Time. Once you’ve learned how to start a blog, you’ll learn that blogging takes a lot of time, especially if you’re as neurotic as we are (we spent over 10 hours testing the fonts on this site). And see those black Twitter and Facebook icons in the header? We spent hours on those, deciding what was right for us). That said, once you have your design set up, don’t tweak it too much. Instead, spend the time on your writing.
Hobbies & passions. Hobbies or other interests you are passionate about are a great place to start. Cooking, travel, fashion, sports, and cars are all classic examples. But even blogs about more obscure hobbies can be successful, since the your audience is literally anyone in the world with the internet.
There is no point in starting a blog that you want to make money from without a plan. There are thousands, even hundreds of niches out there. Some are broad and huge; some are small and virtually unknown. Some niches are easier to make money in than others.
Remember, your blog’s design should reflect both you and your personality, but also what the blog is about. There’s no point having a football-orientated theme if your blog is about tennis, understand?
Jon Morrow is the gold standard in this arena, and this post encapsulates that. He consulted with me at the launch of my blog, and these 20 principles feel like evolutions of that great advice. My numbers are nowhere near his (frankly, my subscriber list seems fixed lately), but my experience validates the core of what’s here: it’s all about consulting, leading to products (in my case, a bit of the other way around, via a book that arose from my website/blog). If you can afford Jon (I can’t), go for it… provided you truly are an “expert” in a given field, one that other people will pay to listen to. If you can’t, or aren’t (at least yet), just read everything he’s written, here and elsewhere.
Hi, thanks for this very helpful post! Is it possible to register a domain even if you don’t plan on using it immediately? Basically just ensuring that you get the domain name that you want (if possible). Also, if I’m planning to blog on varying topics what would you recommend to do as far as a name? Do you think it’s imperative that the name coincides with the topic? I only ask because I’ve seen fashion/beauty blogs where their names have nothing to do with fashion or beauty. I’m sooo stuck on the name I can’t move to the next steps! Ugh!
Awesome article! Greatly appreciate the wealth of knowledge I’ve found here on Blog Tyrant! I’ve been researching for a year now and am excited to move forward now using so much of the great instruction I’ve found here.
Then, when a site visitor clicks on your website to view it, the web host servers help deliver that content to your visitor’s computer screen or mobile device in a visually appealing and understandable format.
Hi Karen ,You’ve provided guide to start blogging that helped me in setting up my blog.This guide really proved usefull for me.I’ve been looking for creating blog for me but did’t get good guide .But finally i’m ready with blog that is online now. Thanks here for helping me 🙂
Google it. When you search for “photography tips,” you get a whole a world of content. From “taking stellar photos with your Android phone” to “how to photograph fireworks,” you find tons of inspiration. Plus, you’ll see what’s already popular and you can riff on those topics in your own voice. Keyword Tool can also help. Type in “photography” and you’ll get a giant list of the top Google searches related to your topic, like photography classes, contests and apps.

This is very useful information for me as a beginner blogger. I figured to try blogging as a project while working on my MBA program online this year. I haven’t finished publishing my blog site yet. Still checking out some tips and advice prior to publishing. A bit nervous but after reading other new bloggers helps build my confidence. Hopefully I get the nerves to publish by end of January. As you mentioned, I ended up using WordPress.
My blog is a blog for blogging. To express my thoughts, and maybe make money as a side effect. There is a huge difference between those situations, and the differences lead the use of ads, guest posts and so on.
The good news is that the internet is exploding with growth right now. More people than ever are online. This explosion in growth means more potential readers for your blog. In short, if you are thinking about starting a blog then there is no better time than right now.
Tumblr is a little different than other blogging platforms. It is a microblogging platform with social networking features including following other blogs, reblogging, built-in sharing tools, and more.
As I’ve said before, the one prediction I have for people using a free blog host is that one day you will want to migrate it to your own host. And that can be a really annoying process. It’s much better to set yourself up the right way from the beginning.
Another important thing to point out, which should be a bullet point for each of these, is social network integration. Blogger, for instance, is what I have been using for years and am now looking to move away from it because it has never done a good job of integrating with various social networks. Like, when sharing to Twitter it doesn’t even use a Twitter “card” so the only thing you see is an anonymous URL. Not very helpful when getting the word out about your latest blog post. Thanks for the great comparison, though. This has given me some good ideas on what to move to.
If you’re keen to blog seriously but you’re not tech-savvy, you might like this happy medium between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. If you want a gorgeous but easy to customize website, Squarespace is your guy.
Hi, of course a freestyle blog can be profitable, you have to research the market that your audience is interested in. So what topic(s) (read: niches) do you write about. Do some research in Google and see if any ads pop up. If none, that topic is probably not a very good one. The key is to write great posts, provide great content, build an email list and research what your list is interested in (hint: use polls to check that out, let’s say if you are considering to become an affiliate for amazon and you want to promote cooking books, just an example, you could ask your subscribers to go to a poll you created about what books they love to read, and add cooking books as one of the options, plus several others, to make it more attractive, promise that they can win a reward or so, a free product or free service or even $25 will take them to your 1 minute poll). Also: learn about doing keyword research in Google keywords tool. And learn a bit about SEO done the proper way. Now don’t think you learn this in a week. It can take many years to master this art, but at least a year, if you study like crazy. Make sure your content is great, over deliver in great content, so people LOVE to subscribe to your list, offer a freebie that they will LOVE, and to find out what they would Love you can do a poll in your blog post(s) to research various interests your readers have. Then see if there are affiliate programs for that. Before my reply becomes longer then Jon’s article, I think I leave now, but you get the point…. go do your homework kid 😉 Good luck with your booming business! Believe you can do it, because you can, but you need to work hard, and learn the art of building trust and offering what your readers and subscribers Love…. Woohoo, go do your research now!
Given how cheap it is to get most domains, you could even buy a few iterations. So if your name is Janice M. Schmidt and you want to start a running blog called Janice Runs Fast, try to buy both janicerunsfast.com and janicemschmidt.com. 
This is a great post. But, do you have any advice for those of us who are terrified of being on camera AKA Me 🙁 I know I need to start vlogging to get my blog to the next level but every time there is a camera pointed at me I freeze. Help!
Start selling from day one…I’ve always thought you had to build a sizable audience and then drop that knowledge that they’ll pay for. But doing it for the motivation to make money FORCES you to create a damn good product(s). Makes complete sense, Jon. Thanks!!!
I love reading comprehensive posts, especially those that distill what the blogger has learned themselves over the years. Helps know what works and what does not, so I don’t waste time and hopes on something that’s less likely to help meet my blogging goals. Thank you for this.
Thanks for the update, Jon. I’ve been blogging for over 11 years. In that time I’ve seen a LOT of changes. In fact, the number one change is change itself. What used to work (Google Adwords, keyword optimization) is actually a way to lose traffic now. I’ve seen eBooks come and go, as well as video marketing, podcasting, and social media marketing. The secret is they all work, for the right message, and the right person. The hard part is, to find the right message for your brand/personality takes a lot of hard work, a lot of experimentation, and months/years of time. Thanks for laying it on the line. Blogging can be a viable occupation, just don’t quit your day job until you’ve found what works for you.
I had never considered the value of giving webinars. I had attended plenty of webinars and purchased some products based on same. It hadn’t occurred to me the economic value of giving webinars prior to reading your post.
It’s secure; WordPress is always updating their software and keeping everything sound and secure, so there’s rarely a worry of having your blog come under hacking attacks. No wonder Facebook, NASA, and even university blogs are using WordPress.
Thank you SO MUCH for this helpful post. We are just starting out on our first travel blog. I truly believe in it as a business, and I appreciate your words of wisdom and encouragement! I think they are especially helpful in the early years. Thanks again!
I hope this guide has answered any questions you had on how to start a blog, but if any of the steps were unclear to you, you can find a more detailed version of each step by using the menu at the top right of this page (or at the bottom of this page if you’re on a smartphone).
Visual content has been growing for years and it appears to be speeding up, not slowing down. We now have retina display tablets and our smartphones are getting bigger. Social networking sites like Facebook are favoring images and videos over text – never mind sites like Pinterest which are totally based around photos! If you’re not working with visual content yet it’s time to start.
Thanks for this article. By the way, would it be okay if I start blogging with a free account and decide later on hosting the blog? Will the transition be easy enough to migrate from a free account to a paid one? Hope you could shed light on the query. Thank you.