How to Start a Blog in 2020

Top 5 Best Ecommerce Platforms for 2020

The following platforms are best for beginners with little experience setting up or managing a ecommerce website. These five providers offer solutions for small businesses and individuals for setting up their online stores fast. Almost everything is taken care for you, so you won’t have to set up payment processors, deal with transactions, or even manually send out invoices.

1. Wix – The Best eCommerce Platform

Wix trial screenshot
Visit Wix.comPlans start at $23/mo

Wix Pros

+ No transaction fees
+ 500+ free eCommerce templates
+ Unlimited products and accounts
+ USPS shipping discounts
+ In-house payment platform
+ 24/7 support (phone/ticket)
+ Free domain for 1st year
+ 14-day money-back guarantee

Wix Cons

 No live chat
 Very limited features in the cheapest plan


Wix’s main direction is giving its customers a straightforward way of building a website or an online store. In fact, their platform powers over 500,000 businesses worldwide. Wix also provides hosting for your online store and their plans are quite cost-effective starting from $23/month with an annual subscription.

You get to choose from 500+ free mobile-optimized eCommerce themes and create your store in 90+ languages for a global reach. Starting from the cheapest plan, you can add unlimited physical products and accounts. However, subscription selling comes with a higher tier plan (starting from $27/month).

Wix’s eCommerce platform’s main features are abandoned cart recovery, customizable checkout page, instant purchase buttons, add to cart from a gallery, wishlists, loyalty programs, discount codes, and customer accounts. Furthermore, you get $300 worth of online ad credit and some useful online marketing tools. Wix also supports multi-channel sales through Facebook, Instagram, and eBay.

However, you can only access some features with higher-level plans, so make sure to double-check if the essential store elements you’re looking for are coming with the plan you choose.

Payment Options

Wix offers payment integrations with 40+ providers, including PayPal, Stripe, and Square. They also have an in-house developed payment platform, Wix Payments, which you can use to accept credit/debit card payments and integrate with other payment providers. Starting from the Unlimited plan, you also get a multi-currency converter feature that lets you accept foreign currency and sell your products worldwide.

Wix also comes with an automated sales tax calculator, which is pretty handy. However, this feature has transaction count restrictions based on the plan you choose.

Online Store Management and Reports

Wix has a straightforward website and an online store builder. Furthermore, you can do all the store management, refunding, and tracking from the Wix’s dashboard. Wix also has a mobile app, where you can add products, fulfill orders, track your inventory, get notifications, and more.

Wix supports both direct and drop shipping, which you can also manage through the dashboard. You can set up shipping rules, add custom shipping rates, and print shipping labels. A great perk is Wix’s partnership with USPS, which gives you discounted rates on shipping costs.

The analytics side is also packed with useful reports. You get access to Google analytics, customizable reports, top products’ reports, and business insights. The availability of different statistics depends again on the subscription plan you choose.

Customer Support

Wix has 24/7 customer support through a ticketing system and a callback function. But, they don’t offer support over live chat, which is questionable in today’s standards. They do have an extensive knowledge base where you should find answers to most of your questions.

Also, when you first sign up with Wix, their Launch Experts help you get your store online quickly. That’s a great feature, especially if you’re new to online stores.

Wix Help Center

Pricing

Wix’s eCommerce viable plans start from $23/month with yearly payments. You also get a free domain for one year when going with the annual payments.

Wix doesn’t charge for transactions when integrating with third-party payment processors or Wix Payments. The standard credit card processing fees still apply to the latter.

Business Basic: $23/month with annual payments

  • Free eCommerce templates
  • Unlimited accounts and products
  • 20GB of storage
  • Integration with Google Analytics

Business Unlimited: $27/month with annual payments

  • Everything in the Business Basic plan
  • 35GB of storage
  • Subscription selling
  • Automated sales tax (100 transactions/month)
  • Advanced shipping options
  • Currency converter
  • Facebook, Instagram, and eBay integrations

Business VIP: $49/month with annual payments

  • Everything in the Business Unlimited plan
  • 50GB of storage
  • Automated sales tax (500 transactions/month)
  • Priority support
  • Customized reports
  • Loyalty program

Wix’s cheapest plan is rather basic. You miss many great features that can help your online store grow or make managing your shop more efficient. However, the upside is that the next tier plan isn’t that expensive, with only a $4 difference in the monthly expenses. We recommend going with the Business Unlimited plan for those reasons above.

Unfortunately, Wix doesn’t have a free trial other than building a free website without eCommerce capabilities. Still, you get a 14-day money-back guarantee to test it out.PS! After you sign up, check the pricing page occasionally as we have noticed that Wix has been offering a 50% discount on some business days.

Wix gets major points with ease-of-use and price. This is one of the cheapest options on the market, so if that’s the most important to you at this time, we’d suggest giving Wix a try. Just know that you’ll be getting a very basic ecommerce platform.

Get started with Wix here.

2. Shopify – the Most Popular Platform

Shopify trial screenshot
Visit Shopify.comPlans start at $29/mo

Shopify Pros

+ Same features across plans
+ Additional shipping discounts
+ Unlimited products
+ In-house payment platform
+ 24/7 live chat, email, and phone support
+ 14-day free trial

Shopify Cons

 2 accounts with the cheapest plan
 2% commission outside Shopify Payments
 Only 9 free themes


Shopify is a well-known eCommerce platform provider, with over one million stores, 2.1 million active users, and $155B+ worth of sold goods on its platform. Their plans start from $29/month. They have an in-house payment processing platform and substantial discounts on shipping rates.

You have a choice between 73 mobile-optimized themes from which 9 are free, and 64 are paid, starting from $140. There’s no limit on the number of products you can add. However, you need a plugin app to process subscription services, something you can purchase from the Shopify App Store.

Some of the other notable features are abandoned cart recovery, gift cards, custom discount codes, and integrated marketing tools such as email marketing, and social media distribution (availability based on the country). Yet, with the cheapest plan, you can only add two contributor accounts.

Payment Options

Shopify gives you the option of using their in-house developed Shopify Payments platform. What is great about it is that it’s integrated with most of the major gateways from credit cards to Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc.

They also have increased security protocols with Level 1 PCI compliance and a default fraud analysis. You can also track and manage the payments in an integrated back office.

Online Store Management and Reports

Managing your inventory and orders, and setting up product pages are also very straightforward and easy. Their interface allows you to drag-and-drop your products, includes automatic image optimization, and you can purchase additional plugins from Shopify’s App Store.

You can print shipping labels and send customers automatic tracking updates. Also, Shopify has cooperation agreements with DHL Express, UPS, and USPS, which gets you additional discounts on shipping costs.

Shopify allows you to easily integrate your website with Google Analytics to get basic data about your store’s performance. However, the professional eCommerce reports come from the Shopify plan. Building custom reports are only possible from the Advanced Shopify plan.

Customer Support

Shopify has 24/7 customer support over email, live chat, and phone for paying store owners. Otherwise, you can find answers to your questions through forums or Shopify Help Center.

Shopify customer support help center screenshot

Pricing

The plans start from $29/month and include all the main features, but the significant difference comes from the transaction fees. You also get access to more detailed reports with the higher-tier plans.

The transaction fees for online credit card rates start from 2.9% + 30¢, and the additional charge for using any other payment provider begins at 2%.

Basic Shopify plan: $29/month

  • 2 accounts
  • Shipping discount up to 64%
  • Online credit card fee 2.9% + 30¢ or 2% using other providers

Shopify plan: $79/month

  • 5 accounts
  • eCommerce reports
  • Shipping discount up to 72%
  • Online credit card fees 2.6% + 30¢ or 1% using other providers.

Advanced Shopify plan: $299/month

  • 15 accounts
  • Custom reports
  • Third-party shipping rates calculations
  • Shipping discount up to 74%
  • Online credit card fee 2.4% + 30¢ or 0.5% using other providers

The downsides of the cheapest plans are the higher costs for transactions and the availability of useful reports. However, the plan costs and additional perks scale well with the size of your online store.

Shopify also offers a 14-day free trial with no credit card information required so you can test out their platform rather easily.

Get started with Shopify here.

3. Squarespace – Best Online Store Builder

Squarespace homepage screenshot
Visit Squarespace.comPlans start at $18/mo

Squarespace Pros

+ Cheap starting plan ($18/mo)
+ Free themes
+ Unlimited accounts
+ Unlimited products
+ Free domain for 1st year
+ 14-day free trial

Squarespace Cons

 3% commission with the cheapest plan
 Weak support experience


Squarespace is a great all-in-one platform for building a successful online store to sell goods. They take care of all the server management and give you easy-to-use tools for building and running your shop. Their pricing is quite cheap, starting from $18/month with annual payments and basic features.

You get access to tons of mobile-optimized and customizable templates, which you can further tweak by using CSS and Javascript. You can upload as many physical products as you need, but the subscription selling option comes only with the Advanced Commerce plan.

Other main features are the customizable promotional pop-ups and banners, abandoned cart recovery, automatic shipping rate calculations (ZIP code level in the US), customizable discount rules, custom integration with APIs, and limited availability labels for promotional use. However, some of these features are only available with higher-tier plans, so take a look at the pricing section for Squarespace below.

Payment Options

Squarespace allows you to accept major credit card payments directly to your bank account. You can also set up a Stripe account to accept more payment methods such as Apple Pay, PayPal, etc. All of this allows your online store to accept major currencies from around the world.

You can also set custom tax rates with support to VAT, HST, and GST. The taxes also reflect automatically on customizable invoices.

Online Store Management and Reports

Squarespace’s interface makes it easy to use. Set up your product pages, manage your inventory, track any outstanding orders, and manage your customer base from one central location. Use a simple drag-and-drop tool, update your customers on email, and print packing slips from one central location.

You get access to website analytics and additional sales and conversion metrics to track your online store’s success. You also get an overview of your customer base with further data on total spend, average basket value, and other benchmarks. Among the reports, you can find the best selling goods, current sales trends, conversion monitoring from a visit to sales, and many more.

Customer Support

Squarespace has 24/7 email-based customer support. Their live chat support is available only from Monday to Thursday. Outside of the live chat hours, you’re greeted by a chatbot, which responds to specific keywords from your written question. It can handle simple requests, but for more specific questions, you might want to get in touch with a support person.

They do claim that all inquiries get answered within an hour.

Pricing

Squarespace is available with both monthly and annual payments, but the latter comes cheaper with every plan. Also, the yearly plans come with a free domain for one year.

The transaction fees only apply to the Business plan (3%). Yet, credit card processor fees still apply to all plans.

Business plan: $18/month annually or $26/month monthly

  • Free templates
  • Unlimited contributors and products
  • Website analytics
  • 3% transaction fees

Basic Commerce: $26/month annually or $30/month monthly

  • Everything in the Business plan
  • No transaction fees
  • Customer accounts
  • On-domain checkout process
  • Additional eCommerce analytics

Advanced Commerce: $40/month annually or $46/month monthly

  • Everything in Basic Commerce plan
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Subscription selling
  • Automatic shipping rate calculation

The downside of the cheapest plan is that it comes with 3% transaction fees, no customer accounts, checkout is redirected from your domain, and no abandoned shopping cart recovery.

However, you can get started with Squarespace for free without adding a credit card to try them out.

Get started with Squarespace here.

4. Zyro – the Cheapest Base Plan

Zyro online store homepage screenshot
Visit Zyro.comPlans start at $8.99/mo

Zyro Pros

+ Cheapest starting plan ($8.99/mo)
+ No transaction fees
70+ payment gateways
11 free themes
+ Free domain for 1st year
+ Free Unsplash image library
+ 30-day money-back guarantee

Zyro Cons

 100 product limit with the cheapest plan
 Weak support experience
 No free trial


Zyro was just founded last year, and they came out of the gate fresh and with new ideas for a simplistic eCommerce platform. Their plans are quite cheap, starting from $8.99/month (with a 3-year commitment) and having some state-of-the-art AI integrations to help you build an online store.

You can choose between 11 free mobile-optimized storefront themes, which you can modify in a handy grid setup with drag and drop functionality. You can add physical and digital products, but they don’t support subscription selling at this point. You’re also limited to 100 products with the cheapest plan, which upgrades to unlimited with the next tier.

The other main features are a live chat plugin that comes as a default, custom discount codes, and gift cards. The abandoned cart recovery feature and integrations with Facebook and Instagram are available with the higher-tier Plus plan. US customers can also benefit from a default integration with Amazon.

Payment Options

Building your online store with Zyro allows you to accept payments from the major credit card companies VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and AMEX. You can also add a variety of 3rd party payment applications such as PayPal, Stripe, and Square, to name a few. In total, you get access to over 70 supported payment gateways, which is quite impressive.

Online Store Management and Reports

Starting from the cheapest plan, you get access to a simplistic interface for all of your inventory, shipping, and tax management. You can set up your product pages with an intuitive drag and drop function, set shipping options, and create custom tax rules for your products.

Your online store with Zyro is easily integrated with Google Analytics to track basic website metrics and has a built-in remarketing application. You also have a complete overview of order tracking and invoicing. Yet, in all that simplicity, when your online store grows, you might want to have more data and analytics options.

Customer Support

Zyro’s customer support is available 24/7 over the email and live chat. The live chat option becomes available after you sign up. Even though you can email them 24/7, don’t expect a quick response. Our inquiry received an answer about 16 hours later when we reached out. But, when we got in touch through live chat, we got a reply much faster.

Pricing

The cheapest online store compatible plan starts from $8.99/month with a 3-year commitment. You can also choose an annual or a monthly payment plan with higher prices. All plans come with a free domain for the first year. You also get free access to Unsplash’s image library, which is a great addition.

What’s even better is Zyro’s no-commission policy, which means they don’t charge you on transactions. However, credit card processor fees will still apply to every plan.

eCommerce plan: starts at $8.99/month (renews to $19.99/month)

  • 11 free themes
  • 100 product limit
  • Live chat plugin
  • Discount codes and gift cards

eCommerce “+” plan: starts at $13.99/month (renews to $28.99/month)

  • Everything in the eCommerce plan
  • Unlimited products
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Multi-language store option
  • Integration with Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon

The most significant limitation of the cheapest plan is the 100 product cap. You are also missing out on some great features that come with the eCommerce “+” plan. We recommend going with the higher-tier plan straight from the beginning as there isn’t a huge price gap between the two.

Zyro doesn’t offer a free trial option, but you can cancel your subscription within 30 days for a full refund.

Check out Zyro’s platform here.

5. Volusion

Volusion homepage screenshot
Visit Volusion.comPlans start at $26/mo

Volusion Pros

+ No transaction fees
+ Subscription selling by default
+ 11 free themes
+ In-house payment platform
+ 24/7 support
+ 14-day free trial

Volusion Cons

 Expensive starting plan ($26/mo)
 No website hosting included
 1 account with the cheapest plan
 Product limits with cheaper plans


Volusion offers eCommerce store and shopping cart software but doesn’t provide website hosting. They still deliver a decent online store building and managing package for selling goods. Their prices start from $26/month with annual payments. However, if you’re just getting started with your online store, then you might want to look at some other options.

There are 11 free and 34 paid ($180) themes you can pick from for the base of your online shop. The templates are mobile responsive, and you can tweak them further with CSS. You can set up your store for subscription selling by default. Unfortunately, there’s a limit on the added products with cheaper plans.

The other main features are built-in SEO tools and social media integrations, related products feature, customer accounts and reviews, discount codes, and gift cards. Abandoned cart reports start from the Professional plan ($71/mo billed quarterly).

Payment Options

Volusion offers a payment integration Volusion Payments. The transactions are PCI certified and secure with additional integrations with Amazon Pay, PayPal, and Stripe. The payment process is done on-domain without any redirects. In the US, Volusion Payments offers a 2.15% transaction rate and low monthly fees for major credit cards.

Online Store Management and Reports

Volusion’s platform has intuitive drag and drop tools for building your online store and managing it. You can set custom shipping types and prices. But, the automatic shipping rates calculator becomes available only from the Business plan. You can still set custom tax rates for your products using the built-in tax rate calculator.

You’re only able to create advanced reports starting from the business package, which includes your standard analytics and in-depth online shop progress insights.

Customer Support

The base plan only includes 24/7 online chat support. However, you are first greeted by a chatbot and a promise to get an answer within an hour. With the Professional plan, you get additional phone support, with the Business plan priority support, and with the Custom plan VIP support.

Pricing

Volusion’s pricing structure is based on your past 12-month sales. Once you’ve exceeded the threshold turnover for the past year, they automatically upgrade you to the next plan. You can study the thresholds for each plan below.

Volusion doesn’t charge additional fees on transactions, but the standard credit card fees still apply.

Personal plan for sales of $50k a year: $26/month quarterly or $29/month monthly

  • 1 contributor account
  • 100 products
  • Social media integrations
  • Online support

Professional plan for sales of $100k a year: $71/month quarterly or $79/month monthly

  • 5 contributor accounts
  • 5,000 products
  • Abandoned cart reports
  • Online and phone support

Business plan for sales of $500k a year: $269/month quarterly or $299/month monthly

  • 15 contributor accounts
  • Unlimited number of products
  • Amazon & eBay integration
  • Advanced reports
  • 3rd party shipping rates and payment gateways
  • Priority support

The cheapest Personal plan is excellent for starting and building your online store. But, it only comes with one user account, and you can add up to 100 products. You’re also missing abandoned shopping cart recovery and phone support.

However, if you want to try Volusion out, you can do so for 14 days without giving your credit card information. It’s not as long as some other providers are promising but give you enough time to get your bearings.

Try Volusion out here.

11 Best Hosting services of 2020 (in depth guide)

The best web hosting services provide reliable site speed, security features, uptime, ease of use, and integrations that your website needs. Here are the top picked list

best-web-hosting linkemy

With all of the problem out there from both hosting companies jockeying for your attention, these web hosting reviews will give you two simple takeaways:

1. How to pick the best host for you.

2. How to save the most money at checkout with the most significant discounts (up to 90%).

And the truth is: unless you’re a large site with thousands of pages and massive levels of traffic, plenty of hosts will work out for you just fine. It’s 2020, and hosting technology, performance, and site speed keep getting better.

Whether you’re starting a blog, an online store, local business, or enterprise brand, let’s pick the best host and save money in the process.

So Lets start in description

1. BluehostBest Web Hosting Service Powering Over 2 Million Websites Worldwide ($2.95/month)

bluehost is best web hosting Linkemy

Bluehost is my #1 hosting platform recommendation, with a free domain, free SSL included, 1-click WordPress install, FTP, and 24/7 customer support. Their plans start at $2.95/month (63% off), and they have a 30-day money-back guarantee.

They are an all-encompassing platform tailor-made for WordPress and powering over 2 million websites. Their easy-to-use interface allows you to sign in, choose your domain, one-click install WordPress, choose your themes, and create your site.

They launched in 1996, and they now have a staff of over 750 employees. They have a 99.99% uptime, making them a very reliable option.

With average load times under half a second, site speed won’t be an issue. With my WordPress site and their cheapest plan, I leveraged a few easy plugins and was able to get my desktop site speed to 100.

One of the most significant selling points for me was their security and integration with Cloudflare – a content delivery network (CDN). This CDN prevents DDoS attacks and fake traffic from all kinds of different sources.

Using a CDN also increases site speed by allowing you to host your web files on their worldwide network of servers. This service shortens the time it takes to fetch data from your server based on a visitor’s location.

If you’re reading other web hosting comparisons and looking for extra features, Bluehost also integrates with different software in their MOJO Marketplace. For example, if a customer needs shopping cart software or e-commerce functionality, installing software is easy.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Go to Bluehost.com and click Get Started
  2. Choose the plan you want ($2.95/month is cheapest)
  3. Either enter a new name or select one you own
  4. Enter your account information, account plan, and billing information
  5. I would uncheck the add-ons Sitelock Security and Codeguard Basic
  6. Click Submit and you’re ready to go!

I recommend you get started with their Basic Plan for $2.95/month, which is 63% off their regular price.

Consider this PROS and CONS before choosing a plan

   PROS                         CONS
Competitive rates for first-time users
Unlimited storage for most plans
Excellent uptime
Renewal rates might be higher than expected
bluehost link

2. HostingerFast and Affordable at a 90% Discount ($0.99/month)

How to create blogging site | Business Software Review

Hostinger is my #2 web hosting company because of its speed and price. They’re currently offering a massive 90% discount on paid plans with prices starting at $0.99/month. You can get four years of web hosting for $47.52.

Using Hostinger allows developers to learn to code and experiment with PHP, FTP, hPanel, and MySQL without the added cost. By using free hosting sites and learning PHP, you can learn to build free WordPress sites and hone your skills at the same time.

Hostinger is excellent for beginners. You can learn to build free WordPress sites and hone your skills at the same time.

They have a super knowledgeable 24/7 multilingual (20+ language) Customer Success Team and are known to pick up a live chat in less than two minutes.

They are also of the fastest web hosting providers with an average page load speed under 200 ms and guaranteed uptime of 99.9%.

Hostinger has a custom, easy-to-use dashboard – hPanel. The design is clean and straightforward, which is what you need when building a site. Additionally, they are running a massive sale offering free SSL certificates and domains.

Hostinger provides a free WordPress site with 1-click installation so that you can start your blog free of charge in minutes. They also have their Zyro website builder with 1000’s of templates.

The steps to get up and running with their services are easy:

  1. Go to Hostinger and click get started.
  2. Choose your hosting plan – the best savings are with the $0.99/month plan for 48 months.
  3. Enter your email and create a password.
  4. Choose either WordPress or build your site.
  5. Edit and publish your site.

If you want a powerful host on a budget with one of the fastest loading times and an incredible 90% discount, I recommend you get started with Hostinger for $0.99/month ($47.52 for four full years of hosting).

How to get maximum Saving : 

  • Plan: Single Shared Hosting at $0.99/month
  • Term: 48 months
  • Total cost at checkout: $47.52
  • Savings: $432

Consider this PROS and CONS before choosing a plan

PROS        CONS
Cheap Hosting Plan
an unlimited number of websites
Server optimized for WordPress
Quality 24/7 chat support
Lack of Cpanel No daily backup
hostinger link-linkemy

3. GreenGeeksBest Green Web Host ($2.95/mo)

greengeek web hosting

GreenGeeks is an environmentally friendly web host with over ten years of experience. They boast both a 99.95% uninterrupted time and feature load times under 500ms.

They have data centers in the U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands – specifically Chicago, Phoenix, Toronto, Montreal, and Amsterdam, which is a strong international setup.

They’re an interesting choice if you’re looking for an environmentally-conscious web host.

GreenGeeks confirms that they buy 3x the amount of wind energy credits to account for the energy used to power their platform. They’re a Green Power Partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

If you sign up for their services, you get unlimited file storage, bandwidth, and email accounts, and get to enjoy their strong performance – and get a free domain.

And they don’t just slap WHM/cPanel on a dedicated server and call it a day like some other hosts – they go deeper than that.

They have a cool feature called their hosting account isolation setup. Using a VPS, container-based approach, they provision accounts with dedicated computing resources and secured virtual file system (Secure vFS). Secure vFS ensures accounts are unable to access other accounts, protecting your site against malware and other malicious activity.

They do have slightly higher $9.95 renewal fees than their $2.95 Eco-Site Lite introductory price, but you can lock in the pricing for three years.

Ultimately, you’ll pay $116.15 at checkout, and save $252.00 (70% off) with their promo code 10YEARSGREEN.

How to get maximum Saving : 

  • Plan: EcoSite Lite at $2.95/month
  • Term: 36 months
  • Total cost at checkout: $116.15
  • Savings: $225.85

Consider this PROS and CONS before choosing a plan

PROSCONS
Excellent Uptime
Fast speeds
Eco friendly
Higher Renewal rates than expected
Refund policy is not clear
GREENGEEKS WEB HOST

4. WP EngineBest Professional and Enterprise Hosting ($25/month)

WPengine web hosting review

WP Engineis a managed hosting company based in Austin, TX. They primarily focus on speed, security, and scalability. Their Managed hosting is specifically built for WordPress sites and comes at a higher price. It’s not precisely hosting, but dedicated services to keep your WordPress site live.

Site speed is where WP Engine excels.

While other providers may include customized servers, you can still get bogged down by installing a lot of WordPress plugins. But with WP Engine, they have a network of servers with more aggressive caching than other providers. You’re not allowed to install other caching plugins in WordPress because their caching is so personalized.

WP Engine provides daily backups of your files so you can keep your peace of mind. They also have reliable customer service and high-end custom plans for the enterprise. However, if your needs aren’t as advanced, you have to weigh the pros and cons.

Their startup plan starts at $25/month and includes 25k visits/month, 50GB of bandwidth, CDN and SSLs, and robust performance tools. Each program comes with a content delivery network (CDN) for faster load times and staging environments so you can test things out before going live with changes.

If you are looking for one of the best premium managed web hosting companies, give WP Engine a test run and get 10% off your first payment using Coupon code july3free

How to get maximum Saving : 

  • Plan: Startup at $360/year
  • Term: annually
  • Total cost at checkout: $270/year
  • Savings: $90

Consider this PROS and CONS before choosing a plan

PROSCONS
Security: WordPress security issues are patched quickly
Speed: Scaling can be up to 10x faster
Support: WordPress-specific support options
Risk Free: 60 days money back guarantee
Staging environment: Spot mistakes before your customers do.
No email hosting included
No Domain registration 
Higher in cost
WP ENGINE WEB HOST REVIEW

By clicking this link, you can host your WordPress website for only $22.50 per month (normally $30/mo) when paid annually.

5. HostGatorBest Cheap Web Hosting Service ($2.75/month)

Hostgator web host review

HostGator is a well-known hosting provider based in Houston and hosts over 9 million websites. They are one of the cheapest options out there, with plans starting at $2.75/month on 36-month plans and savings from 30-60%. Make sure to check their renewal rates, as they are slightly higher than their introductory rates.

To get started, their speed clocks in barely under one second, so they aren’t the fastest option but better than average. They also hit a 99.98% uptime, which is better than the industry average of 99.94%.

They make the website building process easy, with simple drag and drop functionality and the ability to add unlimited domains. They’ll also assist with free migrations within the first 30 days of your sign-up.

They also offer 24/7 customer support through live chat, email, and phone, and they have pretty good response times.

They offer three main plans, including Hatchling, Baby, and Business. The higher-tier plans include dedicated IP addresses and SEO tools to grow your online presence. Additionally, they have a 45-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with your purchase.

As you can see below, they stack up well against GoDaddy and website builders like Squarespace in both price and feature set:

shared web hosting comparison

Overall, they are one of the best web hosting sites on the market and top #5 on my list.

How to get maximum Saving : 

  1. Go to HostGator.com and click Get Started.
  2. Choose a domain (or add one you own).
  3. Pick your billing cycle. For the most savings, select the $2.75/month plan for 36 months.
  4. Enter your billing info.
  5. Click Checkout and you’re all set!

I recommend you try the Hatchling plan and get started for $2.75/month.

How to Save:

  • Plan: Hatchling at $2.75/month
  • Term: 36 months
  • Total cost at checkout: $99
  • Savings: $150.12

Consider this PROS and CONS before choosing a plan

PROS          CONS
45 days money back Unlimited storage & bandwidth
1-Click WordPress Installation
24/7/365 Support via Phone, Live Chat, and Ticket System
Up to 2.5x faster servers and Global CDN,
Daily Backup & Restore                                            
Only the Cloud & Managed WordPress plans come  with the Speed, Security & Extra features Expect some upsells along the way
hostgator web hosting review

6. SiteGroundBest Client Satisfaction ($6.99/month)

Siteground web host review

SiteGround has offered hosting software since 2014, and they pride themselves on fantastic customer support. They had a 98% client satisfaction rate in 2018 and respond to phone calls in seconds, reply to support tickets within 10 minutes on average, and are available 24/7 via chat.

In addition to customer service, performance is a significant benefit for SiteGround users, as they had an average 99.99% uptime in 2018. They built their platform on Linux containers that are very stable, even with random traffic spikes with excellent page load times under 750ms.

Siteground site web host plan

Sitegroung boast the most significant discounts on one-year terms if you don’t want to pay for 3+ years.  Basic plans start at $6.99/month (plus a $14.95 setup fee), which includes a free Let’s Encrypt SSL, daily auto backups, unmetered traffic, and up to 10,000 visitors/month.

If your someone sick and tired of lousy service and want to work with the industry’s best customer support team, give SiteGround a try today.

How to get maximum Saving : 

  • Plan: StartUp at $6.99/month
  • Term: 12 months
  • Total cost at checkout: $83.88
  • Savings: $96

Consider this PROS and CONS before choosing a plan

PROSCONS
Super fast servers
Top Notch customer support
Free Cloudfare’s CDN and SSL
Multiple Server location
Their plan come with fixed Limited Storage
For monthly plan there is a $14.95 Setup Fee 
siteground web site review

7. DreamHostFast, Secure Web Hosting with Purpose ($2.59/month)

DreamHost is a host that manages over 1.5 million sites use worldwide. They offer a 100% uptime guarantee and an impressive 97-day money-back guarantee.

All sites come pre-installed with a free SSL certificate and WordPress firewall for added security. VPS Basic provides two virtual private servers to each customer to increase speed, scalability, and performance.

They also have multiple caching layers, auto-scaled memory, and these isolated servers to improve speed further.

Additionally, every customer of their DreamPress platform gets built-in server caching and a static IP. These servers are super quick to respond to web requests as a proxy with the Apache and PHP WordPress stack.

You can get started with the DreamHost Shared Starter plan for just $3.95 per month for annual plan but when you choose for 36 months plan then it will reduced to $2.59/month.

Dreamhost web host review

First, sign up and enter your domain information. Next, deselect Dream shield Protection and 1 Mailbox if you don’t need email yet.

How to get maximum Saving : 

  • Plan: Shared Starter at $2.59/mo
  • Term: 36 months
  • Total cost at checkout:$93.24
  • Savings: $99.91

Consider this PROS and CONS before choosing a plan

PROSCONS
Custom control panel 100% Uptime guarantee
Plenty of web building options 1-click installer
Lack of C control panel
There is no phone support
Dreamhost web host review

8. HostPapaPowerful Web Hosting for your small Business ($3.95/month)

Hostpapa web host review

HostPapa entered the dedicated hosting space in 2002 and expanded to full-service web hosting in 2005. They quickly became a leader in the web hosting for small business, as they offer everything a small business would need to run their site.

These services include hosting, domain registration, 400+ business apps to connect to, and both the option of an easy drag-and-drop website builder or WordPress installation depending on your interest.

HostPapa  has three main plans ranging from $3.95 to $12.95/month. However, they also charge for add-ons like SSL certificates. You’ll also want to make sure you turn off their other extras at checkout, which would add $39.90/year.

Hostpapa web host plan

Their most popular plan is the Business Plan, which is ideal for small business owners and includes unlimited websites, unlimited SSD storage, and unlimited bandwidth.

How to get maximum Saving : 

  • Plan: Business at $3.95/month
  • Term: 36 months
  • Total cost at checkout: $142.20
  • Savings: $325.44

Consider this PROS and CONS before choosing a plan

PROSCONS
Unlimited Diskspace & Data transfer
Free Domain name 30 days
Money Back Guarantee 
Free Site Migration service
Free SSL and Cloudflare CDN
Automated Site backups only included in Business Pro plan
Expensive Renewal price
Hostpapa web host review

9. Liquid WebPowerful Managed Web Hosting and Phone Support for Business ($19/month)

Liquid web host plan review

Liquid Web is known as “Powerful managed WordPress or Woocommerce hosting you’ll ever need.” They are known primarily for their performance,reliability and uptime. If you want to work with the “most helpful humans in hosting” then this is for you.

First, their 24/7 customer support has an unbeatable 59-second guarantee. All managed WordPress hosting plans come with pre-installed plugins, automatic updates, website staging, nightly backups, iThemes sync, iThemes Security Pro, free SSL, and all the essential features.

If you’re looking for a variety of different hosting options, Liquid Web has 7 different hosting options namely Spark,Maker,Designer,Builder,Producer,Executive and Enterprise which you can depending on your needs.

If you’re starting a new site, their Managed WordPress hosting starts at $19/month. With that plan, you get one website, 15 GB SSD storage, 2 TB of bandwidth, a free staging environment, and backups every 30 days.

If you’re a small or medium-sized business that needs a fully-managed cloud or VPS hosting platform, Liquid Web excels.

How to get maximum Saving : 

  • Plan: Managed WordPress Hosting – Personal (Annual) at $19/month
  • Term: 12 months
  • Total cost at checkout: $190.00
  • Savings: $38.00

Consider this PROS and CONS before choosing a plan

PROSCONS
Fully managed hosting infrastructure 100% uptime guarantee, or they will credit you
Automatic daily backups and nightly plugin updates
Free SSL, CDN, DDoS protection and White-glove site migrations
Fast and secure tech stack (PHP7, HTTP/2, NGINX, SSD
24/7/365 phone, email, and live chat support
No Email Hosting and shared hosting
More expensive 
No data centre in Asia pacific
No Money back Guarantee
Liquid web host review

10. KinstaBest Premium WordPress Hosting with Migration Support: ($30/mo)

Kinsta web host plan

Kinsta launched in 2013 and its one of the best premium WordPress Host in the world. Their primary focus is working with WordPress experts to create hosting with high performance speed, security, and stability that sets the hosting standard.

They have a powerful and easy-to-use dashboard where you can view multiple sites at once, analytics reports, manage users, and see your resource usage:

Kinsta’s Starter Plan is $30 per month ($25 if paid annually) and comes with 1 WordPress install, 20,000 site visits, free SSL and CDN, and 10 GB of disk space.

If you are a more substantial business and need to scale your hosting as you grow, they have a tier of 10 different plans. These increase your number of websites, SSD storage, and monthly visitors.

All plans come with free unlimited migrations from several different hosts, automatic daily backups, manual backup points, 24/7 support, and their white-labeled cache plugin.

Once you select their $60 per month Pro Plan, you get extra hosting features including their free “White Glove Migrations.” These features allow you to fill out a form, and their team of engineers will set up your site for you.

Overall if you’re serious about your WordPress speed and security, Kinsta is a strong pick. If you’re an agency developer that wants to host multiple client sites and scale as you grow, Kinsta is a great option.

How to get maximum Saving : 

  • Plan: Starter (Annual) at $25/month
  • Term: 12 months
  • Total cost at checkout: $300
  • Savings: $60

Consider this PROS and CONS before choosing a plan

PROSCONS
Powered by Google Cloud Platform
30 day money-back guarantee
Free backups & no need for separate caching plugins
Unlimited free site migrations 
Free SSL and CDN (KeyCDN integration)
Fast & secure server stack
No Email Hosting as it works on Cloud hosting 
24/7 Support via intercom only
High cost
kinsta web host plan

11. NamecheapBest scalability for price and speed (Starting $1.44/month)

Namecheap founded in 2000 that manages over 10 millions of domain provides hosting in the United States and UK and offers a wide variety of plans, including shared hosting as well as WordPress, reseller, VPS, dedicated, and private email hosting. It also provides migration and web builder services.

Namecheap web hosting review

Each type of hosting has different plan tiers. Shared web hosting is offered via three tiers: Stellar, Stellar Plus, and Stellar Business. Stellar costs $1.44 per month for those that pay a full year upfront or $2.88 if paid monthly.

It includes 20GB of storage, three websites, and one free domain name. The higher level plans include unlimited websites and the Stellar Business plan offers 50GB of storage.

Stellar Business hosting is offered on the cloud, which is a fast and reliable server type — Namecheap promotes a 100% uptime for their Stellar Business customers.

All plans come with unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificate, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Their autobackup feature is available for the Stellar Business and Stellar Plus plans.

They have a new service called EasyWP, which makes it super fast to set up a WordPress site with prices starting at $22.88 per year.

namecheap wp plan annually review

Technically, Namecheap hosting is above average in both reliability and speed. It has an average uptime of 99.928% and fast page load speeds. Namecheap also offers 24/7 live support via live chat.

How to get maximum Saving : 

  • Plan: Shared Hosting (Annual) at $1.44/month
  • Term: 12 months
  • Total cost at checkout: $17.28
  • Savings: $17.28 (Save 50% for 1st year)

Consider this PROS and CONS before choosing a plan

PROSCONS
Superb value for money managed EasyWP hosting
30 day money-back guarantee
Easy backups & Restore1X WordPress Site Installer
Fast & secure server stack
Increased price upon renewal
Storage limitation
Not all WordPress plugins can be installed
Namecheap web host review

The Best Ecommerce Website Builder

If you want to start selling online, Building a successful online business starts with choosing the best ecommerce platform for you, which is why this article…
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How to Start a Blog Using WordPress in 11 Easy Steps

If you want to learn how to start a blog like a real business owner and not a hobbyist, you’ve come to the right place.Having helped over Thousands of users create a blog, we have decided to create the most comprehensive guide on how to start a blog using WordPress without any technical knowledge.

how to start a blog linkemy

With millions of bloggers out there, a lot of people think that it’s too saturated to make money blogging in 2020.

I created this blog linkemy.com this year (2020) as a case study to prove that you can start blogging right now and make significant money in coming time.

Since, we all are fighting with Covid-19 Pandemic and almost all the countries are in lockdown so, this could be best time to start as a Blogging career and grind 9-5 full time job.

You just need the right tactics. And you need to scale.

This ultimate guide for beginners will cover how to choose the right niche, launch your site with WordPress, generate traffic, and monetize your site in the fastest timeframe possible – all while working full-time.

Make sure to give this guide a thorough read, then save it to your bookmarks and come back to it later.

So Let’s get started.

How to Start a Blog in 11 Easy Steps.

Before we dive into this step-by-step beginner’s guide on how to start a blog, let’s cover a few basic things. 

Why You need to Start a Blog?

First, you need to know your why. 

We all start blogs for different reasons – to make money, to create an audience around a topic we’re passionate about, to build a professional resume, to enhance our writing skills – the list is endless.

But it goes deeper than that. 

For example, if you want to learn how to start a blog to make money, it could be for any number of different reasons:

  • The dream of quitting your full-time job and saying goodbye to the 9-5 hectic work.
  • The ability to increase your bank balance and look for early retirement.
  • Spending more time with your family.
  • Saving for an extra vacation every year.

Go deep into your “why statement” to understand not only your goals but also what accomplishing your goals will mean for your life.  

For me, I always dreamed of making enough money to avoid the corporate rat race. I dreaded the thought of working for someone else for 30+ years until retirement. Being startled awake to an alarm every morning. Driving to work stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Ultimately, spending 10 hours every weekday doing something I didn’t really like. 

The first reason I started my blog was time freedom. 

The second reason was to prove something to myself – to live up to my own expectations of what my life could be and avoid ordinariness at any cost.

And I tried and failed plenty of times. 

It was only when I finally learned enough from a lot of other smart people in my digital marketing career that I found the formula to make it work.

I simply didn’t know what I didn’t know.

So I want to share with you all the things I wish I knew before I started my blog.

1. How to Choose Blog’s Niche.

We all know that your blog needs a niche – whether it’s marketing, cooking, Crossfit exercises, vegan dogsitting, underwater parkour solo dancing – whatever crazy blog topic, there are an endless amount of things to blog about.

Most professional bloggers will tell you to start with something that you’re passionate about because it helps you “maintain a consistent writing schedule and push through failure to succeed.”

They’ll also tell you to choose a niche at the intersection of passion, skills, and experience:

Choosing Your Blog Niche

However, this model is flawed because it’s missing one major component: monetization.

I firmly believe that with a blog, money drives passion more than passion drives money. 

Let’s say you take this common advice and choose your blog’s niche based on passion, skills, and experience.

In this example, your passion is fitness, your skills are helping people lose weight, and your experience is that you’re a personal trainer focused on high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

So you decide to create a fitness blog specifically designed to help people lose weight with HIIT.

  • You write 20 blog posts.
  • Incorporate exercise videos.
  • Create your Instagram and YouTube channels.
  • Build an About Me page and FAQ to tell your story.
  • Add Amazon affiliate links to fitness products you promote.
  • And build your email list with your lead magnet – The Top 25 HIIT Workouts to Lose 5 Pounds in 7 Days.

Then when a user signs up for your email list, they receive a final email offer on day 7 for a free online personal training consultation, with the end goal of having them become a recurring monthly customer.

This all sounds very exciting.

However, I can almost certainly guarantee that this blog will fail.

Why?

Monetization wasn’t priority #1 when choosing this niche – it was passions, skills, and experience.

This niche is going to take years to monetize. And when things take years to monetize, the likelihood of quitting becomes exponentially higher.

Because that’s the first myth: it takes years to make money from a blog. 

There’s another problem with this strategy, and it comes from human nature: our desire for significance.

Imagine writing about something you’re passionate about earnestly for months, and realizing you still have no following, no traffic, and not a single dime from all your efforts.

Think about it.

Whether someone is an artist, sculptor, graphic designer, director, producer, wannabe Instagram celebrity, or blog writer, we all want recognition for our work. As social creatures, we desire to share the things that we create with other human beings.

Think of a child showing a drawing to one of their parents for recognition. Have you ever watched a movie you’ve already seen with a friend because you wanted to share it with them? Why do people strive to see their names in published works or after a movie as the credits roll?

We strive for significance and meaning in our lives. We want to share our ideas with others and for something to live on after we’re gone. 

I could blog about my passions, skills, and experience for a while, but if I wasn’t gaining any readership or making any money, I’d quit 100% of the time. 

And that’s why 95% of blogs fail.

Most bloggers start with a passion in mind but don’t know the simple digital marketing tactics to make it work.

Many new bloggers create content for years, get burned out when they don’t see results, and quit.

So we’re going to flip the script and start your blog like a business from the very beginning. 

To do this, we’ll choose your ideal niche not based on passions, but on four primary business factors:

  • Audience Revenue Potential
  • Affiliate Marketing Potential
  • Professional Leverage
  • Keyword Research

Lets Get deeper

Audience Revenue Potential

When you’re starting a new blog, the most common question is, “What should my niche be?”

The key is to find an area that you understand and solve a pain point for your audience.

However, you not only need to solve a pain point – you need to solve a pain point that an audience is willing to spend money on.

As a blogger, you need to understand your audience’s challenges deeply so that you can offer them exactly what they need.

And the best place to start is by looking at yourself.

Ask yourself, “What audiences am I a part of?”

You’re far more likely to understand a specific group’s struggles if you’ve encountered them yourself. 

Take my blog, for example.

When I started this blog, I was a 31-year old American male working in the tech industry. I was putting in long hours, sacrificing time with my family and friends, and getting stressed and burned out by the rat race. So I created this blog as a means to an end – a way to make passive income, escape my 9-5, and take back control of my time – and my life.

So my target audience was people similar to me:

  • 25-45 years old.
  • Working 9-5 but want to escape the rat race.
  • Ready to hustle and put in the work.
  • Smart and technically savvy.
  • People who want to make passive income through a blog.

Understanding your audience is the first step.

The second (and equally important) step is to understand how much your audience is willing to spend to solve their pain points.

This is your audience revenue potential.

This bears repeating: you need to understand your audience AND how much they’re willing to spend on your solution.

For example, let’s say you’re planning to start a blog about human resources and job tips for Millennials.

Your blog posts may pull in different types of readers, including job seekers, working professionals, and college students. 

To monetize a blog in this niche, let’s say you create a sales funnel:

  • You write new content to attract an audience online.
  • Next, you build a “job interview checklist” lead magnet to generate email opt-ins.
  • Third, you place affiliate links to some products you want to promote.
  • Finally, you offer a $300 product titled “The Ultimate Job Interview Preparation Online Course.”

Nothing is wrong with this approach.

This tends to be a common approach for most new bloggers. If you were to put in a few years of content creation and built up your email list, I estimate you could start making a passive income in 2-3 years.

However, by slightly altering your potential niche, you increase your blog’s income potential by 100x.

All you do is change your target audience from job seekers to job employers.

Let me explain.

By adding a B2B component to your blog, you shift your audience from individuals to businesses.

Businesses have larger bank accounts and are more likely to pay you without hesitation. 

The beautiful thing about this approach is that your blog launch, content, and marketing funnel are pretty much the same. However, with the B2B component, you don’t just stop at a $300 course. You can add the final component of 5-figure online consulting.

Rather than writing a blog post on entry-level interview tips, position yourself as an expert and go after the businesses themselves by offering something like HR audits or onboarding consulting for thousands of dollars per month. 

When you’re just starting out and traffic is hard to come by, offering consulting services is a great way to generate more income with less traffic. 

It’s simple math: If your new blog has 100 visitors a 2% conversion rate, your two sales should be for thousands, not $19.99.

Instead of focusing on adding affiliate links and ads to your site when you have little traffic, see if you can come up with a high-end consulting offer to build momentum and make money right out of the gate. 

Remember, just understanding your audience’s pain points isn’t enough.

To improve your revenue potential, a portion of your audience needs to be in a lucrative B2B niche and pay on a monthly recurring basis.

To recap, when choosing your niche, rather than worrying about getting thousands of passive, low-value site visitors, focus on closing 2-3 high-value clients at the beginning.

With this approach, I hope you’re beginning to understand why I truly believe you can make $10,000/month in 90 days with a new blog.

These new funds will be used to accelerate your path to passive income, but we’ll leave it at that for now.

Let’s move onto something I’m very passionate about – affiliate marketing. 

Your Niche Needs Affiliate Marketing Potential.

Affiliate marketing is my favorite form of blog monetization. It’s the most passive, and once you start getting traffic, you can make money while you sleep.

Affiliate marketing is the act of recommending products and services of other businesses and making a commission on every sale.

Most large companies have affiliate programs you can join. Once you apply and are approved into their programs, you can grab your unique affiliate links to add to your blog, view reporting on clicks and sales, and see any future payouts you’re scheduled to receive.

Here are some steps to get started with affiliate marketing:

  • Apply to a company’s affiliate program either on their site or in an affiliate network. For this, you’ll need a website and an email address from your domain – not just a Gmail or Yahoo email.
  • Once approved, grab your unique affiliate link and copy/paste it into any piece of text on your blog.

When a user clicks that specific link, a cookie is stored in their computer, which credits the sale to you based on the cookie duration – typically 30, 60, or 90 days.

Now, when you think of the word blogging, what comes to mind?

Maybe it’s lifestyle blogs writing about what they’ve been purchasing for their family lately. Or a fitness blogger that’s giving you some great advice on how to lose weight. It could even be an interesting person writing their own personal memoirs.

I want you to forget about these types of blogs.

They may be interesting to read, but they aren’t the niches that will bring you the most revenue.

Instead, consider this simple formula.

  • To make a lot of money blogging, you need affiliate income.
  • For affiliate income, you need to rank on search and get web traffic.
  • getting web traffic, you need to rank for keywords that drive the most affiliate revenue.

So what are these keywords?

The answer: keywords with the word “best” in them.

Here are some examples:

  • In finance, it could be the best credit cards, best auto loans, or best home insurance.
  • For tech, the keywords could be the best laptop of 2020, best VR headsets, or best Mac accessories.
  • In marketing (like my blog), it could be the best email marketing software, best web hosting, or the best website builders.

These “best” keywords are searched by people looking for product reviews.

They want to read a blog with in-depth content on the “best” something before making a purchase (and they aren’t ready to go right to a company’s website and buy something yet.)

Think about it.

If you’re searching for a new laptop, you might type in “best laptop of 2020.”

Google this term right now and look at the top 10 results.

Every single website in the top 10 results is an affiliate. Notice how there are no actual companies selling laptops. There’s no Best Buy, Walmart, Dell, or HP – only affiliates recommending laptops.

Now try Googling “best credit cards.” What do you see?

Again, every single top 10 result is an affiliate blog.

Why do these affiliate sites outrank brands selling the products?

They write long-form, in-depth review articles that search engines prefer. 

You’ll begin to realize is that most profitable blogs are, in fact, review websites making affiliate commissions from list posts.

And the truth is, these recommendations are primarily based on how much money the affiliate blog is making from their top recommendations – not the actual quality of the product itself.

Once you grasp this, you’ll begin to see affiliate sites everywhere.

So now when you think of blogging and planning your niche, replicate sites like these:

  • Finance: NerdWallet, Fool.com, WalletHub, CardRatings.
  • Tech: Tom’s Guide, Techradar, Wire Cutter, CNET.
  • Travel: Nomadic Matt, The Points Guy, Expert Vagabond.
  • Business: The Balance SMB, FitSmallBusiness, FinancesOnline.

I think that the most profitable niches right now for new blogs are finance, tech, travel, business, and marketing.

We’ll get to keyword research later, but know that your blog should have affiliate marketing revenue potential.

Let’s move onto the next weapon in your blogging arsenal – your professional leverage.

Use Your Professional Leverage.

After uncovering a lucrative audience to provide value to, the next step is to uncover the strategic advantages you may have over others.

Ask yourself:

  • What is my current level of professional experience?
  • What connections do I have in my industry?
  • Can I leverage this experience into a profitable blog?
  • If I could pitch any website in the world to contribute a guest post, who would choose me from the start?

To build a truly successful blog, you first need to build influence.

And to build influence, you need to step outside of your comfort zone and leverage your connections, professional experience, and everything at your disposal like never before.

With a blog, you’ll also be performing a lot of outreach to make new connections. This includes building relationships so you can guest post on authoritative sites in your niche to get relevant, high Domain Authority (DA) backlinks.

And when you’re just starting, you may not have many connections or published content out there. You might say: “Why would anyone feature me?”

This is where leveraging your professional background helps tremendously.

For example, if you’re a photographer, you might have a base of clients, contacts from local meet-up groups, and even know photography influencers that you met in the past. If you can leverage these contacts in the future, you can accelerate the growth of your blog.

Use every advantage you have at your disposal. These advantages will help you build early momentum with guest posts, backlinks, and social shares.

Now let’s move onto the final (and most important) factor in choosing your niche.

Keyword Research.

To me, keyword research is the most important step when choosing your blog’s niche.

It’s very simple. Are people searching for the things you want to write about?

Every individual blog post needs to focus on one target keyword. And if no one is searching for it, you’ll never get traffic.

It’s a fact: You need to have a basic understanding of keyword research and search engine optimization (SEO) so that your blog can rank and get traffic.

Why? People search Google 63,000 times every second. That’s 3.8 million searches per minute, 228 million searches per hour, and 5.6 billion searches per day. Plus, organic traffic can be more valuable than social media traffic because people perform high-intent searches online. There are plenty of opportunities out there – you just have to know how to find them.

Another good piece of news is that there are SEO tools to understand all of this search data. With tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs, you can view individual keyword metrics, including:

  • Monthly search volume: how many times a keyword is searched for in a given month.
  • Keyword difficulty: on a scale from 0 to 100, how difficult is it to rank for that keyword based on the competition.
  • The average cost per click (CPC): this is how much the keyword is worth if you were to create a PPC ad for it and pay for the click. It’s a good indicator of the keyword’s value.

So what do you look for?

You want to find keywords with high volume and low competition. 

Here’s how to rate these competitive metrics.

Monthly Search Volume:

  • 0-1,000: Low
  • 1,000-5,000: Low/Medium
  • 5,000-20,000: Medium
  • 20,000-100,000: High
  • 100,000+: Very High

Keyword Difficulty:

  • 0-20: Low
  • 21-50: Medium
  • 51-75: High
  • 76+: Very High

On website, there are two main types of keywords I use to target when it comes to SEO: super high-volume/high competition and medium volume, low competition.

1. Revenue Drivers: Medium Volume, Low Competition, High CPC Keywords

The first keywords new blogs should search for are medium volume, low competition keywords.

For example, let’s take a look at my post on Webinar Software. I published this post and became #1 for this keyword within four months, bringing in $10,000+/month in affiliate revenue.

  • Target keyword: webinar software
  • Monthly search volume: 4,300
  • Keyword difficulty: 22
  • Average CPC: $25.00

4,300 is not a very high monthly search volume, but since position 1 gets over 33% of traffic, I could expect to get 1,419 visitors/month to my blog for position one on this term.

Plus, with a low keyword difficulty of 22, this term should be relatively easy to rank for (in fact, I got to page 1 just a few days after publishing the blog post).

Finally, with an average CPC of $25, it is a valuable, high-intent search term.

One quick side note on keyword search volume:

While the keyword webinar software gets 4,300 searches per month, there are thousands of potential variations of this keyword – for example, best webinar software, webinar tools, webinar platforms, etc. This post can rank for all of these variations, too, so I typically double or even triple my volume estimates based on the main target keyword.

Pro Tip:

Using Ahrefs Also Rank for Report, you can view keywords that the top-ranking pages for your target keyword also rank for in the top 100 search results. This allows you to find less obvious keywords that you can also include in your post’s copy and subheadings.

The key to finding relevant keywords from this report to use for your blog is to search with more specific queries. For example, instead of “cooking,” use “vegan recipes.” Or “email marketing services” instead of “marketing.”

How to find this type of keyword for your blog:

Use a tool like Ahrefs and filter the results. Set the monthly search volume filter to a minimum of 1,000 and the Keyword Difficulty filter to a maximum of 10.

What these keywords are good for:

These keywords should make up the bulk of your posts and be the main revenue-drivers for your blog. The key is to find a good amount of long-tail keywords with medium volume and low competition in your niche. If these keywords are preceded by terms like “how to” and “best,” you’re well on your way to finding a profitable niche and solving a pain point.

2. Blog Builders: Super High-Volume/High Competition Keywords

The second type of keywords that I target are super high-volume terms that aren’t as easy to monetize but can bring in a lot of traffic.

For example, take my post How to Make Money Online.

  • Target keyword: how to make money online
  • Monthly search volume: 103,000
  • Keyword difficulty: 55
  • Average CPC: $2.00

First, this keyword has a 25x higher volume than webinar software. With high volume and all of the potential keyword variations, ranking in the top 5 positions for this term could bring in 30-65,000 visitors/month.

However, this keyword also has a lower search intent than webinar software. With the keyword webinar software, we know what the searcher wants.

With how to make money online, this user could be interested in anything from starting an online business to podcasting or coupon clipping – we just don’t know.

So that’s why it’s average CPC is only $2.00 – it’s vaguer and harder to monetize.

How to find this type of keyword for your blog:

Use a tool like Ahrefs and filter the results. Set the monthly search volume filter to a minimum of 20,000 and the Keyword Difficulty filter to a maximum of 75.

What these keywords are good for:

These keywords should make up 5-10 pillar blog posts that you put a lot of time and effort into. While these high volume keywords won’t generate immediate revenue, they bring in a ton of traffic to your blog and can increase the size of your email list.

3. Summing Up Keyword Research

A blog needs a mix of both super high-volume/high competition and medium volume, low competition keywords.

Here are some of the tools you can use for your keyword research:

Wrapping Up Picking Your Niche.

After doing your keyword research, discovering a lucrative audience and niche, and planning how to leverage your professional connections, it’s time to get to work.

The niche selection section above is longer than most other guides on how to start a blog because early planning is one of the most important keys to blogging success.

Let’s start planning your new blog.

2. Write Down Your Blog’s Goals.

Everyone knows the famous quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

This is true when starting a new blog.

After choosing your niche, you need a way to keep track of everything — not just your to-dos and content ideas, but also your goals, ideas, and motivations.

The key during this stage is not to overcomplicate things.

When I was starting this blog, I kept track of everything in one simple document.

Your Blog’s Goals.

It’s time to think big and write down what you want to accomplish with your blog in the short and long term. These should be SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Here are a few examples from my document when I started planning my blog:

  • Write and publish my first five blog posts of 2,000+ words by January 20
  • Complete my About Me page by January 25
  • Publish five guest posts by February 1
  • Get 1,000 blog site visitors/month by February 15
  • Get 250 people in my email list by February 15
  • Obtain 100 backlinks by March 1

As you can see, these are all short term attainable goals with clear due dates.

Your Blog’s Profile.

You need a place to keep track of your random ideas and unique selling points to hone in on your messaging over time.

Sections here may include:

  • Your unique value proposition – AKA your one in a million idea
  • Your blog’s headline and sub-headline
  • What is the problem you solve?
  • Your blog’s “elevator pitch” – in 1-2 sentences, how would you easily explain your blog to a stranger?
  • Your ideal customer personas
  • What are the main categories for your blog?
  • Future content ideas with target keywords and search volume

That’s it.

The key is to make this a living document and update however you see fit.

To plan a blog, set some simple goals, and write things down to better hone in on your blog’s message, and understand who your audience is. Remember, when learning how to start a blog, you need to plan your niche and goals like a business from day one.

Let’s move onto the next step in setting up your website.

3. How to Pick a Domain Name.

In the past, I took way too much time on this step. I scoured GoDaddy for weeks trying to find the perfect catchy, niche-specific, short, memorable dot com domain.

While this step is important, it’s probably not as important as you think.

In the past, it was possible to get exact-match keyword domain names like cuttingboards.com to help your search rankings. Today, it’s much more difficult.

While common advice is to “niche down” and choose an ultra-specific name, I recommend you choose a website name that’s broad enough to allow you to pivot if necessary.

If your focus is too narrow and suddenly you lose passion for your niche or run out of topic ideas, you’re stuck with your new domain. However, if you broaden your focus a little bit, you can expand your content and have enough fluidity to maintain consistency, avoid quitting, and better promote your website for the long haul.

In the past, I tried starting online businesses and chose ultra-specific names. When I didn’t see immediate success, I got discouraged and thought, “Well, maybe this niche isn’t for me. I should quit and try something else.”

Here’s what you could do instead: choose a broader name and worry about being specific in your posts and pages.

Here are some other things you need to consider before picking a name for your website.

1. The Price of the Domain.

You have to buy your blog’s domain name from a domain registrar company. It should cost you roughly $10/year. If you get started with Bluehost web hosting, you get a free domain name for the first year.

2. Your Personal Name as a Domain Name?

Many people prefer to use their names for their blogs (like yours truly here). Personal domains are more flexible than the ones based on any particular niche. Many times, bloggers need to change the name of their blog according to the changing scenario of their blogging niche.

However, if your name is your domain, then there is no need to change it when you want to add more verticals to your niche.

3. Domain Extensions.

Domains come with different extensions – .com, .us, .guru, .sport, .com, etc.

.us stands for the United States, .guru is used for coaching blogs, and .sport is used for sports blogs.

However, .com is the top-level domain that’s more inclusive and mostly favored by search engines.

Here’s how internet users perceive some of the top-level domains in terms of trustworthiness, on a scale of 1 – 5:

Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Domain Name:

  1. Your name should not be too difficult and complex to type. It should also be memorable and aligned with your brand. That’s why a dot com extensions are an excellent option.
  2. Don’t confuse people with difficult spelling, so keep the name easy to spell and pronounce.
  3. Avoid using numbers and hyphens in your domain as it can confuse people.
  4. Try to incorporate a keyword that best represents your blog, if possible. It’s not as important to have a keyword in your blog name for SEO, but it might help people identify your blog’s niche right away. 

Check out the tools mentioned in this article to generate your own domain – 27 Best Name Generators.

If your preferred name isn’t available, most of the tools mentioned in the article above will provide alternate suggestions.

4. How to Choose a Blog Hosting Provider

Every website needs a web host to store their site on a server so that people can access it online. Without a hosting account, your blog won’t be visible on the internet.

The performance of your blog relies heavily on your provider, so you should choose the best web hosting you can. A good hosting platform keeps your site up and running without interruption, provides security, and integrates with WordPress.

You should choose a host that is reliable and comes at an affordable price. 

At this stage, your best option is a simple shared hosting plan. I recommend Bluehost as the easiest option when learning how to start a blog.

Plus, it has some great features:

  1. 99% server uptime
  2. High-end security measures
  3. High-speed servers
  4. An easy-to-use dashboard that comes in handy for beginners
  5. Numerous hosting options to choose from
  6. 24/7 customer support
  7. Free SSL certificate
  8. Easy cPanel dashboard
  9. 1-click WordPress Installation
  10. Recommended by WordPress as the host of choice
  11. Low introductory pricing
  12. Money-back guarantee
  13. Only costs $2.95/month (via my links on this page)

You can also head to my detailed review here: Bluehost Reviews 2020: 11 Reasons To Believe The Hype

Next, we’ll register your domain and choose a web hosting company to launch your blog.

Follow this step-by-step guide to register your own domain name along with your web hosting plan:

Step #1: Visit bluehost.com.

Click on the “Get Started” CTA button on the homepage.

Step #2: Choose Your Web Hosting Plan.

On the next page, you will see four shared hosting plans.

These plans include Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro.

While all these shared hosting plans are perfect for a new blog, I would personally recommend going for the Basic Plan.

For a step up, the Choice Plus Plan offers the Domain Privacy, which will help you protect your information and guard all your confidential details, including full name, email address, residential address, and phone number.

Step #3: Enter Your Domain Name.

So, you have already selected your name (as specified in the second step).

Select your domain name

Now, after you choose your hosting plan, you will be directed to a new page where you will be asked to enter your custom name.

If you’ve already selected your name, then you can add the information here. And if you need a new one, you get your domain name for free for the first year.

If you need more time to come up with a website name, you can always sign-up and choose your domain later.

Next, you’re prompted to create your account, which is the final step of the process.

Step #4: Enter Your Details.

Here are the “Account Information” details you need to enter to create your account.

Make sure to enter the correct details, including your first and last name, business name if applicable, country, address, etc.

Upon scrolling down, you’ll see the “Package Information” section.

It includes selecting how long do you want to opt for the plan and how much advance you are willing to pay.

It allows you to pay 12, 24, 36, or 60 months upfront and gives you better pricing for longer terms. If you are sure that you will be running your blog for a long time, then I’d say go with the “Prime 36 Month Price” to get the lowest possible monthly price. 

You can also get a low upfront payment by paying annually instead of monthly.

In the screenshot above, there’s another section called “Package Extras.”

You can uncheck Codeguard Basic and SiteLock Security. These are unnecessary and can be replicated with other free WordPress plugins.

Finally, pick your payment option. You can choose to make the payment via credit card or PayPal.

That’s all it takes to sign up!

Step #5: You have successfully registered your hosting plan.

Congratulations – you’ve set up your hosting for the first time. 

You’re now signed up with Bluehost, which means you’ve completed a vital first step in learning how to start a blog.

Let’s continue.

Step #6: Create your account and set your password.

You’re almost done. After receiving an email to confirm your account, enter your domain name and create a password for your account.

Step #7: Log in to your account.

Use the password you just set to log in to your account. You can also sign in with Google if you prefer.

And you’re all set! Now that the web hosting setup is out of the way, it’s time to move on to installing WordPress and getting into your blogging dashboard.

5. How to Install and Setup WordPress blog

After getting through the first phase of planning your blog and choosing web hosting, the next step is to choose WordPress as your blogging platform.

Your blog platform, also known as a Content Management System (CMS), is where you will be writing, customizing, and publishing your blog posts. Naturally, you are going to need something user-friendly, powerful, and affordable.

There are paid and free blogging platforms available to choose from.

Have a look at some of the top blogging platforms and their usage:

Most people run their blogs on WordPress, which is apparent from the above stats. 

WordPress also offers multiple free plugins, themes, and various ways to modify your blog.

You don’t need to have any technical coding knowledge to get started.

With most hosts, you simply use the 1-Click WordPress Installation, and you’re in your WordPress dashboard.

However, before you get started, you should know the difference between the .com and .org versions of WordPress.

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org – Which one should you choose?

Here are some of the common differences between the two:

If your eventual goal is to make money through your blog, then think no further before selecting the self-hosted WordPress.org.

A blog is an extension of your personal brand and needs to be something that you own outright. You shouldn’t rely on a subdomain or blog site like Tumblr to host your blog.

The .com version has minimal options and doesn’t allow you to tweak settings or pick a custom domain name. (Eg: yoursite.wordpress.com). If you do want to use a custom name, you would have to pay extra.

It also comes with limited monetization and analytics options. On top of that, with the .com option, you can’t upload plugins and themes from outside of WordPress.

WordPress.org, on the other hand, gives you complete freedom to download tools and themes from different platforms, customize your blog design, monetize your blogging efforts, and more.

Naturally, it’s suggested to use WordPress.org when it comes to starting a blog set up for long term success.

With Bluehost, you can install WordPress and run your own blog in a matter of minutes.

Let’s get started.

Install WordPress with the One-Click Installation Process.

Bluehost automatically one-click installs WordPress right from your hosting dashboard.

After you’re done setting up your account password, you’re prompted to pick a theme.

There are plenty of attractive free WordPress themes to choose from, including free blog themes.

However, if you want to pick your theme later, you can skip this step for now by clicking on the “Skip This Step” option at the end of the page.

From here, you’re directed to a new page where you need to click on the “Start Building” option.

Next, select what type of site you plan to create, and WordPress will help you in the process with prompts. You can also just click “I don’t need help” to go right to your dashboard.

How to Start a Blog – Welcome to wordpress

Finally, enter your “Site Title” and your “Site Description.”

From here, you are directed to a page to decide the layout of your blog. You can either create a custom home page with the page editor or simply host your recent blog posts on your homepage. 

From here, spend some time making yourself familiar with the functionalities of your new WordPress blog. Make sure to test out all the features and play around with different themes to pick the one that best suits you.

This brings us to our next step – choosing a theme.

6. How to choose WordPress Blog’s Theme.

Now that you have a WordPress account, you need to choose your WordPress theme.

A WordPress theme is a collection of templates, files, and stylesheets that dictate the appearance and design of your WordPress-powered website.

Right now, your blog might look something like this:

This is the default WordPress theme, and on the left side is your appearance customization menu that helps you customize your theme.

While this base theme isn’t the best, it can be used to get familiar with the appearance editor. 

In the theme appearance editor, you can edit:

  • Site identity – your business name, logo and other navigation items.
  • Colors – you can choose the colors for fonts, buttons, blocks, and other items.
  • Menus – you can edit the placement of your menu navigation and which pages to include.
  • Additional CSS – this is a place where you can place custom CSS instead of messing with your theme editor files.

There are some blog design principles to keep in mind. 

For example, fonts should be between 14 and 17 points, legible, and easy to read. You should also have menu navigation that looks good on mobile and desktop.

Websites with a poorly organized layout are difficult to navigate and impair your blog’s user experience.

Remember, you don’t necessarily have to spend money to install a paid theme if you find a free one you like. However, make sure it looks nice, loads quickly, and readers can access information easily.

Finally, don’t overdo the design – a blog should be highly-functional and uncomplicated.

Install A New Theme For Your Blog.

Here’s how you can install a new theme for your WordPress blog:

First, log in to your WordPress account (admin page).

You can always access your WordPress login page by going to yourdomainname.com/wp-admin.

Next, add your WordPress login credentials. 

Once logged in, your WordPress dashboard looks something like this.

Here, click on the “Appearance” option from the sidebar menu.

Next, select the “Themes” option from the “Appearance” section.

To search for the theme options WordPress offers, click the “Add New” button at the top of the page.

As you can see below, there are a ton of free themes to choose from.

You can scroll down and preview as many themes as you want before picking one for your blog.

You can also filter out the themes based on three categories: “Subject,” “Features,” and “Layout.”

Here’s what the filter option looks like:

How to Start a Blog – filter themes

Apply the filters to narrow down your options. You can then click on a thumbnail and get an instant preview of what your final blog is going to look like.

If you like a particular theme, you can click on the “Install” button.

If you don’t want to use a stock WordPress theme, there are plenty of sites like GeneratePress, StudioPress, and CSSIgniter that offer paid themes you can buy. When you buy a theme, a zip file is sent to you via email. 

To install this external theme, all that you have to do is go to “Appearance” – “Themes” and click “Add New,” upload the zip file and click install.

Congratulations, you now have a WordPress site with a new theme installed.

Let’s recap where we are so far in this how to start a blog guide.

  • You’ve selected your blog’s niche based on market factors, not passions.
  • You know your why statement and wrote down your blog’s goals.
  • You’ve chosen your blog’s name and registered it.
  • You picked your hosting plan and installed WordPress.
  • You installed your theme and have your blog’s framework ready to go.

That’s a lot of progress! We’re about halfway through this guide and the following steps will cover setting up your blog for success and starting your content creation and promotion process.

Extra Tips on Choosing the Right Theme.

  1. Read the descriptions of the various WordPress themes to get an idea about their features. This will help you get an idea of whether the theme will be compatible with your niche or not.
  2. Choose a responsive theme that works well on both desktop and mobile devices (most of them are).
  3. WordPress also allows users to give ratings to their themes – make sure to check out the reviews to get a feel for the quality of the theme.
  4. Before installing a theme, make sure to check its demo or preview to know what it’s going to look like.

You can also install a large number of WordPress themes from other popular sites, such as:

  • Themeforest.
  • StudioPress.
  • Thrive Themes.
  • Elementor.
  • Elegant Themes.
  • CSS Igniter.

Free, Premium, and Custom Themes.

There are many free blog themes available on WordPress. However, sometimes these come with limited design options.

That said, you can always start your blog with a free theme and then move on to a more personalized one after your content is up. As long as it loads fast and allows you to start publishing content, there’s no reason not just to get started and worry about your perfect design later.

Premium themes mostly come in the price range of $30 to $500. If you’re looking for a custom-developed theme, you can hire a developer and expect to pay $500-5,000 for your new blog.

Now that your theme is all set let’s move onto extending the functionality of your blog with WordPress plugins.

7. How to Install WordPress Plugins.

Since WordPress is open-source, you can customize your site in an endless amount of ways.

And this starts with WordPress plugins.

These are sets of tools that integrate with your website and extend its functionality and feature set.

WordPress offers thousands of plugins with different functions, including everything from email marketing and calendar integration to opt-in forms and SEO tools. These tools make learning how to start a blog pretty easy, as they perform a lot of cool tasks without needing any coding knowledge.

However, it’s not recommended to install hundreds of these tools on your blog as they tend to slow down your site and can conflict with each other during updates.

Which plugins should you add to your blog?

I curated a list of the 15 best ones to help you enhance your new blog (and the exact ones I use):

1. Asset CleanUp: Page Speed Booster.

This plugin allows you to remove certain elements of code that aren’t necessary to load on every page. For example, my ecommerce HTML and CSS files were loading on every blog post even though I only needed them on two pages. With this tool, you can easily select which pieces of code to keep and which to remove based on pages, posts, and other types of content.

2. Wpforms

WPForms is the most beginner-friendly WordPress contact form plugin. It comes with a drag and drop form builder to create any type of forms on your website easily.

You can use WPForms to create an affiliate sign up form and allow potential partners to send affiliate requests on your website. It integrates with popular services like Constant Contact to automatically send replies to your users.

3. Classic Editor.

I’m not a huge fan of the new Gutenberg editor and find the Classic Editor much easier to use and more error-free.

4. Easy Table of Contents.

This plugin allows you to easily add a Table of Contents into any page or post. The plugin will appear underneath your pages/posts, and you can select if every H2, H3, or any other header should be automatically added to the Table of Contents.

Tables of Contents are important for a few reasons: they keep users engaged with the page (by clicking around) and help with user experience. I often have a Table of Contents at the top of my new posts going to each section, then a “Back to Top” widget in the bottom right corner so that users can easily go back to the Table of Contents.

5. Elementor Pro.

Elementor Pro is the best WordPress landing page builder, and it’s the tool I used to create my home page and a few other pages. They have a free version of Elementor, but the Pro version takes it to the next level with much better templates.

While the new Gutenberg block editor adds a lot of built-in functionality, if you’re struggling to build pages, Elementor Pro is a good option. You can get started with Elementor Pro for $49/year.

6. Extended Widget Options.

Widgets are areas on your WordPress site that aren’t directly pages or posts. For example, sidebars, footers, and homepage sections can be considered widgets. Extended Widget Options allows you to expand the functionality of your widgets to make them more useful.

For example, I use this tool to make some of my sidebar banners sticky so that they scroll down the page with the reader.

7. GDPR Cookie Consent.

This is a plugin that can make you GDPR compliant and make sure that you provide a popup highlighting how you use cookies to readers in the EU.

8. Mammoth .docx Converter.

I use this plugin to convert documents into WordPress posts automatically. Since I get a lot of my initial first drafts written for me, I download them as a .docx file and insert them into my posts/pages with this plugin. The Mammoth .docx Converter will appear underneath your posts/pages, and it’s as simple as uploading your file and clicking “Insert into Editor.”

One small detail is that you’ll want to make sure your document’s images have both names and alt text before uploading into WordPress.

9. OptinMonster.

OptinMonster is hands down the best email opt-in plugin on the market (and 100% how you joined this list). With the ability to create exit intent, modal popups, in-content opt-ins, and more, they are the reason that my email list is growing by about 60-75 users/day.

While I use their highest tier Growth Plan, you can get started with OptinMonster for just $9/month.

10. Shortcodes Ultimate.

This plugin allows you to create simple blocks of content by adding shortcodes to your site. I primarily use this to insert buttons quickly on my affiliate pages so that readers have very clear calls-to-action. Shortcodes Ultimate will appear in your WordPress page editor as a small button at the top (much like Bold, Paragraph Spacing, etc.), and when you click into it, you select your content block. With buttons, you can preview them in the editor and choose the size, color, style, and more.

11. ShortPixel Image Optimizer.

ShortPixel compresses all of your images so that they are smaller files and your pages load faster. I’ve tested lots of different image compression tools, and ShortPixel has been the best.

12. ThirstyAffiliates.

This is one of my favorite affiliate marketing tools. ThirstyAffiliates takes your random affiliate links (full of random numbers, letter strings, etc.) and cleans them up so that they look nice.

13. WP Last Modified Info.

One factor in search engine rankings is decency of content – especially if you’re in niches with new information coming out. This plugin allows you to easily show the date on every page/post so that search engines understand when it was last modified. For example, with WordPress, it’s easy to show a date, but it will typically show the Publish Date, not the last time you edited it.

By giving search engines an easy way to pull the Modified Date, you will see this date appear in your search results, and may see a rankings boost.

14. WP Rocket.

WP Rocket is an all-in-one site speed plugin that can do everything from minifying HMTL, CSS, and JavaScript, integrate with your CDN, reduce database bloat, and more. I’ve tried other speed tools like Autoptimize and had some issues with it. WP Rocket is the best, in my opinion.

You can get started with WP Rocket for $49/year.

15. Yoast SEO.

Yoast doesn’t need an introduction. If you’re not using it, then you’re missing out on a lot of great free features. I use Yoast to manage my sitemap, robots.txt, page titles/meta descriptions, and other add-ons.

Now that we covered the best plugins to install for your blog let’s move onto some unique settings to pay attention to.

8. How to Set Up Website SEO and Google analytics.

A very important ranking factor is the URLs of your blog posts and pages. 

When you add a new page or post, you see the page editor and can choose the URL after dot com. Check out the link below:

This text after the .com is what a permalink looks like.

Permalinks are static hyperlinks that will lead your audience to a specific web page.

By default, your permalink is set to “yourdomainname.com/postID.”

This not only looks unattractive but isn’t the best from an SEO standpoint.

Before you start writing content for your blog, make sure to set a specific permalink structure.

From your WordPress dashboard, go to “Setting” —> “Permalinks.”

You can choose from a couple of options. Most high-ranking blogs follow the “Post name” or “Custom” structures below.

The main thing to know is that every post or page should focus on one target keyword, which should be in the area right after the dot com.

For blog posts, this permanent URL is the only thing that needs to remain unchanged. You can change a page or post’s title, meta description, content, and headings, but the URL needs to stay the same. 

This is because if you get inbound links to this URL, changing it would result in a 404 error and losing that link value. 

Finally, make sure to save the settings before exiting the page.

Also, make sure you set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These two tools are 100% necessary to index your blog and monitor your traffic. These can both be easily integrated with the Yoast plugin.

We’ve made a ton of progress so far in this guide.

You’ve learned all the technical set up of how to start a blog and have a functioning site inside of WordPress.

Now, it’s time to start creating content for your blog.

Ready to create your blog? Let’s do this! Get started for $2.95/month and get 63% off your hosting plan.

Try Bluehost

9. Create Informatics Content for Blog.

After completing the framework of your blog, it’s time to start writing your blog posts.

While you don’t have to be a professional writer to learn how to start a blog, it’s important to understand basic sentence structure and proper grammar. You also want to make sure that you know how to write for the web. For example, short paragraphs, bullet points, and images help break up long, monotonous blocks of text and keep readers engaged.

Check out my guide to the best grammar checkers to use with your blog this year. 

Remember, this content creation process all begins with the keyword research we did above. 

How to Add Keywords into Your Blog Posts.

Each blog post should focus on one main target keyword, and here’s where it should be included:

  • Put the keyword in your blog’s permanent URL.
  • Include the keyword in the title of your post.
  • Add your keyword to the first or second paragraph.
  • Include the keyword inside of your headings.
  • Add the keyword throughout your paragraph text. A good rule of thumb is to use a 1% keyword density so that your keyword is included once for every 100 words. If your blog post is really long, this may be too many times. Use your best judgment and don’t keyword stuff.
  • Add it to your meta description (optional).

Once you have a list of the top 5-10 keywords (topics) you want to cover, it’s time to start writing.

Remember, in addition to text, blog posts that have audio, video, photos, infographics, and other types of visual content perform the best and keep readers engaged.

It’s also essential to write content that answers a reader’s search intent and compels them to take action on your blog.

Writing Blog Posts that Match Search Intent.

When planning your content strategy, think about what your reader actually wants when they are performing an online search for your target keyword. 

For example, let’s say your target keyword is “How to Get Rid of Pimples.”

When you search for this term, you’ll see that a lot of blog posts feature titles including extra terms like Fast, Overnight, Quickly, and Home Remedies. 

This shows that most people that want to get rid of pimples want them gone as quickly and discreetly as possible. And Google’s PageRank is pushing these articles to the top. 

What does this mean for your content strategy? 

You should get right to the point and offer a list of the best ways to get rid of pimples fast. 

Don’t write a long post about “The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rid of Pimples.” And don’t start your post with the heading “What Are Pimples?” like many SEOs did in the past.

Instead, match search intent and provide the solution your readers are actually looking for by understanding the meaning behind their search.

This is accomplished by looking at which extra terms are included in currently ranking content’s title tags. 

Now that we’ve covered where to include your keywords and how to match search intent, let’s go over some extra tips before you start writing.

More Tips On Content Writing.

  • Your blog posts should always provide value to your readers. Write with a clear beginning, middle, and end outline structure. Even the most mundane of topics can be made interesting if you understand story arcs and hero’s journeys.
  • Present your blog content attractively and make it easily accessible to the readers. Make sure both textual and visual content in the blog are high-quality.
  • Never make your content too commercially focused as it irritates readers. Blogs loaded with too many ads looks unattractive to most people.
  • Format your headings correctly with H2 and H3 tags, and use bulleted lists and images to break up long lines of text. No paragraph should be longer than 3-4 sentences.
  • Make your blog post conversational to build a connection with your audience.
  • Use 14-17 point fonts and make sure there is enough white space to keep your blog posts easy on the eyes.
  • Add bullet points to help readers skim down the blog without missing anything critical.
  • Double-check for typos and grammatical errors. I personally love using Grammarly for this.

When you’re learning how to start a blog, there are a ton of different content strategies, but this guide just covered the basics. 

It’s Time to Write Your First Blog Post.

Here’s how to write your first blog post inside of WordPress:

Click on “Posts” in the left sidebar from your WordPress dashboard.

Now, select the “Add New” button:

Next, you will head to the editor, where you can start writing your first blog post.

While crafting your blog post, make sure to keep the above tips in mind.

The WordPress Editor works a lot like Microsoft Word and lets you do the following:

  • Align text left, center, and right.
  • Make text bold or italic.
  • Highlight text and add links to them. You should also go to your link settings and make any external links open in a new tab – that will keep readers on your blog.
  • Add and align images. On most blogs, images should be JPEGs no longer than 800 pixels wide. Any wider and your image file size will slow down your loading times.
  • Add categories and tags to posts.
  • When you click Save Draft, your blog post will be saved, but not yet published.
  • When you click Publish, your blog post will officially be published and appear on your blog archive page.

Make sure to download and install the Yoast plugin too. This allows you to punch in your target keyword and get recommendations on what to do for SEO.

In Yoast, there are four important sections to add:

  • Title
  • Slug
  • Meta Description
  • Focus Keyword

Yoast helps you access real-time feedback on how your blog post might perform in terms of organic traffic for a particular keyword.

Try to achieve as many green signals as possible. Once you hit 80% green light, it means you’re good to go, and your blog is likely to perform better when it comes to SEO.

You can even “Preview” your blog post before publishing it.

If you’re happy with the way your blog post turned out, go ahead and click the Publish button to officially publish it.

Make sure to go to your blog post URL and double-check to make sure the formatting and content look great. Also, make sure that there are no typos or grammatical errors.

Once you’re finished with your first blog post, you can go to Google Search Console, enter the new URL, and submit it so that it can be indexed.

Congrats, you just published your first blog post!

Next, we’re going to discuss the other important pages that blogs should have, including a Home Page, About Page, and Contact Page.

Create Your Pre-Launch Pages.

Pre-launch content includes the content for static pages of your blog, such as the Home Page, About Us, Contact, and more. The nice thing is that the WordPress Page Editor looks and acts almost exactly the same as the Post Editor.

The only major difference is that pages don’t have blog post categories and tags.

Before launching a blog, you should have a few pages in your blog’s top menu navigation so that readers quickly understand what your blog is about and where to find important information.

1. Home Page.

We all know what a home page is – it’s the main URL of your website. 

This page shouldn’t include every little detail about your site – its purpose is to sell your unique value proposition in two seconds or less. 

If a reader hits your home page and doesn’t quickly understand what your site is about, they may bounce and never return.

A WordPress home page can be edited with a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) page builder like the free Elementor plugin. This tool allows you to drag-and-drop content blocks, including text, images, videos, color blocks, and more.

If you’re just learning how to start a blog, keep in mind that a good home page should contain:

  • A slider or hero image with a headline and subheadline. 
  • A small section to tell readers more about what your blog is about.
  • The main call-to-action button taking readers to an important page, post, or email opt-in form.
  • Internal links pointing to your important content to make it easy for readers to navigate around your site.

There aren’t any rules for home pages, so get acclimated with your landing page builder plugin and have fun with it. 

2. About Page.

The About Page of your blog should cover everything about you – who you are, what you stand for, and what your blog is about.

This section will help you connect with your readers on a deeper level, so don’t hold back.

Make sure to cover the following in your “About” Page:

  1. Who you are.
  2. What made you decide to start your blog.
  3. Your expertise or background to build trust with your readers.
  4. The pain point you’re solving and how you’ve dealt with the same struggles as your audience.
  5. Your success story.
  6. A call-to-action.

When someone visits your site and really likes your content, they are likely to head to your About Page to know more about you. 

People don’t necessarily want to read about all of your recent professional accomplishments.

This isn’t the time to brag about yourself, but to allow people to understand who you truly are. 

You can check out my About Page here.

And make sure to research other About Pages from blogs in your niche to get ideas and inspiration. While this is often an overlooked page and doesn’t generate direct revenue, it builds credibility and helps you connect with your audience.

Next, let’s move onto the Contact Page.

3. The Contact Page.

This page is all about sharing contact details with your blog visitors so they can reach you. You can share an email address, phone number, social media links, and a contact form on this page. Only include what you’re comfortable providing to the general public. 

4. Widgets – Sidebars, Footers, and Blocks.

These aren’t pages. However, your sidebar is a column that can appear on the right or the left side of your blog posts and pages. The sidebar is used to show blog categories, recent posts, ads, opt-in forms, and anything you want all of your readers to see.

This is considered a WordPress widget – and you can find these in your dashboard under Appearance – Widgets. The way I describe widgets is any place on your website that isn’t directly within page or post content.

So, for example, your footer is a widget. Your blog sidebar is a widget. Even sections on your home page may be widgets. These are easy to edit and similar to the main page and post editors, just in a different location in your WordPress dashboard.

We’ve covered a tremendous amount in this guide so far.

You’ve grasped a lot of concepts on how to start a blog and your posts and pages are published and ready to go. Congrats!

Now that we have a good understanding of these principles, it’s time to create a long term content plan. 

10. Create a Long Term Content Strategy.

Once you’ve published your first post, your work isn’t done. In fact, it’s just beginning.

Most blog posts take months to rank on Google and perform well only after making consistent updates. 

Here is the strategy I use to scale my content creation, get my posts to rank over time, and start generating revenue: 

  1. I perform keyword research for the high-volume keyword I wanted to rank for.
  2. Next, I create an outline of the post and send it to my content writer. I also make sure to tell my writer how long the post should be based on competitor research.
  3. Once my article’s first draft is complete, I edit and publish it right away. Don’t hesitate here – it takes time to get traffic to new posts anyway.
  4. After performing some link building efforts I outline in this guide below and the article begins to rank on the first 3-5 pages of search results, I update the content by increasing its length and improving its quality. This is done by adding semantic keywords related to my main keyword.
  5. Once the article ranks in the top 2-3 pages of search results, I join any applicable affiliate programs and add my affiliate links.
  6. Next, to maintain my organic rankings, I update the content regularly and continue to generate inbound backlinks.
  7. Finally, once the article gets to the first page and starts generating affiliate revenue for brands, I reached out to individual Affiliate Managers to see if I can get a commission increase.

This is a great way to plan your long term content strategy and publish more blog posts in less time.

With this strategy, you’ll start to see your blog posts rank higher, and generate more traffic and revenue.

But simply writing great content isn’t enough.

It’s imperative to have both a strong content strategy, as well as a great outreach strategy to build relationships.

Here are some other things to think about when formulating your long-term content strategy:

1. Remember to Solve Your Audience’s Problems and Provide Value.

Your blog must solve your audience’s pain point. Whether it’s by sending helpful guides to an email list or writing affiliate product reviews, you need to tap into the problems your audiences face – and the keywords they search for.

It bears repeating – you have to understand your audience and then create content to solve their problems.

For example, if your audience primarily consists of podcasters, you should provide content around the best podcast hosting, equipment, and sound recording techniques to be successful.

2. Optimize Your Content.

Ranking in organic search takes time, so don’t be scared to hit the publish button and come back to edit your post later.

I typically publish an article and submit it to Google Search Console.

Next, I’ll go back a week later and add semantic keywords with a tool like MarketMuse or ClearScope. These tools help you understand the keywords that search engine crawlers expect to see on a page.

For example, if your article is titled The 15 Best Beaches in Southern California, search engines expect to scan the page and see contextually relevant keywords like ocean, sand, hotel, surfing, etc.

While these aren’t the target keywords people are searching for, they are semantically related to your main topic and help you rank.

It’s also a great idea to add long-tail keywords.

Use a tool like the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer to find related keywords that are close variations of your target keyword. These should be used in your headings.

For example, if your main keyword is email marketing, other H2 headings that could work in the article might be:

  • What Are the Benefits of Email Marketing?
  • Email Marketing Tips.
  • How to Use Email Marketing Software.

By targeting one main keyword and close variations, you begin to rank for hundreds, if not thousands of close variations.

No one searches the exact same thing – so you should understand which variations have the highest monthly search volume.

Additionally, these long-tail keywords don’t pose as much competition as their shorter counterparts.

To find appropriate long-tail keywords for free, you can use the Google Keyword Planner.

Let’s assume you want to write a blog on content marketing. Now to find long-tail keywords related to your topic, go to the Keyword Planner.

Type in “content marketing,” and then you’ll get your keyword ideas.

Google Keyword Planner : Long-tail keywords search

Make sure to look for the keywords that are not only most in-demand but also relevant to your topic and have good volume.

Here’s a detailed guide on how to use Google Keyword Planner to help you get maximum traffic.

3. Tips to Schedule Your Blog Posts.

If you’re planning a long term content calendar, maintaining a consistent schedule is important. You need to keep up with a posting frequency and stick to it.

For example, if you’re planning to post one new article per week, make sure you check your content calendar and follow through.

You should create a roadmap for the entire week or even a few months, depending on your writing frequency. Working backward from there can help you decide which article you need to publish and when. It also helps you avoid missing your deadlines.

You can keep track of this inside of a simple spreadsheet with columns for your future posts, including:

  • Target keyword.
  • Blog post title.
  • Monthly search volume.
  • Word count.
  • Priority.

4. Understand the Competitor Landscape.

With so many blogs out there, any field you choose will be full of competitors. But you can turn that to your advantage.

For example, let’s suppose you run a travel blog. Naturally, the audience of some other travel blog in your vertical is your potential audience as well.

So, you can analyze the type of content your competitors are sharing and the ways they are using to increase their outreach. After analyzing their entire strategy, you can also adopt some of the things you find useful.

Many sites let you see the type of posts your competitors are sharing – and their competitive metrics.

A great example is SimilarWeb.

SimilarWeb lets you search for and understand the type of content the audience wants the most and their competitors publish.

But it doesn’t mean that you emulate your competitors blindly.

Instead, spend time answering the following questions:

  • What are the gaps that your competitors failed to address?
  • How long is their content, and can you make it longer?
  • How many inbound links go to the article?
  • Do they have interactive media in their posts like videos or infographics?
  • What is their Domain Rating?
  • Is their post formatted properly?

With these questions answered, you begin to understand what it will take to outrank the competition.

Gap Identification.

We’ve seen how to identify the topics that interest your audience. But what about the gaps? What about the issues that the audience wants to read about, but there’s no content?

You could log in to a Q&A website like Reddit or Quora, where you can see the exact questions that people are asking.

Better yet, use a tool like Ahrefs to view competitor traffic data. You can see which keywords you rank for, which ones competitors rank for (and you don’t), and where there is overlap.

This gap analysis gives you good keywords to target for future posts.

5. Analyzing Your Content’s Traffic Metrics.

You absolutely need to use analytics tools to analyze your content’s performance.

Tools like Google Analytics and Ahrefs do this well. Since Google Analytics should already be installed on your blog, you can go to your GA dashboard to view metrics like site visitors, average time on page, total page views, and tons of other interesting stats. You can view traffic to individual blog posts over any time period and compare it to previous periods to see if your traffic is increasing or decreasing.

Additionally, Ahrefs is the best SEO tool to track your blog post’s rankings and inbound links. You can view the individual keywords you’re ranking for and what position you’re in, which sites are linking to you, and a lot more.

Overall, creating the right content strategy isn’t an easy task.

It includes research, writing, self-promotion, building relationships, and analyzing data.

But when you get it right, and your traffic starts pouring in, it’s well worth it.

11. Perform Guest Blogging and Create High Quality Content

Guest blogging is one of the best ways to promote your blog. Blogs have been saying that guest posting is dead for the last seven years, but it shows no signs of slowing down.

It’s a great way to build authority in your niche, meet other bloggers, founders, and content teams, get backlinks and create lasting relationships.

And link building is another fantastic way to build Domain Authority (DA) and increase your rankings.

This is a hustle and a grind that includes a ton of email outreach.

Here are some of the necessary steps to perform ongoing guest post outreach and link building:

1. Finding Guest Posting Opportunities.

Don’t think about the benefits you’ll get first – it’s important to stress that you have to provide value to others.

As a successful blogger, I get hundreds of outreach emails every week asking to guest post on my blog.

The ones that stand out to me are the ones from sites that are providing value to me in return – whether it be a backlink from a separate guest post, a social share, or podcast interview, blogging is a 1:1 exchange.

Your outreach emails need to highlight how you can provide value to the other site.

To get started, you first need to research which sites to reach out to, and who to reach out to.

You can leverage the following sites and networks to connect with bloggers in your niche and find appropriate resources for guest post outreach and link-building:

Make sure to use a tool like Moz Link Explorer to check the backlink profile and Domain Authority of the websites first. The higher the DA, the higher the backlink value.

You can also search for something like “high Domain Authority [niche] sites accepting guest posts.” That will provide a bunch of list articles with good ideas for outreach.

Some websites even have a separate guest posting outreach page containing the guidelines as well as the email address to reach them.

Here’s an example:

Most websites will eventually get back to you, so wait a few days before you start pursuing them again.

Once you have a list of sites, you can look them up on LinkedIn or on their contact page. Then use a tool like Hunter.io to obtain their email addresses.

2. Planning Your Guest Post Content.

What should be the topic of your guest posts? Naturally, it should be relevant to your niche and something similar to what you post on your blog. It should also not yet exist on the other site’s blog and have a decent search volume.

Make sure to check out any editorial guidelines for the guest posting site and follow them closely.

Consider essential things like:

  • What level of target audience do they have (beginner or advanced)?
  • The type of target audience. For example, is the audience B2B or B2C?
  • How long should the article be?
  • What’s the type of content they’re looking for? Do they usually post listicles, tutorials, or how-to guides?

Just like with your own blog posts, make sure to offer value and try to pique the interest of the readers. Most blogs that accept guest posts can also provide content guidelines so that you know the exact format and length required. 

3. Pitching Your Guest Post Idea.

If a site’s interested in a guest post from you, you’ll typically have to pitch them a few blog post ideas. Again, these should be based on competitive metrics and keyword research.

This process can be time-consuming, but high-quality sites know the difference between a good pitch and a bad one.

Look for topics that their audience will enjoy and don’t yet exist on their site yet. Bonus points if you do research and find topics with high search volume and that their competitors rank for. 

4. Writing the Guest Post.

Once your topic is approved and you receive the green light to start writing, keep these things in mind:

  1. Use Google Docs and format your posts properly.
  2. Follow the editorial guidelines closely.
  3. Use target keywords for SEO.
  4. Avoid grammatical mistakes.
  5. Add links to your website in the content and guest author bio.
  6. Include images if necessary. 
  7. Submit the post in a timely manner – most blogs expect a completed post within 2-3 weeks.

Remember, in your overall content strategy, keyword-focused, SEO-optimized blog posts aren’t enough. You also need high-quality links to your content from reputable sites in the form of guest posts. 

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