Creating a blog in 2021 is the easiest thing anyone from anywhere on the globe can do. However, your success or most likely failure will depend on the steps you take on how to start a blog.
Don’t worry, though, because this article will take you to step by step through how to start a blog in 2021 to ensure you don’t fail and eventually learn how to make money blogging.
I have been work in IT for many years, but recently decided to start a blog from scratch. Geekg8, my own website is barely 2 months old, and it makes me feel good that it’s gaining some online traffic.
The good thing about blogging is that there is a formula for success outlined in this article, so let’s dive in.
Please note that this is a relatively long read. However, the tips and tricks mentioned later on will prevent you from making costly mistakes to set up a successful blog site.
Why Do You Want to Start a Blog?
The surest and fastest to fail in this quest is to get into blogging, assuming that it’s a get-rich-quick scheme.
Rule #1 on how to start a blog, especially in 2021, is to never get into it for the money.
The only thing driving you should be a passion for the subject you want to pursue. This is because cash will take a long time before coming into the picture and the only thing preventing you from quitting then will be your passion.
This particular rule applies to anyone who has no money but is fueled by a vision to begin from scratch and make it like Jon Morrow.
First of all, you need to have a valid and viable reason why the urge to get into blogging. If you’re a new mother who just wants to share their intimate experience online, that’s well and good. But to make money blogging, you need to follow a strategy.
Starting a Blog Begins with a Plan
The advice, failing to plan is planning to fail rings so true when it comes to how to start a blog in 2021.
Before you can even touch a computer, take time to plan. For the initial steps of getting into blogging, you need to have an alternative source of income. Those who quit their jobs to start a blog have some savings or cash to get by before the site is profitable.
And your plan should start with finding a suitable niche.
Find a Niche You Can Swear By
You need to acknowledge that the internet is overflowing with mom blogs and other types of niche topics.
This means that as a blogging mom, your niche could be children living with a disability or kids with intellectual disability. Whatever the niche, make sure you are 100% passionate about it and have a bit of the first-hand experience with it.
As a car enthusiast, you could focus on JDM car mods or consider the DIY electric vehicle movement into the EV revolution.
It always pays to specialize in one area. Yes, the success may be slow coming, but you will feel worth the effort once it hits.
Find time to write no matter how busy you are. Or if you have the budget, you may outsource content writing to somebody else.
You may use a proofreading tool like Grammarly for common grammatical mistakes and complex issues.
Try Grammarly Instant Spelling And Grammar Checker
Examples of Profitable Niches to Consider
To start with, you can grab this practical Stand Out audiobook for inspiration:
Other examples of top-earning blogging niches to choose from include:
- Anything to do with health and fitness. Especially fitness trends, organic diets, the vegan movement, and much more.
- A majority of the population seems unable to master personal finance, thus making that a lucrative niche to pursue. Cryptocurrency blogging is the in thing these days.
- There are many angles to food blogs, from fine dining to weird delicacies such as soup made from bird saliva; the list is endless.
- DIY blogging is also a viable niche to get into. There are many subjects to focus on, from DIY car builds to the van life movement. Blogging about your van lifestyle is a way to mint money out of thin air and sustain your passion for life on the road.
- Blogging about your profession. This is the path I’ve chosen where I write about the importance of content for blogs.
- In return, I get customers looking for someone to write informative, engaging, and conversational blog articles for their blogs. The quality informal toned articles boost a website to be ranked higher by Google at a faster pace.
There’s a niche that can bring in consistent revenue as long as your content is consistent, engaging, entertaining, and, most of all, educative.
Of course, you can get into countless other niches. Still, the ones mentioned above are some of the tried and tested lucrative options. No matter how uncanny your blog niche is, it can still make six figures.
The Actual Step by Step Process on How to Start a Blog
Deciding on a niche doubles up as research. Now that you know what the blog will be about, it’s time to create the website virtually.
We would follow the learning method because we would have instead outsourced everything if we had money.
Deciding on a Blogging Platform
This step may seem trivia, but it’s essential. The decision to settle on a particular blogging platform boils down to the user’s price and level of customization.
One question that keeps coming up among beginners is can you start a blog for free? The answer is yes; it’s easier today to start a blog site with zero money and grow it into a six-figure brand.
How to Start a Blog with No Money in 2021
Contrary to popular belief, you can do a lot with a blog that’s started for zero money. The website will function normally, and it’s possible to design it to look professionally made at no cost.
You will still be able to make money with the free blog. However, you are limited on how much you can customize it and what options are available for monetizing it.
To enjoy such features, you will have to cough up a subscription fee. And even after paying for the business package fees, there will be limitations in place.
Free Blogging Platforms for Beginners in 2021
Don’t rule out these options just yet because they might be what you’re looking for.
The following top five blogging platforms will enable you to start a blog without money.
Wix is a popular drag and drops website builder which favors anyone who is not a tech person. This means that as a user, you can create a fully functional blog website without doing any programming.
That is achievable through the user-friendly Wix editing interface with an endless collection of stunningly beautiful website themes.
Not only that, but the package comes with a range of marketing tools to help you promote your new website. That promotion will grow the site, attract traffic and boost your revenue.
The only downside is that you need to pay a fee for those advanced features that don’t appear in the free version unless you’re running the free trial. Below are some of Wix’s monthly payment plans.
Please note that you will have a Wix ad inserted on your website as with all free blogging platforms. The only way to remove this kind of watermark is to buy into their paid plans.
After paying for the subscription, you will be able to access analytics tools plus advertisement programs to make it easy for your blog to scale and get fully monetized.
In summary, Wix is the go-to option for non-tech people who just want a functioning blog within a few clicks. There is no headache about learning basic web design programming and deciding whether to accept security updates.
Interestingly enough, Weebly is a free website building platform that is easier to use than Wix. It’s the perfect drag and drop choice for beginners but lacks the customizable features that come with Wix.
Weebly is a bit attractive price-wise, but the limited available features will only appeal to a handful of aspiring novice bloggers.
It’s a rival service to Wix, and so your decision to go with either one will rest solely on how your trial on both platforms went. That means I encourage you to test out each of the options listed here.
Trying out the services first hand is an excellent way to discover what you were looking for all along.
You’ve probably heard of Squarespace from all the YouTube vlogs that start with the line, “This video is sponsored by Squarespace.”
That is because this particular free website building platform targets target creators as their primary customer base. Most creators are too busy with their craft to bother with registering a domain and crossing all the Ts associated with the technical aspect of running a blog site.
That is where Squarespace comes in by offering responses and stunningly beautiful website design templates for your first blog.
Even though it’s a stunning drag and drop application, you can only have the free trial version for a maximum of two weeks. This is plenty of time for you to make up your mind whether it meets your blogging needs.
The pricing may be a bit high compared to others in this category, but most creatives find it appealing. Another motivation for choosing Squarespace for your first blog website is sponsoring anyone with a sizable following.
You will enjoy a stunning website in such deals and still get paid by your blog hosting service six figures to promote the platform. Another selling point is that, unlike other free website builder platforms, Squarespace allows you to edit your site entirely on your phone.
Such an opportunity is rarely afforded to beginners unless you are an exceptionally talented content creator who has the potential to blow up soon.
One thing to keep in mind is that they approach you and not the other way around. That means you should always be on your guard and carefully read any contracts that come your way.
Sometimes beginner bloggers have found themselves locked in deals that end up eating their souls.
Imagine having customer care holding your hand every step as you set up the first blog because that is precisely what Site123 offers.
In my opinion, this is a genuinely free website-building platform, and it’s not a drag and drop like the others. Instead, you choose which type of blog you want to create, and their algorithm goes to work to give you the best design.
On top of that automation, you have access to them clock customer service. When it comes to pricing, they only charge you about $10 per month to use a custom domain.
Site123 offers the cheapest subscription fees around. Most people just want a user-friendly website builder, and if you’re one of those folk, this one will help you get started on your first blog.
It is understandable for you to confuse WordPress.com with WordPress.org. This platform is perhaps the more powerful among the other drag and drop applications.
The free version will get you all set up, but you will quickly realize how limiting the platform can be. To start with, you have to deal with unsolicited WordPress adverts.
You cannot use a custom domain name; your first free blog will be YourWebsiteName.wordpress.com. The other limitation is that monetizing the free WordPress.com is not viable until you pay for the subscription package.
Why Choose WordPress.com
They offer the best templates and themes that are made specifically for bloggers. This means that you will spend more time creating excellent content because your blog’s maintenance is done automatically.
There is a slight learning curve compared to the drag and drop feature of Wix, but overall, it’s worth a try.
SEO in WordPress.com
Only a handful of website builder platforms can boast of search engine optimization features offered by WordPress.com.
Blogging revolves around being ranked higher on search engine results in your niche, and the team at WordPress understands that.
For example, if you’re a new mother blogging about a child with autism, your job as a blogger is for your website to appear among the first search results in any child autism-related searches.
The higher Google ranks you, the more people see your site and visit it, the more likely you are to make more money from ways that will be discussed more in detail later on. So, keep on reading.
Points to Note About Free Blogging Platforms
These are great tools to create online stores similar to Amazon and engage in dropshipping, among other profitable e-commerce activities.
Such websites require technical prowess to set up. Still, free blogging platforms from Wix to WordPress.com will handle the technical aspect, and you focus on selling the goods.
As a new blogger, you can include a shop on your blog that sells products and at the same time write reviews on said merchandise.
Other Notable Blogging Platforms for Beginners
These alternatives are online writer communities where writers can make a bit of money doing what they love most, writing.
These are blogging sites where writers have accounts. This means you don’t have to create a website, pay for hosting, and everything associated with having a stand-alone blog site.
The most successful writers on these platforms, the likes of Aamir Kamal, receive recognition on these platforms and get paid more. In addition to the other perks, you receive a welcome screen like the one below.
Each platform has its own way of determining pay. For Medium, in particular, the more people clap for your stories, the more you make. There is a formula to making money on these blogging sites, and it’s detailed in this Quora answer.
Here are the Top 6 Alternative Blogging Platforms for Beginners
I am on Medium, and my audience and followers are growing by the day. Even though I have never promoted my stories and profile, I still manage to get organic eyeballs and followers. Below is a screengrab of my latest stats on this free blogging platform.
The fantastic thing is that creating an account is free, and you can start writing content and earn from the word go. That’s it. The guy running the platform was a co-founder of Twitter which explains the skyrocketing success of this venture.
In a month, you’re allowed to read three stories, and if you need to enjoy more content, it only costs $5 per month. It is correct to say that this is the only website on the internet where you sign up for free and start earning.
Of course, you need to put in the effort to reap the rewards, but most of it involves working smart. Some people only write one article per week, but that is read by 100k people.
As you can see from the screengrab above, I am nowhere near that level, bringing me to another point. The rockstars on Medium are personalities that have built an audience elsewhere. So, this platform acts as a medium for them to reach more people and convert them into loyal fans.
As you will see later, Medium is a powerful marketing tool for bloggers. I could be earning a few hundred dollars on the Medium Partner Program. Still, unfortunately, they don’t cover my country of residence yet. Once they do, that’s regular passive income as I sleep on a beach somewhere.
This is a question-and-answer platform. It is a great website to visit when you need detailed and organic explanations to pressing questions. It is not your traditional blogging website but a more interactive version where people discuss various topics.
Quora is another helpful marketing platform a new blogger can use to market their content and lure more visitors back to their website.
Remember that blogging is about creating helpful, entertaining content that attracts visitors who can easily be converted to loyal paying customers.
Quora is also a valuable tool to help beginner bloggers develop suitable topics to write their blog articles.
Did you notice the upvotes on the image? Those are when readers appreciate your answers, and the more you have, the popular you become. You can use that popularity to sell products or network for an opportunity to land a long-term, well-paying contract that’s related to your niche blog.
Yes, I am on LinkedIn. You’ve probably heard of this social media platform that’s specifically tailor-made to suit employers and employees. Over time it has morphed into a platform that supports bloggers.
LinkedIn is more like a job website where you can easily interact with your dream employer or employee. It’s also a networking site that, when used well, can significantly advance your writing career.
They recently made it possible for writers to share their content the same way one would on Medium, Facebook, just to name a few.
LinkedIn’s Article Writing Feature
This recent addition to the platform is basically a feature that enables anyone to publish an article on LinkedIn. In addition to that, you have a few tools to help you analyze your article’s statistics and make marketing decisions.
Remember that, unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is made up of millions of career-focused audiences. This means that your advertisements will be more successful at reaching your exact audience in your chosen niche.
Successful bloggers like Carol Tice used a combination of Twitter and LinkedIn to land huge writing paydays.
Beginner bloggers can use LinkedIn as a marketing tool to redirect visitors to their blog sites because that’s an essential step in making money blogging.
No, I am not on HubPages, but from the reviews, it is a platform that’s highly recommended to beginner bloggers. You can make as much money as possible, just like on Medium.
Once you sign up for the account, the next step is to write original articles that have not been copied from anywhere. The way you make money on HubPages is through affiliate marketing on three platforms.
You also receive payment for the traffic that comes to view your articles and how much traffic your articles redirect readers to other Hubpages writers.
The secret to making a ton of money is to have a lot of people reading your articles. For that to happen, your content must be high quality, contain answers people are searching for online, and be optimized for search engines.
The first step to understanding SEO is to read this SEO starter guide by Google.
Please read on, as we will discuss SEO in detail later on.
5. Vocal Media
I have signed up for Vocal Media, and it’s another recommended blogging platform for budding blog creators.
Vocal Media is a newcomer in this space of content creation platforms compared to older giants like HubPages and Medium. However, they still appeal more to anyone looking to get paid for their writing.
How Vocal Media Works
Once you sign up, you need to connect the account to Stripe, and you can start writing and earning.
Once you write your first article, you need to submit it to the respective community. For example, an article on Bitcoin fits within the technology community. Before your article is approved and published, it has to be reviewed by Vocal Media.
They will notify you about any required changes you need to make before the platform can accept your first article.
The payment is calculated per every 1000 views on your article, and below are the numbers.
In addition to being paid per 1000 views, you can also earn from affiliate marketing. This is a feature that’s not present on Medium.
You’ve probably noticed that Vocal+ earns more per 100 views. Vocal+ is Vocal Media’s subscription service, and the subscribers enjoy features such as more pay. Readers can leave tips for you if they are in love with your writing.
To join Vocal+, you can opt for the annual fee of about $100 or the monthly subscription plan that eats up your $10 every month. Those on Vocal+ also enjoy lower withdrawal fees.
In essence, this is an excellent way for anyone to make money on a free blogging platform by writing articles.
There are two problems with Vocal Media. The first is that you cannot make any changes to your article once it’s published. Second, they don’t accept previously published content.
Let me mention Blogger because it is also very similar to the other drag and drop options discussed above. I would recommend it to any blogger that is not looking to change the world.
Blogger is a practical option for a beginner who just wants a hobby-ish kind of blog. Something small that can give you a reasonable income with no future plans for scaling.
Google owns this platform. That is why even with the limited features, your blog articles will enjoy free traffic if you follow SEO guidelines. Not many free blogging platforms want this advantage to be able to rank on Google with minimal effort.
How To Spot a Skilled Content Writer
So, back in the day, before WordPress became user-friendly and mainstream, all aspiring bloggers created a free blog on Blogger. These blogs are now mostly dormant and only serve as a portfolio for washed-up writers.
One job in high demand today is skilled article writers who are necessary to fill up websites with content. You might consider this side hustle even after learning how to start a blog.
I have hired several writers over the years as I landed more significant projects for writing blog articles. The one criteria I always use to gauge an applicant’s competency is to have a personal blog on Blogger.
You see, your first blog site may land you a massive contract in the future. When a writer has a blog, it’s similar to a portfolio or resume and a show of your penning skills. The blogs’ addresses are always. YourBlogName.Blogspot.com.
Blogspot is the free domain service owned by Google. Blogger is the platform where you build your free website. Despite that, below are some reasons why Blogger may not be your first choice.
The Disadvantages of Blogger
Google owns the platform, and they can decide to delete everything anytime, so anyone with an account on Blogger could potentially lose everything all at once.
Bloggers may shut down at any moment and delete thousands of personal blogs, but so far, I still have my blog intact more than five years later. Google also notifies you beforehand before they take such action as shutting down the whole blogging platform.
Google Offers Little Support to Blogger
When other blogging platforms like Site123 offer 27/7 live support, Blogger only has a semi-dormant user’s forum and one documentation. The platform rarely leases new features and improvements, and anyone using the platform will feel lonely.
Plugins are a big part of making blogs work efficiently, but Blogger does not have this feature. The lack of plugins results in all sorts of problems like spam messages.
The limited settings for controlling comments do not help the situation. You will find that your inbox is constantly filling up with spam comments.
Blogger in Summary
You can create a functioning blog from scratch entirely on the Squarespace mobile app, but Blogger’s app is not as impressive. The limitations seem to be everywhere.
In Blogger, one cannot customize themes, page sizes, and worst of all, because you can’t create more than 20 pages on the platform.
If you’re a blogger intending to write thousands of articles on your website, Blogger is not for you.
Summary of Free Blogging Platforms
We have yet to talk about the one blogging platform that I would swear by but let’s first summarize the ones mentioned above.
Please note that it is possible to start a blog on the platforms listed above and make a reasonable passive income after monetizing the blogs properly. Please read on to find out how to monetize a free blog.
If your headache is about how to start a blog or how to make money blogging, then you can use the tools listed above to practice.
All beginners will make a few mistakes here and there, so it is essential to try out Wix or Medium platforms. Post on Quora and learn from the feedback you get. All that exposure is a way to understand your writing style.
One of the writers I can’t get enough of is Drew Magary because his writing style is unique and entertaining. That is not a style you are born with; it comes after hours and hours of writing as a form of practice.
The more you write, the better you become, and the sooner you get to sharpen your writing style. Your writing voice is similar to an accent when it comes to speaking.
That is why I recommend that you take the time to work under other established blogs before you think about starting a blog.
For example, in my case, I started writing for content mills. I moved on to popular publications, corporations, and finally to individual clients.
Over time, I have refined my mistakes, and thankfully Google’s Algorithm favors informal and conversational articles that answer user queries.
This means that your articles will still rank higher if you don’t follow strict traditional grammar rules. Their AI has evolved to the point that it can understand the meaning of a written on the blog, even a slang worded article.
The Step-by-Step Guide on How to Create Your First Blog in 2021
We have looked at the first step, which involves researching the niche you are passionate enough to create a blog on.
As mentioned before, passion will keep your spirits up when everything else encourages you to press the delete button and find something other than blogging to pursue.
What is WordPress.org?
Simply put, WordPress.org is the best free blog building platform on the internet.
The WordPress.org blogging platform collects a user-friendly hosting service, content management platform, and website design application.
WordPress.com is the one you choose if you’re a beginner, and WordPress.org is for everyone, from rookies to guys who designed one of the biggest WordPress-based websites on the internet, TechCrunch.
Speaking of, here are the top 10 biggest websites that were created with WordPress.
- Official Star Wars Blog
- The New Yorker
- Bloomberg Professional
- BBC America
- MTV News
- Sony Music
- Microsoft’s Blog
- Playstation’s Blog
Notable mentions include the Whitehouse’s website, Beyonce’s site, Walking Dead – AMC’s website, and even Mercedes-Benz uses WordPress for their website. Other names on the entire list will definitely drop your jaw.
Yes, WordPress is that popular with an estimation of supporting about 30% of all websites on the entire world wide web.
Fun fact: isitwp is a tool to determine whether a website or blog was built with WordPress.
You can use the tool to look at the blog sites you admire to get inspiration on how to design your own website.
Reasons Why You Should Use WordPress.org
It’s Open Source and Free
Using WordPress software is free. What you usually pay for is hosting service and other additions like premium plugins and themes. This is not the case for alternatives like Squarespace.
The hosting is usually mandatory, but you don’t have to pay for plugins and themes. There are plenty of free and professionally designed ones to choose from.
WordPress.org is Scalable
That scalability feature is made possible by themes and plugins, which add more functionality and complexity to a blog.
On other platforms, all the blogs created there seem to have the same appearance. Still, you can make your blog as weird-looking as possible or a replica of an existing site. It all depends on your creativity.
There’s a Huge Community Behind It
Like all open-source projects, WordPress has a big following and an even more extensive support system. A large community makes it extremely easy to find help.
That help is in various forms from video tutorials, articles, social media groups, niche forums, and creators.
WordPress has allowed any third-party developers to create tools for the platform. Basically, anyone, including you, can create templates, themes, plugins, and other add-ons and make money charging subscription or one-time fees.
WordPress.org is Easy to Install
The software itself can be installed in one click, but there is a straightforward starting blog. After that, there is another simple process on how to make money blogging.
The hosting companies have been integrated with WordPress, and in only one click, you will have installed the blogging platform.
So, there you have it, the reasons why WordPress should be your first choice when starting your first blog.
Let us go through the steps to creating your first blog.
Step 1: Register Your Domain Name
Earlier on, we had mentioned finding your niche. Let’s assume that you are settled on a subject and want your first blog to focus on babies and mushrooms. So, you want your blog to be called Shrooms.com.
Keep that name at the back of your head as we learn more about domains.
The next thing will be to register that domain name to become a virtual address on the internet. That’s why domain means two things. It’s the name of your website and the address where anyone online can find your blog.
Here are the top 10 domain service providers.
My favorite is Namecheap because I feel it is user-friendly and meets my current needs. These domain name registrars also provide hosting services and other website management tools.
You might have also heard about SiteGround, and it is also a great website hosting platform. However, it can be expensive for beginners looking to start a free blog.
Feel free to choose any other hosting service because GoDaddy is among the cheapest, BlueHost is widespread, and SiteGround offers fast speeds and scalability features.
In this article, I am going to use NameCheap because it has yet to let me down. Remember that I am not an expert but a more experienced beginner, proving that anyone, especially non-technical people, can start a blog from scratch.
Getting Started with NameCheap
Search for the name on Google and click on NameCheap.com, and the screengrab similar to the one below will appear. Go on to search for Shrooms.
The screengrab below will appear next.
As you can see, Shrooms is a prevalent domain name, and it seems to have been taken already.
That is when you should go back to the drawing board and come up with another name. This has taught us that you need to have at least five names if the first three are all taken.
At this stage, you can create an account on NameCheap.
It is recommended that you always choose a dot com domain extension. This is because the dot com extension denotes authority and trustworthiness.
Imagine an online financial transaction website with the extension dot XYZ. That probably sounds more like a scam website than a trustworthy finance site.
I have come up with -babymush.org for the name of your blog about babies and mushrooms. This is because the dot com is taken. It’s a popular domain name so settling for dot org will not negatively affect your ranking in any way.
The image below shows the domain search results.
Add it to the cart and buy it. Below is a screenshot of the transaction.
Setting Up Your First WordPress Blog
I love NameCheap because it is a one stop shop where you can get everything to set up your first WordPress blog. You don’t have to go back and forth between two services.
In the picture above, you will notice the following items.
For your website to be online, its files need to be hosted somewhere. That place is a server owned by your preferred web hosting provider. In this case, the NameCheap company owns the servers.
NameCheap’s hosting service is called Stellar Business, and it costs about $9 per month or $89 per year.
You can either opt for that or go with the WordPress hosting service, much cheaper at $30 per year.
The third option is EasyWP which is a WordPress-specific hosting service. It is similar to WordPress hosting, and the learning curve is not steep.
Why Choose Stellar Business Hosting
The WordPress hosting package is recommended for a small primary blog that won’t have any complex functionality. This package is also a shared service which means you share a server with other blogs.
On the other hand, the Stellar Business hosting option offers a dedicated server. This will be fast, have more storage space and handle heavy functionality like a fully-fledged eCommerce blog.
You can also opt for the cheaper Stellar Business, which is a shared service. With such a service, you will have a limitation of 10GB on everything from storage to website operations like downloading and uploading multimedia.
On my first blog, I chose Stellar Business because I had a long-term vision.
The SSL Certificate
This is an encryption technology that you install on your blog to prevent third parties from accessing the information of anyone visiting your website. SSL acts like a firewall, antivirus, and antimalware. It is also cheap at $4.
This one is free forever, and it protects your private information from being seen by anyone who searches for the owner of your blog.
This service helps you to hide the actual IP address of your computer as you browse online. It costs about $6 per month, and you can connect all sorts of devices. Anonymity helps when you are in a country that enforces internet censorship.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It makes you invisible to hackers, governments, and anyone who might be surveilling you.
That’s about it for the items you will purchase along with your domain name. You can see that we didn’t choose email hosting because that can be set up for free later. So, please read on to find out.
Step 2: Installing the WordPress Software
When you have confirmed what items you need to purchase, click on the OK button.
It will prompt you to enter a payment method. You can use PayPal or a bank card.
When the payment is successful, NameCheap will send confirmation to your email along with cPanel credentials.
cPanel is like a dashboard where you can easily manage the technical aspects of your website. In this second step, you will be installing WordPress using cPanel.
Think of NameCheap as a dashboard you use to manage your hosting service and cPanel as the platform that provides a user-friendly interface to manage your website’s technical aspects.
In the email, you will see login details to get you into your blog’s cPanel.
cPanel can also be accessed on your NameCheap dashboard, as shown in the image below.
Therefore, anytime you have a problem accessing cPanel, head over to your NameCheap account – Dashboard – Hosting List – Go To CPanel.
After the links redirect you, use the email’s credentials to log into your cPanel dashboard. Once there, scroll down to Softaculous apps installer and click on WordPress.
The screen should resemble the image below.
Upon clicking on the WordPress image, it will take you to the installation screen, as shown below.
Before you can click that install button, you need to input a few crucial pieces of information. The most important is the SSL protocol. In the previous process, we bought an SSL certificate.
When you launch a site without the SSL cert, it is vulnerable to malicious attacks. You should see the following screen.
As you can see, I have already input my current blog site and choose the HTTP:// protocol, which represents the SSL cert in the URL.
You should do the same and input the domain name you bought; if you purchased babymush.org, insert it there.
The site settings can be changed later, so scroll down a bit, and you will see the Admin Account settings. Here you need to change the username, password, and email.
It is recommended to use the suggested password but remember to save it in a secure place. I store them in a safe separate email address.
The admin email should be your active email where the details will be sent. After changing these credentials, click on install. You can choose a theme or leave it. The theme is selected automatically when you click install.
You should see a screen like the one below.
Congratulations! You have just created your first WordPress blog.
Assuming your domain is babymush.org, you have to add /wp-admin to the domain to access the WordPress panel, also referred to as the dashboard.
So, the full URL to access your site as an admin will be babymush.org/wp-admin. The credentials to log in will have been sent to your email.
Always make sure you keep your password somewhere memorable and secure.
Below is the WP admin login screen
What comes next is the admin WP dashboard, and it should resemble the image below.
Your First Blog Post on WordPress
From the image above, you can notice the cursor highlighting Posts – Add New. You can go ahead and do the same and click on Add New.
Here’s what comes up.
Depending on your WordPress version, you will see a different text editor. It might not have as many editing tools. To test things out, write a title. In the text box below, add paragraphs or copy-paste an entire article you had written before.
Then click on publish. In the publish box, you will see a preview and other options. Click on the preview button. And you will be directed to your first blog post ever. I hope you are feeling ecstatic.
Now the real work begins.
Here is a summary of the next steps.
- Install important plugins.
- Inform Google that your blog site is live and ready to be ranking.
- How to make money blogging.
Before we can dive into the following steps, you may want to make your blog look presentable by customizing the theme.
You can take a short break from reading this article and watch this helpful step-by-step WordPress customization guide. Then we can continue with the next steps.
The Basic WordPress PlugIns to Install
A WordPress plugin is any software that provides additional functionality to your blog.
These add-ons will secure your website, make it look beautiful, and other complex applications such as automating customer requests. For example, plugins are used in the automation of currency exchange websites to process client requests.
Basic plugins usually come with fewer features. A user needs to pay for the premium version to enjoy full functionality. This is the case with the ones I recommend you install first thing upon creating your first WordPress blog.
Here are the Plugins I Recommend for You
I should have mentioned this, but I love Twenty- Twenty-One most of all the themes I have tried out. This is because it is perfect for a typical blog. It is also easy to customize, and you can pretty much figure it out without a manual or tutorial.
Elementor Website Builder
WordPress is a platform that supports site-building, and Elementor is the plugin that gives you drag and drops functionality. This plugin provides a user-friendly graphical interface to help you mold your blog into whatever you want.
When you head over to a page you want to design, there is an option to use Elementor.
There are free tools such as text boxes and paid ones in this plugin, as shown in the image. The ones with a padlock require you to purchase the premium version of Elementor to use them.
For example, according to the picture above, you cannot add login functionality to your website with the free Elementor version.
Sometimes, the most valuable tools have to be paid for, but the price is worth it because you could have been spending ten times more to hire a professional to design your blog.
Yoast SEO is the first plugin you should install as a blogger because it is a powerful tool to optimize your blog for search engine ranking through SEO. It is actually ranked number one when it comes to SEO.
I use the free version, and so far, it is helping me with article writing. For example, below is an image showing how Yoast makes suggestions to get my article to rank fast and higher.
Wordfence is more like an antivirus/firewall that blocks malicious attacks on your blog. There are millions of bots online whose job is to probe websites, find weaknesses and exploit them.
Suppose you don’t have protection on a blog that requires sensitive financial details like bank details for purchases. In that case, a hacker can steal money and information.
Wordfence complements other security measures such as an SSL certificate because you can’t be too careful. The free version has been effective so far.
JetPack is another plugin that secures your blog, makes it faster, helps it grow, and most of all makes backing up and migrating the website straightforward. The plugin has other tools like a contact form to add to your blog so visitors can send you feedback.
This is a plugin I use for the contact form on my blog, but it has many other capabilities. You can create a checkout process where you can accept payment from visitors and much more.
This option is only on the paid version, but the free one allows you to have a functional contact form on your contacts page. Here’s a video on linking a contact form to your email.
In addition to that, here’s a detailed explanation on how to create a free custom email for your blog and connect it to Gmail.
Classic Editor and Disable Gutenberg
These are two plugins that do the same thing: to restore the classic text editing window for WordPress.
When you click on creating a new post on the WP dashboard, it takes you to a modern version of Gutenberg’s text editor. However, I am old school and prefer the older post editor even though it’ll go extinct by 2022.
WordPress reverts to the older text editor version when installing and activating the Classic Editor or adding the disabled Gutenberg plugin. The new one is also known as the block editor, and I’m not too fond of it, but you should try it out.
Advanced Editor Tools or TinyMCE Advanced
The TinyMCE plugin adds more settings to the classic text editor, enabling you to choose more fonts and other text formatting features. Your post editing window will look like the image below.
This plugin is helpful because the default classic editor doesn’t have as many text formatting options.
Remember that you can use the classic editor to customize the Twenty Twenty One theme pages.
This is a collection of the top theme editing plugins from Elementor to Beaver Builder. As the name suggests, the plugin provides templates to make your blog stand out.
The Beaver Builder is another drag and drop theme editor similar to Elementor but does not offer scalability.
Inform Google That Your Blog Site is Live and Ready for Ranking
After installing the essential plugins, the next step is to let Google know that your blog is live. This will enable your website to be eligible to be ranked and appear on search engine results.
When people think about how to start a blog, they assume that you start earning immediately once your blog is created. It does not work like that, and experts like Carol Tice will tell you that it took them years to get to the insane traffic numbers they are enjoying today.
You might also be wondering, how come my blog is new and I am already earning from it. Well, keep reading because shortly, I will take you through what I did to start earning so early.
Websites don’t just blow up overnight, and if they do, they usually go down pretty fast, never to regain the past success.
So, another rule of blogging is always to be patient while working smart at the same time. You need a practical plan for your blog to start earning from it.
Ranking on Google Search
There are three secrets for Google to rank your blog posts high.
- Your blog content should answer common user questions in your niche.
- Fill your blog with long articles about your niche that mentions popular things and people.
- Include more keywords in your long-form blog articles.
You should implement the three tips after getting your blog SEO ready and following search optimization guidelines, such as having a well-formatted article that Google’s algorithm will be able to understand what it’s about.
Let’s look at how to boost your site’s ranking initially.
The following steps should boost the ranking of your blog within hours.
Step 3: Decide Which Page on Your Blog You Want to Rank For
As a blogger, you will automatically consider the blog page, and you guessed correctly. However, for anyone else who might struggle to decide on this, find out which page on your blog ranks high on search engine results.
Ubersuggest is a free tool you can use to find out how to improve the SEO on your blog. This service can also determine what keywords your competitors are using and how they are performing.
When you search your website’s domain on Ubersuggest, you may get a screen like the one in the image below.
Don’t worry because you’re only beginning, and that’s a good thing because it means you’re on the right track.
This tool is owned by Neil Patel, one of the most revered SEO experts on the internet. Using his service will definitely boost your ranking.
You can use other tools to find your blog’s SEO status, including Semrush, Google Search Console, and Yoast. These services essentially help you to manage your blog’s digital marketing.
I would also recommend that you take some time to go through Google’s free course on digital marketing.
After the lessons, you will comfortably manage other people’s websites for a fee and earn from that. In addition to that, you will have acquired the skills required to grow your new blog into a professional revenue-generating venture.
Semrush is a tool that helps you to become more visible online. Through marketing insights, suggestions to improve your SEO, keyword research, among other helpful tips.
This is a paid service, but you can try it for free to see if it is a package you’re willing to spend your hard-earned money on. Below is a screengrab of what a marketing professional at Wix had to say.
I love the Semrush tools because they are very insightful, but their pricing might be scary for a beginner blogger. Below are the monthly costs for using their services.
Google Search Console and Yoast SEO
Google Search Console is a free service that helps you maintain your blog’s health through monitoring tools and offering troubleshooting tips.
It is like insight into what is going on with your website. For example, which sites link to your blog and statistics on how it’s performing, including traffic.
On the other hand, Yoast SEO is a plugin that holds your hand to make your blog comply with Google’s ranking criteria.
Yoast also has an extensive collection of tutorials on everything from setting up your first blog to grammatical errors to avoid better ranking. My favorite is the new-to SEO guide.
You can use the Yoast and Google Search Console tool and the free version of Semrush to guide you through making your blog SEO compliant. Once it’s ready, you will start to notice free organic traffic that will increase as you add more related content for your chosen niche.
Step 4: Add FAQ to Your Blog
The first step was identifying which page you want to rank for most—obviously, the blog page. Next, you need to use the tools listed above to come up with a list of keywords you want to rank on.
For the earlier example, you might want to rank for babies and mushrooms or something along those lines. Whatever it is, make sure it’s a keyword search by a sizable number of people.
If you’re not sure, use Alexa tools to determine what keywords your competitors are ranking on. This process is known as keyword optimization. You research the keywords you think users will search for about your niche.
What you do next is very important because you have to determine the main keyword for each page of your blog and include the keyword on that page’s content.
If the keyword is babies and mushrooms, then place the phrase naturally on every page. That way, search engines can understand what each page is about. You can learn more about keyword researching here.
SEO Meta Tags
These are titles and descriptions you place on each page and post you publish on your blog to help search engines better understand its content.
Luckily Yoast SEO will guide you on this within WordPress through notification alerts.
When it’s red, there is a problem, but green means everything is OK. Suppose you look at the search results on Google. In that case, you will notice the title tag format then followed by a short description, and that is the info you are giving the algorithm for it to rank you higher.
Adding FAQ to Your Blog Page
Adding frequently asked questions to your blog is a great way to become more credible in search engines’ algorithms.
To get what questions are common in your niche, search for your keyword on Google.
As you can see from the image above, you already have four questions you can add to your FAQ list. Assuming your primary keyword was babies and mushrooms.
For more questions, you can use the help of answer the public website to see what questions come up in your niche keyword. It is a powerful tool that will also give you ideas for article topics to rank higher.
Here’s an easy guide for adding a FAQ section to your blog. It is as easy as creating a page, naming it FAQ, and adding your keyword search questions.
Remember the starter templates plugin from before; it contains different kinds of free FAQ template designs you can just import into your blog in one click.
Step 5: Adding Structured Data to Your New Blog
This particular code makes it easy for search engines to understand the content on your blog. Search engine algorithms use the code to develop helpful search results like the people also ask in the section on the image above.
Here are the steps to add structured data to your website.
- Go to the technical SEO website and select the FAQ option from the drop-down menu.
- Copy and page your FAQ details, questions, and answers from your blog in the empty fields. The ones you’ve just added to your website. On the right-hand side of the website, the code will automatically update as you add more questions.
- Once you are done, click on the G icon above the code and select Rich Results Test. This will redirect you to test whether your code is good to go.
- If everything is great, go back to the Schema markup generator tool and copy the code. Use the copy icon next to the G icon.
- Next, add it to your blog.
Adding Structured Data to the Head of Your Blog
After copying the code, go back to WordPress and install the plugin Header and Footer Scripts.
After activating the plugin, go to the page that contains your FAQs and click on edit; in the page that loads after, you will scroll down to reveal a box titled, Insert Script to. Paste the code into the box and save the page. Click on the update page.
Inform Google Your Blog Page Has Been Updated
Go back to Google Search Console you signed up for earlier on. Log in and copy and paste the URL of the page you added your FAQs to inspect any URL box field on the console.
Next, click on the Request Indexing button that appears. You have just asked Google to crawl your website, and that’s the first step to ranking high on search engines.
Other search engines like Bing have their own process, so please check them to discover alternatives to Google.
Of course, there are many other steps you will have to implement for your new blog to rank better on Google. One of those is to consistently write content that your audience relates to and articles that answer user search intent in your niche.
And you’ve probably heard that content is king, and nothing can be further from the truth. However, there are other ways to get ranked.
Step 6: How to Make Money Blogging, Initially
My last step for you to start a blog is about making money blogging, specifically how I went about it.
There are two options for you to make money blogging. You can either be employed to blog for someone else or become your own boss and start an online business. Such as adding an eCommerce section to your first blog.
For me, I started by working for some else. The experience I gained over the years has enabled me to evolve from writing long blog articles for pennies on content mills to earning thousands a month.
However, don’t be mistaken because even though I earn a lot, most of it goes to paying employees and other expenses. That is to say, creating an online business is the goal all new bloggers should aspire to.
This is what I did to land a handful of well-paying clients with a brand-new blog.
My blog is centered around the blog article services I provide to clients. Most blog owners like yourself might not have the time or energy to write many articles needed to rank you high and attract potential paying customers. So you come to us.
We do keyword research and write the article, then post it on your WordPress for you to approve and publish. Our clients have admitted that the original, informal, engaging, casual, and entertaining content we write has doubled their profits and tripled their traffic.
Overall, their ranking continues to go up the Alexa list because Google is more interested in high-quality content.
Once my site was up, I advertised it on all platforms, from Craigslist to Pinterest, but Facebook really came to the rescue. I spent $5 for a week promoting a Facebook post that directed traffic to my website.
That post reached hundreds of thousands, and I only got three clients who pay well for consistent work.
I want you to get out of your comfort zone today and start a blog. Hopefully, this step-by-step beginner’s guide helps you to avoid common mistakes rookies make.