Want to start a blog?
If you’re new to blogging and need inspiration on starting a blog, this post in front of you is an ultimate guide and a perfect place to get started.
ABOUT THIS GUIDE:
Blogging is a fantastic activity that can help you show your expertise to the world, and connect with like minded people, but starting can be tricky.
I wrote this guide here because starting a blog is simple, but It’s not easy-otherwise everyone would do it. You need to do it right and take every step carefully in order launch a successful blog that YOU can use today.
This massive 4000+ word guide is dedicated to all my friends and awesome readers community who constantly ask me questions on starting a blog.
If you need answers of questions like:
- How to start a successful blog
- Why to blog
- Why blog on WordPress.org
- How to grow your blog faster
- How to show your expertise to the world
- How to do SEO for your blog
- How to make money blogging
- And learn every aspect of blogging…
…Than you’ve come to the right place. I’ll break it all down below.
Howdy, I’m Ehsan, that’s me on the right. I started my first blog back in 2011 with the intention of making money online, and now two and half years later blogging is my life.
Blogging is what I love, I think of and I do on daily basis. To read my full story, go to About me page.
Whether you want to start a blog to promote your business or you just want to share whatever you’re passionate about with an audience, this post will show you all the steps you need to take on starting a blog successfully.
You ready? Let’s begin!
Why to Blog?
People still ask me that is blogging important for their business or anything they do in their life, so I’d like to start with a few reasons on why blogging is important and why you should start it today.
A blog is a place where you can share your thoughts on a specific topic and connect with like-minded people who are interested in what you do.
I started off this blog with 0 readers, but it quickly grew. Now everyone who visit my blog in interested in BLOGGING, and they connects with me on Twitter and Google+.
Today blogging has connected me with thousands of like minded people who loves what I love.
Blogging has given me an opportunity to establish myself as an expert and helped me build authority in my field by sharing legitimate advice and by helping people through blogging.
Blogging is one of the best ways to make money online, but make sure that you blog about a topic you’re passionate about and don’t just blog for money.
Keep in mind that a blogger’s job is to do the work at first, and serve the needs of your audience. If you do blogging with full passion and potential, you’ll of course make money doing it.
It’s a lot of fun sharing your ideas and advice on a topic you’re interested with others. Isn’t it?
Enough of the potentials of blogging tough, now let me show you how to blog!
Starting a Blog Table of Contents:
This is definitely a long guide. In order to make it easy for you to go navigate through all the information on starting a blog, here’s the list of 20 tips and advice you can go through this long.
- Planning a Blog
- Choose a perfect blog topic
- Choose a good domain name
- Get a hosting
- Get on the right Blogging Platform
- Set up WordPress
- Choose a WordPress theme
- Install Necessary WordPress plugins
- Secure your WordPress blog
- Start writing and improve your writing skills
- Include images in your posts
- Do basic things to improve your blog
- Network with other bloggers
- Learn SEO to improve your blog
- Go global with Guest Posting
- Leave comments on other blogs
- Be open minded
- Come up with blog post ideas
- Pay attention to your readers
- Learn every aspect of Blogging with Guide and News
This is the top 20 tips and advice with absolutely everything you need to know about starting a blog successfully.
You ready? Let’s dive in the details of it.
Planning a Blog:
Successful blogs always create a blog plan, and It’s important to give your blog a path to follow.
Unlike most of the bloggers who blog randomly and hope for the success, successful bloggers always know what they should do to get what they want.
They always outline the strategies, propose the tactics, and list the tasks to be done to achieve their goals. In other words, they plan to success.
Planning will help in:
- Getting your blog on the right track
- Finding your blog’s voice
- Determining your goals
- Building authority and trust
- Anticipating the challenges and risks
If you want a complete blueprint on planning out a successful blog, you should definitely read my article on planning a blog where I’ve covered everything you need to DO and KNOW before launching a new blog.
Choose a perfect blog topic:
“The journey of thousand miles starts with one step”
Similarly your blogging journey starts with the right topic selection and choosing the perfect topic for your blog will decide whether you fail or succeed online.
People will only read your blog If you write quality and useful articles in a specific topic that serves their needs, so how could you write a quality article on a topic you don’t have any knowledge on.
One of the common mistake bloggers are making these days is that they aren’t blogging for a particular group of people and writing about too many topics on their blog which is confusing their readers.
Make it clear who the blog is for, say to a particular group of people, and target the specific audience.
Read my guide on choosing a perfect topic for your blog to avoid choosing wrong topic and get ideas on some of the money making topics on that post to give you better idea about present bogging scenario.
Choose a good domain name:
A domain name is your blog’s address on the web, like www.YourBlog.com.
A good domain name that makes for people easier to find you is the first and most important step of being a successful blogger.
Domain name plays a huge role in your internet presence and It is the key to success in blogging or any other online business.
Forget yourname.blogspot.com or yourname.wordpress.com. Get your own personal domain name for your blog that must be brandable, SEO friendly and user friendly. See the ultimate guide on how to choose a domain name.
Get a web hosting:
If you’ve registered a good domain name for your blog, now you need to find a best web hosting service.
The web hosting is known as “space” on the web to put your blog files, images, articles and theme etc.
There are millions of web hosting companies on the internet offering different packages according to the needs of the customer.
It is very daunting task for a newbie to find a perfect web hosting service because there are a lot of things to consider before choosing a web hosting service, with that keeping in mind I have written a guide on how to choose a web hosting service that will help you to decide on the best hosting service.
My choice is Bluehost for the easiest install and It is the best hosting service for WordPress bloggers. If you’ve any doubt, read my ultimate Bluehost review for WordPress bloggers where I’ve shared the top 10 features of Bluehost that makes it different from other hosting providers.
Get on the right Blogging Platform:
The most common question comes in mind when starting blogging is “where to blog?”
There are a lot of blogging platforms you can start with like Blogger, Tumblr, Typepad, Posterous etc, but you will be benefit more from WordPress.org
If you want to be a successful blogger and willing to make money blogging than you need to think about the right blogging platform.
A couple of months ago I discussed about this topic briefly on which blogging platform to choose which can help you through the process of choosing the right blogging platform.
If you start with WordPress.org, you’ll get:
- Easy to customize themes and designs to make your blog look however you want
- Your own domain name without .blogspot, .tumble or .typepad
- Easy setup and use
- Access to premium themes, just like Theme Junkie
- Plugins feature which is a life saver
- Unlimited ways to make money blogging
- Improved SEO
- Massive support from real expert people
It’s more easy to launch a blog on WordPress.org than It seems to be. The process is just to choose a hosting plan, register a domain name and install your WordPress blog.
Set up WordPress:
If you’ve been here for any amount of time, you might know that I suggest everyone to blog on WordPress.org, because there’s a lot of reasons for this.
WordPress powers the 22% of all websites worldwide and as of 2o13 is the most popular blog software.
I’ve already shared some tips on how to install a WordPress from Cpanel on your hosting in my post I’ve linked above which says “Which blogging platform to choose”, so now the next step is to set up a WordPress blog after install.
Now If you’ve registered a domain name and selected the best hosting service, It’s time to go through some steps that are essential to perform to fully set up your WordPress blog.
- Manage author: After installing your WordPress blog, you need to remove the default admin account for better security and create a new account making yourself the administrator. After removing the default account, go to your WordPress dashboard, click on Users > Add News and fill out the form.
- Change the permalinks: The default posts permalink in freshly installed WordPress blogs is like http://www.guideandnews.com?p=420 which is too annoying. In order to make it SEO and user friendly, you need to change it to something like http://www.guideandnews.com/starting-a-blog. You can go to Setting > Permalinks in your WordPress dashboard to make these changes.
- Set up general settings: Navigate to your WordPress dashboard, click on Settings > General and fill out the form of general settings correctly. If you need help in setting up the general settings of your WordPress blog, leave your question in the comments!
- Upload and activate your theme: If you’ve found a theme for your blog and want to install it, go to the Appearance > Themes > Install theme. Upload your theme and activate it.
I know there are a lot of other useful steps that I’ve missed which should be taken to successfully set up a WordPress blog. If you got another one, add a comment!
Choose a WordPress Theme:
Selecting of a perfect WordPress theme is a frustrating process for almost every newbie blogger.
When It comes to WordPress themes, there are two types of WordPress themes: free WordPress themes and premium WordPress themes.
The first process is to decide you want to use a free theme or premium theme.
Free themes are really great just because they’re FREE, so If you want to consider your blog as a business and you want to make money from your blog than you need to spend money on premium themes.
If you want to start a persona blog to explore your interest, you can use a free theme, but If you consider your blog as a business and you’re serious with this BLOGGING this, you should spend money on premium ones.
Pick a theme related to your topic or industry:
The most important step of choosing a perfect theme is that you should find a theme related to your blog niche. e.g. If you have a news related blog than Newspaper type WordPress theme is perfect theme for you or if you have a photography related blog than find a perfect theme which suits your blog content.
If you’re having trouble on choosing a theme for your blog, you probably want to read my guide on how to choose a WordPress theme.
Install necessary Wordpres plugins:
Plugins are blog add-ons that do a lot of things for your WordPress blog, like show popular posts, social sharing buttons and related posts etc. There is a plugin for any WordPress feature you can think of.
There are approximately 22,801 plugins in WordPress plugins directory at a time of writing this which makes it quite difficult to discover the beneficial addition to your blog.
WordPress has proven Itself a dependable bogging platform due to It’s easy to use and install, that is the reason I’m madly in love with WordPress.
If you’ve just started a blog with WordPress and you aren’t familiar with useful WordPress plugins to use, here’s the list of some of my favorite WordPress plugins:
- Akismet: Protects your blog from spam comments.
- All in one SEO: Best plugin to handle SEO concerns of your blog.
- TF Social share: The plugin to show social sharing buttons in your posts, see below!
- nRelate: Shows related posts, see below!
- XML Sitemaps: Allows you to create XML sitemaps easily and quickly.
- Broken Link Checker: Notifies you about broken links and missing images on your blog content.
- Login Lockdown: A must have WordPress plugin to secure your WordPress blog.
- WordPress Popular Posts: A simple plugin to show popular posts widget on sidebar, check out mine on the right.
Have I missed any other useful WordPress plugin? Let me know with your comment below!
Secure your WordPress blog:
It scares everyone If someone hacked their blog, especially when they spent hours on building their blog.
What If your blog was a target of a rookie hacker, honing his skills to make it to the big league? All of the hard work you put on your bog, hundreds of hours you spent on building your blog, growing your traffic and readership would be lost forever.
If you want to run a serious blog than you must however take the security of your blog very seriously. With that keeping in mind I’ve written about some WordPress security tips to help you secure your blog.
Start writing and improve your writing:
Write the best articles you can. It is no doubt that an effective writing is a blessing for a blogger and people will love to read your content If they life your writing style.
You need to engage your readers, encourage conversations, make them enjoy and keep them interested with your writing skills. If you’re going to say what everyone else is saying, don’t bother saying it because, you’ll sound stale and trite. Read my post on how to improve writing skills.
Keep in mind that great content matters so much and every new visitor to your blog will subscribe If they see your content is useful, so share your experience and know-how and publish it.
Include images in your posts:
See how many images I used in this post? Doesn’t it look good?
I know it does, even an image is enough to spice up a blog post.
I always use images on each of my blog post because I know the power of it.
Images gives the reader a chance to click through that post even If they don’t want to and having an image to your blog posts will improve the look and design of your blog and make it more appealing, so always find a good and catchy images in your blog posts.
Urgent tasks to do after blog launch:
Now If you’ve launched your blog reading the guide above, It’s time to post-launch period, isn’t it?
So here are some critical must-dos for you and your newly launched blog.
- Change your theme: It’s quite easy to change the theme of your blog. Go to appearance > Themes > Install Themes > Upload and then find your theme. You can search for free themes, or you can browse premium themes, like Theme Junkie which I’ve used for about 2 years.
- Create an about me page: Write an everlasting about me page immediately after your blog launch. If a reader is curious about what your blog covers, they’ll read the about me page to find out more. If It’s missing, they’re gone.
- Allow visitors to subscribe via email: Let your visitors subscribe to your blog via email and for newbies Feedburner may be great option, but many people still don’t know how to use it. Email is preferred way to subscribe to content, so make sure not to neglect it.
- Sign up for Google Analytics: Google analytics will help you to track your visitors check the traffic stats of your blog. Analytics offer a wealth of data that can improve your blog.
- Verify your blog in Google webmaster tools: Verify your blog in Google webmaster tools and let Google send traffic to your blog and tell you what to improve on your blog.
- Build a sitemap for your blog: Build a sitemap for your blog to allow the search engines to easily find and index your blog archives. Google XML Sitemaps is a great WordPress plugin to build a sitemap for your blog.
Network with other bloggers:
I’ve written tons of articles on my blog about the importance of relationship building and why It’s important for bloggers.
According to me, It’s one of the best strategy to grow a blog because no matter what niche you’re in, you have to build a community of people related in what you do on your blog.
I’ve making en effort to responding to every comment on my blog because the interaction is what’s important. The long term goal of mine is to build a huge community on my blog, build authority and credibility. It’s time consuming, but It’s a lot of fun too. Below are few ways to network with other bloggers and build relationship with them:
- Get on social media: You want to be where other bloggers and your readers are, these days people are on social media like Twitter, Facebook and few other socializing platforms.
- Comment on other blogs: Commenting on other blogs in your niche is one of the best way to connect and build relationship with them. It can bring in lots of benefits If used widely.
- Join blogging communities: Blogging communities are where all blogging elites hangs out and few of the best blogging platforms which you should join are Blog Engage, BloKube and Bizsugar.
Learn SEO to improve your blog:
You might already know the importance of SEO (search engine optimization). Without having sufficient knowledge about SEO, you cannot be a successful blogger at all.
SEO had became a large part of blogger’s lives and If you want to make money out of your blog, than you have to learn the SEO strategies, tips and techniques to get organic traffic on your blog from search engines.
Now a days, Internet itself is a treasure of information about SEO as information are shared widely and most frequently, so you don’t need to go anywhere and to spent money to learn SEO.
I’m also a learner of SEO and I’m still researching and cannot entitle myself as an optimizer, but I know what have worked for me and what haven’t, so I shared them on my post on SEO tips where I’ve written all you need to know about SEO and top 10 SEO optimization tips to get 1st rank on Google.
Go global with Guest Posting:
If you think you can blow up by just starting a blog and writing on your own blog, sadly It doesn’t work like this.
Smart bloggers write all around the globe to get their name out there.
Guest posting is one of the best and most effective way of connecting with other bloggers, getting traffic and backlinks from other reputable blogs.
Guest posting is when you write an article for another blog in your niche. At first It may seem like volunteering for the competition, but actually helps you both on the long run.
Guest posting will help you get yourself on those circles where the blogging elite hangs out. Practically this is the easiest way to build connections, while allowing others to see you as an expert on the subject. See how guest posting on other sites can help new bloggers.
Leave comments on other blogs:
If there’s one piece of advice for building traffic to a blog for newbie bloggers more than any other, It is about leaving comments on other blogs.
Through commenting on other blogs, you’ll be reaching out to other bloggers in your niche and It is the start of fruitful relationships.
So, whenever you found something interesting to read, leave meaningful comments, bookmark blogs in your niche and revisit them regularly to build relationship with the blog owner.
Leaving comments on other blog has a lot of benefits If used widely. Read 5 things I did to increase my blog comments.
Be open minded:
Be open minded, and always be on the lookout for new things that can help you improve your blog.
You need to be experienced in order to take your blog in the right direction, and experience comes by trying, by learning new things and by being open minded.
It’s good to collect as much information as you can collect and increase your knowledge of blogging and your niche.
Read other blogs in your niche, exchange experiences and write guest posts for each other and so on. Always try to be a learner and improve your blog.
Come up with blog post ideas:
There are times when bloggers don’t feel of writing and they feel their mind is empty of ideas to write on their blog.
Everyone runs out of things to write on their blog and this is one of the biggest challenge every blogger will face.
What to do in this case? Well, what you need is inspiration and you don’t have to force it out.
Read as much as you can, take notes and get inspiration and ideas for your future blog posts. Read my post on 10 ways for finding blog post ideas.
Pay attention to your readers:
Do anything of the blue to acknowledge your readers, show them that you value them, connect with them on social media, highlight them to your other readers and convert first time visitors into returning readers.
You should strive to build loyal readership for your blog because money comes automatically when you’ve targeted traffic and loyal readers and subscribers on your blog.
Build loyal readership first and than convert those readers in customers and make money from your blog, That is one of the best way to make money blogging.
Learn every aspect of Blogging with Guide and News:
Guide and News, aka Guide to Blogging community is a very cool community of bloggers where you’ll learn tips, tricks and strategies that can help you grow your blog.
I’ve written hundreds of articles on the strategies to help bloggers, so If you’re new here, brew a cup of coffee and start by reading my welcome post that I’m sure will convince you to stay around.
If you want to get the best of the blogging community then subscribe to my email list, and I’ll send you a copy of my eBook “Starting a Blog 101″
Yep, I’ve written a whole book for you, and It’s FREE right now. It’ll be until the 1000 copies have been downloaded.
I also wrote a post on the insiders view of how I launched my eBook to help you launch yours.
Sound cool huh?
Use the form below to join the community and grab your copy of “Starting a Blog 101″.
Further reading to really power up your blog:
Now If you’ve launched your blog, congrats! It’s time to get to work by reading this posts.
- How to secure your WordPress blog
- How to set up Google authorship
- How to get indexed by Google fast
- How to get Google sitelinks
- How to convert first time visitors into returning readers
- Top SEO optimization tips to get 1st rank on Google
- 8 things to consider before publishing your next blog post
- How to spice up every blog post
- Get your blog on the right track
- And more.
I hope that you’ve found the post to be helpful one that has given you complete guide on starting a blog and taking it to the next level.
I love blogging and I think It’s the best way to make money online.
But It’s not easy!
Don’t let people tell otherwise.
I’d like to finish off by saying that I’m here for you, not only as a guide when you begin or continue your blog, but as a friend. So If you have questions regarding any blogging step, ask me by posting a comment below. I’d love to hear from you and answer questions on blogging topics.