Have you ever wondered how to start a blog for fun or profit? With all the amazing blogging tools and platforms out there now, it’s never been easier to get started.
The best part about it is that you don’t need any technical skills or knowledge – just the ability to follow a set of simple instructions. I wish I had a simple, step by step process like this when I started my blog. You can literally go from an idea to fully functioning blog in 30 minutes or less.
I believe that some of you may still be on the fence about blogging. So let’s take a look at why you should start a blog, as well as what you can potentially accomplish through your blog.
Why start a blog?
Some people use their blog as a creative outlet, or as a way to share their knowledge on a topic they’re passionate about. So there are many reasons why you may want to start a blog.
Other people use their blog as a way to make money from home – or even as their primary source of income. Still others use a blog to build awareness of their business, and to drive visitors to their business site.
There are some benefits that I’ve learnt from blogging, blogging has been the cornerstone of my business. I literally could not have built my business without it. And some of these benefits are:
• Making six figures a year
• A blog subscriber base of 25,000+ people who are notified each time I write a new article
• Over 1 million link clicks to my blog last year on Pinterest
• My blogs serve as the content engine behind my entire company
The great news about it is that anyone can start a blog, with literally no experience and no technical skills.
Some Simple Steps To Start A Blog
Step 1: Choose your blog platform
As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one real choice, and that is WordPress. And this is simply the software you’ll use to run your blog.
There are two versions of WordPress out there: WordPresss.com and WordPress.org.
I don’t recommend WordPress.com, as it will seriously limit what can and can’t do with your blog. It will also mean your blog address will, by default.
WordPress.org, on the other hand, will let you set up a fully-customizable blog that you can use for many years – and just like WordPress.com, the software is completely free to use.
You will need to pay for web hosting and a domain name… which we’ll cover in the next 2 steps.
Step 2: Choose a web host
While WordPress.org is free to use, you will need a company to host your blog. The host will essentially give your blog a “home” online!
Choosing your web host in one of the most important decisions you’ll make. You want to choose one that’s reliable, offers great customer support, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
I personally recommend Bluehost for hosting… it’s what I use for my own blog! I have found them to be extremely reliable, responsive and very competitive in terms of price.
Step 3: Choose your domain name
This is where magic begins! Your domain name is simply the web address people will use to access your site.
You may or may not already have a domain that you want to use. If you don’t, Bluehost makes it easy to get your domain name, and the best part is it comes free with your hosting package!
If you don’t already own your domain, you would choose new domain. You’ve probably already played around with some ideas, but here are a few tips on choosing perfect domain name:
- Don’t choose words that may be difficult to spell.
- Don’t cram “keywords” into your domain. Using keywords is fine, but if they actually make sense.
- Choose something short and catchy. You want people to be able to remember it easily.
- Use .com if it’s available, as it’s the easiest for people to remember. But don’t worry about using a .net address. I use a .net for my other blog and it does just fine!
- Don’t use characters other than letters (this includes hyphens). These can be hard to remember and easy to type in correctly.
Here are some domain examples of names you SHOULD use:
www.rebeccasbakery.com (.com is usually the easiest to remember)
www.bloggingwithbetty.com (short, catchy and easy to remember)
www.sweetandsavory.com (Easy to spell)
www.nicks.com (Using your business name should be your first choice, if possible)
Here are some domain examples you SHOULDN’T use:
www.deliciousbaking.com (Easy to misspell)
www.janettesbakery.info (Use a .com if available. If it’s not, the next best choice is usually .net)
www.Bobs-Construction-Company.com (Avoid hyphens)
www.bestitalianfoodsandiego.com (Too long and could be considered “keyword stuffing”)
If you can’t quite decide on your domain name right now, that’s ok. If you wait a minute or two, a screen will pop up that will let you claim an $11,99 credit toward your domain name. This means you can continue signing up for hosting, and still receive a free domain name later on.
Step 4: Create your Bluehost account
This is where you will enter your contact details and pay for your web hosting. You will also be asked to choose your account plan – this is simply how many years you want to sign up for.
Keep in mind that all web hosts will require you to sign up and pay for at least 12 months in advance.
However, Bluehost offers special pricing if you decide to sign up for 24 or 36 months.
For instance, if you choose the prime package, you have 3 options:
- 12 months for $8.45/month
- 24 months for $6.95/month
- 36 months for $5.45/month
Bluehost will also often have special deals that will save you even more money.
Finally, once your details are all entered, you’ll receive a welcome message, confirming your purchase and asking you to choose a password for your account.
Step 5: Set up WordPress
In step 1 we talked about how WordPress is the blogging platform I recommended. Fortunately, Bluehost makes it easy to get WordPress up and running in minutes.
Here’s what you’ll do: once you sign up for your Bluehost account, you’ll receive login information for your website’s cpanel account. This is simply how you’ll access the “back ends” of your site (you won’t need to use cpanel on a regular basis… it’s just for the more “techy” aspects of running your site).
Bluehost will now walk you through the process of setting up WordPress. Don’t worry – it takes literally 2 minutes to do!
First, you will be asked which domain you want to install WordPress to; choose the domain name you selected in step 3.
Next to your domain name, you will see a field that says directory. The question to ask yourself here is, do you want people to find your blog at www.yoursite.com or at www.yoursite.com/blog ?
Generally speaking, if your blog will be the “main attraction” of your site, you’ll want to host the blog on your main domain. This would mean leaving the directory field blank. This means people will access your blog by going to http://www.yoursite.com.
If, however, you envision your blog as an offshoot of your site (e.g. you want a main site for your business, and a blog as a part of your site), enter blog in the directory field. This means people will access your blog by going to www.yoursite.com/blog.
You are almost there! This is the final step before your blog is up and running. Under Advanced Options, you will be able to edit the username or password for your WordPress account. You’ll also be able to assign a name or title to your blog.
Once you’ve filled in all the fields, click Install Now. You can just ignore Change Install Location unless you know what you’re doing!
Your WordPress blog is now installed and you can access it by using the information sent to your inbox. This information includes your WordPress username and password, and the admin URL of your blog, which should be something like www.yoursite.com/wp-login.php, or www.yoursite.com/blog/wp-login.php.
Step 6: Design your blog the way you want it
Now that all the setup is done, you can start designing your blog so it looks exactly the way you want it to.
One of the best things about self-hosted WordPress site (which is what you now have) is that there are literally thousands of free themes you can use for your blog.
Themes let you change the look and feel of your site, including the number of columns, colors, style and layout.
And the best part is, you can change your theme with the click of a button! And here’s how:
Once you’re logged in to your WordPress account, go to Appearance on the left side of your screen, and then click on Themes.
Next, select Add New. You can now browse through a bunch of free themes, sorting them by Latest, Popular, Featured, etc. You can also search by keyword if you have an idea what you’re looking for.
These are my personal favorite themes: Elegant Themes
When you find one like, click Install. Your blog will now automatically have the look and feel of the theme you selected.
Step 7: Write your first blog post
If you can use Microsoft Word, you won’t have any trouble writing your first post in WordPress.
On the left side of your WordPress dashboard, find the Posts button and click Add New.
Enter the title of your post in the bar at the top, and then start writing the content of your post in the box below.
Just like in Word, you have a variety of options for formatting your post:
o Adding links
o Numbered lists
o Adding images
Step 8 (optional): Start monetizing your blog
I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to invest hours and hours writing content, tweaking my blog, promoting my content on social media, and pretty much running a blogness (a blog as a business) then I want to make a little money too!
The fastest way to make money from your blogging efforts is to sell your own products, programs, and services. I recommend using ClickFunnels to help you run your online business. I’ve been using them for 4 years and they make things EASY and excuse-free.
The second fastest way to make money blogging is through affiliate marketing. Whenever you write blog posts, think of products you can recommend to your readers. You can easily start promoting products you find on Amazon.
You can read more about how to make passive income money from affiliate marketing here.
Do you want to customize your blog further?
What I really like about WordPress is that you can use it right out of the box, or you can easily customize it to suit the needs of your growing blog.
Some of the ways you can change the look, feel and function of your blog are listed below.
Settings – The settings icon on the left side of the dashboard lets you customize a wide range of features on your blog. They let you add different functions to your site.
Widgets – These are tiny bits of code you can add to the sidebar of your blog. They let you add different functions to your site without having to actually do any coding yourself.
Plugins – Plugins are quite possibly my favorite thing about using WordPress! Like widgets, they let you add functionality to your blog without having to touch the code. You can add or edit your plugins by clicking on the plug icon on the left side of your dashboard.
Now I can tell you that you are officially a blogger!
Congratulations! You’re done setting up your blog and you’re ready to start making an impact on the world through your writing.
Your WordPress blog will serve you well for many years to come. By switching up your theme and adding new widgets and plugins, you can continue to keep your blog fresh and up-to-date with the click of a button.
And if you find your blog really takes off and you need additional email accounts, storage of even another website, you can upgrade your account with Bluehost at any time.