Learning how to start a successful blog is no easy feat. If it were easy, then everyone would be doing it!
That being said, one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life is learning how to start a blog.
Blogging completely changed my life, and it’s funny to think that I literally had no idea what blogs were until I started one.
So, even if you have no clue how to start a blog, you can do it! And, I’m about to tell you how.
I had absolutely NO IDEA what I was doing in the beginning, but I learned along the way and here I am now.
Back then, I also never realized that you could make money blogging. I don’t think I even looked into it because that was never my goal when I first learned how to start a blog. I certainly never thought blogging would drastically change my future, but I’m so glad I gave it a chance.
Whether you’re thinking about starting a blog or if you’ve been blogging for years, you may be wondering what actual steps go into creating a blog that earns income. I receive so many questions that are about the actual steps and what exactly a blogger does, so today I am creating a huge guide that covers everything you need to know about how to start a blog.
I know that blogging can seem scary in the beginning, but remember that most bloggers have been in the exact same place you were when they started.
Blogging isn’t as easy as it looks from the outside, but it is something that you can do. You can make money blogging so that you can work towards living the life you want.
Blogging has allowed me to go part-time at my job, travel more, pay off $60,000+ of debt, see family and friends more often, meet great people, and live a great life.
Because of the great experience I’ve had, I love sharing my knowledge and helping others learn how to start a successful blog.
I never thought it would be possible, but here I am. Plus, I know other bloggers in all sorts of niches who are making a great living online.
Every blogger earns money, grows their traffic, and starts blogging in slightly different ways, but I’m going to go over the basic outline for how to start a successful blog. I’ve broken it down into easy steps and will explain each.
Here are the 10 steps to learning how to start a successful blog:
- Decide what you’ll write about
- Create a blog name and URL
- Create your blog
- Make pages for your blog
- Brainstorm and write content for your blog
- Create an email list
- Start social media accounts
- Find ways to grow your blog
- Learn how to make money blogging
- Find photos for your blog
Now, you don’t have to go in this exact order for some of these. Some bloggers may choose to start their social media accounts first, and others may decide to write first. There is no right or wrong answer – do what fits you best!
Wait, can I still start a blog now?
2021 is still a great time to start a blog.
The online world is still so very new, and each year there are new ways to monetize and grow your blog.
It wasn’t until the past couple of years that companies and advertisers started realizing the value of online influencers, such as bloggers, and that means even more opportunities to earn money blogging once you learn how to start a successful blog.
Before that, it was mainly celebrities that companies advertised with, but now, it is actually shifting to bloggers and other online influencers (like Youtubers and Instagrammers!).
The online world is a huge place and it is just going to keep growing. Every blogger earns a living in slightly different ways, and everyone has a different message and story. And, because there have already been many new ways to make money blogging, I expect that the options will continue to grow.
Blogging is a lot of fun, but learning how to start a successful blog is like learning how to start any other kind of successful business – there will always be new things to learn, and you have to start somewhere!
1. Decide what you’ll write about on your blog.
What do you want to write about?
There are so many topics that you could blog about!
I know bloggers who are successful and write about health, clothing, home renovations, DIY, finance, travel, homesteading, business, self-help, relationships, food, and more. I even know plenty of people who just write about their lives and earn a full-time income from doing that!
So, how do you determine what to write about?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. I always recommend creating a blog around a topic that you are passionate about, that you are an expert in, that you like, or something else along those lines.
This makes blogging feel fun instead of like a chore.
You can blog about several topics or you can blog about one specific thing, such as personal finance. For me, I cover a ton of different topics here on My Personal Finance Blog. I talk about personal finance, life, travel, RVing, sailing, self-help, and more. I blog about those things because they are a part of my life and I love sharing them with others.
Some things that you may want to think about when choosing your blog topic include:
- What do you enjoy talking about? Because learning how to start a successful blog can be hard work, I always recommend that you start by thinking about what you are passionate about. Perhaps it’s a sport that you really love, crafts, cooking, managing money, travel, or something else. Whatever it is, blogging about your passion is great because that will show in your writing, and your readers will enjoy that. It can also help keep you motivated.
- What blogs do you enjoy reading? If you are thinking about starting a blog, I’m assuming it’s because you probably enjoy reading blogs yourself. If that’s the case, then you may want to think about which blogs you really enjoy spending your time on, and possibly blogging about something similar.
- What are you an expert in? Now, you don’t need to be an expert in your blog’s topic to earn money blogging (more on that below), but if you are an expert on something, then this could be a topic that you blog about. There are many successful “How To” websites because people love to learn new things through blogs. And, there is probably something you could teach (everyone’s an expert at something, even if you don’t realize that yet!). Think about the questions your friends and family are always asking you about, topics that you enjoy helping others with, and so on.
- What things do you like learning about? Like I said above, you don’t need to be an expert in a topic to blog about it. People LOVE reading blogs from people who are learning or trying new things. This is because everyone has to start somewhere, and people love following the journey and seeing how something is actually done. So, if you are learning how to start a successful blog, for example, that could be what you blog about. You can write about all of your mistakes, talk about what you’ve learned, show how you have tried and reviewed different options, and so on.
If you want to earn money blogging, there aren’t certain topics to write about. A successful blog can be about anything and/or everything. It’s entirely up to you.
Here are some possible blog topic ideas. The list doesn’t end here either. Choose one, all, or some. It’s all up to you.
- Your life
- Small business
- Outdoor activities
- Fitness and health
- Inspiration and advice
- Electronics, and more!
That’s the great thing about learning how to start a successful blog – you can write about pretty much anything and you can still earn money from it.
2. Create a blog name and URL.
Deciding on a name for your blog is probably one of the hardest parts of blogging.
I’ve seen many people who are learning how to start a successful blog almost stop at the name part. Some of these people even have articles written, but the name is stopping them from creating and launching their websites.
Coming up with a blog name shouldn’t lead to stress, so here are my tips for deciding on a blog name:
- Make it easy. My blog name isn’t the easiest for people to spell, and even I sometimes jumble it. So, my top tip would be to make sure that your blog name is easy for people to type or spell out loud. I’ve seen blog names that are extremely long, contain words that are difficult to spell, and so on. Instead, you should make it as easy as possible for your readers to find you.
- Think about what you’ll be writing about. Think about the topics you want to write about, who your target audience is, and more. Then, jot down descriptive words that are related to each of those points. Brainstorming like this is a good way to come up with a blog name!
- Use a thesaurus to find similar words. If your first or second name choices are taken or if you want to see if there are some catchier sounding blog names, using a thesaurus can help you with some new ideas.
- Make it catchy. You may want to think of something funny, use alliteration, or something else to make your blog name catchy and memorable.
- Use your name. If you don’t want something catchy and/or if you think you’re not creative enough, then just use your name. It’s super easy that way, and more and more people are starting to do this.
See, creating a name for your blog can be easy.
3. The tutorial that will teach you how to start a successful blog.
To actually learn the technical parts of how to start and create a blog, I recommend heading over to my tutorial, How To Start A WordPress Blog On Bluehost.
This tutorial teaches you everything you need to know about how to start a successful blog easily and on your own, even if you aren’t a computer person. It goes over:
- The platform you should use
- How to buy and register your domain name
- Buying hosting services
- Designing your blog (your options)
Basically, it’s teaches you all of the technical and behind the scenes parts of learning how to start a successful blog. It’s all super easy with my tutorial.
4. Make pages for your blog.
Next, you’ll want to create a few pages for your blog. You can see mine here:
When you are just learning how to start a successful blog, these are really the only pages you need to have. They tell people about who you are and how to contact you. Once you grow your blog more, you may want to add more pages, but that’s up to you.
Pretty much all blogs have these pages and they are fairly easy to make!
5. Brainstorm and write content for your blog.
With a blog, you will obviously need content.
I currently have a few hundred blog posts ideas that are just waiting to be written and published. Plus, nearly every single day, I add at least one more idea to the list.
This makes me laugh, because if you would have told me when I was younger that I would have learned how to start a blog and really enjoy writing thousands of words for in the near future, I would have called you a liar!
I did not like writing or typing when I was in school, at all.
Now, it’s one of my most enjoyable things I do.
But, I receive a lot of questions from readers about coming up with content, and they are: 1) How do you come up with ideas for new blog posts and 2) How are you constantly coming up with new blog posts after several years of blogging?
One of the most difficult parts of blogging is creating new content, and sometimes you may feel that you have hit a brick wall and can’t find any inspiration.
For me, though, I have a system that works quite well, and due to that, I don’t think I will EVER run out of ideas for content.
So, how do I still have things to write about after several years of blogging?
I find topics to write about through:
- Life experiences. Here on My Personal Finance Blog, I generally only like to write about topics that I have experience with. I think this is what helps set me apart from others. I also receive the best motivation and inspiration from taking financial topics that I personally come across in day-to-day life and turning them into fun and engaging content.
- Reader questions. I receive emails and comments each day from readers, and most of them are questions, like the topic of today’s post – can you show me how to start a successful blog? If I feel like I have something valuable to share, then I like to turn questions into blog posts. This way, I can share my knowledge and expertise on a subject, and it also helps readers more than what I could say in a simple email. Plus, if one person has a question, I know that many other people probably do as well! Turning questions into posts is also great because the next time I receive the question, I can easily send the link over to the reader.
- Research that I’ve done and articles that I’ve read. I read a lot of articles every day simply for fun, and sometimes I come across something that I feel should be expanded upon, a topic that I think the average person doesn’t understand, things that boggle my mind, and so on. For example, if I see a crazy financial statistic that I find interesting, I may turn it into an article.
- Brainstorming sessions. Occasionally, I will simply sit down and have a little brainstorming session. While I do have a long list of possible content ideas, I like to keep my list fresh and update it often. Some of the things I do in my brainstorming sessions is that I may read older content of mine and see how I could possibly expand further on a subject to make it better, think of new blog posts that I could write about on a subject that is popular on my site (I may look at Google Analytics or Pinterest Analytics to determine this), and more.
- Survey readers. Sometimes I ask my readers what they want to read more about. This always leads to a ton of ideas for blog posts and can be a very quick and easy way to add to your content list.
As you can see, there are many ways to come up with new blogging content.
6. Create an email list.
Not having an email list is a huge mistake if you want to learn how to start a successful blog.
I recommend that all bloggers spend time growing their email list. Actually, starting an email list is important for anyone who wants to make money online, whether that’s a blog or other online business.
Here is why having an email list is important if you want to learn how to start a successful blog:
- Your newsletter is all yours. Unlike Pinterest and Facebook (and any other social media sites), your newsletter and email subscribers are all yours, and you have their undivided attention. You don’t have to worry about some social media algorithm not showing your content to your readers, as they are your email subscribers, meaning you aren’t fighting with anyone else to have them see your content.
- The money is in your list. I believe that an email/newsletter is the best way to promote products, from affiliate products to ones you create. Because your email subscribers signed up specifically to hear what YOU have to say, you definitely have their attention. Your email list, over any other strategy, will almost always lead to more sales.
- Your email subscribers are loyal followers. If someone is allowing you to show up in their email inbox whenever you want, then they probably trust what you have to say and enjoy hearing from you. This is a great way to grow a loyal audience.
- Email is a great way to deliver other forms of content. With Convertkit, I am also able to create free email courses that can automatically be sent out to my subscribers. This makes life easy because all a reader has to do is sign up, and then Convertkit drips out the content daily, weekly, or in whatever other time frame I choose.
7. Start social media accounts.
Social media can help you to engage with your readers on a closer level so that they can get to know you better, it improves your traffic levels, grow your audience, and more. It might feel like extra work, but it’s an important part of learning how to start a successful blog.
So, you will want to create social media accounts for your blog. You may want to use Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or something else. I do know some bloggers who do well without social media, but I also know many who do very well with it.
See, social media can help you make money blogging in many different ways. However, I also understand that it can be time-consuming to master one social media platform, let alone trying to master them all!
Learning how to use social media for your blog gets easier once you’ve been doing it for a little while. Plus, you can automate a lot of it, including scheduling posts in advance.
Below are my favorite social media resources – these are the ones that have helped me. To stay updated, I check these resources often for new articles, I read their emails, listen to their podcast episodes, and more.
- My favorite Pinterest course is Pinterest Traffic Avalanche. This course shows you how to get free traffic from Pinterest to your blog. You’ll learn about Pinterest SEO, how to set up Rich Pins, how to create viral content, how to make Pinterest images, all about group boards, and many other valuable Pinterest strategies.
- If you’re looking for great free Pinterest advice, that would definitely be Simple Pin Media. This website publishes high-quality articles on the topic of Pinterest as well as highly informative podcast episodes. They also have several great Pinterest courses.
- My favorite Facebook page resource is the ebook Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing.
- My favorite overall free resource would be Social Media Examiner. This website shares tons of great updates for nearly every social media site. If there’s some rumor going around about social media, I usually check this website first to see what they have to say about it.
As you can see, there are a TON of great resources for any social media help that you may need. There are plenty of other websites I regularly read and listen to as well.
And, if you feel overwhelmed by social media, it’s something you can go back to once you’ve mastered some of the other parts of learning how to start a successful blog.
8. Find ways to grow your blog.
When you’re learning how to start a successful blog, you are also probably wondering “How do I get traffic to my new blog?”
All blogs have to start somewhere, and learning how to grow your blog is something that everyone has to do.
You do not need millions of page views per month to make money blogging, but if you want to increase your income, it will be important to increase your page views.
Every blog is different, and it isn’t always the blogs with the largest number of readers that make the most money. That’s because once you understand what your readers want, understand how to effectively reach out to companies for partnerships, and know how to charge the correct rate, you can make a good income online in many cases, regardless of the amount of page views you receive.
But, if you want to increase your page views, here are my tips:
- Publish high-quality blog posts. Readers come back to blogs with high-quality and helpful posts. I recommend that your blog posts be at least 500 words, but more wouldn’t hurt either. The majority of my blog posts are around 1,000 to 3,000 words (this one is clocking in at over 5,000 words!).
- Be active on Pinterest. To increase your pageviews with Pinterest, I recommend creating great images, making sure the description and title of your images are catchy, pinning regularly, and only pinning long images.
- Be active on other social media sites. Like I’ve already said, social media lets you interact with your audience more and can help you reach a larger audience. Check out Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, and others.
- Post regularly. If you want to earn money blogging, you should publish something at least once a week. Going for weeks or months at a time without a blog post can lead to readers forgetting about you.
- Network with other bloggers. You should look at other bloggers as friends and colleagues, not competition. This means you may want to interact with them on social media, reach out to them via email, attend conferences, and more. Always be genuine and give more than you take.
- Guest post. Guest posting is a great way to reach a new audience and helps build partnerships with other bloggers.
- Make sure it’s easy to share your content. You should always make sure it’s easy for readers to share your content. This could mean making your social media icons easy to find, having all of the info input that is needed for sharing (title, link, and your username), and so on. Also, you should make sure that when someone clicks on one of your sharing icons the title isn’t in CAPS (I’ve seen this too many times). No one wants to share a blog post when it sounds like you’re screaming at them.
- Create catchy headlines. The title of your post is a major factor influencing whether or not readers click over.
- Learn SEO. SEO (search engine optimization) is a pretty important topic for bloggers, but it’s too big to teach in this post. I recommend doing your research and learning more about what it is and how it can help you.
- Make it easy for readers to browse. If you want more pageviews, you should make it as easy as possible for readers to read your other blog posts. Readers should be able to easily find your blog homepage, categories, tags, search bar, and so on. Also, I recommend including links for related posts in every single one of your blog posts.
9. Learn how to make money blogging.
For many, learning how to start a successful blog means that you’re hoping to earn an income from it. And, there’s nothing wrong with that.
There are several ways to earn money blogging, including:
- Affiliate marketing
- Blog sponsorships
- Display advertising
- Product sales
I will explain each of these in detail below.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a blog monetization method in which you place a link to a product or company on your website or social media platform. You earn money when a follower purchases the product through your link (this is called an affiliate link). Affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn money online because if there is a product or company that you enjoy, all you have to do is review the product and hopefully others will be interested in buying it as well.
Affiliate marketing is my absolute favorite way to earn money blogging. I love it because it can feel quite passive. With just one blog or social media post, you can potentially earn money years down the line. Now, you will have to maintain the post and keep generating traffic to it. Also, most bloggers who do well with affiliate income share their affiliate links in more than just one post. This is increases your chances of earning affiliate income.
Affiliate marketing allows me to relax a little and enjoy life more, all while knowing that I am earning a great living by promoting products that I use and enjoy.
If you want to learn how to make money blogging with affiliate marketing, read the tips below:
- Provide real reviews. You should always be honest with your reviews. If there is something you don’t like about a product, either don’t review the product or do mention the negatives. Either be honest or don’t work with those companies and products.
- Ask for raises. If you are doing well with a particular affiliate program, then ask for a raise. The worst thing that can happen is that your affiliate manager says no. The best is that they say yes!
- Form a good relationship with your affiliate manager. Your affiliate manager can supply your readers with valuable coupons, affiliate raises, and more. These things help you earn money blogging.
- Publish tutorials. Readers want to know how they can use a product. Show them how to use it, how it can benefit their lives, and more. This is helpful to your readers and to your affiliate income.
- Have a recommendations page. I always like checking out a blog’s recommendations page because it helps me learn about new products and services. For the blogger, your recommendations page is a great way to list affiliate links and valuable resources that readers may need or want.
- Don’t go overboard. There is no need to include an affiliate link 1,000 times in a blog post. Include them at the beginning, middle, and end, and readers will notice it.
What are sponsored posts?
Having a company advertise on your blog is one of the first ways the average blogger begins to earn money blogging. In fact, sponsored posts are exactly how I started!
This form of blogging income is when you partner with a company and advertise their brand on your blog or social media accounts.
Whether you are brand new and just learning how to start a successful blog or have been blogging for years, you can start with sponsored posts right now.
I personally know several people who have found high paying sponsored partnerships in the very beginning of their blog. They started with an easy pitch email and knowing how to approach the company.
Many brands are moving toward working with bloggers and social media influencers due to the kind of traffic and customers a sponsored post can bring to a brand. Brands can reach their desired audience with sponsored posts, then gaining authentic customers.
This is why we are seeing ads and sponsorships moving toward bloggers and Instagrammers.
And, the data supporting the continued success and growth of influencer marketing is out there. According to a study published on Social Media Today:
- 94% of marketers using influencer marketing found it to be effective.
- 48% of companies in the U.S. plan on increasing their online influencer campaign budgets in the future.
- 71% of marketers think that ongoing ambassadorships (such as with sponsored partnerships!) are the most effective form of influencer marketing.
This just proves that sponsored partnerships are here to stay, and your ability to earn money blogging with sponsored posts will definitely continue to grow in the future.
As the online world continues to expand, so will the opportunities to earn money blogging. There are many different types of bloggers out there, and we all make money in a slightly different way. With a variety of stories and niches, the sponsored partnership opportunities are endless!
What is display advertising?
Display advertising is another popular way of making money from a blog, especially in the beginning when you are discovering how to start a successful blog.
Display advertising is a passive form of blog income because all you need to do is place advertisements (usually through an advertising network) on your blog’s sidebar, below a blog post, or somewhere else. Your display advertising income will increase or decrease based on your page views, and once you place the advertisement, there’s no other direct work to be done.
If you want to learn how to make money blogging through display advertising, then some popular networks include Adsense, MediaVine, and AdThrive.
I don’t have many display advertisements on my blog, but I regularly earn extra income from them.
Create your own product to sell.
To really be in control of how you earn money blogging, you’ll eventually want to create a product to sell to your audience. There are many products you can create and sell on your website, such as an ebook, course, etc.
Find photos for your blog.
Finding and taking pictures for your blog posts and social media is important, even in the very beginning when you are first learning how to start a successful blog. They can help explain your story, break up text to make a blog post easier to read, and you need them for social media (such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram).
Now, you can’t just do a Google image search and use the pictures you find, and the same goes for images and pictures you find on Pinterest. People own those photos, and you can get in trouble if just take them without permission. It’s similar to how you wouldn’t want someone to copy and paste a blog post of yours.
Currently, I source the pictures I use from two main areas:
- My own photos. These are usually found in my travel-related content. I use both my iPhone and my super old DSLR for pictures. Photography is an area that I’m still looking to improve, so I mainly use the next option for the majority of the pictures I publish directly on My Personal Finance Blog.
- Ivory Mix. I absolutely love Ivory Mix. They have great stock photos that fit perfectly with the vibe of My Personal Finance Blog. They add over 100 photos monthly, and you can use them on your blog, social media, and more. Plus, Ivory Mix comes with unlimited download access.
My blogging to-do list.
After you’ve read the steps for learning how to start a successful blog, you may be wondering what I regularly do for my blog.
There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes for each post, and it might sound like a pretty long process. But, it’s become quite routine over time. Other than me brainstorming and writing the actual blog post (besides guest posts, I have always written my own content myself because I enjoy it).
Here is a list of what goes along with each new article that you see on My Personal Finance Blog:
- Think of new article topic ideas. Like I said earlier, I have a list of over 100 possible article topics that I keep on my laptop and my phone. These topics come from life experiences, reader questions, research, articles that I’ve come across, and so on. But, I’m constantly adding new ones.
- Create a schedule. I have a schedule of topics for at least one full month, including the dates articles will be published. And, I like to make sure I cover a good variety of topics each week. For example, I don’t usually like to have a week full of making money ideas. Instead, I like my posts to vary between making money, saving money, life improvement, investing, and so on.
- Write content. I like to sit down and write an article from beginning to end without any breaks. It may take me an hour to write an article or I may be at it all day. Sometimes, content does span a few days, but for the most part, I like to finish a piece of content in one sitting.
- Add images and formatting. Once I finish editing, I add images, format the post the way I want it to look, and add links to related content on my website.
- Publish the article and share. Once the article is published share it on your social media.
- Email my subscribers. The last thing I do is send an email to my subscribers about a new blog post being published.
I also do this for all of the articles I write for other blogs too. If I’m guest posting on someone else’s blog or taking part in an interview or podcast, I usually share it a little more than I do my own content. If you guest post on a person’s website, you should do the same – the more you share it, the more traffic that person will get, and the more likely they are to re-share it too. Everyone wins!
Are you ready to learn how to start a successful blog of your own?
After reading all about how to start a successful blog and my tips for blogging for beginners, you might be thinking that it sounds really overwhelming or you might be really excited to get started. Being overwhelmed is completely normal when you are doing something new. Just remember that all bloggers were there at one point.
If you’re really excited, that’s great!
Learning new things, like how to become a successful blogger and make money is exciting and a fun new challenge that can completely change your life. Keep that motivation going by thinking about why you’re starting a blog in the first place.
But, for anyone, remember that reaching success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of work, but with the right mindset, tools, and resources, you can earn money blogging.
Are you interested in learning how to start a successful blog?