How to Start a Blog – Best Beginners Guide

How to Start a Blog – Best Beginners Guide (Part One)

Now I bet you’ve come here to learn how to start a blog and make money.

This beginners guide will take you by the hand so that you can start a blog in as little time as 30 minutes!

Heck it will take you longer to decide on a blog name and a hosting company but I will cover that so you don’t have to worry about it.

Follow these easy steps below and you could start your blog set up today and be ready to monetize!

So what is a blog?

Yeah, sorry we are covering the boring bits as well!

Put very simply a blog is a way for you to write about your passion or to help others.

You might ask the question can you make money blogging and the answer is YES.  I do and I’m going to show you how to.

Is it easy to start a blog?

Yeah, it’s so much easier than it ever has been. So, let’s look at the 6 easy steps.

Step 1 – Selecting a subject for your blog

Some considerations:

What do you want to achieve from the blog?

Do you want to make money from a blog?

Do you want to tell the world about your latest hobby on your blog?

Perhaps you want to a start a blog because you love politics and want to share your opinions. 

Selecting Your Niche

What to blog about?

Finding a subject to write about is the first thing you need to consider when starting a blog.

If you want it to work, you need to:

  • Have a clear idea what and why you want to write or start a blog.
  • Choose something that solves a problem. You don’t necessarily have to be passionate about the subject. People will listen if you are solving a problem they have.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have great digital or even writing skills. All these things can be learned as you go along or outsourced to someone else.

I found that one niche blog subject I chose, which was more my husband’s passion, fixed gear bikes received really targeted traffic. This is quite a narrow topic but it did well until I neglected it!

Some Topic Ideas to Start a Blog about to Make Money

  1. Making money online.
  2. Working from home.
  3. Health and fitness, well being, losing weight, gaining muscle, running.
  4. Hobbies – sewing, knitting, crocheting – great subjects for YouTube videos.
  5. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, bringing up children.
  6. DIY

What I will stress is that if you want to earn money from your blog then you have to think carefully about each and every blog post.  You will need to think about products you can promote to your readers or keywords that your customers will be searching on. 

Step 2 – Choose the blogging platform to start a blog on

Option 1: You can set up a blog for free (not recommended if you want to earn money!)

You can set up a blog for free on:

  • blogger.com
  • Tumblr.com
  • WordPress.com

By far the biggest blogging platform online is WordPress which accounts for nearly half the blogging market.

The next most popular is Blogger with Tumblr not far behind. They all have their pros and cons but each is easy to set up and start a blog.

This difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org always confuses me!

So just in case it confuses you: 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WORDPRESS.COM AND WORDPRESS.ORG

WordPress.com hosts your blog for you so you don’t need to purchase hosting or a domain name. 

WordPress.org is the free WordPress software that you can download and install on a hosting server. You need to purchase both a domain name and a hosting package.

The pros and cons of a free blog (WordPress.com)

Pros of a free blog

  • Best of all it’s FREE
  • No technical knowledge required
  • Easy to set up
  • Can test whether blogging is for you
  • Can use as a linking tool to another site

Cons of a free blog

  • Limited monetization options
  • Difficult to move over to a WordPress hosted option
  • You do not own the blog
  • Very limited design options
  • Limited functionality
  • The blog name will include the site’s name e.g. I set up a blogger account years ago and the url is http://hotvirtualassistance.blogspot.co.uk.

Who should set up a free blog:

A hobbyist – if you just want to write about a subject you are passionate about and do not want to make money from it.

Someone who can’t afford to pay for a domain or hosting.

If you want to test whether you have the motivation to keep writing but remember if you want to move these articles it can be time consuming.

Option 2:  A Paid Option

You will need to buy:

  • domain name (website name)
  • hosting package (where your website and articles will be stored).

The pros and cons of a paid (hosted) blog

Pros of a hosted blog

  • You can choose how to monetize your blog
  • You own the blog
  • A multitude of design templates
  • Almost unlimited functionality
  • Easier for others to share your content
  • You can choose the blog/website name

Cons of a hosted blog

  • The cost of a monthly or yearly subscription
  • Slightly more technical (although hosting providers are making it so much easier)
  • Difficult to get traffic

Who should set up a paid blog/website:

A professional business who wants to promote their goods or services.

A person wanting to make money from their blog or site.

Anyone serious about blogging.

What blogging platform to start a blog on:

The most popular blogging platform is WordPress. The software you install on your server is known as a Content Management System.

There are others including Joomla and Drupal. However, WordPress is the most popular so we will be discussing WordPress from here on in.

Only follow the next steps for the paid option.

Step 3 – Choose a domain name

What is a domain name?

A domain name is the name that you choose to call your blog/website.

Here are three considerations:

Is it catchy?

Try to think of a name that is easy to remember, some ‘catchy’ names I have seen for Virtual Assistant sites include Nu-type, AssistU, etc. My advice is to ask your family and friends about your choice to get a different perspective on your name choice. In addition it should also be easy to spell, say and write.

Does it reflect the business you are in and the type of person you are?

Advice that I ignored for my business domain was to actually put my service in my name e.g. Chris’s Virtual Assistance. I went for Help on Tap and then chose www.hotva.co.uk for my domain name.

It is or was believed that Google’s ranking factors takes into consideration whether the keyword is in the website name.

For example: If someone is looking for a virtual assistant then a website with virtual assistant in the website site will appear higher up. But there are so many other factors that Google takes into consideration.

If your site is a business website with a blog decide what image you would like to project and whether your advertising, documentation, and stationery will be effective with this name as its ‘banner’.

Is it legal?

It is important that the name you choose is not unlawful and does not contain certain words and descriptions that are restricted. If you are based in the UK there are restrictions named under the Business Names Act 1985 including such names as English, Group, Trust, Royal, etc. You will need to check these out.  You must also ensure the name you have chosen doesn’t already exist.

Before selecting it check it’s also available on Twitter and Facebook.

You can choose to buy your domain separately to ensure you get the domain name you really want. Then at a later date you can choose where to host it. I have used namecheap.com and 123.reg.

The better option is to go for a hosting company that offers a free domain and we will discuss this is in Step 4.

Take your time deciding on a domain name 

Ask what people think on forums etc.

How much will a domain cost?

It all depends on the name but I personally wouldn’t pay anymore than $20 per year. Some hosting companies including Bluehost offer a free domain with hosting packages.

Step 4 – Choose a hosting company for your blog

Choosing a hosting company where your blog is stored is important.

This can be a minefield and confusing. There are so many hosting companies out there.

The hosting company that I am using for this site is Bluehost. It’s extremely reliable, offers great customer service and the hosting starts as low as $2.95 per month.

If you use the link below and get stuck setting up your blog then contact me with proof of purchasing through the link below and I will give you one hour free help.

Step 5 – Install WordPress

Bluehost makes it so easy to set up your blog. Check out the screenshots below to see how it will take you less than 5 minutes (depending on your typing speed!) to set up.

Select install WordPress

bluehost one click install wordpress

Click on the Install Button

Bluehost one click install wordpress

Select the domain that you want to install WordPress on

bluehost one click install wordpress select domain

Add the site name and update the Admin Username and Password (make a note of these) – then Install Now

Bluehost one click install wordpress select advanced options

It’s as simple as that!

Step 6 – Choose a design

Gosh there’s so much choice for designing a WordPress blog. WordPress.org has so many free WordPress themes for you to choose from.

In addition, you can purchase Premium WordPress themes which offer greater support and security.

Designers are creating WordPress themes to specific needs.

For instance, if you want to offer painting services then you can purchase a theme designed around this such as the painting WordPress theme below:

DIY Painting WordPress Theme

Themeforest have over 40,000 themes and website templates.

They are definitely worth checking out.

Most themes come with a page builder – I absolutely love WPBakery (previously known as Visual Composer) so I would advise to choose one with WPBakery. It will make building your blog or website so easy.

Looking for a theme for your Virtual Assistant business then check out these themes that I think would be great for a VA business.

If you have any questions please ask them below and I will try to answer them.

I hope this beginners guide to start a blog has been helpful.

Good Luck with setting up your blog and let me know how you get on below.

Part TwoHow to make money from your blog.

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