Even if you’re a complete beginner you can start a successful blog and without any technical knowledge you can to monetize your blog. With a little bit of education, experience and practice, start a successful blog.
If you’re looking for a free and easy way to start a blog, then you’ve come to the right place. This guide will help you get started in 45 minutes.
Every day hundreds of blogs are created but only a few have the ability to become successful. Do you know why? Because they take blogging very seriously and stay focused on achieving their blogging goals.
The online world is a huge place and it will keep growing in the upcoming years. So why not dig your hands in it. People are making money in every niche through a blog, YouTube and Instagram.
When you start your blog there will be no defined type of audience. Everything needed to be built from scratch. There will be a lot of trial and error methods to grow a successful blog. So you need not to worry, just start from right place and be patient.
Remember you won’t see success overnight, you need to work hard on your blog.
How much does it cost to get started?
Basically, the very important thing you need to know before learning how to start a successful blog. You can always start a free blog but investing as little as $175 to $1800 in your first year is what will give you a higher return.
Where you need to invest your money:
- Hosting and Domain (You need to buy them together) – $50 to $100
- Website template – $50 – $250. (optional)
- Email servicer provider – $25/month – $290/year (optional)
- SEO tool – $1000/year (optional)
- Social media scheduler – $20/month – $240/year (optional)
That’s all you need to invest in your first year of blogging. It’s okay if you don’t have $1800 to spend, just remember to get hosting and domain which will make your website look professional and monetize your blog.
Let’s start on how to start a successful blog and you’ll get everything done within 45 minutes. Yes, that’s all the time you need.
1. Find out your niche
First thing first! What are you going to blog about? You need to find out what you’re going to talk and write about to attract readers on your blog.
But the question is how to find your niche?
You can blog about anything but unless you can make it interesting it’s not worth it.
First, define what you love the most. For example, if you love technology, gadgets or fashion you can write about that. If you provide professional services such as legal work, content writing, designing, etc. you can promote it through blogging. It is easy to blog about what you are passionate about than blogging just to make money.
Ask these 4 questions to yourself before you go for a niche:
- What do you most enjoy talking about? Until and unless you aren’t passionate about the topic, it makes no sense to your audience to get engaged with the content. Because it can be hard to start a successful blog, you need to talk and write what interests you the most.
- What do you enjoy reading the most? Is it fashion, cooking, travel, science or technology? Anything you enjoy reading, you can write about it. People also document their life in the blog, until and unless you aren’t confident about sharing your life with the world. I don’t recommend you write on yourself.
- Are you an expert in something? You may be an SEO expert, marketer, etc. you can start your blog with it. But if you aren’t an expert in something that doesn’t mean you cannot blog about it. If you have basic knowledge in it and have a passion to grow in that direction, you can always start a blog about it. Just remember, to start a successful blog you can always start with the basic knowledge you have about the topic.
- What do you like to learn about? It’s always easy to blog about what you’re interested in because you want to learn more about it and share it in your blog. So, if you want to know about how to start a successful blog, you can learn about it and blog about it. You can share your experience and the mistakes you’ve learned (and much more).
Think about topics you enjoy talking about, helping your friends and family about it. It will help you stay focused and work hard on your blog.
2. Research your niche community
So, suppose you’ve decided to go with “fashion” or “how to start a successful blog” niche. Your next step is to research how other blogs or websites are doing in your niche.
What other blogs are there in your niche? What they blog about? Simply go to their website and see what it looks like. What are they doing to attract readers?
Try to identify their theme/branding. When you visit their website, take a look at how they present their blog, color, fonts, images or design they use.
What name do they use for their blog? This is really important because you have to decide a name for your blog too. And your blog name should match your domain name and should be relevant to the blog topic. For example, we have our website named “Bounceble.com” because we have a digital product (yet to be available for people).
“Neilpatel.com” is a personal blog. You can also go for your own blog name, but, first, check if the domain is available for your name; second if you want to build a personal brand.
Are they missing something? Now to stand out of the crowd, identify 1-2 problems or things your competitor is missing which you can offer or solve for your audience. This will help you identify the audience and you can immediately see traffic coming to your site.
If you want to go a little further, you can conduct their website’s audit. (I’ll show you how to do an audit of your competitor’s website and your website.) You need to do website audit because it will help you see how the website is doing on search engines, social media, and other places.
To do a website audit you can use two tools: one free and another paid. Choose the one you find fit to use.
1. Ubersuggest (Free tool)
Ubersuggest doesn’t have all the features which require a website audit but its worth to start with. You can have:
- SEO audit
- Keyword ranking
- Traffic analysis
Here’s how you can do it:
2. Semrush (Paid tool)
It’s more advanced and you can get an in-depth report on your website.
- Start with 7-days free trial.
- Organic entrances
- % bounced entrances / bounce rate
- Total pageviews/sessions
- Number + quality of backlinks
- Crawl frequency
- # of ranking keywords
- Social shares
- Competitor analyze
These tools will help you a lot in the future. If you are willing to spend $1000 yearly than I would highly recommend you to go with Semrush.
3. Register your domain & get hosting
Things you need to consider when going for a blog name:
- Blog name should be relevant to your niche.
- Should not include symbols, numbers or hyphens.
- Carry .com as it is a better option.
- Your domain should be the same as your blog name. Do not include “the”, “a” or other words.
- Make sure it’s easy to remember.
- If you don’t find the domain you want, don’t worry start your successful blog and change it afterward.
Once you’ve decided your blog name, you need to get it registered and get hosting for your blog. As hosting is really important to get thousands of traffic, looks professional and you can also earn through advertising.
Why you need a self-hosted website?
There are many free blogging platforms but if you seriously want to consider making money from blogging you need to invest in a self-hosted website.
Most free platforms don’t allow to monetize a blog (such as advertising and affiliate programs don’t work in free platforms) and they add there branding (which don’t look professional). So having a self-hosted website looks more professional and makes sponsors trust you.
Self-hosting a website is not expensive, it costs around $50 – $250 per year, which is equal to 1-2 Starbucks coffee per month. So it’s actually a lot affordable. Most self-hosted website offers 12 months of hosting and 1 domain.
Once your blog receives enough traffic you can upgrade to a higher level, but right now start with the basic plan.
SiteGround is giving a 77% discount on its hosting. And why I recommend SiteGround:
- SiteGround will cost you just $3.95/month which will include 12 months hosting, 1-year domain and 1-year domain protection (it’s important to protect your domain information and website being attacked by fraudulent stuff).
- It offers a free WordPress installation. Those who don’t know what WordPress is, it is the world’s most popular blogging platform, with 66% of market share in the Content Management System (CMS).
- You can select the server from 3 different locations. You can choose the location you prefer during the signup.
- Free CDN and SSL They offer instant setup of Cloudflare’s free CDN and free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt. (which is necessary to make your website secure).
- SiteGround is considered as the best in website speed. Google gives priority to websites who have fast loading speed. They are equipped with the latest hardware like SSD drives and custom software to make sure that your site is super fast. This will help your website index fast by search engines.
- Top-Notch Customer Support their customer support is fantastic, to say the least. They offer 24/7 phone, live chat, and ticket-based support.
- Your website will be available 24/7/365 without facing any downtime. This is a must.
- Not convinced yet? See these reviews:
Signup with a special discount to SiteGround.
Visit the website: SiteGround.
You need to install WordPress and get started. WordPress is the popular CMS with 66% of the market share and even SiteGround recommends using it. You can easily manage your website and blog posts from the dashboard. Also, WordPress is a little bit optimized for SEO, so it will help you get search results immediately.
Next, you need to update the DNS so that the domain is hosted on SiteGround. The nameservers will have been sent to you in the welcome email from Siteground.
This will be your WordPress dashboard. Now you can customize your website as per your wants, add plugins, manage users, comments, setting, pages, blog posts and more. You don’t need to know any technical information to work on WordPress.
The last step you need to do is redirect your website from HTTP to HTTPS. Though SiteGround will automatically add a security certificate to your domain. But if you need to make sure you can check the configuration.
3. Get a website & logo
You need to design your website. You can either go for free or paid. Here are all your options:
- Free WordPress Theme from WordPress. If you don’t want to pay for a professional website you can select from WordPress < Appearance < Themes.
- Buy cheap, but a professional-looking website from Elegant themes. It will cost you around $50 – $250. Or you can have an annual membership which will cost you $89, which means if you don’t like a theme you can just download from the dozen others.
- Hire someone to develop a website for you. This option will be costly. If that’s in your mind, hire one from Upwork.com and will cost you from around $200 to so on as per your requirement.
Next, there are some pages you need to have on your blog.
When you’re learning how to start a successful blog, you only need to add these 3 pages. As your blog grows you can add more such as resource page, privacy page, disclaimer, etc.
Add the theme to your WordPress – Once you’ve downloaded a premium website template, go to Appearance < Themes < Add New < Upload theme < Choose the website theme you want to upload and install it. Next, you can customize your website as per the requirements.
Logo – Logo is an essential element of branding as it helps to distinguish between brands/websites/blogs. Create a simple logo with Canva. Canva is a free graphic design tool, you can create not only logos but also many other designing stuff such as infographics, images, social media posts, banners, templates and much more.
It can be a simple name of your blog in a different font or a symbol resembling your blog topic. Create the one which you think will be relevant for your blog and niche.
4. Set goals.
Setting goals is an important step to start a successful blog so that you know what to do, when to do and how to do? What to expect and how to create a strategy to reach those goals. There are 3 segments which will help you build an audience, get organic traffic (from search engines) and generate revenue when you set goal.
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Content Marketing
Keep them in your 1st year’s goals, try to build loyal audience and not the number of followers. Only loyal customers turn into paying customers. This blogging funnel will help you a lot in setting goals.
Some examples of setting goals can be:
- Generate income through advertising, affiliate marketing or guest posting or other blogging techniques.
- Building social media community (remember you don’t need to be on every other social media network, start with 2-3.)
- Increase conversion and engagement such as comments, shares, and referrals.
- Build up, email subscribers.
And there are more! But your goals should be measurable.
Remember to set only 2-3 goals in a year, this will help you stay focused. To reach the yearly goals, create small monthly goals leading towards yearly goals.
5. Develop a marketing strategy
You obviously need a marketing strategy for your blog. It should be really simple in beginning.
Once you have setup everything – hosting, website, and goals – the next thing is to plan your blog’s content and marketing strategy. It doesn’t need to be a lengthy process filled with sub-sections. Just take your notebook and fill these questions:
- List all the problems you see in your niche. Search the problem on Google and see what you get in the search result. You have to find a way to solve the problem for your readers and make them interested in your blog.
- Ideas for blog posts – Through the things you Googled you need to make a list of blog ideas you discovered. Try to keep a list of all the ideas you get to create a blog post on. With this exercise, you’ll build a pool of blog posts. Also, this will help you create blog posts in series which will be connected to each other and help you rank on the search engine.
- Channels to distribute your blog post – Forums in your niche, Social media channels (such as Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) or email. Your each social media platform requires a separate marketing strategy.
- If your social media strategy consists of Facebook and Pinterest (which I would highly recommend starting with), then your Facebook marketing goal can be increasing blog traffic or increasing conversion on Facebook posts.
6. Write your blog post with this checklist
Once you’re done with developing the marketing strategy for your blog, you need to write your first blog post.
- Go with the long keyword. This will help you rank faster than short term keywords.
- Make the first 100 words attractive and interesting for readers.
- Write a click-worthy headline.
- Break the blog post into several sections or points.
- Include images, GIFs, and infographics to make the post more interesting and sharable.
- Always add a conclusion.
- Use 80:20 rule. Write 80% for readers and 20% for search engines.
I have created an ultimate blog post checklist, which will help you write your very first blog post. Download from here.
7. Setup website for SEO
SEO will play a very important role to start a successful blog. SEO is a way to optimize your website with particular keywords and phrases. If you’re new to SEO, this article will help you get started.
Frankly, you don’t have to be an SEO expert to get your blog rank on the search engine. Starting with basic is always the right option and as you grow and learn new things, implement those tips or tricks to your blog and make it a successful blog.
- Add 1 long keyword in every blog post.
- Do proper research on the keyword.
- Add keyword in the meta description, title, alt image and slug.
Through WordPress, SEO will be insanely easy for you. These SEO tools will help you get your work done:
- Yoast a WordPress Plugin – A free & paid tool, but the free tool will be enough for you. (A complete guide to setup Yoast plugin) Do not stress for all green light, having 80% green light means you’re on the right track.
- Ubersuggest a keyword analyzer – A completely free tool. (Look above on how to get started with Ubersuggest)
- Semrush a perfect SEO tool – It’s one of the best SEO tool out there. Helping you with a complete analysis of website, competitors, keywords, backlinks and much more. It offers a free trial for 7-days. This is how you can get started with Semrush.
8. Pre-marketing before publishing
Create a little buzz of your blog in your network; between friends, family or colleagues. Give them a little hint of what you are up to.
— LAY’S (@LAYS) August 10, 2017
9. Build an email list
From the very first day consider building an email list even before considering social media channels. If you invest $1 on each subscriber you’ll get 440% higher Return On Investment.
Most new bloggers think it’s old fashion and consider email marketing at last. But there are more email accounts than all social media platforms combined. This means, even if email marketing is the oldest, it will offer you the best result in less time.
When I started blogging I didn’t build an email list and it was the biggest mistake. At first, I didn’t understand newsletters and how to engage with the audience through emails.
But I learned from my mistake, after 1 year of blogging and not considering email marketing, I decided to seriously consider email marketing with ConvertKit. From creating amazing signup forms to attract subscribers to creating landing pages. You can do everything in one place.
Why will people subscribe to your blog?
- If they like your content.
- If you offer them something in exchange for their email.
- People who are genuinely interest in your content or offers will subscribe.
If you don’t want to spend on email marketing, I still recommend you to start building an email list with a free email service provider. You can start with MailChimp which is a free email service provider, but with very limited features. You get only 2000 free email subscribers in forever free plan.
These articles will help you get started with email marketing:
- How to get started with Email Marketing?
- 14 Type of Email Marketing Campaigns You Need to Send Your Subscribers.
- This Is How I Collected My First 500 Email Subscribers.
10. Choose social media platform
Social media will help you engage with your audience in a closer and better way. You can improve your blog traffic and build a social media community. It might feel like extra work but start with the right platform which fits best for your niche and have a relevant audience.
When you start blogging, it’s better not to be on every other social media network available. Select the ones which fit best for you and for your business.
I started with Facebook and Pinterest. This is the best combination of building community with Facebook and getting thousands of traffic from Pinterest.
Mostly when starting out new bloggers tend to stay active on every social media account. But practically it’s not good for long term practice. Because you won’t be able to focus and build the audience on each one of the platforms.
Choose any 1-2 social media platforms from these six:
- Facebook – Almost all types of people use Facebook and it’s the first choice of most businesses.
- Instagram – It’s not for every business. If you have too many visuals/graphics to share it’s perfect.
- LinkedIn – It’s a B2B platform. Will help you build a business connection.
- Pinterest – Suitable for every business type.
- Twitter – You will have direct communication on Twitter with your audience or customers.
- YouTube – One of the fastest-growing platforms. If you have something unique or educational content to share, then YouTube is your best friend.
This article will help you decide which platform to start with.
One of the best tool you’ll need for social media marketing is a social media post scheduler. It will help you schedule posts in advance. It’s not always possible to be available on social media when your audience is most active. But with the help of a scheduler, you can get your work done.
Like other tools, social media schedulers can be of two types: Free and Paid.
Buffer is the best free option, you can connect any 3 accounts, schedule 10 posts each time per account and is really easy to use.
SocialPilot is the best-paid tool, you can connect up to 25 accounts, schedule unlimited posts, very easy to use and cost $20/month. If you want to know why SocialPilot will be best for you, read this article.
11. Promote after publishing
How will you get readers to your blog? That’s the first question you ask after publishing the blog post.
You can’t just hit publish and wait for readers to come to your blog. In the beginning, nobody will know your blog and you. You have to reach out to people, ask them to share your content in their network (if they actually enjoy it).
Here is the list for all the ways you can get traffic to your first blog post after you hit publish: 41 Places to Promote Posts and Get Free Traffic.
Promoting a blog post is a never-ending process. If you think sharing your content 2-3 times on social media will be enough to catch readers’ attention, then you’re wrong. Even after publishing the post, you should promote it and share it for months along with other content.
Remember promoting blog posts is a never-ending thing.
12. Monetize your Blog
The last and ultimate thing you need to do is monetize your blog. Yes, you can always start monetizing your blog since day 1.
I hear people saying it’s not possible to coverup expenses of 1st year. No, it’s not true. If you blog right, you can start earning from 1st month. It won’t be $50000 but can be a few hundred dollars.
Here are different ways to earn money:
- Advertising – One of the most popular ways of earning.
- Affiliate marketing – You probably won’t be able to earn a lot through advertising than from Affiliate marketing. Each sale you make from the affiliate program can help you earn $30-$75. This means if you sell 10 affiliate links you can get $300-$750 a month.
- Sponsor posts – Having a company advertise on your blog is one of the first ways the average blogger begins to earn money blogging. In the beginning, you need to reach out to the companies, to get sponsorships. But once you build up your place, companies will approach you and you can easily make more than $10000 a month.
- Selling services – If you’re an expert in a field, you can start selling your own service and get clients through the blog.
- Selling digital or physical product – You can sell T-shirts, E-books, printables or software.
This detailed guide will help you guide on how to start generating revenue from your blog, read the article here.
That’s not enough!
Once you’ve published your 1st blog post you need to create awesome content on a regular basis. You want people to visit your blog and engage with it. For which you need to improve your blogging and learn new things every day.
Keep building yourself and your blog together, will give success to your blog and you’ll earn $5000 per month or even more than that. I’m able to earn more than $300,000 per year, which means $25,000 per month.
It’s not an unattainable amount, only that you have to work hard for it.
Starting a blog is easy. It’s affordable and just requires hard work and dedication.
(This post may contain(s) affiliate links. That means I do get compensated every time someone buys from these links at no cost to you. See disclosure here.)