How to Start a Blog: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

The only guide that you will need to start a blog in 2021. This step-by-step guide focuses on complete beginners which means no existing experience is necessary when you read this.

Click here to skip the introduction and learn how to start a blog today.

Starting a blog is easy. You will see how easy it is. Growing up is tough. Once you create your blog, make sure you invest your time, money and intellect into it.

Blogs provide you a space where you can write and share your ideas. If you are good with that, your ideas can help you generate extra income, grow in popularity and even make blogging your primary career.

This blog, gauravtiwari.org — was just another blog when it started. Today, it earns hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. It is read by over 10,000 readers like you everyday.

So is the impact of a blog. But it wasn’t always like this and not everyone tastes success in blogging. That is why it is important to start better. I have some proven tricks that I will be sharing alongside the step-by-step instructions to create a blog.

I will walk you through the following steps. Be sure to skip the once you have already done. Like if you have already decided on what to blog about, there is no need to read the first step and so on.

Please remember that starting a blog is different than creating a website. A website may or may not have a blog. Websites are mostly static and their key focus is on promoting a product, service or company. On the other hand blogs are like timelines of reverse-chronologically arranged articles. An example of a website is the site W3Schools. An example of a blog is gauravtiwari.org.

There are various website builders like Wix, Weebly etc. which can be used to create a website easily. WordPress, Blogspot, Tumblr etc. are the best tools to create a blog. WordPress is very extensive and is the most favored choice for creating blogs. It can also be used to create a website but that’s a matter of some other time. In this guide, I will use WordPress as a tool to create a blog.

So, let’s start.

Decide what to blog about

This is the first and one of the most important things that you need to do. Decide about what you are going to create the blog. This changes everything. For example, if you are going to start a travel blog – your requirements will be different than those who want to start a marketing blog or a tattoo studio blog.

It is all up to you on which niche you can create your blog. But choose only those topics that you are an expert in. Also make sure to check whether or not those topics are worth investing time on. These so called topics are known as niches in blogging.

You can target one or more niches on your blog. Choosing more than one niche is always recommended. I recommend taking three major niches and multiple minor niches in mind.

Major Niche vs Minor Niche

A major niche is something that will be getting the most attention from you. Major niches will be the highest earning keywords and you will be known after those. On the other hand, minor niches can be keywords or topics that will potentially lead you to more traffic but much conversion/revenue. These are technically called Macro-niche and Micro-niche. But I will keep calling these Majors and Minors in this whole guide.

You will see most of the bloggers having two or three major niches. They write regularly on these topics. But they also have some specific keywords from which they grab some potential traffic as well.

As a case study, I am taking Anil Agarwal as an example. Anil is one of the best bloggers in India (and possibly amongst the bests in the world as well). For him, Digital Marketing, SEO and Blogging are the major niche – on which his blog bloggerspassion is built upon. But you will also find several product reviews, black friday deals etc. as minor niches which don’t only aid his main niche but also help him get more traffic from search engines.

I told you about how minor keywords will not lead much conversion or revenue, that statement is true. But during specific events, like Black Friday for BloggersPassion, things change. These micro niches may help you earn more in such times.

How to Pick a niche?

You can’t go selecting topics or niches at your own will. You should also consider the growth possibilities. Take as example of a niche X. You love X and you know a lot about it. But that is not sufficient. X must be commercially viable for you. People lie when they say they are blogging for passion and not money. Everyone does everything for money. The path to that can be different but the ultimate goal is always money.

Here are three points that you must consider before selecting X as your niche:

  1. It has enough searches on Google.
  2. There are plenty of sub-topics under this that can be worked on.
  3. It is not considered as a prohibited niche by Google.

If X satisfies these criteria you can continue writing about X on your blog. Similarly choose other Y, Z niches using the same formula.

Find the perfect domain for your blog

Once you have decided the niche you will be targeting, you will need a domain. Try thinking of a domain name that tells your blog’s story. You can use online domain name generators like namemesh to generate domain names for your blog.

Once you have decided your domain name, the next step is to check if that is available and can be booked.

Hosting companies like HostGator provide one free domain name with purchase of larger hosting plans. But if your web hosting company doesn’t you can book domain names for cheap.

Skip to the next part, if you want to continue with HostGator or already have a domain name.

I suggest using Google Domains (not cheap), porkbun, HostGator (cheap) and Namecheap (cheapest) for domain names.

The process to register your domain name is simple. Just visit any of these sites and look for Domains and enter your desired domain name.

If that domain name is available, you can proceed and book it by following the required steps.

Pick the best web host for your blog

Done with domain name? You will now need web hosting. For new or old, I always suggest HostGator as the default hosting option for blogs. There are multiple reasons for this – the best being their cheap pricing and easy to use interface. As a new blogger, you need things to be simple. HostGator will walk you through the installation process during the whole setup.

Let me tell you how it does.

Go to HostGator.com.

Hostgator home

You will see Get Started on the homepage. Click on it and you will be directed to their pricing plans.

Hostgator plans to start a blog

There are three plans for bloggers, and I suggest going for the Baby Plan. It comes with unlimited domain support. But if you are willing to go with just one domain for the time being, you can choose the Hatchling Plans as well.

These plans offer everything you will need to create a blog, business website or portfolio. So be worry free. HostGator also provides 30-days money back guarantee.

Other Hosting Options for New Bloggers

HostingWhy Use this?Star RatingMore Information
HostArmadaBest Unlimited Hosting4.9Get HostArmada
HostgatorBest Web Hosting for Beginners4.8Get HostGator
BlueHostBest for Small usage and Bloggers4.8Get BlueHost
A2 HostingBest Shared Hosting Provider4.8Get A2 Hosting
Rocket.NetBest New Hosting4.8Get Rocket
WPEngineBest Managed WordPress Hosting4.7Get WPEngine
WordPress.com BusinessBest in Customer Support and Uptime4.6Get WP.com
GreenGeeksBest Environment Friendly Hosting4.6Get GreenGeeks
CloudwaysBest Cloud Based hosting4.5Get Cloudways
BionicWPTruly managed WordPress hosting4.5Get BionicWP
MilesWebEconomical and Fast Hosting4.4Get MileWeb
EasyWPCheapest WordPress Managed Hosting4.1Get EasyWP
NamecheapThe Cheapest Unlimited Hosting3.9Get Namecheap

How to get a Free Domain Name on HostGator?

Once you click Buy Now on the pricing page, you will have the option to choose a free domain name.

Free domain name to start a blog

HostGator offers various domain extensions and you can always get a free domain name if you buy an annual plan or larger.

To show you, I am hypothetically going to book mybestseoblog.com. So, what I will do is to enter mybestseoblog in the search box and hit ENTER. It searches for all available domains.

See, mine was available and free. I will tick the checkbox to get this domain in my cart.

Hostgator checkout

If you already have a domain, you should still choose it. First of all you can use multiple domains on the Baby Plan and second, it’s totally free, right? You can use this domain to start a new blog, redirect to another website or just keep it for sale later.

On the bottom, there will be a $14.95 per year charge for domain privacy. Uncheck it to save money. This is where namecheap does the best. They don’t charge for domain privacy. Since we are trying to get this domain name for free – privacy doesn’t matter. You can move this domain name to another registrar like Namecheap, Google Domains anytime you want.

So, just save $14.95. It’s your first time, right? Any penny saved can be used later.

Choose a plan, enter your details, payment information and book the hosting plan you want.

HostGator Coupon Code

If the checkout process asks for a coupon code, you can use this coupon code:

Once everything succeeds, you will be welcomed with your control panel, popularly known as cPanel.

Install WordPress

You can install WordPress on Hostgator using the following steps.

  1. Log into your cPanel (if you are logged out).
  2. Look for Softaculous Apps Installer.
  3. There you will have multiple content management systems and software. Look for WordPress, take your mouse over it and click Install.
  4. You will be prompted to set up WordPress.
  5. In the option to choose the version of WordPress, select the most recent release. The higher version is the best. The latest WordPress is the most secure and has more features.
  6. In the Installation URL, choose your domain.
  7. In Choose Protocol, select https://
  8. If you have more than one domain on HostGator you will see a dropdown to change the domains.
  9. The directory box should be left blank.
  10. Coming to Site Settings section, you’ll need to enter a Site Name and Site Description. 
  11. Choose an Admin Username. I recommend not using admin for better security. Use a human name.
  12. Choose an Admin Password.
  13. Enter your email address in the Admin Email box. This one is important. This email will be used to reset your password if you forget it in the future. Keep your username and password safe. You will always need these.
  14. Set your site language in the Choose Language dropdown.
  15. In the Advanced Options,  you don’t need to change anything.
  16. In Select Theme, I would prefer that you don’t use a theme for now. I will be helping you with installing a WordPress theme you can use later on.
  17. Lastly, click Install. It will show a progress bar which can take up to 20 seconds to complete an installation. You should wait for the time being. Don’t close the tab while the progress bar is loading.
  18. Once the installation is complete, you will see a notice that your site installation is complete. You will have two URLs – site URL and a dashboard URL. Site URL looks like https:// mybestseoblog.com and the dashboard URL will look like https:// mybestseoblog.com/wp-admin/

Congratulations! Your blog is ready. Notice how the dashboard URL has /wp-admin/ at the end of your site. This is where you will customize, write, edit and do more.

Now you don’t need to keep HostGator cPanel open. Close it. Open /wp-admin/ and login using the username and password that you chose in step 11 and 12 above.

Understanding WordPress Dashboard

Let me tell you how WordPress works. As I told you, you have a site URL and a dashboard URL. Site URL is what your visitors and you will see on the front end. This is what Google will index and this is where people will make purchases, do comments and more.

Dashboard is like the control panel. Here you can write posts, approve comments, change design using WordPress themes, add functionalities using WordPress plugin.

This is how your WordPress looks like:

Wordpress dashboard after you install wordpress -- start a blog

The things may be different for different installations but more or less it is the same.

The first thing that you need is to customize your site. To do that you will have to install a Quality WordPress theme.

Install Quality WordPress Themes

A WordPress theme doesn’t only change the way your blog looks, it also adds functionalities and features to your blog. By default you will have Twenty Twenty WordPress theme installed and activated.

Go to Appearance menu in your Dashboard and you will see there are some themes named like Twenty Twenty, Twenty Nineteen etc.

Themes install — start a blog

This is how your frontend should be looking like.

Front end

You can continue using this theme or change it for something better. I suggest using Astra or GeneratePress. These two themes are considered the best in the WordPress ecosystem. Astra has over 1 million downloads – so we will continue with that.

In Appearance -> Themes click on Add New next to Themes.

You will see some Featured themes and a search bar. Search for Astra.

Here are the themes that I recommend the most:

ThemeFeaturesPriceDownload Link
Astra✅ Fastest, Lightweight, and Highly Customizable WordPress Theme.Free to $59 yearly – $174-$559 for lifetimeGet Astra
GeneratePress✅ Lightweight, and Responsive conversion ready WordPress ThemeFree to $59 yearly – $249 for lifetimeGet GeneratePress
Marketers Delight✅ Marketing First and Responsive conversion ready WordPress Theme.$97 for 5 SitesGet MD
Installing astra

Hover over Astra to Install it. Once installed, you can activate it to directly apply the theme on your blog.

Astra activated

Now click on the Customize button to customize the theme as per your needs. You can change fonts, try different layouts, change logos, design header and footers and much more.

Install Important WordPress Plugins

Once you are done customizing your blog as per your needs, you will need some seriously important plugins.

Plugins are like software that you install on your website to get some additional features.

There is a number of plugins for WordPress.

It’s not possible to cover all the plugins in a single blog post and all the plugins are not important for everyone, but there are few plugins that are a must for every website.

The first one is Yoast SEO. This is the best WordPress SEO plugin on the planet. To install this, hover on the Plugins menu in your Dashboard and click on Add New.

Installing plugins

In the search plugins box, search for Yoast.

Installing yoast seo

Install the first plugin and activate it. Now you will have a new menu on the bottom in the Dashboard – SEO. Click it and Yoast will guide you with the setup process.

See this video on how to setup Yoast SEO for your blog. Installing an SEO plugin is a must for your blog. There are some alternatives to Yoast SEO, like Rank Math, SEOPress etc. You can go with any of these if you want. I have suggested only Yoast SEO because I use it and I love it.

You can install more plugins using the same method.

Here are some other must-use plugins that I recommend installing and using:

  1. CoBlocks – for creating beautiful content in WordPress Editor
  2. Akismet – to prevent spam.
  3. WP Rocket – Premium Plugin, used to boost site loading speed. Use the Hummingbird plugin as a free alternative. Both are easy to use.
  4. Code Snippets – to input custom code and to prevent the use of a child theme ever. I will write a full guide on this very soon. For the time being, just install it.
  5. Site Kit by Google – enables Google Analytics, Adsense, Search Console etc.

Install Google Analytics

This is easy now. Site Kit by Google allows you to link and install Google Analytics to your site. No coding is required.

Install Site Kit by Google from your Dashboard.

Sitekit by google

After activation, you will see a notice like this:

Sitekit by google setup start a blog

Click on Start Setup, login with your Google Account and provide all permissions required. Viola! You are done. Once set up properly you will be able to view all Analytics data in your Dashboard.

Sitekit by google overview

This process also connects your blog domain to the new Google Search Console (earlier Webmasters Tools). The search console is the most important tool that you’ll be using outside your WordPress dashboard. There you can traffic what keywords are ranking, which articles are getting enough exposure.

I have written a complete guide on setting up the Search Console. Read the article here.

Done!

You have done what was required. You have successfully created a blog. Now go ahead and do more customizations and install more plugins. You own the domain name. The blog is yours too. You should now secure your blog name on social media sites too. Try to create as many social media accounts as possible. Link your blog on those social networking sites. Engage with some people.

But whatever you do, you need content to get traffic.

So, what should you be writing about?

Let’s find some topics for you to write about.

But before that, what to write and what not to write.

What should beginner bloggers write and what they shouldn’t?

See, if you know about How to do A, then you should write about it. If you know What is A, then you shouldn’t yet. I am not saying that you should totally drop the idea. But you shouldn’t write about it yet. New blogs can rank more easily on how to do A articles than what is A articles. This means the latter has more difficulty in ranking.

There are already millions of websites and blogs in the wind. And everyone is writing about everything. In this crowd, what is A or who is A type of article are completely overdone and Wikipedia already has all of those covered.

So, keep your focus on answering how. You can also try when and why too.

Few more topics on which beginner bloggers can write and rank in Google are:

  • Top X ways of doing Y
  • Top X {Insert Noun Here} in {World/Country}
  • Best X to {do/buy} in 2021
  • X vs Y: Which is better?
  • Product X’s Review
  • How ….
  • When ….
  • Why ….
  • Where … 

Here are 25 Blog Post Ideas That Will Drive Traffic. Be sure to read it.

All the types that I have suggested are not only traffic gainers but also future proof. You can do affiliate marketing, show Adsense ads and other ads on such articles and earn plenty of revenue. Here are 20 ways you can make money from your blog. Awesome, right?

Now you know what you should be writing. But how do you find ideas on what to write in those formats? Let me solve that for you.

How to find topics to write?

Search for your niche on Google. Find your ‘motivations’. See how they write and what they write. Follow their style. Use the keywords they are using in their articles. There you have the topics. Write about these topics and keep writing until these motivations become your competitors.

Let me explain.

First of all this niche that I mentioned is the one that you selected in the ‘Decide what to blog about’ section.

Suppose Marketing is my primary niche. I will search for Marketing on Google. Here’s what I found:

Image

There are your future competitors. Visit these one by one and see what they write about. Try to understand why they are so successful.

Everything that I told in the last two sections is defined as Keyword Research. I am writing a guide on Keyword Research for Beginners. I will add the same to this page once that is done. Until then, you can explore Brian Dean’s awesome guide on Keyword Research. He is the best in the SEO niche and writes easy to understand articles.

Here are some other ways you can find topics to write about:

  1. Reddit Posts
  2. Quora Questions
  3. Books
  4. TED talks
  5. Papers you wrote in college
  6. Songs
  7. Photographs
  8. Traditional newspapers
  9. News websites
  10. Magazines
  11. Movies
  12. Research studies
  13. YouTube videos
  14. Poetry
  15. Quotations
  16. Your personal life
  17. Your tweets
  18. Other people’s tweets

75 Profitable Niches to Start a Blog About

Here are some profitable niche that you can try:

  1. Gadgets Reviews
  2. Computer Hardware
  3. Computer Software
  4. Mobile Apps
  5. ATM Uses
  6. Calling Apps
  7. Blogging
  8. SEO
  9. Modern/ Style Furniture
  10. Health
  11. Fitness
  12. Beauty
  13. Gain Weight Tips
  14. Weight Loss Tips
  15. Sports
  16. Soccer
  17. NBA
  18. Football
  19. Cricket
  20. Games
  21. Online Games
  22. Dating Tips
  23. Online Dating
  24. Casino
  25. Online Casino
  26. Coupons
  27. Deals
  28. Offers
  29. Online Shopping
  30. Ways to Build Big and Stable Companies
  31. Written Essay
  32. Written Letters
  33. Pottery
  34. Hosting Provider
  35. Domain Provider
  36. Web Design
  37. Web Developing
  38. Events
  39. Food
  40. Travel
  41. Love
  42. Wedding
  43. Quotes
  44. Wishes
  45. SMS
  46. Greetings
  47. Messages
  48. Emotions
  49. E-Cards
  50. Card Designs
  51. Whisky
  52. E-Book
  53. Watches
  54. Time
  55. Projects
  56. Age Growth
  57. Vehicles
  58. Wheels
  59. Stunts
  60. Cars
  61. Bikes
  62. Wallpapers
  63. Photography
  64. Online Medicines
  65. How to take Medicines
  66. Home Made Medicines
  67. Yoga
  68. Online Banking
  69. Online Money Making Tips
  70. Funny Status
  71. Online Life Style
  72. Science
  73. About Galaxy
  74. Jogging
  75. Freelancing

That’s plenty, right? Now, all that remains is to start writing great articles.

Write Better, Professional and Visual Blog Articles

Writing quality articles is the key as to whether your blog will become popular, or whether it will fail. The reason why quality content is important is because people like to read information from experts. So you need to sound like an expert in your articles.

If your content isn’t up to the standard level that’s expected from your audience, you’ll find they’ll look elsewhere for what they’re looking for. In order to deliver quality content, here’s 12 tips to help you get started.

  1. Make sure your content is grammatically correct and has no spelling mistakes. A blog that is mistaken all through it will tell your readership you’re not as professional as you make it out to be.
  2. Make sure the blog posts are structurally sound. Use subheadings, paragraphs, and bullet points. If you don’t break up the text it can cause problems with reader fatigue. The breaks also help create an even white space balance that’s appealing to the eye.
  3. Use high quality images. It’s also important to use high quality images that are free to use. The images also need to be relevant to your blog post to make it more authentic. Without images, your post looks bland and doesn’t give the visual appeal of other high-quality blogs. Sites such as Pixabay, Unsplash and Pexels offer some nice free images that you can use.
  4. Ensure the information being relayed is relevant to your audience and is of value. It should answer any questions your reader has been asking. It should also answer the title that has been proposed. The more value you offer, the more your blog will thrive.
  5. Make sure the content is evergreen. This means that the information can be used for years after the blog is written.
  6. Use catching headlines that draw attention to themselves. ‘Blogging Tips’ isn’t as appealing as ‘Hidden Secrets To Blogging’.
  7. Use conversational language (the word “I” and “you” ) in your blog, so that the reader feels that he is talking to someone not just reading something.
  8. Keep your paragraphs short (maximum three to four sentences).
  9. Make sure that you use a good looking font style (it plays a good role in the reader’s reading experience).
  10. Add images to your blog posts.
  11. Use Grammarly tool and chrome extension to check your grammar mistakes(it is going to help you a lot if your grammar is weak).
  12. Write a long and deep article (try to explain everything in a detailed and comprehensive way).

As you can see these are the key elements of delivering quality content. By keeping your blog posts within these rules, you will surely get a better growth rate than ever.

Promote your blog

Don’t expect people to find your blog. There are millions of blogs available on the internet, which offer quite useful and relevant information. You need to tell people you’re online now. This is where the promotional part begins.

There are many things a blogger needs to do to establish a successful blog. You not only need to create relevant, helpful and well-written content for your target audience but also promote it correctly to improve your content leads.

Make your blog even better

Here are some tips that will make your blog even better.

Make your blog faster and highly responsive

No one will be able to read your content if your blog takes ages to load. Make sure that your blog loads fast and properly on all type of devices.

Respond quickly to trends

Always stay up-to-date! This is the best way to gain visibility on the internet. For instance, build a responsive website designed to attract users from different devices. Also, provide the latest content that your visitors may not find anywhere else.

Make sure your blog is searchable

In order to get millions of organic visitors to your website, you need to optimize it for search engines. Find relevant keywords and promote them as much as possible. Use Google Webmasters tools, Yoast SEO and other tools to make your blog SEO friendly.

Build interactivity

Every website provides content. What difference are you making to stand out? Use infographics & other interactive content to grab the attention of your visitors and make them your fans. Allow your readers to comment and share your content to the world and to their friends.

Build relationships

There are probably millions of established websites available with the similar niche. In order to get exposure, you need to build strong relationships with these websites. Even Google prefers blogs that are recommended by established sites. You can write a guest blog for them or simply share their content on your website and ask them to do the same for you. Link building is an art, and you must learn it.

Make use of social media

Share your content on all social media networking sites to gain visibility and inform people about your blog.

Make use of email marketing.

Email marketing sometimes works better than just sharing your content on social media. Send regular emails to your subscribers about your new blog posts.

Be on track

Make a to-do list and stick to it. Also, make sure you are providing relevant content regularly to keep your visitors interested in your blog.

That’s all for now. Hope you will be able to start a blog and grow it to some extent. I am just one comment away if you need any further help. I reply to every comment, so shoot me your questions if any.

Need more inspiration?

Check out the list of the Top 30 Best Indian Bloggers

Gaurav Tiwari

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6 comments add your comment

  1. This is a great guide. Thank you for explaining everything is simple words. I am working on a blog and this surely helps me.

  2. Hostgator is a great host to start a blog. They have good customer support. I was using Namecheap, which is cheaper but their customer care is lazy as crap.

  3. Making use of To-do list is very important. I use Todoist and Google Tasks simultaneously. Which ones do you use?

  4. Before Starting a blog you will need good website and Fluid grids are an essential part of the website design process. The grids help you align your website’s elements and make them visually appealing to the visitors. Many companies for website designing in New York have professionals and experts for making fluid grids.You can also scale the fluid grids depending on the dimension of your screen. Though simple responsive grids always existed for the HTML code processed at the beginning. But nowadays, there are multiple CSS codes for beautiful layouts. You can hire some quality engineers for website designing in New York to help you with fluid grids.

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