How to start a blog

Beginner blogger toolkit – Essentials

This post is my non-BS guide to starting a blog. It is based on my personal experience. Bookmark this page as it will get updated when I learn new things

Before we start, here is what most bloggers won’t tell you.

Why is everyone blogging about blogging?

Because it’s a “lucrative” business and you, the person wanting to start a blog, are the product.

Most of the blog fail. And hosting companies make money by subscribing new accounts. New accounts can start with 50-500$ contracts for 1 to 3 years that usually go on automatic renewals. They pay good affiliate commissions to bloggers to bring other bloggers.

Some pay up to 80$ per new contract. This is probably the most lucrative “affiliate” opportunity, therefore a lot of people tell you that blogging is easy and show you how to start so they can cash in the commission.

Therefore, convincing someone else to START a blog can mean a good commission in your pocket. You may be tempted to do the same.

The truth is, starting the blog is the easy part. Making it work after is where the work starts. So don’t fall into the trap until you read the rest of this post. I will not try to sell you anything or sign to any newsletter.

I do hope you share this with others trying to start a blog because it might save them money and time.

Is blogging for me?

That is a great question. But nobody can answer it except you. And you can’t know the answer until you test it.

So test it, before you spend any money.

Open a Notepad or Word document and write a blog post. Target 500-1000 words. Try to write one of those every couple of days until you reach at minimum 10.

Don’t worry, this is not a waste of time. If you decide to start a website or a blog after this test, you can copy/paste this material on your blog.

Now ask yourself

  • Can I do this long term?
  • Do I like it?
  • Is there more where that came from?

If you answer yes to all these questions, let’s get started.

What platform should I use for blogging

If you are a beginner, use WordPress.

You can either start with a free plan at WordPress.com and you’ll get a website like www.mydomain.wordpress.com where mydomain is whatever you find available

or

you can choose a webhost and install WordPress on a domain that you have to buy, something like www.mydomain.com where my domain is again… whatever you find available.

How do I find a domain

There are lots of domain tools online.

There are tools for checking availability like https://instantdomainsearch.com/

There are also tools to help you come up with a domain name. Here are a few. The names are pretty descriptive.

Where do I host my blog or website

As mentioned above, everyone will try to convince you to use the webhost that they use or that pays the biggest commission. The reality is most of the people use one webhost and they can’t compare the experience with other webhost. You can only do that if you host multiple sites on multiple hosts. That would not be very cost efficient.

You also do that if your website is actually comparing webhosts performance. There are some sites like that.

My advice, don’t waste your time. Pick one that works for your budget. You can always change at the end of the contract. In fact, if you are worried about budget, you may want to because all of them charge way more fore renewal compared with new customer rates.

I use bluehost.com I’m happy with them. Fell free to choose the same or other that fits your budget.

How much will it cost me

Hosting a website will cost you around 5-10$/month. You can get better deals with longer terms. So to begin something it may cost you around 100-150$. There may be all sorts of add-ons that you will start seeing in the sign-up process.

Don’t forget, renewal will be more costly than new customer rate.

A domain name is 12-15$/year

Budget around 200-250$ for the first year setup, just the basics.

These things are just the essentials. The rest are optional.

A professional theme 20$ – 1000$ . There are tons of free themes

Special integrations like online shopping, membership sites could cost you 50-150$/month depending on what you want and on how much you want to do by yourself.

Same idea for email services, SEO, keyword research etc.

You may end up paying a lot of money if you start thinking about it like a business. But those services are meant to help, so if you have a good business plan and you make money using them, you have plenty to choose from

What’s next?

This is where most of those bloggers that blog about blogging will drop you once they earned their commission. And the reality is, there is not much they can do. This is where you start putting in the work.

  • write blog posts and other content
  • optimize for SEO
  • promote on social media
  • start an email list
  • stay in contact with your community
  • repeat

You may choose to learn all these by yourself for free using the tons of resources available online (Google, YouTube) or pay for some course/book/mentorship if you need more help. The reality is, you have to work, a lot.

Some of these activities may require extra money. Some email services are free but offer premium accounts. Same for social media management, SEO optimization etc.

What should I focus on?

I would advice to focus on Quality and Valuable content and SEO optimization.

Social Media may be fun and may look like you are doing something but the reality is you may just not attract the audience you want. Don’t get caught up in Social Media bad practices that assume you posting links everywhere to attract others like you that promote their sites (Follow for follow practices). The ones you attract are not your audience. They want the same thing you want… numbers and traffic.

A good way to make the income passive is to get on top of the search engines. For that, you need SEO optimization. The best beginner guide about SEO has to be the FREE Beginner’s Guide to SEO from MOZ.

But you have to understand that passive income does not exist. You have to stay on top of things with new and fresh content.

The golden SEO rule is: Make sure your content help someone. If your content is helpful, Google algorithm will bring it to the top, you get traffic, traffic means money.

How do I make money

Do not even think about that until you have a decent audience, a good amount of organic traffic and good quality content. You can absolutely go for it but you’ll be focusing on the wrong things and you’ll loose your momentum.

When you are ready, there are a few ways to make money from your blog.

  • Affiliate Marketing – suggest and promote other products, earn a commission. Companies that you are promoting may be offering a program or may make you join a network of Affiliate Marketing that may coordinate programs for lots of companies.
  • Ads – Networks like Google Ads will post ads on your website, you earn money when ads are clicked and/or followed by some action
  • Sell Something – You can sell something on your website or promote products you may sell on other networks (Etsy, Amazon, eBay etc)
  • Membership sites – if your content is valuable enough, you can charge a membership for a Members-Only area of your site that is protected.

I wish you good luck! It is a lot of work but also a lot of fun.