Create A Blog In 2020: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

You decided to create your blog.

But there are thousands of questions floating around in your head:

What blog platforms are there? Where can I create a blog for free? How do I find the right topic for my blog? How do I get visitors? And how can I make money as a blogger?

Do not worry!

Because this is the guide, I would have liked to have had 5 years ago when I wanted to create a blog myself (and was haphazard).

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

I’ll take you by the hand and answer all the important questions so that you get to your destination more easily and avoid typical beginners’ mistakes (if your questions aren’t answered in the course of the article, please write me a comment!).

7 Steps To Create Own Blog

1. Choose a blog platform

You may be inclined to create your blog on services like Blogspot, WordPress.com. Tumblr, Wix or Jimdo.

After all, it’s free. And you can just write on it.

But if you are halfway serious about blogging, I strongly advise against these services.

I recommend that you run your blog on your web hosting package instead with a self-installed, configured and self-maintained WordPress installation and your domain.

Getting into WordPress is a bit more difficult. But you are significantly more flexible and can design and expand your blog as you like.

Without annoying restrictions.

These may play a minor role at first, but if you want to offer your visitors more at some point, take a look. And a later change to a self-hosted blog is always associated with a lot of work, stress and loss of visitors.

Believe me.

Many providers, including WordPress.com in the free version and Blogspot, can no longer be used in compliance with data protection.

So don’t be stingy or comfortable. Do yourself a favour and host yourself!

What is WordPress?

WordPress (.org) is free open source software that allows you to create a blog quickly and easily. 32% of all websites worldwide (!) Are operated with WordPress, making it by far the most used platform. You can design them as you wish using themes and plugins. The WordPress.com service is also based on WordPress, with the difference that it is less flexible, offers fewer functions, and you cannot intervene in the source code, which is why I advise against it.


2. Choose the right topic

The question is easy to answer:

Something you are passionate about. Something that really and truly interests you. Something you’re passionate about.

Can you imagine yourself dealing with the topic every day? Can you imagine making videos on the subject or writing a book about it? Or give lectures about it? If you sit down with notes and pens for half an hour, do you come up with 20 ideas for potential articles? Do you tell your friends a lot about this topic?

Can you answer all or most of the questions with yes?

If so, then the topic is the right one.

Making money on a subject is also an important factor, especially if you want to become a full-time blogger.

However, this should always be in second place because you can make money in many areas. All the more so if you are an expert in your topic and can deliver brilliant content to your readers.


3. Find blog name and domain

If you want to create your blog, your blog needs a name (e.g. digitalgarg).

And a (preferably the same) domain, such as digitalgarg.com This is where your blog will later be available in the Browser.

When choosing blog names and domains, you should consider the following:

  • The shorter the name, the better (preferably under 16 characters)
  • The spelling of the name should be clear to most people
  • The blog name should show what your blog is about
  • A .com domain is best suited for a global blog (.org and .net are also acceptable)

A word of warning before you get started:

Please don’t make the mistake of spending too much time choosing a name.

Your blog name doesn’t have to be super creative and clever.

Remember:

A clear and easy to remember blog name is preferable to a clever one in 99% of all cases.

And if after a few weeks you find that you no longer like the name, you can always switch to another domain.

Tip: If you already have a website on which you want to create a blog, it can make sense to have it on a subdomain (e.g. blog.deinewebsite.com ) or as a subdirectory (e.g. yourwebsite.com/blog / ) instead of using a completely new domain.

3.1 Your name as a domain?

In some cases, it may make sense to choose your name as the domain for your blog or website.

Especially if you are an expert or person on your blog in the foreground, e.g. as a coach, consultant, freelancer, artist, model or author.

Choosing your name as a domain helps you to build a personal brand and also has the advantage that you do not restrict yourself thematically.

However, you should choose a fancy name if:

  • You run your blog as a team
  • You want to keep the opportunity open to selling your blog or online business later

3.2 Is your domain still free?

You can check very well at Bluehost whether domains are still available for a name or whether you are possibly infringing trademark rights.

select domain name

4. Find hosting

Did you find a suitable domain?

Excellent!

Now it’s time to find the right hosting provider.

You can choose two different providers for domain and hosting. However, the easiest way is to purchase both from a single source.

But be careful:

Don’t make the mistake of going to one of the major mass hosts, such as 1 & 1, DomainFactory or One.com!

Mass hosts entice you with cheap prices, but in the end, you pay. For example, due to high downtimes and slow loading times. Or because customer service will let you down when you need it most.

I have been a customer of the best hosting provider Bluehost since 2016.

The prices are fair, the customer service is friendly.

For you, I can recommend the BlueHost web hosting package.

It offers Free Domain, free SSL certificates (an absolute must for your blog!). So everything you need as a beginner to create a WordPress blog!

With less than $49 a year (!) You can host your website. As soon as you earn your first money with your pages, this amount is negligible.


5. Install WordPress

The installation should take about 10 minutes.

Now that you have your own domain and web host, you need to install WordPress. As already said, WordPress is the empty frame of your blog, which allows you to design your blog without any knowledge of programming language. WordPress is basically the brain of your new blog. Here you enter all your information, upload your photos and check whether your blog is working properly. The great thing about WordPress is that it is easy to use and even available in many languages. If you’ve chosen Bluehost as your host like me, installing WordPress is easy.

1. Log in to Bluehost and search for “Install WordPress” under “website builder”.

start own food blog

2. Next, click “Install” in the “Do it yourself” version.

install WORDPRESS

3. Now select your domain (it should be the only one available).

select domain

4. Select that you have read the “Terms and Conditions” and then click on “Install Now”.

start own food blog

5. If the installation was successful, you should see “Your Install is complete” at the top. Then click on the black box at the top left where “View Credentials” is located. It shows your URL, your Admin URL, username and password. Write everything out or leave the tab open. You will need this information to log in to WordPress for the first time. Don’t worry; you can, of course, change your username and password later.

successful install wordpress

Finally, you have to copy your admin URL(www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin) into a new browser window. A mask-like mine should appear below. Enter your username and password here (you just wrote them down). It’s best to leave the Bluehost browser window open and just copy it here. 

setup food blog

And you’re already on your own blog! How exciting! Congratulations! Now all you have to do is make him pretty.


6. Configure WordPress correctly

Do you have WordPress installed?

Excellent!

Then it’s time to design your WordPress blog and configure it correctly.

First, you should do these 4 things to get the most out of WordPress and don’t get into trouble later:

6.1. Delete standard plugins (Hello Dolly and Akismet)

WordPress delivered with two pre-installed plugins:

  1. Akismet (an anti-spam plugin)
  2. Helly Dolly (a senseless plugin that displays quotes in WordPress)

You should delete it. The former is not compliant with data protection. The second useless.

To do this, go to Plugins on the left in the sidebar, tick the checkbox in front of both plugins and select Delete above :

6.2 Delete sample page and contribution

So that content is displayed on your new website at all, WordPress creates a sample page and a sample post during installation.

You should delete this demo content (or fill the corresponding page or post with reasonable content).

The sample post (titled “Hello World”) can be found under Posts> All Posts

The sample page can be found under Pages> All pages

6.3. Put permalinks on the post name

The permalinks determine what the URLs of your blog posts look like. By default, these contain the release date and look like this:

This is problematic for several reasons. For one thing, this will make your URLs longer, making them harder to remember. On the other hand, this changes the URL of your post every time you change the publication date.

We want to avoid this, so we change the permalink structure under Settings> Permalinks to the entry name.

6.4 Install WordPress plugins

WordPress plugins are used to supplement or change the functions of WordPress.

Plugins are one of the many reasons why I love WordPress!

And there are plenty of plugins.

The WordPress repository alone contains over 54,000 free plugins. Also, there are tens of thousands of free and paid plugins that are offered outside the repository.

Of course, you don’t need most of them. However, some are required to get the most out of your blog:

  • Yoast SEO (to optimize your blog for Google, e.g. meta settings and sitemaps)
  • Antispam Bee (for automatic detection of spam comments)
  • Updraft Plus (for setting up automatic backups)
  • Cache Enabler (for caching your website, sometimes improves the loading time by 10 times!)

Depending on what you plan to do with your blog, you may need additional plugins. You can find a good selection in my article, The Best WordPress Plugins.


7. Find a WordPress theme

Have you made the basic settings for WordPress and installed the most important plugins, now it’s time to design!

First of all, you should choose a nice theme that you like and that fits your blog topic.

The three themes Twenty NineteenTwenty Seventeen and Twenty Sixteen, are installed by default.

You can find a huge selection of free themes in the WordPress theme directory.

You can do this by going to Design> Themes in the WordPress admin area and clicking on the small button. 

Add above the theme selection or the large plus button. Add a new theme in the theme selection.


8. Frequently asked questions

Here I have put together the answers to the most common questions:

8.1 Why WordPress as a blog software?

There are several reasons why you should choose WordPress as your blog platform.

Here are the 8 most important ones:

  1. It is easy to install.
  2. The use of the software is completely free.
  3. WordPress hosting is available for a few dollars per month.
  4. WordPress is extremely well documented. There are thousands of guides to the various WordPress features.
  5. With over 30% of all websites running WordPress worldwide, there is a huge community. You have a question? No problem. In 99.9% of all cases, someone already had it in front of you, and you can just google the answer.
  6. WordPress can be changed in Design with pre-made themes and expanded with every conceivable function with plugins.
  7. It is constantly being developed.
  8. WordPress is suitable as a CMS (content management system) not only as a basis for a blog but also as a business website, forum, member area, directory, portfolio and much more.

8.2 Is it possible to create a private blog?

Yes, it is possible to create a private and non-public blog that is only accessible to a certain group of people (e.g. family or friends).

This makes sense, for example, for a blog about the year abroad, a private travel blog or an online diary that you want to keep secret from others.

8.3 How much does a blog cost?

If you follow my instructions, you can get by with $5 to $10 per month for a long time.

In the beginning, you only have costs for domain and hosting.

If you want your blog to grow faster, you can, of course, invest more and more money (e.g. for tools, certain WordPress plugins, a premium theme or online courses).

But that is not a must.

8.4 Can I also create a blog for free?

Yes, but it’s not a good idea.

Believe me.

Especially if you want to make money with your blog.

Why? Here are eight reasons to choose a free blog platform:

  1. Nobody provides you with a free blog out of pure charity. Every provider wants to make money with his platform somehow. Be it through advertisements on your blog, advertising emails, selling user data or annoying requests to become a premium member.
  2. Free blog platforms only offer basic features. This may not be a problem at first. But if your blog grows and you want to expand it or adapt it for yourself, you are left behind.
  3. Since you are not a paying customer, you get little to no support.
  4. We appreciate something more when we pay for it. You will be more motivated to achieve your goals with your blog if you spend a few euros a month on it.
  5. If a blog platform goes bankrupt, you may no longer be able to access your data.
  6. Many free blog platforms, including the largest providers, Blogger.com and WordPress.com,  can not be used in compliance with data protection. This means that you may be warned for using such a platform.
  7. If you blog for a while, you’ll find inspiration from other bloggers. You will often see cool functions or designs that you also want to have for your blog. The problem? You cannot implement them on your free blog platform …
  8. A later move to a self-hosted WordPress blog is very time consuming and annoying. And if you hire someone to move your blog, you will surely lose a few hundred euros.

You couldn’t convince yourself of these eight reasons? Can’t afford $5 a month? Or do you know for sure that your blog will remain private?

Then take WordPress.com. The easiest way to move to a self-hosted blog is there:

But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

8.5 Why create a blog?

There are a million good reasons to start a blog. These five are probably the most popular:

  • Earn money from home: As a blogger, you can earn money from home (or anywhere in the world). I have been a full-time blogger for 3 years and now have months in which I generate five-figure sales. Blogging is time consuming and can be hard work, but it involves little risk and little initial cost.
  • Become an author: A blog is a good place to start if you want to become an author. A novel or non-fiction book sells much better if you already have an audience.
  • Gaining customers for your company: A blog is a great way to attract customers to your company (e.g. if you are a coach, consultant or freelancer). Or to increase the (brand) awareness of your company.
  • Selling online courses: A blog is very good for establishing yourself as an expert in a niche and selling online courses to your readers.
  • Just write: Even if you just want to write, share your life with others, inspire others or build a community, a blog is the ideal way to do this.

8.6 What should I write about the best?

The success of your blog always depends on your readers:

The more you understand your readers, the more you can offer them. And the sooner you will share your blog articles, subscribe to your newsletter or become customers.

So get to know your readers better.

Find out what problems, fears, concerns and goals they have. Find out what your most burning questions are. Find out what keeps her awake at 2 a.m.

For example, you can:

  • Read other successful blogs in your topic (including the blog comments!)
  • Join Facebook groups and forums on your topic
  • See what your readers are looking for on Google (e.g. with KWFinder or Google Trends )
  • Find blog articles that are very popular and often shared with tools like BuzzSumo

8.7 How do I get visitors?

There are many sources of traffic to your blog, such as B .:

  • Google (and other search engines)
  • Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks
  • Other bloggers and influencers
  • YouTube
  • Newsletter
  • Referrals from other websites (e.g. from forums, other blogs or online magazines)
  • Offline marketing (newspaper, television, merchandising etc.)

For beginners, I recommend Facebook groups or Pinterest. Networking with other bloggers is also extremely important.

You can find more ways to get visitors in my detailed guide.

8.8 How can I make money as a blogger?

As a blogger, there are many different ways you can make money, such as:

  • Banner advertising (integration of an advertising banner into your own blog. Payment is made either as a fixed price or per click on the advertising banner)
  • Affiliate marketing  (inclusion of so-called affiliate links in the blog, which redirect to an online shop. If someone clicks on the link and buys something in the online shop, you will be involved in the sale with a commission.)
  • Cooperations / Sponsored Posts  (You are paid to publish an advertising blog or social media post, mostly about a specific product or service)
  • Selling links to another (as a one-time payment or rent)
  • Offer your own products (e.g. e-books or online courses)
  • Give lectures or organize conferences
  • Advice, coaching or other services (a blog is a great way to attract customers!)
  • Collect donations (e.g. via a PayPal donation button)

8.9 How much money can I earn as a blogger?

You can definitely make a lot of money from blogging.

With our blogs, we earn higher four-digit earnings per month and even five-digit in many months. And we don’t even have to leave the house.

Some bloggers earn even more.

As with any other business, however:

You have to work hard for it. You have to invest a lot of time on your blog. You have to make sacrifices.

Especially in the initial phase of your blog, i.e. in the first or second year.

Because as a blogger, you won’t be successful overnight.


9. 7 tips to blog successfully

Have you successfully set up your blog?

Very good!

Here are some useful tips to get you started:

Tip # 1: Don’t just rely on an income or visitor source!

The internet is fast-moving. If you want to be successful as a blogger, you first have to diversify, and second, you have to go with the flow.

A channel that has brought a lot of visitors to your site today can dwindle tomorrow: Google and Facebook like to change their algorithms.

What applies to visitors also applies to sources of income. Google AdSense, e.g. no longer generates the same income as it did three years ago because many more users have installed AdBlocker and generally no longer click on banner ads as often.

Native advertising, e.g. B. in the form of sponsored posts are currently popular with companies as advertising, but even there, the prices will drop sooner or later, and the hype will be over.

Tip # 2: Don’t install too many plugins!

It’s great to be able to add numerous WordPress plugins to your blog.

But the excessive use of plugins creates incompatibilities and makes WordPress slower and more unstable.

So think about which plugins you need for blogging!

Tip # 3: Create an editorial plan for blogging

It saves you a lot of work to create an editorial plan, in which you keep ideas in advance and plan his posts.

This way, you can ensure that you regularly publish new blog articles, avoid long blog breaks, and you always know what you can write about (and you don’t have to brainstorm every time you want to write a blog article).

As a tool, there is Trello.

Tip # 4: time is money!

If you are just starting, you will be happy about every small cooperation request and are ready to write about everything, even if you only get one product for it.

Over time, however, you will find that this is no longer enough and that your time is worth more than a free product sample.

Don’t sell yourself undervalue and don’t let brazen companies take advantage of you!

Tip # 5: stay yourself and stay tuned!

Always stay true to yourself and keep your spelling.

There is no point in emulating someone because nobody would read blogs if everyone were the same.

Even if you are not initially convinced of your blog articles:

Stay tuned!

Your writing style will improve. And the more you write, the sooner it improves.

Tip # 6: Start keyword research early

Keyword research is very important, so don’t start with 40 blog articles!

This way you ensure that you get more visitors via Google and don’t write articles that don’t interest anyone or that no one looks at once they land on the second page of your blog, but are also regularly read months after publication.

A good place to start is my ultimate keyword research guide.

Tip # 7: Build an email list early on

Start building up an email list early and think about what you can offer people as a freebie for your newsletter entry (it also helps if you position yourself and don’t write on many different topics).

An email list keeps your readers tied to your blog more than if they are fans or followers of your social media channels.