How to Start a Blog 2020
Can you really earn money blogging?
Absolutely. But to be successful in this endeavour, or in any of the other avenues toward self-sufficiency found here, there is one leading principle you must follow to be successful: you have to apply your gift.
If you can correctly identify your gift and if you find an arena in which you can apply it, then I believe you are on the right track.
If you can find a way to apply your gift with a blog, then read on!
It takes time and consistent effort. It takes a willingness to learn and adapt. And it takes a desire to create and share unique content.
Blogging offers an amazing opportunity to earn a significant revenue with very low start-up costs. It can give you the freedom to live the life you want, your way.
- How to Start a Blog 2020
- How to Start a Blog
- Why Use WordPress?
- Why Use Dreamhost?
- 1. Purchase Your Web Hosting Plan and Secure Your Domain Name
- 2. Install WordPress
- 3. Access Your Site Admin Panel
- 4. Choose Your WordPress Theme and Build Your Site
- 5. Set up Google Analytics for Your Site
- 6. Add the Following Plugins
- 7. Add an SSL Certificate
- 8. Create Your New Email
- 9. Write Your First Blog
- 10. Organize and Design
- 11. Sign up with a Quality Email Marketing Platform
- Just Starting?
- Ready to Communicate?
- What’s Next?
- Join Our Newsletter
How to Start a Blog
Maybe this is exactly what you want. If so, that’s great! You can create content, apply your gift, and have the potential to make money with it when it’s done right.
If you want to work toward another business model, that’s great too!
This is just one good model to begin with because it’s inexpensive, it’s okay to make mistakes, can be customized to you and how you want to apply and share your gift, and a blog can be used to support many other business models.
How do you do it right? Follow these steps below and build the basis for a truly great blog.
[Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through my affiliate links at no extra cost to you.]
We’ll use WordPress for the platform and Dreamhost for web hosting here as these are industry leaders and an excellent place to start.
Why Use WordPress?
The software is free and open-source
It’s a powerful and flexible website builder
It’s easy to learn and easy to use
It supports numerous media types
It’s easy to customize and expand your website with plugins
It’s SEO friendly
You have full control of your website
No need to learn to code
WordPress is continually improving keeping you ahead of the curve
The blogging is hands down the best in the business
Not only is WordPress the best blogging software used by more blogs than any other software, it’s also used by big organizations like Mashable, Nasa, Mozilla, Coca Cola, and the Wall Street Journal.
It’s also the best content management system, and if you ever want to expand your blog, WordPress is e-commerce ready.
Why Use Dreamhost?
We’ve used different web hosts and reviewed over twenty of the leading providers. From our experience and analysis, Dreamhost is the winner.
It has all the features you need to succeed and more at a low cost – starting at $2.59 per month.
Dreamhost has the most transparent and fair pricing practices we’ve found in the industry. Some web hosts will double the price of your plan after the sign-up promo expires. Not Dreamhost.
Dreamhost is already integrated with WordPress and has excellent customer service so it’s easy to get set up.
Dreamhost includes SSL security and domain privacy (they are an industry leader when it comes to protecting you).
Dreamhost is officially recommended by WordPress.
If you follow this route you’ll have a self-hosted blog that gives you total control over your site which is important if you want to make money blogging.
This gives you a professional edge. You’ll look professional to visitors and your site will be set to start making money.
Dreamhost also has a 97-day refund policy, so you can cancel within three months risk-free.
It’s the one we trust. It’s the one we use. It’s the one powering this web site right now and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
1. Purchase Your Web Hosting Plan and Secure Your Domain Name
The first step you need to take to start your blog is to head over to Dreamhost and sign up. This is easily done in a few simple steps.
Choose one of the shared hosting plans.
We recommend the Shared Unlimited Plan because you can have more than one domain and it includes email for your site.
While there is a monthly plan, we recommend signing up for at least a year to avoid hassles.
Be sure to read our guidelines for choosing a great domain name before registering your domain.
Choose the “Sign Up Now” option for one of the shared hosting plans. The yearly plans offer free domain registration. You will then see the following three options:
If you have a name for your site chosen already that’s great. If not, no worries, you can choose a domain later.
If you do know it…
Choose “Register a new domain.”
Enter the name of your site and ensure that you have spelled your domain name correctly and that it is a .com address (yourdomain.com).
You then enter your billing information and have a few more options which include:
Pre-install of WordPress (recommended)
DreamShield Protection – malware protection (we don’t use it, but you can choose for yourself)
WordPress Migration Service – if you’re bringing an existing site over to Dreamhost
You can also sign up for Dreamhost emails here. We recommend signing up as they provide some of the best information for new users.
Then complete payment.
With this step you have successfully secured excellent web hosting.
If you wait to register your domain name you simply log in to your Dreamhost account once you have it, select “Domains” from the left drop-down menu, then select “Registrations” and enter your chosen domain here.
Now that you have registered the name for your website, simply open your Dreamhost access page and:
Select “Manage Domains” in the left panel.
Select “Edit” in the “Web Hosting” column of your new domain.
Bonus tip: select “ Leave it alone: Both
http://theblackbirdpoet.com/ will work.”
Then scroll down to the blue button that says “Fully Host Domain” and select it to move your new domain from parked to active.
Awesome! You’ve completed the hardest part of this process. Don’t worry, the fun stuff is coming up in design.
2. Install WordPress
If you chose to pre-install WordPress, you can skip this step. If not, installing it is super-easy at Dreamhost as they specialize in WordPress.
Simply log in to your Dreamhost account.
Under the panel on the left choose “Domains” and then “One-Click Installs.”
Select WordPress and follow the on-screen instructions.
With this step you have successfully installed WordPress.
3. Access Your Site Admin Panel
Once you have installed WordPress, you’ll get access to your site dashboard.
To access your site for the first time, you just follow a link sent to your email in a welcome email from Dreamhost.
You’ll set a password that will enable you to access your site admin from any computer or device.
All you have to do is type in your web address and add “/wp-admin” to the end of it.
A pop-up login window will appear where you can log-in with your credentials.
With this step you can now access your site’s admin dashboard from anywhere on any device.
4. Choose Your WordPress Theme and Build Your Site
We recommend using the Divi WordPress Theme for your blog. It is a best-selling website builder for a whole bunch of great reasons.
You can use any WordPress theme you want including free themes. However, free themes don’t offer customer support.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or someone who has built sites before, if you calculate the time and headache saved by having a full support team there to answer any questions, the investment in your blog and your time are well worth it.
Install your theme on your website by selecting one of the free themes within the admin panel for your site.
Or follow this step-by-step video to install Divi (the Divi Theme Builder) and get to designing.
With this step you have successfully installed a theme which you can customize. (Your getting close!)
5. Set up Google Analytics for Your Site
Get all the data you need to win big with your site. With Google analytics you’ll see what’s working and what isn’t and much more.
Not to worry. The set up is much easier than it may sound.
Here’s a helpful video with step-by-step instructions on installing and using Google Analytics for when you’re ready (have you bookmarked this page yet?)
6. Add the Following Plugins
We recommend installing the following plugins on your site:
Yoast – This gives you great and easy to follow instructions on how to improve the SEO (where you rank on search pages) and the readability of every post. You can start with the free version.
Smush – This compresses images so that your site stays fast and uses less of your storage. You can start with the free version.
Google Analytics Dashboard – See how visitors are finding you directly from your website dashboard with this handy plug-in from Monster Insights.
If you’re using the Divi theme, install the following two amazing plug-ins which are included in your purchase:
Bloom – This is an email opt-in tool that lets you connect visitors to your site to your email gathering platform.
Monarch – This is a social sharing plug-in for your site so visitors can follow you on your chosen platforms and easily share your content to get your message out there.
With this step you have increased the functionality of your site to a professional blog.
7. Add an SSL Certificate
You should be prompted to do this via a welcome email from Dreamhost. But we’ll cover these important basic here as well.
You want to add an SSL to encrypt data flowing between your site and your visitors’ so that all are safe and secure. This eliminates browser warnings of “not secure” and the like when visiting your site.
You’ll want to add the free SSL through your Dreamhost dashboard.
Log in to your Dreamhost account.
Select “Domains” on the left drop-down menu.
Select SSL/TLS Certificates
Then select “Settings” for your domain.
Follow the on-screen directions to add a free SSL certificate.
Check your site and make sure that your domain begins with https (the S stands for secure), not just http.
If it doesn’t just send Dreamhost support a note and they can take care of any issues for you.
With this step you have added a layer of security to your site.
8. Create Your New Email
Log in to your Dreamhost account.
Select “Mail” on the left drop-down menu.
Click on “Create New Email Address.”
Enter your email address and the domain for it.
Give your mailbox a name (usually the beginning of the email address).
Choose a password.
If you like, you can choose a forwarding email so that you’ll be notified if your site gets any messages (recommended).
With this step you have added an email address to your site.
9. Write Your First Blog
Congratulations! You are now ready to start adding content!
You can start by posting to a static home page, or you can create a page called “Blog” or any clear name you choose, and create a blog post to your chosen page.
10. Organize and Design
As you add content, the overall design and organization of a site begins to take shape. You start to get a better idea of how you want to show and share your content as it’s added.
The design and organization of your site can and should change over time. You goals are simple:
Make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for.
Make sure your site loads quickly (test this on different browsers and devices).
Check your analytics and feature those posts that get the most attention (put them front and centre on your site).
Continue to customize your site as you like. It’s easy with Dreamhost, WordPress, and Divi.
11. Sign up with a Quality Email Marketing Platform
Before you start sharing your content, sign up with a good email marketing platform and connect it to your website.
Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools for the success and viability of your site. It is essential that you start building your email list right away.
If you’ve never started a list before and aren’t sure about how much you’ll be reaching out to your readers, we recommend Sendinblue’s plan.
Ready to Communicate?
If you plan on building your list and reaching out to readers on a regular basis then we recommend ConvertKit. They have a monthly plan starting at $29 per month.
Check out this video for more ConvertKit.
If you follow these steps you’ll have built a blog the right way so that you can make it a revenue generator.
Once you get five solid posts up (we’d recommend at least 500 words each) then you can start focusing on monetizing your site and sharing your posts.