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How would you like to start your own blog in 2020?
Hello, my name is Kenn Omollo and I’ve been blogging actively for almost two years now.
However, I like to convince myself that I have been long a blogger than I have been married. 😀
And that’s because as a teenage – in high school, I was already a writing enthusiast (blogger).
You would remember my name if you read Kenya’s daily – the Standard on 20th Oct 2007, that’s when my very first article was published on the newspaper. 🙂
Scratch through your archives to find an article on the feature section titled – Kiswahili Taking a Beating Nationally.
That was me.
Fast forward, I started my first blog on Monday, 4 April 2011 – check it out here. (when you have free time)
From the name and the description of this blog, you can tell that Toto Ryan’s Stories (my first blog) was meant to be a children stories blog but it turned out otherwise.
Try to take a closer look at the blog again. Or even read one post in it.
What’s your first impression?
A young man complaining about the slow economic development in his city -on- Racing through Kisumu.
Starting a blog is easy. I started my first without the help of anyone – in 2011. FREE.
Knowing how to maintain your blog, how to write compelling blog posts, how to keep on your blogging topic and how to generally grow your blog is the difficult part.
I have been there, remember!
And it took me more than 7 years to get back, fix everything and to actually start making money as a blogger.
I doubt you also want to waste 7 years trying to test and back-test designs to find a perfect blog, do you?
I thought so too.
To save you 7 years of struggle with the blogging processes, I will use this post to teach you how to start a blog that actually makes money.
But before we dive right in, let’s first cover some basics.
Let’s learn what a blog is before creating one.
What’s a blog?
Here’s the definition of a blog according to Wikipedia:
“A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informational diary-style text entries.”
According to Google,
“A blog is a regularly updated website or web page, typically run by an individual or small group that is written in an informal or conversational style.”
As you can see from both definitions, a blog must be
- A website where you
- Post regularly (blogging).
- Joon.co.ke is a blog.
- Kenya Forex Expo is my other blog.
- Healthy Frankie is my blog on health and wellness (For SALE).
- Ouya Ojeje.
- Name it.
Now that you know what a blog is and how blogs look, let’s move to another basic yet very important point.
Why should you own a blog?
Reasons why you should have a blog.
Starting a blog comes with a ton of advantages. Some of which include:
- Blogging is the current #1 cheapest and most effective way of marketing your business.
This goes especially to those who own businesses. You can start a blog for your business and start promoting your products and services with it.
- Having a blog opens up unimaginable opportunities for you as the owner.
These opportunities come in different forms, be it financial gains (as we will see next), new friends, or even personal development among other gains.
Blogging puts your personality out there. And you have no idea what’s waiting on the other side
- A blog has the potential to earn you a living.
That’s right; blogging done right will earn you enough money to afford your dream lifestyle. But first, you need to have a blog then monetize it with any of these money-making ideas.
- If you are the type of person that derives happiness from helping fellow humans, starting a blog in 2020 is a decision you wouldn’t ever regret. With a blog, you can publish articles that change people’s lives, helps them solve their problems and inspire them to pursue excellence.
These among others are the benefits of having a blog.
How to start a blog in 2020 in only 4 steps;
Step #1: Pick a niche.
Before you start building your blog, you first have to decide what you will be blogging about.
What topic will you be writing about?
This is the first and crucial step to building a successful blog especially if you plan to make money through it afterward.
For this reason, follow the following guidelines when picking your blogging niche:
Look at your passions and hobbies for inspiration.
Just because a certain blogger is having success with a certain niche doesn’t necessarily mean you should copy. Blogging has its ups and downs and when they strike, you’ll need more than motivation to keep going.
What industries do you have experience in?
Are you a professional accountant or marketer?
Well, it turns out; you can turn that into a blog. For instance, if you have experience in accountancy, you can start a blog teaching people how to do their taxes among other financial topics.
Pick a niche that’s going to stay.
What do I mean?
There are some topics on the internet that don’t last long. They are seasonal since they trend for some time. As a blog owner, you do not want to build a blog around such topics.
A good example: if you love football, for instance, it would be wrong to build a website around the world cup as a niche. It trends for a few months then forgotten for another four years.
If you pick only one thing from this article, pick this:
Choose a blog niche that you understand, know more about, or have an interest in.
Step #2: pick a domain name.
First things first:
What’s a domain name?
A domain name is the address of your blog. It is where users find your blog.
For example, Joon.co.ke, is our domain name for this blog.
A domain name carries a lot of weight. That’s why you should put a lot of effort into picking the perfect name.
In summary, a domain name is the identity of your brand and everything associated with it.
For this reason, you should pick a name that is related to your chosen topic in step #1.
Whether you’re going to be blogging about traveling destinations or money tips, you will need a domain name that depicts that.
For instance, if you picked web design as your blogging niche, your domain name should look something like WebDesignPro.com, DesignIdeas.com, or WebDeveloper.com, etc.
This way, when someone looks at your domain name, they immediately get the idea of what to expect.
To help you out with picking a domain name;
Here are some domain name tips to work with.
- Pick something short and simple. Avoid long and complicated names that are hard to spell and remember.
- Consider picking a name related to your niche. This is good for SEO (search engine optimization).
- Make sure your domain name is unique (do not copy anyone) and brandable.
- Do not use hyphens in your domain name.
- If you run out of ideas, use your name as a domain name. example, RyaanStam.com
Follow these tips to come up with a name for your new blog.
Purchase your domain name.
Once you pick a name, you will need to purchase it so no one else can claim it.
You see, there are thousands of blogs started every minute, which means, thousands of people are constantly looking for domain names.
Delaying for a second might cost you a domain name which resonates with your business.
Purchase your website name to now to be safe.
Where to purchase a domain name.
You can buy your preferred domain name from a hosting service provider. Example, TrueHost Kenya sells all sorts of domains.
- Buy a “.com”domain for Ksh 1000.00 1 Year.
- .xyz – Ksh 100 1 Year.
- .info Ksh 300.
- .net Ksh 11991 Year.
- .org Ksh 899 1 Year.
- .biz Ksh 1500.00 1 Year.
- .codes Ksh 4500.00 1 Year.
Other domain names also available in TrueHost include: – .mobi, .us, .academy, .agency,.today, .associates, .bargain, .bid, .boutique, .builders.
Literally, Truehost has a dot something domain for almost everything.
TrueHost allows you to purchase your domain name and then link it with the hosting company of your choice.
And some domain names go for as much as Ksh. 9,000.
Not to worry though, there is a way you can get your preferred domain name for FREE.
How to get a free domain name.
Get your domain name as well as hosting services from BlueHost.
Who is BlueHost?
BlueHost is one of the most reputable web hosting sites in the world, with thousands of happy customers stamping their reliability.
Why pay for a domain name somewhere else, when you can get it for free through BlueHost?
Why use BlueHost.
Here’s why I recommend bluehost for all blogging beginners: –
- If you get 12+ hosting months, your monthly prices reduce significantly.
- BlueHost has a 24/7 customer service. If you get stuck somewhere, contact them anytime.
- You get a free domain for the first year if you purchase 12 months of hosting.
- Over competitive prices, you cannot find anywhere in the market.
- Up time – 99.99%
- Shared, Cloud, VPS, and Dedicated Servers
- Starting at $2.75/mo
If you are interested, use this link to sign up for BlueHost. And in the following steps, I will show you how to set up your new blog.
Step #3: Purchase hosting services on BlueHost.
Once you’ve secured your blog domain name, now it is time to get it up and ready. This is the point where you take your website from just a dream to a reality.
To do this, you will need a hosting site as mentioned previously.
A hosting site is where your website’s content; users and files will be housed and protected.
Getting a hosting account has been made simple with BlueHost and you can set it up with just a few mouse clicks.
How to purchase hosting on BlueHost.
BlueHost offers four hosting packages you can choose from depending on your budget. These packages are:
- Basic – $3.95/mo*.
- Plus – $5.95/mo*.
- Choice Plus – $5.95/mo*.
- Pro – $13.95/mo*.
For those starting, I recommend you go with either Basic or Plus packages.
They are pocket-friendly and offer you all the features you will need to start a blog.
And of course, as your blog grow, you can shift to these other higher hosting plans. But for now, stick to what you need.
Now, all you have to do is click ‘get started’ under the hosting plan of your choice.
- You will be prompted to pick your domain name. Here, use the one you picked earlier.
- Enter account information and proceed to complete payment.
- Accept terms and conditions.
And boom! You’re done.
Wait for a purchase confirmation email from BlueHost where you will be asked to create a new password.
Create your password then login to install WordPress.
Step #4: Install WordPress.
I know you’ve been waiting for this part. Actually, this is the part where things take shape.
And if you are looking to start a WordPress blog on BlueHost, this is the part.
First things first, what is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) designed to help you organize and manage your blog content.
WordPress gives you the power to customize your new blog with thousands of beautiful themes to choose from.
But do not get confused, there two types of WordPress out there.
Lucky for you, I am also going to share their differences.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com.
- A free hosting platforms like Blogger, Wix, and Weebly.
- Using it costs you nothing but isn’t fit for someone looking to make money blogging like you. Perfect for those looking to start a blog for free. Get a wordpress.com site here.
- Restricts you in terms of SEO, design, and monetization.
- Works in conjunction with hosting sites like BlueHost to power websites.
- Allows you to fully customize your blog, thanks to thousands of free themes and free plug-ins available.
- You can monetize your website all you want.
- Implement cutting edge SEO techniques to put your website in front of readers.
As you can guess, people always pick WordPress.org.
When paired with BlueHost, you get a blogging powerhouse.
How to install WordPress on BlueHost.
Once you create your password, BlueHost will provide you with the exact steps to take to start a blog.
- Log in to your Bluehost cPanel account.
- Find the Website section and select Install WordPress.
- Click the Install button.
- Choose the domain name to install it to.
In the field next to the domain, you can enter a subfolder such as ‘blog’ or leave it blank if you want the site’s main page to be the blog.
- If necessary, you can edit the email address, username and password for the new WordPress installation. Click “advanced options” and you can change those settings.
- Read through the license and service agreements and check the boxes.
- Select the Install Now button.
- You will be asked to pick a theme. Here, don’t worry much about which one to choose, pick any and you can change it later when you have more knowledge and have found the one you like.
Remember they are free too and some premium ones.
- Next step is to click on ‘start building’.
- Then choose between ‘Business’ and ‘Personal’.
- After selecting your option above, you will be taken to your blog’s dashboard. Here you can manage plug-ins as well as content.
- The next step is to create a blog title and description. Don’t worry though; you can always make changes to whatever you write here.
Congratulations! You have a new website. Start publishing content.
Now that you have your blog up and ready, let’s cover best practices for choosing a blogging theme.
How to pick the best theme for your blog.
- Go for responsive themes. Such themes respond to whatever device your readers use. This is crucial for a money-making blog.
- Ensure that the theme you choose can accommodate and function well with plug-ins you plan to add to your site.
- Best tip: read reviews before activating themes.
The truth is, there are hundreds if not thousands of other blog owners who’ve used this theme. Look at what they have to say to give you an idea of what to expect.
- Considering the number of themes out there in the market, it is easy to go nuts changing themes every week. Settle for that theme that offers clean, simple, and accessible site.
Since we’ve covered the themes part, I want to show you some of the popular and must-have plug-ins on your blog.
What are plugins?
In computing, a plug-in is a software component that adds a specific feature to an existing computer program e.g themes.
You can use plugins to add functionalities such as sharing options, to conveniently place related posts among other things.
Popular plugins to use on your website.
- Yoast SEO – offers all the tools you will need to improve your blog’s search engine rankings.
- WP Rocket – best for WordPress blog caching.
- Shared Counts – used to display social media sharing options.
- Contact Form 7 – you will need a place where your readers can contact you. This is the WordPress blog plug-in for the job.
- MonsterInsights – best for displaying Google Analytics stats on your new WordPress blog dashboard.
- WordFence Security – keeps your blog safe from hackers.
Start blogging with BlueHost now.
It is now up to you to share content that your readers will want to read.
Engage with them to build a community around your new blog.
And remember, blogging isn’t as easy as it sounds. You will need patience, consistency, and hard work. But the fruits are worth every drop of sweat, I promise.