Ultimate Guide to Amateur Blogging: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started
For many people, starting a blog seems like the ultimate dream.
You see it all the time, bloggers making 5-6 figures a month, traveling the world, and having the opportunity to do what they love.
And it is also one of the best online money-making careers you can do that will allow you to have more freedom.
However, this freedom comes with a lot of work that can seem overwhelming if you are just starting amateur blogging.
But no worries, because I will share with you the step-by-step process on how to start your own blog in a few steps.
Also, make sure to check out our article on the top 13 mistakes new bloggers make that you should avoid.
What is Blogging?
First, let’s talk about what blogging actually is.
It means you will be writing about a specific topic that provides information, shares events, and/or situations that others would like to learn about.
Unlike educational or news articles, blogging is written by an individual or individuals who share information in a conversational style.
Which makes the writing so much more relatable and approachable.
Personally, that’s one of the things I love about blogging.
I can write a post that makes me feel like we are having a conversation rather than creating content that feels like a college essay.
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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Should you Start Amateur Blogging?
Before we get started, let’s talk about whether blogging is right for you. We know it can seem really exciting in the beginning, and believe me, I think it is too!
But, I want to make sure that you are starting amateur blogging for the right reasons and not because of the lifestyle that others are selling online.
You know blogging is right for you if:
- You truly want to share information and help other people
- You want to have more freedom with your life
- You can be consistent and persistent with your content
- You do not expect a get rich quick process and can stay focused with your goals even if you do not see results right away
- You are willing to fail
- You are willing to continuously learn and implement
- You enjoy writing or can learn to enjoy writing
Blogging is NOT right for you if:
- You want to get rich fast
- You are not willing to do the work
- You hate marketing and using social media
- You are not willing to invest in your blog
- You hate learning and only want to do things that are easy
- You hate writing and not willing to invest in a writer
- You do not have time to do the work.
- You are not willing to learn the tech stuff
I know how overwhelming this can be, and believe me, I know what it’s like to start out feeling like a chicken with your head cut off.
That is why I want you to have realistic expectations before you get started.
If you are willing to do the work and put in your time with amateur blogging, rest assured there will be a reward at the end of the tunnel and it can potentially change your life!
Printable Blog Content Planner
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Identify your Amateur Blogs Niche
If you are still willing to dive into blogging, then the first step is deciding what it is that you will be writing about.
If you have no idea how to get started, this can be an overwhelming first stage.
So here is a simple exercise that you can practice in order to find out what is the best niche you should be choosing.
On a piece of paper, make a list on one side of what you are passionate about, and on the other, what you are an expert in, or what you feel like you are good at.
Then see what overlaps between your passions and your expertise (or what you are willing to work hard to become an expert in) and that may be the best niche you should go into.
Don’t know how to create this list? No worries, you can download a FREE Find Your Niche Guide below and do the exercise ASAP!
Once you have your top picks for your ideal niche you can then do your marketing research in order to find out if there is enough interest and if it can be profitable.
You can start your market research by going to Google Trends to find out how many people are searching the topic that you are thinking of choosing for your amateur blogging.
This is a very important step because you want to make sure that the search results are either stable or growing.
Remember you don’t want to choose a niche that has a downward trend and won’t be profitable for you in the long run.
As you can see with the sample search I did using “van life”, a growing trend has been happening and could be a good niche to dive into since there is enough interest in the topic.
When you find your top 3-5 picks for your niche, the next step is to see what your competition will be like once you start amateur blogging.
The more competition you have, the harder it will be to succeed in this niche.
That is why it is important to not only find a niche you love but also something that you can succeed in.
In order to find your niche competition, you will need to do a simple google search.
Using “van life” in our google search, we can start looking to see if the competition is enough to drive interest but not too much that it will be difficult to tap into the market.
As you can see “van life” has a lot of searches, which makes this niche too broad.
Since this topic has a lot of competition, you may want a smaller niche to tap into.
To find more topics and inspiration, you can look at the “People also ask” topics which are the most popular searches that are in the niche.
Bonus tip, these questions could also be great topics to write about for your blog articles.
Another place to find more inspiration is by scrolling down and looking at the related keyword terms from your google search.
Once you find the extended keywords and topics from your initial niche, you can go to a free search tool like Wordstream that will show you the search volume.
Which means it will share how many people search this keyword per month and if your competition is high or low.
Keep in mind that they provide you with two data, one is for Google and the other is Bing search network.
Always look at Google analytics because that is where most of your audience will be coming from.
Another company that you can use, which is the one I prefer and use for our blog is a paid platform called Keysearch.co.
Although Wordstream and other free platforms give you basic information, companies like Keysearch will provide you with more details so that you have more knowledge of your competition, and better SEO for not only finding your niche but also help you with your keyword searches for your blog posts.
The difference between a paid and free keyword search platform is miles apart.
For example for Keysearch not only do share with you the volume of the searches but they will also share the score or difficulty of the keyword.
The higher the score, the higher the competition.
We will talk more about Keysearch later when we discuss SEO and how it can help you rank higher on Google so you can attract more readers.
Finding a Domain Name
Once you have finalized your niche, it is time to figure out catchy blog names for your website.
This can be a difficult decision for most people because it is part of your brand, it’s what you will be known for and what your readers will associate you with.
One of the best ways to brainstorm and find your blog name is by using the thesaurus.
I love going to thesaurus.com and looking up different variations of words to make it more unique.
But remember, it’s better to be clear than clever, so you want to make sure that the name you choose is still recognizable to your audience, and they will be able to quickly understand what your blog will be about even if they haven’t visited your site yet.
Make a list of your top name choices and don’t be afraid to ask for other people’s opinions. Oftentimes a name may seem clever and will make sense to us, but when we share it to others, it doesn’t resonate.
When you have finalized your catchy blog names, it is time to find out if the domain name is available. What does this mean?
Well, you may have the best name in the world, but if it is taken by another creator, then you will need to go back to square one.
A great way to find out if your name is still available is by going to the Bluehost homepage and search if your domain name is available.
For example, when we searched for the domain name “vanlife.com” it was already taken.
This means we can not purchase that domain for our site.
But no worries, Bluehost will give you suggestions of the domains that are still usable or you can always create new variations of the name like “Nomad in a van”, “the van life diaries”, and anything else that you can brainstorm.
Once you find your name, I suggest purchasing it through Bluehost since you can get the domain name for FREE for 12 months, as long as you purchase a year-long hosting plan.
Remember, it may take several tries before you finally find the perfect blogging name that is also available, but don’t give up, you will find the right one for you!
Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure you are also registering your final name on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, Youtube, and Twitter.
Even if you do not think you will be using those platforms right away, always register them so that you own the names before anyone has a chance to grab them, because you may regret it later.
Choosing your Blog Host
If you’re ready to find your hosting plan for your site, then congrats! You are officially ready to start amateur blogging and creating content to share with the world.
There are a ton of choices out there and I know how overwhelming it can be.
I suggest starting with a reliable hosting platform like Bluehost.
I personally used them when I began and loved how affordable and helpful their customer service was because believe me, you will definitely need a lot of help when you are just starting your amateur blogging career.
To get started setting up your Bluehost blog, you will need to choose your hosting. I recommend their basic plan that starts at only $2.95 a month.
This plan allows you to host 1 website, 50 GB SSD Storage, has custom themes, and 24/7 customer service.
When you are purchasing your Bluehost plan, make sure to choose at least 12 months with your hosting plan so you are able to get your domain name for free, and if you want a better deal, you can purchase the 36-month plan which is a lower cost in the long run.
You will also be getting a better deal than if you buy a month-to-month plan. So when you are providing your account information, be sure to select the 36-month plan for the best price.
There are other options such as the pro plan, but you can skip that for now since it is more expensive and you can always upgrade to it when you are ready to have more bandwidth for your blog.
Another item that you may want to purchase is the Domain Privacy Protection, which is only $0.99 a month, and is absolutely worth it so you can have privacy with your personal information.
So just a recap of the Bluehost hosting plan rates, if you choose the 12-month plan then the overall cost will only be $59.40 a year, and if you choose the 36-month plan it will only cost around $106.20 for 3 years, which is an even better deal!
When you’re ready to purchase your hosting plan, here are the exact steps you need to take:
- Go to the Bluehost homepage and click on the Get Started Button.
- Then click on the hosting plan you prefer (remember to select at least 12-36 months of hosting so you get a FREE domain name for a year).
- Add a domain name that you have registered or create a new one.
- Then add your personal information and choose the right plan you prefer.
- Lastly, you will be asked to add in your password, and that’s it, you’re done!
If you have any issues, do not hesitate to use their 24/7 customer service. For the most convenient service, I recommend their live chat.
You can access this through their chat icon on the bottom right corner.
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Creating Content for Your Amateur Blogs
Now that you have purchased your domain name and hosting plan, it is time to figure out the best topics to write about!
If you think that creating content for your blog is as easy as choosing a topic you like and writing about it, think again.
If you haven’t learned this already, it takes a bit of work to not only write about what you love but also create something that your readers will want to learn about.
So here are a few ways you can find the best content that will rank high on google:
Research your competitors. Guest what? You do not need to reinvent the wheel, and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. What does this mean?
Well, it means that if your competitors are doing well with a specific topic, then it may be a good idea to tap into that subject and create your own unique take that includes topics they may not have covered in their article.
So, it is always a good idea to make a list of your top competitors and see what their top posts are.
You can find your competitors by using the Keysearch.co and clicking on the “Explorer” page then adding your website name and scrolling down to see who your top competitors are.
If you are just starting out and do not have enough content to have competitors yet, you can make a list of the blogs in your niche.
You can easily find them by doing your market research through google.
Keyword Researching. Once you find your competitors, it is time to find the top posts and keywords that they are ranking on google.
What is a keyword you ask?
Well, these are the words that your ideal readers are searching for on the search engines, and in order to be found, you must be able to target the right keywords so that you are able to be ranked and seen on google searches.
In order to do this, you will enter Keysearch.co and do the following:
1. Click on “competitive analysis”
2. Click on “Organic Keywords”
3. Add your competitor’s website link then click search.
Once you click search, it will show you the keywords that your competitors’ websites are ranking for on google.
This is a great way for you to see which keywords you should target in your own article.
Another great tool you can use is adding a specific blog post link and choosing the “Specific Page” option to find the keywords that they are ranking for that specific blog post.
This trick will make it easier for you to find the right keywords to choose for specific posts.
This is why investing in Keysearch.co is so important because without this tool, or something like it, you will just be playing the guessing game and it will take longer to rank on the search engines or not at all.
Using a keyword search tool is a game-changer and will allow you to up your amateur blogging game!
I love this simple video on how to write a blog post, the tips are super helpful and will be super useful for your writing process.
Promoting your Blog Posts
Your blogging journey is not complete without learning how to promote your content.
If you are not familiar or a bit intimidated just thinking about the marketing aspect, don’t worry, all of us have been there.
Although there are plenty of platforms to promote your blog, it is best to find only one or two to focus your energy on, so that you are not overwhelmed and you can get really good at promoting on that platform.
Below are the best and most popular ways bloggers promote their articles:
Pinterest. Pinterest is a great tool for people to use in order to find inspiration for DIY projects and other sources of information.
Many bloggers have been able to create consistent traffic by using this platform.
Since it is a visual search tool, you need to create Pinterest pins that will be attractive to your ideal audience.
Like google search, you will also need to add keywords in order for your pins to be searchable.
I recommend taking Moly Ho’s Pinterest for Creatives Course which is designed to teach you how to market your blog so you are able to gain more traffic and readers.
I love this course because Molly makes it super simple and easy to follow and it will also allow you to learn about lead generation and making sales right from the beginning.
Because let’s face it, your blog will always be a hobby unless you create consistent income.
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Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I personally believe that the best way to gain traffic to your site is through SEO.
SEO is a way for you to improve your visibility so that your ideal audience will be able to find you in search engines.
Investing in a keyword search tool like Keysearch.co is a must in order to fully understand the analytics so that you will be able to rank your site on the first page of Google.
If you want to know how to fully utilize SEO with your blog, I recommend the SEO Buddy Checklist.
What I love about this program is that unlike your typical courses it not only teaches you how to implement SEO so you can gain more traffic but it provides you with a comprehensive checklist that will allow you to take action while you’re learning.
Believe me, it wasn’t until I started implementing SEO in The Offbeat Life, that we started to see tens of thousands of visits to our site per month.
So it is a crucial part of your blogging success that you can’t overlook.
Making Money with Your Blog
It is never too early to think about creating income with your blog and there are several ways you can do it so that you can create multiple streams of income.
Here are a few ways you can create income with your blog:
Affiliate marketing. I love promoting affiliate marketing to my readers and listeners because it is passive income.
Meaning, you do the initial work in the beginning and earn money even when the work is done.
In order to create income from affiliate marketing, you will need to find the right brands and companies to work with who accept affiliate partnerships.
You will then promote their products on your site through an affiliate link and whenever someone purchases the product or service, you will get a percentage of the payment.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to create passive income, however, you will need to gain enough traffic and audience in order to fully utilize this strategy.
That is why growing your site is important.
To learn more about affiliate marketing, check out my blog on the top affiliate programs you can join to make money from home.
Take a look at the list and start joining the companies that apply to your niche. And remember, only promote the products that you know are reputable and you can trust.
Sponsored posts. Once you have gained enough audience on your website, another great way to create income is through sponsored posts.
Creating income through sponsored posts means that you will be promoting a product, but unlike affiliate marketing, you are getting paid for your work upfront, instead of when you are able to sell the product.
If you plan to make money with sponsored posts, I would suggest learning how to negotiate your rates with brands.
That way you are able to price your work and content accordingly without being underpaid.
This takes a bit of time and practice, but my biggest advice is to not be afraid to negotiate, which means you do not have to always take the first offer unless you are completely happy with the rates.
However, if you are just starting out, it may be better to take a lower commission so you are able to build your portfolio and ask for higher rates once you have shown your value.
There are also bloggers who do collaborations where they receive products for free in exchange for a mention of the company on their blog.
This is a good idea if you are an amateur at blogging and need the experience.
However once you have done several campaigns and your audience is growing, it is best to begin asking for payment as well as the product.
In order to create these partnerships, you can either pitch, which means you contact and connect with brands and let them know you want to collaborate, or the brands reach out to you and you negotiate the terms.
Do not be afraid to pitch even if you are just starting your blog because what you are trying to gain is experience.
Remember, the no’s will lessen, but the experience will help you grow.
Website Ads. Another way to create passive income with your blog is through website ads.
In order to have ads on your site, you can join blogger ad networks like Ezoic who doesn’t have a limited threshold on how many page views you get a month on your blog, which means you can join as a beginner.
However, they do require you to take a few lessons before you are admitted to the network.
Another option is to wait until your blog has grown to join networks like Mediavine who requires you to have at least 50K sessions in the previous 30 days.
Depending on your blogging goals there are pros and cons to joining early or waiting to get into the more selective networks.
The pro to joining early is that you are able to create revenue for your site right away and you do not need to wait until you have 50K sessions a month, which can take a long time.
The con is that even though you have ads on your site since you do not have a lot of traffic, the amount of money you will earn will not be a lot, and in some cases, the ads may become a distraction to your readers which may lower the visit duration on your website.
Whether you decide to use the ad networks right away or wait until you have gained traffic, site ads are a great way to create passive income, as long as you are able to continue to provide a good user experience.
Digital Products. The last income stream that I will be discussing is creating digital products for your website.
It is one of my favorite ways to monetize my blog and is another passive income stream that has allowed me to make money even after the work is done.
A digital product is anything that is downloadable and not a physical item. A few examples are e-books, courses, audiobooks, video tutorials, and pdf templates.
In order to create a successful digital product, you must be able to provide your audience with something that they need so that they will be willing to pay for the product, otherwise, it will not sell.
For example, if you are talking about van life in your blog post, you should not be selling a digital product that shows your audience how to lose weight in 30 days.
If you want to learn how to consistently get paid with digital products, I suggest joining Molly’s Keep Getting Paid Membership.
You have to make sure that your products pertain to your niche and your audience’s needs.
I love this membership because not only is it taught by Molly, who has sold thousands of digital products, but her membership also provides the most comprehensive lessons and accountability that you need in order to succeed.
And unlike other courses where you are given the content and then left to fend for yourself, the membership will allow you to get access to other members and the founder herself!
This means more opportunities to learn from a pro while connecting with others who can give you valuable advice that you need in order to succeed as a digital product creator.
Now that you have read my ultimate guide to amateur blogging, it is time for you to get started. I know it can seem intimidating, but the best way to start is to take the first step and learn as you go.
Nothing is going to be perfect on the first try, so continue even when you fail, and be consistent even when the growth is slow because it will only be a matter of time before you will find success.
So go ahead, go out there, and get started with your blog today!
Then make sure to let me know once you publish your site so I can check it out!