For many people, blogging is nothing more than a way to express themselves, a hobby, and a pass-time. But to others, it is a lot more than this. To them, it’s a business and indeed, their very source of livelihood, and for a good reason. Blogging is a great way to make money, if one is skilled at it, and has the time, patience, and knowledge to turn it into a money-making machine.
I have had many solicitations to share the procedure and a step-by-step guide on how to start a successful blog for less than 200$. I will share with you what steps to take and even some free resources and assets to use.
In addition to this, blogging can have different other benefits that you can discover in this article.
Learning how to blog is the best decision I ever made.
Are you in one of the following situations? before starting this blog, I was:
- Frustrated by my 9-5’s and feeling trapped.
- Tired of waking up in the morning and being stuck in traffic at rush hour
- survive boredom and take several cups of coffee to stay awake
- not being able to save money and having a hard time making ends meet
- not being able to travel the way I want to and still be in pursuit of holidays and weekends
- Not being able to help my loved ones
- I often wondered what the end of my life was going to be like?
- having only two weeks of vacation a year
- not feeling fulfilled in what I do
- debt despite my decent salary
Then, just like you today, I decided to learn how to start a blog with a guide like this one, and it changed my life. I encourage you to do the same for you.
Many people think that starting a blog in 2020 is a scary or complicated task! But the truth is, there is no reason to be afraid of learning how to start making money from your blog. In fact, you should be enthusiastic and ambitious!
Have you ever asked yourself the question “How do I start a successful blog“? Then this article will surely be of great help to you.
This free guide has been written to help beginners create a blog without needing technical knowledge in website coding or having to pay a web developer to do it for you. So you won’t have to go broke to start a blog business.
Be sure to register/pin/bookmark this page and come back to it for later if you can’t finish it all today.
The ABCs of How to Create a WordPress blog/Site
Want to create a WordPress blog, but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’ve always felt that it would be too difficult because you’d have to learn programming and design? Think again! I will guide you step by step through the process of creating a complete website whether or not you have any knowledge of the web.
Level of expertise required: Beginner to intermediate.
Time to set up your site: Let’s be realistic, I would say about 1 to 2 hours to have a WordPress site ready to host your content.
What you’ll get?
A complete website, a domain name, more money in your pocket, saved time by following a detailed and efficient tutorial.
Chapter 1:What is WordPress; what is it used for?
WORDPRESS, WHAT IS IT?
WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System). It’s a software program that serves as the foundation for creating a website. I will cover in-depth each step of the creation of a WP blog: from the choice of the host to the final upload, through the modification of the visuals and the addition of your content.
IS WORDPRESS A BLOGGING PLATFORM?
People in forums, Facebook groups, often ask if WordPress is a blogging platform?
WordPress was officially created on May 27, 2003. At the time, yes, we could say that WordPress was dedicated to the creation of blogs. Since that time, WordPress software has evolved dramatically to become the most widely used content management platform in the world for creating any type of website. It is ideal for :
- A company website
- A portfolio
- An online magazine (news website)
- A blog (travel, cooking, personal)
- An online store
- And much more!
In December 2019, WordPress was used by more than 35% of all websites worldwide (reference). The other CMS that follows is Joomla, with a 2.6% market share and Shopify with 1.7%. Considering this information, WordPress is very far from being only used to blog.
For your information, there are several online services to make a blog or a website. You might be tempted to go for a free service, but from experience, know that it will cause you more harm than you might think. Indeed, in the short, medium, and long term, you will encounter definite limitations that will become significant irritants and slow you down. A Web site should be a springboard and not a ball and chain that holds us back and draws energy from us.
Contrary to some beliefs, using a paid service is far from being expensive (we are talking about less than 200$ of investment). Never forget that the tool you use will be the foundation of your project. If you start with a solid foundation, your project has a much better chance of success!
Be careful! With WordPress, you have two options. People are often confused by them. Here is the explanation:
- WordPress hosted on WordPress.com servers: a minimal product in many aspects such as visuals and functionality. It’s also a rather expensive service to get those features we are interested in.
- 👉 WordPress hosted on your server: This is the option I would definitely recommend. In this case, WordPress is 100% free. The cost of your website will then be for hosting your files. The advantage, no platform limitation, and a more reasonable price.
I will show you exactly how to use the second option in order not to encounter no limitation in the creation of your blog, to avoid frustration in the short, medium, and long term and above all, to get a professional website while saving time, money and energy.
WHAT IS A BLOG AND WHAT IS IT FOR?
A blog is a website created to share information, resources, or opinions on different topics or passions. There are many reasons why you might want to get involved in this great adventure:
- To get more visibility for a company: Whether you are self-employed, a small business or a large company, adding a blog to your website allows you to get more visibility at a lower cost. It’s an excellent way to get quality leads for a business.
- To make money working from home: Most of my income comes from my blog. In 2019, tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of people had chosen to create a primary income or an additional income by blogging. But be under no illusion, making money with a blog is much work, but it is within reach of many people, and your financial risks are minimal (less than 200$).
- To write and share: If you want to share your travels, stories, encourage other people, review restaurants, or create a community around a specific topic, creating a blog is an excellent way of expression and sharing.
Chapter 2: Choose your resources and pick a profitable evergreen niche
This is by far the most important word of advice you can ever come across when it comes to the world of blogging.
The term ‘resources’ here refers to everything that you’ll be dealing with in your journey as a blogger. This includes, but is not limited to, the technology, software, your niche, and everything in between. The way you go about using these resources will decide whether you make it big in this business or not.
Indeed, before starting blogging, be sure to choose a profitable niche! Here you can find a list of profitable evergreen niches to blog about!
Jeff Lenney from Jeffleney.com says the 8 top blog niches that are full of untapped opportunities for creating passive income businesses are:
- The Health Niche
- The Dating Niche
- The Learn to sing or play an instrument Niche
- Learn to speak another language
- The green energy niche
- Spirituality and Alternative Beliefs
- The survival niche
- The Hightech Niche
Personally, I recommend listing your passions, on a sheet of paper, or an excel file. Indeed writing articles about your passion or skills will be more comfortable in the long run because blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.
Consider that it will take a long period to develop it. Moreover, avoid blogging about a too broad topic because you may never be able to rank in search engines due to increased competition. Also, by wanting to cover all subjects, you will not become an expert on any topic. The topic you are passionate about must be of interest to others.
To check if a niche is evergreen and still worth working on it, I recommend you to use the free tool google trends. Using this tool, you can monitor the popularity of a niche over time and compare two or more topics in a specific country or worldwide. Check out the curves in the next picture.
Chapter 3: Choosing the domain name for your website
A domain name is a web address. For example, www.positionignition.com is my domain name. Choosing the right domain name is an art in itself. It can be done very quickly or require a period of reflection since it is often intimately linked to Your company name, project name, your branding.
Unless you already have a hosting package, do not purchase a domain name from GoDaddy or any other registrar. The reason is that in the next step of this tutorial, we will talk about web hosting and that most hosting providers offer you a domain name for free when you purchase your package.
- I suggest that you always opt for the .com extension if it is available. The .com are the best known and most commonly used extensions.
- If .com extension is not available, consider using a .fr (if you offer services in France), .ca (Canada), .org (if you are an organization), .edu (university or school site), .net, …
- Make sure it is easy to pronounce and spell.
- Be descriptive
- If possible, keep your domain name short and simple.
- Do not add dashes, numbers, or other special characters.
You have to take the time to think about the domain name. It is the name of your blog/brand. So make sure to choose a name which is easy to remember, easy to pronounce and spell and which resume the topics you will be blogging about.
I will show you how to use Bluehost to check if your desired name is available.
Chapter 4: Getting a WordPress Hosting plan
WHAT IS WEB HOSTING, WHAT IS IT FOR?
Web hosting is used to host the files needed to display a website. For example, your hosting provides a bridge between the WordPress files of your site and your domain name so that users can view your site. This will ensure that when someone writes www.yousite.com in their browser, the domain name will be linked to your webserver to display your site.
HOW TO CHOOSE A HOSTING? THERE ARE TONS OF COMPANIES!
I have different websites in different niches. This website is hosted on Bluehost, which is one of the best international hosting companies in terms of service quality and prices. Moreover, the part I love in Bluehost is that sometimes I often work until 3 or 4 a.m, and There was always someone present to help me via chat in case I face any issues or need clarifications about web-related topics.
Why choose Bluehost?
- They will register your domain name for you for free
- Free SSL certificate
- Simple 1-Click WordPress installation
- 24/7 customer service
- Money-back guarantee
- They host over 2 million blogs and websites
Disclosure: We are an affiliate of Bluehost, the hosting company we recommend in this tutorial. This means that if you sign up via our affiliate link, we receive a commission. This is at no extra cost to you. In fact, we have a special 50% discount just for readers of our blog. And we recommend it because this is what we have used ourselves to succeed in our various blog projects!
*You can now host your blog with Bluehost for as little as $3.95/month, and it also comes with a FREE domain name!
Chapter 5:Installing WordPress on a Web Server
Performing WordPress installation varies from one hosting company to another. Generally speaking, it’s quite simple, but it still requires some specific maneuvers. For your information, Bluehost installs WordPress for you in no time at all (a few minutes at most)! Here is the detailed procedure to make your purchase and install WordPress.
INSTALL WORDPRESS AT BLUEHOST
BlueHost has created an exclusive offer For PositionIgnition readers: 3.95$ per month. Yeah! 💰 Once the page opens, click on the green “Get Started ” button.
Choose the package with which you wish to start your project. I generally recommend either the “basic” plan or the “plus” plan to start a new website. For your information, your needs will vary over time, and you can always switch from one plan to the other. Click on the green “select” button to go to the next step.
At this step, you choose your free domain name and click Next button.
If you already have one, write it in the section on the right. You will later have to associate BlueHost’s DNS addresses (ns1.bluehost.com, ns2.bluehost.com) to your domain name via your domain name registrar (ex: GoDaddy if you bought it from this company).
Fill out your billing details and register (Add your Account information (personal details)).
At this step, you are invited to choose the options you want to add to your package and to select your account plan (Length of your plan).
We recommend the 36-month plan because it provides the best value for your money, but the 12-month plan is great as well.
- You can cancel risk-free for 30 days. Bluehost offers a guarantee, and you can cancel your plan at any time during the first 30 days and get a full refund.
- Signing on for a longer plan represents a commitment you are making to your blog and yourself. Commit to making this a long-term deal that will reap you TONS of rewards over the next few years! Yes, you have to pay the money upfront, but this is going to be something you stick with for a while right?! Make the commitment to yourself to see this thing through.
You can keep the “Domain Privacy Protection” option checked to protect your personal information that is linked to your domain name. This can be an interesting option to avoid unnecessary spam to your email address.
Finally, enter your credit card information to proceed with the purchase. Click on the checkbox ” I confirm I have read and agree to the terms… “and finalize your order by clicking on “submit.”
Congratulations! You now own your very own blog and hosting plan!
Not too painful, right? You will be redirected to an account creation confirmation page.
Then click on “create account” and set a secure password for your Bluehost account.
CARRY OUT THE INSTALLATION OF WORDPRESS IN YOUR BLUEHOST ACCOUNT
Enter the name of your website and a short description of it. Click on “Continue”.
Check the appropriate boxes for your web project.
You can then choose a free WordPress theme provided by BlueHost. This is an optional step, I advise you not to use a free theme for the creation of a professional website.
You will be able to log in to your WordPress content management console to start creating your website.
Chapter 6: Choosing a theme and installing it
A PREMIUM THEME OR A FREE THEME?
There are two options for themes: a free or a premium theme. For me, the question does not even arise. After having created a few hundred WordPress sites, in the vast majority of cases, choosing a free theme rhymes with wasting time, energy, and money. Especially if you’re not a programmer, all serious projects should use a premium theme.
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT WORDPRESS THEME FOR MY WEBSITE?
To start, you need to know your needs and the type of website you want to build. Is it a portfolio site, a corporate site, an online magazine, a blog, an online store (e-commerce)?
You can directly visit the most popular premium theme sales sites:
- WP Zoom
We personally recommend Elegant Themes for their Premium Theme Divi All In One Theme which is the Most Popular WordPress Theme In The World And The Ultimate WordPress Page Builder.
WHAT SHOULD I BASE MY CHOICE ON WHEN SHOPPING FOR A THEME?
- The visuals should match the look I would like to give my project.
- the visual styles are neat and have a contemporary look
- the theme offers functionalities that meet the needs of my website (for example, it includes an online appointment scheduling tool)
- the number of downloads, ratings, and comments from users who use the theme can be good indicators of the quality of the theme
- compatibility with the most popular plugins (WooCommerce for e-commerce, WPML for a bilingual site, Elementor or Visual Composer as a site builder, GravityForms for contact forms)
Personally, I don’t really look at the price (I’d rather pay 60-70$ for a complete, reliable and robust theme than 25$ for a theme with less functionality and fewer possibilities).
“Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.”
Installing a WordPress theme can be done in two different ways:
- In your Content Management Console: Click on “Appearance -> Themes”, then click on the “Add” button at the top of the window. Then select the .zip file containing your theme folder.
- By FTP: Connect to your web hosting via FTP software such as FileZilla. Add the folder of your theme in the “wp-content -> themes” directory. Then activate it via your WordPress management console, in “Appearance -> Themes”.
note: When you upload a premium theme via ThemeForest or ElegantThemes or any other site, they will provide you with a .zip file containing several folders related to your theme such as source files, license files, etc. Be careful not to upload this same .zip file, but rather unzip it on your computer to get the folder specific to your theme containing only the theme files.
Chapter 7: Performing Basic WordPress Configurations
For the basic configuration of your WordPress site, we will use the “Settings” menu and its sub-menus “General, Writing, Reading, Discussion, Media, Permalinks… “.
GENERAL SETTINGS (“GENERAL” SUBMENU)
Here is a list of settings that I find relevant to modify:
Site Title: Can be similar to your domain name or descriptive of your niche.
Admin Email Address: The address at which you want to receive notification emails from WordPress (e.g., when an automatic update has been performed).
Membership: Give anyone the possibility to have an account subscribed to your WordPress site (for the vast majority of my sites, this option is unchecked)
new user default role: Related to the above, what level of permissions do you want to assign by default to people who subscribe to your site?
Site language: The default language of your content management platform and the language of your website.
Time zone: Choose the right time zone so that your articles are published at the desired time.
The only setting I find relevant to change here is the “Default post category” to select the default category of your articles when you create a draft or publish them. Note that you must first create new categories before you can choose it from this drop-down menu.
your homepage displays: A widely used option that allows us to determine which page or theme file will be set as default for the home page. If the “Last posts” option is checked, your site will use the “index.php” file of your activated theme. The option “A static page (choose below)” allows you to define a home page and a custom page for your blog based on a page created via the “Pages” menu.
Blog pages show at most: The number of articles that will be displayed by default in the pages of your blog before pagination appears.
Syndication feeds show the most recent: The number of articles that will be displayed in your RSS feed.
For each post in a feed, include: Still in the RSS feed, an option that allows you to display the full version of your articles or only the extract of them
Search engine visibility: Important option for search engine optimization. This one should be unchecked if you want your site to be indexable and visible to search engines.
All the options on this list are pretty self-explanatory. If you have any questions about them, feel free to add them in the comments module at the end of the article.
For each image size (thumbnail size->thumbnail, medium size->medium, large size->wide), you can specify a specific size. Note that premium themes usually automatically crop these image sizes.
Post name: Most frequently used option, as it is the most user-friendly option for search engines, social networks, and your users.
Day and name or Month and name: Use it if you have a magazine or online newspaper style website that publishes dozens of articles a day.
Chapter 8: Customizing a WordPress blog (logo, navigation, footer, sidebar)
ADDING A LOGO IN WORDPRESS
Although all WordPress themes are programmed differently, the way to add a custom logo is similar from one theme to another (please refer to your theme documentation).For some free themes, this modification is done via the “Appearance -> Customize” panel. Inside this panel, you will find a “Site Identity” link where you might find a link to add your logo.
MODIFYING THE NAVIGATION OF THE BLOG
Creating the navigation of your WordPress site is usually a two-step process when using a professional theme.
First, you must first choose the visual style you want. This feature is often available in the theme’s preferences editing section, under the “menu” or “header” tab.
Second, once you have chosen your navigation style, you must create it by navigating in your WordPress console under “Appearance -> Menu”.
Create a new menu by adding a custom name to it.
- Check the pages and page types you want to add to this one
- Click on “Add to menu”.
- Move the order of your links according to your preferences. You can even create submenus
- Tick the location where you want your navigation to appear (some themes offer several different locations such as primary navigation, mobile navigation, footer, etc.).
- Save your changes by clicking on “Save menu”.
CHANGING THE FOOTER
How easy it is to add and customize a footer to a WordPress site again depends on the programmer(s) who built the theme you are using. In most cases, adding content to the footer will be done through the “Appearance -> Widgets” menu. What is a widget, what is it for? It’s a block assigned to a specific region of your WordPress site in which you can drag and drop different types of content.
So most WordPress themes use widgets to control the content of the footer.
The themes also give you some control over the look of your footer. Navigate to the theme customization menu and find the “Footer” section. You should be able to choose the minimum number of content columns to display and possibly be able to change colors and typography.
ADDING A SIDEBAR
The same goes for adding a sidebar to your WordPress site. The content of this sidebar is controlled via the widget module (“Appearance -> Widgets ). You also have a section dedicated to modifying the visuals of the sidebar in your customization menu of the activated theme.
For this sidebar, it is not uncommon for us to want to display or hide it depending on the pages or types of pages on our site. For example, it can be useful to have a content area that takes the full width of our website frame rather than separating this area into 2 or 3 with the addition of one or two sidebars.
Chapter 9: Creating pages and adding content
Adding new pages in WordPress is easy. Adding content and getting the layout you want is a whole other matter, however. Because each WordPress theme is programmed and designed differently, there are many ways to achieve visually professional and attractive pages.
No matter what theme you have, the default WordPress text editor is always present and usable from site to site. In recent versions of WordPress, we’ve seen the new Gutenberg content editing tool appear.
Personally, I don’t like it at all and there are few people I know who like it. I find it very limited in its functionalities and therefore limiting when I want to achieve a precise result as a page visual. I even sometimes install the Disable Gutenberg extension which allows me to go back to the old WordPress text editing tool because I find it so much easier to use.
Note that I only use this old WordPress native content editing tool to create blog posts since their layout is usually pretty basic. If I need to create a more visually appealing content page, I usually use a more advanced content editing tool (see below).
CONTENT EDITING TOOLS SUCH AS “PAGE BUILDER” OR “SITE BUILDER”.
There are many professional extensions for more complex layouts that are provided free with the purchase of a premium theme or can be purchased separately if your current theme does not include such a tool.
Note that each of the site builder extensions presented in this list requires a certain learning curve before you feel really comfortable using them. Luckily, there are a lot of videos available on YouTube to continue our learning curve! And it’s worth it! Here are the most popular builder pages:
Divi WordPress site builder and WP Bakery Plugin
ElegantThemes is a company that designs premium themes. Among their themes, the most popular and powerful is called Divi. Divi is actually a theme that uses a powerful page builder. You can use DIVI to modify elements in real-time for a real web page.
The WP Bakery plugin (also called “Visual Composer”) is a very powerful extension that allows you to create all kinds of layouts and add a vast number of different types of content. This tool will enable you to have control over the design of your elements and their visuals.
There are a variety of other page builder plugins that are very powerful and popular in the community. Note that DIVI and Beaver Builder are the two most popular extensions among web developers and programmers.
Chapter 10: Adding, creating a blog
Here, the question may not be “how to create a blog”, but rather “how to add a blog to an existing WordPress installation”. For opening a blog, we always have these two possible
My blog will be part of my website. Implying that the blog will be installed in a specific section of a new or existing website (ex: wwww.mywebsite.com/blog/).
MAKE MY WORDPRESS SITE A BLOG (FROM THE HOME PAGE)
In your content management console, click on “Settings -> Reading”. The first parameter that you can change here is called “The home page displays… ». By choosing the option “The last posts”, you specify on your home page that it should display the last posts of your blog and thus become, in theory, the main page of your blog.
ADD A BLOG TO A SPECIFIC SECTION OF A WORDPRESS SITE
In the same initial step, click on “Settings -> Reading” and at the function “The home page displays . “choose “A static page” instead. You can select a specific page to use as the home page of your site and also the possibility to select a particular page to display your blog on. The pages displayed in the dropdown menu come from those that would have been previously created via the “Pages” module.
Note that by assigning a static page for the blog, this same page will no longer use the “page.php” file of the active theme, but rather your “index.php” page.
Treat your blog like a business
This is one of the more interesting pieces of advice, which are not often heard about.
You might think that this only applies if you are running a business, but that’s not true. On the contrary, you can use business principles just about anywhere in life, and achieve favorable results, including that of blogging.
What this means is that you should treat it in a manner that would be similar to the way a CEO would treat his company, or a hard-working employee would treat his job. This is the only way that one can truly make the most out of the opportunities that exist in the blogging world.
Get good at typing
To be good at blogging is to be good with words.
This here is a reference to your ability to type fast, accurately, and satisfactorily. To be more specific, you should be able to type content without actually looking at the keyboard, a skill is known as ‘touch-typing.’
As much as it may seem hard, it is rather easy once you get used to it.
Find the best way to put your ideas together
You may find that even though you have an idea in your head, it is rather hard to put it into words. This is an art form that you’ll need to learn, through which you’ll be able to convey the points that you are making effectively. While there is much that can be said, one of the most important things is that you should be able to put out your ideas in as few sentences as you possibly can. If you aren’t able to do this, you should either work on the concept or your presentation style.
Learn as much as you can about your niche
Although this point was mentioned earlier, it is very much necessary that it is elaborated.
Many bloggers think that reading a little bit about a subject makes them an expert at it. The truth is that it will only give you a ‘preface’ of sorts in dealing with the matter, rather than make you an ‘expert.’
If you want to get good at it, you’ll need to practice it repeatedly over an extended period. It’s the only way that you’ll be able to truly learn the skill of touch typing, or for that matter anything else in life.
Learn about various sources of monetization
It’s is very important if you are interested in making money from your blog. Too many people want to make money off of their blogs, but don’t know how to monetize it. Even if they have great content, they have a hard time figuring out a suitable way to get the income flowing.
The lack of information can be problematic if you would like to start monetizing your blog. While there is much that can be said, some of the tried and tested ones include, but are not limited to, ads, affiliate programs, your products, and services.
Learn about Search Engine Optimisation
SEO is an acronym for ‘Search Engine Optimization.’
The term is just a fancy way of saying that you’ll be making the site and its contents ‘indexable’ and ‘locatable’ by the various search engines of the world.
In other words, the process of search engine optimization will allow for the search engines to more readily locate your site, and provide it to people when they search for something related. It’s is also a subject unto itself, but you can benefit if you know a thing or two about ‘on-site’ and ‘off-site’ SEO. Then again, you might want to search for someone who can do the work for you.
Figure out web designing
It’s one of the most important, and indeed, core foundations of the blogging world. Unless you can handle the process of web designing, you will have a hard time setting up a blog, never mind running one. This, however, may not always be possible, given the nature of our busy lives. If in case you happen to be a little too busy to pay attention to this aspect of blogging, you can instead ‘outsource’ the work to a web designing company, who can take care of much or even all of the ‘back end’ stuff, giving you the freedom to focus on the core aspects of the blogging.
In addition to this, it is to be noted that even aspects such as content writing, content optimization, search engine optimization, placement of images, etc., can also be outsourced to an array of different service providers.
In all, blogging can prove to be both a fun and rewarding way of engaging yourself in. With the potential to reach the world, plenty of people to interact with, and fortunes to be made, blogging remains an excellent activity for one to get started with, and the above points can be considered as a great way to get a head start.