Want to start your own blog but not sure how to? Maybe you’ve seen some of those people who make a living blogging about their passion, hobbies etc., and want to be one. Or maybe you just love the idea of being able to share your thoughts with people from around the globe.
Regardless – starting a blog is a great idea!
In this post, I’ll walk you through the entire process of starting a blog – step by step. Complete with screenshots and technical steps so you can follow a long, no matter what your experience level.
So, if you’re ready to learn how to start a blog – let’s get started!
3 common questions about how to start a blog.
Now that you have made up your mind to start a blog, you’ll need to sort out what kind of blog you want. There are some questions that you’ll have to answer to find out what’s best for you.
Don’t worry, we have simplified it for you.
How long does it take to start a blog? Designing a blog doesn’t take much time, choosing the right niche or blog topic does. Once you have finalized on it, you can finish off the creatives in no time. Normally you can get a blog setup and ready in just 20-30 minutes.
Is it expensive to start a blog? Not a all. My method of blogging and the one I suggest isn’t free but it won’t be expensive either. You can start for as low as $5/Month or even less.
Can’t I just use one of those free platforms to start a blog? Free platforms are ok for hobby blogs. But the truth is you have little to no control on them, and if they were to shut down, you’d lose your blog. The method I’m about to show you gives you the most control, protects your content and is ideal if you ever want to earn money from your blog.
Also, you don’t have to be a tech genius to run a blog. Some basic skills and your imagination is all that is needed for blogging.
5-minute guide for how to start a blog today
You’re going to learn a lot more about all of these topics in this guide. But before I move on with how to blog, I want to give you an idea of the actual technical steps that you’ll need to take to launch a blog.
In addition to the creative aspect of choosing what to blog about, here are the steps you’ll need to take to get online in just about 20-30 minutes:
- Register a domain name – This is your blog’s permanent address on the Internet.
- Purchase website hosting – This is the engine that actually powers your blog.
- Install WordPress – This is the best platform for creating a blog.
- Set up your blog and start writing – This is the fun part!
To start with, you need to find your niche or decide on the topic that you’ll blog on. Let’s discuss more about it.
Step 1: Choose a topic – is your blog for fun or money?
If you’re just planning to blog for fun, you don’t really need to read this section because choosing a topic is simple, it’s what interests you. But if you are looking to make money out of it, you should get serious and focus of below given 3 important questions.
Q1. Is the Topic something I enjoy writing on?
One can’t be sure unless they try. Building a blog takes time. I don’t mean the technical part. That’s pretty easy. But once you get your blog launched, building it into something that gets regular visitors is going to take some time.
For that very reason, choosing the right niche or topic is the most important part of blogging. Choose the one that you are best at and do it everyday. Don’t go after what others are blogging on, choose your topics and continue with it.
Q2. Are others interested in the same topic?
If you’ve found a topic that you know you’ll be passionate about for the foreseeable future, it’s on to the next question: “Are other people as passionate about the topic as I am?”
This one is pretty simple. If you want to be able to eventually build an audience, it helps if you already know people are interested in your topic.
Try visiting Facebook groups or Google trends and do your research. You may find a topic of you interest, which can actually bring good traffic to your blog. Sites like KWfinder can also help you to narrow down to the best topics.
Q3. Can I make money from this topic?
If you’re creative and innovative, it’s possible to make money from most niche and topics. But some topics are definitely more suited to monetization than others.
If you are planning to make money from your blog, try to answer questions like:
- Are there companies that would be interested in paying for exposure to my audience?
- Do other blogs that cover this topic seem to be able to find monetization opportunities?
- Could I create my own product down the line, like an eBook, that people might be interested in purchasing?
Once you are done with the niche or Topic, move on to the next part.
Step 2: Pick a blog platform – I recommend WordPress
If you want to start a blog, there’s only one platform I recommend nowadays: Self-hosted WordPress.
Not only does WordPress power this very blog you’re reading, but it also powers 33% of all the websites on the Internet. Yup! More than one-fourth of every single website that you use is powered by WordPress.
So whether you’ve heard of WordPress or not, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ve used a website powered by WordPress at some point in your life.
Why is WordPress the best platform to start a blog?
If you weren’t dazzled by WordPress’ impressive market share, here are some actual concrete reasons why WordPress is the best platform to start your blog:
- It’s easy to use – WordPress is simple enough to use that even non-technical people can publish blog posts.
- It has a huge community – WordPress is so popular that it’s easy to find help if you ever run into issues.
- It’s easy to add functionality – Because of things called “themes” and “plugins”, it’s super easy to change how your blog looks and functions without needing any special technical knowledge (more on these later!)
Be sure to NOT USE WordPress.com for blogs. You should download script from wordpress.org and install it for a self hosted blog to work. WordPress.com blogs are for-profit blogs and you won’t have much of a control on settings, files etc.
Step 3: Register a domain name
Now that we’ve covered how to choose a topic / niche and blogging platform, it’s time to start start with steps of how to create a blog, starting with:
Your domain name.
Your domain is your blog’s permanent address on the Internet. Once you get everything set up, anyone will be able to type your domain name into their browser’s address bar and access your site from anywhere in the world. It’s your blog’s brand. Usually, your domain name will be the same as your blog’s name, so choosing a domain name is a pretty important branding decision.
When choosing a domain name, be sure to:
Pick something that’s relevant to your topic or niche: Choosing a name that is relevant to your topic helps people quickly understand what your website is about.
Be brand focused: You want something that’s easy to brand so people will be able to remember your blog.
Avoid hyphens and numbers: Avoid the desire to get creative with hyphens or numbers. It’s hard for people to remember!
Go for a .com if possible: While other domain extensions are becoming more popular, .com is still the king!. If you find a great domain name using something else, it’s ok to ignore this one, though.
To buy a domain name, you can visit Dynadot or Namesilo and search for your preferred domain. Once you have what you want, register on the site, pay for the domain and VIOLA! The Domain is yours to use.
Need more help with choosing a domain name? Be sure to check out our guides on choosing a blog name and choosing a domain name.
Step 4: Purchase web hosting at SkylarkHosting.com
Whereas, a domain is the permanent address of your website, your web hosting is what actually powers your website. When someone types in your domain name in the browser, they open up pages stored on a server or hosting provider for that domain.
Without web hosting, your blog isn’t gonna work, either!
So why do I recommend Skylark Hosting for new bloggers? Here are the main reasons:
- Great support if you ever need help
- Solid performance to ensure your blog is always available and loads fast
- WordPress installed on request
- Free SSL
How to purchase hosting at Skylark Hosting
Click here to go to Skylarkhosting.
Then, here’s how to get set up with your hosting. Full package details can be found on Web Hosting page.
1. In the Billing area, under Services > Shared Hosting, Choose the plan your want to signup for.
2. Select I already have a domain.
Then, you’ll come to the final screen where you Add your billing information and make payments.
How to connect your domain name with your web hosting
To connect your domain name with your web hosting, you just need to complete these steps:
- For Dynadot, follow this guide to update namservers provided by webhost on the domain.
- For Namesilo, follow this guide and update your nameservers.
- For domains bought from other Domain registrars, steps are pretty much the same.
Step 5: Log into self hosted WordPress
Once you have your hosting account with Skylark Hosting ready. Just open a ticket and ask them to install WordPress for you or you can do it yourself. They provide one-click App installer which comes with WordPress and loads of other popular scripts as well.
You can login to admin panel with credentials given by the host and setup your blog. If you are using One Click Apps installer, you can view our guide on How to install WordPress using Softaculous.
A quick tour of the WordPress dashboard
The WordPress dashboard is essentially the control panel for your entire blog. It’s where you’ll:
- Write your blog posts
- Choose how your blog looks
- Add functionality to your blog
- Moderate comments on your blog posts
- As well as plenty of other important actions!
Accessing your dashboard is pretty simple:
Append /wp-admin to the end of your domain name (e.g. com/wp-admin). Log in using the credentials that you set up via One Click Installer or the one provided by the webhost.
Once you log in, you should see something like this:
Here are some of the most important areas:
- A – This is where you’ll actually write and manage your blog posts
- B – This lets you create a different type of content called a “page”. This is good for stuff like about and contact pages
- C – This is where you can control how your blog looks using a “theme”
- D – This is where you control how your blog functions using “plugins”
Let’s explore some of these important areas…
Step 6: Choose a WordPress theme (how your blog looks)
A WordPress theme dictates how your blog looks and how your blog functions. A WordPress blog comes with a default theme. Although most bloggers prefer choosing their own design and layout.
Since WordPress is so popular, there are thousands of free and premium themes to choose from.
Below are some of the best spots to find themes:
- WordPress.org – This is the official WordPress theme directory. It includes thousands of free themes.
- Themeforest – This is a great provider of premium themes. I’ve used a bunch of their theme’s over the years and they are awesome.
While some people will try to scare you into paying for a premium theme, there’s nothing that inherently makes a premium theme better than a free theme.
Premium themes come with better designs and features. But If you’re on a tight budget, feel free to get started with one of the free themes from WordPress.org.
How to install your new theme
To install your theme: Go to Appearance → Themes in your WordPress dashboard, then Click Add New. For free themes you found at WordPress.org, search for the theme by name and click Install..
For premium themes, click Upload Theme and upload the ZIP file of your theme. Once you install your theme via either method, make sure to click the Activate button to make it live on your website!
After your theme is live, you can customize it as per your needs.
Step 7: Choose some WordPress plugins
Whereas themes are mostly about appearance, WordPress plugins are all about functionality. They let you add pretty much anything, from a simple contact form or galley page to an entire eCommerce store!
And, unlike themes, you can use as many plugins as you want (though you should only use plugins that you need).
You can find both free and premium plugins for your site. Here are some good places to look to get you started:
WordPress.org – This houses the official free plugin directory with over 50k+ different plugins to choose from.
Code Canyon – A popular marketplace for premium WordPress plugins.
How to install WordPress plugins
To install WordPress plugins, Go to Plugins and click Add New in your WordPress dashboard.
For free plugins you found at WordPress.org, search for the plugin by name and click Install Now and for premium plugins, click Upload Plugin and upload the ZIP file.
Once you install a plugin, make sure to Activate it. Then, you can read the plugin’s instructions for how to actually use the plugin on your site.
Step 8: Create essential blog pages
Alas! We’ve made it. Now, you’re are ready to start creating content for your blog. But before you start writing your first blog post, it’s a good idea to create some important pages.
Unlike a post, a “page” has no publish date. It’s just something that’s always there.
At a minimum, most blogs have pages for:
- About us: This page tells visitors about you and your expertise, knowledge etc.
- Contact: When your website gets popular, people would want to contact you. Your contact page makes that happen.
How to create a new page in WordPress
To create a new page:
- Go to Pages → Add New in your WordPress dashboard.
- Enter the title of your page in the top box.
- Enter the content using Gutenberg blocks by clicking the plus sign, alternatively you can paste your content in and Gutenberg will automatically convert it into blocks.
- Click Publish when you finish.
Now that you are done with Important pages, let’s get on with creating your first post.
Step 9: Write and publish your first blog post
And we move to the most exciting part! You’re finally ready to write your first blog post!
Creating a blog post in WordPress is almost identical to creating a page.
There are just a few tweaks.
- First, head to Posts > Add New. Then, Enter your blog post title at the top.
- Enter your blog post text using Gutenberg blocks. You can start typing or paste in your content and it will automatically convert into Gutenberg blocks.
- If you need specific styled blocks such as button, bullet points or images, click on the plus sign which will bring up multiple options.
- Choose a category or add a new one on the right.
- Optional – add some tags that describe your blog post on the right.
- Click Publish when you’re finished.
Viola! Your first blog post is ready and available for visitors to see!
Tips for writing awesome blog posts
There are millions of blogs out there. Search for a topic and you’ll find tons of websites with posts related to your keyword.
So, how does your blog stand out?
The key to being different is following below given points.
- Think of your ideal reader. Write posts keeping your audience in mind.
- Be helpful and add value to the information shared in the post.
- Bring a unique perspective and voice. You’re a unique person, so don’t fall into the trap of writing the same thing as everyone else.
You’ve made it to the end of our tutorial on how to start a blog. Awesome!
As you venture on in your blogging career, you’ll start to evolve into using more advanced tactics to promote and monetize your blog.
But for now, congratulate yourself on a job well done because you had the gumption to do something awesome – start a blog!