“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes, then learn how to do it later!” –– Billionaire Richard Branson
What Is a Blog?
There was no amount of confusion that I can even begin to reminisce when I started this blog. I never had a blog before, not even a Xanga (remember those?!)
A long time ago (when I was just a baby myself) people started using the internet as personal journals. These online diaries became more and more popular until everyone and their uncle had one. It was a beautiful new way of connecting with families and friends.
My family was too poor to afford a computer. Needless to say, I didn’t know what a blog was until I was in college. And back then, I didn’t care! I didn’t see it going anywhere. Soon the niches and diary blogs became more and more popular as people started building relationships and specific topics of interest around a network of online communities.
Today, it’s a profession for people.
The income potential keeps growing as we all become more and more connected online. The most popular way to monetize depends on your comfort level of ads, sponsorships, affiliates, consulting and product services which are huge topics itself. Now, you will find yourself picking up a plethora of new skills you never thought of before.
Don’t be intimated.
This money blog diary was just something on my life’s bucket list, who knew it would make thousands of dollars in my first year. I’ve generated well over 320,000 page views and a national magazine publication. (All under 12 months, it still shocks me!)
*The Internet is constantly growing. It is never too late.
*Time is on your side.
*The setup cost is so low.
*The sky is the limit.
*Expand your social circle based on a passion.
*Contribute to the human index of knowledge.
For the first month, I didn’t know what I was doing at all. Some people come in prepared, keyboards hot…and then there are people like me who wing things on the fly.
If I could do it, there is nothing to be intimidated by.
Blogging has truly changed my life and authenticated so much meaning. I’ve created friendships, no joke. The kind that involves meeting other humans in the same physical space and talking to them every day like old friends. (Cheesy, I know!)
The amazing things that happened in my life now go in this order:
*Coming to America
*Meeting my husband
*And discovering the world of blogging and all the components included in that.
That’s the power of a modern blog! So without further yappy yap from me, let’s get started.
How To Start a Successful Blog
Step 1: Plan Your Blog
The modern blog should be a business. Creating a strategy will be the first step in ensuring your blog’s success. Spend some time to deliberate your message and what the kind of audience it will reach. A blog business plan is very easy and you only need to ask yourself these following questions:
*What will your blog be about?
*What is your message and what are your goals?
*How many bloggers in your niche do you follow, what makes them successful?
*How will you make money from your blog? (Ads, affiliate marketing, sponsorship, consulting, etc.)
BUT remember…I totally stumbled into the blogging and did fine all by myself so it’s totally OK if you don’t know the answer to these questions! That is actually half the fun if you choose to wing it like I did 🙂
Step 2: Choose a Host
Bluehost and WordPress go together like peanut butter and jelly. A reputable host is the most important step. Without a host, no one will even see your website!
Self-hosting is critical to your blogging success for countless reasons. The biggest for me is you should never have a blog hosted by Blogger or Typepad etc. The fine prints states in exchange for these big websites hosting you, they technically own your content.
They have the last say to shut you down. Is that fair? No! Hosting is incredibly affordable and your content could be priceless.
As such, I strongly recommend Bluehost. They are dependable because of their industry reputation and history. Bluehost is the biggest hosting company online and they offer packages for less than most competitors.
I love free stuff but one should not use a free blogging platform – it will not have the scalability or control of a modern-day blog. The best site to start a blog is WordPress (self-hosted).
Sign up with my link and Bluehost will include a free domain name and free SSL to all new customers.
Click the “Get Started Now” button.
Go with the least expensive basic plan if this is your first blog. That is what I did. Bluehost can easily scale with you as you grow so don’t worry about which option.
When my plan expired, I decided to upgrade to the Prime package. The $5.95, the Prime package offered unlimited website and storage! The upgrade was effortless and the Prime plan is an amazing deal for bloggers anywhere.
Now start filling out your domain website name. Choosing an accurate and catchy domain name is important (and trickier than it sounds.) It’s also very fun to do. People often give the voting to their friends and family. Your domain name should be:
*Easy to type.
*Easy to pronounce.
*Relevant to your blog topic. If it’s a lifestyle or diary blog, you can also use your full name.
*Don’t infringe on other brand names and statements.
*Avoid hyphens and “kreative” spellings 🙂
If you can’t get a free domain from Bluehost, no worries, it wouldn’t break the bank. A .com domains will cost around $11/year but there are alternatives that go down to 58 cents with Namecheap. Naturally, the .com extension (i.e. TheFrugalGene.com) is the most competitive because of the “officialness” but don’t let that tether you.
I strongly recommend finding a domain company that also has domain privacy to safely hide your information online. I made that mistake my first time and it cost me more money to undo my mistake. Looking for a domain name provider with free privacy guard? Try our partner at NameCheap.com.
Fill out the personal and account information and choose your desired plan length. Ignore and uncheck all of the boxes for add-ons such as Site-Backup and Search Engine Jump. You can add them on later if you really needed to. Create your password and log in.
Step 3: Go With WordPress
Now that you are logged in, choose a free WordPress theme for now. You can explore other free themes later!
WordPress currently powers over 25% of all the websites in the world. Since WordPress is extremely well-known as the industry standard, there will be a lot of resources and commercial add-ons plugins to add functionality to your blog. That is so critical as you will learn later on.
A theme is basically the “clothing” of your blog. A professional and clean theme is the first visual thing your readers will see before they even get close to the content so make sure your blog looks organized. One more thing kids, WordPress will try to sell you a theme and for most new bloggers, I don’t recommend paying for a theme.
This is a tactical move because a web layout is extremely intuitive based on your audience. If you don’t know or have an audience, buying an expensive theme might not give you the best rate of return financially. Choose a free theme from the many in the WordPress library and you’ll be ready to go live.
After going live, it’s simply tweaking your theme to get the right feel.
Step 4: Plug-Ins To Launch
If a theme is the ‘clothing’ of your blog then plug-ins are your ‘shoes.’
The first thing all bloggers need to do is uninstall Mojo Market which is a useless bloatware that interferes with the Jetpack commenting system WordPress pre-installs.
On another note, the best plug-ins every successful blog needs are as follows (order in importance):
*Google Analytics for WordPress
*Updraft Backup (Optional)
Step 5: Start Publishing
We’re almost done! Via WordPress, put up an About Page and do not skip this step. As a new user on a blog, the About Page is essentially your principle introduction to what makes you and your blog amazing.
Use Grammarly for free and quick proofreading.
At this stage, it would be good to look at what the professionals in your chosen niche are doing. Funnel the attention of your audience effectively.
What determines a successful blog from an unsuccessful blog is determination, consistency, and a passion for what you do. 🙂 Write good content and publish them at the crack of dawn in the morning at least once a week.
To avoid photo copyright infringement, use Pexels and Pixabay for free HQ photos and you’re ready to publish!
Use social media (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest etc.) to promote your content until you have built a base of readers. Your blog will begin to grow organically after a while as you write.
I use my Acer Chromebook to blog from anywhere. As long as you have a decent internet connection, blogging can be done from anywhere. You can also find refurbished Chromebooks on Amazon.