Blogging

How To Start A Blog The Smart Way (2018 Updated)

Yay! Congratulations on taking the first step to start your own blog. Starting a blog is the best thing that will ever happen to you. Apart from the joy and some level of self-gratification attached, making money out of it has so far become the driving force in blogging.

However, that solely depends on the type of content you share with your readers. If you painstakingly research and produce effective content for your readers they will definitely keep visiting your blog, and to add to it, they will likely share your content to their friends, in their social media accounts, etc. and guess what? In blogging, more traffic equals more money.

It goes like this:

  • You solve people’s problem by providing helpful content
  • and you get paid by different means (either through Google AdSense, affiliate marketing or selling your own products, etc.).

Therefore, in this post, I’m going to show you exactly how to create your own blog, no technical experience required. (It’s easier and faster than you think.)

Plus:

I’ll answer some frequently asked questions along the way. This is the site I wish I had when I started blogging almost 5 years ago.

Ready? Let’s go.

First thing first!

Why start a blog?

People venture into blogging for different reasons. There are just so many reasons to consider starting a blog. Here are a few popular ones I think you should be aware of:

  • Make money while working from home. I make a full-time income blogging. Many others do the same. Making money as a blogger is hard work, but the risk involved is very low, low overhead and low barrier to enter
  • Become a published author. It’s no secret, these days publishers rarely work with authors who don’t have an online presence. The reason is simple: it’s a lot easier to sell books to people who already know you.  A blog is one of the easiest and most effective places to start.
  • Get more exposure for your existing business or organization. A blog gives anyone, from individuals to large companies, the ability to reach a large number of people at very little cost.
  • Just write. If you want to write, share your story, encourage others and build a community, a blog is a great place to do that.

You see, starting a blog has abundance advantages.

So, do you see yourself in any of those? Can you see how you would benefit from a blog? Keep reading!

 

What Is The Purpose Of A Blog?

The job of a successful business is simple: it helps its customer solve a problem. Your customer has a need—their problem—and with your business, you’re offering them the solution. Sometimes the solution is a tool, a product they can buy; other times it’s a methodology you teach, a service you provide. Either way, your goal is clear:  you need to help your customer solve their problem.

One of the easiest ways to get started solving problems is with a blog.

When I started this blog, Passive Wealth Blog, my aim was to teach my readers how to make legitimate money online. Succeed online.  And thus, every now and then I research and write effective and useful content anyone can apply to make a living online.

I think it’s very simple. Discover a problem and create a blog to solve it. And trust me, later on, the money will come in. Therefore, it’s imperative that the blog you want to create or start should be able to solve your reader’s problem in whatever niche you deemed fit to jump into.

Some Frequently Asked Questions Answered


How much does it cost to start a blog? Starting a blog cost just a couple of dollars and sometimes less, say $5 to $10 a month. Apparently, it’s far better and cheaper compare to any other business you could possibly think about now.  I have blogged for years on this budget. Subsequently, as my blog and income grew, I started paying for more premium tools and services. However, when starting out, you don’t need all these tools before starting.

Can I start a blog for free? Of course, yes. However, it’s no longer advisable. Why? Well, from personal experience a free blog might be fine if it’s just a hobby. But if you want to make money from your blog I don’t recommend you take such route.

Here are few reasons why you shouldn’t start a free blog:

  • Some free services limit monetization (i.e. making money) unless you “upgrade” to a higher level. You’ll have to pay for that upgrade of course, so it defeats the purpose of having a free blog in the first place.
  • Companies don’t offer free blogs out of the goodness of their hearts. They still want to make money somehow. If you’re only using their free service, they’re not making money from you. Therefore, they don’t have a lot of incentive to keep you happy. Sometimes this means you’ll have little to no support. Other times it means you’ll be badgered with offers for their paid-for products.
  • Most free services have only basic features. This might not be a problem at first, but as you grow, you will almost certainly feel the pinch. Expandability and flexibility are key, both of which are limited when using free blogging services.
  • If you ever want to switch to a better service (very common among those who start a free blog), it’s a hassle and can be costly. Doing it yourself takes a lot of time and technical expertise. Hiring someone to do it for you correctly costs hundreds of dollars.
  • You might not be able to do what your favorite bloggers are doing. This happens to new bloggers all the time. They start a blog for free. Soon they notice cool features on other blogs which they want too. The problem is, it’s not possible on their free service.
  • In general, we value things we pay for. Blogging is hard work. One way to keep yourself accountable is to pay just a little bit for it.

However, if those 6 common pitfalls don’t convince you, or a free blog is truly your only choice, I would suggest you go with Blogger.  But if you want something better and professional, then I would gladly suggest you continue reading.

 

THE PRACTICAL STEPS TO START A WORDPRESS BLOG

At this part, I’m going to walk you through the steps involved in creating a successful self-hosted WordPress blog just in few minutes. The exact steps I wished someone showed me a couple of years back when I first created my first blog. This is an easy to follow step by step guide for you to have your own blog up and running and can write and post whatever content you want. It’s simple and doesn’t require any technical expertise.

Let’s jump in!

Step 1: Decide what to blog about
It’s always advisable that if you’re part of a business, company or organization, your blog should be related to the product(s) or service(s) you provide, or the cause you promote.

However, If you’re an individual, you have more flexibility when choosing a topic. But the main things to remember are:

  • Blog about something you enjoy. If you aren’t excited about your topic, writing about it will be uninteresting. Who wants that? Also, why would readers be interested if you aren’t? Blog about something with plenty of room for discussion. A blog requires a lot of content to get going and remain interesting. You’ll be at this a long time so make sure you have plenty to talk about.
  • Choose a niche in which you can establish yourself as an authority. You probably won’t be the first person to blog about the topic you choose. It’s almost guaranteed someone else has thought of it before you. Don’t fret about this, come up with a unique angle. Do you have a reasonable chance of making your blog better than others talking about the same thing?

The goal of any blog is to become the go-to resource for its topic or niche.

FAQ: What if I can’t decide on a blog topic?
Start anyway! A common beginner mistake is thinking you have to be sure of a topic to start. If you’re like most of us, you’ll either switch topics or settle into something as you go. So fear not.

Step 2: Choose a blogging platform
If you want to cook, you need a kitchen. If you want to blog, you need a blogging platform. There are many blogging platforms to choose from. WordPress, Blogger, Squarespace, Wix and Weebly are a few.

All have pros and cons, but WordPress is by far the most popular. It’s flexible, functional and has a large community of users who share tools and ideas.

I use and recommend WordPress.

If you choose WordPress, you have two options: hosted or self-hosted.

  • Hosted WordPress blogs, sometimes called WordPress.com blogs, are free but limit your income potential.
  • Self-hosted WordPress blogs, sometimes called WordPress.org blogs, cost a little money but give you much more control, and do not limit your income potential.

This guide will teach you how to start a self-hosted WordPress blog ( the platform preferred by beginner and veteran bloggers alike).

Note: Even though a self-hosted WordPress blog is sometimes referred to as a “WordPress.org” blog, you are not limited to a .org at the end of your name. You can still use .com, just like I do for PassiveWealthblog.com.

Alright, let’s get set up!

Step 3: Find a Host
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you of the merits of WordPress, but there’s one more thing to know. WordPress is simply software. You can download it to your personal computer, but then your blog will only be accessible to you. In other words, WordPress by itself, won’t make your blog live on the internet.

In order for your blog to be online, and accessible to anyone, you need server space. You get server space from a hosting company or “host.”

What host should you use?

I recommend Bluehost to host your blog because of following reasons:

  • When you signup for the first time you’ll get a free domain name for the first year!
  • Bluehost provides affordable hosting and you can start your blog for just $3.49/month only
  • They have great customer support – they’re ready to help you fix any issue with your blog in few minutes through live support, email or phone.

Now to get started with, click here to go to Bluehost. The link will open in a new window so you can reference this page later. Click the green “Get Started Now” button as shown in the image below:

bluehost-homepage

You shouldn’t worry if the images you see here turns out to be different from the one you will see. Bluehost is always in the habit of constantly tweaking their website for effective and error-free performance. Trust me, Bluehost is the fastest and most reliable hosting around. It remains unbeatable.

Select your plan
If you are starting out I’d suggest you go with the Basic plan; however, if you want more features then you can go with Plus or Prime plan because you get more unlimited features.

Domain privacy, which I highly recommend, comes included with Prime. If you choose Plus, you’ll have the option to add it later for about $1 a month.

The next screen is where you will enter your domain name.

Step 4: Choose a domain name
A domain is a web address. For example, PassiveWealthBlog.com is my domain name.  it’s basically the address of your blog which people will use to visit it and similarly, web hosting is a house where your blog will be stored.

 

Brainstorm few ideas that come to your mind. Here are quick tips for choosing a domain name.

  • Choose a short and unique domain name.
  • Make it easy to remember
  • Avoid using hyphens (-) or numbers in your domain as far as possible.
  • Make domain easily to remember. It’ll make the blog better. This is also useful for branding your blog.

If you have previously registered a domain and want to use it for this new site, enter it on the right. (Don’t worry, it won’t mess things up to enter it here. It only identifies your Bluehost account for now.) If you don’t already have one, enter your desired domain on the left.

NOTE:
For the purpose of this tutorial, I will use a new domain. However, if you are using an existing domain, the process is almost the same.

You can still follow along.

Common Question:  What if the domain I want isn’t available?

Bluehost has many features. You can take advantage of their “choose free domain later” option. It’s a pop-up. So make sure pop-up is allowed in your browser.

Enter your account info
On the next page, enter your account info. Make sure you use a working email address because this is where your login information will be sent. (Save these emails!)

Choose an account plan based on how far in advance you want to pay. Bluehost bills 1, 2, 3 or 5 years upfront. They do not offer a monthly payment option (hosts that do often charge double or triple). As you can see, it works out to be a very reasonable monthly amount. Not bad for your own blog or website, right? It’s a great deal.

I skip the add-ons except for Domain Privacy Protection. The others can easily be added later if needed. (Domain privacy is only available for new domains. If you selected the Prime package, it’s free.) This protection keeps your personal information private. The only time I would skip domain privacy is if you are using a business address and don’t mind if it’s visible to anyone who looks up your domain.

The total is the amount you’ll pay today. You won’t have to pay again for 12, 24, 36 or 60 months, depending on the account plan you chose. Set it and forget it!

Enter your billing info
Next, fill in your billing information, confirm that you’ve read the fine print and then click Submit.

Skip the upgrades & special offers
Once you hit submit, you’ll be asked if you want to add any upgrades or special offers. I skip them by clicking the “no thanks” link.

Choose a password

 After your purchase is complete, you’ll be asked to choose a password. Just click the “Create your password” button to choose a secure password.

This password will allow you to log in and get started.

 

Step 5: Get started with WordPress

Under “Website Builders”, click “Install WordPress”.

Select “Do It Yourself (FREE)” portion.

This will open a new tab or window, where you will press “install” button.

Select your domain with the dropdown list. After Bluehost check the domain, it will ask you to check off the terms and conditions box.

Now enter your blog title, username and password that will be used to login to your new WordPress blog.

Do that, and press: Install Now.

 

You may be directed to a themes page. Don’t buy any of them yet. You can easily find many great themes for free.

When the install is complete, press the “View Credentials” button.

Press “view” button, and click on the “Admin URL”.

Step 4: Install WordPress Theme

Next thing you need to do is to install a good looking WordPress theme.

There are many free themes available for your WordPress blog and you can choose them if you are not ready to spend money on getting a premium theme and features.

Here’s how to find a free theme. Log into your WordPress dashboard and go to Appearance > Themes and now select Add New Theme option

Click Popular button as shown below. There you’ll find many great themes simply click on anyone you like and install it.

Congratulations! You’re done!

Step 5: Publish your first blog post

Let’s publish your first post ever so you can tell your friends and family that you’ve got a blog. WordPress makes publishing a new blog post quite easy. Here’s a visual guide to publishing your post.

Click on Add New under Posts > Write your title > Write your post content > Add the tags > Choose category > Hit the publish button.

Congratulations on publishing your first blog post. You now own a blog. Don’t forget to tell your friends and family about it.

So, What Next?

Key Strategies On How To Produce A Great Content For Your Blog

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