If you want to start a blog in 2021 successfully, this beginner blogging guide will show you how. Even if you’re a procrastinator! Some of the blogging tips I share here include the most popular blog niches, is blogging dead and the steps to grow your blog and make money blogging even if you’re just getting started in 2021.
First, let me be the center of attention for a minute and start with my short blogging journey that started in 2019.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission – at no extra cost for you, which helps me cover the costs for this blog.
Why I started a blog?
I started this blog in 2019 and I’ve been working on it in my free time. I am a mom of a very active toddler and have many other projects I’m working on simultaneously.
Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve seen a great amount of growth. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I see this blog for what it could be a year, 2 years or even 5 years from now and it’s very exciting.
That is the reason I started it. Blogging is not a huge financial investment, it fits my current lifestyle, there’s a lot of room and opportunities to grow and I don’t know about you, but sharing makes me a happier person.
So the fact that this has grown to hundreds of thousands of page views within my first year of blogging is an indicator I’m on the right path and I have so many plans and goals! It’s just awesome.
But it wasn’t like two years ago. See I started thinking about creating a blog in January 2018 and then I procrastinated until February 2019.
I first wrote this guide in May 2019 when this blog was just a 3-month old baby and I didn’t know much about growing its traffic and making money with it. My only goal was to simply get better and make it a habit, so I can, one day, create a full-time income with it.
I’m happy and grateful to say that within 8 months of starting the blog I had actually started making money blogging. It wasn’t easy and it definitely wasn’t overnight and at some point, I was going to write a blog post called: “I’m in my 5th month of blogging where TF is my $3000?”, but I followed my own advice and stayed calm, patient and kind. And it payed off.
How I did it? Exactly the steps outlined in the tutorial below mixed with a lot of patience, flexibility, and persistence. And guess what, it is possible to make money blogging even if you start this year or next year or the year after.
What Is A Blog?
Let’s not overcomplicate the idea of what a blog is. A blog is a site where a person or a group of people share their experience or/and knowledge about different topics. That’s it.
Is Blogging Dead?
A year before I started this blog I thought, blogging is dead. Nobody reads blogs these days. I don’t. Reading about the day or vacation of somebody I don’t know? Are you kidding me? It is just not a priority for me these days.
However. I noticed something. Whenever I would ask Google a question or search for something on Pinterest, I would end up on a site that wasn’t Huffington Post or Wikipedia. It was often a site I had never heard about.
Most of these sites?
And we’re not just talking recipes and travel. We’re talking kid stuff, renovation stuff, home stuff, organization, health, fitness, finances, relationships, self-care, mental health…there are blogs about pretty much everything.
I believed that only blogs that are older than 5 years would come up in search – not true. Many blogs were 2-3 years old when you search in Google and even a few months old when you search on Pinterest.
So is blogging dead? No. Becoming very profitable blogging about your day and dreams might be difficult in 2021. But if you decide you want to help others solve their problems, you will be successful, no matter what year it is.
How Do Blogs Make Money?
Successful bloggers usually get paid by either selling their own products or advertising the products of others.
- So for example, if you have a large enough audience you can place display ads and get paid per impressions.
- You can also become an affiliate for different companies and promote their products on your blog as well. You will make a commission when someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase.
- Another, more active income options are doing sponsored content or get paid for guest blogging.
Successful Blog Topics / Pick A Niche
If you want your blog to grow quicker, picking a popular theme to blog about can be very helpful. You don’t need to be very specific about it, you simply need to cover a topic or a few topics that people look up on the internet. Here are some examples for good blog niches:
- Food / Recipes
- Health & Fitness
- Blogging (yes, blogging about blogging is a thing)
- Personal Finance
- Home Organization
- Personal Development
Pick A Target Audience
With those topics in mind, what is more important to decide is not the niche, but your target audience. You can write about anything when you know who you’re talking to.
There are plenty of highly profitable lifestyle blogs that talk about all the topics I mentioned above. Even popular sites like Real Simple or The Everygirl – they’re basically all blogs. They write about DIY, food, relationships, career, health, fashion, home organization – everything a woman wants to read about. Did not picking a niche, stop these sites from growing? No. But they have a well-defined target audience. Which helps them create the right content for “their people”.
6 Steps To Start A Blog Successfully In 2020
After you’ve already picked a profitable niche/ or niches, you need to start working and turn that blog idea into reality. Here are the steps to take in 2020.
Step 1: Get Your Blog Domain and Hosting
This small investment in my blog was very important for me, as I knew site speed and uptime were huge for SEO. Both Siteground and Bluehost, have pretty much the same pricing, but if you haven’t decided yet, see for yourself – you can check out the plans in Siteground here and Bluehost here.
For both providers the plans come with:
- 24/7 Support – super important when you’re a beginner!
- 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee – in case you’re not happy, you can always change your mind
- Free SSL Certificate – to make your site more secure.
- Easy WordPress Installation – makes it easier if you’ve never created a WordPress blog before.
You want to start self-hosted with your blog on WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. The reasons for this are that your blog will look more professional and that you’ll actually own your blog. I’ve heard many times of people’s blogs getting deleted on free platforms. And trust me, after putting in so much effort, I really don’t want this to happen to me. Choose a plan in Siteground here or Bluehost here.
Step 2: Design Your Blog
To design your WordPress blog you will need to choose a WordPress theme. You can get a free one by going to Appearance – Themes on the left sidebar in your WordPress Dashboard and searching for one that you like.
You can also buy a WordPress theme, in case you want it to be SEO-friendly (this will help you rank higher in Google search).
Step 3: Create A Plan
Create a plan for your blog. How often are you going to blog? What are you going to blog about? Write down around 30 blog post ideas and create an editorial calendar using the calendar template in Google Sheets. This means you simply put a date when a post is going to be published.
If you think you don’t have too many good blog post ideas right now, just start with the ones that seem the most promising. Trust me, as you go, you’ll come up with new ideas. I come up with at least one good blog post idea every day. Ideas are easy to come up with, we’re creative beings. Executing is the hard part.
Step 4: Write Your First Blog Posts
Once you’ve come up with 10-15 good blog post ideas, write them in WordPress. And write from the perspective of a beginner – think about the time you were wondering or struggling with the same thing. What questions did you ask yourself (or Google)? Write about that and cover the topic in good detail.
Make sure to format your content properly, so that people can read it easily. That means, use paragraphs, headings, bullet points, bold, italic and even colors to make a point.
Step 5: Promote Your Blog
There are approximately 500 million blogs right now (source). Muhahaha <- an evil laugh, because it sounds like a made-up number. I might as well have said there are gazillion blogs in the world as we speak.
So even if you write the best content in the world, nobody can find it, if you don’t actively promote it. It’s very important. You can promote that content on social media or try guest blogging.
In my opinion, the easiest way to promote content is through Pinterest. You create longer images, called pins and pin them to your Pinterest boards.
I actually regret not getting on Pinterest before I started the blog, because I think I could’ve grown much quicker if I already had some following there.
How To Get Traffic From Pinterest
With Pinterest, it’s important to pin beautiful images, to have good descriptions on your pins, your boards, and your profile and to stay consistent. You don’t want to pin just once a week. Pin a little bit every day, rather than a lot a few times a week.
I recently got Tailwind – it’s a scheduling tool that helps me schedule my pins and track how they’re performing. Using the free trial actually helped me grow my Pinterest reach and my traffic. I went from 110,000 to over 400,000 monthly views on Pinterest within a few days.
Btw, and I’m surprised nobody talks about this – you can also schedule pins directly in Pinterest if you don’t want to use Tailwind.
All you need to do is go to the add a pin button in the navigation menu of Pinterest. You’ll get a pop-up that you have to fill out, select the date and upload the image (see screenshot above).
I did this for a few pins but found I can’t really keep track of everything. And it was a bit time consuming as I had to upload a new image with a new description every time, so I decided to go with Tailwind in the end. For now, it’s worth the money, and if you want to get a free trial, you can do so here.
Pinterest Ups and Downs
Update 2020: So, Pinterest went through some ups and downs for me and many other bloggers this year. One of the things that happened was that my original account got deleted early 2020 because I reached out to Pinterest support when my site was down and they thought I was a spammer (there are so many spammers on Pinterest, and honestly the panicky way I reached out I probably sounded like one).
So they deleted my Pinterest account and I couldn’t get it back because I didn’t know who to contact. I didn’t know about Pinterest for Business, so my 1-year old account with 5000 followers and 4m monthly views just disappeared in a second and I couldn’t get it back. I started a new one, but since it’s not verified it’s growing super slow. However, over time I was able to grow that account as well by making more videos – they seem to get promoted more.
Step 6: Stay Consistent & Keep Growing
The last part of creating a successful blog and probably the most important one: be persistent and keep writing articles, keep promoting them, keep coming up with ideas, keep refining your strategy and keep growing.
Diversify your income, your traffic sources and experiment! Create products and find companies to work with – there are many opportunities for growth.
Don’t compare yourself to others, just keep going, keep challenging yourself and focus on progress and doing the best you can with the time you have every week.
Recap: How To Create A Successful Blog
- Start Self-hosted. Actually own your blog and get your domain and hosting at Siteground or Bluehost.
- Design Your Blog using a free WordPress theme or buy one that is SEO-friendly at StudioPress.
- Create A Plan. Come up with good blog post ideas that others want to read and create an editorial calendar for your blog.
- Write Your First Blog Posts. Write 10-15 blog posts in WordPress and format them, so that they’re easy to read.
- Promote Your Blog. Use social media and guest blogging to promote your blog posts, your secret weapon is Pinterest! Use Tailwind to make life easier and to stay consistent on Pinterest. Get a free trial for Tailwind here.
- Stay Consistent. Keep writing content and promoting it. Once you get really good at this, start expanding and diversifying your traffic sources and also testing new strategies.
I hope this tutorial taught you something new and will help you start the blog you really want, even if you’re resisting the idea right now. Think of the potential of what a little bit of focused work over the course of a year can actually do for you and your family.