Want to know how to start a blog in 2023? Good. You have come to the right place. Here I will walk you through the process step-by-step to help you start blogging; from choosing a domain name and web hosting, installing WordPress, and launching your blog to showing you how to grow your following!
Starting a blog ⇣ can change your life.
It can help you quit your day job and work when you want from wherever you want and on whatever you want.
And that’s just the beginning of the long list of benefits blogging has to offer.
It can help you make a side income or even replace your full-time job.
And it doesn’t take much time or money to maintain and keep a blog running.
My decision to start blogging came from wanting to make extra money on the side of my day job. I didn’t have a clue what to do, but I decided to just get started, bite the bullet and learn how to start a blog with WordPress and just get posting. I thought, what do I have to lose?
Unlike when I got started, today it’s easier than ever to start a blog because it used to be a pain having to figure out how to install and set up WordPress, configure web hosting, domain names, and so on.
🛑 But here’s the problem:
Starting a blog can still be difficult if you have no idea know what you are supposed to do.
There are so many things to learn including web hosting, WordPress, domain name registration, and more.
In fact, most people get overwhelmed in only the first few steps and give up the whole dream.
When I was starting out, it took me over a month to build my first blog.
But thanks to today’s technology you don’t have to worry about any of the technical details of creating a blog. Because for less than $10 a month you can have your blog installed, configured, and ready to go!
To help you avoid dozens of hours of hair pulling and frustration, I have created this simple step-by-step guide to help you start your blog.
It covers everything from choosing a name to creating content to making money.
Because here I’m going to teach you everything you need to know (information I wish I had when I started) when it comes to learning how to start a blog from scratch.
Now, take a deep breath, relax, and let’s get started …
Step 1. Pick your blog’s name & domain
Step 2. Find a web hosting provider
Step 4. Set up your blog (with Bluehost)
Step 8. How to find your blogging niche
Step 9. Use free stock photos & graphics
Step 11. Sites for outsourcing blogging tasks
Step 12. Develop your blog’s content strategy
Step 14. How to make money with your blog
Before I dive into this guide, I think it’s important to address one of the most common questions I get, which is:
how much does it cost to start a blog?
Cost of starting, and running, your blog
Most people wrongly assume that it would cost them thousands of dollars to set up a blog.
But they couldn’t be more wrong.
Blogging costs grow only when your blog grows.
But it all comes down to factors such as your level of experience and how big of an audience your blog has.
If you are just starting out, your blog will have no audience at all unless you are a celebrity in your industry.
For most people who are just starting out, the cost could be broken down as such:
- Domain Name: $15/year
- Web Hosting: ~$10/month
- WordPress Theme: ~$50 (one-time)
As you can see in the above breakdown, it doesn’t cost more than $100 to start a blog.
Depending on your needs and requirements, it can cost upwards of $1,000. For example, if you wish to hire a web designer to do a custom design for your blog, it will cost you at least $500.
Similarly, if you wish to hire someone (such as a freelance editor or writer) to help you write your blog posts, it will add up to your ongoing costs.
If you are just starting out and are concerned about your budget, it does not have to cost you more than $100.
Remember, this is only the startup cost for your blog.
Now, something you need to remember is that the costs of running your blog will increase as the size of your blog’s audience increases.
Here is a rough estimate to keep in mind:
- Up to 10,000 Readers: ~$15/month
- 10,001 – 25,000 Readers: $15 – $40/month
- 25,001 – 50,000 Readers: $50 – $80/month
The running costs of your blog will rise with the size of your audience.
But this rising cost shouldn’t worry you because the amount of money you make from your blog will also rise with the size of your audience.
As promised in the introduction, I will also teach how you can make money from your blog in this guide.
Summary – How to start a successful blog and make money in 2023
Now when you know how to start a blog, you probably have a lot of questions going on in your mind about how you will expand your blog and turn it into a business or whether you should write a book or create an online course.
You shouldn’t worry about these things, yet.
Right now, all I want you to worry about is setting up your blog with Bluehost.com.
P.S. Black Friday is coming up and you can score yourself good Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals.
Take everything one step at a time and you will be a successful blogger in no time.
For now, bookmark 📑 this blog post and come back to it whenever you need to revisit the basics of blogging. And be sure to share this post with your friends. Blogging is better when your friends are in it too. 😄
BONUS: How to start a blog [Infographic]
Here’s an infographic summarizing how to start a blog (opens in a new window). You can share the infographic on your site using the embed code provided in the box below the image.
Frequently asked questions about how to make a blog
I receive emails from readers like yourself all the time and I get asked pretty much the same questions over and over again.
Below I try to answer as many of them as I can.
What is a blog?
The term “blog” was first invented in 1997 by John Barger when he called his Robot Wisdom site a “weblog”.
A blog is very similar to a website. I would say that a blog is a type of website, and the main difference between a website and a blog is that a blog’s content (or blog posts) is presented in reverse chronological order (newer content appears first).
Another difference is that blogs are usually updated more often (once a day, once a week, once a month), while a website’s content is more ‘static’.
Do people still read blogs in 2023?
Yes, people still read blogs. Absolutely! According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2020, approximately 67% of adults in the United States reported reading a blog at least occasionally.
Blogs can be a valuable source of personal information and entertainment. They can serve various purposes, such as sharing personal thoughts and experiences, providing news and information on a particular topic, or promoting a business or product.
Do I need to be a computer genius to learn how to start a blog in 2023?
Most people fear that starting a blog requires specialized knowledge and takes a lot of hard work.
If you were to start a blog in 2002, you would need to hire a web developer or know how to write code. But that’s no longer the case.
Starting a blog has become so easy that a 10-year-old could do it. The WordPress, Content Management System (CMS) software that you used to create your blog, is one of the easiest ones out there. It is designed to be used by beginners.
Learning how to use WordPress is as easy as learning how to post a picture on Instagram.
Granted, the more time you invest in this tool, the more options you will have for what you want your blog and content to look like. But even if you are just starting, you can learn the ropes in only a few minutes.
Set 45 seconds aside right now and sign up for a free domain name and blog hosting with Bluehost to get your own blog all set up and ready to go
If you just want to write blog posts, then you have nothing to fear.
And in the future, if you ever want to do more, it is really easy to add more functionality to WordPress. You just need to install plugins.
What web host should I go with when creating a blog?
There are hundreds of web hosts on the Internet. Some are premium and others cost less than a packet of gum. The problem with most web hosts is that they don’t offer what they promise.
What does that mean?
Most shared hosting providers who say they offer unlimited bandwidth put an invisible cap on the number of people who can visit your website. If too many people visit your website in a short period of time, the host will suspend your account. And that’s only one of the tricks web hosts use to trick you into paying a year in advance.
If you want the best services and reliability, go with Bluehost. They are the most trusted and one of the most reliable web hosts on the Internet. They host websites of some very big, popular bloggers.
The best thing about Bluehost is that its support team is one of the best in the industry. So, if your website ever goes down, you can reach out to the customer support team any time of the day and get help from an expert.
Another great thing about Bluehost is their Blue Flash service, you can start blogging within minutes without any technical know-how. All you have to do is fill a few form fields and click a few buttons to have your blog installed and configured in less than 5 minutes.
There are of course good alternatives to Bluehost. One is SiteGround (my review here). Check out my SiteGround vs Bluehost comparison.
Should I hire a marketing expert to help grow my blog?
Whoa whoa, slow down!
Most beginners make the mistake of rushing in and trying to do everything at once.
If this is your first blog, I recommend that you treat it like a side hobby project until you start seeing some traction.
Wasting thousands of dollars a month on marketing isn’t worth it if you still haven’t figured out how you will make money or if you can even make money in your blog’s niche.
Is VPS hosting better than shared hosting?
Yes a VPS is better, but when you are just starting out, I recommend going with a shared hosting company like Bluehost.
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) offers you a virtualized semi-dedicated server for your website. It’s like getting a small slice of a bigger pie. Shared hosting offers you a small chunk of a slice of a pie. And a dedicated server is like buying a whole pie.
The bigger slice of the pie you own, the more visitors your website can handle. When you are just starting out, you will receive less than a few thousand visitors a month, and as such shared hosting will be all you need. But as your audience grows, your website will require more server resources (a bigger piece of the pie that VPS offers.)
Do I really need to backup my website regularly?
You have heard of Murphy’s law right? That is “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.
If you make a change to your website’s design and accidentally break something that locks you out of the system, how will you fix it? You would be surprised to know how many times this happens to bloggers.
Or worse, what will you do if your website gets hacked? All the content that you spent hours creating will be just gone. This is where regular backups come in handy.
Broke your website trying to customize the color settings? Just revert your site to an older backup.
If you want my recommendations for backup plugins, check out the section on recommended plugins.
How do I become a blogger and get paid?
The harsh reality is that most bloggers don’t earn a life-changing income from their blogs. But it is possible, believe me.
Three things need to happen for you to become a blogger and get paid.
First, you need to create a blog (duh!).
Second, you need to monetize your blog, some of the best ways to get paid for blogging are via affiliate marketing, display ads, and selling your own physical or digital products.
Third and final (and also the hardest), you need to get visitors/traffic to your blog. Your blog needs traffic and your blog’s visitors need to click on ads, sign up via affiliate links, buying your products – because that is how your blog will make money, and for you as a blogger to be paid.
How much money can I realistically make from my blog?
The amount of money you can make with your blog is virtually unlimited. There are bloggers like Ramit Sethi who make millions of dollars in a week every time they launch a new online course.
Then, there are authors like Tim Ferriss, who break the web when they publish their books using blogging.
But I am not a genius like Ramit Sethi or Tim Ferrissyou say.
Now, of course, these can be called outliers, but making thousands of dollars in income from a blog is quite common in the blogging community.
Although you won’t make your first million in your first year of blogging, you can turn your blog into a business as it starts to gain some traction and once your blog starts to grow, your income will grow with it.
The amount of money you can make from your blog depends on how good you are at marketing and how much time you invest in it.
Should I start a free blog on platforms like Wix, Weebly, Blogger, or Squarespace?
When starting a blog, you might think about considering starting a free blog on a platform like Wix or Squarespace. There are a lot of blogging platforms on the Internet that allow you to start a blog for free.
Free blogging platforms are good places to test things out, but if your goal is to generate an income from blogging, or eventually build a business around your blog then I recommend you avoid the free blog platforms.
Instead, go with a company like Bluehost. They’ll get your blog installed, configured, and all ready to go.
Here are some of the reasons why I recommend against it:
No customization or difficult to customize: Most free platforms offer little to no customization options. They lock it behind a paywall. If you want to customize more than just the name of your blog, you need to pay up.
No support: Blogging platforms won’t offer much (if any) support if your website goes down. Most ask you to upgrade your account if you want access to support.
They put ads on your blog: It’s not rare for free blogging platforms to put ads on your blog. To remove these ads, you will have to upgrade your account.
Most require an upgrade if you want to make money: If you want to make money blogging on free platforms, you need to start paying before they allow you to put your own ads on the website.
Switching to another platform, later on, will cost lots of money: Once your blog starts to gain some traction, you will want to add more functionality to it or simply have more control over your site. When you move a website from a free platform to WordPress on a shared host, it can cost you a lot of money because you will have to hire a developer to do so.
A free blog platform can delete your blog and all its content at any time: A platform that you don’t own offers you no virtually no control over your website’s data. If you unknowingly violate any of their terms, they can terminate your account and delete your data whenever they want without prior notice.
Lack of control: If you ever want to expand your website and maybe add an ecommerce component to it, you won’t be able to on a free platform. But with WordPress, it’s as easy as clicking a few buttons to install a plugin.
How much time will it take before I start seeing any money from my blog?
Blogging is a difficult job and takes a lot of time. If you want your blog to be successful, you will have to work hard at it for at least a few months. Once your blog starts gaining some traction, it grows like a snowball going downhill.
How fast your blog starts gaining traction depends on how good you are at marketing and promoting your blog. If you are an experienced marketer, you can start making money from your blog within the first week. But if you are just starting out, it can take you well over a few months to start making any money from your blog.
It also depends on how you choose to make money from your blog. If you decide to build an information product, then you will have to first build up an audience and then you will have to invest time and effort into actually creating the information product.
Even if you decide to outsource the creation of your information product to a freelancer, you will still have to wait until the information product is ready for selling.
On the other hand, If you decide to make money through ads, you will have to wait until your website is approved by an Ad Network like AdSense. Most ad networks reject small websites that don’t get much traffic.
So, you will have to first work on your blog before you can even apply to an ad network to make money. If you get rejected by a few ad networks, don’t feel bad about it. It happens to all bloggers.
What if I can’t decide what to blog about?
If you can’t decide what to blog about, just start blogging about your personal life and your life experiences. Many successful professional bloggers started out this way and now their blogs are successful businesses.
Blogging can be a great way to learn something new or improve your existing skills. If you are a web designer and you blog about web design tricks or tutorials, then you will be able to learn new things and improve your skill even faster. And if you do it right, you might even build an audience for your blog.
Even if your first blog fails, you will have learned how to create a blog and will have to knowledge to make your next blog successful. It is better to fail and learn than to not start at all.
Free WordPress theme vs premium theme, what should I go for?
When you are just starting out, using a free theme on your blog sounds like a good idea but the biggest problem with using free themes is that if and when you switch to a new (premium) theme in the future, you will lose all the customization and it might break how things work on your website.
I love StudioPress themes. Because their themes are secure, fast loading, and SEO friendly. Plus StudioPress’s one-click demo installer will make your life a lot easier as it will automatically install any plugins used on the demo site, and update the content to match the theme demo.
Here are the biggest differences between a free and a premium theme:
Support: Free themes are usually developed by individual authors who don’t have the time to respond to support queries all day long and as such most of them avoid answering support queries at all.
Customization Options: Most free themes are developed in a haste and don’t offer many (if any) customization options.
Security: Authors of free themes can’t afford to spend time extensively testing the quality of their themes. And as such their themes may not be as secure as premium themes bought from trusted theme studios.
Support: When you buy a premium theme from a reputed theme studio, you get support directly from the team that created the theme. Most theme studios offer at least 1 year of free support with their premium themes.
Customization Options: Premium themes come with hundreds of options to help you customize almost all aspects of the design of your site. Most premium themes come bundled with premium page builder plugins that allow you to customize the design of your website by clicking a few buttons.
Security: Popular theme studios hire the best coders they can and invest in testing their themes for security loopholes. They also try to fix security bugs as soon as they find them.
I recommend that you start with a Premium Theme because when you go with a premium theme, you can rest assured that if anything breaks, you can contact the support team at any time.
How much time before the free SEO traffic kicks in?
How much traffic you can receive from Google or any other search engine depends on a lot of factors that are out of your control.
Google is basically a set of computer algorithms that decide what website should be displayed in the top 10 results. Because there are hundreds of algorithms that make up Google and decide the rankings of your website, it is hard to guess when your website will start receiving traffic from Google.
If you are just starting out, it will probably take at least a few months before you see any traffic from search engines. Most websites take at least 6 months before they appear anywhere in Google search results.
This effect is dubbed the Sandbox effect by SEO Experts. But it doesn’t mean your website will take 6 months to start getting traffic. Some websites start getting traffic in the second month.
It will also depend on how many backlinks your website has. If your website has no backlinks, then Google will rank it lower than other websites.
When a website links out to your blog, it acts as a trust signal to Google. It is the equivalent of the website telling Google that your website could be trusted.
How to get your domain to work with Bluehost?
Did you choose a new domain when you signed up with Bluehost? If so then check your email inbox to find the domain activation email. Click the button in the email to complete the activation process.
Did you choose to use an existing domain? Go to where the domain is registered (e.g. GoDaddy or Namecheap) and update the nameservers for the domain to:
Name Server 1: ns1.bluehost.com
Name Server 2: ns2.bluehost.com
If you’re unsure how to do it, reach out to Bluehost and have them walk you through how to do this.
Did you choose to get your domain later when you signed up with Bluehost? Then your account was credited for the amount of a free domain name.
When you are ready to get your domain name, simply login to your Bluehost account and go to the “Domains” section and search for the domain you want.
At checkout, the balance will be $0 because the free credit has been automatically applied.
When the domain has been registered it will be listed under the “Domains” section in your account.
In the right-hand side panel of the page under the tab titled “Main” scroll down to “cPanel type” and click “Assign”.
Your blog will now be updated to use a new domain name. However please note that this process can take up to 4 hours.
How to log in to WordPress once you have logged out?
To get to your WordPress blog login page, type in your domain name (or temporary domain name) + wp-admin into your web browser.
For example, say your domain name is wordpressblog.org then you would type in https://wordpressblog.org/wp-admin/to get to your WordPress login page.
If you don’t remember your WordPress login username and password, the login details are in the welcome email that was sent to you after you set up your blog. Alternatively, you can also log in to WordPress by first logging into your Bluehost account.
How to get started with WordPress if you’re a beginner?
I find that YouTube is an excellent resource for learning WordPress. Bluehost’s YouTube channel is jam-packed with excellent video tutorials aimed at complete beginners.
A good alternative is WP101. Their easy-to-follow WordPress video tutorials have helped more than two million beginners learn how to use WordPress.
If you get stuck or have any questions for me about how to start a blog in 2023, just contact me and I will personally respond to your email.
This post contains affiliate links. For more info read my disclosure here