How to Start a Blog - The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide (Updated Nov 2018)

Choosing Your Topic, Writing, Hosting, Websites and Making Money With Your Blog Writing - all Updated for 2018!

5/5 (4 votes)

Welcome to How to Start a Blog – the ultimate online guide to starting a blog, getting it up and live on the internet, making money from anywhere in the world, achieving financial freedom, and finally selling your blog for a huge windfall.

We will be going in-depth with this step-by-step guide to show you every bit of the process of creating the ultimate blog based on your likes and dislikes, writing style, and work preferences. Sit back, grab a beverage of choice, and let’s dive into the 9 parts of this step-by-step guide/tutorial on how to make a website from scratch and start blogging!

Step 1 - What Should I Blog About?

Step 1 - What Should I Blog About?

Why Start Your Own Blog

How many people get intimidated by the idea of starting a blog, and putting themselves out there online. They asked a question “Why would I even want to start my own blog?”. We would respond back with “Why not?”. Owning, operating and writing a blog doesn’t take very much time out of your normal schedule, and can be both a fantastic outlet creative ideas, as well as a great money maker for your family income.

Many people worry that it won’t be good enough writers or nobody wants to hear what they have to say, so they’d never end up starting one or putting themselves out there.

This is why one of the first steps in starting your own blog or travel blog is actually inside your own head. It is going through and tackling the “why” for you and making that reason one of the primary drivers in how you decide many of the next steps.

For some people, it is more about creative writing and expressing themselves. For others, they don’t care about the writing as much, and just want to have a blog that makes great money every single month.

But whatever your reason is, you need to get crystal clear on it, so you can make better decisions about what works best for you, and have something to fall back on when the going gets tough, we could always will.

Having a reason beyond yourself is one of the greatest things that can motivate you day in and day out. You can be doing it for your family, for a cause you believe in, or just to create a better life for yourself.

Creating a better life for more people is one of the main motivators for why we started How to Start a Blog in the first place, and the more people’s lives we see changed – the more we will create! Let’s start blogging!

Choosing What to Write About

What are the most common questions we get is:

“What should I blog about?”

Writing a blog will be a lot of work for a long time, and will definitely come with its share of ups-and-downs. By choosing a topic that you’re passionate about, it will help you get through those harder times or writers blog that every blogger faces from time to time.

Obviously you need to have this figured out before you can start creating content for your website. Here are a few helpful tips when trying to determine the subject of a Blog that could be around for years to come.

What do you obsess about / spend more than you should on / have your mind go to when you are resting?
By choosing the subject that you naturally are extremely interested in, that will make creating content like pushing a rock downhill. It will be easy, it’ll flow naturally, and the results will show in your writing and the audience it attracts.

What types of things do you obsess about?

When you are waiting in line at the grocery store, what subjects do you think about?

Many people think that just because they are in a certain situation, they should start blogging about that – like parent bloggers. We think you should follow your passion, because that will take you so much farther in the long run there’s something you feel you should be doing.

Step 2 - How to Choose a Domain and Web Host for Your Blog

Step 2 - How to Choose a Domain and Web Host for Your Blog

When most people wonder how to start a blog, they first start to think about the actual website. It’s now time to get a starter site up and live in the world.

We will walk you through how to choose a domain name for your blog, and then the best platform to get it up and live, whether that means you self-host it with your own web hosting package, or use one of the all-in-one blogging platforms or websites builders. Both have their pros and cons.

Choosing a Domain Name

No matter what hosted website solution you choose, one of the most important first choices you have to make is what domain name to register or buy for your blog.

Whatever you choose has a directly reflect the topic that your blog is writing about, and be something that’s easy enough to remember and say the people so that visitors will be able to come back to your blog.

Top-Level Domain Extensions

When most people think of domain names, they either think of .com extensions, .net extensions or .org extensions. These have been the most common extensions for a long time, and any big and reputable brand will use one of those top extensions.

For most people, this is what we would highly recommend, as they are the most search engine friendly, and easiest to remember when verbally telling someone what your blog is.

But one of the main issues is that most of the good domains have already been registered in the past because the internet has been around for decades now.

So if you want one of the top-level domain extensions, chances are you will either have to buy an existing domain from an aftermarket company, or choose a new, quirky, or branded one that you can register fresh.

If you are thinking about a new top-level domain, we highly recommend using GoDaddy for your registration. They have one of the best domain management platforms out there and are one of the biggest in the industry. We hold most of our domains within our GoDaddy account still to this day.

Secondary Extensions

Another common route that many new bloggers are taking, is selecting one of the “secondary extensions” from the market that are much newer, and haven’t been taken up as much.

Domain extensions like .blog, .accountant, .co, .life, .photography, .shop, etc. are all great ones to choose from. Most of the time, you can find a domain name that you normally wouldn’t be able to register on the open market for one of the top level extensions (.com, .net or .org), but you can find it available in these secondary places.

Again, if you are thinking of a secondary domain extension, one of the best places online to get one is GoDaddy. They have the largest selection of secondary domain extensions to choose from, and some of the best prices you can find in the industry.

Register New

How many people coming with the perfect domain name means thinking of a catchy or clever brand name, and getting the .com version available. Depending on the brand name you choose for your blog, this could work fantastically well.

Registering new is also by far the cheapest method of getting a domain because it’s open on the market already. Most of the time existing domains will sell for more than registering it new.

If you’re thinking about registering a new domain, use this affiliate link to get special savings from GoDaddy on your first year’s order. You won’t be able to find deals like that around the web for sure.

Buy an Existing Domain

If you want to be able to register a domain is already taken, chances are that is actually for sale on one of the many online marketplaces or online auction houses.

Or even if you just don’t know quite which one you should register – these can give you a great starting point to browse through the available listings, search by keyword, or just find some hidden gems that are available.

Usually the better the domain name, the more expensive it is. But we have found some absolute gems on sites like GoDaddy Auctions, that are live and generating great traffic to this day!

The best place in the industry to go out and find existing domains is GoDaddy Auctions. They are the largest, most affordable, and best system for purchasing existing domains out there.

We’ve bought and sold dozens of domains from this site, and highly recommend the experience.

Choosing Your Blogging Platform - Self-Hosted Blog or All-In-One Builder

One of the most common debates for people just creating their blog is whether to use a self-hosted solution (getting your own web hosting services, and installing WordPress from WordPress.org), or using one of the all-in-one website platforms out there.

Both options have their pros and cons, so let’s dive deeper into each one.

Self-Host with an Existing Web Host

Most people who are serious about blogging will go with a self-hosted WordPress blog with your own website hosting account, and will install WordPress themselves.

This is probably the avenue that we would recommend, because most websites hosts have fantastic support, and have made it easier and easier to manage your site without technical knowledge required.

The type of hosting you want to be looking at is probably shared account, which means you will be one of the multiple accounts on shared servers, so you don’t have to pay for your own dedicated server, or manage one yourself.

Pros

  • Cheaper – you can get fantastic website hosting for $3-$5/m that will grow as large as your blog will.
  • More Flexible – with your own website hosting, you are also more flexible and in better control of your site. Most CPanel installations have many options to create subdomains, manage your email, update your sites, etc.
  • Multiple Websites – many bloggers will start out with only 1 site, but will quickly start building others around other areas of interest to them. Your own hosting platform allows you to launch multiple sites, without any additional cost from the hosting company.
  • Built-In WordPress Installation – almost every hosting company will have one-click WordPress installers built-in, so you don’t have to worry about setting up a MySQL domain, configuring users, etc. Just enter a few basic details and viola!
  • Great Support – almost every hosting company have pretty good customer support, and the few that we are recommending below all come with excellent support.
  • Free Domain – almost every hosting provider will also include a free domain name with the purchase of a hosting account, which will automatically be configured to your account – so no needing to mess with DNS settings, a separate domain registrar, maintaining domain registration, etc.

Cons

  • More setup work – most of the time there are few more setup pieces and settings you’ll need to tweak with this method.
  • Slightly More Difficult to Use – This isn’t a huge issue for most people, but often having your own hosting will come with more settings and places to look too, which makes things naturally a little more complicated. You’re in better control of it, but some people can get overwhelmed with all the options.

Hostgator

One of my favorite beginner blogging hosting options is HostGator.

This is the first hosting platform that I ever used, and still have that first account I have a registered to this day. They have fantastic support, dirt cheap prices, great load times and speeds, ability to setup your own email address (with a step-by-step guide), and phenomenal up time on the way.

There is a really good reason that these guys are one of the biggest hosting providers out there.

They offered three great plans for shared hosting which is the one you would probably want to go with when first starting off. Oh, and all come with a great money-back guarantee.


Rated 5.00 out of 5
$2.75 per Month
Shared Hosting  |  Unmetered Bandwidth  |  Unmetered Storage  |   One-Click Installs  |   SSL Included  |   Automated Backups

Rated 5.00 out of 5
$3.95 per Month
Shared Hosting  |  Unmetered Bandwidth  |  Unmetered Storage  |   One-Click Installs  |   SSL Included  |   Automated Backups

Rated 5.00 out of 5
$9.95 per Month
WordPress Hosting  |   WordPress Optimized  |  Limited Bandwidth  |  Unmetered Storage  |   One-Click Installs  |   SSL Included  |   Automated Backups

If you’re looking for a little bit higher up platform, they do Provide Cloud hosting and managed WordPress hosting as well, with both go for a little bit more every month. If you have a high traffic website, we recommend those for you. But for most bloggers, the shared hosting will be more than adequate.

 

Choosing A2 Hosting provides a great mix of speed and value..
Choosing A2 Hosting provides a great mix of speed and value..

A2 Hosting

One of our other favorite shared hosting platforms is A2 Hosting.

They’re very price comprable to HostGator, the one thing that sets them apart is their speed. All of their hosting platform to set up with solid state hard drives, and turbo boosted plugins to make sure your website is as fast as possible, all for a great price.

We have dealt with their support teams many times and only have the highest of compliments for the way they handle everything.

Their packages also come with three starter plans, which will depend on what is best for you.


Rated 5.00 out of 5
$3.92 per Month
Shared Hosting  |  Unmetered Bandwidth  |  Unmetered Storage  |   One-Click Installs  |   SSL Included  |   SSD Hosting

Rated 5.00 out of 5
$4.90 per Month
Shared Hosting  |  Unmetered Bandwidth  |  Unmetered Storage  |   One-Click Installs  |   SSL Included  |   SSD Hosting

Rated 5.00 out of 5
$9.31 per Month
Shared Hosting  |   WordPress Optimized  |  Unmetered Bandwidth  |  Unmetered Storage  |   One-Click Installs  |   SSL Included  |   SSD Hosting

For most people, A2 hosting packages are very reasonably priced, so we recommend going with the turbo package, which gives you the fastest loads beads possible. The faster the load time, the more visitors will stick around your site, and click through and read more post that you have.

 

For those serious about blogging, WP Engine provides a managed service with incredible support
For those serious about blogging, WP Engine provides a managed service with incredible support

WP Engine

Lastly, for the people who want to buy the best managed service out there for WordPress, and have the best speed out of the box, we highly recommend using WP Engine.

This company is quickly middle name for themselves for being the best managed WordPress hosting out there. That means when your website goes down, there is somebody to call 24 hours a day, who is also a WordPress expert, to help you get back up and going fastest.

They have a number of additional tools, such as staging sites, pre-configured WordPress hosting, and more that makes your job as a blogger much easier, and will allow you to focus on your writing, not maintaining your website.

They’re the most expensive solution we are recommending, but you get what you pay for for sure with this company.


Rated 5.00 out of 5
$35.00 per Month
WordPress Hosting  |   WordPress Optimized  |  50GB Bandwidth  |  10GB Storage  |   One-Click Installs  |   SSL Included  |   Automated Backups

Rated 5.00 out of 5
$115.00 per Month
WordPress Hosting  |   WordPress Optimized  |  200GB Bandwidth  |  20GB Storage  |   One-Click Installs  |   SSL Included  |   Automated Backups

Rated 5.00 out of 5
$290.00 per Month
WordPress Hosting  |   WordPress Optimized  |  400GB Bandwidth  |  30GB Storage  |   One-Click Installs  |   SSL Included  |   Automated Backups

If you are serious about your bogging future, then we recommend getting WP Engine from the start. They’re ones that you will never have to migrate away from, and can scale as large as you possibly could imagine.

Best Website Hosts Compared

Our RatingPriceTypeWeb Host CompanyManaged HostingWordPress OptimizedNumber of WebsitesFree Domain IncludedOne-Click InstallsBandwidthStorageCPUsMemoryNumber of DatabasesMonthly VisitorsFree MigrationEmail IncludedSSL IncludedSSD StorageControl PanelCPanel IncludedAutomated BackupsStaging SitesDedicated IPMoney-Back Guarantee

Rated 5 out of 5
$2.75 /monthSharedHostGator1UnmeteredUnmeteredUnlimitedUnlimited

Rated 5 out of 5
$3.92 /monthSharedA2 Hosting1UnmeteredUnmetered5Unlimited

Rated 5 out of 5
$3.95 /monthSharedHostGatorunlimitedUnmeteredUnmeteredUnlimitedUnlimited

Rated 5 out of 5
$4.90 /monthSharedA2 HostingunlimitedUnmeteredUnmeteredUnlimitedUnlimited

Rated 5 out of 5
$9.95 /monthWordPressHostGator3LimitedUnmetered3500,000

Rated 5 out of 5
$9.31 /monthSharedA2 HostingunlimitedUnmeteredUnmeteredUnlimitedUnlimited

Rated 5 out of 5
$35.00 /monthWordPressWP Engine150GB10GB125,000

Rated 5 out of 5
$115.00 /monthWordPressWP Engine5200GB20GB5100,000

Rated 5 out of 5
$290.00 /monthWordPressWP Engine15400GB30GB15400,000

Using an All-in-One Website Builder

What are the other options of people choose when creating their website, is an all-in-one website builder, or hosted login platform that will take care of all the technical details for you, so you can focus on your writing.

Some of these are great for starting off, and some of the other ones can scale much larger if you really take off and get a ton of traffic to your blog.

Pros

  • Easy – these tools have made it the easiest possible to get started blogging right away. No needing to setup hosting, register domains, etc.
  • Affordable – most platforms are super affordable between $10 – $20 per month, so you won’t break the bank.
  • Pre-Configured and Maintained – everything is already pre-setup and maintained for you, so you don’t have to worry about your site at all.
  • Built-In Themes – no need to worry about finding and paying extra for themes, as everything is usually built in and guaranteed to work on the platform. Most have a great number of free themes available, but some will have a selection of premium themes for a slight fee.
  • Built-In Plugins – many website builders also have plugins pre-installed, such as social media posting tools,

Cons

  • More Expensive than Self Hosting – our top hosting recommendations start at $3 – $5 per month, so at $10 – $20 per month, these are significantly more expensive over time.
  • Not as Flexible – if you’re looking at launching multiple websites, or may want to do other things (subdomains, email, etc.), these builders usually aren’t as easy to work with.
  • Pay for Each Site – with shared hosting, you can launch as many websites as you want for the same hosting cost. With site builders, you’ll have to pay for each and every site you create.
 WordPress is the best platform for almost any blog out there, and the hosted version makes it simple
WordPress is the best platform for almost any blog out there, and the hosted version makes it simple

WordPress Hosted

WordPress powers a majority of websites on the internet, and is the most widely used website platforms on the planet. They have two options available – self-hosted (downloadable) and hosted (the take care of everything). Either can let you make a free blog.

If you are brand new to blogging we cannot recommend the Hosted WordPress platform highly enough. It is built by the people who build WordPress itself, so it’s perfectly tuned for anything and everything you could want to do World login. They have fantastic plugins available right from your site, great turbo boost with tools like JetPack, and will be able to grow as large as you can.

Starting off, you can create your WordPress blog completely for free. Then overtime, when you get more serious about it or get more visitors to your site, you can upgrade to some of the more paid services, which are all very affordable, to extend the functionality in the scale of your blog.

If you are on the fence about creating a WordPress blog, we highly recommend creating a free Hosted WordPress blog, and see how you like it.

Using Wix as a website builder will give you great functionality and flexibility, at a reasonable price
Using Wix as a website builder will give you great functionality and flexibility, at a reasonable price

Wix

What are the other most highly recommended website builders we have out there, is Wix.

I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of the advertisements around TV or YouTube, and it’s for a great reason. The power over a hundred million websites all over the world, and have built a fantastic product for being able to create a website without very great technical knowledge.

They are just as focused on blogging though, as you can create a fantastic website for your business, club or any other use for website you would have.

With great drag-and-drop builders, templated elements, theme customizers, and extensions, you can build exactly the blog that you were imagining, at a very affordable price.

Want to Learn More About Domains and Website Hosting?

Choosing your domain and getting your website online is more difficult than many people initially assume. We’ll give you a full overview to make you comfortable with the task.

Read Ch 2 about Domains and Hosting

Step 3 - How to Install WordPress

Step 3 - How to Install WordPress

Best Blogging Platform

By far the best blogging platform / content management system (CMS) out there is WordPress. It Powers a majority the internet, is completely free, and can scale to become whatever you wanted to be the future. The latest version is packed with great features and plugins.

There is no better blogging platform out there than WordPress for almost anyone. We use it on almost every site we created this day, and don’t foresee a time where we will not use it.

It has the largest community of support and developers in the world, great free and paid themes and plugins, and as much extensibility and functionality as you could ever imagine. Want to pivot to an e-commerce site? No problem! Need to have better opt-in forms, forum functionality, social network (through something like WordPress BuddyPress)? It can do it! Nearly every web hosting provider can host it on a web server you would rent.

Unless you have a really good reason not to, there is no question that WordPress is one of the best choices for almost any new blogger out there to use as a content management system.

Installing Your WordPress Site

For those of you who decided to go with a self-hosted blog / WordPress instance, now the time to actually install WordPress on your hosting account.

The way that we highly recommend for most people, is actually using the one-click installers that come with almost every web host company out there (such as softaculous apps). This removes a ton of the headache of figuring out an FTP client, logging into a web server, messing with a configuration file, MySQL databases, username and password combos, etc. Just a few clicks and you can be logging into the WordPress admin in minutes!

It will be different for each and every side, but you ought to reach out to your support to figure out how to do it for your individual one.

Here is a great video from HostGator on how to use their one-click installation software to automatically get the latest version of WordPress live on your web host server. It’s as easy as clicking a button or two!

How to Install WordPress Manually

If your web host doesn’t have one-click installation software installed on your server, you can always install WordPress manually, using their famous 5 minute installation process. It may look a bit intimidating, but it’s not very difficult, and you’ll definitely have the latest version. Here’s our step-by-step guide:

  1. Download the Latest WordPress Version – head on over to https://wordpress.org/download/ and download the latest version of WordPress from there by clicking the Download WordPress button, which should be in a zip format.
  2. Configure your Domain Name – you now need to make sure your domain name is properly configured on your web server. If you used a 3rd party domain registrar, you’ll have to make sure your nameservers or DNS records are properly pointed to the web server. You also need to know which folder on the web server the domain is pointing to. If it’s the primary domain on your web hosting account, this will probably be the root directory.
  3. Create a MySQL Database and User – you now need to make sure your website has a place to store its info. If your server uses CPanel, the best way is to use the “MySQL Database Wizard” to quickly create a database, username and password combo, and make sure they’re linked up. Privileges-wise, you can just enable everything.
  4. Upload WordPress to Your Server – now is time to upload the zip file to your web hosting server. You can use the file manager from the backend of your host control panel, or any FTP client (our favorite is Cyberduck). Once it’s uploded, you can un-zip the file to the main file directory.
  5. Navigate to yourdomain.com/installer.php – there is already a configuration file built into the install, which you can get to by going to your domainname.com/installer.php in your web browser. From there, you’ll be asked some basic information such as your domain name, MySQL database credentials, blog name, email address, etc.
  6. Voila! You have a live blog – now you can login to the WordPress admin, start adding content, install your theme, configuring plugins (like the Yoast SEO plugin), and getting your site live in the world!

For advanced users, you can also install WordPress locally using an application like MAMP, which has built-in configuration (like XAMPP, MySQL, PHP, etc.). The MAMP free version will work as well as MAMP pro for most people. 

Need More Info on Installing Your WordPress Installation?

For a little extra help with getting your website up and going, we’ve created a helpful guide for getting everything up and going.

Read Ch 3 on Installing WordPress

Step 4 - Best Blog Themes for Your New Site

Step 4 - Best Blog Themes for Your New Site

Once you have your WordPress website installed, the first thing you need to do is choose the best blogging theme for your site. No matter if you have a hosted site, or a self-hosted blog, you’ll need to choose one.

A theme is basically the front-end skin for your site that controls all the aspects of how your site looks and functions.

We’ll dive into how to choose a theme for your self-hosted WordPress blog, choosing between free vs premium themes, and exactly how to install it on your website.

Simple and Clean Layout

One of the most important things to consider in choosing a theme is the functionality and visual layout for website visitors. That means your site should be as readable and simple as possible, with your content taking the focus.

It’s a common desire to want the most beautiful and stylish site, but many times these types of themes make reading the actual blog content somewhat difficult, are full of too many images that slow down the load times of your site, and will break more often.

The simpler the better for your blog design and layout. Let your writing fully display your creativity. It’s great to have a good looking website, but the most important thing that will get your more visitors is the actual content.

Fully Responsive Design

In this day-and-age, it’s absolutely crucial that your website be easily accessible from any mobile device out there. That becomes difficult over time with so many variations of different mobile devices, phones, tablets, operating systems, screen reader etc. There used to be separate mobile themes for sites, but they didn’t work on all mobile devices. But now it’s even better, with responsive theme design.

These actually focus on making the website adapt based on the width and size of the screen in general – not specific to each new device or HTML standard. That way, as technology changes and adapts, or mobile devices completely change format, your blog and content will be fully responsive to those changes, and always look great on any device size. It’s called responsive design, and any good theme nowadays will have it natively built-in. Your HTML code will remain the same, but your CSS will change how it looks based on width of the web browser.

There usually isn’t anything different you need to do on your end – your fully responsive theme will just automatically work on your site.

Free vs Paid Themes

One of the first questions that most bloggers have when deciding on a theme, is whether a free theme will be good enough, or whether it’s worth it to go with a premium theme.

There is no absolute right or wrong answer on this one, and it will really depend on you, your resources, what features you want, and how serious you are about your blog.

While some of the free themes are great, many of them don’t have great features or solid construction enough to not break down over time. They also might look cheap to your readers sometimes. Going with an affordable paid theme can be something that is not that expensive, but gives you a world more customization options in the long run.

Premium themes also come with many plugins and features built in, such as social media integrations (sharing posts to social media channels, Facebook comments, Instagram feed in your sidebar etc.), custom widgets for that theme, retina ready layouts, multiple sidebar positions, multiple content layouts, popular WordPress widgets, etc.

Best Free WordPress Themes

The best place to look for free WordPress themes is in the WordPress theme repository. It’s the official Automattic company site that has an approval process for submitting new themes to the repository. Here’s a few quick tips about choosing a free theme:

  • Fully Responsive Design – I know we just talked about this above, but I think it’s important to re-iterate. Your theme needs to incorporate responsive design if you want to be relevant now, and for years to come.
  • Good Customization Options – unfortunately many free themes skimp on the theme options to customize the look and feel of your site. Try to pick a theme that gives you lots of flexibility.

Here are some of our favorite themes in the free section:

TwentySeventeen Theme

TwentySeventeen

 

Adventure Blog Theme

Adventure Blog

 

Blog Personal Theme

Blog Personal

 

Modern Blogily Theme

Modern Blogily

 

Best Premium Themes for Self Hosted WordPress Blogs

As for paid / premium themes, there are hundreds of companies that build and sell website themes out there, and there is a wide range of quality.

Sure you can buy something super cheap, but often times you are getting what you paid for.

You want to look for a number of things when picking out a premium theme:

  • Great Customization Options – the more ability you have to customize your site with either the built-in theme options, customization plugin (like Visual Composer) or the WordPress theme customizer, the better your site will look on the front end.
  • Drag-and-Drop Builder (optional) – If you want a bit more granular control on the customization options of your site, you want to look for a theme customizer / drag-and-drop builder such as visual optimizer, Divi framework, or others.
  • Fast and Optimized for Load Times – any blog theme that doesn’t load in under 2 seconds will kill your traffic and user experience over time. Make sure to do your research to find out which ones load the fastest.
  • Built-In Plugins and Features – going with a premium theme also usually has perks of custom plugins and features that free doesn’t have. There are great custom plugins available from most premium companies, which can really extend your blog’s functionality.

The following theme company recommendations are all super reputable companies with long histories of quality and dependability. They aren’t super expensive at all, and will be a great investment into the future of your company and success.

Elegant Themes

Elegant Themes
Elegant Themes

Elegant Themes has long been one of my favorite theme companies on the market. I started using their themes almost 9 years ago, and they have just kept improving the platform.

Their Divi theme (and Divi child themes) is a fantastic front-end framework builder, drop-down menu creator, etc. that lets you customize almost every bit of your website’s look and feel with an intuitive drag and drop editor (no web developers, HTML and CSS knowledge needed!). They also have many other set blog styles to choose from as well, such as Extra, which is one of the best all-in-one blogging themes on the market.

StudioPress Themes

StudioPress Themes
StudioPress Themes

StudioPress’s Genesis Framework is one of the most popular, stable and powerful frameworks on the market today. It basically functions as the backbone to any of their front-end skins (known as a child theme) that can put a different skin on the front end of your site.

The Genesis Framework is one of the platforms that will grow with you as large as you can scale. So if you’re looking for something for the long term, anything from StudioPress or built on the Genesis Framework is a great option.

Step-by-Step Instructions on Installing Your Theme

1 – Download Your Theme Files / Find it on the Repository

If you’re using a premium theme, you’ll probably have a ZIP file of the theme itself ready to install. If you’re using a free WordPress one, you can just skip this step as long as you know what the name is.

2 – Go to Appearance → Themes in the WordPress Admin

This is the main themes page. Here you’ll find all currently installed ones, and can switch between everything.

3 – Click “Add New”

In the top of the screen, right next to the title, click the “Add New” button.

4a – [Premium Themes] Click “Upload Theme”

If you’re using a premium theme, and you have the ZIP file on your computer, click the “Upload Theme” button also right next to the title, and navigate to where your files are.

4b – [Free Themes] Install via WordPress Repository

If you’re using a free theme, you can just search straight on this page within the repository, and locate the one you want to install.

5 – Click “Activate” on the new theme

Once your theme is installed, you’ll need to click the “Activate” button to make sure it goes live on your site.

6 – Customize via Theme Options Panel

Every theme will be a little bit different when it comes to customization options. Some have their own built-in customization options panels, and some rely on the built-in WordPress theme options customizer, which also works great. Many themes now include different drag-and-drop builders (such as visual composer), so you can make your blog look exactly how you’d like. Here’s a great look into how Visual Composer works. Just follow the support that comes with your theme for more details.

Great Places to Find Other Themes

If you’re looking for something with a bit more functionality, and not just a standard blog theme, Theme Forest is a great place to look. They have things like business WordPress themes, WooCommerce themes, Drupal themes, Shopify themes, eCommerce WordPress themes, HTML website templates, WordPress plugins, Javascript plugins etc.

Step 5 - The Best Blog Plugins, Analytics, and Other Tools

Step 5 - The Best Blog Plugins, Analytics, and Other Tools

Plugins are basically small packets of code that expand specific functionality of your blog. There are plenty of free and premium plugins available for WordPress that do everything from embed a contact form, optimize your images, display rich snippets to search engines, increase the number of website visitors your content gets, improve your SEO, and add features and cool widgets to your sidebar and website.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics can tell you more about how your visitors interact with your blog than any other tool out there.
Google Analytics can tell you more about how your visitors interact with your blog than any other tool out there.

If you ask anyone familiar with web design, they will say the absolute best analytics platform out there is Google Analytics. Not only is it free, but it collects some of the best information out there on the internet, all powered by the largest search engine on the planet.

It is pretty easy to set up by going to their website, and following the step by step instructions they give you.

Depending on what kind of website platform installation you have, chances are there was a plugin for WordPress or whatever website builder you chose, that will make it very easy to install your code.

Google analytics will show you exactly how many visitors you are getting from every source (search engines / organic traffic, social media, direct, referral, etc), from where in the world are coming from, and every behavior imaginable they are doing on your website.

We still use Google analytics on absolutely every site that we own, and rely on that data to make informed business decisions every day.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is your gateway into how search engines see your website.
Google Webmaster Tools is your gateway into how search engines see your website.

One of the other main tools that we recommend using is Google webmaster tools. It is the place that you will interface your site with Google, show it what pages and blog posts you have, how many visitors you’re getting from search engines, which rich snippets you’re displaying, and get in-depth information as to which post gets the most clicks and rankings from search engines.

Bing also has their webmaster tools, will you can do most of the same things as in Google, except it is for the Bing search engine instead. We recommend setting up in both, as you will likely be getting blog traffic from both search engines.

Best WordPress Plugins

While the basic installation is great out of the box, adding a few selective free WordPress plugins and paid plugins can greatly extend its functionality, and spice up your post content. But be careful though, too many plugins will slow down load times on your blog posts, and bog down your site. Here are the few of the best blog plugins that we highly recommend, and use on almost every self-hosted WordPress blog that we own. They should work with all themes and sidebar widgets.

PluginPricingCategoryLink
Yoast SEOFree + PremiumSEOVisit
WordPress JetPackFree + PremiumUtilitiesVisit
Gravity FormsPremiumContact FormsVisit
Sucuri SecurityFree + PrmeiumSecurityVisit
W3 Total CacheFreePerformanceVisit
BJ Lazy LoadFreePerformanceVisit
SumoFree + PremiumAudience BuildingVisit

Yoast SEO (Free and Paid)

Most bloggers rely on social and search engine traffic power their blogs. There is no better WordPress SEO plugin out there than the Yoast SEO plugin (aka SEO by Yoast) for each piece of blog content on your site that you want to rank. They have both a free plugin and a premium version that are both great to use, and will allow you to change your blog titles, create meta descriptions, create sitemaps, and many more little tasks that have HUGE impacts on how well your blog posts rank in Google and other search engines.

We usually just stick with the free plugin here, but the premium version does have a number of other features to help you increase the number of visitors you get from social media, search engines, and more.

WordPress JetPack(Free and Paid)

Another great extension tool created by the same company who created WordPress, is WordPress JetPack. It is an entire tool box of tools and widgets, specifically created for bloggers, the greatly extend the functionality, features and security of any blog.

It includes things like firewall protection, social sharing, in-depth analytics, video and image hosting, social media sharing buttons, and much more directly into your WordPress site, which will speed up your load times, get your blog content more readers, store and load your images, and help you not get hacked over time.

While the free version is great, we highly recommend upgrading to the premium version for small yearly price, Which packs much more features that you will really need once your blog is up and going.

Gravity Forms (Paid)

Every website needs to include a contact form or opt-in forms on some part of their site or another. Well there are a number of great free contact form plugins out there, the one that we install on every single one of her WordPress sites, and keep going back to is Gravity Forms. You can embed your contact form via shortcode, widget, or theme function.

It isn’t the cheapest plug-in, but can do just about anything you want to do, including taking payments, integrating with email platform, and much more, depending on what level you purchase.

Sucuri Security (Free and Paid)

When it comes to security, there’s no better name of the game then Sucuri Security. Because WordPress is so widespread, it also created large target for hackers. This is a plug-in that we install on almost every single one of our WordPress site, so we will not have to worry about getting hacked.

Both the free and the paid versions are fantastic to use, and provide peace of mind that you were site will not be going down anytime soon.

Two other great options are iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security) and WordFence Security, both free from the WordPress directory.

W3 Total Cache – (Free Plugin)

Our favorite cacheing plugin is W3 Total Cache, and for good reason. With over 1 million active installs, this free plugin is saving a ton of bandwidth and increasing load speeds of blog content all over the world. It has tons of customization options that allow you to compress your site code. create static versions of your web pages, intelligently deliver images, and much more. Chances are this can reduce your load times by a few seconds just by installing it.

BJ Lazy Load – (Free Plugin)

One of the easiest ways to reduce load times of your blog post content is to use a plugin like BJ Lazy Load to display your images as the user scrolls down. Basically it replaces all of your images with a tiny 1×1 image, and as the user scrolls, it reveals the images that the user sees. This way, the content takes less time to load up front.

Sumo(Free and Paid)

One of the best Hosted tools out there for growing your site in almost any way is Sumo.com. It is a hosted tool that comes with a WordPress plugin.

They provide the absolute best and most well rounded growth and social media tools to share your blog post content for your website out of anyone. So if you want to get more customers, get more traffic, or track your success, they have tools that can do just that. Their social sharing buttons seem to get the most number of shares out of any social media sharing plugin out there.

They have great free versions of many of the tools, so you can get started without paying anything. Then when you grow and need more tools or functionality, you can easily upgrade to the premium version.

Want More Great Blogging Tools and Plugins

Having the right plugins can supercharge your site and make your standard blog into a super website.

Read Ch 4 on WordPress Plugins and Tools

Step 6 - Write Great Blog Content

Step 6 - Write Great Blog Content

Alright, now that your website is up in real life, and you know what you want to write about, it’s time to actually blog! This can be as easy as hard as you make it, and really is flexible to however you want to write.

Tips on Getting Started Writing Your Blog Posts

Many people get stuck up about the format, length, the perfect headline, blog post ideas, content marketing strategy or topic writing the absolute perfect blog post, and procrastinate actually writing for way too long.

DON’T LET WRITER’S BLOCK KEEP YOU STUCK BEFORE YOU START!

One of the things that many successful writers will tell you is just getting started is the biggest hurdle that they have to overcome. They often throw out the first few ideas or even page or two of writing, which they use as a warm-up for the real thing.

Even if you don’t want to use in the future, don’t let a white page block you from actually creating high-quality content. Start writing about whatever ideas come to the top of your head. You can always delete it later, or edited so it’s better before you ever post anything.

One thing that we may or may not recommend for getting over the hurdle getting started, maybe an alcoholic drink or two 🙂

Writing High-Quality Content

Now the fun part! Let’s get it to actually craft a beautifully written blog post.

How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

First and foremost most people question how long they should write each blog post. The real answer is… it depends.

It depends on your style of writing, the topic you want to cover, the overall voice and tone of your blog, and how much you really know about that subject.

Some blogs write short-form content (eg – 100-word articles), which are more streams of consciousness throughout the day. That style makes it very easy to create a blog post and very little time, but don’t often get into the depth that many readers are looking for.

Other blogs focus on writing long-form content instead, which can be thousands of words per blog post, and only post a few times a month. These off and go very deep on one particular subject, and become a pillar post and whatever category they are talking about (like this topic you are on now).

We like to aim somewhere in the middle with most of the blogs that we own, with 500 – 2,000-word posts being a great place to aim for. The search engines tend to favor the 1,500 – 2,000-word blog post the best though, which is a great thing to keep in mind for the future.

Create Your Content Marketing Strategy – Be Specific on Topic

Bloggers also vary greatly on how specific or broad they get in a single article. Some generate lofty and conceptual articles that talked about a variety of subjects, and others dive deep into one particular idea or sub-niche.

Again the specific content marketing strategy that you choose will depend on everything about your blog, personality and writing style.

We recommend shooting somewhere in the middle, so the subject is not too hyper focused on something that doesn’t really make a difference for most of your audience, but also specific enough so you can really cover a subject well.

Create Intriguing Blog Post Titles

Writing a headline or blog post title is more of an art than a science, but there are still great frameworks for writing very attention-grabbing headlines that get more clicks in social media and search engines. Here are a few of our best tips:

  • Simple and clear – don’t try to be too clever with your headline. Get right to the point of what your article is about.
  • Use specific numbers – blog post headlines with more specific numbers or a roundup list in a particular niche always get shared more on social media.
  • Make a bold statement – be bold! Don’t be afraid to speak boldly about your subject, as it will naturally gather more attention.
  • Ask a question? – this can be a great way to plant some intrigue and mystery in the minds of your readers.

Keep Your Keywords in Mind

What is that many bloggers forget is that not only are they writing for their target audience, but they’re also writing for search engines. Google, Yahoo and Bing provide most of the search traffic that blogs get, and this organic traffic is a fantastic way to build your number of readers very fast.

When writing your articles, you need to focus on including relevant keywords that people will be searching for within your content. The key is to place keywords as naturally as possible, and not try to stuff in too many, or use keywords unnaturally, as that will get you penalized quickly. This art is known as on-page SEO (which stands for Search Engine Optimization).

You also need to include many of the related and tangential ideas, and long-tail keywords around whatever particular topic is the main theme of your article. Google basically sees that as a measure of authority and expert knowledge about a subject.

For example, if you are writing about baseball, but never mention words like “bat”, “ball”, “bases”, “players”, etc., then Google will assume that this isn’t a very comprehensive article on the subject, and won’t rank you very highly.

Get on a Schedule

The most successful writers are very disciplined and scheduled about their blogging. Very few times does the inspiration to write just come upon you. So you need to create that time with scheduled blocks to just focus on your writing. Blocking social media accounts also helps to keep bloggers focused on actually writing, instead of wasting yet another hour surfing social media.

Go where you are most creative

Many freelancers prefer to work from cafes or shared workspaces for the same reason – it’s easier to separate work and home, and always have a place they go to for getting focused work done.

I personally prefer a coffee shop or co-working space, but many writers love getting outside into nature for inspiration.

Include Images and Videos

One of the best things you can do for your website is including great videos and images that are relevant to what you’re talking about. People love strong visuals, and will stick around much longer on your blog post if you’ve included great videos on the subject as well.

Places to Get Videos

In our opinion, there is only one main place to get great videos to embed – YouTube. It hosts billions of videos and is growing every day. Chances are if you can’t find a video about your subject, you aren’t looking hard enough. With a simple search, you can uncover thousands of results to post.

We recommend keeping it to a handful of videos per article, but it will really depend on what you’re writing about.

Places to Get High-Quality Images

We also highly recommend using compelling imagery around your site, to make it feel more professional and engaging.

High-quality images are one area in particular though where you have to pay extra close attention as to where you get those images from, and who owns the copyright. You can get in deep trouble and face thousands in fines if you just steal images from wherever.

We recommend using stock photography websites such as Deposit Photo or Shutterstock for getting stock photos at fair prices. It’s much cheaper to pay for the images up front, than have to settle in court for using them illegally.

Getting Outsourced Content

One idea the true writers don’t actually really like is the idea of getting outsourced content for their blog. If you are in it to create more of a business than have a creative outlet, that this could be a fantastic way of multiplying your time and seeing blogging success faster.

There are many great writers online they could be hired for their affordable prices, to create any level of content you could dream up. You’d be surprised how many best selling authors also ghost write for other publications and can be hired to create content for your blog.

Places like UpWorkBunny Inc, and more are great places to get great content written at affordable prices.

We recommend Bunny Inc for getting single pieces of content written at a time, and UpWork for finding freelance writers from all over the world.

Getting Your Blog Content Written for Free

One other method that is not talked about very often is getting free content for your blog by other people.

If you were looking to do this, you are needing already somewhat successful blog that people will actually want to write for.

But there are many businesses and other writers out there who will be willing to guest post on your blog, in exchange for a link back to theirs, and publicity in front of your readers.

You will have to go through and edit the post they give you, but this can be a great way to bolster the amount of articles being posted on your blog.

You can find these kinds of relationships by reaching out to other websites or social media channels in your industry and ask you if they want to guest post on your site. Once your site gets large enough also, freelance writers will also begin to contact you about guest posting or social media syndication.

Ready to Learn More About Writing Great Content?

Writing great content is paramount to having a successful blog. We’ll give you the right tools and frameworks to be a successful writer.

Read Ch 5 on Blog Content Writing Tips

Step 7 - How to Get More Traffic To Your Blog

Step 7 - How to Get More Traffic To Your Blog

Now that you have your sign up and running, it’s time to actually get some traffic going to it!

There are many ways to do this, and each will really depend on what your website is about, and where your readers usually hang out.

We’ll first talk about the main methods that bloggers use to get traffic, and then we’ll go over how to optimize your site to better get that traffic.

Organic Traffic

The bread-and-butter source that most bloggers use to increase traffic is by utilizing search engines and on-page SEO to rank higher for the terms they want to, and getting free traffic all day long. It’s what we rely on here at How to Start a Blog, and is something we highly encourage.

Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing all serve results to billions of visitors every day and direct that targeted traffic to websites like yours. We’ve personally operated sites that get hundreds of thousands of visitors every month, all for free!

Now while that sounds fantastic, it can be harder than it seems to get started. It will take a while writing to boost up your authority, backlinks and published body of work to really take off well in the SEO world.

The best advice we can give in that is to just write fantastic articles, all narrowed around a particular topic, and it will naturally contain great long-tail keywords, and eventually it will start to gain traction and drive more traffic back to your site. A SEO plugin like Yoast SEO can help to optimize each article better. Just make sure to fill in a great meta title, meta description and target keyword, and you’ll be on the right track.

We go much deeper into this in our Blogging Writing SEO article if you want to learn more.

Social Networks Traffic

Another place that many bloggers have seen great success is in getting traffic from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more.

Whenever you create a blog post, we highly recommend sharing it to your followers on all of those platforms, so you can start to get more and more traction on those sites, as well as drive traffic back to your site.

Occasionally, a blog post will just “go viral” and you will have no idea where this flood of visitors comes from, but enjoy it! Chances are your post got shared by influencers somewhere on social media, and your hard work is being rewarded by many followers going nuts over it. Great job!

On all of the major social platforms, we recommend creating a separate page for your blog, that includes the brand, logo, links and more. This will allow you to post as much content as you want without pissing off your friends and family by posting your own blog articles all of the time.

We also recommend putting up social sharing buttons on your site, so users can easily tweet it on Twitter, or share it with their Facebook followers.

Google Analytics Traffic Signals

Most people are trying to figure out how to get more traffic to their site, so start by optimizing what they have. Here are a few of the metrics and data points within Google Analytics you can use to measure how well your content is performing, and how much people are liking it.

  • Bounce rate – this will tell you how many people click the back button immediately after landing, and go back to where they came from without clicking through to another page. The higher this rate, the worse off you are. If you have a really high bounce rate, we recommend going back and making your content better, or user experience more professional so people don’t bounce right away.
  • Time on Site – same as bounce rate, this will show you the average duration that people stick on your site for while reading. The longer the better in our opinion. Often you can add more videos, images and more to encourage more interaction between you and your visitors.
  • Pages per session – this is also a great metric to look at for determining how engaged readers are with your content. The more pages they are clicking around to, the more they like what they’re reading.
  • Social Sharing – this isn’t a metric in Google Analytics, but is also an important one to look at. The more people are liking and sharing your content, the better you will do. You can use a tool like https://www.sharedcount.com/ to find how much your posts are being shared on social media.
  • Audience Insights – Google also collects an incredible amount of data on your readers, so you can find out detailed information about their demographics, and form a clearer picture of who your target audience is.

While these seem like technical metrics, they are deeply important to Google’s algorithm, and tell a story of how well you are writing your content to them. The better you can make these numbers, the more engaged readers are with your website, and the more traffic search engines will send your way.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging has been a bigger subject amongst bloggers more recently, due to its ability to get you in front of a bigger audience and more readers, without having to pay for advertising. Basically, you or someone else write a great guest post that is intended to only be posted on another website, in exchange for a link to your site and mention about you and your business. This will hopefully drive traffic and additional readers back to your site.

Some bloggers might also reach out to you to place a guest post on your site. This can be a great way of getting high-quality content written for free, but you’ll have to determine if the content they’re submitting is best for your niche, audience and readers before you agree to the guest post.

Want to Find Out How to Get More Organic Traffic?

Getting organic traffic is the bread and butter for most bloggers. We’ll dive deeper into how to make that happen consistently for you.

Read Ch 6 about Blog SEO Tips

Step 8 - How to Make Money Blogging

Step 8 - How to Make Money Blogging

Now that your website has been created and you’ve started the post relevant articles, and started to get some traffic to it, it’s time to start making money online with your blog! This was one of the main reasons why people start a blog in the first place.

For me this is one of the most enjoyable parts of blogging, and something that can actually make a huge difference in your day-to-day life (and income every month). You can look around many places online and find incredible stories of successful bloggers in any niche, who each earn six to seven figure passive income streams per year solely from their blogs!

A big part of how successful you will be is what kind of attention you pay to monetization overall. This depends greatly on what you choose to write about, and how serious you will take it as a business.

We’re going to go over a number of the top, most common was of making money online that most bloggers use, include our opinions of some of the best blog types they are useful for. Let’s get started making money blogging!

Advertising - Google Adsense

For most bloggers, it’s very easy to throw up a few ads on your blog posts and start to make a few dollars to a few hundred dollars per day. This would be greatly depending on how much traffic do you have, and your niche as to how much you can potentially make our daily basis. But we firmly believe that most bloggers can get to a level that can replace their normal day job in a matter of months.

There are many ad networks out there, but the one we recommend to most bloggers is Google AdSense. It is the easiest to sign up for and use, and has the greatest variety of advertisers on it. They pay pretty good rates per-click, and are a stable platform that can grow as large as you can.

There are tons of very large websites that solely monetize with advertising, and Google Adsense is a prime way that they keep a large staff paid well.

Just go over to their site, complete the approval process, setup a few auto-placement ads to run, and voila! You are now making money and monetizing your site as a professional blogger!

Affiliate Marketing Programs

If you write about a subject that involves people buying things, then there are a few great places that you can send like-minded people to while recommending products, via affiliate links that will give you a small commission on each sale – known as affiliate marketing. That is how we mostly monetize this site, and is something we recommend to most bloggers starting out.

Amazon Associates

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20 years, then you know Amazon is one of the largest retailers in the world, and sells just about anything and everything imaginable.

They also have a fantastic affiliate program called Amazon Associates, that will allow you to make a percentage of every sale that you send to them, within a 24 hour window. That means you can be recommending fishing poles to buy, but if someone you send purchases a TV, you can also get a percentage of that, which often is between 2% and 6%, depending on the product category.

They also have great embeddable tools and custom affiliate links that you can place in your blog content or social media posts, that will directly display images, accurate prices, and affiliate links back to the site.

Amazon is definitely one of our first choices for monetizing many blogs out there.

Clickbank

If you promote things that also potentially have some education component of them, one of the largest online marketplaces for digital product affiliate programs is ClickBank.

They allow anyone in the world to sell digital or physical products, and attract affiliates (like you) to promote that product via your personalized affiliate links for them in exchange for a very healthy cut of the sale, sometimes up to 50% and even 75% commissions on every product sold, so you can effectively recommend products to your readers you didn’t even make, and earn more money than the person who created it!

They have products about anything and everything, and once you get dialed in on how you promote them, can make a TRUCKLOAD of cash every month.

Private Affiliate Marketing Programs

Depending on your niche, there are plenty of more private affiliate programs that we won’t get into today, from anyone else who sells online. That can be anything from other larger retailers (WalMart, Bass Pro Shops, etc.), to larger affiliate networks (CJ, ShareASale, etc.) that have large collections of affiliate programs all under one roof.

You’ll have to signup and get approved for any program out there, but can easily monetize a blog by recommending other people’s products, and replace your full-time job with passive income fairly quickly (depending on how much traffic your blog posts get).

If your blog gets some significant traffic, you can start to think about writing sponsored posts (or blog posts that companies pay you to post about). You can consider them native ads that look and feel just like your normal blog posts. Depending on your agreement, you may have to post about them on your social media accounts a few times, email a link out to your email list, or keep them featured on your homepage for a period of time.

If you have a large following on your social media channels too, some companies want to do a series of sponsored posts on those to reach that audience (also considered influencer marketing).

Usually these sponsored posts are a one-time fee, but can easily be hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the amount of traffic your blog gets.

Create your Own Products

Lastly, if you want to get really industrial, you can always create your own physical or digital product that you can sell on your website.

We won’t get too deep here as to how to do that, as you could write many books about the ins-and-outs of that. But often times, creating a course focused on their expertise is not that hard for blog writers to do, and can be a great way to supplement earnings.

Then you could post that course on platforms like Udemy, or sell it yourself on ClickBank, and get the leverage of a marketplace of people also being able to promote what you sell.

Ready to Turn Your Blog Into a Business?

Time for the fun part! It’s time to finally turn your blog into a business, replace your day job, and enjoy your life of financial freedom!

Read Ch 7 About Making Money From Your Blog

Step 9 - How to Sell Your Blog for a Windfall

Step 9 - How to Sell Your Blog for a Windfall

Congratulations! You’ve successfully done what most bloggers dream of doing. You started with a simple idea, started to make money blogging, grown your number of readers up, and probably have a decent full-time passive income to show for it! For many bloggers this is enough to justify taking it easy for the rest of their lives. But things change, market conditions update, and you may want to take risk off the table right now, in exchange for a big windfall of cash.

Selling your blog can be a great way to capitalize on all of your hard work, by courting potential buyers to get a one-time payment with years of earnings paid upfront.

There are multiple ways to do this, and we’ll talk through the specific methods we recommend, as well as some decision frameworks as to whether you should sell or not.

To Sell or Not to Sell?

For most people, the decision to sell the project they have been pouring their blood, sweat and tears into for years is a really heavy decision. It is not something you should go about lightly, and something that can greatly change your future. Here are a few things to consider when determining if you want to sell your blog or not.

  • Growing or shrinking – one of the most attractive website purchases for a buyer is to purchase something that is continuing to grow in traffic, readers and monetization over time. No one wants to buy a sinking ship declining in traffic, so if you are thinking about selling, make sure your business continuing to grow, and has a track record of success.
  • Niche – some niches are just more attractive than others to potential website buyers. If you talk about underwater basket weaving, chances are the audience is small and you don’t make very much money on the site, and it’s not actually that sellable. Most potential buyers are focused on making money with whatever blog they purchase, so the niche your content is in, and audience it targets is important.
  • Workload – No website buyer wants to buy a job, so the more systemized the business is, and the more passive income it receives, the more attractive it is to potential buyers, and higher price you’ll get for it. That is why we recommend everybody try and make their blog as systemized and processed as possible, so you can get the highest multiple for it.
  • Monetization Method – how are you monetizing your blog and making money from your readers? The most sought-after methods that potential buyers are looking for are affiliate marketing, placing ads, creating your own digital product or ebook, eCommerce, and more.
  • How much is it making – Almost all blog purchases under a few million dollar level, are all priced on a multiple of earnings. This basically means, depending on a number of factors about your website (niche, number of blog posts, social media following, quality of content, click-through rate of your affiliate links, email list of readers, sales of your digital products, traffic, etc.), you will get 2 to 4 years of profit upfront as a lump sum payment. So when you consider selling your blog, make sure you are making as much as possible with it, and also have a track record of success to be able to show potential buyers.
  • History of success – No one wants to buy a brand new blog that has no proven track record of success. That is why if you considering selling, make sure you have a verifiable history behind the business, so they can have more trust that it will continue on that trend line after they purchase it.

Ways of Improving Your Valuation

If you are considering selling your blog, it’s worth it to spend the time to optimize and better monetize your blog, to increase the final valuation and sale price. Most bloggers overlook this step, and end up leaving thousands on the table.

  • Adding More Content – buyers are always looking at the amount of content and indexed pages you have in search engines, so you should definitely post all blog posts you have lying around.
  • Optimizing Ad Space – if you haven’t split tested your ad layouts, ad networks / advertisers / affiliate program, or even using affiliate links instead of ads, you should definitely give it a try. Sometimes this can double the passive income you get from your blog, overnight!
  • Adding and Testing Affiliate Links – finding the perfect amount of links in your content is a constant testing process. You want to have plenty of opportunities for readers to click your affiliate links in your content, but not too many to upset them.
  • Grow Your Email and Social Media Audience – buyers love a large audience to be able to promote new products to, so make sure that you focus on building up each of those lists over time, which are viewed as tangible assets when you sell.

Website Brokers

Using a Website Broker can be a great way to get our site in front of more people
Using a Website Broker can be a great way to get our site in front of more people

If you’ve made your mind up about selling your business, one of the places that we highly recommend the most is utilizing on online business broker who will give you an honest look at pricing, position it best to sell, and get in front of thousands of people who are wanting to buy websites and have the money to do so.

It is a growing industry, so there are plenty of brokers out there who are scammers, or will not do a great job at selling your site. It is just as important as picking a realtor who is honest, and out for your best interest.

One of the top brokerages that we recommend if you’re selling a site that is worth over $50,000 is Quiet Light brokerage. they have the best selection of high-quality websites around, and developed a fantastic reputation industry for being honest, upfront, and genuine and how they approach business. We have bought and sold multiple sites through them, and only have top things to say about how they run their business.

If you would like a private introduction to one of their Brokers, and a special deal to make sure you get treated well, please contact us through our website, and we’d be happy to introduce you.

Online Auction Sites

What are the name of the places that other people used to sell their website is online auction sites, that gets your website in front of many people all around the world.

This is often a cheaper route to go then using a website broker, but you also get what you pay for, in that sites that sell on auction websites often sell for much less than they would with a traditional broker.

One of the most popular and well established sites out there for this is Flippa, which has sold tens of thousands of websites on it in the history of the business. It definitely is the wild-west with this listing platform, as you see anything and everything imaginable listed for sale. But if you want a discounted way of selling a site, especially if brokers may not want it – this is your place.

Want More Assistance in Selling Your Blog?

Selling your blog for a huge payday is one of the holy grails of online business. We’ll walk you through how to earn the most money for your blog.

Read Ch 9 on Selling Your Blog

Conclusion

There you have it! We have taken you through every step in the process of creating a blog, writing great content, getting it out there in the world, making money, and eventually selling it off for a lump sum of money.

Creating a successful blog is something that many people are not able to do, but for the ones who persevere and work through it, can have great rewards in the end. But it is also about the journey along the way. You can make fantastic money, have a great creative outlet, and produce a work of art that you are proud of for years to come.

We have personally built many successful blogs, and help others do the same along the way. If it is something you are considering doing, we highly recommend jumping in and at least giving it a try before you rule it out.

If you have more specific questions about the process, technical set up, or anything else, please feel free to reach out and contact us with your questions, and we’ll try to answer it both privately and publicly on our website.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Blogging

General

What is blogging?

Blogging is the process of consistent writing and posting to a central website, often personal or focused on a particular topic. For many people, it’s just a writing hobby similar to journaling. For some though, they’ve started to gain enough traffic from their writing that they’re able to make money and even a full time income off of their blog.

Where did the term blog / blogging come from?

Blogging is a term that initially came from “web logging”, that was a web-based journal in the early days of the Internet. That got shortened to “blogging” over time, and the singular item we know today is just a “blog”.

How is a blog different than a website?

A website is much more general than a blog, and can be anything and everything from a company site, forum, eCommerce store, etc. A blog is much more focused about consistent writing and individual entries or articles, all focused around a single topic.

Are blog names copyrighted?

Yes, your blog name and content are protected under your copyright if you put proper copyright information in the footer of your site. Without filing for more specific copyright protection, you don’t have as much legal power to litigate, but you still have some basic protections.

When was the blog first invented?

The first blog that was ever created was called “links.net”, and it was created by Justin Hall in 1994. He was a student at Swarthmore College at the time. He created a website, as the term blog wasn’t even around back then, and it would take another 3 years for the term “weblog” to be coined.

What type of blog should I write?

That’s completely up to you! It will depend on what types of topics and subjects that interest you most. What hobbies do you have? What do you like to do in your free time? It’s usually best to incorporate some type of passion into the choosing of the main topic of your first blog, so that you’re able to write at length about that subject and still be interested and excited about it.

How do I figure out what kind of blog topic I should have?

That’s another question where it really depends on who you are, and what you want out of your blog. If you’d like to really just focus on making money on your blog, that answer may be different than if you just want to do it for the joy of writing. But a great place to start is to inventory your passions and hobbies, to see if there is something you love enough to write about it for a long time to come.

Can a blog be anonymous?

Yes! You can blog under whatever name or pen name that you would like. If you want to be public with your name, that’s completely up to you. But if you’d like to keep a different online identity, almost every blogging platform out there will allow you to do that.

Instead of a domain name and a web host, can I just use my facebook page to launch my blogs?

You can... but for the most part, blogs and Facebook pages are very different things. You can use both to launch your blog, but if you are serious about actually creating content, having it easily found and searchable, and in its most useful format - you need your own blog setup. Blogs are designed for longer form content, to be found in search engines and other social sites, and have much more functionality overall. Facebook pages are great for quickly publishing short form content, or staying in contact with your reader base, but you cannot share posts on other social channels, and search engines don't really index and display social posts in their results.

Should I Blog or Vlog?

This mainly depends on you and your preferences. Are you good in front of the camera? Or do you prefer writing and honing your content over time? Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, but both are important.

Should I create a blog or a YouTube channel?

Creating a YouTube channel, or vlogging has been all of the rage recently. But whether you should create one or not really comes down to your content creation preferences, and whether you like to talk and be filmed, or spend time writing longer-form copy. Or if you enjoy both, you can always create videos on your YouTube, and post them on your blog!

Blog vs Book - which one should I write?

This is a good question for most writers, and more so depends on how much information that you want to write about your subject. Books are usually much longer, and once you write it, the content is pretty much completed and set in stone. Blogs are much more of an evolution of your thinking, because you post new content regularly, your thinking and content changes dynamically as you do. So which one you choose really comes down to what you have to say about your subject, and if you want to continually evolve it over time.

Blog vs Facebook Page - which one should I create?

The main issue with Facebook pages is the post have a very short life span. If you are going to invest time into creating great content, you want your content to live on and be able to be found in other places then just Facebook. So that is why we recommend treating your own plug, which you can always share the content on Facebook, and every other social networking site.

Monetization

How do bloggers make money?

Bloggers make money a variety of ways, depending on what they write about. Some of the more popular methods include affiliate marketing (recommending products to like-minded people), placing ads for people to click on, creating and selling their own physical or digital products and more. Many bloggers are able to create great income streams of fully passive income within a few years.

How much money can you make from a blog?

The short answer - how much do you want to make? While most blogs out there don't really make much money, there are thousands and thousands of blogs that make significant money. Those earnings range from a few hundred dollars per month to millions and millions per month. It's not that difficult to start making a few thousand dollars per month with not a ton of traffic, but with a solid focus on monetizing your content.

What's the best monetization method for a blog?

That will greatly depend on what type of blog that you have. For some bloggers, the best and most general option would be something like Google Adsense, as it allows you to monetize little traffic, and covers a large variety of subjects. For other sites that talk about specific products or categories that have things for sale online, signing up for one of the many Affiliate Programs can be a great way of making a little portion of each sale of a product that is made. One of the most versatile we recommend for that is Amazon Associates.

When do blogs qualify for Adsense?

Generally, Google wants to see that your blog is somewhat established before you qualify to run Adsense on it. So as a guide, they recommend having your site be at least 6 months old, and have at least 1,000 visitors per month coming before you apply.

What blog topics make the most money?

Blog topics that are around things that are naturally expensive, or that people spend money on are generally the ones that make the most money. Think about it - companies who sell services worth more money want to advertise, and have more money to do so. So spaces like finance, health, etc are all great money-making spaces. But be warned, generally if it’s more lucrative to publish in it, the competition will also be more intense.

Specific Types of Blogs

How do I start a fashion blog?

Fashion blogs generally focus on one or more specific areas of fashion - skincare, clothing, makeup, jewelry, etc. It's best to have a great personality to your fashion blog so you can get more readers to it.

How do I start a travel blog?

That one is pretty simple - start traveling and writing about it! But if that's out of your realm, you can start researching amazing places, finding the top things to do in each one of those places, and write a great roundup post about it - like "The Top 10 Things to Do in Bangkok".

How do I start a celebrity gossip blog?

Get some insider knowledge! Many people love celebrities and want to keep up on every single part of their life. The most important part of this type of site is having great, timely news to break, so readers come back to you when you add the latest updates.

How Did We Do?

Alternate Content Types

ContentTextVideoAudio
How to Start a Blog | The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide
Why Start Your Own Blog in the First Place
Common Excuses for Not Creating a Website
How to Choose a Domain Name
Using a Top Domain Extension for Your Website
Using a Secondary Domain Extension for Your Website
Registering a New Domain vs Buying an Existing Domain
Launching Your Website Self-Host
Launching Your Website All-In-One Hosted Platform
Using a Hosted WordPress Instance for Your Blog
How to Install Your WordPress Blog
Using Google Analytics in Your Blog
Using Google Webmaster Tools in Your Blog
Best WordPress Plugins for Blogging
Tips on Getting Started Writing Your Blog
Main Pages You Need to Have in Your Blog
How to Write the Highest Quality Blog Posts
Best Methods of Including Images and Videos Into Your Blog
How to Get Outsourced Content for Your Blog
How to Get Free Content for Your Blog
Optimize Your Site for More Traffic
What Google Analytics Data Points Say About Your Website Traffic
How to Monetize Your Blog With Google Adsense
How to Monetize Your Blog With Affiliate Programs
How to Sell Your Blog for a Windfall.
How to Sell Your Blog via Website Brokers or Online Auctions

Video Versions

Video - How to Start a Blog | The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide
Video - Why Start Your Own Blog in the First Place
Video - Common Excuses for Not Creating a Website
Video - How to Choose a Domain Name
Video - Using a Top Domain Extension for Your Website
Video - Using a Secondary Domain Extension for Your Website
Video - Registering a New Domain vs Buying an Existing Domain
Video - Launching Your Website Self-Host
Video - Launching Your Website All-In-One Hosted Platform
Video - Using a Hosted WordPress Instance for Your Blog
Video - How to Install Your WordPress Blog
Video - Using Google Analytics in Your Blog
Video - Using Google Webmaster Tools in Your Blog
Video - Best WordPress Plugins for Blogging
Video - Tips on Getting Started Writing Your Blog
Video - Main Pages You Need to Have in Your Blog
Video - How to Write the Highest Quality Blog Posts
Video - Best Methods of Including Images and Videos Into Your Blog
Video - How to Get Outsourced Content for Your Blog
Video - How to Get Free Content for Your Blog
Video - Optimize Your Site for More Traffic
Video - What Google Analytics Data Points Say About Your Website Traffic
Video - How to Monetize Your Blog With Google Adsense
Video - How to Monetize Your Blog With Affiliate Programs
Video - How to Sell Your Blog for a Windfall.
Video - How to Sell Your Blog via Website Brokers or Online Auctions

Audio Versions

Audio - How to Start a Blog | The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide
Audio - Why Start Your Own Blog in the First Place
Audio - Common Excuses for Not Creating a Website
Audio - How to Choose a Domain Name
Audio - Using a Top Domain Extension for Your Website
Audio - Using a Secondary Domain Extension for Your Website
Audio - Registering a New Domain vs Buying an Existing Domain
Audio - Launching Your Website Self-Host
Audio - Launching Your Website All-In-One Hosted Platform
Audio - Using a Hosted WordPress Instance for Your Blog
Audio - How to Install Your WordPress Blog
Audio - Using Google Analytics in Your Blog
Audio - Using Google Webmaster Tools in Your Blog
Audio - Best WordPress Plugins for Blogging
Audio - Tips on Getting Started Writing Your Blog
Audio - Main Pages You Need to Have in Your Blog
Audio - How to Write the Highest Quality Blog Posts
Audio - Best Methods of Including Images and Videos Into Your Blog
Audio - How to Get Outsourced Content for Your Blog
Audio - How to Get Free Content for Your Blog
Audio - Optimize Your Site for More Traffic
Audio - What Google Analytics Data Points Say About Your Website Traffic
Audio - How to Monetize Your Blog With Google Adsense
Audio - How to Monetize Your Blog With Affiliate Programs
Audio - How to Sell Your Blog for a Windfall.
Audio - How to Sell Your Blog via Website Brokers or Online Auctions

The Ultimate Guide to Starting Your Own Blog

One Response to “The Ultimate Guide on How to Start a Blog in 2018”

  1. Hi!
    Nice Article, Thanks for sharing your ideas,
    I know many will disagree, but the hardest part. Choosing a niche, etc. that’s all easy for me. Promoting blog is the hardest part as I think it takes time to really build it up.

    Consistent effort over time will lead to success!

    Reply

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Date Modified - 10/20/2018