So, you want to start a blog.
Choosing to indulge in sharing your passion with the world can be a fun and fulfilling experience.
You can write about something you love and, hopefully, make some income in the process.
But if you’re like most potential bloggers, you’re probably overwhelmed with just how many factors go into launching a new blog.
From choosing a niche to using analytics to study your progress, getting your blog running can be a lengthy process.
Fortunately, we’ve taken all the information you need and combined it into one cohesive article.
Below, you’ll find a concise breakdown of everything you should know about how to start a blog.
Once you’re done reading, the idea of launching a blog will be much less daunting.
- Overview: How to Start a Blog
- How to Start a Blog: Basics to Cover Before Getting Started
- Why You Should Create a Blog
- How Much Does It Cost To Start a Blog?
- What Is Needed To Start a Blog?
- 1. Find a Niche You Love
- 2. Choose a Brandable Domain
- 3. Select a Blogging Platform
- 4. Pick a Reliable and Affordable Web Hosting Platform
- 5. Design a Blog Design, Structure, and Functionality
- 6. Create Great Content
- 7. Find Time To Optimize Your Content
- 8. Have Time and Patience To Promote Your Blog
- 9. Use Tools to Track Your Progress
- 1. Find A Niche You Love
- 2. Choose a Brandable Domain
- 3. Select a Blogging Platform
- 4. Pick a Reliable and Affordable Web Website Hosting Platform
- 5. Design a Blog with Structure and Functionality
- 6. Create Great Content
- 7. Find Time to Optimize Your Content
- 8. Have Time and Patience to Promote Your Blog
- 9. Use Tools to Track Your Progress
- Starting a Blog in 2023: Final Thoughts
Overview: How to Start a Blog
Starting a blog isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it is not as intimidating as you might think.
There are a handful of things you need to get started?
- Find A Niche You Love
- Choose a Brandable Domain
- Select a Blogging Platform
- Pick a Reliable and Affordable Web Hosting Platform
- Design a Blog With Structure and Functionality
- Create Great Content
- Find Time To Optimize Your Content
- Have Time and Patience To Promote Your Blog
- Use Tools to Track Your Progress
The hardest part of learning how to start a blog is getting over the mental barrier and the initial overwhelming thoughts.
Once you learn and understand the system, you’ll be able to focus your energy on growing the blog.
Now, let’s dive in.
How to Start a Blog: Basics to Cover Before Getting Started
When you first decide to write a blog, it might seem like a pretty straightforward process: choose a domain, find an elegant theme, and publish content.
Yet, it can quickly become overwhelming.
Here are the answers to a few common questions about blogging to help ease your concerns.
Can you get paid for blog writing?
Whether you’re writing your own blog or freelance writing for someone else, you can make money blogging.
Of course, what you make will depend on who you’re writing for, your blog content, and your experience.
Just remember — never sell yourself short.
How do bloggers get paid?
A blogger’s income can come from several sources.
The most common ways are through advertising, affiliate marketing, or the site you’re writing for.
Most payments will come through a third-party service, such as PayPal.
In some cases, your pay might come directly from the company or person you’re writing or advertising for.
Do people read blogs anymore?
Blogs are one of the most popular ways internet users ingest information.
A quick Google search for any topic will return heaps of blog posts.
However, although blogging started out as a form of online journaling, that trend has fallen by the wayside.
In most cases, users want informative, quality content that solves a specific problem.
Are blogs still relevant in 2023?
Blogs’ relevance continues to increase year after year.
More than 77 million new blog comments are posted each month.
So, not only are users actively reading blogs, but they’re commenting on them, too.
This shows a much deeper interest than simply a need for informative content.
Why You Should Create a Blog
When you’re passionate about something, it makes sense that you’d want to write a blog post and share it with the world.
But maybe you’ve been hesitant because you’re not sure about your writing skills or ability to convey a point.
As it happens, one of the best things about being a blogger is that you can write like you speak.
In other words, a degree in writing or journalism isn’t a necessity.
So, why should you start a blog? Here are a few ideas.
The most basic reason to start a blog is to share information with readers.
Perhaps you enjoy sharing book reviews or quick tips for home improvement.
If you have a knack for those things, you should share it with the world.
Just remember, all information is useful.
Your success will come from how you present that information.
2. Communicate and Connect With Your Audience
Did you know blogs are a precursor to all the most popular social media platforms we use today?
That’s because blogs are, in part, a way of socializing online.
You can interact with your audience through comments and DMs, allowing you to expand your community and connect with others with similar interests.
3. Make Money Passively
Blogging can be a fairly lucrative job if you put in the legwork.
As you establish yourself as an expert in your field or a talented writer, you can get paid for writing content and through affiliate marketing.
Not to mention, you’ll continue to profit off a blog post long after you’ve clicked “publish.”
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at each step you need to start a blog in detail.
How Much Does It Cost To Start a Blog?
One of the nice things about starting a blog is that you don’t need much, if any, money to get started.
There are pleny of ways to sart a blog for free, but certain paid features and tools can help boost your credibility and, in turn, your subscriber count.
Take a look at the table below for a breakdown of some costs you should expect when starting a blog.
Three other costs to factor in are hardware, software, and subscriptions.
These costs vary significantly based on your specifications, niche, needs, and region.
Just be sure to look for free open-source alternatives to popular software programs that are necessary for your blog or area of expertise.
They’re often just as good and can help you save a bit of money.
What Is Needed To Start a Blog?
It’s not terribly difficult to start a blog as long as you have the right tools.
Specifically, you’ll need a niche you love, a brandable domain, and a platform to share your content.
Additionally, you’ll need certain physical and digital tools, but we’ll discuss those a bit further along.
1. Find a Niche You Love
When you start writing about something you love, it’s much easier to convey a sense of excitement with your writing.
That passion also translates to trustworthiness from readers.
So, before you sit down to write your first blog post, make sure you’ve chosen a niche you can enjoy writing about long-term.
2. Choose a Brandable Domain
Blogs are a dime a dozen. To imprint yours in readers’ minds, you need to nail your branding.
That starts with your domain name, which is the URL text of your website.
You can come up with a cheeky play on words, something straightforward, or your name if you’re well-established in your industry.
Find the perfect balance between creative, simple, and market-friendly.
3. Select a Blogging Platform
A blogging platform is a site or service you use to build your blog.
You have many options for blog platforms, such as WordPress and Blogger.
Most platforms will guide you through the blog-building process and provide you with free and premium themes to help your content shine.
Many also provide a free domain you can use to get started.
4. Pick a Reliable and Affordable Web Hosting Platform
Since your website is a reflection of you, it needs to function perfectly.
That’s where web hosting comes in.
Your web host is the company that puts your website on the web.
There’s no shortage of hosting services available, but you want to find one that’s reliable, affordable, and suited to your business needs.
5. Design a Blog Design, Structure, and Functionality
To repeat: your website is a reflection of you.
When you design your blog, you need to craft it to be as user-friendly as possible.
This includes streamlined design, structure, and functionality.
Your readers should be able to navigate your site with ease.
Also, the design and layout should make for an effortless and pleasant user experience.
6. Create Great Content
You’ve already settled on your niche.
The next thing you need to do is develop great content.
Find out what other bloggers have written about and take yours two steps further.
Don’t just write about your blog topic — make it personal and targeted to your specific audience.
Then, work toward establishing yourself as the authority on your blog topic.
7. Find Time To Optimize Your Content
Did you know the average blog post takes about four hours to write?
That’s because you have to both create content and optimize it.
You need to take the time to study keywords, trends, buzzwords, and topics that will make your content click-worthy.
The more clicks you get, the higher your blog will appear in search engine results.
8. Have Time and Patience To Promote Your Blog
A critical truth to bear in mind is that overnight success for a content creator is exceedingly rare.
When you launch your blog, it could take months to see real traction.
But, with the right promotional strategy and marketing plan, that success could come quickly.
9. Use Tools to Track Your Progress
Analytic tools will be your bread and butter when it comes to ensuring success.
These tools can help you track where your users are coming from, what links they’re clicking, and what promotions are working.
Then, you can take that information and further optimize your content and build your brand.
Now let’s discuss each item in detail.
1. Find A Niche You Love
It’s likely your choice to write a blog stemmed from your love of a particular topic.
But to be successful, you need to find a hole in your market and fill it.
For example, if you love to cook, why not start a blog sharing old family recipes?
A niche will help you get noticed and stand out among the millions of other cooking blogs.
What Is a Blogging Niche?
A blog niche is a specific area you’ve chosen to write about.
When determining your blog niche, consider who your intended audience is.
Then, you can slim down your topic to a specific area.
An excellent example of nailing down a niche is the “Dad, how do I?” YouTube channel, which has approximately four million subscribers.
Although it’s more vlog than blog, it highlights the effectiveness of targeting the right audience.
Types of Blogging Niches
The options for blogging niches are endless, so don’t restrict yourself to just one or two topics.
Of course, some will be more profitable than others, but you’re more likely to draw income if you’re well-versed in a subject.
Here’s a quick breakdown of blogging niches and the best ways to choose yours.
Although you can blog about anything under the sun, you should try to keep it within the more popular niches.
Fortunately, your broad blogging category will likely consist of countless smaller niches.
So take some time to examine each and see where your topic fits.
Niches: Passion vs. Business
Unfortunately, passion for something doesn’t necessarily equal profit.
So, when you choose your niche, view it from a business perspective.
In other words, what niche within your area of expertise will be most profitable?
The answer will help inform your decision and guide your blogging strategy.
The Most Popular Blogging Niches
There are a few blogging niches that are more popular than others.
So, when you sit down to choose a topic, try to find a way to fit it into one of the following broad niches.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a reader who can’t benefit from sound financial advice.
If finance is your passion, break it down into a narrower section that people are genuinely interested in.
For example, you could write about stocks and investments, debt, or even extreme couponing.
2. Digital marketing
Digital marketing is quickly becoming the key to tapping into most markets.
Marketing tactics and methods vary, so choose the one you’re comfortable with.
For example, if you’re a pro at social media marketing, you could create a social media marketing guide that has the potential to be quite profitable.
3. Recipes and Food
Do a Google search for a recipe and skim over the results.
By and large, you’ll see blogs.
That being the case, you’ll have a lot of competition.
Study the food blogs in your chosen area and find a niche that’s not already oversaturated with content.
A great example is Julie Powell’s blog series in which she cooked every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year.
4. Personal Development and Self-Care
Personal development and self-care are two things people are constantly in search of.
So why not help them find them sooner?
Blogs on time management, exercise, and mindfulness are just a few topics you can explore in this niche.
Just be sure to study your competition before creating a list of blog post ideas.
You want to be helpful without sounding repetitive.
Fashion is another popular blog category that could bring in quite a bit of income.
Specifically, you’ll have the potential to profit from affiliate marketing and advertisements.
Some of the most popular fashion topics are tips, trends, and news.
Once you have your fashion niche down, you can start a fashion blog in just a few steps.
Blogging Tips Recommendation
When choosing your niche, you should keep a few things in mind.
- Choose a topic you’re truly interested in.
- Focus on passion and profit, rather than one or the other.
- Choose a topic you can be an authority on.
- Make sure there’s a genuine need for your content.
- Always do in-depth research on your target readers.
2. Choose a Brandable Domain
A brandable domain is critical when you want to imprint yourself in readers’ minds.
Readers may not recall you by name, but they’ll remember you based on your domain or blog name.
What is a Domain?
A domain is your website’s location on the internet.
Each domain consists of two parts: a top-level domain and a second-level domain.
The TLD is the suffix at the end of your web address, and the SLD is the text that identifies your site.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is the second-level domain in your web address.
It’s the part of your web address that identifies your site’s content or purpose.
For example, in www.bloggingtips.com, “bloggingtips” is the domain name.
It also happens to be the blog name, too.
The Different Types of Domain Names
Domains vary across the world.
Some include country-specific suffixes, like .ca in Canada.
Others are used globally, such as .com.
There are thousands of TLDs to choose from, but here’s an overview of some of the most common domains.
.IO Domain Names
.IO used to be a TLD in the British Indian Ocean Territory that’s become popular globally since the 1990s.
It’s a favorite among tech companies and startups because of the input/output association that has developed over the years.
If your blog is tech-focused, you should consider an .io domain name.
.Blog Domain Names
The .blog domain is intended for bloggers who want to make it easy for readers to identify their site as a blog.
If you have various content on your website, you could set up a www.yourdomain.blog to complement your standard .com site to make it easier for users to access one or the other.
.Shop Domain Names
As you might expect, the .shop domain is popular with users who focus on eCommerce.
As a blogger, you might not have much use for it.
However, if you sell a product or service and have a blog, you could use both to set the different areas apart.
.Com Domain Names
.Com is one of the oldest and most widely-recognized domains.
It’s the easiest to remember and usually the default when someone searches for a website.
.Com stems from “commercial” due to its original use as a domain for commercial websites.
.Com Domain: The Most Popular Domain Extension
.Com came about in 1985 and was the standard among commercial entities online.
However, as of the mid-90s, .com has become the most popular extension for all websites and email.
Its popularity flourished as companies began to incorporate it into their names.
Due to its ubiquity, .com is often the best choice for a website.
However, if you can’t get the domain name you want with a .com extension, your best bet is to choose one of the other popular extensions.
Creating a Brandable Domain Name
Branding is vital in establishing yourself as an authority on a topic.
The best place to start your branding is with your domain name.
A brandable domain name is distinct, unique, and, most importantly, has the potential to become synonymous with your topic.
What Makes a Domain Name Brandable?
A brandable domain name will be:
- Relevant to your topic
- Unique (but not too unique)
- Easy to pronounce
Take a look at the domain name for our website.
You probably did an internet search for “blogging tips” or “how to start a blog” and found our site in the list of search results.
At a glance, you knew that bloggingtips.com probably had what you were looking for.
Selecting a Brand Name That Lets You Scale
As businesses grow, so do their offerings.
As a blogger, you might start out writing about one topic, only to expand to specialize in other areas.
You might also add merch or services to your site.
If you anticipate growth, you’ll want a brand name that will grow with you.
A brand name that lets you scale will fit the blog you start out with and any potential changes you make in the future.
Blogging Tips Recommendation
Creating a domain or blog name is often the trickiest part of launching a blog.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when picking a name.
- Make a list of ideal names to make it easier to find the right one.
- Choose something that reflects your purpose and brand.
- Study your competitors for naming trends.
- Aim for brevity.
- Consider building a brand around your domain name instead of vice versa.
3. Select a Blogging Platform
Once you’ve chosen your niche and name, the next step in building your blog is picking your blogging platform.
You have many to choose from and even more to consider when making your choice.
What is a Blogging Platform?
A blogging platform is a web service that enables you to publish your content.
They have everything you need to produce a polished, professional, and informative blog.
Features you’ll find on most blogging platforms include:
- Content editor
- Plugins and integrations
- Domain management
- SEO tools
- Templates and themes
The right platform will have each of these and more.
When examining the different types, be sure to understand the importance of each feature.
Types of Blogging Platforms
Although there are a lot of blogging platforms to choose from, they fall into two categories: free and paid.
Which option you choose will depend on your level of expertise and the type of brand you want to create.
Free blogging platforms provide you with the essentials without a hefty subscription fee.
They’ll give you content creation, a paid or free domain name, and a limited amount of other features that’ll help you build your blog.
On the other hand, paid blogging platforms provide more of everything.
You’ll have a complete catalog of themes, plugins, and extensions to incorporate into your blog to make it unique and user-friendly.
Self-Hosted vs. Managed Hosted
If you want to get your themes, plugins, and domain all in one place, a managed hosted platform will be your best bet.
Managed platforms make it easy to create and publish content quickly and professionally.
Conversely, a self-hosted blog requires a domain name, a web host, and software.
It’s more complex than a managed platform.
However, the trade-off is more scalability and total customization.
The Most Popular Blogging Platforms
If you’re a first-time blogger, you might feel overwhelmed with the variety of blogging platforms to choose from.
Fortunately, that variety means you have plenty of easy-to-use and scalable options perfect for bloggers of all experience levels.
Beginner-Level Blog Platforms
As a new blogger, you should try to find a blogging platform with a low learning curve.
If you want all the bells and whistles but are still getting your feet wet, here are some of the best blog platforms for beginners:
While these are great for beginners, they are not necessarily the best option to choose, as they are limited in features and not very scalable.
Easy-to-Use Blog Platforms
When you want a polished blog without a lot of fuss, you should choose a platform that’s easy to maneuver.
Specifically, you should pick one that’s simple to update, makes content creation effortless, and doesn’t require a deep knowledge of blogging or optimization.
- Gator (by HostGator)
Again, these are easy to use, but that comes at a cost.
Scalable Blog Platforms
The most scalable blog platforms often involve a bit more technical know-how.
They allow you to add and remove features, personalize content, and incorporate plugins.
In some cases, coding experience will be beneficial if not necessary.
However, with platforms like WordPress.com, you’ll be able to scale your brand extensively without a lot of technical knowledge.
For sites that are more than a money-losing hobby, scalable blog platforms is the category we suggest building on.
Blogging Tips Recommendation
A blogging platform can make or break your blog’s future.
So, to ensure your blog thrives, you should do the following to ensure success.
- Choose a platform that suits your content.
- Find webinars or lessons on how to use your platform.
- Consider your long-term goals and choose a platform that’ll help you reach them.
- Test each platform first to avoid a frustrating switch in the future.
- Choose a platform that provides intuitive site design.
Our Top Picks: Blog Platforms
An overview of favorite blog platforms
- WordPress is one of the most popular CMS on the internet. Many of the world's largest sites are powered by this CMS
- Easy to set up at a very minimal cost
- Huge amount of themes, plugins and developer support
- Incredibly scalable, unlike many other free blog sites
- Wix offers user-friendly and hassle-free interface and design: More than 200 templates for quickly setting up a website
- Free hosting with every plan. This includes a CDN and automatic updates
- Native eCommerce integration makes selling products easy
- A great alternative to WordPress - free and open-source blogging platform
- Offers a simple and fast way to create blog posts
- Free version is okay, but the premium version gives additional access to more features such as custom domains, advanced SEO tools, and priority support
4. Pick a Reliable and Affordable Web Website Hosting Platform
Now that you have your blog’s name, niche, and platform picked out, it’s time to decide who will host your site.
However, choosing the right service can be difficult if you’re unfamiliar with web hosting.
So, here’s an overview to help make that choice easier.
What is Web Hosting?
A web host is a service that puts your site online.
Each hosting service has its own server that houses websites.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve opted to create a managed blog or a self-hosted one.
You’ll need a website to host your domain and website content.
Types of Web Hosting
Before settling on a hosting provider, you should have a basic understanding of the different types of web hosting.
Each option has its pros and cons, and some require more expertise than others.
There are three types of web hosting to consider when choosing a service.
These are shared, VPS, and dedicated web hosting.
1. Shared Web Hosting
Shared hosting is a simple and cost-effective way to get your site online.
These hosts house multiple sites, all of which share the host’s resources.
Most shared hosts have several hosting plan tiers that start at no cost.
The features you get will depend on the hosting plan you go with.
Shared hosting is best for bloggers who are just starting out.
2. Dedicated Web Hosting
Dedicated web hosting is most popular among large businesses, corporations, and other large entities.
The main benefit is that you’ll be the only website on your server.
However, the downside is that maintenance, software, and all the other things you’d get from a hosting service, will be your responsibility.
3. VPS Web Hosting
VPS (virtual private server) web hosting is the happy medium between a shared and dedicated hosting provider.
When you choose a VPS, you’ll share a server with other sites.
However, unlike shared hosting, you won’t share resources with those sites.
Instead, you’ll have a portion of the central server that you can configure to your specifications.
Traditional Hosting vs. Managed Hosting
The two larger categories that encapsulate the three hosting types are traditional and managed hosting.
Traditional hosting includes dedicated and shared web hosting.
Dedicated and shared hosting have been the standards for decades.
On the other hand, managed hosting involves renting space on a server.
VPS hosting is a type of managed hosting, as is cloud hosting.
Cloud hosting is similar to VPS hosting, albeit a bit more complex.
The Most Popular Web Hosting
Curious about which web hosting service is best for you?
Here’s an overview of some of the most popular services.
Bluehost is one of the most popular web host services, and for a good reason. Its user-friendly design makes it beginner-friendly, while its features cater to bloggers of all levels.
If you opted to install WordPress.org, you’re in luck.
Bluehost offers many WordPress blog functionalities that make hosting your WordPress blog a breeze.
Another WordPress-enabled site is SiteGround.
It’s a popular host service due to its fast servers, customer service, and security.
Since it uses Google Cloud and integrates WordPress, SiteGround is perfect for bloggers with larger platforms, businesses, and those who plan to scale their services.
3. WP Engine
WP Engine is another WordPress host that’s a great choice if you want to use WordPress as your platform.
It offers a lot of storage and speed and 24/7 customer care.
The main drawback is that it’s a bit pricier than others.
However, the cost might be worth it if you have a more complex site.
Kinsta is a WordPress-enabled host that offers users enterprise-level tools.
It provides performance monitoring, high speeds, and the security of a Google Cloud platform.
In addition, Kinsta delivers an easy-to-use platform for managing your content.
And when you run into trouble, Kinsta’s 24/7 customer support is available to help.
Flywheel is a managed hosting service that offers users low-cost hosting plans.
It’s a WordPress hosting service designed with enterprise-level clients in mind.
However, as a blogger, you can still benefit from its features.
That said, it’s unlikely you’ll need something as robust when you first start a blog.
Blogging Tips Recommendation
Although the unique features of each hosting service should be key considerations when choosing a host, there are a few other things to keep in mind, too.
- Your host should offer uptime of 99.99% to minimize lag or downtime.
- You need rapid loading speeds to ensure users don’t get frustrated and leave your site.
- Choose a hosting provider that has an excellent reputation for customer support.
- Find a host that will allow your brand to grow in the future.
- Security should be paramount, so find a host with the best security features.
Our Top Web Hosting Picks
An overview of favorite web hosting companies
- The #1 hosting platform for WordPress. This is the same service that powers Bloggingtips.com
- Massive set of features, including automated backups, automated plugin updates, and highly secure, efficient, and scalable hosting
- This hosting company's main focus is educational sites - they only work on these, so they know the space well
- Services include accessibility, security, hosting, and support for education-related blogs and websites
5. Design a Blog with Structure and Functionality
Three crucial components of a successful blog are your blog’s functionality, design, and structure.
As a blogger, you need to design your site with all three of these components.
Otherwise, you risk a site that could drive users elsewhere.
What is Blog Functionality?
Blog functionality is a feature you can add to your website if you want to include a blog as part of your content.
When you add blog functionality to your site, you’re adding a new dimension of content readers can benefit from.
Why is Blog Functionality Important?
Blog functionality is important because it provides an easy way to share content, news, and information on a site dedicated to another function.
For example, if you currently have an online clothing store, you might benefit from including a fashion blog.
If you want to increase blog traffic to your site, blog functionality is also an excellent way to further optimize your site’s content.
Types of Blog Functionality
Your blog’s function will depend on the type of site you own and the type of content you want to create.
So let’s break down the most common types of websites and how blogs function on them.
Informational websites provide specific information: like news, party planning, or parenting, to name a few.
Blogs on informational sites are an easy way to add a personal touch to your site’s content.
For example, one function of New York Times’ blogs is to share insight and opinions from journalists instead of traditional reporting.
Adding a blog to your e-commerce website is the perfect tool for keeping a user on your site.
Your customers will see your expertise when you provide valuable information alongside your products.
In addition, a blog can offer real-world applications of your product or service.
For example, a private contractor might add a “home improvement hacks” blog to connect with potential customers.
When you want to bring awareness to a community’s purpose, a blog on your website is a great way to do it.
In this case, the blog’s purpose might be to educate newcomers on the issues within your community and everyday stories of how users can contribute.
The Girl Scouts of America blog is a good example of blog functionality on a community website.
Other website types that don’t fall into information, like e-commerce or community, can also benefit from a blog.
This includes sites that encompass aspects or two or all three of these.
For example, an author’s website might have a shop, bonus content for books, and a blog on the writing process.
These features work to get sales, garner interest, and gain clicks.
What is Blog Design?
Blog design is how your blog looks.
It includes fonts, color schemes, images, logos, and anything else you use to make your blog suit your vision.
Why is Blog Design Important?
Have you ever clicked a link, only to click “back” after a few seconds because the site’s design bothered you?
If so, you already have a basic understanding of why a blog’s design is important.
When a user enters your site, they want an enjoyable experience.
They don’t want to be blinded by garish colors or deal with long load times due to excessive media.
Those annoyances are a surefire way to get readers to look elsewhere for their content.
Types of Blog Design
One of the best things about most blogging platforms is that they offer free and paid themes for blogs.
You can also purchase premade themes or pay a designer to customize one.
Free Themes vs. Paid Themes
Many platforms have a nice mix of free and paid themes for bloggers to pick from.
The main difference between the two is the number of customizable features.
A free theme will have fewer bells and whistles, allowing for faster load time.
However, the drawback is that you have fewer options for customization.
On the other hand, paid themes are highly customizable, have more support, and have more app integrations.
Premade Themes vs. Custom Themes
Premade themes, which are the bulk of free and paid themes, offer an easy way to create a lovely site.
They’re cost-effective but provide a fair amount of customizations.
Custom themes are a bit pricier. However, with that cost comes a blog design that suits your purposes to a T.
You won’t have to compromise on color or logo placement.
Instead, you’ll get exactly what you’re looking for.
What is Blog Structure?
As with your blog’s design, your blog’s structure is another critical factor in hooking leads and ranking in search results.
The structure contains the different components of a blog post, including the title, headings, introduction, body, and conclusion.
Why is Blog Structure Important?
Using proper HTML headings, appropriate keywords, and high-authority links in your article helps structure your blog.
That structure is what helps you rank higher in search engine results.
For example, a blog with HTML headings will be “read” by search engines more easily than unformatted text.
Likewise, a table of contents will make it more user-friendly.
In both cases, you’ll be on the way to ranking higher in search results.
Types of Blog Structure
The two main types of blog structure are traditional and silo.
This section will summarize the key differences between the two.
Traditional vs. Silo
A traditional blog will be just that — a blog.
The organization and menus might be limited to months or dates, but that will be the limit of a site’s organization.
It’s a simplistic and somewhat outdated way of organizing content.
A silo structure is neatly organized using categories and subcategories, such as Recipes>Vegan>Desserts.
Silo organization is easy for search engine crawlers to sort through to determine if your content is relevant.
Blogging Tips Recommendation
Here are a few quick tips on optimizing your blog’s design and structure.
1. Use a Premade Theme at First, Then Upgrade Later
When you first start a blog, consider choosing a premade theme first.
Doing so will give you time to understand how themes and blogs function.
A premade theme also removes the stress of designing a theme while also trying to launch a blog.
2. Select a Lightweight Theme That Includes the Functionality You Want
A lightweight website theme will provide rapid load times and a better experience for your users.
When choosing a theme, go for one that’s quick and offers the functions you want.
Functions might include social media integration, e-commerce layouts, and customizable features.
3. Get Started with a Core Tech Stack
A tech stack is the toolkit you’ll need to meet your blogging goals.
As a blogger, you’ll want optimization tools, cost-effective solutions, and streamlined delivery to users.
So, choose a tech stack that will offer each of those things.
WordPress and other blogging platforms will most likely have everything you need.
However, you might benefit from tutorials on the different functions before choosing your plans and themes.
6. Create Great Content
Your content is the core of your blog. Regardless of how stellar your design, structure, and search engine optimization are, you’ll struggle to succeed if your content isn’t on point.
So, to improve your chances of creating a successful blog, you need to focus on content production.
What is Content Production?
Content production varies depending on the industry, but at its core, it’s simply the creation of content for a site or entity.
In your case, that site would be your blog.
The content you produce is everything on your site, including blog posts, product descriptions, and bios.
Why is Content Production Important?
Your content is how you connect with your audience.
It’s how you answer questions, provide insight, and share information. If you want to communicate effectively, you need to focus on producing high-quality, optimized content for your readers.
Types of Content to Produce on Your Blog
You’ll have your pick on content to choose from when you start your blog.
However, most blog posts will fall into one of two categories: information or transactional.
Informational vs. Transactional
An informational blog post imparts knowledge to your reader.
These posts answer questions, provide information, or otherwise enrich your reader’s life somehow.
You want your reader to click away from your site with a new understanding of your topic.
A transactional blog post will typically include a CTA (call to action) that directs a reader to complete a task or transaction.
For example, the transaction could be in the form of a newsletter signup, free webinar, or purchase.
The Most Popular Types of Blog Posts
Have you ever heard of the seven basic plots for stories? Blogging has a similar theme.
No matter what type of blog content you produce, it will undoubtedly fall into one of four categories.
1. General Information Posts
General information blog posts provide informative content to a reader.
Depending on the type of information, informational posts may or may not have a CTA.
Examples of informational blog posts are how-to articles, fashion advice, parenting tactics, and news.
If you’ve spent more than five minutes on social media, you’ve likely come across a listicle.
Listicles are blog posts that are simply lists of products.
These articles offer lists of “the best products for” and “things you never knew,” with a small snippet for each item.
If you want to make money from affiliate marketing, listicles are an excellent way to do so.
3. Comparison Posts
Comparison blog posts compare two or more things, usually with a clear winner at the end.
They’re ideal if you want your readers to make a purchase or perform an action.
For example, if you offer social media marketing services, you might write a comparison post on Instagram vs. TikTok marketing.
4. Review Posts
Review posts take many forms.
Some might seem similar to general information articles, while others look more like listicles.
Review posts can cover your own products or services or those of others.
They’re another excellent option for affiliate marketers because you can use your blog content to build up the product.
Ways To Produce Content for Your Blog
When you sat down to plan out how to start a blog, you might’ve assumed the only way to produce blog content was to write it yourself.
As a matter of fact, that’s only one option of several.
Write It Yourself
Many writers prefer to write their own content.
In doing so, you can ensure your voice and tone come through in your content.
The main downside to writing your own content is that it can be pretty time-consuming.
As mentioned previously, the average blog post can take upwards of four hours.
That might not be an issue if blogging is your full-time job.
However, if it’s a side gig, you might want to consider other options.
Hire a Writer
If your blog is or will be a business, you could hire a dedicated writer to produce content.
They can craft your posts to your specifications and give you the benefit of individual attention.
Your writer could be a full or part-time employee or anyone else who has a good handle on your area of expertise.
Outsource to Freelancers
Freelance writing is another valuable resource for career bloggers.
Freelancers dabble in all areas, so you could find one who has experience in your niche.
You can hire a freelance writer to do a single article or as a contract position that lasts for several months, if not longer.
Hire a Content Agency
Content agencies are ideal if you need to produce a lot of content.
You still get individualized service, but from an entire team of writers instead of just one.
Content writing agencies also have the added perk of in-house editors and a quality assurance team.
Blogging Tips Recommendation
Your blog content will set you apart from your competition, so it’s essential you get it right on the first try.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind during the content-creation phase.
- Write often
- Don’t be afraid to outsource
- Stay up-to-date on industry trends
- Avoid talking about yourself
- Use examples to help get points across
7. Find Time to Optimize Your Content
An aspect of blogging that beginners often overlook is content optimization.
It takes some getting used to, but once you’ve gotten the basics down, you’ll be able to optimize your posts quickly and efficiently.
What is Content Optimization?
When a search engine crawls the web, it searches for keywords, headings, links, and other features on websites.
Content optimization is how you make your website more visible to search engines and, in turn, readers.
When you write a blog post, you should use all the SEO tools available to optimize your on and off-page content.
Why is Content Optimization Important?
Content optimization is how your site gets found on the web.
Optimizing your content will generate more leads, increase organic traffic, and rank higher on search engine results pages or SERPs.
Tools that Make Content Optimization Easy
You don’t have to be a wiz with SEO or fully comprehend how search engines work to produce optimized content.
Although basic know-how is undoubtedly valuable, there are plenty of tools available to help optimize your content for you.
A popular and effective content creation tool is MarketMuse.
This SEO optimization tool analyzes web data to develop outlines, content ideas, and keywords that’ll help your posts reach the right audience.
MarketMuse also provides valuable insight into what your audience will expect from you.
Formerly known as Jarvis, Jasper is a web content generator.
It’s powered by AI, so you’ll have the advantage of auto-generated content that bolsters the content you create.
Jasper can help you create posts, headlines, and outlines, drastically cutting back on the amount of time you spend creating content.
3. Surfer SEO
Surfer SEO is a search engine optimization tool that helps bloggers develop perfectly-optimized web content.
You can create outlines, utilize AI-generated content, and get data-driven insights into your online performance.
You’ll also gain valuable information regarding keywords, structure, and media use.
Blogging Tips Recommendation
- Develop content that will encourage users to click through your site.
- Minimize visual elements to increase loading time.
- Optimize your website for mobile use.
- Use approximately 3-5 web links for every 1000 words of content.
- Only link to high-authority sources.
Additionally, we suggest adhering to the rules outlined in the infographic below as best practice for every post you upload.
8. Have Time and Patience to Promote Your Blog
The final step before you launch your blog is to promote it.
Although you might cringe at the thought of spending time away from writing to promote your site, it’s imperative that you do.
But what is blog promotion? And how do you do it?
Let’s take a look.
What is Blog Promotion?
Blog promotion is the process of actively driving readers to your content.
You can promote your blog on social media, through email marketing campaigns, and by networking with other key figures in your industry.
Why is Blog Promotion Important?
As an up-and-coming blogger, you need to get your blog name out there because content alone isn’t enough to drive swaths of traffic to your site.
Promotion incentivizes readers to go to your page and read your content.
Sometimes that incentive is in the form of a discount, while other times, it’s simply the promise of sought-after information.
Most Popular Ways To Promote a Blog
You might be surprised at how many options there are for promoting your blog.
Fortunately, that variety means you’ll have your pick of methods.
However, bear in mind that some methods are more popular than others. Consider the following.
1. Produce Content for Organic Search
Optimizing your content for organic search is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog.
This involves doing keyword research and utilizing headings and topics that users often search for.
You can also repurpose old content by polishing it up with your SEO tools to make it relevant.
2. Build an Email List
Email marketing is another effective promotion method.
The content you share in your email campaigns will depend on your audience, purpose, and industry.
Regardless, email marketing is one of the best ways to reach readers who’ve already established an interest in you or your content.
A newsletter is the best option, which you can quickly build using a newsletter builder.
3. Use Social Media
Social media has become one of the most powerful digital marketing tools available, so you’d be wise to wield it to your benefit.
Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter all have different demographics, so read up on who uses what before choosing your platforms.
4. Reach Out To Other Bloggers
Networking is an essential tool for online content creators.
When you want to promote your blog, consider reaching out to other bloggers within your industry.
You can leave comments on other blogs, offer to write a guest post, or ask for a mention.
As you establish yourself in your blogging community, you’ll find more opportunities to promote with your peers.
5. Use Paid Ads
Paid advertising can be an effective promotional tool if you know how to use it.
You can run ad campaigns on social media, Google, or other websites to drive traffic to your content.
However, before you launch your campaign, brush up on targeting, media, and ad copy to make sure your ad checks the right boxes.
Blogging Tips Recommendation
Promotion can be one of the trickiest areas of blog creation.
So here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when developing your marketing plan.
- Study social media trends regularly.
- Learn how to develop the perfect target audience.
- Make keyword research and industry trends a top priority.
- Build a community with other bloggers and influencers to expand your reach.
- Don’t be afraid to outsource to social media managers and marketing agencies.
9. Use Tools to Track Your Progress
The final step in starting a blog is acquiring and learning to use tracking tools.
These are either cloud-based services or features of your content management system that come with your plan.
What Are Progress Tracking Tools?
Progress tracking tools help you visualize your site’s performance data.
They provide insight into user behavior, preferences, and your search engine rank.
Then, you can use that data to make informed decisions on future blog posts, site upgrades, and features.
Are Progress Tracking Tools Required?
Although you might want to find a way to save money on your tech stack, progress tracking tools are essential to success.
They’re not strictly required.
However, to ensure you have a successful blog, you need to understand your users.
Types of Progress Tracking Tools
You have a handful of progress tracking tools to choose from.
Specifically, you’ll want to look at tools that provide analytics, rank information, and tracking information about the content on your site.
1. Analytics Tools
Analytics tools help you measure your blog’s performance.
They provide report functionality to show you how your blog stacks up among your competitors.
With analytic tools, you can track:
- SERP rankings
- Time spent on a page
- Page views
- Web traffic
- Bounce rate
- Top-performing posts
- Click origins
- Subscriber counts
- Conversion rates
Understanding these aspects of your blog can give you insight into what adjustments you might want to make.
2. Rank Tracking Tools
You might think rank tracking tools will measure your website’s rank.
However, they’re actually tools that show you where a keyword ranks on the web.
Rank tracking tools are excellent for improving your site’s SEO and SERP ranking.
3. Link Tracking Tools
When you promote your blog, you want to make sure you’re getting an ROI.
To do so, you can invest in link tracking tools.
These tools let you see where visitors to your site originated.
So, if you’re running an email campaign alongside ads on social media and Google Ads, you’ll want to know how effective they are.
Knowing which link people are clicking most will tell you where to direct more of your marketing budget.
Most Popular Progress Tracking Tools
Progress tracking tools are invaluable for ensuring an ROI and your blog’s success.
A few of the most popular tracking tools are Google Analytics and Search Console, Semrush, and Ahrefs.
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free cloud-based service that lets you analyze business data for informed decision-making.
In addition, Google’s machine learning provides valuable insight into your site’s progress that you won’t get elsewhere.
2. Google Search Console
If you want feedback on site optimization and performance, Google Search Console is the right tool for the job.
It measures site traffic, helps you troubleshoot and fix issues, and lets you view which search queries direct users to your content.
Google Search Console also enables you to optimize your site for SERPs.
Semrush is a search engine marketing company that lets you measure campaign progress across multiple channels.
You can find information on keyword ranking, optimization, and improving your digital marketing campaigns.
Ahrefs is an SEO tool that allows you to track your online ranking with the click of a button.
You can also monitor site traffic, automate email campaigns, and audit backlinks.
You can also examine your content’s progress and audit other sites to understand where they succeed.
Blogging Tips Recommendation
Here are a few final tips on how to use progress tracking tools.
- Focus on keyword ranking, but avoid keyword stuffing.
- Choose high-value links to add credibility to your site.
- Test out the different tracking tools before settling on just one.
- When in doubt, choose an all-in-one tool like Google Analytics.
Starting a Blog in 2023: Final Thoughts
So, now that you’ve made it through this guide, you should have a better idea of how to start a blog.
Try not to get overwhelmed with the amount of content we covered.
Instead, use the information here to guide you through your blog launch one step at a time.
If the idea of finding multiple services and tools seems a bit much, we can’t recommend WordPress.com enough.
The WordPress dashboard offers all the tools you need in one place.
Starting a blog requires a lot of steps, but having all the necessary tools at your fingertips will make it much more straightforward.
And remember, you don’t have to complete these steps in order.
Start with the simplest task and go from there.
Still have questions? Feel free to leave a comment, and we’ll touch base as soon as possible.