How to Start a Blog: A Step By Step Guide For Beginners

How to Start a Blog

NOTE: If you want to skip straight ahead to actually creating your blog then scroll to the very bottom.

I want to spend a quick minute addressing the most important talking points of blogging such as:

  • How blogging fits into the picture of making money online
  • Why blogging is an effective way to market ANYTHING online
  • Why most people fail at blogging
  • The elements that make up a successful blog
  • And finally, how to set it up.

I want to talk about this stuff first because most people run in guns blazing and completely miss the whole point of blogging and they walk away mad because they don’t get any results or traffic.

This is stuff that I wish I would’ve known when I first started because it would’ve skimmed off months of making mistakes.

So, it’s my goal to break down blogging in the simplest way possible so that you have ungodly confidence when you start a blog and a solid game plan on how to make money blogging.

How Blogging Fits Into the Picture of Making Money Online


It all starts with having a product or service to sell. It could be a physical or digital product, a service, or advertising space.

Once you are clear about what it is that you are selling, then you have to have a sales page where people can buy your product or service.

You’ll notice that the traffic box is a different color than the rest of the boxes. This is where blogging fits in.

Blogging is how you generate traffic to your sales page because without traffic then no one will even see your sales page.

Now, this next step is what separates the amateur marketer from the professional marketer.

An amateur marketer will send traffic directly to a sales page; whereas a professional marketing will send traffic to a squeeze page first, in order to capture the email address.

Once you capture that email address, you have an official lead that you can follow up with using an email autoresponder.

Most visitors will not buy from you on their first visit. Heck, there is no guarantee that a visitor will even come back to your site after he leaves.

That is why capturing the email address is so important. It allows you to continue the conversation, deepen the relationship, and close the deal.

It usually takes 7+ follow ups before you can convert a lead into a sale, so if you aren’t capturing emails right from the start then you are leaving tons of money on the table.

But more on that later.

 Why Blogging is an Effective Way to Market ANYTHING Online

Here are 5 reasons why you should have a blog.

1.) Free Traffic

Search engine traffic is some of the best traffic that you can get. It’s also quality, laser-targeted traffic.

We don’t just want random traffic. We want targeted traffic that has a higher chance of converting into a lead or a sale.

Blogging gives us an opportunity to market directly to the person who is most likely to buy what what we are selling.

2.) Blogging is like Building a Castle

Building a castle takes a long time to build, but once it’s finished, you have a structure that will stand the test of time.

The same outcome applies to our blog. It is a long-term strategy, but when you nurture it with the right TLC then you will have a digital asset that will last for a long time.

3.) High Margins

Compared to paid advertising (Facebook PPC, Google Ads, Solo Ads, etc.), blogging is extremely cheap and will yield super high profit margins.

The second you stop putting money into your paid campaigns, the traffic stops.

However, with blogging you continue to generate traffic when you rank to the top pages of search engines and the only expenses are your domain, hosting, and possibly some other minimal add-ons like themes or plugins (aka it’s cheap!).

4.) Authority and Trust

Building a blog is an opportunity to become an authority figure within your niche that everyone respects, trusts, and sees as a leader.

Take Amazon for example.

They had to start off small, but over time they built up a reputation of being a great online retailer, with fast support, fast shipping, and great prices.

Now people buy on Amazon without a second thought because their reputation is so strong.

5.) Huge Potential

There are so many success stories of people who were broke, laid off, or barely surviving, and now they are thriving, living financially free, and live life on their own terms because of blogging.

You can be the next success story if you stick with it 🙂

Why Most People Fail at Blogging

Here are the biggest mistakes people make when they try to start a blog.

1.) They follow the norm

Most blogs that you see out there are littered with affiliate links, banner ads, and spam.

People think that they can just throw up a blog and some affiliate banners and wait for the cash to roll in.

They will be waiting forever because it doesn’t work like that.

2.) They fail to create mystery

On some blogs, it’s so obvious they are trying to sell you something that it makes you want to puke in your mouth.

They have their products and/or business opportunity everywhere, and they ruin any chance of curiosity.

Your blog should make people want to dig deeper into your content and excitingly opt-in to your email newsletter because they are dying to know what you do.

3.) No Value

Most blogs rehash the same old crap as every other blog. This doesn’t encourage the reader to want to come back to your site or to get excited about what you have to offer.

Get into the habit of going above and beyond what everyone else is doing.

Don’t just share hype. Share some of your best tips and tricks.

There’s a saying that goes,

“The marketer with the most value wins.”

It’s true.

Be selfless and put your readers before yourself and you will find yourself in the green.

4.) No Personality

Have you ever read a blog that sounded like a Wikipedia article or a robot?


*Back button!*

Don’t be afraid to be yourself because you will attract people who are similar to you.

If you try and fake your personality or even worse, copy someone else, then you aren’t serving yourself or the people who you attract because it’s all fake.

Write like you talk to your best friend.

It takes time to discover your own writing style and voice, so be patient and stay consistent and it will come.

5.) Fail to Blog Strategically

This is probably the most important one.

Most people don’t know a lick about creating a smooth flow to a blog, performing keyword research, or ranking content to the top pages of search engines like Google.

But don’t worry, that’s where I come in 🙂

Elements that make up a Successful Blog

Here we are going to dive in deep about what makes up a successful blog and how you can get this right on your first try.

1.) Creating a Purple Cow

Seth Godin wrote a book called Purple Cow.

In this book he talks about how to stand out from the crowd.

If you were driving by a cow farm and saw a purple colored cow standing with all the regular colored cows, what would you do?

You would jump out of that car, run up to take a picture, and share it with everyone you know.

There are billions of website online and more being created everyday, so we have to do a damn good job of separating ourself from the pack.

We want to have a blog that is unique in both writing style and blog theme. We want a purple cow.

Put an emphasis on content. All the top authority sites in their particular niche have the best content that can only be found on their site.

We want a blog that is themed around YOU and not your business because people follow people and buy from other people they trust more than they do businesses.

I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but don’t overkill the banner ads and affiliate links. The majority of people will find this annoying and spammy.

2.) Focus on a specific niche

This is a huge mistake I see newbies making left, right, and center.

They don’t pinpoint a specific “pocket of people” (aka niche that they want to be marketing to).

You need to identify your “perfect avatar” (aka the person who is MOST LIKELY to buy what it is you’re selling).

Know their gender, age, income, fears, pains, struggles, wants, desires, needs, lingo, location, etc.

Then we want to identify what keywords they are typing into Google so that we can create content to help them.

This brings us to our next step…

3.) Keyword Research

Keyword research is simply finding keywords that are backed by data, that prove it would be worth our time and effort to try and rank for that term or phrase.

There are a few methods of doing this.

One way is to use Google Keyword Planner tool.

All you need is a free Google account to access this tool.

This tool was created for advertisers, but we can use it to do some killer keyword research.

Simply punch in keywords and it will populate a list of closely related searches that includes important metrics like search volume and suggested bid.


Search volume is important because it tells us how much traffic we can potentially push towards our blog, and suggested bid tells us if there if advertisers are willing to pay money to place ads on Google’s search results page. (if suggested bid is close to $0 then that tells us the keyword has little, if any, monetary value).

For example, if I wanted to get related keywords for “make money blogging,” then I would type that in, click “Get Ideas” and then scroll through the list of keywords for possible ideas.

Make sure that you click on “keyword ideas” tab and not “Ad group ideas”.

Also, don’t pay attention to the competition column. That only applies to advertisers and not how competitive it would be to rank for that keyword.

Obviously, make money blogging gets a lot of searches but it would be way too competitive for a new blog to rank for.

So, you are probably wondering, “Tim, how do I gauge the competition for these keywords?”

I use a tool called Long Tail Pro to determine keyword competitiveness.

Below is a video that shows how I do killer keyword research to find profitable and low-competitive keywords:

I use Long Tail Pro because it is a LOT quicker (time is money) and because it gives each keyword a numeric value that tips me off on how difficult or easy it will be to rank for that keyword.

Using Long Tail Pro

>> Get Long Tail Pro <<

In the beginning, it’s best to go after the low-hanging fruit, build your blog’s authority up, and then go after some of the more difficult keywords later.

A lot of beginners waste their time trying to rank for keywords that are WAY too competitive.

Don’t take this step lightly. Spending a few hours doing proper keyword research will be the difference between you making money or making zilch.

Here is a post that I ranked to the 1st page of Google that gets me a lot of quality traffic. I wouldn’t have found this keyword had I not spent the time doing good keyword research and proper on-page and off-page search engine optimization (which we will get into).


This portrays the power of blogging. I spent a few hours creating that post and now it brings me traffic on autopilot 24/7.

Now that we understand how to do keyword research, let’s talk about how to create exceptional content that serves your niche.

4.) Produce High Value Content

What separates high value content from average content isn’t necessarily length.

It’s being able to connect with your audience, solving their pains and problems, teaching them something new, throwing in jokes, broadcasting your personality, and providing content that can only be found on your blog.


So how can we do research to find out what our audience needs?

1.) Find Forums

Forums are an AMAZING place to find out what people are struggling with. In any niche, there will be newbies asking tons of questions.

You can step in and become an authority by answering questions in the forum, and you can also create content on your blog.

I am in the internet marketing and network marketing niche, so I am active on the Warrior Forum and BetterNetworker.

Warrior Forum Marketing At any given time, there are thousands of people scouring the warrior forum and creating threads.

Just look at how many questions and views there are in this small snippet screen shot: “How do you drive traffic to your landing page,” “Is $5 a good price for,” “How can I make $100 daily,” “how to start your own sports betting site,’ and “using free Ebook to build list – any advice/tips.”

Now, lets take a look at one of the biggest network marketing forums, Better Networker.

Better Networker Marketing

Once again, more questions that need answer: “how to become an affiliate marketer,” “is it wrong of me to start a forum post to generate traffic,” “how to avoid scams online,” “are business cards dead,” and “is mindset in the home business industry important.”

Obviously, you shouldn’t neglect forums. They are a GOLD-MINE.

2.) Find Top Blogs in Your Niche 

One of the best ways to find content that will resonate with your audience is to look at other authority blogs in your niche.


Look at their content, see which posts are getting the most engagement, and then rewrite those posts in your own words and make it better.

You should NEVER run out of content ideas ever again.

So do a quick search for the “top [your niche] blogs” or “best [your niche] blogs” and bookmark your favorite 5.

The Money Step: Building Your Email Subscribers

This is something I wish I would have done sooner.

I didn’t realize the importance of getting people to subscribe to my email newsletter and building my list.

Remember the amateur marketer sends traffic directly to a sales page, whereas a professional marketer sends traffic to a squeeze page in order to capture the email address.

The professional marketer knows the money is in the follow up, and if he doesn’t capture the email address then he cannot market to his visitors at a later date, thus he is leaving a ton of money on the table.

So make sure you include call-to-actions at the end of your blog posts that link to a squeeze page and have a side-bar opt-in form.

Obviously, you will need an email marketing service so that you can setup a follow up sequence that automatically sends out emails to new subscribers, and that allows you to send new emails to your list all at once.

I use Aweber. It’s affordable, simple, and easy to use.

Plus you can get your first month for $1 when you click here.

Not to forget, I made a tutorial that shows you how to setup your Aweber autoresponder in 7 easy steps.

How to Start a Blog: The Final Step

The last step is to actually create your blog so that it looks professional, is branded around you, includes email opt-in forms, and is setup for search engine optimization so you can rank properly in the search engines.

So tune into this video and watch me step-by-step how to setup a killer blog.

Resources Mentioned:

Hostgator – my favorite service to setup hosting. They have amazing customer service and a quality infrastructure. You can get a domain with your serve and install wordpress with just a click. Save 25% when you use the coupon code “TipsFromTim”

GoDaddy – I use GoDaddy to get domains for cheap whenever I need a second, third, or fourth+ domain. You can usually get a domain that lasts for a year for just a few dollars.

Genesis WordPress Theme
Thesis WordPress Theme

I use Thesis premium WordPress theme. I’ve also used Genesis. Those are my recommended favorites because they are mobile response (resizes to fit smartphones and tablets), optimized for Search Engine Optimization and because they’re updated frequently by the developers to keep up with any WordPress updates.

Aweber – Aweber is the email marketing software that I use to create my email follow ups and broadcasts. It’s very easy to use and you can get your first month for $1 when you click here.

Thrive Themes – this is how I create professional opt-in forms that convert. Hybrid connect gives you dozens of templates for sidebar opt-ins, middle of post opt-ins, end of post opt-ins and more. Once I started using these opt-in forms, my daily subscribers shot up.

Long Tail Pro – this tool is the easiest way to do keyword research. I can find a list of low-competitive keywords fast and save a lot more time than when I use Google Keyword Planner tool and manual research to determine keyword competitiveness.


By now you should have a thorough understanding of blogging, how it fits into the picture of making money online, why it’s worth you time, and how to find profitable and low-competitive keywords to rank for in Google.

You should also realize how important it is to build your email newsletter from the very beginning.

Refer back to this post as many times as you need in order to cement the concepts I talked about into your head.

Don’t try to get everything right. Focus on taking imperfect action and learning as you go.

Please leave a comment if you liked this how to start a blog tutorial and tell me what your biggest takeaway was.


Tim Alwell


  1. Patrick R. Larkins September 27, 2014
  2. Tim Alwell September 27, 2014

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