If you’re looking for an Easy-Peasy Guide on how to start a blog that’s not downright stressful and frustrating, then you’ve come to the right place.
Did you ever think that blogging is rather difficult to learn?
Are you wasting your time chasing “free” webinars that will cost you valuable time and ultimately get a pitch for an expensive course at the very end?
Have you toyed with the idea of starting a blog for a while, have read many books and done quite a bit of research on the topic, but nothing was executed?
Are you at the point where the excitement of starting something has worn off? And the results you thought was going to have, haven’t happened. In your mind you think, you’re crossing that line of discouragement.
My hope is that this will pull you away from that discouragement line.
You’re about to learn the best approach to starting your first blog and find loyal readers and raving fans!
Yes, this is your chance to make such a difference in your blogging performance that your friends may actually call you up to see what happened! A playbook for making your blog work for you.
I found my mojo that helped me eat my way out of blogging and filled my hope to keep at it! And that’s what I’m going to share with you.
Here’s an overview of the steps to create a successful blog:
Why You Should Start a Blog
“What am I supposed to write? I’m not even a writer! How to start a blog??”
I hear you…
You’re not alone. I hear this from most people. And I used to say that as well.
But let me ask you…
Do you post on your Facebook wall? Great! (I bet you’ve probably post a sentence or two in your entire life)
Here’s the good news…
If you know how to write a sentence, then you can write a blog!
If I may borrow a line from my sister Sha Nacino…
Sentences make up a paragraph. Paragraphs make up a chapter. Chapters make up a book.
You’re probably saying, “But I’m not writing a book?”.
Here’s the thing…
The same thing applies in blogging!
While you can just start a blog anytime, there should be a deeper reason why you need to put up one.
Let’s face it! You’ll never last into something you don’t have any emotional anchor over.
I’m talking about your WHY!
In any case, I’ll give you 3 good reasons why you need to start your blog now:
1. Keep a journal online
My first blog was the The Radical Runner. I love to run! I thought, I needed a way to share my message to the world.
In my mind, what if there’s a way to track my progress and at the same time get my message out? That which I can share my story? Hence, the birth of my first blog.
Trust me, it always feels great to be reminded of your past accomplishments! It brings joy to my face whenever I read my articles.
That is also the reason why I started this blog, The Content Leader. My life mission is to lead others to live a balanced life and inspire them to achieve their God-designed lives. That led me to launching this baby.
Do you plan to keep track of your progress? If so, make it your deeper reason why you need to put up a blog.
2. Attract an Audience
If you’re looking to establish your authority in the online world, then blogging is the way to go.
We are in this Digital Marketing wave. Guess what? You don’t stop the wave, you can only ride it.
Blogging enables you to reach out to 7,716,223,209 (Internet World Stats) customers around the globe. If you’re looking to market your business, you go where the people are.
3. Create Opportunities
One of the ways people find me is through my websites. Other than being a professional blogger, I’m also a Digital Marketing trainer.
Somehow, it adds credibility that whenever I train, I get to show them samples of my work. Blogging also helps me validate my expertise when I get speaking engagements.
If I may borrow a line from Huffpost, a blog is to professionals in the 2000s what a business card was in the 1990s.
And talk about opportunities, I know you’ve been longing to hear this…
You can make money thru your blog! (Yep, we all want money, right?)
How do bloggers earn from blogging, you ask?
There are a number of ways. Adsense, affiliate marketing, by creating courses are just some of the ways blogger get to earn from blogging.
And yes, I believe this is one of the reasons why you’re here.
So, without further ado, let’s get into the meat of the matter.
Choose Your Perfect Blog Niche
This is where most people get confused. And it’s okay.
That means you are really serious in the blog that you’re planning to put up.
Let’s start talking about your passion.
What is the topic you enjoy talking about?
What is something that you love to do? That even if you don’t get paid for it, you will still do it anyway.
Consider choosing that as you niche.
Let me set your expectations though. While it’s okay to just choose any topic to blog, one of the keys on how to start blog is finding a “profitable” niche.
Allow me to walk you through…
1. Do Market Research
This is something you don’t want to miss. While it helps to just publish your content out there, it’s not enough.
You need to know the trends. This is something that you don’t want to miss! That is, if you plan to make sure that there’s a profitable and big enough market for your topic!
Start the search with Google Trends.
Let’s take this blog as an example. My niche is all about Life Lessons. By typing “life lessons” with Google Trends search, it gives me this…
I always believe this is important as this graph will show you the trend over your chosen topic. It tells you whether the topic is stable, rising, or declining over time.
As you can see, life lessons look like a great topic to blog about. This means you can expect to have a big enough audience interested in your blog for many years ahead.
Do you plan to build a blog that lasts a lifetime? (the answer is probably obvious)
Then avoid topics that are declining in interest.
2. Pick a Smaller Niche
If you search for life lessons in Google Search, it will give you tons of results. This means, it can be broad of a term to target. And chances are, there are too many websites competing for it.
To avoid having to compete with big websites, it helps if you choose a smaller niche.
Don’t fret! Google Adwords Keyword Planner will help us analyze the search term. Head over to Adwords Keywords Planner to do this.
If you would notice, the term “lessons learned in life” appears to be a great niche for a blog. It receives around 1K to 10K average searches per month and it has low competition.
So there. Once you find your right niche for your blog, you may now start writing exceptional content and get your message out!
Please don’t overthink this too much without ever moving forward.
The most important thing is that you GET STARTED and learn as you go.
Now if you’re ready, let’s start building your blog!
Build Your Blog (Easy-Peasy Eat-Your-Way-Out-Of-Blogging Guide)
There are 2 things you need to build your blog:
1. Blogging platform
It is a specific form of content management system. This is where you write, edit and publish your blog posts.
There are numerous blogging platforms out there. You’ve probably heard of Wix.com, Blogger and other blogging platforms out there.
Not that I’m biased or anything, but if you were to ask me, nothing beats WordPress.
Now, you may be asking…
Can I Start a WordPress Blog for Free?
Definitely! But wait, there’s a catch…
It comes with limited functionality. One of the reasons why I love WordPress platform is its ability to install plugins.
Not only do plugins boost your WordPress blog’s performance, but it also gives an added look to your site.
That is something that free WordPress blog cannot give. Oh and not to mention, that if you plan if you plan to apply thru Google Adsense? Here’s the thing…
WordPress doesn’t allow Adsense with the free plan.
Moreover, having a free WordPress site doesn’t allow you to customize your domain. Say for instance, if I settle for the free WordPress blog, my website would be thecontentleader.wordpress.com instead of http://thecontentleader.com/.
Now, would you want to sacrifice those features for something that’s free? Nah!
Which brings me to the second thing you will need on how to start a blog…
2. Hosting account
This is the server that hosts your domain or your blog.
You’re probably confused on the difference between your hosting and your domain. In any case allow me to differentiate the two…
http://thecontentleader.com/ is my domain name. Think of your home. In order for people to visit you, they need to know your complete address.
Similarly, in the online world, domain is your home. It’s what most people call their website address.
In order for people to find you online, you need to have a registered domain name. And how do you register your domain name?
That’s when hosting comes into play.
Your hosting provider literally hosts your website to make it live.
While there are a lot of hosting platforms out there, I’d only recommend one hosting provider.
SITEGROUND. ( I need to make sure you read that right 😉 )
Why I use SiteGround (and why you should too! )
1. It is recommended by WordPress as a hosting platform for your website.
2. SiteGround’s speed is probably one of the reasons why people choose them.
3. They’ve got superb customer service. Not only do you get competent customer service answering your queries, they are also available 24/7.
I can go on and on about why I choose Siteground, but that’s for another blog post.
Ready to get started with Siteground? Cool. Go to Siteground.
It will take you to this window. Choose Web Hosting.
You will see the following options upon clicking.
Now, before choosing which plan to avail, here are the things you need to consider.
1. Do you plan to launch just one blog/website? Cool! Choose StartUp.
2. Do you plan to launch or host multiple blogs/website? Great! Choose GrowBig.
If it’s a personal blog you’re planning to put up, I don’t recommend you choose GoGeek for now. If in the future you plan to launch more blogs, you can always upgrade later on.
You can always contact their customer support. They’re a bunch of great guys!
If you’ve reached this far, I assume you already thought of your domain name, correct?
Now let’s continue. Say you choose their GrowBig plan. Go ahead and click GET PLAN and you should be able to see this:
Go ahead and write your domain name just like what it’s shown above (make sure there’s no space).
Once done, just hit PROCEED. It will then ask you for your card details. Make sure everything is filled up correctly.
When you’re done, just go ahead and complete the purchase. Make sure you check your email.
Oh, and don’t forget your Siteground login details! Done??
Booyah! (I can feel your excitement)
Don’t worry, we’re almost there. You only need to do one more thing…
And that is to install WordPress.
The next thing I want you to do is to login to your account. Again, go to your SiteGround account.
Go to My Accounts. Then click Go to CPanel as shown below.
You will see the below options. Choose WordPress as encircled below.
Go ahead and install.
After that, it will take you to this page.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you fill in the right details below. (I marked them red to make sure you get this right)
If everything’s good, go ahead and click “Install”. Again, make sure you save your username and password.
Congratulations! You now own your very own blog and hosting plan!
Yayyyy! So you’ve already installed your WordPress. Most importantly, your website is now live.
How to Transition from a “Know-Nothing WordPress Newbie” to a “WordPress Ninja” (in no time)
Now that you have an idea of how to start a blog, what’s next?
Have you ever heard people say, “there is no college of blogging”?
Well, that is the truth!
But, this blog comes close to being that college for you.
Having this information and following it can give you the direction you need to know what you should do next, instead of getting sidetracked by so many things other say you “should” be doing.
Now, let’s begin!
Go ahead and login to your WordPress account. To do that, you’ll have to type in your domain yourdomainname.com/wp-admin/
See sample below:
Moreover, it will ask you for your username and password. As a result, it will take you to your WordPress Dashboard.
It should look something like this.
If this is your first time seeing a WordPress Dashboard, it can be pretty overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’ll uncover those in just a moment
I want you to take a look of the ones I highlighted in red. These are the basic features of your WordPress.
Here is a basic overview of these features:
This is where you write the articles on your blog. Depending your chosen niche, this is where you craft the messages you want to share to the world!
Here is an example of a published blog post:
It can include content in the form of text, photos, infographics, or videos. Blog posts are organized by categories. This helps them easily find the content that they are interested in.
We’ll tackle more about creating your first blog post in next section!
This is basically where all your images and videos (Although, I don’t suggest you upload them as they slow down your site.) are stored.
We’ll discuss more about this in the section where you’ll create your first blog post!
Just in case you’re wondering…
“What’s the difference between post and page?”
Blog posts are the source of your regular blog contents or published blog articles. They are a convenient way for you to post “What’s New” updates regarding your chosen niche.
Blog posts appear in reverse chronological order on the blog’s front or home page.
Pages, however, are more static content that are not updated frequently.
Here are examples of contents you might want to consider under Pages:
- About Me (It talks about you and your chosen niche)
- Contact (This is a way for your readers to contact you. It usually has a form where your readers or people wanting to contact you can key in their name and email address. )
- Disclaimer (This is placed on your blog menu or your footer area in an effort to limit your liability for the outcome of the use of your site. )
This is where you can see and respond to the comments your readers leave on your particular blog post area.
This for me is one of the most exciting portions of your WordPress Dashboard…especially when you’re just starting out!
This is where you do your blog customizations. From customizing the appearance of your site, creating Widgets to installing your Theme, customizing your Menu, and many more!
This will help you boost the functionality of your site. There are both free and paid plugins that can help you.
Each WordPress plugin installed on your site is registered in your WordPress database. You can activate and deactivate them at any time you want.
This is where you can change your email and password. This is also the part of the WordPress Dashboard where you can add users later on and assign them roles.
Check the screenshot below.
This is where you configure the following:
– Time Zone
– Site Title and Tagline
– Site Language
– Email Address
– Homepage and Blog display settings
– and many more!
As a new blogger one of the struggles you may encounter is that you often get bogged down in the details which prevent you from making progress. Relate?
That’s why I need you to take action right away!
Trying to get a blog up and going can be a daunting task.
But if you just take the next steps, this can be a playbook for making your blog work for you!
How to Change the Look and Feel of your WordPress Blog
Now this is the part where new bloggers get most excited about…Designing your blog!
We can do this and more by choosing the right Theme for your blog. Now, as a newbie to WordPress blogging, I don’t suggest you opt for paid themes right away.
There are a wide variety of Free WordPress Themes that you can choose from.
Just a word of caution before you choose your theme…
It has to be RESPONSIVE!
The goal of responsive design is to build web pages that detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.
To show you what I mean by responsive, here is how my site looks like in a normal desktop:
By RESPONSIVE, it means, it should be able to adapt to whatever visitor’s screen size it detects (may it be on mobile or tablet).
Check if your website fits and adapts to mobile, tablet, and desktop screen sizes.
This is how my site looks like in mobile. It easily adapts to the screen size.
Now over to you!
Go ahead and start choosing the right theme for you. To do that, go to “Appearance” then “Themes”.
Click “Add New”.
To make sure you choose the Responsive Themes, make sure to key in ‘responsive’ in the search bar.
You can always hit ‘PREVIEW’ to check if that’s something you want.
Let me set your expectations though…
You may see a BIG DIFFERENCE in the displayed theme compared to that of “Preview”. This is because the one displayed under Themes are the desired outcome should you maximize it’s functionality.
Also, just some words of advice…
This can be a trial and error task for you as you need to choose from one WordPress theme to another. It can take much of your time as well choosing your theme.
But once you find the theme that’s right for you, it can give you a much needed boost!
How to Upload Paid Themes in WordPress
You can always choose to purchase your themes. Once you purchase them, you can download the zipped theme file.
To do that, click Upload Theme.
Click Choose File.
Go ahead and Install. Once installed, click Activate!
You don’t want to make newbie mistakes just as I did when I started, so make sure to apply these steps!
Now that you’ve applied the look of your site, we’ll go ahead and get your message out!
How to Write Your First Blog Post
Let’s get started writing your first blog post in WordPress!
You may be asking, “What do I write anyway?”
Your first post can be about yourself or about your chosen niche. But I highly suggest to not over analyze in this part.
I recommend start by introducing yourself to your would-be-tribe!
To do this, go to Posts, then Add New.
You can start by stating the title of your blog post.
“Welcome to my [insert niche] blog” could be a good start!
Then go ahead start writing your first post.
Don’t worry about making mistakes here. As long as it’s not yet published, you do as many revisions as you want!
Here’s how you add your image.
Should you wish to add some more such as paragraph or quote or heading, just hit the + icon on the upper left side as shown in the image above.
Once you’re done with your first post, go ahead and PUBLISH!
Congratulations on your first blog post!
Not too painful, right???
Now, feel free to explore what other features WordPress has to offer.
Do this and the steps I have provided for you. And in no time, you’ll see yourself transition from a…
Know-Nothing “WordPress Newbie” to a “WordPress Ninja”!
Rooting for you,
I love what i’m seeing here. Glad I found this blog. Thank you!
Thanks, Mark! 🙂