Begin blogging!

How To Start a Blog In 2019

So you want to start a blog? Today it’s easier than ever to make a website and get started. Even if you don’t know how to code or don’t know anything about web design. Let’s get started.

Disclaimer: this blog post contains affiliate links. For each purchase that is made through the affiliate links, I earn a small commission. 

The don’ts

There’s a lot of things new bloggers do wrong and because of these mistakes they lose motivation and give up. I’m here to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes. Let me tell you what you absolutely SHOULDN’T do.

Should you start a blog?

Blogging isn’t a get rich quick scam. It requires a lot of work and perseverance. If you only want to start a blog to make money, you might as well give up right now. For most bloggers, it takes MONTHS to finally see some money trickling in. You really have to love writing about your niche to be able to persevere and be successful.

Free blog or self-hosted blog?

SELF-HOSTED! Duh. Free blogs often look cheap and unprofessional. Not to mention, it is incredibly hard to drive traffic to a free blog. There’s a lot of rules that come with a free blog. WordPress.com or Blogger.com could easily take down your blog for violating one of them. You’re writing tons of content on your blog, put in a lot of hard work and then this happens:

Blogger the blog has been removed
WordPress.com blog has been removed

Just imagine that. Frustrating right? That’s why you should self-host!

Step 1: Choose a niche

You can’t just make a blog about everything. Driving traffic to a blog with multiple niches is not impossible, but it’s a lot harder.

These are the most profitable blog niches out there:

  1. How to Make Money
  2. Budgeting and How to Save Money
  3. Lifestyle
  4. Parenting
  5. Personal Development
  6. Health and Fitness
  7. Cooking and Recipes
  8. Travel and Vacations
  9. Beauty and Fashion

Is your niche not in here? Don’t get discouraged! Anything works, really. You might have to work a bit harder for your blog to become successful. Some niches are just harder to drive traffic to. 

Step 2: Get a domain name and web hosting with Bluehost

Let’s get to the good stuff. We’ll go through the exact steps you need to take to launch your blog today

  1.  A domain name > your web address (mine is www.mindofneha.com)
  2.  Web hosting > A server to store your files and keep them online for your visitors to read.

You can get your domain at Bluehost here!

Bluehost

You can get web hosting starting at $3.95/month. Pretty affordable isn’t it? The hosting plans include:

  • Free domain for the first year
  • Free SSL (secure socket layer) to make your website extra safe for your visitors
  • Easy 1-click WordPress install
  • 24/7 customer support

Bluehost is by far the best host you can choose. They’re fast, their customer service has always been very helpful and their cheapest plan includes services and features that no other host offers for the same price.

Get started with Bluehost here!

If you don’t have a domain yet, you have to create one. Your domain name has to be unique. It’s hard to find a good one that is still available. Write down some ideas! Then try all of them until you find one that isn’t takes. Keep your chosen blog niche in mind. 

After you’ve chosen your domain name, choose a plan that suits your needs and finish your registration. 

There’s a thirty-day money-back guarantee, in case you’re not happy with Bluehost.

Step 3: Set up your blog

After finishing your registration, fill in a strong password for your control/admin panel (Cpanel). A strong password will keep hackers at bay. Log in to your Bluehost admin panel my.bluehost.com. 

Before your launch your site, do the following things:

  1. In the sidebar to the left, click on “settings” and then on “general”
  2. Add a site title and a good tagline
  3. Change your site address to your domain name (mine is Mindofneha.com)
  4. Add your email address so you can change your password whenever you need to.

Step 4: Style and launch your blog!

This is where it gets fun. Navigate to appearance > themes. Pick a theme you like. Install and activate it. on your dashboard click “customize” and style your blog to your liking.

The free theme’s in WordPress aren’t very customizable. You can pretty much update every theme to the pro-version. A paid theme can be pricy but it’s worth it. You can find some really great theme’s on themeforest.net. You can preview (live demo) one of them and find the perfect theme for your blog!

Then on your dashboard click “launch site”. 

Step 5: Manage and organize your blog content

To add your first post navigate to Dashboard > Posts > Add New. The new Gutenberg editor is pretty self-explanatory. In the sidebar to the right, you can add the post to a category. You can create your own categories.

To add a page navigate to Pages > Add New. I would recommend adding an about page and a contact page. 

Click here to read a blog post from artsandbudgets.com about how to write a killer about page.

Create a menu

Navigate to Appearance > Menu’s and create a menu. Give your menu a name and choose categories and pages you want to display in your menu. 

Edit Menu

You can drag and drop them to change the order. Drag a page or category slightly to the right to create a drop-down menu. On this site, when you hover over “about” in the menu, a drop-down list will appear with the contact page.

Install plugins 

They’re FREE! Navigate to Plugins > Add New and search for necessary plugins. These are some of the essential plugins I use:

  1. WP statistics: This is to track your visitors, page views, what country they come from, which pages and posts are the most popular, where most of your traffic is coming from and more!
  2. Related post: This plugin displays related posts underneath each post you publish. The most recent posts from the same category will be displayed. This will increase your page views.
  3. Hustle: Link this to your email marketing client and customize email subscription pop-ups, embeds, widgets and more!
  4. WPForms: I use this for the contact form on my contact page.
  5. WP Mail SMTP: I had a problem with my site not delivering emails. 
    This plugin fixes your email deliverability by reconfiguring the wp_mail() PHP function to use a proper SMTP provider.
  6. Social icons widget: This is so your visitors can share your content and increase your page views. 
  7. Yoast SEO: This plugin checks your content en tells you how to make it more readable, But most importantly, it tells you how to rank your website higher in search engines.

Step 6: Create a personal email account and a contact form

Creating a domain-based email account like yourname@yourdomain.com makes your website look more professional and increases authority with your readers. Here are 6 reasons you need a custom email address.

How to create a custom email account

Bluehost includes the ability to make a custom email account as a part of your hosting account.

Go to www.yourdomain.com/cpanel and log in with your Cpanel username and password. Navigate to Email Accounts > Create. From there you can easily create an email account.

Bluehost e-mail

You can check your email by navigating to Email Accounts > Check Email. I can imagine that Gmail is much more user-friendly. By navigating to Forwarders > Add Forwarder and filling in your Gmail account information, you can forward all your emails to a Gmail account.

Here’s a guide on how to add your domain email account to your Gmail account and send an email as hello@yourdomain.com from your Gmail account. Scroll down to “receiving emails in Gmail”.

Don’t forget to put your new contact information on your about page.

Create a contact form

Install and activate the plugin WP Mail SMTP. Navigate to Settings > WP Mail SMTP. Fill in the first to fields as shown in this image:

WP Mail SMTP

Choose “Other SMTP” as the mailer. 

After creating a custom email address you should’ve received an email with the following information:

SMTP Info

Use this information to fill in the rest. My SMTP host is censored in this picture. I filled in my Bluehost password as the SMTP password. Now navigate to Email Test and send a test email.

If this doesn’t work, please contact the Bluehost customer service. I’m sure they can resolve this issue.

With the plugin WP Forms, you can create a contact form for readers and businesses to contact you. Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, navigate to WPForms in the sidebar to the left and start building your contact form.

Edit Contact Form

Navigate to Settings > Notifications and fill in the fields as shown in the image below:

Edit Contact Form

Fill in your own email address as the “from email”. If you don’t, your host will reject the emails! Fill in “{all_fields}” in the message field. This way you can still see the senders email address in case you want to respond.

Click save and then embed. copy the shortcode. Navigate to Pages, click your contact page to edit it. Paste the shortcode. For me, it looked like this: 

Contact Form

The form is completely responsive!

Step 7: Plan your content and set SMART goals

Starting a blog definitely isn’t a get rich quick scam. It takes a lot of work and perseverance. Setting SMART goals and planning them the SMART way will help you accomplish anything.


Related posts:

How To Plan SMART Goals And Have Time For Everything You Want To Do

Goals: Blogging In June 2019


You’re done!

Phew! That wasn’t that hard, was it? Now you can start writing awesome content about your favorite niche, gain traffic and even make money!

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