In this new age of digital media, learning how to start a successful blog can turn into a full time career for the right people. If you’ve got a skill with the written word, and valuable knowledge in a niche interest area, the only thing stopping you from becoming a professional blogger is knowing how to get your blog off the ground.
That’s why today, I’m going to take you through the process of starting a blog and getting it up to 20,000 regular visitors, without the need for you to spend money on advertising, step by step.
I’m what you might call a serial blog and website creator. I’ve launched and helped build a number of successful websites.
I’m a blogging enthusiast. I’m in a number of Facebook groups, and I like to keep an eye out for projects that interest me, and where I see potential for growth.
Turning A Blog Into A Brand
The key to expanding your blog is getting traffic onto it. That sounds basic enough; more eyeballs equals more awareness. More awareness means more shares, and more shares means more opportunities to make money.
But just getting numbers isn’t enough; you need exactly the right kind of visitors. You need people who will engage with the quality content you’re writing, and want to tell others about it. In short, you need to find your audience.
We can break this process down into four basic steps.
This is the only part of the process you should spend a tiny amount of money on. Don’t use a free hosting service, it will limit what you can do with your own website. Always pay for your own domain and hosting, and choose a domain name that’s memorable, relevant to your niche or blog and snappy.
- Find quality hosting, and choose a good domain name
- Create your blog, and customise it so it looks unique.
- Create good content, with great keyword optimisation for search engines.
- Find ways to promote it without just spending money on Facebook advertising.
I realise that I may have used a few words there that people who aren’t big on computer science may not fully understand. Don’t worry. Those are just the headlines. I’ll take you through each step in basic detail, and by the end you’ll completely get it.
Lets Start learning how to start a successful blog!
We’ll use some real life examples here. Let’s say you start your website with BlueHost. That’s not me telling you should go straight to them, but I can happily I say I use them all the time and have never had a bad experience.
It’s easy to set up, it’s low cost, and it just does the exact job you need it to do for blogging purposes.
Blue Host have a plan that costs $3.95 per month. That shouldn’t break the bank, it provides you with the basic toolkit you’re going to need, and you retain the option to upgrade later and use more space and more advanced tools in the future when you feel more comfortable.
They can also migrate your existing blog if it’s currently being hosted elsewhere….more on this later.
I really recommend bluehost : It’s ideal for new bloggers, very cheap and easy to use. You’ll get great customer service and you’ll get your first domain name FREE when you join up. Click Here and take advantage of this special deal of only $3,95 a month for my readers only!
Most of Blue Host’s upgrade plans come with marketing tools. If you do decide to go with Blue Host, you might want to consider them in more detail.
I don’t feel they’re needed, and I haven’t had to use them to achieve any of my previous success. For the purposes of the method I’m telling you about, they’re not required.
Deciding on the right domain name isn’t always easy. If you have a mind for marketing, or you already have a catchy title in mind, that’s great.
If you don’t, then bluehost can help you come up with a good one. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re one hundred percent happy with it.
Search for your new domain name below and get your first one FREE!
Once you’ve chosen the name, it’s done, and you can’t go back on it later. If it’s a name that’s funny now but probably won’t be in six months, don’t use it. You want something that will work for the long term.
Your domain name is your brand. Think about how it would look and sound on merchandise. Consider how memorable it is, and how easy it is to say. People should be able to hear or read it once and remember it.
Once you’ve selected your chosen plan with Blue Host, their website will take you straight to the domain section. This is where you can transfer in your domain name quickly and easily if it already exists.
Also see the video below for a step by step walk through.
Having done that, you’ll be asked for your personal information and your payment details. So far, so good, and this process shouldn’t have presented you with any issues so far.
As with most websites of their kind, Blue Host will then present you with some immediate upgrade options. You don’t have to use any of them.
Personally I use domain privacy as I don’t like people being able to trace my blog back to my personal information or my home address, but that’s a choice for you to make.
How simple is that! Your well on your way to creating your first blog with Bluehost on a low budget without complicating things, lets keep going!
Creating And Customising Your Blog
For your next trick, you’re going to need WordPress. If you’ve never heard of it, WordPress is a very popular website creation tool. It’s free, it’s fast, and it’s easy to use even for complete beginners.
WordPress is the foundation stone of almost every popular blogging site you can think of. And if it works for them, it will work for you!
The good news is that Blue Host already know how useful WordPress is. In fact, they have a built in WordPress installer that does the job for you!
You’ll be presented with a WordPress creation screen, and asked to choose a password. Go ahead and do that, and of course pick something secure and confidential.
Once that’s done, you’ll be asked to select a theme. A ‘theme’ is actually the basic layout of your website or blog. WordPress have a vast range of templates to choose from, with different text and image locations and styles.
You should be able to find one that suits your purposes quite easily. Don’t be afraid to try a few out in the early stages; you can change your theme at any time without losing the content you’ve created.
When you’ve picked your theme, you’re almost done. On a basic level, your site is up and running. You have a domain, and a basic template, and a means of editing it.
How easy was that? Now, WordPress will help you to create the more specific aspects of your new site. You should be able to see a helpful button that says “Start Building”. Give it a click, and let it do its thing.
You’ll be taken to a page that asks you what type of site you’d like to set up. Ignore that for now, and turn your attention to the options on the left hand side. You’ll see ‘Blue Host’ as a clickable link at the top. Click on it, and then ‘home’ and then ‘launch’ as the options come up.
If you’ve done that correctly, you’ll be asked to name your blog and enter a brief description of it. This is where you enter that catchy name you thought about a little while ago! Input the details, and hit ‘Next Step’. Congratulations.
You’re now the owner of a brand new baby blog! You should be looking at the main dashboard, which gives you the option to talk to technical support, add features to your account, or just go right ahead and start blogging. All you need to do now is fill it with content, and get people to come and check it out.
Creating Content And Getting People To Come To You
Now the excitement starts!
95% of people who’ve ever started a blog have reached the point that you’re at now, written a few blog posts, realised that nobody’s reading it, and gone no further.
The tips I’m about to give you now are the ones which will ensure that you stay in that successful 5%. We’re going to look at how to create content that search engines will pick up on, and how to organically bring people to look at it without spending a penny on advertising.
Using The Right Keywords
If you do this wrong, your site will die. I just want to make that perfectly clear. “Keywords” are the things that people put into Google when they’re looking to find a website that interests them.
The mistake that the majority of writers make is that they choose a keyword that they’ll never have the pulling power to attract people to. Let’s say for example you’ve written a blog about football.
You might think the obvious keyword to use is ‘football’, because that’s what the blog’s about, after all. The problem with that is if you focus on that word alone, you’re bottom of the queue behind every other football website in the world, because you’re brand new.
You’ll also never get ahead of the world’s largest football websites. The trick to using keywords intelligently is not to focus on one, but to focus on several lesser-used ones that the other sites aren’t paying attention to.
I pride myself on always getting my blogs onto the first page of Google search results for whatever interest area I’m working in, without using the obvious words or phrases as keywords. To be precise, I look out for keywords that are used in around 300 searches every month.
Now, any one of these keywords alone won’t get me very far, but I use around five different keywords that have around this search volume in every article, sprinkled all the way through without being intrusive.
If I do it properly, the keywords within my article should be picked up on around 300 times per month by each of the five searches. That’s 1500 instances where a reader should at least see my blog when they perform their search.
A potential audience of 1500 for every blog you write, straight out of the gate, is a big number. If you’re just focusing on the obvious keywords, reaching that stage could literally take you years.
Now, let’s factor in the idea of using different keywords for different articles. For argument’s sake, I’ll say that I’ve written twenty blog posts, with five different low volume keywords used in all of them.
I now have one hundred keywords that I should be ranking high for. If there are an average three hundred people each month searching for those one hundred keywords, I should be appearing on 30,000 front page Google searches every month. And just like that, my blog is now appearing to a mass audience.
Once my blog has started to receive that kind of traffic, search engines will naturally pick up on it and rank it higher anyway, so now I do start appearing in searches for the more obvious keywords. I’m exactly where I wanted to be, without ever targeting the popular keywords.
How To Find Keywords
If you’ve never done this before, it might sound a bit daunting, but it really isn’t. All you need to do is search for “Google Keyword Planner”, and clicking on the first link that comes up.
When you log on, you’ll be asked to enter a keyword. Enter “football” and you’ll see what I meant earlier. Thousands upon thousands of matches (no pun intended:-).
That means the keyword market is crowded for that word, and you’ll never break through. So think more specifically. Use something like “football news” or “football results” all depending what your targeting in the football niche/blog.
The keyword planner will now start giving you the most popular search terms associated with ‘football news’. Note how ‘world football news update’ is right in our ballpark as a perfect keyword, with the ideal search volume we're looking for per month.
That’s a phrase that people will definitely search for on a regular basis, but a low enough number for us to stand out. Therefore, I’d write an article on “world football news update”, and repeat the phrase two or three times during the article. Perfect.
Eventually, Google’s own algorithms will notice how regularly your site is found by these searches, and factor that into the way they present search results to users.
You should be able to consistently hit the first page for any keyword with three hundred or fewer searches per month from the very first article you write.
Your blog will then begin to grow organically. Unlike paid marketing – where you artificially feature high on the list and then fall away when you stop spending money, this is permanent. And it doesn’t cost anything other than time!
Comment On Other Blogs
When you first start out with your own blog, guess where most of your potential audience are? That’s right; reading and commenting on other blogs! So go and find them.
Read other people’s blogs, see what they’re writing about, leave a comment and link back to your own blog. Don’t be rude or intrusive about it, something along the lines of “Really enjoyed this, it’s a great article!
I’ve just written about <niche interest area> here on my own blog if you’re interested in reading it”. This is a slower way of attracting traffic, but it’s steady and dependable, and it works.
If you’re very polite you might even persuade the other blog owner to feature a link to your blog from theirs. Do NOT spam other people’s blogs repeatedly, or shamelessly promote your own blog without acknowledging theirs. It’s both rude and counter productive.
Knowing which blogs its worth your time to comment on is a skill in itself. That’s where Google’s search tools can help you. Once you’ve done your search and you have a list of results, go to the top of the page and click ‘tools’, and then ‘any time’.
Change that drop down to ‘past month’. You don’t want to waste your time leaving comments on blogs that are long since dead. If it’s been updated in the past month, it’s active, and it has an audience.
Here's a trick to get even more traffic: Find posts or articles that are under a week old or even a few days, you may find faster results in traffic to your website.
Visit Internet Forums Associated With Your Niche
Before you ever wanted to write a blog, you probably viewed or posted on web forums about your hobby. You could always find them with Google, but you probably already know where at least a few of them are.
Become an active poster on them. Answer people’s questions. Help people out when they need advice. Offer opinions. Write tutorials. If you give away a little of your blog content on the forums, people will naturally follow you from the forum to your own blog.
If you’re obviously only posting to promote your own blog, people will realise straight away. We’re all very savvy internet users now.
Have a link to your blog in your forum signature, mention it when relevant do to so (“I wrote about this on my blog last week!”), but don’t name drop it every other sentence. Be subtle and trust that people will find it if they buy into what you’re saying.
Oh, and make sure your username is the same as the name of your blog. Uniformity is very important when it comes to brand building!
Become A Fountain of Knowledge
If you haven’t heard of Quora, get to know it. It’s an “any question answered” website. People from all over the world go there wanting an answer to a specific question, and an expert from within the field can give them an answer.
All you need to do is go there, search for your niche interest or blog topic, and answer questions on that subject. Be friendly, be useful, and leave a link to your blog.
If you answered their question correctly and intelligently, you just became an expert. Well done! The best thing about Quora posts is they stay there forever, so if another user goes in search of the same question in future, they’ll find your answer and your blog link…a great way to get traffic to your website!
Write Guest Posts
Writing a guest post on someone else’s blog is a great way to get your name into circulation, especially if you can land a spot on a more established site. Better than that, it’s one of Google’s favourite metrics.
All you do is write the post, link back to your own site within the post, and let Google’s algorithms work their magic.
Not only should you get a traffic boost from the link within the post, but Google will pick up on your affiliation with the other site, and naturally lift your own rankings as a result.
Finding suitable candidates to write guest posts on shouldn’t be too hard. All you need to do is head back to Google, and search for your area of interest followed by the phrase “accepting guests posts”. So, if we used the football example again, you should search for “football blog accepting guest posts”.
Keeping a blog up to date all the time isn’t easy. You’ll soon come to realise this yourself, and it’ll become your turn to start accepting guests posts of your own!
But most sites welcome guest spot writers, and know exactly why you’re doing it. They’re happy to have the additional content, so it benefits everybody.
Use Social Media Intelligently
Whenever anyone says ‘social media’, we instinctively think of Facebook and Twitter. They’re the ‘big two’, and it can be easy to be suckered into thinking they’re the only two platforms you should be active on.
Facebook isn’t actually great for advertising unless you’re spending money on it. You can get excellent viewing figures by using paid adverts, but your traffic will drop away again as soon as the campaign is over, and it isn’t cheap to reach a large audience.
There isn’t really an organic way to get your brand seen on there, unless a post on your business page was shared thousands of times. You’d need to have a pre-existing audience to see it and share it for that to happen.
To build an audience of that size will take a lot of time and cost you some money for like ads to get you started. If you’re just starting out it can be very difficult.
Twitter is better if you’re able to work out the right hashtags to use. People use and click on hashtags all the time to see what other people are saying about a certain topic, so if you make the right post at the right time, it’s a good way to be seen.
Find out what hashtags other people who are active within your niche interest area are using. Pay special attention to the posts which have the most likes and re-tweets, and use them yourself.
If your brand is more visual, though, you’ll probably have better luck using Instagram and Pinterest. I have seen a keto website sharing just recipe's on Pinterest flood traffic to there website.
What they do is create an image which was a simple photo of recipe or food, with overlaid text containing the recipe, and posted it on Pinterest.
It has thousands of pins and gets 2.4 million monthly views (yes Million) and if just 5% clicked the pins to view your content that's 120,000 organic views to your blog a month all free traffic!
Of course there is a bit more to it, but if you create plenty of pins and re-pin other peoples pins in your niche you will get targeted traffic to your blog. Sharing and repining other peoples pins and creating boards with different topics of your niche will get you traffic.
Little tip here when creating boards make sure you have a “best of board” with all your pins, put it first and you'll get more views and traffic to your blog.
Collect And Grow An Email List
This is an absolutely vital step which, inexplicably, even some of the big blogs don’t bother with. Learning how to start a successful blog and growing your email list go hand in had.
When a visitor comes to your blog for the first time, you want to collect their email address so you can reach them again. You want to be able to alert them when you post new content, or when you want to make them aware of products they can buy from you.There are various programs out there which are designed to help you collect an email database, and GetResponse is one of them. It’s not free, but it does offer a thirty day trial, so there’s no harm in trying it and seeing if you like it. Plus they have very low monthly plans!
You’ll also want and need an opt in or pop up form on your blog which appears and prompts your readers to hand their email address over so Get Response can store it. There’s a plugin called Thrive Leads which will take care of this for you. It’s intuitive, and will help you create an attractive pop up which readers will respond to.
So there we have it, that’s the end of my list of tricks! Hopefully you found it easy to understand how to start a successful blog, and even easier to execute.
Anyone can start a blog, and anyone can achieve success with a blog, so long as they write well and know how to promote it effectively. If you’ve been on the fence about starting your own blog, I hope I’ve given you the little push you needed.
Don’t expect to see hundreds of thousands of visitors for the first couple of months. Even I can’t achieve that kind of result! But if you built it solidly and assuredly, the people will come. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it did stand for an eternity. Good luck!