The day I started blogging is perhaps the best day of my life.
Well, second best day.
The real, the actual best day of my life is when I started earning from it.
Today, I can’t tell you enough just how grateful I am that I started down this path. Blogging has enriched my life in so many ways. It has allowed me to quit my job, and to work instead from the comfort of my home (or from anywhere I choose, really) while earning full-time in passive income.
It has enabled me to dictate just how many hours I spend on working, and to achieve that oh, so elusive work-life balance.
In fact, blogging has allowed me to take back my life, to take control of it, and to get more out of it every single day.
In my life fraught with many mistakes and many failures, having the courage to start my own blog has been one of the few good decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve given up on a lot of things. But never, never on this one. And since the day I began blogging, I’ve never found any reason to look back, except only to see how far I’ve come.
Looking ahead, I feel excited, thrilled even, knowing that there’s more to come. There are far greater things that lie in store. For my blog. For myself.
Now I know why you’re here. I may not know who you are, or what your whole story is. But I know that just like me some time ago, you also want something more out of life.
You want to feel like there’s more to life than your soul-sucking nine-to-five (or eight-to-five), a greater purpose that would give you happiness, meaning, and fulfillment.
You want to feel like, for the first time ever, you’re doing something more than just making a living. That you’re actually making a life.
And you’re wondering if blogging can give you all that.
Well, it can, but only if you have the courage to take the first step.
I have here a complete and comprehensive guide and tutorial to help you start a blog and launch your blogging career towards success. Whether you have a bit of knowledge about blogging, or you’re a complete newbie, this one’s for you.
It’s got everything you need to start a blog in a just a few simple steps. All you have to do is to follow the detailed guide and walkthrough laid out below.
Plus, there’s plenty of good information in between that’s worth reading, so you can get a deeper and more thorough understanding of what blogging is all about.
Remember, a blog can be your ticket to financial freedom and a more fulfilling life. All it takes to start one is a few minutes. All it costs is a few dollars each month.
But it will require a lot of hard work, effort, patience, sheer will, and most of all, love. But what worthwhile thing in life doesn’t?
I can’t promise you that blogging is going to be easy. But I can promise you this: it’s going to be worth it.
But only if you have the courage to take the first step.
So, ready to get started?
What is a blog?
A blog is a website that features regularly updated content – known as posts, entries, or articles – all arranged in a chronological order, with the newest ones appearing first.
All blogs are either a website or part of a website. But not all websites are blogs. For one, typical websites aren’t regularly updated like blogs are.
The word blog is simply a shortened version of the word ‘weblog’, because when blogging started sometime in 1994, a blog functioned solely like an online journal or diary. People used it to write about their day-to-day happenings and share their personal stories.
Today, however, blogs have grown into something more purposeful and important. While modern blogs still can – and still do – function like online journals and diaries, they now also serve as reliable sources of useful information on a wide range of topics, such as travel, fitness, fashion, parenting, interior design, photography, personal finance, etc.
Who is a blogger?
A blogger is simply someone who runs or operates a blog.
If you’re a blogger, your work mainly involves creating content for a blog, from written material such as articles and tutorials, to visuals such as posters and infographics.
But most of the time, your work also involves promoting the blog and its contents, likely on social media; as well as ensuring that the blog functions properly and smoothly.
Being a blogger was once considered only a hobby. But the explosive growth of blogging throughout the years has made it a viable – and lucrative – job. And not only as a gig or a side hustle, but also a full-time, legit professional career.
In fact, more and more people today now work as professional bloggers, either on their own blogs or for others, and make a living out of it.
After all, blogging as a career has many perks. Apart from profitability, another draw is the very, very flexible working arrangement. You can control your working hours, and because all the work is online, you can fulfill your job from the comfort of your home, or from anywhere, really, as long as you have a decent Internet connection.
But aside from being a job, blogging can also be a business. If you do it right, and do it well and patiently, you can start a blog from scratch and build it into a business that earns you passive income for the rest of your life.
Why are blogs so popular?
The first ever recognized blog was created back in 1994. It wasn’t called a blog back then. From there, blogs began to grow and multiply rapidly. Today, there are more than 600 million active blogs on the Internet.
In the US alone, there are more than 32 million bloggers – equivalent to around a tenth of the total US population, or almost one in ten Americans!
Of course, most people who own blogs aren’t full-time bloggers, but the point is that, twenty six years after the first blog was created, blogging is still truly alive and well in 2021!
And despite the prevalence of other social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.), blogging is only expected to grow in relevance and popularity in the coming years!
So why are blogs incredibly popular? There are many reasons why, so we’ll only go through the main and most important reasons below.
1. Blogs are versatile
The first blogs were nothing more than online journals or diaries. But since the 2000s, blogs have evolved into many forms and into many functions.
Today, there are all kinds of blogs with all kinds of contents. There are blogs dedicated to fashion, food, fitness, beauty, travel, lifestyle, technology, personal finance, economics, politics, and literally any and all manner of topics.
There are personal blogs – those run by individuals – and then there are blogs run by businesses and corporations, as well as media outlets, universities, non-profit organizations, etc.
There are blogs that only have long-form articles; some that post only very short pieces of content; some that only contain videos, or audios, or podcasts; and some that post a combination of every content.
In an age when the Internet is dominated by social media giants, blogs have not only survived, but continue to thrive, and remarkably so, simply because they are very versatile and adaptable.
2. Blogs are useful
Believe it or not, a great part of all the information available on the Internet is delivered through blogs. That’s right. Blogs are now valid and mainstream sources of useful information.
You’ve probably never noticed it before, but many of the answers to the questions you once searched in Google actually came from blogs.
When you wanted an in-depth travel guide for your two-week trip to Costa Rica, you found it on a travel blog.
When you looked up the Internet for new and delicious recipes to try at home, you discovered a variety of them on a couple of food blogs.
When you tried to verify if a newly-released phone was worth buying, you made up your mind after reading complete and comprehensive reviews of it on tech blogs.
And when you finally decided to sort out your money issues, you learned the whats, hows, and whys of prudent financial management off a personal finance blog.
The point is that much of the information you read online you probably read off blogs, and you probably aren’t really aware of it. That’s how incredibly useful blogs are.
3. Blogs are effective
Another reason why blogs are still flourishing is their efficacy. Blogs are effective, plain and simple. They give results, both to the users and the bloggers themselves.
To users, blogs give all answers they search for, all the help they need, from information on travel, parenting, and current affairs; insight on politics, personal finance, and home gardening; to inspiration on fashion, web design, and interior design.
To bloggers, blogs are a perfect way to reach their target audience. Whether your goal is to simply share your passions and interest with other fellow enthusiasts, or promote your brand or business to the right market segment, blogs deliver results, and they deliver them well.
4. Blogs are easy to start
There was a time when blogging was the preserve of only a few people. Only those with the technical know-how can build and own one.
Today, however, it’s become incredibly easy to start a blog, so much so, in fact, that almost anyone and everyone can build their own blog in just a matter of minutes.
In fact, you don’t need to be a very techy person to start a blog. You don’t even need to know or have a lot of blogging skills at first. There are plenty of guides and tutorials that tell you how to do it – this is one such guide. All you need to know is how to use Google (or YouTube), and how to follow instructions.
5. Blogs are profitable
But perhaps the most important reason why blogs are still continuing to surge in popularity is profitability. Blogs are incredibly lucrative.
The largest blogs earn millions of dollars per year. The most profitable blog by far is HuffPost, which is estimated to earn $500 million a year. Other top earners include Engadget ($47.5 million per year), Moz ($44.9 million per year), PerezHilton ($41.3 million per year), and Copyblogger ($33.1 million per year).
Then there are also a lot of people who have started a blog from scratch and now make a healthy full-time income off it, and there are many more who earn part-time income from blogging.
Of course, not every blog performs as well. In fact, not every blog earns money. But the point is that, for those who do blogging really well and seriously, there is good money to be made.
Why should you start a blog?
There are plenty of good reasons why you should start a blog. It all depends on your motivation and your purpose. But some of the best reasons are:
1. Share your story
Every person has a story to tell, and a blog is the perfect way to share it. Blogs are the ideal online platforms for self-expression.
So whether you are interested in writing about your stamp collecting hobby, telling stories about your travels, sharing your very own homemade recipes, writing movie and TV show reviews, chronicling your journey towards financial freedom, or advocating for causes you are passionate in, a blog is the perfect online platform to do it.
2. Inform and educate
After all the many changes blogs have undergone through the years, they are now recognized as reliable sources of information.
So if you have knowledge about a particular topic that you simply must share with the world, then start a blog and share it there.
Whether you’re providing information on how to earn a full-time income as a stay-at-home mom, recent updates on the latest archeological digs, insights on the newest fashion trends, analysis of current affairs, facts about the mountain ranges of the Philippines, or the methods to achieve a leaner and stronger body, a blog is the perfect online platform to inform and educate other people.
3. Connect with people
Most people forget that blogs are also social media platforms. In fact, long before there was Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, there were blogs.
And just like all social media platforms, a blog is an excellent way to connect with people and form meaningful relationships, whether you simply want to form a community with the people who share the same things you are passionate in; establish professional contacts and networks to improve your career; or help your business by finding potential partners, suppliers, and customers.
4. Promote your brand or business
In this day and age, having an online presence is crucial to your business. Apart from social media, having a blog/website offers you an unparalleled opportunity to increase your brand visibility, reach out to and engage more effectively with your target market, and generate more leads for higher sales revenue.
In fact, did you know that companies with blogs produce an average of 67% more leads monthly than companies that don’t blog?
That small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads?
That businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than businesses that don’t?
That in 2019, marketers who prioritized blogging received 13x more ROI (return on investment) than companies that did not?
That 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles rather than advertisements?
Or that 61% of US consumers have made a purchase based solely on a blog post?
5. Earn passive income
This is by far one of the most attractive reasons for you, or for anybody, to start a blog.
Blogging has been around for some time, but it still remains as one of the most popular, most reliable, and most profitable ways of making money online.
If anything, blogging has become more profitable, in part because there are many more people who have access to the Internet, and in part because bloggers today have many more options of generating revenue than before.
Apart from the traditional display and cost-per-click ads, bloggers today can now tap into more modern – and more lucrative – sources of income, such as affiliate marketing and sponsored content, among others.
Or that in 2019, an average blogger with a fairly sizeable audience could expect to earn around $1,442 for one sponsored blog post alone?
Other ways you can make money from blogging include selling your own products and services, digital or physical; and hiring out blogging-related skills, such as writing, graphic and web design, search engine optimization (SEO), and other such skills to paying clientele, but more on that later.
How do you start a blog?
Starting your own blog is a simple and straightforward process. In just a few steps or so, a couple of minutes, and a few bucks each month, you can have a blog of your own.
Ready to get started?
To create your own blog, you’ll need to:
1. Choose a blog topic
The very first step to starting your own blog is figuring out what topic you want to blog about.
Of course, before you even came here, you most likely already have a topic in mind.
Perhaps you’d like to share your knowledge on personal finance, precious knowledge that you learned on your way to financial freedom.
Or write about your travel experiences and adventures, and make useful travel guides for the destinations you’ve been to.
Or maybe you’d like to connect with fellow stay-at-home moms, and share helpful tips, advice, and best practices on how to earn a full-time income while managing the household at the same time.
But if you haven’t decided on a topic just yet, now is a good time to pick one.
But why though? Why pick just one topic? Why not two? Or three? Or plenty?
Well, there are a lot of advantages to picking one topic – or a niche – instead of many, and we’ll go over the most obvious and most important of such advantages.
Why choose a single topic instead of multiple ones?
- It’s easier to find your audience and build a loyal following
When your blog is focused on a single topic, on a particular niche, you already know who you’re writing for, who your audience is.
For instance, if your blog is all about fitness, then you can expect fitness-conscious people to come to your blog.
If you only write articles on vintage cars, then you can expect your audience to be made-up largely of vintage car-enthusiasts.
Similarly, if you focus solely on personal finance, then you can expect people who want to learn more about prudent money management to stop by.
If you create content about a single topic consistently, not only can you expect or predict the type of audience who visits your blog. They as well can expect what to see from your blog.
Plus, since you’re articles revolve around one similar topic, it’s likely that if your audience finds one article interesting, then they will find the rest interesting as well.
And because they can relate to your content, it’s more likely that they will keep coming back to your blog and become loyal readers.
- It’s easier to write and create content on a single topic
When you’re focused solely on writing about a particular niche, you don’t have to spend too much time and effort figuring out what to write on your next article.
For example, if your blog is all about pencils, then all you need to worry about is writing articles related to pencils. Today you can write about the history of pencils; tomorrow, the different types of pencils; on the third day, the best pencil brands for sketching and shading; on the fourth day, the longest pencils ever made; on the hundredth day, a guide on how to turn a pencil into a pencil crossbow; and so on and so forth.
- It’s easier to build expertise and authority on a single topic
If you focus on a single topic, you can build up authority on that topic in a shorter time.
The more and better content you produce on that specific topic, the more you make yourself an expert on the matter. People will recognize your blog as the go-to reference for that particular topic. And the next time they have questions about that specific topic, they will come to your blog for answers.
So if all you do is write informative and useful blog posts about pencils, then very soon people will realize that you’re an authority – a cognoscente, if you will – on all matters pencil-related. They will thus turn to you whenever they need answers regarding pencils.
But if people don’t know what your blog is all about, then they wouldn’t know what they can go to you for.
- It’s easier to rank on search engines
When you focus on a single topic, you’ll likely face (relatively) less competition from other blogs, making it (relatively) easier for you to rank on Google or other search engines.
For instance, when you blog solely about pencils, then you’ll likely only have to deal with competition from other pencil-related blogs.
In contrast, if you blog about pencils, pens, and papers, then not only will you have to compete with pencil-related blogs, you will also face competition from pen-related blogs, paper-related blogs, and other pencil, pen, and paper-related blogs.
Plus, if you’re blog has a specific niche, Google (and other search engines) will have an easier time recognizing what your blog is all about, and will more likely recommend your blog to people searching about that specific topic.
And if you keep on filling your blog with interesting and useful information on your particular topic, very soon you’ll become the go-to reference, the authority on that specific topic.
Anyway, these are only some of the most important reasons to pick a single blog topic, or a niche. There are plenty more, of course, but all point to the fact that blogging about one topic, in most respects, is better than blogging about many at the same time.
So what do you want to blog about?
In case you’re having a difficult time figuring out a topic or finding out your niche, let’s go over some tips on how to pick the right one.
How to choose the ideal blog topic:
- Pick a topic you enjoy talking about
When you blog, you most likely won’t just make one, two, or ten articles. You’ll usually be writing many more than that, especially when you’re just starting out all by your lonesome.
So it’s important that you pick a topic you enjoy writing about, a topic that you are, firstly, passionate in, and secondly, knowledgeable in.
Choose a topic that you aren’t just very interested in today. Choose one that you’ll enjoy talking about even after one, two, or five years have already passed.
You might be eager now to share everything you know about the apparently shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusks – aka slugs – but will you still have that enthusiasm five years into the future?
When you enjoy writing about a topic, it won’t feel like a chore. It becomes easier to churn out content after content. And when you enjoy a topic, the quality of your content is visibly superior to content you’re simply forced to write about.
Besides, if you pick a topic you aren’t really passionate in, you might lose interest in blogging altogether, and give up after only a couple of months.
- Make sure there’s an audience for it
If you’re blogging solely for yourself, and don’t want other people to access your site, then you don’t have to worry about this part.
But chances are, you do want to attract other people to your blog, too. You do want to draw loyal and engaged readers to your site and interact with them.
So it’s very important that you pick a topic that other people are interested in as well.
Though it is essential that you find a niche, you don’t want to settle on one that only you and maybe five other people are interested in. Find a topic that attracts, at the very least, hundreds, if not thousands, of like-minded people.
Some good free tools to use here would be Google Trends and Google Search. Google Trends allows you to see the top search queries worldwide or per country per month, per year, or even per five years; while Google Search allows you to see what related searches people are making for a certain topic.
- Make sure it’s not too broad, but not too specific, either
If your tentative blog topic is too broad, you’ll end up competing with a lot more blogs, many of which might already be too big and established so that they constantly dominate Google and other search engines, and leave no chance for the smaller guys.
But if you pick a niche that’s too narrow, there might not be enough demand for it. You might have a hard time pulling in a sizeable traffic to make blogging worthwhile. Chances are, you might get discouraged and quit blogging altogether.
So pick a topic that’s not too broad, but not too specific, either. Choose a niche that has relatively low competition but has a good enough demand.
- Make sure it’s profitable
If you’re not concerned about earning from your blog, and just want to blog for fun or for non-monetary purposes, then you can skip this part.
But chances are, you do want to make a profit from blogging. You do want to earn extra income from your blog, or even make it your full-time job or business.
So pick a topic where you have a likely chance of earning, where you can sell products and services, yours or otherwise, to your audience.
Remember, even if you think of blogging only as a hobby, it still costs time, effort, and money, so you might as well earn from it.
Besides, when you put in the necessary work, you can actually build your blog into a full-time business that can earn you passive income until your retirement and beyond! But it all starts with picking the right blogging topic, so choose wisely.
- Make sure it has a future
Blogging is a long-term endeavor. It takes a lot of time and a lot of patience. So you have to pick a topic that people will be interested in not only today, but also in the next three, five, or even ten years.
Don’t go for a topic that is only popular and relevant now. If you do that, your blog will also only be popular and relevant now, and might likely die out in the future.
Once more, Google Trends allows you to see what the most searched topics not just in a given month or year, but even up to five years!
Remember, selecting the right topic is the most important step in starting your own blog. It can make or break your chances of success in blogging.
So it’s ok to take as much time as you need. Do your research. Then once you have decided on a topic to blog about, you can proceed to the next step.
2. Choose a domain name
Once you have picked a topic or a niche, the next step to starting a blog is to pick a domain name.
A domain name is simply your website’s name. It forms part of a complete web address: it’s what comes after the ‘www.’ in any web address.
Examples of domain names include:
- phmillennia.com (my own domain)
To own and use a certain domain name, you actually have to pay an annual fee with a domain registrar, the company that sells domain names. You can come up with your own domain name, or simply buy one from a domain registrar.
But the rule is that you can’t have a domain name that somebody else already owns! And if you can’t pay the annual fee, you lose the right to use a certain domain name and that domain name goes for sale.
Choosing a good domain name is very important, because your domain name can already give people a hint on what your website or blog is all about (note the word ‘can’).
For example, if you name your blog ‘wanderlust.com’ then people will naturally assume you produce travel-related content.
If your site’s name is ‘personalfinancetips.com’, then it is only logical that visitors will expect to find articles regarding personal finance.
To help you come up with a domain name for your blog, let’s go over some helpful guidelines on how to pick a really good one. A pen and paper will come in handy in this part, so you can brainstorm and list several possible domain names.
How to pick a good domain name:
- Make sure your domain name is available
Every domain name is unique, and you can’t have a domain that someone else already owns. No two websites can have the same domain. Those are the rules. So you have to come up with a domain name that no one owns yet.
You can check if your tentative domain name is available in the next step, as well as register and buy it.
- Make it easy to remember
Your domain name should be easy to remember, so you need to make it both memorable and memorizable. There’s a difference between the two, by the way.
The former means making your domain name unique, remarkable, and unforgettable.
The latter means making your domain name easy to memorize, so you want it to be shorter, simpler, and easy to spell and pronounce.
Just think of some of the most popular websites out there, like Google.com, Wikipedia.com, Twitter.com, and phmillennia.com. They’re all very simple yet very remarkable, and they’re all very easy to memorize.
- Make it easy to type in
You also want your domain name to be very easy to type in. So avoid using very long and overly-complicated domain names, and if possible, avoid including numbers and symbols. The last thing you want is for potential visitors to mistype your domain and end up on a different site!
- Make it related to your blog topic
As already mentioned, your domain name may already give people a hint on what your website or blog is all about (note the word ‘may’). You don’t have to necessarily follow this, but try to make your domain at least somewhat related to your blog topic. Avoid coming up with a domain name that is extremely mismatched with the contents of your website.
- Use the appropriate domain name extension
It’s not just a good domain name that you have to choose. You also need to pick a suitable domain name extension.
A domain name extension, otherwise known as domain ending or top-level domain (TLD), is simply the ‘.com’, ‘.net’, ‘.org’, ‘.gov’, etc. part in a domain name.
The most common TLD is ‘.com’, which is short for commercial, though there is now a wide variety of newer TLDs, ranging from ‘.academy’ to ‘.coffee’ to ‘.photography’. There are even funky ones like ‘.cool’, ‘.vodka’, ‘.pizza’, and ‘.sexy’!
But while these new TLDs allow your website to become more distinctive and communicative of its purpose and identity, it’s still best to stick with the tried-and-true options.
So you’re still better off choosing ‘.com’, or if that’s not available, then ‘.org’ or ‘.net’. These TLDs are what most people are accustomed to anyway, what they type in by default, and it’s really difficult to break an ingrained habit.
Plus, they’re cheaper – the new domain name extensions cost a lot more!
Remember, apart from the first one, which you cannot circumvent in any way, the rest of the aforementioned are only guidelines. You don’t have to follow them, but it really helps a lot if you do.
Remember, too, that while the right domain name is important, you don’t want to spend too much time coming up with the perfect domain name.
Otherwise, you’ll only end up wasting valuable time and effort, which you could have spent in building a website or starting a blog around a good domain name instead.
Worse, you might get caught up in trying to choose the perfect name that you never start blogging at all!
Anyway, once you’ve figured put some good domain names for your blog, write them down and hold on to them. You can check if any of your domain name choices are available, as well as register and purchase your domain, in the next step.
3. Choose a web host (Bluehost)
Now that you have a blog topic, and some good choices for a domain name, it’s time to choose and buy a web hosting plan. But before we do that, let’s find out what web hosting is all about.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a service that allows you to post your website on the World Wide Web, and allows other people to view and access your website.
You see, a website is actually made up of many different files, and these files are kept in a special computer known as a server. Every website is hosted on a server.
When another person wants to access your website, all they need to do is type your domain into their browser. Their computer will then connect to the server hosting your website, and your website will be delivered to them through their browser.
Web hosting is offered by web hosting service providers. They are the businesses that own the servers that store and host websites.
When you buy web hosting service from a web hosting provider, you’re simply renting a space on their servers so you can store your website’s files and make your website accessible to other people.
And when you can’t keep paying for that web hosting service, your web hosting company stops storing your website – you and other people won’t be able access it anymore.
Now that we have some background information on what web hosting really is, it’s time to pick and purchase it.
But wait – there’s one more thing. You should know that there is actually such a thing as free web hosting, one you don’t need to pay for. It sounds very good, on the outside, so let’s find out what it’s actually about, and why it’s not really better than paid hosting.
Free hosting vs paid hosting:
Free hosting is just like any another web hosting service, except, well, it’s free.
However, running the servers that store website files and keep them live on the Internet is incredibly expensive, so free web hosting providers must make money off you somehow. They usually do that by running ads on free websites – you usually don’t get a choice on what ads are displayed, and you don’t get a cut from the profits.
Besides, with free hosting, you usually use the free web hosting provider’s subdomain. If, for example, I made my website instead with free web hosting, such as Blogger, a free blogging site, my website would then be found at ‘www.phmillennia.blogspot.com’, with ‘blogspot’ as the subdomain of Blogger.
Also, with free web hosting, you usually have limited freedom with the way you customize, design, and manage your website. You have limited options when it comes to themes, plug-ins, and other tools. Oftentimes, you can also only make a limited number of webpages, stifling your ability to grow.
Paid hosting, on the other hand, gives you absolute freedom on the way you create and manage your website, especially with how you earn from it. Also, paid web hosting is usually faster and more reliable. Plus, having your own domain instead of using a subdomain will make you look more credible and professional.
The bottom line is that free web hosting is normally only good when you just want to try blogging for fun, or you want to practice and get better at it. But if you really want to get serious at blogging, to build a credible website, and to make money off it, then paid hosting is the way to go.
So now we understand that even if free web hosting is, well, free, it’s not really the better choice when it comes to starting a legitimate blog and earning from it. Now we know that paid hosting is still the ideal option.
So, what paid hosting plan should you buy, then?
Well, different web hosting service providers offer different web hosting plans and packages. Some plans last a year before you have to renew. Others last only a few months. Some plans offer just the basic features. Others add extra, fancy ones. It all depends on your needs and wants, really.
But the best web hosting service provider out there, hands down, is Bluehost. They are one of the largest and most popular web hosting companies worldwide, and there’s a good reason for it – or in this case, good reasons, which we’ll find out below.
Why choose Bluehost for your web hosting?
- Bluehost is reliable
Arguably the most critical benchmark for web hosting is uptime (the time your website is operational or accessible). Bluehost is one of the most dependable web hosting service providers out there. It has an uptime guarantee of 99.98% (no web host can provide 100%), which means that your site will function perfectly fine all year round, with only about an hour of downtime for the whole year (which only happens during scheduled maintenances).
- Bluehost is fast
Perhaps the second most important factor when it comes to web hosting is speed. If your website and your webpages don’t load fast enough, your visitors will all too likely hit that ‘back’ button without hesitation, thereby depriving you of valuable traffic and potential sales. The good news is that Bluehost guarantees that you get fast page loading speeds, so you need not worry about losing visitors and potential revenue.
- Bluehost is secure
Another major factor to consider when it comes to web hosting is security. Fortunately, Bluehost provides strong security options to ensure that your site is safeguarded from hacking, malware attacks, spam, etc.
- Bluehost is affordable
Bluehost offers the best bang for your buck. They offer some of the cheapest web hosting plans out there, which is incredibly helpful if you’re just starting out and are in no position to shell out a large amount of cash. Plus, all Bluehost plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
- Bluehost is customer-friendly
Bluehost has expert and effective customer support. You can contact them via live chat, email, and 24/7 phone support. They are very responsive, highly knowledgeable, and incredibly effective.
- Bluehost is trusted by over 2 million site owners
Bluehost is one of the largest and most popular web hosting providers worldwide. They power more than 2 million websites, and having that many customers means they’re doing something right!
- Bluehost is recommended by WordPress
This might seem unimportant now, but once you find out what WordPress is, you’ll understand why their recommendation is such a huge thing. But we’ll get to that later on.
These are only some of the reasons why Bluehost is the best web hosting provider out there. There are plenty more, of course, but all point to the fact when you’re just starting out on your blogging journey, Bluehost is the best possible web host to help you every step of the way to success.
Anyway, Bluehost offers four hosting plans, which we’ll go over below.
Bluehost web hosting plans:
This is perfect if you only have one website or are just starting out. It has all the essential features to start a blog in an easy and convenient way.
Once your site grows, you might want to upgrade to this. You’ll also want this if you run multiple sites.
- Choice Plus
This is perfect if you have multiple websites and need more advanced privacy and security features.
This offers the most advanced and optimized web hosting features. You should get this if you run e-commerce and larger sites, and you need only the most powerful tools to manage them.
Since you’re just starting out and still getting a feel for blogging, I recommend that you opt for the Basic plan. It’s a good and solid choice for beginners.
Once your blog gets much larger, you can upgrade to the Plus plan and even to the Choice or Pro plans to accommodate your growing needs.
But for now, the Basic plan will do. It already has all the essential functions and features you need for a fast and hassle-free start to blogging, which we’ll discuss below.
Bluehost Basic web hosting plan features:
- Web hosting service for 1 website
This is perfect since you’re just starting out and will only be running one site.
- Free domain for 1 year
As mentioned earlier, you have to pay a yearly fee to own a domain and keep using it. But if you buy your web hosting package from Bluehost, like the Basic plan, you get your domain for free for one year! After the first year, however, the renewal price applies.
- Free CDN
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a group of globally-distributed servers which helps improve your website speed and security, allowing for your webpages and content to load faster. Most web traffic today is channeled through CDNs.
- Free SSL Certificate
This is an important security feature to keep personal information, e-commerce transactions, and other sensitive data safeguarded with encrypted connections.
- 50 GB SSD storage
The Basic plan offers you 50 GB of storage space for your site files. If you’re a beginner with a start-up blog, then your 50 GB can perfectly accommodate all your files, as it will take a long time to use up that much storage.
- 24/7 customer support
You get expert customer support to help you effectively build, grow, and manage your blog.
As you can see, Bluehost is the best choice for beginner bloggers. And now that you’ve seen the amazing features of Bluehost, it’s time to sign up with them, and turn your dream into reality and get your own little space on the Internet.
How to sign up with Bluehost:
With a topic or a niche decided upon, and a list of possible domain names written down, your next step is to register your domain name and buy web hosting from Bluehost.
Click the button below to proceed…
…which will take you to this page.
Then click the GET STARTED button…
…which will then take you to this page.
This is where you can see the different web hosting plans offered by Bluehost, which we’ve just talked about earlier.
By the way, you should know that the more prominent prices displayed are discounted prices – they only apply only to your first purchase/invoice. The regular prices apply after your first 12-month, 24-month, or 36-month term – whichever you buy – is over.
But before you buy anything, take a look at the duration of the plans.
If you select a 12-month Basic plan, you’ll pay a discounted price of $5.95 per month for your first 12-month term.
A 24-month Basic plan will cost you a discounted price of $4.95 per month for your first 24-month term.
And a 36-month Basic plan sells for a discounted price of $3.95 a month for your first 36-month term.
As you can see, the 36-month plan offers the most discount to your web hosting fees. If you’re planning to blog for the long-term, if you see yourself blogging three, five, or ten years from now, getting the 36-month plan is a wise choice. You get to make a lot of savings that way.
Remember, you won’t be getting any more discounts after your first purchase/invoice.
Once you’re ready to purchase the Basic plan (or any plan of your choosing), click the SELECT button…
…which will take you to this page.
This is where you can register your domain.
So remember that list of possible domain names you came up with a while ago? Now’s the time to check if they’re available. Bluehost will let you know if your tentative domain is not yet owned by anyone.
You can also choose a TLD, but a ‘.com’ is already the best possible choice, and it’s automatically chosen as a default.
So type in a domain name on the text field provided, then click the NEXT button.
If your domain is not available, then you have to keep trying until you find an available one. Now aren’t you glad you listed several domain names earlier?
But if your domain is available, you will get to this page.
This is the page where you can complete your purchase, so fill in the required fields with the appropriate information.
But before you pay for anything, take a look at this part first.
As you can see, Bluehost has taken the liberty of bundling some additional features to your purchase. It’s up to you if you want to buy these features or not. You can find out more about each feature by clicking the accompanying MORE INFORMATION link.
But if you ask me, only the first one – the Domain Privacy + Protection – is important. If you select this, Bluehost can hide your personal contact information and keep it from being accessed by just about anybody, including spammers.
Meanwhile, the rest of the add-ons are just optional. Besides, if you do need them, you can purchase them later on anyway.
If you have filled in every field with the appropriate information, you can tick the check box indicating that you understood the Terms and Conditions (after you’ve read it, of course). Then click the SUBMIT button…
Afterwards, you will receive a welcome message from Bluehost and a confirmation email, and you will also be asked to create a password. Remember to choose a password that is strong and difficult to guess, but also one that you won’t have a hard time remembering.
That’s it! You now have a niche, a domain name, and top-notch web hosting.
But there’s still just a bit more work to be done, so on to the next step!
4. Install WordPress
The next step now is to install WordPress.
But before we do that, let’s first understand what WordPress really is.
What is WordPress?
WordPress, simply put, is an amazing piece of software – a Content Management System (CMS), to be exact – that lets you build a website in the easiest way possible.
It’s free and open source, which means anyone and everyone can use it.
It’s also very simple – you can use it to create, edit, and manage your blog even if you’re an absolute newbie, even if you don’t know anything about coding, web design, or web development.
And it’s also very popular – about 40% all websites on the Internet are powered by WordPress! So chances are, about four out of every ten websites you’ve visited are made with WordPress!
And remember how Bluehost is recommended by WordPress? Well, now that you know just how important WordPress is, you can also appreciate just how big their endorsement of Bluehost is!
Alright, now that we have some info about WordPress, let’s now understand the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. It’s very important that we do, because you might encounter those two terms later on and get them confused for one another.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org:
While WordPress.com and WordPress.org are very similar terms, they are actually very different platforms.
WordPress.com is a hosting service created by the founder of WordPress. They’re like Bluehost, or any other web hosting service providers, except that apart from paid hosting packages, they also offer free web hosting.
As we mentioned earlier, when you use free hosting, you also usually get a free subdomain: in this case, if I built my website using WordPress.com’s free web hosting, my subdomain would be ‘www.phmillennia.wordpress.com’.
WordPress.org, on the other hand, is the ‘real WordPress’, the amazing website platform one we just talked about earlier. To be clear, when we talk about WordPress in this article, we’re referring to WordPress.org.
Alright, those are some of the important info we need to know before installing WordPress.
So, how do we go about installing WordPress?
Fortunately for you, when you signed up with Bluehost, WordPress is automatically installed. Amazing, yeah?
Once you create your password, Bluehost will guide you on your first steps to starting your WordPress blog.
Starting a WordPress blog with Bluehost:
- Choose a theme
Bluehost will ask you to pick a theme for your blog/website.
A theme is a collection of templates used to change the overall look and appearance of your website.
There are lots of themes to choose from. Some are premium themes – it means you have to buy them. But there are also many free themes.
So take a moment to choose a theme you want. But don’t take too long! Remember, you can change your theme later on anyway.
In fact, if you’re having a hard time choosing, just a pick a free one that looks clean and simple, and change it later on if you want to.
Or you can just skip this step, and pick a theme when you feel like it.
- Start building
Just click the START BUILDING button.
- Choose a blog type
Bluehost will ask you to specify what type of blog you want yours to be. You can choose between BUSINESS or PERSONAL, or you can also click I DON’T NEED HELP, as this part is optional.
Once done, you’ll then be taken to your WordPress Dashboard.
5. Create content
You now have a live site on the Internet, but it’s still empty. So it’s time to fill it up with some content.
You can create content – webpages, but mostly blog posts, entries, or articles – from your WordPress Dashboard.
Your WordPress Dashboard gives you access to all the site management features of WordPress. It’s your admin area, your workshop, where you make things happen. It’s like a studio, if you’re an artist, or a kitchen if you’re a chef.
By the way, your WordPress Dashboard is readily accessible from the address bar. Just type in your domain name and add ‘/wp-admin’, which will land you on a page where you can log in to your WordPress Dashboard. For example, my domain name is ‘phmillennia.com’, and my WordPress Dashboard is accessible (only to me) at ‘phmillennia.com/wp-admin’.
Anyway, there are tons of new and exciting stuff you can do in your Dashboard. You can explore all of them later on. But for now, you should first focus on creating two types of contents – your pages and your posts.
Let’s start with your webpages. Your pages will give your site structure. And when you’re just starting out, there are a few main and must-have webpages that you need to create first, which we’ll discuss below:
Main and must-have webpages:
This is the page that visitors land on when they type in your domain name. And since ‘first impressions last’, you should strive to make your homepage as appealing and as engaging as much as possible, so as to convince visitors to read your content and even buy whatever it is you’re selling. Chances are, you only have one shot to impress your visitors, so make the most of it.
You might want to include on your homepage your most popular posts or your most recent ones.
- About page
This is where you give some interesting background information about your blog and yourself. It is here that you share what your blog is about, what visitors can expect to find, as well as who you are, what motivated you to start blogging, etc.
- Contact page
This is where you have your contact information – email address, business address, telephone number, etc. – displayed, for persons or organizations who want to get in touch with you.
Those are some of the main pages you want to have in your website. As you grow, you can add more webpages to fit your needs. But for now, those first pages will do.
Your next job is to begin writing blog posts, entries, or articles – these are your blog’s content proper.
But before you start typing on your keyboard, you need a strategy on how to create such content for your blog. A strategy helps you become more organized, more consistent, and helps keep you accountable.
How to create a blog content strategy:
- Define your goals
Your goals for your blog will largely define what content you need to produce.
So what do you want to achieve with your blog? Do you want to build your brand? Promote your business? Share your knowledge about a particular topic? Inform people about a certain cause? Or do you simply want to blog for fun?
Whatever your goals are, they will help keep you focused on what content you need to create.
For instance, if your goal is to promote your business, then your content should be relevant information about your business, like what your products are, how they benefit people, how they compare to your competitors’ products, etc.
- Do some research
As soon as you have your goals laid down, you need to start doing some research.
You want to find out the level of competition you will face in the blogging world, who your competitors are, what kind of content they are producing, what social media platforms they are using for promotion, etc.
But more important, you need to research on who your audience truly is, what kind of content they want, what social media platforms they prefer, etc.
Some good free tools to use here would be Google Trends and Google Search. Google Trends allows you to see the top search queries worldwide or per country per month, per year, or even per five years; while Google Search allows you to see what related searches people are making for a certain topic.
- List down possible blog post topics
Once you’ve done some proper research, it’s time to list down possible blog post topics. List as many blog post ideas you can think of that are aligned to your goals and your research.
For instance, if you’re planning to turn your blog into a knowledge-base on pens, then your blog post topics should reflect that. Examples of possible pen-related blog posts include the history of pens, different types of pens, largest or longest pens ever made, best pen brands for writing or drawing, or even how to turn a pen into a pen crossbow.
- Create an editorial calendar
Now that you have some possible blog post topics, your next step is to create an editorial calendar.
An editorial calendar is simply a schedule for your tentative posts, including on how long you plan on writing a post and when you intend to publish it.
Having an editorial calendar helps organize your work, so you don’t have to worry about what your next post will be. It provides a structure, a system to help you create content consistently and help keep you committed and accountable.
Remember, if you plan on earning money from your blog like a business, then treat it like a business from day one. You can’t make a profit if you’re inconsistent, post only the things you like, or post only when you feel like it.
- Start writing
With everything ready, you can now start producing amazing content. Remember, a beautiful website can only get you so far. It’s really the content that will draw visitors to you and that will earn you money. So make your content well-written, useful, interesting, relevant, inspiring, and just all-around amazing.
- Don’t forget to promote
No matter how amazing your website is, or how wonderful your articles are, no one will come to you if you don’t tell them where or how to find you. So promote, promote, and promote. On social media or wherever. Let people know that you have an amazing website and that you write the best articles in the whole world.
Well, that’s it. Those are the few and simple steps to build a blog. All you have to do now is to keep on writing, and keep on promoting, learning and improving as you go along.
If you do things right, and patiently, you’ll soon grow your blog to a respectable size, and then you can turn your attention to the most fun part of blogging – making money.
How to start a blog (summary):
Here’s a summary of how to start a blog in a few steps – everything we just did, basically, but in summarized form.
1. Choose a blog topic
The first step to starting a blog is to choose a blog topic. It’s best if you pick just one topic to blog about. Make sure it’s a topic you are passionate in as well as knowledgeable in. Also, make sure your topic isn’t too broad or too specific, that it has an audience and a future, and that it is profitable.
2. Choose a domain name
Now think of a good domain name, or the name of your blog. Make sure your tentative domain name is available and isn’t currently in use by another person or entity. Also, make sure your domain name is easy to remember and easy to type in, and that it has a suitable domain name extension.
3. Choose a web host (Bluehost)
The third step is to buy a web hosting plan so you can post your blog on the Internet and make it visible and accessible to other people.
Your best option is Bluehost’s Basic plan. Bluehost is fast, reliable, and secure, plus they have a top-notch Customer Support, and they are trusted by the owners of over 2 million domains. Their Basic web hosting plan has all the essential features you need to start a blog in a fast and hassle-free way.
You can register your domain name with Bluehost, too.
4. Install WordPress
WordPress is the easiest, most popular tool to build and manage a blog. It’s free and anyone, even absolute blogging newbies, can use it and not have problems.
5. Create content
Now that everything’s set up, you can begin producing amazing content.
Start by crafting your site’s main pages – homepage, about page, and contact page.
Then you can begin writing useful, relevant, interesting, and just all-around amazing blog posts, entries, and articles. Remember to promote them on social media platforms and elsewhere.
How do you make money from blogging?
Starting a blog, then witnessing it doing well, getting traffic, and growing is incredibly fulfilling. It makes all the hard work you’re doing well worth it.
But you know what’s even more fulfilling?
Finally earning real money from your blog.
It doesn’t matter if it’s only a few cents or a couple of dollars at first. What matters is that those few cents or bucks already show that the process truly works. They are like a drizzle after a long drought, a sign, a promise of greater things to come.
But before you get too excited about the prospect of an income, let’s answer some real questions about earning money from blogging.
Do people really earn from blogging?
If blogging isn’t profitable, then it would have died out years ago. There’s a reason blogging is still alive and kicking more than twenty six years since the first ever recognized blog.
Besides, if blogging isn’t profitable, then why else would bloggers bother? Blogging for passion alone is well and good, but it can’t – and it won’t – put food on the table or pay the bills.
How much can I earn from blogging?
Your income depends on a number of factors, such as your blogging niche, the size of your audience, the demographics of your audience, how engaged your audience is, your monetization strategy, how often you write and post articles or entries, how well you write, what kind of content you produce, etc.
Theoretically, your income potential is unlimited.
But there is no guarantee on how much money you can make from blogging. Some bloggers earn hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars a year. Others don’t even make a single cent. Some bloggers earn a full-time income from blogging. Others struggle to even reach a livable wage.
How soon can I earn money from blogging?
Same answer. It depends.
A few months. Sometimes a year or so. Very rarely do bloggers make a substantial income before then.
But if you want to know, blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme. If you need money now, then blogging is probably not the best option for you.
After all, blogging is a long-term investment that requires long-term commitment. And like all businesses, you need to put in the necessary time and the effort.
But if you’re prepared to put in the work, then you can build yourself a very lucrative business that generates you passive income up to your retirement and beyond – all from the comfort and safety of your own home, or wherever you choose to work from, really.
What are the best ways to earn money from blogging?
When it comes to making money off blogging, bloggers actually have a broad range of options. The most successful bloggers use a combination of different income streams to rake in hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars a year!
That being said, let’s go over the most popular, most reliable, and most profitable ways you can earn from your blog.
1. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is essentially a marketing model where you promote someone else’s product and you get compensated in return, usually with a commission from a successful sale of said product.
It’s actually a very simple process. Companies or brands whose products you are endorsing will give you your affiliate link. Your job is to promote that affiliate link on your blog or social media. When people click that link, it sends them to the company’s website where they can purchase the product. And if they do purchase the product, you earn a commission.
Globally, affiliate marketing is a massive industry worth billions of dollars, and that is only projected to grow in the next years. In fact, 81% of brands today now offer some form of affiliate program to bloggers, influencers, and other online endorsers.
The world’s largest online retailer, Amazon, has one of the largest and most successful affiliate marketing programs ever, Amazon Associates.
Another one of the most popular and most profitable affiliate programs is offered by Bluehost, our preferred web hosting service provider for this guide and tutorial.
Affiliate marketing is no doubt one of the most common and lucrative means to earn off your blog. As has already been mentioned, around 35% of affiliate marketers earn over $20,000 yearly in passive income, while the top affiliate marketers can pull in as much as $10,000 a day!
2. Selling digital products
Another way to make money off your blog is by selling digital products. A digital product is a product that is stored, delivered, and used in its electronic format. It doesn’t have physical or tangible form or substance. Digital products are easy to distribute, relatively low-risk and low-maintenance, and require no inventory.
So if there’s a chance someone will buy, you can sell digital products via your blog, such as:
- Online courses, classes, and workshops
- Photos, audios, or videos
- Apps, plug-ins, themes, or templates
In fact, there are plenty of bloggers who make most of their income from selling their own products online.
3. Selling physical products
Apart from digital products, you can also sell physical products on your blog, such as:
- T-shirts, mugs, and button pins
The old-fashioned display and cost-per-click ads, some of the first and oldest ways to make money from blogging, still aren’t gone.
In fact, if anything, they’re becoming even more popular as advertisers increase their spending on mobile ads. In 2019, mobile advertising spending worldwide amounted to $189 billion, and it is expected to surpass $240 billion by 2022.
Plus, many of the largest and most popular ad networks, such as Google Adsense, are now using more modern and organic ad designs, and intelligent ad placement, to make sure that the ads being displayed fit the look of your blog/website, are not too obtrusive and annoying, and are placed in the most ideal parts of your blog/website.
5. Sponsored content
Sponsored content is simply online material you create – and paid for by a company – to promote, endorse, and talk about that company’s products or services through blog posts, articles, or entries. Examples of sponsored content include paid product reviews and testimonials.
Sponsored content is becoming a more popular, more preferable, and more effective way for companies to advertise their products and services. After all, statistics show that 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles rather than advertisements.
Sponsored content generates big money. In 2019, for a single sponsored blog post alone, an average blogger with a fairly sizeable audience could expect to earn around $1,442! In comparison, a sponsored blog post in 2014 earned, on average, only $407. In 2006, it netted a measly $7.39!
5. Membership or subscription fees
You can also make money off blogging by charging users to access your content or certain areas of your website.
For instance, you can start a blog and hide your content behind a paywall, then ask visitors to pay a certain amount to access it.
You can also turn your blog into an exclusive membership site, and require people to pay a set fee for a membership or subscription to access your content.
Or you can keep your website free for all, but offer premium content just to people willing to pay for them.
You can also offer certain features, such as private forums or members-only areas, to paying customers.
Just make sure that what you offer – content, features, or otherwise – are actually worth paying for.
7. Consulting, coaching, or public speaking
If you’ve already earned substantial clout in the blogging and online world, you can turn your influence and expertise into a money-making opportunity by offering consulting, coaching, or speaking services.
Depending on your expertise, experience, and reputation, you can charge a set fee to speak at a blogging conference; to offer design consultations for one room (if you’re an interior designer); or offer life advice and guidance through coaching sessions (if you’re a life coach), etc.
8. Offering other related services
Apart from the services mentioned above, you can also hire out your other blogging-related skills to paying customers. As a blogger, you obviously have learned and built up a number of skills that other people can only dream of, such as:
- writing, researching, and proofreading
- web development and web design
- graphic design
- photography and video editing
- digital marketing and social media management
- search engine optimization (SEO)
9. Selling blogs/websites (yours or otherwise)
You can also make money by selling blogs or websites – literally. There are people out there looking to buy established websites already. So if you can start a blog and direct good traffic to it, you can sell it to people who want to have their own website but don’t want to bother themselves with the startup process.
But of course, you need to have the expertise to start and grow blogs/websites, and the knowledge to understand what types of websites are in demand and how to price and sell them.
Finally, you can also earn an income through donations. You simply set up a Patreon account or link to your PayPal accounts, banks accounts, etc., for people who are willing to make a contribution.
However, this only works if there are people in your audience who are very loyal, generous, and passionate about you or your blog; and are willing to financially support and sustain you in the most direct way possible.
So make sure you produce only the best content and that you cultivate meaningful relationships with your audience in order to build trust and loyalty.
Start a blog today
Starting a blog is a very fulfilling endeavor. From your first struggles in setting it up, to watching it grow slowly but surely, everything is worth it, especially when you find out that you are actually helping people as well as helping yourself in the process.
It’s also a very enriching experience. From the skills you learn, the people you connect with, to the passive income you earn, everything about blogging serves to make you a richer and better person.
But you won’t know all of these unless you start a blog.
So start yours today. Sure it might take a while. But remember Earl Nightingale’s words:
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”