So, you want to start a blog?
Good for you. Whatever your motivation to start a blog, blogging can be a creative outlet to get your thoughts out and into the world and can even be a source of income too.
If you’re just starting a blog so you can write for fun, skip this next section and go to Getting Started.
If you want to start a blog because you want to turn your blogging into a source of income, then continue reading the next section.
Starting a blog and joining the ever growing global blogging community
You’re in good company. There are 6.7 million people that publish blogs on blogging websites, and another 12 million people write blogs using their social networks. The blogging community is vast and a great source of knowledge, friendship and monitization.
Here are some of the main reason why you should start a blog;
- Blogging is one of the most popular ways of communicating and spreading information and news today. As we watch newspapers go out of business, we also see literally millions of blogs being launched online for all kinds of topics and niches (don’t worry, you can make yours stand out and get traffic too).
- It’s a great way to express who you are, what you are about and your personal perspective. It’s also a a great way to share information with others.
- You become a better writer and a better communicator.
- The best reason? You can actually make money doing it!
Additional Benefits from Blogging
Blogging can be fun, challenging and rewarding both intellectually and financially. As a source of income or for your business, blogging has many benefits.
- helps you build and bring together a network of like minded people
- enables you to help others
- can attract relevant traffic to your website
- convert that traffic into leads
- help you establish authority
- Take Control of Your Online Identity
- It helps you build trust online
- It drives long term results
- You can become a better writer
- You can get immediate feedback from your audience
- Learn new skills
- Sell products & services
Starting a blog and blogging can be more than just a way of advancing your online presence; it is also a way of advancing your life in general. Your blog can the platform that can propels you forward towards your goals.
I’ll get to the tutorial in a second, where I’ll outline exactly what you need to do to get started and set up your own personal blog but, before we dive in, I want to talk about WHY you should build a blog.
What is your “WHY”?
Why do you want to blog?
Who do you want your audience to be?
Why are you doing this?
Simon Sinek did a Tedx talk about “Starting With Why”. The main piece to his message is that people don’t buy what you do, they buy “Why you do it”.
It’s a really great concept and I think it’s worth your time to watch it if you goal is to monetize your blog or build any kind of business.
About the 6 Steps In This “How to start a blog” Guide
In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to sign up for a Bluehost account, get WordPress installed and configured and then help you publish your first blog post.
You can use this post as a step by step guide to getting you there.
- Choosing the right website hosting plan
- Choosing a domain name
- An overview of your hosting control panel
- Installing WordPress with one click
- Setting up the base configuration
- Writing your 1st blog post
If you have questions, please leave a comment at the end and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Start a blog – Getting Started
Getting a Bluehost Web hosting account
Setting up a Bluehost account and installing WordPress is a lot easier than it used to be.
When I first started using Bluehost back in 2001, they were a small company run mainly by Matt Heaton and it took a little more effort and technical know how to set up your site and get WordPress installed. There were less features, products and support compared to now. They’ve grown and the services and support they have is great.
I’ve been recommending them for years and many of our clients are on either Bluehost or they use the HubSpot platform.
Before you head over to Bluehost and click on the Get Started Now button, there are a few things to consider.
You will need to choose a web hosting plan that works for your budget and your performance needs. You will also need to choose and register a domain name.
1) Choosing the right web hosting plan
Bluehost offers several plans with three main plans that you should consider as a blogger starting out.
The plans are the basic, the plus and the prime.
My website is hosted on a prime account. I like it, it provides the level of performance this site needs but, you need to choose a plan that works for your specific needs & budget.
If you are just getting started, choose a basic plan and when the time comes that you need better performance, it’s easy to upgrade your service just by calling into the Bluehost support team.
2) Choosing a domain name
How to choose a domain name?
Choosing a domain name is different for everyone but should be rooted in your goals.
If you’re goal is to:
- build a personal brand, then register your name like I did.
- create and market new product or service. Then you’ll want to find a domain name that works with the product or service brand you are creating.
- build a niche topic blog. Then you’ll want to do some keyword research and then pick a domain name that has your niche keyword it it.
I use SEMRush to help me do research on keywords and my competitors. It might help you in choosing the right niche domain name.
For example, one of my niche eCommerce sites is called www.energysolutions.store. I sell generators, solar panels and more.
Choosing a domain name can be challenging as there are not many meaningful dot com domain names available unless you want to spend hundreds, thousands or even millions of dollars trying to get one.
After six-plus years and 1.5 million cold hard dollars Noah Kagan of SumoMe just re branded to Sumo.com so you can see domains are important and can costs a lot.
The upside however is that there are many new top level domain extensions to choose from like .co, .store, . online, .pro, .guru, .ninja, .travel, .agency and many more.
And who doesn’t want a .NINJA domain name…
Searching for an available domain name
Once you’re logged in, the Bluehost domain search interface makes it easy to search for and register new domains.
When searching for your niche keywords the results provide some auto-generated domain name ideas which is great to help in your search.
Bluehost may end up suggesting a better domain name than you can think of.
To find the domain registration search, visit to the Domains section of your Bluehost control panel, then go to the Register tab. From here, you can search for the domain you’d like to register and click “Check” or click the “Bulk Register Domains” button to search for multiple domains at once.
Now that you’ve chosen an available domain and you know the plan that suits you, go ahead and head over to Bluehost and click on the Get Started Now button.
Come back to step 4 when you see the following screen in your new Bluehost account.
3) Overview of your Cpanel Web Hosting Dashboard
When you login to your hosting account, your will start at the Cpanel Dashboard.
cPanel is one of the oldest and easiest to use web hosting control panels. Many hosting companies use it because it provides a simple user interface and automation tools designed to simplify the process of hosting and managing a web site.
Your Cpanel dashboard provides you with access to all kinds of features and tools to help you manage you web hosting server. It also is the place you will see offers for other tools and upgrades.
The main section of your web hosting control panel include:
- Website – this is where you can setup wordpress, find and add theme and also test you pages speed.
- Email – your hosting account comes with an email server. Here you can add and manage all your email accounts associated with your domain name.
- Domains – This is where you can add and manage your domain names. You can also have more than one domain names. You can also get access to more technical domain name tools here.
- Marketing – Various marketing tools and offers.
- Stats – View various stats about visitors to your site. I don’t use these stats, rather I use Google Analytics and that stats you can get with Jetpack by WordPress.
- Files – Access your web server file manager. Here you can see and edit all the files on your server.
- Database tools – Your blog will have a database that will be setup automatically for you. However, this section allows you to manage your databases using database management tools.
- and more…
Each of these tools within these sections does a specific thing and I’ll cover some of these more in the future. If you have a specific question, you can leave a comment below.
Alright! With your hosting account setup, let’s get WordPress installed and working.
4) Installing WordPress with one click
Find the “Install WordPress” button in the website category and click it.
Click on the Install button.
Choose your domain. If you only have one, it will show up in the drop down menu.
Select it and click Check Domain button.
It will check your domain to ensure the settings are correct and then if all is well, it will display the last step to installing WordPress.
Click on the “Show advanced options“, enter the name of your blog, change the email if you want to and change the password if you want as well.
You can keep these settings here for now and change the site name and password later but the admin email will have to stay the same. Make sure it’s the one you want.
When you’re done, read the terms and conditions, click the check box to confirm and click Install Now button.
The system will now install WordPress on your server. You can watch the progress at the top in the status section.
When it’s done, it will provide you with links to your home page and a link to the admin dashboard.
Admin URL will look something like this -> www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin
I would suggest bookmarking your admin URL so it’s easy to find a login as you work on your new website.
Click on the admins URL and login to your new WordPress dashboard.
5) Setting up the base configuration
You should see your dashboard once logged in.
It gives you an overview of what’s happening with your blog. You can view your draft posts and activity like who’s linking to you, who’s commenting and how popular your content’s been.
Follow the instructions on the Welcome to WordPress screen and Customize Your Site. You can also change your theme here if you want.
Depending on the Theme you choose, you will have a few or many options for customizing your blog such as:
- Adding your logo if you have one
- Colors and style
- Header and Footer
- Menus – Setting up your navigation menus
- Widgets – those sidebar menu blocks like recent posts, ads, categories and text.
- Static front page and other settings.
Learn more details about the Dashboard here.
If you want to change theme, I usually find what I need at ThemeForest.
6) Writing your 1st blog post
From the dashboard you can create a new post from the top New menu or from the Posts section on the left sideboard menu.
Create your first post, starting with the title and then use this outline below to get you started.
A basic Outline of your 1st blog post
Copy and paste this into your draft blog post to get you started
- Post title
- About Me
- Why I started this blog
- What you can expect
Your First Post
Take your time writing your first post.
Write a draft, and do several rounds of edits. It will take you a few posts to get into a rhythm and in no time you will be writing and posting lots.
Once your done click publish you’re done.
Congratulations! You’re done with the easy part of starting a blog.
If you made it this far. Good for you.
I hope the instructions were clear and helpful. If you have a suggestion, let me me know.
This is really just the 1st step on a million step journey. With the technical aspects of starting a blog out of the way, the hard part of creating great content begins.
What I’ave found to be the best next step is looking at the goals you have for your blog and create a content editorial calendar.
Blogging is a hard habit to create and sustain over time but it can be fulfilling and even profitable.
Creating a publishing calendar is about making a list of the posts you want to create and then setting deadlines to publish them. The sooner you get this part of the process going the better. before you know it, a year will have passed and you will have created a ton of valuable content for your audience and your audience will have also grow as well.
Good luck and happy blogging.
What am I missing?
I want this tutorial to be as helpful as possible to you so if I’ve missed a step or you think there’s an area that needs more detail, leave me a comment and let me know.