How to Start a Blog in 2020: 8 Steps You Should Follow

by Nikita Shevchenko

In this in-depth guide, I will show you how to start a blog step-by-step.

The checklist I put inside the article will help you kick-start building your brand online and earn an authority with a minimum budget.

It also features some of the finest website promotion tactics.

Follow the simple steps and launch your blog right now!



Why You Need to Launch a Blog (3 Main Reasons)

Before jumping to the actual process let me tell you how blogging can change your life!

Here are my top reasons why you need to start blogging right now:

  • Build Authority. Launching a blog is one of the best decisions you can make for proving your expertise in the field. The blog is your professional image on the web that speaks louder than a generic CV. I can’t even think about a better way to prove your experience than constantly sharing case studies, professional stats, and detailed articles. Building your personal website will provide opportunities you could never think of!
  • Build an Audience. You can promote yourself and your business via blogging. It will help you grow the audience of regular readers and even RAVING fans. The main reason why people will be attracted to your brand or services is that you will constantly provide valuable information through blogging. The more you can share the more you can get.
  • Financial Independence. Making real money by blogging is an absolutely possible task to accomplish.

How much can you earn blogging?

From 0 to Millions of dollars! I hate to say that but it really depends.

Some of the most important factors are your approach and attitude.

Whereas I cannot control your attitude I surely can show you the right approach to blog launching.

That said, not blogs are built equally. Most of them bring their owner a couple of bucks a month.

This is yet another reason why I wrote this article.

It is to show you exactly how to start a blog from scratch and build a solid foundation so you can make money online.

I hope I’ve convinced you to give it a shot.

Now, you probably wonder:

How much does it cost to start a new blog?

Here are the tools and services we will use to build it (including prices):

  1. Domain Name Registrar – NameCheap (≈10$/year)
  2. Web Host – SiteGround (≈50$/year)
  3. Blogging Platform – WordPress (free)
  4. WordPress Theme – GeneratePress (49.95$ for the first year + a 40% renewal discount)

Total: ≈ 110$ for your blog launch

Note: In some cases, it may cost you almost zero to get a new blog launched BUT you always get what you pay for so instead of the top-notch website you will get a low-quality solution with very limited functionality.

Enough said, let’s build your blog!

Below you will find the exact process that I’ve been using to build all my blogs.

How to Start a Blog: Step-by-Step

Step 1: Analyze Niche [10 min.]

This is by far the MOST important step you should follow before creating your first blog.

Lots of so-called “experts” would tell you “Blog about what you like”.

(Good luck with that)

If only that was true…

The truth is that NOBODY wants to read about your cat or home plants.

That is why you need to do quick research for finding out the best spot.

blog niche selection factors how to start a blog

Ideally, it should be something you know about quite well AND what people actually want to read about.

Here is the process in short:

  • Pick up the niche according to your interests and abilities
  • Research the top 10 niche websites on Google.
  • Take some notes by analyzing competitors’ content and come up with your own content ideas.
keyword top serp results how to start a blog

Pro Tip: Some website owners can brag about earnings or offer advertising places on their website. If the numbers sound legitimate to you, it means that a niche is profitable.

Now that you picked up the right niche for your blog and have some ideas for your future articles, it is time to pick up the best blogging platform out there.

Step 2: Choose the Best Blogging Platform

You can not ask how to start a blog without asking what platform to choose for its running.

There are tons of blogging solutions on the market and for a beginner blogger, the list may look a little bit overwhelming.

The one I(and millions of other people) will recommend you is WordPress

Note: Please do not confuse WordPress.org and WordPress.com. The first one is what you actually need.

Why is WordPress the best blogging platform?

It is the most user-friendly, secure and customizable platform you can find.

In fact, WordPress powers 35% of all the websites on the web. (Source)

Some of them are:

  • BBC
  • CNN
  • NASA
  • PlayStation
  • And many more really BIG brands

By the way, you can use WordPress absolutely FREE of charge!

Later in this post, you will know how to set it up on your website in just ONE click.

Now, let’s go to some cool steps on this list, you will love them!

Step 3: Get a Killer Domain Name [5 min.]

The domain name is your personal web address where your blog will be located.

People will visit it in order to read your new articles.

For example, the Wikipedia website domain is: wikipedia.org

Your website domain will look like this: yourblog.com*

*instead of “yourblog” you will create a unique name that represents your brand.

You probably wonder:

How much does a domain name cost?

The usual price is about $10 a year, but I am gonna show the way how you can get it for smaller compensation.

Pro Tip: Almost all hosting services offer you a free domain name for the first year if you choose their hosting plan. The reason why you should NOT purchase a domain name from the hosting company is simple. It will be WAY easier for you to switch the hosting provider if for any reason you would like to do so.

My recommendation will be using a service called NameCheap. (I always buy my domain names there)

It is the place where millions of website owners purchased their domain names.

They have arguably the lowest prices on the market and regularly run amazing discounts.

How to start a blog with a cheap domain name from NameCheap?

1Go to NameCheap and Sign Up

namecheap sighup how to start a blog

2Type in the required domain name and click on the search button.

namecheap available domain name search how to start a blog

Note: Three main things to consider when thinking up a domain name: 1. It should represent your brand 2. It should be catchy 3. Ideally, it should include your business keyword.

Good example: QuickBookSummary.com

Bad example: NonFictionBookSummaries.com

3Among all the domain extensions like .net, .to, or .us try to claim .com(It is easier to remember and adds more credibility).

4Click on the “Add to Cart” button and then on “View Cart”.

namecheap add to cart view cart how to start a blog

5Go through a few settings, and click on Confirm Order:

namecheap domain purchasing settings how to start a blog
  • Choose a domain registration duration. The longer the period the more credibility you get for your future blog from Google and other search engines. I always choose +3 years. (Don’t forget to click on auto-renew)
  • Uncheck WhoisGuard. When this option is checked it sends a strong signal to Google that you have something to hide.

6Fill in personal information and click Continue.

namecheap filling in personal information how to start a blog
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Address Line 1
  • City
  • State/Province
  • ZIP/Postal Code
  • Country
  • Phone Number
  • Email address

7Choose the best payment method that suits you(mine is PayPal) and click Continue. 

namecheap domain registration billing options how to start a blog

8Check out with PayPal(in case you choose this option, otherwise do as recommended by NameCheap.)

namecheap check with paypal account how to start a blog

That is it! Congratulations!

Now you have your own unique domain name that people will soon start recognizing!

If you are as excited as I am right now let’s move forward onto the next step in the list.

We will set up one of the most reliable hosting services for bloggers of all levels!

Step 4: Get the Best Web Host [5 min.]

Here is the deal:

There are literally thousands of web hosting providers on the web(yes, THOUSANDS!)

It might be quite a challenge for someone who does not know how to start a blog and choose a reliable hosting provider.

I’ve got you covered here!

The main factors when choosing the right web hosting should be:

  1. Security
  2. Speed
  3. Reliability
  4. Customer Support
  5. Price

The web host we are gonna use is called SiteGround(My personal go-to hosting provider)

Reasons To Choose SiteGround:

  • Support – They offer 24/7 live support via phone, email, support ticket or live chat.
  • Price and Quality – You can get the world’s leading hosting services for as little as 3.95$/month! (There are some cheaper ones but their quality level is not even close)
  • WordPress Optimized – Your website will load super fast compared to many other hosts. (Source)
  • Security They have Fort Knox level security.
  • Endorsements – SiteGround is even recommended by the WordPress company itself! (Source)

It is the company I am using on most of my websites and will recommend it without any hesitation.

Now let’s build your site!

Here is how to start a blog with SiteGround web hosting :

1Go to SiteGround and click on Get Started with a WordPress Hosting:

siteground wordpress hosting get started how to start a blog

2Choose an optimal hosting plan:

siteground wordpress hosting plan Startup how to start a blog

The StartUp plan will be more than enough for a new blog. Though if you are serious about your online asset and plan to grow fast you can consider choosing GrowBig or even GoGeek options.

3Check “I already have a domain”, type it in and proceed:

siteground webhosting choose domain how to start a blog

4Fill in the Account and Billing information then click Pay Now:

siteground hosting step 3 review and complete how to start a blog

Note: I have chosen Period for 36 months and always do so. Reason 1: It will cost you much less than billing annually. Reason 2: Same as with the domain registration period, the longer it is the more credibility a new blog receives from Google.

*If you wish to complete your payment via PayPal you may contact the support team, they will help you out.

Super! Now you have a brand new domain and web hosting from an industry-leading company!

Here is how to start a blog with WordPress installation:

  1. In the “Set up Your Website” section check Start a new website and click on the WordPress logo.
  2. Fill in your future WordPress website login details. Go with a very complicated Password and unusual Username for security purposes. Save them somewhere and never lose.
  3. Click Confirm.
  4. In the “Enhance your account” section you may check or uncheck the website scanning option. (Depends on your security preferences)
  5. Click Confirm.
  6. Check the agreement box and click on Complete Setup:
siteground new startup hosting account setup how to start a blog

Now you can Proceed to Customer Area:

domain setup proceed to customer area how to start a blog

And we are about to connect your domain name to SiteGround Web Hosting(It will take you just 1 minute!)

Step 5: Connect the Domain name to the Web Host [3 min.]

Now that we purchased a domain name and signed up with the hosting provider we need to connect them together.

How to connect the NameCheap domain to SiteGround Hosting?

1Go back to NameCheap and click on Account-Dashboard. Find your domain name and click on Manage.

namecheap dashboard manage domain how to start a blog

2Find the Nameservers section(We are gonna change these names).

namecheap custom dns how to start a blog

Note: Make sure you choose “Custom DNS” in the drop-down menu.

3Head over to SiteGround, sign in to your account, then proceed to My Accounts – Go to Cpanel

siteground my accounts go to cpanel how to start a blog

Look at Nameservers section:

siteground cpanel nameservers how to start a blog

4Copy the first name in the Name Servers section, go back to NameCheap Nameservers and replace the first NameCheap name with the one you copied. Repeat the process with the second name.

The result will be:

namecheap nameservers change how to start a blog

Click Save (The green check mark at the right side).

Congratulations!

You’ve just connected your domain name with a hosting provider!

It means that you have created your first website! (I am sure it did not take you long)

Now let’s get to the most thrilling section of this guide!

Check your email.

SiteGround team has sent you a message with information about your new website.

Now you can access your brand new blog by clicking on the Admin URL.

email with website admin url how to start a blog

Type in your Username and Password when accessing the website:

wordpress login screen how to start a blog

Note: Take a few seconds to enjoy this moment! This is the first time you access your website. You will soon start doing website optimization.

Let’s get your blog an uber-professional look! We will work on its design!

Step 6: Design Your Blog

If you ever wondered how to start a blog with no coding skills whatsoever, the answer is right here!

One of the greatest things about WordPress is that you don’t need any coding skills to have a beautifully designed website.

You don’t even have to hire a professional programmer for that.

WordPress offers you TONS of free themes for your website.

So you can go ahead and install any theme you like.

However, it may take quite a time to find the “million dollars” one.

What should a perfect WordPress theme have?

  • Appealing look
  • Fast speed
  • High level of Security
  • Regular updates

Unfortunately, quite a few free themes meet these standards.

That is why the market is full of companies that create AMAZING WordPress themes.

Which WordPress theme company should you choose?

The one I use and recommend is called GeneratePress.

It has tons(!) of premade design templates you can install on your website effortlessly.

It is called Site Library.

generatepress site library how to start a blog

(I run this blog on the template called Arctic. It has a clean minimalistic layout and it’s optimized for performance.)

Guys are crafting pieces of art for really low prices!

Here is what you will get if you decide to go with GeneratePress:

  • Ultra-Fast and Secure theme
  • Professional design
  • Amazing support service

How to install GeneratePress?

1 Install GeneratePress

The first thing you need to do is installing GeneratePress. GeneratePress is a free theme that is required to be installed and activated in order to use GP Premium (plugin).

  • Go to your WordPress Dashboard and login.
login how to start a blog
  • Go to Appearance – Themes.
appearance themes how to start a blog
  • Click the Add New button next to the title.
themes add new how to start a blog
  • Search for GeneratePress.
search for generatepress how to start a blog
  • Install and activate.
install how to start a blog

2 Purchase GP Premium:

  • Go to this page and click on the “Get it now” button.
generatepress purchase button how to start a blog
  • Click on the “Add to Cart” button.
gp add to cart how to start a blog
  • Fill in the billing information and click “Purchase
gp premium billing information how to start a blog
  • Complete the payment either with PayPal or your Credit Card.

Fantastic! Now we can download the plugin and install it on your website.

3 Download GP Premium:

Right-click the download button (control + click for Mac users), then save the file to your computer. The file will save as gp-premium.zip.

download how to start a blog

4 Add GP Premium to Your Website

  • From your Dashboard, go to Plugins – Add New.
add new how to start a blog
  • Click  Upload Plugin at the top, browse and select the gp-premium.zip file.
upload how to start a blog
  • Click on Install Now.
install gp premium how to start a blog
  • Go to Appearance – GeneratePress.

Find the Site Library element I mentioned earlier and Activate it. You will then be able to choose the website look you prefer and install it with a couple of clicks.

activate site library element how to start a blog
  • Activate your license key

For instructions on activating your license key refer to this article.

Step 7: WordPress SEO

As an SEO practitioner, I could not leave this guide without the WordPress Website Optimization part.

It will help your website become more recognizable in the search engines’ eyes, increase traffic and elevate rankings.

In other words:

It will help you start a blog the right way!

Here is the action plan:

WordPress SEO Settings: Essentials

  1. Delete useless files(Clean up the website).
  2. Secure your new website
  3. Work on website TitleTagline URL structure
  4. Adjust data settings
  5. Create a website menu and most important website pages

WordPress SEO Settings: Basics

  1. Website design
  2. Comment settings
  3. WordPress profile completion

Install WordPress Most Essential SEO Plugins

  • Create Google XML Sitemap
  • Add Your New Website to Google Search Console
  • Connect Your New Website to Google Analytics
  • And generate Robots.txt file

All of these tasks are SUPER important and if you want clear instructions on how to adjust them,  WordPress SEO Guide will walk you through the process.

Step 8: Blog Promotion

Now that the question on how to start a blog answered, you need to attract new visitors and make them LOVE your content.

Your blog is optimized for people and search engines and you have yet another task to accomplish – to drive visitors to your website.

I’ve got you covered here, as I promised an introduction to this post.

Website Traffic Guide will help turn your new blog into readers magnet!

You will learn how to use:

  • On-Page SEO Techniques
  • Best SEO Practices
  • Social Media
  • Content Syndication Platforms
  • Q&A Sites and Forums Link Building
  • Video Promotion
  • And more

Below you can check the BONUS section that I’ve added to this guide to help you get comfortable with your newly-launched website.

Enjoy!

Bonus #1: Top Blogging Resources

The question of how to start a blog is answered. And the blogging tools you are about to check will help you become a successful blogger 10x faster!

Images

You need them! They increase engagement and make your blog posts WAY more appealing.

Here are some of the finest resources on the web:

1.Canva

With this user-friendly image editing tool, you will become a designer even if you have never worked with images.

2. Unsplash

You can download free images from there and forget about legal issues with the image owners.

Writing

It is hard to thrive in blogging if your writing is not at its best. Here are some of the helpful tools.

1.Grammarly

Being one of the best text editors on the market, Grammarly helps you deal with grammar mistakes, spelling issues, and many more text issues.

2. BuzzSumo

You can find the web’s best performing content on the web and use the data to craft your own blog posts.

Analytics

When you run a blog you want to know how it performs. Additionally, when you execute new marketing strategies you want to also check your direct competitors’ stats.

Here are the analytical tools you may find useful:

  • Google Analytics is the most popular freemium tool for website analytics. One simply can’t ignore it when monitoring website stats.
  • Similar Web is a go-to place for checking competitors’ traffic sources.
  • Open Web Analytics will help you track website traffic and demographic data.

Bonus #2: Website Security

Website security is one of the most vital tasks you need to deal with whether you have built a new blog or run a multimillion digital asset.

If you have an extra thousand bucks per month for your website security you can outsource the process to professionals and save on antidepressants.

Beginner bloggers need to maintain a high-security level on their own.

Note: If you have picked up the hosting from SiteGround and a WordPress theme from GeneratePress you are 90% set(both are obsessed with security)!

What about the last 9.9%?

You will have to elevate the security level by yourself to make it 99,9%(No websites are 100% safe)

WordPress Security Guide covers the complete process of securing your new blog.

Bonus #3: Website Speed

Website speed matters. A slow website will cost you traffic, website performance, and money. (Source)

You cannot allow yourself to run a slow website. I will help you make it REALLY FAST!

Note: Same as with the security issue, if you chose to go with SiteGround and GeneratePress your blog will have an edge over many other less fortunate websites. (These guys bring the website speed onto another level).

In fact, these are the results I had WITHOUT even optimizing my website for speed:

nikitashevchenko.com gtmetrix speed score how to start a blog

Want to have even better results?

Check out my Website Speed Optimization Guide.

With its help, your website will load in the blink of an eye!

Bonus #4: Website Content

I am not the first and obviously will not be the last who will tell you how crucial content is.

No Content = No Success. Period.

The problem is there are literally MILLIONS of posts being published daily.

This very fact makes it really complicated for a beginner blogger to stand out.

You may write tons of articles and they will be buried in an enormous amount of similar web content.

Fortunately, I have a solution for you!

I’ve put together some of the finest copywriting techniques that will help your content receive the attention it deserves.

SEO Copywriting Guide will help you upgrade your articles and turn them into traffic-driving machines.


Do you have any questions or problems you encountered?

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.

Also, add me on LinkedIn or follow me on Quora, I share some useful stuff there 😉

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2 thoughts on “How to Start a Blog in 2020: 8 Steps You Should Follow”

  1. Wow! That’s exactly what I was looking for!

    I am planning to launch my own blog and the steps you mentioned are really helpful and on point.
    I have bookmarked the article so I can go back to it when the time is right.

    Thanks for sharing this process in details, I will also check your other posts!;)

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • What’s up, Jack! First of all thanks for kind words, I am really happy you found the guide helpful. Besides, I would really suggest you not waiting for “the right time” as it may never come. Set a goal, create a plan, and go for it! And I from my side will try my best to help you with building your online presence.

      Cheers!

      Reply

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