How To Start a Blog – Beginner’s Guide for 2022

– Guide by Jessica Knapp (updated April 5th 2022)how to start a blog

So, you want to start a blog huh? Great idea!

But…how the heck do you get started? There’s so much info out there on the web, and everyone’s telling you to do different things. Who do you listen to? Where’s the starting point?

Damnit, maybe you should just forget it – it’s too confusing!

Well, hold up. I used to be a blogging newbie too. I had the same problems. I started my blog (BloggingBasics101.com) all the way back in 2006, and I knew less than nothing about blogging. In fact, it was only the week before I’d learned what a blog was.

Now I know a ton about them, and my blog’s doing pretty well – I receive more than 300,000 unique visitors per month which makes me consider myself someone you could listen to and learn from when it comes to building your own blog. I’m not some sort of Guru, but I certainly do know the basics.

I promise it’ll be simple, relatively easy, and definitely easy to understand (no stupid jargon). Sound good?

Awesome, let’s move on.

Why you should create a blog and join the blogging community

So below, I’m going to outline exactly what you need to do to get started and set up your own personal blog. Before we dive in though, I really want to talk about WHY you should build a blog.

Note: If you already have a solid idea of the whys, then skip this and go right ahead with the guide.

  1. Blogging has quickly become one of the most popular ways of communicating and spreading information and news. There are literally millions of blogs online (don’t worry, you can make yours stand out and get noticed!).
  2. It’s a great way to express yourself and also a fantastic way to share information with others.
  3. You become a better person and a better writer.
  4. The best reason? You can make money doing it!

I bet you already knew all of that, but it’s nice to be reminded.

One very last thing before we get started:

Creating your own blog can take a little while, probably up to 30 minutes. So grab yourself a coffee or juice (whatever you fancy) and let’s get stuck in. If you need any help during the set-up process, get in touch with me here and I’ll help as best I can and answer any questions you might have).

Disclosure: This guide to starting your own blog contains some affiliate links. If you purchase any service through one of these links I may earn a small commission, this is at no extra cost to you.

The Steps Covered In This Blogging Guide

It’s nowhere near as difficult as setting up a website from scratch (there’s very little technical ability needed here). In fact, there’s no coding required by you. Good news, huh?

So, we made it. Phew. Better late than never! So, without further ado, let’s jump into step 1.

Step 1 – Choose your preferred blogging platform

Choosing where you want to build blog is pretty much the first thing you have to do. I’m going to take a leap and assume you’ve heard of WordPress, and this is the platform I advocate. It’s massive.

It’s by far one of the biggest blogging platforms in the world, with countless plugins and add-ons and almost infinite ways to design and layout your blog.

There are more than 82 million active users of WordPress = a lot, basically.

wordpress

There are other alternatives, however, and they are listed below:

  • Blogger – Definitely the next best thing to WordPress.
  • Tumblr – Half social network, half blog. Interesting, and very simple to use.

Even though WordPress is bigger (and probably better) than those two, here are my reasons why you should still go with WordPress:

  1. Super easy set-up and is free to use
  2. Tons of free themes and layouts (I’m not kidding, there are gazillions).
  3. There’s a massive support forum in case you get stuck (you won’t, but it’s nice to have it there if you need it).
  4. Your blog will be insanely fast and it’ll also look Functionality and form – perfect!
  5. People can interact with you easily. Your content can be shared, commented on, and so on.

Here’s an article about different blogging platforms (including WordPress), give it a read:

How to Choose a Blogging Platform – (updated for 2022)

Now, Step 2 (see, we’re moving fast now!)

Step 2 – Self-hosting or a free alternative?

Whoa, slow down there! This is the biggest decision you’ll have to make before we go any further. You need to decide whether to pay for your blog or grab a free one.

WordPress, Tumblr, and Blogger all offer free blogs for anyone. Awesome, right? It’s perfect for those of us who aren’t super serious about blogging. But it does have downsides:

1) You won’t be able to get your OWN domain name

On a free blog, your blog’s web address (your URL) will be butt-ugly. Like, really ugly. In short, create a free blog with any other the above free blog services and it’ll look like this:

  • yourblog.wordpress.com
  • yourblog.blogspot.com
  • yourblog.tumblr.com

I know, ugly right?

2) Limits and more limits

There are some limits to free blogs. You can’t fully monetize it, and you don’t have the possibility to upload all those videos and images you want to show everyone – it’s all limited. Worse still, you won’t even have access to the free themes offered by WordPress.

3) You DON’T OWN your blog

It might sound silly at first, but you don’t actually own your blog. It’s hosted on someone else’s web property and they can delete it if they want to. They have done so in the past, and keep doing it in the future. Which means all your hard work on your blog, all those countless hours of writing blog posts might have vanished within seconds. Sad…

On the other hand, with a self-hosted blog on your own domain name – you are the REAL owner of your blog. You’ll be able to name your blog whatever you want, for example, “YourName.com” or “YourAwesomeBlog.com. You can end it with .com, .co.uk, .net, .org, or virtually any other web suffix. Add to that unlimited bandwidth for videos, images, and content plus the free themes and you have a winning combo.

So how much is hosting and a domain name? Not as much as you’re thinking, fortunately. It usually works out to about $5 to $10 per month, depending on your hosting provider which is less than a couple of coffees.

If you still have questions, here’s some further information for you to look at:

Step 3 – Start a blog on your own domain (if you chose self-hosting and a custom domain)

wordpress blogging platform

I’m going to push ahead based on the premise you’ve chosen WordPress, and if you haven’t, you should. Seriously, it’s the best.

If you’re still a little confused by what a self-hosted blog is, allow me to explain and how you can go about setting one up for yourself.

You’ll need to come up with a domain name you like and also choose a hosting company that can host your blog.

  • Domain: The domain is basically the URL of your website. Examples: google.com (Google.com is the domain), Facebook.com (Facebook.com is the domain). See? Simple!
  • Hosting: Hosting is basically the company that puts your website up on the internet so everyone else can see it. Everything will be saved on there. Think of it as a computer hard-drive on the internet where your blog will be saved.

Disclosure: I recommend using Hostgator for web hosting. If you click through one of my links and make a purchase, I will receive a commission, which helps me keep bloggingbasics101.com up and running.

Personally, I use Hostgator (for my blog domain and hosting), and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about it.

It’s probably one of the cheapest (less than $3 per month) hosting providers out there. A domain name will cost around $10-15 a year, but with Hostgator, you can get that for FREE first year.

If you do sign up with Hostgator be sure to use the coupon code BB101 as this will unlock the maximum discount they offer on all their hosting packages.

:). Big smiles for that!

They’re the providers I use for all of my blogs, including the one you’re reading right now.

If for any reason you don’t want to go with Hostgator, feel free to choose your own hosting company. Most, if not all of them, should have a “one-click” WordPress install solution on their admin panel.

That button will automatically install WordPress on your blog. Did I say it was simple or what?

All you need to do is sign up with Hostgator (or your chosen provider), choose your hosting plan and a domain name and look for the one-click WordPress install button on the admin panel.

If you are getting stuck at any point this guide may help as it has screenshots.

WordPress essentials aren’t often needed, but I’d recommend whois privacy (that will keep all your personal details private) and definitely automated backups (that’ll save your website just in case anything fails or disappears so you won’t lose any or very little of your blog).

Start a Blog with Hostgator today and get an exclusive 60% discount with coupon BB101

Once WordPress is installed on your website, all you have to do to start blogging is go to your WP-Admin page usually www.yourblognamehere.com/wp-admin and start writing by adding a new post.

At the start, the layout looks confusing, but it gets very understandable quickly. Don’t worry!

Step 4 – Designing your WordPress blog

Now, the fun bit.

Let’s make your blog look exactly how you want it to. To choose a new theme, you can either head to Appearance > Themes and install a free WordPress theme or you can head to a premium theme website like ThemeForest.net and buy a theme for around $40.

I usually choose something that looks professional and pretty easy to customize. WordPress also has this awesome feature that allows you to change themes with just a few clicks. So if you start getting tired of your current blog template, you can just switch to another one without losing any precious content or images.

choose-blog-theme

Remember, your blog’s design should reflect both you and your personality, but also what the blog is about. There’s no point having a football-orientated theme if your blog is about tennis, understand?

On top of that, it should be easy to navigate if you want people to stick around. If it’s tricky and difficult to move around it, people won’t stay. After all design is a subjective art; meaning everyone likes different things.

But no one likes ugly websites, and they especially hate websites that need a university degree to navigate. Make it easy for them.

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

Last step! Woo!

Step 5 – Useful Resources For Beginner Bloggers

Bloggers come to blogging arena with varying degrees of online and social media experience, but we’ve all made more than a few newbie mistakes – there’s always room for more learning and improvement, whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been blogging for years.

These articles may help you avoid some of the growing pains when it comes to your first blog – enjoy!:

And that’s it! I’m more than confident that your initial blog set up should now be finished and ready to go, and all that should have been really damn easy (unlike my first time, lucky you!). If you are having any problems installing WordPress on Hostgator then this guide may help.

If by some unfortunate circumstance you get stuck or have any questions for me about how to create a blog, just get in touch with me or leave a comment below. I’ll help you out with any problems.

Enjoy your new blog!

Start a Blog with Hostgator today and get an exclusive discount of 60% with coupon code BB101

229 thoughts on “How To Start a Blog – Beginner’s Guide for 2022”

  1. This is the post every new blogger needs to go through first. You have thoroughly explained the basics of blogging. Liked it πŸ˜€

  2. Hi Jessica!
    first of all thank you, you’ve made it so clear!
    I’ve got one question though:
    what if I already have a web domain (I bought it from WordPress)
    plus I already have a portfolio/blog site on WordPress for School purpose,(which I didn’t pay for by the way)
    as I’m a Multimedia Designer.
    is it Possible to open ANOTHER blog with my domain on WordPress as you recommended?
    I’d love to have a another one apart from school and I Was wondering if that would be possible
    without paying again, even though I’d like to have the full control on it.
    Thanks in advance and have a nice day! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Paz

      You can transfer the domain away from WordPress.com to a domain registrar such as Namecheap or Godaddy. This might cost you around $9-12.

      Once this is done you will be free to host your blog anywhere.

  3. Hey Jess,

    Just wanted to tell you that my wife and I went with your advice and signed up with Hostgator. so far so good and now we’re on our way to setting up our homeschooling blog. thanks for sharing we’ll be frequenting this site for more knowledge in the future.

  4. Will it be possible to set up a blog where comments cannot be posted and emails cannot be sent to me? My only interest in blogging at this time is for a limited number of friends and family. I don’t want to deal with comments and such from random visitors.

  5. Hey,

    Love this post. Been blogging online myself since 2010. I know all too well of how powerful blogging is for branding and monetization.

    Nice, one! πŸ™‚

  6. This is a lot of great information. I was a bit overwhelmed about all the different ways in which to start a blog but am feeling more confident now. Thanks for this! Looking forward to starting my blog soon.

  7. John S. Zell - Web Designer

    I always encourage my friends to look at WPengine for hosting, its a bit more pricey but is really stable and reliable, plus they include tons of goodies that are usually considered a premium service and they all work without a struggle. Thinks like a CDN, Backups, Offload to S3. All these things can really help the quality and consistency of your site and are definitely something to think about whether you are a beginner or an advanced blogger.

    1. Hey John

      WP Engine is a superb prospect however you’re looking at $29p/m for their most basic package. This is way out of the reach of most of my readers. This article is aimed at people who are just taking their first baby steps into blogging, and aren’t yet at a level of knowledge or income to justify something that costs over $300 per year. In comparison the hosting I recommend costs around $72 for 3 years and includes a free domain name in year one.

      I’ve recommended a variety of blog hosts to my readers but premium managed hosting solutions aren’t what people want yet.

      Jess

  8. Hi thanks for all your help! So I have a question. I want to make a blog but I want it be self hosted. Do I make it on WordPress first then get into Hostgator or do I sign up with hosting and then connect it to WordPress? I was a little confused when you was talking about that. Thanks

  9. I read this and it has inspired me! I am a fashion minor in college and am really looking forward to starting my own fashion blog thank you!

  10. Hey!
    I have already got a blog set up and I have just got it how I want it on blogger. However, I would like to take it further and maybe gain a higher following. I would like to get my own domain but I don’t want to loose my posts and content. Suggestions? Thankyou so much X

  11. I want to start a blog, but I can’t pay for a domain, so I thought I would use tumblr. Now I love tumblr, but I don’t think that is the best option for a blog cause the url will be myblog.tumblr.com and it just dosen’t look strong enough. So any suggestions?

  12. I would like an response anyone, preferably from the author. I used to write a Blog and would like to start again. My previous Blog was hosted by WordPress. I was paying about 29.00 dollars a year for many years, but all of a sudden it jumped to about 150.00 a year. I tried contacting WordPress about this unexplained huge increase, but they chose not to respond. Since you recommend using WordPress, how can you assure me they will honour their promises, and when they don’t, what can I do?

    1. Hi Larson

      WordPress is free open source software – you are referring to your web hosting company. Web hosts will inform you of any charges in advance and it is very easy to move to a new host. Some web hosts offer free transfers if you sign up for a contract of 12 months or more. The other thing to do to avoid sudden price hikes is pay for 36 months rather than 12.

      Jess

  13. Hi Jess! I am a little bit confused on the actual action i need to take. Do I go to the wordpress website to set up my blog? Or do I go to the Hostgator website? Thank you!

  14. This is very helpful. I have a question.. I’ve had a family blog on Blogger for years.. if I switch to WordPress..is there any way to convert the data? Or is there any other idea to capture the original data. I’m worried now since it’s not a custom self-hosted blog. Thanks!!

    1. It is very easy to transfer from Blogger to WordPress, it can be done by exporting your posts and importing them into WordPress.

      There are dozens of articles online and on WordPress.org which show you this process of “moving from Blogger to WordPress”

  15. Thank you Jessica for the information. I’ve read just about all of your blog posts and they have helped me, someone that loves using tech but not so tech savvy when it comes to building a blog. You made it easy right from the start and as I was thinking of questions they were being answered as I read a little more. Thanks again. (if you go to my web page it’s still in demo mode until I have enough material to begin!)

  16. Hi Jessica
    I found your tips very good 😄
    I have one question I would like to start blogging I live in the UK at the moment but is it possible to open blog in here and then have the capability to convert it to another language ? Or do I have to do a separate blog in a different language
    Thanks 😄
    Magdalena

  17. Hi Jessica
    I found your tips really helpful but I have one question I live in the UK I would love to start blogging but is it possible to open blog in the UK and able to convert the language and menus in to polish ? Or do I have to open it the polish language? 😄

    1. Hey Magda

      WordPress is multi-lingual so no issues there. As for opening a blog in the UK as long as you have a credit card and UK address then you can sign up with Hostgator
      Jess

  18. Hey, thanks for the great post. When it comes to free blogging platforms, some they will allow you to use your domain. The problem is that some they will not allow you to monetize your blog and they can delete your blog without any valid reason.

  19. Hi Jessica,

    Im currently interested on starting a blog and Im wondering if it is possible to blog on a smartphone? Since I cant always carry a laptop around and most of the time ideas and inspirations just pop-up from unexpected places and I dont want to waste the feelings and emotions that I wanted to express on my writings just because I cant conveniently start from where I am

    Regards,
    Angel

  20. Great info, thanks! Got our self-hosted site up and running on WordPress but just have trouble coming up with things to write about πŸ™

  21. hey i actaully have 2 questions about starting a blog..1. is that if i just have a free blog on WordPress, and my blog is owned by them, will i still get money for it?? 2. i already made a free WordPress blog, but in case of any mind changes can i switch to a hosting company while still keeping the page i have already made? or would i have to start all over again?

    1. 1. You can keep the money however you’ll be restricted to the types of products you can promote as WordPress.com are particular about the ad networks and affiliate offers open to you.

      2. You can migrate to a self hosted blog later on but if you don’t have your own custom domain name then you’ll lose the traffic you have built up. A domain name is going to cost you $15 from WordPress.com whilst a domain name + 1 years hosting at Hostgator is around $27 for the sake of around $12 I think it makes sense to start off totally in control.

  22. Hey I’m thinking of starting a blog about my life as my parents are divorcing and hope to help kids in the same situation as I am to deal with it, this article cleared everything up for me and I’m looking forward to starting blogging in 2016.

  23. Thank you Jessica for your wonderful article! You make it sound very simple. I am looking forward to setting up a self-hosting blog
    I can’t wait to begin! You really inspired me!

  24. Hi, Jess!

    I really want to start my own blog and earn money from it. And everyone I know just recommended me to use WordPress. I know WordPress is a good one, but I heard Google Adsense wont work with it. Is it true? And if it’s true, is there any platform that as good as WordPress that’ll work with Google Adsense? Thank you.

  25. I just realized last week that I created a blog through WordPress. Then I saw this, and I was like “I made the right decision” ☺ I’ve been seeing people using blogspot. But I think WordPress is more sophisticated. Thank you! Very helpful.

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