woman blogging at home
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So you want to start a blog, but you have no idea where to start. If this sounds like you, you’re in the right place!

While starting a blog can be challenging at first, it’s and extremely rewarding venture that can allow you to learn new things, create something useful to others, and even make money.

An even though there’s a lot to learn, I truly believe that starting a blog is possible for most people, yourself included.

I wanted to make it easier for someone who is in the same position I was in a few years back, looking to start a blog. So I put everything I wish I knew about starting a blog into one place.

In this guide, we’ll dig into the following:

  • Some basics about blogging in 2022 you should know
  • How to start your blog, write a post, and promote it (step by step)

Let’s dig in to everything you need to know about blogging!

What is a blog?

Your first question might be, what is a blog?

You might think of a blog of an online journal or sorts, where people share writings about there personal life or things that interest them.

While that’s an example of what a blog can be, blogs can be so much more.

The simplest way to define what a blog is, is a website that publishes long-form articles regularly.

These can be either business related or personal.

Even if you didn’t know this definition of a blog, it’s likely you’ve stumbled on a few blogs before. If you’ve ever googled something and clicked a link to an article, chances are you landed on a blog.

Some examples of blogs

Blogs can cover almost any topic. Because of that, there are a diverse array of examples of blogs that can be found online. Here’s a few examples of blogs if you’re looking for a clearer picture of what a blog is:

💡 Examples of successful blogs:
Midwest foodie blog is a successful food blog that focuses on sharing flavorful family recipes.
Ryrob.com is a blog that helps entrepreneurs, side-hustlers, and bloggers grow a successful business.
Cup of jo is a popular women’s lifestyle blog that focuses on everything from relationships, to decor, to motherhood.
The Blonde Abroad is a travel blog that focuses on solo female travel

These are just a few examples of what a blog can be to provide a reference. There are hundreds, if not thousands of topics you can blog about.

Why should you start a blog?

There are tons of reasons starting a blog might be right for you. Here’s a few top reasons people start a blog:

  • Blogging provides a creative outlet. One thing I love about blogging is that I have my own corner of the internet where I have full creative control. Writing blog posts, designing your blog, and creating content can be really rewarding.
  • Blogging is a great learning experience. In the journey of starting a blog, you’ll learn so many new skills. You’ll become an armchair expert in writing, SEO, email marketing, web design, and so much more. If you love to constantly learn new things, you might consider starting a blog.
  • Blogging can become a career. In 2022, it’s totally possible to make a career out of blogging. There are countless bloggers who have turned blogging from a hobby to a career.
  • Blogging has a high income potential. Alongside this, the income potential for blogging is extremely high. Many bloggers make 6-figures with their blogs, and some of the most successful bloggers make upwards of 7-figures.
  • Blogging can generate passive income. Passive income is income that requires little to no upkeep on your part. It can add flexibility to your life so that you can focus on things besides work. Blogging can be a great way to generate passive income. There are several stories of blogs that are not regularly maintained, but still generate thousands of dollars per month.

Is starting a blog still worth it in 2022?

If you’re considering starting a blog in 2022, you might feel like you’re a bit late to the party.

Is the golden age of blogging success over?

Yes, and no.

The good news is, you can still start a successful blog in 2022. The bad news is, it’s more difficult than ever.

Whether or not it’s worth it for you really comes down to what you hope to get out of starting a blog and how much time you have to invest in your blog.

If you want to start a blog that makes 6-figures in 2 months, blogging may not be right for you.

But if you are willing to commit years to building a blog, and are in for the bumps along the way, blogging is totally worth it.

How long does it take to start a blog?

Believe it or not, it only takes around an hour to get a basic blog up and running. You’ll likely spend much more time customizing your blog and adding content after the fact.

Here’s a breakdown of how long it takes to complete various aspects of blog setup:
💻
Setting up my blog: 30 minutes-1 hour
🎨 Customizing my blog: 1-2 hours.
🗒️ Adding content to my website: 2 hours
✍️ Writing a blog post: 2-4 hours
📌 Promoting a blog post on Pinterest: 1 hour

As you’ll see, the most time consuming aspect of starting a blog goes into creating the actual content. Writing a blog post can take a good amount of time, if you want to product something that’s high quality.

How long does it to make money blogging?

Often when starting a blog, the first thing people want to know is how long it will take them to make money.

In order to come to an answer, I ask them two things:

First, how much time are you able to put in? You’ll be able to make money from your blog much more quickly if you can put in 40 hours a week to work on it.

Second, how much money are we talking? If you’re looking for some extra cash, you might be able to achieve that somewhat quickly. If you want to build a 7-figure blogging empire, It’s going to take much longer.

Keeping these factors in mind, most beginner bloggers who are able to dedicate a few hours each week to their blog can start making income within the 6-12 month mark. At this point, you’ll likely make a few hundred dollars a month at most.

Most people that are able to scale their blogs to 6-figures and beyond have worked on them for 2-5 year, or even longer.

There are exceptions to every rule, and some blogs will succeed more than others. It’s important to keep this in mind, though, to set realistic expectations when it comes to making money blogging.

How much money can you make blogging?

The truth is, you can make a lot of money blogging. I don’t think many people realize how much you can actually make through a blog.

Just to clarify, blogging is not a get rich quick scheme. But it does have the potential to generate a lot of income if you’re willing to put in the work.

I was able to generate thousands of dollars of extra income with this blog in under two years. And many bloggers have made enough money with their blogs to replace income from their full time jobs.

How do bloggers make money?

It might not seem clear how exactly you can make so much money with merely a website. In reality, there are many different ways blogs can make money. The most common are:

  • Advertisements
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Selling digital or physical products
  • Sponsored posts

If you’re interested in learning more about how 6-figure bloggers are making their money, you can read all about these methods and more in my post about these money-making methods.

Is starting a blog free?

While you can start a blog for free, it might not be the best option if you’re looking to make meaningful income or scale your blog into a business.

Let me explain.

You can start a blog for free on blogger.com or wordpress.com. BUT your options for ever making money on your blog will be severely limited from the start.

You’ll have less control over running ads on your blog and other customization options.

If you want to make money with your blog, you’ll need to setup what’s called a self-hosted WordPress blog.

💡 A note on wordpress.com vs wordpress.org

WordPress.org is a free and open-source software you’ll need to use to build your blog. In fact, 60% of blogs on the internet are powered by WordPress.
WordPress.com is a service that allows you to build and host your WordPress blog.

Bloggers who want to make money from their blog will want to use WordPress.org, but not WordPress.com

Having your blog hosted costs money. So, unfortunately, starting a blog isn’t entirely free.

The good news is that starting a blog is relatively cheap, as you can get hosting plans on Bluehost for only a couple dollars a month.

How much does starting a blog cost?

The price of starting a blog is highly variable, but can be kept to a minimal. Here’s a quick rundown of some expenses you can expect when starting a blog:

  • Hosting: this is an absolute requirement for starting a blog, and will run you $2-$35 a month
  • Domain name: If you go through Bluehost, your first domain name is included with your blog hosting purchase. Otherwise, purchasing the name of your website will cost some money. Some domains are super cheap, and others are more expensive.
  • Website template or theme: there are free options available, but investing a bit of money into your website template or theme can go a long way.

With all this in mind, it’s totally possible to start a blog for under $50 for your first year.

I encourage beginners to keep their costs low so that they don’t feel pressure to make money within a certain amount of time. It’s hard to justify large costs for your blog when you’re not making money. Over time, you can invest in more expensive tools to grow your blog

Start a blog in 13 steps

If you’re ready to start your blog, I’m going to walk you through the exact steps you can take to get your blog set up and running today.

1. Choose a blog topic or niche

The first thing you need to do to start a blog is to decide a topic for your blog.

Why? Because the topic you set for your blog should help determine things like what you call your blog, your logo, and what content you create, of course.

If you don’t think you need a topic for your blog, I’d encourage you to rethink this.

Blogging about your personal interest will only get you so far, and several studies have shown that focusing on a more specific topic or niche can lead you to success faster.

If you still don’t want to pick a topic

I, too, was hesitant to decide on a topic for my blog. I wanted to start my blog, experiment with writing on several topics, and eventually narrow in.

Ultimately this approach is what I did, despite the advice of many experts.

Over time, the vision of what I write about on my blog and who I am writing for has crystallized. I don’t regret this approach, but I do believe it has slowed me down.

If you’re in the same boat, ask yourself if you’re okay with taking a bit longer to achieve success while you figure out what you want your blog to be.

Try to at least decide on a general direction for your blog, and a specific audience your content might appeal to.

I’d also recommend being intentional about choosing a blog name and design that’s a bit more flexible if you see your content changing in the future.

2. Pick a name for your blog

Once you have an idea for a topic for your blog, it’s time to pick a name for your blog.

A lot of people get really hung up on this step, as it can feel like a lot of pressure.

There’s no way to pick a blog name besides some good old brainstorming. Here’s a few ideas:

🔎 Look at your competitors blogs names. Is there a blog that you really like that you think yours might be similar to? Take a spin on their blog name. (NEVER copy, of course)
🖊️ Get out a pen and paper and write down as many blog name ideas as you can think of. The more the better— all it takes is one good idea!
📖 Get out the thesaurus. Take blog names you’ve thought of an refine what words your using
👩 Consider using your own name. Many bloggers start their blog with a creative name, and eventually end up switching to their own first and last name. This is a great option is you see your personal brand and expertise being important to your blog’s success.

3. Get your blog domain name

Once you’ve got some blog names, you’ll want to check what’s available as a domain name so you can setup your blog as www.yourblogname.com. You can check a domain name availability on Bluehost.com with their domain checker tool.

Don’t purchase your domain yet, as you’ll get it for free when you sign up for Bluehost hosting in the next step!

Don’t get discouraged at the domain names that are already taken. If you’re dead-set on a blog name with a domain that’s already taken, you might be able to change the domain name slightly to get a website that’s available. Bluehost will even help suggest similar domains in this case.

If you want your blog to be called “the sweet peppermint,” for example, you might try seeing if “sweetpeppermintblog.com” or “sweet-peppermint.com” is available.

4. Sign up for your Bluehost account

Once you’ve found a domain that’s available, you can sign up for your blog domain and hosting on bluehost.

Why I recommend bluehost for beginners

Simply put— I recommend bluehost for beginners because it is the most affordable and easy to get started way to start a WordPress blog.

If you are looking for a more premium option, my blog is powered by WPEngine. WPEngine is great for blogs that have scaled and need more extensive security options and support features.

However, the difference in price is meaningful. With Bluehost, you can get hosting for just $2.95 a month.

WPEngine will run you $30 a month, at least.

For beginners who are not yet making money with their blog, Bluehost is the clear choice.

Not to mention they’ll give you your domain name for free!

First, click this link to select your WordPress hosting plan. When starting your first blog, basic is usually the best option.

bluehost plan options
select your wordpress hosting plan

Then, you’ll be able to choose a domain name for your new blog. If you followed the previous step, you already know what domain you want to use that is available. You can type it in here.

bluehost domain setup
Choosing a domain for your blog

After this, Bluehost will guide you through your account information and payment details to get set up. When this is complete, you should be able to log in to a Bluehost dashboard that looks like this.

bluehost dashboard
Bluehost dashboard

Click on “Log into WordPress.” Which should take you to a screen that looks like this:

wordpress login
WordPress login screen

You should have received login credentials from Bluehost in your email when you signed up. Use these to log in to your WordPress dashboard.

5. Get familiar with your WordPress dashboard

If you’ve landed on a dashboard that looks something like this…

wordpress dashboard

Congratulations! You’ve setup your blog at the very basic level.

As a blogger, you’ll be spending a TON of time in this dashboard. It’s where you’ll go to write posts, customize your website, and manage any settings related to your blog.

On your dashboard, you’ll see some key stats about your blog, the ability to create a new post, and any recent activity on your blog like new posts and comments.

It’s a good idea to take some time to familiarize yourself with all the different areas of your new WordPress site, which you can find in the left hand navigation.

Here’s a brief overview of what you’ll find in WordPress:
Posts:
See a list of all blog posts you’ve created and add new ones. This is where you’ll also manage your blog categories and tags
Media: Any images, video, or other files you’ll use on your blog will live in your media library.
Pages: This is where you’ll see and create any pages on your blog that aren’t posts. For example, your about me page, contact page, and more.
Comments: Keep an eye on any comments that people post on your blog
Appearance: This is where you can change anything related to the appearance of your blog including the theme and navigation.
Plugins: A plugin is an additional “app” that you install to your WordPress site to add additional functionality. While it’s best to keep plugins to a minimal, you’ll likely need at least a few (we’ll get to that in a bit)
Users: If multiple people will access your blog, you can set user permissions here.
Tools: Certain plugins may add tools to your blog here
Settings: This is where you’ll find any additional, specific settings related to your blog.

6. Customize your blog with a theme

If you’re wondering how you can get your WordPress blog to look professional and well-designed like other blogs that inspire you, the answer is likely to choose a theme for your new blog.

You can download and install a WordPress theme that will change your site layout, homepage, and more.

Most WordPress themes also offer additional options so that you can customize your blogs look and feel.

There are both free and paid options for WordPress themes. A great theme will include several page templates and robust customization settings.

When you’re getting started, you can likely find a free or low cost blog theme that will fit your needs.

The theme you choose will depend on your niche, budget, and audience. It’s a good idea to look at your competitors websites to get a sense for what type of theme might work well for your blog.

To get started, I’d recommend browsing themes through WordPress theme directory. This is the official website for getting WordPress themes, so every theme has been reviewed and tested by the WordPress team. There’s over 9,000 high quality themes available!

Wordpress theme directory
WordPress theme browser

You’ll be able to preview and download new themes directly from the theme directory.

If you want to invest a bit more in your websites design and branding, here’s a couple places I would recommend where you can get a theme for under $100 dollars:

  • 17th Avenue Designs: themes for lifestyle bloggers that are looking to create a personal brand that stands out.
  • Divi: highly customizable themes and drag and drop framework to build your WordPress blog from the ground up.

If you purchase a theme, your purchase should include instructions on downloading and installing your theme to your WordPress blog.

7. Fill out your blog pages

Before you start writing blog posts, it’s a good idea to set up any static pages on your blog.

This includes things like:

  • Your about me page: Give an intro to who you are and what your blog is about.
  • Legal pages: We won’t dive into this here, but it’s super important to set up a terms and conditions page, privacy policy, and disclaimer. You can get more info on this here.
  • Contact form: It’s a good idea to have a contact page, in case someone reads your blog and needs to reach out.

You can access and create pages like these by navigating to your “pages” view in WordPress. Your theme may have already come with some pages that you can edit. Or, you can create a new page by clicking “add new”

wordpress pages
WordPress blog pages screen

While this step is important, you can always come back to this later. I’d recommend not spending a ton of time here, so that you can focus on content!

8. Download necessary plugins

You can manage existing plugins, and download new ones under the “plugins” section of your WordPress dashboard. To begin with, don’t add a bunch of plugins! There’s only a few beginners really need to get up and running.

Wordpress plugins
Add new plugins directly from wordpress

Here’s a few plugins I recommend when you’re first setting up your blog.

  • Jetpack. Jetpack is an amazing WordPress plugin with an entire suite of features from spam comment blocking, speed optimization, site backups, and more. It’s hard to believe they can offer so many features for free. My favorite feature is Jetpack Related Posts, which ensures that the most relevant related posts show at the bottom of each blog post on my blog.
  • Yoast SEO. If you plan on using SEO as a strategy to get users on your blog, Yoast SEO is a must have. Yoast SEO can help you ensure that each blog post you write is optimized for search engines.
  • GDPR cookie consent. Some blog creators will need to add cookie consent to be in compliance with laws. It’s super easy to set up with a plugin. I’d recommend checking out this article if you don’t know whether you need a cookie consent banner.

As you get more comfortable with blogging, you’ll likely find yourself needing more plugins to fit your specific needs. These few are just the ones that all new bloggers should install.

9. Write your first blog post

And, finally, it’s time to write your first blog post!

If you already know what you’re going to write about, that’s great! If not, here’s a great approach I recommend to beginners:
🔎 Keyword research: Decide what to write about using keyword research
🖥️ Competitive analysis: Research what content already exists. Type in this search term to google and click on a few top results. Read through it and understand the value it provides the reader.
🌟 Figure out a way you can make it better: Reflect on the content you evaluated and brainstorm ways you can make it better. Google is always trying to rank the best content first, so the number one thing you should focus on when it comes to SEO is to be better than the competition
✏️ Write your post: Be patient, as this can take a lot of time. It’s recommended that a high quality blog post should be over 1500 words and contain visual content throughout.
📝 Publish your post in WordPress. More on that next.

Using the WordPress post editor

Step 1: Navigate to the “Posts” section of WordPress and select “Add New”

wordpress posts
WordPress posts view

Step 2: Write your post using the WordPress post editor

Wordpress gutenberg editor
Overview of the Gutenberg editor

The WordPress editor allows you to do so much more than just write text. Heres an overview of what you’ll find in the editor.

  1. This panel opens when you select the plus button in the top left corner. It contains all the different types of content blocks you can add to your blog post. Get familiar, as many of these elements can make your blog posts visually stand out.
  2. This is the main area where you will write your content and add blocks
  3. This is where you will access settings related to your post and individual content blocks within. You’ll be able to set your post url, add tags, categories, and more from here.

Once you’ve written your post, you’ll see a blue publish button in the top right, which will make your first blog post live on your website! 🎉

10. Sign up for a Pinterest business account to promote your blog

If your blogging journey is anything like mine, Pinterest may be an even better way to start getting visitors to your blog than SEO.

That’s why its the number one way I recommend new bloggers promote their blog content. If you’re totally new to Pinterest, check out this guide on Pinterest for bloggers.

In this post, we’ll go over a brief overview of setting up Pinterest for your blog.

To get started, sign up for a Pinterest business account.

pinterest business signup
Pinterest business signup

Once you’ve got a Pinterest account set up, Pinterest will guide you through creating some Pinterest boards relevant to your blog. Make a habit of pinning content to these boards to fill out your profile. The goal is to create a profile that is filled out with a lot of content:

To promote your new blog post on Pinterest, you’ll create Pin images that include a catchy title and image. I use Canva to create all of mine, as it allows me to quickly and easily create super professional looking designs.

You’ll upload these to Pinterest, add them to a relevant board, and link them to your blog post. Here’s an example of what a pin image that links to a blog post could look like:

Pin to blog example
Pinterest pin example

Get in the habit of doing this for every blog post you write. It can really make a difference! Pinterest is one of the first ways I was able to attract visitors to my new blog.

11. Create an email list with ConvertKit

The next step I recommend for new bloggers is to create an email list.

You might not thing this is important at first, but so many bloggers regret not starting their email list sooner.

An email list is extremely valuable because you’ll be able to directly reach a list of subscribers to promote new content, products, blog updates and more.

Instead of relying on SEO and Pinterest to connect you to your readers, this is the one thing you can take complete control of.

ConvertKit has been my choice for building my email list from the start and I absolutely love it. The ConvertKit platform makes it super easy to track progress on your email list, send emails to subscribers, and embed email sign up forms throughout your blog.

convertkit signup
ConvertKit signup

To start your email list, sign up for a ConvertKit account. Convertkit will walk you though setting up your first email list and forms. Or, you can check out this guide.

Then, you’ll be able to embed email signup forms throughout your website. Some places you might consider doing this to start are:

  • your homepage
  • the sidebar of each post (if you have one)
  • in your footer
  • at the end of each post

To take this a step further, consider offering a freebie or lead magnet to your readers that they can download once they sign up. More details on why and how to do this here.

12. Set up google analytics

If you ever want to see progress on your blog, setting up Google Analytics is an absolute must.

Google analytics will allow you to see how many users are viewing your blog, what pages they are landing on, how they are getting to your blog, and so much more.

Its an invaluable tool for optimizing your blog down the line.

google analytics
What you’ll see with Google Analytics

We won’t go into the details in this post, but you can learn more about setting up Google Analytics for WordPress here.

13. Monetize your blog

Now that you’ve got everything set up, you’ll want to start thinking about ways to monetize your blog.

It’s a good goal to work towards applying to some basic affiliate programs and ad networks in the months after setting up your blog.

Though, you might not be able to do so immediately. These programs often have minimum content and quality requirements.

How you monetize your blog will depend so much on your niche and vision for your blog, but for many bloggers, I would recommend the following:

Google Adsense

Google Adsense allows you to sell advertising space on your website to advertisers, which can start generating some income. To be eligible for Google Adsense, you’ll need to meet a few requirements such as unique and interesting content and compliance with program guidelines. You can learn more about eligibility here.

Amazon Affiliates

With Amazon affiliates, you can link Amazon products from your blog and earn commission when someone clicks the link and makes a purchase. To apply for amazon affiliates, you’ll need an active website with recently published content.

Making money from your blog will not happen right away, but at this point in the process, it’s important to make a plan for how you will monetize your blog that you can start working towards.

Congrats! You’ve officially started a blog

Give yourself a round of applause and pat on the back.

Starting a blog is a lot of steps. It’s a lot of new terminology, troubleshooting, learning things, and more.

But it can be the first step towards something great.

Once you’ve set up your blog, you can start to focus more on writing content and attracting readers, which is the fun stuff after all!