Last updated on August 29th, 2018 at 08:22 am
Blogging for beginners is challenging. So many new bloggers struggle with starting a blog and then growing it. This guide will help you get started with blogging for beginners so you can make sure that you can get started the right way and follow the blog etiquette rules to help you grow.
While I would love to tell you that blogging is going to be easy. The truth is that blogging takes a lot of commitment. However, as long as you’re willing to keep going even when you’re not seeing the results, I have no doubt that you will success.
My First Blogging Experience
Before I can provide you with some tips that will help make your blogging journey a lot easier. I first need to take the time to tell you a little bit about me.
I never stuck with one method long enough to see success. Before you start blogging, there are things that you should be aware of.
My biggest piece of advice is don’t do what I did. Don’t start a niche just because of the money. If you’re not passionate about the niche it’s going to be hard to wake up in the morning and write content for your blog.
Next, don’t believe in any get rich schemes. There is no magic bullet to success. Yes some people reach success faster than others.
The truth is that it takes work to create a successful blog. If you still haven’t started a blog, head on over to my step-by-step tutorial that will show you how to get your first self-hosted WordPress up and running today.
Why Start A Blog?
If you’ve been wondering should I start a blog? What can blogging do for me? Maybe you’re ready to start a blog, but just need some encouragement to get it up and running.
Well, I can definitely tell you that a blog is a great way to share your thoughts, opinions and help others solve their problems.
Not only that, but as your blog starts gaining traction and getting visitors, you can then think about monetizing your blog. Heck you can even do what most people do and that’s start monetizing from day 1.
Just don’t expect to earn a lot of money. As your blog continues to grow in popularity eventually, you may be able to earn a side income from your job.
If you work hard enough, you can set your goals high like me. My goal is to have this job replace my WordPress freelancing business, so I can stop trading my hours for money.
Either way, the choice is yours. If you treat your blog like a business, you will be amazed at how much it can earn.
Blogging For Beginners What You Need to Know
Now that you know a little bit about me and what a blog can do for you with a lot of hard work. I wanted to create this ultimate guide “blogging for beginners” to help you understand what it really takes to get a blog started.
You might have heard so many people talk about hosting your own blog. Maybe you’ve even heard people talk about choosing the right themes and plugins.
Well, I wanted to write this post to help you understand everything you need to get started with blogging. We’re going to discuss hosting, themes, WordPress Plugins, courses and tools that you should consider when starting a blog.
Yes, it’s true that all you need to get started is a domain and hosting. But if you are serious about building a business and turning your passion into profits, it’s going to take so much more than hosting and a domain.
Don’t worry, it’s still cheaper than buying a franchise. But these are the expenses that I think every blogger should consider when getting started.
The Self-Hosted Route
I know that it’s scary to invest in something that has no guarantee. Who really wants to spend money on a self-hosted blog when they can start for free right?
Well the truth is that even if you start on a free platform, there’s a very good chance that you’ll have to migrate to a self-hosted platform later.
Many of the free platforms have to many rules and regulations that make it impossible to turn your blog into a business.
I’ve personally never used a free platform, so I can’t say from experience. However, I’ve read some horror stories online about how Google shut down a Blogger blog because they didn’t approve of the content.
As a blogger, you work hard to write content and promote your blog. The last thing you want to do is worry about someone shutting down your virtual property because they didn’t approve of what you did.
With a self-hosted blog, you can do whatever you want. If you want to cuss on your blog, hey go for it. Maybe you want to invest in a custom theme that no one else uses.
Plus web hosting is NOT as expensive as you think. Here’s a tip, when you find the right hosting service, pay for more than one year in advance. This will save you a lot of money on the front end and you won’t have to worry about upgrading any time soon.
This will give you enough time to focus on growing your blog. Eventually, when your blog reaches 25,000 page views you can focus on moving your blog to the best self hosted blogging platform that will allow you to grow to 100,000 page views or higher. (that’s what I am doing) I started with SiteGround.
Well guess what, it’s your blog and you can do whatever you want.
I’m just going to assume that you’re looking to turn your blog into a business that actually pays the bills over time.
This means that everything else in this post is going to be based on the assumption that you’re wanting to start on a self-hosted WordPress blog.
Let’s get started.
Getting a Domain
If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, then chances are you’ve had a domain in mind. If not then head on over to one of these domain name generators and start brainstorming some ideas.
Try to keep your domain short, sweet and memorable. It’s going to be challenging, especially since there are over a million blogs online and a lot of the good domains are taken.
When I first thought about starting a blog, I had no clue what I wanted to use as my domain. Then I just happened to see if my name was available and it was. So I paid for my domain for 7 years in advance.
Social Media Usernames
Do yourself a favor before you pay for your domain. Make sure that you take the time to see if the social media handles are available for your domain.
This was one of the biggest mistakes I made when I registered my domain name. I didn’t take the time to see if the social media usernames were available.
I just new that I wanted to blog under my real name. So I grabbed the domain and then I screwed up on the social media handles.
It was my first time using social media at all. If only I would’ve known that I could’ve still grabbed my social media handles with my name if I just got a little creative, I would’ve done that.
Now that I’ve been the username for all my social media accounts, I find it impossible to change it now. I guess I could if I really wanted to, but I just don’t have time for that.
Here’s a great article that will help you get creative when coming up with the right social media username for all your accounts.
Now that you’ve purchased your domain and have your social media usernames figured out. It’s time to pay for your hosting.
Finding the right hosting as a beginner is huge. You don’t want to waste your money buying hosting from a company that you find out you’re not happy with.
Then you end up having to figure out how to move your blog to a new hosting account.
All I can say is do your due diligence and make sure that you don’t overpay for hosting while you work on growing your blog.
The reason that I chose the plan that I chose was because I wanted something that would give me the opportunity to grow my blog, without breaking the bank.
I figured once my blog grew substantally I would be ready to move my blog to a different hosting account. Possibly something other than a shared hosting account.
Don’t spend a bunch of time choosing the right hosting. You won’t ever get your blog up and running if you spend too much time trying to find the cheapest hosting.
Plus remember that saying, you get what you pay for. Sometimes the cheapest isn’t always the best.
Here’s my affiliate link if you want to sign up with SiteGround.
Once you’ve paid for your hosting, it’s time to set up WordPress on your hosting account. I’ve written some great tutorials that will help you with the entire process and help you set up a blog.
WordPress related articles to help you install WordPress:
If you chose SiteGround to host your blog, I believe that they do offer a free WordPress installation. I’d recommend opening a support ticket with them to ask them if they can help you set up WordPress.
Once you get WordPress set up, well dig deeper into finding some beginner friendly themes.
Free Theme vs Premium Theme
I’m a huge fan of investing in everything that I need to help me become successful from the get go. Of course if you can’t afford it and you’re on a budget, you can choose a free theme.
I’ve never used a free theme, so I can’t recommend any. However, if you go to the WordPress Theme repository, you won’t have any issues finding hundreds of themes you can use for your blog.
Take the time to find the right one for your theme. Once you have the money to invest in your theme you can come back and read about the premium themes I recommend for new bloggers.
Investing in a premium theme can be scary. What type of theme should you get?
There are literally tons of different themes that you can use for your blog. I personally use and recommend the Genesis Framework.
You buy the Genesis Framework once and then you buy a child theme that will give you the look and feel of your blog. I do believe that there is a free Genesis Child theme that you can use.
The Genesis theme is awesome and comes with built is SEO, security and is updated on a regular basis. When you become a paying member, you won’t have to worry about paying for any of the updates.
You get them forever. Not only that, but they have a forum for their members that you can turn to if you need any help. I’ve also got some beginner friendly Genesis tutorials to help you out with the basics.
It’s really a great theme and there are tons of designers that offer amazing looking child themes that you can use for your blog, here’s a few of them:
They are amazing and I have no doubt that you will regret getting the Genesis Framework.
One of the awesome features of WordPress is the ability of being able to add plugins to help you add functionality to your blog.
Working with WordPress plugins can be kind of confusing at first, but once you get the hang of them, you’re going to love them. I’ve written a few articles to help you get familiar with working with WordPress Plugins.
Related articles to WordPress Plugins
- What is A WordPress Plugin Complete Beginners Guide
- 7 of My Favorite WordPress Plugins
- 7 Free Plugins That Will Help You
At first, you’re probably going to be tempted to install a ton of plugins on your blog. That’s what most new bloggers do, yes I did it as well.
Don’t do that. Only install plugins that will help you accomplish something that you need to do. If you test out a plugin and decide that you don’t need it anymore, get rid of it.
I know that WordPress can be confusing, that’s why I’ve created a blogging made easy with WordPress resource page. You’ll find several WordPress tutorials that will help you any time you need help with the basics.
One of the biggest mistakes that new bloggers make is that they don’t think about backups until it’s too late. When I first started using WordPress I had no clue what a backup was.
I installed a new plugin on my site and the site crashed. All I saw was a white screen. If only someone would’ve told me that I needed to backup my site.
But no one did and I lost my entire site in a flash. If you are not backing up your site on a daily basis, then you better hope that your hosting company has your back.
Better yet, don’t rely on your hosting account to do your backups. Start creating your own backups for yourself that way you can sleep better at night knowing that your online business is protected.
Congratulations, you’re now officially a blogger. You can start sitting down and creating content for your blog and sharing your unique experience with the world. I’ve even got some tutorials for you that will help you start getting familiar with WordPress.
It took me over 8 hours to set up my first WordPress site. Plus I made a ton more mistakes because I had no one to turn to for WordPress help.
Trust me as you continue logging into your blog and working it, you’ll start to learn the ins and outs of WordPress.
If you’re a little confused right now and don’t know how to navigate it. Don’t worry, we all started like that. Starting a blog from scratch is a lot of work. The most important thing is to start writing blog posts that helps your audience.
You’ll figure everything out about blogging as you get in the trenches and just start. We all learn from trial and error and for some of us it takes longer than others.
Other Blogging Costs
As I mentioned, most bloggers stop with the cost of the domain and one year of hosting. They refuse to invest in their business further because they tell themselves that they will invest in their business when it makes money.
How do I know this?
Because I’ve done it. When I started my first blog, I didn’t want to pay for anything else. I kept telling myself that when my blog made money, I would invest in it.
That’s the wrong mentality to have. While it’s true that you can figure things out on your own, if you have more time than money,
But if you’re serious about taking your blog from passion to business as quickly as possible then I am going to make some suggestions below that will help you do this.
I’ve personally paid or am continuing to pay for all these tools that I mention below. These tools have helped me treat my blog like a business and without them, I don’t know if I would be as far along today as I am.
No you don’t have to invest in anything other than a domain and hosting. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time reading free information and taking the longer path to success.
I’m a huge fan of investing in your online business. After all, if you want it to create an income, you need to start treating it like a business from day one.
Elite Blog Academy
As I mentioned, I’ve failed in so many online ventures in the past, when I started this blog, I didn’t want to fail again. That’s why I invested in a blogger course before getting too far in.
I don’t have an issue with the motivation to work hard to reach my goals. My biggest hurdle was how was I going to actually make money with my blog?
As someone who comes from an employee background, I had never been an entrepreneur. So I had no cluc how to monetize my blog or what steps to take to turn it into a business.
I knew this time around I had to succeed, failure was not an option. So when I started this blog, I paid for the Elite Blog Academy.
It’s truly been a life changer for me and I know what and how I will turn my blog into a business.
It is an expensive course, but if you’re a true beginner who has no idea how to grow a successful blog. This course will give you everything you need.
Just don’t expect to learn any of the techie stuff about blogging. You’ll have to do that on your own.
But don’t worry, I have you covered with the basics. The cool thing is that you don’t need to know everything to get started blogging.
LongTailPro Keyword Research Tool
I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t focus 100% on SEO. I’ve done that in the past before and it’s just not cool to see all your hard work go down the drain when Google makes an algorithm update.
The difference between this blog and some of my past blogs is that I focus on high quality content. Instead of just writing content for the sake of writing, I am actually taking the time to provide you the best quality that I know how. (that’s all I can do)
The LongTailPro keyword tool helps me uncover low competition keywords that I will be able to rank for over time.
When you start a brand new blog, it’s impossible to rank for those high search keywords. For instance let’s say you have a blog on mountain bikes.
There’s just no way that your new blog will ever rank for the search term “mountain bikes.” There’s just too much competition.
Instead you want to focus on finding those low hanging keywords that you actually have a chance to rank for. I’ve actually written a step-by-step tutorial that walks you through the entire process of how I use this keyword tool to help me find the right keywords.
You’ve heard the saying that money is in the list. While I tend to believe that the money is only in the list if your audience trusts you.
I do believe that the people on your list are the ones that really like what you do. These people sign up to your list because they need your help.
As long as you can help them solve their problems, they will be the ones who buy your products and services.
Heck you can even sign up for a free one like MailerLite.
Whatever you do, you want to start building your email list from day one.
The Importance of An Email List
I know what you’re thinking, why should I build an email list when I don’t really know how to blog or drive traffic to it?
Well that’s what I used to think. The truth is that if you’ve already started a blog, you can share your experiences and strategies with your email list.
Taht’s what I do. I figure why not take my email list along for the ride with me. They know that I am not a marketing genius.
I’m a regular person like them who is just sharing her strategies with them. I don’t have a product right not to sell or offer them, other than my Kindle eBooks.
But once I figure out this Pinterest stuff that I’ve been experimenenting with, you can bet that I’ll probably package it up. Guess who will be the first to buy?
My email list because I’ve been sharing valuable information with them, chances are they will want to purchase my product when I do create it.
So the sooner you start building your email list and helping them out, you will gain trust with them. Some of them will buy your products and some won’t.
That’s okay, you’re only focused on taking the ones that invest in you to the next level with you. The subscribers who don’t buy your courses will still be helped.
But your VIP subscribers who invest in you will be given the gold 🙂
After all, you can only truly help the people who are willing to help themselves.
One of the biggest mistakes that I made my first year of blogging is that I relied too much on automation. Fo instance, I signed up with Tailwind and scheduled pins and let it roll. I would only log into my Pinterest account when it was time to fill up my calendar.
This was a huge mistake!
While I do believe that automation is important, especially when you don’t have enough money to outsource yet. It helps you get those tasks done so you can focus on other important tasks.
However, you don’t want to rely 100% on the automation to do everything for you. So here are the two automation tools that I use in my business.
Pinterest Automation Tools
I am a huge fan of both Tailwind and Board Booster to help me with my pinning. I just don’t have time to sit down and manually pin all my pins for the day.
So I am still using both of these tools. The difference is that this year, I am actually taking the time to learn the ins and outs of Pinterest.
Since I wasn’t seeing any improvements in my Pinterest traffic, I decided it was time to take action. I’ve started manually pinning pins on a daily basis.
Related Articles to Pinterest:
In that article you’ll find out what I’m doing to try to improve my Pinterest strategy. Be sure and come back soon as I am going to be publishing an update on the results I am getting with my case study.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using an automated tool. Just don’t blindly rely on it to do everything for you.
You’re a business person and you’re going to have to learn how to properly promote your blog and what’s working and what isn’t if you want to grow.
Creating A Business Account With Pinterest
As a new blogger you’re going to want to create a business account on Pinterest. A business account will allow you to keep track of your Pinterest Analytics and enable rich pins.
This is a must, because you’re going to want to see which pins are popular so you can work those pins. You’ll also want to enable rich pins on your account.
It may sound a little confusing but here’s a video I created that will help you verify your WordPress blog on Pinterest.
Twitter Automation Tool
To tell you the truth, I don’t really focus a lot on Twitter. So I don’t really know that much about it. If you want to learn about Twitter, I recommend stopping by Lisa’s Thrive to Inspire blog.
She shares a lot of great tips about Twitter and you’ll learn a lot.
Twitter isn’t my biggest traffic referral, but I don’t want to completely ignore it. Smarter Queue helps me share my content as well as other people’s content.
I figure once I figure out Pinterest then I will move on to another social platform. You can sign up for Smarter Queue Here.
You’re A Business Owner
I know that you want to do everything for free. After all, we’re always told that you can start a blog for free. Yes, you can start for free, but that doesn’t mean that you should.
If you’re starting a blog with the hopes of it earning money. Then you need to start treating it like a business from day one. Unfortunately, there is no blogger step-by-step tutorial that will take you from hobby to successful blogger.
You’ll have to figure everything out on your own or invest in a coach. Just remember that your success won’t happen overnight and you can’t do everything for free, no matter what anyone tells you.
Businesses cost money to run. I’ve never heard of a business that you can start for free and actually make a profit.
The cool thing is that it doesn’t take a lot of money to run a blogging business. As long as you invest in the right tools that will help you grow and learn the fastest, you’ll be golden.
Final Take Away
It doesn’t matter which tools and resources you invest in when you’re getting started with your blog. If you don’t actually put in the work to grow your blog, you’ll never see the results you want.
Blogging is hard work and is going to require a lot of consistent daily action before you start to see results. There are going to be days when you don’t feel like doing something.
As long as you know why you started your blog, it will keep you going. Just remember eventually, your hard work will start to pay off.
Hand Picked Articles for You
- No Time for Blogging 30 Minute Tasks That Will Grow Your Blog
- 59 Blogging Ideas for Beginners to Help You Make Money
- How to Blog Effectively When You’re Feeling Stuck
Blogging for beginners is hard. Most of us start a blog thinking we will make money within a couple months.
But when the reality sinks in you realize how much hard work goes into growing a blog. It’s easy to get discouraged.
Whatever you do, just keep blogging and working towards your goals. The only way that you will fail to reach your goals is if you stop.
All new bloggers go through the same ups and downs. The only ones that succeed are the ones that are able to push through those hard times and figure things out on their own.
They are no different than you and I. They are just stubborn and refuse to quit.
When you started your blogging journey, did you invest in your blog like a business? Or did you try to do everything for free?
What would you do differently if you were starting from scratch?
Recommended Blogging Resources:
- Free 12 Day Blogging Bootcamp
- Article about using Yoast SEO for optimizing your blog posts and how to do it.
- SEMRush Free Trial to Gather Low Competitive Keywords
- Quiz: Which theme is best for your blog?
- If you want to build an email list and send newsletters, I recommend ConvertKit (starts at $29)