2020 has grown into a year where people belonging to different fields are going online and creating their blogs.
Do you want to start a blog of your own too? Here we have the five significant steps that will tell you how to start a blog and scale it up.
People who are into blogging already know that you can earn even in millions if you are serious about it. But not every blog is making money out of it.
On average, the blogs that you come across are all about passionate writing, clubbed with excellent visuals. Can you earn in millions just by putting fragments of your thoughts into words and adding visuals to it? How many people read blogs willing?
No, it just doesn’t happen by merely writing texts online. Blogging is a much more severe issue. The steps to create a perfect and successful blog is not very difficult. The celebrated blogs do earn in millions, but as a beginner, you can also end up making about $3000 in a month if you follow the suggested tips.
How to Start a Blog and Scale It Up
Of course, when you search online, you will come across several articles that tell you how to start a blog ideally. Here I will be giving you a detailed sketch of how to create your blog, scale it up, and even earn money out of it in 2020.
Five crucial steps are carefully curated over here in this article to make the process simpler for you.
Step 1: Unravel The Ideas in Your Mind
Before you start unleashing all the great ideas about your blog, I want to remind you, there is no need to try revolutionary ones. Simple, yet moving thoughts should be your priority. Don’t brainstorm much. You can do a little market research to get a topic and focus on the same.
People usually believe that unique ideas win the market. This concept is not entirely true.
Do you know why?
Because, no matter how much you better your ideas, they are never 100% unique. You may be thinking of topic out of your exclusive experiences, but there is always some common factor.
So, stop focusing on making your blog a unique one. Instead, you should focus on making the content more engaging and suits your personality.
The first step obtaining great ideas for your blog topic is choosing an appropriate niche for the blog. Ask these two simple questions to yourself to determine that niche.
1. Is Learning About The Chosen Topic Fun for You?
The first thing about writing any blog is enjoying the topic that you write. If you don’t like the subject, it shows in your content. Naturally, the flow of writing becomes mundane, and your readers are likely to lose interest. So, if you are not having fun learning more about a topic, never ever choose it for your blog.
You need to pick a topic that nudges your grey cells to become active and helps you get curious to know more about it. The same goes for the choice of niche. If you are don’t adore your niche, you are likely to exhaust all your ideas very soon. Losing ideas means you will lose the audience. Lack of consistency in blogging is often the cause of low traffic in the blog.
Are you still looking for ideas to start a blog?
How would you know which topic makes learning interesting for you?
Simple, ask your friends and family. They observe you the closest, so they always know what makes you interested. What do they think you are good at? In which niche do they believe you can influence others? It can be cooking, home decorating, fitness, nutrition, and so on. Asking people helps to get a clue about your favorite niche.
2. Do You Know Who Might Be Interested in Your Niche/Topic?
Which topic interests you the most? You are 20, and you like decorating home! You might feel that others around you don’t enjoy the same interest as you. That is likely to demotivate you from writing on your favorite topic.
Let’s not fall for that trap. There are always others who share similar interests as yours. Google your zone of interest; you will see that there 11 million results online, meaning to cater to people who share interest as yours.
You might be thinking of a brand spectrum for your niche, something like travel or home decoration. When you choose such a topic for your blog, avoid using generic names like “Travel” or “Home decoration” as your keyword. A better way to represent your blog might be “hiking” or “Solo trip” or “home-art” or something similar.
You can come up with millions of keyword ideas under one niche. But is your keyword in demand. To start a blog that attracts readers, you need to have keywords that are in demand. If you are not sure of the market for your idea, try using apps like Google Keyword Planner. Here you will get a complete analysis of the chosen keyword, the response it is experiencing, and the target audience. Market research helps while finalizing an idea for your blog.
Step 2: To Start a Blog, Assign a Name and Arrange for Web Hosting Services For It
Choosing a name for your blog is considered to be a fun activity. But it needs to be done with care. After all, your blog name will stand out as your brand. However, there is nothing to overthink about the matter. All you need to do is get in action and pick up the required momentum of the work.
To start a blog right from scratch, you will need to arrange for two things-
- Domain Name
- Web Hosting Service
1. Domain Name Selection
The domain name is the name you assign to your blog or website. It stands as your identity in the online world. Bloggers end up spending about $10 in a year to avail of a domain name. But, when you hire Web hosting services from professionals like BlueHost. BlueHost is one of the most preferred web hosting service providers in the market and with 1 free domain name in a year to its clients.
You may not get a proper domain name on day one. Don’t let that hinder your blog. You can always change your domain name at a later stage.
Here are a few tips that you might consider for naming your blog
- A .com domain is always preferred over other options.
- The majority of single-word domains are already used up, so you need to look out for 2-3 word domain options.
- Choose a keyword that will reveal all about your blog. Having such a domain name makes it easier for the readers to search your blog. Even the search engines can distinguish your niche better with a detailed domain name.
- Numerics and hyphenated words are challenging to recollect; so, avoid using them in the domain name.
- Choose a name that is appealing and memorable.
- If the blog is a representation of a personal brand, you can use your name for it.
Finding a domain name can be tedious, but you can use tools to make the keyword search easier.
2. Web Hosting Service
Web hosting service is something you cannot ignore under any circumstance. Having a web host with your blog makes you visible on the internet. In case you don’t have a web hosting support, your blog doesn’t show over search engines. Web hosting and domain name go hand-in-hand for the smooth operation of a blog.
There are different web hosting service providers available in the market. The services can be availed for any amount between $3-$1,000 per month. Having a web hosting support helps your blog to achieve the requisite server speed.
Step 3: Start a Blog with WordPress
To start a blog smoothly, the next important thing you need is blogging software. WordPress is the first option when it comes to blogging software for beginners. It is not only about having a user-friendly software for use. It is a powerful and free software that is compatible with every device.
Of course, there are other software that you can consider for blogging, but they are costlier options.
Having a WordPress blogging software installed for your blog is helpful for you in many ways-
- It is available for free.
- You can avail thousands of software plugins for free..
- The platform is very user-friendly and allows you to modify your blogs conveniently.
- The installation process of WordPress is fast and can be achieved in 5 simple clicks.
At this point, it is essential to remember that you can log in to WordPress only after you have created your domain and have got a web host. To install the software, choose to get it done with the “do it yourself” module.
5 Step Process to install WordPress on Your System:
- Avail the BlueHost Web hosting service and domain name and log in your account to access the installation Option. You will find an “Install WordPress” option in the account. Click on the “icon” to initiate the installation procedure.
- On the next page, choose the “do it yourself” option and then press the “Install” button.
- Run the Installed software and then click on the button that says, “Check Domain.”
- On your final step, you only click on the “Finish” button to complete the installation procedure.
If you follow the simple 5-step procedure, you are ready to start and run your blog in just one minute or even less (depending on your server speed).
Step 4: Choosing a WordPress Theme to Design Your Blog
Just like having a website, you need to design your blog nicely to attract more readers to it. WordPress designs are known as themes. So, when designing your WordPress blog, you need to choose a theme first.
In WordPress, you will come across thousands of theme choices. Remember, none of them are too flashy, so don’t look for something shiny. Look for a theme that matches your niche of the blog. However, if you don’t think you like the theme much, you can swap it with some other option, anytime you want.
How to Select a Theme for Your Blog?
Selecting a WordPress theme for your blog is not a difficult job. It is a simple 10-step procedure.
- Log in to the WordPress admin page to begin. You need to open the admin page online with the link stating “yourdomain name.com/wp-admin.”
- Once the WP admin page opens up, log in with your WordPress credentials to lead you to the WordPress Blog dashboard.
- On the left side column of the dashboard, you will be able to locate the “appearance” tab. Click on the tab.
- From the drop-down menu, click on the “Themes” option to display all the new themes available on WordPress.
- Now you are in front of the “Themes” page. Avoid using the default “Twenty-[Year]” theme and search for something trendy and catchy. To get something new, click on the “Add New” button on top of the Themes Page.
- You will now have access to the world of Themes present in WordPress. Use the “Feature Filter” on the new page to find something that matches your style.
- The moment you click on “Feature Filter”, you will be taken to a filter page with three categories to ease out your search. Choose the options from 3 categories of filter, i.e., “Layout”, “Feature”, and “Subject”. Once filters are selected, click on the “Apply Filters” button on the top left corner of the page.
- Now you finally have access to thousands of dazzling themes for free. Click on each of their thumbnails to have a preview of your blog in that them. It’s time to evaluate the themes and how your blog looks with that design. While you evaluate, consider the personal choice as well as the topic in question. The theme should satisfy both.
- Upon satisfaction, open the theme and press the “Install” button.
- Once the theme gets installed to your system, open the same and click on the “Activate” button to set it for your blog.
In case, you have not found any suitable theme option on WordPress, you need to look for a premium or payable option. The websites that provide WordPress compatible premium themes are-
Whichever option you like, you need to get a theme for your WordPress blog first. Once you have it, it’s time to customize the blog. Customizing the blog is to give your imagination a shape.
Step 5: Personalize and Optimize the WordPress Blog
The final step to start a blog is all about customizing and optimizing the WordPress blog. It’s really great that WordPress allows you to make endless customization. But since you are a beginner now, I recommend you go with the essentials for now.
WordPress themes are the core fo the blog designs consisting of important functionalities. To enhance these functionalities of your blog, you can also add other WordPress plugins.
Do you want to know your Plugin options? Well, there are many. A few important ones, however, that are often chosen by new bloggers are-
- Plugins for adding forums or platforms for conversation
- Contact forms to capture leads
Though these are some basic features you expect in a blog, the basic WordPress theme never has these as default plugins.
How to Customize a WordPress Blog?
The steps to customizing your WordPress blog is very simple. In fact, the first few steps are the same as installing a theme. After you have activated your theme, you need to go by these steps to customize the theme-
- Open the Themes page from the WordPress dashboard and locate the Active themes.
- Scroll down to the bottom-right corner of the page and click on the blue “Customize” button.
- Depending on the theme option chosen by you, different options for customization will appear on the sidebar of the menu. Click on the “Site Identity” option to make changes to your blog designs.
- In the Site Identity edition option, you get to add a few main features of a blog, i.e., the blog name, tagline, and similar. Make changes to the theme as per your preference from the options you get on the left sidebar of the page.
- Onc the changes or additions are done, you need to click on the “Save and Publish” option to save the changes made in the design and apply the same on your blog.
So, in simple 5-steps you now have a well-designed blog, ideally customized to make it attractive and memorable for your readers.
Search Engine Optimization – The Most Important Step for Starting a Blog
You have started a blog with engaging content. But can’t really expect high traffic at your blog right from day 1, without proper marketing, can you?
The most important form of digital marketing, that creates a platform for your blog is Search Engine Optimization. If you want the search engines to locate your blog and display it on the first page, you need to concentrate on SEO works. Only SEO can you become visible to your target audience through a high SERP.
If you optimize your blog, people will be able to locate your website just by entering some keyphrases or keywords on the search engine. Your visibility is important if you want to monetize your blog and influence others. Higher traffic at your blog will lead to higher revenue earning, which is impossible without strong visibility.
Since you are just a beginner to SEO and blogging, it might seem a bit daunting. But don’t give up yet. It will just take you a few months to grasp the concept of SEO and apply it to your blog.
There are several ways you can make your blog search engine optimized. The most common and probably the most important way to create an SEO-friendly blog is by delivering engaging and compelling content. Apart from creating strong content, the other factors that determine the SEO fate of your blog are-
- Visuals like GIFs, images, and videos
- Addition of internal and external links
- Using SEO checker tools and plugins in your blog
The ultimate goal you attain by making your blog SEO-friendly is to build a relationship with your readers. The better relation you are able to create, the better response you get.
What can be more engaging for a blog than an informative and relatable conversation with your readers? With higher engaging content and visuals, you will always be able to catch more attention.
You boost your conversation by adding the SEO checker plugin to WordPress. The best option in this regard is Yoast SEO.
How to add Yoast SEO plugin to your WordPress blog?
Adding Yoast SEO plugin on your WordPress blog is a simple 4-step procedure.
- Open the Appearance page from the dashboard of your WP admin. Open your active theme from the appearance option. On the bottom left sidebar locate the “Plugin” open and click on the same.
- From the drop-down menu click on the “Add New” option.
- Once the plugin page opens, go to the Search bar and type “Yoast SEO”. In the “Search Results”, the first option that pops up is Yoast SEO. Click to open the option.
- In the Yoast SEO plugin page click in on the “Install Now” button on the top-right corner.
Now that you have Yoast SEO on your WordPress blog, it’s time to optimize the blog. The optimization process to follow is-
- Go back to the WordPress admin dashboard and access the settings of the Yoast SEO plugin through either the icon on top of the page or from the Plugin option in the sidebar.
- Once you open the plugin page, go to the “Your Info” bar to set the foundation of your blog.
- Check the name of the blog and the tagline, if they are in order, make it your personal identity, or your company’s identity.
- Press the “Save Changes” before moving on to the next step.
The previous steps help you save the settings on the personal information of the blog. The next step is all about optimizing the visibility of your blog.
- You already have the Yoast SEO settings dashboard open in front of you. Go to the “Webmaster Tools” tab now and click to open it.
- From the tools page, click on the “Google Search Console” link. This link leads to the webmaster tool that links your blog with the Search Index of Google Search Engine and optimizes the site visibility.
- To link your blog with the Google Search Index, you now need to log in to your Google Drive or Gmail account with proper credentials.
- Upon logging in, you will be directed to the “Webmaster Central” page of Google, where you can see a tab called “Alternate methods” Click on the tab.
- From the new drop-down alternate method menu, select the option for “HTML tag”.
- The last action opens a new pop-up menu with Google search console meta code.
- Copy the Alphanumeric meta code string devoid of the quotation marks and paste it on the Google Search Console text-bar in the “Webmaster Tool Verification” page under the “Webmaster tool” tab.
- Press the “Save changes” button to secure the search console meta code.
- You will be taken back to the Alternate method page with the meta code saved in your HTML tag. Now you need to click on the “Verify ” button on the bottom left corner of the page.
Your visibility is optimized now. But the SEO process is not over yet. There are further steps to optimize the keywords and key phrases left.
As you work with Webmaster Central, you will slowly get a detailed insight on the keywords that secures you the rank on Google Search Engine, the inaccuracy in your blog, and most importantly, how much you nudge Google as a new post gets published. Well, all this information is not imaginary. They are all derived from real-time data from the Yoast SEO analysis report.
Satisfied with the Yoast SEO blog optimization yet? Want to know more about how to enhance the optimization effect for better traffic? Check the “Installation Wizard’ from the General tab of the plugin page.
As you open the Wizard, Yoast SEO takes you across the 10-steps to successful optimization of your blog.
10 Steps to Blog Optimization with Yoast SEO:
Step 1: Opening the Installation leads yo to the Welcome Page. You can easily skip this page.
Step 2: Select an Environment for the blog site. The most preferred option is usually “Production Environment” as it marks the current site as the main site where Google needs to drive the traffic.
Step 3: Enter the type of your website. In your case, it will “Blog”. Select the open and click on the “Next” button to proceed.
Step 4: In this step, you need to select your website type as either “Company” or “Person”. If you have done that before on the settings page, you can skip this one.
Step 5: This phase is for adding social media profiles that are related to your blog. If this is a personal blog, you can ideally tag in your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles and click on the “Next” button to proceed further.
Step 6: The sixth-step deals with blog visibility. Usually, the default settings of Yoast SEO suffices the standard needs of visibility. However, you can recheck the settings and ensure that your “Pages” and “Posts” are marked under the “visible” category. It is best to keep the “media” under the “Hidden” category for your privacy.
Step 7: The seventh-phase is about deciding whether your blog will be handled by multiple or single bloggers. If you don’t have anyone to share it with yet, you can go ahead by marking “No” under the question “Does, or will, your site have multiple authors”. This can always be edited later if you want to add another blogger on your site.
Step 8: In step 8 you use the plugin to pull data from Google Search Console. Click on the button mentioning “Get Google Authorization Code”. Yoast SEO plugin can fetch data from Google Search Console only when you provide the Authorization code. Upon clicking the button for the code, you will pop-up to provide Yoast SEO direct access to Google Search Console. “Allow” the pop-up to validate the access. Now the plugin will easily draw data from the search engine.
Step 9: Verify the name of your website and use a title separator tool to keep the blog title and website name distinct. The title separator you come across over here is just like a symbol that distinguishes between the website name the blog title in the meta title description tab. People who come across your blog through Google Search actually see this title separator to distinguish the blog title in their search. title separators are often in form of “-” or “|” or “>” or something similar. If you are satisfied with the Title Separator, move on to the final step fo optimization.
Step 10: Actually, there is nothing to do in this step. By now, you have set up all the necessary optimization settings needed to get high traffic to your blog. In this phase, you only receive a message from Yoast SEO stating “Congratulations” on starting a blog.
So far you have covered the otpimization steps that helped with improving the visibility of your blog. Being visible is one of the most important criteria to start a blog that makes money.
XML Sitemaps configuration – the phase of optimization with Yoast SEO
To start a blog successfully, you cannot neglect the last phase of optimization with Yoast SEO, i.e., the configuration of XML Sitemaps. You get this configuration on your blog from Yoast SEO settings.
How does this help your blog optimization? Having XML Sitemaps enabled on your blog helps to list down the URLs ideal for your website. Adding a URL to the website helps search engines like Google to scan your website for new pages and blog posts, once they get published. Thanks to the great built-in features of the Yoast SEO plugin, the sitemaps get automatic updates on every post.
So, once you activate the Yoast SEO plugin and get XML Sitemaps configured on your site, you don’t need to optimize every blog. You just need to get it done once and then concentrate on other work.
How to activate the automatic updating feature of the plugin?
- The process is not daunting at all. By now you already know how to open the Yoast SEO settings. Open the settings and go to the “Feature” tab.
- In the Feature page, click on the “Enabled” button under the “Advanced Settings Page” option.
- Click on the “Save Changes” button at the bottom-left to save the changes in settings.
- Now when you open the Yoast SEO page, you get a new set of menus on the sidebar. Click on the “XML Sitemaps” option from the new menu.
- This leads to the settings of Sitemaps. Go to the tab stating “User Sitemap” and click.
- Now, click on the “Enabled” button under the “Author / User Sitemap” option.
- Click on the “Save Changes” button to secure the new settings of Sitemaps.
Now everything appears to be on the right track to start your blog in full swing.
How to Start a Blog Optimization Process with Permalink Setup?
So far, I told you how Yoast SEO works for the optimization of your blog. It’s time to start a blog optimization process by setting up the permalinks.
Before we go ahead with the permalink setup, let’s first understand what permalinks are. Permalinks can be described as stable hyperlinks that direct to a particular web page or blog post when clicked upon.
WordPress settings are designed to create a default permalink with “yourdomain.com/postID”.
Not really a catchy hyperlink, is it? This will hardly be understandable for the reader. Naturally, they are going to skip the page without clicking on the permalink.
How can you fix this issue and make your permalink an attractive one?
Simple, tweak the structure of the permalink.
How to Make Changes to a Permalink Structure?
No rocket science again, it’s a simple 5-step process. In just 5-steps you can tweak the permalink structure to start a blog optimization process.
- Open your Plugin page on the WordPress admin dashboard and click on the “Settings” option on the left sidebar.
- From the drop-down menu click on the “Permalinks” option.
- In the Permalinks page, you will come across six structure options. I suggest you go with the “Post Name” structure option. This option, when activated chooses a keyword from the blog title and considers is for creating a unique permalink.
- Click on the “Save” button to secure the new settings.
Step 6: Brainstorming Topics for Your Blog
To start a blog, so far you have bought a domain name and web host service, got WordPress and installed the theme, and most importantly, optimized your blog for better visibility. The technical part of starting your blog is over. All you need to do now is brainstorm a catchy or in-demand topic for the blog.
Use your passion, personal encounter, learning, success story, or failures as the topic of your blog. The best way to determine a topic is by asking yourself questions. This is not that complicated. A little nudge to your brain and you will easily get a list of topics ready.
From the list, choose keywords, and get it checked with the previously mentioned tools. The aim is to check the demand for each of the topics. Since you got your topic from questions, the processing tools should be able to provide at least 10 answers for your question when searched upon. The goal is to see the topic from your reader’s eyes.
You should be able to meet these 5 questions with your topic-
- What intrigues your readers and their passions the most?
- What are the difficulties faced by the readers in their daily life?
- How can you describe the character of your readers?
- What is the favorite part of your niche for your readers?
- Which areas pf your niche are not preferred by your readers?
As you select a topic, add an attractive headline for the blog. Don’t forget to add some punchlines in the blog content as well.
Step 7: Create a Masterpiece
Your blog platform is ready and you know your topic. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and write down your masterpiece. You do it from the WP admin page only.
- Go to the dashboard of the WordPress admin page. Click on the “Posts” option on the sidebar of the Page.
- Click on the “Add New” button on the “Posts” page.
- The blog editor page opens up over here. You can start writing on this page. Start a blog by entering the blog title first. This will automatically create a permalink for the blog. Continue with the article now.
- On top of the page, there is the Tool Bar with several editing options. Toggling this toolbar is helpful especially in selecting the Subheading and List options.
- Click on the “Add Media” button on the toolbar when you need to add in visuals to your blog.
- From the “Document” tab on the right sidebar, go to the “Set featured image” option to add an image for the blog.
- All images can be uploaded from your gallery and added into the blog by clicking on the “Insert into post” button.
- While you write your blog, don’t forget to check the Yoast SEO icon. It shows if your blog needs more optimization. To know where you need to edit optimize the blog, scroll down to the Yoast SEO plugin. Add in “Meta Description”, “Slug”, “Focus Keyword”. Make changes in the article until the SEO icon goes green.
- Finally, click on the “Preview” button on the top to get a real-time view of how your blog appears to your readers.
- Save your article by clicking on the “Save Draft ” button.
Your article is now ready to be published. However, you might want to go for the last moment check with this checklist to ensure your blog has everything-
- The blog has a conversational tone
- The content flow is natural
- It is easy-on-eyes with visible white space
- Paragraphs are well distinguished with Headings and Sub-headings
- The content has lists and bullet points
- All grammatical and type-errors are corrected.
If everything looks fine to you, click on the “Publish” button in the top-right corner to post the blog.
Step 8: Prepare an Editorial Calendar
If you want to be celebrated as a blogger, you need to publish your posts on a regular basis. This helps you stay focus. If you are not blogging, someone else might take that place. The consistency of blogging matters.
How can you maintain consistency? You need to prepare and maintain an editorial calendar for your blog.
The Editorial Calendar is a tool that schedules and publishes your post to maintain that consistency. You can write articles at your own sweet will and save it as a draft under WordPress post. But you need this calendar to publish those articles automatically on a certain time, without your intervention.
How does the editorial calendar work?
- Open a spreadsheet with 4 columns – Publishing Dates, Blog Title, Keyword, and Notes. If you have multiple authors, you might want to add a column for the Authors too.
- Write at least 25 blog posts and set a deadline for each for publishing.
- Open Google Calendar and go to “Create New Calendar” option under “My Calendar”.
- Add in the Spreadsheet details on your Google Calendar and click on the “Create Calendar” button to set your dates for publishing.
- Now since your Google Account is already connected with the WordPress blog, the editorial uses this calendar to publish your articles by title on their scheduled dates, automatically.
Step 9: Blog Monetizing
The final step to start a blog is get it monetized. the conventional ways to get it done are-
All the conventional processes, indicate towards one way, understanding the audience with conversation and meeting their demand. Surveys are a great way to get feedback.
Apart from influencing the audience, you can also earn money by-
- Selling physical products
No matter what way of monetizing your blog you choose, you need to do it by building a meaningful relationship with your customers and their communities.
Final Words on How to Start a Blog
It is easy to start a blog. But if you want to write a revenue generating one, you need to work hard and follow certain SEO techniques.
Needless to say, dedication and consistency are important to rank high on search engines. This helps you overcome the hurdle of visibility.
Don’t forget to create your first blog over WordPress and get a good web host. With a good WordPress recommended web host you can avail free domain name for your site.
All these make up for your dream of starting off as a successful blogger.