How To Start A Blog
Do you want to start a blog? Or maybe you are still researching, trying to find the best way to start? Regardless, I am glad you are here and am excited to show you how easy it can be to build one on your own.
In this tutorial, I will show you exactly how to start your own blog, step by step. And don’t worry if you aren’t the most technologically savvy, keyboard clacking internet guru, either. There is no technical expertise required to start! If you are ready to start blogging, these steps will have you up and running in about 10 minutes.
Hack your clock!
The Simple Six Steps To Starting A Blog
1. Pick your topic
2. Choose your platform
3. Pick your host
4. Pick your domain
5. Get started with WordPress!
6. Launch your site
7. (Bonus Step) Pour a drink and celebrate!
So, Why Would Anyone Want To Blog In the First Place?
People blog for many different reasons. You might have the inner desire to share your thoughts on a specific subject, or you might have a skill that you’d like to share in a “Do-It-Yourself” type of blog. You may even want to make a little (or a lot) of money as a side-hustle. Whatever your reasons, I am glad you have decided to join the blogging community!
Ok, I really want to start a blog, but let’s get down to brass tax. How much will it all cost me?
- That is an excellent question, my curious and thrifty reader! You can start a free WordPress blog at wordpress.com, but I recommend using a dedicated server, otherwise called “self-hosting.” There is nothing wrong with the free blogs, but you are limited in the design templates you can use, you won’t have the option to make money from it, and be doomed to use the basic features forever. Using a hosting provider like the one I recommend below will cost anywhere between $4 to $8 per month, which is not bad at all.
The 6-Step Process…
Step 1: Pick Your Topic
If you own a business or are blogging for your company/organization, then this is an easy step. If this blog is yours alone, then you can literally blog about anything that strikes your fancy. However, here are some tips to keep your momentum going once you start posting articles on your blog:
- Pick a topic that you are in love with! If you do not love your topic, then why would you want to write about it for years to come?
- Pick a topic that will last. The last thing you want to do is pick a topic that is considered a fad (i.e. My Pet Rock Blog) or pick a topic that you can’t write more than one post on (i.e. The “How To Solve A Rubik’s Cube” Blog).
- Make your topic about something you would consider yourself an expert at. If you want to scream from the rooftops about how to recognize the mating call of the Nordic Ice Swan, you’d better know how to do it well!
Chris, I really want to start a blog, but haven’t a clue on what I want to blog about!
- Join the club, my indecisive future blogger! Even if you did know, most blogs end up changing topics after the first six months anyways. This happens after you find your blogging “stride” and start narrowing in on your specific topic or change it completely. My advice? Go for it! Let your blog become a living, breathing entity and watch where it ends up.
Step 2: Pick Your Platform
If you want to start your blog called “Left Handed Puppetry For Beginners” then you need a platform to put it on. Just like a pilot needs an airplane, a blogger needs a platform.
There are A LOT of different platforms you can choose from. Feel free to do your research on which one fits you best. Like anything else, each has their own pros and cons. But here is my take- I use and recommend WordPress. It the highest ranking and fastest growing blogging platform out there, and has been for years. Check out this infographic and see for yourself.
Like I mentioned before, WordPress has two options: the “hosted” platform (free) and the “self-hosted” platform (paid). Remember, the free platforms are alright, but you are extremely limited when using them. This tutorial covers how to set up the “self-hosted” platforms.
In step 5, you will see how easily WordPress is integrated for free into your website.
Step 3: Pick Your Host
Again, there are plenty of hosts out there to choose from. I did the research when I started my blog and I couldn’t find anything better than Bluehost for the price. I have helped many friends start their websites and I have always recommended Bluehost. With that said, now that my blog is more established, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.
So, let’s get started by clicking
to go to Bluehost.com
(A new window will open similar to the picture below so you can flip back and forth during set up)
Click on the green “Get Started Now” button!
Don’t worry if the picture is different than the website– the process is still the same. Bluehost is always updating and improving their user experience. You might even catch their packages on sale!
Select Your Plan
Here, I always recommend the “Plus” or “Prime” packages because of the included extras. There is nothing wrong with the basic package, and if you end up going with that one be sure to add the “Domain Privacy” to keep your address private.
Bluehost charges you for 12, 24, 36 or 60 months up front, depending on what you want. The longer you sign up for, the cheaper the monthly price (unless there is a sale).
After you select your package, it will bring you to a screen asking what your blog name will be. If you know what your blog will be called, type it in there. If not, no big deal. Leave it blank- you can name your blog later (or even change the name later).
Step 4: Pick Your Domain Name
Your domain name is what people will type in their web browser to visit your site. My domain name is “www.chriswwerner.com.” I am a huge proponent of using your own name or your business name as your domain. If you can’t use your name or business name, then you will want to make your domain name something short, catchy, and easily remembered.
- Good examples: www.bluehost.com, www.walmart.com, www.amazon.com, www.apple.com
- Terrible example: www.howtofixanythingfromyourkitchensinktoyourroof.com
If you are registering a new domain, enter it in the box on the left. Otherwise, if you already own a domain, type it in the box on the right. Let’s keep going!
Fill in your account information on the next screen.
The picture above is showing the basic plan selected. Whichever plan you choose, I always recommend deselecting all of the add-ons except the “Domain Privacy” option. If you decide later on that you want those options, you can always add them. The “Domain Privacy” is the only one you cannot add later.
Enter your payment info, don’t forget to read the Terms of Service and then agree with them.
Next, skip the upgrades and special offers, unless you really, really want them.
Create your account password next…
Step 5: Getting Started with WordPress
On this screen, you have two choices: start building your WordPress site or go to your Bluehost account. At this point, you don’t need to go to your Bluehost account so go ahead and click on “Start Building.” With one-click, you get WordPress installed!
After clicking on “Start Building” you will end up on a page that looks similar to this:
Go ahead and click on the “I Don’t Need Any Help” link. If you click on the blue buttons that say “Business” or “Personal” it will take you to a smattering of themes and start building your site for you, which you can do later.
The page below is your basic WordPress page (if your website was a car, then this page is your engine). You will become intimately familiar with this page. It is your WordPress dashboard.
Starting on the left-hand side of your dashboard, here are some basic explanations for what each menu item does:
- Bluehost– accesses your Bluehost features and menus.
- Jetpack– a “plugin” that allows you to use a lot of really cool features and widgets on your website. This one deserves its own tutorial… Jetpack can show you your blog’s stats, subscribers, build contact forms, build subscription forms, plus a whole lot more.
- Posts– this is where all of your blog posts live. You can click “Add New” and start a draft blog. Click on “Save” and it will stay there as a draft. It won’t be published until you click on “Publish.”
- Media– add your pictures, gifs, videos or any “media” to your site here.
- Pages– acts the same as the “Posts” page. Except this is where you add individual web pages to your site.
- Comments– this is where you can access, approve and reply to any comment that your readers leave on your site.
- WPForms– A sleek option for adding all sorts of forms to your site. You can create forms here, then add them to any webpage or post easily.
- Appearance– This changes the layout of your website, depending on which theme you choose. If WordPress is the engine for your car, then this section is the body style, color, and options. This is where you change the look of your site. Here you can pick your “theme” which I discuss below.
- Plugins– this is where you can add in free “programs” called plugins for your site. There are thousands of them that you can use. An example of a plugin is Jetpack, which is automatically added to your site with Bluehost. Another example of a plugin is the “pop up” window you saw on this page of mine explaining the affiliate links that I use. A google search for “best WordPress plugins” would prove very enlightening.
- Users– access, add, delete or modify your subscribers here.
- Tools– you can see some tools that are available for you to use. I hardly ever use this menu.
- Settings– this one changes depending on which plugins you install. Some plugin settings will automatically be placed in here. The basic settings need to be fiddled with now.
Messing With Your Settings
There are a few options I will not cover here, but here are the options you might want to set up now.
- General- You can change your blog’s name and title, set the default subscriber role, and other things. Most of these are already set up, but you can change these at any time.
- Permalinks- set your permalinks here. This lets WordPress organize your posts in a crisp and clean way. Choose whichever way that you like- the key is to get one of those selected. It makes your website addresses cleaner and helps Google and other search engines find your pages easier.
Step 6: It Is Time To Launch. Here We Go!
Follow the prompts to get your site launched. I’ve seen it take a couple hours to a full day for your site to get registered, which Bluehost does for you automatically.
Until it is registered, anybody heading to your site will see it as either a “Coming Soon” standard webpage or as a “Temporary Web Page.” Either way, once Bluehost finishes registering it will let you know. In the meantime, you can change themes, appearance, colors, add pages and posts, or otherwise build your site however you like. Bluehost will put it all online automatically once it is finished with the registration process.
- Did something weird happen during set up? Give Bluehost a call at 844-213-7846 (US) or head over to https://www.bluehost.com/contact
How do I get back to my WordPress Dashboard after I log out?
- Okay, this one (I hate to admit) took me a while to figure out when I first started. But it is really simple- all you do is go to “www.yourdomain.com/admin” (Obviously, type your own domain name instead of “yourdomainname”).
How do I change my theme?
- This is under the “Appearance” tab on the left side of your WordPress dashboard. There are lot’s of free themes, which there is nothing wrong with using. Keep in mind that the free themes do not get updated very often and a lot of customization is not available. Most of the paid for themes cost as little as $49 and as much as… Well, they can cost a lot. I recommend finding a free theme that you really like and then moving on to a paid theme later, if you want.
Now is the time where I (the momma bird) pushes you (the baby bird) from the nest. You are free to blog about anything and everything you want. Go forth and conquer! Don’t be shy about asking me to check out your blog for pointers or if you need advice.
Need some tips on creating a successful blog? Check out 11 Tips For New Bloggers.
I wish you the best on your blog and your website. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
Also, I think you should subscribe. All the cool kids do it.
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