Blogging is the easiest route for you to connect with your audience; which is critical if you want to build authority and create a successful online business. You don’t need any previous writing experience to get up and running. Follow these steps to learn how to start a blog in less than one hour!
How to Start a Blog Step-By-Step
- Step 1: Pick your blog platform, domain name, and hosting provider
- Step 2: Create the look of your blog by using a beautiful theme
- Step 3: Tweak your blog to make sure it “fits” your desired look
- Step 4: Install the most effective plugins
- Step 5: Develop quality content for your blog
No worries if you are a fish out of water here. Everyone that has a successful blog has been in the exact same boat as you at one point or another – that includes yours truly! Let’s get started.
Step 1: Pick your blog platform, domain name, and hosting provider
1. Your Platform
When we say platform we’re referring to the program that you use to design your blog, compile your posts, and publish everything online. Think of it like Microsoft Word on steroids and you won’t be far off.
Now, some of these platforms can be daunting. They’ll require knowledge of HTML and coding languages, but that’s not the case with WordPress. This platform is included with your other website elements free of charge.
WordPress is the premiere platform for websites and blogs. It powers over 60 million sites and counting. Over 18.9% of the internet’s websites are powered by this program. That number is only going up.
I always recommend WordPress because it’s easy for beginners and advanced users to jump in and use it without much hassle. It also has unique features like plugins and themes that make it easy to customize your site with design elements and features.
2. Your Domain
The term “domain” refers to the specific URL or web address that points to your site. For example, my domain is “Blogbasics.com.” I own that address, much like I would own a house in the real world.
Domains only have to be renewed once per year and they are $15 per renewal. Most web hosting companies will offer your first year of the domain for free, so this is something you’ll pay for in the second year and going forward.
3. Your Hosting Service
The final piece of the puzzle is your hosting. The easiest way to describe this is by using another analogy:
Hosting is like renting an apartment, except you’re renting space on a server. It’s this server that publishes your website on the internet and makes it available 24/7/365.
You pay a monthly fee for hosting, but it’s not expensive if you know what you’re looking for (more on that in a moment). This fee pays for the space and bandwidth your website uses on the server.
These servers exist in a huge place called a data center. You’ll more than likely never see the server your website is being hosted on, but it’s there working hard to keep your website up and running.
When you look at hosting services, you’ll find that there are a lot of options. For your first website, I recommend starting with a shared hosting plan. To help you understand your options, though, here’s a quick breakdown of the different types of hosting:
- Shared Hosting – This type of plan involves placing your website on the same server as other websites. Everyone shares the space and resources, but they are all separate from one another. You’ll have the power and speed to manage your first website just fine.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) – The next step up is a virtual private server. This type of plan still places you on the same server as other websites, but there’s a virtual wall separating you from the others. You’ll have access to guaranteed resources and power as if you were on a separate server.
- Dedicated Hosting – The highest level of hosting simply offers you an entire server to use for your websites. This is usually the option chosen by major bloggers or businesses and comes with a hefty price tag.
- Cloud Hosting – This has become more popular in recent years. It’s a flexible form of hosting that stores your website across multiple servers. As needs come and go, it can scale with your website dynamically and provide additional resources only when you need them.
The easiest route is to setup a Bluehost hosting account and you will get a free domain. Bluehost makes it really easy because they will help you setup WordPress (our recommended blogging platform).
For complete newbies, this is easily the quickest way to get started blogging. Also, if you do happen to run into trouble, Bluehost associates are available by live-chat, which is awesome!
- The Bluehost page showing the 63% discount (only $2.95 per month) should look similar to the page shown below.
- Select the appropriate plan based on your blogging requirements. However, I recommend that new bloggers select the starter plan.
- Type in the domain name (i.e., URL, web address) of your new blog in the box on the left.
- Enter the required account information.
- Review your package information for accuracy before you complete the check-out process.
- Complete the check out process. Then you should immediately head over to the ‘cpanel’ within the bluehost dashboard. Find the icon labeled ‘Install WordPress’ and click on it to begin setting up your new WordPress blog.
- Click the ‘Start’ button pictured below to install WordPress on your new blog.
- Make sure that the correct domain name is selected in the drop-down menu.
- Finally complete the required fields below and click ‘Install Now’.
- Success! You will be able to start blogging immediately following the WordPress installation.
What About Free Blogs?
You just finished looking over the Bluehost process and it looks simple, but there’s something holding you back, isn’t there?
This is a huge decision.
Yes, it absolutely is one of the biggest choices you’ll make in your career, so let’s give it the time it deserves. Earlier we talked briefly about free blogs, and right now you may be thinking that’s a better alternative.
Free blogs are great for casual people just trying to get their feet wet, but they don’t offer all the things I’m promising.
Ask yourself this:
Did I come here, to this very site, because I was “casually” thinking about starting a blog?
No, you didn’t. You came here because you wanted to know more about becoming a blogger. You wanted that dream job and you decided to do some research.
Before you go out and make a free blog, let’s take a look at some of the fine print beneath that “free” promise:
1. You Don’t Own Your Domain
The first caveat of a free blog comes in the web address. Since you’re not paying for hosting yourself, you’re using the hosting provided by the free platform.
This means they get a slice of your domain, much like this:
Notice how my website has WordPress in it? That’s what happens when you choose a free platform. You may be wondering what WordPress is doing in there as well. Allow me to explain.
There are two versions of WordPress: the .com and the .org. If you visit WordPress.com you can make a free blog using the WordPress platform, but you’ll be tied down to the caveats of free blogs.
WordPress.org is where you can go to download the core WordPress program for use on a self-hosted blog. Many hosting companies install WordPress for you when you’re setting up the service.
2. Lots of Limitations
A self-hosted blog offers total freedom, but that’s not the case with a free one. Once again, the lack of payment limits your freedoms. While the domain thing can be fixed by purchasing your own, these problems are ingrained into the terms of service for many free blogging sites.
For starters, you won’t be able to make the kind of money you need on a free blog. Limits on ads, affiliate links, and the like will make sure of that. There’s also the fact that you don’t own anything on there.
If you accidentally defy a rule buried in the text of the TOS, you could have your site shut down and you’ll lose everything. That’s a scary thought for someone who sinks countless hours into building a blog.
The benefits of total freedom and control are a major reason why serious bloggers choose to self-host their websites.
You may be thinking that I’m going a little hard with all of this, but that’s only because I don’t want you to waste your time. You’re here because you’re past the point of trying out a blog.
Here’s the bottom line:
Free blogs are for people at the very beginning of their blogging journey. They are for hobbyists and uncertain adventures. You’re better than that and you deserve better.
Step 2: Create the look of your blog by using a beautiful theme
The overall look and feel of your WordPress blog is controlled by your theme. Choose a theme that you are comfortable with, one that gives you the look and feel that you want for your blog. There are two basic parts to the theme used for Blog Basics: the framework (structure) and child theme (look & feel).
- Framework – There are several WordPress frameworks to choose from, however, we use the Genesis Framework on nearly every blog we build. The reason we use Genesis is because it’s fast, optimized for search engines, and StudioPress provides fantastic support.
- Child Theme – Now that you have the Genesis Framework, the time has come to choose your blog design or child theme. There are loads of different options. Practice patience looking through them and make sure you pick the design that suits your blogging purpose best!
This all sounds nice, but how does it equivalate to your brand new blog? Right now you’re looking at a blank canvas and you’re eager to get painting. I understand completely, so we’re going to boil it down.
Here’s my personal checklist for choosing the perfect WordPress theme:
- Does it have all of the features you need? On a separate page, create a list of the things you want the theme to do so you know what you’re looking for.
- Does the theme have support for third-party plugins? You shouldn’t run into any themes that aren’t compatible with plugins, but you should look to see if they compliment the ones you’re going to use. Say you want to install Woo Commerce. You may want to choose a theme that is specially designed to work well with that plugin.
- Free or Premium? WordPress offers both free and paid theme options. You can start with a free one and switch without much hassle, but you should know that themes aren’t very expensive if you want to go premium. It’s important to check that the theme is updated regardless of it being free or premium.
- Pricing Model? Premium themes come in a few different flavors. Some of them have a single payment that includes support and updates, while others will have recurring payments. In some cases, you can pay for access to a membership that gives you multiple themes to choose from.
- Customization Options? Themes are usually designed with some level of customization in mind. You should consider how much control you want. For some, a few big options are best because they don’t have design experience, while others prefer to tweak everything they can.
- How’s the SEO and Speed? The user experience people receive when interacting with the theme is very important. You should look for a theme that boasts clean coding and high SEO standards. It should load fast and look great for the best results.
Let me paint a picture we’ve all seen before:
You’re sitting in your cubicle at a job that you hate. You wish you could just leave and do something you actually enjoy, but you’re too scared to make the leap.
I was there, but one day I said enough is enough. Want to know what I did?
I started a blog.
It seemed like such a simple thing at the time. That first blog was on Wordpress, a free blogging platform, that gave me the confidence I needed to keep chugging along.
Before I knew it, I was making money. I’m not talking pennies or even dollars, I’m talking about good money that gave me the courage to quit my job and do this full-time.
My friends, now it’s your turn.
Here’s the deal:
I’m going to show you the best guide on how to start a blog that the internet has ever seen. By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll not only be excited to start, but you’ll know exactly how to do it.
Blogging is the easiest route for you to connect with your audience; which is critical if you want to build authority and create a successful online business.
You don’t need any previous writing experience to get up and running. Follow these steps to learn how to start a successful blog in less than one hour!
Why Should I Start a Blog?
You’ve seen blogs before, we all have. You’ve probably thought about starting a blog of your own in passing, but it wasn’t until now that you really considered it.
Let me ask you something:
How would you like to get up every morning and be excited about going to work? What if you not only enjoyed your job, but had the freedom to do it wherever you wanted? Even from home!
You’d take that opportunity faster than a free $100 bill, wouldn’t you? I know I would.
If you’re on the fence, here are my top four reasons why you should be starting your blog today:
4 Reasons to Start Your Blog NOW!
- Blogs are a common source of information and advice, used by countless people. In fact, 46% of users read reviews and blog posts before making an online purchase!
- As a blogger, you’ll be able to write about the things you’re passionate about. You can make a living doing something you love!
- You’ll gain valuable experience and improve your writing skills.
- You have the potential to make a full-time income from your website.
Step 3: Tweak your blog to make sure it “fits” your desired look
Now you have everything you need to get started; hosting, domain name, WordPress, and theme, now you get to have some fun tweaking your blog to give it the personalization you want to deliver an awesome experience to your readers!
For example, you can customize your navigation menu, logo, footer, sidebar and much more depending on the theme that you selected. We also recommend that you start capturing email addresses and begin communicating with your audience by email.
To help you tweak your settings and make sure everything is ready for you to start writing, here’s my post-WordPress installation checklist:
- Delete the “Hello world” post by going to posts > All posts > Place your mouse on the post > Trash.
- Do the same with your sample page by going to Pages > All pages > Hover over it > Trash.
- Install the theme of your choice by going to Appearances > Themes > Install Themes > Add New. When you find one, be sure to install it and click activate.
- Go to Plugins > Add New to start searching for plugins to download and activate like the theme.
- Go to Settings > Discussion to enable or disable comments as you see fit. Click save changes when you’re finished.
- Set up your permalinks by clicking on Settings > Permalinks > choose permalink structure/create your own. I personally create my own.
Step 4: Install the most effective plugins
Time for your plugins. Don’t be afraid of this one! A plugin is basically a piece of software that gives your WordPress blog more functionality. Plugins that I recommend are below:
It’s important to keep certain things in mind as you install plugins. For starters, you should look for ones that have a good amount of reviews and a reputable developer.
Downloading plugins from unknown sources can lead to bulky and slow programs that do more harm than good to your site. You should also check and see when the plugin was last updated so you know it’s supported.
As you update your WordPress installation, you’ll find that certain plugins won’t be compatible with newer versions, so consider this when downloading them.
Step 5: Develop quality content for your blog
Writing great content isn’t hard, and you certainly don’t have to be an experienced writer to do it. It all comes down to pouring your passion about the subject into everything you do.
Strive for usefulness and value in everything you post. Approach each subject with a stance on how you can provide a value to the reader in the form of something that answers a question or solves a problem.
For now, pat yourself on the back because you just finished setting up a blog! Who knew starting a blog could be so easy?
Reminder: You can have your blog setup in less than an hour for only $2.95 per month. This deal is 63% off the normal monthly price and you’ll also receive a free domain name.
Let me know how your new blog is doing in the comments below! I love to hear from readers, so don’t hesitate to share your thoughts as well.