Ok, so you have decided to start a blog??? Congrats!!!
I am very glad that you made a decision to start your journey to creativity and entrepreneurship.
I remembered when I decided to start my blog I was scared and overwhelmed with information available on the internet. Trying to figure out the domain name, host, difference between free and paid host. Choosing the best host provider.
Many nights were spent on researching these important but basic things.
So, I decided to write a step by step guide to start a Blog from the scratch to make your starting little bit less anxious.
Before we start with the guide, I would like to give you few facts about blogging.
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Starting a blog is the easiest part and anyone can do it. (You can start your blog with Bluehost for as low as $3.95/month)
You don’t have to be technically sound to get your blog up and running. The journey starts once your blog is up & running.
Please bear in mind that like any other start-up business, blogging also needs lots of hard work and investment of time, energy, patience and Positive Mindset. You have to be ready to learn, interact and understand that there are no shortcuts.
At times, you’ll get frustrated and feel like giving up but have FAITH and go back to your reason or reasons for starting your blog.
If you are inspired by some successful bloggers and their laptop lifestyle then remember that they also started from a scratch and its the result of lots of sweats, tears, long hours and patience.
There are few bloggers who have started earning a small amount from the beginning but for most of us, it will take some time. Blogging is no doubt very challenging but rewarding as well not only in terms of money but also creative satisfaction. Like the Cliche – Being your own boss!!!
Caution: Don’t get stuck on the research part and never start a blog. Blogging is a long-term learning process.
It’s a good idea to do some research but there is so much to learn and you’ll only learn as you go on your journey.
This guide is to get your site up and running and give you the basic idea of blogging and different features of it.
Let’s get started with the Step by Step Guide to Start a Blog
There are five steps:-
- Blogging Platform
- Choosing Domain name and Hosting
- Configure & Design your Blog
- Little bit of Niche & Passion
- Tools handy for your blog
Choosing Your Blogging Platform
The first and the most important step is to choose the platform for your blog. By platform, I mean the tool that gets your blog on the web.
There are many platforms these days like WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace to name a few but personally, I recommend WordPress and there are good reasons for that:-
- It’s easy to configure
- Since it’s self-hosted, you have full control over your blog design, configuration and any monetization method you want to apply.
- It’s one of the most popular and versatile platforms with every plugins and theme designed keeping WordPress in mind.
- It has a secure and robust system.
There are two versions of WordPress-
WordPress.com is free to start with but you have very limited control over your blog.
There is limited theme support, no plugins allowed and monetization is very hard, you need have 25,000 monthly page view to apply for ads. These are just a few limitations to name.
WordPress.org needs a little bit of investment every month but its absolutely worth it.
But using my link with Bluehost, for as low as $3.95/month (price of one Starbucks coffee), you’ll get your hosting and a free domain. Basically, you will only pay for your hosting.
With self-hosting, you are in the driving seat. You can customize your blog according to your taste. Change design and monetize.
Domain Name and Hosting
Let’s decide what your domain name would be. Domain name is the name of your blog or website, for example, www.google.com or https://domalama.com.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter what you name your blog as long as you write useful content and solve your reader’s problems.
You can create your own word to name your blog. For example avocadu.com(avocadu is not a word but it sounds like avocado and its a health & fitness blog)
To check if the name you are thinking about your site is available to use. You can go to godaddy.com and find out.
Don’t pay for it, remember domain name is free with Bluehost.
As per hosting, I personally recommend Bluehost. It is a great web host and I personally have had a great experience with them.
Bluehost is one of the best web hosting companies and you can start your blog with them for as low as $3.95 a month.
It’s affordable and you can save a lot of money by signing up for at least 12 months. If you want a better deal, the best value would be purchasing a 36 months plan, as your monthly rate is much lower over the long run. Most advertisers and companies tend to run away from Blogger websites because they don’t view them as professional as self-hosted WordPress blogs, so that’s another big reason to use Bluehost.
Benefits of Joining Bluehost:-
- FREE Domain
- FREE Site Builders
- 1-Click Install
- 24/7 Support
- 30 days money back guarantee
Bluehost has three hosting plans- Basic, Plus and Prime
For beginners, the basic plan is best for just $3.95/month. As your blog grows you can always switch over to the higher plan.
Check the step by step screenshots to install WordPress on Bluehost
- Go to Bluehost.com and select your plan.
- Enter your desired domain name, then click the “Next” button. If you already have a domain, enter your domain name instead of the “I Have a Domain Name” part.
- Enter your details to set up an account and select your package. To save money, in the long run, sign up for 36months. If in case you decide to discontinue then you can always cancel the package and get your money back.
- Congratulation, you have successfully signed up Bluehost. You will receive your login credentials in welcome email from Bluehost. Check your email.
- Now login to Bluehost.com using your credentials and install WordPress. Check this quick video by Bluehost.
Wow, Congratulation, You Did It 🙂
Your Blog is Up & running now. YAAYYY :-). That was pretty simple, right??
So the last URL that was used in the video is one you’ll be using every day to login to your blog. You might want to bookmark it.
Keep your username & password somewhere safe in your mind.
Design & Configure your Blog
This is for the first time you will blog and I am sure you will very excited and a bit nervous. I was.
Ok, let get started with designing. A beautiful blog is always a pleasure to look at.
So that you know it might take a bit of time. I would suggest playing around with free themes till you decide to go for paid one.
Once you start blogging and start visiting other blogs you will know what theme or color, the package you want to go for. Till then play around with free ones.
There are many free themes and some of them are really nice. The theme that I am using Human is a free one.
On the left-hand side of your site, these are a list of options – one of them is appearance and under it is the options theme.
Watch this video to know more about the categories and admin section of your site.
This is to add pages and create your first post.
You can watch rest of the videos on your free time to learn more about plugins, widgets, and menus plus how to market your blog.
Sorry to bombard you with lots of videos. You can watch them as you go along.
These videos from Bluehost just show you that help is always there. Contact Bluehost 24/7 customer service or check youtube for tutorials if you’re stuck while going through installation. You can also chat with their friendly customer service rep.
Niche or Subject of Your Blog
Now let’s talk a little bit about Niche and passion.
Niche is an area or topic that interest you that you can talk about, write about.
It makes easy to brand your blog and market it but let me tell sometimes you might get bored of writing about the same topic again and again.
You don’t have to be an expert on the topic but know a bit more than beginners. You can always grow your knowledge as I said earlier blogging is about learning.
If the topic interest you and you know that you can invest your time researching it then its good to go.
If you have multiple areas of interest and you are not sure which one to select with then see if they are interrelated or you can incorporate them into one big topic. For example personal finance- you can write about money making tips, money saving tips, side hustle to add extra income, investment and these sub-niches can have many posts on it.
As you learn and grow your interest you can specify your niche and go deeper.
So think strategically and plan your topic/subject which is close to your heart but also profitable. After all, you want to make money off your blog.
Tools & Tips for your blog
There are few things that you need to do from the beginning like making your post beautiful and market it. Start attracting traffic to your blog.
Before you start telling people about your blog or making that BIG announcement on Facebook about your blog, please have at least 10 posts on your blog. After all, you don’t want to create a bad impression so hold your horses and wait till you have a good number of posts.
I was not able to hold my temptation and introduced my blog to people when it was still under construction just one or two post. It was a big mistake.
Related Read: 33 Sites for Free Stock Photos
Pinterest is one of the most important social media sites to have your presence. For most of the bloggers it the largest source of traffic. Create the business account on Pinterest and if you already have a personal account then change it into business account by going through your profile settings.
You can also make the Facebook page of your blog. Create an account on Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn depending on your niche or interest.
Instagram is more photo-based so if your niche is Food, Fashion, Craft, travel then Instagram would be a perfect place for advertising about it.
For a graphic designer, VA, freelance write, realtor, finance niche having an account on LinkedIn is a very good idea.
Having some images in a post is a must. You want to keep your reader interested and make your post look beautiful to eyes.
Check my post above for free stock photographs. I would also suggest checking Haute Stock YouTube video to create beautiful post for Pinterest or Instagram
Don’t write paragraph after paragraph as in essay leave space between lines. It will make your post readable and will not scare the readers away. Most people use mobile phones these days and they just scroll through the post so have each line clearly coming out is a very good idea.
Canva.com is a must to create graphics pins or photos for your social media site. Its free version is more than enough in the beginning.
Optimizilla is a free photo compressor and its a must tool. Since you’ll be adding few photos to your post so compressing them makes sense as it will not take effect the speed or load time.
Add social media plugins to make it easy for viewers to share your post on their social media site. I am using ultimate social media plugins.
Email client – Every blogger says that email is your Goldmine and they are 100% correct so start collecting email from the day one. Have opt-in form (subscriber form) from the beginning. I have found that having option form on the top of the blog attracts more subscribers.
There few free ones like Mail munch, Mailchimp, and Malerlite but most bloggers use Convert kit which is a paid one. Create at least two subscriber forms – one at the top and another at sidebar. On post is also advisable but it’s up to you.
Please have your subscriber form in place before introducing your blog to the world. You don’t want to miss any lead.
The Most important of all the tools is Positive Mindset– I would like to reiterate that Blogging is lots of hard work and it’s not a quick money making scheme.
For the first few months- you need to give more than 100% to start getting returns in future. So having a positive mindset will help you stay on your journey and continue it.
Blogging is at times lonely as well so join some forum or groups- you will get lots of help & support and many new ideas.
So guys, my best wishes to you and create an AWESOME Blog on Bluehost with my link and spread your wings.
Please sign up for more ideas, tips, and news from domalama.com. Very soon, I will be starting a free email course or ebook – still in the pipeline, so stay connected.
If you like this post then please like and share with your friends and viewers.