Would you like to learn how to start a blog or have you been thinking of how to start a blog for free? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, congratulations because you’ve come to the right place, and in this article, I will guide you through the entire process on how to start a blog.
For me, learning how to start a blog remains one of the best decisions I have ever made in my entire life. It is what helped shaped my career as a six-figure freelance content writer and empowered me to become financially free.
Back then when I started my journey into the blogosphere, we had the likes of Neil Patel from NeilPatel.com and Harsh Agrawal from Shoutmeloud to look up to for inspiration. However, things have changed and there are lots of other young successful bloggers who have taken the blogosphere by storm.
The purpose of this article is to lead you by the hand and guide you on how to start a blog, step by step and also teach you how to monetize your blog eventually and earn from it. Before we proceed, I’m sure you must be confused with what a blog actually is….
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.
What Is A Blog?
A blog is simply a type of website where articles (contents) or blog posts are frequently published. These articles are usually written in a conversational or informal style to engage the blog audience (visitors) and keep them coming back for more. Furthermore, you don’t necessarily have to be an expert writer to start a personal blog.
As long as you can present your blog contents in a conversational and free-flowing manner which will engage your audience then you are good to go. Most people prefer reading blogs because it feels like they are having a one on one discussion or chat with the blogger.
Why Start A Blog?
The world as we know has become a global village, and people are constantly going online to search for solutions to their problems. Blogging is one of the easiest ways for you to share your knowledge and expertise on a specific subject and publish it online to make it accessible for everyone.
However, people start blogs for different reasons. For some, the purpose of starting a blog might be solely to make money online, while for others starting a blog will afford them the opportunity to gain more followers and popularity or simply to express their thoughts or share their stories.
A lot of organizations don’t want to be left out of the trend as well, many of them are adding Blog sections to their corporate websites because it’s going to help them reach out to more people and help advertise their services as well.
One good thing about starting a blog is that you don’t need any specific credentials, special IT skills, or years of experience in your field to help you start a blog and become successful with it. And the best part of this is that you can do this from anywhere, even from the comfort of your home.
Cost Of Setting Up A Blog
Setting up a blog is very affordable, even if you are on a tight budget. For as little as $1.44/month you too can start your blog. I personally used this service when I started my blog and I still use it to date. With time, when you start earning revenue from your blog and your blog grows bigger, you can upgrade to better plans and have access to premium tools and services, although these tools and services are not required to start.
Can I Start A Blog Free?
I’ve received several queries from some of my followers on social media about if they can start a blog for free, and I will answer that question here. Yes, you can start a blog for free, but I won’t recommend that if your aim of starting a blog is to make money from it. To help explain better, I will give you four valid reasons why creating a free blog isn’t the best way to start your journey as a blogger:
- No Monetization. A lot of the blogging service providers offer free blog creation plans, but these plans are very limited and you can monetize your blog if you decide to go stay on the free plan. The only way you can earn is to upgrade to their paid plans and unlock most of the features. This is one of the downsides to starting a free blog.
- Zero Support. Customer support is a premium service, and no company would want to waste their time offering support to non-paying customers. The aim of going into business is to make money and if customers don’t pay for services rendered then these companies will be out of business in no time. So, the only way to enjoy premium customer support from your blogging service provider is to avoid settling or a free plan when starting your blog.
- Limited Features. With a free plan, limited features might not be a problem at first, but with time, as your blog grows, you’ll feel the need to upgrade. Expandability and flexibility are very essential, and they are both limited on free blogging services or plans.
- Difficulty In Switching. After starting your blog on a free plan or service, and you decide to switch or upgrade along the line, you might encounter several challenges especially if you are not a tech person. This is a common scenario which most people who start a free blog face. Switching from a free blog service to a premium service provider is quite complicated and time-consuming if you choose to do it yourself, and hiring someone to do it for you isn’t cheap either. So, wouldn’t it be wise to simply start with a premium service provider instead of settling for a free service and pay more later when you decide to upgrade.
How Long Will It Take To Make Money
Making money from your blog isn’t as difficult as it sounds. But first, you need to put in the effort to ensure your blog starts off on the right note. Basically, there is no specified timeframe on how long it will take for your blog to start generating revenue. For people who want to take blogging as a full-time hustle and not a part-time thing, anything between 6months -1 year is enough for your blog to start generating income. While for people who blog on a part-time basis, you can start earning from your blog in a space of 1-2years.
Although, the time it will take you to start earning from your blog depends on the blog monetization method used, check out our post on blog monetization tips and how you can earn from monetizing your blog.
What Is The Best Kind Of Blog To Start
If you are just starting out as a blogger and confused about which platform to use for starting your blog, I will recommend a self-hosted WordPress blog. Just so you know, WordPress is a content managing system and over seventy percent of blog-styled websites like TechCrunch, Bloomberg, BBC America, The New Yorker, MTV News, SONY Music, PlayStation Blog, and Beyonce’s personal website are built on WordPress. And most popular bloggers like Harsh Agrawal of ShoutMeLoud and Neil Patel use WordPress for their blogs.
Although there are other equally cool blogging platforms like Wix, Tumblr, and Blogger, in terms of simplicity, features, and user-friendliness WordPress is miles ahead of the chasing pack. Using WordPress is very easy, and even a newbie with zero technical ability can start a self-hosted WordPress blog. To guide you through the process, I’ve outlined the easy-to-follow steps with images on how to start a blog on WordPress below:
P:S: The rest of this guide is divided into 2 parts, Kindly take your time and read till the end……
How To Start A Blog On WordPress(Part 1).
Step 1: Choose A Blogging Niche
Deciding on what to blog about is the first thing to do before starting a self-hosted WordPress blog. For business owners, companies, and organizations, your blog should be related to the service you offer, and if you are an individual, you will enjoy more flexibility in choosing what to blog about. In one of our earlier posts, we talked about how to choose a blogging niche, but the main things to consider when deciding on what to blog about are:
- Blog about something you have a passion for.
Blogging about something you love will make it easy for you to write about it. It will also make your readers trust you and keep them coming back for more educative posts from you.
- Choose a niche in which you can establish yourself as an authority.
There are lots of niches in which you can blog, and you probably won’t be the first person to blog about the topic you choose. This isn’t a problem, all you need to do is adopt a unique writing style that your blog readers can flow with. Don’t try to copy or model your style after others in the same niche. The objective is for you to become an authority in whatever topic or niche you choose.
- Blog about something with plenty of talking points.
When deciding on what to blog about, ensure you pick something with enough room for discussion. This is necessary because a blog requires plenty of content to stay relevant and interesting, and since it’s for the long term, what to write about should not be a problem for you.
Step 2: Pick A Blogging Platform
If you want to start a blog, you will need a blogging platform, and these blogging platforms are also known as content management systems(CMS) because you need them to write and publish your content (blog posts). Like I said earlier, there are lots of blogging platforms out there that you can use to start your blog, some of them include WordPress, Blogger, Wix, Joomla, Squarespace, Weebly, Tumblr, etc.
Each of these blogging platforms has pros and cons, but WordPress remains the best in terms of features, ease of use, and content management. Furthermore, WordPress has a very large community of users and if your aim of starting a blog is to make money from it, then you will have plenty of monetization options with WordPress.
Like I said earlier, A lot of established bloggers like Matthew Woodward and Harsh Agrawal use WordPress for their blogs, and I personally recommend it for you to use as well because having a self-hosted WordPress blog gives you total control of your blog and so much flexibility. However, before starting a self-hosted blog on WordPress, you will need web hosting to host your blog. I will explain what hosting means in the next section.
Step 3: Pick A Hosting Service Provider
In the previous section, I talked about choosing a blogging platform and why WordPress is the ideal blogging platform for you to start your blog. However, there’s something you need to know about WordPress.
If you choose WordPress as your preferred blogging platform, you are presented with two options for hosting your blog, and they are;
Also known as WordPress.com is hosted by WordPress itself. Hosted WordPress blogs are free to start up, but it comes at a cost. With hosted WordPress blogs you only have limited control, with fewer options for monetizing your content.
Just like the name suggests, self-hosted blogs also known as wordpress.org blogs are hosted independently on their own by any hosting service you choose. Self-hosted blogs cost a little amount to start up, but it gives you so much flexibility in terms of features and monetization options.
Starting a self-hosted blog requires web hosting for you to host your blog. Web hosting is what gives you the freedom to do whatever you want without restrictions. It is what makes your blog available and accessible to anyone on the internet.
Another interesting feature of wordpress.org(self-hosted) blogs is the ability to customize your blog URL(web address) to whatever you like. For instance, our blog address is Nettpreneur.com, you can also do the same with yours. You can decide to use your name or anything you choose. The choice is yours.
Step 4: Get Started
Now since we’ve decided on using WordPress.org to start our blog, it’s time to find a suitable web hosting service provider. we personally use Namecheap to host all our blogs, and also for the web design and development service which we offer on Fiverr and other freelance platforms.
Namecheap is easily the best service provider when it comes to starting a self-hosted WordPress blog, the customer support is awesome and the user interface is easy to navigate even for someone with zero technical experience. Furthermore, NameCheap also comes with a money-back guarantee just in case you are not satisfied with the service provided(which I don’t see happening because I’ve been using Namecheap for over 10 years and their service has always been top-notch).
You’ll get up to 61% discount for the first year
Step 5: Choose A Hosting PLAN’
Namecheap offers three different hosting plans, and they bill on a monthly or yearly basis. If you are on a limited budget, I’ll advise you to pick the stellar plan. You can also choose your data center location of choice, the US datacenter is free while the UK datacenter costs $1/month. Furthermore, you can also save as much as 50% on any of these hosting plans from Namecheap, some of the benefits derived from using any of these plans include:
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Free website builder
- Domain name and privacy protection
- Free automatic SSL installation
- Free Supersonic CDN
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Step 6: Connect A Domain Name
Your domain name is your web address(eg Nettpreneur.com), you can either choose to connect a new domain name to your hosting plan or enter an existing domain name. If you choose the first option(new domain name), you will have to use the search bar below to find your domain name of choice.
Alternatively, if you choose to use an already existing domain name, you can also tick that option and select the exact domain name you intend using from the options below.
However, if you want to use a third party domain name(registered with another service provider), simply use the search bar below and enter the third party domain name before clicking on “Connect To Hosting” to proceed.
Once you’ve clicked on “Connect To Hosting“, you will be prompted to click the “Add To Cart” button for the next step and complete your purchase.
Step 6: Account Set Up & Payment
If you are a first time customer, you will be prompted to sign up and input your personal information(name, contact address, email, phone number, country, city, zip code, mode of payment, etc.) But in my case, I’m an existing customer so all I need do is proceed to confirm my order and move to the next step which is to make payment. On the Payment page, you will be asked to choose from a list of payment options (Paypal, Account Funds, or Secured Card Payment) to complete your purchase.
Once your payment has been processed and completed, you will be sent an email containing your account login details, with the login details sent to you, you can access your Namecheap user dashboard and proceed to install WordPress on your domain name. Not to worry, I will show you how it’s done, step by step in the next part of this guide.
How To Start A WordPress Blog(Part 2)Installing WordPress.
After logging into your Namecheap user area with the login details sent to your email, the dashboard area looks like this, place your mouse over on the hosting icon as shown in the screenshot below and select go to Cpanel, you will be redirected to your hosting Cpanel to proceed with the installation process.
Once in your Cpanel area, scroll down to softaculous installer and click on the WordPress icon.
Select quick install from the drop-down menu and choose your installation URL (domain name). If you intend to use a third-party domain name, you will need to change its nameservers to point to Namecheap’s DNS. This article on how to set up a third-party domain name with Namecheap’s web hosting server will guide you.
After choosing your installation URL(domain name), scroll down to set your password(NameCheap generates this automatically for you, so I will suggest you leave it unchanged or if you prefer a unique password, you can also do that). Don’t forget to save your password on a notepad or write it down somewhere safe. You can also scroll down further to select a list of plugins that you would like to be installed as well.
When this is done, scroll further down below to select any theme of your choice, This step is optional, and you can skip it, but if you skip this step, the default theme will be installed and you can change it from your WordPress admin area later on. Proceed to enter the email address where you want your WordPress login details to be sent to you and click on install to complete the process.
The installation process takes between 30seconds -1minute to complete, and you can proceed to login to your WordPress admin dashboard with the login & installation details sent to your email address.
Now that you’ve successfully installed WordPress, you are fully ready to start your blog and keep it going. Here are a few tips that will help you build your new blog and keep it going:
- Create Quality Contents
- Build High-Quality Backlinks
- Be Social
- Update Your Blog Regularly
You can also check out some of resources that will help you through the blog-building process;
- How To Increase BLOG Traffic In Five Simple Steps
- How To Choose A Blogging Niche
- Top Blog Monetization Tips