A free step-by-step guide on how to make a blog.
This guide was created to provide a simple, step-by-step way for beginners to quickly learn how to start a blog.
Blogging has become a popular way to share knowledge, connect with others, and also make money. According to WordPress “409 million people view more than 21.2 billion pages each month” on their platform alone.
If you’re just starting out, creating a blog by yourself may seem complicated. However, it is simple to create a blog and it doesn’t require any experience or coding knowledge.
Starting a blog can take less than 20 minutes if done correctly.
This guide will show you how to start a blog and get it running. In 5 simple steps, this tutorial clearly lays out each stage of the process. You can take as long as you need on each step, and move on to the next one when ready.
Without further delay, let’s start!
Step 1: Choose a Name For Your Blog
Once you’ve decided on a topic for your blog, the first step is to choose a name for it.
As a blogger, you can either self-host (most control) or use a free platform like blogger. However, starting a blog on a free platform has disadvantages.
Free blogging sites have restrictions and starting a self-hosted blog gives you the most control.
Why You Shouldn’t Start a Blog With A Free Platform:
- Your domain name is not fully personalized.
- You don’t get full control of your blog.
- Limited features.
- They can shut your blog down at any time they want.
- They may show ads on your blog.
Starting your own blog is simple and gives you the most control. You can get good, reliable hosting for around $2-5 dollars a month and can get a free domain included with some web hosts.
Your Domain Name
You may be starting to ask, what is a domain name? Simply put, a domain name is what people will type in to get to your blog. For example, stepstostartablog.com is the domain name of this site.
Your domain name should be memorable and clear. To start, brainstorm some ideas and write them down.
Domain names ending in .com are the most widely used and recognized. You can try .net and .org if you like by try to stay away from less common domain extensions.
When you find a name that is available write it down. In the next step, you will get your domain free with your hosting account.
Step 2: Set Up Hosting For Your Blog
Now that you have selected your domain, you need to choose a web host.
Essentially, hosting means making your blog available on the internet. When someone visits your domain name, your blog will be shown.
Note that not all web hosts are the same. You will want a company that offers you the features to build your blog quickly, and keep it running without any problems.
When choosing a host, make sure you look for the following features:
- Speed and reliability.
- One-click installs.
- 24/7 support.
We recommend Bluehost as they provide high quality hosting at an affordable price. They power over 2 million sites and have been recommended by WordPress themselves since 2005.
Bluehost offers 1-click WordPress installs to get a blog started quickly. Their platform is easy to use even and is most likely the best choice for beginners.
Bluehost also offers a money-back guarantee, so if for any reason you want to cancel you plan you can do so and are not locked down.
You can use whatever host you like and the process should be similar. However, be sure they offer easy WordPress installation and are reliable.
Start by heading over to Bluehost.
Next, select a plan that suits your needs. The basic hosting plan is enough especially if you are just starting out.
After selecting a plan, enter the domain you want to register under “new domain.” This selects the option to register your new domain for free.
Now you can enter your account information. You can add extra optional features to your hosting as you wish. The only thing really worth getting is the Domain Privacy Protection. This just keeps your personal information private when you register your domain.
Once you complete your registration, head back over to the Bluehost homepage and select login. You will now see a login screen where you can gain access to your control panel.
After you enter your username and password, you will be directed to your control panel. This is where you can manage your site, and install platforms like WordPress.
And that’s it! You now have a domain and hosting, you are ready to move on to setting up your blog platform.
Step 3: Install A Blog Platform
Which blog platform is the best to start a blog?
While there are many blogging platforms out there, WordPress is definitely the most widely used blog platform. And even better, WordPress is completely free.
Some of the biggest brands on the web including TechCrunch, CNN, and Major League Baseball all use the WordPress platform.
Also, there are literally thousands of WordPress themes out there that will help you design your blog the way you want it.
If you need to add features to your blog such as social sharing buttons, for example. WordPress also has thousands of plugins you can use to add features to your site.
Bluehost lets you install WordPress easily.
You can install WordPress with a few clicks using the one-click installer.
Head back over to your control panel and scroll down to the “website” section. Now click on “install WordPress.”
Next, click on “install.”
Now select your domain that you want to install WordPress on from the drop-down menu.
Once you select your domain, you can now set up the username and password for your WordPress blog under “Show advanced options.” Write your username and password down so you remember it for later. Agree to the terms and conditions and click install.
WordPress will now install. You can see the installation progress at the top of the screen.
Once finished, you will be notified that your installation is complete. In case you forgot your password while setting up, you can click ‘view credentials’ to get your login information.
Success! You now have your own WordPress blog set up and ready to go. You can now log in to your WordPress blog by typing in your site domain name followed by “/wp-admin” like this:
This will be how you log into your WordPress site from now on, so remember it and write it down if you need to.
Now you will see the WordPress login panel for your site.
Enter your username and password from the installation to enter your WordPress dashboard, the place where you control and create your blog.
That’s it! You just started your very own WordPress blog. Now come the fun part: designing and adding content to your blog.
Step 4: Create Your Blog
WordPress looks clean and attractive when first set up. The great thing about WordPress is that there are so many options to easily customize your blog, and setting up your blog is simple.
WordPress themes allow you to easily customize how your blog looks.
There are thousands of different free and premium WordPress themes that you can use on your site.
Premium themes are usually the best choice because they are professionally designed and come with the best features. For serious bloggers, this is the way to go.
For WordPress themes, we recommend Elegant Themes. They make one of the most popular themes out there (Divi). You also get access to all 87 of their themes and included support when you join. They also make a theme called Extra which is perfect for bloggers.
Having a theme that easily lets you design your site is important. A good theme will help save you time so you can focus on blogging. For this reason, it’s usually worth it to invest in a premium theme.
You can choose any theme you want but make sure it comes with important features like mobile-responsiveness, SEO (search engine optimization), speed, and support.
Let’s first look at how to install free themes right from the WordPress dashboard.
Install Your Theme
To choose a theme, go to the “Appearance” tab on your blog dashboard and then click “Themes”.
Now click “Add New” to pick your theme.
You can now browse the free themes available.
When you find a theme you like, simply click on “install.”
Once installed, go back to “Themes” and click activate on the theme you want to use.
Your theme will now be active, meaning it is the theme your blog is using.
When you purchase a premium theme, you will download it and then install it. This is easy and can be done in under a minute.
Here are some suggestions for themes that you can check out:
To upload a theme, go back to “Themes” and then click on “Add New.” Located near the top of dashboard, click “Upload Theme.”
Now click “Choose File” and find your theme file on your computer (.zip file). When you purchase a premium theme, you will save it on your computer.
Tip: If you download a premium theme, save your theme on your computer in a place where you can easily find it.
Once installed, do the same thing you would do with a free theme: go back to “Themes” and click “Activate” on the theme you uploaded.
Great! You just installed your theme.
Your WordPress theme is now installed and ready to go. Let’s move on to the final step in creating your blog, adding your content.
Add Content To Your Blog
Now it’s time to create the main part of your blog- the content: your posts and pages.
Great content will help attract and keep your visitors interested.
You should focus on writing quality blog posts which provide value to your readers. When your blog has interesting content, you will be more likely to get shares and links back to your blog and more traffic.
Before You Start, Name Your blog
Naming your blog is simple. Simply click the “Settings” tab on your WordPress dashboard and go to “General.”
Enter the name of your blog in the “Site Title” section and a short description of your blog in the “Tagline” section.
Also, set up your WordPress permalinks so they look good. This just sets up the links on your page so they are readable words instead of numbers.
On your WordPress dashboard, click on “Settings” then “Permalinks.” Now choose a permalink structure that will include the name of your posts, like the “Post name” option.
Perfect! Now let’s create a post.
Creating Your First Blog Post
Now the moment we’ve been waiting for- writing your first blog post! This will show you how to set up your first WordPress post. We will use the default WordPress theme for example purposes, but the process will be the same for your theme.
To start, click on the “Posts” tab on your WordPress dashboard.
To create a new post, click “Add New.”
You will now see the post editor. Start by adding a title to your post.
After you set up your title, enter the content of you blog post in the editor.
Finally, hit “Publish” to create you blog post.
That’s it! You now have successfully created your first blog post. You can also add a category to your post if you want.
Create an About Page
Now let’s create a page for your blog.
Creating a page with WordPress is a simple process and is similar to creating a post.
To start, click on the “Pages” tab from the WordPress dashboard.
To create a new post, click “Add New.”
Now enter the name of your page and some content.
Finally, hit “Publish” to create the new page.
You’re done! You now have an about page. In order for your viewers to easily access your pages, you can create a menu.
Make Your Blog Menu
Let’s create a menu so your visitors can easily access the pages on your site.
To start, scroll over the “Appearance” tab on your WordPress dashboard, and click on “Menus.”
Enter the name of your new menu and then click “Create Menu.”
Now select the pages you want to be listed in your menu click “Add To Menu.” We will include the about page you just created, and the sample page as an example.
You can now click and drag the pages in the menu to change their order. To use it as the main menu for your blog, check the box that says “Primary Menu.”
Finally, click “Save Menu” to set up the menu.
Now you have a new menu set up. As you create more pages, you can add them to the menu as you like.
Great, you now have some functionality to your blog. To add even more, let’s look at how to install a plugin. Don’t worry, it takes only a minute.
Install a Plugin
With plugins, you can add virtually any type of functionality to your site with a few clicks. Have a look at this list with some useful blog plugins.
To install a plugin, start by clicking on the “Plugins” tab from the WordPress dashboard.
To add a new plugin, click “Add New.”
Now enter the name of your plugin into the search bar. If you don’t know the name, you can search for what kind of plugin you want, for example, “contact form.”
Once you find the plugin you want to install, click “Install Now” to start installing.
Your plugin will now install, this usually takes only a few seconds. Once it’s done, you can now click “Activate Plugin” to use it.
That’s it, your new plugin is installed. You can click on settings to manage the plugin options.
Done! You just installed your first plugin. If you ever need to add something to WordPress, there’s a good chance there will be a plugin that will do it for you. You can search within WordPress to find plugins, or on a search engine like Google to see what’s out there.
Now that your site is set up, you can now start blogging.
Create interesting content to attract visitors and build your brand.
Starting a blogging schedule can be an effective way to produce more blog posts. Set goals and come up with different types of posts to appeal to your readers.
If you need some blog post inspiration, you can check out this blog post ideas list to help you get started.
The final step now is getting traffic to your blog.
Step 5: Getting Traffic To Your Blog
The next ingredient in starting a successful blog is promoting your blog and getting traffic.
Growing a reader base can be enjoyable and rewarding. It’s important to set up a strategy for marketing your blog and attracting readers.
There are many ways to promote your blog and increase traffic including links from other blogs, search engines, and social media shares.
We will look at how to create natural traffic for your blog with some things you can get started with right away.
Social media presents a valuable way to connect with potential viewers for your blog. There are millions of users active on social media every day.
To start, you should create (free) profiles for your blog on social media sites. Promote your blog by creating a post every time you have new content on your blog.
Make sure you have attractive, visible share buttons so that your readers can share your content.
Search Engine Traffic and SEO
Search engines can be a valuable source of traffic for your blog.
Optimizing you blog for search engines, called SEO or Search Engine Optimization, will help you get search traffic.
SEO can take a while to fully understand, but you don’t have to be an expert. There are a few quick things you can start right away to optimize your blog:
- Use header tags properly.
- Make sure your site loads quickly.
- Write relevant, useful content that uses approprate keywords.
The good thing is, WordPress takes care of most of the SEO for you and you can install a plugin to take care of most of it for you.
Bad design is one of the main visitors leave a blog or website.
With premium themes you don’t have to worry about your blog design looking outdated, because WordPress themes are generally set up and designed well.
Keeping up to date with the newest updates and plugins will ensure your blog stays up to date in terms of design and functionality.
Not only can bad design scare off visitors, but it can also negatively affect how search engines see your site.
Most premium themes also come optimized for search engines (SEO optimized) and fully responsive, meaning they will look good on mobile devices like phones, tablets, and laptops- another reason why they are worth it.
Congratulations! You have now learned how to start a blog.
Blogging can be a rewarding experience. In addition to being fun, there is also the potential to make money from your blog.
There are a virtually unlimited amount of free and premium tools out there that can help make your blogging life easier. For a in-depth list of resources and tools used in this tutorial and beyond, check out the blog tools page.
Remember, starting good blogging habits will help you save time and create an attractive blog. You can visit the blog tutorials page for more guides and resources.
Always continue learning, growing your audience, and connecting with others. Most importantly, create great content for your readers and you will be on the road to success.