For years I have been looking at ways to supplement my income. I knew I couldn’t rely on just my job as a commercial airline pilot, even though at the time I thought there would be nothing that could stop aviation and travel. Then all of a sudden planes stopped flying and I was stood down.
For the first time in 20 years I was stuck with no other skills to transfer into another industry. All I’d ever known was to fly.
Luckily, about 7 years ago I started looking at building a business online. Something I could take away with me on trips and do from anywhere in the world where I had an internet connection.
I have been building websites and writing blog posts for years now and have made a bit of money online.
So if you’re thinking about starting an online business and blogging in particular stick around, bookmark this page so you can come back to it later and I’ll show you just how to start a blog too.
Note: This will be a long post, because I don’t want to leave anything out. Every step is vital to transition from having a blog as a hobby to making it into a business and making you money.
To make it easier, I’ve added a table of contents below for you, so you can skip to any part of this page.
Disclaimer: Please note that this post includes affiliate links which may provide a commission to me at no cost to you. You’ll buy me a cup of coffee though 🙂 , however, the links are for the best software and tools you need to start a successful blog. For more information, you can read my affiliate disclosure in my affiliate disclaimer policy.
A Quick Look at How YOU Will Be Creating Success
Before we get started into the nitty gritty of things, I wanted to share with you a couple of things.
Have you ever told someone you wanted to start a blog and they responded with “but isn’t blogging oversaturated?” Well, I’ve created a blog post to find out if it actually is.
You need to know your why. Why do you want to start a blog? Knowing the answer will keep you focussed when the going gets tough (and it will!), for some it could be to make some money, or to create an audience around a particular topic, or even just for fun!
As an example, if you want to make money blogging, think about the reason you’re doing it. Are you doing it for:
- financial freedom?
- the ability to go away on that dream vacation every year?
- build up your savings for retirement?
- or just looking to start a personal blog?
Don’t just stop at the questions above. Think about what that would also mean for you if you achieved all of your goals of making money online.
Before we get started, here’s a couple of quick questions I received below:
If you’ve been thinking about it then yes! Starting a blog is not only easy but fun too. You’ve got to enjoy the journey to enjoy the destination. There might be millions of other bloggers but there’s only one YOU! You don’t need to be a professional website developer or creative writer to start. Remember, I’m a pilot by trade, so if I can learn this stuff you can too.
That’s ok too! I’ve broken all the steps down to make it easier for you to start a blog this year. If you get really stuck then just throw a comment down below and I’ll be sure to answer it, or simply send me an email or message me directly here.
Absolutely! There are a number of successful people who have built their freedom with the techniques I’m going to show you. But it doesn’t come without hard work. However, I would recommend you not to give up your day job until your blog makes enough money to replace it. Keep it as a side hustle to start with.
It is actually one of the most inexpensive ways I’ve heard of for starting a business. Think about how much money you would need to start an Amazon business, or a proper bricks and mortar store. The hosting side of things will probably be the most expensive thing you buy for the year and only come in at a maximum of $200. But I’ll go through all the options even if you’re on a tight budget.
Ok, now that we’ve gone through what you can expect and getting your mindset around creating a blog online, it’s time to get build our own blog.
Ready? Let’s fly!
Table of Contents
1. Choose an Interest
This in the business world is known as your niche (pronounced however you like, it’s been up for debate for ages 🙂 ). It’s your interest or topic that you are going to be blogging about. The beauty about niches is that there is an unlimited number of topics you can write about!
Examples of niches include: travel, fashion, beauty, fitness, lifestyle, technology, etc.
When choosing your blog’s niche, a common mistake I see new bloggers try to do is that they go too broad. They want to become a fitness blogger.
But fitness can include, bodybuilding, calisthenics, martial arts, eating healthy, supplements, gym equipment, fitness fashion, you get the idea right? There’s just sooooo much you can talk about.
Now while that may seem like a good idea it is also incredibly competitive at the same time. It will be way too hard at the start to cover all those topics yourself. So a tip here is to narrow it down.
Start off with one sub-niche of fitness, say martial arts (it’s what I love to do in my spare time) and then branch out from there.
A common saying amongst professional bloggers out there is saying “write about your passion!”
That’s all well and good but what if your passion is milking goats? You’re interested in building a real business right?
So my question to you becomes how do you monetize that? You might be all excited to start a blog about goat milking, but if you can’t make money from it, after a while you will burn out and it’ll fail.
Even if you’re not an expert in your chosen field, that’s ok you become the expert!
But you also need to enjoy it. There’s no point doing something you absolutely hate just to try and make money. You’re doing that now in your job. No need to go through that again.
Because we’re building a business here, I’m going to give you 4 tips to start thinking about your niche:
You ultimately want to help people with your blog, that’s why people go searching for answers to their question. Understanding what their struggles are, will then lead into, how much are they then willing to spend to help relieve that pain?
For example, if your audience are sleep suffers, and they wake up with a bad neck every day. How much would you think they would be willing to pay you if you offer them a product that could guarantee they won’t have this problem anymore?
To add value to it, make sure you offer some tips through blog content around sleep and the benefits of a good night’s sleep.
Pro Tip: Target businesses if you can, consulting for them, or even pitch your product (if you have one). It can be physical or digital. This can fast track your growth and bring in money sooner.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most lucrative ways you can make money in any niche and on any blog. It’s also one of my favourite ways to make money online.
Affiliate marketing is the recommendation of a product or service (of another business) in which you will receive a commission for, should that person go through your link and purchase.
For example, if you’re in the kayak fishing niche but you don’t have the physical kayak to sell yourself, then if there’s a favourite kayak you absolutely love, you can recommend your readers to buy one from (say Amazon.com) and then if they buy it, you receive a commission for it.
Pretty cool right? We’ll go further into affiliate marketing later.
If you’re blogging in a particular area that you have potential contacts in, how can they help you get your name out there to bring in potential clients?
In my instance, I am in a totally different industry, so I’m currently focussing on building relationships with fellow bloggers who could then later on give me a testimonial to add credibility if I wanted to go down the B2B (business to business) consulting route. This can add more revenue for my blog.
Keyword research is imperative. You may not have realised this but when you search something into Google, that is a keyword. That keyword will have websites that Google has found to have that particular keyword somewhere in that blog post and is now “ranking” for it.
The good news is that there are tools out there like SEMRush and Ahrefs to help you filter out those keywords so you can rank your post/website.
If all your keywords have high competition and high volume it will be incredibly hard to rank in the early stages, particularly because Google has no information about your new blog yet.
So think about the keywords in your niche, the longer the keyword, the less competition there will be and the easier it will be to rank.
Pro Tip: Competition is actually good! It shows people are actively searching for that keyword.
2. Choose a Domain Name
Building awareness is the key to any great brand…
Now that you’ve got your niche sorted, it’s time to pick the name of your website. Your domain (as the name suggests), is the name you see in the address bar at the top of the webpage. For instance my domain name is chrisbournelis.com.
I used to take ages to come up with a catchy, hip, memorable name. When I first started, it literally took me weeks to come up with a custom domain name.
What an absolute waste of time that was when I could have been more productive in producing content!
I have since realised that your name really has no bearing if someone will like you or not.
Think about Google? Apple? Nike?
One of them is a bunch of letters that I first thought was goggle, the other is the name of a fruit, and the last one is named from the Greek goddess of victory.
Ever heard of Häagen Dazs? It’s the name of a famous ice cream brand. Did you know that it actually doesn’t mean anything? The founder, Ruben Mattus invented it because it “sounded Danish”, yet it sounds like a luxurious brand like they know what they are doing when it comes to ice cream.
When choosing your own domain name I would suggest not to narrow it down too much.
If you were to have too narrow of a name it’ll limit you on your topic.
Again, lets take our goat milking niche (by the way, if you wanna rock that niche by all means go for it!), but if your name was goatmilkingforbeginners.com (which is available by the way), then it will be very weird when you start talking about other farm animals.
People have come to your website specifically for goats, but when you start talking about all sorts of other animals that could potentially be milked (ok this is getting weird now) that could deter them from coming back. Please come back to me!
So instead: choose a broader name. It’ll allow you to pivot later on as you start to grow and you can introduce new blog post ideas and pages to your blog.
The extension of a domain name is what’s after the full stop. So that’s your .com, .co, .com.au, .net, .org, etc.
If you’re going for search engine rankings then having a .com domain is going to be the most favourable. However, if your services will only be in that country, for example you’re a real estate agent in Australia, then it will make sense to add .com.au (the au is for Australia).
This is valuable if your preferred .com domain is unavailable.
Yes you can change your blog name (although having gone through this process before I really don’t recommend it). It will also require you to buy a brand new domain name (around 10USD for the year).
But because you can always change your blog name later, don’t let this step hold you back from starting your blog. I’ve known people take 6 months to come up with their name.
Remember done is better than perfection.
- Don’t make it too complex. Eg, howtolosebellyfattodayandstilleat.com
- Don’t confuse people with difficult spelling. Eg, iwantu2nvme
- From the point above, don’t use numbers and hyphens.
- While it’s not important for Search Engine Optimization to have a keyword in your name it could give people an idea of what your blog is about.
3. Get Your Domain and Hosting
Now comes the fun part! You’ve decided on your domain name. Now we need to purchase it and give it a place to live online. This is known as blog hosting.
Without a hosting provider your website won’t be seen by anyone. Your blog’s performance is determined by the blog hosting provider you choose. So it’s important that you choose the best hosting you can according to your budget. The good thing is that most basic hosting plans come in at under $10/month!
Here’s why I like SiteGround as my web hosting company:
- Their customer service is 24/7 and very quick response times. They also knew what they were talking about!
- Free SSL Certificate
- 99% Server uptime
- You can scale and grow your hosting with SiteGround as your blog grows
- Easy dashboard to navigate around
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Having a data centre close to where most of your readers live
- Unmetered traffic
There are so many different hosting choices out there, but in my opinion, SiteGround is the best web hosting company for new bloggers and is not plagued with the difficulties that come with other hosting sites.
Other web hosting companies include Bluehost and WPX. With Bluehost, you can also get a self hosted WordPress blog with a free domain name for the first year. Perfect if you’re on a budget.
Caution: While some blogging platforms may entice you with the words like free blog, or free domain name, it’s important to know that these websites will limit your ability to make money blogging.
If you’re ready to start a blog on SiteGround, continue on with my tutorial. And remember if you get stuck anywhere along the way, you can always email me and I can help you out.
Step 1. Visit siteground.com
This is the SiteGround.com homepage. Click on the ‘Start a Site’ button if you just want a basic website.
Step 2. Choose Your Hosting Plan
Now it’s time to choose your actual plan. For those just starting out I recommend the ‘StartUp’ plan. It has absolutely everything you’ll ever need to get going, and it’s the cheapest!
If you happen to grow quite quickly (not a bad problem to have!) then you can always upgrade later.
I should also point out here that because I’m in Australia, SiteGround has defaulted to AUD. If you want to change it to a currency of your choice, you can do so at the bottom of the webpage.
Step 3. Enter Your Domain Name
Enter the domain name you chose for yourself earlier. If you get to this step and it’s not available then you can try the different options I mentioned above.
But as a refresher, try to avoid hyphens and get a .com domain if you can.
Once you’ve done this click on ‘Proceed’.
Step 4. Enter Your Account Details
I’ll skip the part where you enter your own personal details.
But let’s come down here to the purchase information. Where I want to point out a few key services.
The data center is where you want your hosting server to be. The benefit of this is, if most of your traffic is going to be in the USA, then having a server in the USA will mean quicker load times for those people. This is a good thing for search engine optimization.
The last step here is to choose any extra services you’d like. The domain privacy means that all that information you entered up the top of the page will not be visible to the public. This is your choice. Personally, I tick this box.
The SG site scanner scans your website regularly and will let you know if there’s any malicious activity that you need to take action on. I don’t usually tick this as there are other services available for free later on, but again totally your choice.
Click ‘pay now’ and that’s it! Congratulations you have now set up your blog hosting account!!
I should mention here that $130.71 AUD is not bad going to starting a business for an entire year…just saying. Think about how much money you need to start an offline business with offices and staff and tools, etc.
So far so good!
4. Setting up WordPress
Now it’s time to have some (more) fun and let your inner design come out. After installing your hosting, if someone was to visit your website now it would be blank. So we now need to code the content management system (CMS).
But don’t let the word code fool you. This part is very straight forward with the touch of a few buttons and let the autopilot do the rest.
So like I mentioned above, WordPress is the Content Management System (CMS). This is the application where you will do all the words and images “behind the scenes”, yet people who visit your website only see the finished product. It’s where you will write, edit, customise and publish your blog posts and anything else on your website.
Like with anything, it may seem hard at first. But once you get the hang of it it’ll be very straight forward and fun! Of course there are other CMS systems you can look into and no doubt you’ve heard of these (Wix, Squarespace, Tumblr, Ghost).
However, I strongly recommend WordPress as the options and functionality far outweighs any other CMS I’ve used. We’ll even go through the steps together and remember, any questions feel free to contact me. But ultimately the choice is always yours, especially if you want to eventually make money from your blog.
Yes! It came free with your hosting.
With SiteGround, you can install WordPress and run your own blog in a matter of minutes.
Here’s how to do it.
This is your SiteGround dashboard. A lot simpler than the dashboard other blogging platforms use.
The good news is that you don’t have to do a lick of code. See that “set up site” button? Click it.
We want to start a new website, so hit the “select” button.
Next we want to select the far left option. Just WordPress on its own.
Unless you’ve got an online store, then go ahead and select the WooCommerce option.
In this instance they are asking if you want to add Site Scanner (again) to your website. You can bypass this by just selecting “Finish”.
Now you need to set up a different username and password for WordPress. This is different to your SiteGround email address and password. Then click “continue”.
Pro Tip: Make this difficult to guess, don’t keep using the same password. Hackers love that!
That’s it you’re now done with installing WordPress!
By clicking on “log in admin” this will then take you to what is known as the WordPress dashboard or the “back end”.
I’d like for you to spend a bit of time here and just have a look around. Get to know the different options and where everything is. We’ll be spending a lot more time here in the next couple of chapters.
5. Choose Your Blog's (FREE) Theme
Now’s the time to let your inner design come out! In this section we will choose the shell or “theme” of how your blog will look.
The best part about this is that you can change your blog theme as many times as you like. So if at first you don’t like the layout then you can always install a new theme and customise that to how you like.
A Few Pointers Before We Get Started
Firstly, there’s 2 types of WordPress themes. Free ones and paid ones. When you get started with a free one you might be limited to some basic features. This is totally fine! You don’t need a whizz bang theme with everything on it to get started.
Free WordPress themes have everything you’ll ever need. Only when you’re making money from your blog and can justify the investment is when I would then recommend a paid theme.
More and more people are reading on mobile devices these days so make sure you check how it looks on both a smartphone and tablet.
Next, think about the reader experience. Is it easy to navigate? Is it easy to read? Have someone independent look at your blog design for some feedback if you can.
Lastly, don’t spend a whole lot of time like I did in the beginning. I spent so much more time on my blog’s theme than I probably should have rather than writing new blog posts. Don’t over do it.
The first step is to log into your WordPress admin page.
The 2 ways to do this is to first log in to the SiteGround website and then go to Websites > WordPress Kit > WordPress Admin > Go.
Alternatively, to go direct to the admin page go to yourdomainname.com/wp-admin.
That will bring you to the log in page to the left.
Next add in your WordPress log in details. This is different to your SiteGround details.
Scroll down until you see “Appearance” on the left hand side and click on it.
Then up the top will be an “Add New” button. Click on that and you will be taken to the next page below.
As you can see there are literally thousands of free themes you can choose from.
To save you a bit of time here are a couple of free themes I recommend to get you started:
- Generate Press
These themes are lightweight and fast out of the box (this is good for SEO). When you like a particular theme then hover over the image and click “install”. Once it’s installed click “activate”.
This will load that theme to your website and you’re ready to start customising it.
Extra Tips on Choosing the Right Theme
As many times as you like. Just don’t spend too much time on it in the beginning. It’s easy to get caught up in the design and not bring people to your blog.
When you hover over a theme click on “details and preview”. In the description, most themes will have a demo website. Click on the URL and insert it into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page to see if it’s compatible. Lots of people are viewing content on smartphones and they will quickly give up on your site if it doesn’t work on mobile devices.
Yes and no. If you show that you’ve put at least some effort into it then people will start to build trust with you. But it’s no good having the best looking website if your content is rubbish, because then no one will be coming to it, and then what’s the point?
Clean Up The Default Pages/Posts
Every new WordPress blog that you install will come with “default” or dummy content that is added to it. You want to get rid of this content before you can start writing blog posts that is relevant to your niche.
The first thing you want to do is delete the default post that is added with each website.
To do this head over to the dashboard again, and on the left you’ll see “posts”, click on that and you will be taken to the page where all your future posts that you create on your blog will live.
Hover over the blog post you wish to delete and select “trash”.
You should now have a clean website.
Hang in there! You’re doing great!!
We’re about half way through and by now you should have these ticked off:
- blog niche? Checked.
- Domain and Hosting set? Checked.
- WordPress and theme installed? Checked.
That’s a lot of tasks completed but you’re now well on your way.
Coming up…WordPress plugins…
6. Install Your WordPress Plugins
As we know, WordPress is the most widely used CMS with over 30% of ALL websites (that’s millions!) incorporating it. To make it the most powerful, there are add-ons to make your website run better and more efficient. These are called “plugins”.
If you think of your smartphone and all the apps you have installed on it to make your life easier and more efficient, that’s probably the best way to think about the WordPress plugins.
Pro Tip: Don’t just go installing every plugin you find. Having too many installed will slow down your site and can conflict with each other during updates.
So which plugins should you add?
Well I’ve put together a list of the best ones to optimise your blog and perform at its best (and the exact ones I use):
This plugin should have already been loaded when you installed WordPress. It will only work with a SiteGround hosting account (which you already did). It can allow you to force HTTPS for your site, frontend and image optimisation. You can also configure dynamic caching for faster access.
This is now a paid addon from Siteground. If you want a free version check out WP-Optimize below.
This plugin makes your site fast and efficient. It cleans the database, compresses images and caches pages on the entire blog. It even helps you make space. When you edit a post or page on your website, WordPress automatically saves the new revision to the database. If you edit things a few times (and particularly if the post is long), your database soon gets clogged up with old revisions that just sit there, taking up valuable space.
This plugin comes in a free and paid version.
3. WP Rocket
This is a paid plugin and you can get started for only $49/year.
This is a great drag and drop webpage builder. You can customise practically any part of your website with just a few clicks. While the free version is great and definitely fine to get you started, the Pro version just takes your web page building to a whole new level, especially if you’re struggling with WordPress’s Gutenberg editor.
This plugin comes in a free and paid version.
In recent times you may have seen that almost any website you now visit, there is a pop up that will ask you to accept the cookies before continuing. That’s thanks to the EU and their updated regulations. If you have any visitors from the EU then you need this plugin to avoid breaking any laws.
This is a free plugin.
This is a Google Analytics plugin that allows you see basic information about who is visiting your site, directly from your WordPress dashboard. You’ll need a Google Analytics account (free) to connect the plugins together. You can find out who’s coming, how long they’re hanging around, and what your most popular posts are. Very valuable information to take your business forward.
This plugin comes in a free and paid version.
This is a great plugin to capture emails. Having an email list is essential for basically any website. It offers advanced features such as A/B testing, geolocation targeting, conditional pop-ups and even email subscription forms for mobile sites. You also have the ability to create exit intent, modal popups, in-content opt-ins, and more!
This is a paid plugin and you can get started for only $9/month.
This is fast becoming my favourite tool for affiliate marketing. Have you ever noticed how ugly the affiliate links are? You know the ones that look like these…
Well with this plugin you can choose your own affiliate link. So I could have this…
Now not only does that look nicer, but it could lead to higher conversion rates and can’t be stolen by affiliate hijackers (yes that’s actually a thing).
This plugin comes in a free and paid version.
If you’re an affiliate marketer, chances are that you are going to write reviews on your blog. Then you’ve probably noticed how on some reviews within Google they have the star rating show up? This plugin does exactly that. It helps your readers expose your reviews in a easier to read format and will help you generate money by adding a buy now button in your post. Rich snippets are also supported.
This is a free plugin.
10. Rank Math
This is by far one of the best SEO WordPress Plugins out there. If you aren’t using an SEO tool to help you rank in the search engines then you’re potentially leaving money on the table. It utilises a traffic light system for your posts to make sure it’s as optimised as possible. One of the best features I love is that the snippet preview shows you exactly how your post or page will look in the search results. Even on mobile!
This plugin comes in a free and paid version.
Ok, now that your plugins are installed, lets move on to setting up some general settings within WordPress.
7. Basic WordPress Settings
Regardless of why you’re starting a blog, you want it to be functional and easy for search engines to find you. It’ll even make your blog much more attractive.
It’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of the settings within WordPress so you can see how it actually functions and what it does to your blog.
Here are the settings we’ll be going through.
Remember how I mentioned above about the disgusting affiliate links? Well that’s a permalink. It’s anything after the .com of a URL.
This is an important setting because Google knows words, not gibberish, so you’ll want to change the setting like the one below to help in your SEO ranking.
Within your dashboard hover over “Settings” then select “Permalinks”. If by default the selection is anything other than “post name” or “custom” then change it here.
Now you have the permanent URL structure. It’s important not to change this on a live website. It will lead to broken links and therefore will affect your SEO. Especially if you’ve put a link on another website pointing to yours, it’ll completely waste the effort you have gone to get that backlink.
Don’t forget to save the setting at the bottom of the page before exiting.
To www. or To NOT www.
For most people this setting won’t really matter. It’s more of a case of personal preference and there’s really no difference I can tell with SEO benefits.
I feel using www is more of a comforting thing to readers and looks more legit? I’ll let you be the judge. For a more technical aspect, I went with www because it acts as a hostname which can help in flexibility with DNS and the ability to restrict cookies when using multiple sub domains.
If you want to change it here’s how to do it. Go to settings > general and enter it after the https://
All of your webpages will now be redirected.
Setting Up Your Blog's Menus
A menu is the title you see up the top of the website (header) or the bottom of the website (footer). Right now you won’t have any content to put in your menu until you start creating pages, such as your About, Contact, Blog, Hire, Shop, Socials, etc.
But when you get to it, go to Appearance > Menus and follow the picture below.
So that’s it for now on the settings. Let’s move on to finally writing your first piece of content!
8. Creating Your First Blog Article
To establish any kind of online presence, you first need to build trust with your audience. The best way to do this is through an “About Me” page. Almost every website will have some sort of information about their brand, who they are, and why they want to help people.
Most of the time these pages are pretty standard, but it can be a fun way to introduce yourself. You can go to my page here for some inspiration. I not only tell my story but why I am doing this, and my goals with what this site is about.
Adding Your About Me Page
We start off again with, you guessed it, the dashboard. When thinking about a page, it is exactly that. It’s a one page document on your blog, which is what we want to create in this instance.
When you select “Posts” it will look like a page, however will be written under the “Blog Page” that is on your website.
To create a Page or a Post, look for it on the left hand side and choose “Page”. Then click “Add New”.
This will take you to WordPress’s Gutenberg editor. If you find it hard to navigate around and find it too confusing. Don’t worry you’re not alone! You can play around it with it here for familiarity and what it can do. Alternatively, you can add the classic editor plugin or, better yet, edit with Elementor, the plugin we installed earlier.
One thing to be mindful of is on the right hand side of the page, under “Permalinks” and then “URL slug” this is what your URL will look like once published.
When you’re ready to post your about me page hit “Publish”. It doesn’t matter that Yoast is giving you all sorts of red traffic lights, we’re not trying to rank your about me page. Moving forward though with blog posts we will definitely be looking at how to make killer content that ranks.
Congratulations! A HUGE achievement, you’ve just published your first page on your website!
We have made a ton of progress so far. You can go ahead and create any other page you like and see if you can add it to your header menu. If you get stuck then feel free to write a comment below and I’ll help you out.
Next up, we’re going to spend a bit of time on creating your first blog post.
9. Creating Your First Blog Post
We’ve now covered most of the framework of how your blog looks, now it’s time to actually publish content.
While you don’t need to be a professional writer or have an English degree to start blogging, it is important to understand basic sentence structure and grammar. It would be quite annoying to me if the writer didn’t know the difference between your and you’re.
Luckily, there’s Grammarly. A service designed to help with those pain points. I highly recommend you to use it to go over every post.
Adding Keywords to Your Posts
Keyword research is an incredibly in depth topic. In fact researching what I wanted to write in this section has taken me hours to do! I wanted to keep this as simple as I could without confusing you too much seeing as we’re just writing our very first blog post.
So let’s start with this…
This is your blog. So you can write about whatever the hell you want! Feels pretty good when you think about it right?
But then the question becomes, well what do I write about? Well aside from the fact that this is your platform to say whatever is on your mind, once you’ve established the niche you’re going to be blogging about, it’s important to keep it relevant.
If you suffer from writer’s block just know that it is completely normal. Here are some tips to save you so you can push through the barrier.
Smart keyword research (which we will get into later) is what will actually bring your readers in.
But there’s a few things you should always do with keywords in every blog post (and it helps with SEO too).
- Put your keyword into the blog post title of your article.
- Add it into your URL slug. Remember this can be different to your title.
- Add it to your Meta Title. This is found under the block in the Yoast settings. Click “edit snippet” to change this.
- Add it to your Meta Description. This is what will be shown in the search engines and make sure it’s relevant to your reader.
- Add it at least once in your post. Preferably in the first 2 paragraphs. But don’t overdo it and have it in every sentence. Google will penalise you for this.
Pro Tip: When choosing a keyword to target, the shorter that keyword is, the more competition there is likely to be and the harder for you to get to page 1 of the search results. So choose a keyword that is longtail (3 – 4 words in a phrase is a good start).
Write With Intent
Something that really annoys me when reading other blogs is the same regurgitated stuff. They’ve basically taken the information from one blog and rewritten it into theirs. There’s no personality behind it. It’s just….text…so write as if you’re talking. It’ll flow much easier.
When planning what to write in your post, first think about what your reader actually wants when they are performing their search.
To show you what I mean, let’s start with something I was searching for when I was growing up (any maybe up until yesterday).
Now notice my keyword? and do you notice what pops up several times throughout the search results?
Yes! Build, gain, and the one I was looking for, fast. It gets repeated at least 3 times just in this section alone. This tells you that people who type in that kind of keyword is looking to put on muscle fast. You can see this because Google is pushing these to page 1.
So what does this mean for you and what do you do about it?
It means you should get to the point and offer your readers a list of how to put on muscle fast! Don’t waste their time by starting off with “What is muscle?”. Look at what the results are telling you and then use that to fit in to your strategy.
Some Extra Writing Tips
I’ve never been good at writing, but here is what I have learnt over the years.
- Always provide value to your readers. I feel that this is missing these days so throw in some humour or a feel good story of how something has helped you that can help your readers.
- Try and add visuals to help break up the wall of text. If I wanted to read a novel then I would buy one. I usually love reading the pictures in the middle of the books. It’s very easy to add images or even video and audio.
- Add bullet points or numbered lists to break up long lines of text. Try not to have too many sentences in one paragraph, 3-4 is enough.
- Double check for typos and grammatical errors (Grammarly is great for that).
- Add some bold to your text to make important points stand out.
- Double check to see how your post will look on all devices. (Elementor is great for that).
One last point to remember when you’re learning how to start a blog is you don’t have to be perfect! Don’t keep waiting or trying to make your website the prettiest it can be.
The best thing about technology is that it can be changed and that done is better than perfect. A great piece of software to look into to speed up your writing is AI copywriting tools.
Now You're Ready to Write Your First Blog Post
Once you’ve decided on the first post you want to write about, head over to “Posts” and select “Add New”.
Just like the About Me page we created above you’ll then be taken to the new Gutenberg editor page.
If you don’t have Elementor, that’s ok you can still do everything you need right here. Be sure to follow the writing tips from above to help you.
The Gutenberg editor works a lot like Microsoft Word or Pages (depending on your OS). You can do things like:
- Add media
- Align columns
- Create headings
- Add links – Remember to add both internal and external, and always have the page open in a new window
- On the right hand side you can select the featured image for your blog post
- Add categories and tags to group certain types of posts
- If you’re not ready to publish your work then hit “Save Draft”
- Be sure to “Preview” your post to see what it will look like
- Finally when you’re ready, then hit “Publish” and send it off to the interwebs for anyone to see!
One of the great things about WordPress is that if you figure out you need to edit something after it’s published then don’t panic! Just go back into the post, edit it, then hit “Publish” again and the new changes will now be shown.
The Power of a Search Engine Optimization Plugin
If you’re not using an SEO plugin like Rank Math, then you could be missing out on some valuable information. Down the bottom underneath the Gutenberg editor will be the SEO settings for that particular post.
Click on “Edit Snippet” to expand the window. This is your Meta Title and Meta Description. It’s what Google will show searches in the results page.
Note: Google doesn’t always show the Meta Description but make sure you include it anyway just in case it does.
Unless you’ve got Rank Math Pro you won’t be able to achieve all green lights. Just get as close as you can without comprising on the value of your post. Anything above 90 and you’ll be fine. In other words, don’t keyword stuff just because the plugin told you too.
It needs to make sense most of all.
Congratulations! You’ve just posted your FIRST blog post! You’re now part of the blogging community.
This is a great part of the journey and be sure to reward yourself (however you like – I’m a fan of Scotch). It’s important to celebrate the wins to keep you motivated along the way.
Which brings me to…
10. Commit to a Regular Publishing Schedule
It’s great that you’ve just completed your first post. But don’t think that all your work is now done and you can sit back on a beach and watch the money roll in.
This business requires constant work. Of course, how you can make money is by people visiting your website. But…if you want people to visit, then you need to give them a reason to visit and also to keep coming back.
Consistency is an element I see that a lot of people don’t really talk about.
This article from Hubspot claims that, for a new and small blog, aim for about 4-6 posts a week. Now that might seem like a lot when you’re just starting (and it is!) but if you can’t write that much on your own then write to a schedule you are comfortable and committed to.
It’s always better to write more quality posts that will educate your audience than posting crap for the sake of getting an additional post up.
It’s also a better strategy to scale up the better you get with writing.
If people get used to you writing 3x a week and then you find yourself in over your head and need to scale it back then what I’ve found is that people will generally stop reading.
But if you find that there’s a lot of engagement at even one post a week, then you can always scale up for even more engagement.
PRO TIP: Set up an editorial calendar schedule such as Trello (it’s free!) to map out a month’s worth of content and make sure you stick to it.
In the same way you put time in to become fitter at the gym, or wealthier through the real estate market, the bigger your returns will be from your blog.
There really isn’t anything over complicated when it comes to running a successful blog. More often than not, where people fail is that they’ve done their blog post and then all they hear are crickets. Unfortunately making money right out of the gate from your blog is not a thing.
A WordPress blog takes time, patience and consistency. If you’ve got those 3 things covered then you’ll eventually make it.
The thing about business is the risk vs. reward. The higher the risk (investment) the higher the reward (money).
For example: If you want to make money on day one, then go start an Amazon business like I did. The thing with that is, I had to put about $10k invested into it upfront.
I had to pay to make the product, shipping, advertising, Amazon itself, insurance, etc. But the reward was that on the first day my inventory got placed into Amazon, I made a sale.
Now starting a blog is low risk in comparison. We really haven’t spent a lot of money to get our new business off the ground (less than $200), and right now we don’t need to either.
However, to speed things up you could hire writers of your own to create the content for you. Just make sure it’s quality.
Finally, stay the course, write exciting content, connect with people in your niche and be enthusiastic about what you’re working on.
The traffic, monetisation, and freedom you seek will all follow. It helps if you have someone going through it with you and started their own WordPress blog.
Now it’s your turn to start your own blog. I hope this guide has been helpful enough to give you the confidence you need to select your web hosting, install your WordPress theme, write your blog content, and start ranking within the search engines.
If you have any questions please let me know and I’ll start an FAQ section in this guide (it will be regularly updated anyway).
Also, I want to know how your blogging journey is going. What blog niche did you choose?
Let me know in the comments below if you are a successful blogger or going to be one!
It’s time to be the pilot of your life and not the passenger.
Chris Bournelis is a blogger and part-time web developer. He has been working in online business since 2015. Join him here at ChrisBournelis.com for the best SaaS reviews and tips to get the most out of your online business.