If you want to learn how to start a blog and make money blogging, you have come to the right place
Hi, I am Umama and I have created this blog UBQ Digital Marketing.com just few months ago as an experiment to prove that you don’t need prior experience to launch your own blog and you don’t have to be passionate about writing to start a blog. You just need the right guidance.
With four million blog posts published every day, a lot of people think that it’s too saturated to make money blogging in 2020.
I would say that if you want to make money from your blog,
ELIMINATE the word PASSION.
Passion won’t make money, Brains and tactics do.
If you don’t know I am a Dental Surgeon. I am a full-time postgraduate student. I am into this profession head to toe for the last 12 years. Dentistry is something I am passionate about. I know the most about it.
But my Blog is not about Dental Problems.
It’s about Digital Marketing, Pinterest and online business tools.
WHY? Because I did my research before starting the blog and found out that the health field is very competitive. There are several excellent blogs out there on health and fitness which are fulfilling the search intent of the audience and their websites have excellent domain rating.
Starting from ZERO, it will take me years to rank on Google and to earn money.
So, I decided that if I want to make money from blogging, I have to give up my passion.
I have to stay away from the competition.
I noticed that people are switching to remote jobs and online business tools are a lot in demand. So I picked this niche after due research.
In this article, I will hold you by hand and will walk you through this journey of mine of starting a profitable blog step by step.
I have made a lot of mistakes along the way. Mistakes help you learn but they also prolong your way to success. I genuinely don’t want you to repeat those mistakes.
So why should you follow my blogging advice?
Because I was a newbie like you. I have started this blog after reading and exhausting almost every blog written on this topic for approximately one month. I have watched tons of video tutorials. and I worked full time 9 to 5 along with that.
Though there are many good articles out there, I have written this post with the intent of sharing my experience as someone who has to use every tool like Bluehost, WordPress, SEM Rush etc for the first time, and provide courage to someone like me to take the first step towards blogging and change their lives.
This ultimate guide for beginners will cover how to choose the right niche, generate traffic, and monetize your site in the fastest timeframe possible – all while working full-time.
Today, I will help you learn how to start a blog using the same steps I have used to launch this blog.
Make sure to give this guide a thorough read, then save it in your bookmarks and come back to it later. You can also sign up for my email list and get a free PDF with strategies that go along with this guide.
Let’s get started.
HOW TO START A BLOG IN 10 EASY STEPS?
- Research about your niche
- Write Down Your Blog’s Goals.
- Choose a Domain Name.
- Choose a Web Hosting Plan and Register Your Domain.
- Install WordPress – Your Blogging Platform
- Pick and install the Right Theme.
- Install WordPress Plugins.
- Set Up Your Site’s SEO and Permalink Structure.
- Write or Outsource Content for Your Blog.
- Leverage guest posting to build your domain authority
1. RESEARCH ABOUT YOUR NICHE.
The first step to starting a blog is to get started with Bluehost. Use my link below and get started for just $2.95/month (63% off your hosting plan)
We all know that your blog needs a niche – whether it’s weight loss, supplements, travel, food recipes, lifestyle, finance, money management etc, there are an endless amount of things to blog about.
FORGET YOUR PASSION, IF YOU WANT OT MAKE MONEY BLOGGING
Let’s start planning our blog niche
There are 3 important things
- Who your audience is?
- Does your niche contain affiliate marketing potential?
- Perform Keyword research.
1- WHO YOUR AUDIENCE IS?
When choosing a blog niche first find out who is your audience is and what pain point are you going to solve and how much your audience can pay you for that.
If I give you my example.
Though I am a dentist, I lived check to check. I never wanted to quit my profession because it’s my passion but I wanted to start some side hustle from home which can help me save money and live a better lifestyle.
So my audience is
- People of my age 25 to 40 years old.
- People who work full time and want to start some side business.
- Especially women who have to manage house and kids as well,
So I choose the niche about blogging and online business tools. As people who want to start online businesses of their own need online business tools to support their business. A blog about software reviews will do well for such people.
My plan is that people will come to my site to read about the software they needed for their business. If they go on the software company’s website through my link and buy it. The company will then pay me.
See if you want to earn, your niche must have affiliate marketing potential, otherwise, how would you monetize it?
2- AFFILIATE MARKETING POTENTIAL OF THE NICHE.
Affiliate marketing is my favourite form of blog monetization – it’s the most passive and once you start ranking on Google 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/sales, and see any future payouts.
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. A Gmail/Hotmail or yahoo mail might work for a while but having a professional email address increases your credibility and you can get it from G Suite under $6/ month. So it is pretty cheap.
- When you get approved, grab your unique affiliate link, and copy/paste it into any piece 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, consider this simple formula…
- To make a lot of money blogging, you need affiliate income.
- To make affiliate income, you need to rank on Google and get web traffic.
- To get web traffic, you need to rank for keywords that drive the most affiliate revenue.
So what are these keywords?
The answer: keywords with the word “best” in them.
Here are some examples:
- In finance, it could be: best credit cards, best auto loans, or best home insurance
- In tech, the keywords could be: best laptop of 2020, best VR headsets, or best Mac accessories
- In marketing (like my blog), it could be: best email marketing software, best web hosting, or a best website builder
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 2020.”
Google this term right now and look at the top 10 results.
Every single website in the top 10 results is an affiliate. No actual companies selling laptops – no Best Buy, no Walmart, no Dell, no HP – just affiliates recommending laptops.
Every single top 10 result is an affiliate.
Why do these affiliate sites outrank company sites?
They are all blogs with long-form, in-depth articles that search engines prefer.
What you’ll begin to realize is that most profitable blogs are, in fact, websites making affiliate commissions.
Once you grasp this, 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 PointsGuy, Expert Vagabond
- Business: The Balance SMB, FitSmallBusiness, FinancesOnline
I think that the most profitable niches right now for new bloggers are finance, tech, travel, business, and marketing.
3- KEYWORD RESEARCH.
Keyword research is a vital step to when you are thinking about how to start a blog and the niche.
There are several tools out there like ahrefs, SEM rush and Uber Suggest which help you pick your niche. Ahrefs is the most advanced and the best tool out there but Uber Suggest is a cheaper one.
It’s very simple. Are people searching for the things you want to write about?
It’s a fact: You need to become an expert in keyword research and search engine optimization (SEO) so that your blog can rank on Google.
Why? 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 can be more valuable than social media traffic because people make high-intent searches online. There are plenty of opportunities out there – you just have to know how to find them.
- 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?
- What are people exactly searching about on search engines
- What terms they are using?
- How many times that word has been searched per month?
- What is the competition level/ difficulty score of that keyword?
- What blogs/ websites are already ranking for that keyword?
- What is their domain authority?
You want to find keywords with high volume and low competition.
Here’s how I 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
TYPES OF KEYWORDS
On my site, there are two main types of keywords I target when it comes to SEO:
First are super high-volume/high competition and medium volume, low competition. Such words are called Revenue Drivers.
How to find this type of keyword for your blog:
Use a tool like Ahrefs and filter the results. Set the monthly search volume filter to a minimum of 1,000 and the Keyword Difficulty filter to a maximum of 10.
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.
The second type of keywords that I target are super high-volume terms that aren’t as easy to monetize but can bring in a lot of traffic.
How to find this type of keyword for your blog:
Use a tool like Ahrefs 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.
SUMMING UP KEYWORD RESEARCH
A blog needs a mix of both super high-volume/high competition and medium volume, low competition keywords.
Here are some of the tools you can use for your keyword research:
After doing your keyword research, discovering a lucrative audience and niche, and planning how to leverage your professional connections, it’s time to get to work.
2. WRITE DOWN YOUR BLOG’S GOALS.
As the famous Pablo Picasso said
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”
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 over complicate 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.
When I was starting this blog, I kept a record of everything in a journal. I prefer writing down things with a pen in a journal. I find it handier. You can take the help of Google Docs or Microsoft Word as well.
Set your daily, weekly and monthly goals, up to 03 months. 06 months and 1 year.
Here are a few examples from my document when I started planning my blog:
- Complete my home page, resources and contact page by March’20
- Write and publish my first blog post of 7,000+ words by March 28th,20
- Launch the blog with my first post by 30th March,20
- Obtain 50 backlinks for all published articles by April 30
- Publish 15 guest posts by June’ 20
- Get 1,000 blog site visitors/month by June’ 20
- Get 250 people in my email list by June ‘20
As you can see, these are all short term attainable goals with clear due dates.
3. CHOOSE A DOMAIN NAME.
In the past, I took way too much time on this step. I scoured GoDaddy and different other domain name generators for weeks 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.
The common advice is to “niche down” and choose an ultra-specific name, I 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. 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.
In the past, I tried starting online businesses and chose ultra-specific names. When I didn’t see immediate success, I got discouraged and thought, “Well, maybe this niche isn’t for me. I should quit and try something else.”
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/year. Never buy a premium domain you simply don’t need them as a new blogger.
Moreover, If you get started with Bluehost web hosting, you get a free domain name for the first year.
To get started with Bluehost and get 63% off your hosting plan, use my link below:
2. YOUR PERSONAL NAME AS A DOMAIN NAME?
Many people prefer to use their names for their blogs Personal domains are more flexible than the ones based on any particular niche. Many times, bloggers need to change the name of their blog according to the changing scenario of their blogging niche.
However, if your name is your domain, then there is no need to change it when you want to add more verticals to your niche.
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 favoured by Google and other search engines.
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, popular and comes at an affordable price.
At this stage, your best option is a simple shared hosting plan. I recommend Bluehost as the best option this year.
- 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 c Panel 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 Bluehost links on this page)
Next, register your domain with Bluehost and choose a web hosting company that aligns best with your expectations.
Follow this step-by-step guide to register your domain name along with your web hosting plan with Bluehost:
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 domain 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 domain name.
If you’ve already selected your domain name, then you can add the information here. And if you need a new one, with Bluehost, 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.
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.
STEP #5: YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY REGISTERED YOUR DOMAIN NAME AND 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. Let’s continue.
STEP #6: CREATE YOUR ACCOUNT AND SET YOUR PASSWORD.
You’re almost done – after receiving an email from Bluehost, you just need to enter your domain name and create a password for your account.
STEP #7: LOG IN TO BLUEHOST.
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)
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.
Have a look at some of the top blogging platforms and their usage:
Most people run their blogs on WordPress, which is apparent from the above stats.
WordPress also offers multiple free plugins, themes, and various ways to modify your blog.
You don’t need to have any technical coding knowledge to get started.
If you’re using Bluehost, you simply use the 1-Click WordPress Installation and you’re in your WordPress dashboard.
However, before you get started, you should know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
WORDPRESS.COM VS. WORDPRESS.ORG – WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Here are some of the common differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org:
If your eventual goal is to make money through your blog, then think no further before selecting the self-hosted WordPress.org.
A blog is an extension of your personal brand and needs to be something that you own outright. You shouldn’t rely on a subdomain or blog site like Tumblr to host your blog.
WordPress.com 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 domain name, you would have to pay extra.
It also comes with limited monetization and analytics options. On top of that, with WordPress.com, you can’t upload plugins and themes from outside WordPress.
WordPress.org, on the other hand, gives you complete freedom to download plugins and themes from different platforms, customize your blog design, monetize your blogging efforts, and more.
Naturally, it’s suggested to use WordPress.org when it comes to starting a blog set up for long term success.
With Bluehost, you can install WordPress and run your own blog in a matter of minutes.
Let’s get started.
INSTALL WORDPRESS WITH BLUEHOST’S ONE-CLICK INSTALLATION PROCESS.
Bluehost automatically one-click installs WordPress right from your Bluehost 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 are you planning 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.
6. CHOOSE 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.
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 narrows 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.
Still, need web hosting? Sick of reading this guide and ready to start? Get started with Bluehost for $2.95/month and get 63% off your blog hosting plan with my link below.
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.
FREE, PREMIUM, AND CUSTOM THEMES.
There are many free blog themes available on WordPress. However, sometimes these come with limited design options. A paid theme costs you about $ 70. If you don’t want to buy a premium theme you can easily get started with a free theme.
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.
Now that your theme is all set, let’s move onto extending the functionality of your blog with WordPress plugins.
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.
Plugins are a set 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.
However, it’s not recommended to install hundreds of plugins on your blog as they tend to slow down your site and can conflict with each other during updates.
So what plugins should bloggers use?
Below is the list of plugins which I personally use for my blog.
1) ELEMENTOR PRO.
Elementor Pro is the best WordPress WYSIWYG 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. I have built this blog using a free version.
You can get started with the free version of Elementor Pro for just $49/year.
2) MONSTER INSIGHTS.
Monster insights is the best way to install google analytics. With a click of a button, you can see all your important Google Analytics stats right on your WordPress dashboard, so you can make data-driven decisions to grow your traffic and sales.
3) MASH SHARE.
Mash share is social media share buttons. It’s a free Social Media Plugin, for social media sharing and optimizing of your valuable content.
4) INSTALL HEADER AND FOOTER.
Sometimes you are asked to add codes in header or footer section of your website, for example, Facebook pixel, Pinterest codes to claim your website, Bing etc.
5) 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 e-commerce 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.
6) BIGCOMMERCE FOR WORDPRESS.
This is the e-commerce tool that I use to sell my digital products. I tested WooCommerce first, but it installed four plugins, 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 e-commerce in BigCommerce.
7) CLASSIC EDITOR.
I’m not a huge fan of the new Gutenberg editor and find the Classic Editor much easier to use and more error-free.
8) 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” link at the bottom of each section so that users can easily go back to the Table of Contents.
9) 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.
10) GDPR COOKIE CONSENT.
11) MAMMOTH.DOCX CONVERTER.
I use this plugin to convert Google Docs 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.
12) OPTIN MONSTER.
OptinMonster is hands down the best email opt-in plugin on the market. 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. You can get started with OptinMonster for just $9/month.
13) 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 plugins, and ShortPixel has been the best.
This is one of my favourite affiliate marketing plugins. 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.
15) 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.
16) WP ROCKET.
You can get started with WP Rocket for $49/year.
17) YOAST SEO.
Yoast SEO 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 SEO settings to pay attention to.
8. SET UP YOUR BLOG’S SEO AND PERMALINK STRUCTURE.
A very important SEO 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 to Google and monitor your traffic. These can both be easily integrated with the Yoast SEO plugin.
Okay, let’s stop and review where we are right now.
You purchased web hosting, set up your domain, installed your WordPress theme and plugins, and optimized your website’s permalinks for SEO.
Now, it’s time to start creating content for your blog.
9. WRITE YOUR BLOG OR OUTSOURCE IT.
After completing the framework of your blog, it’s time to create your content.
I am a big proponent of hiring someone else to write my blog post for my blog. There is nothing wrong in it and this is called Ghost Blogging.
It helps me to focus on more important matters of my blog, for example, link building outreach, guest post outreach, networking with bloggers, monetization etc.
Because I want to treat my blog as a business, not as a hobby.
Remember, this all begins with the keyword research we did above.
Each blog post should focus on one main target keyword which should be included in:
- The blog’s permanent URL.
- The title of your post.
- In the first paragraph.
- In your H2 headings.
- Within the content, 5-8 times, depending on the post’s length.
- In your meta description (optional).
Once you have a list of the top 5-10 keywords (topics) you want to cover, it’s a good idea to start writing.
Also, in addition to text, blog posts that have audio, video, photos, and other types of visual content, along with textual content, perform the best.
According to statistics, global internet traffic from videos will make up 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021.
IMPORTANT TIPS ON CONTENT WRITING.
- Your blog posts should always provide value to your readers. Write with a clear beginning, middle, and end 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 the readers. Make sure both textual and visual content in the blog are high-quality.
- Never make your content commercially focused as it irritates readers. Blogs loaded with too much advertising looks unattractive to most people.
- 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 three sentences.
A QUICK CHECKLIST TO CONSIDER BEFORE WRITING YOUR BLOG POSTS.
- Make your blog post conversational to make it engaging connect with your audience
- Make sure your content flows naturally
- Leave substantial white space to make it easy on the eyes
- Add bullet points to help readers skim down the blog without missing anything critical
- Use proper H2, H3, and H4 headings
- Double-check for typos and grammatical errors – Grammarly is the best tool out there for this
WRITE YOUR FIRST BLOG POST.
Here’s how to write your first blog post on 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, centre, and right.
- Make text bold or italic.
- Highlight text and add links to them. 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 download and install the Yoast SEO plugin too. This allows you to punch in your target keyword and get recommendations on what to do for SEO.
In Yoast, there are four important sections to add:
- SEO Title
- Meta Description
- Focus Keyword
Yoast SEO will help 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.
You can even “Preview” your blog before publishing it.
If you are happy with the way your blog post has turned out, then go ahead and publish it.
You created your first blog post! Or did you? ???? When you’re ready, go ahead and get started with Bluehost. Use my link below and get started for just $2.95/month (63% off your hosting plan)
CREATE PRE-LAUNCH PAGES AND CONTENT.
Pre-launch content includes the content for static pages of the blog, such as About us, Contact, Home Page, and more. The nice thing is that the Page Editor looks exactly the same as the Post Editor.
The only major difference is that pages don’t have categories. However, they can be nested under parent pages to organize things.
Before launching a blog, you should have a few pages in your menu navigation so that readers know what your blog is about.
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 readers hit your home page and don’t know exactly what your site is about, they may leave. A WordPress home page can be edited with a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) page builder like the free Elementor plugin.
A good home page contains:
- A slider or hero image with a headline and subheadline
- A small section to tell readers more about what your site is about
- The main call-to-action like an email opt-in or button taking readers to an important page
- Internal links to your important content
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 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 start your blog
- Why did you select this particular niche
- What’s your aim with this blog
- Why should people listen to you
- How you dealt with the same struggles your audience has
- Your success story
- A call-to-action
When someone likes your content, they are likely to head to your About page to know more about you. Now, you can either bore them to death or turn them into your loyal fan.business.
People don’t want to read about all of your recent professional accomplishments, but want to truly understand who you are. So don’t try to make yourself look good – just write about your life and who you are.
2. THE CONTACT PAGE.
This page is all about sharing contact details with your blog visitors. You can share an email address, phone number, social media links, or a contact form on this page. This will help your readers get in touch with you.
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 one as well. Even sections on the home page may be a widget. These are easy to edit and similar to the main page and post editors, just in a different location in your WordPress dashboard.
11. PERFORM ONGOING GUEST POST OUTREACH AND LINK BUILDING.
Guest posting is one of the best ways to promote your blog. Google has been saying that guest posting is dead for the last 7 years, but it shows no signs of slowing down.
It’s a great way to build authority in your niche, meet other bloggers, founders, and content teams, get backlinks and create lasting relationships.
And link building is another fantastic way to build Domain Authority (DA) and increase your rankings.
This is a hustle and a grind that includes a ton of email outreach.
4. WRITING THE GUEST POST.
Once 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.
Remember, writing keyword-focused, SEO-optimized posts isn’t enough. You need high-quality links to your content from reputable sites.
This guide is almost over. Get started blogging with Bluehost for $2.95/month at my link below:
11- HOW TO START A BLOG: FAQS.
- What is a Blog?
A blog is a regularly updated website, run by an individual or group, primarily consisting of the 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. For bloggers, it’s a great avenue to increase their subscriber base, connect with new people, and make money online.
- 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 with 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
- 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, WordPress.com and Blogger are excellent free platforms that let you do just that. However, there are always restrictions with a free tool. For example, you won’t have access to better themes, restriction on advertisements, and more.
On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned campaigner or a novice confident enough about blogging, you could opt for paid platforms.
Website builders like Squarespace and Wix 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 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, additional plugins, 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.
- 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.
- How Do I Start a Successful Blog?
There are more than 600 million blogs in the US alone. But 95% of them aren’t successful. 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
- 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
However, if your blog posts don’t offer much value, it’s difficult to create an income.
If you’re looking at blogging as a full-time job, it probably won’t make you a millionaire overnight. However, in 14 months, I started making over $45k by scaling my blog processes.
- How Do Bloggers Get Paid?
Bloggers can get paid via advertisements, affiliate commissions, course or e-commerce 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.
- How To Start a Blog for Free in 2020?
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, such as WordPress.com and Blogger.
Here’s a list of some of the best blogging platforms (both paid and unpaid). If you’re serious about blogging, I recommend you go with a paid option.
When you use a free platform, you’ll have to abide by the platform restrictions and will rarely make money. With almost unlimited revenue potential, you should pay to host your blog.
- How To Start A Blog About Food in 2020?
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 flavours.
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.
- How To Start A Blog About Travel in 2020?
Travelling 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 like travel Payouts that pay when you recommend anything like hotels, Airbnbs, travel gear, travel insurance, booking.com 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 travelling, luxury travelling, budget travelling, 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.
- How To Start A Blog About Fashion in 2020?
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 domain 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.
- How To Start A Blog About Beauty in 2020?
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.
- 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 domain 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.
- Should I Use WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two very different platforms.
WordPress.com offers an end-to-end solution to start a simple website for free. You need to sign up, and you are all set to build your website.
WordPress.org is an open-source website platform that can be leveraged only through a paid hosting account.
Here are some key differences between the two platforms to help you make a more informed decision:
WordPress.org: It is entirely free to test but to make the website visible and published, you need to buy website hosting and a domain name.
WordPress.com: You can start a free blog with a WordPress name. To have a custom domain name, you will have to pay at least $4 per month.
WordPress.org: Setting up a blog or website on WordPress.org requires some level of technical expertise that includes buying hosting and domain name followed by their integration with the website.
WordPress.com: WordPress.com guides the user in a step-by-step process to make the setup hassle-free.
WordPress.org: It offers excellent customization options through more than 7,500 free themes. Users also get to choose thousands of premium themes.
WordPress.com: It comes with limited customization options. Free and personal plans offer over 150 themes, and other premium plans offer over 200 paid themes.
WordPress.org: You get access to more than 50,000 plugins along with thousands of other third-party plugins.
WordPress.com: It allows the installation of plugins in only business or e-commerce plans. These plans cost $25 and $45 per month and offer more than 50,000 plugins.
Now, it’s up to you to decide which platform aligns the best with your requirements.
YOU’VE STARTED YOUR FIRST BLOG.
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.
I have covered pretty much everything you need to know how to start your blog. I will continue to update this post over time with the latest blogging techniques.
Looking for someone who can write blog posts for you so that you can scale your blog?
Get started with Content Cucumber. Get unlimited content for a monthly flat fee.
P.S: Do you know I could help you grow your blog personally? Yeah, that’s right. I offer special WordPress services to help your set up your website create content and monetize it.
I can put you on the path of financial freedom in 3 short months, only if you are willing to put in work and have a lot of patience.
If you will work with me, I will make sure that your goals and expectations are met in the best possible way. Find out more information here.
Umama Batool Qazi is a full-time Dentist, Blogger and Pinterest marketer having a keen interest in discovering new ways to reach more clients through Pinterest. Join me and other readers here at ubqdigitalmarketing.com to learn about blogging and digital marketing using our recommended resources.