Updated: May 16
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your own blog? To take control of you future?
This is the reality many people have already achieved by creating their own blogs.
There's nothing stopping you achieving success other than yourself. There's nothing stopping you earning a living, building a site you are proud of.
This is the start of your journey, your journey to success!
Building a successful blog takes time, it takes effort, but in the end, boy is it worth it.
With my help, you will create a successful blog quicker and faster than I would have when I first started.
Your Quick Guide To Success
Looking to get started as quickly as possible this section if for you. All the main points from the article below.
First, head over to SiteGround.com and select their Starter Plan. It's just $3.99 / month and includes a free SSL certificate, boosting SEO and security.
Follow the on screen instructions to create your account. Once everything is ready we can proceed in creating your very own WordPress website.
Note that it can take up to 24 hours for your site to be ready.
At this point there's lots of work to get your blog up and running. These are:
Choosing a theme
Creating your first blog post
Start making money
Once you start producing blog posts on a regular basis you can start to think about making some money.
I remember my first dollar, it might not seem like much but it proves that you can actually make money from it. Your work is starting to pay off. All you need to do now is continue what you're doing.
You might be asking how do I make money then?
Answer. There are so many different ways of making money. I started off with just one, advertising, but knowing what I do now, I can show you some of the best ways you can make money from your blog.
With the short version out of the way, let's look at it in detail.
Step 1: What to Blog About
For some of you the answer to this question is going to be obvious.
For others you might not have any idea at all. It doesn't have to be a new idea, it doesn't have to be original, but it should be something you enjoy.
What's important is that you get your voice out there, your blog can be doing the same as a hundred other blogs but it's up to you to discover your corner of the internet, your space to share your voice to other people.
The only things that really matter here are:
1) Do you enjoy blogging about this topic, and
2) Do others want to read about this topic.
If the answer to both of those is yes, then it's something you should write about.
There would be no point blogging about something you're no interested in. You're likely to get bored and give up. Similarly if no-one is interested in your blog topic then it might not be worth it either.
Note that there's always going to be a community for you whatever your interests, just for some the number of people into your niche might be too small.
One quick way of seeing if your idea is popular is to use Google Trends, this way you are able to gauge peoples interest in your topic.
Step 2: What Do You Call Your Blog?
Your name is how people will recognise you, it's how people will recognise your brand, it's how people will see you.
Creating a name is difficult but you can't spend too much time creating the perfect name.
If you get stuck just move on and come back to it later.
The best way you can generate ideas is to create a brain storm, a mind map of ideas.
Think about your niche and write down some ideas that come to mind when you think about your niche. When thinking about names make sure they're not too long, as this is most likely going to form part of your domain.
One thing you can do is to use your name as your brand name. It's not recommended for everyone but it can definitely work if you're really struggling to come up with things.
If you're stuck for ideas you can always use a name generator.
Here are some of my top tips to come up with a name:
Keep it short
Use a name generator
Use a .com domain
Only use legible words and avoid numbers
Easy to say
Use your name if you've got nothing else
If you're absolutely stuck with a name, get in touch and I'll help you out.
What you'll want to do now is check the domain is available so that will be [your_name].com. You can do this here.
Step 3. Set Up Web Hosting
Once you have your niche and name figured out, it's time to move onto hosting. I recommend SiteGround. They offer great performance and reliability as well as a free SSL certificate.
It's extremely easy to set up and does not come at an enormous price.
The first thing we need is your domain, this is the web address at the top of the screen, so for example the website you're on now is bloggingcatalyst.com The good thing about SiteGround is that it makes it incredibly easy for new users to do this, all you need is an idea of what you want your site to be called an there you are.
Your domain name is basically your blog name with .com added on the end or .co.uk for example.
First, what you're gonna want to do is head over to SiteGround and click on their StartUp plan. At the low cost of $3.99 a month they are going to be your cheapest hosting option you can find and includes a free SSL certificate, making sure your site stays secure.
If you find later on you need more performance there's always the chance of upgrading.
Next follow the SiteGround installation process and create your account.
Follow the instructions on the SiteGround website until the installation is complete.
You'll be asked to create a WordPress account and run through the installation.
Once everything is installed we can move onto the next step. Congratulations! You now have your very own blog.
Installation can take a few minutes so why not get a cup of tea and come on back and move to Step 4.
Installation of a Wix site
If for whatever reason you don't want to create a WordPress installation there's always creating a blog with Wix. That's what I did and it turned out great.
Wix has the benefit of being more user friendly for beginners and is an all in one platform making it easier to manage.
They allow you to easily drag and drop elements onto a canvas as well as install optional add-ons to expand functionality and is definitely worth a look.
So in this section I'm going to show you how to create a site with Wix.
The one major advantage is that you can create a blog for free and publish it without having to pay high fees for hosting (Although you will need to for a free domain).
What we're going to do first is head over to wix.com and create an account.
Once you have an account you'll be brought straight to the Wix dashboard.
This is where you'll manage your website as well as create new websites.
To get started with your site click "Create New Site".
This should bring you to the set up page.
From here we Wix will select a type of site for you. If you're making a blog we can click on blog. From there Wix will suggest they type of blog you have.
Here Wix will suggest any addons for you site, I'd recommend the Blog and maybe the Chat feature too depending on your site.
Note: We can add these later on too we don't have to add them now.
Next we're going to pick a theme. Here we can choose the Wix ADI which is there tool for helping you select a template or we can pick a template ourselves.
What I'm going to do is "Edit a Template" and the reason for that is it allows us to browse through a selection of templates as opposed to having one picked for us.
It's from here we can search for a template or select select one. You are able to select a category or even select a blank template.
There's so many ways of picking a template and there are 1000s of high quality templates so your spoilt for choice.
I would choose this route as opposed to the Wix ADI because I find this to be a much simpler process and you can shop around.
Once you find one you like the look of hover over and click "edit".
It's here that from the editor we can create our site. From here it's up to you. You're able to add add elements and add pages. Once you've created your website it's time to click "Publish".
Note: To add blog posts, you'll need to head to the dashboard and click "Select and Edit Site" and use the menu on the left of the screen.
If you're using Wix you won't need Step 4, head to Step 6.
Step 4: Designing Your WordPress Site
Next step is to design your website, we do this using themes, themes are basically your websites' template, this is how your website will look to others.
Choosing a theme can be an arduous process. There's a lot to think about. There's a significant difference in the quality of some themes over others so it's not a decision to be taken lightly.
When you first get started your WordPress site will look something like this:
It's not particularly great.
It's at least a decent start but we want something better.
This is where we start looking for our theme. There are literally thousands of themes to pick from some of them paid, some of them free. It's easy to move between themes so there shouldn't be too much of an issue if you pick one you don't like.
So How Do You Select a Theme?
First what you need to do is login to WordPress by going to [your_website_domain]/wp-admin. Then entering your credentials.
Your WordPress Dashboard will look something like this.
To select a theme you'll want to head over to the "Appearance" tab and select "Themes".
WordPress comes with a few themes pre-installed but we're going to completely ignore those and click "Add New".
The theme page will look something like this. Yours might look a little different but should be the same layout.
What we're going to want to do is head to "Feature Filter".
Here's what it should look like.
I'd recommend selecting the "Blog" checkbox but if you want additional features then feel free to experiment.
This should give us a few themes that look like this:
At this point feel free to browse and preview themes. Clicking on the themes and clicking "Preview" will give you a an actual representation of the theme working.
Once you've found a theme you like you'll want to click the "Install" button.
If you're not fully content there are loads of premium themes to choose from. Some of these include: LittleThemeShop, ThemeForest, ElegantThemes.
Remember you can always change your theme at a later date so there's no pressure to commit to a theme now.
Step 5: Customizing Your Theme
Now that we have your theme we have the need to customise your site. To get started look to the "Appearance" tab in the left sidebar and click "Customise".
The customisation page is where things differ from theme to theme. This page can vary drastically from site to site.
This is what mine looks like:
Note: That yours will almost certainly look slightly different.
It's from here we can change some of the WordPress sites settings.
In the "Site Identity" tab we are able to change things like the sites logo, the site name and the site tagline.
Head back to the Customise page and and head over to the "Menus" page. From here we can set the main "Primary" menu and create new menus.
Heading back to "Homepage Settings". From here we can set what the homepage is. So this could be a page in it's own right or it can be set to display all of your posts. If you select a static page, you'll need a page for your blog posts and another one for the homepage.
Once you've customised everything here click the "Save & Publish" button to return to the WordPress dashboard.
Plugins & SEO Optimisation
From the plugins page we can get additional functionality for our website.
To improve SEO to your site you're going to need a plugin called "Yoast SEO".
To install click "Install Now" then hit "Activate" to add the plugin to your website.
From here click the Yoast SEO icon at the top of the screen or using the "SEO" icon on the left sidebar.
From here head over to "Company Info" or in some cases may be called "Your Info".
Here make sure all the information is correct and fill out the information on this page.
When you're done click "Save Changes".
Next head over to "Webmaster Tools" and click on "Google Search Console". This will allow Google to find your site and index pages for more visibility.
It will ask you to sign in to your Google Account.
Once you've logged in head over to the "Alternative Methods" tab and click HTML Tag.
Copy the code highlighted and paste it into the Google Search Console box then click "Save Changes".
Once this is done click the "Verify" button and you should be all set.
Now head over to the "General" tab and run the "Installation Wizard"
Run through the wizard completing every step along the way.
Once completed head over to the features tab and set the "Advanced Settings Pages" to "Enabled" and save the changes.
This will make it easier for Google to Crawl your website and index your pages on Google Search.
Next head over to the permalinks settings in the "Settings" tab. Change from "Plain" to one of your choice I recommend "Post Name".
Once done, save the settings, and we'll get to writing our first blog post.
Step 6: Your First Blog Post
If you already have an idea what to blog about, but if not, this section if for you.
So how do you actually write a blog post?
Coming up withy some ideas shouldn't take too much time. They'll come from your experiences, things you know, successes.
At first what's best would be to brainstorm a few initial ideas to get yourself going.
These should ideally be things you are passionate about and things people will find interesting / helpful.
Some to the things you should think about:
What Problems Can I Help Solve?
What Content Might Interest My Readers?
What Kind of People Are my Readers?
Why Do People Get Into My Niche? Why Do They Like It?
These are just a few of the things you should think about when coming up with some ideas.
Let's say you have a travel blog and you've just been on holiday. Your blog post could be a reflection on your time there or a review. Why people should go there or why they shouldn't.
What About The Title
The title shouldn't be to difficult to come up with.
You want to make it appealing enough that people click on it. But not too clickbaity that people don't.
They should be catch and draw the reader in.
So it could be something like:
"Why This Holiday Was Best I've Ever Had"
"Create a Blog in 10 Easy Steps"
"You Need To Check Out These Health Tips"
They should appeal to the user of your niche but not be clickbait, they need to be true.
Writing Your First Post
Now comes the fun part, writing the actual post.
WordPress's editor makes it extremely intuitive to write blog posts. Wix similarly is just as intuitive.
On WordPress create a post by hovering over the "Posts" tab on the left sidebar and click on "Add New".
On Wix create a new post by selecting "Select & Edit Site" from the Wix dashboard. On the sidebar to the left click on "Blog" and click "Create New Post".
The WordPress editor:
The Wix editor:
Both the Wix and WordPress editor are extremely similar and basically do the exact same thing.
I encourage you to browse here and figure out where everything is.
The few things you are probably going to need to do. Firstly is a featured image. This is the image that will display on blocks when showing off your post. This is easy to do on both Wix and WordPress and is probably the most important thing to do.
Another thing you should do is give the post a category. Not all blogs have categories but I would say every site should categorise it's posts.
On WordPress you will be able to see the permalink that you've set for your post and is probably the blog post title. On Wix is the blog post title by default.
Both platforms allow you to edit the way your article looks. Whether this by changing fonts, adding images, embedding html elements, and even ads.
What the Wix editor looks like:
Ideally a blog post should contain lots of visual media, lot's of images to supplement what you're saying. A few videos can be beneficial too. It helps people stay engaged with your content as well as keep track of where they are.
Next up is Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. You're going to need to optimise your site for good SEO. On Wix this is not that hard at all since all the tools you need are built right in. In fact I would say you probably don't need to edit these settings at all, but they're available if you need them.
On WordPress if you have installed the Yoast SEO plugin this is also very easy. All you really need to do is scroll down to the bottom on the blog post editor.
The settings we need are:
Focus Key phrases
Yoast will generate some of these on it's own. The main thing is to have a meta description and a good focus key phrase. The key phrase should be something related to your post.
In the Yoast SEO menu that is displayed at the bottom of the page you'll have a tab specifically for "Readability".
You should aim to get green in this but it's not realistic to get all green and don't worry if you don't get all of them.
Once you feel like you're ready you are free to publish your post. Both WordPress and Wix have a handy little "Publish" button.
If you're unsure if you're ready to publish you can always preview the post or save for later.
Before publishing you'll want to make sure that there's no spelling or grammatical mistakes, that sentences makes sense, and that it's easy to read.
Congrats you've published your first blog post!
Note: Ideally you should post on a regular basis like every Monday. Whatever you choose it should be consistent.
Step 7: Monetising Your Blog
Now comes the fun part. You've built your blog, created your first blog posts. Now is the time to start making money.
You might be asking "So how do I do that?".
There are in fact a few really good ways to make money. Some you can do right away. Others will take some time but you can definitely get there.
So the first and most obvious thing that comes to mind. It's generally very easy to set up and is completely passive once it's done.
The most obvious way is with Google AdSense.
It can potentially be a great source of income depending when you start to gain a significant number of readers.
The downside is that as you're just starting out you're unlikely to see any significant revenue especially with a small reader base.
Another very popular option. Affiliates can earn a huge amount of revenue, depending on your blog could earn even more than advertising.
There are so many ways you can generate affiliate revenue on your site. This includes Amazon, and hosting companies.
This basically works by promoting companies or products to your audience and in return the affiliate company will give you a percentage of the sale.
It can be particularly lucrative for small blogs who have a small audience but have the knowhow and people who want similar things.