8 Steps on How to start a Blog and Make Money 2019

Person typing on laptop with coffee and food nearby

At an era like this I still can’t believe that most people think it’s impossible to be in the league of those who earn a living online. 

An era were a dad and his son earn millions of dollars by posting videos of themselves cutting things in two, were  7 year old Ryan earned $22 million in 2018 by reviewing the toys he plays with on YouTube 

Ryan from Ryan's toy review

An era were countless people earn millions, even billions, online doing nothing but living out their passion.

Well what if I tell you that you could be one of these ” earn millions while sleeping on the couch” people. 

There are various ways you could earn a living online.

You could blog about your hobby, create a Vlog , start a podcast or even make home-made products and sell them online.

Today, we will focus on one of the most popular and easiest forms of earning a living online, Blogging.

By following the steps laid out in this blog post, you can earn a plush six figure -income from your home, writing what interest you. 

What’s more! You could earn this when you want, and where you want.

 

I’ll share with you  today the steps i took to create my blog.

Most people will charge thousand of dollars to create a blog for you.

But today you will learn it for free. All you need to do is make sure you don’t take this post for granted, and like the famous sport apparel company’s, Nike, slogan says, Just do it.

Nike's slogan , Just do it.

 

Also, this Blog post isn’t just meant for awesome people who have the braves to take charge of their lives by becoming webpreneurs. 

Small businesses can take away something too. Research findings have proven that small businesses that have a blog (An active blog that spits out rich content) get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that don’t.

Finally, i want to quote my favourite verse  from a poem written by Robert frost, it goes;

” I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”.

Trust me, take the long road and build an online business around your passion today. You’ll thank yourself later.

Alright! Let’s get down to business, creating your blog, shall we?

8 steps on how to start a blog and make money.

  1. Discover your niche and what you will blog about
  2. Pick a name for your blog
  3. Choose a suitable Hosting service for your blog
  4. Find the right content management system
  5. Develop a superb content marketing strategy.
  6. Open social media profiles for your blog
  7. Create a blog template and  Design your blog layout and pages
  8. Write your first blog post, Publish and advertise your blog post on your social media profiles

BONUS; Also included in this post are ways to monetize your blog.

  1. Discovering your niche and deciding what you will be blogging about.
Man typing on a laptop, and a coffee cup

Let’s find out what a niche is.

Simply defined, a niche is a relatively small and specialist group, passionate about a specific topic or hobby. 

To help you discover the niche you will be blogging about I’ll be asking you a few questions and I would like you to think of an answer in your mind.

Why do you want to start a blog?

What are you passionate enough about to write on?

What is your favourite hobby or pass time?

If you were able to answer these questions, you should pick up a pen and notepad, and write your answers down so won’t forget them.

P.S; no matter how crazy or weird your passion is go for it!

Even if its garbage, I mean that literally, you could create a blog about” dumpster diving treasure hunts”. It’s not a healthy hobby though.

You should also keep this in mind, what you blog about must not always your passion.

It could be an interest of yours, or something you are an expert at.

But a good blog always revolves around something you are passionate about.

Right now, you must have thought about some few things you like and are good at.

Quick exercise, I want you to arrange the list based on reducing priority.

The most important should be no 1 while the least important goes to the bottom of the list.

The first two should be what you’re likely going to blogging about in the near future.

Now that you’ve gotten, at most, two things you’re super passionate about. Go online and research on those two topics.

You could use free tools like Google trends and WordStream’s Keyword finder to find out  how often those topics are searched on Google and major key-words under the topics.

Google Trends Homepage

I’ll use an example to explain this to you.

Let’s say you’re passionate about cooking, we all know that cooking is a broad topic, right? I don’t want to think of all the recipes this world has to offer.

Instead of blogging about recipes of different culinary delights, you could do some research on a sub-topic under cooking, Baking.

During your research you may find out that there is an elite group of people who are taking interest in sugar-free cake recipes.

As you can see, you will be appealing to a much smaller audience, mostly people with diabetes, and anti-sugar activist, I don’t think the latter exist, who love cake.

Chocolate Cake

This is a perfect example of a niche. Small, yet profitable.

When researching  a niche you have to keep three things at the forefront of your mind.

  1. Make sure the niche is profitable; you could do this buy looking for signs of competition.  In case they are no signs of competition that doesn’t mean your idea sucks, it may mean no one has had the guts to explore it yet. Be the first.                                   
  2. Look for specialized topics under your niche that people find interesting; You could do this by going on various platforms like Reddit and Quora and look under your field, field being your passion, interest or hobby.                                         
  3. Try and find people who share the same interest as you and ask if they will read a blog  about the “common interest”

During this research process, you might come across a lot of other blog that talk about your topic.

Right now the naysayers at the back of your mind will be telling you to give up already.

You might be thinking, “These guys already blog about my interest and get a ton of comments and reads. What else does little ol’ me have to offer”.

Well, let me tell you a secret, little ol’ you has a lot to offer!

Think of it! Everyone on this planet see things from a different point of view,right?

When you start your blog you will be blogging from your unique point of view, sharing your own experience and approaching the topic in a whole new different way-your blog, your style-.

Gary Vaynerchuk, a well known figure who grew his family’s wine business from a $4 million business to $60 million using social media, wrote in his New York Times bestseller, crushing it, that the only thing that will differentiate you from all other competitors is your unique approach, and authenticity.

Authenticity in the sense that you just have to be yourself when you blog. Don’t try and copy other well known blogs word-for-word.

Just write in your own quaint, unique style.

All right, that’s enough talk on niche research, let’s move on to picking a name for your blog.

Picking a name for your blog can be a frustrating.

Back in the day when I created Shopify stores, I still do, I always encountered a big problem, picking a cool name that hasn’t been taken.

We will be covering how to tackle this problem next.

2. Picking a name for your blog and buying a domain name;

 

Birds eye-view of a laptop and a hand holding hot coffee

So why is picking a name for your blog so important?

Well, your blog’s name is the first thing people see on the Google search engine report.

Having a name related to what you are blogging about is kind of an essential to building a well known blog.

I am not trying to say deviating from your topic is a bad idea.

Just be creative and humorous and everything will be fine.

You could use your name, lindaikejiblog.com is a good example.

But imagine this,

You are an artist wanting to start a blog, and you decide your blog’s name should be “Solomon Grundy” because that’s your name.

On the other hand, picking a name like “creatively” would be great, that means when you buy a domain name you could and should make it look like this, “www.creative.ly”. 

Whereas, if you choose to use your name, your domain name would end up looking like this,
www.solomongrundy.com,“Long” and doesn’t really give any hint as to what your blog is about.

creative.ly is already taken so don’t bother.

“Creatively” also resonates better because being of you being an artist and all.

Another method for name picking.

Go online and research common phrases or terms used in your niche, for example if you are starting a blog on entrepreneurship, “the entrepreneur ship”, would probably be a good name to go with.

After your research, pick up a pen and write down all the fun slangs and quaint terms, try joining a few of them together to form phrases

Did you know that the popular kid’s building blocks maker, LEGO, derived from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well”.

Sometimes it’s easier to brainstorm names.

Any process you follow is fine.

Just come up with a bunch of phrases and put them on ink.

At this point you should gather some friends or family and call these names out loud to them.

Ask them to pick the ones that stick and stand out.

The name of your business should be coined from the phrases or words they pick.

But just make sure it’s fun, sticky and you’re at peace with it.

Who knows, you might be the next Amazon, Apple or AirBnB.

 

Now that we’ve got the easy aspect done, let’s get down to the technical part.

Buying a domain name!

A domain name is an address that tells web browsers where to find your website online.

Having a domain name is important if you want to start a blog

Although I said this is the technical part, buying a domain name is easy as ABC.

Domain names are relatively cheap; you could get one for about $9 a year.

Ideally, your domain name should be the name of your business.

In the example I gave on choosing a name for your business, I talked about coming up with fun names like “creatively”.

Creatively not only sounds good but looks good when the TLD (Top Level Domain) “.ly” is used instead of “.com” it looks like this www.creative.ly

Using other TLD’s like .io, .store, .edu, .org, isn’t bad at all. They are often more cheaper than the .com TLD.

Recent research cited that there are  more than 339.5 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs). 

The .com is the most used TLD having approximately 135 million registrations.

And second guessing your domain name with the TLD.com is already taken, you could go for another TLD.

You can buy your domain name from various sites like godaddy, namecheap, hostgator; the list goes on and on.

I recommend buying your domain name from www.hostinger.com, I use Hostinger and I guarantee you won’t find service like theirs anywhere on the web.

Domain registration on Hostinger is void of stress and affordable. What’s more! They’ve got live chat set up so you can be guided through the whole setup process.

 

 

Now we’ll be moving onto the next thing on our “to do” list.

3. Choosing a web hosting service.

I want to educate you guys a little bit on the fundamentals of website hosting.

We will start with the basic definition of website hosting.

Website hosting, put simply, are servers that are online 24/7, which store all your website files so your website visitors will be able to access your site anytime, anywhere.

Hosting services also provide a safe place where you can store all your website files.

So what are the basic features a good hosting service should have?

A good hosting service possesses all of the following properties

  1. Speed; your websites load time shouldn’t take more than a second. Anything above a second could harm your website visit
  2. A good hosting service should have a solid track record. You could verify them by reading reviews and checking their awards and achievements. Don’t just go for the cheapest one.
  3. Good customer service; Customer support should be live 24/7, in case you need help solving an issue.                    
  4. A good hosting service should be secure; remember that this is where all your websites files will be stored.
  5. Having lots of add-ons and features like emails auto-responders and FTP support is also something to look out for.
  6. Should support WordPress and other CMS’s

I have been using Hostinger for a while now and I can vouch for their excellent service.

Hostinger possesses all the properties above and it’s affordable.

Check out what they have to offer.

Here is one surefire tip to help you make the right decision on web hosting.

Making a blog or website is like buying a new home.

When you move into your new home you need basic things like electricity, water supply, heat, and internet.
 
Think of your hosting service as someone that is in charge of providing those basic things for you.
 
Of course you wouldn’t want somebody that isn’t capable of handling the task.
 
So choose wisely.
 

Congratulations! You’ve just saved yourself 90$. (That is what most web developers charge for getting you this far).

Right now we are gradually approaching the finish line of a 100 m hurdle race.
 
 it’s just 40 meters away, but wait, there’s a hurdle that’s is much more higher than the rest.
It looks mean, and impossible to jump.
 
Don’t worry, like all obstacles in life stopping you from winning, it can be surpassed.
 
That is if you are bold enough to take the leap.
 
The name written on this hurdle is “Content Management System” and that’s what we will talk about next.
 
4. Choose a Content Management System (C.M.S) or Blogging Platform.
 
laptop. Blog work-place.camera

 

Of all the aspects we’ve discussed so far, this has to be the highest hurdle.

Put your fears aside, your Olympic gold medal personal trainer -That’s me! – will guide you to victory.

You may be asking, what’s a C.M.S anyway?

A content management system (C.M.S) is a platform or software app used to manage and create digital content such as blogs.

Features of a C.M.S include;

  1. An administrative panel which helps you control everything about your site.
  2. Discussion boards/forums and Good customer support.
  3. A wide range of free themes that you can choose from.
  4. Easy installation across various hosting services.         

 These are basic features  a good  C.M.S should have.

There are lots of Content management systems out there and they can be grouped into two sub classes.

  • Free Content Management systems like WordPress.com, blogger and Wix.
  • Self hosted Content Management Systems like WordPress.org.

The difference between a free CMS and a Self Hosted one is;

  • On free platforms you don’t have to pay hosting fees to get your site up and running. The Platform will host your site for you for free.

But there is a catch. Read further and you’ll understand what I am talking about

  • On self hosted Platforms you need to buy a domain name and purchase a hosting plan to get your site up and running. It may sound bad but it’s actually the better option.

Today I’ll be using the two WordPress platforms to explain Content Management Systems to you, Why? Because WordPress powers over 60% of all blogs.

WordPress.com -vs-WordPress.org

Bear in mind that there are two forms of WordPress.

WordPress.com and WordPress.org

WordPress.com is a free C.M.S while WordPress.org is self hosted.

The confusing bit is that both are called WordPress.

This leads people to think that both of them are the same thing when they are entirely different.

So why are these two different anyway?

Well the most common and obvious difference is that WordPress.com uses the .com TLD while WordPress.org uses the .org TLD.

I’ll explain the differences better by listing the pros and cons of these two platforms.

Understanding the pros and cons of the both of them will help you know which platform will suit you best.

WordPress.com

Pros

  • WordPress.com can be free forever if you choose to use their “free plan” option
  • WordPress.com requires no software maintenance. The WordPress team will do all that for you for free.
  • WordPress.com hosts your site for you with their awesome hardware. This makes your site super fast.
  • Security is not an issue here, because WordPress.com uses modern security hardware to keep your site safe from hackers and other dark figures on the web.
  • Cons
    First on this list are the Intrusive wordpress.com  Branding Ads placed on your site. These ads are annoying to your readers and they might harm website visits. 

These branding ads are also impossible to remove, unless you purchase a paid plan.

  • As your blog grows you will likely want purchase your own domain name so that it won’t have the “.wordpress.org” TLD.  i.e. (yoursite.wordpress.org)

This will eventually lead to leaving a “free plan” to a paid plan.

  • WordPress. Com doesn’t let you upload plug-ins (Third-party plugins), except the ones found on their site. 
  • Limited SEO and analytics.
  • E-commerce and Affiliate marketing can’t be done on wordpress.com. Your monetization efforts won’t work here.
  • No FTP (File transfer protocol) access.

Basically, as your blog grows, you will need to have more control over your website. To do this 

On wordpress.com you will need to pay a lot of money, ($$), monthly.

WordPress.org
The pros of WordPress.org are the direct opposite of the cons of WordPress.com.

Pros

  • WordPress.org gives you control over every inch of your site.
  • FTP access
  • Hurray! You can monetize your blog on WordPress.org. E-commerce and other business transactions are accepted
  • Powerful SEO and analytics to help grow your readership.
  • Your site. Your rules!
  • No ads by WordPress and the “.wordpress.org TLD” won’t appear on your URL
  • Third-party plugins are allowed

Cons
The Cons here are not all that evil like the ones on wordpress.com, No monetization!, common give me a break, they are just common problems that a webpreneur like you would face.

  • You would be required to do site maintenance when a bug fix or new update arrives.
  • It’s kind of complicated to use because it’s a self hosted site. (No wordpress.com team)
  • Sometimes issues like security breaches or broken links can occur. Since its
  • “Your site. Your rules!” You will have to fix these issues “Your way!”

So should you use WordPress.org for my blog and is there any other free option apart from WordPress.org?


The answer to the first question is a BIG YES from me.

Assuming you want to build a blog that’s going to be around for a long time and you intend on monetizing it I suggest you use the self-hosted WordPress, i.e. WordPress.org

But if you want to use your blog for no other reason apart from blogging about your hobby you could use wordpress.com and other free CMS’s.


The answer to the second question is also a “held back yes” from me. I don’t really recommend free CMS’s to people who want to grow their blog and monetize its content. Why? Well I’ll tell you, right now!

Most free CMS’s possess the same cons as wordpress.com, common examples of this platforms are blogger ,Wix and SquareSpace.

If you’re worried and still don’t know which option to choose you could hit me up on my social media accounts or comment below and I will reply.

5. Develop an awesome content marketing strategy for your blog.

Right now I’m going to teach you how to create an awesome content marketing strategy for your blog.

This helps you organize all your blog post and schedule them correctly.

Lest I forget creating a good content marketing strategy helps you publish rich and high quality content that won’t bore visitors.

Let’s begin. Things are going to get practical a little bit so I want you to pick up a pen and notepad.

ROUND 1. BEGIN!

  1. Identifying your goals and objectives

Your goals are basically what you want your blog post to achieve in the next couple of months or more.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to coin out your goals from your mission statement, that’s if you have one.

A “mission statement” is one that highlights what you aim to do with your blog i.e. How you intend to help them and what they will gain by reading your content.

Your mission statement can be written down in your journal or notepad. It’s not a must for it to be placed on  your site.

Under this segment there are a few questions you should ask yourself to get things started;

  1. What is my blog going to be about.
  2. What kind of value will i provide for my readers
  3. How will i incorporate my unique writing style into every blog post.
  4. How will i gain traction for my blog.
  5. What channels will i use to promote my blog post- social media, newspapers
    (newspapers shouldn’t cross your mind, it’s not a good channel)

Once you’ve identified your goals its time to move on to the next step.

2. Establish K.P.I’s (Mile stones)

 A Key Performance Indicator or K.P.I  is a fancy term, used in the digital  marketing industry, for “Milestones.

These “Milestones” help you know if at all you are achieving the required results needed to realize your goals.

My milestone for this blog post is getting a hundred shares by the end of the month- So kindly do me a solid and help me achieve my milestone.

Other examples of milestones include;

  • Get more email sign-ups.
  • Increase blog traffic.
  • Get a hundred likes on your social media profile.

 3. knowing who your ideal reader is.
This should easy, think of yourself as your ideal reader.

What qualities do you possess that you think your reader would possess? 

A demographic is another word for “qualities possessed”.

Common Demographics you should target are;

  • Age;

Is your blog  about something younger readers would understand like “supreme shoes’ or is it targeting an older set of people that show interests in retirement plans?

  • Gender;

If you own a blog for young women who go through PSD, then i guess it would probably be a bad idea to promote your blog post to Men in their 50’s. 

Where can i find others who are passionate about my content?

Knowing which social platforms your reader dwell in will certainly help in the early stages of your blog.

Most bakeries I know tend to use image sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest a lot-like the old saying goes, “You eat with your eyes first”

Remember!

Everyone is unique so you shouldn’t just be writing the blog for yourself.

A post that makes you laugh might make another person angry. So keep everyone in mind, would you?

4. Keyword research.

wordstream keyword research

Use free S.E.O keyword research tools like WordStream’s keyword tool And find out what phrases or terms your ideal readers search about a lot.

For example, in the image above i searched for skydiving and narrowed it down to “tourism in every region available”.

A lot of relevant keywords popped up.

You could incorporate theses keywords into your blog posts to gain traction for your blog. 

5. Brainstorming topics

 
Person holding black pen and brainstorming

To do this we need to think of topics that are fun, ideally 50 topics should be a start.

Make sure to keep in mind the keywords you researched because those are what your readers are searching for.

Write those topics down.
For example, let’s say you own an event planning business in Dubai.

You would likely come up with stuff like “best event halls in Dubai”, “How to create a flower ribbon”, How to design a perfect dinner party table”.

Things that your ideal reader would want to know.

Don’t give any topic on the list “TOP PRIORITY”. Any idea can be used as content, trust me.

If you eventually hit the “Ideal 50” mark and have more ideas, you could continue for as long as you want.

6. Ordering your ideas

An arranged folder locker

 that you have come up with  a ton of interesting ideas (remember what I said about any idea being used for content), I want you to categorize each idea under a general topic or content pillars.

For example, “5 ways warren buffet builds investment portfolios” would be categorized under “Investment portfolios”.

Now arrange these ideas in the order you think your readers would understand; I can’t post about stage 2 of building an investment portfolio today and post stage 1 tomorrow. That’s quite insane.

Make sure you complete this process as it will help you in our next item.

7. Scheduling your post.

laptop, iPhone and a cup of coffee

You post should be scheduled based on the methods we talked about in the previous step; I mentioned something about arranging your blog post in a way your readers would understand.

But now we would be putting dates in which the blog posts would be published.

This helps you free most of the time you would normally be using thinking of what you will post “tomorrow” or “Next week”.

You could schedule post weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. But I recommend that you post bi-weekly, if you are not up to the task then post weekly. Whatever floats your boat.

This stage can be done in an excel sheet or you could take a look at a free tool that I use called Trello

 

Trello's home page

Trello helps you organize, prioritize and schedule your blog post. its one of the tools i recommend for blog organization.

Also, Trello is free to use and easy to understand.

Trello Work-Space- Easy to Understand

The final stage!!

Decide which media channel (Social media off course) you would use to distribute your blog posts.

If you own a blog that does a lot of practical stuff like baking, cycling and Working-Out, i suggest you open an Instagram, and Pinterest account. 

If your blog is more theoretical; for example, Finance and business, having a LinkedIn account wouldn’t hurt.

Now review your content marketing strategy and make sure to abide to it.

If you have any other steps that you feel I have not mentioned leave them in the comment section below.

Finally, something that shouldn’t take long at all.

6. Creating social media profiles for your blog

There are more than enough social media platforms out there, but some are more effective than others in promoting your blog post.

 

Social media icons

Story time!!!

Let’s take a look at a fictional character, Amy.

 

Amy doing presses

Amy is an adrenaline junkie and is often found sky diving from a 25000 ft high in the sky plane, bungee jumping from oddly-shaped sky scrapers, Para-gliding from jagged mountains and shark diving in the pacific.

You know! All the things a “high risk” enthusiast would love.

After a coffee session with some of her buddies, Amy finds out that a bunch of them don’t really know the cool spots across the country that offer the highs she’s experienced there.

 

6 coffee cups filled with coffee

So Amy spares some time from her risk filled life to create a blog that showcases some of the best spots within the country to skydive, Para-glide and creature surf with ,and names the blog “dine with death”.

Knowing that pictures speak a thousand words, Amy opens an Instagram page highlighting all the cool adventures she’s had.

Using high quality Pictures and videos, she shares all the  cool experiences she’s been through.

Amy gains a loyal follower-ship because of her unique approach of sharing her own experience on the topic.

Amy see’s an Ad on YouTube, while searching for ways to troubleshoot a malfunctioning parachute, and notices the ad got 60,000 k views.

She recognizes the benefits of Ads and tries her hand at paid advertising to draw people to her profile.

First, she learns the ropes of basic Instagram paid advertising and optimizes her profile by putting a call to action like “take a look at more sweet spots on my blog”.

The first week of the Ad campaign was a mess, things didn’t go so well.

After educating herself more on the topic of Paid Ads, Amy tries her hand at Paid Ads one more time and triumphs .

People flood her site and Amy thanks God she monetized her site.

Amy keeps on blogging about her thrill seeking lifestyle and gains a large followership of about 10000 followers.

Out of nowhere, a brand that produces Sky diving gear contacts Amy and ask if she would like to appear at one of their annual thrill-seekers meet up.

They also ask Amy to be the face of the month for their online Magazine.

Amy gets a lot of attention during the meet up and other thrill seekers around the world see her on the monthly magazine.

After a couple of years blogging and an additional 100k followers added to her list, Amy discovers that going Omni-channel would increase awareness for her blog.

With the money she has been saving up, she launches a massive ad campaign on YouTube, twitter, and SnapChat and she a gains a million new followers.

Amy goes on to become the “Go-to” person for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies around the world.

She rakes in millions yearly from Placement Ads and influencer marketing.

Amy lives happily ever after, blogging about her passion.

Any jumping up in victory

This is just a brief scenario of how social media can help grow your business and improve your lifestyle.

Social media marketing and influencer marketing has been growing in an unprecedentedly large scale.

You could open your social media profiles right now if you have got everything set.

So for blog posts its best you open social media profiles on the following platforms; Facebook, instagram and pinterest.

Social media has helped grow a lot of businesses to multi-million dollar empires.

GaryVee enlightens us in his New York Times best seller, crushing it, about the long-term benefits of building a personal brand online.

In “crushing it”, more stories like the one above are told, but this time they are real and detailed.

Stories that tell you how various successful internet entrepreneurs built their million dollar businesses using social media.

I recommend crushing it for anyone who wants to be a webpreneur. The book inspired me to create this blog.

7. choose a blog theme and Design your blog layout and Pages

Midgad's homepage

Having a good page layout and visually aesthetic website can affect the way people think when they visit, positively.

Google and Basel University conducted research in 2012, and found out that not only will users judge websites as beautiful or not within 1/50th – 1/20th of a second, but also that “visually complex” websites are consistently rated as less beautiful than their simpler counterparts.

Have you ever heard the phrase; “Simpler is better”

Well, that was my favourite phrase back in HighSchool- Maths Class.

Most people build ultra-complicated websites with the thought of wooing their web visitors, this does the opposite.

These are some common questions you should ask yourself to be able to access if your website is user-friendly.

Is my website’s load time to slow?

Having a slow website can greatly affect your blog readership and conversion rate.

People are more likely to complete actions when the transition from one page to another, let’s say the products page to checkout page, take less than 2 seconds to load.

In fact 47% of consumers expect this from you.

So if you are planning on monetizing your site you should take your website’s load time into consideration.

Ways to boost your websites speed Include;

  • Implement AMP’s on your site.
  • Use less images on your site, each images should be less than 500 kilobytes.
  • Upgrade your hosting Plans.
  • Use a C.D.N.

I use WordPress, So most of these things are handled for me by Plugins.

Some plugins i recommend are;

  • WP fastest Cache

 

WP fastest cache
  • Smush Image Compression And Optimization.
wp smush screenshot
  • AMP by WP
AMP for WP screenshot

I use these Plugins on my site and i can vouch for them.

Is my website responsive?

Let me answer the question you might be thinking of right now.

What is a responsive website?

Well, if a website displays and works correctly across all platforms – mobile and desktop , it is said to be responsive.

Website builders, like WordPress, will let you create different versions of your site.

If you are planning to hire a designer to hand-code your blog from scratch (I see no reason why you should do this, unless you have thousands of dollars to spend), request that he/she makes the site responsive.

Do I have a search bar on my site?
I don’t think search bars have an effect on rankings and conversion, but its better to be safe than sorry.

Having a Search bar is very important from a website  visitors point of view.

A search bar helps visitor quickly find what they are looking for.

Whether its blog post from 5 years ago or a recent one, your readers will always than you for putting them in mind by creating a handy little box that answers their questions at the nick of time.

Right now I will be teaching you how to create and design your blog post template, layouts and designs on WordPress.

I choose WordPress not because majority carries the vote, but because of its access to hundreds, if not thousands of themes, tons of plugins ( 53,000+ to be exact) and lots of premade templates.

    

 

WordPress Plugin Statistics

In the last paragraph, I made mention of WordPress allowing you to use premade templates.

You may be asking what premade templates are.
Premade templates are website templates made by other developers (Yes, you are a now a junior web developer).

Basically, it’s like having a whole website built for you for free by an expert.

These templates can be installed on your site for free.

We’ll be looking into how to make use of premade templates soon.

I make use of a premade template, but I customized it to my own taste.

There’s also a catch to it (like always); your Blog might end up looking like another blogger’s site.

But I will reveal to you how to bypass this issue. Things are going to get a bit technical, so gear up; we are going for a ride.

Using Premade Templates

 

When using WordPress.org you are required to install a theme.

A theme is just like the basic design your site will have.

There are hundreds of free themes to choose from, my favourite being “Astra”.

I use Astra, and my blog runs on this theme.

Astra, by far, is the coolest theme I’ve ever used. I made use of the “Ocean WP” theme, until I heard that Astra lets you, wait, import premade templates to your website.

Astra also looks great and functions well on mobile. Yeah, its responsive.

Once you install the Astra theme it will require that you also install a Plugin called Astra Starter Sites.

The Astra Starter sites plugin has revolutionized the process of creating websites.This Plugin will help you get your blog up and running in minutes.

 

I hinted something before about your site dittoing other Blogs.

To prevent this from happening you will need to install the Elementor page builder Plugin

This Elementor Plugin is probably, if not the best website page builder out there.

Basically, The Elementor Plugin lets you customize your template.

You can Drag, Drop, and Add sections on a particular page of your website.

If you need help customizing your pages for free, you could comment below or contact me on my social media handles, i will reply, promise.

Speaking of pages, having a blog requires that you have a quite a few of them.

The essential pages required for your blog are;

  • A Home page

A home page sends a warm welcome to visitors. You could give them a glimpse of what you do and the value you will provide to them. If you need help creating your homepage check out this article by OptimizePress.

  • An About me Page

Talk about yourself, what your blog offers (Be more detailed this time), How your blog came to be (Don’t be afraid to get personal) and add your social media handles.

You could place your first blog post here so people will know where to get started.

  • A “Contact me” Page

A contact me page is a must. This way, advertisers or clients can easily reach you when they need your services. I will speak a little on monetization towards the end of this post.

Your contact page can simply be a form to be filled. Or could speak more, in detail about why you should be hired.

If you are just starting out a simple contact form page is recommended, with your social media handles right below.

Just to be clear, I hope we are on the same page –no pun, intended-

  • A Blog page

Your blog page is also an important part of your website.

It should tell people a little bit about your self, this is optional though.

And all your latest blog post should be arranged in a grid layout.  This layout encourages readers to consume more content

 

mage showing grid style blogs

All right, lets move on to the next topic on our list.

  • Designing your Blog Layout
Midgad's homepage

Following best practices applied throughout the industry should make this stage easy for you.
These best practices are;

  • Utilize a Grid system for your blog post.

Like i said before, Grid system are important for a healthy blog.

The grid system helps keep your content under control.

Having a grid system helps create a consistent experience for your blog readers who are bound to use different platforms –mobile and desktop.

  • Use a Blog card layout for your blog.
Image of Evernote's blog card layout

I often use the blog card layout to compartmentalize my blog post or organize a blog post.

The card layout strategy is used widely and is seen as a way to help users understand what they are about to read.

As you can see, Evernote’s card layout identifies the  blog title, Blog excerpt,  and category.

This helps you know more about that particular blog post and the excerpt will help you decide if the blog post suits your needs.

 

  • Use Beautiful , high resolution Feature images

 

A featured image represents the contents, mood, or theme of a post or page. Posts and pages can have a single featured image, which many themes and tools can use to enhance the presentation of your site- WordPress.com

Using large features images on your blog not only adds aesthetics, it also gives readers a hint of what the blog post is going to be about.

It helps connect the reader with the blog article.

I use Pexels, and PixaBay to get High-Quality Pictures for my blog. Try them out, its Free.

  • Typography.
Image with written Typography

Using a fancy font might look cool but when it comes to readability it doesn’t quite cut it.

Your blog is meant to be read right? Then why use a font that hinders the content.

If you use a cursive font like mistral throughout your blog you won’t be a fan favourite.

 

Mistral font with a yellow police line

An experiment conducted by  conducted by Hyunjin Song and Norbet Schwartz  will make you rethink about the fonts you are going to use on your blog.

In the experiment two groups were given instructions to follow, and a different font, a simple font and a fancy font, was given to each group.

The group who was given the simple font completed the exercise much quicker, 8.2 minutes, than the group with the fancy font, 15.1 minutes. 

Basically, if your font is hard to read and fancy, readers will have a hard time understanding your content.

Here are some of the best fonts to use in 2019.

  • Arial
  • Verdana
  • Georgia
  • Lato
  • PT sans
  • Gotham
  • Merriweather
  • Oswald
  • Roboto
  • Helvetica neue
  • Montserrat
  • Tahoma

If you are not still sure which font suits you best check out this article by ConvertKit on choosing the right fonts for your blog.

So, you’ve chosen a good font. But people might still have a hard time reading your blog, why? It might be because of your font size.

I recommend you use a font size of about 16 pixels.

Also use paragraphs of at most 3 sentences, it isn’t advisable to clump up your content. Having long paragraphs can sometimes over-whelm readers.

  • Use Short Descriptive Sub-Headings.

Another noteworthy trick is to spread out your blog post using sub headings.

Sub-headings help structure your blog post by segregating your blog points.

Neil Patel utilizes sub headings a lot in his Blog Posts.

This will help visitors scan through your blog post quickly and find the particular section they want to read.

  • Encourage Social sharing

Enabling Social sharing is one of the important factors when it comes driving traffic to your blog post.

Fun Fact:

About 2 billion internet users make use of social networks and this figure is expected to rise due to increase in mobile usage

statistical chat-global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users-2019

I guess I’ve covered the basics for creating a beautiful and responsive website. Let head on to the next section. If you have other suggestions, leave them in the comments below.

8.Write, publish, and promote your first blog post.

Writing your first blog post

Writing your first blog post can be a daunting task.

Lucky for you, i will share some helpful tips to help overcome this challenge.

  1. Build up a small audience;

Having some audience before writing your first blog post is essential.

You will need people to help share your blog post on their social media handles or by word of mouth.

Start by telling your friends and family about your blog launch.

You could then move on to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit,and Quora. 

I mentioned those three in particular because of their community like platforms.

You could answer questions, give insights and your thoughts on topics concerning your niche.

Other Social networks worth mentioning are;

Facebook- You should join Facebook groups under your niche and provide excellent and thoughtful content.

Instagram and Pinterest- Instagram and are quite unique from other social medias platforms. They requires either an image or a video(for Instagram) before sharing your content. 

You could create a mini blog on Instagram, called Insta-blogging and test the waters before you launch.

P.S. its not a must for you to start an Instablog.

2.  Brainstorm ideas;

If you’ve created a content marketing strategy, i shared a step by step guide in the Develop a content marketing strategy section above, then this shouldn’t be a problem.

Here is a list of ideas you could use for your first blog post;

  1. Write an Ultimate Guide like this one, Google favours long form content, so starting out with a 5k word blog post wouldn’t be a bad idea.
  2. Talk about latest news and products in your niche.
  3. Write a Top ten style blog post.
  4. Talk about mistakes in your niche that should be avoided.
  5. Write about methods used by experts in your niche.
  6. Give advice to your audience.

These are just some ideas you could make use of when writing your blog post, if you have any other ideas let me know down in the comment section below.

 3. Find out your competitors Keywords.

Knowing what keywords your competitors use to gain traffic can be a game-changer for your blog.

To know what keywords your competitors use simply head on to Spyfu.

 

 

 

 

ScreenShot of Spyfu's homepage

Type your competitors website into the search bar.

ScreenShot Spyfu S.E.O page

 

When the results come in you’ll be able to see their monthly domain Overview i.e. how much they save from organic clicks, how many organic keywords they use and paid search keywords, if any.

 

 

 

Scroll further down and you’ll learn about their competitors- they are your competitors too.

 

Screenshot of SpyFu's competitors Page

 

Below this section you’ll find your competitors shared and most valuable keywords.

This is the Gold mine. 

 

SpyFu's keywords Page

 

You could add these keywords to your blog post so they may rank higher.

Spyfu is a freemium tool meaning some features are only available when you pay money.

But all and all, you’ll be okay with the free version, for now, trust me.

4.  Use beautiful Images in your post.

 

 

 

 

 

According to Forbes, 94% of content with images get a ton more views than plain old raw text”

Having images on your blog post can help boost its views.

A good rule of thumb to follow is having at least 6-7 images on your blog post.

You may be asking;

Wont having lots of images on my site increase my pages load time?

The answer to that question is YES.

Having images on your site can drastically slow down load time.

There are a few tricks you could use to get around this problem.

  • Rather than download your images in their original format, try downloading in large format instead
  • Resize your images before using them.
  • Compress your images to save size.

 

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