How To Start A Successful Blog From Scratch in 2020 – [A Simplified Guide for Beginners]

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Want to know how to start a blog in 2020?

You’ve come to the right place.

First of all, hearty congratulation to you for taking this life-changing decision.

Yes, if you start your blog in the right way and give your best then it’ll completely change your life (You’ll soon discover in this post)

Being went through the same situation 6 years back, I can understand that starting a blog can be a terrifying thought specially when you are not geeky.

But believe me my friend, I will make the complete process of creating a blog as easy as drinking a cup of coffee in a coffee shop.

I have created this beginner-friendly step by step guide which will show you how to create a blog that has a strong foundation to get success in 2020.

 How to start a successful blog

As far as technical knowledge is concerned, I am promising you that whether you are 15 years old or 55 years old, you can create your own blog in less than 25 minutes.


But first, why listen to me if you want to learn how to start a successful blog?

Shivam choudhary bloggingnova

Hi, I’m Shivam Choudhary, An aspiring chartered accountant student, A passionate blogger and Founder of Bloggingnova.

I launched my first blog way back in 2013.

And I am not ashamed to admit that when I was first learning how to make a blog I made a ton of mistakes.

But over the 6-7 years, I have learned a lot and eventually grow more than 3 blogs to over hundred thousand visitors each month.

Today, I want to show you how to work toward similar results, and how to replicate the same strategies and tactics when creating your own blog.


How Starting a Blog Can Change your Life?

Talking about my experience in the blogging field in last 6 years, I will not say it has completely changed my life but yes it has made me evolve in a way that I never imagined.

I started blogging in 2013 just for the fun (at that time I was in 7th class) but with the time I started enjoyed blogging and over the time it became my passion.

When I started blogging I was a pathetic writer, I used to take the help of Google translate to make sentences in English.

I know you are laughing, but yes I was very poor in writing at that point of time

But over the time Blogging has improved my writing a lot (You can judge me better)

Blogging has helped me to build an amazing audience base.

And believe me, being able to inspire an audience through writing is a very satisfying feeling.

It makes you want to do it all the more. And when people respond to you in positive ways you generate a portion to influence over them.

Blogging mail

And last but not least It has helped me to earn money at such a young age.

This is something where most of the people are interested in and there is nothing wrong with that.

Because at the end money matters, and if you are putting your so much effort into something then it is obvious that you’ll expect something in return.

So as far as money is concerned, from my experience, I can say blogging is one of the most profitable online business with very low cost, if you do it in the right way.

Don’t believe my words?

Have a look at my Shareasale account (Affiliate program) earning of last month

Shareasale earning

Google AdSense earning from one of my blog.

Adsense earning

Screenshot of my Amazon affiliate account.

Amazon affiliate income from blogging

But do you know this is nothing in comparison of top bloggers earning as they are making millions of dollars every month.

Bloggers income report

So, here the bottom line is Blogging creates endless opportunities for you, whether it be in the form of financial gain, fame & recognition or self-growth.

But don’t misjudge it with a get quick rich scheme, It will not make you a millionaire overnight. But if you are ready to put your hard work and perseverance then starting a blog in 2020 can be a life-changing decision for you.


How to start a blog in 2020 in Just 6 Steps

Here is an overview of things we are going to cover in this guide:

CHAPTER – 1

Pick the Right Blog Topic that Guarantees Your Blog success

The first and most important decision to make when starting a blog is which niche/category you are going to write about.

Already selected your blog niche?

Just click here to skip to the next step.

But if you have still no idea about what your blog is going to be about then let me help you.

Choose a blogging niche

According to a recent survey, Most of the bloggers quit blogging in the first 6 months of their blogging journey.

Do you know why?

Because they don’t choose the right niche.

Most of the bloggers either start writing about random stuff or they choose a topic just because others are making huge money in that niche/topic.

So, before starting your blog you have to make sure that you don’t make any of these two mistakes.

Now you must want to ask “ Shivam, how can I choose a winning blog topic?

Well, that’s a legit question.

So, here is exactly what you need to do to find a blogging niche that will guarantee your success.

Take a pen and paper and note down a list of topics that interest you.

These could be your hobbies(Like – Gaming, Bike riding), your professional skill ( Like – Accounting, coding), topics you suspect are highly profitable ( Like – Finance, Fashion), or something random you read somewhere on the internet (Like – Aliens, Cars).

Once you have a list of some topics, Finally it’s time to evaluate which is your winning blog topic:

Choose a winning blogging niche

To evaluate the ideas here are 3 main questions that you need to ask from yourself and if your answer is “yes“, then congratulations that’s your winning blog topic.


1.Can you write at least 50 articles about that topic without getting bored?

I am not telling you that you need to write 50 articles about your topic in a single day.

But here I mean to say that whether you have enough knowledge about your topic or not?

See, there are many things that I like doing in my day to day life but when it comes to writing about them, I can’t write even 10 articles about that topic.

For example, I am a big coffee lover but that doesn’t mean I can write about coffee on my blog and educate others about the coffee.

But when it comes to marketing, Blogging, Technology, I can write more than 1000 articles about them.

In fact, I have already written more 700-800 articles about these topics in the past 6 years on different blogs.

So, this is why it’s important to pick a topic that matches your both interest and knowledge.


2. Are other people interested in your topic, too?

I personally believe that in today’s era, there is enough audience about every topic on the internet.

But still, it’s important to check if other peoples are also interested in your topic or not.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to read people’s minds to know their interests.

There are few things that can easily tell you whether there is enough audience interested in your topic or not.

Forst of all, go on Google and try to check if there are at least 10-15 other blogs already available in that niche or not.

For this, you can do a quick search for “Best blog about + Your niche” on Google.

Blog topic.

If there are already few blogs with good traffic in your niche then it is obvious there are good amount of people who are also interested in your topic.

One other thing you can do is go on on social media platform like (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and check if there are at least 10-15 social media account about your topic with more than 10k followers.


3. Is your topic has revenue potential?

Let’s say I started a blog about “Aliens” as this topic is something about which everyone is fascinated.

So, if I write few viral articles about Aliens then I am sure I’ll be able to drive good traffic(peoples) to my blog.

Now let’s talk about making money from this blog:

So, here I’ll have the option to put display advertisements (a monetization model, I’ll discuss later) on my blog and when people will see or click those advertisements I’ll simply make money from that.

Great but what next…

Is it possible to create a course or digital product on this topic?

Do you think if I create a course on “how to find aliens” then people would buy it?

I don’t think so.

So, this topic is something where monetization possibility is very limited.

Let’s take an another example…

If you’ll do some research then you’ll find there are millions of people search for “Wishes, Quotes & SMS”

Keyword research

So, these topics are something which has a high possibility to get huge traffic.

But do you think with these kinds of websites, you’ll have different options to monetize your blog.

No, most probably you’ll be limited to Display advertising and sponsorship.

So, it’s better to choose a topic which has different monetization option available.

But how?

  • Just go on other existing blogs in your niche and check how they have monetized their site.
  • Go on an affiliate network like Shareasale and check if there are at least a few affiliate products to promote on your blog.
  • Think if you can make an online course related to your topic in the future or not.

You don’t need to use all these monetization models on your blog from Day 1. But it’s safe to get to know in the advance about revenue potential from your blog.

If you are still confused, here are some topics that are very popular and makes most of the money.

  • Marketing
  • Music
  • Personal Finance
  • Make money online
  • Travel
  • Lifestyle
  • Beauty
  • Sports
  • Food
  • Health and Fitness
  • Technology
  • Wedding
  • Business
  • Career

So as long as your blog is about these topics, I am assuring you that if you will work smartly then there’ll be plenty of ways to make money from your blog.

But please make sure that you have enough knowledge and interest in your topic to maintain a consistent writing schedule and push through the hard times

💡 Editor’s Tip: At this stage in your mission to figure out what to blog about, you should pick 2-5 topics that excite you the most, and then further narrow it down to just one based on your knowledge and revenue potential.

Helpful resource – How to choose a good niche for your blog?

Once you have picked your topic, let’s move on to the next step.

CHAPTER – 2

Register your Domain name

Now that you have decided the niche of your blog. it’s time to start digging into the technical details of how to start a blog, starting with:

Your blog name or in technical term it is called the “domain name.”

In this chapter, we will learn what makes a good domain name and how we can register our domain name in just a minute.

Domain name

What is a domain name?

A domain name is the web address of your site. Your users type it into their browser to get to your blog. It consists of two main parts: your unique domain identifier, and a domain extension.

For Example – In my case, Bloggingnova is the identifier and .com is the extension. So my complete domain name is – www.nerdblogging.com (If you type this in your browser you’ll directly land to my blog.)


What makes a good domain name?

See, a good domain name should be descriptive so that your potential readers can instantly guess what your blog is about just from your blog name.

For Example – If I tell you the name of my blog “Bloggingnova.”

No matter if you have ever visited my blog or not, you can immediately guess that my blog must be related to Blogging from my name.

Similarly, if I tell you the name of a very famous blog “Techradar“, You can immediately guess that this blog is about Technology just from the name.

It’s not necessary that you need to include the exact word in your blog name.

For example – A Finance blog doesn’t necessarily have to have the word “Finance” in it.

The synonyms words “Investment”, “money”, “dollar”, “penny”, “cents”, “Budget”, “rich” and “wealth” would also let people know that your blog is about finance.


2-Step Formula to come up with a good blog name

Here is my simple formula to come up with a good blog name.

A niche relevant word + a Miscellaneous word.

The niche relevant word has to be something related to your niche. For example, If you are starting a photography blog then you may use “Lens”, “Photo” or “Pixel” words in your blog name.

And the second miscellaneous word will be something cool and catchy that blend well with your first blog name.

For example “Android authority” (A very popular blog about android OS)

Here the first word “Android” is a niche relevant word and “authority” is a miscellaneous word that blends well with the android.

Here is what you need to do?

Take a pen and paper and write down at least 5-10 synonyms of your niche relevant word.

For example – If I have to start a finance blog I can write – Finance, Investment, Money, Dollar, Penny, Budget, Saving, cash, cent, bucks, and wealth.

Editor’s note: Just Google “Your Niche + Synonyms” to find hundreds of words related to your niche.

Once you have a list of your niche related words, Let’s go through this list of my favorite misscalenous words which are very catchy and cool.

HousewizardNerdCentral
PointHomePlaceSite
SpotBayRadarweb
netVibecaveBase
CrunchheavenPortalSmart
pioneerExpertAuthorityWorld
AdvisorCampnetworkstreet
MonkGuruMonkeyMaster
PassionJoyLifeGeek
ClubThriveWireSprout
PursuitsPlanetQuickSmart
TechnoSimplyInsiderUrban

Now try to match your first niche relevant keyword with these cool words and in just a few minutes you will have your blog name.

For Example, If I have to start a finance blog then some cool blog names would be

  • Dollar + Connexion = Dollar connexion
  • Wallet + Insider = Wallet Insider
  • Penny + Sprout = Penny sprout
  • Money + Vibe = Money Vibe
  • Frugal + Expert = Frugal Expert

If you are still not able to find a good name for your blog or maybe if all the name coming into your mind is already registered then you can use a domain name generator.


Use a domain name Generator

A domain name generator basically gives you a list of relevant domain names that are guaranteed to be available.

Here are 3 popular domain name generator:

For example, Go to Shopify Business Name Generator and enter your main niche relevant word:

Shopify domain generator tool

Now the tool will itself give you hundreds of relevant domain name ideas.

shopify domain name generator

Helpful resource – 5 Clever Ways to Come Up With a Creative Blog Name

Once you have finalized your domain name finally it’s time to register it with a domain registrar.

Editor’s Note:

It’s not necessary to register your domain name from a separate domain registrar. You can also register your domain name from your hosting provider (We are going to talk about it in the next section) and you can skip this section.

But as far as I have observed hosting provider generally charges $1-5 more bucks than the separate domain registrar. So if you are ok with paying a few more bucks then skip this section otherwise follow the step by step process to register your domain name from a separate domain registrar.


How to purchase your chosen domain name

Once you find a domain name that you like and is available, it’s time to register it.

Here are the three most popular domain registrar on the internet:

I personally prefer to register all my domain names with Namecheap because I had pretty good experience with them in the past, but you can register your domain with any of them.

Here is how you can register your domain with Namecheap:

Step 1: Go to Namecheap.

Step 2: Enter your chosen name in the search box.

Namecheap domain

Step 3: Click the cart button to add it to your cart.

domain name

Step 4: Click View Cart to access your cart.

Step 5: Click Confirm Order and complete the checkout process.

buy domain name

Once you complete your payment process, you now officially own your domain name and now you need a web hosting to set up your blog.

CHAPTER – 3

Get a Performance centric web hosting for your blog (Most important)

Whereas a domain name is the permanent address of your site, your web-hosting is what actually powers your blog.

Every site needs a web hosting provider. This is the company that stores your site on their server and makes it available when someone visits your site.

In this chapter, we will find out how to find a performance-centric hosting and how to purchase web hosting.

Find web hosting

The reason why I am repeating the word “Performance- centric” is because your website performance is largely dependent upon your web-hosting.

if you choose a low performing hosting then your site will load very slow. And always remember that Site speed is a ranking factor for Google. So, if your site is loading slow then Google will not rank your site higher in the search result.

Just like speed your blog security also depends on your web-hosting. If your web hosting is not good then hackers can easily upload malware on your blog and hack your site.

Now as far as I have experienced, Beginners don’t have usually much idea about web-hosting in starting and they often try to go for the lowest possible priced hosting.

In fact, let me tell you a short story about my hosting experience.

4-5 years back when I was planning to create my first blog, I was trying to find a very cheap host that I can get at the lowest possible price.

After going through the different web host pricing page, I finally found a host named “Hostgator.”

At that point of time, their shared hosting plan was starting from something around $1.75-$2.

I read few reviews about them on the internet and every review was saying that HostGator is amazing, Hostgator is very reliable and other good stuff.

So, I Just bought my first hosting from Hostgator and set up my site.

But guess what…

My site got hacked just after 3 months of starting my blog.

I was shocked as this was my first experience, I didn’t knew what to do in this type of situation.

But then someone suggested me to contact my hosting provider.

I contacted them and their support team asked me to pay something around $75 for giving the backup of my site.

As I had no option other than paying them the amount, so I paid them and got my backup and restored my site.

My site was again live…

That’s great…

But guess what…

Just after 15 days, my site got hacked again…

I can’t explain to you how frustrated I was at that moment.

I had to again get my backup from them after paying the additional amount.

But just after few days, I got to know that they place malware code on users’ sites.

So, Finally I decided to transfer my website to another host…

That’s why I always tell my readers to never ever go for a hosting just because they are priced very low.

Plus one more thing don’t trust a hosting just because they have 5-star ratings review on the internet.

Most of the websites who are reviewing Web-hosting are lying to you just because they will make commission once you buy those hostings.

For example, If you read most of the “how to make a blog” guide on the internet, most probably they will recommend you to host your site with Bluehost.

But don’t trust them, Bluehost is again a very low performing EIG hosting company which have the lowest customer satisfaction rate.

Don’t believe my words, Just go on a platform like “Trustpilot” “host advice” and check what real users who have actually used the host are telling about the hosting providers.

For example, check these reviews by real users:

Bluehsot experiences
Bluehsot experiences

But if you go on a website that reviews hosting, then they will say Bluehost is great, but the real user’s stories are not the same.

I know being a beginner who is just planning to put his foot into the blogging industry, these things might tense you.

But my friend one day or another, you have to face these things,

So, it’s better to be aware from day 1.

Now you must be wondering which host should I choose?

Well, I have personally used more than 8 hosting providers in my life, in fact currently using 3 different hosts for my sites.

But I will always recommend you to host your site with “Siteground.

Why?

Because they have the highest customer satisfaction ratio.

Recently I analyzed more than thousands real user’s experience with their host and Siteground had the highest customer satisfaction rate.

You can check more about it in my best WordPress hosting 2020 guide.

In fact, I will say, you don’t need to trust me. Just go on any platform where real users share their experience and check Siteground in comparison with other top hosting providers.

You will itself get the reality.

Siteground facebook reviews
Facebook group web hosting results
Siteground review

The blog you are currently reading is also hosted on Siteground:

Siteground websites

How to purchase hosting From Siteground?

Step 1: Click here to activate a special discount for Siteground first time customers.

Step 2: Once you’ll click on that the link, you’ll be redirected to Siteground website where you have to choose a hosting plan.

Siteground plans

I am personally using their Gogeek plan for my blog but as you are just starting out, so I will recommend you to start with Siteground Startup plan.

Step 3: Once you click on Get Plan you’ll be redirected to a new page where you have to enter your domain name.

Siteground domain name

As I mentioned above, you can also register your domain name with your hosting provider. But if you have already purchased your domain name from some other place then just choose I already have a Domain and enter your domain name and finally click on Proceed.

Step 4: On the final screen, you’ll have to complete three sections:

Siteground details
  1. Account Information (your email address and password)
  2. Client Information (your name, country, and phone number)
  3. Payment Information (Visa, Mastercard, and Discover are accepted)

Step 5: Once you fill all the details finally click on Pay now.

Siteground payment

And that’s it! You just purchased your hosting.

CHAPTER – 4

Install WordPress On your Hosting in 1 click

Once you have got your website hosting, now it’s time to install WordPress on your host to make your blog live on the internet.

Thankfully, with their new dashboard, SiteGround makes this ridiculously easy to install WordPress CMS.

So, let’s find out how to install WordPress on your hosting account.

Wordpress

Step 1: Log into your site ground account:

Once you successfully purchased your hosting, you have to click “Proceed to customer Area” to login to your Siteground account.

Siteground customer area

Alternatively, you can also check your email for the login details.

Step 2: Once you are in your Siteground dashboard, you will see a big orange color button “Setup Site” at the top. Just click on that button to start setting up your WordPress site.

siteground setup new site

Step 3: Now click the “Select” button appearing near the start new website option.

Siteground wordpress installation

Step 4: Now you have to choose the application, so here you need to select “WordPress.”

siteground wordpress install

Step 5: Now you need to set an email id and password for your WordPress account.

Sitteground

Editor’s note: Please make sure to note your login details on a paper because you will need it later to log in to your WordPress dashboard.

As soon as you will enter your email id and password and click “Continue”, most probably you will receive a message something like this on the next screen.

Siteground wordpress installed

This means your blog will be successfully installed in just 1-2 minutes automatically.

Congrats you have successfully installed WordPress.


Now, If you have purchased your domain and hosting both from Siteground, then you can instantly access your WordPress dashboard by entering “www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin” in your browser search bar.

But in case if you have purchased your domain from other domain registrars like Namecheap or Godaddy then you need to complete an additional step to make your blog live.

Don’t worry it’s a very easy step. Basically, now we are going to connect our domain with hosting by updating the nameserver.

let’s find out how.


How to Point Your Domain Name to Your Web Host

Step 1: Go to the website section and click on manage.

Siteground manage account

Step 2: Now you have to click on 3 dot vertical icon and select server details.

Siteground server details

Step 3: Now you have to copy the NS1 and NS2 code and paste it somewhere in your note.

Make sure to copy-paste both the nameserver code separately, so that you can easily differentiate between both.

Siteground nameserver

Step 4: Now login to your Namecheap account dashboard. (Use your Namecheap account details you set while registering your domain)

Namecheap account

Step 5: Now go to the domain list section and click on the Manage option appearing after your domain name.

Namecheap

Step 6: By default, the nameservers on your domain will be set to Namecheap’s BasicDNS which you will need to change.

Under the “Domain” tab select “Custom DNS” from the dropdown in the nameservers section.

Namecheap nameserver details

Step 7: Now clear the existing name server if any appearing. And then finally enter your both the name server you copied earlier from your Siteground dashboard (NS1 first and then NS2).

Namecheap nameserver

And at last click the green check mark when finished.

That’s it you have successfully pointed your domain name to your hosting service.

Note: Now you have to wait for at least 30-60 minutes before accessing your WordPress dashboard. Because it takes a few minutes for the nameservers to propagate everywhere.

If you are still having any problem in changing nameserver then you can read this guide by namecheap.

Once the 30-60 minute time period is passed finally it’s time for you to log in to your WordPress dashboard and see your live blog for the first time.


How to Log Into the WordPress Dashboard-

There are many ways to log in to your WordPress dashboard, but the simplest one is to search for “www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin” into your browser.

You’ll be taken to your WordPress login page where you need to enter your WordPress account email ID and password. (Email id and password should be the same as entered in step 5 of chapter 4)

Wordpress dashboard

Editor’s note: If your login page is not appearing and showing any error then it means your nameserver is still not updated. So, wait for few more minutes and then login again.

Once you are logged in, you should see your wordpress dashboard something like this:

Wordpress dashboard

Here is the quick overview of some important areas of your WordPress dashboard:

  • – This is the area from where you can actually make a new post or manage your old post.
  • – This area will let you create pages for your site. (Like About us page, contact us page, etc.)
  • – This is where you can control the appearance of your site. (Like theme, menus, and widget)
  • – This is where you can add or remove a new plugin on your site (You will soon discover about this in this how to start a blog guide)
  • 5 – This is where you can change settings of your blog. (We will also discuss about this later in this post)

CHAPTER – 5

Give a new design to your blog by changing your default WordPress Theme

Now that you have setup your blog, the next step is to design your blog.

After the installation of wordpress, you must have noticed that your blog looks very basic.

To make it more visually appealing, you’ll have to change your default wordpress theme.

In this chapter, we will discuss how to find a good theme and install on your blog.

Blog theme design

Even if you don’t care about your blog design, Your readers do.

A well-designed blog build trust in their audience. It tells people that you care enough about your blog to make it look nice.

However, it doesn’t mean you need to add crazy animation and lots of colors on your site.

With WordPress, your theme is what decides how your blog will look.

When you create a new WordPress site, a default theme will be installed on your site. 

Although there is nothing wrong with the default WordPress theme, but if you really care about your blog look and feel then you should definitely change the default them.

When it comes to using a theme there are literally thousands of Free theme to choose from.

Here is how you can access those free theme:

Go to your WordPress dashboard and click on Appearance » Themes.

Wordpress dashboard appearance theme

Go ahead and click on the Add New button.

On the next screen, you will able to search from 7,400+ free WordPress themes that are available for free to use.

Wordpress theme section

But wait, before you choose a free random theme for your new WordPress site, let me give you few suggestions for what to look when selecting a theme for your blog:

  • Simple & clutter-free –  Always prefer to use simple themes instead of a fancy theme.
  • Mobile responsive – Your blog needs to look good on Mobile too. Because now Google does not rank any non-responsive site in the mobile search results.
  • Optimized for speed – This is most important. Make sure your theme is optimized for speed.
  • SEO ready –  Your theme shouldn’t use Bulky code that makes your site difficult for search engines to read.
  • Easy to customize – You should have full control over customization of your Blog Like Colour, Layout, Font, etc.
  • All Browser compatible– People use different browsers to surf the internet, Your Theme should be compatible with all the browsers. So that your blog readers can access your site from any browser.

Now as there are thousands of free themes already available for use, so newbies often don’t prefer to invest in a premium WordPress theme.

But as far as I have experienced a free theme will never give you 100% satisfaction.

First of all, free themes will always make your site slow as they have lots of unwanted features and code that you can’t disable.

Next, they have very limited features and functionality, so you can’t change every corner of your blog design with a free theme.

Next and most important, you will not get any support from your theme provider.

But that doesn’t mean free themes are always bad, I also started my blog with a free theme but later I understood the importance of investing in my blog and I shifted to a premium theme.

So, if you are in a very tight budget for now then start with a free theme and go for a premium theme when you can afford it.

Which is the best Premium theme for any WordPress Blog?

I personally love these three premium theme provider and you can go with any one of them.

I am currently using Generatepress Premium on Bloggingnova (The blog you are currently reading)

Generatepress premium

Gneratepress also has a free version but that is a very basic theme, If you want to get all the functionality and support then you have to go for Gneratepress premium which will cost you around $50.

First of all their premium version will give your every functionality to customize your blog design as per your need. (You can easily get an idea from my blog design as I am using the same theme on this blog)

Editor’s Tip -If you are purchasing Gneratepress then use coupon code “10PERCENT” to get 10% off on your purchase.

And on top of that, you will get amazing support from them, so whenever you get any problem while customizing your design. You can directly contact them and within few hours they will help you.

Generatepress support

Once you got your theme, you can easily go to Appearance » Themes » Add new » Upload theme and finally upload your premium theme to your blog.

CHAPTER – 6

10 Things To Do Immediately After You Start a New Blog

Now that you have purchased your domain name & hosting, installed wordpress as well as changed your blog theme.

What’s next?

Well, here are 10 most important things every blog owner need to do on the Day 1 of statring their blog.

website setup

1. Change Permalink structure of your Blog

Permalink is basically the URL of the content you publish on your site. It is what people enter into their browser to view your content.

Example – I have published this Step by step Guide on “How to start a blog and make money on the side” So, my permalink or URL of this blog post is “www.nerdblogging.com/How-to-start-a- Blog”

Now if someone enters the exact same URL on their browser, my blog post will be opened on their browser.

By default, WordPress sets the permalink structure on your blog to the following format:

  • yourdomain.com/?p=123

But this format of permalink structure is not considered best for SEO (Search engine optimization)

To optimize your permalink structure, go to Settings > Permalinks and under Common Settings, set the option to Post name.

blog post premalink structure

2. Install an SEO plugin on your Blog

SEO or search engine optimization helps you optimize your site in such a way that Search engines like Google and Bing can rank your site on a higher position in search results.

Even if you don’t know much about search engine optimization, you can still install an SEO plugin on your blog that will make your On-page SEO tasks a lot easier.

Which is the best SEO plugin?

Rank math and Yoast are two of the most popular SEO plugin in the WordPress industry.

Both the plugin offer almost same functionality, but I prefer to use Rank Math on my blog as it has few extra features compared to Yoast.

How to install a plugin?

To install a Plugin you need to go to your WordPress dashboard > Plugin > Add new > Enter your plugin name > Once plugin appears in the search result click on Install > Activate.

add plugin

Helpful resource to setup Rank math Plugin – Step by step guide to setup Rank Math SEO plugin


3. Submit your website to Google Search console

Google search console is a free platform made by Google for website owners to monitor how their site is seen by Google.

It gives you tons of information that’s crucial for an effective SEO planning. 

So, Here is how to connect your website with Google search console:

Step 1 – Head over to the Google search console homepage and log in using your Google account.

Step 2 – From the dropdown menu click on + add property and enter your website URL.

Google search console

Step 3 – Now you need to verify your domain ownership. Just copy the GSC tokenized DNS TXT record and add it to your domain name provider to verify your ownership.

gsc

Step 4  Once you have updated your DNS text record, Click on the verify button and you are done.


4. Create and submit your sitemap to Search console

Sitemap is an XML file contains the list of pages and posts available on your blog that helps search engine crawlers to find all of the URLs of your blog.

Here is the example of how a normal sitemap looks like:

Sitemap submission

If you are using Rank Math SEO plugin, then you can go to Rank Math > Sitemap settings > and enable sitemap.

Once the sitemap is enabled you can access your sitemap on https://www.yourdomainname.com/sitemap_index.xml

After creating your sitemap, you’ll also need to submit your sitemap to search console.

So, for that just log in to your Search Console account. Go to Sitemaps sectiom from the left sidebar and simply paste your Sitemap URL in the blank space and hit the submit button.

Sitemap submission

5. Activate SSL certificate on your Blog

Installing an SSL certificate on your blog is must.

Here’s why:

  • It will build trust in your readers as they will know your website is safe
SSL
  • It will actually keep your site secure, thanks to the encryption of readers’ sensitive data and personal info.
  • Google takes it as a ranking signal, which means not having an SSL on your blog will hurt your ranking in the search results.
SSl ranking signal

Okay, so what is SSL certificate and how do you know if your website has one or not?

Well if your website URL has https and a secure padlock then it means SSL is properly installed on your site.

By default, it will be not installed on your site.

So, you have to First get an SSL certificate and then install it on your site.

Thankfully, If you have purchased your hosting from Siteground then you don’t need to pay any extra penny for SSL certificate.

With their all the hosting plans, they provide SSL for free of cost.

You just need to login into your Siteground dashboard > go to website section and click on manage.

Siteground manage account

Now you have to Click on Add SSL and you are done.

SSL siteground

6. Connect your Blog With Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool by Google that will help you know how many people are coming to your blog, where they are coming from, and what are they doing on your blog.

Here is how you can create an Analytics account for your blog:

Step 1 – First of all go to the Google Analytics page and signup for an analytics account.

Google analytics signup

Step 2 – Next you’ll need to provide some basic details about your website to get tracking code.

Like – Account name, Website name, Website URL, Reporting time Zone, etc.

Step 3 – Once you have filled those details, finally click on Get Tracing id and there you will find your Google Analytics tracking code.

Google analytics tracking code

Now you will have two options whether to use an Analytics plugin (Monster Insights)or manually copy paste the tracking code in your website theme settings.

If you want to manually copy-paste your tracking code then copy your code and go to your WordPress dashboard > Appearance > Theme editor > select header.php from the right sidebar and finally paste your code between <head> & </head>

Google analytics code

7. Write Your About Page

Your about page will be one of the most viewed pages on your blog because readers like to know the people behind the blog.

However, writing an about page requires a lot more than just throwing up a bio of yourself.

Your about page should accurately convey your brand image and the value you provide?

For example, My about page used to be stiff and formal. Until I woke up.

If you check my recent about page, you can quickly know what Bloggingnova is all about and what you can expect from Bloggingnova.

Bloggingnova about page

How to add a page in WordPress?

Go to your WordPress dashboard > Click on Pages > add new > add text on your page and finally click on publish.

Wordpress page

8. Disable pingbacks and trackbacks

First of all What are pingbacks and trackbacks?

Pingbacks and trackbacks basically allow other blogs to notify you whenever they link to you.

Now you might be thinking, oh that’s a good feature…

But no it’s sucks.

Not only they are not very effective, but spammers love them and will happily send you heaps of spammy pingbacks and trackbacks.

So, here’s how you can disable them on your blog.

Go to your WordPress dashboard > Discussion

discusiion settings

Uncheck the Tick box appearing before

  • Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the post 
  •  Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new posts 

9. Create Navigation Menu

Menus basically let you control the links that appear in your site’s navigation area.

It’s is very important for your blog as it helps your readers to find their way around your blog.

How to create a menu?

Go to Appearance > Menus >  Click on create a new menu > Give a name to your menu and finally add whatever you want to add in your menu (Like your post category, posts, pages or a custom link)

Wordpress menu

10. Install Essential WordPress Plugins

Plugins are what makes WordPress the most powerful CMS in the world.

From more than 50,000 freemium plugins in wordpress.org repository to the thousands of premium plugins from third parties, there is a WordPress plugin for each and every task in WordPress.

With so many options available, most of the beginner bloggers go overboard and install many unnecessary plugins which eventually makes their site slow.

But you don’t have to make this mistake.

Here are few plugins which are essential for every WordPress site.

Just install these plugins first and in future install any new plugin only whenever you think that plugin can actually give benefits to your blog.

1. Performance Plugin (My Pick: WP Rocket)

WP rocket plugin review

WP Rocket is a premium WordPress Performance plugin.

With WP Rocket, you get all the necessary caching functionality, along with a bunch of features that you probably won’t expect from a normal caching plugin.

The best thing about this plugin is where most of the caching plugin like WP Super cache or W3Total cache needs lots of time and effort to set up, WP rocket is very simple and straight forward.

If you don’t want to invest in a premium cache plugin then you can Install a Free caching plugin called W3 Total cache.

Editor’s Note: If you are using SiteGround web hosting, as I recommended earlier, you don’t need to install a separate caching plugin like WP Rocket or W3 Total Cache. SiteGround has its own performance plugin called Siteground optimizer for their users which enhances your blog performance.


2. Security Plugins (My Pick: iThemes Security)

Best wordpress security plugin itheme

On average there are more than 30,000 websites get hacked every day.

So, you should make sure to secure your website in each possible way to keep it safe from those hackers.

iThemes Security offers a one-click setup wizard that makes protecting your site very easy.

This is a free security plugin, but if you want to use advance security features on your blog then you’ll have to get their Pro Version.


3. Backup Plugins (Our Pick: Backup Buddy)

Backupbuddy

Even If you are using a web host like Siteground who automatically take the backup of your site on a daily basis, still it’s good to be on the safe side.

A backup plugin like Backupbuddy allows you to backup your entire blog -database, files, etc .

This plugin also allows you to set up automatic backup on your preferred scheduled day or time.

If for any reason you don’t want to use Backup buddy, then there is also a free plugin called UpdraftPlus which offers the exact same functionality.


4. Social sharing Plugins (Our Pick: Social Snap)

social snap

By making it easy for your readers to share your content on social media platforms, you can easily increase your blog traffic.

A social sharing plugin like Social snap can help you add social shares button on different place of your blog (Like- sidebar, before content, after content, etc.)


5. Page Builder Plugin (Our Pick: Thrive Architect)

Thrive architect png

Actually, a plugin builder plugin is not a must-have plugin for every bloggers.

But if you are someone who wants to design a personalized homepage, Just like the homepage of my blog Blog Bloggingnova, then you will need a Page Builder plugin.

Bloggingnova

Thrive Architect is one of the most powerful page builders I have ever used in my life.

It offers true “what you see is what you get” functionality. Within a few minutes, you can seamlessly design your homepage, your blog post or any landing page.


CHAPTER – 7

Write and publish your first blog post

And now the super fun part begins:

Finally, you are ready to write your first blog post and share your thought with the world.

In this chapter, We will discuss how to add a post and use the Gutenberg block editor to publish your first blog post.

content writing

First of all, How to add a post in WordPress?

Well to add a post on your blog, From left-hand pane of your dashboard, go to Post and Click Add New.

As soon as you will click on Add new a new post editor will get opened which will look something like this.

Post

This is the new WordPress Gutenberg block editor, Previously WordPress used to use classic TinyMCE content editor.

If you are not comfortable with WordPress block editor then you can still switch to old classic editor by installing a plugin called Classic Editor.

But I will recommend to use the WordPress block editor as it is a more powerful content editor compared to the old classic editor.

Yes, I know it will take some time and effort to understand all the blocks but believe me it is worth giving some time and effort.

Now let me give you the basic overview of all the necessary options available in your content editor.

Gutenberg block
  1. Post Title – Here you can add your main heading of Blog post
  2. Add Block – By clicking on the + icon you can add different block in your post (Ie, Paragraph, image, list, etc.)
  3. Add Block/Undo-redo – Here again, you can add block by clicking on + icon. And the two buttons appearing in the right of + icon are your undo and redo buttons.
  4. Publish – Once your blog post is complete, you can click on the publish button to make your blog post live on the internet.
  5. Permalink – From here you can change permalink/URL of your blog post.
  6. Categories – From here you can assign categories to your blog post.
  7. Featured image – From here you can set a featured image for your blog post.

How To add Heading & Subheading in WordPress?

It’s always a good idea to add Heading and Subheading in your content. So, your readers can easily read and scan your page. Not only for human it is also good for Google Search Engine.

To add heading or subheading into your blog post, click on the plus icon (+) and select heading block and choose the heading level from the toolbar.

Heading block in gutenberg

How To add Image in WordPress?

To add an image anywhere in your blog post again you just need to click on the + Plus icon and select the Image block.

When you do that, you’ll be able to upload a new image or select an already uploaded image from the media library.

Add image in wordpress

How To add Links in WordPress?

Adding links in your content is also very important because Internal links and external links both plays an important role in your content SEO.

To insert a link, you need to highlight the text you want to turn into a hyperlink and then you have to click on chain link icon which looks something like this :

Add links in your content

Finally, you have to paste your link and press enter on your keyboard.

More resources to learn Gutenberg editor:


How to Start a Blog in 2020 – FAQs

Before I wrap things up, let’s look at some common questions I receive frequently from our readers like you who are learning how to start a blog for the first time. 

However, this is an ever-expanding list, So if you have a question that I have not covered in this guide, then please feel free to ask me in the comment section.

FAQ related Starting Your Blog

In one word a big “YES”, In fact, blogging is more relevant in 2020 than ever before.

But from my experience, I can say blogging, the way we used to do is completely changed. Previously there were only few bloggers who were doing it for hobby and making side income.

But now Blogging is like a business where people have to make lots of investment in terms of money, hard works and time.

And that’s the reason why many bloggers have made serious online blogging business and making millions of dollars every month with their blog.

So if you are ready to put lots of effort and hard work then it’s a golden time to start a blog.

It all depends on your goal and the type of blog you want to create. But still, in general, it will cost you around $40-$100 to start a blog in 2020.

Compulsory charges to start a blog: Domain – $8.88 (Namecheap for 1 year) + Hosting – $48 (Siteground 1 year) = $57 (Estimate)

A blog is a type of website or part of a website supposed t be regularly updated with new content. These contents are called blog posts which are typically displayed as a listing in reverse chronological order (Newest blog post first)

Whereas a website is static in nature where contents are organized in pages and they are normally not updated frequently and remains the same for a long time.

The bottom line is these days there is no such difference in a blog and website as most blogging and website CMS like WordPress allows you to create pages that are more static as well as create posts that get listed in reverse chronological order.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can get started blogging today for free of cost.

Free Blogging platforms like Blogger, Tumblr, Medium are great place to start a blog for free – especially if your blog is meant to be a hobby.

Just head over t any of the blogging platforms, create your free account and you are all set to write your first blog post.

However in the long term if your end goal is to make passive income or create a business around your blog then I will never recommend you to go with a free blogging platform.

As I mentioned above it will require $58 to start your blog, so it’s better to invest at least $58 in your blog and start a self-hosted blog.

Well, it will not take more than 30 minutes to set up a blog.

Well, the easiest way to find your perfect blog niche is to think about what you are interested in and what you will enjoy writing about.

Start by brainstorming and making a list of your hobbies and interests that would make for a good blog.

Then check if your topic is easy to monetize or not. For example, check if there are few affiliate products in your niche or is it possible to create your own product like ebook or online course in your niche.

There are many ways to come up with a good name for your blog:

  • Do some research and check out other similar blogs in your niche. Get inspiration from their blog names and apply their successful elements to your blog name.
  • Use our two steps formula: A niche relevant word + a Miscellaneous word. (Like – Nerd wallet, Blogging Wizard, Smart blogger, Blogtyrant. All these names are made up of one niche relevant word and one Miscellaneous catchy word.
  • Use Blog Name Generators like Nameboy.com & Name Mesh for some creative blog name Ideas

Here are the top 10 types of blogs that drive most of the traffic and make most of the money.

  • Parenting Blog
  • Health and Fitness
  • DIY Blogging
  • Finance Related Blogs
  • Food and Recipe Blogs
  • Lifestyle Blogs
  • Gaming Related Blogs
  • Hobby Related Blogs
  • Tech-related blog
  • Product reviews blog

No, it is not possible to create a blog without hosting because all your website files are stored on hosting. However, if you use a free blogging platform then you don’t need to buy separate hosting as they host your file on their own platform for free.


FAQ related Creating contents

Different SEO experts have different opinions on what constitutes the optimal length of a blog post. Some will tell you that “300-500” words are best or maybe “2500” words should be the minimum length and so on.

However, how long your blog post should be depend strongly on what topic you are writing about and what is the length of your competitor blog post on the same topic.

So I would suggest that before writing a blog post just do a quick search on Google about your topic. And analyze the content length of the top 10 blog post ranking for the same term. Finally, take an average and that should be your optimal length for that blog post.

According to W3tech more than 58% of blogs are in the English language on the internet. The reason why most of the blogs are in the English language is that English is an international language so there is a huge audience for English language content.

But it doesn’t mean you should also start your blog in the English language. Rather it should depend upon your end goal.

If you want to target your native readers then you should go for native language otherwise English is the most common and you can’t go wrong with English as far as language is concerned.

The frequency of blog post publishing should completely depend on what’s best for your niche. For example – A news publishing sites like Forbes publish more than 50 articles every day, on the other hand, an SEO blog like Backlinko publishes on an average 1 blog post every month and still receives millions of readers every month.

The frequency of blog post publishing should completely depend on what’s best for your niche. For example – A news publishing sites like Forbes publish more than 50 articles every day, on the other hand, an SEO blog like Backlinko publishes on an average 1 blog post every month and still receives millions of readers every month.

I will strongly advise you to go for quality over quantity. If you are able to create even only 2 super valuable content every month then that is more than enough.

Gutenberg also known as Block editor went live as part of WordPress version 5.0 in December 2018. It is a modern drag-drop editor that replaced the old famous TinyMCE editor in WordPress.


FAQ related to running your blog

See, your website speed mainly depends on the web hosting you use. For example, no matter whichever speed optimization technique you use on your blog you can’t drastically improve your website loading time with a low-quality host.

So first of all try to host your website with a good host like siteground or even better if you go with a managed hosting like WPX or Kinsta. Once you are on a good host then try these techniques explained in my website speed optimization guide.

I have shared a lot of techniques to drive people to your blog in my epic guide on how to increase website traffic. The best ways to get people to visit your blog include first and foremost creating valuable content that people will actually want to read.

Then you should nail you on-page and Off-page SEO, Start guest posting on other blogs which have existing audience in your niche, share your content on social media and more that I break down here.

Becoming a blogger and actually getting paid for it are two very different things.

To become a blogger, all you need to do is set up your own blog and publish your first blog post and boom welcome to the blogging world.

But when it comes to getting paid there are plenty of ways to monetize your blog and get paid.

From displaying contextual ads to promoting affiliate products, publishing sponsored blog posts, Creating your own digital products like ebook and courses, selling physical products and more, there are many different ways to get paid from blogging. You can know in detail about each monetization model in my make money blogging guide.

3-6 months is a realistic time frame for a new blog to take off. But always remember that it will all depend upon your effort and work you put into your blog. I have seen people grown their blog to a next level in their first 3 months where few peoples struggle to get tarffic even after 6 months.

There are plenty of ways to promote your blog:

  • Use Email marketing
  • Promote your content on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter
  • Use Quora to promote your blog
  • Make use of social bookmarking sites like Reddit, Flipboard, Digg
  • Leverage influencer marketing to promote your blog

More resources to check out after creating your Blog:


Final Thought on How to start a Blog in 2020

What I have personally seen that most people who read about how to start a blog don’t follow through.

In fact, I have a very close friend who asked me how to create a blog more than a year ago as he wanted to start his own blog.

I explained pretty much everything thing about starting a blog to him..

But do you know, he never started…

Every time I meet him, he always has a new excuse like “Bro now there are too many blogs, it’s very competitive to grow” and similar stuff.

Recently I met him again and asked about his blog and he replied: “bro it’s 2020 and now people prefer video content more than text, nobody reads text on the web…”

Really?

Do you know According to WordPress, over 409 million people view more than 21.1 billion pages per month.

So, its all are excuses that ist’s too competitive or it’s too late…

If you have the courage to change your life, then take action rather than reading one after another guide on How to start a blog.

Otherwise years from now, you’ll still be skimming posts like this one, and wishing you had the courage to make it happen.

I may sound bold to you, but yes it is people’s problem, they always want to change their life but always afraid from taking action.

I have tried to explain each and everything about starting a blog in this post so now it’s your turn to take action and make it happen.

If you have any question regarding starting a blog then Just comment down below, I am right here to help you.

All the Best on your new Journey.

Shivam Choudhary NerdBlogging

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi, I am Shivam Choudhary founder of Nerdblogging.com – A blog that helps online entrepreneurs start, grow, and scale their blog. Whether you are looking for the right advice to get your blog off the ground or proven strategies to accelerate your blog’s growth, I am here to help you get further. 

Leave a Comment

36 comments

  1. hi Shivam,
    Thanks for sharing lot of knowledge for how to start a blog. I have been following your blog for 6-month bloggingnova. but I have shocked You can run or a blog. This blog design is very attracting.

    Reply
  2. Hey Shivam,
    Very insightful post about starting a blog. This will surely help those who are in search of a detailed guide about how to start a blog.
    Keep up the good work.

    Regards,
    Biswajit

    Reply
    • Thank you so much Amit for your comments.

      I am soon going to update this guide and try to make it the best guide on the internet to start a blog.

      Make sure to check this guide again in the next few weeks, I am sure you will love the updated version…

      Reply
  3. One of the most comprehensive “start a blog” guides.

    Thoroughly explained each tiny detail about getting started with WordPress blogging.

    Especially, I loved the block of ‘choosing a blog niche”.

    Good job Shivam, Sharing it on my Twitter.

    Reply