How to Start a Blog Website | Hosting, Tools and Traffic

Blogging

For a number of years, I’ve been travelling to different cities, provinces and countries, taking photos to store memories to lookback. A lot of my friends asked me if I was planning to blog but I told them that I only travel for experience. But things have changed due to COVID-19. Most of the time, I stay at home trying to be as safe as possible for my family. Until one day, I found a video on youtube on how to earn money through blogging. Let me show you the things you need to start a blog

Starting a blog website

Starting a blogging website requires several considerations

  1. Strong will – Blogging will require passion to be able to write consistently for the next 6 months to 1 year. Looking back, it has been 8 months since the Covid 19 pandemic started before I started my blogging website.
  2. Knowledge of a certain topic – Certainly one of the toughest to think. But when an idea comes up, write it down immediately.
  3. A little bit of English – Blogging, unlike VLOGGING, requires writing. Writing in your own language may make sense if your target audience is only from your country. But if you want to reach more audience, blogging in english will reach a wider audience. Ask your friends to check grammar, punctuations and proof read your posts
  4. Intent – Monetize the blog through ads, affiliate networks, selling products and info products.
how to start a blog

Steps how to start a blog website

  1. Think of a BLOG NAME – I like writing and doesn’t want to limit myself to a particular topic so I chose “WRITE GUY”. When choosing your blog name, you can also be specific to a niche or a topic and use that instead.
  2. Check if the blog name is registered – This name will be the DOMAIN NAME. Since thewriteguy is already taken, I searched for other keywords using namemesh and it suggested thiswriteguy.com instead
    Domain names are the url you type in the address field, i.e. www.FACEBOOK.com, www.GOOGLE.com
  3. Buy hosting and domain. – I used hostinger.ph for my hosting. It is the cheapest one I found at ₱149.00 per month for 1yr for the hosting and comes with a free domain. I purchased it with a BLACKFRIDAY coupon code which further reduced the price to ₱134.10. There are other available hosting sites like a2hosting, godaddy, bluehost that provides better service at a more expensive price but for a starter, this one should work.
  4. Setup wordpress – I used wordpress to manage my contents. It is also known as Content Management System or CMS. It allows me to setup my website with flexibility with themes and plugins. There are others like squarespace or wix that you can choose if you are not too much into technical nitty gritty and just want to write and earn.
  5. Write my first blog – The first two blogs I wrote was about my recent trip to Matabungkay Beach in Lian, Batangas and about my passion in sunsets.

Some people ask whether to start blogging with paid vs free hosting. For me, since my purpose in blogging is to earn income through ads, then I choose paid hosting. It gives more flexibility and the ability to look more professional. However, if budget is a limitation when starting, you can choose to go with free hosting but know the hassle when migrating from a free to a paid website. Your search ranking will also be affected when changing URLs.

I have listed below the main advantages of paid vs free hosting.

Free Hosting

Advantages

  • Free hosting means you dont need to shell out money to start your blog
  • No need to worry about expiration of blog
  • Easy to set up

Disdvantages

  • Limited storage space for your photos
  • Limited Bandwidth and may not be able to handle high traffic
  • Shared hosting name meaning you cannot customize your domain.
  • Cannot show ads
  • Additional feature means you need to pay

Free Web Hosting Sites

Advantages

  • Customize your site based on your needs
  • Ability to show ads once approved by an ad network
  • Easily transfer from one hosting to another
  • Dedicated customer support
  • Can handle higher traffic

Disdvantages

  • You need to pay for hosting and domain name yearly.
  • Needs some technical knowhow for plugins

Paid Web Hosting Sites

Choosing your Niche

Choosing a niche is one of the first consideration when starting a website. The niche can be as broad or as specific to a certain topic. When deciding for a name of the website, you can shoose to include the niche topics which can give your website a boost when people search for a keyword in your chosen niche.

What is a niche website?

A Niche website is a portion of a large segment of a certain topic or interest. It focuses on a certain theme where the topics will be revolving around. A good niche also brings more authority and allows people to click through your website. However, Be careful when choosing a domain name related to your niche as its very difficult to diverge to an unrelated topic.

10 Examples of Niche Topics

General Niche TopicsSpecific Niche Topics
1. TravelLocal, International, Backpacking, Travel Gears, Hotel Reviews
2. FashionLocal, Trending, Brands
3. LifestyleDiet, House, Interior Design, Magazine, Gadgets
4. EntertainmentMovies, animation, series, reviews
5. ScienceWeather, scientific break through, medicine, technology
6. NewsLocal news, international, trending news
7. HobbiesGardening, photography, Blogging
8. PoliticsPoliticians, Opinions,
9. ReligionChristianity, Islam, Buddhism, Bible verses, History
10. BusinessBusiness opportunities, Investment, Insurance, Bitcoin, Currency

How to Start Writing a Blog Post?

Once you have a niche and your website has been established, now it’s time to start writing a blog. Content is the main driver for traffic in websites and providing enough information is essential to rank high. Then you ask yourself how to write and what do you need to start writing a blog.

Your blogs are your main drivers for organic traffic to your website. It allows your site to be shown to google search results. Your main goal is to be able to be shown at least on the first page of Google search and much better if you rank #1 or #2 on the search results.

Things you need to know before your start writing a blog

  1. An interesting topic – The topic must not only be interesting to you but also to a particular set of audience sharing a similar interest.
  2. Know your audience – Who are your target audience, their demographics, age, browsing habits? Your words should not only match the intended audience but should also be universal for other audience who might be interested in the topic.
  3. Seasonality – Is your blog post only for an event or is it an evergreen content? Blogs may take from a few days to a few weeks to rank. If your blog is intended for an occassion, post it a few weeks in advance. Once the event is over, expect that there will be a drastic dip in search traffic. Try to get a mix of seasonal and evergreen content.
  4. Research on keywords and the competitors – Research keywords that will generate traffic. If you’re a new website, don’t aim for highly competitive keywords. Otherwise, your post will remain at page 2 or lower and it will not generate any traffic. Instead, focus on long tail keywords, and those that answers what, where, when, why and how.
  5. Pictures – Pictures make your blog more engaging and interesting. Use your own photos rather than the generic photos from free websites. If you are using generic photos, edit it or turn it into an infographic.
  6. Resources or your experience relating to the topic – Sharing your experience will increase your authoritativeness. Otherwise, you can research or interview people who are experts on the fields such as doctor for medical field or engineers / architects for interior designs. Make sure to quote them properly if they agree to be named as reference.

Writing a Blog

  1. Use HEADINGS to seperate your topics. You can use h2, h3, h4 etc to organize your topics
  2. Your first paragraph should engage the reader so they will continue to read the blog. It should give a brief summary of the topic and must include the keyword you are aiming to rank for.
  3. Create a table of contents so people can easily jump to your topics. You can use a plugin for this.
  4. Organize your topics from general to specific
  5. Use active rather than passive voice.
  6. Use lists or bullet points when providing instructions instead of long paragraphs.
  7. Break down a paragraph to around 3-4 sentences for easy reading for mobile users.

How many words in a blog post?

A blog post must be as extensive as possible to rank high in Google. Having a 600 words blog is not enough to beat the competition and build authoritativeness. A blog post must answer the query of the person visiting the blog. A good blog post must contain at least 5 to 10 headings with 100 – 300 words per heading. 800 words is safe but 1500 – 2000 words is better.

How many blogs to publish?

If you are planning to monetize your blog, then a minimum of 30 outstanding articles is required. If each of the article is able to rank on the first page and generate at least 1,000 monthly views, then the website will generate around 30,000 views. Also, link your articles to increase the chances of people to read your other blogs which will add to the number of page views.

The more articles you publish, the better chances of getting ranked in Google and generating more organic traffic. Aim at getting more than 100k pageviews a month on your 8 month of blogging


Technical Stuff: How to start a Blog Website

  • Register a new gmail account. Dont’t mix your personal with your blogging email account as it may become a source of spam.
  • Use the new email account to register for your domain and hosting. Once you have paid for the domain, you can start to setup your website
  • Use the Gmail account for Google adsense, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Page speed insights to learn about your website’s performance.
  • Set up your content management system such as wordpress
  • Write your first blog post

Website Traffic

There are several ways on how to get people to visit your blog but your main goal should be to get organic traffic. Organic website traffic means people are going to your website from search results such as Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. Inorganic traffic on the other hand comes from actively posting your blog posts on social media sites or sharing to your friends via messaging apps or paying for ads and boosting.

Organic

  • Traffic from blog posts showing on search results
  • Based on keywords people are searching
  • Snippets or position zero of google
  • Seasonal vs evergreen content
  • Registering your website in Google maps
  • Images with Alt tags showing in Google
  • Videos showing in Google videos search
  • Paying for Google Adwords to boost your ranking (very costly)
  • Paying for Social media sites to promote your blog post (somewhat clostly)
  • Joining a facebook group and sharing your content to people with similat interest.
  • Using social media sites such as pinterest, twitter, instagram to drive traffic.
  • Answer forums or posts through reddit.
  • Putting your website to youtube videos
  • Sending links to an email list

Website Traffic Source

When the website is new, the best way to get traffic to the website is by actively promoting the website through social media. Joining interest based facebook groups and sharing relevant posts is a big help. Sharing the blog via messaging apps like messenger, whatsapp, viber, wechat etc. is also a good way to increase traffic.

Note: Some apps will flag you as spam if you send to a number of people in a short period of time and may be limited for a short period of time as penalty.

The photo shows the traffic my website received from Nov 27, 2020 to Feb 25, 2021. This is three months from the time I bought the domain and hosting and published my first content. As you can see, the main driver of traffic to my website is now through search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo and even the chinese search Baidu.

traffic breakdown

One might think that the traffic is low. This is because only a few of my blog posts are ranking at this time. What I am doing is actively editing the published posts and updating to include more the keywords. Publishing a post is not the end all be all but the goal is to rank high in google.

Google Ranking

As soon as the blog posts start to rank on the first page and eventually land on the top 3 of google search, then an increase in organic search results is inevitable. Note that this will not happen on the first month as you are still writing contents. The increase in organic traffic will happen on the second or third month as google finds your content relevant to what people are searching for.

As of February 25, 2021, my website has 42 blog posts generating 30,000 impressions and 1,420 organic clicks from google search. That’s an average click through rate of 4.7%.

Based on the graph, the impressions have steadily increased since January. The clicks also coincide with the impressions so an increase in impression would usually translate to more clicks.

Impression
Three months impressions from Google

In the photo below, you will see the top keywords on my website. One of my travel blogs Bilaran Sandbar, Borawan, Kwebang Lampas, Puting Buhangin and Dampalitan Island in Pagbilao, Quezon | Itinerary have 10 ranking keywords in Google. It brings in most of the traffic with the highest impression and click through rate.

TermDescription
QueryThe keywords people search in Google
ClicksThe number of times people clicked through your website from the list of website from search
ImpressionsThe number of times your website showed when people searched the keyword
CTR(Click Through Rate) # clicks divided by # impressions
PositionAverage position of website in search

By analyzing the impressions and click through rate, I can see which blog posts I need to concentrate more to increase the ranking thus increasing clicks to my website. If I am able to tap on the the potential of the number of impressions, then I will receive a drastic increase in organic traffic.

How to Promote your Blog

1. Register for a new Facebook page to publish post to social media.

  • Invite friends to like and share the page.
  • Everytime a blog is published, share it in the facebook page
  • Share the facebook post to interest based facebook group for additional website traffic
  • Boost post on Facebook. Pay facebook to reach more audience. You can choose the demographics, location etc on who you want to see your ads. If you are a local business and want people to visit your website, you can create a facebook ad and pay for advertising fees. You can also have a social media manager that you can hire who will manage your postings.

2. Register for a Youtube Channel

  • Link the blog post to the video using the decsription.
  • Embed the video in the blog post to get additional views.
  • Earn revenue by monetizing youtube channel through adsense. To do this, the requirement is 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours.

I posted my first travel video in December and it gained 1,200 views as of February 25.

My most watched video is a One Piece anime theory video 9 Shadows in Toki’s Prophecy. As of February 25, 2021, It has received 12,800 views. The description in my youtube video also points to my website so the youtube viewer can also visit my site.

3. Promote through other social media platforms and forums

Blog Posts Tracker

I used Google sheets to to track my blogs publishing date and updated date. An updated article has a higher possibility to rank in google as it gives the reader more up to date information.

Conclusion

Starting a blog requires passion and consistency. If you are planning to earn income by blogging, then 30 posts may not be enough. The more content you are able to publish, then the more traffic will come to your website. By using ads, affiliate links and offering products on your website, you are able to increase the chances to earn more and this may become your main source of income.

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