How to Start a Blog – Step by Step Guide

Mike Wallagher from Startbloggingonline.com

I know, I know… starting a blog can be confusing. Four years ago, when I started my first blog, I knew absolutely nothing about blogs or blogging. I kept searching for information and “how-to” guides on Google, but they all required technical skills and I found them extremely difficult to follow.

By now, I’ve built and managed more than 30 different blogs, and during that time, I’ve learned a ton about blogging.

All I can say is that creating blogs is extremely easy and it does not require any coding skills (HTML). In fact, the whole process is somewhat automatic. So whether you are 20 or 70 years old, doesn’t really matter – you can still make it. Here’s my sample blog, which I made in less than 20 minutes. You can do that too; simply follow the steps below.

If you are still hesitating, I suggest you read my article titled “Reasons why you should start your own blog.”

P.S.: If you get stuck while setting up your blog, get in touch with me and I’ll help you out.

 

Shall we start?

1) DECIDE WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO BLOG ABOUT

The first thing you need to do is pick a blog topic. Is there anything you enjoy or are really passionate about? If there is, then start a blog about it. When I started my first blog, I was really interested in smartphones and new tech gadgets, so I picked that topic. It makes no sense to start a blog about something you have no interest in, while it’s much easier to write articles and posts about topics that you’re passionate about.

It’s even better when you have been interested in a specific field or an industry for a long time, because you are already an expert. However, if you don’t have any idea which topic or niche you want to write about, think about your hobbies or just start blogging about your daily activities, memorable moments or simply about everything.

P.S. If you already know your blog niche or topic, you can skip this step and move onto Step 2.

Click here to read more about blog topics and blog post ideas...

2) DECIDE WHICH BLOGGING PLATFORM TO USE, FREE OR SELF-HOSTED?

First of all, most of the blogs on the internet are made using the WordPress blogging platform. In fact, WordPress has been downloaded over 65 million times and is used by many popular blogs and websites.

Here’s why I think using WordPress is the best way to start your blog:

  • You can choose from many different layouts and free themes
  • You can easily write blog posts and add pictures/images to your blog
  • You are able to categorize your blog posts and create a custom menu
  • People can comment and share your blog
  • etc…

Free is not FREE…

Yes, you can create a free blog on a blogger.com or tumblr.com, but they are not actually free. And let me tell you why…

You are not able to get your OWN domain – Instead, you will get a sub-domain. My blog (startbloggingonline.com) has its own domain, but if I had decided to start a blog on blogger.com (for example), then it would look like startbloggingonline.blogger.com – a bit clumsy, isn’t it?

They are lacking of different themes/layouts and plugins – In other words, your blog will look really blank and boring. If you want additional themes or plugins to customize your blog, you have to pay… a lot.

You have NO control over your blog – Your blog is hosted on another site, thus you are not the “owner” of this property. If moderators decide that your blog does not fit with their policies (which can happen quite often), they can actually delete your blog without any warnings. In short, all your hard work and time spent on the blog will be vanished within seconds.

You are not able to earn money via blogging – Yes, you CAN make money with blogging, lots of people are. However, If you ever decide to earn money with your blog, you are unable to do it on a free blog. They simply don’t allow you to do that. Even if they do, they want their own cut, which is usually 50%.

However, if you are on a budget and don’t plan to blog more than few months then definitely start with a free blog. A self-hosted blog on your own domain (yourblog.com) is by far the better option. It gives you full control over your blog and you’ll look more professional. It’s also a great choice for people who want to blog long-term, share their knowledge, become a blogger and earn some money from it.

WHAT IS THE COST OF STARTING A SELF-HOSTED BLOG ON YOUR OWN DOMAIN?

Not much. You will need a domain that will cost approximately $10 a year and a hosting (service that connects your blog to the internet) is around $4 – $7 a month (less than a movie ticket). To sum this up, it’ll be around $50 a year. The good thing about self-hosted blog is that you don’t have to be committed. If you feel that blogging is actually not your cup of tea, you can cancel anytime and many services have 90 days money back guaranteed as well.

3) CHOOSING A DOMAIN & HOSTING, AND SETTING UP A WORDPRESS BLOG ON YOUR OWN DOMAIN

If you decided to go with a self-hosted blog on your own domain, smart choice.

Finding a great domain name can take a while, but it’s worth it. I suggest you pick something brandable and easy to remember. Let’s say you are planning to start a fashion blog. www.fashionblog2013.org or www.all-about-latest-fashion-trends.com is not a great idea. But why?

People simply cannot remember long domains and when they want to return to your blog they are likely to forget your domain name. It’s much better to choose something memorable, such as www.fashionologie.com, www.vivalafashion.com or something similar. As an alternative, you can just use your name, for example: www.MikeWallagher.com

In short, your domain name should be:

  • Catchy
  • Easy to remember
  • Unique

WHERE CAN I GET A DOMAIN NAME AND BLOG HOSTING?

I usually suggest people to get a domain and hosting from the same place, in that way you’ll save some money and time. In the past few years while I have been creating and managing blogs, I have discovered that there are very few reliable hosting companies.

To be more clear, I’ve used several hosting companies in the past. Just to mention some of them: Bluehost, Fatcow, Hostgator, Dreamhost. BUT… I wasn’t really satisfied with them. Their customer support wasn’t really professional and it took a lot of time to get in touch. Quite often my blog’s speed (page loading time) was ridiculously slow. The reason was quite simple (they aren’t that bad, actually): THEY WERE OVERSELLING their services. They focused on getting more and more new clients rather than improving their services, support and valuing their current customers.

One of the most reliable ones (also the one that I’m currently using) is Web Hosting Hub. Their service is quite cheap compared with others and they are well-known for their great customer support via email and phone (24/7). Web Hosting Hub is also good for beginners too, as they have a “1-Click-Blog-Installation” feature that is focused on WordPress blogs and websites. You simply click few buttons and your self-hosted blog on your own domain is ready.

Of course, you can use any other hosting company and I have included a tutorial on how to install your blog manually as well. If you decide to go with a different hosting company then make sure they offer unlimited bandwidth and unlimited disk space. That will help you to avoid problems later on.

You have two options to install your blog to your own domain:

  • A) With “One-Click-Installation” using WebHostingHub (You’ll get a domain from there as well).
  • B) Manually.

The One-Click-Installation is better for beginners or those who are trying to set up their first blog. If you are internet/computer savvy then have a look at the manual tutorial. Either way, you’ll get your blog online very quickly.

A) How to Set Up WordPress Blog using Web Hosting Hub (FOR BEGINNERS)

Click to continue reading...

B) How to Set Up a WordPress Blog Manually to Any Host (ADVANCED)

Click to continue reading...

…. and once you have completed the installation:

WRITING YOUR FIRST POST, CHOOSING NEW THEME AND PROMOTING YOUR BLOG

Click to continue reading...

P.S. Two things:

1) If you found this tutorial helpful, feel free to share it below. It really means a lot to me!

2) If you started a blog, you might want to join to my blogging course. Simply click on the “FREE updates” at the top of my page.

- Mike Wallagher