This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclaimer for more info.
This is a comprehensive guide to starting a profitable and professional blog.
Whether you want to blog as a hobby or want to make money from it, it’s important to start and set up your blog the right way.
This is a long and detailed post but it’s worth the read! I strongly suggest you bookmark this page and refer to it as you are building your blog. 📌
And you do not need to be a technical expert! Anyone can follow these simple instructions without difficulty. I have ZERO technical skills and if I can do it, anyone can do it.
1. Choose a niche
Your niche is your blog topic and audience (what your blog is about and who it is for).
This is the most important step in this guide. So don’t rush and choose thoughtfully.
The first step to having a fulfilling blogging experience is to choose a niche that you really like to talk about and write about.
It’s worth spending a little time researching and selecting a niche that you know you can write about for hours (that’s what blogging is, really), and that your interest won’t wear off after a few blog posts.
Your niche should be something:
- you absolutely LOVE talking about
- you can talk about comfortably and easily
- you know (at least more than the average person) about
- you can help other people with
Here’s a list of some popular niches:
- Health & Fitness
- Dating & Relationships
- Social Media Marketing
- Environmental Conservation
- Arts & Crafts
- Food & Recipes
- Personal Development
- Personal Finance
A lot of bloggers also start off by blogging for personal use and end up finding a way to serve their readers as they learn more.
So if you are having trouble coming up with a niche, I suggest you start off by blogging on a free platform and experiment to see what you write about best.
Another important point why choosing the right niche is so important is that blogging is not a smooth road and there will be several bumps.
There will be months when you will make ZERO dollars and months when your traffic will be near gone.
What will you do then? How will you keep going?
If it’s a niche you love, you will have no problem keep on blogging about it. But if it’s not, it will be very easy to give up.
So pick a topic that you will have a long-term interest in.
2. Choose a domain name
Now that you know your blog topic, it’s time to choose a domain name (or blog name) for your website.
It’s also called your site address. For example, the domain for this blog is keytoincome.com.
There are two things you can do now: come up with a name that relates to your niche and tells the reader what your site is about (this also helps with SEO) or make your name the domain name (which is fine too).
If you are choosing a name that relates with your niche, it will be helpful if there are keywords or phrases that will give the reader a clear idea about what your blog does. That’s ideal.
If possible, you will want to use the .com extension for your domain as it is easily memorable.
Be creative and take your time to come up with a good name. Make sure no one else has a similar name to yours.
You can use Namecheck to check if it’s available on all major platforms.
3. Buy domain name from NameCheap
Now we will go to NameCheap and buy the domain name.
Why buy your domain from NameCheap (and not your web host)?
Even though keeping all your stuff in the same place might seem like a good idea, I don’t recommend buying your domain name from your hosting service.
These are the reasons:
- If something happens to your site or host, your domain will go down with it.
- You may choose to switch your host but then switching over your domain would be such a hassle.
- Buying a domain name from your host will be more expensive.
- NameCheap, personally, gives you the domain privacy protection for free forever (whereas you may have to pay for it in addition to your domain when buying with hosting)
- If you want to buy multiple domains, it’s more convenient to have those in the same place.
You never know what happens. Buying your domain separately is adding a safety measure to your blog and it’s better for the long term.
So now, we will go over to buy the domain name.
1. Go to NameCheap and click sign up.
2. Create your account by filling out the required info.
3. Search for your domain name.
4. Choose the .com version (in the ideal case) and add it to cart.
5. Go to your cart and purchase your domain.
You can choose to buy it for 1 year if you are on a budget. Make sure to have WhoisGuard enabled.
After clicking “Confirm order,” follow directions from here to fill out the required info and complete your NameCheap account. I recommend having your login details written down somewhere.
6. Your order is completed! 🎉
4. Buy hosting from SiteGround
Great, now you have your domain name!
So it’s time to get your hosting from the best hosting company in the world.
Why host with SiteGround?
I’ve had my share of experience with hosting companies (including Bluehost) and I have to say, SiteGround’s service is out of the world.
These are just some of the reasons why I absolutely LOVE using SiteGround:
- Very beginner-friendly and easy to use
- Better uptime and fast site speed
- Supportive and friendly customer service
- Free SSL for your site
- 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
1. Go to SiteGround
2. Choose WordPress Hosting
3. Choose the StartUp plan.
4. Choose “I already have a domain” and enter your domain name. Click Proceed.
5. Fill out the required info.
In your purchase information section, you will see that you can choose the period of time for your hosting service.
Choose 12 months (you can choose 24 or 36 months based on your budget and blogging goals).
Also, uncheck SG Site Scanner in the Extra Services section. You don’t need that.
Kudos to you! Now your hosting account is set up! 👏
5. Set up your WordPress site
The next step is to set up your WordPress site.
1. Log in to SiteGround and select “Websites”
2. You will see that you have a card under “My Websites” that has your registered domain name on it. Click on the “COMPLETE” link on the card.
3. Select “Start New Website”
4. Select “WordPress”
5. Set up your WordPress.org login by entering your email and creating a password.
I recommend you write this information down as well. It’s important because you need it to access your WordPress dashboard.
6. Click on the “Finish” button
Don’t add the SG Site Scanner!
7. Congrats! Your site is almost ready!
Your new website should be created in a few minutes. 🙂
Other things to keep in mind:
- When selecting a theme, go for a simple one for now. Don’t overthink this step. You can always change it later on.
- Set up your social media accounts. Social media (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) will be essential for driving traffic to your blog and connecting with your readers.
- Write quality content. Quality content comes first, but many bloggers forget this important fact when they get too busy or focused on their blog design and marketing.
- Start email marketing from day 1! Begin collecting emails by putting an opt-in form on your site’s sidebar. I highly recommend ConvertKit. It’s a simple and professional tool that beginner (& expert) bloggers use for email marketing.
- Make money blogging. There are many ways you can earn from your blog. Keep in mind that a lot of bloggers don’t earn a single cent for months or even years. I am not trying to discourage you but remember that it’s a process. It will take a lot of time and effort to begin earning income from your website.