How to Start a Blog and Make Money [Beginner’s Guide]

Starting a blog is the first step to making money online. Successful bloggers are earn easily money and it becomes a source of passive income where cashflow comes in on a regular basis

There are many reasons why people blog but let’s not fool anyone 99% of bloggers want to earn money in the end. And to do that, you will have to start a successful blog. I have easy  6 for you to begin your blogging journey and start earning.

Step by step Guide

1. Choose a Niche:

Niche is a topic or market segment that your blog will target.

Top 2 things to keep in mind before choosing your niche are Interest and profitability

Interest

Did you know 90% of the bloggers stop blogging in first 6 months?

Why? Lack of interest in the topic.

Enough said about importance of choosing a topic of your interest.

Profitability.

It is product of competition and volume. Ideally high volume and low competition is considered best. You can read more about this here

A short list of profitable niches to start blogging:

  1. Politics: News blog has huge scope but require lot of effort
  2. Beauty: Grooming market for men might be a good play
  3. Health & Fitness: My personal favourite
  4. Language Learning Blogs
  5. Travel: If you love travelling
  6. Self Defense:
  7. Healthy eating blog: Growing trend
  8. Learn How to Play musical instrument
  9. Building a mobile application
  10.  Pets: Better if you target western markets

2. Choose a domain name for your Blog:

Now that you have selected a niche, next step is to choose a good domain name. The domain name is the name of the website which readers types in the browser.

You can buy your domain from plenty of sites such as godaddy, Namecheap, hostgator. There is not much difference in pricing as per my experience. Few important things to keep in mind while choosing domain name:

  1. Keep it short and easy to remember: One word is ideal but tough to find. Combination of two words works best. Please avoid combination of three or more words. Pro tip: If it’s a Hinglish blog, you may use combo of one Hindi and one English word
  2. Avoid number or special characters such as hyphen (-): More special characters / numbers will make it tougher to remember thus effecting brandability
  3. Domain extension based on your audience: I will recommend going with either .com or country specific domain (such as .us for USA). Other domains such as .net or .org are typically not good for blogging.

.com is typically higher priced but is a good fit if you want to target global audience. Needless to say competition is also high. You can change the target audience with help of Google Webmaster also.

Note: You also have an option of going with free hosting services like WordPress.org (not to be confused with WordPress.com), Blogger etc.

I will never recommend free domain services. Read for more…

3. Choose a hosting for your blog:

Now we have purchased a domain name, but it has no meaning without a web host.

We will need a server to “host’ your website. Just like your computer’s data is stores in it’s hard disk, your website’s data will be stored in your hosting service provider. You can typically buy it from the domain seller but few important things to keep in mind are:

  1. Support: This is the most crucial aspect but often overlooked by beginners. If your site is down for few minutes, it can result in losses. Support will help you get your site up and running quickly, saving you time and money.
  2. Speed: Delay of even 1 second can lead to multifold increase in bounce rate (rate of visitors abandoning the page). Therefore it’s crucial. For beginners I recommend taking basic plans first because there will not be huge traffic in first few months. You can change your hosting plan / provider once Blog starts getting traction.
  3. Pricing: Some hosting providers have Monthly pricing plans. They are better suited to start your journey
  4. Reputation: We don’t want the hosting company to close overnight and run away right? It’s always recommended to go with known brand having substantial number of owners

Below are some of the top providers to choose from

Step 4: WordPress Setup

Now, before starting to blog there is one crucial step- Setting up your blog. If you are a pro coder, you can design your website using HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript etc. Or you can setup a CMS and setup up website easily. Which one will you choose?

Best and most reliable CMS out there? WordPress.

To learn how to install WordPress click here

Step 5: Design your blog

WordPress themes help you easily design the look and feel of your website. A website that does not look professional will be quickly abandoned by the visitor. Therefore the blog should look professional rather than jazzy. I recommend free themes for beginners.

Important aspects you should keep in mind before choosing a free theme are:

  • Support: Try to choose commonly used themes because they are robust and you can find answers related to your query on the internet.
  • Compatibility: Compatibility with latest WordPress versions is important
  • If you want to choose premium theme, make sure it is lightweight.

Here is a list of free and paid themes that I have personally used:

Generatepress: This is one of the most popular themes out there. It is extremely light weight  has good customization options for a free theme.

I recommend Generatepress if you are looking for a quality free theme. It also has a pro version “GP Premium” which has much more functionality that you can buy after later if you feel a need for more customization.

OceanWP: OceanWP is used by a vast number of websites. It is a fast loading theme and has many functionalities. You can easily customize it based on your preference. Altough It is considered ideal for e-commerce websites, I have used it for my blogging website.

Paid themes:

Newspaper : One of the most popular themes out there. As the name suggest it is ideal for News type of blogs but it can be used to create many other types of websites also given it’s vast customization features. I personally know bloggers using this theme and are happy with the outcome

Astra Pro: This is another popular premium theme. If you are planning to use Elementor page builder, this is ideal. I will create a separate tutorial explaining step by step process to build a landing with with Elementor’s help. It also has a free version and can be used as an alternative to Generatepress since it is relatively recent compared to Generatepress.

Installing a WordPress is easy

Step 6: Install WordPress plugins:

Plugins help you with additional functionality in your blog which WordPress by itself can’t provide. There are plenty of free and paid plugins that you can choose from. But I am sharing here some of the essential plugins that you will find in every blogger’s something

Yoast SEO: Best plugin for beginners and pros alike, Yoast SEO will help you keep SEO of your blog under check. It is easy to use and is available in free and premium versions. It’s free version is more than sufficient.

Akismet: Majority of bloggers have comments option in their blogs to increase engagement. Because anyone can comment on the blog, they become prone to spam comments. Akismet helps in filtering these comments

Jetpack: Jetpack is one plugin that has features of more than 10 plugins and is therefore the most useful one single plugin. You can

  • Create contact forms
  • Track page views and search queries
  • Provide Social Sharing button for readers
  • Show related posts on your blog
  • Give easy subscription option to commentors on your blog
  • Take daily backups

And plenty of other features

WP Rocket: It is one of the most popular plugins with bloggers since it increases the speed of the website. More speed directly results in higher retention and more profitability.

Step 7: Write your first Blog Post

Now that everything is setup let’s dive into writing your first blog post.

Now the thing is, you can’t just think of a topic in your niche and begin writing. You will have to undertake few steps before you write content for your post

  1. Write article on long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are have low volume but low competition. A new blog is able to compete with higher authority blogs when these topics are targeted. You can read here on how to find long tail keywords.
  2. After you have figured your topic, you should be able to answer key questions that the reader might have in mind while reading your post. One smart way to do that is go to the end of google search result for your topic and Google gives you suggestions on related questions. So basically,
  3. Using related / secondary keywords in your blog post and answering related questions is very important. Other important thing is to repeat use of primary keyword (The one in the Heading). But keep in mind not to overuse the keywords (keyword stuffing) else Google will penalize your blog. General practice is to have a density of .5% of primary keyword in the blog i.e. for 1000 worded blog, use primary keyword 5. Same goes with related / secondary keywords.
  4. Word length for your blog post should be minimum 1000 words. Feel free to write lengthy blogs of maybe 4000 words if there is need to.
  5. Use images and videos to increase the time readers spend on your website. This will improve the bounce rate also. WordPress automatically compresses the images for faster load time so you don’t have to compress high res images. But make sure to check for speed of your post before publishing.

Now to create a blog post go to: Dashboard → Post → Add New

Step 8: How to earn money from your Blog (Bonus)

Now you know how to start a successful blog. It makes so much sense now to share ideas on how to earn money through blogging. Here is the list of top 3 ways to earn money through blogging.

Advertising on your blogs: This is the most popular way bloggers earn. 2 most popular way ad networks are

  • Google: After your get Google Adsense approval, earning becomes super easy. You have to past code given by google and voila! Google will take care of everything related to advertising. All you need to take care of is not to get banned from Adsense.
  • Media.net: Similar to Google adsense. You might want to use it if you get banned by Google

Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate Marketing is the most profitable earning method. Most successful bloggers eventually become affiliate marketers due to its earning potential. You promote other products in your blog and take a cut (commission) for sale of that product, sold through your link.

If you see a millionaire blogger. He is most likely an affiliate marketer.

Here are some of the popular Affiliate Programs:

  • ShareASale
  • Clickbank
  • JVzoo
  • Commission Junction

Sell digital learning products: It can be an ebook or an online course. This method requires moderate to high level of expertise but the returns are very high. Nevertheless this remains the fastest way to earn big money for bloggers.

Step 9: How to build your Email list (Bonus++)

Now that you have setup your first blog post. Don’t hesitate to build your email list. Every passing day you will be losing valuable customers. Here is the step by step process  to get you started.

  1. Choose Email Marketing Service Provider: There are plenty for good service providers
  2. AWeber
  3. ConvertKit
  4. MailerLite
  • MailerLite is which is free for until you hit the 1k email accounts, you can either upgrade to one of MailerLite’s paid plans or switch to a different email marketing service provider.
  • Place Opt-in forms while giving a reason for buyers to

FAQs:

Q-How much time it will take for me to earn money from blogging?

A – Blogging more than anything needs patience. Keep working and results will show. It took me 6 months to get my first dollar from blogging.

Q – How much can I earn through blogging?

A – There are many bloggers earning $1000 to $30000 per month

Q- How much does to cost to start blogging?

A – You can start with as low as $3.

Q- Can I start a blog for free?

A – Yes you can start your blog for free via Blogger or WordPress. It is a good idea for blogging as a hobby? Maybe. Will you earn handsome paycheck? Highly unlikely.

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