How To Start A Successful Blog in 2020
So you are thinking of taking the big step and starting a blog in 2020! That's great! We are here to help you learn everything you need to start blogging in just a few easy steps.
How to start a blog in 2020 and why you should:
Starting a blog is easy. Your reasons WHY you are starting a blog might be a little more complicated. Maybe you are looking for a way to share what you know with the world, and blogging is a great way to do that. Are you a small business looking to tell your customers more about you? Blogging works great for that! Or maybe you are looking to earn more money by blogging for income, and blogging can do that too!
I want to show you how you can start your own blog so you can take that step the right way. And guess what? I'm not even going to charge you for these easy steps that you can take.
There are so many people out there trying to sell “How to start a blog” courses, and not sharing how they were successful doing it. Well, I'm your Nerd Mama, and I'll not only share how to do it. I'll also share the downsides of blogging as well as how to avoid getting scammed.
This blog uses affiliate links to keep the costs down and this blog free to use. If you make a purchase through those links, we will receive a commission at no cost to you.
How to set up a blog.
The first thing you need to start your blogging journey is to think about your niche and where you see your blog going.
In 2019, Google rolled out a very important change to how searches are done. BERT wants you to tell it what type of blog you have so it can learn how to direct people to your site.
So if you are starting a blog in the age of BERT, you need to be writing in one of four different areas.
- Educational – teaching readers how to do something or about a topic
- Navigational – Showing readers how to get a specific product or tool
- Transactional- this is for readers who know what they want but want coupons or where to buy.
- Reviews – This is for products or services and this is to give them insight into those products.
After you have that figured out, you can start your search for a blog host. A blog is a website that publishes new content called “posts” frequently and is more personal than a website.
Blogging takes a lot of time and effort, a lot more than just writing and posting. You also need to share, gain traffic, send emails, and decide on how you are going to earn income.
Where should I begin to start on my blog?
The first place you need to begin is to sign up for a place to host your blog.
We love WordPress because you can start off small for free and build on as you grow. I've been with them for years and I've always loved the great customer service and help I get from them any time of the day.
When you are first starting out, you might have a smaller budget. WordPress.com has Jetpack essential features built-in, including site statistics, basic SEO, and social media sharing
WordPress.com has free options and can use one of their basic free themes to get started. But you will want to move into a more professional theme as you push further into your blogging career.
You'll also want to purchase a domain name if you aren't going with the WordPress.com business plan to begin with. You can transfer this domain to them later if you like.
When you build a website, you want visitors to come and see what you've done. To get them there, you need a unique domain name that connects to your sites servers. Domain name registration is required to ensure that no one else in the world can claim ownership of your web site's address and to make finding your website simple.
Do I have to pay for a blog?
No, many places will host your blog for free. However, there are restrictions on what you may post and if you can earn money through ads or affiliate links.
When you pay for your hosting and own your domain, you can monetize your blog, meaning you can run ads, join affiliate programs, work with big brands and even add an eCommerce cart/shopping functionality.
Also, when you use a free host, you run the risk of losing your content. This means that if you use a free site like Blogger, you do not own your website or the content. The host owns it and they can shut it down.
If you are planning on monetizing, start with a business plan or self-hosting.
What Theme do we use on Nerd Mama?
I've been a blogger for many years and I've worked with a lot of free themes. What I've learned is that while you can certainly start off with a basic theme, once you grow you are going to want a theme that can do more powerful things!
On my other blog, Dancing With Fireflies, we have a product showcase area where we can both sell items directly and share affiliate items in a shop-style area. I needed a theme that could handle eCommerce as well as look beautiful. That's when I discovered Neve from ThemeIsle. I loved it so much that we decided to use it here on Nerd Mama too!
Google loves fast blogs. So you need to choose a theme template that can score top results on PageSpeed Insights performance tests.
Your theme also needs to be light. Our Neve theme is a lightweight theme without sacrificing flexibility. The total default WordPress install is as tiny as 28KB.
Choose a good content builder
You want to choose a good content builder from day one. I really wish I'd done this with some of my earlier blogs. A good builder can help you create stunning landing pages, allows you to customize your blog the way YOU dreamed it would look like, and more.
We use Elementor because it offers amazing creative freedom and it works great on the WordPress platform. You can even design your popups and stand out even more from day one!
Elementor works great with our Neve theme. I found Gutenberg blocks to be difficult to manage and I hated the basic elements you could use. So that's when I moved to Elementor and fell in love with the creative freedom and options available to create.
Take a class about blogging online.
I always suggest learning as much as you can about blogging before you write your first post. There is so much that goes into writing that perfect post that I could write a dozen more posts today just on that topic.
CreativeLive offers a great beginner's class online called How to Build A Successful Creative Blog I took that class to check it out before suggesting and it is full of great tips for beginners. A great bundle set would be the Ultimate Blogger Bundle that covers everything you need to help you stand out in the crowded blogosphere by amplifying your ideas with the newest marketing tools and creative techniques.
Once you are all set up, you are off to learning about SEO, Affiliate Marketing, and proper post formats! Yaaaay!!
There is so much to learn and a lot of work to do. But it's worth it. I love this life, it's mine and I'm making it happen. You can do it too.
If you are on your new blogging journey, we would love to hear from you about where you are and what you need help with! Leave me a question or your thoughts in the comment section and I promise, I will respond!
Blog Mentors We Love:
In the last few years, I've been given some great advice about blogging from the pros in the industry. We suggest finding your own favorite mentor and learning from them as well as asking questions along the way.
Darren Rowse – ProBlogger
Darren was my first blogging mentor many years ago. I started following his ProBlogger podcast, joined his Facebook group, and I've always had great inspiration from Darren and the ProBlogger team.
I always suggest new bloggers take his How to start a blog free course.
I don't even know where to start in telling you how much I love Jasmine and how she has changed my blogging life. She's fabulous. I honestly left her online class feeling not only like I was more empowered as a blogger, but she was my coolest friend.
Jasmine Star helps entrepreneurs build a brand and market it on social media. After quitting law school, she picked up a camera, built an internationally recognized business, and teaches others how to do the same.
You can take her classes on CreativeLive