How To Start A Blog In 2020

I thought I would never have a website of my own.

The year was 1997, and I was spending hours every day learning how to code a webpage. Blogs did not exist and there was no simple solution. It was weeks of hard work but I bought this website and built the original from scratch.

Then I did it again, and again.

Fast forward to 2019 and someone can buy a computer, go online and have a great looking blog setup and ready to go within a matter of minutes.

If you are ready to step up to the plate and have a blog of your own, you are in the right place. I’ll take you by the hand and lead you, step-by-step through the process. By the time you are done (in as little as 30 minutes), you’ll have a blog of your own.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Step 1 – Select Your Niche
Step 2 – Set Up Your Hosting (10 – 20 Minutes)
Step 3 – Create Your Blog (5 – 10 Minutes)
Step 4 – Customize Your Blog (5 Minutes or Longer)
Step 5 – Add Content (Ongoing)

Step 1 – Select Your Niche

Choosing a niche for your new blog is the best of times and the worst of times.

In other words, it seems easy and carefree but it can drive you absolutely batty!

I don’t want to minimize the importance of choosing a niche. It is going to be what you write about and you have to be at least somewhat passionate about the subject.

That being said, it is sometimes best to take the following approach:

Ready… Fire… Aim…

Consider the following three questions when choosing a blog niche and you will find it is one of the easier decisions you have to make in life.

1. Do you have an interest in it?

You will have to have at least a passing interest in the niche that you choose. Keep in mind that you will have to write on that subject regularly if you want to have a successful blog.

Don’t think that you need to be an expert on the subject. As long as you know more than your readers and can provide them with quality, useful content, you are already halfway to the finish line.

In addition, it is possible to develop an interest in any subject. That interest will typically come as you research and write on the subject regularly. It will also show up when you start getting checks in the mail. (Do they still send checks in the mail?)

2. Is it broad enough? Is it narrow enough?

The last thing that you want to do is lock yourself into a very narrow niche. You might be able to write about it for a week or two but will you run out of subjects at that point?

You may be able to branch out into similar topics but is that really necessary? It’s better to choose a niche that is broad enough to write on regularly. It will keep you from struggling at the keyboard.

It is also important that you keep the niche narrow enough that you don’t go off on wild tangents. Many people want to blog on every subject that interests them. Just select a subject (maybe two) and stick with them until you are successful.

3. Does it have an audience?

Almost every subject has an audience. Admittedly, if you plan on blogging about your rubber band collection, you may struggle to get a large audience.

On the other hand, some bloggers are wildly popular with an extremely small audience.

It really depends on the niche.

Most evergreen subjects have an audience that is always available. They include subjects such as diet and weight loss, finance, beauty, relationships, and food. You could go extremely narrow in an evergreen niche and still have a large audience.

The bottom line is, choose a niche that is interesting enough to you and others to grow a successful blog. You don’t have to follow the leader, just make your choice and roll with it.

Step 2 – Set Up Your Hosting (10 – 20 Minutes)

This is where the fun begins. In this step, you take the leap from thinking about a blog to actually being a blogger!

The host I recommend is Blue HostOpens in a new tab.. They have a great starter package and can you get up and running with a free domain and rock-solid hosting for a few dollars per month. I am an affiliate for Blue Host, so I do make a commission if you order through my link, but they are the only host I recommend.

You will now have to head over to Blue HostOpens in a new tab. to order your hosting. Don’t worry, it’s super simple and I’ll walk you through the process here.

Click on the green ‘Get Started’ button and then choose your plan:

Not everybody is going to need the recommended ‘Choice Plus’ Plan. Some people who only plan on having one blog can go with the ‘Basic’ plan and do quite well.

I have multiple domains and needed the extra storage space so I always choose a higher option.

After choosing your plan, click on the ‘Select’ button and it will take you to the page where you choose your domain:

You get a free domain (first year) with Blue Host. That will save you around $12, depending on the name you choose.

Having problems picking your domain? No problem! You can still take advantage of their great price and choose your domain later.

Simply click on the link at the bottom of that page to continue and choose your domain later:

On the next page, you will create your account. Make sure you double-check your information

As you scroll down the page you will see some additional options:

You can change the package at this point if you like. It may be to your benefit to pay more per month and less upfront for a shorter term.

The SiteLock Security is NOT something you will need. There is no need to add any package extras at this point. You can add features if desired at a later time.

The next step is to fill out the financial info, agree to the terms of service and click on the ‘Submit’ button.

Congratulations, you are now officially a blogger!

Step 3 – Create Your Blog (5 Minutes)

Blue HostOpens in a new tab. (affiliate link) will walk you through the process of setting up your blog. They have automated the entire process.

Honestly, most of the blog creation process is technical and somewhat boring. It is also something you don’t have to understand at this point. Just be happy that Blue Host has simplified the process to a few point-and-click maneuvers.

At this point, I’m offering free help with creating your blog if you need it. After you set up your account with Blue Host, you can contact me for help using my contact formOpens in a new tab.. I’ll get back with you as soon as I can.

Step 4 – Customize Your Blog (5 Minutes or Longer)

One of the nice things about having a WordPress blog is that they are completely customizable. You can basically change anything to suit your needs. In most cases, there will even be an automated way to change it.

Here are some things that can change your blog drastically with minimum effort:

Plugins – The plugins for WordPress can do so many different things. Some make it much easier for you to work your blog and can add features that will make it more appealing for the reader.

It is also good to keep in mind that plugins can be rough on the resources. It’s good to use the plugins that you need but don’t let them bog your site down.

New Theme – There are so many different theme options, it is difficult to number them all. Each theme will drastically change the way that your blog looks.

The good news is, it isn’t going to change your content. It will simply make your comment fit into the new blog theme.

You can browse plenty of free blog themes and will likely find one that is right for you. You might also want to try some of the premium themes for more customization options and to make your blog more professional.

GenesisOpens in a new tab. – The Genesis framework is one of the most popular options for professional bloggers. I use Genesis on this website as well as on my other websites.

Once you have the Genesis framework set up you can add any one of their different themes to it. Even if you make some customizations, you don’t need to change it every time you upgrade the framework.

Thrive Themes Opens in a new tab.– These themes are very popular because they work well and they are very easy to set up on your blog. That being said, they are also not free.

Don’t think that you have to have a paid theme for your new blog. At first, you are going to be writing content without an audience.

In the next section, we will talk about the importance of adding content. You could always change the theme later, just make sure that you have content and an audience as soon as possible.

Step 5 – Add Content (Ongoing)

If you have been around for any length of time online, you have probably already heard that ‘Content is king’. I’ve been working full-time online since 1999 and I’ve heard it more times than I can count.

Just because it is cliché (and perhaps a little annoying) does not mean it is not true. Content actually is king and it is one of the most important things for you to consider if you plan on being a successful blogger.

The problem with starting a blog is that you are going to have a large audience at first. Some people compare it to writing to a ghost town.

I like to think of it as writing for people who would eventually come to your blog.

There are many things to consider when writing content for your blog. Keep the following things in mind as basic reminders.

Quality Matters – There are many reasons why it is important for you to provide quality content. Perhaps the most important is that your readers will appreciate it and read it. If your readers are sticking around, you will gain additional readers.

Put as much quality into the content as you can. Never sacrifice quality, but be reasonable. If you are taking hours to write a single blog post, you might want to rethink what you are doing. Some blog posts will take hours, but not all of them.

Don’t Forget the Search Engines – Search engine optimization is still alive and well. In fact, SEO is going to be around for a very long time.

When you write your content, write it for your readers. When planning your content, plan for the search engines.

Always check keywords and competition before you write any post. There is always going to be competition, but if you are going up against a long list of heavy hitters, government websites and authority websites, you may have a struggle.

It is better to write a post for an obscure keyword that gets very little traffic then to write a post for a top-level keyword that you have no chance of ranking four.

Put Your Head down and Go – Don’t overthink the content creation process. Start creating content and create it every day. It won’t be long before you are enjoying the fruits of your labors in ways you could have never dreamed possible.

Concluding Comments from the Peanut Gallery

I started providing content online back in 1996. Back then, I was getting traffic from search engines such as AltaVista, Web Crawler and Yahoo.

Google is the new sheriff in town and if you want to play, you have to play by their rules. Give them what they want in the form of good user experience and they will reward you with traffic beyond your wildest dreams.

Step outside of the lines and they can crush your dreams just as quickly.

I’ve seen it happen and it has happened to me.

Blogging is one of the most exciting opportunities to come our way in many years. The time is ripe for you to get started.

We will never go back to 1996 again but we can look forward to the future with hope, knowing that our blogs will be doing their job for many years to come.

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