Are you convinced you need to start a blog, but you don't know how to start a blog?
In this post, I want to walk you through the process of setting up your blog. And during the process, I will also answer some of the basic technical questions that many new bloggers need answers to get their first blog up and running.
There are many good reasons to start a blog, but one of the challenges that many of you will face is: how to start a blog?
How to Start a Blog
In general, these are the few simple steps you need to complete to start your blogging journey.
1. Choosing Your Blogging Platform
2. Secure a Domain Name and Get Your Blog Hosting In Place
3. Setting Up Your WordPress Blog
4. Customize Your Blog Design
I'll be walking you through my approach on each and every steps and suggesting some further readings that I think will be helpful on other important questions.
I hope this step by step guide will help you to setup your first blog successfully.
Step 1: Choosing Your Blogging Platform
Before setting up your blog, you will first need to decide what blogging platform to write on. A blogging platform is a tool/system that helps you to get your contents up on the Internet.
There are currently many types blogging platforms available. But for the sake of simplicity and being in control of the contents you own, WordPress will be the obvious choice for us.
WordPress is by far the most popular and reliable blogging platform. Among all, these are a few of the good reasons.
It is free to use
WordPress is very easy to setup
It has been around for many years with a very robust and secure system.
It is very flexible and there's also a whole industry of tools providers, developer, and designers who can help you to customize it.
Do keep in mind that, there're two types of WordPress platform.
Your blog is hosted by the WordPress Foundation where they manage the backends and updates while giving you access to your blog through the domain name they own.
It is free to use, but you'll have to pay to upgrade certain features and you don't have full controls on your blog and you are not allowed to monetize on it.
WordPress.org on the other hand, gives you complete control of your blog as you host it on your own server and your own domain name. You also get to decide whether to monetize your blog etc.
My recommendation would be to go with WordPress.org self-hosted blogging platform.
You might have a little more work during the setup phase of your blog (which I will walk you through below), but it will be well worth your efforts.
In the long run, you will have full control over the look, feel, features and monetization options for your site. It will also end up cheaper too!
Step 2: Secure a Domain Name and Get Your Blog Hosting In Place
As I have previously mentioned, you will first need a domain name (your blog address) for your blog.
For example on this site, my domain would be BecomeDigitalNomad.com. This will be the address for your audiences/readers to find you.
To make things simple for this article, I will only share with you about the technical to get your blog up and running.
You should read more on the factors to consider for your domain here.
A domain name isn't something very expensive to buy. It will probably cost you a few dollars a year to secure.
And preferably, the simplest way would be to register it at the same place where you get your blog hosted.
My recommendation for a reliable web host would be with BlueHost.com
BlueHost is by far, proven to be the most common and reliable web hosting company among the new bloggers.
Another great thing about BlueHost is that they also come with 1-Click installation for WordPress self-hosted platform.
As of this article is being written, BlueHost has an offer for $3.95 USD per month for basic hosting with free domain registration.
(Usual price: $7.99 USD)
That is at least 50% savings for you to start with!
Step by Step Guide
To get started, follow the step-by-step below:
Update: I have taken some screenshots to help you understand the steps better.
1. Head over to BlueHost.com
2. Click on the "Get Started Now" button as shown below.
3. Since you're just getting started, I would recommend choosing their Basic Package.
4. Then, choose your ideal domain name if you haven't got one.
5. On the last page, fill up your basic information.
Remember to "untick" all options except for Domain Privacy Protection as shown below.
I only recommend turning on the Domain Privacy Protection because it will keep your personal information private on the Internet. As for other options, you can easily turn them on when they are needed in the future.
6. Your domain name and hosting account will be created once you have done submitting the form.
Step 3: Setting Up Your WordPress Blog
Now that you have your own domain name and hosting in place, we can finally setup your WordPress blog.
Lucky for us, BlueHost has created a simple video to show you how to make use of their 1-Click installation for WordPress.
This will definitely make the whole setup process a lot easier!
Once you have completed this process, you now have your WordPress blog installed.
To log into your blog admin panel, go to www.example.com/wp-admin (where "example" is your domain name).
Congratulations! — you now know how to setup a blog using WordPress, all on your own! As you can see, it was really easy and straightforward.
4. Customize Your Blog Design
WordPress blogging platform uses design templates or "Themes" to display the layout and design of your blog.
Changing your blog design simply means installing a new theme on your WordPress blog.
Getting a new, professional theme for your blog would help to make your blog more stand out to your readers.
There are currently a huge selection of WordPress themes all over the Internet, so you've got a lot of options!
Among all, I prefer to get my themes from themeforest.net (which is owned by Envato) as they are more professionally designed and higher in quality.
It is also worth knowing that most of the WordPress themes from themeforest.net are well maintained by their creators. (it means the WordPress themes are frequently updated as the WordPress platform gets updated)
Bonus: Making Your Blog URL Friendly
Both humans and search engines (Google/Yahoo) dislikes ugly/messy URL. It makes it hard for them to understand and remember.
For example, the default WordPress post URL looked like this:
Does this make any sense to you what it means? It is not friendly, right?
The good thing about WordPress is that we can easily customize our blog in many aspects.
Simply go to your Settings -> Permalinks page after you have logged in to your WordPress admin panel and change the URL settings to "Post Name" or manually typing in
/%postname%/ in the custom structure field.
Here I have attached a picture to show you how it's done.
Once you have done that, your post URL will now look like this:
Much cleaner and friendly, yes?
This is my top one takeaway tips if you ask me what is "The" most important thing to do when you first setup a WordPress blog.
This little changes will bring in HUGE benefits for the rest of your blogging life.
Search Engines will love you and your readers will thank you!
Now, Go Create Something Awesome!
Now that you have everything setup and ready, it's time to go write something awesome!
And as I have always said, focus on writing your contents for humans. Think of what you, yourself would like to read as an audience before you hit the publish button.
Thanks for reading!
Do share with me in the comments below when you have you blog up and running!
NOTE: This article contains some affiliate links which I will earn a small commission at no extra costs to you if you purchase a product through one of the links. Feel free not to click them if this bothers you — otherwise thanks for your support!