How to Start a Personal Blog – Beginners Guide

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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 a successful personal blog and turn it 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 mostly written in the first-person point of view which makes them more intimate, and personal, and allow the author to freely express themselves. Most of the topics are focused on the blogger’s personal experience, interests, and hobbies.

It can be anything from teaching, daily life and experience, interest, hobbies, and just about 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

To give you an idea of what a personal blog is, here are some good examples.

Mr. Money Mustache 

Mr Money Mustache

Peter Jonathan Adeney and his former wife were both 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 dream life. How you can live a lifestyle that costs less and still live happily.

The blog is monetized through affiliate marketing and sponsorship deals.

My Wife Quit Her Job

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 back 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 HuffingPost, Forbes, The New York Times, etc. His blog, My Wife Quit Her Job discusses topics on how to start an online store and have more time with your loved ones.

Chris Guillebeau

The Art of Non-conformity

Since 2008, Chris started his blog primarily to write about his journey traveling 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 out of 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 does it cost to start a personal blog? And how can you become a personal 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 actual process.

Choose a Blog Topic

There is no big deal in choosing your blog topic, you can write about things that interest you. You don’t have to go too technical trying to come up with 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 is mostly about you and the people who share the same ideas, interests, or beliefs.

If you have many ideas going on 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 talking about. 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. As you write daily and read other interesting blogs in your niche, you will improve your knowledge and writing skills.

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.

Many bloggers have learned to write personal blogs on platforms like Medium, Quora, Linkedin, and Tumblr

You can write on medium, build an audience, and even earn a side income through the Medium partnership program. The advantage you have for writing on the 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, you need to consider a self-hosted option like WordPress.org.

Why 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 big 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’ll need to 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 on the internet.

There are thousands of options, 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 and has more than 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 WordPress is installed on your host, the next thing is to find the best WordPress theme for a personal website. 

You may be wondering which is the best WordPress theme for a personal blog.

The answer is never an easy one – there are lots of 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, are SEO optimized, and are responsive. 

In a nutshell, you need these qualities in a good WordPress theme:

  • Fast and mobile responsiveness
  • Lightweight
  • Regular updates
  • Supports
  • 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

Astra WordPress Themes

Astra is the top choice for starting a personal blog today. There is a reason for that…it gives you lots of customization options, comes with starter templates, and it’s very lightweight.

The good part is that the free Astra WordPress theme is suitable for every beginner’s blog needs. If you’re just starting with a personal website, go for Astra’s free theme. When you begin to earn from your blog, you can decide to upgrade to a Pro plan.

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
  • Add-on plugins 
  • Global settings
  • Hooks 
  • Support for AMP
  • And more…

Divi

Divi Elegant Themes

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 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

There are some plugins you’ll need to install 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:

Start Writing Content

Now that your blog is all set up, it’s time to start publishing content. 

The main reason people visit a blog is to consume information for a purpose. It could be for entertainment, education, solving a problem, 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 to include it. 

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 need to 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 that keyword research is a difficult process, in reality, the opposite is the case. 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 is working in search results is another. 

After picking your seed keyword, head over to Google and do these things:

  • Do a 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 doing much work, check out one of these ai copywriting tools. 

All you have to do is 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 the speed of writing by 1,000%. I have experienced this on several occasions that I now write all blog posts in Google Docs.

Unlike WordPress editors which are prone to lagging, Google docs create a smooth and fast writing experience with no side distractions. 

Google docs work with many of your writing tools like Grammarly, Surfer SEO, Semrush on-page SEO addon, etc…so you can write SEO-optimized content free of grammatical errors.

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 as a whole 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 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 another.

For the sake of this tutorial, let’s explore a few options. 

Sponsored Post

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 value, traffic, audience, and SEO value.

There are no set prices, it depends on a variety of factors and most are about your blog reputation.

Google Adsense

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 more than 70,000 page views per month, Adsense is a good way to make money with a personal website.

Affiliate Marketing

What you need to make money with affiliate marketing on a personal blog is a loyal community. 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 that 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 have to keep pushing to be the super affiliates.

Products Sell

Selling your products can be daunting, and difficult in the beginning but it’s not as you might think. What you need to do is to find a group of people you’re 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 at growing your blog to full-time income shortly, then you must commit to a regular blogging schedule at least twice per week. This is ideal to keep readers coming back to your blog, and for SEO purposes.

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’re free to blog anytime and from anywhere you wish. It’s up to you to decide what you do with your blog.

Conclusion…

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 personal website that supports your business, a good place to start is this article.

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