If you are interested in learning how to start a blog, this step-by-step guide will help you navigate everything you need to know to get started.
I’ve been blogging for close to 10 years, and have a site that garners over 1.5 million views a year over at CalledtoShare.com.
I’ve learned a lot of important lessons along the way, so I want to be able to share with you how to get a blog set up today.
Blogging is a way of creating online real estate for your business. I spent four years writing content on a religious blog and now I have started this site at passiveautomation.com so I can apply many of the same lessons I learned into a new niche to see if I can replicate my success.
Six months in it is so far so good. Here are the steps you should be taking to get your blog up and running.
Step 1: Declare Your Purpose
There is a myriad of reasons why someone would want to start a blog. Some do it just to put their ideas out there, others do so because they see a financial opportunity. Still, others hope people will see and appreciate their work.
Think about why you want to blog and consider whether that “why” will motivate you to take the continual steps needed to have success. As I write this article, I’m approaching it from the point of view of someone who wants to use a blog to help them make money.
So, I’m going to assume for a moment that you are blogging for a financial purpose and hope to make money online with your site. Make sure you pick a niche that interests you because you will need to spend a lot of time creating content, and if it’s not in your heart, it will be very hard to do.
Some disagree and say that you don’t have to be interested in it, but if you are doing the writing, trust me, it will be a lot more fun if you are writing about something that you are passionate about.
With that said, if you’re going to be having other people write your content for you (ghost-writers) you may not care, but I’m assuming that most of you who are reading this article don’t fit into that mold just yet. (If I’m wrong and you are looking for a ghostwriter who specializes in affiliate marketing ghost blogging, check out my friend Marilee)
When you are deciding on what you want to blog about and who your target audience is, also think about different products you can offer your audience because you’ll want to provide them with information about products and services that can benefit them as part of your affiliate marketing plan.
Step 2: Select an Available Domain Name That Reflects Your Purpose
After you’ve decided what you will be blogging about and have chosen your niche and understand your target audience, it’s time to select a domain name.
What’s in a name? Well, when you are blogging and are at the mercy of SEO (search engine optimization) – there’s a lot! You might want to consider the possibility of implementing your niche into your domain name, or perhaps your personal name works just fine.
The domain name is what people type in the address bar online to arrive at your blog.
You can search right now on Bluehost.com to find an available domain name. Bluehost is a Web Host that also helps you register your domain name.
A web host is a company that rents out their services and technologies to host websites on the internet. This allows you to store all of your files and information on their servers.
I used Bluehost in the past but have since switched to SiteGround because I feel their customer service better suits my needs. If you would like to search for a domain on SiteGround and use them to host your site, you can click on the image below.
You’ll need to pay for the registration of the domain name ($15-20 a year) and also a monthly fee for the web hosting service. You can find that for as low as $2.95 a month with Bluehost – and SiteGround offers a similar package.
BlueHost and SiteGround are two of the market leaders and you really can’t go wrong with either of them. I am an affiliate for both, so when you are ready to buy, I would appreciate if you would register through one of my links to help support my site.
If you have any specific questions about deciding between the two, just comment below and I’ll get an answer to you.
Step 3: Install WordPress as Your Blogging Software
What I love about SiteGround is that they will help you every step of the way. Anything you don’t understand how to do, they will explain and even do for you in most instances if you just ask.
The last time I started a website I asked the SiteGround chat team if they would point me in the right direction so I could download WordPress and they helped me locate my SiteGround back office and find the WordPress Installer Tool.
They then guided me through the install in just a few minutes.
There are plenty of other blogging platforms like Blogspot and others, but WordPress is the best.
Another thing you might want to do is not only publish your content on your WordPress site, but you can also publish it to Medium.com which is the YouTube of the blog world. It’s where anyone can post their blogs and get lots of eyeballs on their content.
Just be careful that you don’t post identical content on both sites. Since Medium has a higher chance of ranking than your blog does, it could actually hurt you if there are two of the same articles and one is on Medium pushing your blog rankings down.
When posting content to more than one platform, you want to make sure a single source of content is the ultimate authority. To find out how to do this, check out how to set a canonical link.
(Clicking the link above will give you a discount on your web hosting fee)
Step 4: Pick a Theme
A theme is essentially the design and functionality of the blog. It’s also what catches the eye and leaves a good first impression. Just check out Pat Flynn’s website at Smart Passive Income – it’s awesome!
There are as many themes as there are sands on the seashore.
There are themes for those who like to code their own features and appearance, and there are themes for those who just want to drag and drop or do not much at all. I think I fit more in the “I want whatever is easiest” realm.
This site that you are reading right now didn’t require me to do any coding at all. If it did, you wouldn’t be reading anything, haha.
With so many themes out there, how do you know which one to choose?
My suggestion is to choose a theme that is optimized for mobile that will load quickly and is clean and pleasing to the eye.
It’s the most widely-used premium WordPress theme in the world according to stats from BuiltWith.com. Divi is more than just a theme, it’s a website building framework that makes it possible to design beautiful websites without ever touching a single line of code and without installing and configuring dozens of disjointed plugins.
Thrive also has a lot of options for themes that make your website convert more of your visitors into subscribers, customers, and clients.
Thrive is built for speedy, readability, and clarity.
Step 5: Create Content
Content is the life-blood of your blog. If you don’t publish content, your blog will not grow and you will think blogging is a scam. Pro tip: publish, publish, publish.
The older I get the clearer the truth is to me that people who are lazy think everything is a scam because they don’t want to put in the work that is required to have success. Commit to taking action on your blog and you will see results.
Set a goal to publish one blog post a week, or more if you can’t. If you can’t do that one week, make it a goal to update an old piece of content that could use some refreshing.
One of the things people struggle with the most is coming up with content ideas. Here are a few suggestions to help you come up with ideas for content:
- Write blog articles that answer questions people are asking on YouTube channel, in your Facebook groups, or on other social media platforms
- Spotlight other influential people in your niche and share what they are doing. This post from Khris Digital is a great example of that
- If someone has shared something on Facebook that resonates with your audience, ask the original author for permission to post in blog format. This works well and opens up lots of doors and creates lasting relationships. People like to have their ideas shared. Example here.
- Post content that is relevant every year in your niche. (just as Thanksgiving and Christmas are relevant every year)
- Use tentpole events (cultural topics or trending news that is highly popular – like the Area 51 storm that was supposed to happen but never did) and base your content on that
- Use Google Trends to see what people are talking about and when
- The site AnswerThePublic.com will provide you with hundreds of suggested pieces of content you can produce based on a keyword you enter
It’s often said that content is king. This is true. But it really doesn’t matter if you write the most compelling content in the world if nobody reads it. If Leonardo Da Vinci had left his painting of the Mona Lisa locked in his cellar, no one would have ever appreciated it.
While content is king, the distribution of that content is QUEEN.
So, how do you distribute the content that you have on your blog? That is a great question and here are some suggestions:
- Optimize your posts for search engine optimation by using relevant keywords in your title, the post itself, the tags, headlines, and image alt attributes.
- Use Pinterest to drive traffic to your site (See how I get 70,000 visitors a year to my site with Pinterest)
- Share your blog posts in relevant Facebook Groups that allow sharing of links
- Use Instagram stories and links in your bio to make people aware of your new articles
- Use YouTube to create similar video content and paste your blog url in the YouTube description
- Send a broadcast email to those on your list with a link to your post (I’ll touch on this more in Step 7)
Take as much action as you can with the distribution of your content. This is where money is made. You need to spend as much time, or more, marketing and distributing your content than you do on creating it.
Step 7: Build a List
Russell Brunson has said time and time again that without a list you have no business. He is specifically referring to an email list. The most important metric he measures is how many people joined his email that day.
If you don’t know anything about email lists, you can watch this video where I talk about converting people from YouTube to your list, but the same principles will apply when trying to convert people to your list from your blog.
As you saw in the previous step when I mentioned the distribution of your content, an email list is a great way that you can get people to consume your content.
One of the best ways to collect those email leads is with a software called ClickFunnels. This software allows you to capture emails and send them to your email autoresponder so that you are able to follow up and continue to market to your list.
In the video below, Russell Brunson explains a simple way to get an email, and that is to exchange something of value for their contact info.
Again, building an email list is the most important thing you can do to build your business – and capturing leads from your blog should be a top priority.
Step 8: Email Your List
In Step 6 we talked about ways to distribute your content, and I want to dive deeper into the best method for doing so because it’s through the traffic you own, that being your email list.
Once you have posted an article which creates a ton of value for your niche, you have to let them know about it. Most people aren’t subscribed to RSS feeds and they rely heavily on their email.
Below I have a picture showing you what Todd and LeahRae do every time they post a piece of content – they email me about it! They do their best in their emails to briefly explain what blog post they wrote, our what video they recorded, and then they invite me to visit that piece of content to learn more.
They don’t do this once in a while, they do it EVERY SINGLE TIME they shoot a video or record a blog post. Why? Because their email list is FREE traffic. Traffic is what makes your content live, and free traffic is all the better.
In this video below, I walk you through how I use my email list newsletter feature to send my blog content to over 13,000 members on my email list. The fact that I can get over 65% of those people to open those emails – why would I not email them?
It is FREE TRAFFIC!
ActiveCampaign is pretty incredible and is the most dynamic, but it also is the most stringent when it comes to using affiliate links in emails. If you think you will be using affiliate links heavily in your emails, then GetResponse and AWeber would be better options.
Between GetResponse and AWeber, I prefer GetResponse because it has a better user interface and it’s more of a visual platform. You can learn more about GetResponse and get a 30-day trial without having to enter any credit card info here.
Step 9: Market to Your Audience
When you are marketing to your audience, all you are doing is solving their problems. One great way to do this is to think about the common misconceptions in that niche and then turn it on its head and provide a solution.
For example, Steve J. Larsen works in the MLM industry and hates the way MLM’s market. They have been marketing the same way for the last 30 years. They tell their new recruits that you have to make a list of all of your family members and friends to be successful. No thanks!
So what did he do? He created an automated way to recruit people into his downline using funnels. He has 2-3 leads come to him every day and he never has to burn bridges with family or friends. (again)
Think of the problems that those in your niche are encountering? How can you help alleviate those problems? What product will make that happen?
Once you have that figured out, all you need to do is send your niche content that shares a story which will help them see the benefit.
Step 10: Be Consistent and Never Quit
If you are trying to make friends with Google and have a high authority when it comes to SEO, this will take 6 months to a year of producing content that people want to read. This is not an overnight success story. (As you saw with my blog growth)
This is a forehead down, trudge slowly, blistered feet, battle that requires MASSIVE INTENTIONAL ACTION to get the results you want.
But YOU CAN DO IT.
Thank you for coming to my site. If you have any questions about how to get rolling with a blog, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
This article does contain affiliate links. I am compensated when you purchase something from my link, at no additional cost to you. I APPRECIATE you purchasing through my links as it is a great support to me. So, thank you!
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