Blogging in India can be a great way to get your target group talking about your service and generate exposure to your Business (and maybe even build a community).
But if you’re new to blogging, where should you start?
The following is a comprehensive guide to starting a blog in India and eventually growing it into a profitable mainstream hustle.
Let’s kick off!
- How to start a blog in India that makes money (ultimate beginners guide of 2021)
How to start a blog in India that makes money (ultimate beginners guide of 2021)
Step 1: Pick a blog niche
A blog niche is a focused area of a broader market your blog serves precisely.
To put it simply, a niche is a sub-area of a large market.
Take a broader industry like Business in which small business resources can be a niche. You can even narrow it down to small business marketing, operations, finance, employee management, etc. can be niches.
When you are just starting out, try to narrow down your niche to avoid competing with big brands and covering many audience groups. You will be exhausted and give up.
So start small, as you go achieving more considerable heights, you can always upgrade.
How to find your blog niche in 3 steps:
1. List your passion and skills
A jumping-off point for finding a blog niche is listing your skills and passions that you’re good at and enjoy doing them. There are two good reasons for this:
The first reason to start with the area you’re passionate about is that building a lucrative blog business takes time and energy. You will need to invest effort into setting up your blog, developing a content calendar, SEO, blog promotion, driving traffic, everything before you ever make the rupee. This chore is best done as the chore of love. If not, you will soon give up.
The second reason to start with things that you’re good at is that the audience must feel that you’re authentic. You can’t fake it by putting scraped or lousy content after referring to a couple of competitors; people know their stuff. If you don’t have decent knowledge or the zeal to master your niche, it probably won’t pay off. A greater understanding of your target group and their needs and your niche expertise helps your brand message resonate with prospects and sets you unique in the market.
2. Identify Content gaps to fill
You need to know the problems your target group faces and come up with ideas to fix them. As a blogger, you will be more successful the better you become at helping people (leaving them without any questions).
Think like a reader and note down what you wish existed that doesn’t.
Competition is good; look at them and understand their pros and cons so that you can surpass them by filling gaps with your talent.
3. Assess niche potential
You need to be sure your niche is broader enough to be feasible but not so extensive it’s non-feasible to aim. There are many ways you can inspect to find out whether a niche is viable. Three significant ways are:
a) Keyword research
Use keyword research tools like SEMrush, plug in the keyword related to your niche and see the monthly searches people make, which helps identify if the niche has a market. SEMrush even measures the competitive angle for niche keywords with K.D (Keyword Difficulty) metric, which ranges from 0 to 100%. The higher the percentage is, the difficult the competition will be to rank for that term. Focusing on low K.D keywords gives you an excellent chance to rank top on Google as a newbie.
b) Look at the trends
You need to take a peek at what’s going on in your niche, importantly, what people are conversing about over time. Google Trends is a great free tool for understanding the popularity of your niche keywords.
Unlike SEMrush, it doesn’t show you the exact monthly searches. Instead, it maps search term’s popularity trends graphically. For example, see how the popularity of terms’ cricket in India’ and ‘football in India’ varied over the year.
c) Competitor research
The final step involved in evaluating your niche is competitor analysis; how they monetize their blogs.
- Is it through affiliate marketing? If yes, what is the range of products you can promote, can you incorporate those into your content?
- Is it through digital products? Are audience purchasing eBooks, courses, webinars, consultation services?
- Is it through advertising? If yes, what’s the revenue model? On average, how much a blogger makes with a certain amount of traffic?
This research helps you understand with ‘best ways to monetize your blog.’ Plus, you can have the estimated income figure and profit potential within your niche.
Pro tip: The best blog niche can somewhere be spotted at the point where your passion, audience needs, and market potential aligns. So take your time getting to that.
Recommended Reading: 15 Best and Profitable Blog Niches in India
Step 2: Choose a blogging platform
Now that you are set on the blog topic, you can get to the actual part of setting up your blog – deciding on a blogging platform.
Since blogs are made up of content, deciding to use a CMS (Content Management System) over a traditional HTML website can be beneficial in many ways. Some are:
- You can set up the blog with no coding knowledge.
- You can create content easily and manage it.
- You can design or add the new functionality as you want.
With over 60+M users, WordPress.org is the most popular and reliable blogging platform (CMS) I recommend you to choose.
Also, it is essential that you know there are two versions of WordPress. The first one, WordPress.org, is free to use, and the second one, WordPress.com, is paid.
I need you to choose WordPress.org.
Here are 6 reasons why should you choose WordPress.org for your blog:
- It is easy to get started and run hassle-free.
- There are over 58,000+ themes and plugins to work with.
- You will have control over everything; designing, creating, and scaling to monetizing.
- There is seamless integration with page builders and tools to make your blog more appealing.
- It is an extremely customizable platform developed on PHP language and can be tweaked as you need.
- There is a massive community for discussing possibilities with and helping each other.
So for someone new wanting to start a blog in India, WordPress.org is the absolute classic.
Recommended Reading: 7 of the Best Blogging Platforms in India
Step 3: Decide blog’s domain name
A domain name is your blog’s address by which you will be identified on the Internet. And it can have a significant impact on your blog’s success.
For example, My blog address is www.bloggingexplained.com. My friend Nikola Roza uses his full name as a domain URL for his blog. And some get creative with their domain name, like inspiretothrive.com, agirlinprogress.com, etc.
It’s easy to register and manage your domain name with Bluehost. Plus, you will get your new domain free for one year with any plan you opt for.
A professional, easy-to-read, and brandable domain name helps you stand out in the crowd and improves your online presence. Neglecting this part can make it difficult for you to be seen online, so pay attention.
Consider the following tips to get a great domain name for your blog:
- Keep it short avoiding numbers hyphens, numbers, and symbols that make it harder to say and remember.
- Be intuitive; find a domain name that clearly convey your blog business. For example, Shubhaa’s justwomenworld.com, make it easy for people to infer what is her blog about.
- Try to secure a top-level TLD, like, .com to sound more legitimate and authoritative. If a local business, country-specific TLD works just great. For instance, .in for India.
- Unleash your creativity. Use dictionary like WordPlays, Thesaurus to collect synonyms and catchy words from your niche.
- Think long term; If you decide to expand your niche, your domain name should still define your blog business as a whole.
Type your desired domain name in the next tool to get started:
- Pro tip – Bluehost web hosting plans include FREE DOMAIN which means you can save around $10 – $15 for the first year.
Step 4: Create your web hosting account
Since you’re just getting started, exploring the web hosting choices can be overwhelming. To help you, I recommend beginner-friendly hosting, secured, reputed, affordable, and offers good customer support to ease your blogging journey.
The name is Bluehost.
Why is Bluehost my #1 recommendation for someone who wants to start a blog in India?
- WordPress.org officially recommend creators to use Bluehost.
- You get to register domain name at zero cost for the first 12 months. It means you easily can save Rs.1000-1500.
- You get free SSL certificate (HTTPS) – which is one of the Google’s ranking factors.
- Easy setup wizard to onboard you with a brand new blog in just a few minutes.
- Get help 24/7 via chat, phone or email.
- 30-day money-back policy.
If you’re still hesitant to go with Bluehost, consider reading my Bluehost India review; you will get a complete idea.
Step 5: Install WordPress on your blog
Follow this comprehensive video tutorial that walks through the process of setting up your new blog on Bluehost step-by-step:
Post payment, Bluehost should send you an email with new hosting credentials and setup instructions. Follow the instructions link, and you will be ready with a new website/blog in about ten minutes.
When the install is complete, you can use the admin URL to log in to your WordPress dashboard. It usually looks like https://yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
Step 6: Design your WordPress blog
After running through the 1-click setup wizard, you will get to see your new WordPress dashboard like this:
a) Five Initial essential WordPress settings to do
The following settings are pretty simple and can be done in 15-20 minutes, so don’t get cold feet.
#1. Reset your admin password
Weak and default passwords can make your blog vulnerable. So create a hard-to-crack password and lock it safe.
You can do that by accessing your profile from the dashboard’s top-right area. And then, scroll down to the Account Management section, as shown in the image below.
#2. Configure general settings
You will need to navigate to Settings –> General to do so.
- Site title: Change the default site title from “My WordPress Site” to your blog name.
- Tagline: By default, it is “Just Another WordPress Website.” It should be such that it resembles your blog.
- Membership: Uncheck to avoid spammers.
- New user default role: Subscriber.
- Timezone: Set it up as per your regional time.
#3. Delete default (dummy content)
A “hello world” dummy content will be created on your page and post sections by default upon WordPress installation. It may look as shown in the image below:
Although it does not harm you, delete it to make your blog more professional.
#4. Change your permalink structure
Permalink refers to the default URL structure of the blog posts you publish. In WordPress, by default, it is www.yoursitename.com/?p=123 which is not communicative.
To make it right, visit settings–>permalinks and select “post name” structure and save it.
#5. Moderate comments
Don’t allow spammers to enter your blog with junk comments. You must approve the comments before they go live on your blog. Here’s how you set such moderation:
Visit settings–>discussion–> Tick comment must be manually approved option and save.
b) WordPress pages and posts
You need to create critical static pages like ‘Home,’ ‘About,’ and ‘Contact.’
To start adding a new page to your WordPress website, click Add New page under Pages.
You will see the WordPress editor with blocks. Each block comes with its own set of controls like adding a new paragraph/heading/visual/bullet list/quote/table/colors/downloadable file/button, etc., and can be accessed with the ‘+’ icon.
Next, add the page title, content, set the custom permalink for the page, upload a featured image that resembles your page, and finally preview the page to check if everything seems fine. If yes, hit the publish button.
Once you have published the page, you will see an acknowledgment that the new page is live and ready to view.
The exact process works for posts as well.
You can do so with edit and update options whenever you want to modify page/post information.
c) WordPress plugins
In plain English, a WordPress plugin is like a tool that helps you customize and improve your website functionality without sinking your teeth into coding.
WordPress store has thousands of free and paid plugins available in various categories such as security, design, SEO, social media sharing, backups, etc. Depending on your website design and functionality, you want, install and run the plugins.
I highly recommend reading and following the 16 Best WordPress Plugins for New Bloggers guide I curated to avoid complications and have a smooth setup.
d) Installing a WordPress theme
Installing a theme is one of the final steps in setting up your new WordPress website. You can install one from your WordPress directory under the ‘Appearance-> Themes’ section or upload it after getting it from 3rd party theme creators.
Here’s a video tutorial on ‘How to install a WordPress theme for beginners,’ if you prefer:
If not, continue reading.
Every theme you access from the WordPress depository is either free or freemium. Use the theme search bar if you know any name or browse applying feature filter to narrow down specific range themes.
After browsing and selecting your theme, press the ‘Install’ and then ‘Activate’ buttons.
Next, go to your WordPress dashboard ->Appearance ->Customizer, where you can tweak the blog’s layout a bit more.
You can navigate through various settings in the left-side customizer and preview the site on the right-side before you make it live. You can add/modify the header menu, footer menu, blog layout, colors, typography, and more settings.
Depending on the version (free or paid), you get access to features.
On the other hand, we have got page builders like Elementor and their addons in the form of plugins, they take you to a whole new level. Once you install them, you get to access pre templates and blocks to build your site better.
You now know how to install and activate a theme for your blog and customize it, so decide on a theme that offers a frictionless user experience for your readers.
Here are the top four themes I recommend:
Step 7: Write and publish first blog post
In your first blog post, if you’ve started a personal blog, you can introduce yourself, share your experiences, what motivated you to create a blog, your blogging goals, etc. Go beyond the story you put in your ‘About’ page. It helps your target audience to get to know you better and connect.
If you’ve started a niche blog, you better be buckled up from day one. Think of a core topic from your niche or the subject you’re good at already. As you go publishing more blog articles, you can easily organize them into multiple categories to make your users navigate easily.
Of course, your first blog post is important but that’s not all it. Don’t aim for perfection, it will only make you stressed and down. Instead, start, and thrive to be better. For example, I have been editing this post ‘How to start a blog in India’ for four years to make it more valuable and better for you.
Here are some ways to find inspiration to write your first blog post:
- Know your audience well so you can write a pillar blog post that resonate with them.
- Explore competition.
- SEMrush tool makes it easy to identify content ideas for your new blog.
- Signup for Quora to understand what people are looking for in your niche.
Give yourself a pat. You’ve gotten through the most challenging part of taking your blog online.
For the following steps, you probably want to take your blog to the next level with the help of tools. The following resources can go handy for you:
- 16 Best WordPress plugins for new bloggers
- 25+ Blogging tools for beginners
- 11 Great ways to get traffic to your new blog
- 31 Experts talk about blogging tips to grow your blog
Starting a blog in India FAQ
#1. Usually, how much does it cost to start a blog in India?
It can cost you Rs. 190-300/mo for Bluehost web hosting (and you can avail free domain offer for the first year).
#2. Is blogging still profitable or a waste of time?
There’s never been a better way and time to start blogging in India and share your wisdom. Read about mind-blowing blogging statistics, then come back and tell me if you still doubt blogging – I bet you don’t!
#3. How do you start a blog for free?
I don’t recommend blogging on free platforms. They do not give you complete control over any aspect of your blog.
If you’re serious about making money off your blog or turning it into a business, then investing in a self-hosted blog service like Bluehost is essential. You will sound professional, authority and credible this way once you are off publishing content.
#4. How do I get more discounts with Bluehost?
There are three ways:
1) Check out seasonal offers with their sales team using the “live chat” option.
2) Go for a 36 months plan to save more money.
3) Buy on the “Black Friday sale” period that usually starts at the end of November and runs for a week in any year.
#5. I just want to blog occasionally about my life-happenings (no strings attached, though!). Should I go for a free or a self-hosted blog?
It depends on the objectives of your blog.
If the goal is to establish a blogging business, then WordPress + Bluehost is the right choice. Else, go free.
#6. Do bloggers get paid? If yes, how long does it take for a new blogger to earn money?
Yes, they get paid. I do not promise you any time frame. Blogging success depends on the level of your efforts. However, I see most newbies pick up the momentum within 1-2 years.
#7. I’m not good at English. Can I start blogging in India?
The best advice is to keep practicing writing every day. It makes you better. Befriend English writers and bloggers throughout so you can improve your English skills. You can also leverage tools like Grammarly.
#8. What type of blogs makes the most money?
Some niches with high PPC keywords and can make big money are finance, sports, gardening, pet, lifestyle, travel, fashion, marketing, health and fitness, food, etc.
#9. How often should I publish content on my blog?
There is no thumb rule for that – Daily, weekly, monthly, or even once in a quarter. But be consistent with the schedule you fix.
#10. What is the investment I need to make to start blogging?
When you use Bluehost, you can just get started with $140 for a total of 36 months, along with 12 months of the free domain.