Do you want to start a blog? Yes! Do you want to start a successful blog? Yes Please! The truth is people are no longer looking for ways to just start a blog which would just be added to the millions of other blogs out there, dormant, docile and not profitable.
What we really want is a successful blog, that’s what majority of existing blog owners thrive to do, that’s what people on the outside see and want to emulate because what else can be more fulfilling than working from home and making $1,000 from home, particularly from your bed or desk.
Some very big bloggers are so kind enough to share their monthly income reports with the whole world and by doing this, a lot of old and new blogger have started looking for a way to make a successful blog including myself and I will be sharing how to start a successful blog from scratch and relate my personal 2 years blogging experience – what I did wrong, what I did right and what I am still trying to do all to make a successful blog.
This is an in-depth article about how to start a successful blog from scratch. We are going to do this together by going through all the process involved in starting a blog in a step by step manner so we don’t miss out again and to measure a blog to know if it’s successful we would have some success milestones which would easily indicate if your blog is a successful blog or not.
Table of Contents
- How to Start a Successful Blog from Scratch
- How to Start a Successful Blog in 8 easy steps
- 1: Define your Blog’s purpose
- 2: Create your Domain Name
- 3. Select the Best Blogging Platform
- 4. Use the Best Hosting Plan
- 5. How to Setup your Hosting Plan
- 6. How to Install WordPress for Beginners
- 7. Quick WordPress Tutorial for New & Old Bloggers
- 8. Success Milestones
How to Start a Successful Blog from Scratch
But more importantly, what is a successful blog and how do you measure its success?
A successful blog is one that pays for itself. It’s different from a profitable blog because you can make a little, medium or high profit but a successful blog pays for itself 100%. Who wouldn’t want to have a blog in 2018 that covers all it’s expenses basically you are running the blog at a profit and not at a loss.
How do you measure a successful blog? You set milestones which can be in two parts; Personal & Business milestones and you check when your blog passes these milestones to measure success.
How to Start a Successful Blog in 8 easy steps
- Define your blog’s purpose
- Create your domain name
- Select the best blogging platform
- Use the best hosting plan
- How to set up your hosting plan
- How to Install WordPress for beginners
- Quick WordPress tutorial for new bloggers
- Success Milestones
1: Define your Blog’s purpose
There’s no success story without a purpose, success doesn’t get happen without any plan or purpose except you are the spiritual-miracle-depending-not-putting-in-hard-work type. What you don’t plan for you don’t get. That’s the strict basis of achievement.
It’s a good thing to have a purpose for your blog at this early stage because it puts you on the right track.
Ask yourself these 3 main questions to get the true purpose of your old or new blog.
- Why does my blog exist?
- Why am I starting a blog?
- What would be blogging about?
- What do I want to achieve with a blog?
Why does my blog exist?
This is similar to why am I starting a blog but I prefer why does my blog exist because it gives you that sense of importance.
You need to have a solid foundation where serves as your backbone to why your blog exists because when you start a blog without any solid foundation or backbone, several months into blogging and especially during the hard trying months you start questioning yourself asking questions like “why am I blogging or why did I start blogging? all these questions came as a result of lack of proper blogging foundation or backbone.
Your solid foundation or backbone can be main reason your log exist and it can be;
- To make money online
- To help others by sharing your knowledge, experience or resource
- To promote a business or multiple businesses
- To do some shady, illegal or whitehat activities
Let say you choose to make money online.
This becomes your main purpose or reason your blog exist because everything you do will revolve around making money because you would use engaged in money making blog monetization programmes like Google Adsense, Affiliate marketing, of course, you would have an advertise with us page to drive home the fact that your blog is a business. Not an ordinary business but a profitable business.
You can combine two foundations like make money + helping others or anything else. The combinations are endless but keep in mind that you only do the things you know you are capable of doing so you don’t burn yourself out and end up posting low-quality content derived from copy and paste.
Personally, I recommend combining make money online + helping others with the experience you have in any particular field because when you solve the problem of others they would also solve your problems which means more income for you either by purchasing what you selling or by helping out with Adsense income.
Why am I starting a blog?
Now, these are the numerous reasons you have in your mind driving you to start a blog. These reasons can be the desires you have, the dreams you envisioned for yourself, you feel blogging can cater to your wants and needs.
Frankly, it can be anything under the sun but let me list some common reasons below;
- To make passive income on the side while I work a full-time 9-5 job
- To make full-time income
- To create a personal lifestyle blog
- To showcase your creative products or way of life
- To keep yourself busy and engaged
What would you blog about?
What would you write about on your blog? When you ask this question you get shallow answers and because these answers are so fickle, cheap and without purpose, they would end up participating in the failure of the blog.
This question is basically asking you what content would be seen on your blog and these blog contents can vary depending on you. You can choose the write blog posts, post only videos which turn your blog into a vlog or turn it into a download site the possibilities are endless.
Content is KING. So make sure the content going to be featured on your blog is top-notch, of high noble birth and quality and how do you achieve this?
By centering your blog around an area you have more knowledge than others, you really don’t have to be an expert in the area before you can start a successful blog, you just need to be one step ahead of your readers.
Don’t be in a hurry to publish low quality 300 words blog posts every day instead take your time to do proper related research and write high-quality blog posts with a minimum of 1000 words per blog posts for beginners.
Intermediate level bloggers should be looking to write and post more than 2000 words per article while the veterans, we all know the veterans because of their high domain authority, traffic, popularity, insanely high-income reports and reputation they post usually more than 3,000 – 5,000 words per article.
Writing long ass meaningful blog post is easy you just need to have your head in the game, focused on the keyword, take your time, takes breaks, divide your blog post into parts and headings which means you can write about each heading at different times which means you giving your all to every heading in your article resulting in a robust, well-rounded, juicy blog post.
What do I want to achieve with a blog?
These are both short and long-term goals for starting a blog and with these goals, you can create milestone to measure if your blog is a successful blog but don’t put yourself in a straight jacket by setting fixed unrealistic goals that end up choking the life out of you causing frustration and leading to the death of your blog.
Set mild goals, monthly goals are the best. I remember how for 2 years I didn’t have a blogging purpose or plan or goals, I was a gun-ho blogger who just writes when he gets inspiration or learns about a new tool or software and also want my readers to benefit from that tool or software.
I had no monthly plans, budgets, goals – Nothing! But in 2018 January to be precise, I have a plan, I have a budget, I have invested in my blog, I have monthly goals.
I would also be sharing my experience and monthly income reports to show the little I have made after been a non-profit blogger for more than 2 years now my blog is a successful blog and I am here to share my experience with you.
2: Create your Domain Name
Some people say choose your domain name, other say select but I say CREATE your domain name and the reason why I say that is right now it is hard to get a popular or common keyword domain name but don’t bother about that because we are going to be looking into the domain name creation process which would help you create a list of domain names with popular and common keywords in them.
Tips for Creating Your Domain Name
This tips for creating your new domain name has been passed down for generations and they are the standard domain name tips. Why? Because they deliver results. Let’s get into it;
- Keep it short and simple (Use a maximum of 2-3 keywords).
- Use a friendly memorable name.
- Please don’t use numbers or hyphens (Some people are tired of maths).
- Try not to copy someone else. Please try.
- Keep your domain name clean and professional (When people see xxx they automatically think it’s an adult site).
- Please don’t use xxx in your domain name.
- You should be able to see yourself in the domain name (What do I mean by this?)
How to Get a Free .com Domain
A .com domain originally cost about $10.69 on Namecheap, this is the very first thing you have to buy before you can start a successful blog. What if I told you that you can get a free domain if you clicked on this link.
Let me explain further, to start a successful blog you need two fundamental things – Domain & Hosting. These two things will make your website or blog a self-hosted one which shows you mean business and you would be taken seriously online.
You pay for a domain name ($10.69) and you also pay for a hosting plan, I always recommend Bluehost hosting ($3.95) for new beginners because they are so affordable and easy to use. So think along with me, why would you want to pay $14.64 when you can pay $3.95?
You can’t become a successful blogger if you don’t think smart and save money on deals, coupons and limited offers. Grab your free domain now!
How I Created NairaTips Domain Name
This is the rationale behind this great name Nairatips. Going back in time, I started my first blog back in 2012 titled AroTips long story short, I stopped blogging because of school fast forward 3 years later, done with college with a wealth of knowledge I was hungry to share the tech knowledge and wisdom bestowed on me through working experience.
P.S: I didn’t study anything relating computers in college.
I wanted to create a blog where I would share unlimited tech tips and still want to promote my country. I want people to know from my domain name that I am a Nigerian, I stay in Nigeria and I am able to share amazing tips with the whole world.
I combined Naira+Tips = Nairatips. With tips being what I share on this blog and Naira which is the currency of my country – Nigeria. Both words reflect who I am and what I do. On the side, some people think my blog is about giving money betting tips like sports betting tips but that’s not the purpose of my blog.
So, the best practice when creating a domain is to create one that reflects who you are, keep it clean, short, simple and memorable.
We are going to be using this tool in our domain name creation process and what this tool does it helps you search for a new domain name easily and you get to choose the extension either its a .com,.net or .org domain you looking for this tool got you covered.
Domain Name Creation Process
What is domain name creation process?
This is a process where you take the maximum of 3 keywords I recommend 2 keywords because one of the tips for creating a domain name is to make your domain name short, try and mix them creatively to form something meaningful and if that fails, try adding (s) or (x) to your domain name.
How does this work (Realistic Example)
You take 2 words relating to your blog idea, try combining them. Let’s say I have a blog idea which is the talk about football matches and review them, also post some videos then it’s time to create a domain name. Football+Match+Review are the keywords in this idea then you check if footballmatchreview.com is available using the tool above.
If it’s not then it’s time to start creating your own domain name and it’s really easy.
Try adding (s) to footballmatchreviews.com, try using a .net or .co domain extension. Try using footballmatch.review that can be your domain name and it works because all 3 keywords are present in your domain name.
This method works for all domain name ideas which means you can use it this method too.
Another method is not to go the keyword route, you can always use your name. Our names are pretty unique except for names like John Ford because I’m sure johnford.com is not available. If you have a unique name, use it then try adding one keyword to it.
Example: Jadesweets.com or jadesweetstalks.com. The possibilities are endless.
As I stated earlier, I combined Naira+Tips = Nairatips. With tips being what I share on this blog and Naira which is the currency of my country – Nigeria. Both words reflect who I am and what I do. I used two words, one was a keyword (tips) while the other was an ordinary word.
Summary of the Domain Name Creation Process
- Use 2-3 words or keywords in your domain name.
- Add (s) or (x) to your domain name is the common popular one is not available.
- Use other domain extensions like .net, org, .co or use exact match domain extensions like.food, .write, .sports and so on.
- Use your unique name as your domain name.
- Add a keyword to your name to create your domain name.
3. Select the Best Blogging Platform
Why I Recommend WordPress
- They are the best open source software platform which allows you to build your self-hosted website or build on your own.
- They are totally free to use.
- WordPress is the most popular blogging software.
- WordPress gives you control over every aspect of your site, you can even edit the template of themes by adjusting their HTML, CSS values to suit your needs or customization wants.
- You can get thousands of free and premium themes which enables you to build the beautiful website or blog you desire.
- WordPress provides extra features and services like turning your website or blog to a forum or an e-commerce store which really helps expand your website or blog.
- Get free access to more than 50,000 WordPress plugins with unique features to make your website or blog better.
- WordPress is search engine friendly hence it’s an SEO ready platform.
4. Use the Best Hosting Plan
The hosting plan you choose will determine the future of your new blog and if you using a bad hosting for your old blog, please I advise you to switch hosts and use this best hosting plan. Look at it this way;
People live in houses, website or blogs live on servers, so a web hosting company provides the space for your blog on the internet which is similar to like the land we build houses on. The domain is the home address, blogging platform is the tool you use to build your house and the theme is the furniture – Tip from Bylauraiancu.
How does Bad or Poor Hosting Affect your Website or Blog
I feel its only fair that I take you through how you can detect a bad or poor hosting plan before I show you the best hosting plan. Oh, something just dropped in my mind – Harmful properties of a bad hosting plan (what harm does bad hosting bring to your website or blog?).
Let’s discuss that first before we talk about how you know a bad hosting plan.
- One major negative effect of a bad hosting is the fact that it would affect your SEO.
- A common effect of bad hosting is downtime. Your website won’t be operational half of the time.
- Bad hosting slows down your work because instead of focusing on creating original quality content for your website or blog, you are busy fixing hosting problems or chatting with support.
- With a bad hosting plan, you lose both old and new visitors to your website or blog because they are frustrated from slow site loading speed, unresponsive site and security risks.
- A bad hosting plan makes your website or blog rank slower on search engines.
- A bad hosting plan makes your website or blog lose credibility because your site’s IP may already be blacklisted by Google and other internet bodies also because you are not using a dedicated hosting which gives you a dedicated IP address, someone else may be using the same IP you use for shady, illegal deals which affects your site negatively.
How do you know if you are using a Bad Hosting
There are signs of bad or poor hosting plans and we will go through some of them together;
- When writing a post in WordPress editor, you get Connection Lost: Saving has been disabled until you are connected. This is the no. 1 sign that you are using a bad hosting (This error means your current hosting cannot handle your website or blog processes so it goes ON and OFF which is a very bad thing because it drives customers, visitors away).
- Slow site speed
- Your website would be down, not working often which is not meant to be. Your website should be running, operating 99.9%
- You get Server errors like 503 errors, database errors etc.
- Bad customer support. You open a simple support ticket “Hey can you help me check my website or blog to see ways I can optimize it and make it faster”. A good hosting company would reply your ticket within 5 hours with actual helpful materials and not just copy and paste some documentation they found in their archives.
Benefits of using a Good Hosting Company
- A good hosting company should give you a free domain. Get a free domain name now.
- Fast, strong and reliable servers.
- 99.9% website uptime: This means your website or blog would always be in a working and functional state to your customers, audience or visitors.
- Enhanced performance and security.
- 24/7 support that takes time to really do some research and give helpful insights which would solve your problem.
- Free features like free site migration, free site builder.
- One-click WordPress installation.
- 30 days money back guarantee.
- Affordable prices with good hosting standards and quality.
Introducing Bluehost: One of the Best Hosting Company
Bluehost is US-based web hosting company with headquarters at Provo, Utah which started in 2003 and they host more than 1.9 billion domains. Bluehost offers affordable hosting solutions with fast, high performing and reliable servers.
Anyone can use Bluehost, they are not exclusive to anyone, they are for everyone that wants to have a good hosting experience with his new website or blog and even for old existing blogs tired of their current host. Click here to get started with Bluehost.
5. How to Setup your Hosting Plan
This is going to be a step by step guide or walkthrough showing you exactly how to setup any hosting plan because the process involved is similar. I will be using Bluehost an example, please feel free to follow along as we go through these 5 easy steps.
Step 1: Visit Bluehost
Visit Bluehost website, click on “Get Started Now” to get started with $3.95/month best web hosting plan.
Step 2: Select your Plan
Most web hosting companies usually have 3 hosting plans to meet our needs and for Bluehost, they have Basic, Plus and Prime web hosting plans.
We are focusing on the Basic web hosting plan for now but feel free to select the pro or prime if you feel you are a veteran, your site or blog is also a veteran and you need more hosting juice.
Step 3: Get your Free Domain Name
It’s time to get your free domain name because as a new website owner or blogger you don’t have a domain name yet but remember the domain name creation process we talked about earlier on in the post, that should have helped you create a unique and powerful domain name.
If you already have a domain name and your aim is to run away from your existing web hosting company and come into the warm embrace of Bluehost, all you have to do is enter your existing domain name and click Next.
Troubleshooting: Sometimes your domain name would not be available and you get something like “Paularo.com is not available for registration“. Don’t panic, there’s a simple solution, just enter another unique domain name below and you should be good to go.
Step 4: Create your Account
This step is the longest step and we would take our time to go through everything section by section.
Google Sign-On process
Want a fast way of creating your account? Use google sign-on process which makes account creation easier and faster.
If you didn’t use the Google sign-on process, you need to fill out these details. Remember all fields are required except the Business Name but I advice you put in some details for that too.
This is the most important part of creating your hosting plan. You need to open your eyes very well when you get to this page. I advise you untick all additional services that are not free like Domain Privacy Protection, Site Backup Pro, Search Engine Jumpstart and SiteLock Security – Find unless you feel you are a veteran or you have done your extensive research and you feel you need it.
Account Plan should be Basic 36 Month Price – $3.95/month. This is a 3-year web hosting plan with a total of $142.20 for 3 years, which means you are ready to make a serious commitment to your website or blog which would with time turn to a successful blog. This plan is for the strong believers.
For those with lesser belief, faith or commitment you can engage in the Basic 24 Month Price – $4.95/month. This is a 2-year web hosting plan with a total of $118.80 for 2 years.
Now for those with shaky belief and doubtful hearts (speaking to my old self), I was not sure if I could create a successful blog, I wanted to experiment and if you feel this same way, you can engage in the Basic 12 Month Price – $5.45/month which is for 1 year making it a total of $65.40 for a year.
You can use either your credit card or PayPal account to pay for Bluehost web hosting plans.
Terms and Conditions
All that remains now is to accept Bluehost terms and conditions. Click on SUBMIT.
Step 5: Creating your Secured Password
Once you clicked on submit, you would be automatically verified using your payment method and billed according to the web hosting plan you chose. After that, you would be asked to create your password then log in.
Secure Password Hints
- Use more than 8 characters
- Use at least one CAPITAL letter
- Use at least one symbol (@#$%^)
Step 6: Log into your website or blog.
After successfully creating your secured password, click LOG IN.
6. How to Install WordPress for Beginners
Luckily for you when you purchased your hosting plan,, Bluehost made some improvements late 2017 to get WordPress automatically installed for you, saving you a lot of time and stress.
For the veterans, technical guys or someone that wants to know how to install WordPress, please take your time to read the following articles;
- How to Install WordPress: Beginner’s Guide
- How to Install WordPress – Complete WordPress Installation Tutorial
Now is time for some WordPress actions such as picking your first theme.
Select a WordPress theme
For your first theme, choose a clean layout that you love, something that inspires you to want to write more and generate more content.
Then when you are ready to join the big boys by using a premium WordPress theme, I recommend GeneratePress. You can start out with the free theme then you can scale up and purchase the premium version which gives you juicier, more robust features.
GeneratePress WordPress Theme Features
- Super lightweight and fast
- Responsive WordPress theme
- Built-in schema which is great for SEO and gives you better result in SERPs.
- Supports all popular plugins as well as news ones.
- Spports elementor page builder
- Lots of hooks and filter to give you that extra feel when customizing.
- Translation ready
- Good documentation guides
- Great support from the GeneratePress community.
GeneratePress DEMO – CLICK HERE
GneratePress was the very first theme that I have bought and this GeneratePress Review – Best WordPress Theme I’ve Found in 10 Years by Brain Jackson convinced me.
After selecting your theme or installing GeneratePress, the next page should look like “you are all done, start building”.
7. Quick WordPress Tutorial for New & Old Bloggers
After clicking “Start Building“, you would be taken to your brand new WordPress dashboard where all the magic happens. Welcome to WordPress, you will be asked to choose either a personal or business account or maybe you don’t need any help.
Click Next Step then Launch your site.
Guess what? You just learned how to create a blog which with time, hard work and a good strategy would turn to a successful blog which pays for itself then becomes so big that it takes care of you too.
I will give you a quick preview of the important parts of WordPress, what you should change immediately and what you shouldn’t change.
List of Important WordPress Sections
This is the first page you will see when you log into your WordPress website or blog.On the dashboard you get to see everything going on with your site.
This is a very important WordPress section because it shows you all your blog posts, you can organize them, delete them or add new ones. You can also create new and organize categories and tags under posts. The most function under Posts is mostly likely the “Add New Posts” button which create a new blog post, probably your first blog post!
This is where all your pictures, videos are stored. You can add, edit or delete media files also. All the images or videos used in your blog posts are stored here. Advanced features like image cropping, title and alt tags changing are also available.
These sections stores all the comment made on your website or blog either by your customer or reader or you when you respond to their comments.
Comments can be made on blog posts, pages, sections and you can also choose to disable comments on pages and you can totally disable comments on your website or blog. I recommend turning on comments so you enhance blog engagements on your website or blog.
We have 5 major sections under appearance. Themes, Customize, Widgets, Menus and Editor.
You will see all the themes you used on your website or blog, it would also show you your active theme. I recommend you use GeneratePress WordPress theme most especially because it’s super lightweight, fast, responsive and great for SEO.
This is the real time customization of your website or blog. Whatever changes you effect would change immediately right before your eyes. Customize is still a popular theme customization tool that brings you immediate results.
Widgets are used mostly on sidebars, footers depending on your theme. I basically use widgets on my right sidebar and I use it to add popular posts, featured posts, ad banners, and any other important information I want my readers to see.
I would advice you to have two menus, one can be called “NavMenu” while the other “TopMenu“. NavMenu shows your categories while TopMenu shows your pages.
You only get access to this plugins page when you buy a web hosting plan, if you running a free web hosting like .wordpress you can’t use plugins and plugins are so important because they add additional functionality to your website or blog.
Plugins are like apps and they are over 15 millions plugins out there, create to solve your problems.
You can add more users to your WordPress site and give them roles to play with level restrictions. There roles includes subscriber, contributor, author, editor and administrator. Don’t give a stranger a role higher than contributor so your site doesn’t get hacked or stolen from you.
Simple section, what’s important here is to import and export tool which helps bring in data, theme customization and so on. You can also export your theme, your blog posts and entire WordPress site using the export function.
There are a lot of settings to be done in this section but something you should do right away is Change your Permalinks from the default one to POST NAME.
I was blogging for 2 years with the default permalink then I realized other blogs were doing better, one of the reasons was because of my permalinks, so I changed my permalinks after 2 years of blogging and of course my traffic took a hit and went straight to the ground but now it’s back up, better than ever.
Don’t make the same mistakes I did, change your permalink structure today.
8. Success Milestones
In other to measure if truly our blogs are successful, we need to set success milestones to measure our progress. I will provide with a basic success milestone trail and as you scale up you should set milestones for your website or blog.
- First time getting 500 page views
- First time getting 500 visitors
- 1st comment
- 1st email received from a customer, reader or client.
- First time getting 700 page views
- First time getting 700 website visitors
- 1st sponsored post job received
- 1st sponsored post job completed
- 1st banner ad placement jo receieved
- First time getting 1,000-1,500 page views and visitors
- and son on…
Personalize your milestones, make them realistic and use them to measure success.
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This is a quick recap of all what we have learnt from this How to Start a Successful Blog post. We learnt how to;
- Define your blog’s purpose
- Create your domain name
- Select the best blogging platform
- Use the best hosting plan
- How to set up your hosting plan
- How to Install WordPress for beginners
- WordPress tutorial for new bloggers
- Success Milestones
I hope you followed along and learnt something new because this post took a lot of time and energy to write literally written with my sweat because of How Unreliable Power Supply Affect Bloggers in Nigeria. All I ask from you is you read this post , like and share if possible. Thank you.
Leave a comment below or send me an email let me help you directly.