Blogging Tips 2020: How can one start a blog from scratch and how to earn from it?
A beginner’s guide to blogging.
Starting a blog is one of the best ways to put yourself out there. However, for beginners, you are not sure how to get started. You start searching on Google for references but there is too much information on the web and everyone’s telling you to do different things. Well, fret not, this guide will help you to set up your domain, choose the right web hosting company, select the type of content management service platform, and blog site design.
This guide will also give you information on how to find topics for your blog, how to drive traffic, how to plan your content and social media calendar, and lastly, how to earn from it. To save you time, I have created this free step-by-step blog tutorial to teach beginners how to make a blog quickly and easily!
A quick beginner’s guide for newbie bloggers
There are three quick steps in creating your blog. Later, we will touch on how to start your blog on WordPress but for now, let’s have a high-level overview of the important steps you need to follow. Some users who are familiar with these steps can build the blog in less than 30 minutes.
Choosing a niche and naming the blog
Pick a niche that you are really engaged in writing about (this will help you stick with it). Your blog’s niche is the particular market (topic) you will be targeting. Also, make sure your niche has enough interest around it and people are searching for topics related to your niche.
When it comes to naming your blog, you have countless of choices. You can use your own name, last name, or some combination of the two. Or, you can use a descriptive combination of words.
Selecting the best blogging platform and designing —maintaining a blog
The next step you need to work on is to find the best-suited blogging site for your own blog. There is a wide selection of platforms with all kinds of different features. I recommend using self-hosted WordPress.org software if you are serious about blogging.
Nowadays, in making your blog site look professional and beautiful, you do not need to be a web developer or web designer, or you do not need to hire a professional. You can do it by yourself because platforms like WordPress.org come with many pre-designed free blog themes. They offer templates that you can choose, based on your preferred layout and color scheme.
Finding web hosting and a domain
A web hosting provider acts as the foundation for your blog. Selecting the wrong web host can ruin your hopes of running a successful blog.
A domain name is a name by which your blog will be known online, no matter what niche you choose. It is a unique web address on the Internet.
I recommend namecheap.com to buy your domain and hosting.
Reading useful resources before or after launching your own blog is your first step in entering the blogging world. However, to be successful online, you have to learn more. We publish guides on DM. Digital Marketing Blog to help you succeed on the web.
Oh, wait, before we totally proceed to set up and steps, let me cover some of the frequently asked questions before starting a blog.
A blog can provide information, education, promotion, and even sales, that is when you are clear about your intention in blogging. You must dedicate yourself to providing value to your future readers.
So, take some time to figure out your central message and the purpose of your blog. Here are some examples of why some people create blogs and enjoy blogging:
- Using it as an outlet for creative expression.
- Becoming self-employed or earning more money from it.
- Establishing expertise and building an audience.
- Networking with others and building a company.
- Enhancing writing and thinking skills.
Interesting fact, did you know 86% of companies produce blog content compared to other formats.
The most common question people ask. Setting up a free blog has pros and cons. Most of the blogging platforms allow people to launch their blogs for FREE. The top free blogging platforms are WordPress, Blogger, and Wix.
If you create a free account from any of these platforms, you will get to use the service on a subdomain of the platform. For example, your blog URL will look like this: “blogname.wordpress.com”, “blogname.blogspot.com”, or “blogname.wix.com”. In the blogging world, this type of blog is an indication of an inexperienced blogger who likely would not be taken seriously.
The free blog is subjected to rules and restrictions set by the platform. Free platforms may limit or prohibit you from using ads, or they may even place their own ads on your blog. If you are serious about blogging, you need to move away from this option sooner rather than later.
So, what is the best way to build a blog?
To take your blog to the next level, you will have to start paying for it. That way, you can get full control of your blog, access to more features, and a custom domain name.
To get things right, I suggest setting up a self-hosted blog with free open-source WordPress.org software that you can install on any web hosting account. I will show you how later in this guide. Keep reading!
If free blog hosting is currently the only option for you, create an account on Blogger. This free blogging platform allows you to put ads on your blog posts.
Straight answer, yes! Blogging is very relevant, especially in this perilous time. This is very useful nowadays as another source of income. If you are able to successfully launch your blog and garner traffic on your blog, there is a chance that you could earn $500 a month and higher.
Blogs are an excellent tool for community-building, but if you are not willing to be the central voice, i.e. the focal person for it, you will have trouble maintaining it. Blogging is a public act that will put you in the spotlight. The more successful you become, the more attention you will receive for your words.
How to Set Up and Start a Blog in 7 Easy Steps
- Step #1: Selecting the perfect niche for your blog
- Step #2: Picking the right domain name, web hosting, and CMS software
- Statistics for websites using Blog technologies
- Step#3: Starting a blog on WordPress
- Step#4: Selecting a theme and designing your blog
- Step #5: Finding blog topics
- Step#6: Driving traffic to the blog
- Step#7: Earning money from blogging
- Congratulations you have acquired Blogging skill!
Step #1: Selecting the perfect niche for your blog
When starting a blog, you do not need a revolutionary idea. But, your blog should be focused on something specific. Thus, in choosing the right niche, you need to pick something that you know and you love. In that way, you will follow your passion and enjoy your blogging journey.
“Choose Something You Know and You Love”
Also, you need to consider the number of audiences that have an interest in the niche you want to focus on.
Once you already determined what you want to work on, you need to confirm the success rate of your picked niche. To validate it, here is a formula for you.
A 3-step blog success validation process:
- Check the niche audience size.
- Explore competitors.
- Analyze monetization potential.
With the help of this process, you obtain a clear idea of the audience size, competition, and monetization potential for your chosen niche.
In starting a blog from scratch, you will need to acquire the following services:
- Domain name.
- Web hosting.
- Content Management System (CMS)
Step #2: Picking the right domain name, web hosting, and CMS software
Picking the right domain name
A domain name is an address that your readers will basically type on the address bar of a browser. Your domain name will be the name by which you will be known online, no matter what niche you choose. It is your blog’s unique address on the Internet. Your domain will be yours as long as you continue paying the annual fee of $2 to $30 per year for .com, .me, .net, and other domain extensions.
Internet users may type your URL directly on the browser or through search engines such as Google and Bing, so you definitely need to find a unique name.
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”.
Best Domain Registrars to Buy a Domain Name
Domain.com. Started in 2000, Domain.com is one of the most popular domain name registrar on the planet. They allow you to register all top level domain name extensions (TLDs) and even dozens of country code top level domains (ccTLDs).
HostGator is another popular company offering website owners a one-stop shop for domain names and shared website hosting. They have an easy to use domain search tool that helps you quickly find a suitable domain name for your business.
GoDaddy. GoDaddy is one of the oldest and one of most popular domain registration companies. GoDaddy has a powerful easy to use domain management interface which allows you to transfer your domain name or change its settings.
NameCheap. Another top domain registrar on the market. They have a powerful domain search tool that helps you find the right domain name and makes suggestions when your preferred domain name is not available. Namecheap.com is Trusted with over 10 million domains and the domain names are very cheap.
Where can you purchase domain names or URLs? From my experience, namecheap.com is the best domain name provider. When you purchase a domain on NameCheap, they offer some freebies like Free Personal Data Privacy, Free lifetime WhoisGuard privacy protection.
Also, NameCheap is trusted with over 10 million domains and the domain names are very cheap.
Getting the right web hosting
Choosing the right web hosting is crucial. That is why you have to pick the best hosting service for your blog from the start. In this section, I will cover the common hosting criteria and choices you will face, plus my unbiased recommendation. So, let us start.
What Makes a Good Hosting Service?
There are so many factors that go into this, and things you can get confused by, so I am going to make this list as simple as I can.
Most web hosting providers are relatively similar with the same features at the lower level. But, here is what you should consider as the criteria for a good hosting company:
Security: Website security is important, you do not want to get hacked, and if you have a few customers, you certainly do not want their information hacked. So, note what kind of security features are offered.
SSL Certificates: Google is all about making sure sites are secure today, especially if you are going to be collecting personal data or credit card information. SSL Certificates help encrypt data, you can tell if it is there when you see https on the URL (like on this one). These days, Google has placed an emphasis on sites that are secure. It is best to set this up from the beginning.
Cost: A shared hosting account should be pretty affordable, necessarily under $20 a month at the max, while VPS and dedicated hosting will cost more.
Backups: It is very important to backup your site on a regular basis, so make sure your hosting provider gives you backup options.
Customer service: When you start building a site, you are going to run into issues so it is really important that you chose a hosting service that has really good customer service to help you out of the trouble you are (very likely) going to get yourself into.
Email: You want to have a professional email address that is the same domain as your URL. So make sure your hosting provider can also give you the opportunity to add an email as well.
Reliability: You do not want your site to be down, ever. That means, it is significant to work with a hosting company that is reliable and keeps downtime to a minimum.
The Most Common Types of Web Hosting
Once you start digging into hosting services, you will find plenty of options available. This is where it can get confusing and you can end up going with a more powerful hosting option that you need. Web hosting offers shared hosting, dedicated hosting, VPS (virtual private server) hosting, managed WordPress hosting and managed CMS platform.
This type of hosting means that your website will be hosted on the same servers as with hundreds or thousands of other websites. This is what makes this option more affordable. Some of the most common shared hosting providers are Bluehost, Dreamhost, HostGator, and Namecheap.
Best for: People with brand new sites with growing traffic, are on a budget and need good customer support. These typically give you the best value for your needs.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
This type of hosting is a cross between shared hosting and dedicated hosting, and is the next logical step up from shared.
This is a bit more expensive than shared but not so costly.
This type of hosting essentially means you have an entire server just to yourself. It is fast but expensive.
Verdict: For people who are starting out or have small sites, this is not going to be the best fit.
Managed WordPress Hosting
This type of hosting is usually a little bit more expensive, but if you are using WordPress, and particularly if you actually have significant traffic coming to your site, it can be worth it.
What You Really Need When it Comes to Blog Hosting
Now that you know the common types of web hosting, it is time for you to think and plan. What do you really need for your blog? Well, it depends on what you are planning to do with your site. But hey, here are a few things you might want to consider.
- What CMS platform are you using to build your blog?
- Are you going to be seeing tons of traffic?
- Are you going to have periods of large?
- How many sites do you have?
- Are you very concerned about security?
- What is your budget?
Getting answers to these questions will help you determine what web hosting company is going to be the best fit for your needs.
Choosing the right CMS software
How would you determine the right CMS software for you? As a beginner in the blogging world, you will need a CMS software that is easy to set up and does not require any coding skills.
Some of the popular Content Management System software:
Personally, I advise WordPress as the CMS software for you. WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world.
Some of the few reasons why WordPress is the best CMS software for you
- Highly customizable for great flexibility
- Designed for anyone, not just developers
- Lower setup and maintenance costs
After determining the right CMS software for you, it is now time to install and use it.
Blog Usage Distribution on the Entire Internet
Statistics for websites using Blog technologies
Top In Blog Usage Distribution on the Entire Internet
Select your hosting plan. You will start by picking a hosting plan. If this is your very first blog, you can go with the basic plan. Later, you can easily upgrade to a Plus or Choice Plus plan once your blog starts growing.
Set up your domain name. Your domain name will be your blog’s address, so you should take your time to come up with something unique and memorable.
Register with Namecheap.
Create your account.
Complete guide on how to install WordPress using Softaculous
Step#4: Selecting a theme and designing your blog
After you have successfully installed WordPress on your CPANEL, it is now time to look for great WordPress themes.
Inside the WordPress dashboard, under the “Appearance” tab, click “Themes”. You will be presented with some popular options. You can click on the WordPress.org Themes button and search for free themes. There are more than 3000 themes available on WordPress.org.
The look and feel of your new blog rely on the theme you choose. Your readers will first notice the overall appearance of your blog before they even take a look at the content. Select a theme that looks great, but also works for your specific content needs.
Here is a quick guide for choosing your theme by searching within the WordPress dashboard:
Read the description – Most themes come with a short description of features and functionality. Reading it can help you figure out if the theme matches your needs.
Preview the theme – Preview the theme (demo) to get an idea of the overall look, layout, and how customizable it is.
Check the ratings – Star ratings will be visible in the preview and under theme details to give you a clear idea of how good the theme is.
If you cannot find a theme that you absolutely love, do not worry. Settle on one that you like, and you can always change it in the future.
Should you choose a free or premium theme?
Free, premium, and custom themes
In my opinion, there are more than enough free WordPress themes to choose from for any blog topic.
Remember, you can always pick a different theme later as you continue to customize your blog. All of the content pages and unique content that you create will be transferred automatically to a new theme layout.
If the current stash of free themes does not satisfy your particular desire, you can check the available premium themes. These themes are usually designed by third party companies and sold on different WordPress theme sites.
If you are planning to buy premium themes, you might want to check this list:
Best cheap premium WordPress theme for Corporate, Personal, Fashion, and Travel Blogs
Personal Blog theme
Travel Blog theme
SmartBlog is a light and elegant theme tailored to be exceptional on all kinds of blogs. Not only its modern design is pleasing to the eyes, it packs in a robust yet easy-to-use backend system all managed through WordPress Live Customizer.
Food or Recipe Blog theme
Food Recipes is a fully responsive, feature-rich and beautifully designed WordPress theme for recipes related websites. This theme is perfect for professional Chefs and Cooking Experts.
Customizing Blog theme
Remember, your WordPress dashboard is the back end location where you will manage your new blog. It provides you with fast access to all of the tools you need to add content and fine-tune your blog functionality for the ultimate user experience. Your first step towards mastering WordPress is learning the dashboard.
On the left-hand side of the WordPress dashboard, you will see the following Customizing menu options:
Site identity – Upload your logo, change site title and tagline, and upload site icon.
Colors – Change your blog’s background color, header and footer colors, and customize primary color.
Theme options – Select if you want to show a search icon in the header of your blog and show an author bio for your posts.
Cover template – Make additional changes to the page template such as the overlay background color, overlay text color, and overlay opacity.
Background image – Upload any custom background image you want to use for your blog.
Menus – Customize your blog’s menu, social media menu links, and change locations where they are displayed.
Widgets – Customize your footer content, add blog description, and how to find you if you have a physical location.
Homepage settings – Choose what is displayed on the homepage of your blog. It can be your latest posts (classic blog), or a static page.
Adding plugins to the Blog
Plugins are bundled pieces of code that affect the way your blog looks and functions. They can add new functionality to your blog, extend your theme’s capabilities, and customize your blog as a whole or in part.
List of recommended plugins for bloggers
Yoast SEO – A comprehensive SEO plugin for your blog, to optimize your content for search engines.
Site Kit by Google – a one-stop solution for WordPress users to use everything Google has to offer. Site Kit shows key metrics and insights from different Google products such as Search Console, Google Analytics, & many more.
WP Super Cache – Helps with the load time of your WordPress blog and delivers content to your readers faster.
Akismet – Protects your comments and contact form from spam and prevents your site from publishing malicious content.
Contact Form 7 – A contact form with flexible email options. It supports CAPTCHA and Akismet spam filtering.
Disqus – An alternative to the basic WordPress comment system with advanced administrative and comment capabilities.
YARPP – Creates a related posts list at the end of each of your posts automatically to encourage people to continue browsing your site.
Congratulations, you have just learned how to customize your blog and make design changes!
Step #5: Finding blog topics
Now that you have established your domain name, chosen your web hosting, and successfully set up your blog, you are ready to go! Your blog site is complete and ready to rock. Now comes the moment of truth. You must learn how to find interesting and trendy topics to write.
Here are some types of articles, topics, and approaches that have demonstrated massive success for bloggers in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
- How To Guides
- Beginner guides
- Ultimate guides
- Frequently asked questions
- Product reviews
- Troubleshooting guides
- Productivity tips
- Best of
- Share your secrets
Your next step is to determine what content to make for your new blog. What I suggest, your content must be composed of words, photos, graphics, audio, video, etc.
Four things your blog content should deliver
- Write great content that will bait and stand out from the rest of your opposition.
- Write content that will speak to your audience and provide value to them in a significant way.
- Write content that is accessible and attractive.
- Write content that will provide information to the readers.
In producing quality content, you will have to use your imagination. You will need to learn how to research for your resources in order to come up with a very interesting article. Bear in mind too that you should start creating content that you feel comfortable with, that is right for your readers, and for your blog.
Step#6: Driving traffic to the blog
Once you are done writing articles, the next thing you need to do is to promote your site. Because if no one sees your blog, all your work is in vain. That is why promoting you’re the blog is very vital.
Maybe you are confused right now because you do not know how you can promote your blog and where to start.
Here are some proven steps that will help you to promote your site and gain traffic. Let us look more closely at the variety of promoting and marketing activities you can take to become an authority online and a successful blogger:
8 Proven Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog
Submit your blog to search engines
Having your blog indexed on search engines is a quick and useful task. To submit your blog URL to Google and Bing, sign in to your Google and Bing, then go to the Submit URL option in Webmaster Tools.
Submit your blog to bookmarking sites
Bookmarking sites can offer your content to a lot of potential viewers who are searching for topics within your niche. You should do this every time you publish a new blog post to spread the word. Some popular social bookmarking sites are Scoop.it, Reddit, etc.
Be active in your niche
Get active on relevant blogs, forums, and social pages. Blogger communities are a good way to connect with other bloggers within your niche. You can engage, build friendships, and help each other in spreading content. Commenting on other relevant blogs is a great way to build relationships with top bloggers within your niche.
Be active on social networks
Your business is unique, and you should make use of the social media avenues that best fit your own niche and style. Choose the one (or ones) that best fit your needs and become an expert at leveraging them to help reach your goals. Some of the most popular social networks that bloggers use on a daily basis are Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Let your friends know about your blog
Inform your friends about your new endeavor. Email them and include your blog name and URL in your email and on your email signature. Message your friends on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Viber) to let them know that you are a blogger now. Likewise, ask them to visit your blog and consult for their advice on what else you need to improve on your blog.
You should also ask your friends to share your blog on their social media profiles.
Take the relationship a step further and offer to write a guest post for another website. Just be sure your work goes on reputable sites and that the content is directly related to your niche. Guest blogging is an excellent way to build an online presence.
Start building your mailing list
Once your blog gains new fans and readers, it is a good idea to collect the email addresses of those who want to be notified of new articles and offers. As people come to know and trust you, they will respond better to your promotional efforts.
Advertising on the web (paid traffic)
If you have a budget to spend, then you can possibly tap this area. You can advertise your blog on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other advertising platforms.
Remember that you can always find other ways to promote your new blog. Rely on the blogging fundamentals: a clear and well-functioning blog, focused and helpful information, engaging conversation, and practical advice. Your authority will come from helping and giving advice to other people, your fans, or readers.
Step#7: Earning money from blogging
Finally, you have successfully launched your blog, then you are getting visits and you have built significant followers. Your hard work has paid off. Then in one corner of your room, you have realized the potential of your blog. You want to generate income from it.
Monetization is the process of translating your blog activity into earnings. You should keep in mind that blogging is not just about making money. Blogging is about creating useful content that will attract readers and make them come back for more.
7 Proven methods to monetize your blog
Running ads on your blog
There are ad networks that are the simplest and widely used method for monetizing a blog. Google Adsense and Media.net are the most popular choices for ads. These ads platforms show ads automatically based on the context of your article and also based on user interest.
Most of the new blogs use these methods to monetize as it gives recurring income. Since the ads shown are of high quality, they do not affect the user experience.
If you are having difficulty with Google Adsense and Media.net’s approval, you can try these alternative ad platforms.
4 Ad Networks for Small Publishers for Fast Approval
Propellerads offers an easiest way payout. They allow publishers to be in control of their monetization.
Infolinks offers five unique ad types that are a little different than what most publishers are accustomed to:
- InFold: Ads are displayed in the fold at the bottom of the screen.
- InScreen: An ad that is displayed between page views and takes up all or most of the screen.
- InText: Ads placed within the text of your most valuable keywords.
- InTag: Ads displayed in relation to the context of a page.
- InFrame: Ads that fit into the right or the left side of the screen where white space normally exists.
BidVertiser network this ad platform in a good way. Publishers will earn money each time an ad is clicked and also when a conversion takes place for the advertiser.
- A neat point-and-click tool allows you to customize the way ads will look on your site, and IAB formats and mobile formats are available.
- All of the ads displayed on your website will be the highest possible. The way the company’s ads work is through a bidding system where advertisers can bid on your ad space. As a result, you will receive the maximum revenue possible and work with a system that consistently improves over time.
Buy-Sell Ads gives publishers control over revenue decisions by promoting transparent relationships with advertisers. The world’s best publishers drive profit through our Marketplace, Native Performance Network, and Enterprise solutions.
Enrolling in affiliate program
Affiliate programs are ways of teaming up with retailers to promote their products and benefit from successfully carrying out sales through a commission.
Things that you need to consider when enrolling in affiliate programs:
- The number of an affiliate sale
- You need to be credible enough for your visitors to click on your links.
Few popular online platforms that offer affiliate programs that you can enroll in such as Amazon Associates, ShareASale, Shopee, Lazada, etc.
These are essentially adverts in the form of a paid-for article or blog post. This monetization method usually works best when you have a strong niche audience. Once you have grown your readership, brands will often approach you to discuss sponsored posts.
Selling your products and services
This method sells memberships to exclusive corners of your website. The key here is that your exclusive membership has to be more valuable than something your visitors can find for free somewhere else.
This method charges a brand for either advertising space or a mention in your weekly/monthly newsletter. It will take very little time to do, and you could get a fair amount for it. But you need to build up a decent size mailing list for brands to consider this.
Sell Private Ads
The method can come in the form of banners, buttons, or links. You can even make money writing sponsored posts where you write about or give a review of an advertiser’s product or service.
From the above methods, you will realize that there are numerous ways to monetize a blog. Consider the possibilities, then choose the method or methods that best suit you and your audience.
Congratulations you have acquired Blogging skill!
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