You’ve been thinking about starting your own blog and you’re ready to take the plunge…but how do you start a blog as a beginner?
Or what if you just want to create a website, but not a blog? Is it the same thing?
Relax! This is super exciting in so many ways! It wasn’t long ago that I was in your same shoes.
At first, I was a bit overwhelmed with all the tech talk.
Domains…hosting…servers…WordPress…themes…I didn’t get it.
In case you’re wondering how exactly you go about starting a blog or creating your first website, I created a step-by-step post just for you.
Yes, the steps are the same whether you plan to blog or just create a your own website.
And don’t worry, I included screenshots to make it even easier. I’m a visual person and like to see examples to make sure I’m on the right track. Here we go!
1. Why Do You Want To Start A Blog?
First, you need to answer this question for yourself: Why do you want to start a blog?
There are many reasons people start a blog. Below are some of the most common reasons. You should identify your main purpose for getting a blog started before taking another step.
Do you want to start a blog so you can…
1. Make money from home as a side hustle?
2. Become a self-published author?
3. Expand your existing business?
4. Enjoy writing and share your experience or knowledge?
All of these are excellent reasons to start a blog, and you may have answered “yes” to more than one question.
However, anytime you start a new adventure and decide to spend your time and energy on something (blogging definitely requires an investment of both time an energy), you want to be clear on your why.
What is it you most hope to achieve with your blog? This will help guide your decisions as you go along and keep you motivated when things get challenging.
Blogging can help you earn money from home.
Lots of people start blogs on the side of their regular full-time job. There are several ways you could make money from a blog, such as building affiliate partnerships, advertising, creating and selling digital or physical products, or referring services. If you get really good at blogging for money, you can even earn a full-time income through a blog.
Blogging can help you become a published author.
Writing and selling a book through self-publishing has made writing a book possible for almost anyone. Without a traditional publisher to market for you, however, the marketing and selling of your book is up to you (hence, self-publishing). One of the best ways to sell your books is to grow a community of people who like your writing and build an email list through a blog.
Starting a blog is a great idea even if you want to land a traditional publishing deal because you’ll have much better odds with a publisher if you already have a bunch of fans.
Blogging can help you expand your existing business.
Whether you’re a one-man show or part of a large business, and whether you provide a service or sell products, a blog can expand your reach. For a very low expense, a blog is a way you can introduce your business to lots of potential new customers.
Blogging can be fun.
If you love to write and share your experience with others, blogging can be a lot of fun. By starting a blog, you can easily connect with others, build a community, and even help others by sharing your stories and knowledge.
…which brings me to your next important decision before starting a blog.
After you’ve decided what your main goal is for your blog, you need to decide what you’re going to write about!
2. What Do You Want To Write About?
If you already have a business you’re trying to promote, you’ll write about something related to your business to try and reach the right readers and potential customers.
However, if you’re an individual, you have the freedom to write about whatever your heart desires!
You may read contradicting advice that you should or shouldn’t choose a super narrow niche (or topic).
Here’s my take: While I believe you need general themes, I don’t go so far as to say you have to pin yourself into a tiny corner of one topic to write about.
Here are two guidelines to keep in mind:
- Write about something you like! This will make it easier for you to write, be your authentic self, and connect with readers. Plus, writing will seem like a chore if you pick a topic you don’t give a rip about. Don’t start a blog about a topic you don’t care about. Pick something you really like.
- Make sure there’s plenty to write about. Assuming you want to stick with blogging for a while, you’ll write many blog posts in the years to come. Make sure you can brainstorm lots of headline ideas to write about before choosing your niche.
Once you know why you want a blog and what you want to write about, it’s time to get your blog started!
3. Pick A Blogging Platform
You may or may not have heard the wonders of WordPress for blogging.
Something that can be confusing at first is there are two WordPresses: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
WordPress is the behind the scenes tool for designing your blog, adding content and pictures, and writing posts.
WordPress.com has a free option because your site is hosted for you (more on “hosting” next). Using this free version severely limits what you can do with your blog. You have limited space (only 3GB), very limited customization, and plenty of rules to follow. It’s a lot like renting a house. It’s not yours.
WordPress.org is “the real WordPress” that you’ve heard all the wonderful and successful blogging stories about. While the WordPress software itself is free for anyone to use, there is a small cost to use this platform because you host the blog yourself (it’s “self-hosted”). You need web hosting and a domain name, both small expenses for the benefits you get.
With WordPress.org, you have complete control over your site. You can customize the themes, add plugins, and design it to make your blog exactly how you want it. You can use ads, sell digital or physical products, or create membership sites to earn money from your blog. The blog is yours. It’s like owning your home, instead of renting it from someone else.
For the best blogging experience, flexibility, and control over your site, I (and most experienced bloggers) recommend creating a self-hosted WordPress.org blog. There are a ton of resources and tutorials available for WordPress users for any questions you have, and it’s what I’ve happily used for both my websites.
Plus, if you plan to make money from your blog, you have unlimited potential to quickly earn the small expense of self-hosting back…and then some.
So if you are serious about blogging, please do it right from the start and create a self-hosted WordPress blog. Avoid starting with WordPress.com, getting frustrated with the limitations, then having the added struggle of switching over to WordPress.org.
The rest of this tutorial assumes you follow this recommendation 🙂 We want to work smarter, not harder, right? Every once in a while, working smarter is not the free version. This is one of those times.
4. Choose A Host For Your Blog
Web hosting is what gives your blog space on the internet so others can find you. Every website needs web hosting. It’s kind of like the property taxes for your home on the internet.
If you don’t choose the right host, it can get expensive.
Thankfully, Bluehost offers my readers a great deal on hosting and a free domain name (your web address). Bluehost is an official WordPress recommended hosting provider, and one I’ve happily used myself.
Disclosure: These are affiliate links, which means at no extra cost to you (in fact, you get a discount and a free domain name), I earn a small commission for the referral if you use my link to sign up. I have a partnership with Bluehost because I’ve happily used them to host my site and recommend their web hosting for websites and blogs.
Bluehost is recommended by me and so many experienced bloggers because:
- it’s affordable (seriously, only a few bucks per month)
- it’s powerful (they host millions of websites)
- it’s reliable (never had an issue with my website being down)
- it’s easy to use (you can install WordPress software with one click!)
- you get a FREE domain name (which we’ll get to next)
- you can customize it with just about any theme or plugin you want
- you can use their hosting to make money from your blog
- customer service support is available 24/7 for any tech questions that come up
- it comes with a money-back guarantee if for some reason it turns out not to be right for you
So there’s really no risk and LOTS to gain!
Just follow the steps below to set up hosting and start your blog today.
I’ll include screenshots so you can see what it’ll look like. The images may vary a little as Bluehost updates their site often, but the general steps should still follow the guide below:
5. Click The Button Below To Open Bluehost.
6. Click The Green “Get Started Now” Button.
7. Choose Your Plan.
The Basic plan should be enough for most and is what I started with. The Plus and Prime plans do have some nice extra features, but if you’re trying to keep costs as low as possible, Basic should be all you need to get started. You can always upgrade later. Click the green “select” button for the plan you want.
8. Pick Your Domain Name.
This is the web address of your website, like TheCommonCentsClub.com. If you already have a domain that you registered with another source, such as GoDaddy, you’d type under “I have a domain name.”
If you don’t have a domain yet, pick one and type it under “new domain.” Click the blue “next” button and make sure it’s available.
I’ll continue through the steps as if you are picking a new domain. If you already have a domain, the steps will only be slightly different.
9. Fill In Your Account Information.
10. Complete Your Package Information.
You can choose to pay for 1, 2, or 3 years by clicking on the drop down menu next to Account Plan. You’ll pay the least today if you choose to pay for 1 year, however, you’ll get the best value (rate per month) if you pay for 3 years.
There are a few extras offered and selected by default, but the only one I bought was Domain Privacy Protection for 99¢ per month, which keeps your personal information private, like your phone number and address.
11. Add Your Payment Information, Check The Box That You Agree To Their Terms, Then Click The Green “Submit” Button.
That’s it! You now have a hosting account…Hooray!
You should receive an email from Bluehost with your login information for the control panel (cpanel). Keep this information for future reference. Once you’re logged in to Bluehost, you’ll be able to install and start using WordPress.
When you login to Bluehost, you will see a dashboard like this. This is where you can put WordPress on your blog.
12. Install WordPress On Your Blog
From your dashboard or homepage within your Bluehost hosting account, you’ll be able to click “Install WordPress.” Follow the steps to install WordPress for your blog domain.
You’ll create log in info for your WordPress account. You will use your WordPress login link and account information (which you should get in an email) to get to the backend of your blog. This will likely be YourBlogName.com/wp-admin.
Your WordPress account is separate from your live blog, which is what everyone else will see. Through WordPress, you will be able to do the fun parts of designing your blog and writing posts to share with the world.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
And that’s all there is to it! After following those 12 steps, you should have your very own piece of real estate on the web: your own blog!
From here, you might want to learn the basics of using WordPress or find a theme to design your site. There is a learning curve, but there are free resources for anything you need to know. Just take your time learning one thing at a time. Resist the urge to get overwhelmed and enjoy the journey to becoming a blogger and turning your blog into a successful business.
Congratulations on taking the leap to start your own blog! I hope that step-by-step guide to starting your own blog for beginners was helpful. It won’t be long before you’re the one teaching someone else how to start their own blog.
Keep working smarter, not harder.
And no matter what you do today, do something that lets your light shine.
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