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How to Start a Blog in 100 Steps
I congratulate you on your decision to start a blog. There is no doubt that the Internet has opened up a plethora of opportunities as far as making money is concerned, as it's the fastest means of delivering information, the most valuable asset in today's world. Provided you can discover a need and deliver the information to satisfy it, you are guaranteed to make money online. Starting your entrepreneurial endeavor has never been easier and more economical than it is now. So the more quickly you get started, the better.
A little question just to set the tone
Do you have a blog of your own? Or have you ever had one?
Is it really possible to make money by blogging?
If you are willing to learn the trade and take the right steps, then the answer is an emphatic YES. But don't expect to get rich overnight. Just like anything worth achieving, making money online requires continuous learning, hard work, patience, and an unwavering commitment. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Will I need to spend any money while following the steps in this article?
Yes, you would need to buy a domain name for your website, which costs around $10 for an year (sometimes even lesser), and a web hosting service which costs less than $10 a month.
But why do I need to do this?
Because if you are serious about making money from a blog, then having your own website is a must. Think about it yourself. Suppose you want to buy a laptop. You decide to search for information and reviews of different laptops on the internet. You go to a search engine like Google and type whatever you want to know about. Among the first few results, you find a website named something like www.bestlaptopsxyz.com, and also one named www.greatlaptops.blogxyz.com.
Which one are you likely to click through to? Of course the first one, because it looks more professional. Since you know the owner of that website has taken the effort to put up his or her own website, it communicates the fact that that person is serious about his or her business, and hence the natural perception is that you would receive more value.
Not only that. When you have your own website, you have complete control over it. If you depend on some external party to run your website for you, you never know when their terms and conditions may change and your website could be taken down due to some innocent violation. You could lose all the work you put in your website in a matter of seconds. Having your own website is like owning a property. You have no risk at all.
$10 a year for a website is less than $1 a month. Add the web hosting costs, and it comes to around $10 to $11 a month. Remember, you can have as many websites as you wish on a single hosting account. If you aren't willing to invest that little for something that has the potential to change your life, then this might be the wrong business for you. No matter what you venture into, there will be some costs. But these should be seen as investments, as they ultimately help you build the foundations for a sustainable business.
How much time will it take to complete the 100 steps in this article?
If you're going at a decent and a steady pace, then you can complete them in under 60 minutes with ease. However, this isn't a necessity. You can go at your own leisurely pace if you wish.
What will I learn from this hub?
You will learn the process of setting up a great looking website/blog and gain knowledge about different aspects of making money through it. You will also find other tips, tools and resources that can further guide you in running a successful blog. In a nutshell, this hub will lay a solid platform for you to start your online career, something which many beginners fail to achieve quickly because of their inability to get all this information in one place.
Deciding What Your Blog Will be About
Deciding what your blog would be about is obviously very crucial, since your website will be around the topic you choose. The only task involved here is that of thinking. However, do not get stuck in this phase. Right now it's more important that you first get comfortable with the process of setting up your blog. Follow the points below and quickly make up your mind.
- Think of all your interests and passions. What is it that you want to communicate to the world? What do you want to share with others?
Are you an expert at something? For instance, you may be good at soccer, and can share your knowledge through a blog about soccer or sports.
Or do you want to be an expert at something, and would like to share that topic with others, as you learn yourself?
Have you noticed a need in the market that you can solve?
Don't be too afraid of getting it wrong the first time around. Once you know how to set up your blog, which you will after you go through this guide, you can start as many types of blogs as you want to. One piece of advice I can give you is to avoid a topic that is too broad. Always narrow down your topic to something specific, so you can establish your blog as an authority on that subject in a shorter amount of time and with lesser effort.
For instance, if you are into health and fitness, starting a blog on "weight loss" may be too broad since it involves so many topics that you would be required to cover. A better alternative can be something like "weight loss solutions for new moms" or "weight loss by using bodyweight exercises". It immediately makes your blog more focused, and easier to cover with a relatively less amount of content. However, make sure it isn't so narrow that you run out of content after just four to five articles.
So let's get started.
Buying a Domain Name
As mentioned before, buying a domain name is very important. A domain name is basically an address that you type into your browser to go to a particular website, like www.yourwebsitename.com. Here are the steps to buy your domain name:
Step 1: Go to www.namecheap.com
Step 2: Search for a domain name.
[Though it is not completely necessary, I advise you to include a keyword related to your topic in your domain name. For instance, if you choose to blog about teaching soccer to beginners, then include the word soccer in the domain name that you select. The reason to do this is that it can let the search engines know instantly what your website is about, and thus help you rank better. It also lets a new visitor know what your website is about. However, as I mentioned, this is not a necessity, since there are lot of successful bloggers who use innovative and unique domain names that do not contain their keyword. But at least make sure that your domain name reflects what your blog is about, and is relevant to your topic]
Step 3: Preferably go for a .com, .org or a .net domain. But if you are very unsure about whether you want to blog or not, then you can even go for any other cheaper extension, and use your website as a test site.
Step 4: When you find one that is available, click on "Add to cart".
Step 5: On the next page, click on "Checkout"
Step 6: Enter your details and click on "Create Account"
Step 7: On the next page, enter your contact details and click on "Save and Continue".
Step 8: On the next page, just scroll down and click on "Save and Continue".
Step 9: On the next page, again just scroll down and click on "Save and Continue".
Step 10: On the next page, either pay by credit card or your PayPal account, and complete the payment process.
Buying a Web Hosting Service
A web hosting service is what makes your site accessible to the World Wide Web. Here are the steps to setting up your hosting service:
Step 11: Go to Hostgator.com
[ Hostgator is definitely the best web hosting service out there simply because their support system is amazing. They have a live chat system wherein any problem you are facing can be resolved by chatting with a technician in a matter of minutes. You don't have to send an e-mail and then wait for the reply. The technicians are very friendly and explain every step to be taken in a very easy-to-understand manner.]
Step 12: Click on "View Web Hosting Plans".
Step 13: On the next page, you can either choose a "Hatchling Plan" or a "Baby Plan". With the hatchling plan, you can only have one website, whereas with a Baby plan, you can have unlimited number of websites. The obvious recommendation is to go for the Baby Plan, since you most definitely would be requiring more than one website in your blogging career.
Step 14: So choose your plan, and click on "Order Now".
Step 15: On the next page, on the right hand side, you will see the option "Currently Have a Domain Name". Here enter the name of the domain that you bought at namecheap.com.
Step 16: In the section below which says "Enter a Coupon Code", enter startablog111 to get a 25% discount. Note that I will get a commission from Hostgator if you use this code. This is called affiliate marketing, and it's a great concept because both the parties benefit. You save money, and I earn a little commission. But right now focus on your blog. We will talk about how you can use affiliate marketing on your blog afterwards.
Step 17: Then click on "Continue to step 2"
Step 18: Now, on the next page, in the "package type", choose the plan you chose, and in the "billing cycle" menu, choose the "month" option, or whichever you are comfortable with.
Step 19: Choose a user name and a security pin.
Step 20: Enter your billing information and payment information.
Step 21: Under the hosting add-ons section, uncheck every option. Though if you want, you can include the "sitelock" feature for added security for your website.
Step 22: Check the "I have read and agree to the terms and conditions of use" check box.
Step 23: Click on "Create Account"
Step 24: Complete the payment process, and once your payment is done, wait for a little while as Hostgator will send you an e-mail.
Step 25: [*This step is important so I have divided it into mini-steps*] Check your e-mail. You would have received a mail from Hostgator with all your account information.
- Go to Namecheap.com again and log into your account.
- On the main menu, on the top left, go to your user name, and select ‘Manage Domains’.
- Click on your domain.
- This is the Modify Domain page. Here under ‘General section’, click on ‘Domain Name Server Setup’.
- Under ‘Change Existing Domain Name Server Information’, select ‘Specify Custom DNS servers information’. In the first box, copy and paste the server name next to ’1st Nameserver’ in the Hostgator e-mail that you received. Similarly, copy the 2nd Namerserver and paste it in the second box. Click on Save Changes. This will connect our domain name with the hosting account. Sometimes this process can take up to 24 hrs but mostly it gets done in few.
Now, in the mail, click on the link right next to "Your Control Panel" to access the Hostgator control panel.
Step 26: Now, go back to the e-mail, and use the "username" and "password" given in it to log in to your control panel. The password given for your billing system is different. So do not get confused.
Step 27: Once log in to the control panel, scroll down, go to the section called "Mail", and click on "Email Accounts".
Step 28: In the "e-mail" text box, type "contact", and choose your domain name from the drop down menu on the right.
Step 29: Choose a password.
Step 30: Either choose 250 mb or unlimited in the mailbox quota. It does not really make a difference right now. Click on"Create Account".
Step 31: Now, click on "Home" on the top left corner of the page, above the alligators head.
(Remember, anytime you face any kind of problem, just click on "Live Chat Support" under the "Hostgator Links" section in your control panel. You would get in touch with their representative in minutes.)
Wordpress is the most popular and widely used blog publishing platform. Here are the steps to install Wordpress:
Step 32: Scroll down on the control panel page, and click on 'Fantastico De Luxe' icon in the 'Softwares/Services 'section.
Step 33: On this page, see the menu on the left hand side. Under 'Blogs' click on 'Wordpress'.
Step 34: Click on 'New installation'.
Step 35: From the 'Install on domain' menu, choose your domain name.
Step 36: In the 'Admin access data' section, choose a username and password. This will be the information that you would enter to access your website.
Step 37: In the 'Base configuration' section, change the admin email to the email you created in steps 28-30. And change 'Site name' to your domain name, if it is not already showing that.
Step 38: Click on 'Install Wordpress'.
Step 39: On the next page, click on 'Finish Installation'.
Step 40: On the next page, click on the link to your website. It will look something like http://yourwebistename.com/wp-admin.
Step 41: Enter the user name and password you chose in step 36, and click on 'Log in'.
Congratulations!! This is the dashboard of your very own website.
Setting up Your Wordpress Site
Step 42: This is your Dashboard. In the menu on the left hand side, click on 'Posts'.
Step 43: Here, hover your mouse over the post titled 'hello world', and click on 'trash'.
Step 44: Now on the menu, click on 'Pages'. Here, trash the 'sample page'.
Step 45: Now click on 'Settings' in the dashboard menu. Then Click on the 'Permalinks' option under it. Here, under 'common settings', select the option which says 'post name', and the click on 'save changes'. The reason we do this is because whenever you write an article, we want the title of that article to come in the URL, instead of the number of the post. This is very important when you want the article to rank on Google and other search engines. It is a part of search engine optimization, because it will help the Google spiders in understanding what your article is about. Even if you do not understand this right now it's ok. Just do it anyway. You'll thank me later.
Step 46: Now go to www.wpexplorer.com/gopress-wordpress-theme/ . This will lead you to a free Wordpress theme called GoPress (in case the link is not working, just go to Google and type 'gopress wordpress theme'). It's a great theme to use for beginners. There are also other themes, which are listed in the 'Resources' section, that you can use later on , once you are familiar with the process of setting up themes.
Step 47: Click on 'log in to download'.
Step 48: Quickly fill out your registration details under the section 'Need to Create an Account?' and then click on 'Register'.
Step 49: You will be taken to a list of themes. In case you are not, just click on 'Freebies' on the top menu. Look out for 'Go Press free wordpress theme' in the options below. Click on it, and then click on 'Download'. It will download as a zip file.
Step 50: Now go to the dashboard of your blog.
Step 51: Select 'Appearance' from the menu, and then click on 'Themes'.
Step 52: Here, click on 'Install themes' at the top.
Step 53: Then click on 'Upload'.
Step 54: Click on 'browse' and select the zip file you downloaded in step 49.
Step 55: Once it installs, click on 'Activate'.
Step 56: Click on 'Plugins' from the menu of the dashboard and then click on 'add new'.
Step 57: In the search box, type 'nivo slider for wordpress'. Click on 'search plugins'
Step 58: From the results, click on 'install now' on 'Nivo Slider for Wordpress'. Then click on 'Activate plugin' after it is installed.
Step 59: Now, go to Google and search for two to three images related to the topic of your blog. Save these images to your computer.
Step 60: Once you have two to three images ready, go to your dashboard menu, click on 'nivo slider for wordpress', and then click on 'add/edit image'.
Step 61: Click on 'Add New Image'
Step 62: Click on 'browse', select one of the photos you downloaded in step 59, and then click on 'send picture and configure'.
Step 63: Select the size by dragging the mouse over the picture and then click on 'save'. (If you wish, you can change the size by clicking on 'options' under the 'nivo slider for wordpress tab')
Step 64: Repeat this with the other pictures that you downloaded.
Step 65: Click on 'Plugins' from the menu of the dashboard and then click on 'add new'.
Step 66: In the search box, type 'contact form 7'. Click on 'search plugins'
Step 67: From the results, click on 'install now' on 'Contact Form 7'. Then click on 'Activate plugin' after it is installed.
Step 68: After activating it, click on 'Contact' on your dashboard menu.
Step 69: Copy the short code displayed to the right of 'contact form 1'. It will look something like this:
[contact-form-7 id="18" title="Contact form 1"]
Step 70: Now click on 'Pages' on the dashboard menu and then click 'add new'.
Step 71: Give the title as 'Contact', and in the body, paste the code that you copied in step 69.
Step 72: Click on 'Publish'
Step 73: Again, click on 'Pages', then 'add new'. This time give the title as 'About', and in the body, write a brief description about what your blog is about. Then, click on 'Publish'.
Step 74: Now, on the dashboard menu, click on 'Appearance' and then on 'Menus'.
Step 75: Next to 'menu name', enter 'menu1' or whatever name you want. And click on 'create menu'.
Step 76: Next, under the 'pages' section on the left, check 'About' and 'Contact', and then click on 'add to menu'.
Step 77: Make sure 'About' comes above 'Contact'. If it is not, then just drag it and put it. And then click on 'save menu'.
Step 78: Then, on the 'Theme locations' section on the left, select your menu name from the drop down menu and click on 'Save'.
Step 79: On the dashboard menu, click on 'Nivo Slider for Wordpress' and then click on 'Options'.
Step 80: Scroll down where you can see the 'how to use on templates' section. Copy the code below it. It will look like this:
Step 81: On the dashboard menu, click on 'Appearance', and then click on 'editor'.
Step 82: On the right hand side, look for 'slides.php'.
Step 83: In this box, paste the code you copied in step 80. Paste it right on top, so it will look something like this.
Step 84: Then scroll down and click on 'Update File'.
Step 85: Click on 'Plugins' from the menu of the dashboard and then click on 'add new'.
Step 86: In the search box, type 'Add Twitter, Facebook Like, Google plus one Social share'.
Step 87: Click on 'search plugins'
Step 88: From the results, click on 'install now' on 'Add Twitter, Facebook Like, Google plus one Social share'. Then click on 'Activate plugin' after it is installed.
[This plugin puts small social media icons on the top of your posts so people can share and like your post.]
Step 89: Now, click on 'Posts' on the dashboard menu.
Step 90: Then click on 'Add New'.
Step 91: Add a title about some article that you want to write. And in the body, write the article. For now, you can just copy and paste any article from some other source. But obviously, once you do get going, do not do this as Google will penalize your site for duplicate content.
Step 92: DO NOT click 'Publish' yet.
Step 93: Go to Google. Search for an image that is related to your article. It would be better if the size of the image is small. Save this image.
Step 94: Now click on 'Set Featured image' on the bottom right corner of the post page.
Step 95: In the window that opens up, click on 'upload files' on the top left corner.
Step 96: And then click on 'Select Files'.
Step 97: Then select the image you saved in step 93. Then click on 'Set Featured Image'.
Step 98: Now, click on 'Publish'.
Step 99: Hover your mouse over the name of your website on the top left corner, and then click on 'Visit Site'.
Voilà !! This is your very own website that can have the potential to kickstart your online money making career. Just keep adding quality content and make a point to continually enhance your knowledge about how to make money online. Good luck!
Step 100: Go through the important section below.
Step-by-Step Video Tutorials
If you want more tutorials on how to start and run a great blog, then you check out my video tutorials on almost everything related to blogging.
For instance, I start a blog right from scratch in front of your eyes, in the How to Start a Blog YouTube video series. All you have to do is watch and follow the steps I take, and you'll have a great blog of your own in a matter of minutes.
I also teach you how to get traffic to your blog, how to monetize it, and a host of other things. Everything on the site is in a step-by-step manner, which makes it perfect for beginners.