How to Start a Blog (to Make Money or Otherwise) in 5 Easy Steps

Welcome, future bloggers!

Before getting started, I’ll let you know 2 facts:

  • Build a blog is totally easy.
  • But build a successful blog is not easy.

You may be interested to have a blog after visiting some popular blogs or you just read their income report.

Or you’ve just hearing that simple blogs can generate thousands of dollar.

Whatever the reason, this is the right guide for you.

I will not only guide you how to create a new blog, I will guide you more important thing:

» how to create a blog that has a high chance to success!

After you finished this post, you will be able to create a cool blog, filling it with high quality contents, bring more traffic and make you money.

*The last one I can’t guarantee.

Take a cup of tea or coffee, we will getting started.

… before we started, I’ll let you know one more thing:

Almost all rookie bloggers are getting failed in the first 1-3 months … only few bloggers can succeed with their blogs.

How come? What’s the mistakes they did?

They build their blogs carelessly!

The most common things: their topic are mixed up, their contents are low quality, they lazy to promote their blogs.

Then because their blog has no progress, they finally got bored.

This is not to scare you …

… this is really often happens.

Blog planning is really important. Make sure you don’t waste your time, money, and energy.

Therefore, before we go into how to create a blog, we will discuss the first chapter : preparation.

This guide consists of several chapters started from preparation, installation, and get creative. You can go to the chapter you want to learn from the table of contents below:

  1. Decide your main topic.
  2. Choose a blogging platform.
  3. Find a domain name and web hosting.
  4. Get started with WordPress.
  5. Design and use your blog!

Or continue scroll down if you want to read in sequence.

Step 1 : Decide Your Main Topic

You might think this chapter is so trivial … just pick a topic. Though in reality, this step is the most important thing before you build your blog.

This step will determine the continuity of your blog in the future.

Let me tell you 1 another fact:

Every day there are 2.73 Million new content published by blogs/ websites around the world.

Over 70% of these blogs only getting less than 5,000 visitors per month, or about 150 per day.

So pathetic, right?

What caused it?

These are some of the causes. Like I’ve mentioned above:

  • Their topic are mixed up, not focused.
  • Their chosen topic is not interesting.
  • Their contents are very low quality.

For example,

Suppose you only read 5 websites per day.

Are you going to open websites with qualified, interesting, and useful contents … or websites with useless contents?

It must be the first, right?

So you MUST be able to create blog content better than other blogs.

That’s the key.

Well, to be able to create good content, then you must choose a topic that you are interested / mastered and also interesting for the audiences out there.

If you choose a topic that you do not mastered, then the result:

  • Creating content become so heavy.
  • Your content might be low quality.
  • You’ll get bored quickly.

Let’s just use our logic. If we are not interested and don’t know anything about a topic, can we possibly teach the topic to others and get them interested?

Very hard … especially for beginners.

But if you have a special ability or expertise in a particular topic, It would be ease you in creating high quality contents.

But wait..

When I said about of “expertise” or “ability,” I’m not said you should be an expert, a teacher, a guru or a master. NO!

I means that your ability is more than the layman or ordinary people.

For example, if an expert’s ability is 100%, a layman’s ability 0%, then if your ability is only 40%, it’s enough!

Later, you will also learn more about your topic after having a blog.

Which topics can make you money?

There is 1 legendary myth said that only blogs in certain topics can generate online income.

That’s a big mistake.

All topics can make you money!

If the content you’ve create is be able to attract so many people out there, any topic can generate online income. Even blogs with funny or weird content.

You want a proof?

Simply go to flippa.com and you’ll see a lot of website in various topic sold in high prices because those blogs have generated a lot of income.

So, don’t choose a topic that does not interest you or you have no (at least) 40% ability/knowledge about the topic.

IMPORTANT: If you want to have a profitable blog for the long term, DON’T choose a topic that invites legal issues such as providing MP3 songs, movie downloads, adult content, and its kinds.

Step 2 : Choose a Blogging Platform.

There are so many blogging platforms available on the net today like  WordPress, Blogger, Squarspace, Webly, Medium, Joomla,Tumblr, Ghost or Wix.

Each have pros and cons, but according to this survey, WordPress by far is the most popular blogging platform. It’s flexible, easy to use, functional and also has a large community users around the world.

I personaly use and recommend Worpress.org aka “The Real WordPress” instead of WordPress.com.

What’s difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

  • WordPress.com blogs are hosted blog. It means it’s free but you have no full control (because you’ve not own it, you just a passenger on their server), limited features which means also limit your income potential.
  • WordPress.org are self-hosted blogs. You need to invest a little of money in the beginning but you have full controll on your blog, have plenty of features which means it doesn’t limit your income potential.

So, this guide will teach you how to build a self-hosted WordPress blog, the most popular blogging platform preferred by newbie or veteran bloggers alike.

NOTE : WordPress.org is name of the platform, which means you are not limited to use. org at the name of your blog. You are free to use your own domain name on your blog which end with .com, .net, .org, etc.

Alright, let’s get set up!

Step 3 : Find a Domain Name and Web Hosting

For those of you who have never heard of this term:

Domain : the name / address of your website. This blog use domain name DigitalCrue.com

Hosting : a place where your blog files are stored. Like a hard drive on a computer.

Both use rental system. This means you need to pay every month / year when you rent a domain and hosting. There is no option to pay once for a lifetime.

Both have a vital role for your blog.

So choose a trusted domain and hosting provider.

These are some of the international domain and hosting services that are usually recommended for beginners:

Pick Your Domain Name

The domain name will always be attached on your blog. Although it can still be replaced, but it will be very troublesome because your domain name is your brand.

Therefore, we recommend that you specify the domain name in advance.

Here are 7 things you should focused on:

  1. Adjust with the topic of the blog
  2. Avoid domain names similar to popular websites
  3. Easy to write, easy to remembered, and easy to spell.
  4. As much as possible use .com
  5. Avoid dashes (-) and numbers
  6. Do not use other people’s brands
  7. Check the availability of the domain name.

Some people may not agree with me on the 4th point, because the other extensions besides .com are also good.

For example .org, .net, .co, .us, etc

But the reason I chose .com because it is the most popular and easy to remembered.

So, the first choice is use .com, use the other extensions as the last option.

You can register your domain name through NameCheap or through the hosting provider (Siteground).

Pick Your Hosting Provider

When you already decide your blog topic, blogging platform and domain name, the next step is find the web hosting.

Please note that WordPress.org is simply a software. You can download it to your personal computer, but it won’t make your blog automatically live on the net and accessible to users.

In order to make your blog to be online and accessible to anyone, you need server space. You can get a server space from a hosting company.

What’s web hosting should you use?

I recommend a host I have personally paid for and used. I host this blog at Siteground.

Click here to go to Siteground and start your own blog! (The link will open in a new tab so you still can follow these instructions).

Watch the video below to ease you understood the instructions.

After you landed on their homepage, you can see how simple it is to navigate. We will explore the other pages later, but for now click on the SIGN UP button to get started.

Step I. Choose a Plan

The first and most basic plan is the STARTUP PLAN. Just like the name, this plan is what you need to start out your very first blog.

STARTUP PLAN

The StartUp plan costs only $3.95 a month! That is already enough to starting your own first blog! This plan includes,

  • One Website
  • 10GB Web Space
  • 10,000 Visits Monthly
  • Plus, all of the essential features.

GROWBIG PLAN

This package costs $5.95 a month. This is a great deal since you get the basic features plus premium.

I personally recommend you trying the GROWBIG PLAN. This plan will give you even faster customer service response times and priority service which is so helpful when you are starting a new blog or when you have a problem with your blog. The Grow Big plan includes,

  • All of the features of the StartUp Plan
  • Hosting for Multiple Sites
  • 20GB Web Space
  • Best for up to 25,000 Monthly Visits
  • Free Website Migration
  • Premium Support

GOGEEK PLAN

Ready to take your blog into advanced level? The biggest SiteGround plan is the GoGeek plan, which costs $11.95 a month. This includes the basic features, premium features, and the geeky advanced features. This is what you get if you pick this plan.

  • 30GB Web Space
  • 100,000 Visits Monthly

This is a great option if you already have a lot of traffic to your blog each month and you consider to switch from another host. This plan also perfect if you confidence you will get a lot of traffic as soon as you launch your blog.

Choose which plan best meets your needs then click “ORDER NOW” button

Step II. Enter your domain name

In the step 2 you need to entering your prefered domain name. I already guide you how to pick a domain name in the previous chapter.

Choose Register a New Domain if you wants a new domain name or choose I already have a domain if you already have registered domain before.

I asume you wants to register a new domain.

Simply type in your preferred domain name and click PROCEED button. It will automatically checks the availability of your preferred domain (still available or already taken).

Once you have one that’s available for you, then you’re good to go.

Step III. Review and Complete Your Information

In this step, you need to create your account username and password. Fill out your contact and payment info, and then select your hosting period.

For hosting, I recommend you to start out with 12 months. You won’t disturbed with monthly billing so you can focused on growing up your blog.

In the “Extra Services” section, I highly recommend you add Domain Privacy to protect your domain information. If you don’t use this service, anyone can find your full name and address just by searching your domain name!

Check the box that says you agree to the terms and conditions then click “PAY NOW” button.

Congratulations! You now have a hosting for your blog! All you need to do next is to install WordPress and get creative to make your blog looks better. It is pretty easy and simple to set up.

You don’t want install WordPress because you feel it’s so complicated?

Their support team will do it for you for free! After you sign up for your hosting, log in to your account and select the “Support” tab.

Choose INSTALL APPLICATION, complete the form with your details and click SUBMIT button. It’s may take up to 1 business day.

Once your WordPress installed, they will send you your login details.

Go to www.yournewsite.com/wp-admin and login. Now you’re ready to get started with your self-hosted WordPress blog!

Step 4. Install WordPress

If you would rather install WordPress on your own follow the steps below.

a. Login to your siteground account and click My Accounts tab, then click Go to cPanel button. If appears a pop up simply click proceed button. It will take you to the cPanel.

b. Click WordPress in the Autoinstallers section.

c. Click the blue INSTALL button

On the software setup, fill out the following: 

Choose Protocol: most likely it is http://

Choose Domain: Choose the domain for the blog you want to setting up

In Directory: Leave this section blank

Site Name: A short title about your website. For example : Digital Crue. Note: you can update it later.

Site Description: A short description of your website. For example : Blogging Guide for Beginners. Note: you can update it later.

Admin Username: Choose your prefered username. For example : your name or your team such as Craig Morgan, Annie Morgan, etc.

Admin Password: Create your preferred password.

Admin Email: Your email address (for notifications).

Language: Your preferred language.

Choose a Theme to Install: Simply choose the one of the free theme and don’t mind it. You can change the theme later with your preferred wordpress theme.

Click INSTALL button and you’re done!

Now, go to the yournewsite.com/wp-admin and login with your username and password you’ve just created.

Now, you’re officially have your self-hosted wordpress blog!

Step 5. Design & use your blog!

The last step is configuring and designing your new blog. This chapter also easy and no technical experience required. All you need to do is follow the guide in the video below.

a. Configure your WordPress dashboard

This step just adjusting your dashboard by deleting some unused files in dashboard and little editing before your blog ready to go.

  1. Update Notifications. You need to updating some files before your blog ready to go.
  2. Deleting the default post. You don’t need this post, so just delete it.
  3. Deleting the default sample page. You don’t need this sample page, so delete it.
  4. Deleting Pre-installed default plugins. Delete these default plugins. You won’t use them.
  5. Edit your profile. You just need to edit the display name and gravatar. It’s pretty easy.
  6. General Settings. Simply add some information about your blog such as Title, description, email address, timezone, date format, etc.
  7. Setup Permalinks. A permalink is the unique URL attached to any page or post on the web. The recommended permalink structure is use the Post Name option. It’s generally recommended by almost all veteran bloggers since it’s the best for SEO.

b. Change the WordPress theme

The new bloggers usually wants to instantly change the look of their blog to fit their taste. Fortunately, WordPress has thousands of ready-made themes.

Go to Appearance » Theme

To add a new theme, click the Add New button. Choose your preferred theme and click Install. Once it installed then activate your theme. Now your blog design has changed.

If you have your own theme, then click Upload Theme button. Once your theme was successfully uploaded then activate it.

The next step is customize your theme.

Go to Appearance » Customize

Customize your theme as you want. This feature allows users to tweak theme settings using a WYSIWYG interface. You can customize a theme’s colors, fonts, text, and anything else you want to change.

c. Adding WordPress plugin

Plugin is one of the reasons we choose WordPress.

With the WordPress plugins, you can add the more features you want with no programming experience required.

To view the installed plugins, click Plugins » Installed Plugins. To add a new plugin click Plugins » Add New.

If you want to upload the plugin, click Upload Plugin.

Some plugins that you should install and enable:

  1. Yoast SEO : A must installed plugin to optimize your WordPress site for search engines.
  2. W3 Total Cache : This plugin designed to increase the page load speed for WordPress sites.
  3. Sumo : This plugin designed to ease you add social media sharing buttons to your WordPress site.
  4. iThemes Security: This plugin helps to fix common holes in your WordPress site from potential automated attacks.
  5. Contact Form 7 : Easily create contact form on your contact page.

The rest is up to you, adjust them with your needs.

You can directly search and install the plugins from the WordPress dashboard.

d. Start creating useful content

OK – I hope you are already got your domain and hosting, have installed and configuring your WordPress, have installed a theme and some plugins. But you’re not a blogger until you start creating some content for your blog!

There are two types of content that you can create for your blog in WordPress – ‘Pages’ and ‘Posts’.

Pages

Pages are the ‘static’ pages on your blog that won’t really change that much. Some examples of ‘pages’ that are most often created are About Us, Contact Us, or Resources, Privacy Policy, Disclaimer, etc.

Posts

Post in WordPress used if you want to publish your content regularly in your website. For example if you want to publish an article once a week or twice a week, then this should be made as posts.

This is because all your posts will be displayed on the front page in sequence. The most recent posts appear over the old ones. They usually have comments and a date to show readers when it was published.

The posts can also be divided by categories and tags (while ‘pages’ can’t).

You’ll spend most of your time as a blogger to create your regular blog posts.

Now, it is time to write your first blog post.

First, please go to Posts » Add New from the left sidebar. We can straight to this step because we are already deleting the “Hello World!” post previously in the configuring chapter.

This is a description of the picture above base to the number:

  1. Write your article title here.
  2. A button to add pictures or videos to your post.
  3. Set the format like bold, italic, list & numbering, read more, etc.
  4. Write your article in this field.
  5. Put each different topic in one category to make it more presentable.
  6. Once the post is ready to publish, click Publish.

Done! What’s next?

Congratulations, you have successfully created a self-hosted blog with WordPress. Now, you already know how to:

  1. Determining the main topic for your blog.
  2. Choosing the right blogging platform.
  3. Choosing a domain name & hosting provider.
  4. Installing WordPress on the server.
  5. Configuring WordPress site.
  6. Publishing new content for blog.

If you’ve used this practical guide to start your very first blog, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Feel free to let us know what blog you’ve started and how you can found this guide. Also let us know what’s need to improved this guide to make the processing of getting started a blog much easier.

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