How To Start A Blog In 11 Steps
And Make Real Money in 2020
If you want to learn how to start a blog that is not as a hobbyist but to make money online, you’ve come to the right place.
Among millions of bloggers out there, a lot of people think that it’s too hard to make money blogging in 2020.
But wait, you can start blogging right now and make a significant amount of money, not in years but months.
To do so, You need the right tactics. And you need to scale your blog from day one.
Well, before we get started, make sure to give this guide a thorough read, then save it to your bookmarks and come back to it later to recheck if you have followed all the tips that I am going to give you. You can also sign up for my email list and get a Free Beginner Blog Launch Checklist with strategies that go along with this guide.
So, Let get started.
How to Start a Blog using these Easy Steps
Well, before we dive into this step-by-step beginner’s guide on how to start a blog, let us look into a few basic things which will help us get started quickly.
So, Lets us cover WHY - HOW - WHEN
Why Do You Want To Start a Blog?
We all start blogs for different reasons – to make money, to create a loyal audience for us as an influencer, to build a professional community with like-minded people, or to enhance our writing skills – the list may be endless. But never have a second thought of choosing why you are starting a blog, that because you need to have a strategy according to why you are starting a blog.
Let us go a bit deeper than that.
For example, If you want to make a passive income from your blog, it could be for any number of different reasons:
It could be for getting an extra income for you to save
It could be to achieve financial independence
It could be to quit the full-time job and pursue your passion
It could be to make your dreams come true (maybe going for a vacation abroad, or planning your own house)
Whatever is the reason, make your why statement clear.
I want to tell you one more thing before we get started, there is nothing called failure it is just that you quit before you get the success.
Let’s look into How to start a blog in 11 steps
TABLE OF CONTENT
Install Essential Plugins/Apps
Create a Long Term Content Strategy
Guest Posting And Link Building
1. Pick Your Blog’s Niche
Well, every one of us knows that our blog needs a niche – whether it’s traveling, cooking, fitness, styling, or whatever crazy blog topic it may be, there are an endless amount of things to blog about and here is a guide for choosing your right niche.
Somehow, almost all the professional bloggers will tell you to start with something that you’re passionate about because it helps you to blog consistently and make use of your expertise to gain a loyal audience.
But actually, this model is faulty because it’s missing one significant component, which is monetization.
And I somewhere heard, money drives passion more than passion drives money and I strongly believe that with a blog.
There are also cases where your passion or skills that you put into a blog can make you money, but that will not be the same case for everyone who what's to start with blogging.
A lot of you believe that it takes years to make money from a blog.
But just understand, monetization will not be your priority when choosing the niche with your passions, skills, and experience.
This niche is going to take too many years to monetize. And when it takes years to make money blogging, the possibility of quitting becomes exponentially higher.
Imagine writing about something you’re passionate about seriously for months, and realizing you still have no following, no traffic, and no money from all your efforts.
Just think about it.
And many new bloggers create content with this strategy for years, get stung out when they don’t see results, and quit blogging.
So we’re going to understand and start a blog like a money machine from the inception.
To do this, we’ll choose your ideal niche not based on passions, but on four primary factors of blogging:
Audience Revenue Potential
Affiliate Marketing Potential
Audience Revenue Potential
First of all, You need to understand your audience and how much they’re willing to spend on the solutions that you will give through your blog.
Let's say, you're starting with a blog on Personal Finance.
Your blog post can pull in different kinds of audiences, including business and working professionals, entrepreneurs, college students, etc.
(See, here I have target audience both from B2C as well as B2B)
To monetize a blog in this niche, let’s say you create a sales funnel:
You write new content to attract an audience online
Next, you build a “personal finance management checklist” lead magnet to generate email opt-ins
Next, you put affiliate links to some relevant products you want to promote
Next, you offer a $500 product titled “The Ultimate Personal Finance Management Online Course" or "How to save 100,000$ in a Year"
And Finally, You can go ahead and offer your consultation on using money effectively in doing business for all business audiences.
Just remember one thing, understanding your audience’s pain points isn’t enough. To proliferate your revenue potential, a portion of your audience needs to be in a profitable B2B niche and pay on a monthly recurring basis for your consultation.
When choosing your niche, rather than fretting about getting thousands of inactive, low-value site visitors, focus on closing 2-3 high-value clients at the beginning.
With this approach, I believe you can make $10,000/month in 90 days with a new blog.
You can always use these funds to expedite your path to creating passive income.
Your Niche Needs Affiliate Marketing Potential
Affiliate marketing is one of my favorite forms of blog monetization. It is the most passive, and once you start receiving traffic to your blog, you can make money while you sleep.
Affiliate marketing is the act of recommending/promoting products and services of other brands/businesses and making a commission on every sale.
Many large companies have affiliate programs that you can join. Once you apply and approved into their affiliate 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.
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 would require a website and an email address from your domain – not just a Gmail or Yahoo email.
Once approved, grab your unique affiliate link and copy/paste it into any piece of relevant text on your blog.
When a user clicks that specific link, a cookie is stored in their system, which credits the sale to you based on the cookie duration – typically 30, 60, or 90 days depending on the companies affiliate policies.
To make a lot of money blogging, you need affiliate income. And to make affiliate income, you need to rank on search and get web traffic. And for getting web traffic, you need to rank for keywords that drive the most affiliate revenue.
How do you know which keywords drive the most affiliate revenue? Its simple keywords with the word “best” in them will drive the most affiliate revenue. And you can do keyword research in this regard.
Here are some examples:
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 cooking, keywords could include best chicken recipes, best seafood recipes, best protein food to be made at home, etc
In travel, keywords could include the best travel insurance or best flights to book
In finance, it could be the best credit cards, best auto loans, or best home insurance.
Generally, the “best” keywords are searched by people looking for product reviews.
They intend to read a blog with in-depth content on the “best” something before making a purchase.
And, Just in case if you’re searching for a new laptop, you might type in “best laptop of 2020" right.
Well, every single website in the top 10 results is an affiliate blog. Have you got a doubt, how there are no actual companies selling laptops are there’s just like Best Buy, Walmart, Dell, or HP – only affiliates blogs recommending laptops are been shown on the 1st page.
So, Why do these affiliate sites outrank brands selling the actual products?
Because these blogs write long-form, in-depth review articles that search engines, as well as readers, prefer.
49% of consumers make purchases after reading through influencer reviews and recommendations.
What you’ll begin to realize is that most profitable blogs are review websites getting affiliate commissions from list posts.
So now when you think of blogging and planning your niche, take inspiration from sites like these:
Adam Reimer Marketing
Smart Passive Income
Work in my Pyjamas
Well, if you want to start a blog in 2020 the most profitable niches right now for new blogs are finance, business, travel, tech, and marketing.
But there are tons of other options. You can check this guide for choosing your right niche.
Use Your Professional Leverage
To create a truly successful blog, you first need to build influence.
And to create influence, you need to step out of your comfort zone and leverage your contacts, professional expertise, and everything from your end like never before.
After starting a blog, you will also be doing a lot of outreach to make new connections. This includes establishing relationships so you can guest post on authoritative sites in your niche to get relevant, high Domain Authority backlinks.
Form me and of course for you, keyword research is the most essential step when choosing your blog’s niche.
It is as simple as, are people searching for what you want to write about?
If no one is searching for it, you’ll never get traffic.
So, every individual blog post needs to focus on one target keyword.
In fact, you need to have a basic knowledge of keyword research and search engine optimization (SEO) so that your blog can rank and get traffic.
Do you know, people search on 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.
And you get the traffic from high-intent searches, and there are plenty of opportunities out there and you just have to know how to find them.
There are SEO tools to know all of this search data. With tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs, you can view specific keyword metrics, including:
Monthly search volume: how many times a keyword is searched in a month.
Keyword difficulty: on a scale from 0 to 100, how hard is it to rank for that keyword based on the competition.
The average cost per click (CPC): 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.
Summing Up Keyword Research
A blog needs a mix of both high volumes/low intent keywords and low volume/high intent keywords.
This whole strategy comes into play when preparing your blog’s first five posts. For example, a few posts should be comprehensive 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:
Let’s switch to the next step in starting a blog.
2. Pen Down Your Blog’s Goals
After picking your niche, you need a way to have a track of everything not just your to-dos and content plans, but also your goals, ideas, and motivations.
Your Blog’s Goals
These should be SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Here are a few examples you can keep as a goal when planning your blog:
Write and publish my first 10 blog posts of 2,000+ words in one month
Create my About Me page
Publish 5 guest posts in authority sites in one month
Get 1,000 blog site visitors/month by 2 months
Get 250 people in my email list by 2 months
Obtain 100 backlinks by the first 3 months
As you can see, these are all short term achievable goals with precise period to achieve the same.
After you start a blog, set some simple goals, and write things down to a better point-in on your blog’s message, and know who your audience is.
So, now its all set to launch your blog?
3. Pick a Domain Name
Well, my general advice is to “niche down” and choose a specific name, I recommend you choose a website name that’s broad enough to allow you to pivot if necessary.
This is just because, If your focus is too narrow and suddenly you lose enthusiasm for your niche or run out of content ideas, you’re abandoned with your new domain. However, if you have a broad focus, you can expand your content and have enough content flow to maintain consistency, avoid leaving, and better promote your website for the long term.
Here are some other things you need to contemplate before choosing a name for your website.
Price of the Domain
You have to purchase your blog’s domain name from a domain registrar company. It should cost you roughly around $10/year. If you get started with the Bluehost web hosting or Wix website, you get a free domain name for the first year.
To get started with for just $2.95/month (and get 63% off your hosting plan), use my link below:
Is Using Your Name as your Domain Name good?
Most people prefer to use their own names for their blogs. Personal domains are more flexible than the ones based on any special niche. Several times, bloggers need to alter the name of their blog according to the dynamic scenario of their blogging niche.
Domains come with different extensions – .com, .us, .guru, .sport, .com, etc.
.us stands for the USA, .in stands for India, .guru is used for coaching blogs, and .sport is used for sports blogs and .com is the top-level domain that’s more comprehensive and mostly preferred 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:
Things to Consider When Choosing a Domain Name:
Your name should not be too hard and difficult to type. It should also be interesting and aligned with your brand. That’s why a dot com extensions are a great option.
Don’t confuse people with complex 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 include a keyword that best represents your blog, if possible. It’s not as essential to have a keyword in your blog name for SEO, but it might help people recognize your blog’s niche right away.
Check out the tools discussed in this article to generate your domain – 25 Best Name Generators.
4. Get Your Hosting and Domain
Every website requires a web host to store their site on a server so that people can access it on the web. Without a hosting account, your blog won’t be visible on the web/internet.
The performance of your blog relies profoundly on your provider, so you should choose the best web hosting you can. A good hosting platform keeps your site up and running without downtime/interruption, provides security, and integrates with WordPress or other CMS platforms.
You should select a host that is reliable and comes at an affordable price for you.
At this stage, your best choice is a simple shared hosting plan. I recommend Bluehost or Wix as the easiest option when learning how to start a blog.
Plus, these have some great features:
99% server uptime
High-end security measures
An easy-to-use dashboard that comes in handy for beginners
24/7 customer support
Free SSL certificate
1-click WordPress Installation (for Bluehost)
Easy Drag and Drop site builder (for Wix)
Low introductory pricing
You can also head to my detailed reviews here:
Bluehost Reviews 2020: 11 Reasons To Start Your Blog On Bluehost.
Wix Reviews 2020: 11 Reasons To Start Your Blog On Wix.
Also, check out this step-by-step guide to register your domain name along with your web hosting plan on Bluehost
5. Set up WordPress/Wix CMS
After getting done with 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 commonly known as a Content Management System (CMS), is where you will be writing, customizing, and publishing your blog posts. Usually, you would need something user-friendly, powerful, and affordable.
The following are the 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 clear from the above stats.
WordPress also offers multiple free plugins, themes, and various ways to extend the functionality of your blog or online business.
You can also choose Wix to get started as a beginner.
WordPress gives multiple free plugins, themes, and various ways to extend the functionality of your blog.
Wix also has free plugins/apps, themes using which you can make your blog more visually appealing.
For both WordPress and Wix, you don’t need to have any technical coding knowledge to get started. WordPress needs some expertise to get started but when it comes to Wix you don't have to need any experience to get started, you can just get started with your blog in minutes.
Don't misunderstand the status of the Wix platform, since this platform is too easy to work on a lot of people tend to start off here and then migrate to WordPress. Once they get a good amount of traffic.
6. Choose Your Blog’s Theme
Now that you have an account either in WordPress or Wix, you need to choose your theme.
A WordPress or Wix theme is a collection of templates, files, and stylesheets that dictate the appearance and design of your website.
There are some blog design principles to keep in mind.
For example, fonts size should be between 14 and 17 points, clear, and easy to read. You should also have menu navigation that looks good on mobile and desktop.
Websites with a badly designed layout are difficult to navigate and impair your blog’s user experience.
Well, at the beginning of the blog, you don’t necessarily have to spend money to install a paid theme if you find a free one you like. But, 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.
Extra Tips on Choosing the Right Theme
Read the descriptions of the various WordPress/Wix 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 goes well on both desktop and mobile devices.
WordPress/Wix allows users to give ratings to their themes to 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.
If you are using WordPress, You can also install a large number of WordPress themes from other popular sites, such as:
7. Install Essential Plugins/Apps
Since WordPress/Wix is open-source, you can customize your site in unlimited ways.
Plugins/Apps 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.
Wix also offers hundreds of apps with different functions, including everything from email marketing, calendar integration, opt-in forms, and marketing tools.
These tools make learning how to start a blog much easy, as they perform a lot of cool tasks without requiring any coding knowledge.
But, it’s not advised 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.
8. Set Up Your Blog’s SEO
Well, I always believe doing SEO for your blog is important to get quality traffic to your blog. To monetize, your blog quickly you need to understand that, you have to drive a lot of organic content (with intended searches). So you need to be working on the on-page SEO. So, you need to make sure your URL is clean and short (possibly), inserting keywords to URL slug, adding relevant keywords, meta tags/meta description.
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.
9. Start Creating Content
After creating the framework of your blog, it’s time to start writing your blog posts.
I strongly believe that 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, uniform blocks of text, and keep readers engaged.
Check out my guide to the best grammar checkers to use with your blog this year.
Once you have a list of the top 5-10 keywords (topics) you want to cover, it’s time to start writing.
How to Add Keywords into Your Blog Posts.
Put the keyword in your blog’s URL.
Insert the keyword in the title of your post.
Include your keyword to the first or second paragraph.
Insert 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 long, this may be too many times. Use your best judgment, but don’t do keyword stuff.
Also, in extension to text, blog posts that have audio, video, photos, infographics, and other types of visual content perform the best and keep readers engaged.
Writing Blog Posts that Match Search Intent.
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 pain points fast.
More Tips On Content Writing
Your blog posts should always provide meaningful content to your readers. Write with a clear beginning, middle, and end outline structure. Even the most ordinary topics can be made interesting if you understand story arcs.
Present your blog content attractively and make it accessible to the readers. Make sure both textual and visual content in the blog are high-quality.
Never make your content too commercially focused as it annoys readers. Blogs stuffed with too many ads look 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 3-4 sentences.
Make your blog post conversational to build a connection with your audience.
Use 14-17 point font size and make sure there is enough 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. I love using Grammarly for this.
10. Create a Long Term Content Strategy
Now that you’ve published your first post but wait, your work isn’t done. In fact, it’s just beginning. Many blog posts take months to rank on Google and do well in the ranking to get the organic traffic only after making consistent updates.
Strategy to scale my content creation, get my posts to rank over time, and start generating revenue:
I conduct keyword research for the high-volume keyword I wanted to rank for
Next, You create an outline of the post and create content. You also need to make sure to write the article longer based on competitor research you have done
Once my article’s first draft is complete, you can 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 the article begins to rank on the first 3-5 pages of google search results
Once the blog post ranks in the top 2-3 pages of google search results, you can join any applicable affiliate programs and add affiliate links
Next, to maintain my organic rankings, you can 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, you can 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.
11. Guest Posting And Link Building
Guest blogging is one of the most reliable ways to promote your blog. Many blogger have been saying that guest posting is dead for the last several years, but it shows no indications of slowing down.
It’s a great way to build authority in your niche, get engage with other bloggers, founders, and content teams, get backlinks, and create enduring relationships.
Here are few Link Building Strategies
Broken link building: Use a tool like Ahrefs 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 supporting the blog to fix their 404 error and (hopefully) getting a link at the same time.
Link reclamation: Input your blog’s URL into the Ahrefs Content Explorer 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 connections 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.
Final Summary of How to Start a Blog
As you can see, learning how to start a blog is soo easy, but you need to consider your choices carefully.
Converting your blog into a profitable money-making business needs a smarter approach, SEO mastery, persistence, and hard work.
To monetize your blog, make sure to go through my guide on How to Make Money Blogging, where I talk about in-depth on how you can scale up your content creation process and earn money with affiliate marketing, courses, a podcast, Google AdSense, selling your products, and more.
I have covered almost everything you need to understand to start your blog.
Now, it’s your turn. Why not start a blog today?