So you’re a hands-on person who wants to get your hands on a DIY blog, are ya’?
Then you’re in the right place—this guide will teach you to DIY your own DIY blog like MacGyver (I’ve never actually seen that, but I think he does DIY things or something).
I’m a blogging expert, I’ve got the best DIY blog guide, and you’re gonna read it.
Or at least, I hope, since it would be tragic for you to read some affiliate-crammed, low-quality guide that only exists to get you to buy from their cruddy hosting sponsor.
Anyway, let’s get into it.
1. Pick a Niche
The first step to starting a successful DIY blog is to pick a profitable niche within DIY. If you don’t know, a niche is a specific topic (and subtopics) you’ll focus on.
Why is picking a niche so important? Because it allows you to target a specific audience, which in turn allows you to:
- Rank easier in Google since you’re going after low competition
- Make more money since you can more easily sell products to a targeted audience
I’ve seen the most success with the woodworking niche within DIY.
Why? Because it’s an evergreen niche with passionate buyers, it has low competition, and there are endless product ideas to promote.
Other popular (and profitable) niches within the DIY sphere include:
- Car Restoration
- Motorcycle Maintenance
You get the idea.
2. Choose a Domain Name
Your domain name is your blog’s address on the internet. It’s what people will type into their browser to find your blog (like, for example, www.YourBlog.com).
Your domain name should be short, concise, and vaguely to do with DIY. I say vaguely because you may discover you want to either change your niche or expand it.
If your name is too specific to your niche (ex. “Woodworking dot com”), it’ll be pretty awkward to switch niches—readers will get confused.
When you decide on your domain, use Namecheap to buy it.
They’re the best domain registrar in the business—cheap, fast, and easy to use. Plus, they don’t do that “upsell you on a bunch of trash you don’t need” thing like some other registrars do.
3. Set Up Your Hosting
Hosting is like renting space on the internet for your blog. It’s where your website files live, and you need one to start blogging.
There are a lot of companies that offer hosting, but I only recommend two:
- Cloudways (my host)
Both offer industry-leading speeds at great prices. Rocket’s currently slightly faster, but that’s not set in stone, as Cloudways will undoubtedly work to close the gap.
Cloudways also has awesome, perenially-available customer support. I can’t speak for Rocket since I haven’t used them for any meaningful period of time, but Tom Dupuis (awesome WordPress blogger) vouches for them.
Cloudways offers several server options, so you’ll want to choose either a Digital Ocean or a Vultr server.
If you’re starting from complete scratch with no technical knowledge, you’ll be fine with the $10/mo. 1 GB RAM Digital Ocean server. If you want a bit more power, spend the $11/mo. on Vultr.
You don’t need more RAM until you start getting a meaningful amount of traffic.
4. Install WordPress
Now it’s time to install WordPress. WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that makes creating and managing your blog easy.
If you don’t use WordPress, you’re basically making your life infinitely harder—you have to code everything from scratch, and it’s a total pain.
With WordPress, you can create posts and pages with the click of a button. You can also easily install plugins that greatly enhance its abilities.
And before you think about using a more streamlined solution like Wix or Squarespace—don’t. Both are great for their own purposes but suck for SEO.
5. Install a Theme With Astra
Now that you have WordPress installed, it’s time to install a theme. A theme controls how your blog looks and functions.
Now, you could go to WordPress.org and install a free theme. But I don’t recommend that because:
- Free themes are often spaghetti code and will thus slow down your blog and decrease your Google rankings.
- Free themes don’t come with technical support. So if you run into trouble (and you will), you’re left to fend for yourself.
- The upgradability of free themes is often limited. So if you want to add functionality later on, you may have to switch themes, which is a pain.
Instead of a free theme, use Astra Pro. It’s a premium theme that’s only $59/year and offers dozens of fast, beautiful templates you can fill out easily.
6. Install WordPress Plugins
Remember the plugins I mentioned earlier? Now it’s time to install them to vastly enhance your blog’s success.
Here are my top choices:
- ConvertKit. Convertkit lets you easily create beautiful email opt-in forms to grow your email list. It also lets you easily send automated email sequences to turn your subscribers into buyers.
- Rank Math. Rank Math is a WordPress plugin that makes your blog SEO-friendly so that you rank higher in Google and get more traffic. You’ll also need it (or Yoast) to configure your URL structure and XML sitemap.
- WPRocket. WPRocket is a premium caching plugin that speeds up your blog, giving your users a better experience and helping you rank higher in Google. This is a must-have if you want to rank high (and you do!).
7. Starting Writing Content
The next step is to start writing content. You need to write at least 10 pieces of content for Google to start taking you seriously and ranking your site.
It’s a good idea to have some consistent 18-month content calendar planned out in advance. This makes it easier to stay consistent, which is a necessary ingredient to success.
More content equals more impressions, which leads to more clicks—it’s that simple.
Using keyword research to create a content strategy
If you want to kickstart your SEO efforts, you have to have a sound SEO strategy—one that ties together your content with the right keywords.
I mean, rather than just publishing random stuff—that won’t get you anywhere.
The way you create that strategy is by researching the right keywords. Here are a few quick tips for doing that:
- Use Google suggest. Google suggestions are a great way to uncover relevant keywords. To use it, head over to Google and start typing in your topic—that’s all there is to it.
- Use forums. Join some relevant forums in your space and pay attention to common questions people ask. These are potential blog posts waiting to happen.
- Use BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo analyzes the most popular content on the web and gives you ideas for what to write about next.
- Use Ahrefs. Ahrefs lets you see what’s already working well for your competition with its advanced competition analysis features.
One final piece of advice: you need to understand that blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. The even better news is that there are no shortcuts—you have to be consistent and keep at it day after day after day.
Blogging takes grit—truly, it does. But if you keep at it, you’ll reap huge rewards from your labor.