How To Start A Blog In 2021 (Free WordPress Tutorial)
If you are on this page, you are probably wondering how to start a blog to promote your business and make more profit.
Yes, everyone talks about starting a blog to make some extra side income while promoting one brand or another, but the though side is that not everyone knows how to create a blog.
Which is probably why you are reading this, right?
Starting a blog doesn’t have to be difficult. This guide is going to break through the nuts of starting a WordPress blog, even if you haven’t touched a computer mouse before 😄.
On this practical guide on how to start a blog, I will show you the whole process of starting a very successful WordPress blog, from chosing a host down to the stage of writing your first blog post.
I will also break down the process of chosing your blog niche and even research your blog topic ideas.
Here is a run down of what is covered in this post:
- Why you need to start a blog for your business and how to decide what type of blog to start
- How to choose a blog niche (some blog niche makes the most money)
- Chosing a Platform (Why WordPress is the Best)
- How to find and register a domain name
- The best Web hosting service for beginners
- How to install WordPress and customize it, etc.
If you are ready to start a blog, let’s continue…
What’s a blog? And why do your business need one?
What actually are blogs?
Let’s ask Google!
Oxford dictionary explains it as “a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.“
Let me even explain it better.
A blog is any kind of website you, or your company has, that can be updated from time to time.
For example, this very website you are accessing right now is a blog. And I usually update it on dialy basis, without touching any source code.
Another definition I want to use here is one from Jamie. He defines it as “an online diary or journal located on a website. The content of a blog typically includes text, pictures, videos, animated GIFs and even scans from old physical offline diaries or journals and other hard copy documents” .
From that definition above, you can say that a blog can be part of a website.
That’s particularly true with cooperate websites. for example, if your business is selling things online, you may also need a blog to promote what you are selling.
In that case, you can host your website on a domain (domain.com) and your blog on a sub domain (blog.domain.com).
Don’t get confused about the two terms – ‘website’ & ‘blog’. They are basically the same. The only difference is that a blog is a type of website.
Why you (or your business) needs a blog.
I must admit, I started blogging for one reason: To make more money!
And I am more than willing to bet, that’s the same reason why you are seeking help on how to start a blog.
Most people (and companies) started blogging for the same good reason!
Here is a Study from DemandMetric that shows how Companies with blogs produce an average of 67% more leads monthly than companies that don’t blog.
The truth is; more than 3 out of 4 of internet users read blogs regularly.. – (source Quoracreative.com)
Research also found that 60% of online shoppers in the United States admits they read two-three blogs before Making a purchase.
In short, blogging is one of the most powerful tools to convert traffic to money.
How to start a profitable blog
Step #1. Decide your type of blog.
It is easy to start a profitable blog from anywhere, but you need to first decide what type of blog you really need.
This is where most people start failing.
There are different types of blogs you can start right now. Let me start by outlining some of them.
1. Personal Blogs: A personal blog is the kind of blog where the blogger writes about his/her self.
Most of these kinds of blogs are run by celebrities.
This is the kind of blog where you will see bloggers sharing their day-to-day activities, their hobby, Beliefs, sports, even entertainments all in one website.
2. Personal Brand Blogs: If you are a coach, a consultant or a public figure, then you need a personal brand blog to promote yourself.
This kind of blog focuses on the blogger as the brand and often used to build credibility. Sometimes, Personal Brand bloggers may also use their name as their blog’s domain, just line Neil Patel
3. Business or co-operate Blogs: This kind of blogs only focuses on business.
This is where a business writes on different topics related to their products and services, with the purpose of getting more customers.
The goal of these kind of blog is to help businesses capture lead for their sales funnel. If you are a business owner, whether local or online business, then this is the kind of blog you need.
4. Niche Blogs: This is one of the most profitable kinds of blogs.
Here, a blogger focuses on a specific topic, targeting a specific audience. You will make a lot of money here because you will be talking to similar set of people looking for solution to a similar kind of problem.
Niche blogs are very popular these days, that’s because people are making a lot of money recommending niche affiliate products to their audience.
5. News Blogs: This is the kind of blog where a publication company writes news on different areas, such as Politics, sports news, etc. Of course, this kind of blog is very competitive, plus it requires a lot of money to keep up. You may need to employ journalists who can report at least five to ten times a day if you want to succeed.
Readers of this kind of blog expect some level of professionalism. So if you are not a journalist, or have no skills in that respect, then this kind of blog will not favour you.
Step #2. Choosing a profitable Niche.
The second compulsory step you must take if you want to start a profitable blog business anywhere in the world is choosing a very profitable niche for your blog.
It is very important, because If you try to target everyone, you end up reaching to no one.
And that is how so many newbie bloggers fail.
Believe me, if you start a blog on just any niche without researching properly, you are at a high risk of wasting your time, money and effort.
Why you should find a niche for your blog
Did you know that as at 2012, there were more than 5.73 small businesses in the United States alone? That means you have thousands of companies competing against yours.
And if you are doing exactly what other competitors are doing, it will be pretty much hard for you to stand out. That’s why you need to choose a niche and focus on it.
Basically, You need a niche because it helps you find the right customers.
In short, here are a few more reasons to choose a niche:
1. It helps you find your customers.
If you’ve got something to sell online, you should know who your customers are. Right?
Choosing a niche help you find them.
For example, if you are a B2B business who provide services such as ‘Branding’, you can be rest assured that people who come to your site are people who are interested in that service you render, instead of overall marketing.
If you attract the same kind of people to your blog, it becomes easy to convert them into customers.
2. It helps you to improve your skills and become an expert.
If you pick a blog niche and work towards it, your work will also become more interesting and exciting to you.
Only then will you be willing to spend more time learning about that niche. The more you learn, the more you improve in it.
Mind you, customers want to do business with people who they think can solve their problems.
So, if you don’t chose a niche and focus on it, it will be hard for you to stand as an authority in any space.
3. It will help you focus, reduce overwhelm and burnout.
When you try to do too much, you spread yourself thin. That’s how burnout happens.
Choosing the right niche for your blog will help you maintain your focus on your customers and know what kind of information you should give them.
And because you are already enjoying your niche, you won’t easy run out of ideas.
4. Niche Blogs Make More Money
You can make more money with your blog if you define a niche. More customers will find you and they will be the right customers.
You can charge more because of your expertise. The decisions you make will propel your business forward.
How to choose a blog niche
There are hundreds to thousands of niches to choose from, but the problem is identifying the one that will be beneficial.
If you seek help choosing a niche oUpnline, you will find many articles telling you something like “choose a subject you are passionate about” and to me, that is absolutely right!
Unless you have passion for that niche, you will find it very difficult to cope.
On an ebook, I revelled the secrets of choosing a profitable niche. You can get a copy below. Feel free!
1. Brainstorming – look into your passion.
The honest truth is, if you are not passionate about which ever topic you choose to write about, your distaste will show through your writing, and your audience will be smart enough to notice that.
If you want to start a profitable blog business, then choosing a niche around your passion is a great idea.
The reason is because you will be able to put in more effort in researching that niche if you are truly passionate about it.
You won’t run out of ideas, you will always have something to write about.
How do you even find niche ideas? Let me show you.
What do you know how to do best?
The first step to brainstorming blog niche ideas is to look into your passion and find out what you do better. If you are not sure about that, then you can ask your family and friends to help you out.
Ask them what they think you are doing well.
To help you out, go ahead and answer the following questions:
- What do you find yourself “repeatedly” doing?
- When your family and friends come to you for advice, what kind of problem were they facing?
- What are your challenges in life? Are you too shy? Do you always go to work late? Etc.
- If you were to improve any of your skills, what will that be?
Write down your answers on a sheet of pepper, you will be surprise what you will come up with.
In my own case, I came up with the following ideas:
- Designing graphics – I do this almost all day.
- Codding websites – Sometimes I do it for friends without collecting money
- Blogging tips and advice – Most of my friends are bloggers anyway, they come to me anytime they need blogging advice
- Saving money – One of my biggest challenge. Honestly, I have a big problem saving money and I like reading blogs on that topic.
- Writing – I am not very good in putting up words together. It is a skill I want to improve.
Putting all these together, I have a list of blog Niche Ideas:
- Graphic Design
- Web Design
- Web Hosting
- Blog Widgets
- Copywriting, etc.
If you do the same thing, you will come up with a totally different ideas. Try it, I will wait.
Checkout what’s selling on marketplaces:
Another way to find Blog Niche idea is by looking at the top marketplaces. You can do this by checking the site’s bestseller.
For example, if you are going to use Amazon, go to Amazon’s best-seller and find out what products are selling more. Analyze the page and figure out which products fall into the same category.
If there are many best-selling products within a category, then there is a profitable Niche within that category.
Here is what I mean: when I checked Amazon’s Best-seller, I found over 100 products on KItchen & Dinning Category. I don’t need to be told that topics around cooking will attract audience.
Alternatively, you can go through Amazon and get inspired by over 200+ categories. Didn’t work for you? Maybe there is another way out. Checkout this list of 201 Profitable Blog Niche for your blog.
2. Research your Niche Competition.
Honestly, even if you are so passionate about your Niche, If you try to start a profitable blog on a very competitive Niche, it will take a long time for you to be heard.
From here, what you will have to do is check the competition of all the Niche ideas on your list and cross out the ones that are very competitive.
Here is how:
Plug in your seed keywords into SEMrush Keyword magic tool
SEMrush Keyword Magic tool is a keyword research tool that gives you the keyword difficulty and search volume of a given keyword.
For example, if I choose “blogging” as a niche, I would plug in those keywords related to blogging in to SEMrush.
AS you can see, most keywords relate to blogging has difficulty above “70”. It means it is a very competitive one.
So I have to cross it out.
If a keyword is difficult to target, it means there are several other bloggers trying to rank for that keyword.
And the idea of joining the competition is not always a nice one unless you have some promotion budget.
Instead, find other niches where there are moderate competition.
3. Research Niche Profitability
Now that you have found some Niche for your Blog, next thing you should check is if there is money to be made on that Niche.
Honestly, if you start a Blog on a niche that is not profitable you will only be spinning the wheals.
No one wants to tap into a market where there is little or no Money, right? That’s the essence of researching Niche Profitability.
Before anyone can make money blogging, they must target a Niche where there are plenty of buyers and of course, plenty of products to sell.
I usually call this a HUNGRY MARKET.
If you can’t find offers to promote, you won’t make enough money. Also, if you can’t find people to sell to, you still won’t make enough money.
How do you know if a Niche is profitable? It’s simple, go to top market places like “AMAZON”, “JUMIA”, ”JVZoo”, “CJ.com”, etc. and find out if there are products actualy selling, related to your Niche.
In my own case, I am going to research the profitability of this very saturated Niche, “BLOGGING”, and I will use JVZoo to check.
First, you will access JVZoo.com and create an account for free.
Once your account has been approved, browse through JVZoo product Categories and find out if there are any product related to “Blogging”.
As you can see, JVZoo has over 100 juicy products I can promote as an affiliate and make money.
Another way to research Niche profitability is by using Google Keyword Planner.
Plug in your seed keyword into GKP and you will get some numbers including how much advertisers are paying for that keyword.
Here is the key: if someone is paying as high as $13 per click, it means “BLOGGING” is a profitable Niche. That will be all for choosing a profitable Niche for your blog. Let’s look at how to register a domain name and actually host your blog.
2. Choose a Blog platform.
Now that you have a niche, you probably know your target audience. The next step is to choose a blog platform.
There are more than 15 blog platforms to choose from, but to save your time, which we know is precious to you, we have selected the best 5 platforms (free and paid).
1. WordPress.org (free but need a host) – recommended.
WordPress (hosted) is undoubtedly the best platform for blogging. Powering over 60 million website on the internet and yet counting…
Why we recommend WordPress?
With WordPress, there is no limit! You can create virtually any kind of website and even extend it’s Functionality using over 55,078 free plugins that can turn your website to anything else😅
To use WordPress, you need a web host.
Ghost is another wonderful open source blogging platform, with clean user interface.
This platform best suites newbie beginners because of it’s ease of use. Again to use ghost, a web host is required, otherwise you can choose from there hosted plans starting from $29 per month.
Blogger is Google’s own blog platform, It is totally free for use. You only need a Google account to create a blog on blogger, and a domain name to point it to.
This is the .com version of WordPress. It is free to use but they will assign a sub domain to your blog with you can remove by upgrading to a paid plan.
Yet another powerful platform to blog on if you want to maintain a blog on your website.
Weebly provides verity of easy to use features including drag-and-drop website builder for those with no coding experience.
3. Find & Register a Domain Name
Now, the next step is to Register a domain name.
A domain name is a short name that will point to your blog.
For example, mktprofit.com is the domain of this blog.
Choosing a domain name may give you a little headache if you are doing it for the first time. You will have to keep searching for available names.
To choose and register a domain, you will have to visit a domain registerer website. It usually cust $9 to $11 per year!
Top Domain Name Registerers
How to choose the right domain?
If you already have a website, and want to add a blog to it, create a sub domain. Something like: blog.domain.com/ otherwise, choose a domain that interprets your business.
Here are some tips of choosing a domain name :
- Make it short and memorable
- Avoid numbers and hyphen
- Include keywords,
- Make it easy to pronounce
- Choose the right domain name extension.
If you have no idea what domain name to choose, consider using a domain name generator such as: “lean domain search“.
Just type in your keyword and let the magic happen.
4. Choose a Web Host.
Just like domain names, web hosting service is very essential. Without a web host, your blog will not be on the internet.
This usually cost around $5.95 per month for the most basic plan.
We have partnered with Bluehost to bring your web hosting need close and friendly to your pocket.
While choosing a web host, these are things you should have at the back of your mind:
1. Options for upgrade – when buying a hosting plan, it is important to check if your hosting provider gives option for upgrade. This is because you will be choosing the cheapest plan and will have to upgrade to a higher plan as your website grows in traffic and popularity.
2. Renewal cost – First time offers used to be mouth-watering but when it comes to renewal, it’s always War. The ugly part, most of them will not let you know about the renewal cost until the day of renewal.
3. Add-on domains – if you are hosting a website for the first time, it is important to understand some hosting terms. Add-on domains will let you host more than one website on a single hosting service. Some web hosting providers will deny you that.
4. Refund policy – Refunds are usually made within 30days of payment. however, different companies have there own refund policy, which you are advised to study carefully before making any purchases.
5. Customers CARE – learn how their customer care service works. when I started with godaddy, their customer care was so poor so I moved to bluehost!
5. Install WordPress, your blogging platform.
To start a profitable blog, you need a platform. We recommend WordPress for professional blogging.
First, you need a domain name and a web host.
For this guide, we are going to use Bluehost (WordPress recommended) as our hosting provider.
Head over to bluehost.com and click the “Get Started Now” button.
This should take you to their shared hosting plans. Pick any plan of your choice and click the blue “select” button.
From there, you will need to enter a domain name.
The page looks like this:
On the name box, enter your domain and choose the domain extension from the drop-down menu next to the name box.
The domain extension could either be .com, .net, .com.uk, etc.
Think about which option is most relevant to your site and who you expect your visitors to be.
If you already have a domain name, you can enter it into the box on the right.
In the next step, you will be asked to create a bluehost account.
It is pretty easy. Just fill out the form and double check your package information.
Be careful with pre-ticked addons. If you don’t want those extras, make sure you unchecked them to avoid extra cost.
Next, you will be taken to payment page. Once payment is made, your account will be set up.
WordPress will now be automatically installed for you. But that’s not the end, you will need to set up WordPress.
Login to your control panel and select ‘My Sites’ from the left panel.
From here, you can log in to your existing WordPress site, which will be on the domain you gave Bluehost. Or you can select ‘Create Site’ and build a new site using WordPress.
6. Customize your blog.
Now, you want your blog to stand out. Go ahead and choose a stunning template for your blog. There are paid templates on themeforest.net, but if you don’t have enough money to go premium, free templates are also available.
If you are using WordPress, you Have access to thousands of free themes to customize your blog to your taste.
You can also design your own WordPress theme using one of the free drag and drop page builders such as Elementor.
Watch this video to learn how to build a WordPress website using elementor.
7. Install recommended plugins.
WordPress has thousands of plug-ins to help improve your blog. When you visit WordPress plugin page, you will a lot of them sitting right there.
In fact, you may get confused regarding which plugin you should install on your new WordPress blog.
All plugin has their own features and functionality. Sometime, you don’t even need so many plug-ins to build a profitable blog.
Let’s see some of the must-use WordPress plug-in.
- Rank Math SEO: You can increase your organic traffic using simple SEO techniques.
- UpdraftPlus: Backups are critical for any website, and this plugin makes them simple.
- Optimole: Image optimization can help you make your site load faster.
- Revive Old Post: This plugin can help you drive traffic to your site using social media.
- WP Rocket: This is a powerful caching solution that will speed up your website.
- Elementor: A page builder to craft custom pages with original designs.
- WPForms: Use it to create beautiful contact forms with simple drag and drop.
- Otter: Gutenberg functionality can be highly improved using this plugin.
- Redirection: Set up custom 301 redirections with a couple of clicks.
7. Submit your blog to search engines
When you are done creating your blog, ensure everything is working properly. Write one or two blog posts, before proceeding to this step.
Search engines have to find your blog before it can index it. It can take months find it naturally when you start building links to your blog, but to cut the long process short, you have to tell search engines about your blog.
How to submit a blog to search engine
9. Build traffic to your blog
When a blog is launched newly, no one knows about it, except you and maybe your family. So if you think traffic will come, you will be disappointed 😥. Because people whom you made the blog for have no idea of it’s existence.
At this point, what you need is to grow your audience.
There are different ways to drive traffic to your blog. I’m going to show you some of the best ways to do that.
Search engine optimization is a free way to get targeted traffic to your blog, but it takes a lot of time to kick in! If you are not a patient type, SEO is not for you.
What’s good about SEO?
Imagine getting your blog posts appear on the first page of search results for some keywords, people will keep clicking through and read your blog posts without you spending a penny.
Blogging on other people’s blog as a guest is another way to get traffic to your blog, but it works 50/50. Most blogs don’t accept guest post with links to authors blog, unless you reach a mutual agreement with them or you are ready to sponsor such post (sponsored post)
Forums and Q&A websites
Have you visited quora.com before? You will be amazed what people ask. If you are good at solving problems, you can get a lot of traffic to your blog.
Here is how it works
Head over to Quora, or any forum, listen to people’s problems, provide them solutions to what ever problems they have. If you have a post on your blog discussing similar problem, you can easily link to it.
Believe me, doing that alone on quora and nairaland increased my traffic by 25%.