How to Start a Blog in 2020 & Make Money [11 Easy Steps]

Starting a blog in 2020 is not that difficult. Even you will find a step by step guide on How to Start a Blog on various platforms like google and youtube.

But the real challenge is to get traffic and make money.

That’s why I have written a comprehensive 11 steps guide so that there is no stone left unturned.

I have also included screenshots, GIFs, and over the shoulder videos so that you get everything in one place.

11 Easy Steps to Start a Blog

  1. Choose Your Niche
  2. Pick a Domain Name and Extension
  3. Get a Web Hosting
  4. Install Blog Platform
  5. Make Your Website a Brand
  6. Customize Your Website and Make it Look Professional
  7. Install the Must-Have WordPress Plugins
  8. Create Essential Pages and Categories
  9. Write your first blog post
  10. Promote your Blog and Get Traffic on your Blog 
  11. Monetize Your Blog

You need to perform the above steps to start a successful blog that can make passive income month after month.

Oh…

But hold on.

I got your question. How can you do the same as a beginner?

Don’t worry I have covered all the steps in detail so that you can easily create your website or blog and start earning money online.

Quick Reminder: To be a successful blogger you need to take action. Start your blog right now as I explain to you everything in detail so that you don’t miss anything and by the time you finish reading this comprehensive guide, your blog/website is ready to go live.

The Blogging Mindset You Need to Make Money Online

Starting a blog is not that difficult. I will say it is easy to start a blog. The success of your blog will depend on your mindset. 

Many bloggers are very successful in their blogging career and earn six figures per month.

They are successful not because they are good at copywriting and digital marketing or marketing. They are successful because of their mindset. They treat their blog as a business.

I am not saying that all the other skills are not important.

I just want you to have a proper mindset before you start a blog. So that you don’t quit in between.

You will find many blogs on how to start a blog but there are very few bloggers or experts in the blogging field who talk about mindset.

Believe me…

Mindset is so important…

Once you make up your mind and have a proper mindset. You will make tons of money like I earn $XXXX/Per Month.

Ezoic Income of February and March

The points that I am going to explain below are based on my personal experience. Don’t skip this section as this section will help you to be a top blogger in your niche.

Treat Blogging as a Business, Not a Job

Treat your blogging as a business not a job. Let me share with you my experience when I started my online career and I believe most of the newbies do the same. 

I checked my google analytics and different affiliate dashboard after every 5 to 10 minutes.

I was chasing the statistics and in return I got nothing but frustrations and stress. I changed my approach and now everything is easy, enjoyable and smooth for me.

We generally look for short term profits and underestimate the long term goal. Go for long term goals.

Not a single famous blogger who earns in six figures got overnight success. The sooner you understand this the better it will be.

I started my blogging career as a business and I will advise you to build a business instead of chasing statistics and money. The money will automatically follow. 

“Success is a Journey not a Destination Likewise Blogging is a Journey not a Destination.”

Blogging can be Hardest at the Start

Sometimes it can be very overwhelming at the start. Having a proper mindset can easily solve this issue. 

You need to work the hardest in the beginning and it will be rewarded the least. Blogging is not fun at the beginning but can be fruitful later.

Be Ready to Accept the Rejections and Failure

Have you ever seen a pendulum? Yes! I know your answer is YES…

The equilibrium in the pendulum swings forward in the same ratio of distance as it swings back and the same applies in our career as well.

The Key to Success is in Massive Failure.”

You cannot swing the pendulum in one direction. Likewise, you cannot only taste success without tasting any failure and rejections.

“If you want to be Successful, Increase the rate of your Failure.”

Darren Hardy has mentioned this in a Pendulum Effect Concept

According to Darren Hardy one side of the pendulum has failure, defeat, rejection, pain, sadness, etc and the other has success, victory, joy, happiness, acceptance, etc.

To taste success, comfort, and acceptance you have to taste failure, discomfort, and rejection as well. I have already mentioned that you cannot swing the pendulum in one direction.

You can watch the complete Darren Hardy’s video to dig deep into this topic.

The Mindset of Hard Work

I won’t say that you don’t need hard work. You need to work hard, especially when you are starting. But you need smart work throughout your blogging journey.

Apply Brick by brick Concept

One Blog post at a time. Try to complete one task at a time and avoid multi tasking.

I will give you all the details in this post on how you can mix hard work and smart work when you are creating your website/blog.

The One Percent Rule

Try to improve yourself and your blogging business one percent every day. You can do this by learning new things related to your niche every day. If you do this you will grow by 300 percent year after year.

Always welcome new learning opportunities from your mentors, colleagues, coaches, and teachers.

Don’t Let Fear Influence your Decision-Making Ability

You have to face the fear whether it is a fear of success or fear of failure. 

I used to have a fear of success and failure both and this influenced my decision-making ability. Once you face the fear, everything will be easy for you. Don’t let “what if” take over your mind.

Be happy if you encountered any obstacles while creating your blog. 

Oh…

Com’on…

How can anyone be happy if he has an obstacle to tackle?

You might be thinking the same. So let me explain by giving my example. 

Whenever I had some issues with my website in my initial days of blogging. I was very stressed and overwhelmed.

I thought that my life and blogging career is over. This behavior of mine doesn’t solve the problem, instead I wasted my time.

But…

Now I changed my approach. I don’t get stressed, instead I take it as a new challenge and learning opportunity. 

Now I feel happy because I can improve myself one percent every day and I can learn new things. 

This happened because of my new version of mindset. Now I believe that I can solve any obstacle/problem. I don’t see myself as a victim anymore. Now I understand that fear and doubt are not the truth.

I go to google and search for the same problem and guess what many faced the same problem and they have the answer for the same. 

Just remember one thing. Seeking help from your niche communities is the real power of blogging.

“Where There’s a Will There’s a Way”

No More Excuses

I always had some excuses when I tried to take some action.

Remember one thing, you always have a choice. Either you make excuses and do nothing or you take action. I changed my mindset and took action and now I am reaping the fruits.

The Power of Now

Most of the time we think of the past and the future. Neither we have control over the past nor the future.

I was also in the same boat a couple of years ago. I always thought I could have done this in the past and I have to do this in the future. These thoughts were no good to me and made me procrastinate.

Now I am changed. I always think of what I can do right now. This shift in my mind shift helped me a lot. I don’t procrastinate anymore. Remember one thing, Now is the right time.

Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome and Online Hype

 Try not to get attracted to the next Shiny Object and Online Hype. Stick to your plan and work on that.

You will find many online so-called Experts and Gurus who will pitch their products and services every then and now without providing any real value.

Avoid and stop following those who don’t add values and often promote their products. You will waste your hard-earned money and time following them.

Stop Chasing the Money

Always try to add value to your readers. Don’t be desperate for the money, add values and the money will chase you.

Build Private Influencer Network (PIN)

When I started building PBNs (Private Blog Networks) were quite common. Time has changed and this doesn’t work anymore in fact this may harm your website. 

Try to connect with influencers in your niche. This will give a boost to your website while building backlinks.

Note: Blogging is not for you if you want income from your blog right now. It takes time so better grab a job and start your blog on the side. Once your blog gives you enough income per month then quit your job.

Patience is the Key to Success

The one who doesn’t have patience quits early. Remember one thing, as every day is passing by someone is dropping out. At the end you and a couple of bloggers will enjoy the traffic and money.

What is a Blog? Difference Between Blogs vs Websites

Have you ever written a diary or a journal?

People used to write diaries every day where they write their daily, weekly, or monthly experiences and their thoughts.

Blogs emerged as diaries in which the bloggers write about their experience. Now things have changed a bit and we try to target a particular niche with high demands.

Blogs are run by an individual or a small group where they present information in an informal and conversational style.

Blog is a kind of website where articles appear in chronological order with the newest post at the top. 

In the ’90s people used to write online diaries and journals in the form of blogs and back then it was called ‘weblog’.  As time passed it was called ‘We Blog’ and now it is called Blog. Now it has become so popular that even non-techie can also start a blog.

Two of the most popular blogging platforms are Blogger.com and WordPress.

Blogger.com was started in the year 1999 and was acquired by Google in the year 2003.

WordPress was launched in the year 2003 and is the most popular blogging platform. 30% of the websites on the entire internet are developed by WordPress.

Blog vs Website. The Difference you Should Know

There is a major difference between Blogs and Websites. Blog is a type of website where posts are published in reverse chronological order with the newest article at the top.

It is easy to publish online in Blogs.

Blogs are dynamic in nature and are updated frequently whereas websites are static in nature and content is generally posted in the form of pages and are not updated frequently.

Blogs are two-way communication tools where readers have the option to leave comments and directly communicate with the author.

Today you can find blogs on every website because people trust blogs.

Why Should I Start a Blog?

Why Should I Start a Blog? This depends on you…

But…

In this section I will list some benefits of blogging. I started blogging because I wanted to work from home and make money.

Your reason could also be the same or you may have some other reason. 

If you don’t know the answer to “WHY” then read this section or you can jump to the next section.

Work From Home and Make Passive Money Online: Blogging is one of the best ways to make passive money online. You will have the liberty to work from home and be your boss.

Give a boost to your Business or Organization: Once you start a blog you will realize that you have a wide range of audiences to reach. This will help you to provide additional value to your customers and ultimately it will increase your business to grow.

Personal Growth: You will learn new skills and this will enhance your personal growth. This makes you a better person.

Connect with Other People: This is the best part of blogging. You will have the opportunity to network with different people in your niche. 

Enhance Your Writing Skills: When I started blogging the one thing I was very much afraid of was writing content. 

But…

Now I am very much comfortable when I write a blog post for serpsprouts.com. My writing skills have improved day by day. 

Google Loves Blog: Creating a blog means you are inviting Google to crawl your website and list on google. This simply means your website will get some organic traffic. 

Helping Other People: If you have a blog that means you are solving other’s problems through your blog. This can also make you popular and authoritative in your niche.

Personal Brand (Self-promotion) and New Opportunities: Having a blog means you have a channel through which you can share your knowledge. You will become an expert in your field and you can promote yourself as a brand. 

Choose Your Niche (Niche Research and Planning)

The success of your blog will depend on the niche you go with. Knowing your niche beforehand is one of the best and most important things you can do while starting a new blog.

Spend some time on this section as this section is so important. You will make your most important decision while reading this and doing niche research and planning. This will save so much time and money.

If you visit a new city and you have a map of that city. Don’t you think the map will make your job easier?

I know your answer is yes…

Niche Research and Planning are similar. You will have a map of the website that you are going to build. Picking the right niche means half of the battle won.

If you don’t have any idea about a niche and you are not sure about the topic you are going to create a website on.

Don’t worry as I will explain everything. The three most important things I am going to explain are:

  1. What makes a good niche?
  2. How to approach niche research?
  3. Examples of good profitable niches.

Niche research and Picking a perfect niche is one of the most important process. Let me explain to you why?

There are many steps involved while creating a blog and you will have the liberty to rectify your errors easily most of the time. It will be very difficult for you to recover and correct your mistakes if you picked a bad niche.

Don’t make this mistake.

Take your time and do things right.

So…

Here’s the deal…

Let me explain to you the approach I take when I create a new website. I follow “TOB FORMULA”.

Oh, Hold on Karan…

What the heck is TOB?

I know you might be confused and want to know about TOB.

This is a simple approach I follow which guarantees long term success. I always start a new blog using this same formula.

TOB means:

  • T: Things You Can Sell.
  • O: Online Buyers.
  • B: Beatable Competition.

Let us dig deeper into TOB Formula…

Things You Can Sell

What’s the point in getting traffic and ranking on google, if you cannot make money from your blog. Our ultimate goal is to make at least five figures ($$$$$) from the blog. 

Making $500-$1000 per month is very much possible with advertising but if you want to go beyond this you should know what you can sell from your blog.

How can you make money from your selected niche? You should have an answer to this question.

If your niche doesn’t have an answer to this question then I will advise you to drop your niche and start the niche selection process again.

Yes, you can monetize your website with advertising networks like Adsense, Media.net, Buysellads.com, Infolinks, Propeller Ads, etc. and can make $100-$500 per month.

If you are creating a website on birthday wishes, quotes, funny images or wallpapers. You can not sell your products or affiliated products on these kinds of websites.

Let me give you an example of a perfect niche.

Let’s say you are very fond of Paintball then this could be a juicy niche for you. You could sell a ton of products like Marker, Mask, Outfit, etc.

That is why I am asking you to do a detailed niche research.

Yes Karan, we understood this but how to do niche research?

Don’t worry as I will explain everything in detail.

You just go through the complete post and by the end of this, you will have a perfect niche which can give you $$$$$ per month.

Online Buyers

Now you know that your niche has many products that you can promote and sell.

But hold on…

This is not the end of your niche research.

There are a couple of questions that you must address before going further.

Do people want to buy the products that you are selling and promoting? 

And…

If there is an audience for your targeted niche then how many people are interested? 

Will the demand for the product remain the same in the coming years?

Will it increase or decrease?

You should have a very good understanding of your niche before proceeding as this will decide your long term success. You should know the long term potential of your niche. This will help you to know if there are online buyers or not.

The next thing you want to consider is whether you want to focus on and target a narrow audience or a wide one.

Let me take an example of a health niche and explain this.

If you want to start a blog on health niches that means you are going for a wide audience. If you narrow down the health niche and start a blog on weight loss that means you are going for a narrow audience.

Confused?

Let’s take another example of Dog Niche.

ABC has started a blog on dog niche and he writes on each kind of breed like Retrievers (Labrador), German Shepherd Dogs, Retrievers (Golden), French Bulldogs, Bulldogs, etc.

And…

XYZ has started a website on German Shepherd Dogs and he only writes about German Shepherd.

I hope you get my point. ABC is focusing on Wide Niche and XYZ is focusing on Narrow Niche.

Now you may ask whether I should go for Wide or Narrow?

To be frank I don’t have an answer for this as both works well and each has its pros and cons. I will mention the pros and cons and then you can decide which route you want to take.

Narrow Niche

Advantages:

  • Google love experts and authority site. Going for a narrow niche means you will be treated as an expert in your niche.
  • Your website will rank easily and you will see faster results.
  • One of the best ways to earn passive income. As competition will be comparatively very less. You need few articles and can leave the site.
  • You can easily resell the website without any issues.

Disadvantages

  • You will have to create multiple websites, if you want to grow. This means you will have to manage different sites and organizing them can be difficult.
  • Sometimes it will be very difficult to find relevant keywords.
  • Link building opportunities will be very limited. 

Wide Niche

Advantages:

  • High exit value means you can sell your website with a huge resale value. Big websites are sold for very high margins.
  • You will have the opportunity to reach out to different websites as you will cover a wide variety of products. Link building will become very easy.
  • You will have a wide range of options to monetize your website. There will be a variety of products for you to get affiliated with.

Disadvantages:

  • The website may take time to get traction.
  • You will have to work hard to beat your competitors.

I hope by now you have decided whether you will go for a narrow niche or wide niche. 

The next important thing you need to consider is seasonality.

Now…

What’s Seasonality?

Nothing technical you just need to check whether the niche you are choosing is seasonal or not.

Some products are only sold in some seasons and some are sold throughout the year. If you choose a seasonal niche then your revenue and traffic will not remain the same throughout the year.

Let me explain this by taking two different examples.

Let’s take Outdoor Sports as a niche.

People will not buy outdoor sports products throughout the year as weather conditions will not permit them to enjoy their sports.

Now let’s take an example of Dog Food.

Dog owners will need dog food throughout the year as they have to feed their dogs. It has nothing to do with the season. 

Beatable Competition

If no competition means there is no money in the niche.

Or

People have not found a niche yet.

And this is not possible at all.

Competition exists everywhere and it is good if you can beat your competitors.

There are various factors that you need to take care of before you decide whether a niche is beatable or not. I will talk more about it in the next section.

Finding Profitable Niches That Can Make 5 Figure Per Month

Blindly going for a niche will not take you anywhere. There are certain things that you need to take care of before choosing a niche.

If you have read so far that means you are very much serious and you want to start a successful money-making blog.

The three big markets that you can target are:

  • Relationship and Dating.
  • Health and Wellness.
  • Wealth (Money and Finance).

Confused? 

Or want to go deep?

If not then you can jump to the next section.

If yes then…

Let me break down so that you can get the point easily.

Let’s take a couple of examples of each market.

Example for Wealth Market

  1. Wealth > Investing > Investing for entrepreneurs.
  2. Wealth > Investing > Buying websites.

Wealth is a market.

Investing is a sub-market.

And

Investing for Entrepreneurs and Buying Websites are Niches.

Example for Health and Wellness Market

  1. Health > Nutrition > Nutrition for moms.
  2. Health > Nutrition > Diets > Vegan diet.

Health is a market.

Nutrition is a sub-market.

Nutrition for Moms and Diets are Niches.

And

Vegan Diet is a sub-niche or micro-niche.

Example for Relationship and Dating Market

  1. Relationship > Dating > How to save your relationship.
  2. Relationship > Dating > Dating advice for men.

Relationship is a market.

Dating is a sub-market

And

How to save your relationship and dating advice for men is a niche.

If you are still unable to decide which market to target then let me help you and break it further down.

Niches That Can Help You to Quit Your 9-5 Job

Have you ever faced any problem in your day to day life and went online to look for the solution?

I am pretty sure that you may have some passion like Photography, Cooking, Paintball, Fishing, Rock Climbing, or any other passion.

And…

You go online to buy stuff related to your passion or want to learn more about it.

You might be in a relationship and go online for dating advice.

You might go online and look for the latest fashion and you want to improve your lifestyle.

Likewise, each person faces or goes through one or the other situation and looks for solutions online.

Now you may ask what’s the point “Karan Mallya”?

Here comes an opportunity for you.

You can further divide the big market (Health, Wealth, and Relationship) into these day to day situations. 

And 

These can be divided into:

Lifestyle

Some of the niches that come under Lifestyle are:

  • Fashion
  • Parenting
  • Pet Ownership
  • Outdoor Lifestyle

Passion

The topics that come under Passion are:

  • Photography
  • CrossFit
  • Cooking
  • Fishing
  • Gardening

Problems

The niches that come under Problems are:

  • Smoking 
  • Acne
  • Weight Loss
  • Diabetes
  • Wrinkles

I hope you have got the point and ready to decide your perfect niche.

The people are ready to spend money on the above niches.

Excited?

But…

Hold on…

We are not done yet.

You may be asking…

Karan I know about the perfect niche.

You have already explained it in this section.

Let me ask a couple of questions …

And…

Decide if you have selected the best niche for yourself or not?

Let’s take any niche from my above-mentioned examples…

Ok I will go for Paintball as I love paintball.

Now assume that I have started a website on Paintball.

Designed a beautiful looking blog…

Wrote 50 comprehensive blog posts…

Now what?

Is this enough to rank my post? How can I know that I will rank for the post?

How can I say that the niche that I have chosen will make money for the long run?

After doing so much work. I find that there are not enough products to promote.

What if I find it very difficult to rank my posts as I have chosen a competitive niche.

Don’t you think that all my hard work will be a total waste of time and I will have to start from the very beginning and hope for the best?

I know most of you might have been in the same situation. 

But…

Worry not…

Here comes the next section where I will explain to you.

How you can avoid all these situations and select a perfect niche.

The Things You Need to Know Before Finalizing Your Niche

Before finalizing your niche you need to do market research. As I have selected paintball as my niche I need to know a couple of things before going further.

Competition

What do you think? Is competition good or bad?

You might have read in various other blogs that competition is bad. 

But…

Let me tell you competition is not bad.

If there is a competition in any niche that means the other bloggers are making money and you can also make money.

The only thing you need to know is how competitive a niche you can go for. 

How comfortably can you beat your competitors?

The two things that you will have to find out are:

  1. Are there any big sites on your niche or not that are ranking?
  2. Are there any small sites on your niche that are ranking?

These two things will help you to know whether your selected niche is making money or not.

And…

How easy it will be for you if you decide to go for the selected niche.

The next thing you need to find is…

Commercial

This section is very important as you will find how much you can expand your blog in the future. You will get to know the various ways to monetize your website.

You need to find:

  1. Are there any info products that you can promote?
  2. Are there any Physical products that you can promote?
  3. Are your competitors making money using advertisements on their website?

Now you know the monetization strategy of your competitors. The next thing is to find how easy you can rank.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

What is the point if you cannot rank your keywords on the first page of a search engine? 

The above research will be a total waste if you fail to rank. 

How confident and motivated you will be when you know that your niche is easy to rank? 

And…

The best part is you will be confident because you have done the research beforehand. The three things that you need to find are:

  1. Are there easy to rank keywords in your niche or not?
  2. Are the keywords seasonal or evergreen?
  3. Can you easily build links on the selected niche or not?

Now if you have followed me till now then you are ready to finalize your niche. 

I know this will take time but believe me this section will make things a lot easier in the coming days as you will have all the research done beforehand.

You will not regret it in the future.

Organize Your Site Structure

I believe you are with me till now and you have done all the research. Now you have all the data and keywords. Looking into these keywords you can organize your site structure.

Having a good site structure has its SEO benefits.

You can use Dynalist to organize your site.

Pick a Brandable Domain Name and Extension

Now that you are done with the niche research and planning…

And…

You have your niche.

It’s time to get your domain name and extension.

You might have noticed that I have used “Brandable” in the heading. 

It is very important to choose a brandable domain as I have already mentioned that you have to treat your blogging as a business.

Domain names are the part of branding…

And…

It can create a good impression and trust in your visitors. 

Let me ask you one question.

Which website will you trust more bloggingseo-for-newbies345.com or serpsprouts.com?

You will say the later one.

How to Pick a Domain Name and Which Extension to Choose?

You should keep the following things in your mind before going for a domain name.

Domain Name Should Have

  • It should be broad so that you can scale when required.
  • It should be short and easy to remember.
  • It should convey a message and must be unique.
  • Should fit your brand.
  • Good to have .com extension as people trust them, it is easy to rank internationally and link building will be easy.

Domain Name Should Not Have

  • Avoid hyphens and numbers as this may hurt the trustworthiness and may look spammy.
  • Avoid buyer keywords like review, buy, and best.
  • Avoid EMD (Exact Match Domain) names like bestlaptopsunder20000.com.

If you look at serpsprouts.com. You can see that it ticks all the boxes.

Now let me guide you on how you can do the same.

How to Find Domain Names that Fills All the Criteria

Including seed keyword and branded term in your domain name will be the best thing you can do.

The very first thing you need to do is to write down all the seed keywords of your niche. 

You can go as broad as you want. Going for broad terms will help you to scale soon.

Now let me help you by taking an example.

Let’s say you want to start a blog on Vacuum Cleaner. Vacuum cleaner is a narrow niche and it comes under “Home and Improvements Market”.

So let us make a list of all the possible seed keywords relevant to the Home and Improvements niche.

  1. Home
  2. Abode
  3. Casa
  4. Condo
  5. Crib
  6. Den

In case you are wondering how I came up with the above synonyms. 

You can also do the same by going to the thesaurus and can find as many synonyms as you want.

The next step is to go to the following websites and enter your newly found seed keywords:

Once you find a perfect domain name. It’s time to book your domain name ASAP. 

How and Where to Buy a Domain Name?

There are many domain registrars but I use Namecheap. 

There is an option to buy domain along with hosting providers and I will show how to do that in the next section.

In this section I will show you how to buy a domain name from Namecheap. 

I hope you are ready to buy a domain name.

STEP 1

Go to NameCheap

STEP 2

Type your selected domain name.

Type your selected domain name and click on the search icon.

STEP 3

Click on add to cart

Click on add to cart.

STEP 4

Click on Check out button.

In the bottom right corner you can see the checkout button. Click on that button.

STEP 5

Confirm your order

Review your order and click on confirm order.

STEP 6

Enter Your Payment Details

Enter the payment details and continue.

STEP 7

Review the order again and click on the checkout button.

Review the order again and click on the checkout button.

Note: You may see something different in the checkout button if you are using a different payment mode.

Once you have completed your order. You will get a couple of emails from Namecheap. Just go and read the emails and do whatever they ask to do.

Domain Verification

One of the important steps that you need to perform is to verify your domain. 

Awesome now you have your domain name. In the next section I will guide you to buy hosting.

Get a Web Hosting

Now as you have your domain name. You need to buy a hosting. 

I use Siteground and Cloudways on my websites.

However, for the sake of this post I will guide you to buy Siteground and configure it with your domain name that you have already bought in the previous section.

But…

Before going further…

Let me clear some doubts that most of the new bloggers have.

Should I Choose Self-Hosting (Paid) or a Free Alternative?

If you remember, I have mentioned that you have to treat your blogging career as a business if we want to make money online for a long time.

And…

As you know…

Every business needs some investment.

But the best part of this business model is we are investing a very minimal amount unlike we had to invest a huge amount if we had chosen to go for any physical business.

I will recommend you to avoid the free alternative and let me tell you why…

  • You will not get your domain name like serprouts.com instead you will get serpsprouts.wordpress.com, serpsprouts.blogspot.com, serpsprouts.tumblr.com etc
  • In case, you use a custom domain there will be limits and you will not own the blog.
  • You will find it difficult to get full control. 
  • It will be difficult to customize your blog as you want.

Which Web Hosting to Choose?

There are endless hosting providers but most of them will not serve you as you want them to.

I have already mentioned that I use Siteground and Cloudways on my various blogs.

But…

Regardless of whichever hosting provider you go for, you should make sure to check the below-mentioned points in your website hosting company.

  1. Speed: The speed of a website is one of the ranking factors. So make sure the web hosting company has good speed.
  2. Security: What level of security the hosting company provides so that there will be no risk to you in the future.
  3. Features: Do you get the essential features with your plan or not. 
  4. Support: What kind of support the hosting company provides. Do they give 24 X 7 support or not and other similar services?
  5. Track Record: This is very important as a company with a good track record will give the best experience.

Now the question is…

Does Siteground have all the above-explained features?

Yes, my friend, that’s why I am recommending you. 

Why SiteGround is Best for New Bloggers?

Support

Siteground support is one of the best in this industry. You can ask for help via phone, support ticket or live chat.

Affordable

They have an affordable pricing system. You can bear the cost of the hosting if you are consistent and take action regularly.

Speed and Performance

Your website will load fast and will always be available. 

WordPress

You will have the option to get WordPress pre-installed on your hosting account.

I hope you got the point.

Now…

Let me take you to the next step so that you can easily buy your hosting.

How to Buy web Hosting at SiteGround?

STEP 1

Go to siteground.

Go to SiteGround and click on the first option i.e web hosting.

STEP 2

Choose Your Plan

Choose your plan. I will advise you to go with GrowBig as you can host unlimited websites with that plan. Click on Get Plan.

STEP 3

Select the Box I already have a Domain.

Select the Box (I already have a Domain).

Enter the domain name in the box that you have purchased in the previous section at Namecheap.

Click on Proceed.

STEP 4

Enter your Account Information.

Enter your Account Information. 

Enter Your Client Information.

Enter Your Client Information.

Enter Payment Information.

Enter Payment Information.

Enter Purchase Information. Make sure to change the data center to your target audience country or close to that country. The period should be at least 12 months so that you can lower your cost.

Confirm and Click on pay now

Check the box that I confirm that I have read and agree to the SiteGround Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and click on Pay Now.

Awesome!!! Pat you back…

You have done a great job. You have bought your hosting.

Siteground Welcome Email.

You may have received an email from Siteground with your login details. The email will be something like this…

But hold on…

We are not done yet…

We need to make our website live, we need to connect our Namecheap domain name with our siteground web hosting.

How to Connect Your Namecheap Domain Name with your SiteGround Web Hosting?

Pointing your Namecheap domain to siteground hosting is very important. The website will not go live for the public until you do this step.

If you do not do so, the default parking page or a “Server not Found” error will appear if someone opens your website.

You need to replace the nameservers of your domain. You will get the nameservers from your hosting company.

Confused?

Worry not….

I will guide you with each step so that you don’t get confused. So here are the steps:

STEP 1

Login to my.siteground

Go to Siteground.

Log in with the email Id and password that you received in your mail.

STEP 2

Click on the “websites” in the menu bar.

Click on the “websites” in the menu bar.

STEP 3

Click on the NEW WEBSITE in the upper right-hand corner.

Click on the NEW WEBSITE in the upper right-hand corner.

STEP 4

Select the existing domain and enter domain name.

Select the Existing Domain, Enter your domain name which you have purchased from Namecheap and Click on Continue.

Once you have clicked on continue you will get a message similar to the below screenshot. Ignore that and click on continue.

Ignore the message.

STEP 5

Select star a new website.

Now select start a new website.

Choose Application.

Once you have selected a new website. It will ask you to choose an application. Select WordPress as your option. You can see the image above for reference.

STEP 6

Enter Installation Details.

Now it will ask you to enter your installation details. Enter an email address and Password. Remember you will need this email and password to login to your WordPress admin area.

STEP 7

Click on Finish. It will take a couple of minutes to complete the process. 

Once the site creation process is done. It will take you to the next page. You can see the image below.

You will need the new DNS in the next steps so that you can point your domain to your hosting. 

NS1.GNLD1028.SITEGROUND.EU

NS2.GNLD1028.SITEGROUND.EU

Your DNS will look similar to the above-mentioned DNS. You will also get mail for this.

Once you have the new DNS. You need to continue with the below steps to complete the process.

STEP 8

Go to Namecheap and log in to your account. Click Here to go to the Namecheap login page.

Enter your username, password and click on sign in and continue.

It will take you to your account dashboard where you can see all your recent active domains. Click on Manage. You can look at the image below for reference.

Namecheap Dashboard.

Once you click on manage. It will take you to the next page. 

Change Custom DNS.

Make sure Domain is selected. Go to NAMESERVERS and select Custom DNS.

Now enter…

Nameserver 1 NS1.GNLD1028.SITEGROUND.EU

Nameserver 2 NS2.GNLD1028.SITEGROUND.EU

You can find the nameservers on your siteground account. 

In case you have closed the siteground account then you can go to https://tools.siteground.com/dashboard and click on-site tools.

Nameservers details in siteground.

It will take you to the siteground tools dashboard. You can find the Nameservers there. 

Copy the nameserver 1: ns1.gnld1028.siteground.eu 

And

Nameserver 2: ns2.gnld1028.siteground.eu

Paste the nameservers 1 and 2.

Go to Namecheap and paste the NS1 and NS2 in the custom DNS section and click on the tick mark.

Now you are done with pointing your domain to your hosting. It may take 24 hours to 48 hours to propagate and start working. This period is called propagation.

This is what Namecheap will say but it generally takes 5 to 10 minutes.

Once the propagation is done. You can go to your website and see how your first website looks. Don’t worry about the looks and feel of your website.

I will show you how to make and design professional looking websites in the next section.

The one thing you may notice is that your website is not secure. If you haven’t noticed then you can look at the URL section. It will display, not secure before your domain name.

And…

To make it secure you need to install an SSL certificate. 

So follow the below steps to make your website secure.

How to Install an SSL Certificate in Siteground and Make it Secure?

STEP 1

Go to the Siteground tools dashboard.

STEP 2

Click on Security and then click on SSL Manager.

Click on Security and then click on SSL Manager.

STEP 3

Select your domain, Select SSL (Let’s Encrypt) and Click on get.

Select your domain, Select SSL (Let’s Encrypt) and Click on get.

Once you have installed the SSL Certificate. Go and check your website. If Not Secure is not showing then you are good to go.

In case you can still see “Not secure” before your website URL then you need to take a couple of steps.

HTTPS Enforce.

For this go to Site Tools > Security > HTTPS Enforce.

Now blog/website is secure.

Don’t believe me?… 

Go and check yourself. I hope now you are with me…

Design Your Website as a Brand

I don’t understand why most of the top bloggers don’t talk about this. 

As I have already discussed in the mindset section to treat your blog as business…

And…

Branding is the first step. Deciding your brand colors, fonts, and logo will make things a lot easier in the future.

You may say…

Why take the burden now?

Why can’t we do this later? When our website gets some tractions.

I made the same mistake and believe me it cost me a hell lot of time and money until I figured out this.

Just remember one thing, there are reasons behind big business spending a hell lot of dollars in branding.

Why is Branding so Important?

  • Brand is one of the ways to express yourself to your audience.
  • Your website visitors will trust you more if branding is done correctly.
  • The advertisers will show more trust in you as compared to other websites.
  • Your website will look very professional.
  • It may help you in link building as other webmasters will trust your site.

Now…

The question is what are things that you need to take care of?

You need to have consistent brand colors, fonts throughout the website…

And…

A professional looking logo.

The Tools that you can use to… 

Choose Brand Colors

  1. Brandcolors.net
  2. Coolors.co

Fonts for your Website

  1. Fontjoy.com
  2. Fontpair.co

Logo for your Website

  1. Looka: I use looka (formerly known as logojoy)
  2. Fiverr: You can buy a professional logo on Fiverr.

Once you have decided your fonts and brand colors. You can save it on google docs for future reference.

Save branding details in google docs.

Now you have your branding details. Let’s jump to your websites and look for the changes that you need to do.

Customize Your Website and Make it Look Professional

When you log in to your website backend you need to make some basic changes in your website which will make your blog look professional and will also help in SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

In this section I will so you how to:

  • Make some basic changes in the WordPress.
  • Choose the best WordPress themes.
  • Install WordPress Theme.
  • Use Branding like brand colors, fonts, etc.
  • Install Plugins.

Make some basic changes in the WordPress

The very first thing that you need to change is the Permalinks structure. 

For this you need to go to yourwebsite.com/wp-admin (you will have to write your website name) and then enter your login details.

Your login details are the same that you have entered while installing WordPress in the hosting (siteground).

Change Permalinks.

Now go to settings > permalinks > select post name and click on save changes. 

Next…

Change site title and tagline.

Go to settings > General settings and change Site Title, Tagline, make sure WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address URL has https and then click on save changes.

How to Choose a WordPress Theme?

The default themes that come with WordPress are good but they have some restrictions. Now how to know which theme is good. 

The themes must have the following features:

  • It should be simple. As a beginner you may be attracted to buy a fancy theme but believe me it will harm the website more.
  • It should work on different browsers (chrome, safari, firefox, internet explorer, etc)
  • The theme should be responsive and mobile-friendly.
  • It should support the plugins.
  • It should be SEO friendly.
  • The support of the plugin should be good.
  • It should be lightweight. You can check the speed on PingdomGtmetrix and google page speed.
  • The theme should have fewer coding errors. You can check this on W3C Validator.
  • The reviews and the ratings should be extremely good.

Best WordPress Themes to Install and My Personal Favourite

  1. Astra Theme and Astra ProAstra theme is free to install. I use Astra and Astra Pro along with Elementor Pro.
  2. Thrive Themes: Thrive Themes have paid plans only. I also use thrive themes on a couple of websites.
  3. GeneratPress: GeneratePress has free and paid both.
  4. StudioPress: StudioPress has free and paid both.
  5. MyThemeShop: MyThemeShop has free and paid both.

How to Install Theme on your WordPress Website?

Let’s say you have decided to go with me and have opted for Astra. So to install Astra you need to go to yoursite.com/wp-admin > Appearance > Themes > Add New > and Look for Astra in the search box.

Once you see Astra Theme. Click on Install and then Activate.

How to Install Plugins?

Plugins are software that extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. 

Now lets us try to install Elementor Plugin.

To install plugins you need to go to yoursite.com/wp-admin > Plugins > Add New > Look for Elementor in the search box.

Once you see Elementor Page Builder. Click on Install and then Activate.

Must-Have Plugins

Below I have mentioned the plugins that are must for an awesome website. 

  1. Backup Plugin: Backup Plugin will help you to keep a backup of your website and data. It will be useful if your website data got deleted in some way. You can use UpdraftPlus.
  2. SEO Plugin: Seo plugin will make most of your work easy while doing on-page SEO. It will help you to customize your title, meta description, slugs, etc. You can use Rankmath (Recommended), Yoast, or SeoPress.
  3. Page Builder Plugins: These plugins will help you to customize/design the pages/post of your blog without any coding knowledge. It has many other features that I will discuss later. You can use Elementor Pro/Thrive Architect (Recommended), DiviBeaver, etc.
  4. Insert Headers and Footers: Insert Headers and Footers plugin will help you to insert Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and any other scripts in the header or footer.
  5. WP Rocket: WP Rocket will help you to optimize your website in terms of speed. You can minify CSS, Javascripts, etc.
  6. Easy Table of Contents: This plugin will help you to create and display a table of contents from the page or post content.
  7. Smush: Smush will help you to improve performance and boost the SEO of your website by reducing the size of the image.
  8. GDPR Cookie Consent: This is one most important plugin as it will help your website to show that it complies with cookie law and GDPR.
  9. Social Snap Pro: Social Snap social sharing plugin. This plugin will help you to increase traffic from Social Media.

Create Essential Pages and Categories

Once you are done with installing all the essential plugins. You can create the most essential pages and categories.

Dynalist Structure example.

You can use Dynalist.io to structure your pages and categories.

I hope by now you have your pages and categories structure.

How to Create Pages, Posts and Categories In WordPress?

  • Pages: Go to yoursite.com/wp-admin > Pages > Add New > Add Title
  • Posts: Go to yoursite.com/wp-admin > Posts > Add New > Add Title
  • Categories: Go to yoursite.com/wp-admin > Posts > Categories > Add New > Name (Enter the name of the category).

Important Pages to Create 

  • About
  • Home
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Disclaimer

I hope by now you are ready with your pages and categories. 

I must say you are an action taker and believe me no one can stop you to make your first dime online.

Now it’s time to write your killer first post and publish it. 

In the next section I will explain to you all the important things that you need to take care of while writing your article.

Write Your First Blog Post and Publish

I am very much sure that most of you can write a post and publish it.

But…

You may find it difficult to rank your post in SERP and get traction. 

Converting your website visitors into buyers can be a challenge.

Hence…

We can conclude that…

That main purpose of any blog is to:

  • Get visitors or traffic.
  • Provide them value.
  • Convert them to buyers.
  • Earn Money.

The good news is you can optimize your blog post in such a way that it covers the above points.

If this is your first post and have not written an article before.

Then I will suggest you to follow and apply all the points that I am going to discuss in this section.

The same applies to any blogger who has done some work but didn’t have much success. 

Choose an SEO Friendly URL / Slug

  • Use your primary keyword in the URL.
  • Try not to include numbers in the Url.
  • Don’t use stop words in the URL like ‘a’ and ‘the’.
  • Try to make it short. 3-5 words is a good number. 
  • Try to add dashes in between words. If you have installed Rankmath or any other SEO Plugin. Then automatically it will add dashes in between words in the slug.

Write a Compelling Headline or Title of your post

Coschedule example
  • The length of the title should be anywhere between 55-60 characters. Not more than that. 
  • Try to mix the title with powerful, emotional, common, and uncommon words.
  • Include the main keyword in the title and it should be readable.
  • The headline should match the user intent.
  • You can include a word in parentheses or brackets to make it stand out from your competitors.
  • Try to capture readers’ attention by including numbers (11, 21, 10, etc) in the headline. An example would be “11 Easy Steps to Start a Blog & Make [$944/Month] in 2020” and “How to Start a Blog in 2020 & Make Money [11 Easy Steps]”
  • Use Headline Analyzer Tool to know the effectiveness of your post headline.

Write a Conversion Focused Meta Description

Meta Description will not impact the SEO of the post directly but it has an indirect impact.

A well-optimized meta description can increase the CTR (Click Through Rate) and this will boost your rankings.

You should consider the below points to optimize the meta description.

  • The optimal length of the meta description should be anywhere between 156-160 characters.
  • Use your primary keyword in the meta description.
  • Try to include a pain point and the benefit of your targeted keywords.
  • Don’t repeat the words.
  • Make it compelling and relevant.
  • The meta description should not be duplicate. Make it different from the Headline.
Seomofo example

You can use SEOMofo to optimize the title, meta description, and slug. You can take a look at the image above to see how it will look once you optimize all three.

Craft an Attention-Grabbing Introduction for Your Blog Post

Introduction is one of the most important sections that you need to optimize.

As…

Most of the readers will decide to stay or leave your website. If you manage to hold their attention and make them read the full content then definitely your post will rank in a couple of months.

Here are some of the points that you need to consider:

  • The introduction should not be more than 80-100 words.
  • Include the exact keyword in the introduction as naturally as possible.
  • Mention the problem that you are going to solve in the post.
  • If possible show them what could be the possible result if they take action.
  • Explain why the problem needs to be solved and what could be the possible loss they can have if they leave the problem unsolved.
  • If possible try to start with statistics or quotes.

Write a Perfect Body Content

Once you’re done with the introduction you will have to write the body content where you have to talk about the problem in detail and how they can be benefited. 

Consider the below points while writing the body as the primary goal should be to take the readers to the end so that they get some value.

  • Make use of Heading tags (H2-H5) in the post.
  • Maintain the hierarchy of the Heading tag. For example: After H2 the next subheading should be H3 in the same topic not H4.
  • The paragraph should be short and to the point. 
  • Use PEN Technique (Point, Explain, and Next) when you start any paragraph. Point the problem, Explain what, where, how, when, and then move to Next Paragraph.
  • Try to explain your points in subheading as most of the readers will skim the post and decide whether to read or to leave the site.
  • Link to the different authority websites if you are taking any reference from them.
  • If possible try to link to any relevant post on your website. 
  • You can use styling (bold, italics, underline, etc) to emphasize the key parts of the post.
  • Try to include LSI keywords in the body of the post.
  • You can also use secondary keywords in the sub-headers.
  • It should be readable.

One alphabet at a time, you can write an encyclopedia. One word at a time, you can publish an entire library.”

― Israelmore Ayivor.

Wow…

Congratulations you have done a great job. 

What next?

You need to promote your post so that you can attract some visitors. 

Remember one thing: Content + Marketing = Traffic.

How to Promote Your Blog and Get Traffic?

Traffic is considered as the fuel for any website. There is no point in making a beautifully designed website if you cannot attract visitors to your blog.

There are various ways to get traffic and I will discuss some of the most effective ways and my personal favorite one.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

SEO is the art and science of increasing the visibility of your website in front of Google and your users. 

Search Engine Optimization is a process of increasing the traffic.

The traffic that you pull from google is organic and you don’t have to pay to the Big G to rank your website.

SEO is divided into two parts:

  1. On-Page and On-site: Keyword Research, Site Audit, etc.
  2. Off-Page: Link Building.

On-Page

When we optimize any page of our website to rank higher in Google is known as on-page SEO. We have full control over on-page SEO.

On-Site

On-site and on-page SEO is the same but the only difference is, in on-site we optimize the whole website, and On-page we optimize a single page.

Off-Page

Off-page SEO refers to the activities that we do outside our website to rank in SERP. We don’t have much control over this. Link building is an example of off-site SEO. Creativity and art are involved in off-page SEO.

Using Social Media to Promote 

Social media is one of the effective ways to promote your blog posts. There are various social media platforms where you can promote your post. 

Some of the platforms that you can consider are:

  • Pinterest: You can use visual content, Infographics, and step by step photo guides.
  • Facebook: You can use curated content, videos, GIFS, and photos.
  • LinkedIn: Most professionals spend time on Linkedin. You can create career news and professional content.
  • Instagram: Instagram is a place where you can promote quotes, high-resolution photos, short videos, and stories.
  • Reddit: Reddit is a place where you can find threads of almost every niche. You can provide value and promote your post.
  • Twitter: You can share your blog posts, your industry related news, and GIFs on Twitter.

Forums and Social Media Groups

Forums and Facebook Groups are also a good place to promote your post. You have to provide value first then you can start promoting your post.

You can find many FB Groups in your niche. To find forums you have to go to google and type “Your Niche + Forums”.

For example “SEO + Forums”.

You can use this query to find forums in google:

[Your Niche] inurl:forum|viewthread|showthread|viewtopic|showtopic|”index.php?topic” | intext:”reading this topic”|”next thread”|”next topic”|”send private message”

Some of the Other Ways to Get Traffic

  • You can gather emails from your visitors and promote your articles to them.
  • Answering your niche related questions on Q&A sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers.
  • Writing a short post on Medium and Linkedin.
  • Interview influencers in your industry.
  • Network with other bloggers, influencers and mention them in your blog.

Remember one thing you need to provide value first and never spam on any social media platform.

Hey Karan…

So much work…

How we will earn money?

And…

How we will monetize our blog?

I know this would the question you might be thinking of…

But the wait is over as I will discuss the same in the next section.

How to Monetize Your Blog and Earn in Four Figures/Month?

There are an end number of ways to monetize your website. I will explain the best and some very known ways here.

Affiliate Marketing

When you promote other products and get a commission when any sales happen. This is the most known method of earning money online. Some of the good affiliate programs and networks are:

  1. Amazon Associates.
  2. Shareasale.
  3. ClickBank.
  4. CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction).
  5. Rakuten
  6. Impact.

Advertising

Most of the beginners and even some pro bloggers make money by advertising. It is one of the easiest ways to monetize your blog. Even most of my websites are monetized by advertising.

Some of the advertising networks are:

  1. Google Adsense.
  2. Media.Net
  3. Propeller Ads
  4. Popads.
  5. Infolinks.

Selling Online Courses and Products

If you are an expert in any niche then you can monetize your blog through this method. I won’t recommend you to sell your product or online courses at this point of time until you are an expert.

Sponsored Content

If you manage to get tons of traffic on your website then you can go for this method and monetize your blog by sponsored content.

But…

I don’t recommend this method as this method can hurt your website SEO if not implemented properly.

Selling Your Services (Freelancing)

There are several skills that you can monetize by selling in the form of services. If you have any of the below-mentioned skills then you can start pitching to your potential clients.

  1. Copywriting.
  2. SEO.
  3. WordPress Development.
  4. Social Media Management.
  5. Graphic Design.
  6. Virtual Assistants.
  7. Search Engine Marketing.
  8. Photography.
  9. Microsoft Office.
  10. Software Development.

“Waiting for the perfect time and opportunity. It never comes – start now.”

― Amit Ray.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is it worth starting a blog in 2020?

This is the best time to start a blog. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to make money online. 

Can you start a blog for free in 2020?

You can start a free blog anytime but if you want to make serious money then you should consider a self-hosted platform.
If you start a business but you don’t have full control over that. Starting a free blog is something like that. There will always be some restrictions.

How do you start a blog for free?

If you don’t want full control and don’t want to make serious money then you can go for free blogging.
There are various free blogging platforms.
Worpress.com
Blogger.com
Wix.com
Medium.com
Tumblr
You can go to any of the above free platforms, sign in, and start your free blogging journey.

How do you become a blogger and get paid?

To become a blogger, you need to start a blog and start blogging in any specific niche. You can read the complete post to become a successful blogger and start earning.

How do I start a personal blog?

To start a personal blog you need a domain name and a good hosting. You can refer to the post for more details.

How do beginner blogs make money?

Advertising and Affiliate Marketing are the most common and known ways through which beginners make money online.

How much time does it take to start making money from blogging?

It depends on the efforts, hard work and time you give on your website. However, typically it takes 6 months to see the ball rolling.

Do Bloggers Get Paid?

Yes, bloggers get paid. They get paid depending on their monetization strategy and commission they earn from different platforms.

Is WordPress free?

Yes, WordPress is free but you need a hosting and a domain name to install WordPress.

How do I create a personal blog for free?

You can use blogger.com or any other free platform.

How much do bloggers make?

There is no set number but some bloggers make in 5-6 figures/month and some bloggers fail to make a single penny. 

How do I determine how much demand there is for the topics I want to blog about?

There are various ways to validate your niche and topic. You can go to google trends and see the trend of your selected niche.
Read the niche selection section in this post to get a detailed idea about this topic.

How do I get readers to come to my blog?

There are various ways to get readers to your blog. SEO is my personal favorite. However, you can read more on this topic in the Promotion section of this article.

How do I log into WordPress once I’m logged out?

You simply need to go to yourwebsite.com/wp-admin and enter your credentials.

How much does it cost to start a blog? Is it expensive to start a blog?

You can start a professional blog anywhere between $50-$100. I don’t think it’s expensive. If you work hard with proper strategy you can easily earn more than this.

Who is the highest paid blogger?

Many bloggers make a huge amount of money from their blogging career. Pat Flynn, Harsh Agarwal, and Ryan Robinson are a couple of them.

I hope you liked the post on How to Start a Blog and Make Money Online? I have covered all the important points that you need to be successful. 

To conclude if you take action, you will definitely make your first dime online. The money will keep rolling.

Make sure you have read the Blogging Mindset part carefully, bought your domain name, hosting, and made all the necessary pages.

I am with you all the time. You can ask your question in the comment section and I will answer all the questions. It will be great if you share this post as it might help your friends as well.

3 thoughts on “How to Start a Blog in 2020 & Make Money [11 Easy Steps]”

  1. Sathya Siva Reddy

    Great post explained all things very well it’s a great guide for new bloggers like me I really liked the mindset part which is very important at starting. thank you for writing @KARAN MALLYA

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