Blogging 101: How to Start a Successful Blog
Table of Contents
How to Start a Blog in 2022
I know that there are probably hundreds of blog posts on the web that teach you how to start a blog already. Still, I have over 20 years of blogging experience under my belt, and I think it’s about time I shared the basics of setting up a blog with my readers.
Let me tell you a little about my background in blogging, which has become one of my absolute favorite hobbies and has evolved into my career. At 15, I started my first blog before blogs were really a thing (WordPress wasn’t even released yet!). I’ve owned somewhere around 10 blogs since then, building them up into additional income streams. In 2016, I began writing for other blogs and soon realized I could make a career out of it. I’ve now worked with more than 100 clients to write and manage their blogs and help them make money, too.
In this guide, I’m going to outline the basic steps you need to know to get a blog off the ground and launched successfully. Who knows…maybe in a few months I’ll see you around the blogosphere making a steady income with your blog!
*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything through these links, I’ll receive a commission. This happens at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services I honestly love and believe my readers will too.
How to Start a Blog in 9 Steps
You know all those articles you’ve read about how easy it is to start a blog and make money blogging? They’re not 100% wrong, but they are misleading.
Yes, it’s easy to start a blog in the sense that all you need is some money and internet experience to get one on the web. However, building one up to money-making status isn’t a task that you can do in a few hours like many articles make it seem.
So, we’re going to start at the very beginning and work our way up to the money-making part here. But I want you to know that steps 1-6 are the easy parts, and 7-9 are where you really need to dig deep to get what you want out of your blog.
Ready? Away we go!
1. Decide on a niche
First things first: choose the topic you’d like your blog to focus on. If you’ve had a blog in mind for a while now, this will probably be an easy task because you’ve likely already thought about the basics. If not, you’ll have a little more work to do.
I’m a firm believer that your blog doesn’t have to focus on a very specific niche. For instance, having a parenting blog that talks about all things parenting is perfectly fine; in fact, this blog does exactly that. It covers topics that parents, in general, would find interesting. However, you can always get more specific by narrowing it down to a sub-topic, like single parenting, adoptive parenting, or grandparenting.
Your niche is going to spark the topics you’ll cover and the overall vibe for your blog, so this is where you’ll need to really dig deep and decide on something that you can see yourself writing about for years to come. Need some inspiration? I love this list of niche ideas from Wix.
2. Choose your name, domain, and hosting
Now, it’s time to choose a name for your new blog based on your primary topic. Or, if you’d like to establish yourself as an expert in your area, you might just choose to use your name as I do with this blog (it’s simple, right?). Once you’ve settled on a name, you can move on to picking a domain name. This is what the URL bar in your browser shows (mine is amyboyington.com, for example). Here are a few things to keep in mind as you choose a domain name:
- Keep it simple and short
- Make it something that’s easy to remember
- Consider using the .com extension, if available
- Add a keyword in, if possible
- If it has multiple words, make sure it looks good when they’re smushed together
- Ensure that it’s easy to pronounce
One more pointer: Don’t pigeon-hole yourself. You might love a domain like personalbudgeting.com for a personal finance blog. But what if you decide to also cover business tax topics at some point? Keeping your domain name a little more generalized can help your blog expand in the future.
A domain name won’t do much without hosting, so you’ll also need to choose your website’s host. I personally like buying my domain and hosting package from the same company, but there’s no rule saying you need to do that. However, you can usually get some good deals by bundling them.
I use SiteGround for my hosting and domain, and I’ve stuck with them for years now. My site has never had downtime, websites are super simple to set up through the company, and SiteGround technical support is incredible. Plus, I love its managed WordPress hosting that optimizes your WordPress site with ease. Save up to 73% on your hosting package with SiteGround by signing up through my referral link!
3. Set up a blogging platform
You don’t necessarily need a blogging platform to blog. On the other hand, I’d say you NEED one! Let me explain.
When I first started blogging, platforms like WordPress were not around. I had to manually add my posts to my blog and create additional pages when one got too full of posts. Now, we have incredible blogging platforms that take care of posting, archiving, and all that jazz for us. There’s no need to make more work for yourself, and blogging platforms prevent you from doing that.
With that said, WordPress is a clear favorite of mine. I’ve used it since the year it was released (2003!) and haven’t strayed since. What’s better is that with any site that I create through SiteGround, I can have SiteGround install WordPress for me on my domain in just a few minutes. Plus, SiteGround keeps WordPress optimized to continue working efficiently.
Other services also offer blogging platforms, like Wix and Squarespace. These two services are good choices for people who want their hosting, domain, and blog all rolled into one package.
4. Pick a theme you love and make it yours
Now, choose a theme that works with your blogging platform. WordPress includes free themes you can tweak to look and feel how you want them to, but plenty of third-party services also create themes for WordPress. However, be prepared to pay for them (many are 100% worth every penny!). I love using EnvatoMarket when I need a new theme, but I also enjoy searching Etsy for unique and custom WordPress themes.
With other blogging platforms, be sure to choose a theme specifically for your platform.
If you have the budget, I recommend working with a designer to get a unique theme that’s made just for your blog. A good designer will get to know you and your blog to design something that fits its vibe. They can even create a logo, color palette, and branding to get you started on the right foot toward a money-making blog.
5. Plan your categories and topics
Before I begin writing any posts for a blog, I always plan my topics and categories. This helps me keep my blog focused on a few connected areas rather than all over the place. For example, this blog has three primary categories: parenting, lifestyle, and blog/career. My posts within those categories all align in some way with the parenting lifestyle, targeting mostly moms who are interested in growing a blog, business, or career.
Once you have 1-3 broad categories, you can break them down into subtopics. My lifestyle category dives further into relevant topics like food, product reviews, and money, for instance. Subtopics help you organize your blog even more, allowing your visitors to find what they need easily. Add your categories to your blog’s menu for easy navigation.
I immediately start on an editorial calendar after coming up with my blog’s topics. Your editorial calendar lists all the blog posts you plan to write for a given period. I like to spend a couple of hours planning mine for a full year. Use a spreadsheet to list the topics and a few resources you’d like to use for each topic in columns tagged for each category.
6. Start writing
It’s finally time to start writing!
Come up with a schedule you’d like to have for blogging, such as weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. This is really personal preference, but it’s best to stay consistent. If you can only commit to one post per month right now (that’s where I’m currently at!), that’s fine, but make sure you’re writing that monthly post and making it the best it can be. You can always shift your editorial calendar later to accommodate your schedule and add more posts in.
There are no clear-cut rules on writing a blog post because the way you write, the length of your posts, your SEO tactics, etc., will depend on your ultimate goals. However, I love this HubSpot guide on writing a blog post that includes a few free templates to get you started.
7. Promote your blog
Next comes promoting your blog and its posts. One of the best ways to do this is to set up social media accounts connected to your blog (as in, make them separate from your personal accounts). Use them to share your blog posts, content from other bloggers you love, and relevant posts. This is a great way to build and connect with your audience that follows your blog.
One of my other favorite ways to promote my blog is through Facebook groups for bloggers and influencers. These groups post daily or weekly share threads for bloggers to promote each other’s blog and social media posts. This type of promotion can get time-consuming, so be sure you don’t join more threads than you can handle. I like to keep everything organized with a notebook, too, jotting down each thread I joined and its sharing deadline.
Here are a few of my favorite Facebook groups for bloggers:
- Grow Your Blog
- Boss Babes Engage
- Growing Social Media for Bloggers
- Bloggers Supporting Bloggers
- Social Media Engagement Boost
- The Social Ninjas
I also love Blogging Newbs for beginner support. It occasionally has networking and share threads, too.
8. Get involved in the blogging community
I’m a firm believer that your involvement in the blogging community can propel your blog to the next level. Bloggers instinctively help one another, and the blogging community is amazing.
By blogging community, I mean social media networking, joining Facebook groups, and connecting with other bloggers on their blogs. Share their posts, comment on their posts, sign up for their email newsletters, etc. It will be reciprocated!
Start by following some of your favorite bloggers on the social media channels you use. Then, make it a point to interact with their posts at least once a week. You’ll soon find yourself connecting with other bloggers and boosting each other up.
9. Earn money for your hard work
Not all blogs need to make money, but why not start earning for the hard work you put in? (Trust me: blogging is hard work!).
There are several ways to make money from blogging, such as writing sponsored posts, placing advertisements, and promoting and selling products via your blog. Personally, I’ve always started with sponsored posts on my blog. They can take a while to get because many brands offering sponsorships require you to have a minimum amount of traffic or social media followers. Still, there’s no harm in seeking out brands to partner with once you have several blog posts published and begin growing your audience.
Signing up for a few paid blogging networks can help you find open opportunities. Here are a few of my favorites:
As you grow your blog, you might even consider earning an income by becoming a freelance blogger. I’ve done this for several years, and it’s a great way to supplement your blogging income.
Blogging 101: How to Start a Blog in 2022
Whew — we’ve covered a lot in this blog post about how to start a blog! Hopefully, I gave you a bit of direction on how to get started on setting up your blog and growing your audience.
What else do you want to know about starting a blog? Let me know down in the comments, and it may just turn into a new blog post 🙂