Ideas and Instruments – Grasp Running a blog

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So, you’re here to start a blog in India.

Let me tell you why it’s the best decision you’ve ever made. 

First and foremost, Indians love to read

According to a study, the average Indian spends more than 10 hours per week reading. That’s an hour longer than the next country that reads most, Thailand, with an average reading time of 9 hours. 

In addition, the number of people with internet access in India significantly grows year after year. 

It is projected that, by the year 2023, there will be over a billion internet users in India. That’s a huge leap from the 750 million internet users recorded in 2020. 

The best part is, building a professional-looking blog is much easier now than it’s been in years. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced web developer or just a college student. With the right tools, I’m confident you can get a blog up and running before today ends. 

But before we begin, let’s talk about your niche.

Finding Your Blog Niche

Picking a niche is one of the most important decisions you have to early in your blogging career. 

It’s not something you should rush. Remember, picking a niche will determine the profitability of your blog and your long-term motivation. 

Here are the steps to picking the right niche: 

1. Start with a core market and narrow down

Every successful blog falls under one of the three core markets: wealth, health, and relationships. 

Just pick any core market you think you’re proficient in. From there, “niche down” by identifying smaller subtopics. 

For example, in the “health” core market, you can identify the following submarkets:

  • Weight loss
  • Dieting
  • Bodybuilding
  • Food
  • Eyecare

Each of these submarkets can be narrowed down further into smaller niches. 

For example, the food submarket can be narrowed down to baking, cooking, vegetarian recipes, and more. Keep narrowing down to smaller niches until and create a list of all the potential blog topics for you.   

2. Check the competition

The next step is to analyze if your chosen niche isn’t too saturated for new bloggers.

Doing keyword research will allow you to do just that. More importantly, it can help you discover even smaller niches that are more viable for beginners. 

If you’re new to blogging, using the free version of Semrush is enough to get results. Just fire up their Keyword Magic Tool, enter a keyword related to your topic, and click ‘Search.’

Be sure to select ‘India’ from the drop-down menu to look for keywords used by the Indian audience. 

Within seconds, you’ll find a list of profitable keyword suggestions – some useful as blog topics themselves. 

Just be sure to check the ‘Keyword Difficulty’ metric and look for keywords with a KD rating of 15-49. These are keywords that new blog pages can still rank for.  

Of course, you should check the ‘Volume’ metric as well to ensure there are people searching for that keyword. 

3. Determine if it’s a YMYL niche

YMYL or “Your Money or Your Life” niches are mostly dominated by big-name companies. Search engines like Google are also extra picky when it comes to ranking websites for these niches. 

As such, it’s highly advised for aspiring bloggers to avoid YMYL niches at all costs.

In simple terms, YMYL niches refer to industries that directly affect people’s health and finances. This includes banking, medicine, insurance, and retirement.

The only reasons to take on a YMYL niche are:

  • You’re a certified expert or journalist in that industry
  • You own a business in that industry
  • You have a lot of opinions and don’t care about your blog’s profitability

Otherwise, it’s best to avoid YMYL niches and look for subject matters you’re personally passionate about. 

4. Look for monetization opportunities

If you want to make money with your blog, you need to think about monetization opportunities when picking a niche. 

There are a lot of ways a blogger can make money online, such as:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Advertising
  • Sponsored posts
  • Selling products and online courses
  • Paid subscriptions

Related: 89 Blog Monetization Strategies: The Ultimate List (2022)

The easiest way to check the monetization potential of a niche is to look at the top blogs.

For example, MASTERCHEFMOM is one of the top Indian blogs in the food space. A visit to her site will tell you that she makes money with ads, sponsored posts, cooking workshops, and collaborations.

Of course, this is just an example. 

You might be surprised how Indian bloggers in other niches make money with their websites. 

Tech review bloggers, for example, can earn affiliate commissions by promoting products on Amazon. Others make a living by promoting other brands via their Instagram account. 

5. Confirm if it’s the right niche for you

Before you go all-in, there are two things you need to do when deciding your niche. 

First, you must check if it’s your “Ikigai” – a Japanese word that means “reason for being.”

Your Ikigai is at the center of your passion, profession, mission, and vocation. It must be something you love, you’re good at, you can get paid for, and the world needs. 

A lot of guides tell bloggers to follow their passions when picking a niche. 

That’s generally good advice. However, you also need to consider if there’s a demand for a new blog in that industry. 

Furthermore, you need to determine if you can get paid for it and if you’re genuinely good at it. 

That leads to the next point.

If you want to succeed in your niche, you should be able to prove your authority. 

Can you position yourself as an expert in that particular niche? If not, are you willing to put in the work to reach that point?

Remember, being a blogger isn’t getting any easier. 

When visitors arrive at your blog, you must give them a reason to trust you. Tell them about your background, publish your own results, and be prepared to provide them with loads of quality content. 

Check out my full guide on how to pick the perfect blog niche. There, you’ll also find 100+ niche ideas you can use to fuel your research. 

Pick Your Blogging Platform

Found the perfect niche for your blog?

Great. 

The next order of business is to choose your blogging platform. 

While there are loads of blogging platforms on the web for Indian bloggers, it usually boils down to two choices:

A self-hosted website with WordPress

If this isn’t your first blogging guide, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with WordPress.

In case you didn’t know, WordPress is the biggest CMS or “Content Management System” on the web. It powers around 43% of the entire internet – from small blogs to big business sites. 

WordPress makes it possible for anyone to build a sophisticated, professional-looking blog. 

You can easily install a theme, customize it, create your content, and install plugins to integrate site functionalities. 

The pros of using WordPress are numerous: 

  • It’s free – You don’t need to pay a single penny to access all the features of WordPress. You do, however, need to pay for other things – from essentials like hosting to premium add-ons like plugins and themes. 
  • Use the visual editor to create content – WordPress features the “Gutenberg” editor, which allows you to combine various elements like tables, dividers, and columns to create content. You can also use it to create essential pages, like “Contact Us” and “About Me.”
  • Thousands of themes to choose from – With WordPress themes, you can practically create a visually-attractive blog in a few seconds. You only have to worry about customizing it, which is made easy through WordPress’s built-in theme customizer.  
  • Thousands of plugins to build with – If you have zero coding knowledge, you can use WordPress plugins to add advanced and interactive elements to your blog. This can be a booking widget, interactive calendar, sign-up form, and so on.
  • Loads of free learning resources – As the most popular platform on the web, you won’t have problems looking for in-depth learning resources for WordPress. There are tons of guides, video tutorials, and templates you can use on YouTube, WordPress’s official site, and other blogs. 

Perhaps the only downside of using WordPress is the security aspect. 

Due to its popularity and the astonishing number of third-party developers, WordPress websites are widely targeted by hackers. Luckily, you can minimize your chances of being hacked with security plugins and regular updates. 

A free site with blogging platforms

For those who don’t want to use WordPress, a popular alternative would be any free blogging platform. This includes Blogger, Tumblr, and Medium. 

For the sake of this guide, let’s focus on Blogger – a popular, free blogging service offered by Google.

Unlike WordPress, Blogger doesn’t require you to construct your blog yourself. Once you have a Google account, you just need to go through a few steps to finish the setup process. 

From there, you can start writing your first blog post. 

Naturally, the main advantage of Blogger is its user-friendliness. 

Blogger also relies on Google’s infrastructure, which in turn could keep blogs safe against cyber-attacks. 

If you want to focus more on creating content and less on updates, security, and performance optimization, go with Blogger. 

However, I strongly recommend going with WordPress if you’re serious about blogging. 

First of all, WordPress allows you to perform deep customizations on your website without using HTML. It also gives you the freedom to choose your own host or migrate to a new one whenever necessary. 

Keep in mind that, with Blogger, you don’t technically own your blog – it’s still Google’s property. 

If your account gets suspended, or if Google decides to stop supporting the Blogger service, it’s game over.

Still not sure which blogging platform to pick? You can check out my full Blogger vs WordPress guide for a more detailed, side-by-side comparison.

Registering and Hosting Your Own Domain 

If you chose WordPress to build your blog, the real work begins now. 

Before you can use WordPress, you need to register and host your own domain. That will be your blog’s official web address – also known as URL or “Uniform Source Locator.”

Hostinger is a favorite among Indian bloggers – thanks to their affordable pricing and reliable service. 

They can help you every step of the way in getting your blog online. 

You can use Hostinger’s Domain Checker tool to look for available domains. Just type in the domain you want to use and click ‘Search’ to begin. 

Hostinger will first check if the “.com” version of your preferred domain is available. If not, it will show a bunch of available suggestions below. 

Just remember not to click ‘Add to cart’ yet. 

If you want the best value for your money, purchase a hosting plan instead and get your domain for free. 

Pro tip: you can save even more money using the coupon code ‘MASTERBLOGGING’ upon checkout.

How to pick the perfect domain for your blog?

The best blog names are created with simple, brandable words creatively mashed together. It may include your own name, a keyword, or anything that’s memorable. 

Just remember the following rules to make sure your blog name is ready to compete: 

  • Double-check your spelling
  • Only use hyphens to avoid confusion
  • Try using adjectives and alliterations
  • Use simple words that are easy to remember
  • As much as possible, go with the “.com” domain extension
  • If all else fails, use your name or nickname

Related: Coming Up With A Perfect Blog Name: Detailed Guide (2022)

Still have no idea what to name your blog?

My go-to strategy is to write a mission statement and pick out the important words. You just need to clarify three things:

  • Your target blog audience – Who are you blogging for? What are their professions, hobbies, or current status in life?
  • Your value proposition – What value will your blog provide readers? Will you offer tutorials, online courses, expert advice, product recommendations, and so on?
  • A quick description of yourself – Who exactly are you?

You can refer to the example below to know what a mission statement looks like. 

From there, you can pick out words like:

  • NIP 
  • Nerd
  • Freelance
  • Wedding
  • Photographer
  • Blog 
  • Amateur
  • Passion
  • Video
  • Templates
  • Lighting
  • Camera
  • Tabletop 

You can then use these words to put together a potential blog name, like PassionTemplates.com, TabletopBlog.com, and so on. It just takes a little creativity to come up with something catchy. 

Building Your WordPress Blog

Now that your domain is registered and hosted, it’s time to build your WordPress blog. 

The good news is, this step can be done within a few minutes. 

Most hosting services, including Hostinger, include an automated WordPress installation tool. Just look for ‘WordPress’ in your hosting account’s control panel and follow the on-screen instructions. 

This entire process usually only takes minutes to complete. Once your WordPress website is ready, it’s time to access your dashboard. 

To do this, enter your WordPress installation URL. Usually, this is just your domain URL followed by “wp-admin”: 

From there, enter the admin credentials you created during the WordPress installation process. 

Upon clicking ‘Log In,’ you’ll be redirected to your dashboard. 

Congratulations – you’re now ready to build your WordPress blog. 

In the “Welcome to WordPress” panel, you’ll find a set of links that will help you finish building your site. 

Allow me to walk you through each step: 

Customizing your WordPress blog

The first thing new WordPress users do is install the theme they want to use. You can get started by clicking ‘change your theme completely’ under the ‘Customize Your Site’ button. 

Alternatively, look for ‘Appearance’ in the main dashboard menu and click ‘Themes.’

WordPress themes are essentially website design packages that will give your blog a distinctive look. 

To look for themes, click ‘Add New.’ 

WordPress will immediately take you to the theme library – starting with a bunch of featured suggestions. You can scroll down and pick the one you like, or use the search bar to look for something else. 

To install a theme, click ‘Install’ and then click ‘Activate’ once the option becomes available.

That’s it – your theme should now be installed and ready to use.

Just remember that picking a theme requires you to think about performance, security, flexibility, and costs. You can check out my top 7 WordPress themes for bloggers for recommendations. 

Finally, you can start customizing the way your blog looks. 

Just head back to your dashboard, select ‘Appearance,’ and click ‘Customize.’

The customization options that will appear depend on the theme you currently installed and activated. With most themes, you should be able to change menus, logos, colors, fonts, and page layouts.

If you want advanced customizations without writing a single line of code, I suggest checking out Kadence Blocks.

It is a WordPress plugin specifically designed to work with Kadence Theme. Once installed, you can use Kadence Blocks to build custom pages using advanced blocks like:

  • Tabs
  • Rows
  • Accordions
  • Tables of contents
  • Forms
  • Image overlays
  • Product carousels
  • Countdowns
  • …and more

Adding essential plugins

Speaking of plugins, let’s talk about why they’re a big deal when it comes to WordPress blogging.

Plugins make it possible to integrate all sorts of functionalities into your WordPress blog – no coding required. 

With plugins, you can create contact forms, tweetable quotes, image carousels, Facebook sections, and so on. 

If you come across a nice feature on another website, chances are there’s a plugin you can use for that. 

However, it’s important to avoid going overboard when it comes to WordPress plugins. 

Installing too many could affect your blog’s performance. Not to mention that certain plugins may introduce security vulnerabilities that could put your site at risk. 

Here are a bunch of guides that can help you find the right plugins for your WordPress blog:

To install plugins, just go to ‘Plugins’ and select ‘Add New’ from the dashboard menu. 

Next, use the search bar to find the plugin you want to install. Be sure ‘Keyword’ is selected from the drop-down menu.

Once you find the plugin you want, click ‘Install Now.’ Don’t forget to click ‘Activate’ once the option becomes available. 

Creating Your First Blog Posts

Now that your WordPress site is up and running, it’s time to start publishing blog posts.

A popular practice is to prepare 3-5 posts before officially launching your blog. 

The question is, what on earth should you write about?

It’s a good idea to start with an “introductory post” that mentions who you are, what you’ll be blogging about, and who are you writing for. Just keep it simple, use your own writing voice, and mention what readers can do to receive updates. 

You can tell them to follow you on Facebook, subscribe to your email list, or join your private Discord channel. 

For your next 2-4 posts, you can rely on keyword research to find topics that your target readers are looking for. 

AnswerThePublic is the perfect tool for this.

Just head to the site, enter a keyword or two, and click ‘Search.’ Just remember to choose the correct country from the drop-down menu at the bottom.

Within a few seconds, AnswerThePublic will provide you with a web of potential topic ideas for your first post. You can check different categories to get different content type ideas, namely questions, prepositions, and comparisons. 

Using AnswerThePublic is just one of the many ways you can generate compelling content ideas for your new blog. For more advanced tips, read my post on the top 25 strategies to generate blog post ideas here. 

Conclusion: How to Start a Blog in India

Building a profitable blog is definitely a big challenge. And if you want to overcome it, you need to start today

To wrap up, here’s a checklist of the things you need to do to start a blog in India: 

  • Find the perfect blog niche for you
  • Choose your blogging platform well
  • Register and host your own domain
  • Build your custom WordPress blog
  • Publish your first blog posts 

Take one step at a time, be patient, and stay focused on your blogging goals. 

If you have questions, feedback, or suggestions for future posts, feel free to leave a comment below. 

Good luck!

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