How to start a blog is a question that a lot of people encounter. And this guide will be all about answering that.
In fact, starting a blog is one of the best things you can do nowadays. Whether you own a small business, an online shop, or simply feel like doing something new, blogging can bring lots of benefits:
- Personal growth. Many people start blogging as a way to express their ideas and deepen their knowledge. A well-established blog can also be a showcase of your skills and expertise whenever you’re looking for a job or freelance work.
- More people will know about your brand. If you run a business, big or small, spreading brand awareness is going to be an important part of the journey. With the right execution, a blog can take your business to new heights.
- Blogs have the potential to become a user acquisition platform. When it comes to attracting new users, many premium channels require you to invest a lot of money (for example GoogleAds). While growing a blog may take time, once the traffic starts to kick in, you’ll have a solid platform that can drive new sales and improve conversions.
- Increased visibility in search engines. Blogging is one of the top ways to get more out of organic searches. Remember, maintaining a steady flow of traffic is a vital part of any online project.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to start and grow a successful blog. One that brings a consistent stream of organic traffic and is able to get your name out there. Questions like:
- Which blogging platform is the best for a new blog?
- How to choose the right web hosting.
- How to set up your blog and succeed.
Let’s see what it takes to launch a blog from scratch.
How to Start a Blog
The process of starting a blog can be broken down into steps, which are:
- How to Start a Blog
- 1. Choose your blog niche
- 2. Find a web host
- 3. Register a domain name
- 4. Set up the blogging platform
- 5. Publish content and grow
- 6. Promote your blog
- 7. Monetize your blog
- What is a blog?
- What is a niche and how do I choose one?
We’ll go over each of them in more detail and provide you with tips that will make your blog stand out from the rest.
1. Choose your blog niche
If you’re running a project or business, blogging about the services, products, and company goals is a great approach. That way, you’ll attract people that are actually interested in what your blog is about. A win-win for everyone.
In case you’re looking to start a personal blog, a more extensive choice for a niche is at hand. The options are endless, from travel, technology, and news, to food, music, and shoes – there are many choices that you can pick as your primary blog topic.
Since it’s one of the most important steps, try to avoid rushing your decisions. Take some time to research your options, then finding a blog niche will be easier.
Ultimately, your best bet is writing about something that you like. When doing something you enjoy, the results are always better. And your audience will undoubtedly notice.
If you’re not yet sure what to blog about, don’t let it hold you down. Most successful blogs tried numerous approaches and topics before they reached the goal.
My best advice is to dive deep and never look back!
2. Find a web host
Next, you need to choose a blogging platform. This is the software or service that you will use to publish your content. But before you do that, you need to decide if you will use a free blogging platform or a self-hosted plan. Below we will tell you a little more about each one.
The idea of a free blogging platform is tempting for new bloggers wanting to try out blogging. However, when keeping your blog on a free platform you will also have restrictions and rules that you will have to follow. Not only will you have their website in your URL name (yoursite.blogplatformsite.com) but you may also have ads placed on your blog that either don’t fit your style or niche or that you won’t be able to monetize. Our recommendation is to go with a self-hosted platform.
Self-hosted platforms let you run your blog with your own domain name. Meaning you won’t have another website at the end of your URL. You’ll also have the choice of a Content Management System or CMS. The most popular are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. These CMS help you create your dream blog.
Having a blog that is self-hosted isn’t free though. Because you are using your own name and web hosting space you will need to pay a few bucks a month to a web hosting company. Then, you can use your CMS of choice, which is usually open-source and free, with it.
When it comes to choosing a blog hosting platform, there are a few things you want to make sure of:
- How much traffic do you expect?
- How quick is the setup?
- Is there a support team?
- What features will help your blog stand out?
- What is the cost?
Not only that, but there are plenty of options to choose from, depending on the scale of your blog project. Let’s see what’s on the table.
One of the best places to start your first blog or website will be using shared hosting.
It houses multiple websites within one physical server. All the resources (such as disk space, RAM, bandwidth) are shared among each site from a single pool.
However, the servers are neatly optimized and monitored around the clock to make sure every website is up and running at full power.
Here’s what you need to know if you plan to start a blog on shared hosting:
- It is affordable and easy to use.
- Uptime and server updates are handled by the host.
- There is 24/7 live customer support.
- It features a 1-click blogging platform installation.
- You’ll share server resources with others.
- There are limited configuration options.
- There is no root access.
Catered towards business owners and larger projects, cloud hosting aims to provide the power of a virtual server while maintaining the simplicity of shared web hosting.
It’s a solid and reliable platform for starting a blog, as you’ll have lots of resources to handle whatever traffic is coming your way.
In addition, all the resources are dedicated to your blog, and no one else, thus you’ll have plenty of room for growth.
- Dedicated resources and IP address.
- There is 24/7 live customer support.
- Resources are fully dedicated to you.
- It features a 1-click blogging platform installation.
- It can seamlessly upgrade from shared hosting.
- Higher pricing per month compared to other solutions.
- There are limited configuration options.
- There is no root access.
VPS, short for a virtual private server, is a unique solution that brings more freedom and control to the table.
Though if you’re not familiar with server management, this solution may be a bit tricky.
If your aim is to start a simple blog only, picking another solution would be better.
But if you plan to launch many different projects after your new blog, having a virtual server will let you set up the perfect environment.
- It grants root access.
- There are dedicated IP and resources.
- It offers the highest flexibility out of all solutions.
- It gives you the most control.
- Has the ability to change any server-side settings.
- It requires technical knowledge.
- Server management skills are a must.
- It is unmanaged
- It has a higher learning curve.
3. Register a domain name
Every website has an address and so will your blog. Choosing a domain name can be tough and there are many elements to consider.
Once you have figured out the perfect domain name, be sure to check it on a domain checker to make sure that it is available. After that, choose which extension you would like, and you’re done.
4. Set up the blogging platform
The next step is choosing your platform. Since blogs are mostly made up of content, you should consider using a Content Management System (CMS).
With a CMS as your blogging platform, it will help you:
- Create a blog without previous coding knowledge.
- Easily publish and create new content.
- Allow you to focus on writing rather than technical aspects.
- Add new features easily with the help of plugins and modules.
- Find gorgeous website designs from libraries of free themes.
The top three blogging platforms that we recommend are:
Let’s look at each blogging platform in more detail to find the right pick for you.
Holding the title as the world’s most popular CMS, WordPress is a solid platform to start your blog. It’s easy to set up, use, and requires no coding knowledge.
In fact, I use WordPress to power my website.
- It is beginner-friendly.
- Choose from a huge library of free plugins and themes.
- There are easy SEO options and management.
- There are frequent updates.
- It requires maintenance from time to time.
Joomla is another open-source platform that powers many blogs around the world. It’s also one of the biggest WordPress blog competitors.
Setting up the CMS is quick and you can do so without having any coding knowledge. Some even argue that publishing content is easier with Joomla than it is with other platforms. But you can be the judge of that.
With an extensive collection of free extensions and plugins, Joomla is a reliable place to start any type of blog.
- It is beginner-friendly.
- It has an intuitive admin dashboard.
- It is multilingual (over 70 languages).
- It’s less flexible compared to WordPress or Drupal.
- It has had security flaws in the past.
One of the more advanced content management systems, Drupal, holds a special spot in the heart of every web developer.
It offers some of the best customization options when it comes to implementing complex features. Though you will need the knowledge of how to do it.
If you like coding and want to have a highly flexible blog, Drupal is the perfect match to create a blog.
- It is developer-focused.
- It has the potential to add complex functions.
- It is flexible and secure.
- Has a harder learning curve.
- Requires technical expertise.
- Has a smaller blogging community.
Once you have your web hosting and domain name ready, you’re just a few steps away from reaching your goal of starting a blog.
Since we outlined three platforms to start your blog, let’s see how to perform the initial setup with each one. If you don’t need to this section, skip down to the next step.
How to Install WordPress
Setting it up is quite simple. Especially if you’re using Hostinger. All you have to do is navigate to the Auto Installer section in the control panel.
Select WordPress and follow the setup wizard.
To make your blog management easy, WordPress provides an intuitive dashboard.
You can access it by typing yourdomain.com/wp-admin in the browser.
In the Appearance section, you can find many free themes and choose a stylish look.
The Plugins section offers a large library of free extensions. You can view them as add-ons that extend the functionality of your blog.
Here is a list of three essential plugins that every blog must have:
- Yoast SEO – this will let you optimize your posts easier with the latest SEO practices.
- Akismet Anti-Spam – this will keep your comment section clean and spam-free.
- Jetpack – offers a bundle of features related to security, performance, statistics, and more.
Creating blog posts and pages
The Pages section lets you create more pages on your blog (such as About us; Contact us, and similar.)
Meanwhile, the Posts section will be your most visited area, as all new blog posts will be created there. Simply click Add New and your edit your new post inside.
How to Install Joomla
On Hostinger, setting up Joomla is a walk in the park. All you need to do is follow the installation wizard found in the Auto Installer section.
Once done, navigate to yourdomain.com/administratorURL to access the Joomla administrative dashboard.
If you head over to the Templates section, you’ll be able to customize the look and design of your pages and pick a new theme.
In case you want to manage functions or features, the Modules section is the place to go.
Here’s a short list of top three plugins recommended for Joomla blogs:
- K2 – is an extension that aims to improve article management with extra features and enhancements.
- EasyBlog – is another extension, which aims to replace the default article system with a more efficient one.
- Komento – helps you manage and moderate comments more effectively.
Creating blog posts
The most important part for every fresh blog – adding new posts. You can easily create a new post by using the Articles section.
How to install Drupal
On Hostinger, you can set up Drupal with no fuss using the Auto Installer tool available at the control panel.
Head over to yourdomain.com/user/login to reach the Drupal admin dashboard and get started right away.
To change the look and design of your blog, navigate to the Appearance section.
In the Extend tab, you can implement new features and functionalities with modules.
For every Drupal blog, we recommend these extensions:
- Admin Toolbar – replaces the existing toolbar with a more flexible one.
- ShareThis – lets you easily share posts on various social media platforms.
- Image Effects – allows you to add eye-catching effects to images in your blog posts.
Creating blog posts
And finally, the Content tab is the place where you can create new blog posts, pages, and everything else content related. From your first blog post to every single one after that, you can manage it all here.
5. Publish content and grow
You now know how to start a blog using three of the best CMS platforms. Let’s move on to the next step, your content.
What should your content do?
First, figure out your target audience and then try to provide them value in your content. You don’t want your readers to come to your blog and feeling like they are being demanded to do something or that you didn’t care when writing a blog post.
Keep your content easily accessible so readers stay on your blog. Don’t cut corners when you are writing your post. Your readers should be attracted to the content you present and want to come back. Add photos, graphics, or other visuals if it fits your style.
Also, encourage your readers to interact with you and other readers. Ask them about their thoughts on a blog post, their opinions, or what they are looking for next.
Before you start posting to your blog it is good to have your static pages ready. These are the pages that never move and are always available for your readers.
- About us – This is where you can tell your story, who you are, and why you have this blog. Depending on your blog, it can be personal, fun, or business-focused.
- Contact – This helps the readers stay in touch with you. It can be a simple page with your email, social media accounts, mailing list sign up, or anything other ways of communication that you have.
- Sidebar/Menu – This is either a column on the right or left, or along the top. You can include your blog categories, ads, other static pages, etc.
- Blog post – This is your breadwinner. Where you can post your content that is either text, photos, videos, or a combination of anything you like.
- Evergreen content – This content will stay relevant to your readers even after the publish date has passed. You should keep these up to date and make sure the information is relevant and correct.
This step is fairly simple: publish, publish, and publish!
Since content management systems help you create posts without much effort, your main focus should be posting as many good quality articles as possible.
Considering it usually takes a while before new publications start showing any notable results in search engines, the sooner you start – the better.
Ideally, we want our blog to generate traffic and grow over time. To reach that, you’ll need to think outside the box and be prepared to work hard.
6. Promote your blog
Now that you have captivating content that your readers will love, what’s next? Well, how are you going to reach an audience if they don’t know about your blog? Marketing and promotion will happen when people read your blog, but there are other ways to promote as well.
- Friends and family – tell everyone in your life about your new blog. Ask them to share a link on their social media accounts, let others know about your great content, and add their email address’ to your mailing list.
- Submit your blog to a search engine – this helps your blog get indexed, meaning they add your blog to the list of sites. Sign in to your Google Account and go to the Submit URL option in the Webmasters Tools. You can also submit it to Bing and other search engines.
- Active in your niche – check out relevant blogs, social pages, forums, etc. Blogging communities are a great way to grow your audience and connect with other bloggers.
- Active on social networks – this has become a popular and common way to get your word out. Follow pages that fit your niche, comment on other posts, and build connections.
- Guest blog – after being active on social media and other blogging sites you can take your blogging a step further and offer to write a guest post on someone else’s website. Make sure the site has a good reputation and is in the same niche.
- Mailing list – begin to email your readers about new articles or offers coming up. The more people look forward to your content, the better they will be about responding to your promotions.
- Advertise or paid traffic – there are always ads to help promote your blog. Either on Google AdWords or on Facebook. But if you are looking to stick on the cheaper side of things, we’d skip paid ads for now.
7. Monetize your blog
Now that your blog is up and running with great content and an awesome audience, you can turn your hobby and passion into money. You don’t have to monetize your blog, but if you are looking for some ways to make money blogging, check out the tips below.
- Ads featured on your blog – you can choose ads that are specific to your audience or to what you are writing about. A good place to start is checking out Google Adsense.
- Affiliate programs – this is when you team up with retailers to promote products and services for them. You receive money through commission. You need to have a high number of visitors, be credible and may want to include a link that says you use affiliate links on your page.
- Selling products and services – if you have your own products and services, you can easily sell them from your blog. Add an eCommerce plugin, like WooCommerce, to allow your audience to search your products, add them to a cart and securely pay.
- Sponsored posts – when your blog begins to increase in traffic you might be approached to place an ad on your blog. These advertisements are looking for exposure and will pay you to sponsor their ad on your site.
Best Blogging Tips That Will Bring Results
No matter what you’re doing, having a well thought out plan is essential. Not only will it make your work and results more efficient, but it will also give a clear vision of where you’re headed.
Most blogs generate new users through organic traffic. And the best way to do it is through high-quality posts. Hence, you’ll need to remember one golden rule: content is king.
Here are some of the top blogging tips that are sure to bring positive results:
1. Learn basic SEO
While search engine optimization may seem tricky, it’s one of the best skills you can acquire before you start a blog.
Proper SEO can put you miles ahead of the competition while ensuring that your content stays relevant and noticed.
2. Do keyword research
Ideally, your blog posts should use target keywords and phrases that people look for while using search engines.
Pumping out content without proper keyword research is like shooting in the dark. Even though you might hit something, you’re not exactly sure what you’ll get.
Understanding keywords, search volume, and the content that currently ranks the highest can give you a pretty good idea of the search intent. Once you know that, creating a solid blog post will be much easier.
Luckily, there is a plethora of free tools and resources that can help you. Here’s where you can start:
- Google Keywords Planner – how to start your research.
- Google Trends – helps you see shifts in the popularity of phrases and search terms.
- Answer the Public – see what questions and queries are the most frequent in a search term.
- KWFinder – free tools that let you see search volumes and other useful statistics.
3. Research your competition
New bloggers can find it difficult to set off in the right direction. Though it’s often easier with a good example in front of you.
Researching the best performing blogs in your niche is a great way to find new ideas for your own site.
First, gather a list of 5-10 blogs or websites that perform well in your niche. Then, use tools such as SimilarWeb to generate a report.
While the free version provides limited statistics, you can still see the reports on the top 5 organic and paid keywords. Once you’re done with the research, you should be able to see a much clearer view on what content your blog needs.
4. Create a content plan
Open a spreadsheet and brainstorm potential article ideas. Start with broader topics and make your way down to more specific branches. If you’re well-seasoned in a particular area, prioritize it.
Notable results will not come immediately, so patience will be your new best friend. Try to set deadlines for publishing articles and monitor your overall progress.
Aim to find the balance between quality and quantity. Then, stick to your plan and leave some time to reflect on the results.
5. Set up social media platforms
Building an online presence is important and sometimes daunting, luckily social media platforms make this task much simpler.
Firstly, social media platforms will increase user engagement. You can notify people about new articles, plans, and updates.
It’s also an amazing way to get acquainted with your readers. A crucial mistake that many new projects make is ignoring their audience and their needs.
But with Facebook and Twitter profiles in place, you can receive feedback from your readers directly. And as you continue to grow, you may run into business offers or similar opportunities.
Depending on the content that you provide in your blog, social media platforms may even attract new readers. It’s not only about gathering your existing audience. As people share your content, more and more people will be tempted to check it out.
6. Do guest posts
After you launch your blog, one of the toughest tasks will be making people notice it. Numerous competitors will stand in your way and you’ll need time to make it to the top search results on Google.
However, there are ways to make this journey less bumpy, and doing guest posts is one of them.
Guest posts is a practice that many bloggers, writers, and business owners do regularly.
The basic idea is to publish a content piece with a link to your blog on another website. The biggest benefits that you will get are:
- Boost in SEO due to links from other websites.
- A slight increase in direct/organic traffic.
7. Implement Google Analytics
Monitoring your traffic is an essential part of building a successful blog.
Knowing your audience and what they want from your site will put you a few steps ahead.
And the best tool to take care of this job is Google Analytics. It tracks your visitors, their habits, various social metrics, and more.
What’s more amazing is that this software is free. This means that every web user can easily find out more about their readers.
8. Submit new content to Google
Thousands of new websites are created daily. And the number of new posts and articles are in the millions.
With that much action going on, it may take time before Google and other search engines start indexing your new content. But there’s a shortcut you can take to speed things up.
Adding your site to Google Search Console will give you the opportunity to:
- Monitor your blog performance.
- Get alerts in case of sitewide errors.
- Use various testing tools.
- Access in-depth learning material.
And most importantly, you’ll be able to submit new blog posts and force Google to crawl them.
9. Build backlinks
If you want to reach the top results of Google search, backlinks are something that you’ll need to take seriously.
In fact, it’s one of the most important ranking factors that Google takes in mind when evaluating websites.
While new blogs should focus on producing content and improving existing pages, there will come a point when you’ll have multiple top-notch content pieces at hand.
More often than not, even the highest quality content may not see the light of Google SERPs if you don’t work on your backlink profile.
Luckily, there are many proven ways to get them. Here are good resources to start with:
10. Patience is the key
One important thing to remember is: starting a blog is a long-term investment. Just as with any new activity, you’ll need effort and time to see any notable results.
First and foremost, it will take time before Google starts recognizing the existence of your blog. Many SEO specialists claim that there’s a period of time that needs to pass before your content starts making an impact (also called Google Sandbox).
So if you really want to succeed, arming yourself with patience is the way to go. Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst, and you’ll surely get there.
11. Add CTA (Call to actions)
This can be anything that you want your readers to act upon. Whether it’s subscribing to a newsletter on your mailing list, reading another post, buying a product, an upgrade, etc.
Each post will benefit from having at least one CTA. Even if it is something as simple as asking your readers to comment on the post.
12. Check your blog’s load times
Make sure that your blog’s page is loading in an acceptable amount of time. Load times are not only a factor in ranking in search results but its a quick way to lose potential audience or readers if your site won’t load, or loads too slow.
If you need to optimize your page to speed things up, check on your image sizes, consider a caching plugin, or pick a faster web host.
13. Maintain your site
Keeping your site up to date can make or break a successful blog. When given the choice of reading an article on a site with errors and plugins that don’t work, or a flawless working blog, most will go for the better.
Remember to update your CMS software, as well as your plugins and themes. Make a schedule to back up your site and check for broken links in your older posts. Optimize your database and keep your articles up to date with the correct information.
14. Content Audits
In addition to maintaining your site, content audits are a great way to give your blog a facelift. It is a good idea to check your past blog posts on a regular basis. Keep improving them so your reads can have the best and correct information at all times.
You can consolidate posts that are similar, as well as delete posts that you don’t want anymore. Setting up 301 redirects or other error pages can be done as well. And don’t forget about removing all dead links.
17. Blogging Apps
There are many apps that make blogging easier these days. To help you write content if you are stuck or looking for inspiration, try out an AI content generator on Zyro.
If you aren’t the best with grammar or just want to have a backup checker. Spelling and grammar apps like Grammarly, ProWritingAid, and Ginger are extensions you can add to your internet browser or use online.
To stay on track, try apps like WordFlowy to help you organize your gameplan. Design your blog around a plan and use it to keep things on schedule.
Trello lets you work more collaboratively and get more done. If your blog becomes bigger and your one-person team starts to grow, Trello is a great way to keep tasks in order and clear for everyone.
Password managers are a great way to keep your information safe. You might be signing up for a lot of different sites and need to keep your logins and passwords secure, check out KeePass or 1password.
What is a blog?
Still unsure of what a blog actually is? Well, it can be a digital magazine, diary, showcase, place to learn, etc, anything you want.
Typical blogs these days combine text, images, videos, and other pages on the internet. People can leave comments and communicate with the author of the blog.
A type of website with posts or articles that consist of written copy, videos, photos, or a combination of them all. The newest posts are usually displayed first or at the top.
What is a niche and how do I choose one?
Most searches on the internet are for a solution to the problem, that’s where a niche comes in. They are popular because they can be about any topic. If you want to stay up to date on fashion trends, you follow a fashion blog. If you are looking for new music, you follow blogs about up and coming artists. So how do you choose a niche?
Pick something you know and love. Readers love to see passion and excitement in the blogs they read. If you aren’t willing to up in the time and effort or really care about your niche then it isn’t for you.
Start by looking at your hobbies, or how you spend your free time. Maybe there is a topic that you can talk for hours about to your friends and family.
You can also consider where there is a hole in the market. Think about the blogs you read and what is missing from them. Then, if it something that you are interested in, write about that.
Why Should You Start a Blog
Whenever you do something new, this is the first question that you should find the answer to. Why?
Once you uncover the reasons why you want to start a blog, the entire process will become more enjoyable. And you might just learn a couple of new things along the way.
Here’s some food for thought to get you started:
- You’ll build niche related knowledge. To create quality blog posts, you’ll need to study your niche and research many new areas. During this process, you will gather valuable knowledge that can help you in the future. Who knows, you might just uncover ideas great enough to start your own online business.
- It’s a great way to express your ideas. Do you ever have one of those days where many great ideas start flowing in, but there’s no way to act on them? Well, if you start a blog, that’s more or less taken care of. Share your insights and opinions with everyone around the world.
- You will build a consistent stream of traffic. Many new projects and businesses often struggle to find an audience to showcase their fresh ideas or products. This can cause slowness in growth and expansion. But with a blog in place, you can build valuable traffic and convert it into potential customers or users.
- New opportunities will show up. While the journey may be a little tough at the beginning, once your blog starts growing, you will stumble upon many new opportunities. As you establish your online presence, more and more people will join your circle. And you might just become the next big expert in your niche.
- Show the world what you’re up to. In this age of modern technology, the written word is still the most powerful way to get your message across. If you’re running a side project, starting a blog may be of the best ways to showcase your achievements to the world. Using the internet, you can reach every corner of the globe instantly.
- Become the next big influencer. Every new blog post will get you one step closer to greatness. If you have lots of expertise in a certain area, blogging will help you establish yourself in the market. Build an audience, make new connections, present your ideas, and break all boundaries.
- Work towards a dream. There’s no better feeling than working your way up towards a goal. Though a lot of times, we end up not knowing because we simply don’t try. If you’re passionate about something, making a blog will give you the perfect environment to start working towards your real passions.
Years ago, blogging wasn’t viewed as something serious. But now many people have turned their blog into a solid business.
If freedom is something that you’re striving for, running your own blog is a small step in the right direction.
Congratulations! You now know all the proper steps on how to start a blog and be successful. The only part that remains is the execution, so what you are waiting for? Go online with Hostinger today.
And if you have any other blogging related questions, inquiries, or tips, drop them down in the comments below.