most of the best headlines are the ones I come up with after writing the entire blog post.
Add in SEO keywords relevant to the topic.
If you haven’t carried out your research, schedule it for later.
Once you have filled everything up, it’s time to visit Google Calendars.
Set up a new one.
Create a “New Calendar.”
Add in name, time zone and description.
Share it with the others in your team.
If you don’t have a team, you can share it with your closed ones who might be more than willing to keep you accountable.
Add in essential information and create a calendar.
14. Build Your Audience
Blogging can help you earn huge amount of money.
It can turn out to be an incredible passive source of income.
In order for that to happen, you should build your audience.
It’ll be slow and consistent.
Sometimes, it might even take a few years.
If you want the process to be faster, here’s what you need to keep in mind:
- Post at least once per week
- If possible, post 2-3 times per week.
- Focus on quality rather than quantity.
- Focus on the stuff that has been covered million times by other websites
- Be Authentic
- Engage with your audience through your blog posts
- Post on other communities as well such as Medium, Facebook, etc.
- Ask yourself: “How can I make this even more valuable for my audience?”
15. Monetize Your Blog
That’s the last step.
It’s time to monetize your blog.
It might not seem relevant to you at first.
But, it’s the first step towards a successful blogging career.
In the past, here’s what the style to sell something looked like:
- Come up with an idea
- Build a product
- Try to sell
- File for bankruptcy
Why hasn’t this method turned out to be successful?
That’s because they didn’t even care to build an audience beforehand.
Gut-feelings is what they went with.
And that’s exactly why I prefer blogging to be the perfect channel for monetization.
Ask Your Audience
With blogging, you are allowing people to enter your life.
Who’s your favourite blogger?
Don’t you feel connected to him/her at an emotional level?
Plus, you will find market research to be significantly easy.
Ask some questions at the end.
Send your audience email blasts in order to gain some valuable information about what troubles they are facing.
And that’s what you need to provide them a solution with.
They wouldn’t mind paying for a solution to their problem.
Most publishers put in some advertisements on their blog to earn some additional revenue.
You can put an ad on your blog with the help of Google AdSense.
However, the real money is with private sales of the ad placements.
Affiliate marketing is all about earning a specific commission fee for each product or service sold via your referral links.
You can roll in any decent affiliate marketing program and earn a decent commission by adding in some of your affiliate links in your blog posts.
Top affiliate marketing programs you can opt-in for are:
- Amazon Associates
Starting your own blog is a piece of cake.
However, being successful with your blogging journey will require you to be consistent, invest a great deal of your time, stay dedicated.
The rewards will, in turn, outweigh all of the risks.
All you need need to get started is right in front of you.
Of course, there will be obstacles all along the way. You will face hardships. There will be times when you feel like quitting.
But it’s the time when you need to get back up and say
Be adventurous. Be honest. Be transparent. Be you.
Create great and valuable content.
That’s the only way forward.
So what are you waiting for?
Get your blog up and running TODAY!