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This post talks in-depth about how to start a profitable blog from scratch.
By the end of reading this article, you will exactly know how to start a blog that not only drives an engaged audience but also makes money on autopilot.
You will exactly know how to decide a profitable niche by a 6-step formula that not only helps you to gather blog post ideas but also let you know which topics to target to make money for the long run.
I will show all the exact steps from choosing a domain name until monetizing your blog. Overall, I will cover all the topics required to start a profitable blog.
So, if you know nothing about blogging, then this article is your cup of tea.
What is a Blog?
A blog is a website that is frequently updated with content known as blog posts.
It is presented in reverse chronological order i.e. newer content appears first followed by previous content.
Why Start a Blog?
Frankly, there are many reasons you must start a blog & here are a few of them.
- Make Money From Your Home: Yes, it’s true. You can make money from your home but it doesn’t mean that you have to stay in your home. Blogging gives you the flexibility to work from any part of the world as long as you have access to the internet. I am myself a full-time blogger and I love it because it has given me a lot of freedom & flexibility.
- Gives Exposure To Any Business: With blogging, you have the power to give exposure to your business to a wider audience. This means you can target a larger audience at a very affordable price.
- Build An Online Presence: With blogging, you can build a good online presence where you can share your story, help & encourage others & build a strong community.
- Learn A Variety Of Skills: A blogger develops a lot of skills such as content writing, graphic designing, online marketing, SEO & many more. It’s a great way to develop multiple skills that you can use to make more money by offering your services or selling your own courses.
How Much Does a Blog Cost?
Well, starting a blog doesn’t cost thousands of bucks. You can literally start a one with just a few dollars. If you follow this post, you can literally start a blog under $5/month.
Over time, when your blog grows, you can invest more to upgrade it.
Can I Start a Blog For Free?
Yes, you can definitely start a blog for free. But there are a few problems you will encounter & here are a few of them.
- Limited Features – Most of the free blogging platform offers basic features. This is great if you want to try out blogging but when it grows, you realize that the current features aren’t sufficient.
- Monetization Limits – Starting with a free platform limits monetization unless you upgrade to a higher plan. Upgrading means you have to spend money on their paid plans which kills the reason to start a blog for free.
- No Consistency – When we pay for something, we care for it. The same goes for blogging. Creating a blog by investing money encourages you to be discipline & consistent which is the key to success.
- Restricted – A free blog makes you feel restricted. A good example is when you visit other blogs, you will notice some cool features and tools you might want to replicate. But sadly, a free platform has a limitation.
- Migration Hectic – If you ever want to switch to a paid service (which surely you will do), then migrating from a free to a paid service is a heck lot of work. If you hire someone to do all the work for you, it may cost you hundreds of bucks.
What All The Requirements Needed to Start a Blog?
- Domain Name – The URL address of your future website (For example, lifezeazy.com).
- Web Hosting – The hosting provider who will host your website and store its data.
- Blog Theme – A Website design layout
How to Start a Blog?
Starting a blog may seem kinda daunting but it is easy. If you have the basic knowledge about the internet, then you can literally create your blog within 20 minutes.
Following are the steps you need to follow to start one.
- Choose a Blogging niche
- Create a Domain Name
- Choose a Blogging Platform
- Pick a Web Host
- Install WordPress
- Change Your Nameservers
- Log in to Your WordPress Dashboard
- Install a Blog Theme
STEP 1: Choose a Blogging Niche
There are many newbie bloggers who choose a niche thinking it is profitable but end up getting bored or have less interest to continue.
Do you know why? Because
- They were more behind the money rather than interest.
- They thought blogging is just about writing content which actually is not.
Always remember, blogging is not a get rich quick scheme as it takes time and dedication. You need to have a proper roadmap to make your blog successful which starts with choosing a niche.
A niche that is profitable should be on your list but most importantly, you should have an interest in it.
Selecting a niche just because it is making big bucks doesn’t guarantee success if you have the least interest in it.
However, if you choose a niche you like and is profitable, that’s the one for you.
Here are some factors you should also consider while selecting a niche.
- Does the niche have a lot of topics to discuss?
- Does it have problems that people are looking for answers to?
- Are there any products to solve those problems?
These are the questions you need to ask while choosing a niche & if your selected one fulfills all of them, then you just found a great niche for yourself.
To make things easier, here is a profitable niche finding method that you can apply.
There are many niches great for making money and if you have an interest in any of them, then you can simply choose from here.
- Food – Ex. dishingupthedirt.com
- Health & Fitness – Ex. www.muscleandfitness.com
- Lifestyle – Ex. cupofjo.com
- Beauty & Fashion – Ex. www.lovebrownsugar.com
- How to make money – My blog
- Personal Finance – www.dollarsprout.com
- Personal Development – Ex. www.artofmanliness.com
STEP 2: Create a Domain Name
After you have chosen a niche, it’s time to pick up a domain name.
A domain name is nothing but the URL address of your blog that people will type to reach out to your blog.
You can use any name that depicts your niche. To make things easier, follow the below tips to find a great domain for your blog.
- Try to include your niche name in your domain name as it is good for SEO. For example, smartpassiveincome.com is a blog about making an income through online marketing
- Try to make your domain name short so that there will be less chance for misspelling if anyone wants to visit.
- Go for a .com domain extension.
- If possible, avoid hyphens & numbers in your domain name.
- Check all the social media platforms to see whether the chosen domain name is available for creating handles. This is great for branding.
You can check out this step-by-step guide for purchasing a domain name from GoDaddy.
To save some money, you can check the price of your preferred domain on both websites to see which one is selling for cheap. Also, look out for coupon codes to get a discount price.
STEP 3: Choose a Blogging Platform
A blogging platform is a service that gives all the tools for the creation of web pages for publishing your content.
There are many free blogging platforms available such as Wix, Blogspot, Weebly, Squarespace, WordPress.
Each & every one of them has a good & bad side. But, the one used by most of the bloggers is WordPress because it is flexible, easy to use & has a large community.
WordPress sites get ranked better on search engines like Google & that is why I always prefer to go with WordPress.
But there are two types of WordPress available
- WordPress.com takes care of all the hosting for you. You don’t have to download software, pay for hosting, or manage a web server.
- You will get basic website functionality with a free plan and you have to pay for additional features.
- It offers a sub-domain of WordPress.com. For example, mysitename.wordpress.com. However, you can get a custom domain name with a paid plan.
- WordPress.org is self-hosted which means you host your own blog using a web host such as A2 Hosting, Siteground, etc.
- You’ll get the free WordPress software that you can download and install on your own web server.
- You can also use your own custom domain for your blog’s URL. For example, mysitename.com.
If you are serious about blogging & want to turn it into a full-time business, go for WordPress.org and that’s what I will use in this guide.
STEP 4: Pick a Web Host
Choosing a good web host is the most important part when starting your blog.
There are many web hosts available that promise many things but falls short.
If you are really cautious about ranking your content on Google & delivering a user-friendly atmosphere, ensure to stay away from cheap web hosts that don’t provide good loading speed.
Moreover, you will also face a lot of downtimes which is not good for blogging.
There are many reports that recommend staying away from Web host owned by EIG (Endurance International Group). Yes, Bluehost, HostGator and many others come under them).
That is why I always go for a trusted web host that offers good loading speed and a good customer support.
Personally, I use A2 Hosting because they are not owned by EIG & they provide good uptime and has a very affordable plan. (If you are on a tight budget).
Site Loading Speed
My site loads faster and here is the loading test report from webpagetest.org.
Please note ads & improper optimization can make your WordPress blog a little slow. That is why one of them is C.
Great Customer Support
There are many times when I was stuck in various problems such as my memory usage was full because of which my site went down.
It was completely my mistake & when I did a live chat with them; they solved my problem within 5 minutes.
They are friendly and supportive. If by chance, you are in the queue, you can leave a mail to them with your problem and they will revert quickly.
Overall, I am satisfied with their 24/7 service as a customer.
Anytime Money-Back Guarantee
The is the best feature I will say because it puts a lot of confidence in them.
You can get a prorated refund on your plans. This means you can get a refund of your unused months which is why I trust them a lot.
For example, if you are using a one-year plan & want to get a refund after 5 months, they will happily refund you for the rest 7 months.
If you want to get a full refund, you can ask them within 30 days.
Here are other benefits of using A2 Hosting.
- Free SSL certificate (Change http to HTTPs great for security)
- Unlimited SSD Space & Transfer
- Free & Easy Site Migration
- Free Automatic Backups
- Speed Optimized WordPress
- They have a good uptime
Step A: Choose a Plan
Click here to land on the below page where you need to click on Shared hosting.
If you only want to use the web host for a single site, then the Lite plan will be the most suitable for you.
However, Swift & Turbo are most suitable for those bloggers who have bigger site with great traffic or wants to run multiple sites.
Another thing is you can also change the currency according to your country. For example, If I want to pay in Indian Rupee, then I will change the currency as shown below.
After clicking, you can see the prices have changed to Indian Rupees.
So, choose whichever is suitable for you & click on “Get” button which in my case is Lite.
Step B: Use Your Existing Domain
In the next step, enter your domain name which you bought earlier.
For this, choose the 3rd option i.e. “I will use my existing domain and update my nameservers” & then enter your domain name.
Step C: Review & Complete
After entering your domain name, on the next page, you can choose extra options.
1. Billing Cycle
First is the billing cycle where you have the option to choose from 1, 12, 24 & 36 months.
Remember, the higher the billing cycle you choose, the bigger the discount will apply. So, choose accordingly.
Once your cycle is completed, renew the plan with the regular price.
2. Server Location
This will be the data centre location for your blog.
Its recommended choosing the location nearer to your target audience.
For example, if you are targeting Indian audience, then Singapore (Asia/India) will be the best option.
3. Turbo Boost
Turbo boost enhances your site speed & sadly, you have to pay for this feature.
It’s not necessary right now so you can select none.
4. SSL Certificate
SSL certificate provides privacy, critical security and data integrity for both your blog and your user’s personal information.
Gladly, A2 Hosting provides free SSL certificate & you can get that by choosing the “Let’s Encrypt SSL” option.
5. Dedicated IP
Currently, its not required so you can ignore it.
6. DropSuite Offsite Backups
Sadly, it’s a paid feature which lets you create automatic backups for your blog. You can either choose this feature or better install a free plugin like Updraft that also does the same work.
I personally use Updraft that automatically backups my data every Sunday on my Dropbox account.
7. Barracuda Spam Firewall
This is a great feature to block malicious & junk email with smart anti-spam protection.
I don’t use this and instead, use a security plugin like All in One security which does the same work.
So, you can either choose or ignore it.
8. A2 Website Builder
This is a free feature that provides a readymade template you can use to add & publish your content.
Railgun is a website performance solution created by Cloudflare that significantly speed up the delivery of your non-cached web pages.
You can either choose (paid feature) or ignore it.
10. Cloudflare Plan Basic Monthly
You can use Cloudflare’s free plan is more than enough for a small single blog. So, you can ignore this option.
11. Auto-Install Application
This is an optional feature which you can choose either now or you can choose once you are in your Cpanel.
If you choose it, then WordPress will be installed on your blog. Otherwise, you can manually visit your Cpanel to install it.
I will ignore it for now.
Next, you can see your login details just below this option which will be sent in your Inbox.
Last, review everything and click on Continue.
Step 5: Install WordPress
If you have ignored installing WordPress in the previous step, don’t worry you can do it now using your Cpanel.
Once you have purchased your web host, you will get an email with all the details related to your web host along with Cpanel login details.
Once you are logged in, you can find WordPress under Softaculous Apps Installer.
Just click and install it. It will merely take a one-minute.
Step 6: Change Your Nameservers
Nameservers are provided by web hosts, and they’re key to your website being visible on the web.
If you don’t replace your domain nameservers to your web host nameservers, your blog won’t be seen on the web.
So, to change them, login to your domain website (in my case, its GoDaddy) & click on DNS.
On the next page, you will find the Nameserver option. Click change and replace your GoDaddy nameservers with the A2 Hosting nameservers.
Once done, save and that’s it.
Step 7: Log in to Your WordPress Dashboard
After following all the previous steps, you need to log in to your WordPress dashboard.
To do this, type “yourdomainname/wp-admin” & hit enter to visit the login page. For example, http://lifezeazy.com/wp-admin
Here, enter your username (or email), password & click on login. (A2 Hosting will provide details via e-mail)
Step 8: Install a Blog Theme
Want to make your blog eye-catching & user-friendly? Then you have to install a WordPress theme.
If you head to the themes section by navigating to your Appearance tab in your dashboard, you can browse thousands of free themes.
Free themes are great for getting started but they lack proper customization. There are many features you should look for in a theme that free themes lack.
However, you can fill that space by installing plugins but a lot of plugins makes your blog slow.
Usually, always look for these features before installing them.
- SEO friendly
- Clean codes
- Fast loading
- Offers related post features
- Simple yet effective design layout
- Mobile Responsive (most important)
I am using GeneratePress Premium theme which is a light-weight theme with all the following features.
They also offer a free version great for fresh sites. Over time, when you start making money, you can upgrade it to its premium version that offers a lot of customization options.
How to Install a Theme
To install any theme on WordPress, go to Appearance > Themes & click on “Add New” at the top.
Choose your preferred them & install it.
If you have a premium theme, then you can find an “upload button” at the top. Click it and upload your premium theme & then install it.
That’s all you need to do.
Step 9: How To Make Money From Your Blog
Having a blog gives you the opportunity to make money from multiple monetization methods.
If you are thinking you can only make money from ads or selling products, then you are completely wrong.
Though initially, these two methods will be the most appropriate one but as your blog grows, you can implement more monetization methods to grow your income.
That’s the beauty of having a blog because there is no limit to earning. If you are smart & hardworking, you can even become rich by growing your online blog.
So, don’t you want to know those methods? Well, you can check out the blogging monetization methods from here.
Step 10: How To Drive Traffic To Your Blog
This is the most important step which makes a blog successful.
No matter how good your content is, how great your site design is, if there is no traffic then all these things make little sense.
As a new site, it’s quite difficult to drive traffic to your blog because first, you are new to this blogosphere. Second, nobody has heard about you & your blog.
So starting a blog from scratch is hard work but slowly you will definitely see the progress.
With that in mind, following are my best blog traffic posts.
Remember that you don’t have to try everything at once. Instead, implement one at a time.
This means pick a traffic source and be a master in that. Once you can drive steady traffic from that source, then only go for another one.
- How to drive Pinterest traffic to your blog
- 6 Steps to drive Quora traffic to your new blog
- 7 Ways to attract traffic to your blog
Becoming a Blogger Course
If you are looking for an e-course that teaches A-Z about blogging, then you can check out Becoming a Blogger course.
This course is great for any blogger. Whether you are a beginner or intermediate, you will definitely take away a lot of things useful for your blogging business.
When you enroll in this course, you get to learn the following topics.
Over to You
Starting a profitable blog definitely takes a lot of work, but it definitely pays well for a long time.
It requires dedication and patience. If you are ready to invest your time and effort into your blog, you will definitely taste success.
Please remember never give up on your blog because if you give up then what was the point of starting it?
I hope these words will surely help you in your blogging journey. Cheers.