Blogging 101

How to start a blog (in 2020): The detailed beginner’s guide

Intrigued to learn, how to start your own blog?

In this detailed beginner’s guide, I will show you how to start a blog in the most convenient and cheapest way possible.

When I started out blogging almost 6 years back. Believe me, I did hell lot of mistakes. Right from choosing wrong blogging platform to picking up a weird domain name to writing almost about everything to not promoting my blog at all.

It seemed like Alexander Pope had written its famous proverb, “To err is human” just for me.

But anyhow over the period of time, I did learn quite a few amazing tips and tricks of blogging which you can incorporate to create an exemplary blog.

And unlike earlier days, now you don’t even need to have any technical expertise to start a blog. It’s a quite simple and easy process now.

Before moving on to steps you need to follow to start a blog. First let’s find the answer of few of most commonly asked how to start a blog queries.

What is a blog?

Blog is a type of website which maintains informative content on a particular or set of topics. It’s information or posts usually gets displayed in reverse chronological order (the latest, the first).

Why start a blog?

  • To make money from home
  • Build expertise over a topic you passionate about
  • Building an online portfolio of your work
  • To grow your business reach
  • Share your anecdotes and connect with other like-minded people
  • Share anything you love or interested in

How much does it cost?

Even though there are free blogging platforms out there which lets you start a blog at no cost at all, which is not recommended if you are doing it more than just a hobby and want to grow and earn money in the future.

hosting
Bluehost

The required expenditure to get started is domain name and hosting. Hosting will cost you anywhere around $5 to $10 per month depending on the plan you choose. And domain will cost you roughly around $10 per year. This will set your blog up and you can start writing the content.

domain registrar
Hostinger

Later on if you want to take your blog to the next level then you can procure premium themes, tools and services.

How can I make money blogging?

There are several ways you can monetize your blog such as affiliate marketingdisplay Adssponsored postsselling e-books and courses. But the first and foremost requirement before earning any money is, you have to bring traffic on your site. This can only happen if you will post quality contents consistently and build the audience.

Now it’s time to follow the step-by-step guide on how to start a blog.

Decide what you want to blog about

Choosing a particular niche to focus on is very important in blogging as there are more than 150 millions blog out there on the Internet and not choosing a particular topic will compel you to get lost in the ocean.

So it’s better to choose a topic at the very beginning and stick with it. This way you will build a loyal and targeted audience base as well as develop an expertise over that topic over the period of time.

While choosing the niche, make sure you choose a niche you are passionate about otherwise it will become a tedious task in the long run but at the same time don’t choose a very narrow topic as you will sooner run out of ideas to write about.

I will predominantly talk about travel niche here. If you scrutinize travel blogging, you will find out travel as a whole is very vast niche. It’s comparatively harder to stand out just to blog about traveling. Because you will face much more competition.

So what you can do is, divide travel into further sub-niches like budget traveling, offbeat traveling, luxury traveling, adventure traveling, vegan traveling, or solo female traveling. And stick with one or two which you find exciting enough.

You can also build an authority over a particular location like Europe, Asia or Africa and write about it.

100 Profitable Blog Niche Ideas
https://bloggingwizard.com/

Do a proper brainstorming and research before finalizing the niche. If your goal is to make money from it in the future then stalk other bloggers in that niche and see if they are making any money and if yes then how?

What if I want to write on multiple topics?

You can still do it. Even many people are actually doing it on the Internet. We call them lifestyle bloggers. But unfortunately there are only a handful of successful lifestyle blogger as compared to those who focuses on a particular topic.

Read this post to get the deep insight on whether you should choose single topic or multi topic blog : Single topic vs. multi-topic blog

Choose a blogging platform

Your blog will be a hit or miss. This directly depend on which blogging platform you choose. Some are entirely free and for some you have to spend a few bucks per month but think of it as an investment. This will be proved as one of the best decisions in the long run.

Which blogging platform is best

As you can see, WordPress is the most popular among all the others. And it has all reasons to do so.

A self-hosted WordPress is what everyone should go with if they are serious about blogging and not doing it just as a mere hobby.

Choose a domain name

There is a famous proverb in English, “First impression is the last impression

Consider domain name as the first impression of your blog. Other half of the proverb “The last impression” might not be true but domain name definitely is one of the important aspect of becoming successful on the web.

It’s always advisable not to rush in choosing a domain name, and research and think enough before finalizing one.

Things to consider while registering the domain name

  • Always try to register .Com or .Org (Most popular ones)
  • Choose a creative one over the generic
  • Shorter is better (1-2 words. avoid more than 3 words)
  • Must be easy to type
  • Easy to pronounce
  • Avoid hyphens and numbers
  • Consider using word which reflects your blog or business
  • Check for the trademark before registering

Which domain registrar is best?

GoDaddy and Hostinger are few of the famous ones. I personally use Hostinger and find it the cheapest over others. But you can do your own research and then make a decision. The average cost per year per domain will be around $10.

Choose a hosting plan

Hosting is basically what puts your blog on the web. Your WordPress files, contents you write, images or graphics you upload get stored into a web server.

Hosting is way of purchasing some space and resources on a particular web server so your blog can go live and keep functioning all day long.

There are plenty of options to choose from. BluehostHostinger and GoDaddy are few of the famous ones.

The plan starts anywhere from $3 per month and goes up to a few hundred bucks per month depending on your requirement.

hosting plan
Hostinger

Basic plan is more than enough to get started and you can switch plans as your blog grows.

Types of hosting

There are mainly two types of hosting : Shared hosting and Cloud hosting.

SHARED HOSTING

When a single physical server is divided up between multiple users and each user gets shared amount of bandwidth and resources.

This type of hosting is the cheapest and ideal for the websites with lesser traffic.

CLOUD HOSTING

This hosting allow users to use the resources and bandwidth of multiple servers rather having your site confined to a single server location.

Ideal for websites with high traffic and scalability is also quite easy in cloud hosting.

Few of the famous cloud hosting providers are, Digital Ocean (Require technical skills to set up), Hostinger and Google Cloud (A bit expensive).

Setting up your account

This step mainly consist two tasks. Installing WordPress (A open source software) on your web server and connecting domain name to your hosting account (If your domain registrar is different from your hosting provider).

Go through these video to understand how can you install WordPress in a click.

GoDaddy

Bluehost

And if your domain name is with some other registar then watch this video to connect your domain name with your host.

Pick a theme for your blog

Now your blog is up and live with default WordPress settings. And now it’s time to customize your blog the way you want.

The first thing you must do is pick and install a theme of your choice. The theme must suits your blog needs, It’s not recommended using a theme designed for travel blog on a portfolio blog or vice versa. Theme must fit as per your business needs.

Also, a theme with too many unnecessary features and flashy color choices should be avoided because this will slow down your blog loading time (which will hurt your SEO goals in long run).

Minimalistic and simple design is always great to go with.

How to install a theme in WordPress?

Since your blog has been setup. Now you can log into the WordPress admin panel.

To log in, type domain name + wp-admin in the URL box of the browser. And press Enter.

wordpress admin url

Type Username and password (you had set up during WordPress install & also got in an email). And click on Sign In.

wordpress login page

Now hover over Appearance and then click on Themes.

theme section

Click on Add New button.

Add a new wordpress theme

Now you can upload a theme or install existing themes which comes with WordPress by default.

upload wordpress theme

To upload a theme. You can search on Google for the themes. Few are available for free to use and for few you need to pay (Premium themes).

google wordpress theme
download wordpress theme from google
theme downloaded

Now click on the Upload Theme button. And choose the file you have just downloaded. And click on the Install button to complete the theme installation.

upload new wordpress theme

Once the installation is completed. You can refresh your blog to check if the change has been reflected or not.

Customize the theme

A moment earlier, you installed the theme of your choice. And now it’s time to customize the theme.

Customization is all about tweaking the theme settings in such a way that it represents your business or blog such title, logo, tagline, footer etc.

To customize the theme, hover over Appearance in your WordPress admin panel then click on Customize.

customize wordpress theme

This will take you to the theme customization page.

customization options

Click on Site Identity tab. Here you can upload a logo of your blog, set the title and tagline. After doing all the changes, click on Publish button at the top.

customize site settings

In the same way, you can customize different aspects of your theme by clicking different tabs. Click on the Publish button each time to save the changes.

publish changes

Install the important plugins

Plugins are the most powerful feature of WordPress which gives this software an upper hand over other CMS (Content Management System) software.

There is hardly any task for which a plugin is not available in WordPress.

WordPress community has over millions of plugins for wide variety of features. Few are available for free and for few you have to spend few bucks (Monthly or one time).

Since, we all agree that access of everything is bad. This holds true even for plugins. Too many plugins slows down your blog. So it’s always advisable to install only those plugins which are absolutely necessary. And if something is not necessary then better uninstall it or deactivate it.

How to install a plugin in WordPress?

Hover over Plugins option in admin panel and click on Add New button.

install wordpress plugin

Search for the plugin in Search box at the top right.

search wordpress plugin

Click on Install Now button on the plugin you want to install.

install a wordpress plugin

Now click on Activate button to activate the plugin.

activate wordpress plugin

You can check all your installed plugins at Plugins → Installed Plugins.

check installed plugin

From there you can deactivateactivate or delete a plugin.

activate deactivate plugin

Must have plugins

  • SEO plugins (Yoast SEO, All In One SEO Pack or Rank Math)
  • Really Simple SSL (To make your site HTTP secure if not available for free with hosting plan)
  • Social media share plugin
  • Image optimizer ( To optimize images on your blog)
  • WP Fastest Cache ( for Caching)
  • Analytics plugin ( Moster Insight, EasyMetrics or GAinWP)
  • Easy Table of Contents (To add indexing in your post)
  • UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore ( To backup your content)

Write your first blog post

Now you are all set to do, for what you have setup this blog at a first place.

Writing the content, sharing your thoughts or showing your expertise.

To do so, hover over Posts in admin panel and click on Add New.

write first wordpress post

Enter your post headline and start writing.

You also have several options to play with the text.

post editor

Once writing is done. Select categories, enter tags and select featured image.

post category featured image and tags

Now click on Publish button to make your post live.

publish the first blog post

Promote your blog

Now since you have written a quality content. It’s time to let the world the know about it.

And best the way to do this is, promote your blog across different mediums such as social media (FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest).

promote your post on pinterest

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is another great way to let others know about your blog if they search something on Google, your post will appear in a few of the top results if you have properly optimized your content from an SEO perspective for those search terms.

Read this guide on how to write SEO optimized content: 11 ways to write SEO optimized content

You can also run Paid Ads on Google so that your blog appears on the top when someone search for that particular keyword ( But it’s not very much effective).

Google Ads
google ads

You can do email outreach (send people email about your new blog post) to promote your blog.

email outreach

Note ⇾ You don’t necessarily need to promote your blog everywhere. Choose a platform or two which suits your business needs and working well for you and then focus on them meticulously.

Wrapping up

I hope I have explained all the important things which you need to create and run your own blog. There are many topics which I haven’t explained in detail because those will be a blog post in itself.

But I believe, now you have enough knowledge to at least get started. Rest you will learn along the way.

start a travel blog

Read more stories 💡

  1. Single topic vs. multi-topic blog: which is the best and why?
  2. 11 ways to write SEO optimized content for your blog (2020)
  3. How To Find Your Blogging Motivation When Nothing Is Going Right
  4. 11 beautiful budget-friendly places to visit in North India
  5. This is how I did Leh Ladakh bike trip from Manali under 12k
  6. 5 offbeat places in Uttarakhand to beat Overtourism
  7. The ultimate guide to getting most out of your time in south goa
  8. Things I learned after 5 years of traveling

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Ranjan
Ranjan
A blogging and traveling aficionado. Guitar is the only possession I care about. Follow me on Instagram @ thrillwrill for more of my trip pictures.
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