How to Start a Blog in 2020: Selecting a Niche + Complete Guide for Beginners

Welcome to this detailed guide on how to start a blog. I appreciate that you are finally going to get a blog and joining the community. It’s a great idea indeed. Don’t worry, I’ve written this guide in such a way that you’ll find it easy to understand and implement. It is going to be easy and I’ll be telling you each and everything about How to Start a Blog in 2020 from selecting a niche to making money from it.

Well, Let me quickly introduce myself. I am Shashank Kulshrestha and I’ve been in the Digital Marketing industry for about 5 years now. I’ve helped several businesses in achieving business goals and growing their businesses on the Internet.

How to Start a Blog in 2020: Complete Guide for Beginners
How to Start a Blog in 2020: Complete Guide for Beginners

Starting a blog is no doubt an overwhelming and exciting idea. It’s not that hard to start with blogging, you can simply get started with it, what you need is a mind that can generate thoughts and fingers that can put it on the screen. Sounds pretty simple? right? It is actually simple. This free guide about How to Start a Blog will help you in successfully building your first blog in a few easy steps. If at any point of time you feel stuck and need help, please drop a comment in the comment section below, I’ll be getting back to you within 24 hours.

Alright, So without taking more of your time, let’s get started with the blog right now.

What is a Blog?

This may sound very basic to a lot of you, but it is important to know what a blog exactly stands for. If you ask people to distinguish between the website and a blog, they probably won’t be able to tell the difference. So, let’s quickly see what a blog exactly stands for.

A blog is the type of website that focuses on sharing information in the form of blog posts where a website is built with pages focusing on showcasing information about a specific topic without proper ordering. A website is probably created to showcase the information of commercial purpose but a blog is widely used for sharing knowledge about a topic. One can start a blog on any topic he/she can think of.

Can I become a Successful Blogger?

How to Blog: Can I become a Successful Blogger?
How to Blog: Can I become a Successful Blogger?

People often have misconceptions about blogging and succeeding with it. A lot of people will tell you that blogging is not easy and you have to work on a lot of things like SEO, Content, Blog Design, Social Media, etc.. Well, it is true but this doesn’t require that much of efforts which people often tell others. A blog can become successful solely based on content. If you are producing quality content and doing the research well, you can succeed with blogging and make a healthy income.

Only thing you must be good at is Content, if you are able to produce quality content, you are going to do good with your blog. For example, if you are a automiobile enthusiast, you can simply write great content on automobile industry and updates. People want to hear from someone who holds strong knowledge about a topic. Like the article you are reading right now is nothing more than a written presentation of the thoughts and process I follow for creating blogs for myself and others.

If in case you are not best on the topic you are writing, you can still be successful. I myself run over 10 blogs on different topics from Education, Automobiles, Travel, to Life. So, if you keep reading about something, you’ll be good at it at some point in time. Till then you can simply read articles from other sources and combine gained knowledge in your article.

To become successful with your blog, you need PASSION.

How to Choose a Niche for Your Blog?

How to Start a Blog: Selecting a Niche for Your Blog
How to Start a Blog: Selecting a Niche for Your Blog

The selection of a niche is one of the most common problems faced by beginners. Sometimes you have an idea about what you want to write but you are not sure that will it work or not. Frankly speaking, Niche selection is one of the hardest tasks when you are starting to blog for the first time.

A lot of people think that why do they even need a niche. Well, if you are blogging just for the sake of doing it and want to try it, there is no issue in running a personal blog where you can share anything. But, when you are taking it as a career option, you must make sure that you are specific to a topic and providing all the best about that particular topic in one place. Because, most of your readers won’t like to read something irrelevant to the topic, so keeping a niche is always a good idea.

For example, if you are writing about Home & Decor, this is itself a wide topic. It is not a niche yet. To make a niche blog you need a parent topic as we have here and then you dive specific in that topic to find a niche idea for your blog.

For someone who explores a lot of things, it’ll be easy to come up with a niche idea. For example, I frequently travel and what I love is road tripping. So, Road Trips can be a niche for my next blog. If you search on the internet, you’ll find that road trips are not yet explored much on that scale of 1 to 10. It still holds a lot of potentials. So, how you are going to generate ideas for a niche? Just follow these few instructions, it may help you:

  • Look around in your room, see the objects, something which you bought recently.
  • Go out and see how people behave on the streets, how people drive, what are the things which are not much explored by people yet.
  • When you travel to a place, see things lie on the way. Think about ways of transportation. Think about the problems faced by people.
  • Look at your daily life pattern, you may see some ideas coming up.
  • Look at what you frequently read on the internet or have discussed it on Facebook or in a WhatsApp group.
  • Read the magazines you recently bought.
  • Go to big shopping sites, curate some gifting ideas, product lists, or anything.

An idea can be anything, and Idea comes from your surroundings. So, just look at the things you have around you, things you are studying, or the best thing can be looking at the problems around you and writing solutions to them.

So, I hope these few tips will help you in selecting a niche for your blog. Let’s move on to the blog creation process and know How to Start a Blog in 2020.

Something to Remember: Whenever you want to login to your WordPress admin panel, you need to login through yourdomain.com/wp-admin

What will be the Cost of having a Blog?

A blog typically costs $5 to $10 per month including the domain and hosting cost. There are some other things people do buy like themes, plugins, tools, etc.. Well, the method I have mentioned here is quite cost-friendly and the blog by my method will cost you some $6 a month.

How to Start a Blog: Step-by-Step Guide

Before starting with the blog creation and other things, I’ll first be briefing you on the process. This will help you in knowing how we’ll be proceeding in this step-by-step guide. We’ll simply be working on these 6 major things and after that, we’ll learn about how you can monetize your blog and make money with it.

  • Choosing a Blogging Platform
  • Choosing a Domain & Hosting for Your Blog
  • Installing WordPress
  • Designing Blog: Setting Up Theme & Plugins
  • Publishing Your First Article
  • Launching Your Blog (Getting on Google)

So, let’s move on to the blog creation process right away without taking more time. The first topic is going to be the selection of blogging platform and then we’ll move on to other topics according to the process mentioned above.

Choosing a Platform for your Blog

WordPress Facts by Pingdom
WordPress Facts by Pingdom

The moment you think about getting a blog, the platform is the first thing that comes into consideration. The platform is basically the base of your blog, or you can say the building of the house. Using the platform, you’ll be able to build a blog. As WordPress is a highly popular platform for Blogging and the topmost platform too, I am assuming that you have heard of it. Even I use WordPress for all my blogs and websites also.

So far, WordPress is the biggest and most innovative blogging platform in the world and in the future also it’ll be leading the industry. With the availability of millions of plugins and themes, WordPress is easiest to use along with the variety of actions you can perform on it.

WordPress alone powers 34% website on entire internet space and 60% websites in the CMS market. If you take a look at the world’s top websites by traffic, WordPress powers 14% of them. Well, these stats are enough for choosing WordPress as a platform. Although there are other platforms like WordPress Hosted, Blogger, Joomla, and MovableType but WordPress self-hosted offers the most functionality with ease of working.

Anyways, here are the platforms you can use to build a blog if you are not going with WordPress:

  • Blogger: Probably the best thing after WordPress. Blogger is a service by Google which is free to use but has limitations. You don’t need to pay a single penny to use Blogger, not even a hosting.
  • Tumblr: Tumblr is a social network where you can share pictures, write blogs, and probably share anything. But, Tumblr is also a limited blogging thing, you can’t go full fledge with it.
  • MovableType: Moveable Type is a paid platform for Blogging. Still not as good as WordPress.

Another Big Question: Self Hosted or Free Options?

What I mean by self-hosted is that you’ll be able to get your own domain like www.johncena.com, whereas in free options like Blogger and WordPress Hosted, you’ll get a blog like johncena.wordpress.com or johncena.blogspot.com. Also, these free options are limited for monetization, video and image uploads, and other advanced functionalities that you’ll need in the future.

I hope the difference between Self Hosted and Free is clear now.

Choosing the Domain Name for Your Blog

Selection of Domain for Your Blog
Selection of Domain for Your Blog

Those who don’t know about it, The domain name is the address of your blog or website. Like we have our house addresses so people can identify which house is ours. Similarly, all websites have a different address which we call the Domain Name.

A domain name is going to play an important role if you are building the blog for long term. Make it a brandable one so when you succeed, people can easily recall it anytime.

I would suggest you do some brainstorming and come up with a domain name idea. Still if in case none of your domain names are available, you can try some free tools for generating a cool domain name for your blog. These tools can help you in doing so:

If in case any of you going to buy domain name individually, then do buy it from Namecheap as they offer free privacy protection and best price for domains in industry.

Choosing a Web Hosting Service for Your Blog

How to Start a Blog: Choosing Web Hosting
How to Start a Blog: Choosing Web Hosting | Picture – hosting.reviews

After domain, Hosting is another essential thing which you need to build a blog. I’ve been using and recommending Bluehost ($2.75/mo*) to everyone. WordPress has officially listed Bluehost as one of the best hosting provider for WordPress platform. Big5 Network, the agency which I run, We officially offer Bluehost to our clients there.

Alogn with Bluehost, there are several other hosting providers available in market like HostGator, Siteground, 10Web, and more. Recomendation from my side will be Bluehost, as it is cost-friendly and the best for your WordPress blog.

What you’ll be getting with Bluehost?

  • Instant activation.
  • Free .com domain name which generally costs $10.
  • SSL certificate.
  • 1-Click WordPress installation.
  • Easy to manage control panel.
  • 24/7 Live chat support.
  • Free custom email ids like john@johncena.com.

By any chance if you are not going with Bluehost, just make sure that whatever host you choose must be offering one-click wordpress installation.

How to Purchase Hosting from Bluehost

Process of purchasing hosting from Bluehost is quite simple, but still as many people has asked me previously, I am mentioning the process here. This process will help you in buying the best plan at best price. So, let’s start with it.

First of all, Click here to go on Bluehost page and choose a package for yourself. Once you click on the link, you’ll be taken to the Bluehost website. Click on the button as shown in the picture below:

Buehost WordPress Hosting

After clicking on the “Get Started” button as shown in the image above. You’ll be taken to the plans page where you’ll get 4 options. Because you are just beginning with blogging, I would suggest you go with the basic plan. The basic plan will be perfect for your needs. Select the basic plan and move ahead. Now you’ll be asked to choose the domain you want to buy. This domain will be free for you for the first year. Put the domain you selected in the respected boxes as shown in the image below.

Select Your Free Domain
Select Your Free Domain

Fill the domain in box and click on next. Once you click next, you’ll be on final and payment screen. This page has a trick and I’ll be telling you about it. Just scroll down and fill all information and move your cursor outside the window. You’ll get a popup message asking you to claim more savings. This is what I am talking about:

Bluehost More Savings: $2.65/mo
Bluehost More Savings: $2.65/mo

Just claim this offer, fill in all the information needed to complete the order and complete with the payment. You’re Done! Now you can move on to other steps and start creating your blog right away.

How to Start a Blog: Installing WordPress

The reasons why I recommended Bluehost to everyone comes in play here. If you have bought the hosting from bluehost, you’ll see that it is made for WordPress. You’ll automatically get WordPress installed on your website as soon as you activate the account. You don’t need to do even a single task to get WordPress installed. Below is the screenshot of Bluehost account where you’ll see the installation.

Bluehost Hosting Dashboard
Bluehost Hosting Dashboard

This is how your dashboard will look like. Under the “My Sites” section on left of screen, you can see your website and login to the WordPress admin dashboard from where you’ll be able to manage your website.

Now, let’s talk about other hosting providers who don’t offer this type of control panel. cPanel is the commonly used control panel which comes with Softaculous application installer. You can simply log in to cPanel and move to Softaculous. There you’ll get the option to install WordPress. Just fill-up the basic information and click on the install button at the bottom of the screen. Installing WordPress using Softaculous is not a complex thing.

Now once you are done with installing WordPress, login to the admin panel. If you’ve choosen Bluehost, you can login to WordPress admin panel by going in My Sites section of Bluehost and clicking on “Login to WordPress”. In other cases, you can open yourdomain.com/wp-admin and login to admin panel using the credentials you used while installing.

Basic WordPress Settings & Plugins

Default installation of WordPress comes with a few settings which are not ideal for search engine optimization and website performance. So, we’ll be doing changes to the settings and will be adding a little more fuctionalities by using plugins for WordPress.

Website Title & Subtitle: Website title is what you see on the browser tab. Take a look at current tab and text it has written, that is the title of this page. To set title and subtitle of website, just head to Settings >> General. There you’ll be able to put this information.

Permalinks (URL Structure): By default, WordPress is set to a URL structure that is not friendly for humans as well as search engines. So, we’ll go to Settings >> Permalinks on the left bottom side of the screen and from there change the permalink structure to post name.

Discourage Search Engines: This is an important thing to ensure. When you are not ready to show a website to others, you should discourage search engines from accessing your website. Otherwise, it will index the broken and unnecessary pages which no one wants. So, go to Settings >> Reading and from there click the tick box of Discourage Search Engines. Once our website is ready, you can disable it.

Disabling Gutenberg Editor: Well, WordPress recently introduced the Gutenberg editor on the place of the classic editor. All the old users are used to of classic editor. Also, the Gutenberg editor is quite buggy as of now. So, it is a better idea to disable it and use classic editor. To do this, Go to Plugins >> Add New >> Search “Classic Editor” >> Install it >> Activate it.

Forms Plugin: To use forms on your website, you can install WP Forms Lite plugin. The process of installing it will be same as you installed classic editor.

SEO Plugin: For having on-page search engine optimization feature, you can install Yoast SEO plugin which is the best SEO plugin by far.

Spam Protection: Spammy comments may reach your blog and make your blog slow and buggy with links to spammy websites. For protecting against spam, you have Akismet already installed. Just configure it and you’ll be free from spam.

Turn Off Coming Soon Page: Bluehost by default puts a coming soon page, so when you are ready with the blog and want it to open for visitors, just go to Settings >> General and then turn off the Bluehost coming soon page.

These were the few tweaks I suggest to every new blog. Now let’s move to the other step and configure the layout of your blog. I hope so far this How to Start a Blog guide is going good for you. Do let me know in the comments what you think about it.

Installing Theme and Configuring Layout

Astra WordPress Theme Review
Astra WordPress Theme Review

Here comes the most crucial thing for the blog, The Layout! A blog must look good otherwise people may not be that much interested in reading the content. Simply, if the design is not impressive, the presentation is not good, it doesn’t matter what you’ve put in there.

To choose a theme, you can either go to Appearance and browse themes or you can head to Themeforest and buy a theme for your blog. One thing you need to take care of is that a lot of free themes on WordPress are slow so you’ll lose the performance with them. There are some themes like Astra and GeneratePress which can be useful to you. These themes can easily be installed from the WordPress dashboard in the Appearance section.

In this guide, I am going to use the Astra theme and tell you how you can work with this theme. If you are using it, reading the Astra Theme Review will be helpful for you.

Go to Appearance >> Themes >> WordPress.org Themes >> Search “Astra”. You’ll see the theme as show below, Click on Install and activate it.

How to Start a Blog: Install Astra Theme
How to Start a Blog: Install Astra Theme

After installing and activating the theme, its the time to configure layout of theme. Head to Appearance >> Astra Options, There you’ll get following options:

  • Upload Logo – Set a logo for your website
  • Fonts Settings – If you want to change fonts of the blog, you can do that by this option.
  • Header Options – You can change the blog title, logo, navigation design from here.
  • Blog Layout – Using this option, you can change the design and ordering of elements in a post like featured image, author name, publishing date, etc.
  • Colors – You can change website colors like content background, header color, footer color, website background, etc.
  • Footer Settings – Similar to the header, Footer also has some features like Copyright line, Menu, etc. which you can manage from this option.
  • Sidebar Options – Along with the post, there is a sidebar on the right in which you can show a search bar, similar posts, advertisements, etc. You can manage the sidebar from here.

As you can see on this website, we have a logo on top left of the website. Similarly, you can also put a logo on blog by using upload logo option.

Menu is another important element of a website which allows peope to navigate and explore a website. You can create a menu for your blog by going in Appearance >> Menus.

Creating Essential Pages and Publishing Your First Blog Post

As we have already done the website layout setup, it’s the time to create essential pages like About Us, Contact Us, Privacy Policy, etc.. If you are going to monetize your blog with Google AdSense, you muust have a privacy policy. So, let’s see here what are the essential pages you need in your blog.

  • Blog Page – Blog page is automatically set up by WordPress. It shows all your blog posts and doesn’t need to be created manually.
  • About Us – People who are impressed by your content must be interested in knowing about you. The about us page helps people in knowing about you and your blog better.
  • Contact Us – Contact us page is required in all the pages where people can contact you if in case they have any query or question.
  • Privacy Policy – Privacy policy is an essential page that every blog should have. It ensures the authenticity and credibility of your blog. There are several privacy policy generators available online which can help you in creating a privacy policy page.
  • Services / Products – If in case you are offering some services or products, you can place them on this services/products page. So, interested people can find them and contact you with regards.
  • Testimonials – Testimonials is a great way to show what people say about you.

These pages are required to be mentioned in Menu of the page. To set pages to the menu, just head to Appearance >> Menus.

How to Create New Pages in WordPress?

You’ve got an idea that what are the pages you require in your blog. Let’s have a look at how you can create pages, this process is very similar to creating posts. So, it’ll be helpful in both, creating pages and posts.

To create new pages in WordPress, You need to head towards Pages >> Add New and from there you can write the title of page and body of the page and simply publish it. Once you publish it, your page will become accessible to everyone on your blog.

How to Create Posts in WordPress?

How to Add Posts in WordPress
How to Add Posts in WordPress

The process of adding a new blog post to your blog is quite similar to adding a page. Go to Posts >> Add New and then you’ll get the editor where you can put the title and body of your post. As shown in the image above, you’ll get the post editor. You can add images to the post by using the “Add Media” option on the left top of the editor. After writing the title and post content, you can publish the post by clicking on the blue color “Publish” button on the right side of the post editor.

Configuring Sidebar of Your Blog

Sidebar is a parallel section of your blog which shows along the content body. Availability of sidebar options totally depends on the theme you are using. Some themes offer 2-4 widgets and some may offer 20s of such options for better functionality.

Sidebar consists of various widgets which can be managed from Appearance >> Widgets section of the WordPress admin panel. The theme which we are curently using offers various widgets, these will be useful for you out of all these:

  • Categories: To show categories so that people can navigate between categories.
  • Gallery: You can show a gallery of images which you think your users will find useful.
  • Recent Comments: This widget is good for showing recent comments and discussions on your blog.
  • Search Bar: Search bar helps users in searching for content they are looking to read.
  • Text: If you want to convey a message, you can use this text widget for that.
  • Recent Posts: It helps in showing latest blog posts which will help your visitors in discovering new content to read.

Similarly, you can use these widgets for Footer bar. There are some widget areas mentioned like Footer 1, Footer 2. Look at the image below, you can drag and drop widgets in these footer widget areas to show widgets in footer to visitors.

Footer Widget Options
Footer Widget Options

Launching Your Blog and Getting on Google

Finally, we are done with creating the blog. You may have thought that starting a blog is a hard task but now as you have already done it, You know it is not that hard. So, we are now going to open your blog for everyone on internet. First I would like to ask you to go to Settings >> General and turn off bluehost coming soon page.

Secondly, we are going to invite Google to index our website so when someone search for content like ours, you’ll appear on Google. For doing this, you first need to install a plugin called “Insert Headers & Footers” by WPBeginner.

Follow these steps to add your website to Google:

How to Start a Blog: Adding Website to Google
How to Start a Blog: Adding Website to Google
    1. Click here to go to Google Webmasters.
    2. Login using your Google account.
    3. Click on “Add Property”.
    4. Choose URL Prefix Option and enter website address. For example, https://yourdomain.com
    5. In verify ownership popup, Move to other verification methods and choose HTML tag.
    6. Copy the HTML tag provided by Google and paste it in Settings >> Insert Headers and Footers >> Header.
    7. Now go in Google Webmasters and press Done.
    8. Verification will be successful if you’ve followed the process carefully.
    9. That’s it, Google will send its crawlers to Index your website.

Congratulations, Your blog is ready and will be indexed on Google pretty soon.

How to Monetize a Blog and Make Money with it?

I wouldn’t suggest you to start monetizing your blog right away. Your blog is new and barely gets traffic, so its better to wait for a little time and gain some traffic from Google, Social Media, Emails, and other sources. Once you start noticing that you are getting traffic, you can proceed with monetization. There are several ways by you can monetize your blog and I am telling you about them here in this How to Start a Blog guide.

Here are some ways you can use to monetize your blog and make money from it:

  • Consulting & Counselling – People reading about a problem and trying to find out solution out of it are prospect to becoming a paid client. You can put an option in your blog asking them about having a session with you. Thousands of bloggers do this and charge $$$s for an interactive session.
  • Google AdSense & Ads – Advertisements are one of the best and widely used method of monetization. You can apply for Google Adsense once you have decent quality content on your blog.
  • Affiliate Marketing – For example, you talked about juice mixed grinder in your article, you can mention the juicer you use or you can suggest some nice juicers to the readers. If they buy it you’ll receive a commission. Amazon affiliate will be the best in this case.
  • Sponsored Posts – Once you start getting traffic and gain authority, you can start offer guest posting service on blog. Bloggers use this method to generate quality income.
  • Course Selling – You can create a course matching to the blog niche and can sell it using the blog. Course selling is among the widely used sources to make money with blogs.

How to Start a Blog: Wrapping it Up

I hope most of you found this how to start a blog guide helpful and made a nice blog for yourself. If in case you are stuck at any palce, please use the comment section below and leave a comment. I’ll try to get back to you within 24 hours.

WordPress is the best platform for creating a blog. With over 48% market share on internet, It is the most used platform for blogs and websites. Also, WordPress offers flexibility and ease of working.

  • Choosing a Blogging Platform
  • Choosing a Domain & Hosting for Your Blog
  • Installing WordPress
  • Designing Blog: Setting Up Theme & Plugins
  • Publishing Your First Article
  • Launching Your Blog (Getting on Google)

A blog typically costs $5 to $10 per month including the domain and hosting cost. There are some other things people do buy like themes, plugins, tools, etc.

For example, if you are writing about Home & Decor, this is itself a wide topic. It is not a niche yet. To make a niche blog you need a parent topic as we have here and then you dive specific in that topic to find a niche idea for your blog.

People often have misconceptions about blogging and succeeding with it. A lot of people will tell you that blogging is not easy and you have to work on a lot of things like SEO, Content, Blog Design, Social Media, etc.. Well, it is true but this doesn’t require that much of efforts which people often tell others.

A blog is the type of website that focuses on sharing information in the form of blog posts where a website is built with pages focusing on showcasing information about a specific topic without proper ordering.

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