How to start a blog and make money in 2019

One of the best decisions I’ve made was to learn how to start a blog .

My decision to learn how to start a blog and make money from it on the side of my day job propelled me into building a five-figure freelance writing business with clients like Domainglo, Fiverr, Boskier Inc and more. Starting a blog has helped me generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in passive income each month and book interviews with some top entrepreneurs for my podcast.

More than anything, my choice to start a blog has allowed me to connect with and teach over thousands of talented, incredible and passionate readers (like you) every year.

Whether you’re trying to build a personal blog, a freelance business or a personal brand or just a passionate and want to write about certain topics or earn a living from blogging. Then there’s nothing I would recommend more than challenging yourself to learn how to start a blog.

Now it’s now easier than ever to get started with writing and publishing online, the last thing that wants to slow you down is all the online services and technical things for starting a blog.

That’s why I created this ultimate guide that’s taken me a lot of time, almost a year to build. In this guide, I will teach you everything you need to know for learning how to start a blog and make a profit from it. I’ll show you the exact strategies and techniques I’ve used for my high-profile clients and for myself.

I’ve helped to subscribe from 0 to millions of readers a year. Most of all, we’re diving deep into how I went from learning how to start a blog myself, to making this blog a source of more than $50,000 inside income each year.

And because your writing deserves an audience, I will also share the exact technicalities and strategies you can use to promote, market, and grow your blog—the same ones I’ve used to increase my blog’s traffic by 1,852% in the past year alone.

Now before we dig deep into how to start a blog, let’s us get back in time quickly. All the way back to the year 2013

When i shared the first post on a blog. It was not an in-depth or entrepreneurial focused neither it’s a highly tactical content as compared to what I publish today. I still regularly check the content of this article which I wrote & I wanted to share a message from it:

“It’s so easy to continue your life on a path which you choose, allowing the feeling of comfort to rule your daily action but if you never take calculated risks, you’ll regret that you never tried.”

I took a calculated risk and started a blog. But it’s one of the most important things that changed my life both professionally and personally. And I believe if you starting a blog put the work in. You can do the same for yourself.

So, if you’re ready to take a step forward and learn how to start a blog, let’s get started!

I want to mention here that some links below are affiliate links and it will not cost you an additional penny but it might help me earn a commission and keep doing this good work. Please note I only recommend services, products, tools and learning resources I’ve used and are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make from it, if you purchase them. Above all, I would never recommend buying something you’re not yet ready to implement or you can’t afford.

Important: The Services You’ll Need (Today) for Starting a Blog

To get you started down the right path with a brand new blog, you need a few of these free (and affordable) tools & resources. We’ll be using them throughout this guide to speed up your progress.

  • Brainstorm domain name through Domainglo for free or buy a Brand naming service from Boskier.com
  • Register your domain name for free and get 65% off a hosting plan with Bluehost to get your blog online
  • You can check whether your website name is available on Bluehost with this quick search tool

 

How to Start a Blog (2019) in  5 Easy Steps
  1.  Search Your Niche and Decide What to Blog About
  2. Choose a Platform for Blog (CMS)
  3. Pick Your Domain or Blog Name
  4. Search a Hosting Provider for Your Blog
  5.  Design Your Blog
Do you want to start a blog for free in 2019?

Do you just want to learn how to start a blog but at the same time, it worries you about the cost of hosting and building your own blog? Fortunately, today that isn’t much of an issue. There are many ways you can start a blog today (in an hour or less) for free.

Free blogging platforms like Blogger, Medium and Tumblr are awesome platforms for testing things out.

These platforms are great… if your blog is a hobby.

However, if you’re looking to make money out of your blog or build a business, I would highly recommend some paid (but very affordable) options I will cover below. If you’re not able to decide whether to use a paid or free hosting provider to get started… here’s a strong reason why you should consider (an affordable) paid hosting provider:

If you go with free, you’ll have a lack of control over how your blog acts or looks: Free blogging services (like Tumblr, Blogger, or Medium ) will always limit the design and functionality of your blog. This means you won’t be able to make your blog look unique or like your favourites other sites. Including that, you will not be able to do the things you want (like gather email addresses from your readers using tools, join affiliate programs or include ads and other activities that’ll help you make money through blogging).

Most free platforms have limits on monetization: If you are planning to make money from blogging, a free service will limit the amount you can earn until you pay for an upgrade (which defeats the purpose of using a “Free” service in the first place!) which will cost you almost four times higher than your own personal blog and still your free blog will have limited options.

Upgrading or Switching to a better service is a serious hassle: As your blog grows, you’ll quickly outgrow the free service you started on. However, transferring to another blogging platform takes time, effort, money and knowledge to do properly and not lose your hard-earned traffic.

There’s always a lack of support if something goes wrong: While a paid blog hosting service which I always recommend, Bluehost, always provides a stellar support. Now if you are using a free service and If things go wrong (and sometimes will), it might be difficult to get the help you need.

Free blog hosting services can vanish overnight: A free service doesn’t make a company any money and there’s always a risk they might decide it’s not worth it anymore. There is always a risk of losing hours of hard work based on something you can’t control.

Before you get started, always think about your plan and what you want from your blog.

While it’s easy and perfectly fine to learn how to start a blog for free, sometimes a little upfront investment can pave a future that’s much more lucrative. But, that’s your decision, and it’s just as worthy if you start out as a hobby blogger on a free platform today.

So in this post, I will show you both ways (and what I’ve done to scale my blog to half million readers a year) so you can choose for yourself what makes the most sense for you, your blog and your goals.

How to Start a Blog in 2019 Easy Steps

Let’s start with the important thing and first thing out of the way first: The only thing standing in between you and your own blog is you. It’s simple to say that we need too much effort or you don’t have the time or you’re tired from work. But staring a blog makes your effort worth it.

When I spoke to the top and best bloggers, almost everyone said they first learned how to start a blog while doing their daily job. At an average, they spent 40 minutes at day and at night to design, write, and create a blog that now brings them an average of more than $15,000 a month in sponsorship revenue.

They did a lot of things right (that I’ll cover in this guide about how to start a blog). But the similar thing is that they started in the same place you are right now and we’re committed to creating a blog. That commitment is something which is very important.

The standard for how to start a blog and what makes a great content has been raised in 2019. And if you’re for looking for extremely quick results in your blog like earning money through a blog from tomorrow, then you will be disappointed. You need to set genuine expectations.

And it doesn’t mean you can’t start a successful blog in 2019. In fact, there are more opportunities waiting for you. But it’s important to know and be sure you’re not falling into any kind of traps early on. Traps like…

  • Thinking about you can make a lot of money writing about something you aren’t passionate or familiar about
  • You are not making efforts to publish content regularly neither you are interacting with your audience
  • Without putting time, effort and work. You are expecting results.

Here’s a reality you need to know: The most successful, profitable, popular blogs in 2019 are run by people who care deeply about the content they’re writing about. They’re excited and committed to posting. And they know that starting or running a blog is an investment that will only bring them bigger returns.

And as long as you think same, your blog will be a success! Let’s learn the first step of starting a blog.

1. Search Your Niche and Decide What to Blog About

You don’t read a blog because they publish frequently.  You don’t read a blog because it looks nice.  (Although those both help).

You read a blog because you care about what it publishes.
Before we start a process of learning how to start a blog, decide everything about what your blog will do, and what will be the design of the blog. Before that, you just need to answer one simple question: Why?

Why should other people read to what you’re writing about?
Why this topic is important to you, which you’re blogging about?

What is important in this topic that you can add value to?

To answer these important questions, I like to think of a blog like any other business and pick a niche.

What is a niche? And why does your blog need it?

A niche is a kind of one direction out of many; it is more than just a topic. It’s the viewpoint you will take, the people you want to go after, and through the style and technique you will talk to them and position yourself as an expert.

It’s not important that a particular niche is your passion but it’s definitely easier to be committed while starting your blog when you’re passionate about it). But you should be interested in that. The best niches are enough to excite you as you will be motivated to continually post about it and accessible enough that you can build a target audience.

So, whether that means Health, traditional Indian cooking, lifestyle, starting a drop shipping business, or home decor tips, it’s all up to you.

The reason your blog needs a niche is that it gives it a particular direction. Your niche is how you’ll design it, plan your content and know how and where to market your blog. It’s also how your target audience will find you and the way you will make connections with other bloggers.

Remember, we all have our own individual opinions and tastes and a blog is a perfect destination to put those out in the world. So when you write to everyone. You’re writing to a particular audience of the same taste. Opinions can differ.

Now, if no niche comes to mind right away or you’re unsure what to write about? That’s not an issue. We can take it out of you with a few basic questions.

Let’s begin with some simple questions:

  • What’s an interest from your childhood that you find exciting?
  • What is a deeply held value of yours?
  • What’s the best part of your day?
  • Do you want to learn any hobbies or you already have one?
  • What are your achievements that you’re incredibly proud of?

Right away, an idea should come up in your mind, what you could write to start a blog. But let’s go deeper before we choose a niche.

Next, list out 8 things you find easy to do or you are naturally good at. Which means you’ll be able to write about them easily, with confidence and authority. You don’t need to over think about it but be as specific as possible.

For example, instead of saying “cooking,” say “cooking tips for working moms, especially at home.”

Now, write a list of 8 things you spend your free time on. But stick to things that are both what you “want” to do and that you “have” to hit goal.

Finally, check your answers and pick out the phrases, patterns and common keywords. Is there anything that interests you right away? Are there any themes you can see like want to cook or playing any sports?

Pick the things out which interest you right away and rank them on a scale of 1–10. 10 being the highest points while the 1 least. Pick out the one with most points. Yes! You just found your niche.

Now, at this point, there’s a good chance that you’ve found a niche of your choice but the hindrance is other bloggers have already blogged about it!

Well, that’s ok. Yes, it’s not important to think that you’re going to have competitors that have been blogging about a topic for years, but know that there’s always space for your unique opinion and voice.

One of famous blogger shared with me:

“There are many bloggers that think, they have nothing to write or talk about and add value to. But if you’re successful and good at something, just think about it and write out everything about it. The more steps you took, the more you learn, and the least mistakes you made.”

It’s your experiences that will define your blog and your niche to stand out.

So don’t be scared if bloggers have already written about this niche.

They can never write it from the same perspective that you can. And that’s a big advantage for you when learning how to start a blog.

Now one important point to mention is how to know if there’s a business opportunity for your niche

For that you’ll need to do research to see if there is a market demand for your niche or will you be able to make money from out of it or not.  Let me explain it in another way: Are people regularly searching for what you’re writing about? And can you add value and help them in a way that makes you money?
To create money from your blog, you need to provide a solution to a problem for your audience. To do this, I use a simple spreadsheet I call the Niche Demand Checker.

Pick the niche that you’re thinking to write about and come up with 4–8 keyword phrases or topics within that niche that you would write about. So, if we wanted to start a blog about cooking you might choose keywords like “best cooking books”, “how to make Apple pie”, “beginner cooking courses”, “what cooking kit should I buy” and so on.

Now, enter any one of those keywords into your Google search. If there are tens of millions search results, then this is a strong indicator that people care about your topic.  To be more precise, I use a free Google ad words tool to find search volume.

Repeat the same process for each of your keywords and look at the results. If all of your top keywords have a Monthly Search Volume of 3,000–10,000, your niche has definitively a potential to make profits for you. If an important point to mention here is if your niche has hundreds of thousands of Monthly Searches, then you might need to get more specific with your niche rather than competing with a much larger, established websites on more popular subjects.

With time you will learn, how to start a blog and into the direction where you’re progressing in different ways to drive traffic to your website, growing your base of readers and focusing on improving your domain authority and trust flow. Slowly you’ll be able to compete on the bigger topics—but for now, picking a niche is the name of the game.

Who is your ultimate reader?

Now how to find your idle reader? If you’re trying to choose a niche for your blog. At the same time, you need to think about who your ideal reader is. Your idle reader could be the person who visits your blog and gets benefit from your writing. Now let me take an example of myself. If you’re writing about domain names or hosting, then I am most likely your ideal reader.

This always happens but not always. Like the audience who’s reading you might differ from the audience you are attracting.

Let’s take an example. When one of my friends started blogging, he was publishing 2–4X a week on a variety of topics like, freelancing, design and starting a small business. But then he realized that his audience is attracted to a certain type of post:

He says “The critical moment for me came when I realized that out of the 2-4x posts a week I was publishing it was freelancing and drop shipping business that really got attention. I also like writing content about these topics. So that was this turning point for me to understanding this is what the blog should be about.

While beginning your journey of learning how to start a blog, don’t be scared. But make a content calendar about how much you can write for the niche you’re picking. Can you write 5 blog post ideas for this niche that you are interested in? What about writing a 50?

Remember, writing regularly is a key when you start a blog.

Therefore, always pick a niche you are interested in and will be consistent about it. This is an essential point for growing a successful blog.

2. Choose a Platform for Blog (CMS)

Now you know which niche to pick and what to write about, it’s time to get into the crux of how to start a blog.

This is where you will get an idea about the process of starting a blog.

Let us dig deep into a technicality about how to start a blog, some of this might seem challenging.

So let’s learn the basics first.

What is a CMS?

A Content Management System (or CMS) is where you’ll be designing, writing, and publishing your blog posts. A good CMS is easy to use, from organizing content to uploading images or videos. You will have a full control over the blog from using themes to custom design elements.

Now, which is the most popular CMS you might have heard about? Right, it’s WordPress, the most popular and easy to use CMS. Numbers speak itself, over 60% of all blogs are run on this CMS, including the websites for NBC, Tech Crunch, Forbes, TED, New York Observer, Thought Catalog, and others.

Shall I use WordPress for my blog?

There is a number of options you can use for starting a blog such as Wix, Squarespace and Ghost. However, for your blog, I strongly recommend setting up a self-hosted WordPress as it’s easy to use, most sustainable for a long-term solution and the only option worth considering if you’re starting a blog with the eventual goal of making money from your website in any shape or form.

I’ve been running my blog on WordPress powered by Bluehost from the day I learned how to start a blog and I couldn’t be happier with the amount of control, flexibility and long-term growth potential I have over my website.

3. Pick Your Domain or Blog Name

Now, it’s a time to pick a brand or domain name for your blog, website or online company and make sure that your audience can be able to find or spell it easily.

Now we will cover this topic in two sections:

  1. How to pick a name for your blog
  2. Buying a domain name.

Let’s start with the technical part first.

What is a domain name and where do I get one?

In order to visit a site, you need to type a web address and when you type a Google.com into your browser that’s the website’s domain name. In a nutshell, a domain name is like your brand name and address. It tells audience and web browsers where to find your site.

If you decided to use a free blogging service,  still you can pick your own domain name but it always has the company’s name added to it.

So, if you use a free service like Wix website to create your blog, your domain name will look like this:

Yoursitename.wixsite.com

Neither, it looks nice or catchy, Right? This isn’t a great start If you’re trying to build a business around your blog. No one is going to take it seriously.

Rather depending on free site, buy a domain name of your choice. If the domain name of your choice is not available you can brainstorm a domain name using blog name generator tool like Domainglo.

Still, if you are unable to find a brand or domain name for your company or blog. You can hire a team of companies like Boskier through Fiverr. That will cost you cost you $ 5 – $ 200 depending upon what you want.

I would recommend if you are planning to build a business. Then you can buy Brand name full package which includes Domain name check, social media check, trademark check and much more.

After brainstorming domain for a business or blog. You can buy a domain name from a number of companies. I will recommend to buy it from Bluehost as they provide free domain name with web hosting package.

Important Tip: website hosting and Domain name are two different things However as I said, many web hosting sites like Bluehost (which I recommend) will host both your domain name and web hosting for you, meaning you will save a time, less technicality and you will get at one place.

4. Search a Hosting Provider for Your Blog

Finding a blog hosting service is one of the last technical part of learning how to start a blog . If you have decided to go signup free service like wix or medium, then you can skip this step but still I highly recommend reading it and making a decision at the end.

Let’s get start with the basic:

What is web hosting?

You need a “host” To make your website accessible to other people on the Internet. The host keeps all your site files secure, safe and makes sure that internet users can access your site when they type in your URL or click on a link.

Let’s take an example of a shop. Whenever you go to shop you will be able to see all the things shopkeeper has kept inside his shop. Now let us connect it. Shop address is a Url and space and shop is a web hosting. But yes webhosting will cost you but you don’t have it, if you choose free blogging platforms. Having a geniune website host is one of the most important investments in starting a successful blog.

One of my friend started his personal travel blog, To save a money, he started his blog on a free platform to host his site. This choice ended up costing him more than he has saved:

He says “It was my biggest mistake to start a blog on a free platform because you don’t own it. At one point Google deleted my blog with no notice. After a lot of requests and emails I got it back, but that was the turning point and  I decided to move over to self-hosted WordPress.”

Now he earns in five figure and always says it never would have happened if he hadn’t switched over to a paid hosting provider. His first advice for new bloggers is to start on a self-hosted WordPress site and use Bluehost as your hosting provider.

Which is the best blog hosting services?

There are many great website hosting providers out there for your blog.

But below is a list of most important thing you should check:

  • Track record
  • Speed
  • Features
  • Security
  • Support

The hosting provider I’ve found that ticks all of these boxes (and more) for just getting started is Bluehost. Yes, I know I’ve recommended them several times already in this guide, and that’s for a good reason.

Click here for Bluehost review

Click here to Know How to Install WordPress on Bluehost

Click here to get a discount on Bluehost and start creating a blog

5. Design Your Blog

Now as you are ready and learned how to start a blog. It’s now time to choose a Theme (or Template) to turn this blank screen into a work of art.

The first thing is to start with a theme. A theme or a template is a visual layout of your blog. Once installed using a theme is very easy. I am not a web developed neither I know how to develop a theme nor plugin still I am using my blog like a pro.

If you’ve purchased a self-hosted WordPress site as I recommended, you’ll get thousands of amazing free and paid theme options at your fingertip. If you are planning to buy a theme like the one I use for my blog here, then Elegant Themes is a good option to start with. You’ll own it forever and get all the updates, support, benefits and customization options that come with premium WordPress themes.

However, if you decided to use a free blogging platform, then most likely you get a limited option on your blog.

Now if you decided to purchase a theme with a self-hosted WordPress blog (like mine). Here’s what you should be looking in a theme.

Important Tip: A study from Google in 2012, researchers found that a good design and perceived functionality builds trust.  Plus, through psychological bias called the Halo Effect, we extend that judgement to all parts of your blog.

Below are few suggestions while checking out themes: 

  • Responsiveness is a must
  • Keep it simple
  • Does it work in different browsers?
  • Support
  • Reviews
Click here to get Elegant Themes and Start creating a blog
Irfan Shafi
I am businessman, software engineer, artist, web designer and writer.
I am businessman, software engineer, artist, web designer and writer.

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