11 Steps For How To Start A Blog (And Make Money) In 2020

11 Steps For How To Start A Blog (And Make Money) In 2020

McKinzie Bean
McKinzie Bean
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.

Are you wondering “how do I start a blog?”

You probably have a thousand questions running through your mind at the moment. But that’s completely normal.

I was just like you when I started. A lot of bloggers were like that—clueless and left to deal with the questions and challenges that come their way.

One of the questions I frequently receive on my email is how to start a blog.

So in this article, I’m going to guide you through the basics on how to build a blog.

Now, this isn’t just some fluff piece that shows you how to set up web hosting. We are going to go deeper than that. I want to show you every step you need to start your blog right.

Because of how in-depth this post is I recommend bookmarking it or pinning it on Pinterest so you can refer back to it later.

HERE ARE THE STEPS WE WILL COVER ON STARTING A BLOG:

SO HOW DO YOU START A BLOG?

For your blog to be successful, you will need to put in a lot of time and dedication. It is not some get rich quick scheme. However, if you stick to it, building a blog can be a great business.

Starting a blog is one of the least expensive businesses to start. The only thing that you really need to purchase in order to get started is web hosting.

Webhosting plans range from $3-6 a month. 

The three that I recommend for new bloggers are BluehostSiteGround, and BigScoots. They each are solid companies and have unique benefits.

You can click here to jump down to the hosting section for a more detailed comparison.  

Now that you know how inexpensive it is to start a blog let’s jump in to the first step.

1. CHOOSE A BLOG NICHE

Do you need advice on picking the right niche for your blog?

In this segment, I’m going to share with you four practical tips on finding a good niche. One that will bring traffic to your website and help you build a loyal audience. 

A profitable niche, so to speak, should you decide to monetize it.

1. Write about what you enjoy talking about.

Blogging is supposed to be fun. An enjoyable activity, a pastime, which has the potential of turning into a good income stream.

But like all activities, blogging can get boring and monotonous. It can get tedious, feel like work, and no longer fun at some point.

When you’re burned out, you may be tempted to drop blogging entirely.

So how do you avoid this?

You can steer clear of mental collapse by picking on a topic that’s fun for you. Something you are passionate about. A subject matter that you enjoy talking about for hours.

I’ve encountered many bloggers who expressed the loss of interest in their blogs even after just a couple of months. 

Their reason: they ran out of ideas because they chose a topic they didn’t love.

So it’s best that you choose a niche for your blog that you know, that you love to talk about, and that you would like to learn more.

The more it’s interesting to you, the better.

What niche or topic could that be?

It can be any of your hobbies. Or perhaps you can talk about your daily life. Anything that’s interesting to you.

Any topic that gets you thrilled and enthused when you talk about it.

Do you need to be an expert in that field?

Not necessarily.

As long as it’s interesting to you, and you get excited about it, that’s your best niche.

Your passion will reflect in your blog, and people are more likely to get drawn to it because of the enthusiasm you exude through your posts.

Here’s a quick tip when picking an interesting topic for your blog.

You’ll need a pen and paper for this exercise.

Without giving it too much thought, write down 10 of the best blog ideas that come to your mind.

This practice will reveal what topics you are passionate about.

This list of 10 blog ideas is just a starting point. From this, you can expand and go deeper. 

Perhaps you can elaborate and branch out to other related topics until you get to the one that gets you excited talking about it.

If you get stuck you can also use some of these blog post ideas

2. Perform market research to look into your niche’s profitability.

Before you start a blog, it is crucial that you look into your selected niche’s profitability.

This way, you’ll know there’s a market for your blog; that is, should you decide to monetize and convert it into a steady income stream in the future.

To ascertain its profitability, you’ll need to perform market research. It’s easy to get started. 

Here’s how you do it.

Take one of your favorite hobbies that you want to write about in your blog, and check it with Google Trends.

For example, let’s say you’re into keto, and you want to blog about it.

While you’re sure you get a big enough audience for these topics, you’re curious how big the competition is out there for the niche.

To begin your market research, type “keto” on Google Trends. This will reveal how many people are looking into the keyword.

Google Trends will display a graph that shows the increase or decrease in interest over a particular topic.

Avoid topics like this one with dwindling interest in Google Trends.

graph of declining google trends - for start a blog post

If you want to start a blog that can last for a long time, stick to topics with increasing or consistent trends in interest.

3. Should you choose a broad or narrow niche?

Ideally, you should go with a smaller niche.

When you decide on a broader, bigger niche, you’ll have a lot of competition to deal with. Websites with higher authority will beat your blog unanimously.

But how do you know if your niche is broad or narrow?

Discover what competition lies ahead for your topic by doing a simple search on Google.

Type in your topic, and you’ll see the number of search results that appear right at the top, just below the search field.

If you try entering “cooking” or “baking” on Google, you’ll see how broad of a term it is to target.

The search term “cooking” has about 1.3 billion search results. On the other hand, “baking” has around 750 million search results.

Should you stick to either of the two topics, you’ll have to contend with websites with higher authority. And there are way too many of these websites.

To avoid tough competition, your best recourse is to pick a smaller niche.

4. Monetizing a niche blog

Do you want to earn good money from your blog?

If you want to convert your blog into a steady income source, you’ll need to consider these things.

You need to make sure your niche is profitable.

Wondering how do you do that?

A quick way to test its profitability is to see if there are businesses or brands that are advertising for your keywords.

If companies are spending money to advertise their products, targeting specific keywords that are connected to your niche, then you’ve hit the jackpot.

That’s the right topic you got there.

With these targeted keywords, you can easily monetize your blog.

Earn money by joining affiliate programs.

Here’s a more profitable approach to making money from your blog.

Have you considered joining affiliate programs?

One of the popular ones is the Amazon affiliate program.

Sign up with the program and promote products on your blog. When you send customers to Amazon and they buy the product featured on your website, you can earn a sales commission.

The commission rate is typically around 3-10% of the sale.

In your blog, you can write product reviews, linking it to products posted on Amazon.

Here are a few other affiliate platforms for bloggers: 

Joining affiliate programs is a great way to earn passive income from your blog, turning your hobby into an income-generating online activity.

We’ll talk more about affiliate marketing and how to make money blogging in section 11. 

2. naming your blog

Alright, you’ve chosen your niche, now we are going to tackle naming your blog.

I’ve encountered too many bloggers who just randomly pick a name too quickly. They register it and begin publishing their content but only to realize a few months later that it’s not the right name for their blog.

So if you want to avoid regretting the chosen name for your blog, here are some tips on how to come up with a good one.

You can use the free tool below to check if your domain name is available. 

“Everyone already used the good blog names.”

I hear this all too often, and it’s simply not true.

Maybe you came up with a list of witty names, gave yourself a couple of new wrinkles in your forehead for thinking too hard.

And when you see your completed list, you gave yourself a pat on the back for being so clever.

Imagine all that effort then you discover it’s no longer available.

Nothing’s more deflating than seeing your perfect domain name is already taken.

But, here are some tips to come up with the perfect blog name (even if the one you wanted is taken).

Want to come up with a good name for your blog?

Wordsmithing can be a challenging thing.

But before you dive in head-first into frustration, consider taking the following steps and think about what’s a good name that best represents your blog.

Here are some questions to help you arrive at an original name for your website.

  • What’s your blog about?
  • Who’s your audience?
  • What’s the tone or feel of your blog?

When coming up with a blog name, avoid giving your audience the wrong impression.

If your blog is about cooking or baking, you could go with a name that revolves around that.

For example: “Ashley’s Simple Recipes” or “Katie’s Kitchen Tips”

In the above example, it wouldn’t make sense to have a blog name that’s completely off the topic of baking. 

If you have a blog name that’s irrelevant to your content, it won’t do you any favors.

How to come up with a great blog name?

Let’s go into the thick of things. Here are nine of the time-tested methods I’ve used to come up with catchy blog names.

1. Use a thesaurus.

Need to come up with new and interesting words for your blog name?

Flick through a thesaurus. It’s a goldmine for wonderful buzz words.

Go to your local library or bookstore, and grab one. It’s free and you get unlimited wordsmithing potential.

A thesaurus is a great source of inspiration when you want to come up with words that bring excitement to one’s ears.

So if you need a good alternative to a commonly used phrase, open the other good book for well-tuned idioms and corpulent hints.

2. Check out your competition

You can borrow a thing or two from your rivals. Then tap into your inventiveness and spin words around a bit to come up with your own blog name.

Worried you’ll come across as copying someone’s name?

The goal is to be inspired, not to copy.

For example, if you liked my blog name Moms Make Cents, simply changing your name to Mommy Makes Cents would be too close. 

Instead, do something like Money Making Mommies and you’ve got yourself a winner!

Think of this activity as giving your brain a nudge to get the creative juices flowing.

Your competitors can give you an idea of what name works great for your blog.

This tip works best if you also have a thesaurus nearby. Take hints from your competitors and look for alternative words.

4. Use Your Name

If all else fails, you could go with the default option. What better way to create your own brand than by adding your own name in it?

Self-naming the blogs have been a go-to course of action for many successful bloggers.

When you use your name, it lets readers easily recognize the brand as yours.

The ultimate blog Name Formula

Naming your blog can be tricky. 

You want it to encompass who you are, what your blog is about, you want it to be catchy and witty, but you only have a few words. Yikes!

I’m going to share a formula with you and some of my tips for choosing a name!

1. What is Your Niche?

  • Pregnancy
  • Parenting
  • Food
  • Health & Fitness
  • Clean living
  • Fashion
  • Beauty
  • Home Deco
  • DIY
  • Business
  • Crafts
  • Finance
  • Frugality
  • Photography
  • Lifestyle
  • Personal Development
  • Christianity
  • Homeschooling
  • Natural Living
  • Homesteading
  • Career
  • Education
  • Animals
  • Music
  • Art
  • Real Estate
  • Sports
  • Travel
  • Disney
  • Relationships
  • Special Needs

2. Who is Your Audience?

Next, list who your ideal reader is. Oftentimes, we write what we know, so your reader may be like you.

Here are some potential audiences you may want to target,

  • Dads
  • New Moms
  • Stay At Home Parents
  • Working Moms
  • College Students
  • Parents of Teens
  • Pregnant Women
  • Athletes
  • People learning how to cook
  • Non-crafty people
  • People on a budget
  • Homeowners
  • Renters
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Soccer Moms
  • Homeschoolers
  • Small Town Families
  • Big City Families
  • Married Couples
  • Single Parents
  • Recreation Lovers
  • Christians
  • Retired People
  • "Green" Families

3. Personal Identifiers

Another fun thing to add to your blog name are things that are personal to you. This is optional, but can be a fun way to incorporate a piece of yourself into your branding.

Here are a few ideas,

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Child's Name
  • Where You Are From
  • Your State
  • Nickname

Naming Example: 801 Coupon Addicts

Looking at this name you may think, what’s so special about it, I don’t see a “personal identifier.”

To most, it just looks like another deal site, but the “801” is actually targeting a very specific group of people.

In Utah, the primary area code is 801.

This site focuses on deals tailored to those living in Utah. They do deal roundups for the local grocery stores and even sell tickets for local classes where they teach you how to coupon.

BLOG NAME FORMULA

Using the information, you’ve outlined above start listing out potential names in a word document.

List out the words and identifiers for your blog and then look up synonyms for those words and add those to your list.

You also can add adjectives to describe the feel and personality that you are going for in your blog.

Here are a few example adjectives,

  • Abundant
  • Adaptable
  • Adorable
  • Ambitious
  • Amusing
  • Brave
  • Clever
  • Confident
  • Considerate
  • Courageous
  • Delightful
  • Delicious
  • Elegant
  • Faithful
  • Fancy
  • Generous
  • Gentle
  • Happy
  • Helpful
  • Interesting
  • Joyful
  • Kind
  • Mysterious
  • Persistent
  • Plain
  • Practical
  • Proud
  • Reliable
  • Sensible
  • Sincere
  • Sympathetic
  • Thoughtful
  • Witty

Make your list and look at the important notes below. These will guide you through some things to do and somethings not to do. 

Plus, it will give you some ideas and examples to get your creative juices flowing!

Important Naming Notes:

The three sections above are there to help you brainstorm some words and ideas to incorporate into your domain name.

Now let’s talk about a few secret tips to make sure that you pick the best name.

1. Make sure that the domain is easy to spell

You want to select a name that you can easily tell someone and they can type in to find your site. Avoid commonly misspelled words. You can check out a list of the most common misspelled words here.

As part of a start a blog post this graphic shows some of the commonly mispelled words

2. Keep It Short

The longer your domain name is, the harder it will be to remember and the more likely that someone is to misspell it. 

The sweet spot is 2-3 words. You can stretch it to 4 words, but I wouldn’t go longer than that.

3. Use something They Can remember

If you can’t tell yet 😉 you want it to be really easy for someone to remember your blog name and psychologically there are a couple ways that you can do that.

1. Play On Words

True story: The first blog I ever started was called “Where We’ve Bean.” It is still out there and sometimes I go back and laugh at it, but it is a good reminder that we all start at the beginning!

2. Alliteration
When you use the same letter or sound, in all of the words in your name, it makes it catchy and simple to remember.

Tip: Pick the keyword you want in your name and then look up adjectives that start with the same letter!

Naming Example: Pretty Providence

I’ve followed Sarah & Jessica’s lifestyle blog Pretty Providence for years. I love the way that the name rolls off your tongue.

4. Use Your Name

When in doubt use your own name as your blog name. This works especially well if you want to sell products or services on your blog.

It increases not only your blogs recognition but gives you name recognition too.

Naming Example: Alexa Zurcher

One of my favorite designers is Alexa. She actually was my roommate for one month in college before she got married and is about as sweet as they come.

Her blogs theme is mainly lifestyle, but she uses it as a platform to sell her prints and hand-lettered goods in her Etsy shop Alexa Z Design.

5. If the name you want has been taken

Sometimes you will think up the perfect name and get excited and BAM, someone already owns that domain.

Some people will buy up domains just to hold on to them and try to sell them for more later.

Or someone may have started a blog with that domain and didn’t stick with it, but the domain is still active or it could be an established blog.

If they are an established blog or brand then head back to the drawing board and keep thinking.

If it is one of the first two situations consider adding in a filler word like,

  • The
  • My
  • Blog
  • Our
  • Your
  • I'm

You can add these filler words at the beginning or the end of your domain.

Naming Example: The Small Things Blog

Kate is another blogger that I have followed for years. Her blog is “The Small Things” but her URL is thesmallthingsblog.com. By adding “blog” to the end of her domain she was still able to brand her blog as “The Small Things.”

Note: if someone is already blogging, has a brand/following, etc. with a name you were thinking of, do not try to start a blog with the same name.

1. It just isn’t nice

2. And many bigger bloggers and brands have their name Trademarked (You can read more about trademarks here) and you could get in trouble for using their name.

Alright, have your list of ideas? Start testing them out below! 

3. choosing a blogging platform

Now that you’ve come up with a niche and blog name, let’s go to the next step, and that’s choosing a blogging platform.

What’s the best platform for blogging?

My personal choice, and I think a lot of bloggers would agree, is WordPress. This platform offers many opportunities for customization and options to convert your website into a steady income source.

Why Choose WordPress?

This platform is an open source software that lets you create beautiful websites.

WordPress has powerful features, giving you limitless possibilities. No wonder it is a trusted platform by 34 percent of the web. From the biggest news websites to hobby blogs.

If it’s good enough for the big-time players, I’d say it’s good enough for my blogs.

Still unconvinced with WordPress?

Here are a couple of reasons why it’s a great blogging platform.

1. WordPress Has Been Around For Years.

Launched in 2003, WordPress started out as a tool for bloggers.

It eventually evolved into the go-to platform for website building; a preferred one by many business owners and programmers with minimal tech experience.

No other platform enjoys the same confidence from many website owners that WordPress has, making it one of the most trusted software tools for building sites.

2. WordPress is an open source platform, which is free and accessible by all.

You can use this software. It won’t cost you a dime to enjoy its powerful features.

Even though it’s free, the program is secure. The WordPress team continually takes active measures to improve security for your online domain.

3. WordPress is SEO-friendly.

If you want to rank high on the search results, WordPress has the right tools for that.

This amazing platform is SEO-friendly and attractive to search engines. It is designed to help you achieve more precise website and search optimization.

4. WordPress features many options for website customization.

Don’t like a cookie-cutter website?

Want to break away from a mass-produced, run-of-the-mill look for your blog?

With WordPress, you can easily customize it to achieve the appearance and function you desire.

This platform features a wide range of plugins and themes that you can use to create a personalized look for your blog.

You can make all the modifications you want for your website with WordPress.

5. WordPress has great community support.

The best thing about WordPress is that it has a big community that’s willing to help out when you need support.

There’s at least one community forum moderated by WordPress employees and fans alike that can give you the solutions you need.

Can’t find the answers to your query?

There are plenty of online resources that give you a lowdown on what to do to fix your issues. From blogs on how to install themes to DIY instructions on plugins.

Wondering if there are alternatives to WordPress?

Sure, there are other options. These include Wix, Weebly, Blogger, and Squarespace.

I’ve used all of these platforms before either for myself or clients, but WordPress is really where you want to put your trust in.

Many of them are limiting either in design, won’t let you monetize certain ways, or more expensive (with less features) than a self-hosted WordPress site.

Now that you’ve chosen which blogging platform to use, let’s go to the next section to set up your blog’s WordPress hosting.

4. WordPress Hosting

I started my first blog in 2012 and in the years since I’ve been able to test multiple WordPress hosting providers.

For this list I’ve narrowed it down to my three favorite hosts for new bloggers.

They each are priced affordably and I’ve outlined their benefits below.

Bluehost

Beginners
$ 2
95 Month
  • 419ms load time (fast)
  • 99.99% uptime
  • Includes SSL certificate
  • Includes a free domain

SiteGround

Beginners
$ 3
95 Month
  • 722ms load time (average)
  • 99.99% uptime
  • Includes SSL certificate
  • Does not include domain

BigScoots

Intermediate
$ 5
95 Month
  • 240ms load time (very fast)
  • 99.99% uptime
  • Includes SSL certificate
  • Does not include domain

Bluehost

With BlueHost, they make webhosting simple for new bloggers.

This one’s easy to use, which is why it’s ideal for beginners or people who aren’t tech-savvy.

BlueHost offers a very fast load time at 419 ms. Plus, it’s also the first in uptime at 99.99 percent.

It’s also the cheapest at only $2.95 per month. However, after the promotional period (1-3 years) it increases to $7.99 per month.

Wondering what are the perks when you use BlueHost?

You get free domain, allowing you to start on your blog even if you haven’t decided on your blog name. And with that free domain, that’s $15 savings.

BlueHost also offers free SSL and backups.

And when you need to work on your blog during the wee hours of the night, there’s a 24/7 chat support; rest assured there’s someone who can help you.

Here are the other benefits of BlueHost.

Are you offering products or services on your blog?

Then you’ll enjoy this added feature from BlueHost.

Checkout SiteLock Security. This feature offers business verification and monitoring for your blog.

Another feature is the Codeguard Basic, which lets you maintain multiple backups for your blog.

If you want to increase organic traffic to your blog, you’ll love BlueHost SEO Tools. This feature lets you in on the keywords to target to help you rank.

Interested in getting BlueHost?

SiteGround

When it comes to web hosting, SiteGround is a great balance of affordable, yet powerful.

It’s perfect for beginner or intermediate bloggers, having great tech support and customer service. Plus, there’s minimal downtime.

For as low as $3.95 a month, you can get hosting services from SiteGround. But it goes up to $11.95 per month after the promotional period ends (1-3 years). 

Standard perks include free SSL, free backups, and 24/7 chat support.

Wondering what to expect with SiteGround?

This web hosting platform is designed for easy blog management. You get all the tools you need to build and maintain your website.

However, unlike Bluehost, SiteGround does not offer a free domain.

Want to build a website but don’t know where to begin?

SiteGround offers premium features to help you launch your blog fast and easy.

Plus, there’s a website transfer feature that lets you migrate your blog from one platform to SiteGround.

For unparalleled technical craftsmanship and the best technologies, get SiteGround.

BigScoots

If you’re serious about blogging and want to make money from your website, consider getting BigScoots. It is my top pick for advanced bloggers with lots of traffic. For as low as $5.95 a month, you get awesome features that will help you get going with your blog. And if you want to take your site to the next level, get the managed WordPress hosting option, which is $34.95 per month. With Big Scoots, you get a lot of features, which include free SSL, free backups, and free migration. You also get website staging features with CDN included. This platform also offers fast ticket support.

Web hosting set up Tutorials

Did you choose which host you want to use start your blog?

Below I’ve included step-by-step tutorials for Bluehost and SiteGround full of pictures to walk you through the whole set up process!

You can view the Bluehost tutorial below or jump down to the SiteGround tutorial here

Bluehost Hosting Tutorial

Let’s get started!
1. Click here to get 63% off using this special discount link. It will make your hosting only $2.95 per month and you will get a free domain! 
screen shot of Bluehost webhosting page as an example in the start a blog tutorial

1. CHOOSE YOUR BLUEHOST PLAN

Bluehost offers multiple plans when you are starting your blog. However, for most bloggers the “Basic” plan is plenty. You always can upgrade later as your traffic grows! screenshots of Bluehost sign up steps for how to start a blog guide

2. CHOOSE YOUR DOMAIN NAME

Use your name that you selected from our section on naming your blog. If you’ve already purchased a domain you can use the option on the right or claim your free domain name from Bluehost use the option on the left. screenshots of Bluehost sign up steps for how to start a blog guide

3. ENTER YOUR ACCOUNT INFORMATION

This step is easy-peasy. Simply enter your information in the boxes to set up your account. screenshots of Bluehost sign up steps for how to start a blog guide Bluehost bills you upfront for your hosting. You can choose between 1,2,3 or 5 years. The longer you pay in advance the bigger the discount you get. Sweet, huh? Bluehost does not offer monthly payment options. There are a few hosts that do but they typically charge 2-5x the cost. For three years of hosting at the discounted $2.95 rate, it comes out to roughly $100. That is pretty dang cheap when it comes to starting your own business! screenshots of Bluehost sign up steps for how to start a blog guideMost of the upgrades from Bluehost you can skip, but if you want you can add on the domain privacy for $1 a month. I like to do this for my domains, but it is totally optional! Once you’ve submitted your payment you can use Bluehost’s easy to use to follow tools to set up WordPress.

4. SET UP WORDPRESS FOR YOUR BLOG

Bluehost makes it super easy to start a blog on WordPress. Just create your password, choose a theme (you can easily change this later!), and then click the button to “start building”. screenshots of Bluehost sign up steps for how to start a blog guide Hooray! You did it!  You’ve officially started your new blog on WordPress. Now follow along with the rest of this post that will show you how to design your blog.

SiteGround Web Hosting Tutorial

Let’s begin!

1. Use this coupon link to save 60% off hosting with SiteGround. Click here to save and follow along with the tutorial.

This will take you to their landing page and already you can see how simple it is to navigate. We will explore some of the other pages later, but for now, click on the “Get Started” button to get started.

1: CHOOSE A SITEGROUND PLAN

The first and most basic plan is the StartUp Plan. As the name suggests, this is what you should start with when you are just starting out. You can always upgrade to one of the larger plans later on.

STARTUP PLAN

The StartUp plan costs only $3.95 a month! That is a steal for starting your own business! This includes,

  • One Website

  • 10GB Web Space

  • 10,000 Visits Monthly

GROW BIG PLAN

This package costs $5.95 a month, which is still a great deal since you get the basic features plus premium.

This plan will give you even faster customer service response times and priority service which is so helpful when you are starting a new blog. The Grow Big plan includes,

  • All of the features of the StartUp Plan

  • Hosting for Multiple Sites

  • 20GB Web Space

  • Best for up to 25,000 Monthly Visits

  • Extra Fast Response Times

  • Premium Support

  • The Super Cacher – This helps your site run faster which can improve your SEO ranking with Google and helps keep your readers on your site.

Choose which plan best meets your needs then click “Get Plan.” 

2. CHOOSE YOUR DOMAIN

A domain name is important since it defines your brand. As a standard rule, domain names should be simple. You can’t make it complicated or else people won’t be able to find you or remember your domain name.

If you have already purchased a domain click on I already have a domain and enter in your domain name.

3: FILL OUT YOUR INFORMATION

Account Information and Client Information

Payment Information and Purchase Information

Extra services: here you can choose to select or unselect the extra features that you might need or might not need on your blog. For the most part, the basic features are fine. To remove the extra services just uncheck the boxes. 

Check the box that says you agree to the terms and conditions then click “Pay Now.”

 How To Start A Blog With SiteGround

Congratulations!

You can now have hosting for your blog! All you need to do is to install WordPress and get creative.

How To Install WordPress With SiteGround

SiteGround has a great tool called SiteGround Wizard that makes installing WordPress simple.

Once you’ve purchased your hosting package login to the customers area and a popup will come up with prompts to help you install WordPress.

There are three simple steps and you are done!
Screenshots of the SiteGround Wizard WordPress Installer for guide on how to start a blog

5. choosing Your Blog's Theme

Picking a theme is crucial. It gives pizzazz to your content, which contributes to getting the right tone and feel for your blog.

But with so many themes available today, choosing the right one is rather daunting. There are literally tens of thousands of WordPress themes in the pool today that picking the best one is very difficult.

When I first started, I was overwhelmed by all of the different theme choices. In the last seven years I’ve tried hundreds of different themes and today I’ll share a few of my favorites with you. 

Ideally, your theme should complement the tone and voice of your blog.

For instance, if you’re running a website that tackles serious content like politics or social issues, then you wouldn’t want a flowery or summery theme. 

Rather, you want a theme that enhances readability.

In the same way, you want a theme that best represents your brand.

What makes a good theme?

Imagine getting a theme for your website only to realize weeks later that it’s not the right one.

It can be a hassle, right?

Before you invest in a theme, take the time to consider these points.

Here are tips on deciding which WordPress theme to choose for your blog.

1. Determine what features you want in a theme.

Have a design for your blog in mind before choosing a theme.

Then list down the essential features you need for your website (like sidebar vs. no sidebar).

If you’re building your blog from the bottom up, you’ll need features to help you get to your goal.

2. Avoid bloated themes.

A theme bloated with features will be of little help when you are starting out.

While a theme rich in features sounds nice, it can hurt your website in the long run. You can expect performance issues and slower site speeds because of it.

So restrain yourself from getting themes cluttered with extra features. It’s not cool and will only cause you stress.

3. Pick a responsive theme.

Choose function over clutter.

Make your blog easy to use and navigate for your readers. Instead of going with bloated features, pick a theme that lets you do a responsive design.

Your goal is to have a blog that’s highly intuitive and works well on multiple devices, not just on a laptop.

So opt for features that allow you to have images and content that can translate well to mobile devices without hiccups.

4. Choose Your Color Scheme

Visual appearance is a crucial element of brand recognition.

So if you want easy recall of your blog, you need to have the right colors to match your logo and overall look of your site.

Stick to neutral hues for starters. Then just add a hint of color in certain areas to make the general appearance of your site more interesting.

Wondering if you should go for a dark or light appearance?

Statistics show the majority of web users prefer lighter shades.

A darker appearance reduces readability. Plus, you get limited options for more graphic design elements.

5. Consider Purchasing A Premium Theme

Free themes are already great. They have the features you need to create a beautiful site.

But if you’re not on a budget, you might want to consider getting the premium themes. They can take your blog to a whole new level.

Naturally, premium themes have better features than the free ones. You get regular updates and great customer support. 

Plus, there’s no risk of having the theme author abandoning its theme altogether.

Personally, I use Astra Pro theme and the Elementor plugin to run my blog.

What I love about Astra is its stylish features. Plus, it’s lightning fast and easy to customize.

Astra has a free and a pro plan premium option.

Elementor is a popular theme builder with free and premium options that lets you create dynamic websites without having to write a single line of code.

It has over 50 widgets and a visual form builder.

Elementor works best with the Astra theme because their different elements complement each other.

Are you looking to create an awesome portfolio where you can display your posts?

Want to build an e-commerce site?

With Elementor, you can.

GENESIS FRAMEWORK + CHILD THEME

Genesis is another great WordPress theme for bloggers. 

It is a two-part theme.

The Genesis Framework, which is called the parent theme and then a customized child theme.

Genesis has clean responsive coding and fast loading times. Once you’ve purchased the parent theme you can choose from a number of child themes that will allow you those creative touches.

Some of our favorite Genesis child themes are from: 

Things to be careful of when choosing your theme

WordPress themes come with different customization options. If you don’t code it properly, you’ll encounter serious issues.

Also, there are themes that absolutely look good but can make your site super slow. And your readers won’t like that. 

Faster website rank higher.

INSTALLING YOUR WORDPRESS THEME

Is it difficult to install a WordPress theme?

It’s quite easy actually.

There are two ways to do this. You can choose to upload a downloaded theme or you can select from the resources available in WordPress.

To make it even easier I’ve included written instructions on how to install your WordPress theme as well as a video tutorial below. 

Uploading a downloaded theme.

First thing you need to do is to download the zip file that contains your selected theme.

Then you log in to your WordPress admin area.

To go to the Themes page, click Appearance then select Themes from the dropdown menu.

screenshot of wordpress dashboard showing where to add a new theme when starting a blog

Once you’re in the Themes page, click on the Add New button. This will lead you to the next page that lets you add the downloaded theme.

Click on the Upload Theme button. This will reveal a theme upload window.

From there, click on the Choose File button and select the zip file you wish to upload.

Then click Install Now to begin the uploading process.

WordPress will then upload your selected theme from your computer to your site. You’ll know when the upload is successful because a message will appear along with links to activate the theme.

Choosing a theme in WordPress.

Let’s say you’re looking to select from the themes available in WordPress.

Go to Appearance then click on Themes from the dropdown menu.

Then click the Add New button. 

You can use the search function or the popular tab to find a theme. Once you’ve found one you like choose “Install” and then “Activate” the theme. 

This will make it so the theme is live on your blog. 

6. The best plugins for your blog

Want to customize your site’s theme or template?

Add plugins. They can give you more features to enhance the functionality of your WordPress site.

Here’s a quick video tutorial to show you how to install a plugin once you’ve started your blog. 

How To Install A Plugin

Here are some of the free plugins I recommend and use:

1. Elementor Page Builder

Enjoy high-end designs and advanced capabilities on your blog with Elementor Page Builder.

It’s fun and easy to use, reducing the time and effort it takes to create your web design.

This plugin features over a hundred page templates that you can customize. Plus, there are hundreds more of blocks or pre-designed section templates.

With Elementor Page Builder, you can reach new heights in web design. Just like how the elite professionals do it.

2. Social Pug

Are you looking to share your blog posts on social media?

Get Social Pug.

This plugin lets you have customizable share buttons that integrate beautifully on your website.

You and your web visitors can conveniently share your posts on the biggest social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.

The free version comes with these five social media platforms. On the other hand, the premium features include other social networks like Reddit, WhatsApp, Tumblr, and more.

If you want to reach out to a bigger audience, Social Pug can help you do that.

3. Short Pixel Image Optimizer

Did you know image sizes on your blog can affect its overall website performance?

Improve your website’s speed by compressing your images by up to 90 percent with the ShortPixel Image Optimizer.

Wondering what to expect from this awesome plugin?

ShortPixel is lightweight and easy to use. Plus, it’s got excellent customer service. It lets you compress all past images and PDFs with a single click. Isn’t that convenient?

It’s the best choice when it comes to image optimization.

4. Updraft Plus

Don’t risk losing everything you’ve worked hard.

For your peace of mind, you need backups and restorations for your blog. So when something goes wrong on your website, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Need a reliable backup plugin?

Get UpdraftPlus.

It’s the ultimate insurance. Even if the worst happens to your blog.

The best thing about UpdraftPlus is that it consistently works across a wide range of WordPress deployments.

With UpdraftPlus, you get automatic backups. It’s highly intuitive and easy to use.

5. Pretty link Lite

Want to make your website’s links pretty?

Get the Pretty Link Lite. It’s a nifty plugin when you’re doing affiliate marketing (affiliate links are often super long, so you may need to shorten them).

6. Insert Headers & Footers

Did something ask you to add a bit of code to the head tag of your site and now you’re freaking out? 

Don’t worry! Insert Headers & Footers makes this super easy. 

Why mess with all the code when you can simplify things with Insert Headers & Footers.

With just a few clicks, this plugin will do all the code work for you.

7. WordFence

If you want extra protection set up on your website, get this plugin.

WordFence is added security that stops hackers and malware from getting into your website.

This plugin safeguards any of your personal and other vital information. It benefits not only you but also your web visitors and subscribers as well.

7. DESIGNING YOUR BLOG

Now it’s time to create a wonderful design for your blog.

Your blog’s design is a crucial aspect of your brand. And branding is vital for many reasons.

As the American technology entrepreneur and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said,

Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

So you want to create a brand design that will impress the visitors of your page.

First impressions last; that’s what they always say.

Create a wonderful impression in the shortest amount of time. And with that design, you’ll want people to stay on your blog longer and make them explore further.

Thus, the need to build a visually appealing site.

Create a design that conveys professionalism.

Not only should you make an attractive site, but you also need to convey professionalism.

If you want to gain credibility and earn your reader’s trust, you need to look the part.

Having a professional-looking site gives your audience a sense of security as they go through your blog.

You need to have the appearance of authority and moral ascendancy if you want to give them advice over something.

Make your audience trust you enough to take in what you say.

And to achieve that, you need to convey professionalism.

The right branding can attract the right audience for your blog.

Want to attract the right audience?

With the right design, you can connect with people who will resonate with your brand.

But going back to the idea of first impressions last, you only have a few seconds to pull it off. And having the right design can greatly help you achieve that.

Thus, it is crucial to have the right design elements

People will notice design first before content.

What strikes your readers first is not the written content but the overall look of your site.

To attract the ideal audience, you need to consider these crucial design elements when creating your brand and blog.

1. Logo

It’s one of the first design elements that your audience will see.

Your logo is also what they will remember you by. This mark will distinguish you from the other brands.

So what should you focus on when coming up with a logo for your brand or blog?

Keep it unique yet simple.

Also, aim for stylish yet easy to read.

It will be an intricate balance between color and font; a careful parity of elements that suits your personality and your brand.

2. Color

The human brain can better associate things and concepts with color. Thus, having detailed colors can help promote your brand focus.

If you’re looking to demonstrate professionalism and a sense of authority with your blog, you can do that with the right color scheme and design pattern.

Here are some of the tools I use to achieve the ideal color layout. Try Adobe Color CC, Coolors, and Colorhexa.

Adobe Color CC lets you have a complete color scheme. So it’s really useful if you have a particular color in mind to use on your blog.

On the other hand, Coolors offers a palette scheme where you can pick the colors that resonate with you the most. To achieve the color that’s perfect for your site, you can tweak the hues featured in this tool.

Lastly, Colorhexa gives recommendations on the shades that best complement your color scheme and offers color alternatives.

screenshot of colorhexa site as an example of building a blog color scheme

You might also want to check out ColorPick Eyedropper. It’s a Google Chrome extension that helps you identify the hex code for any color. Simply hover your cursor on a color, and this app will provide you the code.

Bonus Tip: Choose three to five main colors. Tweak it for use on your header, logo, and overall design of your website.

3. Fonts

Want to improve readability on your blog?

You can do that by getting the right font style and size for your text.

Make sure you choose the ideal font size and style for your titles or headers, which should be different from the one for your paragraphs.

Personally, I try to limit it to two or three font styles. This gives me a clean look for my blog while maintaining consistency.

I also make sure the font size is big enough that it’s easy to read on multiple devices, especially on tablets and mobile phone. Typically, I aim for about 18-20 font size depending on the font you choose. 

For blogging, it’s important to use bold fonts because these can usually catch your readers’ attention.

I also use bold, underlined, and italic texts to emphasize certain points within my paragraphs.

Looking for free fonts you can use for your blog?

I suggest going to Dafont.

Dafont offers a wide range of fonts that you can download for free.

However, each font is covered by a license distinct from the others. What may be free to use may not be the same for the others.

So you want to make sure to read that section on what it can be used for before getting it.

On the other hand, Creative Market offers a selection that can cater to your unique requirements.

As its name implies, Creative Market is a marketplace where you can find design elements, themes, and fonts, including stock photos. It has many pretty things, so it can be very tempting to buy them all.

4. Mood Boards

Are you looking for a foundation for your blog’s visual elements?

You need a mood board.

Think of it as the cornerstone of your brand’s style and look of your site. It covers everything that’s going for with your brand. From photos to achieving the look and inspiration you want for your blog.

A mood board can help you sort your ideas and convey them with more clarity to your audience.

Looking to achieve your branding goals?

Go to Pinterest and create a mood board. Whether you’re launching your site for the first time or doing a rebranding.

Fill your mood board with colors and images that match what you want for your brand. You can add a description of why you like this particular item.

You can also create your own collage using your own pictures by using a photo editor like Canva. 

Here is an example of a mood board I created in Canva. 

example of a mood board template you can create when you are building your blog

Final tips on Building Your Blog's Brand

1. Define your brand’s goal before getting into the design.

It helps to think about your goals first. Then plan for the design.

Before you get into the colors, styles, and themes for your blog, you’ll need to define what are the objectives you want to pursue for your brand. More importantly, what does your audience expect from your blog?

In my case, I wanted to help moms by teaching them how to start making money online.

With your goal and target audience clear, you can begin creating a design for your brand and blog, focusing on what impression you want to leave for them.

Choose a style that best represents the message you want to convey to your audience; i.e., how you want to make them feel when they go into your blog.

2. Your personality is your brand, so make sure your design reflects both.

Your blog is a visual representation of your personality.

Jot down the core values that you want your audience to perceive. Then create the visual aspects that best represent it.

3. Be True To Yourself.

Everyone has their own sense of quirkiness. So why not incorporate that fun and unique part of your personality into your brand? How that’s for a personal touch in your branding?

8. the key pages on your blog

Wondering what are the web pages you need for your blog site?

When it comes to designing your website, you need to include these three key pages: home page, about me page, and contact me page.

1. Home Page

This is where your audience lands first. So you got to make a wonderful first impression if you want them to stay and explore your site further.

But here’s the deal: you only have a couple of seconds to do that.

So you want to have all the important components of web content and design mesh together.

Your homepage is where someone will land if they go to your direct URL. 

Many beginner bloggers leave their home page as their blog roll (aka a list of their most recent blog posts). This is okay as you are just getting started, but you may in the future want to create a custom home page which you can easily do in Elementor.

People will end up on your homepage if they, 

  • Directly type in your URL,
  • Click the home button on your site after reading a blog post,
  • End up on a broken page and it directs them to the homepage

The purpose of this home page is to help a reader find what they are looking for. 

Below I’ve included a sample homepage layout that I recommend that helps, 

  1. The reader finds the content they are interested in, and
  2. Gets them on your email list.

Here’s how I recommend you set up this crucial blog page.

example of how a homepage should be set up when starting a blog
example of a home page and how it should be set up when you are building a blog

2. About Page

If your readers want to get to know you a bit more, they go to the About Me page.

The Home Page is more on creating a positive first impression. If they find your website interesting, they may get curious and hope to get more introductory content about you.

That is where the About Me page comes into play.

This page on your website that lets you introduce yourself to your readers.

Take this opportunity to connect with your audience. It’s a great place to showcase your personality.

Apart from what you have to offer in your blog, you might also want to share what core values you hold. Perhaps share a little bit about your personal life; i.e., tell them about your hobbies, what are the things you’re passionate about, etc.

The About Me page is also a great part of your website where you can inspire trust among your readers.

Be tactful and straightforward when you write content on this page. Avoid bragging or getting too pushy.

This is also an important page that lets you become relatable to your audience. It humanizes you vs. just being a face on a screen.

So try to speak in a more conversational tone. Aim for an informal way of writing. Like how you’d speak in the real world.

Don’t be afraid to brag a bit on this page too. Show off your bests posts, your freebies, and authoritative sites you’ve been featured on! 

Here is an example of how you can layout your About Me page. 

Suggested template for an about page when starting a blog
Suggested template for an about page when starting a blog

3. Contact Page

Once you got them interested in your blog, they’ll want to connect with you. Perhaps give you some feedback or subscribe to a mailing list.

So your readers will want your contact details.

This is where the Contact Me page comes in.

While this may be the last page they’ll likely visit, the Contact Me page plays a crucial role of keeping communication lines open and accessible between you and your audience.

The Contact Me page plays a two-fold role.

First, it’s a means of facilitating communication. Your readers can get in touch with you. At the same time, you can reach out to them.

Second, it lets your readers leave their thoughts, suggestions, tips, or comments. The information they supply can give you insights on how to improve your blog. Or at least, give you a peek of how they see your site.

Here are key pointers to bear in mind for your Contact Me page.

  • Make sure every button or link is functional and fulfills its purpose like clockwork.
  • It needs to be personalized and responsive. Have a short greeting plus a couple of sentences about yourself and how you’re happy to hear from them.

Most of all, it needs to look professional. 

Here is a basic contact page template you can use. 

an example template of an ideal contact page layout when you are starting a blog

Legal Pages For Your Blog

If you have a website, you need to add legal pages.

Yes, blogging is fun and exciting. But even if you started a blog just for your enjoyment, it’s important to consider legal compliance.

Don’t worry it’s not as scary as it sounds. 

Here are a couple of reasons why you also need to make sure you’re on the right side of the law.

A number of things can go wrong if you’re not conscious about the basic legalities in relation to your website.

  • What if someone copies all the content and images featured on your website?
  • Did you know you can get legally in trouble if you don’t divulge how you collect personal information from your visitors?
  • Absent a disclaimer, you could be held liable for something you recommended, resulting in harm to your readers who followed your advice.

You could get sued for knowingly or unknowingly participating in certain conduct.

So if you’re not managing the legalities, you could end up in legal turmoil.

But here’s the good news.

All these potential legal issues can be avoided.

How?

This is where legal pages come into play.

What legal pages do you need for your website?

If you ask people to follow your website, offer recommendations, sell products or services, or set up Google Analytics, then certain legal mechanisms should be made in place.

Let’s quickly go over the four important legal pages that you should have in your site.

1. Privacy Policy

Do you intend to collect some sort of information from your web visitors?

Then you need to post a Privacy Policy statement on your site.

What is a Privacy Policy statement?

It’s a declaration that outlines how you collect, process, or share the information you gathered from your site’s visitors.

The data covered by this statement includes the names, contact numbers, email addresses, and bank or credit card information of your web visitors.

By posting a Private Policy statement on your site, it lets your visitors know what data you gather from them and what you intend to do with it.

But why do you need to post a Privacy Policy statement on your site?

There are two reasons behind this.

First, it is required by law.

Second, it builds your credibility with your audience. Especially so if you’re considering offering products or services in the future.

What should a Privacy Policy contain?

A Privacy Policy describes what information you will gather from your web visitors. It shall also explain what you will do with it.

It should also cover whether your website is restricted to visitors of a certain age. You should also indicate in your legal statement if you intend to share your visitors’ data with third parties.

2. Terms of Service

This legal declaration goes by various names. Some call it Terms and Conditions; others, Terms of Use.

Terms of Service, or just simply Terms, is a legally enforceable set of rules that define what your web visitors can and cannot do on your website.

Why do you need to have Terms of Service on your website?

While not required by law, it is in your best interest to have one for the protection of your rights. It can literally save you from legal woes.

It protects your rights over your intellectual property.

These terms can also regulate disputes relating to the use of your website or its content. It also serves to limit your liability.

Wondering if these terms and conditions are binding upon your web visitors?

Yes.

The cool thing about having a Terms of Service agreement is that you can compel your web visitors to agree to the stipulations before they can enter your site.

You may require them to check on the I Agree to the Terms and Conditions box before granting access to your website.

Failing to agree to the terms, you may decline access to your site.

For those that agree to the terms, you are now in a position to enforce the legally binding stipulations.

What are the stipulations covered by these terms and conditions?

You should consider adding these sections into your Terms of Service agreement.

  • A statement of your rights and responsibilities as the owner of the website
  • An explanation of the applicable rights and obligations of your web visitors
  • Clauses relating to your intellectual property rights
  • An overview of consequences arising from a violation of these terms
  • A limitation of your liabilities
  • Details on how you will charge web users for your service
  • An explanation on how users can opt-out of your services

It’s easy to get into legal turmoil down the road. These clauses and disclaimers will serve for your protection.

3. Copyright Notice

Worried that someone else will appropriate all your work as theirs?

Let the online world know they can’t do that without your permission by serving them a copyright notice.

What should a copyright notice contain?

It consists of statements letting your web visitors know that any content you published on your website is yours, and it is protected under copyright laws.

Alternatively, a copyright notice may be a one-liner that includes the year you created your site, your name as the copyright holder, and the copyright symbol ©.

Should they appropriate or use it as their own without your knowledge and consent, they can be held liable.

While the law automatically vests to you rights of ownership over all web content you create and publish, serving a copyright notice merely reinforces it.

Think of it as a reminder to those who seek to appropriate your work; that unlawfully doing so may expose them to liabilities.

Is a copyright notice required by law?

No.

But putting up a copyright notice will benefit you as the copyright owner.

It serves to inform web users as to your ownership over all your copyrighted web content

4. Cookies Policy

If you are doing business in certain jurisdictions, you may be required to put up a Cookies Policy on your website.

What is a Cookies Policy?

It contains statements that inform your web visitors that your website will place cookies on their devices. These cookies can be used to identify them.

By giving this notice, your web visitors will have the option to opt out of receiving cookies and discontinue browsing through your website.

Here are the common clauses in a Cookies Policy.

They are pretty straightforward. It begins with a declaration that you are using cookies, along with a brief explanation of what they are.

You should also indicate the type of cookies you are placing in your web visitors’ devices.

Your Cookies Policy should also explain how you are using and managing these cookies.

How to create legal pages for your blog

There are three ways you can generate content for these legal pages.

First, you can use a WordPress plugin.

You can use Legal Pages or WP Legal Pages to generate the legal stipulations you require for your website.

Second, you can opt to use a template for each legal agreement.

There are a number of online resources that let you have the basic information you need to generate your legal pages.

Third, contact an attorney to produce these legal agreements for you.

You can check with a lawyer to help you create these legal pages (or use premium templates like these). Personally, I think this is a great option since you can be assured that your agreements will cover all the bases.

9. Create epic blog post content

Now that you’ve set up your blog you can start writing your first posts! 

In this section, we’ll talk about crafting the perfect headline for each of your blog posts. One that’s catchy and grab your audience’s attention. We’ll also cover, how to come up with loads of blog post ideas to get your wheels turning!

Crafting The perfect blog post headline

If you want to create epic content, one that gets great web traffic, then you’ll need an awesome headline that will make heads turn.

The purpose of your headline is to get your audience’s attention. Make it interesting and intriguing that they’ll click on your post.

So how do you come up with something catchy that will rouse their curiosity and attention?

It’s not really that daunting of a task. Here are a couple of practical tips to come up with a fabulous headline.

1. Consider what your audience wants.

If you want to gain their following, you need to offer them something they find interesting.

But what may be interesting and intriguing depends on what your targeted audience wants.

Determine what topic may compel your audience to read. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what will grab your attention. Take into account your readers that are both active and new.

When you are able to pinpoint what’s compelling to them, you can work from there.

2. Use a headline that makes them curious.

Now that you know what they want, the next step is to get their attention.

How do you do that?

By giving them an intriguing title that will arouse their curiosity and interest.

“What is this?”

“I want to know what’s this about.”

Those are the kind of reactions you want from them. Inquiries that will drive them to click on your post and read about it.

Do you find it hard to come up with a good title for your post?

Maybe Buzzsumo can help.

screenshot of buzzsumo responses for reference in the how to start a blog post

It’s a great tool for your SEO and content marketing campaigns. This app will identify what content performs well for a given topic and who the influencers are.

If you have a catchy and compelling title in mind, you might want to check it with Buzzsumo. Discover what articles come up in your search and look for similar titles.

Buzzsumo will also give you ideas on what are the trending keywords for topics you want.

3. Did you know numbers in your headlines can attract readers?

Would you believe you can draw attention to your blog if you put numbers in the title?

  • “Top 10 Suggestions…”
  • “10 Best Ideas…”
  • “10 Tips for Moms…”

Notice how the number in the title can quickly catch your attention.

Did you know most of my popular blogs begin with a number in their title?

It seems like the title is easy to break down and understand with the number in there.

Like the brain is wired to grasp the proffered idea in the headline without effort.

4. Offer a solution to their problem.

When people look for solutions to their problems, they usually go online.

Whether it’s about opening a jar of pickles or how to make fluffy pancakes. People run to their phones or computers to read how-to blogs to fix issues.

In the search results page, web users will be bombarded with a variety of blog posts. They will have to run through a long list of helpful articles that seek to offer a solution to their woes.

So how can you make your blog stand out from the competition?

Easy.

Make sure the title reflects your intent to provide a solution to their problem.

The right headline will catch their eye and grab their interest.

If the title can show you can help solve their problem, people are more likely to click on your blog.

When crafting a headline for your blog, consider the type of problem you will solve for them and the outcome you desire to achieve.

  • “How to Open Pickle Jars”
  • “How to Make Fluffy Pancakes”

Doing it this way will increase conversion rates for your blog.

5. Don’t forget to use powerful words.

These words deliver more impact, making your headline more convincing.

They help compel the readers to take action and get to your post.

Here are some of the catchy and powerful words you can use on your headline.

  • Ultimate
  • Life-Changing,
  • Must-Have
  • Fail-Proof
  • Blow Your Mind
  • Breakthrough
  • Secret
  • Exclusive
  • Hacks
  • Proven
  • Surprising
  • Bonus
  • Revolutionary
  • Miracle
  • Guaranteed

6. Keep your headlines and titles short.

Ideally, try to limit each title under 70 characters. It’s ideal for search engine optimization.

At 70 characters, it can be seen in full in search engine results.

Make sure you also put your keywords in the title. Those are what your audience is searching for. Plus, it’s ideal for search engine and social media optimization purposes.

Bonus Tip: You can have a short title or main headline in your blog. But in your social media posts or Pinterest graphics, you can have a longer and more intriguing one.

7. No one wants to be misled by a title.

Imagine getting intrigued by a title or headline. So you click on it to read more, only to discover the post isn’t offering what the title or headline talks about.

You probably don’t even have to imagine, this most likely has happened to you and is called clickbait.

Be truthful in what you put in the main headline or title. Your audience will appreciate it.

Putting a deceptive title may cause you to lose some of your following.

8. create mystery and captivate your audience

What’s a good way to compel your audience to read your blog?

Create a sense of mystery. Make them want to know more about what’s in your article. And to do that, build intrigue and fascination in your main headline.

Your goal in your title is to have your audience itching to read on. It shouldn’t stop them in their tracks.

The title should be descriptive and captivating, triggering an emotional response that’s compelling; that they will feel like they’ll miss something if they don’t continue reading.

Bonus Tip: In your social media post or Pinterest graphic, add an intriguing wording to go along with the title or main headline to your post.

So if you’re listing the top 10 best snacks for toddlers, you could say something like “My picky eater gobbled up number four.”

Your audience will wonder what’s number four? 

To know more, they’ll have to go to your blog and check it out.

9. Use your readers' language

Your audience will get your point better if you speak their language.

There’s no need to let scientific or technical words to fly around. If you can make your point across without resorting to big words, then do that.

fill-in-the-blank blog post title templates

Here are some of the templates I use to come up with an interesting and compelling headline. You can tweak them to suit your target audience or the topic of your post.

1. How to (Action or Solution to a Problem)

This type of guidepost is very popular on the internet since they offer instant answers.

“How to” articles present solutions for a particular set of problems.

2. Top (Number) (Reasons or Things)

Lists are easy to read and understand. This is why articles with titles like “Top 10” or “20 Best Things” also receive high web traffic.

These type of posts are commonly referred to as listicles in blogging.

3. What Every ___ Should Know About ___

This post tends to be specific, addressing only a particular group of people or pertaining to an important issue.

4. Why ___ Is ___

This type of post offers a different perspective of things to your readers, giving them an interesting look from another angle.

5. My (Impactful Adjective) Methods for

Want to share your personal tips or strategies?

This title makes a great main wording for your article. And because it is preceded by the word “My,” it offers your personal take on things. It can be enticing to your viewers to learn more about it.

Ways To Come Up With Blog Post Ideas

As a blogger, there will be days when ideas are overflowing. Thoughts will be pouring in. From the looks of it, you’ll be having a lot of material for your website that can last you for months.

However, you can also expect days of mental drought.

Have you ever felt like that?

Have you ever struggled to come up with ideas and posts?

These ideas can help you brew something up.

1. Check Facebook groups for post ideas.

Similar to how I mentioned using Facebook groups to come up with headline ideas you also can use it to come up with new blog post ideas.

Facebook groups are seriously a GOLDMINE!

First, think of some topics that you write about on your website, list out a few of your categories or keywords that you frequently write about. Then head over to Facebook groups where your target audience hangs out.

Once in the group use the group search on the right-hand side of the screen and enter in your keyword.

where to find the search function in a facebook group

Then it will pull up related posts for your keyword. It will look something like this.

example of search in facebook group to come up with content ideas for start a blog post

In the top left you can see the search bar where you have entered in your keyword. In this example I used the keyword SEO in my Facebook group Blogging Newbs.

On the top bar you also have different tabs, Sort By, Posted By, Tagged Location, and Date Posted. These are various tools that Facebook lets you use to sort the results you get from your search.

Sort By – Lets you sort either by the most recent posts on that topic or by the most popular posts. As a default it will sort by the most popular posts.

Date Posted – This is a great way to search if your topic is more time-sensitive. Like maybe you are writing a blog post about this years most popular toys for Christmas and you want to see what presents moms are talking about for their kids. This tab will let you sort by year, so you are only finding posts about toys moms love this year vs. three years ago.

Below the top bar is where the actual posts will come up. Facebook will give you a little preview of the posts that contain your keyword. You can then click on any of the posts to go to the original post and view any comments or engagement.

The questions asked in the post may give you new blog post ideas, but don’t forget about the comments too! You can get tons more ideas by browsing the comments section.

2. Pinterest

Pinterest is an amazing way to come up with new ideas for posts on your site.

Now before we get started on this section, I want to make something clear. There is a fine line between inspiration and copying. Be very careful that you are on the inspiration side of the line.

Getting ideas from other bloggers and expounding on it in your own unique way is great! Taking their post and changing around a few words…not so great.

Be authentic! The world needs to hear your unique stand on things.

Okay now going into it there are a few awesome ways that you can get inspiration for blog posts on Pinterest.

1. Search for your keyword and see what types of posts come up

Pinterest search example for start a blog post

Once you’ve entered in your keyword look through the posts that come up in the feed.

You can see here that I searched “baby sleep.” Let’s say for example you wanted to do a series on your blog all about baby sleep. Based on some of the examples that came up in the search you could easily come up with five to ten new blog post ideas in just a few minutes.

A few examples of blog posts you could write from the pins listed above, are baby sleep milestones, baby sleeping habits, how much should a baby sleep, are essential oils a safe method for helping a baby sleep, etc. See four new post ideas and that took you less than two minutes!

Quick tip: When doing this method, I would encourage you to not click through to the posts. This may bias your post. Remember your people want to hear from you!

Another Pinterest goldmine is what comes up right below the search bar.

pinterest search example for start a blog post

Those words listed below the search bar, but above the pins are keywords that are frequently searched with the words that you’ve typed in. The most popular are on the left with the least common on the far right.

Basically, Pinterest makes keyword research REALLY easy for us. This is also a super simple way to come up with more post ideas.

In the search bar in this example the first few through the night, training, tips, guide, schedule, and products. Right there you have five to ten more blog posts.

Here are some example posts you could write,

  1. Five ways to help your baby sleep through the night
  2. Which sleep training method is right for your baby?
  3. The ultimate guide to getting your baby to sleep through the night
  4. How to get your baby on a better sleeping schedule
  5. The perfect nap schedule for newborns
  6. 10 must-have products to help your baby sleep (this one would be a great post to add affiliate links to!)

See one tiny search on Pinterest and the creative juices are already flowing!

Types of Blog Posts

1. Roundup Posts

These are super easy and fun way to connect with other bloggers.

Your roundup post can be about pretty much anything!

Example ideas: 

  • 10 rainy day toddler activities,
  • 20 drool-worthy recipes using spaghetti squash, or
  • 10 stunning ways to style a boxwood wreath.

Email bloggers with posts you love and get permission from them to use one of the images in your post and make sure to link back to them!

2. The Best Of

This is where you get to showcase the best blog posts you’ve done on your site. Do a roundup of your own posts! 

These are quick to throw together and can reduce your bounce rate due to all of the interlinking to your other posts!

3. Ultimate Guides

These posts take a bit more time and are generally more lengthy but build a lot of trust with your reader. 

This post is an example of an ultimate guide for how to start a blog (but don’t worry, ultimate guides don’t all have to be 20k words like this one!)

In an ultimate guide post you can give them everything and the kitchen sink or you can have this be like overview post and then link to more detailed posts in a series that is related to that topic.

4. Quick Wins

Have a fast tip that your reader can implement right now and get instant results.

This is post on adding a Pinterest widget is a great example of a quick win post. It takes the reader 5 minutes to set up and then they can reap the rewards. Even though it is one of the shortest posts on my site my readers love it! 

5. Life Hack

In this type of post share a quick trick that makes life easier. If it saves your time, makes your day better, or is anything you think others could benefit from, document the process (+bonus points if you include step-by-step pictures) and you have a great post.

6. 10 Best Items For _____

These type of posts can be fun to write and are great money makers. Think of 10 items that make something in your life easier. Like 10 must have items for insomniacs or first time moms, or little league coaches. Whatever your audience is interested it!

7. The Inspirational Post

One of the main responsibilities of bloggers is to inspire. There are lots of ways you can do that, but in these types of post I want you to get deep into a personal issue, be vulnerable and then give your readers the motivation they need to keep going.

8. gift Guides

Gift guides are oh so fun and can be great money makers (they are perfect for affiliate marketing!). For a gift guide come up with a list of amazing gifts for a specific type of person or event. 

Examples: 

  • 17 Gift Ideas For An Outdoorsy Dad or 
  • The Ultimate List Of Gifts For A Two-Year-Old Boy’s Birthday. 

Write a little bit about each product, grab your affiliate code from Amazon, make a cute graphic and you are ready to go!

9. Style Guides

Do you have a classic piece in your wardrobe that you feel you could wear all the time. Feature that item and show a few different ways that you can style it. Show how you can dress it up or dress it down. This will give your readers ideas for how they can style similar pieces they own.

10. Printables

If you are design savvy printables can get a ton of traffic. Make a printable PDF and then feature it in a post. Show how you use it in your life.

These a great for driving lots of traffic and can really ramp up your ad revenue.

Example Printables:

  • Inspirational quotes,
  • checklists,
  • planners,
  • chore charts, etc.

11. DIY Projects

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE a good DIY post. Turning something old and dingy into something beautiful again makes my heart happy.

If you are doing a remodel in your home or are refinishing a dresser, mirror or even making something from scratch, document you doing the project and share your tips and what you learned!

12. How to/Tutorial

Similar to the DIY you can walk someone step-by-step through any process. You can teach a craft, a technical skill, an exercise or really anything that would benefit from specific guided instructions.

13. The Lifestyle Post

You want your readers to get to know you! People are more likely to buy from people they know like and trust so let them in a little bit. Do a cute recap of your weekend staycation with your family or playing in the snow with your kiddos. Your readers will stick around longer if they connect with you!

14. Video Post (Vlog)

If you like video this can be a fun quick way to get a post up! Make a video of yourself teaching something or sharing some tips.

To “double-dip” this could even be a replay of a live you did on your Facebook page. You can either just post the video or transcribe it and have the video and the text.

15. Review Post

This can a sponsored or unsponsored post. If you have a product/ service/ business that you really love feature it on your blog and review it.

If it is a sponsored post then you can make some money that way, or if you are writing a few for free to get practice under your belt make sure to include an affiliate link so you can see the sales that come from that post!

16. The Controversial Post

This is one where you should tread lightly, but it can help you identify who your “true” followers are. The ones that are your ideal audience and believe in your values.

With a controversial post you will make a stand on a somewhat heated topic. This can get a lot of shares and engagement, but beware this isn’t for the faint of heart.

17. Your Favorite Things

Write a roundup of your favorite things. This doesn’t have to be centered around a specific topic, but just certain products that help you get through life. This is a great opportunity to bring in some affiliate income.

18. The Feature

This is a really fun one where you can feature other bloggers and friends in your niche. It is similar to “Follow Friday” which you might have heard about on Instagram. 

Featuring other bloggers helps establish relationships and hopefully they will then feature you on their page too!

19. Seasonal Content

Can you say holiday related content?! 

Holiday content can drive so much traffic to your blog. It is seasonal so you will have surges to these pieces on your site, but they can be big earners and traffic drivers. 

Make sure if you are preparing a post for a certain holiday that you have it ready 1-2 months in advance (Christmas content can even start to ramp up in July and August).

20. Before And After

I love before and after pictures. Whether it is a weight loss transformation, DIY project or room tour they are just so much fun to see. 

These type of posts include a lot of pictures and are a great way to incorporate affiliate products used to get to the “After” picture.

21. Interviews

Interviews can be so much fun to do and are a super easy post for you to publish. Come up with a few bloggers, friends or professionals that you like to interview on your site.

Send them an email and see if they would be willing to do an interview with you.

Then brainstorm a list of questions to ask them and call them and record the conversation or email them the questions and you’ve got the majority of your blog post already written!

22. Guest Posts

Guest posts are another really quick way to get a post up on your site. It can be great exposure for both you and for the guest poster.

Usually, with a guest post someone will write an article for your site in order to get in front of your audience and expand their audience.

They usually will share the guest post too so that gets you in front of their audience as well. You also can try cross posting where each of you guest posts on each other’s blog.

23. The Link Up

If you’ve found some really inspiring blog posts that you loved, do a “Link Up” and write a short blurb about what you loved about and link to the bloggers original post. You can do this with a long list of bloggers.

Once the post is published email everyone that you linked to letting them know that you featured them on your site.

Chances are they may share your post (which can be a huge boost as a new blogger) or you will at least get on their radar!

Blog Post Checklist

Once you have a blog post written using one of the blog post formats above use the Blog Post Publishing Checklist. 

Below are things that you should do or include in every blog post. 

Reference this sheet every time you get ready to publish a post.

  • Compelling headline
  • A personal story to help your reader connect with you
  • Shareable Pinterest graphic
  • Optimized For On-Page SEO
  • At least one link to another source/blog
  •  A least one link to another one of your posts
  • Headers and pictures to break up the text
  • Good readability? No super long paragraphs - include bullet points, lists, etc.
  • 1-3 places where they can join your email list
  • A call to action (share the post, join your email list, comment below, etc.)
  • Related posts listed below your post (this will help keep the reader engaged and reduce your bounce rate).
  • Did you solve your reader's problem?
  •  Monetized? Did you add affiliate links (+ your affiliate disclosure), ads, etc.?
  •  Updated old posts to link back to this new post

10. How to get blog traffic

Wondering how to get web traffic when you start a blog?

If you considering monetizing your website, it is crucial that you make your blog known to the world and show people why they should be checking it out.

Do you need to spend huge amounts of money to get traffic to your new blog?

Not really.

You don’t have to break the bank to become a successful blogger and online entrepreneur.

Actually, a lot of the ways I’ll teach you to get blog traffic are free.

What you need though is passion, patience, and hard work.

There are many inexpensive ways to boost your online marketing strategies. 

Social Media

Social media is going to be one of the best ways to promote site once you’ve started your blog. Make sure that your branding carries over to those platforms as well.

The main social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

I recommend focusing on Pinterest and one other platform.

For example, if you started a lifestyle blog, Instagram is huge for growing your following and securing collaborations, so I would have you start with creating content specifically for Pinterest and Instagram.

Trying to balance all of the social media platforms can be overwhelming at first. So pick two and really try to stand out there!

1. Pinterest

Pinterest is a powerhouse when it comes to driving traffic to your blog.

When you start a blog I always recommend starting with Pinterest. Using Pinterest I’ve been able to generate over 20k pageviews for a brand new blog in it’s first month. You can read my complete case study here

Take the time to figure out a solid Pinterest strategy. 

With Pinterest, it’s easy to gain traction for your online marketing strategy. And you don’t have to “pay to play” it.

It’s great leverage for your blog and brand.

Here are some steps to follow when getting started with Pinterest. 

1. Create A Pinterest Business Account

Do you have an existing Pinterest account?

You can change your personal account to a business one (or you can create a new one).

Why do you need to get a business account?

You enjoy more unique features like Pinterest analytics, which are helpful at promoting your online business.

To convert it to a business account, go to your Pinterest account profile and look for the three tiny dots located on the top right corner.

Click on the three dots and select Switch To Business.

how to change your pinterest account to a business account when you start a blog

This will bring you to another screen where you can type in your business name, select your business type, and enter the link to your website.

screenshot of switching to a free pinterest business account when you start a blog

If you are using Pinterest with the intent to make money you are supposed to have it set up as a business account. 

Opening a free Pinterest business account allows you to have access to extra features and your account analytics. 

screenshot of Pinterest analytics as an example of how to drive traffic in how to start a blog guide.

2. Complete your Pinterest Bio

Fill out your bio and include keywords that you’d like your audience to be searching for.

Pinterest limits your account name to 30 characters. However, you may be able to add more characters if you edit your name in the mobile app. 

3. Create Relevant Pinterest Boards

Create Pinterest boards that are relevant to your niche. 

Try to pin 50 pins to your boards that are on topic from other sites before starting to pin your own content.

If you converted a personal account to your Pinterest business account then make sure to make all of your personal boards that are off topic secret boards.

4. Join group boards

Group boards are a great way to get in touch with other bloggers as well as potential followers to your website.

Group boards are Pinterest boards that have multiple contributors. You can add your content to the board for everyone to see.

You need to apply to join group boards. Most group boards will have instructions on how to apply in the board’s description. 

Aim to join group boards in your niche vs. general group boards like “Pin Anything.”

Niche specific group boards attribute more accurate keywords to your pins and are more effective overall. 

5. Be a "Good" Content creator

Pinterest likes to see that you are a “good” content creator. 

Here are a few things you can do to get in Pinterest’s good graces: 

  • Pin Consistently – Pinterest likes to see that you are showing up everyday to share your content. You can manually pin on Pinterest or you can use a Pinterest scheduler like Tailwind. This tutorial shows you how to use Tailwind
  •  Pin NEW Content – Pinterest wants their users to have lots of content to view on their platform, so they reward NEW content. For each of your blog posts aim to make at least 2-3 Pinterest graphics so you will have lots of new pins to add on Pinterest. 
  • Pin High-Quality Content – Pinterest is a visual platform and they want you pinning great things. Things that do well on Pinterest include vertical images, bright beautiful images, images with lots of compelling text. 
  • Pinterest SEO – Don’t forget to use keywords in your pins and descriptions. This post shows you how to use Pinterest SEO

Pinterest Graphic Template

When it comes to Pinterest visuals are vital. To stand out in the feed you need to have long pin, bright compelling images, and clear text.

The recommended dimensions for a pin is 600×900 px or a 2×3 ratio. 

You can create longer pins as well up to 600×1260. 

Create different variations of your pins to test what works best for you! 

2. Facebook Groups

If you want to get your blog and brand out, Facebook Groups can help you.

There are groups for just about anything under the sun. From DIYs to money-saving tips. Even groups specifically for bloggers.

I have a great group just for new bloggers where everyday we have a new thread where you can promote your content, connect with other bloggers, or get feedback on your posts! 

You can join the group here. 

How To Find More Facebook Groups

You may want to find more groups to join to promote your content and network (& get more blog post ideas like we talked about in the content creation chapter!) so I’m going to show you a super easy way to find tons of new Facebook groups.

First, head over to Facebook and type your keyword in to the search bar. Your keyword is the type of group you are looking for, so in this example I looked up “mom bloggers” to help me find groups with other mom bloggers.

Once you hit enter the search results will come up. It will preview a few different Facebook groups.

To see more Facebook groups either click,

1. The “Groups” tab in the navigation bar.

2. “See All” below the groups that are being previewed.

This will bring up tons more groups for you to scope out!

screenshot of facebook group search for start a blog tutorial

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Pinterest and SEO are the two main traffic drivers to my sites.

However, SEO traffic takes MUCH longer to build.

Pinterest traffic is quick to get while SEO takes time to build authority and get Google’s attention.

With that said I believe that both traffic methods are incredibly important when you start a blog.

So what is SEO?

The basic goal of SEO is to get your post to rank at the top of the Google search for a specific term.

While there are many search engines, most bloggers focus their SEO strategies in getting to the top of Google’s search results page.

There are many factors that go into ranking on Google, but let’s go over a few of the main one’s together. 

1. Use Strong Keywords

Keywords are words used by web users to make a search. So if you want to appear on their search, you need to have the right keywords in.

There are plenty of websites that can help you get those right keywords.

One of my favorite free SEO tools is the Google Chrome extension Keywords Everywhere. It’s a free tool that lets you see the trending keywords and the search volume for those terms. 

When you decide on a keyword you then strategically use it in different places in your blog posts.

2. Optimize Your Images

Often overlooked but it’s also important, for SEO purposes, to have your photos optimized.

Here’s what you do.

Name your images correctly. When you upload them on your WordPress blog, its file name should be related to your post.

So instead of having it as “image0001.jpg,” change it to a file name relevant to your blog; for instance, “pancake recipes” if your blog is about pancake recipes.

Put in the relevant keywords too in the alt text or alt tags of your images.

3. Don't forget To use Meta descriptions

Think of it as a summary of your blog. It’s a brief statement that pops up in the search results.

How brief?

Meta descriptions are usually up to 160 characters.

With the limited number of allowable characters, try to fit in the most relevant description in there, including your primary keywords.

To easily insert meta descriptions use the Yoast SEO plugin.

Go to the post you want to add the description for, scroll down to the Yoast SEO area and then click “Edit snippet.”

screenshot of wordpress dashboard where you can edit the meta description for your blog posts when you are starting a blog
Then a box will open that will let you add a meta description for your post. Enter in your description with your keywords and you’re done!

4. Get backlinks from other sites

Backlinks are links posted on other sites that link to your blog.

These link send signals to Google that your content is valuable and worth reading. The more legitimate backlinks a piece of content has the higher the likelihood that it will start to rank in the search.

5. Interlink your posts

When you link to one of your other posts within one of your own blog posts that is called interlinking.

Interlinks are like backlinks, only they are links within your own website.

This is a great SEO strategy because you keep your readers on your website, hopping only from one post to another. As a result, you reduce the bounce rate.

6. Use Keywords In your permalink

What are permalinks?

They are the descriptive words at the end of each URL.

Getting the right words in your permalinks is good for SEO. Plus, they make your URLs look professional, especially when you post it on social media.

Bonus Tip: if you have already published your post and it has the date, don’t change it.

7. Focus On Site Speed

People hate it when it takes too long for a website to load. The natural tendency for them is to leave the site.

As they say, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

You don’t want a website that takes a long time to load. Especially not for your blog.

With a slow website, you will lose the attention of your web visitors. This will effectively reduce the traffic going to your website.

Want your site to load faster?

I suggest using plugins like W3 Total Cache, Hyper Cache, and WP Rocket.

With the right choice in a web host, your site can also run faster. 

You can test your site speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights

Also, make sure that when you are uploading images that you are making them the correct size. If you upload a photo that is the full size it is going to take up way more space.

Try resizing your images before uploading them and using a free tool like ShortPixel to compress them.

11. Start a blog that makes money

While some people blog for fun, many start a blog to make money. 

I remember when I first started out, I thought having ads on my blog was the only way to get paid. Little did I know there are more ways to monetize a website.

Earning money through my blog took time. It wasn’t overnight.

But it is possible to start a blog and make money within a few months.

I’d like to share with you these five simple ways to monetize your blog.

1. Advertising

This is a common monetization route for many bloggers. In fact, I thought this was the only way to make money when I started in 2012.

Unless you get thousands of page views and web visits regularly, then the money coming in will only pay for your coffee.

I suggest you wait until you get 25,000 sessions per month before putting ads on your blog. Then apply for Mediavine.

If you are anxious to start a blog and make money faster then you can apply for another premium ad platform like Monumetric once you hit 10,000 monthly pageviews. 

There are two ways you can earn money through ads on your site.

First is the pay-per-click setup. You get paid whenever someone clicks on the ad posted on your blog.

The second one is pay-per-impression. You get paid by the number of times an ad is seen on your site.

To boost your earnings through ads, get help from Pinterest to drive more traffic to your blog. The higher the traffic, the more chances of increasing your ad income.

2. Affiliate Marketing

This is easily my favorite way to make money when you start a blog.

In affiliate marketing, you share your product reviews and earn a commission for each sale made through your blog.

Here are few of my favorite affiliate networks that accept new bloggers: 

ShareASale

ShareASale is a very popular platform. It has a wide reach, making it one of the leaders in performance marketing solutions.

When you join ShareASale, you get access to more than 2,500 affiliate marketing programs that let you earn commissions.

But the best thing about ShareASale is that you can get easily approved when you apply to join; even if you’re a newbie blogger

screenshot of shareasale earnings for start a blog and make money section of post

AWIN Global Affiliate Marketing Network

Partner with the world’s popular brands through AWIN Global Affiliate Marketing Network.

Earn big bucks when you promote AWIN’s merchant partners like M&S, Trip Advisor, Etsy, Groupon, and AliExpress.

Ultimate Bundles

Do you love getting a great deal on things? Then Ultimate Bundles is for you!

Ultimate Bundles puts together collections of products in multiple niches and sells them at a massive discount. We are talking 90% off or more!

These bundles are easy to sell because of the crazy discount.

Affiliates earn a whopping 40% commission on any bundles they sell.

Learn more about other affiliate networks: The Best Affiliate Programs For Bloggers

3. Sponsored Posts

You may not know this about me, but before I started a blog I was a freelance influencer marketing coordinator for small businesses. 

For a time, I was the person behind a sponsored post pitch.

Looking for sponsored opportunities?

You have two options for this.

First, you can reach out directly to brands and offer your services.

Or you can work with a sponsorship network. 

Here are some of the popular options:

4. Services

Do you have a service you could offer on your blog?

You can offer and promote your services through your blog; it’s an amazing platform you can use to give potential clients a preview of what you can do.

If you have an expertise in an area you can use your blog as a platform to find clients for your service. 

I’ve met hundreds of service based business owners that start a blog to bring in new business. 

Here are a few ideas I’ve personally seen: 

  • Online baby sleep consultant
  • Lactation consultant
  • Online cooking lessons
  • Home decorating consultations 
  • Trademark lawyer

Some may also choose to offer when they start a blog as a way to bring in some extra income until their income from ads and affiliate sales starts to take off. 

Common online services include:

  • Virtual Assistant
  • Freelance Writer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Proofreader

5. sell Your Products

In addition to offering your online services, you can also sell products through your blog.

If you have an online shop, you can use your blog as a platform to promote your items then funnel your readers to your store.

Since starting a blog I’ve sold ebooks, online courses, design templates, and more! 

Now that you know how to Start A blog for profit...

You know how to start blogging, so it’s time to go start your blog!

resources to start a blog

I know this post was massive so I’ve included a brief recap with some of the resources that I’ve mentioned that will help you start a blog. 

Where to start a blog?

WordPress: May get stuck wondering where to start a blog. WordPress.org is where you want to be. WordPress.org is free, but requires you to have webhosting which runs somewhere between $3-5 a month. 

Hosting Companies

Bluehost: Bluehost is a hosting company that you can use on WordPress.org. They offer some of the lowest rates for hosting at just $2.95/month. You also can get your domain name free for the first year when you use this coupon link. 

SiteGround: SiteGround is one of my favorite hosts. They are slightly more expensive than Bluehost coming in at $3.95/month, but they have incredibly responsive customer service. I’ve always had a positive experience working with SiteGround. 

Big Scoots: If you have a budget for it, Big Scoots is a fabulous hosting provider. If you want to become a blogger I would save this host for later once your traffic has hit 80k monthly pageviews or more.  

How to build a blog?

To build your blog the two main things that you need are a WordPress theme and a page builder. There are free and premium versions of each of these. I personally recommend starting with the free versions of Astra and Elementor. I’ve also listed some of my favorite premium themes below.

Recommended WordPress Themes

website Page Builder

How To Start A Blog And Make Money

Blogging for money can be an incredibly lucrative business. Below are some of the platforms and opportunities that will help you make money off your blog. 

Premium Ad Networks

Affiliate Marketing Networks

Did this post help you start your blog?

I poured my heart and soul into writing this massive guide on how to start a blog, so if this post helped you start blogging could you do me a favor?

I would absolutely love it if you could do one of these things: 

Link to this post on your new blog: That way others that want to become a blogger can take advantage of this resource too! 

Share this post: There are social sharing icons right at the bottom of this post. Click to share this on any platform you would like! 

Comment below: This one is a little bit selfish, but it makes my heart so-so happy when I hear how this post helped others start a blog. It seriously makes my day. Comment below to let me know if this helped you and feel free to share the link to your new blog! 

McKinzie Bean
McKinzie is a mom of two, and a personal finance enthusiast. She loves teaching other moms how to save money, make money, and take control of their financial situation. She has started five profitable businesses and in college, she double-majored in Financial Planning and Psychology. You may have seen her in publications like Forbes, The US Chamber of Commerce, Yahoo Finance, Money.com, The Penny Hoarder, & more.

119 thoughts on “11 Steps For How To Start A Blog (And Make Money) In 2020”

  1. Hi McKinzie, I love this idea! I wish I would have had this when I was first starting my blog…even though my blog is still not doing well, it still might help, lol. I have gone through many of your courses and I’m an affiliate for you as well and this is a masterpiece. I’d love to have a piece of your knowledge and imagination. This is a perfect tool!

    1. Hey Robin!

      So fun to see a familiar face come up in the comments 🙂 I am really hoping that this will be an ultimate guide to starting a blog for beginners bloggers. There is so much that I didn’t know when I got started years ago. Thanks for your sweet words!

      — McKinzie

  2. McKinzie, this post is beyond amazing! I can’t express how helpful it would have been to have this when I was doing my initial research for starting a blog. I launched my blog earlier this month and am still learning how to optimize images, gain traffic on the blog, as well as make my blog profitable. This post helped so much on those notes for me! It truly shows how much time and effort you put into writing this post! It’s a wealth of information and goes beyond any other “how to start a blog” post I’ve read – and I read a lot before starting mine! I was doing 6+ months of research, and this is the most descriptive post I’ve seen.

    1. Hi Ashley!

      Yay! That is exactly what I was going for. There is so much more to starting a blog than just choosing a niche and hosting and that is where most “how to start a blog” tutorials end. This post was definitely a labor of love and hopefully, it will help a lot of people. Thanks for taking the time to leave this sweet comment!

      — McKinzie

  3. Whoa Mackenzie! You have poured a lot of time into laying this out for beginner bloggers. Love it! Wish I had found you in my earlier years – I know it will serve your readers well.

    1. Hi Karen!

      Thank you so much. I worked SO hard on this post and I hope it will help a lot of new bloggers. The reason I do what I do is to help other’s build a better life and it would be an honor if this post could be a little piece of that.

  4. Hi McKinzie,
    What an amazing share.
    You covered almost everything a new blogger needs to know before starting a web page. Indeed a very comprehensive guide to all bloggers even to the pro bloggers.
    But I never recommend BlueHost for a newbie or for anyone as it is one of the worst hosters I come across. Of course, this is a, best one only for the affiliate marketers, not for web owners. This I said from my own bitter experience with this hosters. Sad to say this. Anyways, apart from only this opinion, I fully agree with all the points you note in this post.
    I am bookmarking this and will make mention of one of my upcoming updating post.
    Thanks for the efforts you put in to bring in such a wonderful post.
    Keep sharing.
    Best Regards
    ~ Philip

    1. Hey Philip!

      I really appreciate your feedback. I truly did try to cover all the steps needed to start a blog and make money.

      Thanks for sharing your experience on Bluehost too. I had been of the same opinion but I have done a ton of research over the last year on them as well as testing them myself and talking to many colleagues that host with them. I think it is a good option for beginner bloggers because of the great price and features. One their traffic hits higher levels I would recommend they upgrade to a more robust host (like BigScoots) but it is solid for just starting out.

      For a slightly higher price, they can opt for SiteGround which has superior customer support (I’ve had really positive experiences for the most part with SiteGround’s team).

      Thank you for considering linking to this post. Once your post is live let me know and I would love to share it!

      — McKinzie

  5. OMG! So I’m currently enrolled in your free Pinterest course and I’ve done two other “How To Start A Blog” free courses and I thought I had a bunch of information already but exactly like my first words OMG. I have gathered so much information from this post and have pinned just about everything I possibly could because it was just that good. I just wrote my first three blogs and I haven’t published them because I was still iffy if I was doing it right and this post just answered EVERY one of my questions. I just want to say thank you so much for all the time you put into this to help beginners like me get things up and running. I’m still in the process of making my site live because I wanted to do it as right as possible and after reading this I’, going to go back and tweak a couple of things like my plug-ins and create a contact me page. I would absolutely love if you would take a look at what I have and give me some advice if you have the time. Again thank you so much for this post one of the best I’ve read yet! I’ve also followed you on Pinterest because your content is just above average.

    1. Hey Mila!

      Awe your comment just made me so-so happy! I really wanted this to be an in-depth resource on how to start a blog. It is so great that it was able to answer so many of your questions. I really appreciate you sharing this on Pinterest that means so much 🙂 I just tried to check out your site and it gave me an error message. Maybe I have the wrong link?

        1. Wow, thank you SO much for writing this post!! Especially the part about what plugins to install in WordPress – I’ve been struggling with that this week, so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect! Thank you!!!

          1. Hey Christine!

            Thank you so much 🙂 I worked SO hard on this post. Plugins can be so awesome. I’ve started blogs on other platforms like Blogger and Squarespace and plugins on WordPress are a game-changer. Best of luck with starting your blog!

            XO,

            McKinzie

  6. HI McKinzie,
    This is an amazing post! Extremely detailed and helpful for those thinking about or just starting a blog. I wish I saw this 7 months ago when I was starting out! The templates are great and now I’m thinking I may need to redo my homepage:) Thanks so much for sharing this!!
    Have a blessed day,
    Nicole

    1. Hey Nicole!

      Thanks so much for commenting. I really wanted it to be a detailed guide to start a blog. I remember when I started my first blog and I was SO lost! Good luck with adjusting your homepage. Having a well thought out home page can really help with SEO too!

      XO,

      McKinzie

  7. I have never ever found a how to blog post that covers everything you need to know and does it so well!! Bravo and thanks so much! This was extremely helpful.

  8. Talk about the mother of all posts. This was amazingly thorough. Believe it or not, I learned a thing or two from this. Loved it McKinzie! Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed post.

    1. Hey Mariam!

      Haha thanks so much. I think this qualifies as the mother of all posts 🙂 Feel free to link to it or share it if you would like! I’m glad you were able to learn something about blogging from it!

      XO,

      McKinzie

      1. I have read so many posts on “how to” but never covering everything from A-Z. Very well written and easily understood. Thank you for taking the time to do this. It’s a “goldmine” for me and will become my favorite “go-to.” Well done.

    1. Hi Kristin!

      Aren’t you the sweetest?! Thank you so much. I really did but a TON into this post and I really hope it will help others on their journey to start a blog.

      I hope you and your cute family are doing well!

      XO,

      McKinzie

  9. Hey Friend!

    This post is Gold. Your advice is perfect and I can tell from all the shares and comments everyone is appreciative. My favorite part of this post was the depth on subjects like the AD networks. Everyone talks about Media vine and I liked that you mentioned a different ad network with a smaller barrier of entry. (Thank you) My biggest question for you is, What if we need more of a one-on-one approach? Do you offer coaching services or know of anyone that is reputable? I have been blogging for less than 6 months but I really feel that a coaching session would work wonders for my progress. Thanks for all you do for your readers!

    1. Hey Ashlyn!

      Thank you SO much! I seriously hustled so hard to get this post published. You are actually the third person this week to ask me if I offer coaching. I did in the past, but I stopped during my really difficult pregnancy in 2018 and I haven’t taken on many since then. Maybe I need to open up a few slots again! Why don’t you shoot me an email about it and we can chat?

      XO,

      McKinzie

  10. Wow, what a well-written and comprehensive guide for how to start a blog. Kudos for sharing such detailed information that can help new bloggers get started!

  11. WOW!! Just. WOW! So much amazing information. I read through it but now I want to grab my notebook and go through it one more time!! Thank you so much for sharing… this is an invaluable resource!

    1. Hey Elizabeth!

      Awe you are making me blush. Thank you SO much! This definitely is a post that needs to be read through a few times to fully digest it. So glad this was helpful to you. Be sure to share it with anyone you know that wants to start a blog 🙂

    1. Hey Breanna!

      Way to take action! I’m going to head over and check out your home page now. And I’m so glad that you feel that way. I’ve seen wayyyy too many of those posts in my years as the blogger and I wanted to create a more in-depth post to help others start a blog. I hope you have a great day!

      XO,

      McKinzie

    2. Thank you for sharing such vaulable information. I took alot of notes and at first I thought I already read this one. But as I continue to read I found new information to add to my notes. I think you did an excellent job at explaining in detail how to blog. Thanks again I’ll share it as soon as my site is ready.,

      1. Hi Nettie!

        Thanks for checking it out. I am so glad that it was helpful to you and that you were able to take lots of notes. Best of luck with starting your blog soon. I can’t wait to read it 🙂

  12. I LOVE this post! I’m a brand new blogger and I have been doing tons of research but I love how simple and easy this post is to follow! I’ve favorited it and will definitely be referring back to it alot in the future!

    1. Hey Caitlin!

      Thank you so much! I really tried to outline the steps on how to start a blog logically so it would be easy to follow. There are sections in this post that apply to pretty much any stage of blogging so hopefully, it can help you for years to come 🙂

      XO,

      McKinzie

  13. This is an awsome ultimate how to post. It looks like you covered all of the questions that I have had on how to start a blog. I am still working on figuring it all out and this looks like it will help with any other questions I might have in the future. Thanks for the time and effort that you put into this.

    1. Hey Shannon!

      Thank you so much for commenting. It definitely was a labor of love and I put in at least 200 hours getting this post researched, written and formatted. Feel free to comment here if you have any questions that weren’t answered in the post about how to start a blog and I’d love to answer them for you!

      XO,

      McKinzie

  14. Holy moly, hands down the best post I’ve read so far on this topic. I was hoping to publish my new blog starting tomorrow but have been so overwhelmed with it all, that I’m giving a new goal of it this weekend. You have outlined everything, it’s so appreciative. I never would have thought about the legal stuff! I am book marking this page and will be referencing it again and again. Awesome post.

  15. Nicely done and thank you for putting this together! I can see how this post would have taken you 200+ hours to write. It’s so helpful that I wish this was around when I started my first blog! I’ll make sure to share it out there 🙂

  16. Hi McKinzie! As a newbie blogger who is looking to monetize, I appreciate all your wonderful suggestions! I know this post took you a while to write, it’s chock-full of information! I find my biggest challenge is getting noticed, gaining visitors, and obtaining their email address — I had 600+ visitors to my blog in the first month, and only ONE gave me their email address!! Any further suggestions for me? I really appreciate your efforts!

    1. Hi Kathy!

      Thank you for your kind words. It took me so-flipping-long to write this post, but I really wanted to create the ultimate guide to start a blog. I wish I’d had a resource like this when I started blogging many years ago!

      Based on your URL I’m assuming you blog about quilting. My first question is what incentive do you have for them to sign up for your email list? If it is just a generic “sign up for my newsletter” the conversion rate is going to be very very low. What I would do is first look at your top-performing blog post and then make a specific freebie for that post.

      For example: Maybe it is a specific quilting tutorial – your opt-in could be a complimentary video that walks them through the steps, a list of products that make that tutorial easier, a quilting pattern you’ve created that they need to use to complete the tutorial, etc. When you have something relevant you will see a lot higher conversion rates. I hope that helps 🙂

  17. I just wanted to say thank you for this post! It is so much more comprehensive than other guides I have been reading. I am sure I will have a million more questions as I get started, but this was definitely a huge help to get started in the right direction!

    1. Hey Jackie!

      I am so glad that it helped you. There are a lot of guides out there, but I was always left wanting more. I really hope this can help you start your blog!

      XO,

      McKinzie

  18. McKinzie, You continue to inspire me everyday. Thank you for this very detailed and thorough post. I have learned so much from your blog posts and courses. I really appreciate you taking the time to write this and share this post with us. Thank you!

    1. Hey Patty!

      Thank you so-so much. I am so glad you enjoyed this post and my courses. Hopefully, it will help lots of others start a blog.

      P.S. I just looked at your blog and it is GORGEOUS! You’ve done a great job with it. Good for you!

  19. Thank you so much, McKinzie!

    I have just started my (HOW2WP – WordPress How-to Guide for Beginners) blog and I will keep coming back to this awesome post to learn more about blogging.

    Thank you again for this Ultimate Guide to Start Blogging.

    1. Hey!

      Thanks so much for commenting. It is such a good feeling when you can blog and make money doing it! Which ads network are you using? I’ve only ever used Mediavine and they have been absolutely wonderful!

  20. This is such a great (insanely well detailed) post McKinzie! I don’t think you missed a single thing and I’m sure this will be soooo helpful to people that are just getting started. All of your work is great but this post takes the cake!

  21. Awesome article. I love how detailed it is and surely first time bloggers will get a lot of information from this article. I like how you said: For your blog to be successful, you will need to put in a lot of time and dedication. It is not some get rich quick scheme. However, if you stick to it, building a blog can be a great business.

    Angela Giles | http://www.angelagiles.com

    1. Hey Angela!

      Thank you so much. I hope it will help a lot of aspiring bloggers to start a blog! And I totally agree with you. It definitely is a business that takes work and dedication to see success.

  22. Great post! I’ve actually got a few similar tips, not as many though, on my new Lifestyle blog (which I haven’t had the guts to launch yet), but now I can see I’m on the right track. Thank you for the inspiration – I just need to go and push that button.

  23. I love how you listed out the types of blog posts – I want to add some variety and may have a controversial post soon – feeling a little nervous but it’s time. Thank you for all the great information!

    1. Hi Emily!

      Controversial posts definitely can be scary to publish, but they help you find your “people.” Your true fans. Plus, they have great viral potential.

      So glad this blogging guide helped you 🙂

      McKinzie

  24. Hi
    This is a well researched and informative sharing. Many bloggers I know start and run a blog to promote information they want to share or as a promotional tool for other endeavors; for example, many authors blog to promote their books. this can be an interesting way for them to earn passive income while achieving their primary goal. Thank you for all the time and effort put into this piece.
    all the best
    Maude

    1. Hi Maude!

      That is a great point. Starting a blog can be an excellent way to promote another business. Before I ran my blogs full-time, I worked for other small businesses and I helped some of them start their own blogs so they could generate new leads and traffic. It definitely can be an effective strategy. Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

  25. Extremely good post and on point information, unfortunately it’s too long, maybe make a few posts out of it? Other than that, I totally loved it! Thanks a lot!

    1. Hey Donna!

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂 This post actually used to be an ebook – but I felt in my heart that I needed to give it away for free so I published it here. My goal was to make it the most thorough “how to start a blog” post on the internet.

      How could I make the post easier to navigate?

      I added jump links at the top, but I know it is super long. I do have other supplemental pieces on my site in regards to things like themes, monetizing your blog, email marketing, etc.

  26. This post is literally amazing, I can tell how much time an effort you put into it. I appreciate all the information you’ve shared!! I would love individual posts about how to use some of the plugins you mentioned like Elementor. Thanks again and I have bookmarked this blog.

    1. Hi Sarah!

      Awe, that seriously means so much! Thank you! Hopefully, it will help lots of others start a blog 🙂

      Great idea for going more in-depth on plugins. I’m seriously an Elementor junkie so I totally could write a blog post on that. Anything, in particular, you’d be interested in learning?

      Thanks again!

  27. Great Post! I’ve been blogging for almost 11 months and still struggling with traffic. Your information has given me some great ideas on how to assess my blog and find what may be holding me back. Thank you!

    1. Hey Laurie!

      I’m so glad this post was helpful to you 🙂 There definitely are nuggets of knowledge even for intermediate bloggers. Please let me know how things go after you apply the tips!

      XO,

      McKinzie

  28. There is a ton of great information here! I’m only two weeks in and am trying to find great nuggets of information like this!! Thanks so much!!

  29. This is suuuuch a helpful post – it’s really clearly set out and easy to follow. Thank you so much for putting it together to help out blogging newbs like me haha!!
    I still have a lot of work to do but I’ve recently set up my first blog with the help of your posts!
    http://www.chipsvsfries.com

  30. Awesome post. Have pinned to go back to later. Clicked about on some links today as I’m about to start a 2nd blog and I’ve been looking at themes. So much useful information I’ll definitely go back and re-read. Thank you.

  31. I love how detailed this is! I have read numerous posts and this is truly a wonderful resource! I’ve bookmarked this to come back and dig a little deeper to improve my own. Thank you for sharing!

  32. Hey there! I’ve been reading your posts non-stop the past couple of days and just stumbled upon this post. This 100% tops the cake of posts for blogging beginners. You went into so much detail and covered things that I never would have thought of. I really liked your templates, I’m looking forward to using them when start my blog!

    1. Hey Bailey!

      You don’t know how happy that makes me to hear that. I really wanted to provide true value with this post. So glad that I get to be a part of your journey to start a blog!

      XO,

      McKinzie

  33. Hi Mckenzie, I’m your new follower and already a fan of your work. Being a digital marketer and Blogging newlie, I’ve been reading a lot of similar blogs but this is the best read so far. I’m going to use so many of the gold nuggets you’ve shared and can’t wait to launch by Blog by the end of this month. I’ll be more than happy to link your blog post to my website 🙂 Thank you so much!

    xo,
    Anjali

  34. This is a very helpful post. I’d like to know more about how to be successful with Amazon affiliate marketing. I didn’t have enough sales when I first started, and so Amazon did not allow me to continue after my trial period. But they were not clear about how many sales you have to generate, and I couldn’t find much info about it.

  35. This is hands down the ‘bestest’ place ever to get information on How To Start a Blog!!!! So much of resources, and so so helpful, its totally put down to everything in D-E-T-A-I-L. Im so happy i stumbled upon it just before starting my blog, all my fears have been put aside, Thanks to you McKinzie!!!
    Hoping to feature your website in my very first posts as soon as I begin.

  36. Starting a blog looks like it is an overwhelming step to take

    It is not, it is the mindset that turns it into a complicated tasks

    If you have the will to succeed, you will be able to overcome all the challenges that you can endure

  37. I really wanted to share this to Pinterest but I am unable to find your share buttons! Your post said below the article, but I can’t find them?

    The Radically Adorkable Sarah

    1. Hey Sarah!

      Thanks so much for wanting to share this 🙂 If you use the social icons on the top or the bottom of the post (or if you are on desktop they are also on the left-hand side) you should be able to pin it.

  38. When a person starts their first blog it can be quite an intimidating experience. Although the process is not all rainbows and butterflies, it would be good if they come across your post to avoid the many pitfalls. Starting a blog is hard work, and there are a lot of pitfalls along the way.

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