How to Start a Blog for Profit (Updated 2020)

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Why start a health blog?

Whether you are a health professional, yoga teacher or business owner, you need a blog.

Why?

Having a health blog gives you access to a large online community. It can be used as a platform to promote your knowledge, services or products. It can also be a new revenue stream when you monetise your online content.

Speaking from first-hand experience, starting a blog is one of the best decisions I've ever made.

As a yoga teacher and health enthusiast, I wanted a platform to share my knowledge and help others live to their fullest. I wasn't too keen on become a social media influencer for many reasons, and wanted a different way to share content that truly adds value to peoples' lives,

Then I decided to start this blog. Writing on The YogaMad was an amazing way to fulfill my passion to help people get healthier, influence the masses, value-add to lives and not lose my true self. As a bonus, it provided me with an additional source of income and allowed me to do what I love without selling my soul.

So now, my aim is to help you do the same!

Start a Blog Feature Image

Can you really create a successful blog?

If you don't know where to start, or do not have a structured way of approaching blogging, it will be very difficult to create a successful blog.

Truth is ... Most bloggers make no money blogging. 

Yet there are some bloggers who make 6 figures or more yearly solely through blogging.

What's the difference maker between the successful and failed blog businesses?

Those who succeed have one thing in common: They have built a well-oiled blog business; It's not "just a blog", it is a legit platform to influence and make money.

Creating a successful blog requires 2 key ingredients:

  1. STRATEGY WITH ACTION: Begin with the end in mind - understand your vision for your blog and take action to make it happen. Regardless of the ups and downs, especially in the first year of blogging, you will definitely see results eventually.
  2. GRIT: Putting in the hours and persevering whenever you feel like giving up will pay off in the long term. The moment you give up or stop trying, you've already failed.

After investing in many blogging courses, I found that few talked about the mindset and need for perseverence more than they talked about tactics.

So let me be honest with you - unless you really want to create a successful blog business, and are willing to put in the hours, no amount of tutorials or courses will help your blog flourish and you may as well stop right here.

But if you are willing to spend time to nurture your blog and not give up when things get tough. Read on.

This in-depth guide will provide 5 key steps to setting up and launching your blog. This guide is by no means exhaustive - it is only the beginning of your journey. 

The journey is simple

The blogging journey can be simplified into three parts.

You will first need to set things up and make sure your blog is built on the right foundation before launching it.

This entails drafting a simple business model to get clear about your value proposition. It also means that you should get your blog online using platforms that can help you achieve your goals - one of which should be to make money out of blogging.

Once you launch your blog, you will start getting people to read your blog - some of these readers will eventually become your loyal followers and potential customers.

Finally you will tap into your readership and make money through your blog.

The Blogging Journey

This in-depth guide focuses on the first part.

To start and launch your blog, you will only need to need to follow 5 simple steps. And you will learn them step-by-step in the next sections. 

Step 1: Define Your Blog Business Model (Going beyond the niche)

Many blogging courses will tell you to start with a blog niche - a specific topic you will write about.

This is a good start, but you should not stop there. Defining your blog niche is not enough, especially if you are looking to create a business out of your blog. 

What is a blog niche?

A blog niche is a specific topic that you will write or create content on your blog.

Since you are reading this, you would probably be in the health niche. For some of you, you can narrow down your content focus on a particular sub-niche. This helps you to stand out from the crowd.

Some sub-niches in the health niche includes:

  • Yoga (in general)
  • Specific styles of yoga eg. Yin Yoga
  • Nutrition
  • Fitness
  • Dieting
  • Mental health
  • Meditation
  • Ayurveda
  • Yoga therapy
  • And many more.

In the beginning, you may not be sure about your niche. Don't worry, you can always write about a broader topic and niche down further when the demand is there.

Almost all blog topics make money, so don't waste your time worrying and trying to overthink your niche (or sub-niche).

Now, to be come a successful blogger, you will need to expand beyond the niche and paint a clear picture of your blog business. This means to understand who your initial target audience is, what value you will provide and what content you will create.

This can be a simple one-page business model that you draft out in the next 15 minutes. The idea is to have something visible in front of you with which to guide your future actions.

Having a business model is a crucial first step to starting a blog, but it is something many bloggers miss. Unless you want to blog for hobby, you should not be skipping this step.

A blog business model is like a map for you to bring you from where you are to your blog destination (or vision). The business model will guide you in decision making and where to invest your resources in future.  It helps you stay away from time-wasting activities and to say "NO" to very tempting opportunities that are not aligned to your business strategy.

"Begin with the end in mind" - Stephen Covey

Draft Your Business Model Canvas

Business Model Canvas

While there are many business planning and business modelling methods available, I have personally used a simple one: The Business Model Canvas.

The Business Model Canvas is a one page plan which allows you to think about why you want to start a blog (your value proposition), where you will find your customers, who your partners are, and the revenues and costs of blogging.

The business model canvas is also where you clarify your niche (or specialisation). You cannot write about everything within a topic, and people are more likely going to find you if you have a specialisation.

Click to download the Business Model Canvas by Strategyzer (official template).

You can also learn how to fill up the canvas through the same link.

If you need a more in-depth guide, I recommend reading the book "Business Model Generation". The book is particularly useful for people who are not yet familiar with business modelling and want a step-by-step guide to complete the business model canvas.

This model will change over time, but having a rough draft in the beginning will prevent you from getting distracted, or even lost, in future.

Do remember that it is also important to incorporate regular reviews, say monthly or weekly, to update your business model and action plans as you gather more data from your readers.

Step 2: Find a Web Host and Get Your Blog Online

Start a blog with Bluehost - web hosting

Once you have gotten a clear idea of why you want a blog, including your niche and blog name, you are ready to get your blog online.

You will need two things to build your blog:

  1. Blog Hosting: Just as you would need land to build a house, blog hosting services provide you with the internet space to build your blog.
  2. Blogging Platform: This is also called the Content Management System (CMS) which allows you to create, edit, and manage content.

Blog Hosting: Can you start a blog for free?

The short answer is yes.

You will be 'renting internet space' rather than paying for it by using a blogging platform which hosts content for you for free.

However, if you are serious about blogging, you may want to steer clear from free blogging platforms due to many limitations and restrictions. Some of these are:

  1. You do not own your domain name. Typically your URL is a subdomain of the free platform's main domain.
  2. You cannot remove any of the free platform's branding or their ads around your site.
  3. You cannot monetise your website with ads.
  4. You get limited disc space for hosting content (written, image, videos).
  5. You cannot use plugins that are not native to the platform.
  6. It looks unprofessional due to design limitations.

These are just some of the few reasons why it may be better to skip your Starbucks coffee and pay for a good blog hosting service rather than use free platforms.

Blog Hosting: Setting It Up

So what should you do if you want to 'buy internet space' instead of using free blogging platforms?

You will need a blog hosting provider.

Essentially your hosting provider houses all your website files, keep them safe, and make them available to the online world through your URL.

Unlike free blogging platforms, paying for blog hosting means that you own all the content, and you have your own domain name. This provides unparalleled freedom to design, monetise and manage your blog.

Investing in a good hosting provider to power your blog is one of the most important first steps to blogging. This investment will determine your site speed (which affects traffic), security and space available - all of which are keys to having a strong foundation for your blog.

Which blog host to use and how much does it cost?

While I have tried many blog hosting services, the two best blogging hosts I have used are Bluehost and Siteground.

  1. For beginners who are looking for affordable and high quality hosting, Bluehost will be your best bet. Hosting starts at $3.95 / month!
  2. For more advanced users, you may wish to look at Siteground - I have migrated to Siteground once my website traffic and required faster speeds and higher bandwidths. You would need to invest a little more, at $6.99 / month.

If you are just starting out and have limited resources, I highly recommend Bluehost over Siteground because of its affordability and quality hosting services.

Read on to learn how to set up your blog with Bluehost.

Set Up Your Blog Hosting with Bluehost, Step-by-Step Guide

You do not need to be a techie to start hosting your blog online.

CLICK HERE to go to Bluehost , hit the green "Get Started Now" button and use the below tutorial for easy step-by-step instructions.

Bluehost - Get Started

Choose your plan

Once you click on the "get started" button, you will arrive on a page with pricing options. Choose the plan which works best for you.

Try not to overthink this step - at the beginning you won't need anything more than the Basic Plan. You can upgrade in future if you need to.

Bluehost - Choose Plan

Set up your domain (URL)

After selecting your plan, you will then set up your domain name as shown below. Your domain name will be the URL you will use for your website. "theyogamad.com" is my domain name for this website.

Bluehost - Set Up Domain

If you already have a domain, you can use it by entering it on the right hand side.

Otherwise, create a new domain by entering your desired URL on the left. Do note that not all domain names are available. If your name of choice isn't available, you can try another option, or try adding "the" in front of your desired name.

Otherwise if you are really stuck, don't worry! Just click on "I'll create my domain later" - continue with the guide and select your domain later on.

Note: If you remain inactive on this page, you will see a pop-up to create your domain later. Select this option if you haven't thought of your domain name yet!

Bluehost - set up domain later

Create your Bluehost account

After setting up your domain name or opting to do this later, you will enter the final step - creating your Bluehost account.

Follow the page's instructions by filling out your account details such as your name, address, email address (use an updated one where you can receive important notifications from Bluehost).

Bluehost - Account Information

Once you are done filling out the basic information, scroll down to the section "package information".

This is where you decide on the length of your account plan. I recommend the 36-month plan for a few reasons:

  1. It provides the best value for your money.
  2. Bluehost offers a risk-free guarantee where you can cancel anytime during the first 30 days and get a full refund.
  3. Signing on for a longer period means that you are committing yourself to your blog and your goals. Committing to a longer plan requires higher upfront costs but will pay for itself over the long term as you grow your blog into a real business / career.

However if you are not ready to be serious about blogging, the 12-month plan is great to start with.

Bluehost - Package and Add-Ons

After selecting your package information, you'll select your package extras. You do not need most of the extras EXCEPT domain privacy protection. This protection keeps all of your personal information including your name, email, phone number and address private.

You can of course select all of the add-ons for the highest level of privacy, if your budget allows.

Note: If you have skipped the step to choose your domain name, you will not see the "Domain Privacy Protection" option. You can simply pay for it as an add-on when you set up your domain name.

Finally, you are left with the payment process. Enter the necessary information, read and check the Terms of Service, Cancellation Policy and Privacy Policy.

Then click on the green "Submit" button!

4-min

WOOHOO! Time for a mini celebration. You now own your very own blog and hosting plan!

You've completed the first big step towards starting a blog. In the next section, we will look at the step-by-step process of how to set up your blog design and content using WordPress.

If you haven't gotten your domain yet, it's time to do it now.

Spend the next 60 seconds to get your hosting plan and domain name on Bluehost. You'll get a free domain name for the 1st year when you get at least 12 months of web hosting with Bluehost (see Step 2).

Step 3: Design and Build Your Blog on WordPress

Once you have sorted out your hosting and domain matters, it's time to create content via a blogging platform, also known as a Content Management System (CMS).

This step may sound a little confusing and techy for most people, but it's really not that difficult. As someone with NO coding or web designing skills, I've managed to set up The YogaMad and designed from scratch.

The secret sauce is not knowing the tech and tools, but being open to learning and getting your hands dirty. Over time things will get much easier as you learn by doing.

Take a deep breath, make an intention to get set up your blog, and let's get to it.

Let's start by understanding some technical terms related to blogging.

What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

A Content Management System (or CMS) is a blogging platform which allows you to write, design, edit and publish your blog posts and pages. It determines whether your life as a blogger will be easy or tough.

Why?

Because a good CMS such as WordPress should be user-friendly, let's you organise content easily and gives you the flexibility and control over how your whole blog looks using customizable themes and elements. On the contrary, if you use a mediocre CMS, you may find yourself wasting a lot of time trying to workaround limitations in design or content management.

Some of the most common CMS or blogging platforms you might have heard of are:

  • WordPress.org (self-hosted version where you need a web host to install the platform)
  • WordPress.com (free version of WordPress.org where your content is hosted and owned by the platform)
  • Wix
  • SquareSpace
  • Weebly

What is WordPress.org?

WordPress (by this I mean WordPress.org and not the free WordPress.com) is the most popular CMS in the world. Millions of bloggers, including me, are using it every day. WordPress is the platform powering 95% of successful blogs and is also the platform behind Forbes, TechCrunch, Bloomberg Professional, Microsoft, and many more.

What is the difference between a free vs a self-hosted blog?

You can start your blog on a free CMS platform such as WordPress.com or Wix if you really want to.

But I would caution against a free blog if you are looking at turning your blog into a business.

This is because free CMS or blogging platforms have loads of limitations including:

  1. Not owning your domain name - you will only get a subdomain owned by the platform,
  2. Not having control over the design and ads made by the free blogging platform,
  3. Not being able to run ads
  4. Limited ways to monetize your content
  5. Less bandwidth (you will need to upgrade to a paid version once you have more visitors)
  6. And many more!

This is why I strongly recommend you getting a self-hosted blog on WordPress.org - it is FREE to use , you'll just need to pay for a web hosting plan (see Step 2).

If you have already gotten your Bluehost account (see step 2) , getting WordPress set up will be a piece of cake. Scroll down to follow the step-by-step process.

Installing WordPress via Bluehost

Once you have gotten your Bluehost plan, all you need to do is create a secured password, click the "Login" button and Bluehost will automatically install WordPress for you.

You will next enter a screen to choose your theme.

The themes on this page are all free. You can select any one of these free themes to get started or skip this step for now.

Wordpress - Themes

Choosing the Best Free WordPress Theme for your blog

If you are just getting started with blogging, I would not recommend buying a paid WordPress theme now. The priority for now is to drive readers to your blog - any complex design or features can come later when the traffic justifies the investment.

WordPress comes with many free themes to choose from. You can find them in the Appearance > Themes > Add New Theme tabs.

I would recommend going for lightweight themes with high customization abilities such as OceanWP, or Astra, or the Elementor Hello Theme.

All three are super fast and loads quickly compared to fancier themes, giving your readers a much better experience.

Some blogging courses will tell you to download the popular DIVI theme. I would caution you against this as a beginner because ...

Unless you are familiar with site speed optimization and know how to make DIVI theme work fast for you, it's probably going to be very slow loading if you use all the fancy designs. (I stopped using it once I saw the Google Pagespeed results). And site speed matters when you want to be ranked higher on Google.

OceanWP has been my go-to theme because is free to start, comes with many ready-to-use design templates and it works seamlessly with the site builder Elementor (which allows you to design beautiful sites without coding skills).

Both OceanWP and Elementor are FREE to start - the free versions are enough to build a super beautiful site that still loads fast.

In fact, this whole blog is built on OceanWP + Elementor. And while I have since upgraded to the paid versions of both softwares, I started off with the free versions and they have worked perfectly for me.

yoga website pic

If you want to try out different WordPress themes, you can use the below criteria to guide your decisions:

  • Ease of use: Opt for themes that are simple and user-friendly. Many fancy themes require a steep learning curve to implement some of the complex designs.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Most people read blogs over their mobile phones or tablets. Ensure that your theme automatically adjusts images and other content for mobile readers. You can check for this on Google's Mobile Friendly Test page by using the theme's demo URL.
  • SEO ready: Search Engine Optimization or SEO represents how easy search engines such as Google can find your content people search for. Some themes use heavy codes that makes it hard for search engines to read.
  • Community Information and Support: Many times when we are learning how to use a new tool, we will need to look for extra information. Go for themes which have a ready-made toolkit for you to explore. The best themes will also be used by many other bloggers and you should be able to find many free tutorials on YouTube or community forums.
  • Supports plugins: WordPress is a very powerful CMS because of its ability to support many plugins. Think of your theme as a mobile phone and the plugins as the apps you can download. A good theme will be compatible with many plugins to boost your blog's functionality.

Blog Design Inspirations (Health & Wellness Niche)

This section provides some inspirations for your blog design. Because we are focused on the health and yoga niche, below are some of the relevant websites to help you get started.

We will look at a few models of health blogs:

  1. Content Blog: These are magazine-style blogs, covering a wide variety of sub-topics that fall within a niche. Most provide written content, some are a mix of written and video, and yet others solely focus on video content.
  2. Product Blog: These blogs serve as a channel to sell or promote products. They are lighter on content and heavy on products, services or memberships.
  3. Professional Blog: Such blogs are similar to content blogs but focus on providing technical content that are less suitable for the casual reader. The aim is to educate and support research using articles written or reviewed by certified professionals.
  4. Combination Blog: These blogs combine elements of the other models. The main goal is to provide value added content while selling physical or digital products.

Whichever model you are looking at, you'll have some great examples to get you started.

The Balanced Life - Product Blog

The Balanced Life is a blog focusing on pilates for health. It is mostly used as a channel to sell its products including programs (courses) and its membership.

The Balanced Life Website

Some things to note:

  • Minimalist design helps to draw attention to the products especially the "sisterhood" membership.
  • Huge video on the home page sets expectations of what the blog or content is about (though this video can slow down the blog massively if you are not careful).
  • Blog content is less informative and more personable.

If you are a beginner blogger but already have a product (such as live yoga classes or books), starting with this minimalist design can help your readers focus what matters most.

Nutritionfacts.org - Combination Blog

Nutritionfacts.org Website

Nutritionfacts.org is a blog founded by Dr Michael Greger, the author of one of the best nutrition books I have read: "How Not to Die".

This website is a mix of a professional and content blog. It is written by a doctor, and contains mainly research and science-based content. However the articles are not reviewed by other professionals in the field, and maintain a more personal voice.

Some things to note about the website:

  • Clear value proposition: The reader immediately knows that the blog content is focused educating people about healthy eating based on scientific evidence.
  • Easy to understand blog topics: Blog content is categorised into commonly searched topics that allows users to find what they need easily.
  • Simple layout: There's only 3 sections in the home page: The hero image, blog categories, and latest content. The simpler the blog layout, the easier it is for layman readers to find information without feeling overwhelmed by the content.

Yoga Journal - Content Blog

Yoga Journal is possibly one of the most visited website that every yogi would visit at some point in time. It is written by many different yoga teachers and professionals, and comprises a rich amount of content for the yoga practitioner, teacher, and entrepreneur.

Yoga Journal Website

Yoga journal is one of those "all-encompassing" websites which covers a broad range of topics related to its main niche. With these types of Content Blogs, it can get pretty overwhelming for people to find information and they may end up leaving the site.

However, Yoga Journal avoids overwhelming the readers with the following:

  • Clear categories of their topic coverage listed on the menu. Do note that as a best practice, you should keep to 7-10 menu items MAX.
  • Only important content is included in the home page. This includes the latest articles and products (online classes & affiliate merchandise).
  • Side menu provides dropdown to sub-topics. This allows the horizontal menu and the overall interface to remain clean and uncluttered

While I love yoga journal as a content blog, there are some things which you should AVOID when designing your blog:

  • Avoid wasting space above the fold. This refers to the space that readers see before scrolling down. In the Yoga Journal website, we can see a grey box above all the content - this should be eliminated.
  • Use sticky menus if your web pages are long. Yoga Journal's web pages are pretty long - especially the home page. If readers have already scrolled to the bottom of the page, they will need to scroll all the way back up to access the menu bar. To prevent wasting readers' time, having a sticky menu can keep content visible and navigation easy.

Medical News Today - Professional Blog

Medicalnewstoday Website

MedicalNewsToday focuses on providing technical content that are written by doctors and professionals. Each post is medically reviewed - increasing the credibility of the blog and building a reputation for reliability and trust.

Some things to note about the website:

  • As a professional blog, MedicalNewsToday doesn't focus on styling but more on presenting the latest content. It has a simple magazine-style layout without any huge banners and fancy designs.
  • Blog categories complement the professional look of the blog - each category corresponds to a medical problem rather than on general health & wellness.

The blog's design and navigation showcase extensive medical knowledge of the writers to increase trust in the readers.

Boho.beautiful - Product Blog

This is also a product-focused blog, created by Boho Beautiful. Most people find the blog through YouTube, which is the main source of content.

Boho Beautiful website is mainly created to sell the paid programs. Any content you find on the blog drives people to explore their products.

Boho Beautiful Website

Some things to note about the website:

  • The design of the blog is simple and meant to spark curiosity. The huge video on the home page immediately inspires readers to want to know more. Upon scrolling down, readers are led to the blog archives (which aim to sell free and paid content), and paid products.
  • By providing free content in the form of YouTube videos, and sharing this content via the blog, Boho Beautiful is able to diversify its marketing channels to reach out to auditory / visual learners and readers alike.

Don't overthink the design of your blog. 

Go with simple, and follow your intuition on what works best for you and your blog. You will end up changing your blog design many times as your blog grows and your business model changes.

The design of the blog doesn't really matter in the early stages - spend more time on content and improve the design as you go along.

Master WordPress Basics

Learning the ins and outs of WordPress will take time. The best way to do so is just to explore and play around with the settings and the functions. Learning by doing will help you cut down the time needed to master WordPress.

Login to your WordPress blog

You can access your WordPress dashboard in two ways.

Method 1: The first way is via Bluehost. Log in to your Bluehost account on Bluehost.com.

Click on the "My Sites" tab.

Hover your mouse over the site you wish to manage, then click "Log into WordPress" and you will see your admin dashboard.

Method 2: The second method is more direct and is my preferred way of accessing WordPress. However this would require you to first set up your WordPress username and password via Bluehost.

  1. Follow the first method to access your WordPress dashboard through Bluehost.com
  2. On the left menu, you will see the tab "Users". Click on it. Then click "Add New"
  3. Create a new user account with a username. Remember your details as this will be the account you will use in future.
  4. Return back to "All Users" and remove any unnecessary or old admin user(s).

Now you are ready to log in to your site directly. Just type in your domain name followed by "/wp-admin" in any browser. For example, if my domain name is "myhealthblog.com", I would type in "myhealthblog.com/wp-admin/" into the browser and you will be directed to the WordPress login page.

Note: Method 2 will not be available for 24-48 hours after you create your account, because it takes some time to assign your domain and website to the correct URL. Use Method 1 for the first few days instead.

Bluehost - WordPress Admin

Familiarize with WordPress Admin Functionalities

Some basic areas you may wish to start exploring in WordPress with are found on the left menu.

Wordpress - Admin

Posts

This is where you will spend most of your time in. It's the area where you house and manage most of your content. Click to see all your posts - you can create new posts or edit existing posts.

Blog posts are organized by categories, which provide a structure with which your readers can navigate. Categories come into handy when you want to showcase a specific topic on a menu bar or on a page.

An example of categories for health & wellness blog would be:

  • Yoga
  • Mental Health
  • Self-Care
  • Personal growth
  • and more

You can create as many or as few categories you want on your blog.

We’ll discuss how to create your first post in the next section!

Pages

Pages look very similar to blog posts and have the same editor interface, but they are different in that pages are meant to host static content which you would not update frequently.

Think of blog pages as an area to house technical content or to structure information about you and the blog. And think of posts as the educational content which you write regularly to help your audience learn more about a topic.

Some examples of must-have pages are:

  • Home page: Create a structured home page which helps your readers find information easily
  • About me page: This will be about you and the blog
  • Contact page: This usually has a form or email address through which people can contact you
  • Legal pages: This includes your privacy policy and disclaimers (really important), refund policies and more.

Appearance

This is where you can make customizations to the look and feel of your blog.

The tabs you will use most are:

  1. Themes: As mentioned, this is where you choose, update or change your themes.
  2. Customize: You will likely spend a lot of time here in the beginning setting up your blog colours and typography, branding (logos and taglines) and more. There's lots to explore here so take your time to walk through them.
  3. Menu: This is where you will structure your blog content on the menu bar to help readers find the most important information. This will change over time as you recreate your strategy and have more content on the blog. I have changed my menu many times since the blog started.
  4. Widgets: This refers to the widgets found on the spare spaces on the blog such as the sidebar. You will likely only use widgets occasionally.

Plugins

Plugins are add-on softwares that you can install on your blog to boost customization abilities. These plugins provide functionalities beyond your theme.

As aforementioned, think of your theme as a mobile phone and the plugins as the apps you can download. A good theme will be compatible with many plugins to boost your blog's functionality.

There are many free and paid plugins. Some of the more essential plugins you will want to use will help you to:

  • Access premium blog design templates and tools (this blog is created with a premium OceanWP theme and designed further using Elementor site builder plugin)
  • Add social icons to your blog
  • Prevent spam and improve blog security
  • Speed up your website (super important for readers' experience)
  • Change the look and feel of the author box
  • and much more.

Media

This is where all your images are stored. You can add images directly to the media library or you can add them into your blog posts and they'll automatically show up in your library.

I generally do not spend much time here as most of my media files are managed directly in the blog posts themselves.

You'll learn how to add images to blog posts in the next step.

Users

If you have a team or have guest bloggers, this is where you will create a user account for them and restrict their rights to the relevant content.

Step 4: Write your first post

Start a blog business - write your first blog post

With your web host and WordPress theme set up, you are ready to start writing your first piece of content!

You can write about anything you want, though I recommend you to keep it simple and introduce yourself to your readers. Talk about who you are, why you created this blog, and what the blog is all about.

Write your post in WordPress

Once you have decided on what you will write about, head on over to WordPress. Navigate to Posts >> Add New from your left menu on the WordPress admin site.

You'll be directed to your blog post editor. This editor page has three parts (some functions depend on the plugins you have downloaded).

  • The main writing space - this is where you fill in your title and blog content. If you use the Elementor plugin like me, you will see an option to edit with Elementor - this means every blog post can be designed into beautiful pages (which the native WordPress editor is unable to do)
  • On the right hand side is the admin column for the blog post. You will set up your feature images, authors, publishing dates, categories and tags here.
  • Below your blog posts are functionalities provided by additional plugins. For instance, I use the OceanWP theme and downloaded the plugin for additional customization abilities. Here I can manage my title looks and create a clean layout for optimum reader experience.
Wordpress - New Post

For now, focus on the main space.

Let's start with the title of your blog post. You can name this whatever you want, for instance:

  • What this blog is about
  • Welcome to my blog about [blog topic]
  • Why I started this blog
  • Hello and welcome to my [health / yoga / niche] blog

Don't worry if you haven't thought of a perfect title. You can always change it anytime.

Once you are done with your title, click on the block below and start writing your blog post. Here, I start with an introduction of myself and a simple welcome message.

Next, you may want to use pictures of yourself for your blog post. It's not a must to add your personal pictures, but this adds a layer of trust and allow people to put a face to the blog.

Add your image by clicking on the "+" icon or the "image" button.

Click "Upload media" or "Media Library". I use the second option most of the time as it allows me to manage my image description and titles (which are important for SEO!)

Wordpress - Add Image
Wordpress - Upload Media

Continue to write the rest of your content. If you don't know what to write about, try answering these prompts in your content:

  • What got you interested in your blog topic?
  • Why did you start your blog?
  • What do you want to achieve with your blog - do you have a mission statement you can share?
  • What will your blog do for your audience?

This first blog post is a good way to break the ice with your audience. Try to include any other pictures or content that you think can help people get to know you and the blog.

Try to break your content into small, readable sections. The best way to do that is to create sub-headers.

Simply click on a section you want to add a header to, click on the editor icon at the far left, then click on the Header icon. You can also change any text to a header, or vice versa, in the same way.

If you have different levels of headings, you can click on the second button to select H2, H3, H4 and more. Note that H1 is only recommended for your title, stick to H2 and smaller headers.

Wordpress - Add Heading
Wordpress - Add Heading

You can also include links to your favourite websites, products or social profiles. Hyperlinks are easy to add: Simply highlight the words you wish to add a hyperlink to, then click on the hyperlink icon and paste the URL in the field that pops up.

Wordpress - Add Hyperlinks

Finally, clean up your blog post by going to the right hand column of the page:

  • Add in a feature image, or WordPress usually will take the first image you use
  • Add categories and tags to keep your content organised

Now you are ready to publish your post!

Step 5: Launch your blog!

Your blog post will remain in draft mode until you publish it. This means that no one can view it on the internet as yet.

To publish your blog post, click on the "Publish" button at the top right corner of the page.

Wordpress - Publish

Once it’s published, there will be a link at the top of the screen to view your post.

Share your post

Although your blog post is on the internet, nobody will read it until you share it - or market it - to other people.

To officially launch your blog, you can share your post(s) to your social media accounts or send the link to your family and friends!

Aside from search engines and Pinterest, the best ways to get publicity for your blog are through your networks and communities. Join communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Tailwind (a Pinterest tool) where you can meet other bloggers and share tips as well as content.

You can also create a Facebook page to promote your blog and any related services or products you are providing.

The biggest mistake you can make is to publish your blog and try to do everything alone.

So share away and start getting your first readers on your blog!

Next steps: Actions for growing and monetising your blog

Start a blog - grow your business

Before we go, I want to leave you with some final thoughts.

It can be confusing and overwhelming when you first start your blogging journey. I remembered not too long ago staring at my screen and feeling completely lost.

The most effective way to get past this is to just get started. Start with baby steps.. and you've done that today!

As you keep your business plan in mind, try to make small yet effective steps towards your goal.

Remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step.

You will get more comfortable with blogging. You will eventually find a writing routine that works for you. What seems to take forever to master will come easier.

But.. You do need to consistently walk forward and keep blogging.

So here are some tangible steps to take.

Write content

It can be tempting to try to spend most of your time working on your blog design in the beginning. But here's the harsh truth.. people come to your blog to find information, not to look at how nice it is.

Feed your audience what they want - information that answers their questions.

Get traffic

By this I mean to get more people to visit your blog.

Once you have written a few articles, it's time to get people to read your content!

There are a few ways to do this, including

  • Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing (hence the importance of Search Engine Optimisation or SEO),
  • Facebook and Instagram,
  • Pinterest,
  • YouTube.

My personal recommendation for most beginner bloggers is to market your blog on Pinterest. It is essentially a search engine like Google, but less competitive and much more fun to work on.

It is also one of my biggest sources of traffic when I first started.

Most other platforms are not too ideal for beginners because:

  • they do not actually get people to leave the platform and read your blog posts (YouTube & Instagram), or
  • they are very competitive and require paid ads (especially for Facebook) to stand out from the crowd, or
  • they take much longer to get organic (non-paid) traffic. This is especially the case for search engines like Google.

Make Money Blogging

I bet this was what you have been thinking of from the start: How do I make money blogging?

Most new bloggers tend to get overly anxious and focused on making money right from the start. I totally understand you - this is the main reason you want to start a blogging business and you're ready to go.

However...

It is really important to set up strong foundations and build your blog the correct way. This will ensure that by the time you are ready to make money, you've got a well-oiled machine that allows you to reap maximum benefits from your time.

This is what we call front loading - do the hard work first and it will pay for itself later.

And front loading will entail writing content consistently and getting more readers to your blog before thinking about making money. Nobody will pay when nobody reads your blog.

Of course this doesn't mean you put your goals on hold. It's still good to get some ideas of how you can monetise your blog - this is why we started with the business planning process!

Once you have some idea of where your money may come from, you will continue to refine your revenue model in your business plan and work on taking action to make it happen.

Plan Out Actions for the Next 12 Weeks

There's so much to do once your blog is set up that it is important to plan out the steps you can actually take to achieve your blogging goals. Start by referring back to your business model canvas, then list your goals. Break each goal down into daily or weekly habits you can adopt.

Some examples are:

  1. If your goal is to get 1,000 readers every month, your action may be to publish 1 blog post a week.
  2. If you want to get 20 students to sign up for your paid live coaching / fitness class, your action may be to host 1 free class every week and channel students to your paid classes.

You get the gist. Goals will not be achieved without action, and effective actions require a good plan.

The time period for your goal can vary - I recommend using a 12 week interval instead of a the longer (and more regularly practised) annual planning process. This is because situations change all the time and your business model will evolve as you progress.

Instead, I like to shorten my planning process to a quarterly basis. I use the 12-Week year (developed by Brian P. Moran) to help me plan out the next actions and grow my blog.

Quarterly planning works so much better than annual planning because

  1. It provides the flexibility for change in plans based on data you receive.
  2. It is almost impossible have complete foresight over 12 months. Planning over 3 months is more realistic and accurate.

You can read The 12 Week Year , check out the blog or and download the online planning template here.

Implement your actions and watch your blog flourish!

I hope that you have enjoyed this post on how to start a blog. If you have any comments, I'd love to hear from you in the comment section below!

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