This is the only guide you’ll need to successfully start blogging in India.

Want to jump straight in? Click here to learn how to start a blog in India.

If you have spent some time researching this topic, you might be confused and clueless right now.

There are a lot of things to consider before committing to starting your own blog:

  • Which blogging platform should I choose?
  • Can I start blogging for free?
  • Which domain registrar and web hosting should I choose? / What are those anyway?
  • What to blog about?

and… the list goes on.

That said, there are some genuine blogs out there doing a great job answering some of these questions.

But when I wanted to start Actual Hustle, I couldn’t find a blog where I get all the answers to these questions at one place.

So, the first thing I wanted to do after creating my blog is to use all that research I did, and publish a super-extensive-ultra-helpful-guide. (that’s enough promoting I guess)

But seriously, this guide covers it all. You’ll see.

To sum up, this post is a step by step guide on how to start a blog based on the extensive research I did for starting my blog.

(If you are stuck at any of the steps, feel free to ask your doubt in the comments section below)

Let’s dive right in.

9 steps to start blogging in India

  1. Make sure blogging is something you really can/want to do
  2. Choose a niche you’re interested in
  3. Select the perfect blogging platform for you
  4. Purchase a domain with a name relevant to your niche
  5. Buy a Web Hosting plan
  6. Setup and Customize your blog
  7. Start writing awesome content
  8. Promote the heck out of it
  9. Monetize your blog



Why start a blog?

start blogging in India - why start a blog?

I know, I know. If I hadn’t known any better, I would skip through this part too.

But listen: This is super important.

Because as Simon Sinek said:

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it

-Simon Sinek

According to this New York Times article, approximately 95% of bloggers abandon their blog after only a few months. 

95%?!! Why? What in the world went wrong?

You see, the problem is the process of starting and maintaining a blog is a long-haul.

Therefore, it’s only normal you get demotivated to write, after a few months or even weeks.

During those times, the only thing that will help you not abandon your precious blog is your “why”.

In other words, you need an inner-voice reminding you why the hell you’re doing this.

So, now:

Since you’re reading this post, I assume you already know your “why”. Maybe your why is to get better at writing or maybe you’re starting blogging as a hobby or…

The winner “why”: I want to make money from my blog, sitting at my home watching (whatever it is you like watching), sipping my caffe latte.

Nothing wrong with that. In fact, money can be a huge factor in motivating you to write good content regularly.

Whatever it is, have a rock-solid why.


Pick your niche

start blogging in india - pick your niche

This is one of the, if not THE most important step in the process of creating a blog. 

You absolutely should get this step right to even have a chance at making quality content in your blog.

In this section, you’ll learn what is niche and why it’s a big deal.

What is a niche?

In simple words, “Niche is a group of people looking for specific products that will solve their specific problem (or) answer their specific question”

For example, “Men’s sports shoes” is a niche. “Men’s fashion”? not so much.

Why?

The niche “Men’s sports shoes” targets a specific set of men who would be interested in sports shoes. Whereas, “Men’s fashion” is a very broad term that targets a lot of people.

But, isn’t targeting more people a good idea?

More people = More traffic = More money?

Well… not exactly.

I’ll explain why niching down is important:

Why is niche important?

There are several reasons why you should niche down:

  • Relatively easy to do Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Comparatively low competition
  • Better targeting your audience
  • Build a loyal customer base

and many more.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand some of these terms. The main takeaway is, the smaller your target audience is, the easier it is to build influence on your niche.

In fact, according to a study by Technorati, the size of your niche’s community directly correlates with the amount of influence you can build on that niche.

start blogging in india - technorati

Now that you’re convinced (hopefully) that having a niche is important, let’s move on to how to choose your niche

How to choose niche?

Here comes one of the most dreaded questions faced by every aspirant blogger.

How do I choose my niche?

It’s a simple yet extremely hard to answer kind of question.

Speaking of simple questions, I have one for you:

“What can you talk about for hours and not get bored?”

If you have an answer to the above question, you’re already halfway through choosing a niche.

Take it easy if you don’t. Have a cup of coffee, put your thinking cap on, and well… think.

PRO TIP: Think of the things you’re passionate about. For example: Football, Cooking, Dancing, or Digital Marketing. 

Because as Gary Vaynerchuck says, “Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless”

how to start a blog - gary vaynerchuck

But, why do I have to be passionate about my niche?

Remember: You don’t necessarily have to be extremely passionate about your niche. You just have to be able to write about it for a long time without getting demotivated.

The fact is, you’re going to be writing about your niche for a long long time. You will quickly burn out if you have chosen a niche you’re not at all passionate about.

To quote Neil Patel’s answer on how to choose a niche, “When it comes to finding a niche, it’s not just about finding something you’re passionate about in the short run, it’s also what you’re passionate about in the long run”

Alright, assuming you have figured out what you’re passionate about, let’s move on to the second/final step on choosing a niche.

What’s the final step?

Checking if what you’re passionate about has a monetary value.

Because let’s be real. We all want to make money from our blog at some point.

It’s good to know that the niche you selected has the potential to make money.

Luckily, almost all of the niches are monetizable one way or the other.

Some niches are just more profitable than others.

For example, Personal Finance blogs are usually more profitable than Dating & Relationship blogs (There are exclusions, of course).

But don’t go starting a blog on personal finance. After all, the perfect niche for you would look like: 

how to start a blog in india - best niche

How to find if my niche has monetary value?

This one’s easy. 

(Takes only 5 minutes)

I’ll explain step-by-step:

1. Go to Google’s Keyword Planner.

how to start a blog in india - keyword planner

Then, click on the “Go to Keyword Planner” Button.

2. If you are using the Google Keyword Planner for the first time, you will have to sign up         using your gmail account.

google keyword planner 2

3. After signing in, you will be taken to the screen shown below:

google keyword planner 3

Now, fill in the details as you want and click “Submit”.

4. After successfully submitting the information, you’re all set. Click “Explore Keyword             Planner”.

google keyword planner 4

5. Now, you’ll see the screen shown below. Click “Discover new keywords”.

6. Here, you’ll be asked to enter your keyword. Enter your niche here. For example, if your niche is “Email Marketing”, enter that.

google keyword planner 6

And click on the “Get Results” button.

7. You’ll now see the results of the keyword you have provided. Look for the “top of page         bid”.

And… Voila!

If it shows some value, congratulations, your niche has monetary value (Don’t worry if your ‘top of page bid’ value is low. All that matters is your niche is monetizable).

Google’s Keyword Planner is not a tool you should use to find the competition of your keyword. The competition mentioned here is only applicable to paid Google Ads

That’s it!

You’ve completed the most important step in starting a blog.

Now, let’s move on to the next section.


Free platform or Paid platform?

how to start a blog in india - free or paid

The predominant question here is:

Are you willing to invest a few bucks on your blog?

In this section, I’ll briefly summarize both the free and paid options available to you and explain their pros and cons.

The option you want to pick is totally upto you.

First things first, How much is a “few bucks” exactly?

Well, it depends on what features you’d like to get in your blog.

The bare minimum is ~ INR 3000 ($40) per year.

There are some web hosting providers who charge even lesser price. But I wouldn’t recommend trading basic features for a few hundred rupees. After all, If you’re going to pay, better get one that has all the basic features. In this guide, I’ll only list out the options I find which has all the necessary features for a beginner blogger.

Comparison between Paid & Free option

PaidFree
Relatively easy Search Engine Optimization (Easy to rank in Google SERPs)Extremely hard to rank in Google’s Search Engine Ranking Pages
Full control over your blog. You can customize your blog however you want. You are the owner of your blogYou are not the owner of your blog. As a result, the platform you’re using has every right to delete your blog if they want to
You will be considered a serious blogger. The fact that you have invested money to start your blog shows you’re making an effortBlogging on a free platform like Blogger is considered non-serious. People may consider you as frivolous blogger
Considerably steep learning curve. For example, setting up a WordPress website completely might take a few days for a noviceEasy to set up. Just choose your theme, typography and you’re set. No need to worry about updating your theme or your plugins

The bottom line is:

If you’re just starting a blog as a hobby, go for the free option. Don’t have to worry about any customization. Start writing immediately.

However, if you’re serious about blogging and want to make big bucks from your blog, get your wallet out and spend (invest) some money.

Now:

If you’re still unsure which option to choose, here’s a great comparison among 3 of the popular Blogging Platforms out there, by howJoyful.

By now you should have determined whether to choose free or paid option.

That said, since setting up a blog on a free platform is considerably easy, the remaining of this guide will focus on setting up a blog on a paid platform. 

But, you can find some of the best free blogging platforms below:

Free Blogging Platforms – The best 5

1. Medium

how to start a blog in india - medium

Medium is a free-to-write blogging platform. You can even make money with their Medium  Partner Program (Warning: Considerably hard).

2. WordPress.com

WordPress.com (Not WordPress.org) is a freemium platform (Initially, it’s free. But if you want to add your own domain or customize your website to an extent, you have to subscribe to one of their paid plans.

3. LinkedIn

how to start a blog in india - linkedin

LinkedIn needs no introduction. One of the best platforms to show your blogging skills if you’re in a B2B (Business-to-Business) niche.

4. Blogger

how to start a blog in india - blogger

One of the oldest blogging platforms out there. Bought by Google in 2003 and are hosted by the same till now. Blogging in Blogger is completely free. You can even integrate your own domain with Blogger for free.

5. Instagram

how to start a blog in india - instagram

No, I’m not kidding. 

Instagram is great for microblogging niches that needs an high quality photos as a way to attract readers.

For example, food blogs, photography blogs, et cetera.

Tumblr and Twitter are 2 of the best platforms for microblogging as well.

With free platforms out of the way, now it’s time to talk about the real deal – Paid Platforms.

“The”?? Only one option?

Yup. 

In my opinion, this is the best paid blogging platform right now.

Best Paid Platform – WordPress.org

The Undisputed King of the Content Management System Softwares.

WordPress.org (not to be confused with WordPress.com) claims it powers around 38% of all the websites around the world!

What does that say?

Undoubtedly, It is the most trusted platform among people.

Below are some of the pros & cons of WordPress.org:

Pros
  • Completely customizable. That is to say, you can totally design how your website looks.
  • 50,000+ free plugins for almost any additional feature you may need.
  • In-built comment section for blogs.
  • SEO-friendly.
Cons
  • Not exactly a steep learning curve. But takes time to setup and understand the usage of plugins.
  • You are responsible for updates (Easy 1-click update) and backups (Plenty of free backup plugins available).

As you see, there’s no serious disadvantage with using WordPress.org.

Just to mention some other paid platforms:

  • Wix
  • Weebly
  • Squarespace
  • TypePad

All the above-mentioned platforms are basically website builders. 

They don’t nearly provide the features that you get in WordPress like: native comment section, featured image, etc.

Since WordPress is the reasonable option to choose from here, the rest of this guide will focus on the same.

Before moving to the next section, I’ll quickly mention the 2 things you need to start blogging in WordPress:

  1. Domain – Eg: www.mysite.com, www.mysite.in, etc.
  2. Web Hosting – Eg: Shared Web Hosting, VPS hosting, etc.

Affiliate Disclosure: The content below may contain a few affiliate links which means: when you buy a Domain or Web hosting using the links down here, I will earn a commission that will help me buy a cup of coffee, which I promise I will drink while making more awesome content like this one, for you. And P.S: It won’t cost you any extra money.


Get a Domain

start blogging in india - get a domain

Getting a domain name that resonates with your niche is important to let people know what your blog is all about.

In this section, you’ll learn how to choose a domain name and how to purchase it from a domain registrar.

What is a Domain?

I’ll try to explain without getting too technical:

If someone wants to contact you, they need your phone number, right?

Similarly, for someone on the internet to visit your website, they need a number.

That number happens to be the IP address. It looks something like this: 104.27.191.225

Here’s the thing: Each website on the internet has a unique IP address.

So, it’s really hard for us mortals to remember all these numbers.

Imagine you want to google something, but instead of typing “www.google.com”, you had to type “993.43.534.263”.

That’ll be tiresome.

Consider it this way:

Your website is a phone contact and the internet is a phone directory that contains several thousand contacts.

Now, you don’t really type out your friend’s phone number every time you want to contact them, do you?

No. Because you already have saved their phone number under a “Name”. And you just have to click that.

That’s exactly what Domain is for. When you register a domain with a name, that name will be linked to a unique IP address.

So, every time someone searches your domain name, the IP address linked to your domain will be sent to the Web Servers which in turn returns your website data.

Here’s a great picture representation of what I’m trying to explain:

DNS diagram
Image credits to Security Boulevard

The DNS (Domain Name System) Server, as the name suggests, is the place where all your IP addresses associated with your domain is stored, so that, it can exchange information with the Web Server whenever needed.

Note: Don’t worry if you don’t understand some of this stuff. It’s not super important for starting a blog. (But the next step is.)

How to choose a Domain name

Before getting started, I want to clarify that having one or more keywords related to your niche as your domain name, does not help you rank better.

Below are the exact words of John Mueller (Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google) about using Keywords as a Domain name:

Just because a website has a keyword in its domain name doesn’t mean that it’s more relevant than others for that keyword.

In short, you don’t need to put keywords in the domain name.

However, having a domain name that tells people what the blog is about – that’s great!

For example, if both ‘healthypuppy.com’ and ‘johndoe.com’ are new blogs about dogs, which one will you remember in terms of a dog blog? Of course, it’s the former.

Even though it doesn’t directly help your blog rank better, it helps people remember your blog, which in turn brings more traffic, which as a result positively affects SEO.

But:

Don’t just jump on the bandwagon, and name your blog like every other competitor in your niche.

For example, if you’re in the fashion niche and most of your competitors’ domains look like: ‘fashionfirst.com’, ‘fashionworld.com’, ‘allaboutfashion.com’, it’s not a good idea to name your blog after your niche.

In that scenario, it’s better to try and stand out, so that, your readers will remember your blog better.

Another great tip is to use your own name as your domain. 

You might be wondering:

“Why is it a good idea? It doesn’t let people know what my blog is about.”

True. But it helps when you want to change your niche later.

Again, Mueller explained this perfectly:

From a practical point of view, it’s worth also keeping in mind that businesses evolve over time, and moving domains is hard.

So it often makes sense to pick a domain name that you can use for the long run and not necessarily one that just matches what you’re offering today.

For example, if you focus on making awesome blue widgets, and build your website on BestBlueWidgets.com, what do you do when you start offering red widgets?

In fact, a lot of successful companies have pivoted from their initial products.

For example: 

  • Suzuki, one of the largest automakers was a weaving loom machine manufacturer once.
  • Samsung started out as a Grocery store.
  • Colgate used to be a Soap, Candle manufacturing company before they started making toothpaste.

So, had Colgate named their company ‘Colsoap’ (Sorry, I suck at naming), pivoting to toothpaste manufacturing would have been extremely hard.

That is to say, having your own name as your domain gives you flexibility on your blog’s niche if you want to pivot later.

If you still can’t come up with the perfect name for your blog, there are many domain name generators online that will help you generate cool domain name ideas according to the words you want in your name. I found NameMesh really helpful.

Points to remember when choosing a domain:

  • The shorter the domain is, the better.
  • Avoid numbers and hyphens if possible.
  • Go for .com TLD (Top-Level Domain).
  • ccTLD (Country Code Top-Level Domain) like ‘.in’ or ‘.au’  is a good choice if your target audience/readers are mostly from India or Australia respectively.
  • Avoid commonly misspelled/hard-to-spell words like ‘definite’, ‘separate’, independent’, et cetera.
  • Avoid words that can be misinterpreted when conjoined together. For example: let’s say your name is Peter and you own a beer shop named “Peter’s Ale”. But if you decide to use it as a domain name, it will look like “petersale”. People most probably will mistake your website for a sales page since it can be read as “Peter Sale”. (Not the best example, but you get the point)
Don’t forget to google the name you have chosen to make sure there’s no brand or company with the same name. If there is one, change your name to avoid copyright issues.

Picked a domain name already? Great! 

Take a look at this checklist to see if it’s a good choice:

  • Do you like the name?
  • Do you feel confident about it?
  • Is it easy to read?
  • Is it easy to spell?
  • Is it easy to remember?

If your answer to all the above questions is “Yes!”, then, congrats, you can move on to the next step.

How to purchase a domain

Now that you’ve chosen the name for your domain, it’s time to make it yours.

You can buy a domain from a Domain registrar.

The price varies depending on the registrar you’re buying from.

So, let’s find out which is the best Domain registrar for you.

There are a few web hosting providers offering a free domain with some of their plans. But, I don’t recommend buying both your domain and web hosting from the same company as it is really hard to transfer your domain to another hosting later if you want. Also, having domain and web hosting separate is more secure.

Best Domain Registrars

Before analyzing which is the best domain registrar, you need to know what is “Domain Privacy (WHOIS Privacy)”.

What is WHOIS?

Simply put, WHOIS is a tool that records information about your domain (Including your contact details) and provides it whenever someone looks for it.

So? Why is this significant?

Well… without WHOIS privacy protection, you’re prone to potential spam.

Now, what “WHOIS Privacy” does is, it protects your privacy by shielding your information and masking it with your domain registrar’s information instead.

For example, this is what you’ll find if you search for actualhustle.com in WHOIS:

Actual Hustle - WHOIS

As you can see, the information provided are not mine but my Domain Registrar’s (Namecheap’s).

This keeps the spammers away from my Inbox.

Now that you know what WHOIS privacy is, let’s move on to see what are the best Domain Registrars.

1. Namecheap

Namecheap is one of the cheapest domain registrars out there. 

If you’re on a budget or you’re an “A penny saved is a penny earned” kind of person, this ones for you.

And the best thing?

Namecheap provides lifetime free WHOIS privacy.

Sweet!

start blogging in india - namecheap

As you can see, a ‘.com’ domain costs ~INR 675, for 1 year.

Unlike some of the other Domain registrars in this list, this price does not increase after the first year.

2. GoDaddy

GoDaddy needs no introduction. One of most famous domain registrars out there.

The notable advantage of choosing GoDaddy is their discounted price for the first year.

how to start a blog in india - goddady

As they’ve mentioned, you can purchase your domain for just INR 499 (Excluding ICANN fee and tax).

Bonus: BigRock

Now, I don’t know much about BigRock. I have added this here since several people (I know of) happen to opt for this provider.

All I know is, it is an Indian Web Hosting and Domain Registration, provider.

I have heard some say it’s an affordable choice. But their price says otherwise.

Here’s a screenshot of the price they’re charging for 1-year domain registration:

how to start a blog - bigrock

As indicated, they charge INR 1532 (WHOIS Privacy included) for 1-year Domain registration (Highest in this list).

Summing up…

Evidently, Namecheap (as the name suggests), is the cheapest and best option to go for.

Besides price, one other main factor determining the best Domain registrars is their support. 

They all claim to provide 24×7 support.

Now, I have no prior experience with any of these Domain registrars except Namecheap.

So, I’ll be speaking only about it.

I have yet to face any issue with their service. Their support is great.

All my support requests got responded to within 2 minutes.

The registration is pretty straightforward. You’ll get your domain in 5 minutes.

If you’re registering using a Credit card, you might get charged an additional ~INR 28 (GST included) as a “Markup Fee”.

Now, I’ll explain the registration process of Namecheap, step-by-step. (The process is more or less similar to other Domain Registrars as well).

How to purchase & register a Domain

(Only takes 10 minutes tops)

1. Visit Namecheap.com

domain registration 1

Click on the “Sign up” button.

2. You’ll be taken to a screen where you will have fill in your information.

domain registration 2

Click on “Create Account and Continue”.

3. Now, you can see you’re in the Namecheap’s Dashboard. Click on the “Domains”.

domain registration 3

4. And now, enter the domain name you want under their “Domain Name Search” and click “Search”.

5. Here, you’ll be shown the price of the domain per year. Click “Add to Cart”.

domain registration 5

6. Now, make sure you have Enabled the “WhoisGuard” and set it to “Auto renew” (Don’t worry, it’s free).

domain registration 6

Stay with me. Just a couple more steps. Click on “Confirm Order”.

7. Here, you’ll be asked to fill in your personal information. Fill in everything and click “Continue”.

domain registration 7

8. Now, you’ll see the screen shown below. Set all the four Contact options to “User default account contact” and click on “Continue”

domain registration 8

9. And that’s it. You’ll be taken to a screen where you are supposed to fill in your Credit card/Debit card details. Once you’re done, click “Continue”.

It’s pretty straightforward after that. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

After successfully completing your purchase, your account dashboard should look something like this:

namecheap dashboard

As you can see, under “Recently Active in Your Account”, it shows my registered domain. You’ll see yours.

Since, you’ve registered to Namecheap, if you have any more technical doubts, you can contact their 24×7 live chat support.

Just scroll down a bit and you’ll see the “Chat with a live person” option:

namecheap livechat

Got the domain? 

Nice.

Now:

Let’s move on to the final step (I promise) before you buckle down and start writing in your blog.


Get Web Hosting

start blogging in india - get web hosting

Choosing the appropriate Web Hosting provider for your website determines various factors like:

Your site’s Up-time, Site loading speed, Security, Good support when something goes wrong, et cetera.

In this section, you’ll know exactly which Web Hosting provider is best suited for you.

What is Web Hosting

To begin with, you should know that, for your website to be visible on the internet, your website’s data should be stored in Data servers or otherwise called “Web Servers” (Web servers are nothing but high-powered computers).

Web Hosts are companies that accommodate several numbers of these Web Servers in one location.

Besides storing these web servers, a web host company also provides its user with the necessary software, support, security, and bandwidth to run their website on the Internet.

As for the types of web hosting, there are about half a dozen choices.

  • Basic Shared Web Hosting
  • Shared WordPress Hosting
  • VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
  • Dedicated Hosting
  • Cloud Hosting
  • Managed Cloud Hosting

But, as a beginner blogger, you only need the Basic Shared Web Hosting or WordPress Hosting.

Both of these hostings basically work the same way except, WordPress Hosting might have WordPress pre-installed.

What is Shared Web Hosting

As the name suggests, a shared web hosting is where you share your website’s server space with other websites.

shared web hosting
Image by Marketing91

That is to say, each website owner will usually have a limit on the total amount of server resources they can use, but this will depend on your hosting plan.

But I assure you, if you’re just starting on your blog, shared hosting is more than enough for your needs. You can move on to VPS hosting or Cloud hosting later if your number of monthly visitors get higher.

Now that you know what kind of hosting to choose, let’s find out which web hosting provider provides the best shared web hosting.

Factors to consider when choosing web hosting

Before getting started, you should know the factors to be considered when choosing the best shared web hosting for you.

If you have wandered in the web hosting limbo for a while, You probably have come across something like this:

  • 15GB SSD storage
  • 20 Databases
  • 100GB bandwidth
  • 20 FTP accounts
  • 20 Domains
  • Instant Activation
  • WordPress optimized

That’s some real good specs, yeah?

Nope.

These specs don’t matter. Every other web hosting provider provides these. You should NOT buy a hosting based on these insignificant details.

Below is the no BS, legit factors you SHOULD take into account when buying a new web hosting:

PHP 7
HTTP/2 support
Dedicated database caching
Litespeed powered
NGINX web server

These latest features will make your website dramatically faster. Anything more is a bonus. Below are the best web hosting providers that take advantage of these technologies:

Best Web Hosting Providers

Talking about the best web hostings, it comes down to what features and how faster you want your website to be.

I’m only going to mention the hostings I recommend. I’m not going to waste your time recommending bad hostings just to increase the number of mentions.

To make it easy for you, I have indicated the billing cycle (Yearly or Monthly) of the hostings inside the brackets. Choose whatever floats your boat.

1. Hostinger (Yearly & Monthly)

Hostinger is one of the cheapest hosting providers in the market right now:

best web hosting - hostinger plans

I recommend their WordPress Starter pack, because just for an additional INR 40/month, the extra features you get are amazing.

But keep in mind that, the 75% discount is only available if you buy their pack for 4 years.

Their plans are dirt cheap. You can opt-in for monthly or yearly subscription as per your need.

But remember:
You do get a free domain from their WordPress starter pack, but only if you choose the yearly packs. Their monthly subscription plans do not provide free domain.

You might ask:

Well, their plans are indeed cheap. But, what’s the catch?

There’s no “catch”. The main reason for their cheap price is they don’t use the standard cPanel like many other hostings. They have their own panel called “hPanel” so that they don’t have to pay an extra service fee to a cPanel.

Hmm… So is it like “You get what you pay for”?

Not at all. It’s a great deal!. The kind of performance you experience from Hostinger’s basic hosting plan is even better than some of the other hosting provider’s premium plans.

In fact, Hostinger checks out 4/5 determining factors I’ve mentioned before:

PHP 7.4
HTTP/2 support
Litespeed powered
NGINX web server
Dedicated database caching

Apart from these features, they provide 1 click WordPress installation, a Free SSL certificate, 24×7 live chat support where you can send images too (There’s no other hosting provider that I know of that has an Image transferring feature in their live chat).

Pricing: (WordPress Starter pack)

‘~’ indicates that INR Prices are rounded to the nearest 50 (Taxes Included)

1 Month1 Year2 Years4 Years
INITIAL COST~ INR 500~ INR 3250~ INR 4800~ INR 5650
RENEWAL COST~ INR 500/month~ INR 4350/year~ INR 3650/year~ INR 2450/year

2. SiteGround (Monthly & Yearly)

SiteGround is truly WordPress optimized and provides blazing fast website performance with its NGINX technology and dedicated caching solution based on Memcached.

They even have their own custom plugin (SG Optimizer) which only works on SiteGround that allows you to further optimize your website yourself. Like Hostinger, Siteground has its own panel that they use instead of cPanel.

Their amazing performance & speed comes at an expensive price:

best web hosting - siteground plans

Also, Siteground checks out all 5/5 the determining factors:

PHP 7.4
HTTP/2 support
Litespeed powered
NGINX web server
Dedicated database caching

In addition to the above-mentioned features, they also provide a free staging area which Hostinger doesn’t.

So, considering Siteground is one of the fastest, performance-oriented web hostings, it makes sense that their plans are expensive.

Pricing: (StartUp pack)

‘~’ indicates that INR Prices are rounded to the nearest 50 (Taxes Included)

1 Month1 Year2 Years3 Years
INITIAL COST~ INR 1500 ($19.99)~ INR 6250 ($83.88)~ INR 17,800 ($239.76)INR 28,000 ($377.64)
RENEWAL COST~INR 1500 ($19.99)/month~ INR 13,350 ($179.88)/year~ INR 10,700 ($143.88)/yearINR 9400 ($125.88)/year

3. A2 Hosting (Monthly & Yearly)

I would usually recommend either Hostinger or Siteground. But the problem with those hosting providers is, they don’t use the standard cPanel. The solution? A2 Hosting.

In terms of performance, A2 Hosting is even slightly better than Siteground. They even have their own optimization plugin. 

Also, A2 Hosting checks out all 5/5 determining factors:

PHP 7.4
HTTP/3 support (Not a typo)
Litespeed powered
NEW! NVMe AMD EPYC Server (Super Fast)
Dedicated database caching

But the problem is, to get all these optimizations and latest technologies you have to buy their “Turbo Boost” plan which is a bit expensive:

best web hosting - a2 hosting

The price mentioned in the image is only applicable if you buy a 3 years subscription plan.

Costly, I know. But if you want the blazing fast performance along with the standard cPanel, it’s worth the money.

Pricing: (Turbo Boost pack)

‘~’ indicates that INR Prices are rounded to the nearest 50 (Taxes Included)

1 Month1 Year2 Years3 Years
INITIAL COST~ INR 1850~ INR 15,800~ INR 27,300~ INR 31,500
RENEWAL COST~ INR 1850/month~ INR 21,000/year~ INR 36,000/2 years~ INR 53,400/3 years

4. Bluehost (Yearly)

Now, now, it’s not a web hosting review without mentioning Bluehost, is it?

But in all seriousness, Bluehost is one of the most popular and trusted web hosts around. It’s also the official WordPress recommended hosting option.

FYI, the Bluehost I am referring to and will be referring to is bluehost.com, NOT Bluehost.in. 

Bluehost.in is terrible with their features and assistance. The reason for it is probably that they are utilizing Resellerclub(an Indian hosting company) for hosting and domain name plans.

So, if you’re choosing to go with Bluehost’s hosting plans, make sure you choose “bluehost.com”

But compared to other web hostings listed above, Bluehost is average at best. 

Their performance is average, their uptime is comparatively low, their tech is outdated (Until recently). It was only during April 2020, that Bluehost has updated their shared web hosting plans to support PHP 7.4

So, they’re not the fastest hosting when it comes to updating their software. They only check out 1/5 determining factors:

PHP 7.4
HTTP/2 support
Dedicated database caching
Litespeed powered
NGINX web server

Does this mean Bluehost is bad for WordPress?

This might sound confusing… But, actually, NO.

Before you think I’m a sellout, hear me out:

Bluehost might not be the fastest hosting out there, but they compete by providing an extraordinary user experience.

They also provide easy-to-follow steps that you can follow to launch your website sooner.

Even in their cheap plans, Bluehost offers automatic updates for WordPress right in their dashboard.

Bluehost offers a lot of features to their users like setting up Google Ads straight from your Bluehost dashboard which you can use to advertise on Google to drive traffic to your website.

Moving on to their pricing, they are not the cheapest hosting provider out there but they’re not expensive either. Take a look at their plans:

Since Bluehost only offers yearly billing, the price mentioned above is only applicable if you buy their plan for 3 years.

Pricing: (Basic pack)

‘~’ indicates that INR Prices are rounded to the nearest 50 (Taxes Included)

1 Year2 Years3 Years
INITIAL COST~ INR 5300 ($71.40)~ INR 8850 ($118.80)~ INR 10,600 ($142.20)
RENEWAL COST~ INR 8900 ($119.88)/year~ INR 8850 ($113.88)/year~ INR 8050 ($107.88)/year

5. Interserver (Monthly & Yearly)

Interserver is the second-best web hosting option (next to Hostinger) for you if you are on a budget and not ready to pay 3 or 4 years’ worth of hosting price upfront.

In my opinion, Interserver is a better option for you than Bluehost if you’re looking for a hosting service with cPanel.

Because Interserver checks out 3/5 determining factors:

PHP 7.4
HTTP/2 support
Litespeed powered
Dedicated database caching
NGINX web server

Alright,  this is fine, but how much exactly are they charging each month?

Their basic plan offers all the features you need as a beginner blogger for INR 525 ($7)/month.

You might be wondering:

But isn’t that higher than Bluehost’s pricing?

You’re right. But, Bluehost offers a low price as a signup discount. Their renewal price skyrockets after that.

Also, overall, Interserver performs better than Bluehost.

So, in the long run, Interserver is a lot cheaper compared to Bluehost.

Hmm… what about their support and site uptime?

I’ve been using Interserver for a while now. I’ve screwed up an awful lot of times, trying to add third-party plugins, modifying my child theme, adding codes in the header, et cetera. 

Every time I have contacted their live chat support regarding my flub-ups, I got responded within 2 minutes and I got my problem solved right away.

And as for the site uptime, here’s a screenshot showing the percentage of my site uptime, hosted by Interserver:

One downside of using Interserver is their ugly interface. Even though they use up to date latest technologies, It looks like they’re still using the 2000’s interface.

So, if an ugly interface is not a problem for you, Interserver is a better alternative for Bluehost.

Pricing: (Standard Web Hosting v5 pack)

‘~’ indicates that INR Prices are rounded to the nearest 50 (Taxes Included)

1 Month1 Year2 Years3 Years
INITIAL COSTINR 375 ($5)INR 4050 ($54)INR 7650 ($102)INR 10,800 ($144)
RENEWAL COSTINR 525 ($7)/monthINR 6300 ($84)/yearINR 12,600 ($168)/2 yearsINR 18,900 ($252)/3 years
The above pricings of all the web hostings may vary depending on the special offers they provide time to time. But usually, without offers, those prices mentioned here are legit.

Summing up…

It might not be an easy decision for you. I get that. That’s the reason I have limited the list to at most 5. So that you won’t go through the ‘Analysis Paralysis’.

I’ll make it even simpler for you:

  • I’m on a budget, but want a fast web hosting – Hostinger
  • Money is not an object, I just want the best performing, fast web hosting – Siteground
  • Money is not an object, I want a fast web hosting with cPanel – A2 hosting
  • I want a beginner friendly hosting with cPanel & lots of extra features – Bluehost
  • I want a good performing, reasonably fast web hosting for cheap cost – Interserver

How to purchase a Web hosting

Since Bluehost is the most popular Hosting provider for beginner bloggers, I’ll show you how to purchase a shared hosting plan from them – step by step. This process is more or less similar to other web hosting providers as well.

1. Visit Bluehost.com

It may redirect you to bluehost.in. Just change the currency at the top right corner to USD to go to bluehost.com.

Click on “Login”

2. You will be taken to the below shown page. Click on “Create account”

how to purchase a web hosting - bluehost2

3. Now, Click on “Select” under the Basic plan

how to purchase a web hosting - bluehost3

4. Here, you’ll be taken to a page where you have the option to create a new domain (for free) or Use a domain that you’ve bought from a Domain registrar. Click “Next” after that.

5. Before filling in your details, you have to create an account. Click on “Sign in with Google” button.

6. After creating an account, select the package information according to your need. Also, make sure you have deselected every options under “Package Extras”. You don’t really need any of those.

Note: If you have created a new domain in Bluehost (step 4), you will be shown an extra option named “WHOIS privacy” under Package Information. Make sure you ONLY check that option and uncheck every other option.
how to purchase a web hosting - bluehost6

7. Finally, fill in the payment information and click “Submit”

And that’s it, you’re mostly done.

You just have to 1-click install WordPress and start customizing your website.


Promote your Blog

Ever heard about the 80/20 rule?

No?

Well.. Derived from ‘Pareto Principle’, the 80/20 rule in Content Writing means that you should spend 20% of your time writing the content and the 80% of your time promoting the heck out of it.

I’ll explain:

Let me clarify something first: The ratio doesn’t have to be exactly 80/20. It just means that, compared to the time you have spent writing your post, you should spend 4x more time promoting it.

This might sound improbable. But, really think about it.

What’s the point of writing awesome content and publishing when your post traffic looks like this:

BUT!

Take this with a grain of salt. 

Because, as a beginner blogger, posting more content will help you far better than spending too much time promoting the one you have written.

For the first 1-3 months, just focus on creating and publishing quality posts. Worry about promoting later.

Going back to why promoting is important (once you have published ~30 posts)…

If you think you can just rely on organic traffic (Traffic from Google search results) without promoting, don’t even dream of ranking on Google.

You have to aggressively promote your content, at least till you get a substantial amount of steady traffic to your blog.

It’s true that people sharing your post on Social Media is not a direct factor that contributes to better SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

BUT!

When someone shares your post, it engages a few people to visit your blog. The good news is Engagement is one of the HUGE factors in better SEO.

According to a case study of SEO traffic vs SMM traffic by Alexandra Tachalova at Moz, it’s concluded that SMM (Social Media Marketing) focused blogs generate more backlinks and perform better in organic traffic than the blogs that mainly focus on SEO. (That doesn’t mean the SMM blogs don’t care about SEO. They just give more importance to Social Media Promotions).

In simple words:

More Promotion = More engagement = More traffic = Better organic search engine traffic

Choose the Right Social Media platform

Imagine you’re a fashion blogger. You have just started a new blog and have written a fantastic post titled “It’s never too late for a Sundress – 12 Best Summer Outfits”.

Great!

Here’s a quick question:

If you have to choose one, would you promote your post on LinkedIn or Pinterest?

To those who have answered “LinkedIn”:

disappointed yoda
Disappointed with you I am. Hrmmm.

There is a reason why there’s not as much Fashion related ads on LinkedIn.

According to Statista, as of October 2020, about 77% of Global Pinterest users are Female.

So, it’s not really the best decision to choose LinkedIn over Pinterest for promoting fashion related blogs.

Some Social Media works better for your niche than others.

Now, you can go all in and create a profile on every other popular Social Media there is.

But, that’s not really an effective strategy to promote your blog.

Here’s why:

It’s really hard managing multiple Social Media platforms with limited time and resources.

Promoting on multiple Social Media platforms is a great idea IF you have the money to hire a Social Media team that will handle everything when it comes to promoting and managing your social media presence.

If not, I recommend focusing on one platform where most of your target audience is hanging out.

Advantages of Focusing on one Social Media Platform

  • You get to entirely focus your time and resources on a single platform and understand your audience’s needs.
  • You’ll find it easy to be more engaging and responsive with your audience since you’re just focusing on one platform, which helps in building a relationship with your audience as much easier and faster.
  • Having 1000 followers on one platform is more credible than having 200 on 5 different platforms.
  • It’s a lot easier to gain followers on a new social media if you already have a significant amount of followers on one. For example, it’s relatively easy to gain a few hundred or even thousands of YouTube subscribers, if you already have thousands of followers on Instagram.
  • The hardest part when it comes to Social Media following is bringing in new audience for your page or profile. So, if you accomplish that on one Social Media, you can leverage your old followers to gain traction on your new platform.

Best Social Media Platform

The truth is, I’d be lying if I blatantly say “this” is the best social media platform for you.

It truly depends on your niche and your target audience.

Pro Tip: Make a list of competitors in your niche. Visit their website and analyze which Socia Media Platforms are they active on. This will give you an idea of which platforms you should focus your time and energy on and which platforms you should stay away from (for the time being)

Here’s a fantastic Infographic by StatusBrew:

Social Media infographic

This infographic should give you a pretty good idea as to where to start. But don’t take my word for it.

Try promoting on 3-4 social media where you think your target audience is, and check your Analytics data after a few months. You will get a clearer picture of where you should focus from thereon.

In general:

  • Facebook is great if you want to promote your content via Images and Videos. It’s also amazing if most of your target audience is mobile users.
  • Instagram, like Facebook, is focused on Images and Videos focused promotion strategies. But, Instagram is a better choice if your target audience is mostly 18-29 years old.
  • Twitter is an excellent choice if your promotions are focused on short, concise paragraphs.
  • LinkedIn is definitely an option to consider if you’re in a B2B (Business to Business) niche. This is a great place for creating brand awareness and build credibility for your blog.
  • Pinterest easily comes out on top, if most of your audience is female. Pinterest promotions are a must if your blog is related to food, wedding decors, clothing niche, etc. You get the idea.
  • YouTube works for almost all niches. If video promotions sound appealing to you, definitely consider YouTube. But, it’s highly competitive. Make sure you do your research before promoting on YouTube.

Monetize your blog

Let’s be real. It doesn’t really make sense to invest tens of hours each week blogging and not monetize it.

You have put in your effort. Now, It’s time to get rewarded.

In this section, I have briefly explained the possible ways you can monetize your blog and start earning passive income.

5 ways to make money from your blog

1. Banner Ads:

I’m sure you have seen blogs like these:

Monetize your blog - banner ads

While they may look spammy, when placed at the correct spots, banner ads may even make your blog look better and at the same time, can earn you tens of dollars each month.

Banner ads mainly work in 3 ways: 

  • CPC/PPC (Cost Per Click/Pay Per Click) – You get paid a certain amount whenever your audience clicks your ad.
  • CPA (Cost Per Action/Acquisition) – You get paid a certain amount whenever one of your audience clicks your ad and completes an action like signing up or downloading an app. 
  • CPM (Cost Per Mille) – In simple words: Cost per thousand impressions. As you can easily understand, you get paid a certain amount when a thousand audience sees the ad on your blog.

Though, keep in mind that, some of the Ad Networks only accept your blog if it meets their “Total number of Monthly Visits” criteria.

The process is straightforward: Signup to an Ad Network, place ads in your blog, Earn money.

That said, here are a few examples of Ad networks: Google Adsense, VigLink, et cetera.

2. Affiliate Programs

The concept of Affiliate Marketing is simple: 

  • Sign up for the Affiliate Program of your favorite products (Related to your niche).
  • Promote the product on your blog by writing about it.
  • Your audience buys the product using your affiliate link.
  • You earn a commission from the product’s company.

You can either join an affiliate network and sign up for various product offers or just join the affiliate program of the product that you wish to promote.

Few examples of affiliate networks include CJ Affiliate, ShareASale, Amazon Associates, et cetera.

3. Sell your own Infoproducts

If you’re an expert in your niche, you can make a ton of money by selling an online course or E-book on a topic your audience would love to learn.

A great example is Marie Forleo:

Marie Forleo

Marie’s earning several million each year, most of which comes from her info-products.

So, if you know your niche in & out, selling Infoproducts is definitely worth considering.

4. Freelancing/Consulting

Another GREAT way to make money online if you’re an expert in your field is Freelancing.

The idea here is simple:

  • Post super useful content related to your niche.
  • Build trust with your audience. Make sure they know you’re an expert
  • Let them know you’re offering your services.
  • Watch your audience turn to clients.

Here’s a great example: Jon Loomer’s Facebook Marketing Consultation
jon loomer

But, take this with a grain of salt, at least for the first few months.

What I’m trying to say is, in my opinion, it’s better to wait a few months before monetizing your site. If you really want to start making money as soon as possible, you can start with a few affiliate products, but don’t overdo it.

I’ll explain why:

The right time to start monetizing your blog

So, When should I start monetizing then?

There are a lot of conflicting opinions out there. The truth is there’s no clear-cut answer for this.

1. Right time to start with Affiliate programs

As I said, if you really want to start making money ASAP, you can start with affiliate marketing right off the bat.

But choose your affiliate programs wisely. That is to say, don’t signup for programs where they expect you to bring a sale within a time frame.

A good example is Amazon Associates. It’s exciting to start a blog, review products related to your niche, sign up for the Amazon Associates program, and pasting the affiliate links in your review posts.

But, here’s the catch:

Once you become an Amazon associate, you have 180 days to make at least 3 sales. If not, your account will be closed.

Amazon associates

Sure, you can just re-apply again. But the thing that happens with most of the new bloggers that advertise affiliate products is, they want to make money so badly that they stuff their blog with tons of review posts in hopes of someone reading the reviews would buy one of the products using their affiliate link.

So, if you do choose to start with affiliate marketing, make sure your content is useful to your readers. Don’t be too product-focused. In fact, if you focus on quality content, you’ll make more sales that way.

2. Right time to start with Ads

Ads are a great source for steady income IF you have high enough traffic. I wouldn’t recommend placing Ads as soon as you start your blog.

Because, when you have little to no traffic to your posts, you won’t even make enough money per month to buy a decent dinner.

Also, you’re just starting out. Your blog’s design may change, layout may change later. So, having ads will mess up your site.

So, it’s not worth the effort (At first).

If your blog gets 10k-15k visitors a month, now we’re talking. You can start with Ads and expect a decent income each month which might cover your hosting costs at the very least.

3. Right time to start with Infoproducts/Freelancing

It’s simple when it comes to Infoproducts or Freelancing or Consulting:

Don’t start unless you have a good amount of followers or subscribers. This can be anything: Instagram followers, Your Email list, YouTube subscribers, et cetera.

Let’s talk numbers:

Consider one of your blog posts gets a consistent 1000 views a month. That’s a decent place to promote your Infoproduct or your Freelance gig.

But, out of 1000, roughly only 5% visit your landing/sales page from your blog. So, that’s about 50 people.

And once they are on your landing page, considering a standard conversion rate of 2%, you’re looking at 1 or maybe 2, if you’re lucky.

(The above numbers are just an estimation. It may not exactly resonate with your blog and your audience. But, you get the idea)

The bottom line is:

You need a big enough community of followers to improve your chances of selling your product.

Summing up…

The common factor you can find when it comes to the right time to monetize your blog with various methods is, wait till you have a decent amount of followers/audience.

In short, if you keep producing helpful content, you will form a big enough community in no time and you can start with the monetization as soon as possible. It’s totally up to you.


Conclusion

Start blogging in India - Conclusion

If you have reached here by reading the whole blog, by now, you know exactly:

  • Where to start a blog
  • How to start a blog (All the technical stuffs included)
  • How to promote your blog
  • Ways to monetize your blog

Now it’s time for you to go start one and create awesome content.

You got this!

I have tried my best to cover all the topics you have to know about starting a blog.

I really hope you found it useful.

Now, I’d like to hear from you.

I might have missed mentioning some details. So, do you have any doubts at all?

Let me know in the comments section below. I’d be happy to help.