How To Start a Blog – Beginner’s Guide

- Guide by Mark Pastore

So you think you’d like to try blogging? Well, I think that’s an excellent idea!howtostartablog

I’ve been a blogging newbie once. When I started my first blog in 2009 I didn’t know anything about blogs. Fortunately, times have changed and now I’m going to teach YOU how to start a blog.

Below here I’m going to cover the exact steps that are needed to set up a personal blog. Before I go in-depth, I just want to give out some key-points on WHY you should start blogging:

  1. Blogging is becoming more and more popular. There are literally millions of blogs online.
  2. Blogging is a great way to express yourself and share information.
  3. You can make money with blogging

… but I think you already know that, right? If so, let’s start with the guide.

P.S. I’m going to warn you. Creating your OWN blog from scratch can take up to 30 minutes, so grab a coffee/tea and start reading. If you need any help during the set up process, just get in touch with me and I’ll answer your questions.

 

What steps are covered in this guide?

Five main steps are covered in this guide. If you go through each step, your blog should be up and running within 30 minutes or less. In either way, you’ll be able to set it up. It’s not as difficult as creating a website from a scratch. In fact, you don’t need to code anything by yourself.

  • Step 1 – Choosing blogging platform
  • Step 2 – Choosing between self-hosted blog and a free blog
  • Step 3 – Setting up a blog on your OWN domain (domain name & hosting)
  • Step 4 – Designing your blog
  • Step 5 – Useful resources for blogging

 

Step 1 – Choosing blogging platform

wordpress blogging platform

 

The very first thing you’d need to do is choosing a blogging platform. I’m preaching WordPress since it’s by far the best blogging platform with lots of ways to create, design and customise your blog. In addition to that, it’s also the most popular blogging platform with more than 82 million active users.

But I’ll also point some of the alternatives that you might want to consider/try.

Blogger – Second best blogging platform.

Tumblr – Quite new, but constantly growing.

Squarespace

Here’s why I’m preaching WordPress for both beginners are more advanced bloggers:

  • It’s super easy to set up.
  • There are tons of free layouts and themes to choose from.
  • They have huge support forum (I haven’t needed it yet, but it’s a great thing if you get stuck).
  • Your blog will be insanely fast and it’ll look awesome.
  • People can leave comments, share your blog on social media and so on…

You can read more from Udemy about WordPress – How to Choose Blogging Platform

 

Step 2 – Self-hosted blog on your OWN domain or a FREE blog?

Hold on! This is the biggest decision you’ll need to do before moving forward.

With WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger you are able to create a free blog. That’s great isn’t it? Well, it is, but here’s the downside:

Your blog web address (also know as URL) will be ugly. In short, if you decide to create a FREE blog, your blog address will be: yourblog.wordpress.com, yourblog.blogspot.com or yourblog.tumblr.com.

Your blog will be somewhat limited. You are not able to fully monetize it, you don’t have possibility to upload endless videos/images. You won’t have access to ALL THE FREE themes.

On the other hand, if you decide to go with self-hosted blog on your OWN domain, you’ll be able to get a personal domain, such as yourblog.com (it can also end with .org, .net, .ca, co.uk etc..) and unlimited bandwidth for videos and images. My own blog (BloggingBasics101.com) is self-hosted blog and YES, it’s powered by WordPress.

Now you might want to know how much is domain and hosting? Not much, approximately $40 per year. But the benefits you are getting from it are way more valuable.

If you’re still hesitating, read this:

 

Step 3 – Setting up a blog a WordPress blog on your OWN domain

As I mentioned above, I’m preaching WordPress and self-hosted version of blogs. Now, this “self-hosted” might confuse you a bit, so I’m going to explain you how it works and how you can set it up.

First off, you’ll need to come up with a domain name and find a hosting company that can host your blog.

  • Domain is your blog address – YourAwesomeBlog.com
  • Blog hosting is a service that puts your blog online and connects it with your domain.

I’ve been using iPage for a while and I can’t really say any bad words about it. It’s one of the cheapest (less than $2 per month) and it’s been extremely reliable. Domain name cost is around $12 per year, but from iPage you can get it for free :). So far, I’ve bought all my domains from them and I’m also using their services to host my OWN blogs.

If you don’t want to go with iPage (for some reason), feel free to use any other hosting company. Most if not all of them have integrated “One-Click-Install” for WordPress blogs. In other words, you just need to click a few buttons and your blog will be up and running. There’s absolutely no need to install it manually which could take hours for a beginner.

In short, just sign up with iPage (or any other hosting company), get a domain/hosting and look for the “One click WordPress install” at your administration panel.

Domain privacy is optional and website essentials are not actually needed, but I’d recommend whois privacy (to keep you fully anonymous) and automated backups (for security purposes).

Once you’ve installed WordPress, you can log in from “YOURBLOG.COM/WP-ADMIN” and start messing around. It’s pretty cool at first, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it.

 

Step 4 – Designing your WordPress blog

In this step, you’ll need to take some time and choose a suitable theme for your blog.

You can either log in to your WordPress blog and start looking from unique themes under “Appearance” => “Themes” or you could look for Premium themes from ThemeForest.net.

I usually pick something that looks professional and easy to ready. WordPress also has this awesome feature that allows you to change themes with just a few clicks. So if you are tired of your current blog template, you can just switch to another one without loosing any content or images.

Keep in mind that your blog’s design should reflect your niche and your personality, but should also be user friendly. In fact, your blog design is one of the most important decisions you’ll make besides choosing your platform and your blog’s name.

Sure design is sort of subjective art, but you know good design when you see it and you can tell when someone’s taken the time to really consider how a blog is used and viewed. The face you show to the blogosphere can affect your credibility and authority.

choose-blog-theme

For more reading, I’ve put together 3 blog posts about designing your blog. Feel free to check them through.

 

Step 5 – Useful resources for blogging

True, bloggers come to the table with varying degrees of online and social media experience, but we’ve all made more than a few newbie mistakes. These articles may help you avoid some of the growing pains of your first blog.

 

And that’s it! I’m more than confident that your initial blog set up should now be finished. If you get stuck or have any questions, just get in touch with me.

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