10 years ago, starting a blog entirely by yourself would have been a daunting and time-consuming task. But today, with the help of blogging platforms like WordPress and popular hosting providers, you can get started in under an hour, and at almost no cost!
If you’re looking to start a blog from scratch, here are 5 easy steps to get up and running:
1. Choose a topic for your blog.
The first step is to choose a topic for your blog, a.k.a. the niche for your blog. This can be something you’re passionate about, or simply a topic you want to write about. For example, some popular blogging niches include fashion, beauty, lifestyle, food, travel, and personal finance.
However, just because you’re passionate about a topic doesn’t mean it’ll make a good blogging niche. Let’s say you’re passionate about tennis. But unless you’re a professional player or have some inside connection to the sport, it’s going to be difficult to compete with established tennis blogs that have been around for years.
On the other hand, if you choose a more specific niche like “tennis for women” or “tennis lessons for beginners,” you’ll have a much better chance of ranking in search engines and attracting readers.
Ultimately, the best way to choose a niche for your blog is to consider what you’re passionate about and what you can offer that’s unique and valuable to your readers.
2. Register a domain name and set up hosting.
The next step is to register a domain name and set up hosting for your blog. This will give your blog a web address (e.g., www.yourdomainname.com) and provide somewhere for your blog content to live online.
There are a number of places you can register a domain name and set up hosting, but I recommend using Bluehost. They offer a simple, step-by-step process to get started, and they’re affordable (domain name is free for the first 12 months, and hosting starts at $3/month).
Once you have a domain and hosting to host your website, you need to set up your WordPress blog. Bluehost will have an option to do this automatically when you sign up, or you can follow their instruction and do it yourself.
Once WordPress is installed, you should be able to log in to your blog’s admin panel by going to www.yoursite.com/wp-admin/ (replacing “yoursite” with your actual domain name).
3. Design your blog’s layout and create some initial content.
You can use a free theme from WordPress (like the one I’m using for this blog) or buy a premium theme to get started.
If you go with a free theme, make sure it’s one that’s easily customizable so you can change things up as your blog grows. Although free themes will not have as many features as premium ones, they are still very powerful and you can do a lot with them, and you can save cost in the beginning.
If you would like to opt for premium WordPress themes, here are some of my favorites:
WordPress plugins are like mobile apps for your blog. They allow you to add features and functionality to your site, and they can make blogging a lot easier.
There are thousands of free and premium plugins available, so it’s important to only install the ones you need. Here are some of my must-have WordPress plugins:
- Akismet (for spam protection)
- Yoast SEO (for search engine optimization)
- WPForms (for creating forms and surveys)
- Jetpack (for social media integration)
- Site Kit by Google (for Google Analytics and Search Console integration)
These five plugins are the basic ones that will help you get started with your blog. Of course, as you grow and your needs change, you can install additional plugins, for example, WooCommerce if you plan to sell products on your blog.
Once you’ve installed and activated your plugins, it’s time to start creating content for your blog. I recommend starting with at least five blog posts so you have some initial content for people to read when they visit your site. You can also create pages like an “About” page or a “Contact” page, but blog posts are the bread and butter of your content, so start there.
If you’re not sure what to write about, consider some of these popular blog post ideas. These articles are easy to write and will help you get started with content creation for your blog:
- List posts (e.g., “10 things to do in X city”)
- How-to posts (e.g., “How to start a blog”)
- Product reviews
- Personal stories
- Resource roundups
If you’re using other SEO and keywords tools, for example, Surfer SEO or KW Finder, you can use these to help you find popular topics to write about that people are searching for online. This way, you can create content that’s relevant to what people are actually looking for from day one, and you’re more likely to rank in search engines.
4. Promote your blog on social media.
Regardless of how good your content is, if no one knows about it, no one will read it. So once you’ve created some initial content for your blog, it’s time to start promoting it on social media.
The best way to do this is to create social media profiles for your blog on all the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), and then share your blog posts on these platforms as you create them.
You can also join relevant online communities and forums related to your niche, and share your blog posts there. For example, if you’re a travel blogger, you can join travel-related Facebook groups and forums and share your content with other group members. Just be careful not to spam these groups, as that will get you banned very quickly.
In the long run, you’d like to have your own email list of subscribers so you can promote your content to them directly, but social media is a great way to get started with promoting your blog.
5. Grow your audience and continue blogging regularly.
The final step is to continue blogging regularly and growing your audience over time. The more effort you put into promoting your blog and creating quality content, the more readers you’ll attract.
As your blog grows, you can start monetizing it in different ways, for example, by selling advertising space, affiliate products, or your own digital products. But even if you don’t make any money from your blog, it’s still a great way to share your passions and connect with like-minded people from all over the world.
Consistency is key when it comes to blogging, so try to publish new content on a regular basis, for example, once or twice a week. This way, your readers will know when to expect new articles from you, and they’re more likely to keep coming back for more. It’s also easier for you as the blogger to maintain a consistent schedule and work on your blog as a regular habit.
To sum up
If you follow these five steps, you’ll be well on your way to starting a successful blog that people will actually want to read. Of course, it takes time and effort to grow a blog, but if you’re consistent with your content and promotion, you’ll see results. And before you know it, you could have a thriving blog that’s bringing in traffic and helping you achieve your goals!