So you want to start a blog? If I were to tell you it was easy, I’d be lying. I wish someone would have helped me start a blog and get it all set up back in the beginning –so I could get on right away with what I really wanted to do, which is travel the world, run, and blog about it.
If you’re interested in blogging but you have no idea where to start nor do you have the capital to pay some master web developer to do it all for you, don’t worry. I’m here to share my own experience and help you.
Starting a blog is not going to be as simple as they make it sound (especially if you’re not tech savvy!) but I’ll make it easy as possible by outlining each step you need to take to get that blog of yours started.
Ready? Let’s go!
Steps to Starting Your Blog
Step 1: Decide What to Blog About
First, you need to answer an ever-important question before you start a blog; what should I blog about?
Write down a list of topics that interest you the most. You might be keeping this blog for a long time so make sure the niche you pick is really something that you like talking about.
On a side note, you will probably want a topic that will be profitable for you in the long run when you start a blog. Most bloggers start out by writing about their hobby but the longer they are at it, the more traffic they get and their opportunities for monetizing their website also grow.
There are many ways to monetize a blog as well as profitable niches but for now, let’s focus on actually getting that blog started.
Step 2: Pick a Blogging Platform
You’ve already picked a topic, now it’s time to choose a platform. The most popular one bloggers use is WordPress, because it’s open source and you own it –unlike other platforms such as Blogger, Tumblr, Medium, and Squarespace. Those are owned by private companies, and they sort of control your fate when you start a blog with them.
So far, nothing has beaten the popularity of WordPress. I personally recommend it to anyone who asks me simply because it’s the most secure platform out there. It’s easy to use and should you run into any problems, you won’t have a hard time finding a guide out there in the internet that will teach you how to fix it. That’s how widely used the platform is.
Learning how to start WordPress can seem difficult in the beginning but once you get familiarized with the platform, it will become second nature to you. Trust me, I’ve been there. I started out as a clueless noob not knowing what an <H3> was and here I am churning out drafts every time I get a good blog post idea.
Now before we get carried away, let’s register your domain name first. You can’t start a blog without one!
Step 3: Register your Domain Name
Assuming that you’ve already decided you want to start a blog using WordPress, what you want to do then is register your domain name. Just like your blog topic, you need to think long and hard about what your domain name will be. This will be your blog’s name and brand so it has to be well thought out.
Using a reputable site like GoDaddy, check whether the domain name you like is taken and if it’s not, you can buy it. If you keep it for a long time, the site might just be able to provide you discounts if you register it with them.
They will let you choose how long you want to keep the domain name. It can be as short as one month or as long as 5 years. If you think you’ll be keeping the blog for a long time, you’re better off getting years-long plan since not only do you get big discounts, it saves you the hassle of trying to remember every month that you have a domain to renew.
Step 4: Pick a Hosting Plan
Now for the hosting plan. You don’t want to confuse domain name with hosting. I made the same mistake years ago and didn’t realize that a domain was separate from hosting. Think of a domain name as your address. Meanwhile, a web host is the “land” your blog lives on. It contains all of your site’s content like posts, pages, images, etc.
If there’s one thing you should take into special consideration, it should be your hosting. Without it, your site would not exist. If you lost your hosting or had problems with it, there would be no site your visitors can go to. Choosing a reputable host is extremely important.
Just like your domain, you will have the option to choose monthly and yearly plans. So be sure to pick your web host wisely. And pick a plan that best works for you.
Siteground is a great host offering great plans for beginners like you, and it’s the one I use. It also works really well with WordPress.
Siteground is fast and provides reliable service. You can start with the smaller plans but as your blog gets older and bigger, you may want to consider upgrading so it can accommodate more data for your expanding blog.
As a beginner with only one blog, their “StartUp” plan is your best option, and you can get it for under $50 USD your first year if you click here!
Step 5: Set up WordPress
Domain name, check.
Web hosting, check.
Next is setting up the actual blog through WordPress. If you’ve chosen Siteground, all you need to do is open the cpanel and go the Software and Services section and click on “Softaculous”.
Choose WordPress from the Top Scripts selection. Then you’ll be asked to fill out a couple of information such as the domain, blog name, description, user name, password, and email ID. Once you’re done, just click Install and your WordPress blog is all set up.
Step 6: Customize your Site
To make the blog truly yours, we now have to pick a theme for your WordPress blog.
There are millions of themes out there but you only need one. It can be easy to get lost in all the choices. You don’t want to just focus on the aesthetics but the functionality as well.
There are special themes made for certain niches. It helps to observe the themes other bloggers in your niche use so you can get a feel for what works for yours.
WordPress will offer you a great selection of free themes. If you’re ready to explore other themes, there are sites like Themeforest and StudioPress which offers a range of themes, plugins and other services. As a beginner, you want to opt for something like StudioPress since their themes are much simpler with features that you can actually use for your blog.
Next, you will choose which plugins to use for your site.
Plugins add more functionality to your WordPress site. For starters, you can get a plugin that helps you optimize your blog’s SEO, resizes your images, features your social media pages, arranges your posts in chronological order (by month, year, week or modify date format), and so on. There are tons of plugins out there. Just think of any functionality you need for your blog, and there’s a great chance that you’ll find a plugin for it.
Step 7: Write a Draft of your First Blogpost
Time to write a draft for your very first blogpost. Make sure it’s good one because this is the first post your very audiences will see once you put up your blog. It can be a quick introduction of what your blog is about or a post on a topic you think your readers will be really interested in.
Double check your draft making sure all the information you want included is in there. You also want it to be free from grammar and technical errors. Most people write their draft directly on WordPress but others prefer to do it on a clear, empty sheet. Once you’re done, copy your draft to a text file before transferring it to a draft post on WordPress. This is to avoid any hidden code that could mess up your post
Step 8: Publish it
Almost there! Before hitting that publish button, you want to make sure your post is properly formatted. Remove any extra spaces, place proper headings, and include media into your post. The most common media are images. They help breakup long walls of text making the blogpost more reader-friendly. If you have any links to your post, make sure they point to the right page.
Add a short meta description of at least 160 characters so that when searchers see your post on search engines, they know exactly what it’s all about. Preview the post one more time and check everything. If it all looks perfect, you’re ready to publish.
Congrats! You just figured out how to start a blog! That wasn’t so hard now, was it? Update me on your journey in the comments below!