So you've been thinking about starting a blog? Other questions I regularly here are, how do I start a blog, or do I really need a blog? Questions aside, maybe you're ready to start creating your blog right now, that's probably why you're reading this article.
I started blogging when I was 16, a long time ago now. Back then starting a blog was super difficult but thankfully it’s much easier in 2019. In fact it’s so easy you can get started within 60 minutes gauranteed.
My name is Sarah Roberts and along with my partner Joey, we’d like to welcome you to our huge guide on how to start a blog start a blog in New Zealand. So print this article out, go grab a coffee while signing out of Facebook and we’ll show you how to start your blogging journey right now.
Why I Started Blogging?
I (Sarah) started blogging after reading an article on someone else’s blog who was making $5,000 per month while travelling the world. That blog, was owned by an influential travel blogger who I actually met on holiday a few years later.
Today he’s worth millions, primarily through his endless blogs he owns and operates.
Back then, I followed his advice and started my own travel blog too. I saw many other bloggers getting paid by airlines with free tickets, free hotel stays and tour agencies offering up seriously discounted tours.
This was long before the arrival of Instagram and other social media platforms such as Facebook.
I quickly realised how competitive the travel blogging space is. You need to be top of your game with endless content up your sleeve to post and share with readers. It was then that I decided to move into sharing actual knowledge, solving peoples problems.
That’s how you can make money with blogging. Providing solutions to problems.
And today I’m going to show you how to start a blog in New Zealand that solves problems and can make you passive income online.
Why You Should Start A Blog In 2020?
Eight years ago starting a blog was very difficult hard and actually cost a lot of money. I remember paying $20 per month just to host my blog.
Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress (a free resource) were still in their infancy and were confusing to operate. Other platforms were difficult to configure and the whole process was slow and time consuming.
Many people hired web designers to setup their blogs, which added to the startup costs involved.
In 2019 there are so many free CMS platforms, with WordPress being the largest and most powerful platform in the world. This allows anyone, regardless of their IT knowledge and skills to start a blog online.
I’ll show you how to start a blog within hours for a few dollars per month.
Don’t Start A Wix or Blogger Website
Platforms such as Wix and Blogger seem amazing, especially when their ads pop up during your Youtube video.
And on the face of it, their easy to use, one click platform seems like a great idea to start your blog within a few hours.
There is just one major problem in doing this. Once your blog starts to grow you’re trapped. If you’re unhappy with their service, you can’t simply move your website to another hosting provider. As your site grows you’ll be forced to buy a premium plan which can cost $10-$20 per month.
Also if these premium platforms decide to up their prices, you have no other option but to pay up, or risk losing your website.
The biggest deal breaker for me is that you must have a ‘Powered by…’ link on your website and most of the free platforms will run ads on your own blog. Lastly you can’t even do any search engine optimisation (which I’ll show you later) which means you’ll struggle to show up in Google.
How To Start A Blog NZ
By following these 9 simple steps you’ll have your first blog setup and online within 60 minutes guaranteed.
- Step 1: Find a niche, solve a problem
- Step 2: Choosing a domain name
- Step 3: Buying web hosting
- Step 4: Installing WordPress
- Step 5: Configuring WordPress
- Step 6: Install your first plugins
- Step 7: Create your first content
- Step 8: Monetising your blog
- Step 9: Get free traffic to your blog.
Step 1: Find A Niche
Before you dive right in and start a blog on your life story, you need to decide if you’re going to make money from your blog. If you have no intentions of making money then you can probably skip this section.
You can easily make money with your blog by including advertisements, accepting paid guest posts and even working with other companies promoting their products and services.
The best way to make money with blogging is to create a blog on a topic that then solves a problem.
An example might be a health and fitness blog, where you then recommend weight loss products.
Another example is a technology blog, discussing the latest products and then using Amazon’s affiliate program to make money from anyone who buys the products through your links.
When people use Google to search for information, they want solutions or answers to their questions.
If you can provide content that helps solve problems, then you’ll easily make money with your blog.
Have a think, list down all the topics that you could easily write about that solve problems. If you find a good idea, write down a further 30 different titles for articles you could include on your blog. If you can do that, I’d say it’s the perfect niche to write about.
Step 2: Choosing A Domain Name
Now that you’ve got a good niche for your blog, the next step is to buy a domain name or web address.
The domain name for this website you’re on right now is, ki-wi.co.nz.
This domain will be your own slice of web presence that only you can put content on.
You buy a domain name through a registrar who manages the registration and allows you to setup a website on it. This is a yearly registration fee that usually costs $10-$25 depending on the domain name extension.
The extension is what comes after your name, i.e. .co.nz
You can also get extensions such as .com, .co.uk, .net, .org, .nz among dozens of others.
Now, while some people will find your website through your specific domain name, most will come through search engines who help connect consumers with search results they need. For example, how did you find this blog post? Probably with a search result such as how to start a blog in new zealand?
Make sure you choose a .com domain for your website if you plan on ranking worldwide. While .nz or .co.nz is the best one for people in New Zealand, it’s only relevant if you plan on targeting people in New Zealand.
Next make sure you choose a domain name that doesn’t include dashes, numbers or special characters.
A bad example would be, joes-blog-123.com
You’d be better choosing something easy to remember and catchy. However if you wanted something such as JoesBlog.com you’re probably 20 years too late. Most of these easy to remember domains were snatched up in 1997.
You can use websites such as FlameDomain.com which offer a name generator if you need help choosing your blog name.
Remember that choosing a blog name is one of most important decisions when starting a blog. You can’t simply change it once you’ve started building a website so ensure you choose wisely.
Try to avoid using words for numbers and vice versa. My rule of logic is that if you told someone on the street what your blog was called you’d want them to be able to remember and navigate to the address without getting stuck.
Step 3: Buying Web Hosting
While your domain name is the destination address, you actually need to host your website somewhere as well.
Hosting providers use servers (like computers) hosted in datacenters all over the world to provide space on the world wide web for you to rent out and put your website on.
The job of the web hosting provider is to ensure your website loads fast and is always online. They’ll also help ensure your website doesn’t get hacked or worse, deleted. They also offer help desk support so you can call up and get help if there’s ever a problem.
Web hosts also protect your identity online so your details aren’t publicly available.
The best part is some web hosting providers also offer domain registrations, so you can have your domain name and web hosting through one provider.
I recommend using Bluehost for your first blog.
Task 1: Visit Bluehost.com
Click the link above and it should open in a new tab. If you’re using a pop up blocker you may need to disable this. I did the pop up so you don’t lose this page, smart right?
Visitors to this blog post can get hosting for only $2.95 per month.
The website converts to New Zealand dollars if you’re located there so will be slightly higher.
When you arrive on the page, click the green button ‘Get Started.’
Task 2: Choose Your Plan
Bluehost offers two plans, basic and plus. Despite the name, basic is the best option for your first blog.
50GB of web space is enough for millions of pages, and unmetered bandwidth is enough for unlimited visitors every month.
You get a free domain name with this plan too.
Task 3: Pick Your Domain Name
On this step you’ll enter your domain name that you decided earlier. Make sure you choose the drop menu to match the domain extension you want.
If you already purchased a domain you’d use the box on the right and enter the name there.
If your domain is available, you’ll see the following message:
Task 4: Your Personal Details
You’ll now be asked to enter your personal details including name, country, city, address, phone number and email address.
Don’t worry! All your details are perfectly safe and won’t be shared with anyone.
Make sure you use the same billing address as your credit/debit card so your account is setup instantly.
Task 5: Add Extras, Remove Unwanted
Most web hosts offer incentives and extras you can add during the checkout process. Personally I don’t think you need any of them but if you do, the Sitelock feature is very good for keeping your site even more secure!
Task 6: Make Payment
The last step is to pay for your web hosting and domain name. They offer credit card and Paypal payments.
Ensure you enter the card details correctly, be slow and don’t make a mistake.
If your payment was declined which sometimes happens with international cards you can try again. If you still have issues, try using your credit card via Paypal which is another payment option available to you.
Task 7: Confirm Account Creation
You’ll receive a confirmation message on the screen and also a few emails send to your inbox.
You’ll be asked to create a password for your new hosting account, so ensure you set a strong password!
Don’t use any previous passwords and make sure you make a note of this password somewhere safe!
Step 4: Install WordPress
Congratulations, if you’ve made is this far, you’ve already shown your commitment and dedication to creating your first blog.
By default, Bluehost will automatically install a WordPress blog for you. That makes things much easier for us as we don’t need to go through this process.
You’ll want to login to your WordPress install (check your email for details) and you’ll then be able to choose a theme for your blog.
You can change this later, so just pick something niche for now.
After choosing your theme, your blog is pretty much configured.
You’ll now need to launch your blog by clicking on ‘Bluehost‘ then ‘Home’ and finally clicking on ‘Launch.’
You’ll now need to add a blog name, slogan which is a catchy description about your brand name.
These can be anything and you can always change these in the future if you wish.
An example would be:
- Name: Joey Travels The World
- Slogan: One country at a time, making friends all over the world.
Step 5: WordPress Configuration
Be sure to visit yourdomain.com and checkout how your website looks.
Do you like what you see? If not then we can change the logo, colour scheme and much more.
5.1 Customise Settings
To do this head over to WordPress dashboard and choose ‘Appearance and then Customise.’
You’ll see a menu down the left side of the screen, your site on the right.
You can expand each section out and customise settings for each section.
You can add a logo. If you want to create one you can use a free tool such as Canva.com
5.2 Change Permalinks
When you add new content your domain would look like this, yourdomain.com/post-name
To ensure it looks like this you need to head over to the WordPress dashboard again.
Choose ‘Settings and then Permalinks.’
Choose the post name option similar to the screenshot below.
5.3 Delete Dummy Content
When WordPress is installed, there are demo pages, posts and comments added which should be deleted.
Head over to each section using the left menu option and then click the ‘delete’ option under each piece of content. Usually there is 1 comment, 1 post, 1 page and 2 plugins that you can quickly remove.
Step 6: Plugins To Install
Plugins help turn a normal blog into something special. While there are thousands of plugins you can use, there are about 100 that are included on the majority of blogs in some form or another. Don’t go crazy though, each plugin you install will start to slow your site down.
I recommend installing no more than 5 or 6 plugins.
The most common ones I install on our blogs are:
- Rank Math – Search Engine Optimisation
- Very Simple Contact Form
- Shortcodes Ultimate.
You can always uninstall plugins if you decide you don’t want to use them anymore.
To install plugins, go to ‘Plugins’ then ‘Add New.’ Use the search box on the right to find plugins. Alternatively you might have the download files for a plugin which you can manually upload using the ‘Upload Plugin’ button.
Click ‘Install Plugin’ and depending on the size of the download it might take a few minutes.
Make sure you click ‘Activate Plugin’ to complete the installation.
Plugin 1: Rank Math SEO
Rank Math helps you to optimise your posts and pages on your blog for ranking higher in search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Yahoo and more.
I’m not going to go into detail here about installing and configuring this plugin.
It’s very simple to install, a few next buttons and you’re done.
When you come to writing content later in the next step, you’ll have an SEO box under the editor such as my example below.
There’s an awesome tutorial on using Rank Math here.
Plugin 2: Very Simple Contact Form
This plugin allows you to add a contact form on your website. Many bloggers recommend another plugin called Contact Form 7 but this plugin is very simple, hence the name. If you want to simply capture name, email and a comment, as well as having a security challenge this is the plugin for you.
They provide a shortcode which you copy and paste on to your blog pages.
Plugin 3: Shortcodes Ultimate
This plugin allows you to create cool elements in your posts and pages such as tables, alert boxes, tabs, graphs, charts, images, videos and so much more.
The plugin installs a short code image in the editor and one click offers up the elements available.
Step 7: Content Creation
Now you’re ready to create some content.
WordPress offers two types of content, posts or pages.
7.1 Adding Your First Posts
Posts are usually used for content that changes or is updated, i.e. blog posts.
You can however uses posts or pages for any type of content, it’s entirely up to you.
To create a new post, choose Posts then ‘Add New.’
You can now create your title and content. WordPress and Rank Math both recommend a title of no more than 60 characters (including spaces) for SEO.
Your title is what will appear in search results on Google.
The content box is a bit like a Microsoft Word document and allows you to create text exactly how you’d like to including bold text, icons, bullet points, paragraphs etc.
You’ll also want to add a ‘featured image’ which works with most themes and shows an image on the homepage.
7.2 Creating Categories
You’ll now want to create categories which you can link posts too. This is very easy to do using the ‘Posts’ and then ‘Categories’ menu.
Once you’ve created some categories you can add posts to them.
7.3 Create Your Menu Bar
You’ll want to give visitors an easy way to navigate around your blog. Creating a menu bar under ‘Appearance’ and then ‘Menu’s is a simple way to add one to your website.
Be sure to click on ‘Make Primary’ or else the bar won’t show up.
You can add posts, categories or pages to this menu bar.
If your blog has say three categories, you’d add the categories to the menu bar so when someone clicks on one all the posts for that category show up.
Pretty simple right?
Step 8: Monetise Your Blog
You can now start to make money from your blog, but for best results I recommend adding at least 10-15 different posts to your blog.
Some of the easiest ways to start making money from your blog include the following ways:
- Affiliate links to other businesses
- Offering guest post services
- Adding Google Adsense
- Adding your own Advertisements.
Rather than going into every single topic in detail, I’d suggest you checkout the different options available to you online.
Some of the best places to get affiliate links include Clickbank, Shareasale, CJ.com and Amazon Associates.
Alternatively signup with Google Adsense and they’ll run their own ads on your site tailored towards visitors individual needs.
Step 9: Get Free Traffic
Great, you’ve got your blog setup, added some content and found a way to start making money. The last thing you need now is actual traffic. Without traffic your blog won’t make much money at all so spend some time on these methods and learn the best ones for your situation.
These techniques will also help with organic search engine rankings:
- Niche Blog Commenting
- Niche Forum Discussion
- Niche Question Answering.
Method 1: Blog Commenting
This is probably the easiest way to get free traffic as well as increase the number of backlinks pointing at your blog. More backlinks make your domain more stronger in the eyes of Google.
Now don’t go crazy and create hundreds every day, that’s called spam and is frowned upon. I’d say create 3 or 4 per week.
Use Google to find other blogs in your niche that interest you and are relevant to your content.
Add a comment that is both constructive and relevant to their comment. Far too many bloggers try and spam their site here, which almost guarantees the site owner will delete their comment.
Add a long comment, add your name, email and tick the box for followups if they offer this service.
Method 2: Forum Posting
The next best way to get free traffic is by using forums and adding your website link in your signature.
This means when you post on the forum, your site will show up on every post. If you’re popular and active on the forums then you could easily rack up 1000 posts quite easily.
Find forums related to your niche and word of warning, provide value first. If you go spamming your link you’ll get banned and it will all be wasted.
Method 3: Answer Questions
One of the biggest question and answer websites out there right now is called Quora.
You can create a free account on this platform and start answering peoples questions. These could be on anything. For every 5 questions you answer, chuck a link into your website to content that is relevant to their question.
Spend time answering these questions, other people will upvote your answers and you’ll become the go to resource. Other members will ask for your answers when they post questions and it’s a good way to start getting traffic.
I recommend filling out your profile completely and include qualifications to make yourself sound more professional.
Now you know how to start a blog for under $2.95 per month and make money. If you focus on creating quality content and lots of it then your visitors will come and start to interact with your content, thus making you money.
If you are struggling, stop, take a break and come back to it. Forcing yourself to write for your blog is no good for anyone and will only cause frustration and anger!
It takes a lot of work to start a blog and takes time to make money from it.
If this guide was helpful to you then I’d love to hear your comments.
To Your Success.
Joey and Sarah Roberts