99% of bloggers fail!
Why? Because people don’t realize that it’s time-consuming and hard work.
There’s two problems that cause this:
1. Blogging is mentally tough!
Most blogging gurus will tell you how blogging can be very lucrative and empowering, but fail to mention just how mentally challenging it can be. Not adequately preparing new bloggers for these roadblocks is detrimental to their blogging success. They don’t just need a plan to start, but they also need to be mentally prepared for the journey.
Think of athletes before a big game, the coach comes into the locker room and gives a great motivating speech, preparing the players to perform their best against the adversary and challenge that they will face.
The same applies to blogging. Having the ability to persevere will be one of your biggest assets.
2. Consistency is your key to success
The second reason why most bloggers fail is inconsistency. Most successful bloggers will tell you that the process is very, very simple. It’s easy in the beginning when your blog is new and shiny and you’re motivated.
But what happens when months have gone by and barely anyone is coming to your blog yet?
What happens when you still haven’t made a dime?
Are you going to just shut your laptop and give up, wasting all the time and money you’ve already spent? Before starting a blog, it’s good to make a promise to yourself that you will continue to work on your blog NO MATTER WHAT.
Success comes through consistently showing up and doing the work, despite all the excuses that you could think of.
So why do you want to start a blog?
Are you tired of reading about other people’s blogging success stories or looking at all of those blogging income reports thinking how nice your life could be if only you were making that much money a month?
Right now that might seem like a dream, but it can totally be your reality as well. You just have to first, start. Second, don’t stop.
As a baby, how many times did you fail before you learned to walk? You didn’t try a handful of times and gave up. Anything is possible as long as you’re committed.
How do you complete a marathon? One step at a time. That’s it. One step at a time.
Blogging is no different.
So forget what you’ve heard or read. You don’t need years of coding experience or a background in marketing to create a successful blogging business.
As long as you have a desire to learn, and willing to put in the time and effort, you can do this!
Creating a blog can be an extremely exciting and rewarding venture. It can also be a lot of work, but I’ll tell you this, it’s totally worth it!
If you’ve ever wanted to make a difference by sharing your knowledge and expressing yourself through writing, or you might just want to learn how to make money from home, then blogging can definitely be a great path for you.
If you think blogging might be too technical or difficult, I’m here to tell you that ANYONE can do this. There are many bloggers of all ages, in every niche, that have built six and even seven-figure blogs.
This guide is designed to build a solid foundation so that ANYONE can start a successful blogging!
Whether you want to start a blog to create a business, add a blog to an existing business, or simply create a blog as a hobby, the information in this guide will help you get there.
Creating a successful blog is easier than you think
SimpleBlogger focuses on providing knowledge and clarity by breaking down the fundamentals into simple steps so that beginners are well informed and are able to make decisions every step of the way with confidence.
The advice in this guide is based on research, statistics, and experience from today’s top six-figure bloggers to increase your chances of success.
The main key to creating a successful blog is to get your website off the ground as fast as you can, learn as you go, and don’t give up.
Nothing will stall your success more than striving for perfection.
The goal is not to create the perfect blog from the start, but to start your blog and then improve as you move forward.
You’ll make plenty of mistakes along the way and that is just fine. If you’re making mistakes, it means that you’re taking action, and taking action is what ultimately leads to success.
As you move forward in the process, you can always go back and improve your layout, update existing blog posts, create your logo, etc. The most important thing is for you to not get stuck on a particular task or step for too long.
Again, the idea is to help you get your blog started as fast as you can, not to overwhelm you with too much information.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through the main components of setting up a blog. It’s extremely easy. Simply read through each step and take action.
With that being said, if you’re ready, let’s get started!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this guide are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. In some cases, you will actually be able to purchase products or services at a discounted price.
What is a niche?
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you already know what a niche is and that you already have a niche chosen. For those of you that don’t know, a niche is just the topic that you will be blogging about.
For example, here are some of today’s most popular niches:
- Self Improvement
Niche blogs are typically designed to educate, inform, or entertain the reader about a particular topic.
In business, you can either create something new or improve upon an existing idea. Very seldom will someone start a business that’s unique, and that’s perfectly fine.
Most likely there are going to be similar websites that already exist, but there’s no reason to worry. It will be your unique personality and approach that’s going to be the difference.
Every one of us has something special to bring to the table. We all have different backgrounds and life experiences that allow us to stand out from all of the other bloggers and offer readers something different.
Pick a niche that you’re interested in
What do you find yourself constantly thinking about? What do you love talking about?
If you want to establish a successful blog, you’re going to be spending a lot of time reading and researching, making notes, writing, editing, etc. so it’s important to choose a topic that you enjoy talking about.
If you’re going to be spending that much time on a topic, you might as well choose a niche that you’re passionate about.
Does this niche have enough material to blog about?
A successful blog doesn’t happen overnight.
Blogs require lots of content and it could take a while before it really starts to gain traction so just make sure you’ll be able to come up with enough material to blog about.
Visit other blogs in the niche and take a look at how many blog posts there are. More than likely, there’s going to be a sufficient amount of material to cover.
For more information on this step, CopyBlogger has a great post on choosing a niche and determining the size of a potential audience.
The next step is an exciting one, which is picking your domain name!
A domain name is what people will type in to visit your website. Choosing the right domain name is important because it’s part of what makes your blog unique. Even if you already know right now what you want to name your blog, let’s first go over some important things to consider.
Don’t Overthink It
Your domain name doesn’t have to include your topic in it. Over time, your name will become your brand.
Just look at some of these companies’ names;
These companies are a success because of what they do, not because of their names.
When these companies first started out, by looking at their names, you might not have been able to guess what they did.
As long as you’re able to create great content that helps people, and drive traffic to your site, you’ll be fine.
Keep it short
While the average domain length is between 6 and 14 characters, research shows that the ideal length of a domain name is 8 characters.
For example, facebook.com is much easier to remember than www.aplacetoconnectwithfriendsandfamily.com
Avoid hyphens, numbers, & underscores.
Using only letters will not only make your domain name appear more professional, but it will also alleviate confusion for the people trying to find you.
Easy to Relay
Make sure your domain name is easy to relay. If you have to tell someone your domain name and it has a number in there, or you spelled a word differently, it’s going to create a bit of confusion.
If your domain name is too long or hard to spell, it’s not going to be easy for you to relay and it’s not going to be easy for someone else to remember.
Of course, there is always the exception, but if you want to increase your chances of success, please take these all into consideration before rushing into one.
Domain Extensions are the notation at the end of an address that specifies the category or country code.
Some of the most common domain extensions;
.com – Most popular and used by all industries
.org – Commonly used for education websites and community forums
.net – Used primarily by internet providers, network service providers, and tech-related websites
.io – Most commonly used by new tech-related startups
You should always aim for .com since it’s the most popular, most trusted, easiest to remember, and outranks the rest. However, if your domain name isn’t available, don’t sweat it, choosing a .net or other popular extension is not going to hinder your success.
If you choose to host your site through Bluehost, you can get a free domain name with your package. And if you can’t decide on a name just yet, no worries. BlueHost will let you choose a name at a later time.
This will give you time to brainstorm. Picking a domain name is important. It is part of your brand so while you shouldn’t rush it, at the same time, don’t over think it.
Action will ultimately lead you to success, not your domain name by itself.
What is Hosting?
Web hosting is a type of service that allows you to get your website accessible to the web. The hosting company you choose will be the place that stores and provides all of your website’s files so that visitors can view your content.
How to Choose the Best Hosting?
If you’re just getting started with blogging or websites, I know it can be a bit overwhelming.
Whether this is your first blog or your twentieth, you should choose a hosting company that’s trusted, reliable, fast, and in case you need help, great customer service.
For that reason, the company I personally recommend, and most other bloggers as well, is BlueHost.
They’re definitely one of the most established and reliable hosting companies in the blogging industry.
Bluehost also tops the list for Best WordPress Hosts for Beginners. And with plans starting at $2.95/ month, it’s tough to beat.
Choose a Hosting Plan
Pick Your Blog’s Domain Name
If you have already chosen a domain name in step 2, great! You can go ahead and enter it in this section. If you have not chosen a name just yet, no worries. As mentioned earlier, Bluehost will allow you to enter in at a later time.
Create Your Bluehost Account
1. Enter Your information
Use your Google account to autofill your information to expedite the process. If you don’t have a Google account, you can manually enter it in. Just be sure to use your current email address, as your account information and login details will be emailed to you.
2. Choosing the Account Plan
The next step is to choose a plan length. As you can see, the longer the agreement, the cheaper it comes out to be in the long run.
Bluehost offers 12, 24, and 36 month plans. Note that your first contract with any hosting company will be much less expensive with your initial agreement. After your term expires, the renewal prices will increase. This is why opting for a longer term agreement is a much better deal, given that it fits your current financial situation.
Which pricing plan is best to start a blog with?
As I mentioned before, choosing the longest term guarantees that you save the most money which is why I always recommend it. As for the actual plans, since the price difference between Basic and Choice Plus is so small, going with Choice Plus is a good idea considering all of the included benefits;
- Free domain name
- Unlimited Websites
- Unlimited SSD Storage
- Unmetered Bandwidth
- Free SSL Certificate
- Unlimited Domains
- Spam Experts
- Domain Privacy + Protection
- Site Backup – CodeGuard Basic
- 1 Microsoft 365 Mailbox – Free 30 Days
Regardless of your choice of term or plan, Bluehost offers a great deal for new bloggers getting started. To recap, longer terms same you money over time. Choice Plus offers a whole lot more for a couple extra bucks a month. Ultimately, take your own situation into consideration and what make sense to you.
3. Choosing Package Extras
For now, I would recommend skipping the extras.
There will be plugins that we’ll install later to help out with search engine optimization amongst other things. The Choice Plus plan already comes with so much that I wouldn’t worry about the extras. Domain Privacy Protection is included which is definitely a must. This keeps your private information (name, address, email, phone number) private.
When I was a young and naive blogger, being cheap, I opted out of the recommended plan which did not include Privacy Protection. I ended up receiving spam comments on my site, developers from across the world emailing me, calling me as well. You can see how that could be annoying right?
As I mentioned earlier though, having the domain privacy extra keeps all of your personal contact information (your name, email, phone number and address) private.
If you do decide on the Basic plan, just make sure you get the Domain Privacy Protection.
The total might seem like a lot, but just know that your site will have hosting for a quite a while, especially if you choose to go with a longer term.
Rest assured, Bluehost does offer a 30 day money back guarantee for any reason you should change your mind.
4. Enter Your Billing Information
Now all that’s left is filling in your billing information, checking the box saying that you agree to Bluehost’s Terms of Service, and clicking on that submit button.
Alright! You are now one step closer to getting your blog off the ground. Now all we have to do is install WordPress, select a theme, and optimize your blog. Once that’s done, the real fun begins!
While there are plenty of blogging platforms out there such as Blogger, Tumblr, Medium, Squarespace, Wix etc. none compare to WordPress which is why it is the only platform I recommend.
If you have followed the steps above and purchased hosting + free domain from Bluehost, it will automatically start installing WordPress for you.
Note: This step could take a while so be patient and in the meantime read about themes in the next section.
If for any reason it does not automatically install, you can call them and they will do it for you. Their customer support is excellent.
What is a Theme?
According to WPBeginner.com, “a theme is a collection of templates and stylesheets used to define the appearance and display of a WordPress powered website.” In other words, a theme is the look and feel of your website. It’s not only the aesthetics but the functionality as well.
Free Themes vs Premium Themes
Free themes are typically created by independent developers where documentation is rarely provided and support can be limited. While we all love free, keep in mind that the quality of these themes can vary.
Premium themes will typically cost you around $20 to $50 bucks, but they offer so much more than a free theme would. Premium themes generally come with more functionality, documentation, updates, excellent support, and a more professional look. For that reason, I would say the money is well spent.
I personally have always used premium themes from ThemeForest. If you want your readers to take your blog seriously, then spending a little bit of money for a well designed theme is definitely worth it.
They have thousands of beautiful WordPress themes to make your new blog look professional right out of the gate.
How to choose a theme
Choosing the right theme depends on an array of factors; your skill level, the type of site you’re planning to create, your budget.
No matter what, you should always choose a responsive theme, meaning one that works well on all platforms; desktop, mobile, and tablet.
When browsing for themes, also make sure that the one you ultimately choose is fast and aligns with the tone and branding that you’re going for. Don’t worry about the colors or font as these can be changed in your theme settings.
Browse around and see if anything catches your eye.
How to Install a WordPress Theme
How to Install a Free Theme
If you’ve chosen to go with a free WordPress theme, go to your sidebar of the WordPress admin area, and under Appearance, click on Themes.
Here you can browse various themes or search for the type of theme that you’re looking for. Ex. eCommerce, Magazine, Blog
Once you’ve decided on one, click Install. Then click Activate.
How to Install a Paid Theme
If you’ve chosen to go with a premium WordPress theme, go to your sidebar of the WordPress admin area, and under Appearance, click on Themes.
To install a new theme, go to your sidebar of the WordPress admin area. Under Appearance, click on Themes. Then click Add New to install.
Next, click on Upload Theme.
Now click on Choose File and locate the zip file that you downloaded.
Click on Install Now.
Once the zip file has been uploaded, click Activate.
What is a plugin?
A plugin is a piece of software that gives additional functionality to your website.
These plugins help you create contact forms, resize images, integrate email marketing, help with spelling and grammar, autosave, you name it, there’s a plugin for it.
The great thing about WordPress is that it offers thousands of plugins that can easily be installed in seconds.
How to Install a WordPress plugin
The easiest way to install a WordPress plugin is by using the plugin search, which can be found in the sidebar of the WordPress admin area.
Under Plugins, click on ‘Add New‘.
To search for a specific plugin, just type the name of it in the search bar. You can also search for plugins by functionality such as Opt-in Forms, SEO, Analytics etc.
Once you’ve found the plugin, click ‘Install Now‘.
After the plugin finishes installing, click ‘Activate‘.
It’s as simple as that!
Getting this far calls for a celebration. Building a solid foundation will significantly tilt the odds in your favor.
Creating a successful blog is simple, but it is not easy.
Blogging requires a lot of dedication and patience, but I promise that if you continue with passion and persistence, and you consistently create content that serves your audience, your success will be inevitable.
Just trust the process and keep moving forward.
Now it’s up to you to start taking real action.
You got this!