The internet is a world of its own; there is space for anyone to start a business, build a community, teach, and even share personal stories.
However, starting a business may not be for everyone, and teaching is not everyone’s cup of tea, but every human does have a story to tell.
If you’re more interested in sharing personal opinions, interests, or expertise but don’t know how to blog, I will show you how to start a personal blog in this guide.
You will learn everything you need to create and turn a successful personal blog into a business.
So you can make a personal blog that will extend your voice to reach more people, build followings, give value, and improve yourself.
The good thing is that your audience is readily available. About 62.5% of the world’s population are Internet users.
This figure suggests there is no lack of audience if you can tell a good story, build a valuable blog, and be consistent.
The problem is not who will read your content but how you write a personal blog that builds an audience. Before I answer this question and more, let’s define what a personal blog is.
What is a Personal Blog?
Personal blogs are primarily written in the first-person point of view, which makes them more intimate and personal, and allow the author to express themselves freely.
Most topics focus on the blogger’s personal experience, interests, and hobbies.
It can be anything from teaching, daily life and experience, interest, hobbies, and any topic.
The main characteristic of a personal blog is that the blogger or author is free to express himself in a way not possible on corporate, business blogs, or an e-commerce shop.
Examples of Personal Blogs
Here are some good examples to give you an idea of a personal blog.
Mr. Money Mustache
Peter Jonathan Adeney and his former wife were engineers and computer students in Canada and worked till early 2000.
In 2005, they both retired from corporate life and tried to live the life they wanted.
In 2011, Peter Adeney started the Mr. Money Mustache blog to teach others how to retire early and live their dreams, how you can live a lifestyle that costs less and still lives happily.
The blog is monetized through affiliate marketing and sponsorship deals.
My Wife Quit Her Job
Steve Chou has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University.
Steve and his wife started an online store in 2007 which quickly grew to replace his wife’s $100k salary in a year.
Since then, Steve has built and grown multiple online businesses that were very successful.
He has also been featured on authority sites such as HuffPost, Forbes, The New York Times, etc.
His blog, My Wife Quit Her Job, discusses how to start an online store and spend more time with your loved ones.
Since 2008, Chris started his blog primarily to write about his journey travelling the world, but it has evolved into a place where he shares original ideas and thinking.
Some of his books are best sellers, and notably, the Art of Non-Conformity has been translated into 30 different languages.
If you read Chris’ blog, you will notice a trend – most articles are born from inspiration or a new way of thinking.
How to Start a Personal Blog
Now that you’ve known what a personal website is and examples, the next question is how much it costs to start a personal blog.
And how can you become a secret blogger?
On average, it costs between $20 to $150 to create a personal blog today. It depends on the hosting features and theme you choose.
But don’t worry; I will give you a breakdown and analysis of the tools you need to create your blog. And how you can become a personal blogger…so, let’s dive into the process.
Choose a Blog Topic
Choosing your blog topic is no big deal; you can write about interesting things. You don’t have to go too technical to create a perfect blog niche.
A personal blog gives you the freedom to express yourself and talk about many things in a way you’d want.
The blog mainly concerns you and those with the same ideas, interests, or beliefs.
If you have many ideas in your head, you can write a list containing all the ideas. Then go through the list to see which one makes sense most.
From your list, narrow it down to 3 to 5 topics you’re comfortable discussing. You don’t have to know everything about your topic to start a personal website.
The basic knowledge is enough to kick-start your online journey.
You will improve your knowledge and writing skills as you write daily and read other interesting blogs in your niche.
Pick a Suitable Blogging Platform
There are a lot of options to choose from for your blogging platform. If you don’t want to spend a dime to make a personal blog, you can do so with free blogging platforms.
You can write on Medium, build an audience, and earn a side income through the Medium partnership program.
The advantage you have for writing on Medium is the audience.
On average, 170 million people visit Medium monthly. That’s a massive advantage to starting personal blogging on Medium.
However, there is always a downside to free blogging platforms. You’re never in total control of your blog, and growth is limited to the platform’s terms and conditions.
If you want to build a blog that will eventually support you financially, consider a self-hosted option like WordPress.org.
One of the advantages of a self-hosted platform is the ability to add more features and functions to your blog.
You can extend or modify the core features of your blogging platform. This brings about endless growth possibilities.
And you also have the power to choose a web host. The services that host your blog files and content.
This is a significant advantage over free blogging platforms.
But you can’t go to WordPress.org to create a blog like other free blogging platforms. That’s not how it worked.
Here you need to purchase a hosting account and register a domain name. After setting up your domain name, you must point DNS to your hosting account.
Don’t worry; we will get into all the technical details of setting up your self-hosted blog in the next section.
Choose a Web Host
You need a web host to provide the services and infrastructure that make your website visible online.
There are thousands of options, and you don’t need expensive web hosting services for a personal website, especially since you’re just starting.
Namecheap is the best web hosting services provider for personal blogs for beginners. It is the second most popular domain name registrar, with over 5 million hosted websites.
Here are some of what makes Namecheap the best affordable web hosting providers
- Free SSL certificate
- Unlimited bandwidth
- SSD storage
- Free Supersonic CDN on selected hosting plans
- Free auto backup
- Unlimited websites (Selected hosting plans)
- Cheapest hosting pricing (start at $2.18/month)
- 99% server uptime guarantee
- Optimized server performance
- Cloud storage facility on EasyWP
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- $0 30-day free trial period
I have written a step-by-step guide on how to order a hosting plan on the Namecheap website; you can read it here.
Select a Theme and Install Plugins
After installing WordPress on your host, the next thing is to find the best WordPress theme for a personal website.
You may wonder which is the best WordPress theme for a personal blog.
The answer is never easy – there are many good WordPress personal blog themes – free and paid options.
However, from experience, WordPress themes are not created equal.
Some themes are easy to customize, give you total control, is SEO optimized, and are responsive.
In a nutshell, you need these qualities in an excellent WordPress theme:
- Fast and mobile responsiveness
- Regular updates
- Endless customization possibilities
- Prebuilt websites templates or page builder
- Advanced customization capability
- Clean codes
- SEO optimized
Based on these features, here are some of the best WordPress themes for personal websites.
Astra is the top choice for starting a personal blog today.
There is a reason for that…it gives you many customization options, comes with starter templates, and is very lightweight.
The good part is that the free Astra WordPress theme suits every beginner’s blog needs. Go for Astra’s free theme if you’re starting with a personal website.
You can upgrade to a Pro plan when earning from your blog.
Here are some notable features of the Astra Pro theme
- Custom 404 page
- Unlimited websites usage
- Advanced footer builder
- Lightweight – less than 50kb
- Fast and mobile responsiveness
- Optimized for SEO
- Advanced layout builders
- Custom header builder
- Starter templates
- Addon plugins
- Global settings
- Support for AMP
- And more…
Divi is not a free WordPress theme; rather, it is a paid theme and a page builder.
If you want endless customization possibilities, you want to be unique, and you have total control over your blog design, Divi is the best WordPress theme for a personal website.
Since this is also a page builder, the drag-and-drop visual editor allows you to move elements to any position.
With Divi, you can create any blog layout without being a developer.
Here are some of Divi’s top features
- Responsive frontend editing
- Custom CSS control
- Frontend drag-and-drop page builder
- Save, manage, and reuse design
- Undo, redo, and design revision features
- Global elements and style settings
- Over 2,000 prebuilt layouts
- 200+ websites elements
- Advanced code editor
- Customized shape divider
- And more…
You can access the complete Divi features on this page.
Best WordPress Plugins for Personal Blogs
You’ll need to install some plugins on a personal WordPress blog. Most of these plugins are free; you don’t need to purchase a paid license if you don’t have to.
Though a few of these plugins are available via a paid subscription, you can manage a personal blog without them.
But their installations might help you scale faster, reduce the number of installed plugins, and accelerate your blog growth.
If you need a list to go through, here is one:
- All-in-one SEO
- Yoast SEO
- WP Rocket
- Grow by Mediavine
- Structure Data for AMP &WP
- Coschedule Headline Analyzer
Start Writing Content
Now that your blog is set up, it’s time to start publishing content.
People mainly visit a blog to consume information for a purpose. It could be entertainment, education, problem-solving, research, communication, etc.
Your content needs to serve a purpose for you and your audience. There must be a reason why you’re writing and what benefits the readers.
You need to answer these two questions before writing an article. The clearer you get, the better the content.
Your answer will give direction to your writing. How you approach the content, the research process, what to include in your content, how to include it, and where.
Regardless of what type of content you’re writing, here are some helpful tips to follow:
Perform Keyword Research
Well, it is your blog, and you’re free to write on whatever comes to mind.
But if you want to reap the reward of your one-time publishing efforts for a long time, you must start with keyword research.
You need to know what readers in your niche are searching for, how often they search, the search value, search location, search terms, etc.
The more information you can gather about your chosen topic, the better.
Bloggers often think keyword research is difficult; the opposite is true. With the right tools and knowledge, you can research the right keywords for your campaign.
Here is a helpful video from Semrush keyword research experts you can learn from.
Study the Search Results
Doing keyword research is one thing; knowing what works in search results is another.
After picking your seed keyword, head over to Google and do these things:
- Search for your primary keyword
- Analyze the search result to know what type of content Google ranks for your seed keyword – Video, blogs, forum, community, etc.
- Click to open the first 3 results
- Analyze the content
- Compare trends, structure, keywords usage, heading tags, content lengths, etc.
- Analyze the concluding part.
One of the main reasons a lot of content doesn’t rank on Google is not because of quality but because it is not the type of content Google wants to rank for the specific keyword.
You could write high-quality 4,000-word content on a particular keyword, but if what Google ranks for the keywords is videos, your content won’t bring much value.
This is why you need to study the SERP carefully before writing.
Write an Outline
Creating an outline before writing gives structure to your content. It helps you manage the writing process effectively.
And it also helps in knowing what to write even before you start.
But without research, it’s difficult to write good content outlines. This is why studying the search result is an important SEO and content strategy.
To learn more about content outlines and how they can help you create content faster and rank, read this post on the Ahrefs blog.
If you need an automated solution to write content outlines faster without much work, check out one of these ai copywriting tools.
You must enter your content topic, select the content outline template, and click generate. And boom! Your content outlines are ready within a blink…
Write in a Word document.
If you write in a Word document like Google Docs, you can increase your writing speed by 1,000%.
I have experienced this several times and now write all blog posts in Google Docs.
Unlike WordPress editors prone to lagging, Google Docs create a smooth and fast writing experience without distractions.
Create Original Images
With tools like Canva, anyone can design professional-looking images for marketing campaigns, YouTube videos, blog posts, infographics, ebook covers, social media posts, etc.
At least every post needs a featured image. You can use Canva to create your featured image.
It’s free, but if you need advanced image editing features, you need to upgrade to Canva Pro.
There are millions of stock images, thousands of prebuilt image templates, elements, advanced editing features, etc.
Use Bullets points
For many reasons, bullets points can increase readership and time on site:
- It captures the attention of readers who scan through posts
- It breaks up long walls of text and makes the content more readable
- Bullet points keep readers more engaged with the content
- Use bullet points to highlight important messages in your content.
For more helpful tips on how to use bullet points, read this detailed guide on the Copyblogger blog.
Optimized for Multiple keywords
The old way of writing SEO-optimized content is to focus on your seed keyword. But that has long been buried for more than a decade.
If you want to rank in Google today, your content must be detailed and comprehensive, cover the subjects, and include related search terms.
For example, if your focus keyword is the affiliate program for food bloggers.
You will discover that the search result will contain similar results such as “best recipes affiliate program”, cooking affiliate program, meal affiliate program, etc.
These are similar keywords. You can create a single page targeting these keywords and rank them.
You don’t need to publish different posts for each of these keywords. By search intent, the users are all looking for the same information.
How to Make Money from a Personal Blog
There are several ways to make money from a personal blog. As you grow your blog traffic, you will discover that some monetization tactics work better than others.
For the sake of this tutorial, let’s explore a few options.
If your blog attracts a huge following and traffic, sponsored posts are a great way to make money from a personal website.
Relevant brands will seek collaborations to promote their products and services on your blog. How much you charge depends on your blog, traffic, audience, and SEO value.
There are no set prices, it depends on various factors, and most are about your blog reputation.
Google Adsense is a great way to monetize a personal blog. You can earn significant income from the program.
But you need lots of traffic to earn a decent income from the Adsense program.
If your blog gets over 70,000 page views per month, Adsense is a good way to make money with a personal website.
You need a loyal community to make money with affiliate marketing on a personal blog. Readers who trust your advice and product recommendations.
You need to earn the trust and confidence of your readers. And be as open as possible, publish content that provides solutions, and promote products you genuinely believe in.
Affiliate marketing has been one of the best online business models for decades. If you approach it with the right mindset, the sky is just the beginning.
Though affiliate marketing is not easy, it takes a lot of effort and consistent publishing to make people buy your recommendation; you must keep pushing to be the super affiliates.
Selling your products can be daunting and difficult initially, but it’s not as you might think.
You need to find a group of people one step ahead in your niche, discover their main problem, and be the solution.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to attain expert status to create a product that sells. You’re always better than someone out there. Find this person, and sell your knowledge to him.
How Often Should You Post on a Personal Blog?
There are no hard or fast rules to how often you should blog on a personal blog.
It depends on your goals, busy schedule, content strategy, and resources. Also, how competent your writing skill and your knowledge of the topic.
If you aim to grow your blog to full-time income shortly, you must commit to a regular blogging schedule at least twice weekly.
This is ideal for keeping readers returning to your blog and for SEO.
It also helps to keep your blog fresh with content and helps you improve your marketing and content skills.
But this is a personal blog; you can blog anytime and anywhere. It’s up to you to decide what you do with your blog.
If you want to establish an online presence, network, and make a full-time or side income, learning how to start a personal blog can be the game changer.
It will help you in a lot of ways you can not imagine.
Blogging helps improve and brings out the best in you, and having a personal website allows you the flexibility to experiment, speak freely, and meet people-like minds and followers.
If you want to learn how to create a website that supports your business, this article is a good place to start.