How to Start a Successful Blog:
The Ultimate Guide

Are you looking for a step-by-step tutorial on how to start a successful blog?

If so, you're in the right place!

We'll show you how to create a blog the right way, minus the confusing jargon or the need for any technical experience.

Before we start, let's answer a couple of common questions...

?
  • Who is this guide for?

    Anyone who is interested in starting a blog the right way!

    No matter if you want to start a personal blog around a hobby or interest, or you're looking to start a blog for your business, this guide will show you step-by-step how to do it.
  • How long will it take?

    We recommend setting aside about 30 minutes or so to complete the initial set up

    Make yourself comfortable and let's get stuck in!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.

How to Start Successful a Blog: The Six Steps

There are six key steps to follow if you want to create a blog.

Don't worry if this feels a little intimidating. This article will guide you through everything step-by-step to help you get your blog set up and ready to go.

This article also covers a number of the next steps that you'll likely be interested in once your blog is set up, including guidance on writing your first blog post, a brief overview of how to get traffic to your new blog, and how you can go about making money.

These tips will help ensure that you don't just start any old blog, but that you know how to start a successful blog that you can be proud of.

Why Start a Blog in the First Place?

There isn't one specific reason why someone would choose to create a blog. The benefits of blogging are vast, and you don’t need to fit a particular mold to be successful at it.

Regardless if you're looking to start a blog as a new business, to grow an existing business, or you'd like to start a personal blog around a hobby or interest, there's no reason why you can't experience all the benefits associated with blogging if you're determined enough and you stick at it.

Let's look at some of the reasons to start a blog today:

  • To Start a Business

There are countless examples of ordinary people who run their blogs as full- time businesses.

Provided you're committed to success, it's entirely feasible to be able to start a blog business that could eventually lead to the 'holy grail' scenario of quitting your 9-5 job to work from home on something you enjoy.

  • To Grow an Existing Business

Blogging can help business owners leverage the power and scale of the internet to boost their brand's visibility and trust.

These benefits don't need to be expensive either, as it's possible to optimize a blog to receive lots of free traffic from search engines and social media.

By regularly posting valuable content that solves specific problems for your target market, a blog can be an excellent way to increase trust, respect, and ultimately sales from the people who connect with your business.

  • To Boost Your Reputation/Influence

Over time, blogging can help you achieve expert status in a particular field when you regularly provide helpful insights and valuable content that solves specific problems for your audience.

Growing your influence and reputation via a blog can help you stand out in your industry, and can lead to new and exciting opportunities such as better job offers, guest speaking invitations, the ability to become a published author, and being able to network with the movers and shakers in your industry.

  • To Improve Your Writing

Practice makes perfect. The more blog posts you write, the better your writing will become. It's as simple as that.

  • To Express Yourself

Blogging gives you the opportunity to share anything you'd like, for example, your story, challenges you've overcome, your thoughts on current affairs, or your progress learning a new skill.

Whatever direction you choose for your blog, putting self-expression at the front of everything you do can help you meet new people, understand conflicting points of view, or become a source of inspiration for people experiencing difficulties in areas of their lives in which you've already succeeded.

Starting a Blog Step-By-Step

Let's get stuck in...

how to start a blog - choose a blog topic niche title icon
Step One: Decide What to Blog About

Unsurprisingly, it's usually easier to decide what to blog about if you're starting a business blog, as the content should be closely related to the products and services that your company sells.

For personal blogs, though, it's often much trickier to think of a topic or niche.

Here are a few tips:

Tip #1 – You Should Enjoy the Topic
We've learned this the hard way, having started multiple blogs around topics for which we had no real passion.

Each time, without fail, we'd quickly became bored with the idea once the initial excitement wore off, once we hit an issue, or when we weren't making money as fast as we;d (naively) expected. We'd then move on to the next idea, destined to make the same mistake over and over again.

Blogging isn't easy. It takes a lot of time and effort to figure out what works and what doesn't, and if you don't enjoy what you're writing and learning about on a daily basis, you'll be miserable. You'll also end up producing crappy content that no one wants to read because there will be 101 other things you'd rather spend your time doing.

Learn from our mistakes and pick a blog topic that you know you'll enjoy writing about one year (and beyond) from now.
Tip #2 – Choose a Popular Blog Topic
You need to choose a blog topic that's popular enough to ensure a large enough number of people are interested in it.

A great way to gauge popularity is by seeing how much competition there is for a particular niche. Now, this may seem like it goes against conventional wisdom, but you don't want to be the only blogger writing about a specific topic. Competition is important. In fact, it's a necessity, as it proves that there is a market for what you're offering.

(Don't let competition intimidate you, as you'll be able to stand out by offering a unique perspective, or by providing content that is better than what is already out there).

The more popular a blog topic is, the better chance there is for the following:
  • A high number of search engine queries about the topic (can lead to higher organic traffic versus less popular topics).
  • A large number of active influencers or already popular blogs in the niche (can increase awareness of your blog when they promote/link to your content).
  • A significant amount of social media activity related to the topic (can raise awareness of your blog, even more, when content is shared on social media).
  • Already proven ways of making money (for example, via advertising, or through a selection of trusted, well-known products and services that you can promote using affiliate marketing).
If you'd like some insight into specific blog topics, the following graph from ConvertKit shows the twenty most popular blog categories in 2017:
20 Most Popular Blog Categories
(The State of the Blogging Industry 2017)
a graph showing the most popular blogging categories in 2017
Tip #3 – Keep it Focused...Just Not Too Focused
While it is possible to start a blog about anything and everything, these blogs usually aren't as successful.

Being focused and providing information on one primary topic will allow you to leverage a reader's interest and keep them on your blog for longer, for example, by recommending more and more blog posts that they have a greater chance of being interested in.

When you swap between wildly different topics, the likelihood of a reader being interested enough to continue reading about different things becomes slim to non-existent.

It will also be much harder to build yourself as an authority or expert if you create content that is unfocused, hence why we recommend picking one topic and working as hard as possible to become well known in that particular area only.

It's important to strike a balance though.

If it's too focused or specialized, you'll miss out on all the benefits of popular topics that we mentioned above, and you'll probably end up running out of things to write about pretty quickly.

Not ideal.
picking the best blogging platform title icon image
Step Two: Pick the Best Blogging Platform

The next step is to choose the best blogging platform for your new blog, and there are many options available, including WordPress.org, WordPress.com, Tumblr, and Blogger to name just a few.

Before recommending a specific platform, it's probably a good idea to cover a general concept that we (and a LOT of professional bloggers) agree on.

If you're in any way interested in making money from your blog, either now or in the future, we don't recommend starting a blog for free.

Why You Shouldn't Start a Blog for Free
It isn't difficult to find a blogging platform that offers a free plan, with WordPress.com (in addition to their paid plans), Tumblr, and Blogger offering these.

Despite the obvious attraction of a free blog, there are several reasons why it is a false economy;
  • They Aren't Intended for Serious Bloggers

While a free blog may provide a taste of blogging at no real expense to you (other than the time investment of setting them up), it's worth remembering that they aren't intended for serious bloggers.

If you're keen to provide valuable content, build a loyal following, and to make money from your blog, free blogging platforms feature too many restrictions to make this a reality, given that they're mainly suited to small hobby blogs and light personal blogs.

  • Very Basic Features & Functionality

'Plugins' allow you to expand the basic functionality of your blog by adding new features. For example, WordPress.org has over 45,000 plugins available, allowing you to do almost anything imaginable from adding email opt-in forms to your blog, to helping your content load faster.

None of the free blog options from WordPress.com, Tumblr or Blogger allow third-party plugins to be installed and used, severely limiting the functionality of any blogs using these plans.

  • Restrictions on How You Can Make Money

The majority of the free blogging platforms have severe restrictions on how you can make money. Consider the following from WordPress.com's free plan, for example:

  • You can't sell advertising unless your blog receives a moderate to high level of traffic (all free plans will still show advertising, but you can't switch these off, and you don't receive any of the money generated from these ads).
  • WordPress.com does not allow blogs where the vast majority of content is sponsored content.
  • You aren't able to add an eCommerce store to your blog (and you can't install a plugin to provide this functionality).
  • Limiting Terms of Service

Looking again at WordPress.com's free plan for a moment, all sites must comply with their Terms of Service.

Any violations of these and WordPress.com "may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately."

Any minor or accidental breaches of the terms and conditions could result in serious repercussions, for example leaving your blog at risk of downtime or being taken off you entirely for more severe offenses.

If you are relying on your blog from a business perspective, this could be a big risk.

  • They Don't Look Professional

There's another major issue for anyone looking to build their credibility or authority using a free blogging plan; these blogs usually look unprofessional.

For example, WordPress.com can include adverts which you have no control over, both in terms of what is advertised and where these adverts get shown on your blog. These adverts could be distracting at best, and they could promote a competitor's product, service, or content directly from your blog at worst.

Also, regarding layout, WordPress.com's and Blogger's free plans are hugely restrictive.

You can't edit any HTML or CSS, meaning you can't do much to customize the look and feel of your blog. While you can purchase a premium theme to improve the appearance, this somewhat defeats the purpose of choosing a free blogging platform in the first place.

WordPress.org vs WordPress.com
It isn't difficult to find a blogging platform that offers a free plan, with WordPress.com (in addition to their paid plans), Tumblr, and Blogger offering these.

WordPress as a whole is the undisputed champion when it comes to hosting a blog, as it now powers over 30% of all websites on the internet or 60% of all sites that use a content management system (CMS):

The eagle-eyed among you though will notice that there are two versions of WordPress; one with a .org domain and the other with .com.

So what's the difference, and which should you choose?

While they may look similar at first glance, they're actually very different, and choosing the wrong platform could impact on your long-term success as a blogger.

Don't worry though, as it really isn't a difficult choice. We'll be discussing the benefits of WordPress.org which will show why it is the version to choose when you start a blog.
Basic Differences
Most people fit into one of two camps when it comes to starting a blog.

They're either happy to sacrifice a bit of functionality if it means they can set up their blog quicker and more easily, or, they aren't fazed with a bit of work upfront if it allows them to add more awesome features to keep their audiences engaged and entertained.

WordPress.com could be viewed as the simple option (with reduced functionality), as everything you need to get started is provided including the hosting you need for your blog.

WordPress.org, however, is often described as the more powerful option as there are very few restrictions or limitations, and it's the platform of choice for a large proportion of successful bloggers.

It's up to you to find hosting with WordPress.org (hence why it's referred to as self-hosted WordPress), and a domain, however, but these can be very simple to get and set up.

Wait though, what about a paid WordPress.com blog?

It's logical to think that if a free WordPress.com plan isn't a great option, then a paid plan would be better because it offers more of the functions you need to start a successful blog.

While this may be true, we still don't recommend any of the paid WordPress.com plans.

If you're serious about growing your blog, it will cost substantially more for the first year of a WordPress.com site with all the features you'll need from the top Business plan ($300.00), as the lower priced packages don't have enough of the critical functionality you'll need.

This is in stark contrast to a WordPress.org blog hosted using Siteground's lowest price package (StartUp – from only $3.95 a month a month for the first year without domain registration), that would still provide you with all the features and benefits you need.

For this reason, we don't think there is enough value for money to be had from starting off on the WordPress.com platform.

Our Recommendation: WordPress.org
WordPress.org, aka self hosted WordPress, is the best choice when it comes to hosting a blog.

Here are a few of the reasons why it's our pick (and that of many beginner and experienced bloggers) of the best blog sites:
  • It's the Best Blogging Platform to Make Money

There are no restrictions (provided it's legal!) on how you can earn money through your self hosted WordPress.org blog.

Regardless if you want to make money via advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, eCommerce, or any other way you can think of, you have complete flexibility to do so.

  • It Offers Considerable Value for Money

As mentioned, it will cost substantially more for the first year of a WordPress.com site with all the features you'll need from the top Business plan ($300.00 versus from only $3.95 a month for Siteground's basic hosting package without domain registration).

A number of the free blogging platforms allow you to pay for minor functionality upgrades, but this is still nowhere near as cost- effective as if you were to start a blog using WordPress.org in the first place.

  • It's Highly Customizable

With WordPress.org, you have complete flexibility to:

  • Add custom themes or use any of the free/premium themes which are widely available online.
  • Easily modify the HTML/CSS of your selected theme to to change your blog's appearance.
  • Add any plugin to your blog, whether third-party or custom.
  • Use a custom domain on your blog provided your preferred domain name is still available.
  • It's Very Easy to Set Up

Setting up and installing a WordPress.org blog does not need to be complicated or time-consuming.

We've created a simple step-by-step guide on how to do in Step 4.

  • No Limiting Terms of Service

Provided you're not doing anything illegal (and provided you keep paying for your hosting!), your blog and its content cannot be taken down by anyone other than you.

You are in complete control of your blog and the content you publish.

how to choose a domain name for your blog title icon
Step Three: Pick a Domain Name

A domain name is simply the name given to a particular website, and it is what people will type into their browser to reach your blog directly. For example, this site's domain is boomagency.io.

(This is different from a URL, which is the complete web address used to access a specific webpage. For example, the URL of this site's homepage is https://www.boomagency.io)

If you've already registered a domain name that you want to use for your blog, you can skip this step. If not, keep reading to find out how to choose a domain name for a blog.

1. Choose a Domain Name
  • A blog domain names generator can be a great source of inspiration, for example NameMesh or LeanDomainSearch.
  • In the majority of cases, we recommend picking a .com domain. It's the most widely used, and it's what most people expect to use when entering a web address into their browser.
  • It should be easy to remember, and it shouldn't be difficult to spell, pronounce or understand.
  • Keep it as clean as possible – this means not adding hyphens between words where possible.
  • Keep it as short as possible, ideally three words or less.
  • Consider adding keywords to your domain, as this will be of benefit in terms of search engine optimization (SEO).
  • If you aren't using your name for the domain, ask yourself whether the domain name sums up exactly what your blog is about. If not, there are probably better options available.
  • Make sure your chosen domain name is future-proofed. For example, you may be writing about newborn babies now, but what if you expand your blog's content to include information about toddlers? Will your chosen domain name still work?
Still struggling?

If you're really struggling to think of a domain name, using your name can be a good option.

Don't spend too much time worrying about it, as at the start, OK is good enough. The most important part is actually getting started blogging, so don't let this step hold you up.
2. Make Sure Your Chosen Domain Name is Available
Next, you need to make sure that your chosen domain name is available. You can check it's availability here.

We also recommend checking to ensure social media profiles are available which match (or are as close as possible) to your chosen domain name. Namechk is a great resource for this.
3. Make a Note of Your Preferred Domain Name
Once you've found a domain name that's available and that you're happy with, keep a note of it, as you'll be needing it in the next step.
how to choose a wordpress web host title icon
Step Four: Choose a Blog Host and Install WordPress

As mentioned above, WordPress.org is often called 'self-hosted WordPress' because it's up to you to find and set up the hosting for your blog.

While this may sound difficult, it doesn't need to be. This section of the guide will show you that it's pretty simple figuring out how to choose a blog host and installing WordPress.

Our Recommendation: Siteground
We use Siteground hosting across our entire network of sites (all built on WordPress.org), and we thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting to start a blog.

Before we show you how to start a blog with Siteground step-by-step, it's probably a good idea to cover a number of the benefits you'll get from choosing this popular blog host:
  • Super-Easy Installation

Thanks to their visual and intuitive installer function (included on all plans), it couldn't be quicker and more straightforward to install WordPress.

  • Autoupdates

Siteground automatically installs the latest version of WordPress for you each time an update is released, meaning you have one less thing to worry about as you grow your blog.

  • Ultra-Fast Loading

All Siteground plans come with awesome features to help your blog load as quickly as possible.

  • Free Extras

Each plan includes free extras, for example a Let's Encrypt SSL certificate (to make your blog more secure) and a CDN from Cloudflare (to help your blog load quicker).

  • Officially Recommended by WordPress.org

WordPress.org has included Siteground in their selection of the best blog hosts available, giving you peace of mind that it is a trustworthy, reliable and favored platform to start a blog on.

Experience These Benefits from Only $3.95 per Month
Want performance and value for money?

Well, with Siteground, you can. Check out their hosting plans which start from only $3.95 per month.
How to Install WordPress Using Siteground: Step-By-Step
1
Click here to check out Siteground's hosting packages.

Choose the one you want and click the Get Plan button.

(We use GrowBig as we prefer the option of being able to create multiple websites on the same hosting package).
siteground wordpress hosting plans
2
The next step is to choose the domain name that you'd like your website to use.

You have a couple of options; you can enter an existing domain if you have one registered already, or you can choose to register a new domain name for your website.

Enter your existing domain, or the new one you want register, and click the Proceed button once complete.
image showing how to register a domain with siteground
3
If you chose a new domain name as part of Step Two (and provided it is currently available), you'll see a congratulations message on-screen.

If your chosen domain is already taken, you'll need to go back a step and enter a new one.

Complete the form on this page, but don't worry about the extra services listed at the bo