If you’re new to the blogging industry and wondering about how to start a blog in 2020 and make money with it, this is an in-depth guide for you to help you set up your blog step by step. So that you can have your blog running in no time.
The basic reason for creating this guide is to show you how to start a blog in 2020. It’s possible to have your blog up and running in just a few minutes, but we wanted to show you some of the most important details behind making a successful blog.
Things have changed over the last couple of years, and now it’s more important than ever to start your blog perfectly and build up a solid foundation for the success of your blog. The most successful bloggers are those who do a lot of research before doing anything.
We hope that this extensive guide will help you in setting up your blog. If you have always wanted to start a blog and share your ideas with the world. You’re at the right place.
7 Basic Steps To Start A Blog
- Setting up your blog
- Getting started with WordPress
- Clarifying your blog topic
- Publishing your main pages
- Writing your first post
- Customizing your blog design
- Getting traffic & making money!
Step 1: Setting up your blog
For setting up your blog you will need two things.
- A blogging Platform
A blogging platform lets you put your ideas into the form of a blog and hosting makes your blog go live online. Let’s get them.
If you are new to technology then, we would recommend you to go ahead with WordPress( As your blogging platform) + Blue Host for your hosting. setting up your blog over these 2 is very simple and takes less than 10 minutes.
Get to the Bluehost website and click on Get started. The background images can be different.
Now it’s time to select your plan.
We love the Choice Plus plan as this has more unlimited features and also includes the domain privacy, so you don’t have to attend the calls of those marketers selling their services.
If you just want to try out and want to go ahead with the Basic or Plus plan, you can still add the domain privacy for around 1$ monthly.
Enter Your Domain
Your domain is the web address that people will see when they come to your website, for example, digitalninjasingh.com is our domain name.
Don’t own a domain yet? You can enter the desired name into the “Create a New Domain” box.
Or if you already have a domain, you can connect it by putting it in “Use a domain you own” box. If you’re hosting your domain on another host, you don’t need to worry as you can link it your Bluehost account.
Not sure about your domain name or is the domain you want is already taken? You can hover over the back button on your browser until you find the option to choose your domain later.
This option will simply allow you to start your blog with a temporary domain address while you select the perfect domain for your blog. When you’re ready to link your domain to your blog you can simply do it.
For this guide, we’ll use a new domain.
You can either sign up via your Google account or with any other email.
Now choose a plan based on how much far in advance you want to pay.
Bluehost offers you with 1, 2 or 3 years upfront. Unfortunately, there’s no monthly plan. But’ don’t worry you have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Time to skip the package extras except for the domain privacy.
As we have mentioned above as well, domain privacy will let you keep your personal contact information private. It’s free with the Choice Plus plan. If you are using the Basic or Plus plan, you can add it by checking the box.
Now enter your payment information
Once you have put in your payment info, don’t forget to check the Terms box, hit Submit.
Once your purchase is a success, you can hit the Create Account button and this will lead you to create a Bluehost account.
Now Create a password
This is a password for your Bluehost account, you will receive your WordPress password later. Make sure that you set a strong password and then click on creating an account button.
Now it’s time to click the Go To Login button to get to the login screen.
Now, Let’s create a website!
Now enter the name for your blog and the tagline. This can be also changed later, but always make sure that you put something descriptive in there.
Now toggle the switch next to “Do you want a blog” to turn it on.
Now, do you want your blog posts to show over on your homepage or a specific page? Our blog posts appear on the home page. This allows the user to land directly on what they want. Simply select “My home page” from the dropdown menu.
Skip the free themes
Unless you have seen the listed theme working. skip it. Why? Because many free themes aren’t kept updated and this leaves a hole in the security of your website. It’s not worth the risk. We can choose a better theme later.
Congratulations, You are now the owner of a self-hosted WordPress Blog!
Step 2: Getting started with WordPress
By now, you must be having two different sets of login information. One for your Bluehost account and one for WordPress If not, check your email. Now we’ll be spending most of our time in WordPress.
To log into your WordPress account, go to yourdomain.com/admin (if you are still not sure about domain yourtemporarydomain.com/admin), make sure to switch out “your domain” with the domain that you have installed WordPress on.
Welcome to your WordPress Dashboard
The black column on the left side is a good indicator that you are in your WordPress Dashboard. Rest of your screen might look something different but don’t worry. The screens and the boxes vary all the time. The major key is the black column on the left side.
This black column is the nerve center. You’ll spend a lot of time here, publishing posts and managing all aspects of your WordPress blog.
We usually skip the blue button which is there in the middle of the screen. We prefer to start with a clean slate and explore on our own.
Configure your WordPress settings
This will help you set up for the smooth sailing of your website.
Note: As you will move around your Dashboard, you may see the offers for the addons. Unless it’s a warning, We close the boxes and they can be added later.
Firstly Change your username from admin
If your username is still “admin” you should change it, for the security purpose. think of this as To get into a website, a hacker will need a username and password, right? Because “admin” is the default and most of the people don’t bother to change it, a hacker will be already halfway for their goal.
To change it, go to Users > All Users.
Is there any of the username admin?
If you don’t see the admin username in the list, you can skip the rest of these sections and You’re good to go. But if you do see a username as admin keep reading.
Now hover over the admin username on the list. A few links will appear underneath it:
Do you see the delete link?
If yes, you need to find the username you are logged in as. Now make sure it says “Administrator” in the Role column. Now click delete.
If no, this means that you are currently logged as admin and you can’t delete yourself. Add a new user first, then come back and now delete the admin username.
To do that, click on “Add New” under “all users” in the left column, or by clicking the button at the top of this page. Both will do the same thing.
Next is to fill out your new user information:
Username: Choose the information that you’ll remember.
Email: Don’t get worried if you’re prompted to use a different email address than the one you have already used. You can change it back after the admin user is deleted.
Password: Use the password that you can remember also Note the assigned one by clicking on the “Show Password” button.
Role: Choose the role as Administrator from the dropdown menu. This is very important as this gives you the highest level of privileges.
Add New User: Now Click the button to save all of it.
Now log out as the admin user. Hover over the admin username in the top right corner of your screen and choose to Log Out.
After doing that you’ll be taken to the WordPress login screen.
Now login back with the new username and password that you just have created.
Go to Users > All Users and then hover over the admin username just like you did it before. This time you will be able to click on the delete link.
If you get a prompted with what to do with the content owned by Admin user, just attribute all the content to the new user that you have created.
Now from this point, you will use your new username and password to log into your WordPress account.
Choose a perfect permalink structure
Your permalink structure is the one which determines how your post and page URLs will be formatted. Readout how permalinks are related to SEO and how they are one of the major Google ranking factors.
WARNING: If you have already published some posts or have created the pages. Don’t change your permalink structure as this could result in broken links.
Change the site title & the tagline
Do you want to change the title and tagline of your blog which entered in Step 1? You can change it from your dashboard, Go to setting > General.
Now enter the site Title that you want your users to see. It doesn’t have to match your domain, but it likely should.
For your tagline, you need to think of a short phrase that will describe your website as well as its purpose. Should include the keywords if you can do that naturally.
Don’t worry, you can change them again at any time.
Now make sure you don’t change your URLs!
You may be influenced to change the WordPress address (URL) and the site address (URL), but don’t! As it will mess the things up again.
You will need to wait till you get your domain settled up and you’re no longer on your temporary domain.
Enter your working email address
If you have not used your main email address here, go ahead and then put your main email here. A notification will be sent to your email address.
Setting up your timezone
Go to the Settings > General > Timezone.
A wrong timezone won’t be breaking anything, but the scheduled posts always get published according to the time zone that you have set. So if this is not set correctly, you’ll be left wondering why your posts aren’t getting published as per your expected time.
Deleting the default content
When you set up a new WordPress blog, there’s a lot of cluttery and default things in it. we remove the following.
Plugins: Plugins can slow down your website and can make things going all glitchy, We use the plugins very sparingly. We only add a plugin to our website when we have a very clear reason to do it. Go to Dashboard > Plugins > Installed Plugins. Now delete all of the plugins except the Bluehost one. when you hover over a plugin you will get the options of deactivation and delete. You’ll need to deactivate a plugin before you can delete it.
Meta Widget: Having the meta widget over your website screams that the site is a newbie.
To delete the metadata, go to Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets. Now find out the “Meta” widget box, expand it by clicking the small down arrow and click on delete. Make sure that your changes are saved.
“Hello, World!” This is the default port which is done by WordPress. To delete it Go to Posts > All Posts. Now hover over the post title and click the “Trash” link. You can delete it permanently by clearing the trash.
Sample page: We do this once we have our pages published. to delete it go to Pages > All Pages. Now hover over the page title and click on the “Trash” link. To delete it entirely just empty the trash.
Now Install important plugins
Despite our love/hate with plugins, 2 plugins are must as they help with two universal blogging issues. These plugins are:
Yoast SEO: This plugin helps with SEO. Yoast SEO is a well-recognized SEO plugin. * What is SEO? *
Antispam Bee: This plugin helps you in fighting the spam and is a better alternative to the default Akismet plugin.
To install a new plugin via the WordPress Dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New. In the search bar, enter the name of the plugin that you’re looking for. Once you have found it click “Install Now”
Once you have installed the plugins, you’ll have to activate it to get it working. Otherwise, it will just lie as a dormant on your site in its deactivated state, which is not ideas. Either activate a plugin or delete a plugin. A deactivated plugin is just a waste of space on the website.
To activate a plugin, in your WordPress dashboard simply go to the Plugin > Installed Plugin. Click “Activate” under the plugin name.
Once you have installed and activated a plugin, you will be able to access all of its features as you will be writing your posts. Unless the plugin is the one which runs in the background.
Once you have activated your plugin, it’s time to configure it, if required. You can check if a plugin needs customization by going to Plugins > Installed Plugins and look for a setting link under that. If a plugin is available on the left black column of your WordPress dashboard you can access it from there as well.
Most of the WordPress plugins come with the default configuration, which makes them ready to start with. If you want to dive manually into the configuration Wizard, you can access it from either left black column or the installed plugin wizard.
Step 3: Clarifying your blog topic
We are sure that, you probably have an idea about what you are going to write for your blog. But while writing make sure to be focused. Don’t just write anything that comes to your mind.
If you’re writing on the behalf of a business, company or organization, your blogs should be related to our products or services that you are providing.
But if you’re an individual writer, then you are more flexible toward deciding what you want to write in your blog, but the foremost thing to remember here is:
Write a blog about something that you enjoy writing. If you’re not excited about the topic you are going to write, then how could the readers be interested in reading it.
Blog about something which has plenty of room for discussion. A blog required a lot of content to get going and to remain interesting. As a blog will be very long, make sure you have lots of things to discuss.
Try choosing a niche in which you can be established as an authority. If you are not the first person to write about the topic. Don’t fret about it, just try to come up with a unique angle. Make sure whatever you write is better than what other people are writing and you will become the go-to resource of that niche.
Step 4: Publishing your main pages
So, now we are all set up, our settings are configured and by now you do have a good idea on what you want to write. So it’s time to put your information over site and publish your content.
A WordPress website is made up of Posts and Pages.
Posts are most commonly known as a blog. These are the individual articles on topics. For eg: If you are running a recipe blog, you might be having posts like “Best chocolate chip cookies” or “Raspberry Cake”. Each of your posts will be of a different recipe and when we talk about putting a new content to blog. We simply refer to publishing a new post.
While on the other hand, Pages contain more permanent information. Pages don’t come up in the blog portion of a website with the posts. Instead, there are direct links available in the navigation bar, sidebar of the footer. Some of the pages are common on all the blogs, like the contact us page, about page.
Before you go full throttle on writing your posts, it’s always a good idea to set your basic pages first. By doing that, when people start visiting your site they’ll have the access to more information about you and your website. This also helps your blog look more credible.
The initial pages that we recommend to set up first are:
- Home Page
- Blog Page
- About Us Page
- Contact Us Page
Step 5: Writing your first post
Now that you’ve set up your main pages, you’re ready to start blog posting.
Writing and publishing a blog post in WordPress is very straightforward.
Basic Ideas for your first blog post.
Try not to do what a lot of new bloggers do, and start with a very lame post about how you’re about to start a blog. (My First Post)
Instead, start with a blog which is full of useful content. The ultimate goal is to make the readers go WOW with your content.
Then follow up your first post with some more quality posts
We recommend that you have 2-3 really thorough posts, with in-depth knowledge of your niche and 7-10 posts in different stages.
It’s always good to have some solid content available on your website if a visitor finds you, but at the same time, make sure they don’t get bogged down with a dozen of posts.
While working in Yoast, these core posts are called cornerstone content. These posts are also referred to as evergreen posts as well. Whatever you call them, but the point here is to make them exceptional.
If you’re having trouble with ideas for your first post, just type in your main topic into your Google and you will find what others have written in their blogs.
Make sure that you don’t copy, but use those already published posts as an inspiration. Make your post more researched and in-depth than theirs. This is a very common technique called Skyscraper.
So, now you do have some ideas about your first post, let’s get started with the writing.
Open the Add new post window. Make sure that you’re logged into your WordPress.
Now from your Dashboard, go to Posts > Add New in the left column. Moreover, you can just simply hover over the ” + New” link at the top of your screen and choose “Post” from the drop down menu.
Permalink Structure: Before you publish your post, check and fix your permalink if you’d like to do so. Use your keywords and make your permalink look like something that people will search.
To change your permalink, simply click the “Edit” button next to the automatically generated permalink of your post ore page and change it as per the requirement.
Now when composing your post. You can either write directly into the WordPress, but a lot of people choose to write their post into a 3rd party text editor and then just simply paste their completed post into the WordPress once it’s done.
Along with your text posts, you can add images, quotes, and videos. To add something other than just the text to a post, add a block by pressing the + icon. Then select the format that you would like to put in your post.
Adding a Link: To add a link into your posts, select the text that you want to link and click the link icon(it looks like a chain link) in the formatting option box. Now a popup will appear where you will be able to simply paste the URL of the page that you want to be linked.
Now before you make your post goes live, select the category and tag for your posts. On the right side of the screen, you’ll have the option to select or add new categories, tags for your post.
Categories are used for defining the general topics about your blog. Your blog should have at most 5-7 categories, so make sure that you choose carefully. A well-chosen and well-used category can make a reader’s experience pleasant.
Tags need to be more specific, too specific to be a category themselves. Many people don’t use the tags, but if you do use as many as necessary to keep your information well organized.
Once you’re done writing, all you need to do is hit the preview button in the top right corner of your screen to see how it looks.
Now save, schedule or directly publish it. WordPress has an autosave feature in it which will automatically save whatever you have written in your blog.
If your post is not ready to go live yet, just simply put it in a draft mode and come back later to edit it.
But, if you’re ready to make your post go live. You can publish it by clicking on the publish button on the top right corner of the screen.
Step 6: Customizing your blog design
Now that we’ve got some content on our website, you might want to change the design of your blog. In WordPress, this can be done by simply installing a new WordPress theme.
Most of the new bloggers get excited about the available design options. There are a lot! However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the designs.
Less is more, so start with a minimal theme at first. The fancier your theme will be the more moving parts it will have. The more moving parts are there the more risk it will have of breaking.
Your website should be super fast and should work well on all the available devices, from phones to tablets to desktops. Most of the WordPress themes ensure that they work perfectly on most of the devices out there.
Also when you are selecting a new theme, take note of the basic elements of your blog and where you want them on your website. Do you want a bigger image on your homepage? No sidebar? or a footer? Where do you want your posts to show, on the left side of the screen or right side of the screen?
Try to look past the colors, fonts and other easily changeable things. If you can find a theme with the elements in the places that you want, changing the little color, fonts thing will be much easier.
But, how to find a new WordPress theme. We would always recommend that you buy a premium theme. Premium themes are better as they are well maintained, have a lower risk of security and offer better support. So just find the theme that you like and you’ll be given proper instruction on how to download and use it.
You can also find the WordPress theme from within your WordPress dashboard by going to Appearance > Themes. If you know the name of theme just search it then install and activate it.
If you have bought the theme from a 3rd party website then you will be provided with a zip file. Which you will need to upload in your theme section. To install a zip file theme, go to WordPress dashboard > Appearance > Themes > Add New > Upload Theme.
Now once you have installed a new theme you will still need to activate it. To do so go to Appearance > Themes. Then hover over the theme that you want to activate and click activate. Hover over the theme you want and click Activate.
Customize your theme. Once your theme is activated, go to Appearance > Customize. If the Customizer doesn’t work with your chosen theme, I would not use it as it’s probably not kept updated. The Customizer will allow you to tweak things like color, fonts, and other things. Options will vary depending on your theme.
Now it’s time to set up the widget and menu. WordPress widget allows you to easily put the information in your website sidebar, footer or any other place. To set up your widget all you need to do is go to Appearance > Widgets.
Menus are those which we put in the navigation bar on a website. You can also find them by going to Appearance > Menus. Again. the menu option depends on the theme. If you do have a premium theme, you can consult with the documentation on how to set your menus up.
Step 7: Getting traffic & making money
If you’re still with us! There are multiple directions that you can go from this point, but the main thing that you need to focus on is to create perfect content and build out relationships with your audience.
So once you’ve been established as a trustworthy source of information in the niche, people will start visiting your website.
Once you have a stream of traffic going through your website, you can start exploring with ways to monetize your website to make money.
Email List: The email list is the most invaluable tool for getting traffic and making money, We will recommend you to set up an email collecting system as soon as you can. But what’s so great about an email list? It gives you major control over what you want to do with the list of email of those. You can simply pitch your product or your new blog to those people instead of waiting for them to come to you.
We have covered a lot of Email Marketing Tool that can help you in doing Email marketing more effectively.
Tips on getting more traffic: We can’t say enough about the power of good content. If you have done the content correctly it will be picked up by Google and other social media networks as well. Make your blog best in class and start building a relationship with people over every available platform.
Just don’t be that blogger who always keeps promoting their product. Be the one who provides knowledge to people and in return people will simply start following you and giving your traffic.