How to Start a Successful Blog – Step by Step

Share This:

Starting a new blog, you will contend with some fierce competition, and creating a successful blog is more than just:

  1. Buy a domain name and web hosting
  2. Install WordPress
  3. Start creating content

These steps will help you in the process of creating and building a successful blog. 

If you find a lot of competition in the blog niche topic you are wanting to start, see how you can create better content/videos/articles or anything else your competition is doing.

Make it about your target audience. 

Many of the searches generated daily on the search engines are people looking for answers/information/products to help them with a problem. 

Help them find the solution to their problem(s). 

Become a person that other people can relate to with their situation – once that happens  – most of the time the money will follow.

The steps for creating a successful blog are not something that will be done in an afternoon. 

It will take time and patience.

But the rewards will be worth it.

If you take a look through the table of contents, you may think it is too much for you and very overwhelming.

That is why I broke it down into bite-sized steps, to help you on your blogging journey.

So without further adieu, here is your step-by-step guide on how to start a successful blog.

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my Disclosure for more information.

how to start a successful blog

Budget and Goals

Setting a Budget

Things you will need to plan for in your budget to start your own successful blog:

  • Domain name: Free or Purchase (about $12 a year to purchase)
  • SSL Certificate (Free or Paid)
  • Web Hosting Plan (under $5 a month)
  • Email Marketing Tool – capture visitors email (Free)
  • WordPress (Free)
  • Keyword Research (Free/Paid)
  • Your Time ( example: 1 hour a day or 10 hours a week)

Your total cost to start creating a successful blog is less than $5 a month.

Domain Name and Web Hosting Plan

You can get a free domain name when you buy a hosting plan with Bluehost.

SSL Certificate

SSL is a Secure Sockets Layer and is a global standard security technology that enables encrypted communication between a web browser and a web server.

In simple terms, SSL makes your site secure for your visitors and shows the search engines that your visitor’s information (for example: credit card, banking information, or login) is safe and secure.

You must have an SSL certificate on your blog or Google will not rank your blog in the search engine results page.

Don’t worry, when you purchase hosting through Bluehost, you receive a free SSL certificate in your plan.

E-Mail Marketing

An email marketing tool is very important to online success as you use it to capture your visitor’s e-mail to build your subscriber’s list.

The reason why your email list is so important is that social platforms come (Facebook, Twitter) and go (MySpace, Google+) but, your email list is yours.

You are not a stranger to them any more: they arrived at your blog, liked what they read, and want to keep in touch with you to receive more information.

“Despite the growth and prominence of mobile messengers and chat apps, e-mail is an integral part of daily online life. In 2019, the number of global e-mail users amounted to 3.9 billion and is set to grow to 4.48 billion users in 2024.”  Statista

By having this direct link, you can reach out to them at any time to notify them of a new blog post, promote your own product or service, or promote a product or service that will help them “fix” a problem.

Check out Aweber or Mailchimp, as they both have free email marketing plans to get you started.

Setting Goals

What are the goals you want for this new blog?

  • Make money online as a side-gig or replace your current job.
  • 5000 page views in 3 months.
  • Have 1000 subscribers on your email list.
  • Create an online presence.
  • Add to your existing website to engage your visitors.
  • Have my blog up and running in __ days (you decide how many days).

Decide on your goals.

Write them down.

They help keep you focused before, during, and after you launch your new blog.

Generate Ideas and Research

Pick a Blog Niche

The most popular type of profitable blog is a lifestyle blog. They are very popular as they have a few different topics within their blog.

An example would be blog post articles about Parenting-Finances-Travel.

Lifestyle blogs are created when a blogger regularly posts their thoughts, experiences, or talks about aspects of their daily lives.

Some examples:

  • Single mom (or dad) raising kids on a tight budget
  • A mom (or dad) creating a healthy lifestyle for her family
  • A mom or dad’s perspective with raising kids, working full-time, and keeping their significant other happy.
  • A person loving the single life
  • Single or married person’s perspective on life in general
  • A person that lives in their RV and travels
  • A person that lives in a tiny home
  • A minimalist (intentionally living with fewer possessions)
  • Recipes for a specific type of diet or lifestyle

Other successful (and profitable) blog niches are:

  • Health and Fitness
  • Technology
  • Fashion
  • Business and Marketing
  • Personal Finance
  • Travel

I am sure you get the idea as this list could go on and on. A few things to think about as you are picking your blog niche:

  1. Would people be searching for what I want to write about?
  2. Do I have enough ideas to keep me writing for 1,2 or even 5 years from now?
  3. In what ways could I make money from this blog? (if you are looking to make money with this blog)

The additional research we will be doing helps you answer #1 and #3 but answering #2 will take some thought by you.

If you need some ideas for what should you blog about, check out 150+ profitable blog niche topics that make money.

Research Blog Niche Topic Search Volume

Let’s take a look at some search volumes for your possible blog niche topic.

As a general rule, you will want to have over 8,000+ searches a month for your niche (broadest term) and related searches over 300+ (possible blog topics).

These numbers are not set in stone, so take a look at the competition and see if there is a lot (or not) online.

Starting your niche search volume with these two tools can help you see if your blog niche idea is possibly worth your effort or not.

  • Ubersuggest – free version only has three searches a day but does offer a 7-day free trial 
  • Google Trends – free tool to view trends in your keyword topic
  • Keysearch – One-month free trial and a monthly plan starting at $17 (or $169 annually)

If you are able, sign up for the 7-day free trial or purchase a plan to help you with your search volume research.

Using free tools is great starting out, but you should plan to spend some money on a good research tool for your new blog. All of the free research tools online will not let you get ahead of your competition.

But using paid tools will help you get ahead of your competition and help you build a solid strategy for your blog.

Brainstorm Some Blog Post Ideas

Once you have picked your blog niche, take a few minutes and come up with as many blog post ideas that you can.

As a beginner, trying to come up with blog post ideas might be difficult as you may not know how to find good blog post ideas.

So to help you out, I created a very detailed list of how to find blog post ideas to get you started.

Find Competitors in Your Niche

Finding your competition online is usually a simple process.

Type in the keywords for your niche and see what websites/blogs come up.

Take a look at their site and answer these questions:

  • Is their site user-friendly?
  • How would you improve the design?
  • Are you able to navigate the site to quickly find the information you want?
  • How is their site design? – is it difficult to read?
  • What type of content? – articles/ images/videos/infographics
  • Do they have e-mail signup? – what is their freebie – ebook, newsletter, special report?
  • Which social media platforms are they using? Facebook, Twitter, Linkin, Pinterest, etc.
  • How many backlinks do they have?
  • How old is their website?
  • How are they making money with their website/blog? –  ads/affiliate links/guest posts?

Finding out as much information about your competitors is a must-do.

This information will help you design your site’s navigation, content, marketing, and layout.

Do not copy them.

Additionally, this information helps you find out what your target audience is used to seeing, what articles/blog posts they may be interested in and which social media platform they use.

If you have a limited budget, use SEOquake to help you get started on learning about your competition.

Brainstorm Possible Domain Names

You will want to come up with a domain name that “says” what your blog is about.

Whatever niche you are going to be creating a site about, you don’t necessary have to have a keyword for that niche in your domain name.

Brainstorm and write down a list of about 15-20 possible names for your new blog.

Verify Domain Name is Available in Social Media

Even if you may not use all the social media sites to promote your new blog, check to see if the (possible) domain names you have written down are available.

Nothing is worse than having a great domain name and then finding out that someone already has it on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

It's better for branding /marketing to lock in your domain name across the internet than have a different version of your domain name on multiple social media sites.

Define Your Target Audience

Define who your target audience is.

This is a great article to step you through the process of finding your target audience and creating content that connects with them.

Without finding and connecting with your target audience, your struggle to create a successful blog will take you longer.

Type of Content Competitors are Creating

If you already took a look at your competitor, what type of content are they creating?

  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts

Check out keywords they are using on their site by using the Keywords Everywhere tool.

This keyword tool is an add-on to your browser and helps you see which keywords your competition is using.

If you use the free version, it will not show you search volumes but you can use Google Keyword Planner. 

Check out how to use google keyword planner from Ahrefs.com to help you learn how to find search volumes and more.

Ways to Make Money

There are many ways to make money on your blog:

  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Google Adsense
  • Sponsored Ads
  • Sell eBooks/digital downloads
  • Sell online courses
  • Paid membership site
  • Sell advertising space
  • Sponsored blog posts
  • Physical Products

These are just a few ideas.

How you monetize your blog will depending on your target audience.

Check out your competition and see how they make money with their website/blog. This will give you a starting point to see where you can make money with your blog.

Buy Domain Name and Hosting Plan

Register/Buy a Domain Name and Purchase Hosting Plan

Once you have the previous research done, you are ready to purchase/register a domain name and buy a hosting plan.

If you are on a tight budget, Bluehost is a great company to have host your new blog. 

Not only are they an inexpensive hosting provider, but Bluehost is also an official WordPress recommended hosting provider.

Install SSL Certificate

If you purchased a hosting plan through Bluehost, you received a free SSL certificate with your hosting plan and it will automatically set up the SSL.

No worries if you didn’t purchase through Bluehost as there are many hosting companies that provide a free SSL certificate with their plans.

If you’re not sure if your plan comes with a SSL certificate, check with your hosting company.

Having an SSL certificate (HTTPS) on your domain is very important. Since 2014, Google has used it as a ranking factor.

Install WordPress and Other Essential Tasks

Install WordPress on Your Domain

If you purchase a Bluehost hosting plan for your new blog, the setup is very simple.

Here is a step-by-step on how to install WordPress on Bluehost.

If you didn’t purchase through Bluehost, no worries, many hosting providers have a very simple install process for WordPress. 

Once you have installed WordPress, check out the essential things you need to do before you launch your new blog.

Create Strong Password for WordPress

Because many hackers try to gain access to your WordPress site, change your password from the default password to something stronger.

Become Familiar with WordPress Dashboard

Because you will spend a lot of time in WordPress designing and creating content, it is helpful to learn your way around.

Check out my WordPress dashboard for beginners tutorial to help you navigate this software.

Create Personalized email Account

Having a personalized business email looks so much more professional than a Yahoo or Gmail account.

Through your hosting plan, you should be able to create several email accounts.

Some business email accounts to open might be:

  • hello@yourgreatblog.com
  • sales@yourgreatblog.com

Check with your hosting provider and see about creating your professional email accounts.

Sign up for Social Media Accounts with Your New Domain Name

Now that you have your new domain name registered and have started creating your new blog, it is time to signup for all the different social media accounts.

Even though you may not use them right now, 6 months or even a year from now you may want to start promoting your blog on their platform.

If you signup now using your new domain name, you won’t have to worry about someone else taking it.

Top social media sites to signup for are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Youtube
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Whatsapp
  • Reddit
  • Tumblr
  • Medium

If you are not sure which ones you should signup for, check out your competition and see which social media platforms they have listed on their site.

This will give you a good starting point.

Additionally, even if you don't use a social medial platform right away, having already signed up for them will be helpful to you down the road as your new blog grows.

Signup for Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool to help you measure your blog’s traffic, performance and fix issues that Google may find.

Getting Your Blog Ready To Launch

To start off, there are some essential tasks you need to do to get your new blog ready to launch.

First, check out my tutorial that gives you the step-by-step guide to help you know what you need to do after installing WordPress on your hosting plan.

And second, I realize that all these steps seem like a lot of things to do, but I want you to have a successful site and many of these tasks you are doing, you only have to do once.

Create Necessary Pages

There are four pages you need to create for your new blog.

They are:

  • About Me (Us)
  • Contact
  • Disclaimer
  • Private Policy

The About Me (Us) page will tell your visitors a little about yourself.

The contact page is for your visitors to get ahold of you for questions or comments they may have.

If you need help writing a Disclaimer page or Private Policies page, you can get a free (or paid) one at websitespolicies.com.

If you are selling products on your website, you will also need a Terms and Conditions page and a Refund Policy page. These are also available at websitepolicies.com.

Design Homepage

Start designing your home page.

You can have a blog-like home page where all of your posts are on the homepage or you can create a static homepage (like this site has). If you want a static homepage, my tutorial on setting up a static homepage will walk you through it.

Either way the decision is up to you.

Check out your competitors and see how they have their homepage setup.

Once again I say, please do not copy them.

Create your own unique design.

Have fun with it but build it so your target audience can find the information they need (and want) quickly.

Find, Create and Optimize Awesome Content

Create Quality Content using Keywords

Now it’s time to start writing the blog content you brainstormed earlier.

Remember, when a visitor comes to your site, you have seconds to capture their attention.

How will you capture their attention? 

  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts

You don’t need to use all of these media types, choose what will capture your target audience’s attention to stay on your site and add their e-mail to your subscriber list.

You have already taken a look at your competition, how did they engage the target audience?

Which type of media are they using?

You now have a good understanding of what type of content to create. 

There is not a right or wrong way to display your content. It is all about your audience and delivering the information they are searching for.

By using the keywords you found earlier, start creating awesome content using those keywords.

Add High-Quality Photos/Images

Adding high-quality images/photos is a must for your blog.

There are many free high-quality image websites you can use in your content.

When you are looking for high-quality photos/images for your blog, make sure you can use them for commercial use.

There are several websites to find free photos/images online, but if you are a beginner and not sure where to start, check out Pexels or Freeimages. Both of these websites have thousands of images free for commercial use.

Add Meta Descriptions

Some people when starting a blog do not write meta descriptions for posts, pages, or categories as their theme may not include them.

It only takes a few extra minutes to write the meta description and it can save you time down the road if you decide you want/need them.

If you installed the Yoast SEO plugin, it is easy to add the meta descriptions. Just scroll to the bottom of your post and you will see the box where you can write it.

Create a site map – Add to Google Search Console

If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, the sitemap is already created for you if you added that feature.

How to Create Your Sitemap and Find It

  1. Login to WordPress
  2. Click on SEO
  3. Click on General
  4. Click on Features Tab
  5. Enable sitemap feature to “on”
  6. Save Changes

Under the Features tab for Yoast SEO, click on the question mark and then click “See the XML sitemap”

You will then be able to copy your sitemap URL to add to Google Search Console.

Sign up for Affiliate Programs

Start signing up for your affiliate programs you will be using for your blog.

Since there are (literally) thousands of different affiliate programs, find a few to get you started.

Market/Build Your Brand

Create a logo

There are a few places you can create a logo for your new blog.

You can check out Canva or Looka.

Create a favicon

A favicon is an icon displayed on a browser tab next to a website’s page title.

It is helpful (but not mandatory) to have one as it “brands” your blog and helps make it stand out.

Start Building Backlinks

Backlinks are a huge part of SEO and very important to the success of your blog.

They are just one of the indicators that show credibility for your blog.

Building backlinks is an ongoing process and if you are not sure how to get started, check out how to get quality backlinks by Brian Dean.

While you are on his site (Backlinko.com), signup for his awesome newsletter to learn more about SEO. Even though his methods are advanced, beginners to experts learn from him.

Focus on One Social Media Account

Many beginners make the mistake of trying to use too many social media accounts when starting their blog.

Focus on one.

In trying to decide which one you should focus on, find out where your target audience is and start with that one.

Once you have built a following with that social media platform, focus on another.

Continue Adding Quality Content

Content is King.

But not just any content, you need to focus on adding quality content to your blog.

It is better to write 3 quality articles than 10 mediocre ones.

In Conclusion

Your planning process can be the difference between a successful blog or a failure. 

I want yours to be successful.

This beginner step-by-step tutorial has given you the information on learning how to create a successful blog.

Yes, there is a lot to start the process so bookmark or email it to yourself so your blogging journey is built on a solid foundation. 

Also, one last thing, if you found this tutorial helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform.

I look forward to helping you….

Create Yours: Step by Step,

julia create a website tutorial