Step-By-Step Guide to Starting a New Blog
If you want to learn how to start a blog like a real business owner and not a hobbyist, you’ve come to the right place.
With millions of bloggers out there, a lot of people think that it’s too saturated to make a difference, be heard or make money blogging in 2023. Nothing could be further from the truth as there is a hungry audience out there ready to hear your message!
The existence of millions of profitable blogs prove that you can start blogging right now and make significant money in months, not years.
You just need the right business tactics. And you need to scale.
This ultimate guide for beginners will cover how to choose the right niche, launch your site with WordPress, generate traffic, and monetize your site in the fastest timeframe possible – all while working full-time.
It is also very different from other articles you’ll find when you Google “how to start a blog.”
Most of those articles were written 5-10 years ago to appeal to a broad audience to get the most traffic.
This article provides content you won’t find anywhere else, including:
- Why you need to choose your own name as your domain name.
- Why you need to focus less on volume writing and more on link building and value.
- How you can build a massively profitable blog writing valuable content.
- Why you only need to write two types of blog posts to make money.
- And much more.
Ultimately, we are going to teach you the same tactics we use to grow our blogs from zero and to a Five Figure Residual Monthly Income in just six months.
How to Start a Blog in 11 Easy Steps.
1. Choose Your Blog’s Niche.
The first step to starting a blog is to get started with Bluehost. Use our link and get started for just $3.95/month (63% off your hosting plan).
We all know that your blog needs a niche – whether it’s marketing, cooking, Crossfit exercises, CBD Dog Snacks, underwater dancing – whatever crazy blog topic, there are an endless amount of things to blog about.
Most professional bloggers will tell you to start with something that you’re passionate about because it helps you “maintain a consistent writing schedule and push through failure to succeed.” But many people have “writers block” and need help in narrowing a niche, we have great tutorials and sessions to help you. Click here to see some awesome training.
They’ll also tell you to choose a niche at the intersection of passion, skills, and experience:
However, this model is missing one major component that is important for persistency and longevity: monetization.
We firmly believe that with a blog, money drives passion more than passion drives money. The success and audience for your blog will go hand-in-hand as you can gauge the interest in your blog by the amount of ancillary income.
We could blog about our passions, skills, and experience for a while, but if it wasn’t gaining any readers or making any money some of the energy would start to be directed elsewhere. Eventually the blog would die a slow death from inattention.
This is why most blogs fail. Find a great (and profitable) niche with the step by step process at Wealthy Affiliate, it is free to join and they have a training series on finding your niche!
Some Bloggers don’t know how to transition from blogger to business owner (making money, whatever the amount, makes you a business owner).
Then they say their blog is “just a hobby” and give up on their dreams.
So we’re going to flip the script and teach you how to start a blog like a business from day one.
To do that, we have to choose the perfect niche, right?
Not at first.
Choosing the perfect niche when you are just starting as a beginner is more “art than science” and it takes some modifications along the way. Do some research like we mentioned above and look at some of the internet search stats at Jaaxy for ideas.
Next, start building your blog by choosing your own name (or some variation) as your domain name. Here’s Why:
- It gives you the freedom to pivot to any topic or passions that interest you and you are not locked in to a domain specific issue.
- You can test new content ideas and choose your niche over time.
- Bloggers make money selling information. People buy from people. People trust people. Authenticity sells.
- You build real influence on a platform that you own.
- Your blog becomes a digital resume, a launching off point, a website that builds professional experience and leverage.
Once you do this, choose your ideal niche based on your individual passion plus four primary business factors as well:
- Audience Revenue Potential
- Affiliate Marketing Potential
- Professional Leverage
- Keyword Research
1. Audience Revenue Potential.
When you’re starting a new blog, the most common question is, “What should my niche be?”
The key is to find an area that you understand and solve a pain point for your audience. (If you are blogging as a hobby or just to see your words on the internet, this guide is probably not for you.)
However, you not only need to solve a pain point – you need to solve a pain point that an audience is willing to spend their valuable time reading which in turn will drive income.
As a blogger, you need to understand your audience’s challenge’s deeply so that you can offer them exactly what they need.
And the best place to start is by looking at yourself.
Ask yourself, “What audiences am I a part of?”
You’re far more likely to understand a specific group’s struggles if you’ve encountered them yourself.
For example, you can target audience an audience of folks similar to you:
- 35-55 years old.
- Working 9-5 but want to escape the rat race and stress that the new world is going to phase out position.
- Ready to hustle and put in the work.
- Smart and have some basic understanding of the internet and are technically capable.
- People who want to make passive income through a blog.
Understanding your audience is a good first step.
The second (and equally important) step is to understand how much your audience is willing to spend to solve their pain points.
This is your audience revenue potential.
This bears repeating: you need to understand your audience AND how much time they’re willing to spend on your solution.
For example, let’s say you’re planning to start a blog about human resources and job tips for Millennials.
Your blog posts may pull in different types of readers, including job seekers, working professionals, and college students.
To monetize a blog in this niche, let’s say you create a sales funnel (Great Training @ Wealth Affiliate):
- You write new content to attract an audience online.
- Next, you build a “job interview checklist” lead magnet to generate email opt-ins.
- Third, you place affiliate links to some products you want to promote.
- Finally, you offer a $300 product titled “The Ultimate Job Interview Preparation Online Course.”
Nothing is wrong with this approach.
This tends to be a common approach for most new bloggers. If you were to put in a few years of content creation and building up your email list, we estimate you could start making a passive income in 2-3 years.
However, by slightly altering your potential niche, you drastically increase your blog’s income potential.
All you do is change your target audience from job seekers to job employers.
Let us explain.
By adding a B2B component to your blog, you shift your audience from individuals to businesses.
Businesses have larger budgets and urgency and are more likely to pay for valuable insight, products and services.
The beautiful thing about this approach is that your blog launch, content, and marketing funnel are pretty much the same. However, with the B2B component, you don’t just stop at a $300 course. You can add the final component of 5-figure online consulting.
Rather than writing a blog post on entry-level interview tips, position yourself as an expert and go after the businesses themselves by offering something like HR audits or onboarding consulting for thousands of dollars per month.
When you’re just starting out and traffic is hard to come by, offering consulting services is a great way to generate more income with less traffic.
It’s simple math: If your new blog has 100 visitors a 2% conversion rate, your two sales should be for thousands, not $19.99.
Instead of focusing on adding affiliate links and ads to your site when you have little traffic at the beginning, see if you can come up with a high-end consulting offer to build momentum and make money right out of the gate.
Remember, just understanding your audience’s pain points isn’t enough.
To improve your revenue potential, a portion of your audience needs to be in a lucrative business niche and pay on a monthly recurring basis.
With this approach, I hope you’re beginning to understand why I truly believe you can make $10,000/month in 90 days with a new blog.
These new funds will be used to accelerate your path to passive income, but we’ll leave it at that for now.
Let’s move onto something that we are very passionate about – affiliate marketing.
2. Your Niche Needs Affiliate Marketing Potential.
Affiliate marketing is our favorite form of blog monetization. It can be mostly passive, and once you start getting traffic, you can make money while you sleep.
Affiliate marketing is the act of recommending products and services of other businesses and making a commission on every sale.
Most large companies have affiliate programs you can join. Once you apply and are approved into their programs, you can grab your unique affiliate links to add to your blog, view reporting on clicks and sales, and see any future payouts you’re scheduled to receive.
Here are some steps to get started with affiliate marketing:
- Apply to a company’s affiliate program either on their site or in an affiliate network. For this, you’ll need a website and an email address from your domain – not just a Gmail or Yahoo email. Click here to get a free website and email.
- Once approved, grab your unique affiliate link and copy/paste it into any piece of text on your blog.
When a user clicks that specific link, a cookie is stored in their computer, which credits the sale to you based on the cookie duration – typically 30, 60, or 90 days.
Now, when you think of the word blogging, what comes to mind?
- Maybe it’s lifestyle blogs writing about what they’ve been purchasing for their family lately.
- Or a fitness blogger that’s giving you some great advice on how to lose weight.
- It could even be an interesting person writing their own personal memoirs.
These are interesting hobby blogs but these themes are not generally income producing.
They may be interesting to read, but they aren’t the niches that will bring you a lot of revenue.
Instead, consider this simple formula.
- To make a lot of money blogging, you need affiliate income.
- To make affiliate income, you need to rank on search engines and get web traffic. Wealth Affiliate Gets You Ranked on Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, etc…
- To get web traffic, you need to rank for keywords that drive the most affiliate revenue. Take a look at the “Free Digital Marketing Courses” at SEMRUSH ACADEMY
So what are these keywords?
The answer: keywords with words like “best” or “free” in them.
Here are some examples:
- In finance, it could be the best credit cards, best auto loans, or best home insurance.
- In tech, the keywords could be the best laptop of 2020, best VR headsets, or best Mac accessories.
- In marketing, it could be the best email marketing software, best web hosting, or the best website builders.
- In travel, keywords could include the best travel insurance or best co-working spaces.
These “best” keywords are searched by people looking for product reviews.
They want to read a blog with in-depth content on the “best” something before making a purchase (and they aren’t ready to go right to a company’s website and buy something yet.)
Think about it.
If you’re searching for a new laptop, you might type in “best laptop of 2021.”
Google a term right now and look at the top 10 results.
Every single website in the top 10 results is an affiliate. Notice how there are no actual companies selling laptops. There’s no Best Buy, Walmart, Dell, or HP – only affiliates recommending laptops.
Again, every single top 10 result is an affiliate blog.
Why do these affiliate sites outrank brands selling the products?
They write long-form, in-depth review articles that search engines (and readers) prefer.
In fact, according to the Digital Marketing Institute, 49% of consumers depend on influencer reviews and recommendations.
You’ll begin to realize is that most profitable blogs are, in fact, review websites making affiliate commissions from list posts.
And the truth is, these recommendations are primarily based on how much money the affiliate blog is making from their top recommendations – not the actual quality of the product itself.
Once you grasp this when you learn how to start a blog, you’ll begin to see affiliate sites everywhere.
So now when you think of blogging and planning your niche, replicate sites like these:
- Finance: NerdWallet, Fool.com, WalletHub, CardRatings.
- Tech: Tom’s Guide, Techradar, Wire Cutter, CNET.
- Travel: Nomadic Matt, The Points Guy, Expert Vagabond.
- Business: The Balance SMB, FitSmallBusiness, FinancesOnline.
Some of the most profitable niches right now for new blogs are finance, tech, travel, business, and marketing. Remember it tends to be subjects that are popular or commonly used commercial products and services.
But there are tons of other options.
We’ll get to keyword research later, but know that your blog should have affiliate marketing revenue potential.
Let’s move onto the next weapon in your blogging arsenal – your professional leverage.
3. Use Your Professional Leverage.
After uncovering a lucrative audience to provide value to, the next step of learning how to start a blog is uncovering your strategic advantages.
- What is my current level of professional experience?
- What connections do I have in my industry?
- Can I leverage this experience into a profitable blog?
- If I could pitch any website in the world to contribute a guest post, who would choose me from the start?
To build a truly successful blog, you first need to build influence.
And to build influence, you need to step outside of your comfort zone and leverage your connections, professional experience, and everything at your disposal like never before.
With a blog, you’ll also be performing a lot of outreach to make new connections. This includes building relationships so you can guest post on authoritative sites in your niche to get relevant, high Domain Authority (DA) backlinks.
And when you’re just starting, you may not have many connections or published content out there. You might say: “Why would anyone feature me?”
This is where leveraging your professional background helps tremendously.
For example, if you’re a photographer, you might have a base of clients, contacts from local meet-up groups, and even know photography influencers that you met in the past. If you can leverage these contacts in the future, you can accelerate the growth of your blog.
Use every advantage you have at your disposal. These advantages will help you build early momentum with guest posts, backlinks, and social shares.
BTW, professional leverage can be developed as well. Spend time researching an area, or niche, and become an expert or as we say in the business world a “Trusted Advisor.” Be the “go-to” site for all things….”XYZ” and your audience will keep coming back for your next blog.
4. Keyword Research.
To me, keyword research is the most important step when choosing your blog’s niche.
It’s very simple. Are people searching for the things you want to write about?
Every individual blog post needs to focus on one target keyword. And if no one is searching for it, you’ll never get organic traffic.
It’s a fact: You need to have a basic understanding of keyword research and search engine optimization (SEO) so that your blog can rank and get traffic. There is no better place to start than the FREE services at Jaaxy. Click here to see how amazing the research is on all sorts of keywords and websites.
People are online six and a half hours a day.
People search Google 63,000 times every second. That’s 3.8 million searches per minute, 228 million searches per hour, and 5.6 billion searches per day.
Plus, organic traffic from search engines is way more valuable than social media traffic. Rather than aimlessly browsing the web, people perform high-intent searches to discover solutions to their problems.
The good news is that there are SEO tools to understand all of this search data. With tools like Jaaxy and SEMRUSH, you can view individual keyword metrics, including:
- Monthly search volume: how many times a keyword is searched for in a given month.
- Keyword difficulty: on a scale from 0 to 100, how difficult is it to rank for that keyword based on the competition.
- The average cost per click (CPC): this is how much the keyword is worth if you were to create a PPC ad for it and pay for the click. It’s a good indicator of the keyword’s value.
So what do you look for?
You want to find keywords with high volume and low competition.
Here’s how we rate these competitive metrics.
Monthly Search Volume:
- 0-1,000: Low
- 1,000-5,000: Low/Medium
- 5,000-20,000: Medium
- 20,000-100,000: High
- 100,000+: Very High
- 0-20: Low
- 21-50: Medium
- 51-75: High
- 76+: Very High
On our site, there are two main types of keywords we target when it comes to SEO: high-volume/high competition and medium volume, low competition.
1. Revenue Drivers: Medium Volume, Low Competition, High CPC Keywords
The first keywords new blogs should search for are medium volume, low competition keywords.
Finally, with an average CPC of $25, it is a valuable, high-intent search term.
One quick side note on keyword search volume:
While the keyword webinar software gets 4,300 searches per month, there are thousands of potential variations of this keyword – for example, best webinar software, webinar tools, webinar platforms, etc. This post can rank for all of these variations, too, so we typically double or even triple our volume estimates based on the main target keyword.
Using SEMRUSH, you can view keywords that the top-ranking pages for your target keyword also rank for in the top 100 search results. This allows you to find less obvious keywords that you can also include in your post’s copy and subheadings.
The key to finding relevant keywords from this report to use for your blog is to search with more specific queries. For example, instead of “cooking,” use “vegan recipes.” Or “email marketing services” instead of “marketing.”
How to find this type of keyword for your blog:
Use a tools like Jaaxy or SEMRUSH to filter the results. Set the monthly search volume filter to a minimum of 1,000 and the Keyword Difficulty filter to a maximum of 50.
What these keywords are good for:
These keywords should make up the bulk of your posts and be the main revenue-drivers for your blog. The key is to find a good amount of long-tail keywords with medium volume and low competition in your niche.
If these keywords are preceded by terms like “how to” and “best,” you’re well on your way to finding a profitable niche and solving a pain point.
2. Blog Builders: High-Volume/Medium-High Competition
The second type of keywords that we target are super high-volume terms that aren’t as easy to monetize but can bring in a lot of traffic. Take for example: “how to make money online.”
With high volume and all of the potential keyword variations, ranking in the top 5 positions for this term could bring in 30-65,000 visitors/month.
However, this keyword also has a lower search intent than if we use something more specific like, “webinar software.” With the keyword webinar software, we know what the searcher wants.
With how to make money online, this user could be interested in anything from starting an online business to podcasting or coupon clipping – we just don’t know.
So that’s why it’s average CPC is only $2.00 – it’s vaguer and harder to monetize. However, this keyword can pull in lots of traffic and get readers to click your other higher-revenue blog posts.
How to find this type of keyword for your blog:
Use a tool like Jaaxy or SEMRUSH and filter the results. Set the monthly search volume filter to a minimum of 20,000 and the Keyword Difficulty filter to a maximum of 75.
What these keywords are good for:
These keywords should make up 5-10 pillar blog posts that you put a lot of time and effort into. While these high volume keywords won’t generate immediate revenue, they bring in a ton of traffic to your blog and can increase the size of your email list.
3. Summing Up Keyword Research
A blog needs a mix of both high volume keywords and high intent keywords.
This entire strategy comes into play when planning your blog’s first five posts. For example, a few posts should be large how-to guides with high search volume to bring in readers. And a few other posts should be low volume/high intent keywords that can be monetized.
Here are some of the tools you can use for your keyword research:
Wrapping Up Picking Your Niche.
Your niche needs audience revenue potential, affiliate marketing potential, professional leverage, and keyword research.
The niche selection section above is longer than most other guides on how to start a blog because early planning is one of the most important keys to blogging success.
Let’s start your new blog.
2. Write Down Your Blog’s Goals.
Everyone knows the famous quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
This is true when starting a new blog.
After choosing your niche, you need a way to keep track of everything — not just your to-dos and content ideas, but also your goals, ideas, and motivations.
The key during this stage is not to overcomplicate things.
Your Blog’s Goals.
It’s time to think big and write down what you want to accomplish with your blog in the short and long term. These should be SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Here are a few examples from a “goals document” when you start planning your blog:
- Write and publish my first five blog posts of 2,000+ words by January 20
- Complete my About Me page by January 25
- Publish five guest posts by February 1
- Get 1,000 blog site visitors/month by February 15
- Get 250 people in my email list by February 15
- Obtain 100 backlinks by March 1
As you can see, these are all short term attainable goals with clear due dates. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE, or better yet, enlist someone you trust to hold you accountable as well!
Your Blog’s Profile.
In your planning document, you need a place to keep track of your random ideas and unique selling points to hone in on your messaging over time.
Sections here may include:
- Your unique value proposition.
- Your blog’s headline and sub-headline.
- What is the problem you solve?
- Your blog’s “elevator pitch” – in 1-2 sentences, how would you easily explain your blog to a stranger?
- Your ideal customer personas.
- What are the main categories for your blog?
- Future content ideas with target keywords and search volume.
- Your blog post categories.
The key is to make this a living document and update however you see fit.
To plan a blog, set some simple goals, and write things down to better hone in on your blog’s message, and understand who your audience is.
Remember, when learning how to start a blog, you need to plan your niche and goals like a business from day one.
Why Are You Starting a Blog?
Your goals need to tie to your why.
We all start blogs for different reasons – to make money, to create an audience around a topic we’re passionate about, to build a professional resume, to enhance our writing skills – the list is endless.
But it goes deeper than that.
For example, if you want to learn how to start a blog to make money, it could be for any number of different reasons:
- The ability to increase your nest egg for retirement.
- The dream of quitting your full-time job and saying goodbye to the 9-5 grind.
- Spending more time with your family.
- Saving for an extra vacation every year.
Go deep into your “why statement” to understand not only your goals but also what accomplishing your goals will mean for your life.
For some, they always dreamed of making enough money to avoid the corporate rat race. They dread the thought of:
- Being startled awake to an alarm every morning.
- Driving to work stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
- Being bossed around by a micro-manager boss.
So the first reason some start a blog is Freedom (i.e. time to do what gives me purpose).
The second reason was to prove something to themselves – to live up to their own expectations of what their life could be and avoid mediocrity at any cost.
Don’t worry you are in good company since many have tried and failed plenty of times and lived to tell about it!
We have conducted a lot of research to understand the biggest challenges for new content marketers based on the stage of their blog’s growth. Here’s what we found:
This survey proved to us that to build a profitable blog, you need a holistic approach that starts with three main disciplines: niche selection, content marketing, and monetization.
Let’s move onto the next step in setting up your website. You need a domain name and a platform for hosting.
Launch your blog with Bluehost? Get started for just $3.95/month (63% off your hosting plan) with my link below:
3. Pick a Domain Name.
Some people spend too much time on this step and fret too much. We scoured Wealthy Affiliate trying to find the perfect catchy, niche-specific, short, memorable dot com domain.
While this step is important, it’s probably not as important as you think.
In the past, it was possible to get exact-match keyword domain names like perfectproduct.com to help your search rankings. Today, it’s much more difficult and can be very expensive. Look at the auctions and sale prices for exact product domains and you will see.
While the common advice is to “niche down” and choose an ultra-specific name, but as we mentioned above, we recommend you choose a website name that’s broad enough to allow you to pivot if necessary.
If your focus is too narrow and suddenly you lose passion for your niche or run out of topic ideas, you’re stuck with your new domain through the end of the period. However, if you broaden your focus a little bit, you can expand your content and have enough fluidity to maintain consistency, avoid quitting, and better promote your website for the long haul. (**You don’t want to change domain names if possible as it kills all the indexing you established with all the search engine sites as well.)
Here’s what you could do instead: choose a broader name and worry about being specific in your posts and pages.
Here are some other things you need to consider before picking a name for your website.
1. The Price of the Domain.
You have to buy your blog’s domain name from a domain registrar company. It should cost you roughly $10-15/year. If you get started with Bluehost web hosting, you get a free domain name for the first year.
To get started with for just $3.95/month (and get 63% off your hosting plan), use my link below:
2. Should You Use Your Name as a Domain Name?
Blogs are living, breathing documents. They need to be given the freedom to adapt, pivot, and change over time. Personal brand domains are the smartest choice and give you the power to pivot.
If one sub-niche doesn’t work for you, you can pivot your content and adapt your blog to what’s working.
Think about it.
The #1 struggle new bloggers face is choosing their niche. Hands down – it’s not even close.
3. Domain Extensions.
Domains come with different extensions – .com, .us, .guru, .sport, .com, etc.
.us stands for the United States, .guru is used for coaching blogs, and .sport is used for sports blogs.
However, .com is the top-level domain that’s more inclusive and mostly favored by search engines.
Here’s how internet users perceive some of the top-level domains in terms of trustworthiness, on a scale of 1 – 5:
Here are some other things to consider when choosing a domain name:
- Your name should not be too difficult and complex to type. It should also be memorable and aligned with your brand. That’s why a dot com extensions are an excellent option.
- Don’t confuse people with difficult spelling, so keep the name easy to spell and pronounce.
- Avoid using numbers and hyphens in your domain as it can confuse people.
- Try to incorporate a keyword that best represents your blog, if possible. It’s not as important to have a keyword in your blog name for SEO, but it might help people identify your blog’s niche right away.
4. Choose a Blog Hosting Company and Register Your Domain.
Every website needs a web host to store their site on a server so that people can access it online. Without a hosting account, your blog won’t be visible on the internet.
The performance of your blog relies heavily on your provider, so you should choose the best web hosting you can. A good hosting platform keeps your site up and running without interruption, provides security, and integrates with WordPress.
You should choose a host that is reliable and comes at an affordable price.
At this stage, your best option is a simple shared hosting plan. In additional to Wealthy Affiliate, we recommend Bluehost as another easy option when learning how to start a blog.
Plus, it has some great features:
- 99% server uptime
- High-end security measures
- High-speed servers
- An easy-to-use dashboard that comes in handy for beginners
- Numerous hosting options to choose from
- 24/7 customer support
- Free SSL certificate
- Easy cPanel dashboard
- 1-click WordPress Installation
- Recommended by WordPress as the host of choice
- Low introductory pricing
- Money-back guarantee
- Only costs $3.95/month (via my links on this page)
Next, we’ll register your domain and choose a web hosting company to launch your blog.
Follow this step-by-step guide to register your own domain name along with your web hosting plan:
Step #1: Visit bluehost.com.
Click on the “Get Started” CTA button on the homepage.
Step #2: Choose Your Web Hosting Plan.
On the next page, you will see four shared hosting plans.
These plans include Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro.
While all these shared hosting plans are perfect for a new blog, I would personally recommend going for the Basic Plan.
For a step up, the Choice Plus Plan offers the Domain Privacy, which will help you protect your information and guard all your confidential details, including full name, email address, residential address, and phone number.
Step #3: Enter Your Domain Name.
So, you have already selected your name (as specified in the second step).
Now, after you choose your hosting plan, you will be directed to a new page where you will be asked to enter your custom name.
If you’ve already selected your name, then you can add the information here. And if you need a new one, you get your domain name for free for the first year.
If you need more time to come up with a website name, you can always sign-up and choose your domain later.
Next, you’re prompted to create your account, which is the final step of the process.
Step #4: Enter Your Details.
Here are the “Account Information” details you need to enter to create your account.
Make sure to enter the correct details, including your first and last name, business name if applicable, country, address, etc.
Upon scrolling down, you’ll see the “Package Information” section.
It includes selecting how long do you want to opt for the plan and how much advance you are willing to pay.
It allows you to pay 12, 24, 36, or 60 months upfront and gives you better pricing for longer terms. If you are sure that you will be running your blog for a long time, then I’d say go with the “Prime 36 Month Price” to get the lowest possible monthly price.
You can also get a low upfront payment by paying annually instead of monthly.
In the screenshot above, there’s another section called “Package Extras.”
You can uncheck Codeguard Basic and SiteLock Security. These are unnecessary and can be replicated with other free WordPress plugins.
Finally, pick your payment option. You can choose to make the payment via credit card or PayPal.
That’s all it takes to sign up!
Ready to launch your blog? Get started for just $3.95/month (63% off your hosting plan) with my link below:
Step #5: You have successfully registered your hosting plan.
Congratulations – you’ve set up your hosting for the first time.
You’re now signed up with Bluehost, which means you’ve completed a vital first step in learning how to start a blog.
Step #6: Create your account and set your password.
You’re almost done. After receiving an email to confirm your account, enter your domain name, and create a password for your account.
Step #7: Log in to your account.
Use the password you just set to log in to your account. You can also sign in with Google if you prefer.
And you’re all set! Now that the web hosting setup is out of the way, it’s time to move on to installing WordPress and getting into your blogging dashboard.
5. Install WordPress as Your Blogging Content Management System (CMS) (Free w/ Your Wealthy Affiliate Membership)
After getting through the first phase of planning your blog and choosing web hosting, the next step is to choose WordPress as your blogging platform.
Your blog platform, also known as a Content Management System (CMS), is where you will be writing, customizing, and publishing your blog posts. Naturally, you are going to need something user-friendly, powerful, and affordable.
There are paid and free blogging platforms available to choose from.
Here are the top blogging platforms and their usage:
Most people run their blogs on WordPress, which is apparent from the stats above.
WordPress also offers multiple free plugins, themes, and various ways to extend the functionality of your blog.
You also don’t need to have any coding knowledge to get started.
With Wealthy Affiliate, WordPress comes with your domains and the thousands of themes for free, and you’re taken to your WordPress dashboard once you set up the domain and go to the admin login.
However, before you get started, you should know the difference between the .com and .org versions of WordPress.
If your eventual goal is to make money through your blog, then think no further before selecting the self-hosted Wealthy Affiliate WordPress
A blog is an extension of your brand and needs to be something that you own outright with your Domain through Wealthy Affiliate. You shouldn’t rely on a subdomain or blog site like Tumblr to host your blog.
The .com version has minimal options and doesn’t allow you to tweak settings or pick a custom domain name. (Eg: yoursite.wordpress.com). If you do want to use a custom name, you would have to pay extra.
With Bluehost, you can install WordPress for free as well and run your own blog in a matter of minutes.
Here’s how to do it.
Install WordPress with One-Click Installation.
Depending on if you get WordPress with your Wealthy Affiliate Domains or with Bluehost, automatically one-click installs WordPress right from your hosting dashboard.
After you’re done setting up your account password, you’re prompted to pick a theme.
There are plenty of attractive free WordPress themes to choose from, including free blog themes.
However, if you want to pick your theme later, you can skip this step for now by clicking on the “Skip This Step” option at the end of the page.
From here, you’re directed to a new page where you need to click on the “Start Building” option.
Next, select what type of site you plan to create, and WordPress will help you in the process with prompts. You can also just click “I don’t need help” to go right to your dashboard.
Finally, enter your “Site Title” and your “Site Description.”
From here, you are directed to a page to decide the layout of your blog. You can either create a custom home page with the page editor or simply host your recent blog posts on your homepage.
From here, spend some time making yourself familiar with the functionalities of your new WordPress blog. Make sure to test out all the features and play around with different themes to pick the one that best suits you.
This brings us to our next step – choosing a theme.
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6. Pick Your Blog’s Theme.
Now that you have a WordPress account, you need to choose your WordPress theme.
A WordPress theme is a collection of templates, files, and stylesheets that dictate the appearance and design of your WordPress-powered website.
Right now, your blog might look something like this:
This is the default WordPress theme, and on the left side is your appearance customization menu that helps you customize your theme.
While this base theme isn’t the best, it can be used to get familiar with the appearance editor.
In the theme appearance editor, you can edit:
- Site identity – your business name, logo and other navigation items.
- Colors – you can choose the colors for fonts, buttons, blocks, and other items.
- Menus – you can edit the placement of your menu navigation and which pages to include.
- Additional CSS – this is a place where you can place custom CSS instead of messing with your theme editor files.
There are some blog design principles to keep in mind.
For example, fonts should be between 14 and 17 points, legible, and easy to read. You should also have menu navigation that looks good on mobile and desktop.
Websites with a poorly organized layout are difficult to navigate and impair your blog’s user experience.
Remember, you don’t necessarily have to spend money to install a paid theme if you find a free one you like. However, make sure it looks nice, loads quickly, and readers can access information easily.
Finally, don’t overdo the design – a blog should be highly-functional and uncomplicated.
Install A New Theme For Your Blog.
Here’s how you can install a new theme for your WordPress blog:
First, log in to your WordPress account (admin page).
You can always access your WordPress login page by going to yourdomainname.com/wp-admin.
Next, add your WordPress login credentials.
Once logged in, your WordPress dashboard looks something like this. This the same look in Wealthy Affiliate and Bluehost directly.
Here, click on the “Appearance” option from the sidebar menu.
Next, select the “Themes” option from the “Appearance” section.
To search for the theme options WordPress offers, click the “Add New” button at the top of the page.
As you can see below, there are a ton of free themes to choose from.
You can scroll down and preview as many themes as you want before picking one for your blog.
You can also filter out the themes based on three categories: “Subject,” “Features,” and “Layout.”
Here’s what the filter option looks like:
Apply the filters to narrow down your options. You can then click on a thumbnail and get an instant preview of what your final blog is going to look like.
If you like a particular theme, you can click on the “Install” button.
If you don’t want to use a stock WordPress theme, there are plenty of sites like GeneratePress, StudioPress, and CSSIgniter that offer paid themes you can buy. When you buy a theme, a zip file is sent to you via email.
To install this external theme, all that you have to do is go to “Appearance” – “Themes” and click “Add New,” upload the zip file and click install.
Congratulations, you now have a WordPress site with a new theme installed.
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Extra Tips on Choosing the Right Theme.
- Read the descriptions of the various WordPress themes to get an idea about their features. This will help you get an idea of whether the theme will be compatible with your niche or not.
- Choose a responsive theme that works well on both desktop and mobile devices (most of them are).
- WordPress also allows users to give ratings to their themes – make sure to check out the reviews to get a feel for the quality of the theme.
- Before installing a theme, make sure to check its demo or preview to know what it’s going to look like.
You can also install a large number of WordPress themes from other popular sites, such as:
- Thrive Themes.
- Elegant Themes.
- CSS Igniter.
- Themeisle (Blog Theme Specialists)
Free, Premium, and Custom Themes.
There are many free blog themes available on WordPress. However, sometimes these come with limited design options. Click here for a fantastic training and insight about professional themes.
That said, you can always start your blog with a free theme and then move on to a more personalized one after your content is up. As long as it loads fast and allows you to start publishing content, there’s no reason not just to get started and worry about your perfect design later.
Premium themes mostly come in the price range of $30 to $500 and you can find some great blog themes from a company like Themeisle:
If you’re looking for a custom-developed theme, you can hire a developer and expect to pay $500-5,000 for your new blog.
Let’s recap where we are so far in this how to start a blog guide.
- You’ve selected your blog’s niche based on market factors, not passions.
- You know your why statement and wrote down your blog’s goals.
- You’ve chosen your blog’s name and registered it.
- You picked your hosting plan and installed WordPress.
- You installed your theme and have your blog’s framework ready to go.
That’s a lot of progress.
We’re about halfway through this guide and the following steps will cover setting up your blog for success and starting your content creation and promotion process.
7. Install Your WordPress Plugins.
Since WordPress is open-source, you can customize your site in an endless amount of ways.
And this starts with WordPress plugins. Click here for more great WordPress Training.
These are sets of tools that integrate with your website and extend its functionality and feature set.
WordPress offers thousands of plugins with different functions, including everything from email marketing and calendar integration to opt-in forms and SEO tools. These tools make learning how to start a blog pretty easy, as they perform a lot of cool tasks without needing any coding knowledge.
However, it’s not recommended to install hundreds of these tools on your blog as they tend to slow down your site and can conflict with each other during updates.
Which plugins should you add to your blog?
I curated a list of the 15 best ones to help you enhance your new blog (and the exact ones I use):
1. Asset CleanUp: Page Speed Booster.
This plugin allows you to remove certain elements of code that aren’t necessary to load on every page. For example, my ecommerce HTML and CSS files were loading on every blog post even though I only needed them on two pages. With this tool, you can easily select which pieces of code to keep and which to remove based on pages, posts, and other types of content.
2. BigCommerce for WordPress.
This is the ecommerce tool that I use to sell my digital products. I tested WooCommerce first, but it installed four extensions, slowed down my site, and had an ugly checkout experience. BigCommerce for WordPress launched in December 2018 and runs via an API – so you handle all of your content in WordPress and your backend ecommerce in BigCommerce.
3. Classic Editor.
If you’re running into issues with the new Gutenberg editor, you can roll back to the Classic Editor.
4. Easy Table of Contents.
This plugin allows you to easily add a Table of Contents into any page or post. The plugin will appear underneath your pages/posts, and you can select if every H2, H3, or any other header should be automatically added to the Table of Contents.
Tables of Contents are important for a few reasons: they keep users engaged with the page (by clicking around) and help with user experience. I often have a Table of Contents at the top of my new posts going to each section, then a “Back to Top” widget in the bottom right corner so that users can easily go back to the Table of Contents.
5. Elementor Pro.
Elementor Pro is the best WordPress landing page builder, and it’s the tool I used to create my home page and a few other pages. They have a free version of Elementor, but the Pro version takes it to the next level with much better templates.
While the new Gutenberg block editor adds a lot of built-in functionality, if you’re struggling to build pages, Elementor Pro is a good option. You can get started with Elementor Pro for $49/year.
6. Extended Widget Options.
Widgets are areas on your WordPress site that aren’t directly pages or posts. For example, sidebars, footers, and homepage sections can be considered widgets. Extended Widget Options allows you to expand the functionality of your widgets to make them more useful.
For example, I use this tool to make some of my sidebar banners sticky so that they scroll down the page with the reader.
7. GDPR Cookie Consent.
8. Mammoth .docx Converter.
I use this plugin to convert documents into WordPress posts automatically. Since I get a lot of my initial first drafts written for me, I download them as a .docx file and insert them into my posts/pages with this plugin. The Mammoth .docx Converter will appear underneath your posts/pages, and it’s as simple as uploading your file and clicking “Insert into Editor.”
One small detail is that you’ll want to make sure your document’s images have both names and alt text before uploading into WordPress.
OptinMonster is hands down the best email opt-in plugin on the market (and 100% how you joined this list). With the ability to create exit intent, modal popups, in-content opt-ins, and more, they are the reason that my email list is growing by about 60-75 users/day.
While I use their highest tier Growth Plan, you can get started with OptinMonster for just $9/month.
10. Shortcodes Ultimate.
This plugin allows you to create simple blocks of content by adding shortcodes to your site. I primarily use this to insert buttons quickly on my affiliate pages so that readers have very clear calls-to-action. Shortcodes Ultimate will appear in your WordPress page editor as a small button at the top (much like Bold, Paragraph Spacing, etc.), and when you click into it, you select your content block. With buttons, you can preview them in the editor and choose the size, color, style, and more.
11. ShortPixel Image Optimizer.
ShortPixel compresses all of your images so that they are smaller files and your pages load faster. I’ve tested lots of different image compression tools, and ShortPixel has been the best.
This is one of my favorite affiliate marketing tools. ThirstyAffiliates takes your random affiliate links (full of random numbers, letter strings, etc.) and cleans them up so that they look nice. For example, which one looks nicer:
The second one is more clickable, leads to higher conversion rates, and can’t be stolen by malicious hackers.
13. WP Last Modified Info.
One factor in search engine rankings is recency of content – especially if you’re in niches with new information coming out. This plugin allows you to easily show the date on every page/post so that search engines understand when it was last modified. For example, with WordPress, it’s easy to show a date, but it will typically show the Publish Date, not the last time you edited it.
By giving search engines an easy way to pull the Modified Date, you will see this date appear in your search results, and may see a rankings boost.
14. WP Rocket.
You can get started with WP Rocket for $49/year.
15. Yoast SEO.
Yoast doesn’t need an introduction. If you’re not using it, then you’re missing out on a lot of great free features. I use Yoast to manage my sitemap, robots.txt, page titles/meta descriptions, and other add-ons.
Now that we covered the best plugins to install for your blog let’s move onto some unique settings to pay attention to.
8. Set Up Your Blog’s SEO.
A very important ranking factor is the URLs of your blog posts and pages.
When you add a new page or post, you see the page editor and can choose the URL after dot com. Check out the link below:
This text after the .com is what a permalink looks like.
Permalinks are static hyperlinks that will lead your audience to a specific web page.
By default, your permalink is set to “yourdomainname.com/postID.”
This not only looks unattractive but isn’t the best from an SEO standpoint.
Before you start writing content for your blog, make sure to set a specific permalink structure.
From your WordPress dashboard, go to “Setting” —> “Permalinks.”
You can choose from a couple of options. Most high-ranking blogs follow the “Post name” or “Custom” structures below.
The main thing to know is that every post or page should focus on one target keyword, which should be in the area right after the dot com.
For blog posts, this permanent URL is the only thing that needs to remain unchanged. You can change a page or post’s title, meta description, content, and headings, but the URL needs to stay the same.
This is because if you get inbound links to this URL, changing it would result in a 404 error and losing that link value.
Finally, make sure to save the settings before exiting the page.
Also, make sure you set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These two tools are 100% necessary to index your blog and monitor your traffic. These can both be easily integrated with the Yoast plugin.
We’ve made a ton of progress so far in this guide.
You’ve learned all the technical set up of how to start a blog and have a functioning site inside of WordPress.
Now, it’s time to start creating content for your blog.
Ready to create your blog? Let’s do this! Get started for $3.95/month and get 63% off your hosting plan.
9. Create Pillar Content for Your Blog.
After completing the framework of your blog, it’s time to start writing your blog posts.
While you don’t have to be a professional writer to learn how to start a blog, it’s important to understand basic sentence structure and proper grammar. You also want to make sure that you know how to write for the web.
For example, short paragraphs, bullet points, and images help break up long, monotonous blocks of text and keep readers engaged.
Ultimately, your content creation process all begins with the keyword research we did above.
How to Add Keywords into Your Blog Posts.
Each blog post should focus on one main target keyword, and here’s where it should be included:
- Put the keyword in your blog’s permanent URL.
- Include the keyword in the title of your post.
- Add your keyword to the first or second paragraph.
- Include the keyword inside of your headings.
- Add the keyword throughout your paragraph text. A good rule of thumb is to use a 1% keyword density so that your keyword is included once for every 100 words. If your blog post is really long, this may be too many times. Use your best judgment and don’t keyword stuff.
- Add it to your meta description (optional).
Once you have a list of the top 5-10 keywords (topics) you want to cover, it’s time to start writing.
Remember, in addition to text, blog posts that have audio, video, photos, infographics, and other types of visual content perform the best and keep readers engaged.
In fact, 87% of marketing professionals incorporate visual elements like videos as a marketing tool.
It’s also essential to write content that answers a reader’s search intent and compels them to take action on your blog.
Writing Blog Posts that Match Search Intent.
When planning your content strategy, think about what your reader actually wants when they are performing an online search for your target keyword.
For example, let’s say your target keyword is “How to Get Rid of Pimples.”
When you search for this term, you’ll see that a lot of blog posts feature titles including extra terms like Fast, Overnight, Quickly, and Home Remedies.
This shows that most people that want to get rid of pimples want them gone as quickly and discreetly as possible. And Google’s PageRank is pushing these articles to the top.
What does this mean for your content strategy?
You should get right to the point and offer a list of the best ways to get rid of pimples fast.
Don’t write a long post about “The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rid of Pimples.” And don’t start your post with the heading “What Are Pimples?” like many SEOs did in the past.
Instead, match search intent and provide the solution your readers are actually looking for by understanding the meaning behind their search.
This is accomplished by looking at which extra terms are included in currently ranking content’s title tags and reverse-engineering the search.
Now that we’ve covered where to include your keywords and how to match search intent, let’s go over some extra tips before you start writing.
Extra Tips On Content Writing.
- Your blog posts should always provide value to your readers. Write with a clear beginning, middle, and end outline structure. Even the most mundane of topics can be made interesting if you understand story arcs and hero’s journeys.
- Present your blog content attractively and make it easily accessible to your readers. Make sure both textual and visual content in the blog are high-quality.
- Format your headings correctly with H2 and H3 tags, and use bulleted lists and images to break up long lines of text. No paragraph should be longer than 3-4 sentences.
- Make your blog posts conversational to build a connection with your audience.
- Use 14-17 point fonts and use white space to keep your blog posts easy on the eyes.
- Add bullet points to help readers skim down the blog without missing anything critical.
- Double-check for typos and grammatical errors.
- Bold some text to make it stand out.
Remember, when you’re learning how to start a blog, you don’t have to be perfect. A blog is a living, breathing document that can be updated over time. So don’t try to make your content perfect – just publish it without fear and update it later if you need to.
It’s Time to Write Your First Blog Post.
Now that we’ve covered some content marketing basics, here’s how to write your first blog post inside of WordPress:
Click on “Posts” in the left sidebar from your WordPress dashboard.
Now, select the “Add New” button:
Next, you will head to the editor, where you can start writing your first blog post.
While crafting your blog post, make sure to keep the above tips in mind.
The WordPress Editor works a lot like Microsoft Word and lets you do the following:
- Align text left, right, and center.
- Make text bold or italic.
- Highlight text and add links. You should also go to your link settings and make any external links open in a new tab – that will keep readers on your blog.
- Add and align images. On most blogs, images should be JPEGs no longer than 800 pixels wide. Any wider and your image file size will slow down your loading times.
- Add categories and tags to posts.
- When you click Save Draft, your blog post will be saved, but not yet published.
- When you click Publish, your blog post will officially be published and appear on your blog archive page.
Make sure to look at Jaaxy for keyword and SEO Research. This allows you to punch in your target keyword and get recommendations on what to do for SEO.
In Jaaxy, there are four important sections to add:
- Meta Description
- Focus Keyword
Jaaxy helps you access real-time feedback on how your blog post might perform in terms of organic traffic for a particular keyword.
Try to achieve as many green signals as possible. Once you hit 80% green light, it means you’re good to go, and your blog is likely to perform better when it comes to SEO. Check out this video on SEO Research.
You can even “Preview” your blog post before publishing it.
If you’re happy with the way your blog post turned out, go ahead and click Publish.
Once it’s live, make sure to visit to your blog post’s URL and double-check to make sure the formatting and content look great.
Once you’re finished with your first blog post, you can go to Google Search Console, enter the new URL, and submit it so that it can be indexed faster.
Congrats, you just published your first blog post!
Next, we’re going to discuss the other important pages that blogs should have, including a Home Page, About Page, and Contact Page.
Create Your Pre-Launch Pages.
Pre-launch content includes the content for static pages of your blog, such as the Home Page, About Us, Contact, and more. The nice thing is that the WordPress Page Editor looks and acts almost exactly the same as the Post Editor.
The only major difference is that pages don’t have blog post categories and tags.
Before launching a blog, you should have a few pages in your blog’s top menu navigation so that readers quickly understand your blog and find important information.
1. Home Page.
We all know what a home page is – it’s the main URL of your website.
This page shouldn’t include every little detail about your site – its purpose is to sell your unique value proposition in two seconds or less.
If a reader hits your home page and doesn’t quickly understand what your site is about, they may bounce and never return.
A WordPress home page can be edited with a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) page builder like the Elementor plugin. This tool allows you to drag-and-drop content blocks, including text, images, videos, color blocks, and more.
If you’re just learning how to start a blog, keep in mind that a good home page should contain:
- A slider or hero image with a headline and subheadline.
- A small section to tell readers more about what your blog is about.
- The main call-to-action button taking readers to an important page, post, or email opt-in form.
- Internal links pointing to your important content to make it easy for readers to navigate around your site.
There aren’t any rules for home pages, so get acclimated with your landing page builder plugin and have fun with it.
2. About Page.
The About Page of your blog should cover everything about you – who you are, what you stand for, and what your blog is about.
This section will help you connect with your readers on a deeper level, so don’t hold back.
Make sure to cover the following in your “About” Page:
- Who you are.
- What made you decide to start your blog.
- Your expertise or background to build trust with your readers.
- The pain point you’re solving and how you’ve dealt with the same struggles as your audience.
- Your success story.
- A call-to-action.
When someone visits your site and really likes your content, they are likely to head to your About Page to know more about you.
To keep readers engaged, craft an About page like a story.
Start with how I battled self-doubt to scaling my blog and turning it into a profitable business.
People don’t necessarily want to read about all of your recent professional accomplishments.
This isn’t the time to brag about yourself, but to allow people to understand who you truly are.
And make sure to research other About Pages from blogs in your niche to get ideas and inspiration. While this is often an overlooked page and doesn’t generate direct revenue, it builds credibility and helps you connect with your audience.
Next, let’s move onto the Contact Page.
2. The Contact Page.
This page is all about sharing contact details with your blog visitors so they can reach you.
You can share an email address, phone number, social media links, and a contact form on this page. Only include what you’re comfortable providing to the general public.
This should just be a simple page with a contact form – no need to overcomplicate it.
3. Widgets – Sidebars, Footers, and Blocks.
These aren’t pages. However, your sidebar is a column that can appear on the right or the left side of your blog posts and pages. The sidebar is used to show blog categories, recent posts, ads, opt-in forms, and anything you want all of your readers to see.
This is considered a WordPress widget – and you can find these in your dashboard under Appearance – Widgets. The way I describe widgets is any place on your website that isn’t directly within page or post content.
So, for example, your footer is a widget. Your blog sidebar is a widget. Even sections on your home page may be widgets.
These are easy to edit and similar to the main page and post editors, just in a different location in your WordPress dashboard.
To recap, after planning your first five blog posts, you need to create the other WordPress pages that bloggers need. This includes your homepage, about page, and contact page.
You also need to add content to your WordPress widgets like sidebars and footers.
We’ve covered a tremendous amount in this guide so far.
You’ve grasped a lot of concepts on how to start a blog and your posts and pages are published and ready to go.
Now that we have a good understanding of these principles, it’s time to create a long term content plan.
10. Create a Long Term Content Strategy.
Once you’ve published your first post, your work isn’t done. In fact, it’s just beginning.
Most blog posts take months to rank on Google and perform well only after making consistent updates.
Here is the strategy to scale content creation, to get your posts to rank over time, and start generating revenue:
- Perform keyword research for the high-volume keyword you want to rank for. See Jaaxy.
- Next, create an outline of the post and then sit down and start to create your content. Make sure to think about how long the post should be based on competitor research.
- Once your article’s first draft is complete, edit and publish it right away. Don’t hesitate here – it takes time to get traffic to new posts anyway.
- After performing some link building efforts outlined in this guide below and the article begins to rank on the first 3-5 pages of search results, I update the content by increasing its length and improving its quality. This is done by adding semantic keywords related to your main keyword.
- Once the article ranks in the top 2-3 pages of search results, join any applicable affiliate programs and add my affiliate links.
- Next, to maintain my organic rankings, I update the content regularly and continue to generate inbound backlinks.
- Finally, once the article gets to the first page and starts generating affiliate revenue for brands, reach out to individual Affiliate Managers to see if you can get a commission increase.
This is a great way to plan your long term content strategy and publish more blog posts in less time.
With this strategy, you’ll start to see your blog posts rank higher, and generate more traffic and revenue.
But simply writing great content isn’t enough.
It’s imperative to have both a strong content strategy, as well as a great outreach strategy to build relationships (and links).
Here are some other things to think about when formulating your long-term content strategy:
1. Remember to Solve Your Audience’s Problems and Provide Value.
Your blog must solve your audience’s pain point. Whether it’s by sending helpful guides to an email list or writing affiliate product reviews, you need to tap into the problems your audiences face – and the keywords they search for.
It bears repeating – you have to understand your audience and then create content to solve their problems.
For example, if your audience primarily consists of podcasters, you should provide content around the best podcast hosting, equipment, and sound recording techniques to be successful.
2. Optimize Your Content.
Ranking in organic search takes time, so don’t be scared to hit the publish button and come back to edit your post later.
A good idea is to publish an article and then submit it to Google Search Console so that it can be indexed and appear in search results.
Next, go back a week later and add semantic keywords.
For example, if your article is titled The 15 Best Beaches in Southern California, search engines expect to scan the page and see contextually relevant keywords like the ocean, sand, hotel, surfing, etc.
While these aren’t the target keywords people are searching for, they are semantically related to your main topic and help you provide a better content experience.
You also need to optimize your content based on long-tail variations of your main keyword.
Google is getting smarter and able to rank content not only for one keyword but also many long-tail variations of that keyword. This is especially true after the Google Hummingbird update in 2013.
According to Wikipedia, “Hummingbird” places greater emphasis on natural language queries, considering context and meaning over individual keywords. It also looks deeper at content on individual pages of a website, with improved ability to lead users directly to the most appropriate page rather than just a website’s homepage.
Use a tool like the Jaaxy to find related keywords that are close variations of your target keyword. These should be used in your headings.
For example, if your main keyword is email marketing software, other H2 headings that could work in the article might be:
- What is the Best Free Email Marketing Software? (Try Moosend here)
- What is the Best Email Marketing Software for Small Business?
- What Are the Benefits of Email Marketing?
- Email Marketing Tips.
- How to Use Email Marketing Software.
By targeting one main keyword and close variations within your secondary headings, you begin to rank for hundreds, if not thousands of keyword variations.
Remember, no one searches for the exact same thing – so you should understand which variations have the highest monthly search volume.
Additionally, these long-tail keywords don’t pose as much competition as their shorter counterparts.
To find appropriate long-tail keywords for free, you can use the Google Keyword Planner.
Let’s assume you want to write a blog on content marketing. Now to find long-tail keywords related to your topic, go to the Keyword Planner.
Type in “content marketing,” and then you’ll get your keyword ideas.
Make sure to look for the keywords that are not only most in-demand but also relevant to your topic and have good volume.
3. Tips to Schedule Your Blog Posts.
If you’re planning a long term content calendar, maintaining a consistent schedule is important. You need to keep up with a posting frequency and stick to it.
For example, if you’re planning to post one new article per week, make sure you check your content calendar and follow through.
You should create a roadmap for the entire week or even a few months, depending on your writing frequency. Working backward from there can help you decide which article you need to publish and when. It also helps you avoid missing your deadlines.
You can keep track of this inside of a simple spreadsheet with columns for your future posts, including:
- Target keyword.
- Blog post title.
- Monthly search volume.
- Word count.
4. Understand the Competitor Landscape.
With so many blogs out there, any field you choose will be full of competitors. But you can turn that to your advantage.
For example, let’s suppose you run a travel blog. Naturally, the audience of some other travel blog in your vertical is your potential audience as well.
So, you can analyze the type of content your competitors are sharing and the ways they are using to increase their outreach. After analyzing their entire strategy, you can also adopt some of the things you find useful.
Many sites let you see the type of posts your competitors are sharing – and their competitive metrics.
A great example is SimilarWeb.
SimilarWeb lets you search for and understand the type of content the audience wants the most and their competitors publish.
But it doesn’t mean that you emulate your competitors blindly.
Instead, spend time answering the following questions:
- What are the gaps that your competitors failed to address?
- How long is their content, and can you make it longer?
- How many inbound links go to the article?
- Do they have interactive media in their posts like videos or infographics?
- What is their Domain Rating?
- Is their post formatted properly?
With these questions answered, you begin to understand what it will take to outrank the competition.
We’ve seen how to identify the topics that interest your audience. But what about the gaps? What about the issues that the audience wants to read about, but there’s no content?
You could log in to a Q&A website like Reddit or Quora, where you can see the exact questions that people are asking.
Better yet, use a tool like Jaaxy to view competitor traffic data. You can see which keywords you rank for, which ones competitors rank for (and you don’t), and where there is overlap.
This gap analysis gives you good keywords to target for future posts.
5. Analyzing Your Content’s Traffic Metrics.
You absolutely need to use analytics tools to analyze your content’s performance.
Tools like Google Analytics and Jaaxy do this well. Since Google Analytics should already be installed on your blog, you can go to your GA dashboard to view metrics like site visitors, average time on page, total page views, and tons of other interesting stats.
You can view traffic to individual blog posts over any time period and compare it to previous periods to see if your traffic is increasing or decreasing.
Additionally, Ahrefs is the best SEO tool to track your blog post’s rankings and inbound links. You can view the individual keywords you’re ranking for and what position you’re in, which sites are linking to you, and a lot more.
11. Perform Ongoing Guest Post Outreach And Link Building.
It’s a great way to build authority in your niche, meet other bloggers, founders, and content teams, get backlinks, and create lasting relationships. Become THAT Trusted Advisor!
And link building is another fantastic way to build Domain Authority (DA) and increase your rankings.
Here are some of the necessary steps to perform ongoing guest post outreach and link building:
1. Finding Guest Posting Opportunities.
Don’t think about the benefits you’ll get first – it’s important to stress that you have to provide value to others.
The ones that stand out to us are the ones from sites that are providing value to me in return – whether it be a backlink from a separate guest post, a social share, or podcast interview, blogging is a 1:1 exchange.
Your outreach emails need to highlight how you can provide value to the other site.
To get started, you first need to research which sites to reach out to, and who to reach out to.
You can leverage the following sites and networks to connect with bloggers in your niche and find appropriate resources for guest post outreach and link-building:
2. Planning Your Guest Post Content.
What should be the topic of your guest posts? Naturally, it should be relevant to your niche and something similar to what you post on your blog.
The content also should not yet exist on the other site’s blog and have a decent search volume. Make sure to check out any editorial guidelines for the guest posting site and follow them closely.
Consider essential things like:
- What level of target audience do they have (beginner or advanced)?
- The type of target audience. For example, is the audience B2B or B2C?
- How long should the article be?
- What’s the type of content they’re looking for? Do they usually post listicles, tutorials, or how-to guides?
Just like with your own blog posts, make sure to offer value and try to pique the interest of the readers. Most blogs that accept guest posts can also provide content guidelines so that you know the exact format and length required.
3. Pitching Your Guest Post Idea.
If a site’s interested in a guest post from you, you’ll typically have to pitch them a few blog post ideas. Again, these should be based on competitive metrics and keyword research.
This process can be time-consuming, but high-quality sites know the difference between a good pitch and a bad one.
Look for topics that their audience will enjoy and don’t yet exist on their site yet. Bonus points if you do research and find topics with high search volume and that their competitors rank for.
4. Writing the Guest Post.
Once your topic is approved and you receive the green light to start writing, keep these things in mind:
- Use Google Docs and format your posts properly.
- Follow the editorial guidelines closely.
- Use target keywords for SEO.
- Avoid grammatical mistakes.
- Add links to your website in the content and guest author bio.
- Include images if necessary.
- Submit the post in a timely manner – most blogs expect a completed post within 2-3 weeks.
When adding links to your blog, make sure they are within the blog post content, relevant, and add to the quality of the article.
For example, if you wanted to link to your post on podcast hosting, you wouldn’t use the anchor text “podcast hosting”. Instead, you’d use something that naturally fits: when hosting a podcast, choosing a host, pick a host, in my guide, in my post, etc.
Remember, in your overall content strategy, keyword-focused, SEO-optimized blog posts aren’t enough. You also need high-quality links to your content from reputable sites in the form of guest posts.
5. Other Link Building Strategies.
Although guest posting is one strategy to get links to your blog, there are plenty of others.
Let’s cover some of them.
First, make sure your blog posts are “linkable” assets.
The best form of link building is passively getting links without any involvement or outreach.
People naturally link to the best content they can find. So how do you make sure your blog posts are “linkable”?
First, your content needs to be unique and high-quality. That’s the basic entry fee to get into the game.
To take it to the next level, add visual elements to your blog posts. These can be infographics, videos, case studies, statistics, and any other unique content that doesn’t exist anywhere else.
Extra Link Building Strategies
- Broken link building: Use a tool like Jaaxy to find blogs in your niche with broken external links. Send them an email that their link is broken and your resource is a better option. This strategy is great because you’re helping the blog fix their 404 error and (hopefully) getting a link at the same time.
- Link reclamation: Input your blog’s URL into the Jaaxy tool to find instances where your brand is mentioned but not linked to. Here, you can reach out to the writer of the post, thank them for the mention, and ask if they can add the link.
- Link partnerships: Form relationships with other bloggers in your niche to get links in their guest posts and vice versa.
- Competitor research: View which websites are linking to competitors to come up with new sites to reach out to.
Infographic: How to Start a Blog to Make Money in 2021.
How to Start a Blog: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).
1. What is a Blog?
A blog is a regularly updated website, run by an individual or group, primarily consisting of written text in an informal, conversational style.
If statistics are anything to go by, in the United States alone, 42.23% of people from the ages of 18 to 49 read blogs.
You can find a blog for any topic you want and it’s a great avenue to increase your subscriber base, connect with new people, and make money online.
2. Why Should You Start a Blog?
There are so many reasons to start a blog.
One of the most prominent reasons is to influence and inspire online readers. If you have in-depth knowledge in your field of work and have decent writing chops, then you truly can help others. If you know how to monetize your blog, you can even make a decent passive income.
Blogging can provide you the perfect platform to:
– Develop yourself personally
– Improve your writing
– Build new relationships and network in your field
– Share your knowledge with your audience
– Make a lot of money
3. How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog?
When you start a blog, you have the option of using a free or paid blogging platform. Both have their pros and cons.
If you’re a novice and want to try your hand at blogging without paying upfront, Ghost or Blogger are free platforms that let you do just that. However, there are a lot of restrictions when using free tools. For example, you won’t have access to better themes, restriction on advertisements, and more.
On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned marketer or even a novice confident enough to start blogging, you could opt for paid platforms.
Website builders like Shopify provide excellent paid plans that help you customize your site the way you want without restrictions. Moreover such platforms allow you to optimize your site for search engines, add advanced features like an online store, drag-and-drop editors, and more.
Here are some of the essential expenses:
– Domain name: It may cost you around $10-15 per month
– Hosting: Shared hosting cost typically costs $3 – $10 per month. Then there are more advanced options like VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, etc.
– Optional expenses include a premium WordPress theme (costing between $30 – $60), marketing tools, and more.
– If you are considering blogging as a hobby, then it should be free.
– If you aren’t that serious and don’t mind minimal features, then it may cost you about $50-$60 per year.
Now, if you’re planning to invest in additional features to scale up your blog, then it may cost over $400 per year.
4. How Do I Get Readers to My Blog?
To get readers to your blog, you have to provide value to your readers.
Here are some steps that’ll help get you there:
– Master SEO – this can’t be understated
– Create catchy headlines – your headline is the first thing someone reads. Help them figure out the benefits by enumerating them. The ideal clickable headline is: Odd number + superlative + target keyword + year
– Publish blog posts consistently as it makes your readers take you more seriously
– Use call-to-action (CTA) buttons and opt-in forms to make your readers act
– Offer incentives to current readers like product discounts and insider knowledge
– Share your posts on social media
Implementing all the steps mentioned above can help you get some initial traction to your blog.
5. How Do I Start a Successful Blog?
There are more than 600 million blogs in the US alone. Many factors set apart successful bloggers from non-successful ones.
Some of the critical factors in starting and running a successful blog are:
– Understanding market viability and audience revenue potential.
– Being well versed in digital marketing – you need to have a firm grasp on SEO, keyword research, affiliate marketing, email marketing strategies, etc.
– Being great at self-promotion.
– Offering value-based content.
– Providing content consistently.
– Creating a schedule and sticking to it.
– Engaging subscribers proactively and solving their pain points.
6. Do Bloggers Get Paid?
Yes, they do. Bloggers can get paid exceptionally well. Others make nothing from their blogs.
Breaking it down, bloggers mostly get paid through:
– Affiliate marketing
– Online courses
– Sponsored posts
– Selling products
7. How Do Bloggers Get Paid?
Bloggers can get paid via advertisements, affiliate commissions, course or ecommerce sales, and more. The most common metric on how much you get paid in affiliate marketing is EPC (earnings per click).
Another metric is CPM (cost per 1000 impressions). For every 1,000 clicks on the ad, you get paid a fixed amount.
Apart from this, you can also sell products based on your expertise. For example, if you run a travel blog, you could sell brochures on the best tourist destinations. Or if you run a food blog, you could sell e-recipes of your best dishes.
Offer something that is valued by a segment of your audience and bring paid subscriptions to enlist them. The amount could be as low as $5 per month per person. But if you can create the value to attract large volumes, you can start to make a decent income.
8. Can You Start a Blog for Free in 2021? (Yes! Join Wealthy Affiliate Today, click here to get started)
Starting a blog doesn’t have to cost much. You can start a blog with minimal investment and sometimes even for free.
When you start a blog, you need to decide whether you want to self-host it or use a fully-hosted platform. Usually, using a fully-hosted platform costs a small monthly fee. But getting a free platform is easy. Most beginners opt for free, self-hosted platforms, like Tumblr or Blogger.
9. How Do I Start a Food Blog in 2021?
Food and recipes are one of the most popular things people search for. Since everything is readily available these days, food connoisseurs are willing to try out and experiment with different cuisines and flavors.
Now’s as good a time as any to start your food blog.
Here are some steps to do just that:
– Choose your web hosting company.
– Select a perfect name for your blog that is relevant to your niche.
– Choose the perfect theme for your food blog. The right theme can attract viewers instantly and help you increase your subscriber base.
– Perform keyword research and choose a sub-niche in the food space.
– Start posting and learn how to write recipes in an SEO-friendly manner.
– Get backlinks and guest posts from other food blogs.
– To sustain your blog, you might also want to find out ways to monetize it. Third-party advertisements, affiliate marketing, and selling exclusive recipes are some ways to do that.
10. How Do I Start a Travel Blog in 2020?
Traveling is something that most people are passionate about. If you are too, you can start your travel blogging journey and make money from your recommendations.
There are a lot of travel affiliate programs that pay when you recommend anything like hotels, Airbnbs, travel gear, travel insurance, etc.
Here’s how to get started now with a travel blog:
– The first step is to determine the sub-niche of your blog. There are plenty of options, including solo traveling, luxury traveling, budget traveling, family travel, and more.
– The second step is to decide on a name that’ll be an instant hit with your target audience.
– Set up web hosting.
– Get the perfect theme for your travel blog.
– Perform keyword research and choose a sub-niche in the travel space.
– Publish travel articles based on your expertise, and format them for SEO.
– Obtain backlinks and guest posts from other travel blogs.
11. How Do I Start a Fashion Blog in 2021?
If you’re interested in the latest styles, starting a fashion blog and tapping into that interest is a great idea.
However, it is a saturated space, which is why you have to make extra efforts to start and grow your fashion blog.
Here’s how you can start your fashion blog:
– Think about what type of fashion you want to talk about in your blog. Fashion can be a broad term, so it’s essential to select a style or niche. For example, do you want to blog about high-fashion or street fashion? Vintage or Gothic?
– Get the perfect name that will hit off instantly with the audience.
– Choose your hosting provider.
– Select the theme that best suits your style and the fashion you want to talk about.
– Create content consistently. Never miss out on blogging.
– Promote it heavily, especially on social media platforms like Instagram.
– Since it’s fashion, you want to give it the maximum exposure you can. Monetize it through social media, podcasts, and advertisements. You need all the attention you can get.
12. How Do I Start a Beauty Blog in 2021?
If you have a passion for beauty products and the latest trends, starting a beauty blog could be for you. This type of blog is best paired with a YouTube channel and Instagram account.
Here’s how you can start a beauty blog:
– Think about what you want to talk about in your beauty blog. Oily vs. dry skin? Fair vs. dark complexion? The list is endless, and it’s up to you to decide your focus area.
– Pick your blog’s name. When it comes to beauty, a catchy, memorable name can attract the right audience.
– Again, choose a hosting plan and install a beauty blog theme.
– Do keyword research on the how-to keywords that people are looking for.
– Schedule your articles and make sure to embed YouTube tutorials into your posts.
– Advertise on social media and via email newsletters.
– You can also provide video tutorials and share beauty tips to increase your subscriber base.
13. What is WordPress?
WordPress is the simplest way to make web pages and makes up over 30% of the Internet.
WordPress helps you create, publish, and share webpages. It’s also one of the most user-friendly platforms to host blogs. And you only have to pay for the custom name and web hosting.
It is a feature-rich CMS (content management system) that allows bloggers to create, edit, and publish content. It features a dashboard where you can edit posts, media, pages, comments, plugins, themes, users, website settings, and more.
How to Start a Blog: Final Summary.
As you can see, learning how to start a blog is pretty easy, but you need to consider your options carefully.
Turning your blog into a profitable money-making business requires a smarter approach, SEO mastery, consistency, and hard work.
We have covered pretty much everything you need to know to start your blog. We will continue to update this post over time with the latest blogging techniques.
Now, it’s your turn. Why not start a blog today?