Uhuh! So, you want to start a blog. Well! That’s great. Blogging is one of the best ways to share your ideas online. It is a great medium to improve the digital and social presence of your brand or business.
A blog lets you share your views and opinion to a larger audience over the Internet — help others with the problem you faced.
You can also make money from a blog or even establish yourself as an industry expert.
Here, I’ll be sharing a step-by-step guide to create a blog.
I’ve divided this guide into sub-categories to make it easy to understand for beginners. You’ll learn to create a blog in 5 easy steps.
Here’s how to start a blog:
- Choose a Blogging platform.
- Register a Domain Name and Buy Hosting.
- Design Your Blog.
- Add Posts And Pages.
- Get Traffic to Your Blog.
- Monetize Your Blog
Here, I’ve put almost all step-by-step guides with images [screenshots] so you can start your blog today without any a headache.
Feel free to contact me, and I’ll help – if you stuck with anything.
Let’s start and take a step forward:
Step 1: Choose a Blogging Platform (WordPress)
A blogging platform or CMS (Content Management System) is a back-end of your blog, from where you’ll manage the whole content to your blog – posts, pages, and design, etc.
The first step to create a blog is to choose the blogging platform.
WordPress, Blogger, Ghost, Tumbler and more… there are lots of blogging platform to choose from.
In this picture, it is clear that WordPress has the largest number of active users.
Ultimately, WordPress is the king of blogging platforms. I also use WordPress CMS on my blogs.
Here’s why WordPress is so popular and widely used:
Open-source and free: WordPress is an Open-source CMS and free to use. You can make a fully functional site/blog in few minutes using WordPress then why you want to pay tons of money for a custom designed site.
WordPress is a free to use for everyone. However, you need to pay for domain name and hosting.
Easy to use: WordPress is simple as surfing the Internet. If you have a computer basic knowledge of using a computer and the internet, then you can efficiently use WordPress.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Friendly CMS: Search engines love sites that are easy to index (WordPress is) and that have frequently updated content. SEO is where blogging comes into play so nicely.
Simple URL structure of Self-hosted WordPress makes your blog content more SEO friendly, and hence it attracts search engines like Google, Bing, and others.
Themes & Plug-ins Give Super Power: Plenty of platforms out there offer plug-in functionality. WordPress has the largest number of a useful plug-in on WordPress.org. Plug-ins help you to add great functionality on WordPress Blog, such as wonderful photo galleries, sliders, shopping carts, forums, maps, and more.
Security and Regular Updates: WordPress provides regular updates to their platform, to make it more secure – and to give more features and functionality. So, there are fewer chances of getting hacked. They have a super helpful support forum, too.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
If you are new to WordPress platform then, you might be confused between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Here are the main differences:
WordPress.com (Free WordPress): WordPress.com is a service that offers websites that run on WordPress. You can sign up for a free account and get a fully functioning website. — However, for a first-time user, the restrictions are minimal.
In Free WordPress (WordPress.com), they host your blog, the back end, and give you access to have it on WoordPress.com subdomain [such as yoursite.wordpress.com.]. It is free to start but, you pay to upgrade different elements of it.
WordPress.org (Self-hosted WordPress): WordPress.org is the central location for the WordPress software project. You can download it, view the documentation, ask and answer questions in the forums and more. In self-hosted WordPress, you have total control and host the blog on your server. WordPress.org (Self-hosted WordPress) is completely free to use, but you need to arrange domain name and hosting.
The main difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is control over the site. In WordPress.org, you host your blog or website, and hence it is also called self-hosted WordPress.
Why You SHOULDN’T Create a Blog on a Free Platform
There are so many FREE platforms to create a blog, such as Blogger, WordPress.com, and Tumblr, etc. Free blogging platforms have very limited functionality.
No Control: You don’t control your content – the blogging platform does. Free blogging platforms could shut you down anytime: If you violate their terms of service.
No Customization: Free platforms have limitations or restrictions on customization of blog design. For example, you can’t use plug-in or custom theme that is not published in WordPress.com directory.
Long Sub-domain: You’ll sub-domain web address of your blog, and defiantly, it will be long and hard to remember (like yourfreeblog.blogspot.com or freeblog.wordpress.com) instead of a catchy, branded address you choose.
Advertisement Restriction: For example, Free WordPress.com doesn’t allow to an advertisement such as Google AdSense, even WordPress shows Ads on your blog, and you won’t get any profit from those ads run by free WordPress. Free blogging platforms make harder to make money from blogging. Although, Blogger a free blogging platform by Google – allow to advertise
Low Storage: Blogger.com uses your Google Account storage limit of 15GB to store posts, images that you post on a blogger blog. While Free WordPress has only 3GB storage limits to store data.
So, it’s better to create a self-hosted WordPress blog where you don’t have any such limitations.
Register a Domain Name and Buy Hosting
Now to the exciting part! To set up a self-hosted blog on your own domain name, you’ll need two things:
A.) Domain name B.) Web Hosting
A.)Domain name – It is your address; you will live on the Internet. People will use your domain name to reach to you and your business, same as the offline address. The cost of a domain name is usually $10/year, even cheaper than this.
Your domain name defines your brand. Good things always make a good impression – choose a proper domain. Domain name is also a key factor in Search Engine Ranking.
Tips for choosing a domain:
Keep it short: Keep it short and simple as much as you can. A long domain name may be hard to remember for people. You can use combinations of two phrases in your domain name, for example; Face+book = facebook.com
Ignore numbers: Don’t use numbers in the domain name. It may difficult to share the domain name with someone. (Do you want to explain that you mean “9”, not “nine” when telling your website address to a person)?
Don’t use confusing words: Don’t use any word that pronouns or spells in multiple ways. Keep domain name easy to spell as well as type.
B.)Web hosting – Hosting is the place where you’ll host all your website/blog’s data such as media files and all. Hosting is same as a rented home or office. You pay for using it. Web hosting is like a storeroom of your house. The more stuff you have, the more storage space you need.
The web hosting price starts at $2-5/month. If you pay for something, then you must be getting quality service.
There are hundreds of different web hosting providers. I have used some popular web hosting such as GoDaddy, Bluehost, iPage, SiteGround and few more. I am happy with SiteGround’s service and support and also recommend you to give it a try.
- WordPress.org officially recommends SiteGround. They have one-click WordPress installation, which makes it easy for you to get started.
- SiteGround provides latest speed technologies that make WordPress load faster. They have a very fast support team with advanced WordPress expertise available 24/7. They proactively protect the WordPress sites from hacks.
- SiteGround also protects your WordPress sites from hacks.
If SiteGround looks costly to you, and you want some other alternative, then you might be interested in looking at my recommendation of affordable WordPress Hosting service providers. You may also like to look at why you need Web Hosting and how to choose a Perfect Web Hosting for your blog?
Step-by-Step Guide for Creating a Blog on SiteGround
- Sign up with a web hosting
- Choose the hosting plan
- Pick domain name for the blog.
- Complete Hosting registration.
- Install WordPress.
- Log in and write a blog post.
Altogether, these steps take approx 5-10 minutes.
[Note: You need Credit/Debit Card to make Payment for Hosting, and domain name]
So, let start, and you’ll be publishing your first blog post in few minutes.
1. Sign up with a web hosting
2. Choose the hosting plan (you can pick the cheapest one).
Now it’s time to choose your hosting package.
There are three options: StartUp (recommended), GrowBig, and GoGeek.
The StartUp option is perfect for beginners. The other two plans GrowBig or GoGeek aren’t really needed unless you’re getting millions of visitors from day one.
For beginners, I recommend the starter and the basic StartUp plan because it packs plenty of power for your blog. Click the GET STARTED button to proceed further.
3. Choose the domain name you want
On the next step, you’ll need to choose a domain name for your blog.
If you already have a domain name, click on the second option on the right below (“I already have a Domain”).
4. Complete your registration [Final Step]
There are three parts to this page. The first is account information. Account information will be used to log-in into SiteGround dashboard and to manage your hosting account.
Just enter your Client information as you would normally.
In the next step, you’ll see Purchase Information section. In this section, you can you can change the billing period and add additional services.
I’d start off with 12 months, but if you don’t have a budget issue, then you can purchase hosting plan for 36 months.
Tip: You get a maximum discount when you purchase for 36 months. I recommend buying for 12 months. Later, you can upgrade your hosting.
Next, you’ll have some add-on options to choose from.
Here is one you might want to consider:
- Domain privacy – When you register a domain name, all your information such as Name, E-mail address and Contact information is added to a public database. And you may get lots of spam emails/SMS because your contacts will be easily accessible for anyone. If you don’t want that, you can tick this option. Domain Privacy option protects you from spammers. If you don’t mind your information being public, then it’s unworthy to buy.
You have to pay around ~$63 for your domain name and one year of hosting.
Once you’ve filled in all of the information, click PAY NOW at the bottom to complete your purchase.
5. Install the free WordPress CMS
Do you want to create a WordPress blog, then you must have to install WordPress CMS (Content Management System. Isn’t it??? LoL!
I know it might be sound little geeky task – but keep calm and you will be surprised to know that how easy it is to install WordPress.
Installing WordPress shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes
After completing the sign-up process in the previous steps, you should have received an email from SiteGround with details on how to log in to the SiteGround Customer Area.
Go ahead and log in to SiteGround.
Once you login to your Customer Area for the first time, you will see a pop-up asking you if you want to Start a new website on your account. Select that option and click on the WordPress button.
A new section would appear where you should enter the login information for your new WordPress application. Once you are ready to proceed further, click on the Confirm button.
Next, choose what Enhancements you wish to add to your account – if you want to add any. When you are ready for this step – click on the Complete Setup button.
That’s it! You can now go to the front page of your site and check out the newly installed WordPress application.
6. Log into Blog’s Back-end
Your Blog’s Back-end means a dashboard or interface from where you’ll manage your blog. After, installing WordPress, you’ll have a fresh blog and admin access to it.
Open a new tab in your Web Browser, type your domain name and hit enter to see how your blog looks.
Most probably, your blog will look like below:
Now to edit contents of your blog, add /wp-admin just after your domain name to access admin panel of your blog.
For example, if your domain name is http://yourblog.com then to you can log-in into WordPress blog admin dashboard by visiting web address like http://yourblog.com/wp-admin. Fill up username and password to log-in. (Use username and password you chose earlier during the WordPress installation.)
After successful log-in, you’ll see the welcome page of the admin dashboard, and the different menu-based option to perform work.
4. Design Your Blog / Customize Blog Design
Once you login to your WordPress dashboard, you can start customizing your blog. I’ll tell you all things step-by-step to make your blog ready for public launch and how to publish your first blog post.
Choose a FREE Theme for Your Blog
WordPress has lots of good looking themes for all type of business website or blog category. I think choosing your new WordPress blog design is the most fun step.
Points to Keep Remember:
- Best free WordPress Theme + “your blog category”: Just Google it, to get thousands of free WordPress themes for your blog
- You can change WordPress Theme later.
- There are thousands of FREE WordPress themes available.
- You can also buy Paid or Premium WordPress themes to use on your blog.
Pick a WordPress Theme that you love and want your readers to see. A Theme which will be perfect matches for your blog according to the blog category or niche.
5. Add Posts and Pages
Okay! So, now you’ve been setup WordPress blog and also customized its appearance. Now, let’s see, how to write your first post or add a new page on your blog. In this step, I’ll give you a quick intro guide to terms or tools that you’ll use to create a blog post or page.
Head over to WordPress dashboard or admin panel. In the left sidebar, mouse-over to Posts>>Add New to add a new post or below the Posts menu mouse-over to Pages, if you want to add new Pages.
What you’ll see is a very friendly editor screen that should remind you of MS Word or Pages on Mac:
Let’s break down what you see here:
- Title Area is to write the title of your post.
- Content Area is the main body of your post. This area is to write your blog post, as well as to add media files such as images.
- Standard Editing Tools are just above the Content Area. These tools have options like text formatting and links etc.
- Publishing Tools let you make your posts or pages being published or save it as a draft.
- Categories let you organize your blog post, so your blog readers as well you can find posts quickly on your blog.
Get Traffic to Your Blog
Traffic means getting views and visitors to your blog and blog posts.
Firstly, you’ve to write evergreen and engaging posts on your blog so there you’ll drive traffic.
Write minimum 5-10 evergreen and audience engaging posts on your blog. Choose evergreen and long-term topics to write on the blog; I mean content that doesn’t die with time. For example, news/current affairs related became irrelevant after a particular time. To start, you should figure out the topic(s) that your blog will focus on. Make posts a Then, mix of informative and entertaining, so your blog visitors will love to read and also share that.
Share your blog posts link to your social media profiles. If you want more blog readers as well as the opportunity to monetize your blog, you need to promote your blog.
Monetize Your Blog
#1. Google AdSense: In this method, Google works as a middleman between you (publisher) and advertiser. Google AdSense advertising program works on CPC (cost per click). You’ll make money when someone clicks on ads which will be showing your blog.
To get started with Google AdSense, first of all, you will need to apply for the program. After getting approval from Google, you’ll get Ads codes to put on your website.
#2. Sponsored Posts or Reviews: Companies or brands pay you to mention them in your blog. In Review Posts, you publish reviews about any product on your blog. Companies pay a big amount for writing reviews.
Companies will contact you to write a positive review about their product or service on your blog, and they will pay for that.
#3. Affiliate Marketing: “Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.”
In Affiliate Marketing, we pick any third party products and promote them, via our blog and generate sales. As soon as anyone buys the product, we get the commission.
Now that you know exactly how to start a blog, it’s over to you. So, I hope you’re ready to take action!
If you found this guide useful, share it. Have any query regarding this? Or want to give your valuable feedback, leave in comments.