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Affiliate Disclosure: This post on how to start a blog may contain affiliate links that earn this site a commission at no extra cost to you. Everything we recommend, we have used ourselves and hope you find the recommendations useful.
Are you thinking about starting a blog?
Blogging is a great way to share your thoughts, ideas, and knowledge with the world. It’s also an amazing way to make money online. But first, you need to know how to start a blog in 2021! In this post, we’ll show you 5 simple steps that will help get your blog off on the right foot. It should only take about 1 hour – let’s dive in!
How do you start a blog for beginners?
- Decide on what topic or niche you want to blog about!
- Choose a blogging platform (WordPress) & Pick a web host
- Sign up with SiteGround and Choose your theme
- Design your blog and produce amazing content!!
- Optimise your blog and drive traffic
If you prefer a course, Create and Go Launch Your Blog Biz Course as part of the Blog Biz Bundle is genuinely one of the best blogging courses available for someone looking to start a blog and make their first £1,000 online.
1. Decide on what topic or niche you want to blog about
One of the best advice I was given was to pick a blog topic or niche you enjoy, have a passion for and ideally have some expertise on the topic. The challenge of blogging, particularly if you wish to have a successful blog, is finding a niche that you won’t get bored of in a short space of time.
A successful blog requires consistency. Ideally, writing blog posts twice a week with a length anywhere from 1000 to 4000 words plus. Take that with a pinch of salt. The quality of the post is key too. Your goal should be to have the best post on the internet for a given topic.
2. Choose a blogging platform (WordPress) & pick a web host
Step 1: Choosing a blogging platform
This is where you decide where you will build your blog from. I will try and keep this as non-techy as I can.
When I started my research all the more prominent blogs were pushing for WordPress on a self-hosted platform rather than the free blogs. I did not understand why – but after some research, this is what I found:
The examples equivalent free blogs are
- Blogger – a good alternative to WordPress
- Tumbler – I have no experience of this myself but my understanding is that it is half social networking and half blogging.
Aside from WordPress being the biggest blogging platform, a WordPress blog gives you a lot more freedom and flexibility with what you can do with the Blog
- Unlike the free alternative blogs, you own the domain and also the blog itself.
- You can have a domain name that is specific to yourself on WordPress. Ours is value4money.org.
- You have a lot more flexibility with WordPress, in terms of what your blog looks like. There are many many free themes on WordPress and you can customize it to exactly what you want it to look like
- Finally, certain free blogging sites can be restrictive if you decide that later on, you want to earn money from your blog. They may not allow certain advertising on the blog for example Google Adsense.
I am continuing on the basis that we are going to use a WordPress blog! It is the best!!
Step 2: Pick a web host
I am continuing on the basis that we are going to use a WordPress blog. It is genuinely the best.
A web host is where you website or blog lives.
Picking the right web host is really important, and whilst you want value for money, I have found that you pay for what you get. Go with a cheap or free host, and as your blog grows, there is a good chance you will have issues with slow server response times, which will hamper the user experience and hurt your search engine rankings.
The longer a website or blog takes to load, the higher the chances of the user leaving which will increase your Bounce rate.
- SiteGround hosting servers are extremely fast. If you want to be found in Google through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) then you need to have a fast website.
- The price is really good. To get going, the £5.99 per month is perfectly fine but for a couple of quid more, you can actually get the ‘GrowBig’ package for not a lot more
- The pricing is transparent. I started with one provider initially that lured you in with a free website offer but once all the extras were added in, including SSL certificate etc, it was nearly double what the advertised price was.
- you get amazing support 24/7
3. Sign up to SiteGround and choose your theme
Step 1. Choose a SiteGround hosting plan
SiteGround has three plans to choose from:
- The StartUp plan is perfect for people with one website or blog that are starting now.
- The GrowBig plan is a great value for money offer, including the option for multiple websites and the Ultrafast PHP (greatly improves website speed).
- The GoGeek plan is perfect for people with e-commerce and larger sites or more geeky development needs like more server resources and GIT integration.
We got the GrowBig plan as we had two sites/ blogs.
Step 2: Choose a Domain Name
This is where the fun starts. Depending on what you will be blogging about, pick on a domain name that suits you! Just some thoughts on the domain name.
- Try to make your name relevant to the content of your blog
- Try to make the name catchy, memorable and ideally not too long
- SiteGround has a wide range of domain names at excellent prices!
Step 3: Review and Complete your Order
Unlike many hosting providers, SiteGround advertised discounts applies to any of the initial periods chosen during the signup. With other hosting providers, the very low prices/ discounts advertised only apply if you take out the longer duration signup i.e. 24 or 36 months.
Unlike other hosts, SiteGround gives you the full discount even if you sign up for just 1 year and this is why I like them so much!
Step 4: Login to SiteGround and Wordress dashboard
- Log in to SiteGround
- Click on the Website tab
- Under ‘My Website’, click the grey icon next to your site to launch WordPress
Step 5: Install Kadence theme
We recommend the Kadence theme – because it is lightweight, fast but allows lots of customisation to suit most needs. The Free theme by Kadence is great, and you can download it here.
Once you have downloaded the Kadence theme, you then need to install it on your WordPress.
- Go to your WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Themes
- On the Theme Page select Add New
- After selecting the Add New button, select Upload Theme
- Upload and install the Kadence theme that you downloaded
- Click Activate once complete
4. Design your blog and produce amazing content
Designing your blog
When starting your blog, a lot of people often make the mistake of spending hours and hours designing fancy logos and home page. The truth is, most blog traffic does not actually start on your home page – users normally go direct to an article from whichever source they find you from e.g. Google search, Facebook link, IG etc.
For this reason, come up with a simple and easy to navigate home page. You probably won’t have a lot of content at that point, so a simple, About page and recent posts is enough to get you going.
Writing your blog posts
Don’t get too caught up about being too technical or overly researching – just start writing. My first blog posts were terrible and with practice you get better and better and faster at writing. The important thing is to get writing consistently about your topic or niche.
5. Optimise your blog and drive traffic
My favourite Plugins
When having a blog, you want the user experience to be as good as possible. It should load quickly, it should be fast and easy to navigate. Plugins can help, but the more plugins you have, the slower your blog or website will be. The goal is to have the least number of plugins you can get away with to give you the functionality you need.
Yoast is a great plugin to help coach you through search engine optimisation for the posts your write. The free version is great. Yoast has a simple traffic light system for each of the main parameters, e.g. keyword focus, readability etc. When using Yoast, try and get your scores as high as you can!
All In One SEO
All in One SEO is similar to Yoast. I have used both and prefer the feel of All in One SEO. Decide which one works best for you! The free version works great.
Page speed is key for user experience, and WP Rocket addresses that very well with their easy to use plugin. WP Rocket page speed improvement will help SEO rankings and, in turn, conversions.
Site kit by Google
Site Kit by Google give you the insight about how people use your website/ blog. This can help optimise your blog i.e. finding out which posts or pages are weak and need improving or areas that you are doing well in – so do more of it!
How do you start a blog for free?
Some of the free blog providers include:
- Visit https://wordpress.com
- Sign up for a wordpress.com account
- Get a free site domain name – usually something.wordpress.com
- Choose the FREE plan
- Start customising and creating amazing content on your free blog post!
Free blogs are great, but it is worth mentioning that free blogs can be quite restrictive in terms of the domain name you are allowed to use, rules regarding hosting advertising on your blog etc. So although slightly more expensive, we would recommend a self-hosted WordPress blog (with SiteGround), that gives you total freedom on content and anything else you want to do with the site!
How do bloggers get paid?
- Affiliate links
- Advertising revenue
- Product sales
- Guest posts
1. Affiliate links
Affiliate links allow bloggers to make recommendations on their blog or website and in return, if a user clicks through the link on the blog and makes a purchase, then the blog may be able to earn a commission. The biggest affiliate program at the moment is Amazon Affiliates.
2. Advertising revenue
Bloggers can get paid from advertising revenue through hosting adverts on their blog. Bloggers are normally paid for advertising revenue based on the number of times an advert is viewed (impression) and or the number of times a given avert is clicked on (cost per click).
It is recommended to have at least 10,000 sessions per month and driving consistent traffic before putting adverts on a blog.
3. Product sales
Bloggers can also make money through their own products that they promote and sell on their blog. This can include items such as ebooks, online courses, or physical products that they sell. Bloggers can also earn money by providing a service through their blog, e.g. digital marketing help.
4. Guest posts or copywriting
Established bloggers can offer to write for other blogs or businesses. Bloggers can do guest posts and, through this, be paid for the post. Guest posts can either be written at a fixed price or paid based on the number of time a given post is read.
Does it cost money to start a blog?
You can start a blog for free with WordPress, Blogger or Tumbler. You can also pay for a self-hosted WordPress site. If thinking about starting a blog, our recommendation is for a self-hosted WordPress blog (with SiteGround).
Although a self-hosted WordPress blog (with SiteGround), is slightly more expensive, SiteGround starts at £5.99 per month – you will own the website/ blog and as such have total control over what content is on there. Some free blog providers have certain rules about what content is allowed.
If your goal is to monetise your blog, some provider of free blogs may have strict rules about what you can and cannot do so it is definitely worth going with a aself-hosted WordPress blog.
Is it worth starting a blog in 2021?
Definitely! Blogging is an amazing way to share your ideas, knowledge, experiences and connect with similar minded people. Blogging allows you to help others by sharing what experience you have.
Aside, blogging is also a great way to generate an income. It is not a get rich quick scheme, but with hard work, dedication, and consistently producing great content that HELPS OTHERS you can turn blogging into an excellent income!
Does blogging still work in 2021?
Blogging definitely still works in 2021. Blogging is more competitive are more people are blogging. That said, if you are able to produce amazing, informative and helpful content that assists others – there is no reason why blogging will not work in 2021 and beyond.
Your goal as a blogger should be to become the following in your niche:
- Expert: Be the recognised expert in your field
- Authority: Blog about things you know well
- Trust: Writing about things that you know well or have experience in will mean people are more likely to trust you.
If you have any comments or questions on how to start a blog, please leave a comment in the section below. We would love to hear from you!