How To Start a Blog: A Beginners Guide to Blogging

Businesses of all kinds are starting to blog as a way to build a long-term audience. But the opposite is also happening, with more and more bloggers starting businesses as an extension of their blog. And it makes sense.

One of the biggest challenges startups face is building an audience for their products. New bloggers, on the other hand, often work backwards: first they build an audience by consistently posting good content, and then they explore ways to monetize their traffic.

Starting a blog is easy if you just want to have a Second job. But if you’re thinking of creative ways to make money as a blogger, you’ll need to be strategic about setting up your blog for success.

This step-by-step guide will take you through starting a blog and turning it into a source of traffic and income. While our guide is intended for those who haven’t started a business yet, it’s also relevant to any existing business looking to get into the blogging game.

What is a blog?

A blog is a website that consists of content, usually focused on a specific topic, that is regularly updated. Unlike news outlets and other publications, blogs tend to take on a personal tone, which helps them connect more deeply with their audiences.

People start their own blogs for all sorts of reasons. , including:

  • To share opinions, passions, or glimpses into their lives
  • To teach others what they know
  • To create a list of email
  • To develop your personal brand as an expert
  • To make money online
  • A combination of any or all of the above

For these reasons, blogging can be incredibly rewarding, especially when complete strangers start consuming your content, but it’s also a commitment.

Whether you post daily, weekly, or monthly, it’s important be as consistent as possible, not only in how often you post, but also in the type of content you post.

It’s very rare You want bloggers to see results from your personal or business blog right away, so to stay motivated in the early stages, you’ll need to keep your eyes on the prize.

How to Start a Blog with No Money as a Beginner

Starting a blog with the potential to be a business boils down to the following steps:

  1. Find a way for your blog to make money
  2. Choose a niche for your blog
  3. Choose a blog platform and template
  4. Choose a blog and domain name
  5. Plan your publishing strategy
  6. Get people to read your blog consistently

The hardest part of blogging is finding the time and ideas you’ll need to do it consistently. Getting started, though, is pretty straightforward.

If you’re wondering why we started our guide on starting a blog with the topic of monetization, it’s because you need to think more like an entrepreneur. than a simple blogger to make this a profitable company.

1. Find a way for your blog to make money

This may sound counterintuitive, but if you’re looking to make money from a blog, you should start with the money first and the content second. A solid monetization strategy comes before your first blog post because it determines what types of content you post and how it grows in the long run. So to get started, you need to think of your new blog as a business, rather than a creative outlet.

There are many ways to monetize your own blog, depending on the type of blog you decide to start. For example, linking a low-investment business to a blog creates a sustainable way to grow for little money plus time and energy.

Many people think that using something like Google AdSense is the only way to start growing. earn money. blogging. But while ads can help generate revenue, they require huge amounts of traffic before they’re financially viable. Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to start a blog and monetize it quickly, without having to have a massive audience.

Here are six ways to monetize:

Sell a book: A great example of someone who has done this is James Clear. After writing a self-development blog, James wrote the book Atomic Habits to monetize his blog and capitalize on the knowledge he had gained from years of writing posts.

This book , sold digitally and physically, not only made his blog financially viable, it also landed it on the New York Times bestseller list.

Affiliate Marketing: This method allows you to earn a commission every time you sell a partner’s product. When done correctly, affiliate commissions can add up and be a great way to generate passive income.

Bases Loaded Softball, for example, writes team reviews to attract readers, then promotes an Amazon product in each new blog post.If a reader buys the product after clicking the link, the blog earns money.

affiliate-marketing-sample-for-bloggersDigital Products: Online courses are a natural way to for bloggers to monetize. Successful bloggers are expert content creators, and the courses build on the knowledge you already have. Just check out CopyHackers.com for inspiration from a blog that’s already made the leap.

selling courses as a blogger example

Physical products: depending on the theme and content of your blog, you can start selling physical products that align with your brand and message. One example of this is Glossier, a makeup brand that grew out of Emily Weiss’s fashion blog, Into The Gloss.

Glossier Blogging Example

Services: If you are an aspiring blogger , most likely you are an expert in a certain area and you are very good with words. Services like consulting, coaching, and speaking engagements are great ways to monetize a blog.

Subscriptions: Patreon isn’t just for YouTubers. When people find value in the information you provide, they may be willing to pay a monthly fee to access exclusive blog content, making subscriptions a great way to monetize a blog.

The The truth is, there are better and faster ways to make money from your blog that don’t require a massive volume of page views every day. That’s doubly true if you can build a loyal audience, not just a big one.

Of course, more than making money, your most important consideration will be who your audience is and how you’re going to serve them. them.

2. Pick a niche for your blog: What’s your “thing” going to be?

There is no shortage of content on the web. It may seem hard to stand out, but there are two ways to compete: by choosing a specific niche to focus on, and by creating content that has something readers can’t easily find elsewhere.

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It’s important to choose a niche that be an inch wide but a mile deep. This will ensure that you can consistently create content without running out of ideas and influencing your blog name (which we’ll cover later).

You’ll also need to ensure that your chosen niche attracts an audience that aligns with with the monetization strategy of your blog. What products or services would this audience be interested in buying?

You can do this in several ways:

  1. Focus your new blog on a specific location (for example, New York )
  2. Focus your blog topic on a specific segment within a larger category (eg, not just recipes, but vegan recipes)
  3. Submit your blog posts blog with a different style or voice (for example, humor)
  4. Compete with quality (for example, detailed posts on a topic that no one else is willing to do)

BlogTO, for example, covers a wide range of lifestyle topics but focuses specifically on the diverse city of Toronto.

blogto example

The niche you choose will determine not only whether you can serve your audience sustainably with a constant flow of content, but t Also how do you monetize.

Ask yourself: What products or services would your blog audience want? t to buy? Whether you plan to monetize with display ads or other strategies we’ll mention later is a fundamental question to ask yourself when choosing a niche for your blog.

You don’t want to skip this last step. A competitive analysis can help build your brand and create a unique voice in the space. The key to a successful blog is to find a gap in prospects and fill it.

3. Choose a blogging platform and template

Before you write your first blog post, you’ll need to set up your blog hosting and content management system. This is where many aspiring bloggers get stuck if they aren’t exactly sure which platform to invest their time and money in.

The choice usually comes down to a self-hosted or hosted blogging platform. :

  • Self-hosting. These platforms generally offer more customization options, but you’ll need to host the site yourself by paying a separate monthly fee to a hosting company. Aside from this cost, a web hosting plan requires some initial setup. WordPress is the open source platform to go to if you are considering the self-hosted route.
  • Hosted. A hosted site will allow you to set up your own blog faster. Shopify, for example, includes hosting in all of its plans. Unlike Shopify, however, some hosted sites, like Blogger or Wix, will limit your customization options.

hosted blogging platform: Shopify

When choosing a platform, you’ll want to choose one that:

  • Is easy to use
  • No coding or HTML skills required
  • It can grow with you

During your blogging journey, there will come a time when you will want to change the look and functionality of your site as your brand matures, your traffic grows, and you have more posts to organize.

You’ll also want to make sure your blogging platform offers a healthy ecosystem of plug-ins and apps—they can bookmark a big difference in optimizing your site performance, running site backups, marketing your new blog, and simplifying tasks.

4.Choose a blog and domain name

Companies like Bluehost will give you a free domain name if you sign up for a hosting plan Bluehost also offers a 3-day money-back guarantee 0 days if you are not satisfied with the service.

Buying a domain name is a good time to think about what you are going to call your website. Unless you are trying to create a personal blog or portfolio site, I would recommend against using your name as your custom domain. You can still be the face of the blog, even if your personal name isn’t in the URL, and it’s much easier to create catchy branding when you come up with a creative name that reflects your message.

Check it out! look at Black Girls RUN! Ashley Hicks-Rocha and Toni Carey’s blog. The blog, while a collection of Ashley and Toni’s personal experiences as black runners, belongs to their brand Black Girls RUN!

black girls run blog example

When choosing a domain name, make sure it is:

  • Memorable
  • Fun to say
  • Easy to spell
  • Unique

Choose a name for Your blog can be tedious, but good branding leaves a memorable impression on readers and lets them know what to expect from your business.

Blogging on Shopify

Shopify is a platform Hosted that includes an ecommerce website builder and blogging platform, with plugins like hundreds of plugins and apps to help you grow and sell physical/digital products or services right away. You can start your free trial today.

Once you’re set up, you’ll need to choose a blog theme.

A “theme” is just a template for your blog’s layout, the design and features of your website. There are plenty of great Shopify themes available for free that you can set up with a single click, regardless of which platform you choose. You can choose a theme on the Online Store tab in your Shopify admin, under Themes.

choosing Shopify theme for blog

But if you’re not happy with those options, consider paying the one-time fee for a premium theme, as it will have a huge impact on the overall user experience.

Shopify Theme Example

Your site design too it can affect your search engine optimization (SEO) and engagement metrics on your blog content. Readers make an instant judgment on the trustworthiness of a site based on how it looks and feels.

Take the house Lars built for example. One look at this interior design and craft blog and you know it’s going to be a fun experience.

house that lars build shopify blog example

From the fast load time to the soft colors and fun illustrations, The House That Lars Built is sure to appeal to readers who are interested in arts, crafts, and design.

Most of us can also remember landing on a poorly designed website and bouncing when it became hard to find. what we were looking for. . Take some time when choosing a new theme, as it can make a big difference in how your blog performs.

Some Shopify apps that can extend the functionality of your blog include:

  • Blog Studio, to enhance your blog posts with just drag-and-drop article builder
  • Blog & Page Builder, to convert Google Docs blogs
  • Philyra, to create products with stylish keyword-based popups on your blogs
  • Yoast SEO for Shopify, to improve your website’s SEO

Building on WordPress

A self-hosted WordPress blog is a great place to start for new bloggers. Note that WordPress is only free if you use WordPress.com – if you use WordPress.org, you’ll need to pay for hosting and your own domain name (all of which you can do with Shopify).

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If you sign up To get a Bluehost account, you can automatically install WordPress from your hosting control panel. If you want to start a free WordPress blog, you can choose a theme at WordPress.com.There are many free WordPress themes to choose from, including some for blogs.

Choose a WordPress theme

If you don’t want to choose a theme right away, click “Skip for now” and the top of the page. You will be redirected to a new page where you can start building your blog.

<img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0070/7032/files/setting up-wordpress-blog.png" alt="setting up wordpress blog" /

Click Give your site a name, then fill in your information and click Save Settings.

creating a blog name

Next, you’ll want to choose your WordPress theme, whether it’s a free theme or a paid one if you have some money to spend. Find a free theme on your WordPress dashboard in the Appearance tab in your sidebar, as seen in the screenshot below.choosing wordpress theme 2

Or find great blogging WordPress themes on marketplaces such as ThemeIsle or ThemeForest. To install an external theme from a site like ThemeIsle, go to Appearance, then Themes and click >Install Theme. There are also many WordPress blog plugins you can install to help market your blog pages.

Want to turn your WordPress blog into an eCommerce minisite? The Shopify Buy Button allows you to sell on any WordPress site or blog for just $5 per month. All you need is a product to sell and you’re ready to go with just a few clicks.

5. Plan Your Posting Strategy

Every blogger needs to keep a good supply of ideas, and it helps if you plan ahead to make sure you never run out. Create a content calendar to help you keep track of your ideas (and stay on track, too).

You can use a simple spreadsheet to plan your content calendar, but I recommend Trello as it’s free and it is also a good place to dump ideas and organize them. Your content calendar should include:

  • What content you are creating
  • Which audience you are targeting
  • Which distribution channels you will launch on and on what date

You can use a simple spreadsheet to plan your content calendar. However, there are much more effective tools available. Trello, Airtable, or Asana are good choices because they make content organization more intuitive.

Thinking about your content mix is ​​also important to get an idea of ​​your blog’s reach and what categories/tags you might wear. to organize it all as you add more great content in the future.

Some types of blog posts to include are:

  • Evergreen content. This is a type of blog content that answers common questions that people have. Evergreen Content is, at its core, educational.
  • Topical content. Topical blog posts capitalize on current events or topics. The great thing about themed content is that it can drive rapid growth on social channels when done right. However, don’t make this the cornerstone of your strategy. Use topical content strategically, but don’t rely on it to drive traffic. It’s hit or miss.
  • Curate Content. Curate Content can be a great way to augment your original content strategy. The web is a big place, and readers appreciate carefully curated content that aligns with their values ​​and interests.
  • Featured Articles. Interviews can be a great way to create rich content in an editorial style. Reports tell a story and take readers into the minds and lives of extraordinary people. Interviews with notable people can be a great way to build authority as you gain credibility by association.
  • Visual content. Visual content is something that every blogger should have in their strategy. Search engines reward blog posts that incorporate videos, original images, and graphics.
  • Interactive content. Quizzes can be a great way to increase engagement, like time on page, and discover more insights about your audience.

Try to plan each blog post at least a month in advance and post on a consistent schedule so your audience has an idea of ​​how often new blog posts are expected . You can always tweak the calendar if a featured story comes up and you need to get published quickly.

Before writing blog posts, start with an outline. While this is a step some bloggers may choose to skip, writing an outline is an effective way to hit all the points you need to hit. It will help you make sure you include relevant keywords and free your mind from the destination so you can focus on the journey.

When you’ve finished writing your blog post, before you hit Publish, here are some simple things to do:

  • Edit your work. While coming back with fresh eyes and using a tool like Grammarly can help catch grammar and syntax errors, having a human editor to share ideas with can help take your blog posts to the next level.
  • Organize your blog post with headings. Subheadings make your posts easier to read and accessible to readers.
  • > Workshop titles and images for social sharing. A title and image can make or break the syndication of your blog post. While we don’t recommend creating clickbait, successful blog headlines and images that stand out on social media and inspire curiosity are vital to getting people to read your work.

Keep in mind that you will not increase your audience overnight. You will have some hits and some misses, but you need to keep going to keep growing.

6. Get people to read your blog consistently

Usually we talk about increasing the audience after publication. But if you want to start a blog and build momentum quickly, you should consider your strategy before launching.

Many bloggers struggle with syndication for two main reasons:

  1. They don’t have a concrete and repeatable distribution strategy within your publishing process.
  2. Publishing a new blog is already a stressful experience, and expanding your reach makes it that much scarier.

The latter is something you eventually get over, but the former requires some initial thought and investment of time before launch.

So, let’s review some of the ways you can plan for growth. and get the most out of every blog post you create.

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Start collecting emails as soon as possible

Regardless of the platform you’re writing on, you need to focus on getting email subscribers. Each new subscriber is a sign that you are doing something right and is a potential reader that you can easily find again.

Even if you switch platforms in the future or decide to start something new, your email list stay with you But it is not enough to have a list of subscribers. You need to capture these emails at all times, and you do with contact forms.

A good habit is to embed contact forms directly into your content or home page with a call-to-action to subscribe. You can even insert one into an exit popup to convert abandoning visitors into subscribers.

Many email marketing solutions allow you to easily create and use these forms. You can even generate a link to a separate contact page that you can link to in your blog posts, social media, and email signature.

Remember that people won’t subscribe to your blog if You don’t ask and if you don’t make it easy for them. Every time you hit the Publish button, you should email it to your list, a process you can automate in the future once you get the hang of things.

Brainstorm about opportunities to go after search engine traffic

Using keyword research, you can get an idea of ​​how much search volume there is for specific search queries in your blog niche. The higher the number, the more demand for a topic, and the more traffic you can potentially generate in the long run.

The easiest way to do this is to use Ubersuggest and enter search terms from the perspective of your audience. to try to discover interesting ideas for blog posts. Queries starting with “how” or “best” are a good place to start.

word research key to blog

Even if you don’t get a spot on the first page of search engine results, you’ll still have an idea of ​​content with proven demand. But if you want to aim high, you can learn more about SEO. And if you’re on Shopify, consider the free SEO checker app to optimize every blog post.

Set up your social media strategy

Although it might It may seem like a smart move to market your new blog on all social media platforms, this can be difficult to manage and not always effective. Instead, focus on the channels where your audience spends the most time. Do they join specific communities or forums? Are they on TikTok versus Facebook? Depending on your niche and resources, your choice of channels will vary.

For example, Oh Happy Day, an online party supply store, taps into its growing list of more than 1.7 million followers each year. time you publish a new blog post.

social blog sharing

Don’t neglect your personal networks, either: your friends and family are a great early audience.

Don’t neglect your personal networks, either: your friends and Family members are a great early audience when you start a blog.

Reduce, reuse, and revamp your content

You can’t handle a long, single blog post every day. the days.A good blogger knows how to reuse and repurpose their content to get the most out of it. Here are some blog post ideas to consider:

  • Post a roundup of past blog posts with a common theme (for example, “Our Best Posts of 2022”).
  • Recreate blog posts like other types of content, such as infographics or quizzes.
  • Update and republish old content from time to time after a good amount of time has passed to improve ranking in Google Search. This works great with seasonal content (for example, “10 Lazy Halloween Costume Ideas”).
  • Consider accepting guest blog posts once you’ve started building a following. Guest authors are likely to share this content with their own audiences as well.
  • Add links to related content within and at the bottom of your posts. (If you’re on Shopify, install the free Related Blog Posts app.)
  • Become a podcast guest and discuss some blog topics you’ve already written about.

When time is money and you’re in the blogging business, you need to constantly get more value out of your efforts.

Understand analytics to understand your audience

The best Opportunities are hidden in your data, waiting to be discovered.

Whether you’re using a WordPress blog or the Shopify platform, take the time to set up Google Analytics on your site (it’s free). With a Google Analytics account, you can get more detailed information about your new blog, such as the average amount of time people spend reading your posts, the quality of readers coming from different sources, and even the number of readers in real time. .

Data can also be used as leverage for bloggers. The ability to demonstrate how much traffic you generate is a great asset that makes it more likely that others will want to work with you or have access to your audience.

How much money do bloggers make?

Full-time bloggers can make a healthy living by writing content online. In fact, according to finance blog Millennial Money, people who start a blog can earn up to $50,000 even in their first year, while bloggers who have generated traffic and subscribers earn more than $100,000 the following year.

Get started now and make money blogging

Whether it’s your first time or you’ve done it a million times, it’s your audience that ultimately makes your blog successful. successful. If you want to increase your traffic and make money from blogging, focus on growing this audience as you add new content on a regular basis.

You can learn more about how to make money from blogging by checking out the following resources and Success Stories:

  • Blog to Business: How Black Girls RUN! Started a community-driven movement
  • An interview with the co-founder of Wait But Why about content monetization
  • Free Stock Photography Sites
  • How to Earn YouTube Money (Without a Million Subscribers)

Blogging is not only fun and rewarding, it’s also one of many paths to entrepreneurship. If you think like an entrepreneur and aim high when it comes to growth, you can start a blog with a valuable audience that will drive your business forward for a long time.

Illustration by Alice Mollon

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