How to Start a Blog
Are you wondering how to start a blog but aren’t sure where to start? If you have questions about the idea of starting a blog but aren’t sure where to begin, then I’m glad you’ve stopped by. In this post, I will walk you through exactly how to start a blog so there is no confusion at all. I want you to make a decision that empowers you to start your own blog and you will find that no technical experience is needed. It really is super easy to do and it’s fast. If you start today, you can have your blog up and ready today.
In addition to helping you with this handy walk-through, I will also answer some of the frequently asked questions that I’ve heard over the years. This site will become your best reference for getting things started and going – but you have to commit to getting started.
I created my first website on February 23, 2001 and it was a colossal disaster. If you need a laugh, feel free to check it out here. After that failure, I decided enough wasn’t enough and created my first blog, Global Crap five days later. With this wonderful venture, I learned frames and HTML. If you’ve clicked the link then you can see how hard it was to do all of that without a content management system like WordPress. Yes, I hand coded all of the stuff on that page because I was just happy to have a voice.
Now, things are so much easier when you want to start a blog. You don’t have to know HTML and you certainly don’t need to know CSS. It’s great if you know both of these terms, but it is not a necessity. Back when I began blogging, knowing how to do HTML and CSS was a necessity because WordPress wasn’t a thing until 2003.
This how-to-guide will show you the step-by-step instructions you need to take in order to start a blog.
The 7 Steps to Start a Blog
- 1. Decide on what you want to blog about
- 2. Choose your blogging platform
- 3. Get hosting for your blog
- 4. Choose your domain name
- 5. Get started blogging with WordPress
- 6. Design your blog
- 7. Blog!
If it seems harder than it is, it’s really not. It’s fast and simple to start a blog.
If you wonder what the good reasons are to start a blog, then here are some:
- Make money while working at home. It’s true that you can make money from the comfort of your own home, but it is hard work. This is not something that you can set and forget. The good news is that it’s easy to do, it’s not altogether expensive, and you can be up and running in five minutes.
- Need to vent/share about your topic of choice. This is the very reason I started my blog in 2001. I wasn’t in it for the money, but I was in it to connect with like-minded people.
- Get exposure for your work and/or business. Blogging encourages sharing, so if you need to get the word out so that more people know who you are, then writing about what sets your work or business apart will get you noticed.
Do any of these reasons ring true for you? If so, then you will benefit from starting a blog.
Steps on How to Start a Blog
Step 1: Decide on what you want to blog about
Think about some topics that you are interested in. Are these topics something you enjoy talking about? Are you considered a subject matter expert in anything? It doesn’t have to be altogether specific when you’re first starting out and if you’re having trouble narrowing down topics, consider starting a lifestyle blog.
If you blog about something that doesn’t interest you, then it will turn into a hassle for you to begin writing everyday. Aside from feeling like work (instead of being fun), your readers will sense it in your writing voice when you aren’t actually enjoying what you’re writing about.
Choose a niche and get established as a voice of authority. You probably won’t be the first to talk about a particular subject and you won’t be the last. Still, you have a voice and you owe it to yourself to get it started.
If you are worried about changing direction in the middle of your blog, then let that worry go. When you sign up with Blue Host, you can always change your domain name if you decide to change subjects.
Step 2: Choose Your Blogging Platform
A blogging platform is basically the software that makes your blog tick. The most popular blogging platforms are WordPress, Blogger, Wix, and Squarespace.
Out of each of those blogging platforms, they all have their pros and cons — but WordPress is the best solution in my eyes, hands down. It’s the most popular blogging platform and it’s super easy to use. Not only is it easy to use, but there are added tools you can use to make your blog better.
Since starting over with my old blog Earsucker in 2006 and with every blog I’ve created since, I’ve used WordPress. It’s easy to use and you can be shown how to blog using WordPress in about five minutes.
If you have decided to go with WordPress, then you have another choice to make: Hosted WordPress versus Self-Hosted WordPress. Hosted WordPress is for people who want a free option like WordPress.com – but your potential for earning is severely limited. Self-Hosted WordPress is like taking the keys to your blogging future because while it does cost a little bit of money, your income potential is not capped (and neither is your voice). If you don’t own your own self-hosted WordPress blog, then someone else has the power to potentially censor your content (if they choose to do so) and you really can’t earn money.
This how to blog guide will show you how to start your own self-hosted WordPress blog. You can get a dot com domain using a self-hosted WordPress blog, too, so don’t let that stop you.
Step 3: Get Hosting for Your Blog
Hosting companies exist to provide you with a space on a server to store your blog. You need hosting because you want your blog to be found on the internet.
Note: The below link will send you to Blue Host in order to get signed up for hosting. It’s a referral link so that means I will earn a commission for the referral when you sign up but you won’t be charged anything extra.
Click on the green button labeled “get started now” like you see below:
Select Your Plan:
On the next screen, you will see this:
You will see three plans: Basic, Plus, and Prime. I always recommend Prime just because of the amount of features that you get with it, but Plus will definitely do! If cost is a barrier, then the Basic plan is a good choice as well.
When you’re ready to select a plan, click on the green “select” button for the plan you’d like to choose. On the next screen, you will see this:
Step 4: Choose Your Domain Name
You get a free domain name with your purchase, so now is the time to enter in your domain name of choice under “new domain” on this page. However, if you already have a domain name, then you will enter that into the spot where it says “I have a domain name.”
If you are unsure about your domain name, click the blue “next” button under “new domain” and you will see something that pops underneath them that says “Can’t decide yet? Choose your free domain name later! Choose Later!”
Click that link if you want to decide on your free domain name later.
Enter in your account information
On the next page, you are prompted to enter in your account number. You must be sure to use an email address that works because this is where all of your account information will be sent!
When you scroll down, you will see this:
In this section you are going to select a package for your hosting. Next to the “Account Plan” drop-down, you are going to select the plan that you want based on the length of time you want hosting for. Any of these are fine, but the longer of the term for your hosting, the more money you’re going to save.
Blue Host bills for their services for one year, two years, three years, or five years. The longer the plan, the cheaper it is for hosting with them. There is no monthly billing option through Blue Host, but many hosts that do that want to charge you exorbitant fees for doing so. When you select the package you will see that it doesn’t cost that much money to own your little piece of space on the internet. Pretty nifty, huh?
With regard to the add-ons, I typically skip all of them with the exception of the Domain Privacy Protection. This is primarily because if you do not choose this, you’re going to be bombarded with emails from every tech company in the galaxy trying to sell you their web design services. It is important to keep your information safe and sound – unless you run a business website.
The total shown is the amount of money that you’re going to pay today to get hosting. Depending on the package you’ve chosen, you will not have to pay again for another year, two years, three years, or five years.
Enter your billing info
On the next section, you’re going to enter in your billing info, read the terms, and click submit.
Once you have entered in your information and have hit submit, you will be asked to add upgrades and special offers. I usually just click on the “no thanks” link and keep moving.
After you have finished with your purchase, you will be prompted to choose a password. Click the “create your password” button and choose something secure.
After all of this you will get a confirmation email sent to the one you’ve entered at the beginning. When you’re ready to login, you will need your password, so be sure to keep it somewhere safe.
Step 5: Getting Started Blogging with WordPress
On the “congratulations” screen you will see a blue “log in” button. Click that to get started blogging. When logging in you will see that Blue Host gives you the option to select from their free themes. Skip this step for now. Free themes are alright, but they aren’t updated altogether often and can open up your blog to be hacked. For now, stick with the theme that is pre-installed on your blog. Later on, when you’ve gotten into the nitty gritty of WordPress use, then you can switch themes.
For the time being, your blog is going to be on a temporary domain. This is true for every new signup, so don’t let it alarm you. This is because it typically takes a few hours to get your domain (dot com) fully registered, but it’s nothing to worry about. When your domain is ready, your blog will get switched over automatically.
On the screen in front of you, click the blue “Start Building” button to access your blog’s back end. You will see a welcome screen that says “What kind of site can we help you set up?”
To that question, I always click “I don’t need help” because I’d rather start new and on my own.
The black sidebar on the left signifies your WordPress dashboard. You will see this page every day that you blog. Before getting started, I’d recommend you changing your permalinks. You can find how to do this by going to Settings from the black sidebar to Permalinks. On that page, you will see several ways that your URLs can be displayed when you’re blogging. I always click on the Post Name option so that you can see www.icydk.com/how-to-start-a-blog/ instead of www.icydk.com/443252435245 or www.icydk.com/2018/01/18/how-to-start-a-blog.
In this way, I feel it’s best to keep it short and to the point that way search engines can find your content.
The next thing for you to do is to activate your domain by opening up the email that Blue Host has sent to you and clicking the link inside. Lastly, you will need to change your username from “admin” to something different. This is because many people who are out there hacking blogs already know that a lot of people choose the username admin. So when they’re hacking, half of their work is done for them if they can try every password under the sun with the username admin.
When you’re ready to blog, click on Posts in the black sidebar and click on “Add New.” From there you can create a blog post. Use any title you want and get to creating content! Good luck and happy blogging! If you need help, please feel free to join our Facebook group Blog For Profit. Our help is free and if you ask questions in our public forum, others can learn, too!