How To Start a Blog
Okay, It seems you want to start a blog huh? Good idea!
But…how do you get started? There’s so much info out there on the web, and everyone’s telling you to do different things. Who do you listen to? Where’s the starting point?
I used to be a blogging newbie too. I had the same problems. I started my blog (hasomusic.com) all the way back in 2014, and I knew less than nothing about blogging. In fact, it was only the week before I’d learned what a blog was.
Now I know a ton about them, and my blog’s doing pretty well – I receive more than 250,000 unique visitors per month which makes me consider myself someone you could listen to and learn from when it comes to building your own blog. I’m not some sort of Guru, but I certainly do know the basics.
I promise it’ll be simple, relatively easy, and definitely easy to understand
Why You should Start a blog
I’m going to outline exactly what you need to do to get started and set up your own personal blog. Before we dive in though, I really want to talk about WHY you should build a blog.
Note: If you already have a solid idea of the whys, then skip this and go right ahead with the guide.
- Blogging has quickly become one of the most popular ways of communicating and spreading information and news. There are literally millions of blogs online (don’t worry, you can make yours stand out and get noticed!).
- It’s a great way to express yourself and also a fantastic way to share information with others.
- You become a better person and a better writer.
- The best reason? You can make money doing it!
I bet you already knew all of that, but it’s nice to be reminded.
5 Steps On How to Start a Blog
There are five main steps you need to do in order to start a blog. If you follow this guide exactly, you’ll have your own blog set up in 30 minutes or less.
- Choose the best blog platform
- Choose a web host for your blog
- How to Set up a blog on your own domain
- Design and Customize your new blog
- Useful resources for blogging
Step 1 – Choose the best blogging platform
Choosing where you want to build blog is pretty much the first thing you have to do. I’m going to take a leap and assume you’ve heard of WordPress, and this is the platform I advocate. It’s massive.
It’s by far one of the biggest blogging platforms in the world, with countless plugins and add-ons and almost infinite ways to design and layout your blog.
There are other alternatives, and they are listed below:
- Blogger – Definitely the next best thing to WordPress.
- Tumblr – Half social network, half blog. Interesting, and very simple to use.
- Wix – Create websites and Landing pages
Step 2 – Self Hosting And Free Alternative
This is the the most complicated decision you’ll have to make before you move forward. You need to decide whether to pay for your blog or grab a free one.
WordPress, Tumblr, and Blogger all offer free blogs for anyone. Awesome, right? It’s perfect for those of us who aren’t super serious about blogging. But it does have downsides:
1) You won’t get To Own Your domain name
On a free blog, your blog’s web address (your URL) will be butt-ugly. Like, really ugly. In short, create a free blog with any other the above free blog services and it’ll look like this:
I know, these domains looks ugly right?
There are some limits to free blogs. You can’t fully monetize it, and you don’t have the possibility to upload all those videos and images you want to show everyone – it’s all limited. Worse still, you won’t even have access to the free themes offered by WordPress.
3) You DON’T OWN your blog
It might sound silly at first, but you don’t actually own your blog. It’s hosted on someone else’s web property and they can delete it if they want to. They have done so in the past, and keep doing it in the future. Which means all your hard work on your blog, all those countless hours of writing blog posts might have vanished within seconds. Sad…
On the other hand, with a self-hosted blog on your own domain name – you are the REAL owner of your blog. You’ll be able to name your blog whatever you want, for example, “YourName.com” or “YourAwesomeBlog.com. You can end it with .com, .co.uk, .net, .org, or virtually any other web suffix. Add to that unlimited bandwidth for videos, images, and content plus the free themes and you have a winning combo.
So how much is hosting and a domain name? Not as much as you’re thinking, fortunately. It usually works out to about $5 to $10 per month, depending on your hosting provider which is less than a couple of coffees.
Step 3 – Start a Blog on Your own Domain
If you’re still a little confused by what a self-hosted blog is, allow me to explain and how you can go about setting one up for yourself.
You’ll need to come up with a domain name you like and also choose a hosting company that can host your blog.
Domain: The domain is basically the URL of your website. Examples: google.com (Google.com is the domain), Facebook.com (Facebook.com is the domain).
Hosting: Hosting is basically the company that puts your website up on the internet so everyone else can see it. Everything will be saved on there. Think of it as a computer hard-drive on the internet where your blog will be saved.
Disclosure: I recommend using Namecheap for web hosting. If you click through one of my links and make a purchase, I will receive a commission, which helps me keep bloggingbasics101.com up and running.
Personally, I use Namecheap (for my blog domain and hosting), and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about it.
It’s probably one of the cheapest (less than $3 per month) hosting providers out there. A domain name will cost around $10-15 a year, but with Namecheap, you can get that for FREE first year.
If you do sign up with Namecheap be sure to use the coupon code BB101 as this will unlock the maximum discount they offer on all their hosting packages.
:). Big smiles for that!
They’re the providers I use for all of my blogs, including the one you’re reading right now.
If for any reason you don’t want to go with Namecheap, feel free to choose your own hosting company. Most, if not all of them, should have a “one-click” WordPress install solution on their admin panel.
That button will automatically install WordPress on your blog. Did I say it was simple or what?
All you need to do is sign up with Namecheap (or your chosen provider), choose your hosting plan and a domain name and look for the one-click WordPress install button on the admin panel.
If you are getting stuck at any point this guide may help as it has screenshots.
WordPress essentials aren’t often needed, but I’d recommend whois privacy (that will keep all your personal details private) and definitely automated backups (that’ll save your website just in case anything fails or disappears so you won’t lose any or very little of your blog).
Once WordPress is installed on your website, all you have to do to start blogging is go to your WP-Admin page usually www.yourblognamehere.com/wp-admin and start writing by adding a new post.
At the start, the layout looks confusing, but it gets very understandable quickly.
Step 4 – Design And Customize Your WordPress Blog
Now Let’s make your blog look exactly how you want it to. To choose a new theme, you can either head to Appearance > Themes and install a free WordPress theme or you can head to a premium theme website like ThemeForest.net and buy a theme for around $40.
I usually choose something that looks professional and pretty easy to customize. WordPress also has this awesome feature that allows you to change themes with just a few clicks. So if you start getting tired of your current blog template, you can just switch to another one without losing any precious content or images.
Remember, your blog’s design should reflect both you and your personality, but also what the blog is about. There’s no point having a football-orientated theme if your blog is about tennis, understand?
On top of that, it should be easy to navigate if you want people to stick around. If it’s tricky and difficult to move around it, people won’t stay. After all design is a subjective art; meaning everyone likes different things.
But no one likes ugly websites, and they especially hate websites that need a university degree to navigate. Make it easy for them.
Step 5 – Useful Resources For Blogging
Bloggers come to blogging arena with varying degrees of online and social media experience, but we’ve all made more than a few newbie mistakes – there’s always room for more learning and improvement, whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been blogging for years.
And that’s it! I’m more than confident that your initial blog set up should now be finished and ready to go, and all that should have been really damn easy (unlike my first time, lucky you!). If you are having any problems installing WordPress on Hostgator then this guide may help.
If by some unfortunate circumstance you get stuck or have any questions for me about how to create a blog, just get in touch with me or leave a comment below. I’ll help you out with any problems.