If you are looking for a free guide on how to create a blog and make money in 2021 from scratch, then I recommend you to read this tutorial thoroughly, and you will find out how to choose a profitable niche, do the keyword research, choose a perfect domain name, buy the best hosting, choose the best theme, create valuable content and start earning.
Create a blog and make money
You will be able to find several resources of this type, but the goal of this guide is to provide you with a practical method to start or create a blog that you monetize from scratch.
This guide aim at both beginners and those who already have a blog but are still unable to achieve the desired results.
In this guide, you will find:
What is a blog?
The blog is a website whose main content is a written article.
When we talk about blogs, we often refer to blogs of famous people or news blogs, but successful blogs can also launch in many niches. However, as you can read later, there are niches that, although they allow you to have a good number of readers, are not as profitable as others.
Bloggers often write their articles from a personal perspective that allows them to get in touch with their readers more quickly and retain them more easily.
This feature is one of the most significant advantages of creating a blog.
To be honest, readers of a blog expect to read something personal. For example, readers of a cooking blog want to read the experiences of someone like them and not scientific research by a nutrition expert.
Why create a blog in 2021?
Although we are in the golden age of videos on YouTube, starting a blog right now may seem counter-current.
Indeed it is!
So why should we create a blog right now?
The blog is the complete tool for creating an online business. It is the best way we have today to intercept the needs of people on Google.
The blog is also our place where we can publish what we want and is under our most complete control.
Users who come to the blog through organic search (search through Google, Bing, etc.) are people who have a clear need.
Their need is defined by what they write in the Google search bar.
Unlike social media, users come to your blog because they need your content to solve a problem.
How to choose a profitable niche to create a blog?
Before starting your project, you have to choose which niche to work in or start with your blog.
The choice of the niche is essential to start a blog and for the future success of your blog.
The niches are not all the same; there are the most competitive ones, the most profitable ones, and the least profitable ones.
Which niche should we choose?
Back in the time, I would have told you to choose the niche that contains only your passions. The topics that you would like to write about, and from which you would never be bored with dealing.
Useful tip: if you want to create a blog that suits you and you are not good at SEO, it will only bring you some readers but very little or no profit at all.
Since we are here to create a blog that is a real online business, the advice to choose the niche only of your passions is to trash.
Monetization in a blog is essential. however passionate you are, the strongest motivation is profit.
PS: There are certain cases where the bloggers do not earn anything from their blog and lose motivation, they are sporadic cases.
A blog project that is born without knowing how it will earn is a project that is already taken dead.
There are over 700 million blogs on the web, but the vast majority are abandoned because the owner, unable to make money and has lost the desire to continue.
It happened to me too, so I care that you don’t make the same mistake.
Question to self before starting a blog.
When you are about to start a new blog, the question that shouldn’t be in your mind is: What is my niche?
but: Who is my audience, and what problem can I solve with my blog?
Look around, the most successful companies in the world, offer value to people by solving their problems.
To offer valuable content on your blog, you need to understand the needs of your audience. You have to know why your readers are willing to give you their time and money.
For example, my blog is aimed at an audience that has a goal of making money from blogging and this post, in particular, is created for those who want to create a blog from scratch in 2021.
Also, you need to understand your audience’s budget.
How much are they willing to spend on solving their problems?
As I already said, the niches are not all the same, and here are the most profitable ones.
The most profitable niches!
To get a clearer idea, here are the most profitable niches on which you can create your blog, available online today are:
- Personal finance
- Health and Fitness
Of all these niches, the ones with the most bloggers who earn over $ 2000 a month are as follows.
The niche that has the highest monthly earnings is personal finance and food ($ 9000 approx.), all the others are between 4000 and 5000 dollars.
So this makes us understand that, for example, if you operate in the marketing niche, it will be easier than the other niches to reach a threshold of 2 thousand dollars per month, but once exceeded, it will be challenging to reach figures over 5 thousand dollars.
Whom to target: individuals or business?
Up to now, we have seen how to choose a niche and which are the most profitable. However, there is a further optimization that we can do with our choice, i.e. to decide to target freelancers and companies rather than private individuals.
Taking this guide as an example, I could change the target audience by including a single word in my title; that is, I would go from:
“How to create a blog from scratch in 2021.”
“How to create a corporate blog from scratch in 2021”.
This small change allows me to target my content to people who definitely own a business and who therefore have more significant financial resources and would buy my service more easily.
In this way, I would undoubtedly receive fewer visitors on my site, but they will have a higher budget to spend.
So when choosing your niche, consider whether there is the possibility of contacting, not a private individual but a business.
Know your added value?
Well, so far, we have identified a niche, but we still have to validate it.
To create a successful blog, it is necessary to differentiate yourself from others. To provide readers with a point of view that they will not be able to find elsewhere.
For doing this, you must be sure that you have something different than your competition.
To create the added value, you need to understand what your strengths are; they can be your experience, a method different from all the others, the use of new technologies, the focus on some aspects, etc.
Keyword research to create a blog
Keyword research is essentially important to start a successful blog.
It is undoubtedly one of the skills you need to learn to be a good blogger.
The search for keywords allows us to understand if the articles we would like to write will have a real following.
Carrying out proper keyword research to start a blog will have a positive impact on your readers, as you will be able to understand better what their problems are and satisfy them.
Also on the search engines, an article that contains the right keywords allows the search engines to understand what you deal with and rank yourself better in SERPs (search engine results pages).
Remember that when a user writes something in the Google search bar, he/she expresses a search intention, our task will be to intercept that intention and provide a solution inherent to it.
How to find keyword ideas?
Since, at this point, you should already have in mind which keyword you want to rank your blog, now we have to draw up a list of the topics that we will cover on our website.
For example, if I wanted to create a web marketing blog, I would draw up a list of topics like this:
- Email marketing
There are many others, but just for an example, these are enough.
PS: These are not keywords but topics that we will cover on the blog!
Google and YouTube suggest
Once we have the arguments, we go to find the generic keywords. To do this, we will use Google. Let’s take the content marketing topic as an example and enter it in the search bar.
As you can see, Google suggests some keywords that we will add to our list.
You can do the same thing using YouTube.
Another way to find more ideas is to scroll through Google’s SERPs to the end and get to the related research area.
As with Google’s previous suggestions, these are also searches made by users, and Google is showing you that those looking for “content marketing” are also interested in all these related searches.
It might seem strange, but Wikipedia is an essential resource for having new ideas.
For example, if we want to search for ideas for the keyword “SEO” we type it on Wikipedia, and on the relative page, we will have an index that suggests the macro topics related to SEO.
How to search?
To carry out keyword research to start a blog, there are several online and non-paid tools.
Among the best-paid tools is Seozoom, Keywordtool.io, Semrush.
The free tools are Ubersuggest and Google’s Keyword planner.
All these tools allow us to have relevant information, such as:
Search volume: how many times a keyword is being searched for in a given time period.
Keyword difficulty: how difficult it would be to rank yourself for that keyword based on competition.
Cost-per-click (CPC): how much are paid advertisers willing to spend on that keyword. This metric is essential to understand if a keyword is of value or not. Generally, a person finds keywords of several thousand searches per month, easy to rank but with a very low CPC. This means that ranking that keyword will be relatively easy, but it is not a profitable one.
Our ideal keyword should have high search volume, low competition, and high CPC. Unfortunately, this keyword does not exist, but we can find some that partially have those characteristics.
In general, we will usually find generic keywords that have a high search volume and high competition but a very low CPC.
These keywords have a lot of search volume, very high difficulty but a very low CPC because too general keywords do not identify the real intention of the user.
So, “generic” keywords usually have a high search volume, medium-high difficulty, and a low CPC.
The more specific keywords, on the other hand, have low search volumes and higher CPCs. These keywords are called long-tail keywords.
Which keywords to choose?
Now we need to understand how to choose the keywords in reference to the search volume, the difficulty of the keyword, and the cost per click.
We can divide the keywords by:
- low search volume: less than 1000 visits per month
- medium search volume: between 1000 and 10,000
- high search volume: over 10,000
Low competition and low or medium search volume.
On a new blog and with little authority, it is good to use low competition keywords and with a medium to high monthly search volume.
Note: when we choose a keyword, even with a medium or low search volume, our article will be ranked by Google and the other search engines for other similar keywords that can receive more or less traffic from the main one.
This means that when you choose a keyword, you will not receive traffic only from it but also from other keywords that are perceived by search engines as similar or keywords that meet the same search intentions.
These keywords will be our primary source of traffic on our blog, and since they are often long-tailed keywords to identify a clear need for the user and, therefore, easily monetizable by higher CPC.
The keywords that identify needs that can be more easily monetized include within them the words like “how” or “best.”
As for the word “how” is concerned, it identifies the need to solve an often urgent problem.
“Better” or “best” instead identify the need to know which products or services are best in a list. A user who does this type of research is often ready to make a purchase.
High search volume, medium competition but low CPC
Placing a keyword with a high search volume in Google’s SERPs would allow us to receive a lot of traffic, but the latter would be difficult to monetize as the search intent would be too vague.
Blog structure to create a successful blog
At this point, we have chosen the niche of our site, and we know which keywords to use, but we are still missing a piece.
How do we organize the blog?
Often those who start blogging do not think about the structure of their site, and this can be a significant disadvantage in terms of ranking.
Having a structured blog is essential for two reasons:
- Enhance the user experience: users can navigate your content more easily.
- SEO benefits: search engines understand the content of your site better, and it will be easier for you to rank yourself in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
The method I want to talk to you about now is called “silo structure”.
The silo structure is a design method that allows us to organize a blog to group, related content together.
In a silo structure, the blog is divided into macro topics, and each of them is supported by posts of lesser importance but which serve better to identify the macro topic.
Let’s take an example, if I have a blog that talks about “tools”, the main topics can be “portable tools”, “electric tools”, “machine tools”. For each topic, we will have secondary contents that will help to classify the main keyword.
Like, for the main topic “power tools” we will have sub-topics such as: “electric drill”, “electric compressor”, “electric saw”.
In fact, the subtopic can also have subtopics. For example, the off-page SEO subtopic may have subtopics such as link building and anchor text.
The goal is to identify a highly monetizable keyword and push it up on Google, thanks to support posts.
Money page and support post
- The money page is the main page or article of the silo and must be created around a high CPC keyword.
- The support posts must be created around keywords related to the main keyword and could easily be ranked on the search engines.
- The main page of the silo and the support posts must be linked together to create a relevant network.
- To create links within the coherent posts, make sure to recall content that will be in the linked posts.
For example, the main page of the silo can talk about “how to make money online,” and inside, there can be a list of the various methods and each of them refers to in-depth posts.
In the same way, the support posts can be linked together inviting the user to read the other online earning methods.
How to choose a Domain name
All the people who are about to start a blog have this doubt:
Which domain name should I choose?
A few years ago, many people chose domain names with the main keyword of their niche inside. This choice could have advantages in SEO terms back in the days, but today it has none.
At this point, to start a blog, the choice of the domain name must be made on strategic criteria.
The choice can be between a specific domain name that recalls the topic covered in the blog, or a more generalist domain name such as the “name + surname” type.
Personally, I have chosen to use a domain name of the second type i.e blogging + unify, as it allows me to be freer in deciding the topics to be covered.
Choosing an ultra-specific domain name forces you to deal with a single topic. There are indeed blogs with ultra-specific names, which then broadened their interests, but what perception do you have of a similar blog?
If I start a blog called tech.com and then start talking about gardening, it is normal that my content, although valid, will not have the same perception of authoritativeness in the eyes of users.
Also, if you find that the topics you wanted to deal with at the beginning are no longer useful (and this often happens to those who open a blog the first time), what do you do? Are you buying another domain name?
These are all assessments to be made while choosing a domain name.
Often, it happens that the niches we choose either change or are not as profitable as we thought.
So try to choose a not-too-specific domain name and create specialization within the blog with your articles.
Tips: when choosing your domain name, try to select words that are easy to remember and do not use special characters or dashes as they could confuse people.
Domain name extension for starting a blog.
The domain name extension is used to identify a territory or a specific activity, the most used are:
.gov: government etc.
I recommend you to use a .com as in addition to transmitting more professionalism also they allow you to be remembered more easily. For example. infotab.com
In fact, many people remember the name of your site but do not pay attention to the extension, so they automatically write .com.
Check the past of your domain.
Once you have chosen your new domain name, I highly recommend checking if it has already been used in the past.
If used, there is a possibility that the old owner may have made inappropriate use of it and been blacklisted by the search engines.
To carry out this check, you can use waybackmachine. It has all the internet archives. Just enter the chosen domain, and if it has already been used, it will be shown to you.
Check if the name is available on social media platforms.
It is imperative to check whether the chosen domain name is also free on social networks.
Today our blog is almost always supported by social profiles, and if our name is already used by someone else, we would only create confusion among users.
To carry out this check, go to namecheckr.com.
Where to buy domains?
The domain can be purchased individually by a registration company or is often given free of charge for one year when purchasing hosting.
I recommend you to create your blog with Hostgator web hosting ( the one I use too), you can have your domain name free for a year.
The companies that instead sell domains individually are:
The ones I have used so far are Godaddy and Namecheap. I advise you to consult both before buying and see how much you are going to pay the following year.
Which hosting should you choose to start a blog?
There are many hosting available in the market but the best hosting which I recommend you to go for is Hostgator.
Hostgator is one of the best hosting companies in the world.
Hosting is essential for our website as it is the physical place where the site resides.
Choosing an excellent hosting service is essential for a blog because it allows you to always be visible on the internet 24 hours a day and seven days a week without problems or interruptions, moreover in case of problems, you must offer immediate and professional assistance.
But it is not finished here.
In fact, the best hosting service must guarantee fast and secure servers. Speed is one of the metrics that Google considers when ranking a site, and security is essential to avoid hacker attacks.
Why I chose Hostgator:
- 24×7 support
- Support in English
- Seven levels of security for hacker attacks
- WordPress installation and updates with one click
- Server speed faster than other hosting providers
- 99.9% uptime
- Intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard
- C Panel
- Free SSL and HTTPS certificates
- Different purchase options
- Money-back guarantee
Personally, I can tell you that I found hosting services even cheaper than this, but the assistance was not immediate, and the speed of the site was lower than Hostgator standards.
WordPress Installation to start a blog
As already specified that using Hostgator hosting, WordPress installs and updates itself automatically.
For starting your blog, WordPress installation takes place through the Hostgator hosting wizard.
Up to this point, we have hosting, we have installed WordPress, and therefore we need to install a theme suitable for our blog.
As soon as you start your new blog, WordPress will automatically install a default theme.
You can find many other free and paid themes directly on WordPress by following these steps:
Go to the WordPress dashboard> click on appearance> go to themes
Free themes vs. paid themes
Since there are many free themes on WordPress, you could install one of them and create your blog.
However, if you want to get high performance from your site and earn more, you should choose paid themes.
A free theme could be ideal for a small blog that does not have many ambitions. Being a free theme, it has limited functions and an unoptimized code, unlike paid ones.
In fact, behind the paid themes, there is always a development team that, in addition to continually improving the performance of the theme and also offers assistance.
The price of paid themes varies from 30 dollars up to several hundred dollars.
Among the paid themes, there are also personalized ones that cost even more than 1000 dollars but are suitable for businesses that have special needs.
For a regular blog, the functionality and performance of a paid theme between 30 and 100 dollars are enough.
How to choose the theme?
The best theme is not a one-size-fits-all choice that is good for everyone but depends on your needs and the niche in which you operate.
The best-paid themes are:
Genesis: this theme is a little different from the others and refers to the concept of the father theme and a child theme. In practice, Genesis is a theme that acts as a base on which to install child-theme. In this way, there are many possibilities for graphics changes but, at the same time, high performance.
The theme suitable for starting your blog must have 5 main features:
- Speed: must ensure high speeds useful for better user experience and ranking on search engines.
- Responsive: the theme must adapt perfectly to the various desktop devices, tablets, smartphones.
- Updates: Each theme has a team that continually improves the theme code; make sure updates are constant.
- Assistance: as soon as you start using your theme, you will probably find yourself disoriented, and you will not be able to do some activities, there will have to be a support team that offers you assistance with the forum, chat, or email.
- Suitable: themes have multiple functionalities, but each can be suitable for one purpose rather than another. Imagine how you would like your site once built and check that in the demos of the theme and among the features if it can meet your needs.
Tip: if you find a blog that you like graphically, you could identify its theme and use it too.
To find out which theme a site is using, you can use WPThemeDetector, and in addition to the theme, you will also have the plugins installed on that site.
PS: this tool only works for sites built with WordPress.
Where to buy WordPress themes?
There are several marketplaces on the internet where you can buy paid themes to start your blog.
Here are 3 that I prefer:
- Themeforest: contains many quality themes, including Newspaper, Enfold, and Avada.
- MyThemeShop: marketplace with themes at low prices but which guarantee a high speed.
- ElegantThemes: quality themes like Divi
The best plugins for WordPress.
One of the most significant advantages of WordPress, in addition to the fact that it is open-source, is its plugins.
Plugins are free and paid applications that allow us to implement functions on our site without having to write a single line of code.
You can use plugins to graphically improve the site, create e-commerce, improve SEO, speed up the website, email marketing, and much more.
Given the thousands of plugins available, you might think that they can be installed indefinitely.
Unfortunately, this is not the case; in fact, it is good to install only the plugins strictly necessary on WordPress to keep the site as light as possible and avoid conflicts between them.
Furthermore, as it can happen that your blog has malfunctioned, very often it can derive from your plugin, and having too many plugins does not allow you to identify the problem.
Below I will draw up a list of the plugins that I use and that I consider the best for an excellent blog.
Let’s start with Yoast, the best SEO plugin. Thanks to this plugin, you can manage different settings from an intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard.
You will be able to take care of the aspects relating to Google search, verify your account for Search Console, set your favorite settings automatically, and get assistance when writing an article.
PS: Remember that Yoast or any other SEO plugin does not replace an SEO in flesh and blood, and the tools that are made available, serve to facilitate life but must be interpreted.
Sites can also be subject to attack by hackers, and it is, therefore, essential to defend them.
One of the best antiviruses in this field is Wordfence Security.
W3 Total Cache
As we have already said, speed is essential to rank ourselves better on search engines, and W3 Total cache allows us to improve our performance thanks to automatic cache creation.
You can test the operation of this plugin by testing the speed of your site before and after installation.
To do the speed test you can use: Page Speed Insights, Pingdom, GTMetrix
(You should do these tests more than once because they can give different results under the same conditions)
When installing W3 Total Cache, make sure you have not installed similar plugins as they could create conflict.
Contact Form 7
This plugin allows us to create effective contact forms with which visitors to our blog can ask for information or quotes.
When you create a blog, one of the most important things we need is traffic data on our site.
To know this data, we need to install Google Analytics, and to do this we must insert code within our theme.
Monster Insight allows us to implement Analytics without touching the theme code.
The easy form is a handy plugin that allows us to implement newsletter subscription forms on our site.
You can connect Easy form to the Email marketing Mailchimp service using the API.
Now that we have installed the plugins, the blog is ready to be populated by our content.
On WordPress, you will have the opportunity to choose whether to publish a page or an article (post).
If you’re wondering what the differences between an article and a page are, don’t worry because at least once the doubt has come.
So let’s try to go into detail and understand when to use an article and when a page.
The article is a type of content characterized by time, linked to the publication date.
They are the contents that distinguish a blog from a classic site and can be categorized into tags and categories.
The article is used when we have to write something that may be subject to changes over time, such as “What will change with the new Google algorithm”.
“What will change with Google’s new algorithm” is valuable content if it is read in a limited time frame. It is unlikely that anyone today will read articles that talk about the difficulties that SEOs will find with a Google algorithm of 2009.
So the content of the articles has a temporary value, but I am not saying that articles dated years are not valid resources.
In the articles, it is often possible to make comments and share them on social media.
The page also called the static page denotes content not related to time but which contains information that does not vary over time.
The classic example is the “About Us” page or practical guides and tutorials that remain valid over the months.
Unlike articles, pages are less suitable for social use, in fact, you can not comment or share them often.
Create valuable content
When you deal with digital marketing, one thing which you should keep in mind is that successful content is based on valuable content.
But what are the valuable contents?
The valuable content must be contextualized to the type of platform where they are used. In our case, we focus on the blog, and therefore our main source of traffic will be that coming from search engines.
Valuable contents are resources that satisfy not only the users’ intention to search but also the hidden (or unaware) needs that are behind a search.
In addition, your content must be:
- easily usable
- written in an understandable way
- with in-depth links
To create valuable content, we must first identify a target of people to whom our knowledge and skills can be useful.
For example, I start this blog to target people who approach the world of digital marketing.
Next, we need to identify the needs or problems that people in that target want to solve.
By writing this post, I intercept the need of many newbies who want to create their first blog and try to solve any problems or doubts they will have in its creation.
To identify the needs and problems of our target audience, we can use some techniques that we have seen previously:
- consult the related research section or the suggestion of Google
- see the “people have also asked” section on Google’s SERPs
- blog comments with content similar to ours
- in the forums
- on Facebook groups
- in Youtube video comments
- Section “people have also asked”
This section is recently present on Google and allows us to identify problems, user needs, and new ideas for our blog almost “indefinitely”.
In fact, the one above is the section related to the query “content marketing” and for each proposal, there are further suggestions.
As you have seen, starting a blog is quite simple but creating a profitable project requires transversal knowledge (SEO, copywriting, analysis) and skills that you can only acquire with experience.
I hope you have got the idea of how to create a blog and make money in 2021. Share this guide with your friends who wants to start a successful blog today.
I will keep updating this guide with time, in order to offer you a complete and effective resource. If you have any query you can ask in the comment section below.