December 23, 2010, 6:00 am

The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Starting a Blog

by: MD    Category: Alternative Income
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Blogging For Newbies

The other day Mike launched a colossal post outlining how he has managed to successfully build his online empire. He covered everything from writing schedule to buying a new blog. It’s going to be impossible to follow, but I decided to put together the ultimate beginners guide to starting a new blog, for those of you that are now motivated to start your own blog.

First and foremost, why even blog?

Who wants to wake up every morning with the stress of having to research topics, write a post, respond to comments, respond to emails, and then go on with everyday life– I DO! Chances are you will too once you start blogging. Blogging can be really fun. Now I realize that saying blogging is fun is not enough to get you to start a blog. Below are a few more reasons why you should start a blog:

Build credibility.

A blog is an excellent way for you to build credibility. The next obvious question then becomes– why even bother with building credibility? Because you can build yourself up as an authority in your field. Your opinion may eventually be respected enough that you receive free products and you start earning some money on the side. Extra m0ney and free stuff sounds good to me.

Immerse yourself in the field.

There’s no better way to stay updated with a field than by writing about subject topics. Writing blog posts on a specific field leads to you conducting more research. Ever since I started writing about personal finance I find myself searching for more ways to save money, earn money, optimize spending, and to invest my money. Once you jump into a blogging community you’ll become immersed in that topic. This can be really beneficial in the long run.

A side income/hobby.

You might not make any real money from your blog but you’ll for sure find yourself with a new hobby. This new hobby can keep you out of trouble and keep you busy during those boring times. I’m at the point now where I respond to emails/comments while waiting for friends to get ready. There’s no telling where your new hobby can take you. You might be able to turn this new hobby into a side business down the road.

Step 1: Think of  a blog topic

This whole section will revolve around the idea of blogging for profits vs blogging for passion.

Blogging for money.

Blogging for money usually involves writing about a topic that doesn’t particularly interest you, but you know that there’s money in search engine traffic. Let’s look at the pros and cons of blogging for money.

Pros of blogging for money:

  • Technically more money.
  • More readers through search engines.

Cons of blogging for money:

  • Difficult to stay motivated.
  • Time-consuming to put together articles.

Blogging for passion.

Blogging for passion is self-explanatory. You can blog about your family life, hobbies of yours, or anything that really interests you. This is usually a topic that you would love to write about for free. For example, you might find through some keyword research that writing about credit cards is more lucrative than your pet dog. On one hand you can technically make more money. However, upon launching the blog you’ll be quick to find that it’s challenging to put together posts on a frequent. If you decide to blog about your passions, you can pump out endless content while enjoying yourself. The decision is all yours.

Step 2: Think of a blog name.

Deciding on a blog name alone can be another 1,000 word post. There’s the school of thought that argues that your blog name should contain as many relevant keywords as possible. For example, if you wanted to start a financial blog for students, then the blog name would go along the lines of “StudentFinancesMoney” or something along those lines. This way people (search engine users) will know exactly what to expect from your blog. Others urge you to think of a catchy blog name so that readers are likely to remember your name. I really can’t answer this question for you. It’s your blog and your decision to make. Just make sure that you won’t change your mind 23 times on the blog name because it will make it difficult to gain any traction.

Step 3: Figure out your hosting.

I’ve personally been with Bluehost for over two years so I can’t comment on the other hosts out there. It’s up to you to look around the other hosting sites to see if you can find some limited time offer or a reduced price. All I can say is that I highly recommend going with a well-known host that will offer you your own domain name. You need a domain name. Don’t be cheap and pay the fees. Sub-domains rarely attract any new readers.

Once you figure out your hosting you’re going to have to actually setup the blogging software. I have very limited backend experience and I’ve done all of my work through Bluehost and easy to read blog setup tutorials. Thankfully below I’ve outline exactly how you can launch your blogging software within a few quick minutes.

cPanel>Domain Manager this will in turn show you your domain that you have just registered. Click on the unassaigned domain name and…

Assign Domain>Click on “Add On”>Then choose a directory for your blog

and then…

cPanel>Scroll to Software/Services>Click on Fantastico De Luxe>Click on New Installation>Select your new domain under “Install on Domain”>Select a user name and password>click “Install WordPress”

Any time you want to edit your blog you go to and type in your user name/password. This is when you can let the writing begin! Once you get a few posts together you can start worrying about the technical stuff. Just don’t let the backend stuff scare you away. I’m completely useless with coding and yet I’ve been running a blog for a few years. For more check out my post on how to start a blog in 3 easy steps.

Step 4: Launch your blog.

Now you can launch your blog to the world (or to your few friends that will read it at first). It’s important that you have one pillar article up and a few smaller posts on your blog before you decide to launch it. There are a variety of strategies for launching a new blog. However, the best way to stay motivated is to learn-as-you-go. Launch the blog and have some fun with it.

Final thoughts for new bloggers…

On that note, if you’re now inspired to start your own blog then congrats! Please do share your link here in the comments section so that one of us can check out. I also just wanted to share a few tips on how you can last through the first six months as a blogger without losing your mind:

Offer guest posts.

A friend just called me to tell me about his new blogging idea. The only thing that he’s stuck on is getting the blog off the ground. My best advice is what other bloggers told me when I started out: GUEST POST! Put together some great (not your typical BS) articles and offer them to bloggers that you’ve been networking with. I personally love to post articles from bloggers that were once commenting on my site or corresponding through email with me before they launched their blog. Guest posting is the best way for getting your blog in front of readers.

Don’t worry about the big bucks.

Adsense placement or trying to sell a product should not cloud your judgment in the first few months as a blogger. Money may or may not come. Either way money should be irrelevant when you first get started with your blog. It should be nothing more than a fun hobby at first. If you embrace this thinking then you’ll definitely prevent burnout around the six month mark.

There you go. Maybe 25 minutes of your time, four easy steps, and you got yourself a brand new blog up and running. Don’t forget to pay me royalties when your blog hits it big!

(photo credit: adam tinworth)

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Timely post for me. I am planning to launch a new blog Jan 1st. My motivation is very much as you’ve described. I want to immerse myself in topics that I want to learn more about.. i am also a tech-junkie and have run a lot of websites but have lost touch with that inner-nerd for the last few years and wanted to revive it.

My big challenge will be staying motivated even when I feel like I will be writing to nobody other than myself.

One other addition i’d like to add is NETWORK! Ask for help, visit forums and comment on other bloggers sites. Be polite and grateful but do not be afraid to reach out to other (likely more seasoned) bloggers. I did so and I feel our sites success to date is partly due to our content and largely due to the assistance we’ve received.

@RealizedReturns Don’t worry about anything, just launch your blog. When it’s up and ready please feel free to share it here. You won’t be writing for nobody because I’ll make sure to stop by.

Hey as a fellow CFP and being involed in investments, i have a quick question for you. Have you ever brought in new clients from your website?

I have started a blog to develop a name for myself, and also as a way to draw up new clients. Any sucess in that?

Great article. SPF is right, you need to network, comment, and just get your blog out there. Just curious, do a lot of people burnout after six months? I’ve been going for about two and things have been moving nicely. Just being proactive of what is coming around the corner. Thanks! 🙂

I’m trying to get my mom started in blogging about interior decorating. Hopefully I can get her started in 2011 since I bought her a digital camera 🙂

by: The Financial Blogger | December 23rd, 2010 (3:01 pm)

@ Buck,

I’d say that 6 months is the first “step” in a blogger’s timeline. This is the first time where you pass or break. If you comments too much, you will burn yourself out, that’s for sure 😉

This is such a great post, and so ironically timely for me. I just launched my own personal finance blog yesterday, and tips like these really help. Its certainly frustrating starting a blog, with no readers, then trying to build it up… the idea of guest posting is great!

I’m really about learning more about personal finance, and have found there aren’t many sites/blogs aimed at the 20-something year olds (who are finishing/finished school, no mortgage, no kids, etc.), so I figure i’d start my own. Hopefully it will gain some traction some day, but until then, i’ll truck along.

Keep up the great work by the way, this blog has been one of my favorites for a long time!

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As soon as someone decides to blog mainly for money, I think it’s ALL OVER.

Blog for the fun of writing and connecting, and then watch the money roll in.

Cheers, Sam

Good list. I am going to link to this on my site

As commented above. If you get some money, or advertising, out of blogging then good for you. But it’s probably wise to not expect too much. We talk about debt relief, but don’t expect to make a lot of money out of blogging.

I kind of agree with Financial Samurai. Blogging for money is a lot of work. From what I understand, niche blog is the way to go if you want to do that. Personal finance blog is taking so much time for me. I hope once I am more established, it will take a bit less time.

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