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How To Start A Blog In 2024 [Step-By-Step]

Learn how to start a blog, step-by-step. I'll show you the steps needed to quickly get a blog up and running and start making money online.

Despite the clamor of social media sites and AI chatbots, you still have a chance to succeed at blogging. Around 80% of internet users interact with blogs, and there is no sign of it slowing down anytime soon.

So, why wait? Let’s learn the art and technicality of starting a blog and put it into practice. It’s much easier now than a few years ago, and I will show you how.

Get the Fundamentals of Blogging Sorted

This is when you get deeper into your motivation to start a blog. Why do you want to start a blog? Is it to find an outlet for your creativity? Is it to inform people about some products or services you are offering? Or is it simply to earn some money on the side?

The great thing is that blogging can be an outlet for all of these combined – it can give ways to your creative expression, help you advertise your business and product, and earn money from affiliates or third-party ads. However, knowing your initial and ultimate goal helps shape your blog strategically from the get-go.

Once you are done soul-searching and know exactly what you want, you must make two more critical decisions. These are:

  1. What niche is going to be your blog’s focus point?
  2. Which platform are you going to use to publish your blogs?

While these questions may seem straightforward, the answers are different. You have plenty of options and solutions, but choosing the right one needs careful consideration.

Picking a Niche for Your Blog

A niche is the key topic that you want to discuss on your blog. It can be something related to your interest – books, travel, films, sports, or something where you consider yourself an expert. The more aligned the nice is to your interest or expertise, the greater your chance for success.

The niche should determine the name of your blog – your brand on the internet. It should be the guiding point for your website’s design, the type of content you produce, and the type of audience you attract.

For instance, BloggingTips.com is a blog for bloggers and digital marketers, and that’s why you have come here to learn how to start a blog. This niche is reflected in everything on the website – from its design to its content and resources.

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Another key element of settling on a niche is its audience potential. I mean, you want to attract some audience to your blog, don’t you? So, it’s always better to check if there is already some interest in your chosen topic.

You can conduct this research using a tool like Google Trends. The website allows you to research a niche or keyword (i.e., karaoke) based on region, various timeframes, platforms, etc. It also gives an overview of related topics and queries, which are great for blog ideation. You can also compare different niches before settling on something specific.

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Choosing a Platform for Your Blog

There are many platforms online where you can start a blog. Some of these platforms are hosted, whereas some others need self-hosting. Each has pros and cons, so you should make an informed choice.

Hosted Platforms for Blogging

The hosted blogging solutions are where the platform manages all the technicalities of running a blogging website. It means you don’t have to worry about buying a domain or setting up a website. You can simply create an account and start writing your post right away.

Some of the most popular hosted blogging platforms include:

  • Medium
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr

As you may know, all these platforms mentioned above are free to use, although some of them offer premium solutions for advanced users. Medium also gives writers a cut of the income generated from their blog posts.

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Sounds great, right? However, these hosted solutions are similar to social media platforms, whereby you can’t enjoy the ultimate freedom. You have to agree to their terms and conditions and write according to their structures. It is also incredibly tough to build your brand or reach a universal audience outside the said platform.

You can’t customize the design of your blog on these platforms. It is also difficult to monetize your work to its full potential.

Self-Hosted Platforms for Blogging

This is simply a website you build from scratch, typically with the help of a content management system (CMS). You will own the domain name, arrange hosting, install the CMS, and design it how you want.

Some of the most popular content management systems for blogging are:

  1. WordPress
  2. Joomla
  3. Wix
  4. Squarespace

You can also start your blog with Blogger – a free publishing platform offered by Google. However, this free solution has a caveat in the sense that you can only create a subdomain (.blogspot) with minimal customization.

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Considering the pros and cons of all these CMS, I recommend using WordPress. It is the number one platform among bloggers, offering a multitude of free features and customization. It is also straightforward to set up, with a huge ecosystem of themes, plugins, and tools built for it.

All of my blogs are built using WordPress. It offers comprehensive control over your site and numerous monetizing options. You can also scale up your blog easily.

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While the CMS software is free, you must pay a small sum every year to keep your website up and running. The cost mainly comes from:

  • Domain name: Between $2.99 to $13.99 per year for a domain name related to your blog niche.
  • Hosting: From $2.95 to $11.99 monthly for a beginner package with WordPress integration.
  • SSL Certificate: Around $10/ year with more expensive options for extensive security.

You can also spend on a premium theme template and plugins, but the numerous free options should work just fine.

Building and maintaining a WordPress site requires technical know-how, but it’s not rocket science. You can easily learn WordPress by reading our extensive guide titled How to Create a WordPress Website.

Create a Content Strategy for Your Blog

Once you build your website (hopefully with WordPress), you can start writing and publishing your posts. However, this free-spirited writing won’t get you much traction among your audience.

To attract the audience to your blog, you need to rank high in search engines. You also need a coherent approach to keep your visitors returning for more. Both of these require a cohesive plan aka a content strategy.

Remember how you picked a niche by conducting some basic research? It’s time to dive deep into that niche and find interesting topics around it. You should keep your audience in mind at all times. Typically, this process consists of a few steps.

1. Identify and Learn About Your Audience

Before you dive into writing blogs, you should get a detailed idea about your prospective reader. Because knowing that would allow you to find a tone that connects with that audience. Although slightly time-consuming, it is easy to find the audience interested in your niche through social media, community forums, other websites in your niche, etc.

Take ‘karaoke’ as an example. If you search on Instagram with the #karaoke, you will find more than 8 million posts. Click on a few of them and find out who is posting these contents along with the users engaging with the post. The goal is to find out the age, demographic, liking, disliking, and behavior of your audience.

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You can continue your research on other social media platforms to find a trend. You can then narrow the characteristics down to create a generalized audience persona.

2. Perform a Competitor Analysis

With more than 600 million active blogs on the internet, you are sure to find many publishing in your niche. What are they up to? Which topics and websites receive the most traction and why? What do you have to do to rank among or higher than them? You can find out by performing a competitor analysis.

Simply head to Google or another search engine and enter your niche as a keyword. Then, check out the first few pages of the search result. Analyze the headlines and meta descriptions and observe which ones resonate with you more. You should also open the blogs and dive deeper to find out about their structure, and graphic incorporation.

For example, if you enter “karaoke” into Google, the first pages are filled with lyrics. In such cases, you can add a string like “karaoke blog” to specify your search and narrow it down to your competitors.

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3. Brainstorm to Build a Topic Cluster

Now that you know who your audiences are and the type of content your competitors publish, you can start brainstorming about the topics you want to write about. You can take some ideas from the best-performing results from your competitor.

Returning to Google Trends is another brilliant idea, but this time scroll down to the bottom and focus on the related topics and the related queries section. Can you write and publish some articles answering the trending queries? This will surely help you get a foothold among your audience.

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4. Conduct a Keyword Research for Each Topic

It is not just enough to have some trending topics and write helpful articles. You have to incorporate some best-performing keywords in your article so that it receives the attention it deserves.

The keywords are what your target audience is searching for. So, if you can incorporate them in your article in a genuine way, the search engine crawlers will reward you by placing your blog near the top of the search results.

You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMRush, etc. Among these, you can use Google’s tool for free. The keyword planner should allow you to check search volumes, find related keywords, and refine your searches based on location, website, and so on.

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There are elaborate rules and strategies around using keywords in your blogs for maximum results. You can learn about all these from my course on how to do SEO.

5. Create a Schedule for Publishing Content

Congratulations! You now know which topics you should publish and the keywords to get the maximum results. All you need now is a schedule to publish your content that will bring maximum results.

This part of content strategy has some wriggle room based on your goal, availability, writing capacities, etc. However, the best practice is to write and post blogs at least three times a week. Your ultimate aim should be publishing one each day.

You should also consider the time of the day you are publishing. Generally, blogs published early in the morning give it the maximum exposure over the day. It also enhances the possibility of your content getting shared on different social media websites, increasing its reach organically.

Write and Publish Your Blog

Take the first topic on your content plan and write it to the best of your ability. Don’t worry if you are not the best writer. We all start somewhere. You can also hire guest writers to write and publish on behalf of you.

Write Original Content

While writing, you should be precise and accurate with your words. Nobody likes to read content filled with fluffs, spelling errors, or grammatical mistakes. You should also use headings and subheadings as appropriate. Using graphs, images, and lists also helps to enrich your blog and ensure a better reading experience.

While at it, don’t plagiarize or use AI tools. Search engines like Google have a zero-tolerance policy for plagiarized content, while AI tools aren’t sophisticated enough to keep your readers hooked.

Word Processor vs WordPress Editor

Based on your comfort, you can use any tool like Microsoft Word or Google Docs to write your content. However, using these third-party tools would require you to upload it to your CMS before publishing.

Alternatively, you can use the WordPress text editor from the WordPress dashboard to write your content directly on your website. Simply, log in to your WordPress dashboard, then navigate to “Posts > Add New Post,” and start typing. You can also add pictures and format your content with headings and lists.

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Besides, if you have a plugin like Yoast SEO installed on your website, you can optimize your blog in real time. The plugin enables you to create an SEO title, meta description, and more. Check out my blog about how to use Yoast for SEO to learn more.

Make sure to review your content for errors and make it as readable as you can. The Yoast SEO plugin also has a readability checker to help you improve the flow of your content.

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Publish Your Blog

Once you finish writing, reviewing, and optimizing your blog post, you are ready to publish it. On WordPress, hit the “Publish” button from the top right corner of your page. It should show you additional publishing options – visibility, adding tags, assigning a category, etc. It allows scheduled publishing under the “Publish” option.

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If satisfied, simply hit “Publish” from the top of the bar. If you set the visibility to “Public,” the post should be accessible by anyone visiting your site. WordPress also allows visiting your post directly from the editor with a hyperlink in the confirmation notification.

Promote Your Blog to Increase Reach

Well done! You have now successfully started your blog. Now it’s time to tell the world about it. You can share your individual posts or the blog website on social media. Even better if you already have a Facebook community with supportive followers.

Some of the best social media to promote your blog include:

  • Facebook
  • X (previously Twitter)
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Some bloggers also maintain a separate blogging account on platforms like Medium. It is incredibly helpful to reach the audience on the specific platform and divert them to your independent blog.

You can also reach out to successful bloggers and news sites in your niche, especially if you publish helpful research data with detailed infographics. This helps to receive valuable backlinks from the already established sites, helping you rank higher in the search engine results.

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