Wondering how to start a blog? Just follow this easy step-by-step guide and you will create your blog in less than 30 minutes from now.
I’ll show you the best way to start a blog without needing any programming skills. We will use an automated process that doesn’t require for you to know HTML, CSS, PHP, or others.
When I created my first blog 5 years ago, I was very confused. I started off with a Google search here, looking through a forum there, asking friends for advice but there’s only so much that friends and forums can tell you. These days, I can say I’ve created and managed more than 30 blogs. You can start your own blog too, just follow theese steps!
How to Start a Blog – Table of Contents
Here are the steps we’ll cover in this guide:
- Step 1: Think of a Blogging Subject & Pick a Blogging Platform
- Step 2: Choose a Domain Name & Where to Get It From
- Step 3: The Express Guide on How to Start a Blog & Start Blogging
If you know what you want to blog about and the domain name go to the express guide on how to create a blog in 5 minutes (clicking will scroll the page).
By the way, if you get stuck while setting up your blog, just contact me and I’ll help you out.
THINK OF A BLOGGING SUBJECT
Before doing anything, you’ll have to pick the subject of your blog. This spells out PASSION. What are you really passionate about? What do you love, care about, or wish to share with others? When I first started blogging, I was really into geek stuff. Technology, gadgets, smartphones, and all that. Writing about something you love is very easy.
If you are not sure about your blog topic, you can start with your hobbies, or you can just start blogging about your thoughts or memories. Here are a few popular blogging topics:
- The Personal blog – Ever had such a good idea that you just felt you needed to tell it to the world? This type of blog’s for you! Start your personal blog and share your rants, thoughts, and opinions!
- Gaming Blog – Everyone plays games. Create a blog about the games you play, write about updates, hints, or even cheats.
- Food Blog – We all love food. Start blogging about your own recipes or write local restaurant reviews.
- Fashion blog – If you’re interested in accessories, clothing, and shoes or makeup and hairstyles – this choice is for you. Create your fashion blog and people from all around the world can be inspired by your posts! PRO Tip: You can also write about testing different products – this will bring you lots of traffic.
- A Blog for Your Business – This can be an excellent way to stay in contact with your customers and to keep them informed about your business.
- A Blog about Politics – You will always have something to write about in politics. Everyone has an opinion, but you can make your opinion louder or even become an opinion leader if you create a politics blog.
- Religious blogs – Religious topics are becoming quite popular these days on the Internet. What better way to spread the word of your religion than a blog?
- Entertainment blog – Celebrities are all the rage, there’s tons of TV shows and movies to write about. Heard something that made you laugh? Write it up in your new entartainment blog.
Now that you know your blogging subject, we can move on:
IT’S TIME TO PICK A BLOGGING PLATFORM
The most popular blogging platform on the Internet right now, which runs 22% of the new U.S. registered domains is WordPress. The total of 60 million websites that use WordPress (see wikipedia) are the guarantee of quality and flexibility. But there are more reasons to pick a self-hosted WordPress to start your blog:
- It’s easy to use and you can manage your blog from any computer, tablet, or smartphone
- FREE themes and layouts – there are tons of blog designs to choose from
- Easily customizable blog posts, categories, and menus
- It’s Google and Social Media friendly – people will find and share your posts easily!
- You have full control over your blog
Free blogging platforms such as tumblr.com and blogger.com offer their services for free, but remember, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Read more and find the disadvantages of tumblr and blogger (it expands).
- You won’t have your own domain – You’ll only get a sub-domain, something like ablogexample.blogger.com
- Layouts, themes, and plugins are few and far between – You might run a chance of ending up with a boring looking blog. Now, if you want themes customized for your blog, it will cost you more than a domain.
- You can’t earn money on a free blog platform – If you’re interested in monetizing your blog, you can do it, but if you use a free blogging platform, they might not allow you to add any ads to your blog and even if they do, you’ll have to give them usually 50% of the earnings.
- Even if you built it, you don’t own it – You wouldn’t want to host a barbeque in your neighbour’s garden, would you? Your blog can be deleted at any time without notice by moderators…
- In conclusion: you are not in control of your blog
Your authority online will be very low if you start a blog on a subdomain like “ablogexample.blogger.com” or “ablogexample.tumblr.com”. This means you will have to work 10 times harder to get the same authority that your own domain will give you (like ablogexample.com).
On the other hand, if you are not serious about blogging and you don’t plan to do this more than a few months, you can try a free blogging platform but you won’t feel how it’s like to be a real blogger. Hosting your own blog on your own domain is a much better option.
How much does it costs to start a blog on your own domain?
Owning your own domain name and hosting will cost $35 to $60 A YEAR! This means 3 to 5 well invested dollars a month. The best part is that even if you change your mind after a few weeks, the hosting companies usually have a 30 day money back policy.
Congrats on setting your mind to building the blog on your own domain! You just took the first step to a successful blog. This second step is about picking a domain name, a web hosting, and setting up your own blog.
Choose a domain name for your blog
For example, istartblogging.com is the domain name for this blog.
PRO tip: you want your domain name to be: Smart, Brandable, Unique, and Simple.
You’re not decided on a domain name? Take your time when picking out a domain name. Don’t pick something that’s too long to write down or too short to make sense. Let’s say you’re building an entertainment blog, examples such as www.comedyandfunstuff.com or www.cafs.org would fall into the latter category. Go for something smart like www.comedynow.com, it’s easy enough to type down and memorable enough to brand it.
Where to get the domain and hosting from?
The hosting is a an online storage for all the files of your blog. The hosting delivers the blog to the user when he types in your domain name.
First things first, I’d always suggest that you get your hosting and domain from the same company as this tends to save you a lot of time and money.
In my experience of building and managing blogs, I’ve dealt with quite a few hosting companies and I can’t say that it’s been a pleasure. I’ve used a dozen hostings but the thing is, I wasn’t really satisfied with their services. Choosing a bad host will doom your blog, choosing a good host is a blessing. This is a very important decision to make. Picking the wrong hosting will frustrate your readers with slow page loading times and you may find odd server crashes every now and then. On top of that, if you add a non-professional customer support, you will understand how important is to pick the right hosting company.
There are many web hosts to choose from. One of the most reliable hosting and the one that I am using for my blogs is iPage Hosting. Their services are quite cheap compared to others and they provide good quality hosting. Customer support is another great advantage and what you should be really excited about is their ONE Click WordPress Installation feature – this is the automated process that I was presenting you at top of this page. You’ll just have to click a few buttons here and there and that’s it – your blog is ready to use! No need for you to know HTML, CSS, PHP, or others.
Naturally, if you want to give other hosting companies a shot, you can do it and try to install your blog manually. Now, what you have to keep in mind (it will save you a lot of headaches later on) is to make sure they offer unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth.
Let’s begin the blog setup!
The Express Guide on How to Start a Blog
We’ve already decided that self-hosted WordPress is the best solution for starting a blog. Basically, there’s two ways you can install WordPress on your own domain: as an Automated Process with ONE Click WordPress Installation feature from iPage hosting (recommended), or manually (not recommended). The result is the same.
Setup Your Blog the Smart and Easy Way with iPage Hosting
In less than 5 minutes from now, you will have your blog ready on your domain.
Why have I chosen iPage for this tutorial?
- you can get both the domain and hosting from them (and at a great price!)
- they have the ONE Click WordPress Installation feature
- they have services focused on bloggers (since 2002)
Now here’s the best part, I’ve contacted the people from iPage and I’ve managed to get a great deal for all the IStartBlogging.com readers. If you visit the iPage website using one of the links from this guide, you will get a FREE domain to go with your hosting plan! Just click the link and the free domain option will be applied automatically.
First go to www.ipage.com and follow these screenshots to get the best (and the cheapest – $1.99/month) hosting package for a starting blogger:
So, this is the first thing you’ll see when you go to iPage. Click on the “Sign Up Now” button to proceed.
Here, you’ll have to pick the domain name you want and see if it’s available. You already bought a domain? No worries! Just check the “I plan to use a domain I already own” box.
Fill in your personal information such as name, address, and your credit card details. You should enter the correct informations to complete the transaction. This will also help customer support contact you and give you some help if you ever need it.
For a starting blogger, the Essential Hosting package is more than you’ll ever need and it’s just $1.99 per month. This means $23.88 / year.
You can leave “Domain Privacy” ticked if you don’t want your name to be connected to your domain but un-ticking this option will save you $10.
iPage has a good security sistem so the Website Essentials are actually not that essential. If you’ll ever need it, they’ll help you out with manual backups.
After you get done with that, just click “Check Out” and you’ve landed yourself a pretty fine deal on a domain name and hosting!
After you’ve chcked out, the account verification process starts. Your hosting aproval can take up to 15 minutes. Only after that you will receive the login email.
Add the WordPress platform to your domain
Now, the first thing you’ll need to do is install the WordPress blogging platform. This section is designed to help you do just that!
Once you’re finished with the registration, you’ll get blog hosting login information in your email. First, you’ll have to set up your password, then you’ll be able to install WordPress on your own domain by using the Control Panel as shown below. The first step is creating a new username and password, then logging in.
After you’ve logged in, go to the Control Panel and start installing your blog:
Click on the WordPress icon from the list, and then you’ll go to a page where you can install it.
Here, you have two options, If you want to install your WordPress blog on your root domain (ablogexample.com) click on “Check Domain”. If you don’t want to install it on your root domain, (ablogexample.com/blog), you can just use the directory option.
When your install is complete, you will see this message on top of the page:
Now click on the View Credentials to see how you can login into your blog admin.
The cool thing about iPage is that it generates a very strong password for you, and you can see it after you finish the installation. You’ll also receive it in your e-mail account. This is how the email looks:
Congratulations! Your own personal blog is online and ready to use!
It wasn’t that hard, was it? Now just hop down to YourNewBlog.com/wp-admin to login to your WordPress dashboard and take a look at your own little spot on the Internet. This is where you login on your blog:
And this is how the blog admin dashboard looks:
Your blog will show by default a “Coming Soon” message. This is where you have to click to remove it:
This is how your blog will look moments after installing it:
By the way, if you ran into any trouble while installing your WordPress blog, you can just contact the iPage customer support and they’ll help you out via phone or chat.
Install WordPress Manually (not recommended)Click here to show the manually guide (it expands).
If you’re Internet savvy, I’m sure you’d like to take a look at this manual I set up for you. You’ll get through it in a jiffy! This setup tutorial can be used on any hosting you want that meets these requiremenets: PHP 5.2.4 or greater, MySQL 5.0 or greater and at least 0.5 GB of free disk space.
If the host you picked meets these requirements, you can go down to http://wordpress.org/download and download the latest stable release of WordPress.
You’ll have to be very careful and follow instructions to the letter, otherwise there’s a chance that the blog installation will fail or not function properly.
Once you’ve finished downloading WordPress, unzip the file to a new folder.
After you’ve unzipped the file into the new folder, go in it and look for a file named “wp-config-sample.php” and rename it as “wp-config.php”. Now open the file (you can just right click and open it with notepad) and change the following lines of code:
- define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘your database name here’);
- define(‘DB_USER’, ‘your username here’);
- define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘your password here’);
- define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’); – Usually, this doesn’t need to be changed, so you can leave it as it is.
Now, chances are, you don’t know your database name, username or password but no biggie, you can just call customer support from your hosting and ask for them. Once you’ve edited wp-config.php, save the file and we’ll move on.
The next step is connecting to your hosting FTP account. You’ll need a FTP client to do that (FileZilla or others). You’ll also need your username and password, and if you don’t have them, you can just get them from your hosting. If you want your blog to be accessible from your root domain (e.g., www.ablogexample.com), then you can just upload the files to the root directory. If you want to access it through a link like www.ablogexample.com/blog, then you’ll have to upload the files to a specific folder (e.g., “blog”, in this case). Keep in mind that you’ll need to have only one “index” file in your directory (index.php from WordPress) and other “index” files (.html, .htm) can ruin your installation process.
I know it sounds a bit complicated, but look on the bright side – we’re almost finished! The last step is opening your web browser and going to this URL: www.yourblogaddress.com/wp-admin/install.php
After you’ve done that, fill in the form with your username and password and then simply click on the “Install WordPress” button. That’s the last step to installing your WordPress blog!
I don’t know if you ever used WordPress before but if you haven’t, here’s some basical info. This is your typical WordPress blog dashboard:
Just remember, it’s not as complicated as it seems and soon enough, you’ll get the hang of it.
Here, you can find some excellent video tutorials on WordPress. If you want to learn more about all the WordPress quirks and features, you might find this very interesting. It covers all the basics, including customizing your blog, changing your theme, and more!
Check out some useful resources and articles for starting and growing your blog.
If you have any questions or ran into any problems while installing your own WordPress blog, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with me by twitter or email. I’ll get back to you as quick as possible.
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