HOW TO START A BLOG FOR BEGINNERS IN 2020!
So you want to embark on a blogging adventure but are wondering what you need to do before starting a blog ?!
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m not one of those bloggers who makes their money blogging about blogging: My niche has always been fashion and beauty, and I’m proof that you can make money blogging from ANY niche, not just personal finance and other money-related subjects.
Will you be able to lay a good foundation on which to build a successful and profitable blog later? I have good news at the beginning – you will be able to! All you need is the right instructions to avoid making some of the most common beginners misses. That’s why I wrote a detailed blog startup guide with all the steps you need to take.
Blogging is a great way to share your knowledge with those who have the same affinities as you, to help them and inspire them to take the action they need to achieve a particular result and to make money, of course.
As for me personally, the decision to start this blog is one of the best I’ve ever made.
How To Start A Blog For Beginners: First Steps
Before you jump into blogging, there are a few things that you need to get clear about. The most important things are:
1. DECIDE FOR A NICHE
2. IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET AND EXPLORE WHAT IT NEEDS
3. MAKE A BUSINESS STRATEGY
4. DEFINE YOUR BRAND
5. Your Hosting
Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into each and every one of these.
DECIDE FOR A NICHE
You can write about anything that comes to mind in one day and have 15 different categories, but you can’t expect to achieve anything significant with such a blog.
With great effort around your blog, you will build a small community of people you are less – more likable.
PEOPLE who are interested in reading some of your articles from time to time, possibly make the purchase of the product you have recommended, and that’s it.
I’m sure this type of scenario is not the goal of anyone who strives to build and run a profitable blog.
However, you should not fall into the trap of a “profitable niche” here because any niche can be profitable if you do the job right. The biggest mistake you can make before starting a blog is that you decide to copy one of the successful bloggers you follow.
For your blog to be successful, you need to write about a topic you personally enjoy.
IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET GROUP AND RESEARCH WHAT YOU NEED
Some would say that things go a little different in blogging – that we run the blog for ourselves, and the audience subsequently gathers around it. However, this philosophy was valid and brought results ten years and more ago, now things have changed dramatically.
the narrower your focus on the target group, the greater your success.
Remember – the narrower your focus on the target group, the greater your success. Not everyone can be your target group, because you can’t have useful information for everyone, right?
Explore what it is that people want to hear from the area you plan to write about. Visit groups on Facebook, blog comments from the same niche – see what questions are asked most often, what challenges do your target audience face over and over?
Don’t be discouraged by the idea that everything has already been said if you choose a competitive niche. There are always new and interesting ways you can provide information.
I would suggest thinking about a name for a maximum of couple of days, and then just sticking with the best option.
MAKE A BUSINESS STRATEGY
You need a good plan before starting a blog. Blogging has developed into a real business, so it’s no longer enough to just post and hope that people will notice you. You need a strategy.
Make a list of goals you want to achieve; by quarter or any other time period.
Be creative in designing your goals and strategy. Personally, I made sure that blindly pursuing other people’s strategies did not always bring positive results. What has struck other bloggers is not to me. Track Your Feelings – If you feel something is not a good idea, do not put it into practice simply because a blogger who is successful in your niche is talking about it.
Don’t have to do too many tasks at once.
No one can write fantastic articles at the same time, develop their presence on five social networks, write an e-book, build an email list, etc. Never set yourself more than two goals for the next 90 days;
It is also important not to deviate from the plan you have made. Be patient, thoughtful moves always paid off for everyone.
Next, you want to start thinking about the colors of your blog and branding. If you don’t have a clear idea, have a look at some blogs and see what you’re most drawn into.
I know that finding the perfect theme can be a costly process (some themes cost up to $129!), so I’m going to help you out here. You can claim any one of these premium themes below:
What’s Going To Keep You Going?
Some reasons may include….
- Make more money. Maybe you want to earn a little bit of extra money on the side, or maybe you want to quit your job to become a full-time blogger. Both are possible!
- Get free clothes and makeup. This is an awesome perk of being a fashion blogger! Brands are always looking for people with a platform to promote their products.
- You want a creative outlet. Having a creative outlet is super freeing and fun. Blogging is an amazing way to get some mental relief.
- Become a little bit internet famous. Many bloggers have leveraged their online popularity and become trendsetters in their field. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to become better known – you never know which opportunities it can lead to!
- Be your OWN BOSS. Whether you want to set your own hours or become a location independent digital nomad, having FREEDOM is a big perk of blogging. This is also the reason why I started a blog – I wanted to be my own boss and escape the corporate world.
There are a lot more reasons why you might want to start a blog, but it’s important that you know what your reason is.
This is because building a successful and profitable blog will not happen overnight: there will be times when you want to quit and you will need to put in a lot of hard work.
At the end of it, I promise it will all be worth it! But now, just know that knowing why you want to start a blog is important.
Finally, Let’s Talk About Your Hosting.
Now that we’ve covered everything else, let’s talk about laying the foundations of your blog. What is hosting anyway?
Hosting is when you pay a webserver to maintain your site so that other people can visit it.
You’ve probably heard of free blogging platforms that offer free hostings, such as Wix, Squarespace, and Blogger. The truth is, even though these platforms are “free”, they’re actually going to cost you a lot of money in the long run.
Why? Because you can’t monetize a free blog nearly as well as a self-hosted blog. You’ll be lucky if a free blogging platform even allows you to use affiliate links.
Another reason is that they aren’t seen as professional: they’re seen as an authority site neither by your peers nor by Google.
This means that you won’t get as much organic traffic. And on top of that, you’ll have ads on your site that you can’t get rid of.
I always recommend SITEGROUND for beginner bloggers. The reason why is because they are the fastest, most reliable host and they take away all technical aspects of starting a blog.
They have 1-click WordPress installation, which means that the guys at SITEGROUND will take care of everything that happens on the back-end, and you can focus on designing your blog and creating content. Super easy!
YOU CAN USE MY LINK TO GET SELF HOSTING PACKAGES STARTING AT JUST $3.95 A MONTH
You’ll want to select WordPress hosting
If you are just starting out the start-up plan is great until you build up your traffic. Once your traffic begins to grow, you’ll need to upgrade. Until then, select startup!
Step 2: Register Your Domain Name
THE DOMAIN NAME – WHAT’S YOUR BLOG CALLED?
Type the domain name of your choice in the bar on the left to check out if your domain name is available – if it is, awesome, you’re one step closer to creating your site!
If you’ve already bought a domain from a third-party provider, you can set it up with Bluehost using the bar on the right-hand side. Super simple!
The next few steps are about filling out your account and billing details.
Using my link will save you a total of 63% if you choose the 36-month option.
You’ll get the biggest bang for your buck if you choose the 60 month or 36-month options, but you’ll still get amazing savings even if you choose the 24 months or 12-month option!
I would actually recommend sticking to the 24-month option because you want to try out blogging at first to see if you even like it. Also, your blog might grow exponentially in the next 2 years, which means that after that, you might want to upgrade to a bigger hosting plan.
In this step, you can also choose any package extras that you might want. I HIGHLY recommend getting a domain privacy protection.
This will protect your site from hackers and keep your personal address private. You can skip the other extras (if you want to add them on later, you can always do this.)
Next, review your package information. Bluehost charges you for the entire year upfront – this is how you’re able to get such a good deal!
And…..you’re done – congrats!! Your hosting account has now been created. SITEGROUND will now send you an email confirming your account and FTP details.
The next step for you is to finalize your account and create a password.
If you want to make your blog a business, you can also check “sell products or collect payments online” and “Offer services, training, and education”.
Now, we’re almost done with the boring bits!
Step 3: Install WordPress
WordPress will automatically be installed on your hosting account after you’ve completed set-up!
This is unique among hosting providers and it’s the number one reason that I recommend Bluehost for beginner bloggers – everything is as easy as it can possibly be.
Now, it’s time to pick a free theme. You don’t want to spend too much time doing this – it’s just to get you started. You can change and update your theme at any time after this step.
CUSTOMIZING YOUR BLOG
you’ll log in to your WordPress account and here you’ll find your dashboard.
It’s time to customize your blog. This could by far be the HARDEST PART in the beginning. A lot of people throw in the towel and give up here because creating and customizing your own blog on WordPress isn’t easy.
CHOOSING A BLOG THEME
First, you’ll want a theme for your blog. You can start off with a free theme BUT, having a premium and responsive theme that you purchase will give you more customization and flexibility. You’ll have a lot more options for making it look professional. They are tougher to put together BUT it’s worth it and usually, they come with tutorials.
Find your free themes here: go to dashboard > appearance > themes > add new
Now, click on the “start building” box to start building your website on WordPress!
OR you can upload your own theme by hitting add new > upload the file that you purchased and downloaded.
That’s it! You’re all done with installing your site on WordPress. You officially have a blog – woohoo! That’s awesome!
You’ve officially registered your domain, your host and set up your site on WordPress. Go you!
Start Building Your Blog
CREATING YOUR CORE 4 PAGES
Once you have your theme installed and customized to your liking, it’s time to create your CORE 4! These are the 4 pages you NEED to create and have on your main menu.
- About Me
- Legal policies
Essentially these four pages are MUST-HAVES and then you have your ADD ON pages that I will talk about next.
Let’s start with your about me. In your about me, it’s important to share who YOU are and what your audience can expect from your blog. Use this page to share your story, what your mission is, why you started this blog and what it’s all about. Get REAL, show your personality, make the reader want to read more! If you really wow the reader with your about me, it’s possible the reader is a brand and will be so impressed by your story that they want to work with you!
There are so many approaches to blogging but one of my favorite approaches is the BE REAL, BE RELATABLE approach.
You can easily create a new page by going to dashboard > pages > add new
You would set the title to “about me” essentially and then write it out. Hit publish when you’re finished! You will create a separate page for each core 4!
The second core page you want to have is your contact page. If someone is reading your blog and loves your content so much that they want to collaborate with you or send an opportunity your way, you’ll want to make sure they do so by using your contact page!
This doesn’t need to include your address or phone number but it should include a contact form (which you can insert with the contact form plug-in, I’ll be talking about plug-ins shortly) and you should also list your email!
ADD PAGES TO YOUR MAIN MENU
Now that you have your pages created, let’s add them to your main menu! You’ll do so by going to
dashboard > appearance > menus
Once you are there you will see your pages listed under most recent. Name your new menu as “the main menu”, Select your pages and hit add to the menu. Then SAVE your menu.
Let’s chat plugins. The great thing about a self-hosted WordPress blog is that you get access to tons of plug-ins to help take your blog customization and optimization up a notch!
Some of my must-have plug-ins:
- google analytics/monster insights – track your site’s stats (page views, visitors bounce rate, etc.)
- YOAST SEO – guided SEO tips
- wp smush – optimizes your photos so they aren’t too large
- Pinterest pin it – adds the pin it button to easily pin your images from your blog
- Shareaholic – social share icons so people can easily share your posts to social media
- insert headers and footers – makes it easy to add code to your header when claiming website and setting up google analytics
- mailer lite – an email list builder
- contact forms
You can search and install these plugins by going to:
dashboard > plugins > add new
Welcome to the world of blogging! You’ve now officially completed the steps that many set out to take, but don’t end up doing. But you’re done them, so I applaud you!
Blogging is amazing, and it can change your life like it has changed mine.
However, I have to tell you that good things take time. Don’t expect your blog to blow up within a week of launching it. It’s normal for a blog to start gaining significant traffic and income only after 3-6 months, so don’t be discouraged if your traffic seems a bit slow.
If I can do it, so can you!
Now that you’ve started a blog, you can start learning about how to drive traffic to your blog and monetize it.
My best advice is to start driving traffic with Pinterest.
Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission.