How to Start a Blog in 4 Easy Steps (A Guide for Beginners)
Before I started this blog, as much as I enjoyed reading all about the successful bloggers and how they did it, I also wanted to read the experiences of beginner bloggers.
I knew their tips and novice knowledge would help me out a lot more as I can relate to it.
If you love writing or are looking for a side hustle that could potentially make you extra money, then blogging might just be the thing for you.
It is possible to make money online working from home or anywhere you wish. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection!
It may seem overwhelming to think about setting up a whole website from scratch, but let me assure you that it’s easier than it looks. I did it and you can too.
This post contains affiliate links. See full affiliate disclosure here.
So today, we will go through the four steps you need to take to start a blog easily and quickly.
This way of starting a blog (by purchasing a self-hosted blog through Bluehost) also means you are giving your blog the best chance at making money in future.
STEP 1: Pick a domain name
The first thing you need to do is decide on a domain name, which will identify your website. Try to use a name that hints at what your blog is about.
This will depend on your niche, which will be the topic you’re going to focus on throughout your blog.
You can also use your full name if that is something you would like to do. However, keep in mind that domain names with the owner’s full name are not usually easy to sell in future (for obvious reasons!).
You then need to check that your domain name is available and that it is not trademarked by someone else. This is the rookie mistake I made in the beginning (how embarrassing), and I tried to sign up with a domain name that was already taken. You can check if your domain name is available here.
Alternatively, you can look it up on Bluehost. Bluehost is also currently offering a free domain name when you purchase their hosting plan for as little as $3.95 per month.
STEP 2: Choose a blog platform
Now that you have your domain name sorted, it’s time to select a blog platform. WordPress is the most popular and highly recommended by many people. I wouldn’t go to any other blog platform.
They also work with Bluehost so you can easily get your hosting set up. In order to register with WordPress, you need to head over to their wordpress.org site, not wordpress.com. WordPress.org deals with self-hosted blogs which is what you will be working with.
STEP 3: Sign up for a hosting service
Now you need to find a hosting service, which is essentially where your blog lives. There are a few hosting services but the one I am most familiar with and have been using is Bluehost.
Bluehost is a trustworthy hosting service that has a good reputation.
Whoever you go with, it is important to choose a hosting service that is trustworthy as it affects important aspects of your blog like site speed and accessibility.
Bluehost also provides 24/7 support online, which is really one of the best things about it in my opinion. This came in handy for me especially in the beginning when I didn’t know where to turn to for help.
There were so many questions I had about WordPress and the whole set up process that they helped me get through.
Bluehost has three plans to choose from. I went with the Plus plan at $5.95 per month and registered for 24 months. You can always go with the Basic plan and upgrade later if needed.
Now, it’s time to set up your self-hosted blog.
To get started, click here and it will take you to the following page.
Select your plan. Again, you can choose whatever plan suits you and you can always upgrade or downgrade later.
Choose a new domain or an existing domain if you have one. This is where you can search for a new domain of your choice and it will tell you whether it is available or not.
Fill out your account and contact details
Fill out your package information and any extras you might like to add. I personally do not add these extras – they’re not absolutely necessary.
Complete your payment details.
And there you have it. You’re now done filling out your account and plan information.
The next page will ask you to create a password which is really simple.
Now, you may go ahead and install WordPress. This step is super easy. Once you have finalized your registration and created your password (which you just did if you’ve been following the steps above), you will be taken to the Bluehost dashboard.
You will find the “Install WordPress” button on the dashboard. Click on it to get that installed.
So far, so good?
STEP 4: Design your blog
Now that you have a self-hosted website, it is time to set up your framework and theme.
If you don’t know what a framework is, it’s basically the bones and structure of the website. And a theme is what makes your website look great (the colors, layout, and design).
And unless you’re a web designer (which I certainly am not) it’s best to go with a framework like Genesis Framework by StudioPress, which has everything you need to build a strong website and it is also search engine optimized (SEO).
To download the Genesis Framework, purchase it here first.
Then, log in to your WordPress dashboard and simply go to Plugins > Add New > Upload (and select the Genesis Framework file.
Don’t know how to login to your WordPress dashboard? Visit your URL with a /wp-admin on the end. For example, www.example.com/wp-admin. This will take you to your WordPress login area.
Now that you’re all set up with Genesis, you may choose a free theme which you can find on the WordPress dashboard or buy one from a good theme shop like StudioPress.
*Quick note on purchasing Genesis Framework: Though it may seem like a big investment when just starting out, remember you can keep using the Genesis Framework if you decide to start a second or third blog. You’ll be glad you have it for good.
Finally, it’s time to begin writing your first blog post and add your choice of categories and pages!
Yay! You made it.
I hope that was easy to follow. Remember, if you run into any problems, I’m more than happy to help. Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be sure to respond as soon as possible.