So, you want to start a blog huh? Great idea!
Well, starting your own blog is not a complicated thing nor its expensive. In fact, more than 50,000 blogs are created everyday for fun or profit.
It seems that just about every person or business have a blog these days, I know you want to learn how to start a blog quickly, that’s why you are here, right?
It’s never been easier to set up a professional looking blog but if you’re like most people you may not know where to get started.
Today is your day! I’m going to walk you through the most comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to start a WordPress blog in 20 minutes (or less).
And if you get stuck with anything, send me an email and I will do my best to help you out.
Every single day I help someone to get their blog started and I seriously enjoy doing it.
Since I believe in transparency, if you use this guide to set up your blog, I will get a small commission from the web host at no extra cost to you (in fact, you will save money and get a free domain).
So if you’re asking me for help you aren’t annoying me, rather you are helping me to make a little extra.
It’s a true win-win so don’t hesitate to take advantage. I look forward to hearing from you.
Let’s do this!
How to start a blog (In 9 easy steps)
You are mere nine steps away from launching your very first blog:
- Choose your blogging platform
- Get a domain name for your blog
- Choose your hosting company
- Setting up your blog
- Installing WordPress on your blog
- Learning WordPress basics
- Selecting your WordPress Theme
- Installing plugins on your blog
- Write Your First Blog Post
Let’s Get Started!
Step 1: Choose your blogging platform
What blogging platform should you use for your first blog? Although there are plenty of options out there but I would recommend WordPress.org blog without a second thought.
Because it’s free, easy to set up, versatile (with oodles of cool plugins to beef up your blog) and well supported. (At the time of writing this, there are more than 72 million WordPress blogs on the Internet)
There are various other popular blogging platform options available such as Blogger, Tumblr, Squarespace, Wix and many other but you’ll want to keep a few potential pitfalls in mind if you decide to go with one of these platforms. In many cases:
1. Ugly Looking URL
The web address of your blog will be long and hard to remember, typically it will look like this:
As you can see it doesn’t look catchy and branded at all.
2. No Customization
You are limited to the design themes and styles they offer you, you cannot use any of the free plugins or themes available to a self-hosted blog.
WordPress themes helps you in making your site more beautiful and plugins help you extend the functionality of the blog, but if you go with free platform then you will not have access to any of these.
3. You can’t monetize your blog
You’re not allowed to advertise on your blog, which makes it much harder to make money from blogging.
You cannot do affiliate marketing on free blogs, some of them prohibit Google Adsense and heck they may even place their own ads on your blog.
I have already explained in detail about best blogging platforms in the past, if you need more help to make choice regarding your blogging platform, give it a read.
But the general rule of thumb is to create a self-hosted WordPress blog where you don’t have any sort of limitations.
4. You don’t own your blog
I know it sound silly at first, but it’s true that you don’t actually own your blog, the blogging platform does.
Since your blog is hosted on someone else’s web property (e.g. WordPress.com, Tumblr.com or blogspot.com) and if you violate their terms of service (even by accident) or If the company’s server mistakes your blog for a spam, they can shut you down any time if they want so.
And guess what – you cannot do anything if that happens.
I run all of my blogs on WordPress because it’s flexible, ease of use and powerful.
Step 2: Get a domain name for your blog
The domain name for this blog is blogscart.com, If you type that domain name into an internet browser anywhere in the world you will be sent to this site.
You may or may not already have a domain. If you already have a domain registered, you can skip this step.
If not, keep on reading (I will show you how to set up in both cases later on).
You have to do some research before you choose a domain name for your blog. You should pick something that fits your industry and on the same time it’s unique as well as descriptive, so that your audience will immediately know what your blog is all about.
Here are some tips to consider when choosing a domain name:
- Don’t include hyphens, numbers, obscure terms or confusing strings of words. It confuses people and it makes it hard to explain the domain to others.
- Make it easy to type. There’s no need to go with creative misspellings, it doesn’t make any sense and rather it confuses people.
- Make it pronounceable. The goal is to make it easy to remember and easy to share!
- Keep it short.
- Don’t go with other company’s brand names or slogans which are trademarked. As they will come after you and shut your blog down.
- If you’re not sure what to use, your name is a safe bet to get started.
- Read more tips here if needed.
Keeping this tips in mind, you should put some thought into your domain name, but not too much.
If you come up with something you like within 5 minutes, give it a go.
You may find that the domain name you want is already taken with the .com extension, this happens to all of us.
But don’t give up – it’s 2017.
There are over 250 different domain extensions to choose from such as .co, .co.uk, .co.in, .net, .org etc.
If your domain name is not available with .com extension, my suggestion would be to go with the .co, .net or a known ccTLD. Those are your best bets.
Try the tool below and see if your ideal blog’s domain name is available with .com extension. If it’s unavailable, you will get some relevant suggestions.
For example, I have put blogscart in the search and selected .com as the extension. I see this result:
Since blogscart.com is not available, so it has displayed some relevant suggestions related to my domain name.
But that’s not the end here, when you will click on ‘Show more suggestion’ it will display you over 100 relevant suggestion and I’m much sure you will find your domain name from the list.
And if you enter the domain name which is already available, then the following scenario will happen.
For example, this time I have put theblogscart in the search and selected .com as the extension and clicked on ‘check availability’.
Since this domain name is already available, so it will not show any relevant suggestions now and directly land me to this page:
You don’t need to anything right now, I will tell you what do in a minute.
But for now I hope the domain name you have entered is already available and if not you have picked the one from the suggestion list.
A domain name costs around $15/year but I will tell you how to grab it for free, later on in this guide.
For Now, Let’s move on to the next step.
Step 3: Choose your hosting company
Web hosting is the service that stores all the files, images, content of your blog and make it accessible for everyone.
Without web hosting and domain, your visitors won’t be able to see your blog.
So it’s super important to choose a reputable web hosting company that provides up time guarantee because if your hosting account goes down, no one can visit your blog.
There are plenty of hosting companies out there, all claiming to be the very best – how do you choose the one that will meet your needs.
Before getting started you should determine what are your needs, Right?
- Are you expecting a high amount of traffic?
- Depending upon your blog niche how much storage space do you required for images and videos?
- Will you have time to do your own backups and security patches? or it’s automatically done by them.
- Most important thing – How much can you afford to pay for hosting each month?
I will recommend you to go with bluehost because of the following reasons:
- They offer one click WordPress installation, which makes it super easy for you to get started.
- They offer industry leading 24/7 customer support via email, phone or chat.
- They offer 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee, if you are unsatisfied for any reason.
- They provide an amazing server up time of 99.9%.
- Lastly, you will get a free domain name.
Of course, you are free to use any other web hosting provider you like but make sure it’s worth the time and money.
I recommend bluehost because they are the biggest and most well-known web hosting company, probably that’s the reason they have been recommended by WordPress.org itself since 2005 and they currently host over 2 million websites worldwide.
In this guide I will show you how to start a WordPress blog on bluehost.
Step 4: Setting up your blog
To be honest bluehost is little more expensive than most other host because of the high quality hosting they provide.
I asked them if they could offer you (my readers) a better deal, and guess what – They agreed.
Now, if you follow any link in this guide to bluehost, you will get a deal that isn’t on offer anywhere else.
You will get about 49% discount on your hosting, along with free domain of your choice for your new blog.
Start by clicking here to go to Bluehost (this link will open in a new window so you can reference these instructions as you work).
Once you are on the homepage – Click on ‘Get Started Now’ button.
(The images you see here may slightly vary from the ones you see on your screen, because bluehost keep on making improvements. But don’t worry as the general process will be the same)
Now it’s time to choose your hosting plan, I recommend the basic plan to new bloggers.
When you are just getting started, you don’t need to worry about purchasing all the additional option.
Because you can always upgrade later if you decide you want more advanced features, but you get more than enough with basic plan itself.
Click one of the green ‘select’ button to move to the next step.
In this step you need to choose a domain name for your site.
Since we have already selected the domain name in previous steps, so enter the domain you have selected in the left side box and click ‘next’
If you already have a domain and want to use it for your blog, enter your existing domain in the right box and then click ‘next.’
Then you will just have to go through a few extra steps to make sure you get your DNS pointed to Bluehost.
(If you haven’t selected the domain name previously you can do it now, the process is same)
Once you entered the domain name, you will be taken to the registration page where you need to enter your account information, package information and payment information.
Firstly, enter your account information as you would normally do.
Make sure you use a working email address because this is where your login information will be sent.
Next you need to choose your hosting package and options. Within the Basic option, you can choose to sign up for 12, 24, or 36 months.
To be honest and straight forward I would recommend you to go with the 36 months because you will get the cheapest rate.
You will be paying for the full 36 months upfront and that’s the reason why they are providing such a great offers at such a nominal price.
Don’t worry you’re always on safe side – Why? Let me explain you in detail:
If you have selected 36 month period plan and after 12 month you don’t want to continue blogging anymore or you want to change your hosting company then you will get a refund amount equal to your remaining months.
For example, if you cancel your Bluehost account after 12 months, you’ll get a refund of 24 remaining months * hosting price per month. Pretty cool, Isn’t it?
And the another reason is that their pricing strategy, Let me again explain you in detail:
- If you decide to go with basic 12 month price you will be charged at $4.95/month and you will pay $58.40 for 12 months That is 38% off on their actual pricing.
- If you decide to go with basic 24 month price you will be charged at $3.95/month and you will pay $94.80 for 24 months. That is 49% off on their actual pricing.
- If you decide to go with basic 36 month price you will be charged at $2.65/month and you will pay $95.40 for 36 months. That is 67% off on their actual pricing.
So it’s better to opt for 36 months and save the best you can and as I have explained you above also that you will get a refund for your remaining period, so make a better decision.
And for any reason you want to go with 12 months or 24 months plan, go with it.
Sometimes if there’s any sale running on bluehost, then the above calculations may vary but you will get the maximum discount in 36 months, that is for sure.
In this screen, you will also see optional extras that you can purchase, It’s totally up to you whether you need to buy it or not.
But generally I don’t recommend purchasing these. You can always add them later on, if you decide that you need them.
At the time of writing this guide, bluehost is providing additional features for free to you (my readers), but I’m not sure how long they will provide it.
If you see any price tag along with these options, just skip it.
(P.S. This is another benefit you may receive if you sign up through my partner link)
In the next part you need to enter your you payment information.
Enter your credit card details here, if you have PayPal account then you can use it by clicking on ‘More Payment options’.
Once you have entered the billing information, confirm that you’ve read the fine print and then click Submit.
After completing your purchase, check your email. You will find a welcome email from Bluehost with your control panel (cpanel) login info.
Now click on ‘Create your password’, on the next screen you need to create your password.
You can take help of Password Generator to create a strong and secure password, or create one yourself.
It is required to have both capital and lowercase letters, a number, and a special character (?!#, etc.) in order to have a strong enough password to protect your account from getting hacked.
Now you need to visit bluehost.com and click on ‘login’. (You can also use the link to your cpanel contained in the welcome email you received above)
Enter your cpanel login info from the welcome email. Select the “hosting” tab if it’s not selected already.
Now enter your domain name or username, then password and click on ‘submit’.
With these we are all set to move on to next step which is installing WordPress on your blog.
Step 5: Installing WordPress on your blog
Once you have logged in to your account, you need to install WordPress on your blog.
I’ll show you how to do it in a minute but to make things easy here’s the video that explains it all:
If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading. (If you have watched it then you can skip this section)
Scroll down to the website builders section and click on Install WordPress icon.
Click on ‘Install’ to start a brand new installation of WordPress.
On the next screen, choose your domain name from the drop down menu if it’s not already chosen for you.
Leave the directory field blank and click on check domain.
Check the ‘show advanced options’ box. After that, you need to enter your Site Title, Username and Password.
It can be anything you want, and it can be changed later on as well.
Make sure to write down your username and password so that you don’t forget them.
And when you are done, check the box to agree to the terms and then click ‘Install Now’
The WordPress will begin to install now and it will take only few minutes.
After WordPress has been installed, you will see the success notice in the top header bar.
Now click on ‘View Credentials’ to see your login information, This information is available for 12 hours only so make sure to write it down in a safe place.
And this information will also be sent to you via email.
Now visit your newly created blog by entering the domain name in the browser.
You will see a basic WordPress theme and layout, which you will be able to edit and customize (In the next steps you will learn how to do it).
Attention – At this point, you will have received two welcome emails.
First one is from bluehost, which will be used for login into your bluehost account.
The second is from WordPress, which will be used for login into your website.
Although from this point forward, you will need WordPress login information more frequently, but you should keep both of them in safe place.
Before moving on to step next, I would like to congratulate you for becoming the proud owner of a self-hosted WordPress site. 🙂
This process will not take more than 20 minutes, if for any reason you are not able to complete this step. (Contact me here)
I will complete the process for you, if you want.
If everything’s going smoothly – let’s move to the next step.
Step 6: Learning WordPress basics
First, you need to log into your WordPress admin area.
You can access this by going to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/ and using the credentials you use to set up your blog on WordPress.
(Replace yourdomain.com by your actual domain name and add /wp-admin/ in the last just like I did)
If you are new to WordPress, you will see a dashboard or admin panel that looks something like this:
After using it for a while, you will get familiar with the look and items of the WordPress admin panel, but here’s the brief explanation of various admin menu items:
- Dashboard – It will show you a glance look at your recent activity including how many posts, comments, drafts and pages you have on your website.
- Posts – Here you can write new blog post or edit the old ones, I will show you how do it later in this post.
- Media – It is the library of all the Images, PDF, video and audio files you have uploaded to the site.
- Pages – Here you can write and publish new pages or edit the old ones, For example – About us page.
- Comments – It is the place where you’ll manage your comments. Here you will see which comments are waiting for your approval, which comments you’ve approved or comments which has been marked as spam.
- Appearance – Here you can change what your blog looks like. I will go through this in detail below.
- Plugins – Plugins add more functionality to your blog. You can add new plugins from here or check the ones which are already installed.
- Users – If your blog will have multiple authors, you can add them as users here so that they can write and edit posts. Otherwise, you can skip this.
- Tools – There are some additional tools you might want to install on your blog, you can find them here, you can skip this for now.
- Settings – Here you can edit your Site Name, tagline, email address and other important settings.
Step 7: Selecting your WordPress Theme
In WordPress, the visual appearance of your site is controlled by themes. Typically, your new blog will look something like this:
I know it is plain and sweet but this may not seem appealing to most people.
Luckily for you, WordPress has over 5000 professionally designed, fully customizable themes already optimized to fit any niche, brand, or industry.
Some of them are free, while others are paid.
To install a new theme, hover over the ‘Appearance’ tab in the sidebar and click on ‘Themes’
On the next screen, you will see several themes are already installed.
If you like it, then you can install it directly by clicking on ‘Activate’.
And if you don’t like those, click on the ‘Add New button’ at the top, or the great big ‘Add New’ square to start searching for a theme.
Now, you’ll see tabs where you will find featured, popular and latest released themes, as well as a ‘Feature Filter’ and search bar.
Explore some themes in these categories and see if you find the one you need.
And if you’re looking for any specific requirement, you can use ‘Feature Filter’ option, that allow you to search for something that fit your style.
Just select the options you want, then click ‘Apply Filters’ on the left hand side.
After applying the filters, when you found a theme you like, click ‘Install’.
Now wait for the theme to be installed, after that click ‘Activate’ on the next screen.
You have learned how to install the WordPress theme on your blog.
Now visit your blog by entering your domain name in the browser and see how it look like on your blog.
If you want to make some adjustments to it than you can do it by going to ‘Customize’ tab under ‘Appearance’ section.
Let’s move on to the next step.
Step 8: Installing plugins on your blog
Once you have installed theme on your blog, you probably want to get started with adding other usual elements on your website such as a contact form, social media buttons, and more.
WordPress plugins are little software modules that allow you to add new features to your website from third party developers.
There are over 49,000 free plugins available that can do just about anything on your blog.
Installing them is very, let me show you how to do it.
Hover over the plugins menu in the sidebar and click “Add New.”
Now, you can search for plugins in Featured and Popular category.
You can also search for any specific plugin you are looking for by using the search box.
To install any plugin click on “Install Now” button. Then, click on “Activate” button once the installation is complete.
There are simply too many to list here, but here’s the list of some best WordPress plugins that I recommend to anyone who are just starting out.
Step 9: Write Your First Blog Post
I know it’s pretty excited moment but before you go freaking out, this isn’t as scary as it sounds.
Your first post can simply be a paragraph announcing the birth of your new blog.
You might title it, “Welcome To My New Blog.”
If you’re a bit more ambitious, you can craft a longer post may be something along the lines of “Everything You Can Expect on This Blog.” or pick a middle ground.
Let’s find out, how to do it.
Click on “Posts” in the left sidebar.
It will show you the list of your blog posts in descending order. Since we are working with a fresh install, you won’t see anything here.
However, you will see a post titled “Hello world!”. This is a default post that comes on every new WordPress blog, but we don’t need it.
To delete it click “Trash” just under the post.
To begin writing a new post, click the “Add New” button at the top (or in the sidebar).
You’ll be brought to the post creator screen and you can begin blogging.
You can add the title to your blog post in the top field, and your content goes in the big text box below the title.
Also make sure that “Toolbar Toggle” icon is selected to get a few more editing options to make your post even more better.
Often you’ll need to add images in your blog posts to illustrate things more better.
To add an image to your post, click the “Add Media” button, Also ensure that your text cursor is in the place where you want your image to appear.
Next, click on the “Upload Files” tab on the screen that pops up, then click ‘Select Files’.
You can also drag and drop your image file into the media box.
When the upload is finished, make sure the image you want to insert is selected, then click the “Insert into post” button to add the image to the post.
(You can format sizes and add hyperlinks to your images if you want)
That’s how you will be adding images to your blog post.
Once you’re done writing, go ahead and click on the ‘Publish button’ on the right to publish your first blog post to the world.
You can also save your draft by clicking on the ‘Save draft’ button.
If you have completed your post but want to publish it later than you can even schedule it or if you wan that only your friends can see the post then you can make it private or password protected by clicking on ‘Visibility’ tab.
If you want to check what your blog post will look like then you can see it by clicking on check it by clicking on “preview” button.
Once your first post goes live, you are officially in the blogging business. Congratulations, my friend 🙂
Now you can call yourself as a blogger!
Now you have learned the basics and you know exactly how to start a blog, it’s over to you now.
Starting a blog is easy and affordable nowadays but turning it into a successful blog requires hard work, dedication and time.
May be a time will come when you will find that’s impossible for you to create a successful blog.
But I encourage you to keep moving forward with your passion.
For further reading, I will suggest to read my blogging mistakes blog post, so that you don’t make the mistakes which I’ve made when I started blogging.
And if there’s something that you still struggling with, let me know via comments.
I will try my best to help you out.