Are you wondering how to start a blog in 2021?
Starting a blog is a fantastic way for you to share your knowledge and inspire others. More importantly it is a great way to earn money, make a passive income online, escape the 9-5 and work from home! Lots of bloggers now make 5 or 6 figure incomes through their blogs!
Many people think about starting a blog but just don’t know where to begin as it can seem a bit daunting at first, especially if you don’t have a background in computers or websites. The good news though is that nowadays starting a blog is very easy and you don’t need to have any tech knowledge to create a successful blog!
As there is lots of information on the internet about how to start a blog it can become quite overwhelming, which is why I have written this step by step guide explaining everything and showing you the best way how to set up a blog in 2021. Starting a blog is quick and affordable – it only costs a few dollars a month to get set up and in just a few minutes you can have your blog up and ready to go – so click here to get started!
As mentioned, blogging can be a great way to earn money and nowadays many people earn a full-time income through their blogs! It has literally changed the lives of so many people – myself included! And whilst it doesn’t cost much to start up a blog, it does however require a lot of your time and commitment so don’t expect success overnight! After reading this blog post though you will be able to walk away with the right tools to create a successful blog and you will be able to monetise your blog quicker. Whether you want to start a travel blog, food blog or fashion or lifestyle blog – the points below apply to any niche!
If you are ready to get started with setting up your blog click here to get your hosting for your blog AND you even get a FREE domain name!
HOW TO START A BLOG IN 2021:
Setting up a blog is as simple as the 4 steps below:
- Select a self-hosted platform on which to ‘host’ your blog
- Choose a web hosting package
- Decide on a name for your website and register it (known as your ‘domain name’)
- Install wordpress.org
Note that if you use Bluehost as your hosting platform then you also get your domain name AND WordPress.org installation FREE!
HOW TO START A BLOG IN 2021:
1. Choose The Right Self-Hosted Platform
The first step to starting a blog is to choose a hosting platform on which you will host your blog on. A hosting provider basically lets you “rent” space on the internet for your website and you can’t create a website without one. All the information for your site is stored here. You can find free hosting providers (like wordpress.com) or ones that charge a small monthly fee which are known as self-hosted providers.
You might feel overwhelmed by all the options and also confused as to why some hosting platforms are free and some require a fee.
If you want to make money through your blog (through selling products, affiliate links, ads etc), which I am guessing you do – then you NEED to be on a self-hosted platform. You cannot monetise your blog with a free hosting platform – it is only possible with a self-hosted platform.
Self-hosted platforms also make your website look a LOT more professional. For example on a self-hosted website your website would be called 24hourslayover.com but on a free platform your website would be 24hourslayover.wordpress.com. This is harder to remember and certainly doesn’t look professional.
I talk more about the importance of self-hosted platforms in my blog post 14 Huge Blogging Mistakes To Avoid.
Whilst it may seem tempting to start your blog using a free hosting platform to save a little money in the short-term, the day will come where your website views are high enough that you can start making money through your website. But you will be unable to make any money as you are on a free hosting platform. You’ll then have to spend a lot of time transferring all your work across to a different hosting platform (or lose out on potential earnings!). And trust me you don’t want this to happen.
Start your blog off properly from the start with a self-hosted platform. Self-hosted platforms offer very reasonable rates and they are very easy to use. The two absolute best hosting platforms are Bluehost and Siteground and the majority of bloggers are on either of these two platforms. Both Bluehost and Siteground make it incredibly easy to start up a blog and have a great support team and 24/7 online chat service available to help you. I have used both of these hosting platforms and so can recommend both of them from personal experience.
Bluehost is the most popular hosting platform as well as being the cheapest – with their plans starting at less than $4 a month!
Other reasons to use Bluehost include:
- you get a FREE domain name
- FREE WordPress installation
- Bluehost is the most affordable self-hosting platform
- number 1 recommended web hosting company by WordPress.org
- 24/7 support
- very easy to use
- you can have your website up and running in minutes!
- Bluehost offer a 30-day money back guarantee.
Click on the banner below to create your website with Bluehost!
Siteground are a bit more expensive than Bluehost but they are one of the best hosting providers for site speed which is something really important to consider later on down the line. After being with Bluehost for over two years I decided to switch hosting platform (for no particular reason, other than my plan was expiring and I wanted to see what else was available). I decided to switch to Siteground and am really happy with them.
I really recommend Siteground, but if you are just starting off with blogging and want the quickest and cheapest option for self-hosting, you will be better off going with Bluehost as they make the whole process of setting up your website incredibly easy. Plus with Bluehost you get a free domain name, which Siteground doesn’t provide (you would need to pay for it).
Click on the banner below to get started with Siteground.
HOW TO START A BLOG IN 2021:
2. Select A Web Hosting Package
You’l find four different options of hosting plans to choose from. The Basic one is all you need to start a blog – plus it is the cheapest! You pay for the package upfront which is great as it means you won’t have to be paying each month. And you can choose between a 12 month, 24 month or 36 month package. The 36 month package is the cheapest so it is best to go with this one as it will save you a lot of money in the long-run!
HOW TO START A BLOG IN 2021:
3. Choose A Domain Name (Website Name)
Before you think any further it is probably wise to decide on a name for your website! As you won’t actually be able to create your website if you don’t have a name for it! Often thinking of a name for your ‘brand’ can seem a bit daunting at first so here are a few points to help you.
- Do you want your actual name to be your brand or not?
- Don’t make the name of your blog too long – you want it short so people can remember it!
- Unless you will be specifically writing your blog in a language other than English, keep your blog name in English. Otherwise people may struggle to remember it or know how to say it. Trust me – when I started my Instagram I used an Italian name and none of my friends could ever remember how to spell it and they didn’t have a clue how to say it. Keep it simple for your audience!
- Make your name unique! Think what it is that defines you and makes you stand out from others! For example it could be your nationality, if you have something unique about the way you look or about your personality, your favourite hobby etc.
- It is always a good idea to have your brand name related to your niche. For example if you want to start a travel blog think about including a travel word in your name such as wander, traveller etc. If you just write about one particular state in the US, incorporate it into the name of your website. Doing this could help you get more traffic when people see your website name in Google searches as you look like an expert in the subject. It can even sometimes help you rank higher as Google sees your domain name as super relevant.
- Make sure the name you choose for your blog is professional and will still be relevant to you in a few years.
- Avoid using hyphens. News is mixed about this, with some sources saying you should never use hyphens in a domain as it can affect how you rank on Google. Other sites say it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t want to take the chance though, so just avoid them if possible.
- Apart from if the numbers are a significant part of the brand (for example in my domain name 24hourslayover where they are necessary and it wouldn’t make sense without them) don’t use numbers as it may look unprofessional.
You should aim for a .com domain as it is the most popular domain ending and is the easiest one to grow your business with. Even if you are from another country, resist the urge to use the ending for your country (eg: .com.au for Australia or .co.uk for UK) especially if you plan to expand on a global scale with products etc as it might not then appeal to international readers. Most blogs tend to end in .com as it just makes it easier for people to remember.
If you are struggling to decide on a domain name, Namer.ai is a great website that gives you lots of suggestions for website names.
CHECK THE DOMAIN NAME IS AVAILABLE
Once you have chosen a name for your website (this is known as a ‘domain’ name) you need to check it doesn’t already exist! If it already exists it means of course you can’t use it and have to think of another name! Head to WHOIS.NET, type in a name and it will let you know it if it available.
The great thing if you sign up with Bluehost here is that they will register your domain name for FREE!
RESERVE YOUR NAME ACROSS ALL SOCIAL CHANNELS
Once you know the website domain name is available you will need to check the same name will be available on socials such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Having the same name across your website and social media channels will create uniformity and helps to unify your brand presence across the web. It also make it easier for your audience to connect with you on different platforms as they can find you easily and it eliminates any confusion.
Being the first to claim the username can be difficult – especially on Instagram so check this one first! If your chosen username is available, quickly create an Instagram account with that name. You don’t have to upload any pictures or do anything with it yet – just reserve the name so nobody else can take it!
To check available names across a wide range of platforms, the best site to use is NameChk. Here you can type in your chosen domain name and it will also show you if the name is taken on other platforms such as Social Media channels and a whole lot of other websites.
Register Your Domain Name With Bluehost
Once you have chosen a domain name you need to register it with Bluehost. If you sign up for one of their plans you will automatically get the domain name free! Just type in your chosen domain name when you see the box below.
It will then it will take you to the contact details and payment page that you need to fill in. You don’t need to select any of the package extras if you don’t want to. Once you have filled in your payment details press the green submit button at the bottom of the page.
HOW TO START A BLOG IN 2021:
4. Install WordPress
Now that you have your Bluehost hosting package and your domain name sorted you need to install WordPress so you can actually start writing on your blog! You may have noticed earlier that we spoke about WordPress as a free hosting provider. That was WordPress.com. You need to install WordPress.org.
The great things is that if you sign up with Bluehost it will install WordPress.org automatically for you so it is super easy!
How To Install WORDPRESS.ORG
Once you have created your password on Bluehost it will ask you to pick a theme. Choose any of the themes you like here as you can always change it later. Once you have selected a theme, all you need to do is press ‘Start Building’. Then you will be asked to select whether you want a Business or a Personal site – it is up to you. And that is it – WordPress.org is installed on your blog! Now you can log in to your WordPress Dashboard and start customising your website and creating articles now! From this point on you are good to go!
To log into your WordPress Dashboard your URL will be: yourblogname.com/wp-admin/ .
HOW TO START A BLOG IN 2021:
Once you have your hosting provider, domain name and WordPress sorted you can think about how you want your blog to look and actually start creating content! You’ll learn how to do design your blog layout, install useful plugins and write engaging content in the following part of this blog post!
5. Design Your Homepage Layout!
Pick A Theme
If you are happy with the theme you chose when you set up WordPress you can always keep that. Otherwise you can choose a different one. Themes enable you to design and customise your site really easily. There are lots of free themes for you to choose from, as well as paid ones. Most people find that when they are first getting started a free theme is more than sufficient and it is a great way to experiment what kind of layout you want.
After a few months you may want to invest in a paid theme as they offer much more flexibility in terms of layout and customisation. I first started with the ‘Ashe’ premium theme (see below) and now I use ‘Flatsome’ theme. So as you can see, you can change your theme if one day you decide you no longer like the theme you have! I selected all these themes after a lot of research as they were all highly recommended, so you can always use these as a guide to help you.
To upload a different theme you just need to hover over ‘Appearance’ on the left hand side of your WordPress Dashboard, then select ‘Themes’.
You’ll want to customise your blog more by adding some widgets. You can add these onto the side bar onto your homepage and blog posts and on the footer too. On the side bar you can add a text widget where you can write a small ‘About Me’ section so your viewers get to know a bit more about you. On the footer widget you may like to include some links to your social media platforms.
HOW TO START A BLOG IN 2021:
6. Install Useful Plugins
You will also want to include some plugins to your website. Plugins are a software that can add new features to your website and make things easier for you. In a way they are similar to apps on a phone. Many plug-ins are free but some you will need to pay for. You can find and install plugins on your WordPress Dashboard under ‘Plugins’.
Some useful plug-ins to get started include Yoast SEO (to help your articles rank better on Google), Jetpack (to see your site stats) and East Social Sharing (so people can easily share your blog posts on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter!).
HOW TO START A BLOG IN 2021:
7. Write Content!
Write An ‘About Me’ Page
Start with an ‘About Me’ page. This is an important page for your website and it always makes a blog more personal as people enjoy getting to know the person and the face behind the writing! Personally I love reading people’s ‘About Me’ page – their background, what made them decide to start a blog etc as everyone’s story is different. Writing a good ‘About Me’ page will help people stick around – especially if they feel they can relate to you or are in admiration of your story. Click here to see my ‘About Me’ page if you need some guidance. Make sure to include a couple of pictures of yourself!
You may even, like myself, want to have a couple of ‘About Me’ pages. I have a general one, and then a more in-depth one if people are still curious as I didn’t want to overwhelm them with everything on one page! As I have lived in several different countries and changed careers several times I have quite a unique story to tell so wanted to tell my whole story to help inspire others and give them an insight into my life and how I got where I am today.
I then also have a page that explains my website and gives more information about my blog – I call it ‘About 24 Hours Layover‘ so people understand it is more about my website and less about my personal story. This page is important as it gives the following information:
- what people can expect when they come onto my blog
- what information I write about
- who is my website for
- what value I give to my readers
- what is my goal with my blog (helping people not making money right?)
- a Call To Action – for example click here to browse destinations. Make readers want to click on something so they don’t just click off your site after reading this page!
Also be sure to include a photograph of yourself here too!
It is important to link your separate ‘About Me’ pages together so your viewers can find them easily.
Once you have written your ‘About Me’ page(s) you can start writing your first blog post!
Write Your First Blog Post
Writing your first blog post can be scary. When I started my blog I hadn’t written ANYTHING in over 10 years – the last time I had written was for my Dissertation at University! I felt I didn’t even really know how to start writing and that I should really go on a writing course before I expose my work to the world. How could I become a blogger or travel writer with no qualification in it?
But anyway somehow I never got round to enrolling on such course and I just decided to start writing and see how it went. And that is how most bloggers do it – in fact I know very few who actually have any formal training in writing! Just like any skill, your writing will get better over time with practice, trust me. Honestly I look at my first few blog posts and absolutely cringe at the content.
How To Start Writing
To start off, write about something you are passionate about or something you have just experienced. For example when I started writing I would write about my most recent Flight Attendant layovers as they were still fresh in my mind so I could recall the information easily and provide lots of tips.
You don’t just want to do a ‘dear diary’ kind of post: you NEED to provide some sort of value to your readers! Gone are the days of blogging where you just write about your own personal experiences and thoughts: you need to provide the answer to what people are looking for! If you’re going to write an itinerary about your favourite city make sure your post will provide useful information and help make things easy for people who also want to visit the city! If you found some great (or bad!) places on your trip don’t just say we went to an amazing restaurant near The Eiffel Tower or we stayed in a great hotel in a really convenient location: be specific! Tell people the name of the restaurant and hotel so perhaps they can also visit there too. Doing so will help make their lives easier!
Your articles need to give information in a clear way and motivate people in some way to take action. For example – this blog post should hopefully give you the information and inspiration you need to start your own blog!
Your articles are what will drive traffic to your website. So you need to make sure they are interesting and have an impact on your audience. Otherwise they may not ever come back to your website!
How To Set Out Your Blog Post
You need to ensure your blog posts are laid out in an easy to read way. Often people will scroll up and down a post before they decide to read it. So if your blog post is not laid out in a clear and logical way and there is nothing to break up the writing, people may click away before they have even read your post – even if it is full of really useful knowledge!!
If your article has no images or no headings and is just one block of continuous prose it can seem quite confronting for people to read. People love bite-sized chunks of writing as it is easier to digest. So break you paragraphs down. Create headings so people can glance at them quickly and see if the article is relevant for them. You want to keep people on your page as long as possible so your page needs to be visually pleasing. If you don’t have any suitable images you can get free stock images from Unsplash.
And there we have it – that is all the information you need to start a blog in 2021! If you have questions don’t hesitate to contact me!
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