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How to Start a Blog and Why You Should

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How to Start Blogging and Why You ShouldA few weeks ago, I went to drop RB40Jr off at school and met one of his friends’ mom. We hit it off because she’s from Thailand and we had a short conversation while we waited for the kids to go inside. She asked what I do, and I told her I’m a blogger. She must have heard “logger” because she said something about landscaping. I didn’t have a chance to correct her because she had to run and drop off her other kids. Okay, that was a bit strange, but understandable. Blogging is a relatively newer way to make money and a lot of people don’t know the possibility of blogging as a business.

Why you should blog start a blog

I started blogging in 2010 and it completely transformed my life for the better. I was at a low point in my life and blogging lifted me out of that funk. It gave me a purpose by helping me focus on improving my life instead of blaming others for my problems. Blogging helped turn the negative energy into a creative force. That’s pretty amazing. Here are just a few ways that blogging helped me.

  • Setting goals – Writing your goals down has a way of making them more concrete. Once I started sharing my goal to retire early, it became a self fulfilling prophecy. I made plans to achieve my goals and I followed through on the execution. It’s probably mostly psychological, but blogging has been extremely helpful with achieving my goals.
  • Community – Early retirement and financial independence are difficult to talk about. Nobody I know in real life is comfortable with the idea of retiring early and I couldn’t find any support in my circle of friends. Luckily, we have the internet now. Blogging about early retirement connected me to like minded individuals all over the world. Many of our readers are interested in early retirement and I’ve discovered many other online communities about FIRE. The internet is amazing because you can always find someone who has similar interests as you. Blogging can help you find your tribe, and I found mine.
  • Creativity – Since I started blogging, I have been writing and reading about new ideas every week. Previously, I thought early retirement meant only saving and investing a lot of money. Now I know there are many different ways to reach early retirement. You don’t have to take the beaten path if you’re creative. Blogging will help expand your mind.
  • Extra income – The extra income is a nice bonus. I didn’t expect to make much money when I first started blogging. I was just hoping that the site could pay the monthly hosting. However, Retire by 40 turned out to be a relevant blog because workers everywhere are totally stressed out. The modern work-a-day life is very dissatisfying and a lot of people are looking for an alternative. Blogging really is very flexible and you can take it in many directions. For me, I’m happy with the income from advertising. More ambitious bloggers use their blogs as a platform to launch careers such as freelance writing, motivational speaking, consulting, and ad campaigning. Blogging is a great way to join the internet economy. And you never know. Maybe you’ll be one of those elite bloggers that make $10,000 per month! It’s really amazing how much online income some people make. By the way, I made over $150,000 since I started blogging in 2010. That’s not bad for a hobby, right?

How to start a blog

That’s why I encourage everyone to start a blog. The great thing about blogging is that you don’t need to know how to do all the technical stuff. You don’t even need to be a great writer. I was always better at STEM subjects when I was in school and I never thought I could write for a wide audience. My early articles weren’t great, but I improved a lot since then. Like anything, the more you practice, the better you get. Seriously, if I can write a blog, anyone can.

First we’ll go over a few terms.

  • Domain – This is what people type in their browser to get to your site. The domain name here is retireby40.org.
  • Hosting – Your blog lives in a computer at your web hosting company. I use SiteGround because they are fast and reliable.
  • WordPress – The software behind most of the blog that you see. Almost every blogger uses WordPress because it is easy to work with and it’s the standard setup. I would go with WordPress if you’re new because it will be easier to find answers to your questions.

Starting a blog is extremely easy. Again, you don’t have to know anything about the technical side in the beginning. The hosting companies want your business and they will help you set up a WordPress blog in just a few minutes. You might think it would be better to start a blog for free on Blogger, Blogspot, or wordpress.org; however, I don’t recommend going with free in this case. Most advertisers and companies avoid working with free sites because free blogs are not very professional. There are also other limitations such as not being able to put ads on your site. It’s much better to have complete control over your site and go with a hosting company like SiteGround. The price really is pretty cheap for the first year at $3.95 per month. Normally, I like free, but paid hosting is a lot better.

What will you blog about?

Here is the first thing you need to deal with before starting a blog – what will you write about? I started Retire by 40 because I was driven to retire early. I knew I couldn’t continue working at my old company and that gave me plenty of fuel to blog about financial independence and early retirement.

Once you settle on a topic, then it’s time to pick a name for your blog. For me, it was a moment of inspiration. In 2010, I hated work and I spent quite a bit of time reading various personal finance blogs. Suddenly, the name Retire by 40 popped into my head. It was the perfect name and I registered a domain name right away. Mrs. RB40 was 7 months pregnant at the time and she was a bit stunned when I shared this news with her. She got on-board with the plan soon after, though.

One of my goals this year is to start a new site and I’m going with Fit by 40. Yes, I’m a few years over 40, but I want to keep the new site under the same brand umbrella. I really need to improve my fitness now that I’m getting older. Blogging improved my personal finance so much and I hope it can do the same for my fitness.

Check Google and US Trademark office

When you start a new site, you should Google the name first to avoid future problems. If a blog with that name shows up on Google search, then you probably should go with a different name. Using the same name as an established business is going to cause a conflict and you’d probably lose if it comes down to a lawsuit.

For Fit by 40, I searched the internet and found a site on blogspot with this name. I think this is fine, though. The site is not a business because there aren’t any ads there. I believe Trademark law only applies once the name is used in commerce. I

Also, it’s a good idea to search the trademark database at the USPTO. If something comes up here, I’d go with a different name. As far as I can tell, there isn’t a business associated with the brand Fit by 40 in the trademark database. You can see an example of a registered trademark by searching for Retire by 40.

Get your domain name

Now that you have a name for your blog, you need to see if the domain name is available.

Go to namecheap and search for your domain name.

The best case scenario is that the .com is available. However, almost all basic names have already been purchased by domain speculators. Fitby40.com is also taken, but it is available for $4,095 per year. I’m going to say no to that and go with fitby40.org instead. I don’t think it’s a huge deal at this point because you can type a site name into the browser address field now. The .com is still preferred, but I think .org or .net is perfectly fine.

I purchased fitby40.org for $3 around New Year, but you don’t need to do that if you’re going with SiteGround. You will get a free domain when you purchase a hosting plan with SiteGround. SiteGround discontinued the free domain promotion in March, 2017. 🙁

Go with SiteGround

Okay, now it’s time to get serious and get a hosting plan. I recommend SiteGround because they have great performance and the price is very competitive. The StartUp plan is $3.95 per month and that’s all you need at the beginning. You can always upgrade once your blog has more traffic.

Why SiteGround?

SiteGround is one of the best hosting companies right now and their price is competitive with other hosts. You could find cheaper plans, but they will not be as good as SiteGround. Here are the reasons why I recommend SiteGround.

  • Uptime – SiteGround has very good uptime record. This means your site will rarely go down. I hate it when Retire by 40 doesn’t load and this is a huge priority for me.
  • Speed – SiteGround is faster than most other hosting companies. Many hosting companies are owned by Endurance International Group and their quality of service is subpar. SiteGround is not owned by EIG and I hope they stay that way.
  • Support – They have a very good support team that you can chat or call 24/7. In fact, I recommend that new bloggers chat with support and request them to install a WordPress site for you. It is easy to do it manually, but even easier to let them do it for you. I’ve tried 4 hosting companies and SiteGround has the best support team by far.
  • Free domain name – This is an awesome freebie for new blogger.

I switched to SiteGround about a year ago and I’ve been very happy with them. Retire by 40 has been very stable (100% uptime) and the speed has improved. Previously, I used JustHost and I had more issues.

Alternatively, you could go with BlueHost. BlueHost is a bigger company, but their performance isn’t as good as SiteGround according to various reviews. Bluehost is more affordable once you move beyond basic shared hosting, but I’d go with SiteGround when you’re starting out. It’s easy to change hosts if you need to. BlueHost does pay a better referral fee ($65 vs $50) so I don’t mind if you sign up with them. 😉  I still recommend SiteGround over BlueHost, though.

The signup process

The signup process is really easy. You can visit SiteGround and keep this page open for referral if you’d like.

Step 1. Choose Plan. If you’re just starting out, I’d go with the cheapest plan. The GrowBig and GoGeek are great plans for people who have multiple sites and more traffic. If you’re switching from other hosting platform, either of those would work very well. The higher level plans also come with caching which will speed up your site.

start blogging with SiteGround

Step 2. Choose Domain. Input your domain name.

start a WordPress blog with SiteGround

Step 3. Review & Complete. This is where you add your info and pay for the hosting service. Here you need to select a password and write it down. Here, I would go with 12 months of service. If you choose one month, then there would be a $14.95 setup fee. One year of service cost $47.40. That’s really not bad because it will be the full amount you need to spend on your blog for the next 12 months. I would skip the domain privacy and HackAlert monitoring at this time.

SiteGround blog

Log on to SiteGround and install WordPress

Once you’ve signed up for hosting, you’re ready to install WordPress. There should be a welcome email from SiteGround in your mailbox at this point with your username. The email should have a link to a page where you can log on to SiteGround with that username and the password you wrote down earlier. You can try logging on now and check out SiteGround’s user area and control panel, or cpanel.

At this point, I wouldn’t worry too much about cpanel because you need to install WordPress first. The easiest way to do this is to ask the support team to install for you.  You can access the chat from SiteGround’s homepage.

If you really want to install WordPress yourself, here is SiteGround’s tutorial.

Now, you’re ready to start blogging!

Log on to your site’s admin area. You should be able to get to the logon page by typing the following into the address bar of your internet browser. (Change fitby40 to your site domain.)

 http://fitby40.org/wp-admin/

Explore WordPress and modify some settings

Once you’ve logged on, there are a few things that you should do. You can also click around a bit and explore WordPress.

1. Set permalink and time zone. You should use “Post name” for the permalink setting. Then go to the General setting and set your time zone.

2. Write your first blog post. Click the “Publish” button and you’ll be able to see what your blog looks like.

That’s it! You’re on your way. At this point, your site will look very basic, but don’t worry about it too much. WordPress is very flexible and you can make endless customizations. You can visit Fit by 40 and see what a basic blog looks like. I only have a few posts up at this point and I’ve only done a few basic customizations. I’ll leave it like this for about a month and work on the design later.

Basic customization for your site

Customizing your site is a never-ending work in progress. It’s tough to balance content and design when you’re starting out. I think most people will want to work on design until they get it just right, but that’s difficult when you don’t know much about WordPress. I would start getting content out first and then work on the design as you go. The truth is you’ll be the only one to see your blog for a while (unless you’ve got an awesome site name).

Here are the basic customization that I’ve done at Fit by 40.

Header – This is the image at the top of the page. You can add an image by clicking on Appearance > Header. I found a relevant image and added it to the header by clicking on the Header Media menu. You can also change the Site Title and Tagline in this section. Here are a couple of good free sites to get your first few images – Pexels and pixabay.

Widgets (sidebar) – Next, you can customize your sidebar by clicking on Appearance > Widgets. I haven’t done much at Fit by 40 yet. I just added a Twitter icon and put one ad on the sidebar.

Plugins – This is where things will start to get more complicated. You can add Plugins to increase the functionality of your blog. Here are the few plugins that I currently have on Fit by 40.

  • Akismet and Growmap Anti Spam Plugin – These are good plugins that will reduce the spam in your comment section.
  • Jetpack – Jetpack is a big plugin and it can add social share buttons, enable you to look at visitor statistics, improve security, and more.
  • SG CachePress – This is the caching plugin from SiteGround. It will help improve the speed of the site. This one was a bit more complicated to install, but the support team helped me get it going.
  • Yoast SEO – This plugin will help improve your search engine result.

There are hundreds of plugins and you can find a ton of info on the internet. I’d keep it light when you’re starting out. Too many plugins will slow down your site. If you have any problems with any of these plugins, contact the SiteGround support team via chat. They have been very helpful for me.

Theme – A theme dictates how your site looks. Currently (January 2017), I’m leaving Fit by 40 at the default theme (Twenty Seventeen). I will change it to the Thesis theme soon to keep it consistent with Retire by 40. Actually, my main motivation for starting a new site is so I can redesign Retire by 40. I don’t want to make any changes here until I tried it out first on Fit by 40. I needed a guinea pig site for the redesign.

You can add new themes and change the look of your blog by clicking on Appearance > Themes. I recommend leaving the default theme until you have a few posts up. Don’t let customization distract you from blogging. It will take a ton of time to get your site to look just right so there is no need to rush. I spent way too many late nights on the design when I first started out. On Fit by 40, I’m going to take my time and I won’t stress out too much over how it looks.

Cpanel – Cpanel is a web based control panel to manage your WordPress site. You can change your password, check webmail, and that kind of thing. I’d just ignore this for now and learn about it later. The only thing you really need to do here is to forward the emails to your gmail account.

Blogging tips for beginners

I think the hardest thing for new bloggers is to keep going. When you’re just starting out, there won’t be many readers and it will feel like no one hears what you have to say. Believe me, every blogger went through that at some point. You’ll just have to stick with it and keep writing. Things will improve as you build up your content. Here are a few tips to keep you going.

Blog about something you’re interested in. Blogging will take a lot of time and you should blog about something you’re interested in. Blogging about your interest is the easiest way to create a genuine voice. It’s really difficult to write about something you don’t care about and to also make it interesting. Besides, why would you want to blog about something you aren’t interested in?

Set a schedule and stick with it. I think this is the biggest factor that kept me going in the beginning. I set a schedule to blog MWF and I stuck with it no matter what. Blogging became a part of my routine. If I didn’t have a set schedule, I probably wouldn’t have been able to keep it up. At Fit by 40, I will blog once per week.

Don’t aim for perfection with your blog posts. My blog posts weren’t very good when I started. I tried my best, but I wasn’t a very good writer back then. It took a long time to find my voice and if I needed every post to be perfect, I’d given up long ago. I think it’s better to get something out than to shoot for perfection every time. Everyone is busy and sometimes you just have to go with a short blog post or an easy one.

Don’t spend too much time on customization. Honestly, customizing my site was more fun than blogging in the beginning. You can see instant feedback and it feels good to see improvements. However, you don’t want to spend all your time on the backend. I think it’s better to get some posts up first and then work on the site itself when you have extra time.

Connect with other bloggers and communities in the same niche. Once you have a few posts up, try to connect with other like-minded individuals online. You can comment on other blogs. Seek out bloggers who just started and work together to help promote each other. Established bloggers will probably be happy to help you with your questions as well. We were all beginners at one point.

Add your site to Google Search. WIP – I’m working on this one. You can manually add your site to Google database here. You can also add your site to Google via their Webmaster tools.

Those are my tips for beginners and you can find a ton more on the internet. Blogging has been very fulfilling for me and it opened up a world of possibilities. You might think it’s too hard or you don’t have time for it, but you won’t know unless you try it. I’d give it at least a year and see where it goes. And you never know, you might be able to make a little extra income through your blog. Fit by 40 already made 8 cents in 2 days! Heh heh, you won’t make much income at first, but it will get better.

Alright, what are you waiting for? Visit SiteGround now and you can start a blog in just a few minutes. Enjoy your blogging journey!

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*This post contains affiliate links and we may receive a referral fee if you sign up with the hosting services mentioned here.

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{ 93 comments… add one }
  • Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes January 16, 2017, 12:52 am

    Nice tutorial Joe. While I’ve never used SiteGround, I have heard good things about them. Far better than Bluehost.

    I know every blogger seems to write one of these tutorials, but I think yours is actually quite helpful. And, you’re honest about the affiliate fees. Rarely do I see that.

    My tips for any new blogger:
    * Do plenty of research first. There are tons of hosting companies and name servers out there. Sign-up fees are always low to start with, but what will they be after that first year?
    * Understand how traffic is going to get to your site. Ranking in Google searches is very difficult. There’s just too many people creating similar (and good) content.
    * Don’t go into blogging thinking you’ll make tons of money. You probably won’t. Those blogs you hear about making tons are the *exception* not the norm. Blog because you love to do it.

    • The Vigilante January 16, 2017, 5:46 am

      And partially because of that honesty, I’ll be considering SiteGround when my contract with Bluehost is up!

    • retirebyforty January 16, 2017, 7:49 am

      SiteGround has been really great for us. We’ll probably have to upgrade to a cloud server soon and then the price will increase quite a bit.
      I resisted writing about blogging for years, but I think that was a mistake. This is useful for some readers. This affiliate income is a huge part of many bloggers’ income.

      Thanks for the tips! I think it’s okay to go into blogging with income as a goal. Even if you don’t make much money from advertising, you can generate income in many ways. A lot of bloggers discovered many things they can do to make money. Freelance writing is one very good way and I know people who make more than their previous job. They work really hard, though.

      • DanNie April 4, 2017, 12:09 pm

        Can anyone use very simple English to explain how to get advertisers to your blog site and how the bloggers actually can make money?

        • retirebyforty April 5, 2017, 9:00 am

          I will work on a post on how to start making money with your blog. It takes a lot of time unless you’re really lucky…

    • Abby January 17, 2017, 2:35 pm

      Thanks Joe and Mr Tako. I’m bookmarking this page for when I’m ready to start 🙂

  • Mr. RIP January 16, 2017, 2:05 am

    Aaaand I added fitby40 to my feed reader 🙂
    I was wondering: can’t you have the same wordpress user as author on both blogs? Wouldn’t it be a stronger branding action?

    • retirebyforty January 16, 2017, 7:50 am

      Thanks! It will take a while for Fit by 40 to improve. I’m taking it slow there.
      I don’t think you can sign in with the same wordpress account. Not sure, though.

  • Brad, Financial Coach January 16, 2017, 4:00 am

    I agree that BlueHost isn’t great. When our current pre-paid period expires, we’ll be looking at other options – likely SiteGround. “Funny”… I started a hosting company in 1996 and sold it in 2014 (no, not to EIG!). So I’m intimately familiar with all the challenges and issues here. But, you don’t really know what you’re getting into until you get into it — or if you find some great endorsements like in this post to save money and headache.

    • retirebyforty January 16, 2017, 7:51 am

      SiteGround has been really good. I think it’s perfect for beginners. It’s pricey when you move to cloud hosting though. Maybe I should write a post about 10 hosting companies to avoid. 🙂

  • Wes @ TPOHappiness January 16, 2017, 4:19 am

    Being a newer and younger blogger myself, thank you for the encouragement to set and stick to a schedule no matter what even as my writing skills could use some serious improvement.

    You are absolutely correct in that its a bit more fun to mess around with customizing the site than it is to write the posts at first, at least for me. I have probably spent about twice as much time messing around with plugins than writing so far. Time for me to get busy pushing out posts!

    Thanks again for the post and encouragement!

    • retirebyforty January 16, 2017, 7:53 am

      Keep writing and you will get better. 🙂
      Also, don’t get burned out. Pace yourself and take a break sometime. I spent way too many late nights when I first started out. Good luck!

  • Apathy Ends January 16, 2017, 4:51 am

    +1 for SiteGround – support is awesome and I haven’t had any issues since switching.

    Will check out the fitby40!

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 6:54 am

      SiteGround has been great for us as well. I’ve had no security issue since we moved. They are much better than the other hosting companies I’ve tried.

  • Max Your Freedom January 16, 2017, 5:56 am

    Excellent tutorial! I like how you’re using your new site as the training guide, should be helpful for beginners.

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 6:54 am

      I needed a refresher too. The last time I started a site was 4 years ago. 🙂

  • Full Time Finance January 16, 2017, 6:06 am

    Very comprehensive. I might add one more recommendation. Consider a forum with other bloggers to ask the occasional question. Inevitably you’ll read someone’s review of another’s SEO, setup, etc and come up with new ideas. Sharing with a few bloggers is helpful, but the more you talk to the more you’ll pick up.

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 6:57 am

      That’s a very helpful idea. I heard the forum at Rockstar Finance is pretty good.

  • Smart Provisions January 16, 2017, 6:14 am

    Great tips, Joe! Good recommendation with SiteGround, I’ve heard many good things about it compared to BlueHost, but I’ve never tried it before. Although I moved away from BlueHost to DigitalOcean a while later because I wanted to learn the technical side of things.

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 6:58 am

      How is DigitalOcean? It sounds like a small company.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher January 16, 2017, 6:24 am

    This is kickass! It’s so tough to know where to get started if you’ve never managed a blog before, too. I especially like the idea of checking the trademark registry to make sure your blog name won’t conflict with an existing business–that’d be an SEO nightmare.

    I prefer Wordpress for blogging myself. It’s a lot easier to use and, while it has its detractors, it’s pretty successful.

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 7:00 am

      Thanks! It’s better to avoid conflicts. It won’t matter at first, but any established business will come after you if you take a similar name to their.

  • Physician on FIRE January 16, 2017, 6:37 am

    Fit by 40! I’ve been waiting with bated breath to see what you’d launch next. 🙂 I was expecting a travel blog. It’s a little late for me to be fit by 40, but I’m doing the best I can with this busy life. I’ll check out the site.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 7:01 am

      I’d love to write a travel blog, but we don’t travel much. I think when we go on our around the world trip, it will be a good time to do that one.

  • Jim @ Route To Retire January 16, 2017, 7:57 am

    Wow, this was really thorough, Joe! Nice job!

    And of course, now I’m going to be tied up reading Fit by 40 as well. 🙂

    — Jim

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 7:01 am

      Thanks! I only update Fit by 40 once per week. It shouldn’t take up much of your time. 🙂

  • Vicki@MakeSmarterDecisions January 16, 2017, 8:35 am

    Geez – I only have a few months to be “fit by 50” now! But I am excited to check out your new blog Joe! I was thinking it would be travel related too! Your fitness focus is so important. Both my husband and I are hurt right now. He hit his foot in the pool at the Y and a month later is still having trouble walking. I tweaked something in my back yesterday by changing the treadmill incline/speed. The older we get, the more often these little injuries seem to happen too. Looking forward to reading both blogs now!

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 7:02 am

      No worry. I’m already 43, but fitness is essential at any age.
      I hope you feel better soon.

  • FIscovery January 16, 2017, 9:08 am

    Thanks Joe for the share – – what draws me to your blog is that you are so real and open and what you speak about is just so relatable – so thank you for sharing FI your journey.

    As per the blog info, i’ll need to have a look at SiteGround as I have had a number of performance issues with my current provider (BlueHost), suppose maybe you get what you pay for, but good to know there is another provider with a similar price point that has improved performance.

    Good luck with the new site as well!

    -Corbett

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 7:05 am

      Switching to SiteGround shouldn’t be any trouble at all. They will transfer your site for you. I heard that all the EIG owned companies aren’t that good. You can search the internet for EIG hosting companies to see who they own.

  • Mr. All Things Money January 16, 2017, 9:42 am

    This is an awesome write up on starting a blog. BTW, I just hit my 10,000 page views this week. I started my blog last July. So, not too bad for 6 months of blogging.

    At first, I wasn’t sure if was going to continue blogging as it takes quite a bit of time to write something worthwhile, but gradually I got’a hang of it and it also got a bit easier; especially since I’m now mostly writing about dividend/value investing which has been my long-term passion. I consider myself a full-time Investor and a part-time blogger.

    Mr. ATM

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 7:07 am

      Congratulations! 10,000 page views is a great start.
      Blogging does take up a lot of time. 🙂 It has become almost full time for me.

  • The Grounded Engineer January 16, 2017, 10:14 am

    Thanks, RB40! I have been blogging for about 6 months and I found a few good takeaways from this article to implement.

    As a fellow engineer, how much time did you invest each week to kick out 3 blog posts each week? I struggle to get one post out each week.

    Keep the great content coming!

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 7:08 am

      I don’t remember exactly how much time I spent on blogging when I started. Probably close to 40 hours per week. Back then, it was okay to write short simple posts. Now, Google don’t like it and we’re all writing lengthy posts. Thanks!

  • Pennypincher January 16, 2017, 10:43 am

    Wow, Joe. Your fitby40.org blog looks so nice visually! And w/those great ads, you’ll be into more investing soon.
    I will take this time to say “Thanks” for all your past blog posts. They have helped me tremendously, got me thinking more about my finances as you and your readers do. The good stuff your readers post is just as helpful and interesting as your posts!
    Thanks Mr. Logger-ha,ha!

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 7:09 am

      Thanks! Fit by 40 is more personal. I’m hoping it will help me get fitter. You’re welcome as well. It’s been a pleasure to blog here and interact with everyone.

      • Maria January 19, 2017, 3:59 am

        Best of luck in meeting your fitness goals. This will definitely help you by keeping you accountable to your readers! I’m starting my blog in January because of your tutorial and encouragement! I cannot wait to join in your journey Mr. Iron Man since mine will be the female version of yours! I just need a great Domain name!

        • retirebyforty January 19, 2017, 9:22 am

          Thanks! Good luck on your blog.
          I’m heading out to exercise right now. 🙂

  • Mr Crazy Kicks January 16, 2017, 10:54 am

    Great write up! I haven’t made much money blogging yet, but I have met a lot of cool people. Both online and even locally. And putting my thoughts down in blog posts has helped me galvanize my ideas. I’ve even heard back from friends who have started using my blog as a resource, and that is the most rewarding 🙂

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 7:10 am

      Thanks! Blogging has been really helpful for me. It helped me focus and get things done. Writing things down make a big difference because I’m very forgetful.

  • Tawcan January 16, 2017, 11:29 am

    Fit by 40 eh? Interesting name for sure. I’m not quite 40 yet but definitely have been focusing on fitness more and more.

    The best thing about starting a blog is the blog community in the niche. It’s amazing to connect with other like-minded people.

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 7:11 am

      The community is one of the best benefits to starting a blog. It’s hard to find your tribe in real life. That’s why we have to go online. The world is huge so there should be plenty of people who have similar ideas.

  • Eric B January 16, 2017, 11:52 am

    What a timely post! I recently decided to get serious about switching from full-time to part-time work and, within the last few days, started up a blog to document my journey (and hopefully inspire others to consider doing the same).

    In addition to encouraging others to consider going part-time, one more reason (which I see frequently cited as a reason for starting a blog) is to hold yourself accountable (to the readers you hopefully accumulate as time goes on). I know part of the reason I read RB40 initially was that I wanted to see if you’d actually make the leap–and I’m so glad you did! 🙂

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 7:13 am

      Good luck with your blog! I’m sure you’ll discover a way to go part time. Many bloggers branched out to do other things.

  • Go Finance Yourself! January 16, 2017, 1:11 pm

    Great write-up Joe. Starting a blog is one of the best side gigs there is. Low start up costs and essentially no barriers to entry make it a breeze to get going. If you don’t have any success, then all you’re out is your time and a few bucks. I launched my blog last October and it’s been a blast to build. I love sharing my knowledge and building relationships with others in the community.

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 7:15 am

      That’s great to hear. Blogging is a really cool side hustle and there are a lot of benefits. It takes a lot of time, though. I’m sure most people could cut back their TV time and blog instead.

  • Al January 16, 2017, 3:31 pm

    RB40:

    As someone who has been a longtime follower of you and just started a new blog as part of a new year’s goal, I wish I had seen this about two weeks ago! Oh well, it is still very helpful to me now. Thanks for the information as well as the inspiration you have given me to head down the road to early retirement.

    Best,
    Al

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2017, 7:23 am

      No worry! It’s my own fault for putting this off. I should have wrote this 5 years ago! Good luck on your blog.

  • Investment Hunting January 16, 2017, 8:25 pm

    I cannot stress enough how important is is to research the site name. My first blog was shut down, because I chose a URL name that was registered. It sucks starting over. A quick search could’ve saved me a lot of time.

  • Jay @ ITF January 18, 2017, 5:17 am

    Great overview! I’m glad blogging has had such a positive impact for you. I’ve only been at it for just over a year now but making good progress and having a lot of fun along the way. As you said, there are myriad side benefits and I’m really enjoying discovering them. Thanks again!

  • Maria January 19, 2017, 4:10 am

    Will site ground check for the availability of the domain name you choose to make sure there is no conflict?

    • retirebyforty January 19, 2017, 9:23 am

      It will only check whether that domain is available for purchase. It won’t check if there are prior businesses or trademark. You need to do that on your own.

  • Adz Dy January 19, 2017, 5:13 am

    Blogging is a great past time. Not only that, you can actually earn money from it!

  • Crispin January 20, 2017, 10:03 am

    I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on privacy implications while blogging. Some bloggers seem to have no problem sharing lots of personal information, while others are careful to stay somewhat anonymous. I just wonder how you feel about this?

    • retirebyforty January 21, 2017, 6:59 am

      It’s up to the blogger. Some people are more comfortable with sharing than others.

  • Sheel Chand January 21, 2017, 9:57 am

    Hi Joe,

    I have been following your blog for sometime. I am not a good writer but still wanted to help people save money and build long-term wealth. So, I built a Facebook messenger based bot/app to help people save and invest. Please check out the video on the bot’s Facebook page. I am sure you will like it!

  • Alex January 24, 2017, 6:21 am

    Awesome post. This new year I also started a new blog about DIY projects and real estate investing. My sister and I have been following retireby40 for a couple years and never are dissatisfied. Good post about starting a blog, gives everything you need to get your feet off the ground. Putting time in to get good content out is key to your success but without traffic your site will never get the views it needs!

    • retirebyforty January 24, 2017, 11:53 am

      Thanks for the complement! Good luck on your new blog.

  • Centsai January 25, 2017, 10:55 am

    We are so glad to hear that blogging has helped you out a lot in life! The blogging community is so connected and we love being a part of it with you! This was an extremely helpful post for anyone who needs the 411 on starting a blog!

  • Jason January 29, 2017, 1:04 pm

    Hi Joe

    Great site! With the ads that you make money from on your blog did you have to seek their business or did they get in contact with you in some way? I find the various methods of making money online fascinating but I don’t know too much about it. Youtube seems to be another viable method for average folk.

    • retirebyforty January 30, 2017, 10:07 am

      It’s been both ways. Some ad network contacted me and I also contacted some of them. If your site has enough traffic, then they will come calling. Otherwise, you’ll probably need to go out and find the appropriate advertisers. Google Adsense and Amazon are where most beginners start. YouTube sounds good too, but I don’t know much about it.

  • The Financial Tech January 31, 2017, 11:37 am

    Great article for a new blogger. Your advice to set a schedule and stick with it is the one thing that gonna make a different when you are starting a blog. Else you will postpone your writing.

  • Fiscally Free January 31, 2017, 1:50 pm

    Everyone needs to stop writing posts like this. We don’t need any more competition. Haha

  • Roseanne February 1, 2017, 7:52 am

    Joe, thank you for this article. I have been on the fence about starting a blog. Not finance related at all, but these steps help immensely. I will use your links (I hope you get something for doing this). I am confused by which hosting company to use – every person who writes an article like this suggests someone else. Waa! I have been writing some practice articles to see if I have anything to say, and I have found that isn’t an issue. HAHAHAHA Anyway, big thanks to you! (Maybe my next comment will have a website link!)

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2017, 8:32 pm

      Good luck with your blog. I think you’ll be very happy with SiteGround. They are a great hosting company.

      • Roseanne February 11, 2017, 6:01 pm

        Thanks again, Joe. I actually have the website started with my first post. I appreciate all your directions – they made the first steps very easy. 🙂

  • Financial Bounty February 8, 2017, 2:55 pm

    Thanks Joe for the write up!! I used it to start a financial blog documenting my journey toward financial abundance. I was not able to find the SG CachePress plugin though. Is that the same as the SG Optimizer?

    • retirebyforty February 8, 2017, 3:24 pm

      Here is more info. I think it should already be install – SG SuperCacher.
      You need to enable it from the SiteGround user area.

      https://www.siteground.com/tutorials/supercacher/
      I think the cache software is call SuperCacher now. CachePress might be old. Chat with support if you need help turning it on. Good luck with your site and thank you for using our link!

  • Cody @ Dollar Habits February 26, 2017, 4:43 pm

    Thank you for this great post, Joe. It is one of the best “How to Start a Blog” tutorials I’ve read (and I’ve read a lot). I was unsure about which hosting provider to go with. The two I am considering are 1 and 1 (my domain is registered through them) and Bluehost (mainly because so many bloggers promote it). I’m having second thoughts now about Bluehost with how many people have had issues with them. I will add SiteGround to the mix and will strongly consider how highly you think of it. Thank you, again, for the timely and informative post. I look forward to following along on Fit by 40 as well.

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2017, 10:05 am

      I really appreciate your vote of confidence. Bluehost is okay, but SiteGround is clearly better at this point. Good luck!

  • Ced@FuggingDebt March 12, 2017, 9:08 am

    Great tips on blogging. My problem is my schedule which messes with my consitency and focus. Really no excuse for it so if I could focus on a blog post once a week that would be awesome.

  • gfaseed March 14, 2017, 9:39 am

    Excellent tips for starters. I would say that posting once a week is key for being consistent.
    But of course if one has time, could try to improve from there.

  • FinancesWithPurpose March 15, 2017, 10:11 pm

    Thanks, Joe: I took the plunge! After reading this, I pondered it for a while, then decided to jump in all the way. In fact, you’ll be receiving a referral bonus from SiteGround due to my new blog. Would love it if you ever have a chance to visit the site; it’s new now, but I have a ton of content in the works already.

    One note about your post: SiteGround says if you go with the basic plan, they can’t do (or it wouldn’t make sense to do) SG CachePress because that eats up too much space on the basic plan. But, I’m hoping/thinking it won’t be vital until things pick up anyway, and then I’ll reconsider.

    • retirebyforty March 15, 2017, 10:49 pm

      Good luck with your new blog! I will drop by.
      I don’t think you need Caching until you have more traffic. They also discontinued the free domain name promotion. 🙁 I updated the post.

  • Finances with Purpose March 18, 2017, 7:25 pm

    Thank you! I was able to get the free domain name via your link, so maybe it’s still working?

    Anyhow, so far so good. I have my first post up, about 40 more post ideas, and I’m working on #2. I love writing, and I love finances!

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 9:41 am

      I think they are in the process of canceling the free domain name promotion. 🙁
      Keep at it!

  • Ani James March 27, 2017, 9:53 am

    I’ve attempted blogging in the past but didn’t stick to a schedule and of course, life got on the way. I still have a huge list of article ideas that I keep adding to and want to try it again and keep myself to a schedule.

    My question is…how much time do you spend marketing – ie. being active on social media to try to draw eyeballs to your site? Do you think active social media (facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, etc) is essential for a blog to flourish in these times? (I don’t consider responding to a post like this to be social media since I’m already on your site, and you’re essentially just responding to a customer question).

    • retirebyforty March 27, 2017, 9:58 am

      Sticking to the schedule is tough unless you’re interested in the topic. You just have to schedule the time to do it.
      I don’t spend that much time marketing on social media. Just a few minutes here and there on Pinterest and Twitter. Probably 15 minutes per day on the weekdays. It’d probably help my site a lot if I can do it more, but I hate social media. It’s not fun for me.
      I spend more time visiting other blogs and commenting. Probably 3-4 hours per week. I enjoy reading other blogs and commenting.

  • Julie March 28, 2017, 8:58 am

    Thank you for your tutorial! I have been thinking about starting a blog for quite some time but I’m hesitant because of my lack of computer knowledge. I read blogs, use social media and check email but that’s the extent of my Internet knowledge. Would Siteground be able to teach me how to post pictures on my blog, etc? I need a TON of hand holding to get stated but would love to learn. Thanks for your insight 🙂

    • retirebyforty March 28, 2017, 9:08 am

      I’m not sure if SiteGround will be able to help you post pictures. That’s actually really easy. There should be a page on the internet to help with that. Wordpress makes it very easy to add pictures.
      The best way to learn is to just start. You’ll learn as you go. There are a lot of information on the internet and YouTube.
      Here is a tutorial on how to add pictures.
      https://codex.wordpress.org/Inserting_Images_into_Posts_and_Pages

  • Retire Lazy April 7, 2017, 11:46 am

    Just wanted to say thank you for the tutorial, it really helped push me over the edge and start my own blog. I’ve been going back and forth in my head but thanks to you I’ve finally done it. Got my first post up and am brainstorming for what’s coming next. Will slowly tweak the layout but focus on content for now. Thanks again!
    http://retirelazy.com/retire-lazy-together/

  • Frugal Safari June 1, 2017, 5:03 pm

    Great article man!
    I love how easy your site is to read. I personally started blogging after attending Fincon16 last year. The biggest fear I have is trusting my writing skill, as english is my 3rd language. I need to trust my writing skills and start writing more. I actually wrote 2 articles this week! go me! haha
    I am very interested in the FIRE

    • retirebyforty June 2, 2017, 9:00 am

      Good luck with your blog. I’m sure you’ll get much better as you keep blogging.

  • RadOnculous June 25, 2017, 1:46 pm

    Great post. I love simplicity and let the readers figure out the details. I think reading this post (for the 3rd time) has convinced me to start my blog, and I will return to use your links; )

  • Anil July 5, 2017, 12:51 pm

    Thanks Joe for these useful tips. I read the article several times & used it to start my own page: http://www.ak37.org . I am still in early phase of deciding the theme & what area to write on.

    I have been following your blog for over 4-5 years now. But this is the first time I am commenting as this has helped me get started on mine. Thank you!

  • Angela July 10, 2017, 3:03 pm

    Okay, I’ve been thinking on this long enough, and you’ve inspired me.

    Here’s to Post #1.

    Tread Lightly, Retire Early
    https://tlreblog.wordpress.com/

    • retirebyforty July 10, 2017, 9:04 pm

      Good luck with your blog!

      • Angela July 13, 2017, 1:50 pm

        Thank you! So far I’ve found it much more fun to write than I would have expected. It helps to get out some of my frustration about our country’s lack of climate change action as well.

  • Eddie August 1, 2017, 7:34 am

    I have been reading your blog for a while and I finally decided to start why own blog. Your article really helped me get started.

  • libby (OurPlayPalace Blog) August 1, 2017, 1:27 pm

    Love this post! I have been slowly blogging but with 2 kids it has been hard. I have made enough to cover the 1 year cost but thinking of switching to SiteGround since after 1 year Bluehost is pretty pricey. Thanks for your recommendation 🙂

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