How to Start a Blog
(STEP-BY-STEP IN 20 MINUTES)
If you have ever wondered exactly how to start a blog, you are in luck because that is exactly what I am going to show you today, in under 20 minutes, WITHOUT needing any knowledge of HTML, coding, or graphics design
If blogging is new to you this guide will not only help you get up and running fast, but it will ensure you avoid a few very common pitfalls that always frustrate new bloggers.
Have Your Blog Up & Running In 20 Minutes or Less!
My Free Step-By-Step Guide Will Get Your Blog Up & Running 20 Minutes Or Less
Last time I counted over 8576 people have used this guide to successfully start their blog.
I'm going to break this down into 5 easy steps for you where we will cover:
- Choosing the right blogging platform
- Choosing the right hosting
- Setting up your domain name & hosting
- Setting Up WordPress
- Adding Posts & Pages
If you follow this step by step guide you will have your very own blog up and running in around 20 minutes. I always find people mess this up the first time around so be sure to stick to the instructions and follow the recommendations I make along the way.
The first 2 steps will give you a little background as to why I use the tools I use (and why you should also).
Steps 3-5 will have you setting up your blog and publishing content.
Let's get into it!
This is How to Create a Blog
(in 5 easy steps)
Step 1: Choose the right blogging platform (WordPress)
The question, “How do you start a blog?” has many alternative answers. You can do it on blogging platforms like:
- Blogger: e.g. yourfashionguy.blogspot.com
- Hosted WordPress: e.g. yourfashionguy.wordpress.com
- Self-Hosted WordPress: e.g. yourfashionguy.com
The first two options are free. But they can also be clumsy and ugly, don’t you think?
WordPress is by far the most popular and fastest growing blogging platform. According to a recent web technology survey, millions of people use it, including me. That's because WordPress makes it easy to create your blog.
WordPress is amazing because it's....
Free to use including themes and plugins, which we'll get to shortly.
Easy to use, even for a beginner, and you do not have to have previous technical knowledge to use their dashboard. Ever used Microsoft Word or Google Docs? That's how easy WordPress is to use.
Secure and safe as they are constantly updating their software to help you stay safe and free of hackers.
Very customizable with literally thousands of themes and plugins that are super simple to integrate and allow you to do just about anything you want.
Now that we've established WordPress as our blogging platform let's go a litter deeper.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org (Self-Hosted)
There are two types of WordPress blogs. Don't pick the wrong one! Here's the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
If your interest is to start a WordPress blog to make money, advance your career, or gain followers a self-hosted WordPress.org blog is more professional. It's called self-hosted because you own the blog and the domain name.
WordPress.com offers users free hosting services and a free domain name (that ends in . It's easy for beginners as well. So what's the catch? You do not own the blog.
With WordPress.com you will experience limited control. WordPress.com chooses the ads they will place on your site so that they can make their revenue on your free blog site. So you will not be able to add any ads or easily make money from your blog with that version. If you are a non-profit the ads will be annoying for your audience.
You are limited to the amount of storage you can utilize and if you want to have a better domain for your WordPress blog, then you will have to pay for the upgraded service to receive these better features.
You are also limited with the design. While you have the option of customization, you will still have to adhere to the free list of themes that the WordPress provides for you. However, you can purchase a theme upgrade for approximately $30 per year.
The other disadvantages you can expect from using a free blogging platform are outlined below in more detail:
The free blogging platforms aren’t really free.
Free blogging platforms (like Tumblr, Medium, Blogger, or WordPress.com) come with TONS of annoying limitations that just enslave you. Here’s 5 of them:
Annoying Adverts - If you think the companies allowing you to create a blog on their blogging platforms for free do so because they love you, you are wrong. They only do so to make money off you. That’s why they put up adverts on your blog and ask you to pay to enjoy upgrades. Go to a self-hosted blog, so you won’t be a wheel in a car working to make another company rich.
Hard to Make Money From Your Blog - You are not allowed to do affiliate marketing on free blogs. Some of them further prohibit Google AdSense and other cool ways to make money blogging.
Limited Themes & Plugins - You can’t use any of the thousands of amazing plugins and themes available to a self-hosted blog. After making a blog, plugins help you extend the functionality of the blog; the same way apps extend the functionality of a phone. Imagine having a phone without being able to install and use apps. Is it cool to live in a house you’re prohibited from painting and designing? If it’s not, then it sucks to have a blog without being able to use a theme on it. You are limited to only using WordPress themes unless of course, you purchase a design upgrade so that you can use your own chosen themes from another source.
No Custom Email Address - You can’t use a custom email like [email protected] That’s not cool. You deserve something better.
Unsafe - On free blogging platforms, your blog can be deleted at any time if the company’s server mistakes your blog for spam, or if you accidentally violate their rules. And guess what – you have no remedy if that happens.
So, now we've established a self hosted WordPress blog as the right choice.
Since you'll be using a self-hosted WordPress blog, you will have to find a hosting company. There are several hosting companies available in this industry including HostGator and BlueHost just to name a couple. Initially, you will sign up to receive their hosting services, and then you can install WordPress on their servers with 1 click.
How much does a self-hosted blog cost?
Turns out, not much.
What you will pay to set up your blog is less than a movie ticket.
But first, you’ll need a blog domain name – usually sold for $15 but I’ll tell you how to grab it for FREE.
Second, you’ll need a hosting account.
Step 2: Set Up Web Hosting On Using Your Own Domain
In my many years of creating and managing blogs, I’ve learnt from bitter experiences that NOT many web hosts are awesome. I’ve used some big name web hosts in the past, and while they make sweet promises, their hosting services are not really that good.
There are only 3 things you need to consider when selecting a hosting provider.
1. Page load speed - You know those sites that take forever to load? Not only is this a massive pain but it costs you traffic.
2. Uptime - Have you ever clicked on a site to find it's broken? This is much more common than you think with some hosting providers. The worst thing is that you don't even know your site is down.
3. Customer support - This is fairly self explanatory. Nothing worse than being stuck with a problem and not being able to reach any support people.
There are literally hundreds of hosting companies out there to choose from and they all have very similar offers. However using my criteria above, I can't go past.....
Hostgator is one hosting company that is even recommended by WordPress for anyone that is considering starting a WordPress blog, or even any other blog. They offer limited hosting space and bandwidth and they also provide free email, a free domain name, and even free advertising offers. Hostgator is optimized for WordPress and continues to meet WordPress Standards.
Hostgator also offers special discounts and promotions for their web hosting services and offers support and resources. They are a bigger web hosting company, therefore, they have more resources than a smaller web hosting company would have. They are focused on their customers more than they are focused on increasing their own revenue.
Hostgator provides affordable pricing and is especially affordable for beginners. They provide their new customers with onboarding services that will help educate the user on how to properly set up their website from the very beginning. Onboarding allows the user to see if the services the web host service is providing are manageable and meeting their expectations.
Why is HostGator Amazing?
#1: They provide 24/7 customer support through chat, phone, or email and in my experience, their customer service reps are helpful, polite and professional.
#2: They guarantee and provide an incredible server uptime of 99.9%. Very few web hosts can match that feat.
#3: They give you SSL – if you don’t have SSL (https://) for your site then you could be losing traffic from Google.
#4: Their service is extremely easy to use, and they have an option that is specifically tailored to WordPress.
#5: They offer unlimited email accounts and websites.
#6: They have a 45 Day Money Back Guarantee.
#7: As a reader of howtostartablogonline.net, they are currently running a 50% discount promotion.
Now that we've done our research and picked our blogging platform (WordPress) our hosting provider (Hostgator) let's create this blog!
Step 3: Register Your Domain Name
First, click here to go to www.HostGator.com and then click “Start Your WordPress Blog Now” for hosting.
Remember: Since I’m using HostGator also, I’ve been able to negotiate a discount for people who use this guide (50% off). This discount should be applied automatically. Enjoy 🙂
On the next page, enter the domain name you want to register.
Already Own a Domain Name?
If you already own a domain name just write it in the box.
How Do I Choose a Good Domain Name?
Tip: Don't worry about picking the perfect domain name. Your domain name isn't cast in stone, you can always change it later if you wish through a 301 redirect.
Be sure you choose a domain name that is…
1. Easy to Remember – Don’t choose a nonsensical name, something tough to spell, or a long name full of dashes. “www.best-tech-gadgets-in-the-world.com” won’t ever stick in someone’s head, but something like “www.techgeeks.com” rolls off the tongue.
2. Unique and Descriptive – You want a name that reflects who you are and what you care about. Be creative and build an identity you’re excited about!
3. Trustworthy – Domain extensions like “.com”, “.org” or “.net” are the most popular, with “.com” being the one most people think of first. Try to avoid crazy extensions like “.rocks” or “.biz”, as these are less commonly used, tougher to remember and not as trusted.
Still stuck? Just use your name as the domain name, eg JohnDoe.com. The pro is that you're free to decide/change your blog topic later. In the meantime, you get to build your personal branding.
If you already know your blog topic, then try adding these prefixes/suffixes to your topic:
On the next page, choose your web hosting plan. I recommend the “Hatchling Plan” because this is probably your first blog. If you plan to get more, you can always upgrade the hosting plan later, as your blog becomes more successful.
Next, you will create a login and security pin. Be sure to take a minute and note these items somewhere so you can access them later.
The 3rd step on this page is to enter your billing information.
4th is the recommended add-ons. I recommend you get the HackAlert monitoring but the other two items are not as valuable.
Review your details and at the bottom of the page and be sure to check the box indicating you agree to the terms (after you have read them of course)
Next, be sure you need to enter the code htsabo in the ‘Enter a Coupon Code’ section for 50% OFF! And click the “Validate” button.
Finally, click “Check Out Now.“
The next page shows that your order is successful.
Congratulations! That’s all it takes to create a web hosting account with the HostGator web hosting provider.
Step 4: Setting Up Your WordPress Blog Site on HostGator
To set up your WordPress blog site, you will need to login to your Cpanel. Just head over to your welcome email from HostGator and find the Cpanel login details and besides the text “Your Control Panel” you will see the URL to login:
Go to the URL indicated and login. Next click “Get Started with WordPress” under the Special Offers section.
Next, click the “Install” button. And follow the prompts to install WordPress on your new domain. Be sure to use your real email address so you can get your WordPress username and password.
That is all the settings you need to change, finally, click Install at the bottom. The installer will take a few minutes, and finally, you will see the success screen.
Now your WordPress blog site is up and running. Great Job!
Step 5: Login to your new blog and start blogging
Open a new
tab and go to “http://YourNewBlog.com/wp-admin” (replace “YourNewBlog.com” with your blog domain name). Login with the username and password you copied in step 5 above.
You will see your blog dashboard; this is the “back side” of your website from where you set everything that your readers see on the “front side”.
Look to the left of your dashboard, and you will see menus.
If you want to publish a new post on your blog right away, that is entirely fine. The post doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be published, to get you started. So, go ahead and do it.
Hover the mouse on “Posts” and click “Add New” from the sub-menus that pop out.
Add the title of your post in the first tab and the content in the second tab.
When the next page loads, click “View post” to see how your new post appears to your readers.
Woo-hoo! That’s all there is to creating a blog. 20 minutes is all you need.
Next, it’s time to take your new blog from good to great.
How Do You Make Your Blog Look So Good?
To create a successful blog, customize it to look unique and beautiful by installing the right theme and choosing suitable plugins.
The Genesis Framework allows you to efficiently and easily build a website with WordPress. Genesis is secure and suitable for even a beginner, and it provides your site with an SEO foundation to help you create a more successful blog. SEO stands for search engine optimization and this is important when it comes to your site’s rankings on search engines. You will want your site to be seen and moving up in these rankings can be essential to establishing a successful blog.
The Genesis Framework is regularly updated so that you can be ensured that is always compatible with the latest WordPress versions available. The updates will not interfere with any customization you have done on your site. Finally, the themes are relatively inexpensive, and it awards the user the opportunity to change, delete, or reconfigure anything you wish on the site.
How Do You Get Visitors To Your Blog?
And once your blog is up and running, be sure to check out my 101 actionable tips for getting traffic to your blog
Social media is one of the best ways to advertise your blog, and it only takes the presence on a couple of social networking sites to gain exposure and increase the web traffic to your site.
Identify your target demographic for your blog post and then research which social media platforms this demographic is more likely to use. A few examples of frequented social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. It takes hard work and dedication to build a community online and find the best platform in which to share your blogging content. WordPress Sharing allows you to share your content to social networks and also gives you stats right in WordPress.
You can include buttons on the bottom page of your blog to allow sharing across social networks, and you can also customize these sharing options on WordPress. If you have a self-hosted WordPress.org website, then you can use the Jetpack plugin for these sharing functions.
Sharing your content across social media networking sites allows your information to be shared and readily accessible to your demographic which can help increase web traffic and revenue for your blog and business site.
Can You Make Money Blogging?
Yes! There are many bloggers that make money as a full-time living and others that just do it for extra pocket money. Read my post about 7 different ways to do it.
Why do YOU want to start a blog?
Sometimes I get people asking me why they should even do this. My response is that people start blogs for different reasons. Today, blogging is a great way to:
If you’re still undecided, see 34 Reasons Why You Should Start A Blog. (opens in a new tab)
You can start a cool blog for any or all of the above purposes. Just use this simple guide, and you will see how easy it is.
People start different classes of blogs.
Travel blogs. Food blogs. Romance blogs. Writing blogs. Marketing blogs. Political blogs. Religion blogs. Fashion blogs. Photography blogs.
So… what type of blog should you start?
What will be the focus or theme of your blog? This theme is called a niche –– and you should have one.
The best is to choose a niche you are passionate about. Blogging is to be enjoyed. You know, there’s fulfillment in connecting with others and providing helpful information. You’ll experience this joy, and be able to do it for long if you are passionate about what you blog about.
When I finally launched my first blog, I found I was really passionate about writing and publishing. So, I made that my niche and was able to connect with, learn from and impact many nice people. I even made money from it. I was fulfilled.
It doesn't have to take you months to get your first blog up and running like it took me. Luckily, you can get started in under 20 minutes today (and with a 30% discount!) with HostGator.
A niche is important for several reasons and can also lead to increased profitability for your blogging platform. Consider the resources you have, how easy it will be to attract advertisers for this niche, and what is the competition in this niche category? However, if profitability is not your key focus, then consider your strengths and factor them into your blogging content. If you have expertise in a specific niche, it will definitely work to your advantage when starting your first blogging site.
There are also advantages to choosing a niche if you want to begin blogging for a small business. If you are starting a small business, then you will want to focus your attention on your strengths and gain market appeal for your products.
Choosing a niche for your small business will also allow you to reach potential customers because you will be able to accurately describe the products and services you are offering while finding new ways to step away from your competition. Yes, you can be as successful as the next business doing the same thing as you, but the key to greater success is focusing your business on appealing to the right people while allowing yourself the opportunity to reach new potential customers along the way.
Most of the time, people that are shopping online already know what it is they are looking to buy. Having a niche allows you to describe better what you are offering and it makes it easier for the average internet user to find your particular website because they are actively searching, not just browsing.
Scalability is another factor that most small business owners will likely consider as they set up their blog and website and choose their host company. Choose a web host company that can grow with your business. It can be detrimental if you dedicate all your time and resources on a web host company or blogging platform that you quickly grow out of; a lot of hosting companies will not allow you to transfer your site and content to another which means you could ultimately have to start all over as your business grows.
What are your hobbies?
What do you feel happy doing? What are you always excited to talk about to your friends?
Is it fashion, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, food, traveling, relationship, movies or fiction? That is probably what you should be blogging about. If you are passionate about it, you can keep sharing useful information about it.
Create a WordPress blog today, and talk about what you love, what you know, and what you’re learning. It’s easy, and you CAN do it.
How Did I Get Started Blogging?
Since people often ask, let me tell you my story...
Four years ago, I didn’t know the slightest thing about blogging. I was a broke college student, looking for some extra income to pay off my student loans and textbooks (ok, maybe I wanted a little beer money too). Excited by the prospect of making money from my dorm room, I went ahead and registered my first domain name (just like I showed you above).
Then, I became confused. I didn’t know what to do next. I struggled for 18 days, invested time and energy to understand the new “blog,” checking Google for stuff like “how to create blog” without grasping anything.
Everything I found seemed technical. I got frustrated.
In despair, I abandoned the new blog domain name for… 6 months.
Then, I went back to the previous domain name, having eventually learnt that I needed not just a domain name, but also a hosting account to open a blog.
So… I started my first blog and struggled with each step because I had no one to guide me. I just showed you how you can set up a blog in 20 minutes, but it took me six months the first time out.
Over the years, I’ve learnt a lot about blogging, and I’ve set up many successful blogs for myself. I’ve also shown thousands of people how to create a blog of their own, by themselves.
I know what best practices to use and the mistakes to avoid, starting with which blogging platform works best for beginners.
That's why I created this guide 🙂
I want to help you avoid all the pains I endured.
Benjamin Franklin said, and true are his words:
“Experience is a hard master, but fools will have no other.”
So, learn from history, not experience. I will tell you how to make a blog that will succeed so that you can forget everything else.
Do you need my help?
If you get stuck while creating your blog or require more information on web host providers or any of the step-by-step instructions, feel free to contact me here and I’ll be glad to help you out for free.
If you like this free step-by-step blogging guide, feel free to share it with the buttons below. It just might help someone else who is looking to start a successful blog.
Best Blogging Platforms
How To Choose A Domain Name
How To Write A Blog Post
How To Install WordPress
9 Best Ways To Make Money Blogging