If you’ve ever wondered how to start a blog, you’re in luck because that’s exactly what I’m going to show you today.
15 minutes is all you need, and you DON’T need any knowledge of HTML, coding or graphics design.
I’ll walk you through the whole process in a moment, but first, let me tell you my story…
I’m Lizzie Frobisher and 8 years ago, I was where you are now.
I didn’t know the slightest thing about setting up a blog. Greatly excited by the prospect of making a blog of my own, I went ahead to register my first domain name.
Then, I became confused. I didn’t know what to do next. I struggled for 18 days, invested time and energy to understand the new “blog,” checking Google for stuff like “how to start your own blog” without grasping anything.
Everything I found seemed very technical.
I got frustrated, I muddled on through and eventually my blog was built and then this guide was born.
Since launching this guide I have helped hundreds of people get their first blogs online and take their first steps.
Choose a Blog Platform
If you plan to start a blog for professional purposes, a self-hosted WordPress blog is more professional. If it’s to do it for a cause or as a hobby, a self-hosted WordPress blog is more elegant.
You can learn more about the different types of platforms here.
Choose a Domain Name
Your blog helps to establish your brand and credibility. The domain is often the first thing clients see, so find a domain that fits your business, is memorable and easy to spell.
A unique domain name will help your clients remember you. Stay away from names that play on the reputation of an existing business. Generate a following that is exclusively yours.
Every web address ends with a period followed by a domain extension. Those 3 to 4 letters are known as “top-level domains” (TLDs). There are now hundreds of different TLDs. Each one has its benefits, so find the one that best suits your business.
Choose a hosting company
Whether you are a blogging novice or an established business, having a blog accessible to your audience at all times is necessary. Your blog should be accessible to visitors 24/7/365.
There are many types of web hosting services including shared, VPS and dedicated hosting. The former involves hosting multiple clients on one physical server while in the latter, each customer gets exclusive access to his own server. Each hosting service has its own advantages and disadvantages.
I am a huge fan of BlueHost, it is used by lots of people when they are starting their first blog and is even recommended by well known professional bloggers such as Pat Flynn (SmartPassiveIncome.com) and Darren Rowse (Problogger.net).
How to Set up your Blog
Now we are getting down to business!
In this section we are going to build a blog by setting up our hosting account, domain name and installing WordPress.
If you sign up to Blue Host today you will get a great discount exclusive to startablogtutorial.com visitors as well as a free domain name worth up to $15 for your new blog too. Blue Host also offer an excellent 30 day money back guarantee with no quibbles if you don’t like their service.
When you sign up for hosting with Blue Host there are some additional services they offer. Domain Privacy Protection means that people won’t be able to see the name, address and contact details of who owns the blog, if you’re happy for people to know who owns the blog then you can deselect this and save yourself about $12 per year.
You also do not need Sitelock or the search engine Jumpstart for running your blog.
How to Install WordPress with MOJO Marketplace
- Now you want to go to the MOJO Marketplace inside your cPanel.
- Click on the button named One-Click Installs.
- Choose WordPress.
- Next you need to click on to the Start button.
- Select the domain name to install your WordPress blog on to.
- You can edit the email address, username and password for the new WordPress blog. Simply click “advanced options” and you can change those settings.
- Select the Install Now button.
The process of buying your hosting and installing WordPress should take you less than 15 minutes to complete – yes it really is that easy!
Install a Blog Theme
Now that your WordPress blog is built you need to add a WordPress theme that has all of the functions that you need, a WordPress theme is a pre-designed template which you can customize. Right now you have a choice to make you can either go with a free or a paid one. There are of course advantages and disadvantages to both so it comes down to what you want from your blog.
Some of my favourite places to find themes for blogs are:
- WordPress Library
When you are choosing your theme you want to make sure it fits with your goals. For example, if you are writing a professional blog then you will want a formal clean design where as a music blog you will have more license to show off your creativity.
These days you should now been using a responsive design. This means that the layout of your blog will adapt to different mobile and tablet screen sizes – which is highly important for usability now that a lot of people are using mobile phones to browse the web.
Install the Essential Plugins for Your Blog
While WordPress offers a ton of features and flexibility, there is still a lot of functionality missing from the core software. The best way to fill in the missing pieces, of course, is to get yourself the right plugins.
Plugins offer all kinds of customization for site admins, however, with almost 40,000 options to choose from it the WordPress Plugin Directory, not to mention all the premium products available, it can be difficult sorting the good from the, well, not so good.
So here’s a collection of free and premium must-haves, the plugins that can help take your blog from good to great.
Yoast WordPress SEO
Yoast WordPress SEO is hands down the best SEO plugin out there (and it’s free). It gives you a super simple way to understand and evaluate SEO on your posts (with a simple red/yellow/green mark) without having to delve into a masters course on title tags and meta descriptions. This is the best way to do a quick SEO evaluation of your blog without wasting hours and hours of your time trying to figure out your keyword density on a page.
There are a ton of contact forms out there, but Gravity Forms is the only one I use now due to its simplicity in setting up. Because some other form plugins don’t work with every theme – I bought a developers license and just use Gravity Forms across the board now.
Even though Gravity Forms is a paid plugin, it’s absolutely worth it. It’s rock solid, it won’t break & the support is great for any questions you do have. It makes form building easy again. Simply build the form, post it on the page like you would a photo or video and bam. There’s your contact form. Dead simple. Use it.
Simple Social Shares Plugin
Social plugins make it simple for people to share your content. This one is coded up the one & only Brian Gardner (the guy behind Genesis). This social plugin is the fastest, cleanest plugin I’ve seen out there. I use it here on Impossible and you can see exactly what it looks like at the bottom of this post. Pretty slick! Oh yeah, it’s free.
Pretty link allows you to create quick, “pretty” links that redirect to wherever you like. You can use this for making short links to different content or off-site links that you want to track. It comes in a free (lite) version and a pro version if you need a few more features. This is absolutely the easiest way to make short links and redirects that’s easy to make & trackable.
If you like getting notified about “great deals on gucci purses” or free offers to grow your nether regions, don’t install this. If you’d rather not get spammed to high heaven, install Akismet and forget about spam forever. If you want to start a blog, you’ll want this one (if you’re not sure why, just wait until the spam starts coming).
To activate Akismet, you’ll need a personal API key which you can pick up below for free:
WordPress Super Cache
Along with having a good host, a solid caching plugin will do the second most important job in keeping your site up during a traffic spike. A caching plugin basically reduces how much data your blog has to load every time one of your site’s pages loads. That reduces bandwith and can keep your site online if you ever get a burst of traffic that’s over your server’s head. While traffic spikes sound awesome in theory, when they crash your site and you get a huge influx of visitors who can’t see anything, it’s significantly less awesome.
You have now created your first blog, now it’s time to get down to business and start writing some posts!