How To Start A Blog That Stands Out: A Comprehensive Guide
Blogging is more than just a way to share your thoughts, passion, and craft. It is a means to make money, hone your expertise, increase the exposure of your business, gain quality leads, and establish an authority in your industry.
If you or your business doesn’t have a blog, you’re missing out!
According to Hubspot, B2B marketers that own a blog generate 67% more leads than those without. And with more leads, you’ll likely close more deals and increase your returns in the long run.
If you have been considering starting a blog as a career or for your business but are unsure how to go about it you’re in luck.
This article will provide you with detailed steps on how to start a blog from scratch.
You’ll learn essential concepts like;
- Getting started on the WordPress blogging platform
- Best practices to choose a domain name and web hosting platform
- Popular, profitable blog niches
- Ways to derive content for your blog
- Importance of setting up your editorial calendar and tools to use
- How to optimize your blog
- And more!
Read through to catch all the important points and create a successful blog!
How To Start A Blog
To simplify the whole process of how to start a blog, I have broken down this guide into 3 parts; the Preparation stage, Getting started on different platforms, and To Dos once your blog has been created.
- The preparation stage- Consists of steps you need to take to ensure the successful launching of your blog.
- Getting started on WordPress- Shows how to start a WordPress blog in simple, broken-down steps.
- To-dos after blog creation – Steps to manage and maintain your new blog.
That said, let’s dive straight into how to start a blog!
Before starting your blogging journey, here are some essential steps you need to take so your blog gets a good start;
Step 1: Determine The Purpose Of Your Blog
Why are you creating a blog? This is an essential question every blogger must answer when learning how to start a blog. Answering this question helps you decide many things later, including name, niche, content planning, and more.
People start blogging for different reasons, like the following;
Website Ranking And Business Exposure:
Adding a blog to your website or starting a blog if your company doesn’t have a website can help increase your business’s online presence. With relevant, fresh, and optimized blog posts, you can easily catch the attention of search engines and attract more visitors to your site.
Blogging can also be a means to improve people’s perception of your brand and set your business apart from your competition.
Earn Some Cash
Money blogging is a very common practice among bloggers. Most people go into blogging with the mindset of making extra income. Take affiliate marketers, for example- their sole purpose is to earn commission from promoting other people’s products or services.
Affiliate marketers resort to different methods, including creating sponsored posts to help companies find customers and earn money. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to increase reach and promote a company’s products or services.
So, if your aim is to start affiliate marketing after creating a successful blog, you’re on the right path. You can easily include an affiliate link or more in your own blog posts to start earning a commission.
Generate quality leads
As a business, running a successful blog can help you to generate more leads. In fact, most companies start blogging to gain quality leads for their business. Writing unique, helpful content for each funnel stage can increase your conversion rate and hit your goals faster.
Start Journalism career
Blogging is one of the most recommended activities or hobbies to kickstart your journalism career. It helps you to build a portfolio, giving you a ground to stand on during interviews. It is also an opportunity to learn and polish your writing skills while preparing for a formal position.
You could also be your own boss and start a news organization online by starting a new blog.
Many institutions encourage blogging for students so they can learn to express their thoughts, creativity, ideas, and expertise. It gives the students a platform to convey messages freely and collaborate with their peers and the outside world.
It’s important to note that you don’t need to be a student to start an educational blog. If you are interested in education sub-niche blogs, you can start a site to fuel your passion or make money.
Some people start a new blog for the sole purpose of entertaining their audience. They pick niches in the entertainment industry and blogging, like movies, video games, TV shows, music, books, and more. Most times, the purpose of these blogs can evolve from entertainment to money-making. They usually go into affiliate marketing, promoting products or services for businesses in the entertainment industry.
Step 2: Select A Niche
After determining the purpose of your blog, it becomes much easier for you to pick a blog niche.
There’ll be no need to pick a niche if your blog is being used to promote products and services for your business. In this case, you can easily write blog topics related to your product and industry to maintain relevance.
However, if you’re starting a new blog as a career, selecting a niche is an important step. It is crucial to narrow down your blog posts to a particular niche because it helps you create an identity. You’ll also rank faster when your blog is known for a particular thing.
So, how do you pick your blog’s niche? Simply review the purpose of your blog and choose a niche that best achieves that purpose.
Some of the popular niches in the blogging industry include;
- Entertainment – Celebrity news, movie reviews, book reviews, music updates, TV show discussions, and more.
- Fitness- Diet, exercise, supplements, and more.
- Fashion- Gender-specific, designing, fashion shows, weddings, and more.
- Politics- investigative blog, political gossip, and commentary blog, women in politics, region-specific, and more
- Food- Recipes, cooking, restaurant reviews, and more
- Sports- General sports, specific sports, news, live score updates, and more
- Education- school blogs, study guides, homeschooling, tests, quizzes, revision tools, past questions, language learning, and more.
- Tech- Software reviews, innovation news, AI, smart cars, mobile phones, digital marketing, cyber security, online courses, laptops, programming, and more.
- Lifestyle – Personal blog, celebrity gossip, travel, DIY, Art, Dating and Relationship, Eco-friendly living, fitness journey, and more.
Note that some niches are broad, and you may have to pick a sub-niche. For instance, if you pick the entertainment blog niche, you can focus on celebrity news, movie reviews, music updates, etc.
Step 3: Choose Your Blog Name, Domain Name, And Web Hosting Service Provider
Now, you must pick a suitable name and a domain name for your blog. While this can be challenging, it is usually worth it when you find the perfect name.
To help, you have to choose a unique name, short and simple such that people can easily resonate with it. It is even more effective when the name describes your products or services.
For custom domain names, you can use free domain name generators, like Namecheap, Nameboy, WPBeginner, Domain.com, Shopify Business Name Generator, or Bust A Name to find one suitable for you.
See tips for choosing a domain name and blog names below;
- Pick a unique name for identification and to avoid legal issues using a registered name.
- Choose a short name because it is easier to remember.
- When in doubt your name can be an awesome domain name.
- Select a .com domain for general blogs and .edu for education niche blogs when possible.
- Don’t use numbers or symbols in your domain name to avoid confusing your audience.
The main reason you need a domain name and a web hosting company is so your blog can have a secure space on the internet. The domain name is simply your blog’s online address while hosting your blog means you’re paying for storage space on the internet.
Note that you can’t just own domains, you have to buy them from web hosting companies like Blue host, HostGator, Hostinger, GoDaddy, DreamHost, and IONOS.
Alongside your domain name, you can also purchase hosting for your blog from the domain seller since most offer the services together.
Step 4: Choose Your Blog Platforms
After picking a domain name, the next thing to do is select a blog platform. It is important that you choose a reliable blog platform because it may contribute to or take away from your blog’s success.
What blogging platform you choose will depend on what your objectives are.
If you are creating a site for affiliate marketing and SEO optimization then you should use WordPress or Webflow.
For more casual blogs then consider a more basic and beginner-friendly platform such as Wix or beehiive.
In my opinion, these are the only options that should be considered if you are starting a new blog.
While most of the above options have free plans, you may have to spend money on paid themes and plugins to customize and create a professional-looking blog.
Step 5: Create Content For Your Blog- Your First Blog Post!
After choosing a blogging platform, the next thing to do is create your first blog content.
To any business, their marketing strategies depend on content. It is a way to reach out to your potential clients, solve their problems, educate them, engage them, and convert them into loyal customers.
Content goes beyond writing blog posts. It also includes graphic designs, images, links and videos. You’ll usually only need to write a blog post, but if your blog involves DIYs and How-tos, adding images and videos makes it more relevant.
You can write your first blog post or outsource it to a seasoned writer. It all depends on your expertise, budget, time restrictions, and blog purpose. Personal bloggers, for instance, usually prefer writing their own posts because it recounts their experience.
Curating your blog post by yourself requires some writing skills. You want your audience to understand the message and google to recognize your blog post as relevant, authoritative, and trustworthy. Therefore, you must do some extra digging to structure your blog post accordingly.
Creating your content is much easier when you already have blog post ideas matching the intent of your blog. So, brainstorm blog topics first, and from there, research and write.
Outsourcing comes in handy when you have a busy schedule. While you take care of other things, the contracted writer can write the blog post on your behalf. If you prefer to be the sole author on your blog, then hiring a ghostwriter is best. Such a person only writes and gets paid- They do not claim ownership of the content. You can also outsource if your budget allows it.
Step 6: Create A Blog Strategy And Editorial Calendar.
Consistency is an important strategy to achieve a successful blog. To maintain your consistency, you need a working content system in place.
Usually, most bloggers plan for their content because they understand that it is the main driver of their blog. So, even before choosing a domain name, blog name, blogging platform, and web hosting service, they already have some blog posts ready.
To keep your blog alive, you need a content calendar where you can write your blog post ideas and arrange them
In your calendar, you should consider the main driving elements, like;
- Relevant Blog Topics, considering your buyer personas
- Links to new blog posts or Documents (ready for publishing)
- Posting Days and time
- Who manages the blog
- Channels to promote blog
Ordinarily, you can create a content calendar using a spreadsheet. However, using software with scheduling or kanban functionality, like Google calendar, Trello, Kapost, Coschedule, Notion, and Loomly is HIGHLY beneficial.
All these software tools not only have the calendar tool that allows content planning, but they also have features like task assignment, and online collaboration tools to streamline your process. You can use them to assign and monitor tasks and blog post performance.
While preparing for your blog launch, you should also prepare a strategy that aligns with your blog’s purpose. It helps you to define and stick to your marketing goals, set priorities, and maintain consistency.
Your strategy should contain elements including the following;
- What is your main goal for creating the blog?
- What is your target market?
- What are your periodic goals, and how do you achieve them?
- A content calendar aligning with your goals.
- Monetization strategies (if making money is a part of your goals).
- What are your competitors doing?
- Advertising and Promotion strategies, including Search engine optimization tactics, ads, and channels.
This concludes the preparation stage of how to start a blog. After making the necessary plans as described in steps 1 to 6 above, the next thing to do is set up your blog online.
See the next section for creating a WordPress site for your blog.
How To Start A Blog – Getting started On WordPress
So, Why did I choose WordPress?
WordPress is the most used blogging platform recommended for beginner and advanced bloggers. It is a robust site builder offering a free plan, meaning you can start your blog on it without subscribing.
Majority of blogs that you see today are built using WordPress. You can either use WordPress.org or the self-hosted WordPress. They are both WordPress blog software but differ in some ways.
WordPress.org, also called self-hosted WordPress, is an open-source software, free to access. You will be given the software and expected to make provisions for a domain and web hosting yourself.
A self-hosted WordPress blog gives you full control over your site, meaning its management depends totally on you. You can customize as much as you want using the available themes, which may be paid or free. You can also run ads on your site without sharing revenue with anyone. Google Analytics is available on the software to measure stats.
WordPress.com is a blogging platform hosted by WordPress itself. If you choose this WordPress variant, you don’t have to stress yourself with setting up, getting your own server, and everything else.
WordPress.com also has a free plan but with limited features. Before you can enjoy extra features, you’d have to subscribe to one of the 5 paid plans available, starting from $10 for a personal website.
My personal recommendation would be to avoid WorPress.com at all costs.
Let’s get started with how to start a blog on WordPress.org;
How To Start A Blog On WordPress
Step 1: Purchase a web hosting plan
You first need to buy a hosting plan from a web hosting company, like Bluehost or GoDaddy. This is what secures a storage space on the internet for your blog. Usually, these web hosts have special WordPress hosting plans that make setting up easier.
For this how-to-start a blog guide, we’ll use GoDaddy as the web hosting company.
- Go to GoDaddy WordPress plans
- Click on Get started
- Choose a web hosting plan that best suits you between Basic, Deluxe, Ultimate, and E-commerce.
- Select a term length between 1 month and 36 months
- Select a domain -You need a unique domain name before creating your WordPress blog. It is what separates you from countless other blogs available on the internet. GoDaddy gives you a free domain when you choose a hosting plan. So, enter a domain name and click submit to see if it’s available. If it is available, you’ll get feedback on the page immediately.
- Scroll down and click on Checkout.
- Next, create a WordPress account and Pay.
Step 2: Install WordPress
Usually, most web hosting service providers have a feature that allows you to automatically install WordPress, meaning you can install it directly once you buy a plan. However, if your web host does not offer such a feature, install WordPress on your own.
After paying on GoDaddy, you’ll get directed to a page where you will see the Manual WordPress Setup option. Click on it, create your username and password for WordPress, and wait for WordPress to set up your site.
After setting up, click on View My Site to begin customizing.
Step 3: Add Your Domain Name
Once directed to the generic WordPress site, navigate to the top tabs and place your cursor on AWordPressSite.
- From the drop-down menu, click on your WordPress Dashboard.
- You will see a prompt asking you if you’ve added your domain. Click on Add Domain.
- Select your custom domain and click on Attach.
- Wait while your domain is updated, then close the page.
Step 4: Log into your Admin Panel
After closing the previous page, open a tab and type in your website name followed by /wp-admin. For instance, if your website domain is http://Egghead.com, you will type http://Egghead.com/wp-admin into the search box. Then, enter your username and password again to log into your site.
Step 5: Install Your WordPress theme
Now that you’re back to your WordPress dashboard let’s customize your site by installing a WordPress theme.
- Click on Appearance, and select Themes
- Click on Add New to discover new free WordPress themes and premium ones too.
- Select your choice, install, and activate it.
- Check the side tab for Settings, then click, type in your Site Title and Tagline, and Save Changes.
With a WordPress theme installed now, you can build your blog with just a few clicks rather than starting from scratch.
Step 6: Customize Your Site
You can now begin changing the appearance of your chosen blog theme to suit your taste using tools from your WordPress Dashboard.
Ordinarily, you’ll be able to tweak the header, page layout, font, structure, and more, depending on your level of expertise. Seasoned WordPress users can use the advanced features and tweak the source files and style sheets to make their site more sophisticated.
Note that free WordPress themes usually have limited customizable features.
Don’t forget that you can add more features to your site using plugins. Some of them are free, while others are paid. With WordPress plugins, you can add features essential for blogging, like social sharing, analytics, search engine optimization plugins, contact forms, and more.
These plugins are essential to boost the relevance and ranking of your blog pages.
Step 7: Create Pages and Blog Posts
After customizing your site, the next thing to do is add your content. First, create your pages to give your site an identity. This can include About Us, Services, Contact, FAQs, Policies, and more. It depends on what works for your site.
After creating your blog pages, you can now create your first blog post. Simply navigate to the dashboard and click Posts. From there, you can paste your new blog post into the content editor and format it to taste. You can also embed videos and images to create versatile content.
At first, you may spend more time finding your way around the customization and formatting. However, once you are used to creating posts, publishing an entire blog will take you just a few clicks.
It is important to note that you don’t have to create a new WordPress blog by yourself. You can always hire a professional WordPress website developer to help you build a site and even update the pages and blog posts regularly. That way, you can save time and own a professional-looking blog.
Now that you have created your blog successfully, see the activities to do to maintain your site in the next section.
To-Dos After Blog Creation
All successful bloggers know that learning how to start a blog is only the start and working on improving it is also part of the process. After starting a blog, it is crucial to take certain steps that help you to push its growth, measure progress, and keep it up to date.
See some things to do to make your blog successful below;
- Create Optimization Strategies
Optimizing your blog should always come first after building it because that is what makes your online presence known. You want Google and other search engines to recognize your content and rank your blog on their SERPs. When your blog gets ranked, you can get more search engine traffic, generate quality leads, and convert them in the stages of your sales.
Some of the things that help optimize your blog online include;
- Keyword Research: This is where you search for the relevant words frequently used in your niche and business. Keyword research simply helps you to center your blog post around relevant blog topics and words. This can be very instrumental in ranking your blog.
- Technical SEO: The technical aspect of your blog refers to its mechanisms and operations. Applying technical SEO includes improving loading time, navigation, and blog structure. This helps search engines crawl your page easier when ranking sites.
- Onpage and Offpage SEO: This includes optimizing the elements in your blog and also external elements to rank your site. It includes using relevant keywords, quality backlinks, images, high-quality blog content, meta tags, and ads.
Optimization is what helps you to reach a bigger, wider audience. So, ensure you include it in your strategies all the time.
- Analytics and Stat tracking
Measuring your blog growth is essential, and many other bloggers understand its importance. It helps you identify strategies that work and those that don’t. Luckily, there are WordPress plugins, like Google Analytics, that make progress tracking a breeze.
All you have to do is create a Google Analytics account to use the plugin. After installing the Google Analytics plugin, you can then use it to gain deeper insight into the performance of your blog.
You can also use Google Search Console to measure your site’s search traffic, gain insights, correct issues and improve your ranking.
- Website upgrades
Lastly, it is good to improve your blog design over time. This is especially true for new bloggers who created their first blogs themselves. Chances are you did an amateur job at the start of your blogging journey, which calls for improvement.
So, study the sites of your competitors and other famous blogs and improve your own blog to be even much better. That way, you can have a professional-looking blog and also stand out among other bloggers in your field.
It’s A Wrap!
If you love healthy challenges, starting your blogging journey should be an exciting experience. It creates an avenue for you to learn how the blogging industry works, collaborate with other bloggers, and make a name for yourself.
Now that you’ve read my article on how to start a blog, what’s stopping you from creating your own blog? Read through the whole process again to begin your blogging journey!
The process may be a bit rocky, but, don’t fret, it gets much easier when you manage your blog consistently, learn new tricks, and become more proficient with normal blogging practices.
Don’t forget that as your blog grows; you should improve its features and appearance to accommodate such growth.