How to start a blog in 2021?
That’s what we’ll be covering today!
Blogging has skyrocketed during the past few decades as more and more people have started moving their businesses online.
Since blogging is a tremendously popular method to earn money online millions of people from around the world have started to learn it.
If you’re reading this article it’s obvious that you want to build a profitable blog from scratch.
But you don’t want to make any wrong decisions in the beginning when you’re just setting up everything.
So today I have compiled a guide that will help you avoid some of these mistakes and create a beautiful-looking blog website.
You must have seen guides like this before, but trust me you haven’t seen one better.
In this massive 5,000 word post, I’ll share with you everything I learned from building my successful blogging business from scratch.
P.S I’ll be providing you all with a free blog template to help you create your dream blog even quicker. This blog template will be completely responsive and browser-friendly.
Here’s a list of things we are going to be looking into :
- How to choose a blog topic and domain name
- How to setup your Domain and hosting
- How to install wordpress
- How to configure wordpress for best performance
- How to install themes and plugins
- How to write your first blog post
- How to get traffic to your blog
- How to monetize your blog and earn money
But first, let’s look at some common myths and misconceptions that might be discouraging you from starting a blog:
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Blogging myths and misconceptions
1.) You Need to Have a Strong English Writing Background in order to make it as a blogger
The majority of people that will read your blog are going to be regular people. And these people reward relatability, honesty, and realness, not some over-the-top big fancy words.
2.) Blogging is expensive
You only need a hosting and domain account in order to set up a blog website. Both of these can be purchased for as little as 2.95 $ a month.
Of course, if you want to purchase a premium theme or plugin then it’s going to cost a little more, but the essentials for getting started are really cheap.
P.S you can create a pretty good website without paid themes, tools, or resources.
And the blog you’re reading this article on is a perfect example of this.
3.) You need to know programming to build a blog
Again, absolutely not!
You do not need any kind of programming knowledge to start a blog or create a website. There are a number of free online tools that help you create a website code-free!
4.) Making money with blogging is difficult
Quite the opposite in fact!
When you have a blog that generates a decent amount of traffic then making money will be easier than ever before.
According to CreateandGo, this is the estimated monthly income of the top bloggers from around the world.
|Bloggers||Estimated Monthly Income|
|John Lee Dumas||$200,000+|
|Jeff Proctor and Ben Huber||$170,000+|
|Alex Nerney and Lauren McManus||$100,000+|
Also, blogs sales fetch millions of dollars, just take a look at this list by Wpmudev about the costliest blogs sold in the last few years.
How to start a blog 2021
Now that we have got all that out of the way let’s get into the cream and crop of this post.
So, this is how to start a blog 2021, step by step tutorial:
1) Choose a blog topic and domain name
The very first thing you should do when starting a blog is to research the topic you will be blogging about.
This topic can be anything you are interested in writing or learning about. As long as you’re able to create content consistently on that topic, you can start a blog around anything under the sun.
If you’re not quite sure what to blog about, don’t worry. I’m here to help you out!
Choosing a blog niche should be largely subjective, but practicalities should also be taken into account.
Factors such as competition, growth potential, and trends for a niche will have a tremendous impact on your life as a blogger.
But most importantly, your blog niche should have a decent amount of demand(Both informational and purchase-intended). Only then can you hope to make a decent living with it.
Here’s a list of some of the most in-demand blog niches you should:
- Personal finance
Also, keep in mind that most of these niches are highly competitive make sure you tone down further to find an amazing blog nich.
After you find a niche the next step is to find a suitable name(domain name) for your website.
This name should be unique and it should reflect the topic/niche of your blog or you can name your blog after your full name, (First name)(Surname).com.
Use the Bluehost domain search tool(Provided below) to find out whether your preferred domain is taken or not.
As I said the domain name should be unique hence you’ll probably need to try out different names and word combinations before finding a domain available for registration.
2) Buy and setup your domain and hosting
There are a lot of bad hosting providers out there and hosting your precious website with any of them could negatively impact your online journey.
Many factors that will affect the success of your blog such as site speed, bandwidth, uptime, and storage will depend on the quality of your web host.
Therefore you should always use a premium web hosting service.
And I recommend “Bluehost” the #1 web Hosting Service for beginner bloggers, this web host is known to provide fast server speeds, reliable support, and premium WordPress Features for as little as 2.95 dollars per month.
Now let’s look at how you should purchase this domain/hosting and set everything up:
To get started click on the button below to visit the Bluehost website.
Once you click on the button above, you’ll be taken to a Homepage like this. (Image given below)
Now, go at the top-left corner (for desktop version) and the “三” symbol at the top-right corner (for mobile version). There you’ll be able to see the “WordPress” in the menu, tap it, and then on “WordPress Hosting“.
After tapping the “WordPress Hosting” button, you’ll be able to see the page given below.
Now tap on the “Choose Plan” button that will take you to the list of the paid WordPress plans.
The Basic Plan should be more than enough for any beginner blogger. This plan has all the basic features you need in order to set up a premium blog website.
Some of these features include:
- A free SSL security certificate
- Free Domain
- High speed CDN
- 1 year free website domain
- And 50 GB SSD storage
Click on “Select” on the Basic plan.
After that, you’ll be redirected to a page that’ll get you your blog name (domain name) that you checked before.
Simply type the domain name you have in mind under the “Create a new domain” section and make sure to check the spellings once or twice.
Next, set up your Bluehost account. You can sign in with Google or enter your contact info manually. Make sure all the details are correct.
Once completed, select your package information. You can choose a package pricing plan on how far in advance you want to pay. You can choose your plan in 12, 24, or 36 months upfront.
Mind you, the cost per month reduces when a longer plan is chosen, so I would suggest you choose a 3-year package. This way you’ll be paying less money per month.
Whichever plan you choose, it will be renewed at the regular price (You can check regular rates with the renewal terms section).
Now, uncheck every box except the “Domain Privacy+Protection“, and provide your credit card details for the payment.
And don’t worry, Bluehost has a 30-day no-questions-asked return policy so you don’t have to worry about losing your precious money if you find that this blogging thing isn’t for you.
Once you’ve done with getting your domain name and web hosting, Bluehost will automatically install WordPress on it. This is quite a handy feature for beginner bloggers.
After WordPress is installed you can create a password for your Bluehost account. This is the password for your Bluehost account, not for your WordPress blog (There’s a difference between the two).
Now go ahead and Log in to your Bluehost account: Use the password you just created in the above step. Or sign in with Google (If that’s how you signed up before).
Now, Enter the name and tagline for your blog. Toggle on the switch next to “Do you want a blog?” And click “Continue”
You may be asked some survey questions about your online goals and some website creation-related questions about your experiences. Answer them and continue to the next step.
After that, you’ll be prompted to choose a theme for your website. I suggest skipping this step since I’ll be providing you with a free alternative theme that I personally use on my websites.
Congratulations, you now have a self-hosted blog website!
But the work isn’t done so let’s continue!
3.) Install and login to WordPress
In order to build a website, you first got to decide what platform you’re going to build your website with. In 2021, content management systems (CMS) like WordPress have made creating a website accessible to everyone.
Nearly half of the websites on the Internet are running on the WordPress website platform.
Bluehost has an automatic WordPress install feature hence you don’t have to worry about manually installing it.
This is one of the more reasons we love Bluehost
But just in case your automatic install does not work then these are the steps you need to take:
- Click on the My Sites tab from the side navigation menu to the left.
- Click the Create Site button.
- New windows appear for two highly recommended website builders.
- Click the Start Building button under the WordPress option.
- Enter the Admin Information:
- Site Name – This will be the name displayed on your site. This is not the URL but simply the name used on your site.
- Site Tagline – This should reflect a brief description of your website.
- Advanced Tab:
- Email Address – This will be where your login information will be sent.
- WordPress Admin Username – The desired login name for your application
- WordPress Admin Password – The desired password for this application.
The installer will take a couple of minutes to install your application. Once done:
- Click on the My Sites tab from the side navigation menu to the left.
- Hover over the site you wish to manage, and click Manage Site.
- On the upper right-most corner, click Log into WordPress.
Note: After you have installed WordPress into a specific domain you can easily access the WordPress Admin panel by adding “/wp-admin” in front of the site’s domain address.
E.g: For a website domain abc.com, put in abc.com/wp-admin. To access the login dashboard.
Now put down your Username and Password in order to log in to the admin panel.
Voila! You’re now inside of your WordPress admin dashboard. From here you can start creating content, designing your website, and building out your blog.
4.) Basic wordpress configurations:
Before we get started with building out our blog we have to tweak some settings in order to enable an optimum WordPress performance.
So let’s do them one by one:
1# Change Permalinks:
Firstly, we will need to change the permalinks of our website. Permalinks or permanent links are extremely important as their structure has a direct impact on the on-page SEO of your website.
It’s extremely easy to change your permalinks when you are working with a WordPress website.
Simply navigate to Settings > Permalinks > common settings, and change the link structure from “Day and name” to “Post name”, then scroll down and hit save.
- 2# Site title and tagline: Make sure your site title and tagline are correct. If not you can edit them here. Your tagline should be a short phrase that describes your site or mission well. And don’t worry all these details are changeable.
- 3# Site address: Make sure it is started with HTTPS:// instead of HTTP://. This helps with securing your site with SSL.
- 4# Admin email: You can change the administrator email by entering a new one. If you’ve changed it you have to confirm it. Make sure that email is active.
- 5# Membership: Do nothing if you are not going to register new members for your blog. Just leave it unchecked. Timezone, date: You can change the time zones as you want. But remember, this will be very important if you are going to schedule blog posts.
5.) Install best free wordpress theme for blogs
There’s a lot of debate considering what the best WordPress theme is, I even have an article about the 20 best free WordPress themes for blogging.
There are tons of great free themes but Blocksy is the undisputed king of them all.
For those who don’t know, Blocksy is a free WordPress Theme from Creative themes. It is arguably one of the most generous and feature-rich free themes in the market.
I personally use Blocksy in all of my websites including the website your reading this post on.
Some of the features this theme provides:
- A fast and secure code structure
- High customizibility
- High speed performance
- Colors and typography
- Blogging Tools
Note: Free themes are not a substitute for premium themes.
Premium themes are much more feature-rich, have better support, load faster, and are much more reliable than free themes.
If you have the budget to afford a premium theme, then these are my recommendations:
- Soledad – Multiconcept blog theme
- Newspaper – Magazine blog theme
- JNews – Magazine newspaper theme
- Bimber – Viral Magazine theme
Got a grip over theme choice? Now, let’s look at some ways on how to install a WordPress theme into your website.
There are two main ways and they are as such:
1.) WordPress directory:
- Log in to your WordPress admin page, then go to Appearance and select Themes.
- To add a theme, click Add New. From this page, you have two ways to add a new theme. If you know the name of the theme you want, search for it in the Theme directory. If you don’t know your preferred theme’s name, use the Feature Filter to hone down your selection, check any tags and click Apply Filter for a screen filled with themes that meet your search criteria.
- To unlock a theme’s options, hover over it; you can either choose Preview to see a demo of the theme or install it by clicking the Install button once you’re ready. Once installed, click the Activate link.
- You’re all done, now preview your site to see how it looks.
2.) Zip File:
- Begin by downloading the theme’s .zip file from the source onto your local computer.
- From your WordPress Administration area, head to Appearance > Themes and click Add New.
- The Add New theme screen has a new option, Upload Theme.
- The theme upload form is now open, click Choose File, select the theme zip file on your computer and click Install Now.
- Once the theme is downloaded from the zip file, you can activate it from your admin. Select the Appearance tab and open the Themes directory, locate the theme and click the Activate link.
6.) Install plugins:
Plugins are an important element of any WordPress website. They provide extra functionality and features to your website.
These are some of the most important plugins you should install:
- MailOptin: Flexible newsletter subscribe forms
- Blocksy Companion: The blocksy helper plugin
- CleanTalk: Spam filter plugin
- Elementor: WordPress page builder
- Essential Addons: Addons and extensions for elementor
- Premium Addons: Another addons plugin for elementor
- Google Site Kit: All in one google integration tool
- AMP: AMP plugin helps optimize website speed
- Simple social button: Social sharing buttons for blog
Now let’s show you how to add these plugins to your site:
- Firstly log in to your wordpress dashboard and choose Plugins > Add new.
- Search for the desired plugin using a search bar in the top right corner. A number of results will appear.
- After finding the plugin in the results, click Install Now.
- To use the plugin, you’ll need to activate it. When the installation is complete, click Activate. You can also activate or deactivate any plugin under Plugins > Installed Plugins.
Note: Plugins should be installed modestly since they increase HTTPS requests to the server and in turn decrease website speed.
Also, please make sure that each of these plugins has been installed and activated within your site so as to make the blog template work.
7.) Import the free Blog template:
As I’ve mentioned earlier, we will be providing you with a free blog template so that you don’t have to worry about creating a custom design from scratch.
You can get this blog template by signing up for the form down below!
Once you signup you’ll get a confirmation e-mail with a download button.
Simply click on the button and you’ll be redirected to this page, with another download button.
Click on this button and your download will start.
Once downloaded the file (JSON format) can be imported into the Elementor page builder.
First head into “Templates” > “Saved Templates” and click on the “Import templates” button on the top side of the page.
Next click “Choose file” and select the file you just downloaded.
The import will start and your template will start showing up in the Published list.
This template can now be imported into whatever page that you please.
8.) Write your first blog post:
You have finally set up your blog but there’s still one important thing and that is creating your first ever blog post!
WordPress has an in-built post-editing tool called Gutenberg editor. you can use it to write text content, add suitable images, tables, embeds, and much much more.
But enough with the small talk, Let’s go ahead actually create a blog post!
Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Posts > Add new Posts
Give your post a name, right stuff, and hit publish.
Your blog post is live!
Now of course there’s a ton of other stuff that’s involved when creating a suitable blog post.
But all of that cannot be covered in this post. So I suggest doing some research in order to make more professional blog posts.
Note: You can also write content within the Elementor page builder, which will give you much better styling options and customizability as compared to the block editor.
9.) How to promote your blog:
So you created a blog and wrote your first ever article, Now what?
How are planning to drive get visitors to your blog?
A wise man once said, “ you can write the most compelling copy in the world and design a blog interface that would sell people their own shoes. However, if no one sees it, all of your hard work is in vain. So, you need to know how to promote your blog.”
As a beginner blogger, the greatest challenge you’re going to face is driving consistent traffic to your blog. That’s why it is important to have a clear-cut strategy when it comes to blog promotion.
Since your blog is brand new it is tough for you to receive organic traffic, hence you must rely on other sources to get visitors.
So these are some of the other best ways to bring visitors to your blog:
- Paid advertisements
- Social media
- Blogger outreach
- Guest posting
- Organic Search
10.) How to make money with your blog:
Here comes the fun part, making money with your blog!
Since your reading this blog post there’s a fair chance that you have decided to start your blogging journey after looking at income reports from other bloggers, these bloggers seem to be printing their own money.
Even if you don’t treat your blog like an income source, who’s against earning some extra money?
I have spoken in-depth about making money with your blog in a different post of mine called 7 proven ways to earn money as a blogger.
You can check out that article if you want, but here’s a brief summary :
- Display Advertisements: The most common way to monetize a blog is by integrating display ads. Once your blog has reached a traffic threshold, you can easily apply to premium Ad networks Such as Mediavine and Adthrive and they’ll handle the rest.
- Affiliate Marketing: When you select certain products, services, and courses that are owned by other individuals and businesses and you promote then in your own blog, you get a percent of the sale that is being made through you, known as “Affiliate commission”.
- Guest Posting: Bloggers often receive emails from other bloggers in hopes of collaboration for a blog post. This phenomenon is called guest-posting. Guest posting can fetch expert writers anywhere from 100 to 2,000 dollars for a 1000 word article.
- Sponsored Posts: Companies and business organizations will often reach out to bloggers for writing a sponsored articles about their product or service. You can expect to be paid anywhere from around 1000 to 5000 dollars per sponsored post you write.
- Backlink Sale: Since backlinks are a sure-fire way to boost your google search rankings they are now sold as commercial goods. A backlink from a high domain authority website sells at an average of 350-500 dollars on baclinks.com.
- Self-promotion: You can advertise your own services or products through your blog. Since blogs are an excellent way to harness a ton of concentrated traffic business organizations and professionals often cultivate a blog.
- Sell digital products: You can create your own or sell premade digital products through your website.You can also sell self-made digital assets on websites like creative market and Etsy or promote other peoples designs and earn a commission.
Some final words:
Congratulations! You’ve learned how to start a blog. You have your own domain name, hosting space and your blog is set up.
Blogging has helped thousands of people from around the globe achieve their dream of financial freedom.
So why not yourself?
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