Do you want to learn how to start a blog and make money online? Then you’ve come to the right place!
There are a host of reasons why people choose to become bloggers. While some want to make a living expressing their passion, others just love the idea of being able to share their thoughts with the rest of the world.
Regardless – creating a WordPress blog can be a great way to get tons of positive emotions, grow your brand, express yourself, and make money online!
In this article, I’m gonna grab your hand and walk you through the whole process of building a WordPress blog. Just follow this step-by-step guide (complete with screenshots and all the necessary tech info) to finally make your dreams come true, no matter what your experience level is!
- The most common questions on how to start a blog
- 5-minute tutorial for how to start a blog in 2023
- Step #1: Choosing a topic
- Step #2: Picking a blogging platform – my choice is WordPress
- Step #3: Registering a website domain name
- Step #4: Buying web hosting at IONOS
- Step #5: Setting up WordPress
- Step #6: Choosing a WordPress theme
- Step #7: Installing the required WordPress plugins
- Step #8: Setting up some of the essential blog pages
- Step #9: Writing and publishing your first blog post
- Step #10: Starting driving traffic to your blog
- Step #11: Making money blogging
- That wraps it up on how to start a blog in 2023
The most common questions on how to start a blog
Before you actually embark on the process of creating your blog, you most probably need to get answers to some questions bouncing around your head.
In fact, most beginner bloggers ask some common questions, that’s why I’m gonna provide you with the answers upfront so that you see the whole picture!
How long does it take to get started?
It’s difficult to pin down a timeline for the creative process of choosing a blog topic, however, once you know what you want to write about, you can complete the technical part of starting a blog in just half an hour. It’s actually easier than you might think!
How much does it cost to start a blog?
While starting a profitable blog is not completely free, you can begin with a $1/month for the entire first year. Under IONOS WordPress hosting, you’ll also get a free domain for 12 months.
There are so many free blogging platforms. Can I just use one of them?
Free blogging platforms are acceptable for amateur bloggers only. The truth is that you have very little to no control over free platforms, and if they shut down, you will lose your blog. The procedure I’m about to disclose to you gives you the most control, safeguards your precious content, and is ideal for making money blogging.
Do I need to be a tech guru to start a successful blog?
Nope! As long as you’re comfortable using a computer and surfing the Internet, you should have no trouble starting a blog. No special knowledge is required at all.
5-minute tutorial for how to start a blog in 2023
This step-by-step guide covers all these topics in detail. But before I get down into the nitty gritty, let me provide a bird’s-eye view of the technical steps you need to take to start a blog.
In addition to the fun and creative part of choosing your blog niche, you’ll also need to take the following steps:
- Choose and purchase IONOS WordPress hosting plan – This is actually a space for your blog to live online.
- Add your desired domain and get it free for 12 months while purchasing web hosting from IONOS – This is your blog’s online equivalent of a physical address.
- Install WordPress – This platform is considered to be the best for bloggers planning to make money online.
- Set up your blog and start creating content!
Now I’m gonna start with the “choosing a topic” step. But if you already know what to write about, then you can just go straight to the technical steps of building a blog.
Step #1: Choosing a topic
If you want to start a blog just for fun, you don’t necessarily need to read this part since choosing a topic is really simple in this case. Just write about whatever interests you the most!
But if you plan to monetize your blog, you should spend more time choosing the right topic.
The thing is, what you’d like to blog about the most is not necessarily what’s gonna make you money.
And because it’s pretty problematic to change your blog niche later on, you need to put some effort and figure out your future audience and possible monetization options beforehand.
Here are some questions to help you choose the right blog niche:
Am I comfortable writing about this topic?
The truth is, that developing a successful blogging business (yes, you should treat blogging as a business) takes a great deal of time and effort.
The technical part is pretty easy and fast.
However, once your blog is up and running, it’s gonna take some time and effort to turn it into something that regularly gets visitors.
That’s why it’s crucial that you choose a niche you’d be willing to explore for the long term.
Are other people also interested in this topic?
Once you find a topic that you know will excite you for the foreseeable future, it’s time to move on to the next question:
“Is anyone else as passionate about this topic as I am?”
This is very simple. If you want to be able to build an audience, it helps if you already know that people are interested in your topic.
Don’t worry – you don’t need mind-reading skills.
In fact, there are some useful free internet research tools you can use to find out if you have an interested audience:
KWFinder – This free tool allows you to enter a “keyword” to see its popularity (search volume). A keyword is essentially any word or phrase that people search for on search engines. The more search volume a keyword has, the more traffic it can potentially drive.
Try to come up with keyword ideas that best describe your topic – then just type them into the box and click on the Find keywords button.
You should see a series of results with numbers indicating how many people searched for that term in a given month. Ideally, you’d like to see numbers with thousands of searches per month. For example, the topic of this article (a very popular one) has over 60k average monthly searches:
Your blog may cover many potential “keywords,” so it’s a good idea to repeat this process for different words and phrases.
Google Trends – This tool is kinda easier to use. It gives you data on a search term’s popularity over a period of time. And you can easily predict whether your chosen topic is gonna be popular or not before launching a blog.
Can I monetize this topic?
If you’re creative enough, you can make money in almost any niche. But some of them are definitely better for monetization than others.
This example is kinda commercial, but if you have a popular blog about effective strategies for using credit cards, you can bet there will be a whole bunch of credit card companies knocking on your door ready to throw money at you.
If you’re planning to make money blogging, try answering the following questions:
- Are there companies interested in paying to have my audience see them?
- Do other bloggers working on the same topic seem to be successful in their blog monetization efforts?
- Can I create my own product down the road, like courses or eBooks, that people might want to buy?
Step #2: Picking a blogging platform – my choice is WordPress
Self-hosted WordPress is the only blogging platform I would recommend to everyone who wants to make money blogging in 2023 and beyond.
WordPress not only powers the blog you’re reading now, but according to BuiltWith, it also powers over 36% of the top 1 million websites as of the beginning of 2023.
So why is WordPress the best platform to start a profitable blog?
If WordPress’ impressive market share doesn’t dazzle you, here are some specific reasons why WordPress is the best platform to start your blog:
- WordPress is so easy to use that even a non-technical person can publish blog posts.
- WordPress has a huge community, so it’s easy to find help every time you run into problems.
- WordPress offers a variety of powerful options and amazing customization possibilities. Thanks to so-called “themes” and “plugins”, changing the look and functionality of your blog is very easy and doesn’t require any special technical knowledge.
But be sure not to use WordPress.com! The thing is, there are actually two different platforms called “WordPress”:
- WordPress.org – I do recommend using this open-source software. It was developed by a large community and is the best option if you want to create a self-hosted WordPress blog.
- WordPress.com – This is a for-profit service built on WordPress.org software.
WordPress.com lets you start a simple blog for free. But:
- You don’t have full control over your website, which means you never really own 100% of it.
- It’s hard to customize your blog because you don’t have access to WordPress plugins or themes unless you pay for an expensive business plan.
- The “.com” version imposes some restrictions on how you can monetize your blog.
Step #3: Registering a website domain name
Now that we’ve covered how to choose your niche and a blogging platform, it’s time to dive into the technical aspects of creating a blog, starting with a website domain name.
Your blog domain name serves two main purposes:
- It’s your website’s permanent address online. With everything set up, anyone can enter your domain name into their browser’s address bar and visit your blog from anywhere in the world.
- This is your brand name. Most probably, your domain name will be the same as your blog’s name, so choosing it is a very important branding decision.
What domain name is good for a blog?
In general, these are some good guidelines:
- Pick something relevant – Choosing a name that is relevant to your topic will help people quickly understand what your blog is about. Or you can use your own name (like I do).
- Avoid using hyphens and numbers – Don’t get creative with hyphens or numbers. Complicated names are pretty hard to remember.
Use .com domains whenever possible – While other domain extensions are becoming more popular, it’s best to opt for .com domains whenever possible.
How to find available domain names?
Each individual domain name can only belong to one person at a time.
Think about it – if someone could buy Facebook.com, the Internet would be a mess, right?
So, in order to buy a domain name, you need to find one that is “available”. This means you need to find a domain name that no one else currently owns.
This can be quite a challenge, but there are many tools that can make the job easier.
First, to quickly check if a domain name is available, use Instant Domain Search. Just enter the domain name you want and the tool will tell you if it’s available:
How to buy a domain name?
Once you’ve found a domain name you like and it’s available, it’s time to buy it!
While there are separate services where you can buy a domain and hook it up to some web hosting later on, I prefer an “all-in-one” solution.
With IONOS WordPress hosting you will get a free domain for 12 months when purchasing one of its hosting plans:
Now let’s move on to the next step and learn how to purchase web hosting at IONOS.
Step #4: Buying web hosting at IONOS
While a domain name is an address used to visit a blog, web hosting is what actually powers it, so when someone visits that address, they are greeted with an actual website.
It’s like an engine that powers a car. Without an engine, there is no energy or movement! Your blog won’t work without web hosting either!
Why IONOS is the best hosting to start a blog in 2023
Luckily, quality web hosting is affordable for everyone nowadays. IONOS offers great WordPress hosting plans starting at just $1 per month.
So why do I recommend IONOS for those who want to start a blog and make money online in 2023? Here are just some of the reasons:
- It has all the tools needed to launch a blog all in one place without a glitch.
- IONOS offers free private registration which alone makes it my automatic favorite.
- There is always someone available if I ever need support.
- They provide fast website loading speed and outstanding uptime.
- IONOS is definitely one of the cheapest hosting providers on the market.
- They give a free domain name for 1 year while buying any web hosting plan.
How to buy web hosting at IONOS
Click here to go to IONOS.
Here’s how to set up your hosting:
- Under the Grow column, click Add to cart.
Note: You may want to purchase the Start plan or the Boost plan, but the Grow plan, in my opinion, is optimal for beginners.
- Click on Continue.
- Now add your desired domain.
And add it to your cart as well.
- Click on Continue to go to your shopping cart.
- That’s it! You’re ready to check out.
As you can see, in total, your first year of hosting+domain will cost you only $12. And this is just amazing!
Step #5: Setting up WordPress
Setting up WordPress with IONOS is fast and easy. After buying your WordPress hosting plan, you can do this automatically. Just log in to the IONOS control panel and choose your domain under My Products. Then click Create Website and start the installation process by clicking Get Started.
Next, decide on your blog’s additional title. It’s mainly needed for managing purposes and can be changed anytime. Then, create your login credentials (username and password) needed to access the WordPress admin area.
To continue the setup process, choose to Continue with WordPress. The IONOS setup wizard handles the whole installation process for you. It automatically creates all necessary databases and configures WordPress so that you can start using it immediately.
Once the WordPress installation is complete, you will be redirected to the overview page of your project. Here, you’ll be able to log into the WordPress backend (admin area). Alternatively, enter your domain name with the extension /wp-admin (i.e., example.com/wp-admin) in the address bar of your browser. At this point, you can enter the login data you set earlier.
That’s it! You can now log in to your WordPress blog and start bringing it to life!
Step #6: Choosing a WordPress theme
A WordPress theme determines the look and, to a lesser extent, some of the functionality of your blog. It’s like dressing up your website. Just like you can’t go out naked in public, your WordPress blog needs a theme to look and function properly.
Luckily, because the WordPress platform is so popular, there are thousands of free and paid themes to choose from.
In my opinion, the best spot to find WordPress themes is WordPress.org. Here you can find thousands of free and commercial themes.
While some will try to trick you into paying for a premium theme, nothing makes a premium theme inherently better than a free one.
The blog you’re reading now uses a free theme. And if you’re creative enough, you can customize any free theme and make it beautiful.
Premium themes usually have better design and functionality, but this is not common. So if you’re on a tight budget, feel free to start with one of the free themes!
How to install your WordPress theme
To install your chosen WordPress theme:
- Choose Appearance→Themes in your WordPress admin area.
- Press Add New.
- For free themes that you find on WordPress.org, search for the theme name and click Install.
- For premium themes, click Upload Theme and upload your theme ZIP file.
After installing the theme using either method, be sure to click the Activate button to make it live on your blog!
How to customize a theme to make it your own
Once your chosen theme is activated, it’s time to actually customize it to really make it your own!
Most WordPress themes support the Customizer. With this default WordPress feature, you can modify your theme and see the changes in real-time. Once you’re finished customizing your blog, you’ll need to Publish the changes to make them live.
To access the customization area, go to Appearance→Customize in your WordPress admin:
WordPress theme customization with the Customizer is pretty easy and intuitive. Just get creative with the settings and you’ll achieve great results quickly!
Step #7: Installing the required WordPress plugins
While themes are generally about appearance, plugins are developed specifically for adding functionality. With their help, you can add almost anything, from social share buttons to an e-commerce store!
There are free, paid, and freemium (having free and pro versions) plugins available.
Here are a couple of spots you should definitely consider:
- WordPress.org – This is the official WordPress repository where you can find thousands of free plugins.
- CodeCanyon – This is the place for premium WordPress plugins.
How to easily install WordPress plugins
To install free or premium WordPress plugins:
- Go to Plugins and click on Add New in your WordPress admin.
- For free plugins, find the plugin and click on Install Now.
- For paid plugins, click on Upload Plugin and upload the ZIP file.
Once you’re done, make sure you Activate the plugin. And that’s it! Now you can read the plugin’s manual and use it on your blog.
Step #8: Setting up some of the essential blog pages
Hooray! We’ve finally made it. Now, you’re ready to start writing amazing articles for your blog.
Before you dive into creating your first epic blog post (that’s coming next!), you need to build some core blog pages.
The minimum set of the core website pages includes:
- About – This is where your visitors can read about you and your blog. This is my About page.
- Contact – As you grow, more and more people will want to get in touch with you. The easiest way to do this is through your contact page. You can take a look at my Contact page.
How to build a new page in WordPress
To build a new page:
- Go to Pages and click on Add New in your WordPress admin.
- Enter your page’s title in the corresponding box.
- Use Gutenberg content blocks by clicking the + sign. Or you can just paste your content in and the block editor will automatically convert it for you.
- Click on Publish when you’re done.
Step #9: Writing and publishing your first blog post
And now you can finally start writing your first blog post!
This procedure is almost identical to building a page. But there are some tweaks.
Start with heading to Posts and click on Add New. Next:
- Enter your blog post title in the corresponding box.
- Use Gutenberg blocks to enter the blog post content. You can also paste your content in and the block editor will automatically convert it for you.
- For specific styling options click on the + sign.
- Pick a category or add one on the right.
- Click on Publish when you’re done.
Congratulations! You’ve just created your first blog post.
Step #10: Starting driving traffic to your blog
Well, at this point, you should already have a good grasp of the basics. You’ve worked out the technical details and even started creating content.
Once you start publishing your content, you may move to the next stage of blogging where you start thinking:
“Hey, I put all this content out there. Wouldn’t it be nice if people started reading it?”
There’s great news! You are the only one who can make it happen.
Once you launch your blog, focus on these two proven strategies to get traffic:
- Start learning the basics of SEO and applying them to your blog. While you don’t need to be an expert, knowing these basics will make your blog more noticeable to search engines.
- Sign up for social media accounts and start promoting your blog on social media. Some social networks, like Pinterest, are especially valuable for bloggers.
Step #11: Making money blogging
Finally, let’s touch on the part of running a blog that many aspiring bloggers dream of:
Making money blogging!
Well, I know not every blogger is worried about how to make money online. But I guess most people wouldn’t mind at least a little extra income from their blog, right?
Fortunately, there are many different ways to monetize a blog.
And here are some of the most profitable ones:
- Affiliate marketing – By affiliate marketing, you earn a commission for referring potential customers to a product or service. If done properly, you get to refer your audience to products you trust and get paid as a thank you.
- Advertising – You can sell ads directly to companies and individuals in your niche, or use a service such as Google AdSense to place ads for you on your blog. While Google AdSense isn’t always very profitable, it’s an easy and useful way to generate at least some income from a website.
- Providing services – Many successful bloggers make money by offering services related to their niche. For example, you can make a full-time living by writing blog posts for others. I bet if you have a quality blog, you will succeed!
Besides the above three methods, there are many other creative ways to monetize your blog. You can always ask me for advice!
But you always need to remember that getting a business up and running takes time, energy, and money. And it may take some experimentation to become a successful 6-figure blogger.
If you’re looking for a way to make quick money, blogging is not the solution.
That wraps it up on how to start a blog in 2023
You’ve come to the end of my tutorial on how to start a blog and make money blogging. Awesome!
Once you understand how to start a blog, you’ll start using more advanced strategies to promote and monetize your beautiful WordPress website.
But for now, you can congratulate yourself on having the courage to do something amazing – start a blog!
Disclaimer: This “How To Start A Blog And Make Money Online” page contains several affiliate links which I receive a small % of the sale if you buy something. This is at no additional cost to you (sometimes you can even get a discount). I do my best and review only products and services that I think are really worth your attention.