A decade ago, blogging was just meant to be a hobby. As time rolled on, it gave rise to a new genre for professional bloggers.
For many of them, blogging was once a hobby – now it’s a profession. I’m one of them for whom blogging turned into a profession in 2014. You know, that transition when my passion became my profession is tremendous.
Now you’ve decided to start a blog, but there’s enough confusing information on the internet.
So, I’ve put forward I envisioned myself as a person when I was about to start a blog, and put forward this giant guide for you to get all the resources necessary at once place.
You’re in the right place.
In this guide you'll learn
- 1 10 FAQs you may have when starting a blog
- 2 The 10 minutes guide on starting a blog
- 2.1 What topic to blog about?
- 2.2 Picking blogging platform
- 2.3 Domain selection
- 2.4 Registering a domain name
- 2.5 Purchasing web hosting
- 2.6 Setting up WordPress
- 2.7 Choosing and customizing the WordPress theme
- 2.8 Plugins to set up on your new site
- 2.9 Creating WordPress pages
- 2.10 Creating blog posts
- 2.11 Integrating Google Analytics and Search Console
- 2.12 Wrapping up
When you decide to start a blog, you’ll have lots of questions in your head.
Some of these questions may be preventing you from starting a blog.
Let me answer some of these questions briefly, and they’ll give you clarity regarding what to expect.
Should I be good at writing? This is the most common question that newbies ask me. Blogging demands fairly good English communication skills (if you want to do blogging in English).
For native English speakers this may not be a problem.
If you are really bad at English as a language, I recommend you to start a blog in a language that you are proficient in. But first, you need to make sure that there is enough audience willing to read.
Can I start a blog if I don’t know to code? It’s not 2010 when you are needed to at least know a bit of coding to start a blog. Now starting a blog is a click of a button. You’ll get to know what I’m talking about, down the blog post.
In short – even if you have zero coding skills, you can start a blog. But, bare basics of HTML and CSS helps you in some cases – like customizations.
How long does it take to start a blog? Starting a blog hardly takes less than 10 minutes, as you will see in this blog post. It’s not as technical and difficult as you may think.
What does it cost to start a blog? For starting a blog you need to have a domain name and hosting (for storing files).
A good domain costs you as low as $3 for the first year and renews at about $10 every year depending upon the domain name registry. A good shared hosting solution costs you as low as $2.99 monthly when paid yearly.
Which blogging platform to select? I suggest you to start with WordPress, as it is the most versatile platform and used my 59.5% of all the websites with CMS.
If you are looking for free, you can start your blog with Google Blogger, but I won’t recommend it and there is a lack of freedom.
Should I write my own content? If you are a newbie, I highly suggest you to write your own content in the niche that you love. Later on, down the lane, you can consider outsourcing your content to freelance content writers.
If you are not good at writing and know 100% that you’ll succeed in blogging, then invest some money in quality writers.
Where to get content to write? In the initial days, you need to learn about keyword research and competitor analysis to find the topics to write about.
After finding the topics to write about, you need to refer all the top-ranking articles on that topic and prepare an outline of what to include in the article. Combining your own experience, perspectives, and examples with the content that you referred, you need to write the content.
When does my blog start getting traffic? For a new blog, you need to focus on the creation of quality content for the first 5 months. You need to promote your blog on social media and gain referral traffic. Once you have enough content on your blog, Google starts to drive traffic to your blog.
How many blogs to start? It’s easy to get caught up by starting multiple blogs. But for newbies, I highly suggest to start one blog initially and pour all your efforts into it until it becomes one of the best blogs in its category.
How much money can I earn with blogging? It’s hard to tell exactly how much money you can make with blogging. There are people who are making seven-figures income online. But wait, that takes a lot of smart work and persistence.
So, if you ask me – “Hey Akshay, as a newbie how much can I earn in the first year of blogging?”. I would say you can easily hit $1000/month provided if you have the right guidance.
Contrary to the popular belief that starting a blog takes a lot of time, it takes less than 10 minutes to start a new blog.
In this section, I’ll be guiding you step-by-step on how to start your blog. But before starting a blog, there may be some genuine questions running in your head.
This is the most common question that newbies ask me prior to starting a blog. Finding a niche to blog about should not be a hard thing.
For finding a niche to blog about, you need to find something that you are truly passionate about and also profitable. Finding that “sweet spot” is very important or else you are doomed to failure.
- What things I cannot stop talking about? Example: Politics, Fitness, etc.
- If friends were to ask for advice, what would they ask you?
- What do you want to learn more? What excites you in life?
Passion discovery questions
- What things I cannot stop talking about? Example: Politics, Fitness, etc.
- If friends were to ask for advice, what would they ask you?
- What do you want to learn more? What excites you in life?
Profitability discovery questions:
- Are there enough affiliate products in the niche?
- Are there profitable keywords US people are searching for on Google?
- Can you create an informative or digital product in the niche?
- Can you offer a consultancy on the topic?
For example, when it comes to blogging – I’m insanely passionate about it and also it’s profitable. So, that was the niche I chose.
As a beginner, you should not start a multi-niche blog. Choosing a niche is very important.
Here are the advantages of choosing a niche.
- Topical relevance advantage – Google sees you as an expert in the niche
- Loyal reader-base (when you are writing in a niche, your audience will stick reading your blog), and as a result, there will be more direct traffic
- The conversion rate will be more as people trust you as an expert in one niche
And also, for a single niche blog, the content publishing frequency can be low. But in the case of multi-niche, it’s often advisable to have multiple writers as the content publishing frequency will be more as you’ll be covering multiple topics.
If you have read this blog post in detail, you already know which platform to choose.
I highly suggest you go with WordPress.org, as it’s the most popular and versatile platform in the world. It comes with thousands of SEO plugins and page builders.
By using WordPress as CMS you can build a blog, a training website, an eCommerce site, and whatnot? It’s super flexible.
It’s a blogging platform basically.
WordPress is the clear winner when it comes to blogging platforms.
Here I’m not talking about WordPress.com, I’m talking about the WordPress.com, an open source blogging platform you need to host on your server.
If you are serious about blogging, don’t ever go with free Google Blogger or the WordPress.com platform, if you don’t want to limit your growth. They have lots of restrictions and also they can delete your blog at any time for any reasons.
For WordPress.org you need to buy a domain ($10/ year) and also web hosting (around $3 per month).
Treat blogging as a business from day 1. Like for any business, blogging also needs investment.
Once you select the platform to blog, the next question is what domain to choose. This step is very important than it may seem.
Many people say – “Domain name is not very important, content is the one that matters”. I would not agree with this completely. Because the domain name is the initial touchpoint for your audience.
Branding is one of the top SEO factors when it comes to Google.
Initially, I started GoBloggingTips, I grew it to be one of the top blogs in India. Later, I realized that I need a more brandable domain name, hence I got a premium domain – BloggingX.com.
You see, initially, you may overlook the importance of the brandable domain, if you don’t treat blogging as a business – but just as a hobby.
I highly suggest you go for
There are many global TLDs available when choosing a domain name like .com, .co, .net, .org, .io, so on. I would always prefer to go with .com TLD. In fact, in my blogging career, I never bought a non.com domain name.
If the .com domain name is not available you can go for .co or .net.
Don’t go for country-specific TLDs like .us or .in unless you want to restrict your business only to the United States or India.
Should I have a keyword in the domain name? Having keyword in the domain does not give any SEO advantage. It’s the relevancy of the content you publish on your blog that matters when it comes to ranking.
So, I would go with domain names that are brandable and relatable to my audience. For example, if you see BloggingX – it’s both brandable and also relatable to the audience as it has “blogging” in it.
Don’t go super-specific when it comes to the domain name. Because in the future you may find a hard time to expand to other adjacent niches.
If you want to develop your personal brand, you may also go with domain names with your name in it – provided it’s short or make it short.
Make sure that the domain name you choose passes the “radio test”. It means that whenever you get the opportunity to promote your blog on radio, podcast or even in a phone call – your domain name should be easily conveyable to the listeners without you spelling it.
Once you finalize the domain name you need to buy, you can go with any of the domain name registrars like NameCheap, Name.com or GoDaddy.
I suggest you don’t go for GoDaddy due to their unethical business practices, as reported by Forbes and other websites.
I would suggest you go for Namecheap for great support, price and also lifetime free Whois privacy.
I personally have domains both on Namecheap and GoDaddy.
In the end, you can go with whatever the platform you choose.
If you are buying a brand new hosting account, you often get a free domain name for the first year along with the hosting. So you no need to register the domain name on any of the above registrars.
There are lots of web hosting solutions out there on the internet.
Finding the web hosting solution that has good features, support, and reliable is very hard.
I would suggest you go with Bluehost, as it’s the web hosting solution officially recommended by WordPress.
The hosting solution is crafted especially keeping WordPress in mind. I’ll walk you down the steps that are involved in getting a hosting account and setting it up.
Here are the greatest features of Bluehost
- Free 24/7 premium email and toll-free number support.
- Unlimited bandwidth.
- Unlimited email accounts
- Easy to use Cpanel
- Auto WordPress installation
The steps that I outline here are very similar to whatever web hosting solution you choose.
Here I will be guiding to set up a Bluehost hosted blog, as it’s the hosting solution we recommend.
Just go to Bluehost, and you can see the below webpage.
Now in the above page, just click on the “Get started now” button.
Here you’ll be asked to choose the pricing plans to host your website. There are several plans here like basic, plus and prime.
If you are a newbie looking to host only one blog, I would suggest you go for the basic plan. Later on down the road, you can upgrade your hosting plan whenever you want to host multiple websites.
In this step, you need to create a new domain or if you already have a domain name, you need to enter it in the “I have a domain name” field.
After this step, Bluehost will ask for the personal and payment details.
Just fill in your details, and at last, when it comes to package details you need to select your plan term, and also you can optionally include the addons.
As the renewal price of the hosting will be quite high, you may want to get yourself 24 or 36 months plan at the introductory price itself – if you are here in the blogging game to stay.
In the next step, you need to enter in the payment information like your credit/debit card numbers.
After the payment is done, you need to create a new password to your account.
And you’re done.
If you have a domain registered on a different registrar than Bluehost, you need to enter in the Bluehost’s nameservers to your domain name registrar. So that your hosting server and the domain name will be linked.
The best part about Bluehost is that it automatically installs WordPress on your site, without you even don’t need to click on a button.
Once you login clicking on “Login to WordPress”, it’ll ask you to select the WordPress theme.
I would suggest you to choose any random theme or Astra theme (if you have it in options)
After selecting the theme, you’ll be directed to your WordPress dashboard where you need to enter your site name, taglines and also set the password for logging into WordPress.
After setting this, you can
After installing the WordPress on your server, you need to choose what theme you need to install on your WordPress account.
The WordPress repository is filled with thousands of themes. Don’t go with any random theme as there may be some security vulnerabilities or those themes would not be responsive on mobile devices.
I’m personally using Astra Pro on my site here at BloggingX. They both have a very generous free theme which is almost as powerful as other premium themes.
As a beginner, the free versions of these themes are enough, later on, you can reinvest what you earn from blogging in getting the premium version of these themes.
Once you install and activate the theme, go to Appearance > Customizer.
This is the page in which you need to customize and modify the appearance of the theme on your site.
This page has lots of options to play with. I will be showing the most important things you need to pay attention to, in the customizer page.
Under Customizer > Layout > Header> Site Identity, you need to upload the logo of your blog and also the tagline.
In the Colors & Background > Base Colors, you need to select the colors your blog needs to have.
As you can see, my brand color is red and blue. I have a specific color code (HEX code). Select any two colors for your blog that are complementary to each other. You can make use of free tools like Adobe Colors to come up with a color scheme.
In the Typography and Base Typography section, you can select the font family, weight, and size for your blog content.
Like these, there are lots of options for you to play with.
WordPress comes with no plugins installed. But you need to make sure that you install some plugins to make sure that your site is SEO-friendly, fast, and customizable.
Here are some of the plugins that I install on all of my sites.
- Elementor or Thrive Architect: (Depending upon my use case): These are the page builder plugins that help you build very attractive pages by simply using drag and drop. I use these page builders to design my homepage, blog page and also landing pages for lead generation.
- SEO Framework: Many people recommend you installing Yoast SEO. But I would strongly suggest you avoid Yoast SEO plugin as it had issues recently. The plugin of choice is the SEO Framework.
- Jetpack: This is a plugin by Automattic, the creators of WordPress. It adds many features to your WordPress sites like stats, security, and dozens of other features.
- UpdraftPlus: This is a plugin that allows you to take a full backup of your WordPress site and store it in your server or any remote cloud storage solutions like Dropbox or Google Drive.
- iThemes Security: You need to also install this plugin for securing your WordPress site from hackers and possible vulnerabilities. Using a security plugin is very essential in case of shared hosting environments.
- WP Super Cache: There are dozens of caching plugins for WordPress. However, some of the most popular ones like W3 Total Cache are not advisable to be used on shared hosting environments. If you are on a shared hosting, I advise you to use WP Super Cache.
- Mentionable: This WordPress plugin makes it very easy to do the internal linking in WordPress.
Don’t use cracked themes or plugins for WordPress as they pose a great deal of security risks, and moreover degrades your mindset of treating blogging as
I recommend you to do the following things to secure your WordPress account.
- Change the username of your WordPress account from admin to something else.
- Keep alphanumeric password that has special characters in it.
- Always use SSL certificate and make sure that your website loads under HTTPS – it’s now a ranking factor. The Bluehost and also most of the hosting solutions come with a free SSL certificate, make sure you enable it. It’s also advisable to install a free plugin called Really Simple SSL to make sure that the proper HTTPS redirection is in place and also all WordPress resources are served under HTTPS.
- Limit the number of failed login attempts. There is an option in the security section of the Jetpack plugin for this or you may also want to use a separate plugin to accomplish this.
Before publishing any articles on your WordPress blog, it’s very essential for you to set up some essential pages.
These are the pages that are essential for any website.
- Blog page
- About page
- Contact page
- Terms page
- Disclaimer page
Many people usually miss some of these pages, but it’s a good practice to include all of these pages on your website.
On WordPress, by default, all the posts you publish will be stacked chronologically in the homepage of your site.
If you want your website’s homepage to be static and blog posts to be published on a separate blog page, you need to set it up in Settings > Reading.
If you look at BloggingX, we have a homepage and also a blogging page. I suggest you also to do the same.
First, you need to create a homepage and also blog page under “Pages” section of your WordPress site. Publish them and do the settings as in the above screenshot.
And also create the remaining pages that I mentioned above. You can refer to the above pages that I’ve created for this blog – BloggingX for getting some ideas.
In order to start creating blog posts for your WordPress blog, you need to head over to the posts section of your WordPress site.
Here you can start writing your blog post.
Make sure that the blog post title evokes curiosity of the readers and also the blog post content should be of high quality and contains high-quality copyright-free images.
Depending upon the niche that you are blogging in, the blog posting frequency varies.
For example, on BloggingX I have plans to publish at least 1 blog post per week – each of around 3000 – 10,000 words depending upon the topic. Again the word count of the posting frequency depends upon the niche you are blogging in, broader the niche you need to post more often.
For measuring the traffic and the user behavior on your site, it’s very essential for you to install Google Analytics on your WordPress blog.
For doing this, first head over to Google Analytics. Here you need to create a new property and select it as a website and fill in the details.
Here click on the button, “Get Tracking ID”.
Now, Google will present you a JS code, copy it.
You need to head over to your WordPress account, there install a plugin called “Insert Headers and Footers”.
Now paste the copied code in the header so it will be added to all the pages that you have on your WordPress site.
After getting your site added in Google Analytics, it’s very easy to add your site to Google Search Console.
After entering the URL, the search console asks you several ways to verify the property.
You’ll be selecting verify using Google Analytics and click verify.
As you’ve already integrated your site with Google Analytics there’s no need to again verify it for Google search console adding the HTML tag.
It’ll get auto-verified.
Google search console helps you to easily track the SEO health of your site. It notifies you if there are any issues with your site that prevents Google from ranking or indexing your site. It also lets you know if your website is penalized.
To sum it up, this is the process you need to follow when creating your own blog.
Creating a blog is very easy as you may have observed. But writing content, promoting it, and doing SEO are the jobs that require patience and persistence.
Your job is not yet done. You need to learn SEO, promotion, copywriting and also marketing. You need to believe in constantly upgrading your knowledge.
Resolve for epicness from day #1, and future-proof your blogging business.
Again I’m repeating in case if you have missed – “Treat blogging like a business”, don’t ever compromise with quality. If you are into blogging, you’re in a long-term game, so don’t settle for mediocre.
You may want to consider joining our private BloggingX community for FREE.