There’s never been a better time to start a blog than right now.
In years gone by, starting a blog would mean navigating the technical labyrinth that was the internet all on your own. You’d need to figure out how to connect lots of different services and service providers, and sometimes even outsource your blog’s development and design work to software developers, graphic designers and system administrators to help get all the moving parts in place. No more!
Luckily for us, and for you, it’s 2017. You could be up and running in the next 5 minutes!
Website hosting, domain registration and blogging software installation is a simple as signing up at a single service provider and choosing whichever monthly hosting package suits you and your budget. Then it’s just a matter of choosing a blog theme (a design template), writing up a few posts, and clicking the launch button.
Before we get to the ‘how’, what is your ‘why’ for starting a blog in 2017?
Do you have a voice inside your head bursting to get out and share your thoughts on paper? Maybe you’re a foodie wanting to share recipes and photos of your masterpieces. Or perhaps you’ve identified a niche opportunity in an industry that is just begging for a dedicated blog that addresses a certain subject for a specific audience.
Whatever your reasons, blogging can be an incredibly rewarding activity. Bloggers across the world are making money online – anywhere from $3,000 to $130,000 per month, every single month – just by updating their blogs and interacting with users every day.
Whatever your reasons, blogging can be an incredibly rewarding activity. And we’re not just talking personal fulfilment here. Bloggers across the world are making money online by blogging once a day, once a week and even once a month. And by money, we’re talking anywhere from $500 to $3,000 to $130,000 per month, every single month. And, believe me, they have the lifestyles and bank statements to prove it.
By tapping into the interests of their readers and presenting them with content, products and services that are relevant and engaging, bloggers can make an exceptional amount of regular income through advertising and affiliate revenue driven just by updating their their blogs and interacting with users every day.
How, you ask? Well let’s get you set up so you can see for yourself.
Step 1 to starting a blog in 2017
Choosing a topic for your blog
Think about how many search results come up for just about anything you search for on Google. What this means to you and your blog is that there’s competition out there – lots of it. So rather than trying to be a blog about all things for all people, the fastest way to start ranking on search engines, connecting with readers, and generating a profit from those readers, is to choose a particular topic of focus for your blog, also called your niche.
If you don’t already have a rock solid niche in mind, here are some ideas to help you decide what topic to focus on:
- Things you have experience with: if you have a specific skill, someone out there is looking to learn more about it.
- Things you’re passionate about: if you have a hobby you love or a cause you’re committed to, chances are you’ll post more often and find others who share the same interests.
- Things you’ve identified as a gap in the market: if you know that there’s an audience out there that’s interested in something that other blogs aren’t tackling yet (or doing a good enough job of it), you’ll want to move quickly to take advantage of the opportunity.
- If profit is your number one motivator: you’ll want to make sure that you’ve analysed search engine keyword opportunities before setting up your blog. If a keyword, topic or niche attracts a decent amount of traffic on search engines like Google, while also seeing a low number of competitor blogs or websites in that space, this could be a very profitable niche for you to explore.
A quick way to get a free overview of keyword opportunities is to use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool, which will give you an idea of traffic volume and paid competitor activity.
To instantly raise your niche keyword research to professional blogging earning levels, use Niche Reaper to do all the work automatically, identifying niches for you that are wide open to profit potential right now. The tool will provide you with profitable keywords in seconds, using a quick reference visibility score across all related keywords, topics and niches you’re thinking of targeting.
Step 2 to starting a blog in 2017
Choosing a name and domain name for your blog
This is a step where bloggers often get stuck. Yes, you want a catchy name, but getting your blog up and running and being indexed by Google counts for more than spending weeks and months trying to find the very best name you possibly can. I’ve been there. But as long as you focus on checking a few important boxes, finding the right name and domain name for your blog shouldn’t be a hurdle stopping you from launching your blog quickly.
- Once you’ve identified your blog’s niche and important keywords, you should ideally include some or all of these in your blog’s name.
- Think about the tone of the blog you’re about to start. Is it all about business and revenue or is it light and fun? Also think about your audience and what type of brand values and personality would appeal to them. Your name should reflect this, so that users know what to expect when arriving at your site.
- Now that you have a few blog names in mind, you’ll need to search for available domain names that match the names you’ve come up with. There are a few important considerations to bear in mind while searching:
- The length of your domain: though you have up to 67 characters to play with, the shorter your domain, the more memorable it’ll be for your users and more authoritative your domain will appear to interested searchers and visitors.
- The domain extension: decide whether you’re determined to have a top-level domain (like a .com or .net), a country code top-level domain (like .co, .de, .co.uk, .com.au or .co.za), or one of the hundreds of generic top-level domains (like .blog, .reviews or .community).
- Try and avoid hyphens, repeated letters, or words that are difficult to say, spell or pronounce. Also stay away from words that have several spellings and therefore easy to confuse with other domains.
- Consider whether you might want to expand or diversify your blog’s content into other niche’s down the road. If this is a possibility, you don’t want your name to be too specific to what you’re doing right now.
- Aim to be unique in your space. If there are already other websites and blogs with a name or domain name you’re interested in taking, or a well-established .com domain with the same name, continue your search for something else. You want to make sure that you start off on the best possible foot, with as little competition or name confusion as possible.
To search for available domain names across 500+ domain extensions, enter your keywords, topics or name combinations into the domain search tool at I Want My Name and see the status of all registered and unregistered domains at a glance.
If you don’t have any specific domain name preferences in mind, use a domain name generator to help create a set of available domain options for you to start narrowing down.
Step 3 to starting a blog in 2017
Buying your domain and setting up web hosting
This is by far the most important step to starting a blog. Your web hosting company isn’t a hands-off relationship you’ll only need once a year. They’re not just a service provider offering a commodity that’s exactly the same wherever you go – they’re your lifetime partner in blogging success, and you don’t want to trust the wrong people with all your hard work and hard-earned profits.
Make a good decision here and your blog will have the launchpad it needs to set revenues soaring. Choose badly and you’ll have a blog that’s constantly at the mercy of amateur infrastructure, regular downtime, slow connections, poor support when you need it most, lack of integration with top products and services on the web, and an experience for your users that leaves them waiting for pages to load and looking to your competitors instead.
Your web hosting company isn’t a hands-off relationship you’ll only need once a year. They’re not just a service provider offering a commodity that’s exactly the same wherever you go – they’re your lifetime partner in blogging success.
Choosing the right web host comes down to a few critical factors:
- They need to be an expert in hosting WordPress blogs, and have an easy interface to install and activate WordPress on your hosting account. In technical terms, WordPress is what is called a content management system. In blogging terms, it’s the biggest, simplest and most powerful blogging software on the planet, used by millions of bloggers to run their blogs and online businesses. Bluehost is a world-renowned web hosting company that offers 1-click WordPress installation that’ll have your blog live in a couple of minutes. They’re also the only web host officially recommended by WordPress. It’s such a powerful partnership, in fact, that bloggers who run WordPress blogs on Bluehost are able to qualify for reduced monthly hosting options starting at just $3.95, with your first domain name for free.
- They need to give you as much space and traffic bandwidth as part of your monthly hosting fee. You don’t want to find yourself boxed into a hosting plan that doesn’t accommodate your blog’s growth well into the future.
- They need to offer stable, robust, protected, distributed servers and hosting options to cope with any amount of traffic you send to your blog, all day, all night.
- They need to have free, dedicated, qualified technical in-house support 24/7/365 to answer any questions and provide technical assistance whenever you need it. They also need to be expert WordPress users themselves, knowing the difference between widgets and themes, posts and pages.
- They need to have a web-based control panel that takes all the hard work out of changing settings, updating preferences, installing software, buying domains, managing domains, setting up new sites and blogs and keeping everything secure.
- They need to let you cancel at any time, with no contracts to make sure that you remain 100% satisfied with their service and have the option to move your blog whenever you like.
Setting up your Bluehost account and WordPress installation takes just a few quick steps:
- Go to Bluehost and click ‘get started now’.
- Select the hosting package that suits your budget and your needs.
- Choose your brand new free domain in the form on the left. If you already have a domain and want to transfer it to Bluehost, you’ll need to enter a few more details in the form on the right.
- Now that your domain’s in the bag, fill in your personal details to create your Bluehost account.
- Now all that’s left is to confirm your web hosting account plan, enter your payment details, choose a password and complete your hosting setup. You’ll see several payment options in the account plan dropdown menu, including payment plans for 12, 24 or 36 months. The longer you plan to host your blog at Bluehost, the cheaper your monthly hosting fee. Choose whether you prefer the cheapest monthly fee with the greatest discount or a shorter hosting plan at a higher monthly cost. The choice is entirely up to you.
- Once you’re logged into your new hosting account, you’ll want to install WordPress so that you can start your blog. In the Bluehost cPanel, go to the MOJO Marketplace section and click ‘One-Click installs’. On the next page, click the WordPress icon in the ‘Scripts and Platforms’ section.
- Click on the green ‘Start’ button to begin the WordPress installation.
- Choose the domain you’d like to use for the new installation of WordPress in your hosting account. Click the green ‘Check Domain’ button to make sure that the selected domain is assigned to your account. If you see a prompt asking you to confirm that you’re overwriting files, check the box to continue if you haven’t build a website or blog on this domain yet. If you do have a pre-existing site or blog on this domain, make sure that you have a backup so that you can continue with the new install.
- Click ‘Show Advanced Options’ to choose your own unique username (something more unique than ‘admin’) and a secure secret password that’s difficult for anyone else to guess. If this is your first installation of WordPress on this domain, check the box to automatically create a new database, unless you have an existing database you’d prefer to use. Click the ‘install now’ button to make the magic happen.
- Once your WordPress installation is complete, you’ll receive confirmation of your new blog URL, your admin URL which is where you’ll be able to add your new content, your new username, and your secure password. Go to www.yoursite.com/wp-admin to get started with your first blog post, adding pages, customising menus and changing the appearance of your blog using WordPress themes, which is how you can really make your blog stand out from the crowd!
And with that, you’re done! Your blog is live! Your readers are waiting to read your first post, so all the best and happy blogging!
Customising the appearance of your blog is simple and fun with a universe of thousands of WordPress themes to choose from. Start browsing beautiful themes here.