Start a Blog

Hey there, ever thought about starting a blog? Well, obviously you have, given you are reading this right now!

Look no further as this is a guide to starting a blog. The writers at The Mastermind Within want to provide you with the tips and tools to start a blog so that you can experience some of the same successes we have!

Start a Blog in 30 Minutes

First, if you are still skeptical, here are some reasons to not start a blog (if you are not skeptical and want the guide, scroll down):

  • You don’t know what you would write about
  • You don’t believe your writing skills are up to par
  • You don’t want to put in extra time to build a blog
  • You don’t know anything about blogging and are scared to learn

While these are valid concerns, I will address each one of these concerns here:

You don’t know what you would write about

There are millions of things you could write about. What are your interests? Do you like winter sports such as skiing or skating? You could start a blog talking about different hills that you have tried out or different skating rinks. Do you like traveling? There are many travel blogs (and the best part is, your tickets possibly could be tax-deductible!) There are millions of things you could write about; it is important to brainstorm and think big.

You don’t believe your writing skills are up to par

Frankly put, when I started blogging, I knew my writing skills were not perfect (I’m a math major, not an English major). That being said, I have been able to work on these skills over time and have developed a skill set that has helped me in my day job and in other settings. Communication is extremely important in today’s world.

You don’t want to put in extra time to build a blog

As I will discuss later in the post, I only spend about 5-10 hours on this blog a week. Setting up your blog does take some time initially, and depending on how big you want it to grow, you can put as much time in as you want. As I said before, after setting it up and getting it rolling, you probably could spend 5-10 hours on the blog a week.

You don’t know anything about blogging and are scared to learn

You have come to the right place! Look no farther than below as I give you some tips and guidelines to follow.

There you have it! Now that you are not skeptical and are seriously interested in starting the blog, let’s begin the guide.

1) Choose a topic

First and foremost, we need an idea for starting the blog. For The Mastermind Within, the idea was to start a community that focused on discussing trying to live a balanced life. A balanced life would include being financially successful, hold a great job in the field you are passionate about, knowledgeable about different topics, healthy, and able to have fun in your free time.

For you, what are passionate about? Is it helping others? Winter sports? Do you love DIY projects? What about planting flowers? There are many different avenues you can take here.

2) Choose a domain name (website name)

After you have picked a topic, now is the fun part: coming up with a website name. This name should be simple and memorable (3-5 words). For this website, the domain name is www.themastermindwithin.com. We picked The Mastermind Within because we believe everyone is the creator, owner, and master of their lives. In addition, when someone is called a Mastermind, there is the implication the person has control on their lives. By reading our blog, you can become more successful in life and become the owner of your life.

3) Get web hosting

A web host is the server your website runs on. It is like the complete house to your living space. For web hosting, I use BlueHost, a web hosting service that has been reliable, stable, and high performing. In addition, BlueHost gives you your domain name for free. Once you click the link above you will land

on the following page:

start a blog bluehost wordpressNext, click the green “get started now >” button.

At this point, you will have to make a choice. For now, you want to keep it simple and I recommend doing the basic $3.95 a month plan; this is a negotiated rate that you get for using my link above (it’s normally $7.99/month).

wordpress pricing After selecting your plan, you check your domain name availability. Hopefully you get your first choice!

wordpress domain nameOnce you find a domain that is available, the next button will take you to the final sign up page. The final set-up page is where you will enter your personal details and select the package information settings. I recommend getting the “Domain Privacy Protection” for $0.99 a month. If you are trying to stay anonymous, this will hide your name and phone number from others. For the other settings, I didn’t select any. The only one I considered selecting, in addition to the “Domain Privacy Protection” setting, was the Site Backup Pro. I’m going to back-up my site manually, and save some cash.

You will notice you have to pay the $3.95 a month upfront. This is a long-term project, right? If you ever monetize your blog, you have the potential to blow this number out of the water. Starting something that has the potential to make money for less than $150 should not be scoffed at. (Real estate investors need to cough up multiple thousands of dollars to buy 1 rental property!) For less than $150, you have received a domain name (usually at least $10), and have 3 years of web hosting to do whatever you want on that domain website!

An additional note: if you don’t intend to monetize your blog, why wouldn’t you want to go for a free blog website, such as wordpress.com or blogger.com? Well, it is possible to still have a free blog, however, to have complete control over your website, and have support if something went wrong, I still recommend a paying for web hosting.

4) Install WordPress

After finishing up at BlueHost, it is time to get WordPress. To continue with our analogy, BlueHost is the house, your domain is the space inside the house, and WordPress is the materials that have built the house. You can pick different materials, wood floors vs. carpet, and you can pick different blogging software. WordPress is a blogging software application that makes managing and customizing your blog very easy.

Installing WordPress is easy. First, log in to your BlueHost account and locate the “Install WordPress” button in the “website” section of the BlueHost “cpanel”.

wordpress dashboard

Next, you will be taken to the BlueHost Marketplace/Mojo Marketplace. Click the “get started” button to continue on. At the next page, select your domain and hit next.

install domain wordpressAfter hitting the next button, you will get your username and password for your WordPress site. Hit install to complete the install.

install domain wordpress

Note: I did have some issues here when I tried to install. This post should help you.

How easy was that? You have now installed WordPress. There will be a few pop-ups trying to get you to buy themes for your website (more on that in step 5). You can ignore those for now.

During this time, you will get your credentials for WordPress. MAKE SURE TO SAVE THESE IN A SAFE SPOT! You need these to log in!

Pat your self on the back! You installed WordPress and can now sign in to begin designing your website!

5) Design Website

There is a couple of things that are important to mention at this stage.

1) Theme (Free or Premium)

When you first start-up WordPress, you will probably have the generic “Twenty Seventeen” theme activated. This theme is fine for starters, but this one is as default as they come and may not have the customization you want. There are many free themes you can get. The positives for these themes are they are free, they will have more customization than the default WordPress themes, and they will get the job done most of the time. The negatives are there may be little to no support if there is a bug, and the theme may get abandoned and be outdated. For starters, it might be wise to stick with a free theme.

For The Mastermind Within, we use the XTheme. This is a premium theme and costs $49. The reason why we decided to go with a premium theme is premium themes are supported, the layout is more professional and the customization is superior to free themes.

To install a theme, go to the Appearance tab on the left sidebar of the WordPress dashboard, and select themes. You will be led to this page:

xtheme wordpress theme

If you need help installing this theme, you can fiverr and have XTheme installed for you for $5.

2) Plugins

Plugins are extensions to a base WordPress theme. These extensions help you do many specialized tasks. Some plugins that I suggest are:

  • Google Analytics by Yoast
    • Necessary to quantify your viewership
  • Mail Chimp
    • A great list creator, it is free up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails!
  • Askimet
    • A spam blocker – no one likes spam!
  • Pretty Link Lite
    • A plugin to convert ugly links into pretty links
  • W3 Total Cache
    • A plugin designed to improve user experience and page speed
  • WP Smush
    • Reduces the size of your media files and improves speed

If you need help with plug-ins, you can head over to fiverr and get some help with plug-ins for $5!

3) Site Layout and Design

Once you have your theme and plugins, you can start to customize the layout of your website. Go to the “Appearance” tab on the left sidebar and click “Customize”. Here you will be able to customize many different aspects of your website, from fonts to widget placement to backgrounds to menus to headers and footers. Many different combinations you can choose from. Find the one that is best for you! (This interface is sometimes frustrating, but Googling what you want to do and learning a little HTML/CSS helps this process go smoother.)

6) Write your first post (and then your second and third…)

After completing the first 5 steps, you have your ideas, you have your website, you have your design, now it’s time to produce some content for your readers.

Here’s the punchline: you can do whatever you want!

Maybe you want to do an introduction page, or an about me page. It’s possible you want to get right into writing about your passions and will leave the intro page for later. Maybe you want to start promoting a product, such as an e-book, right away. Go for it, the possibilities are endless!

7) …Profit??

Once you have written a handful of posts (say 25-50 posts), you will be getting a decent following on your blog (upwards of 1000 views a day). If you decide to monetize your blog, there are numerous ways to do so.

Some of the ways include, but are not limited to:

  • Consulting Opportunities
  • Selling your own product, such as an e-book, pictures, podcasts, educational courses
  • When someone clicks on an ad (ads such as Google Adsense)
  • Selling someone else’s product, i.e. an affiliate program (such as Amazon)
  • When someone views your banner ad
  • When someone sees your talks/podcasts and hires you for a speaking gig

You have the potential to make a decent living in blogging if done right. Many people have been able to quit their day job and pursue financial freedom due to the passive and active income created by blogging.


Conclusion

If you are still skeptical, I highly recommend you start a blog sometime in your life. It is an extremely easy way to start a business. As I mentioned above, it cost me roughly $200 for a 3 years of hosting, 1 year of domain privacy, and a premium WordPress theme. Compared to other businesses, this is extremely cheap. In addition to the cheapness, we have unlimited upside.

If you now are the owner of a blog, let me know! I want to congratulate you personally and commend you on taking a step towards building a brand and becoming one of the many bloggers in the blogosphere.

Let me know if you have any questions. Best of luck new bloggers!

Erik

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