Looking to start a blog? It’s a great decision!
It’s easier than ever to create a blog, and you don’t need any special technical knowledge to make a blog that’s 100% your own.
But while the process has gotten a lot easier, it still can feel a little overwhelming, right? It’s hard to know what you need to do, what to avoid, where to launch your blog, etc.
To help, we’ve put everything together into this one detailed guide. We’ll take you through literally everything you need to do to go from zero to a live, working blog that looks great and has all sorts of helpful features.
Ready to make your blog? Here’s how we’re going to break this post up:
Let’s get started!
Before we get into our detailed tutorial on how to create a blog, let’s go over some common questions so that you know what to expect from this guide.
No! The great thing about the method that we’ll show you is that you don’t need any special knowledge to follow along. You’ll be able to do everything from user-friendly interfaces. If you can click a button, you can follow this guide!
You can have your blog up and running in 30 minutes or less. Of course, you’ll probably want to spend more time tweaking it to your liking. But the basic process of creating a blog really doesn’t take much time at all.
The method that we show you in this tutorial is not free, but it is pretty cheap. Overall, you should expect to pay around $60 for your entire first year. So that’s just ~$5 per month, or about the price of a fancy coffee drink.
There are some other things you might want to spend money on, but those are totally optional.
Yes! The reason we recommend the method in this tutorial is because you 100% own your blog and all your content. This is different than something like Tumblr, where you’re just registering for an account on someone else’s website.
By owning your blog, you can build your own property and audience that you have full control over and can monetize in any way.
There are only three things that you absolutely need to start your own blog. They are:
To create the basic foundation of your blog you need to:
That sounds a little complicated – but don’t worry! We promised you that you didn’t need to be a techie and we’re going to deliver on that.
Thankfully, you can find services that combine those three steps into a single user-friendly interface, which is what we’ll use for this tutorial.
Once you have your basic working blog, you’ll want to:
Don’t worry – we’ll show you how to do everything step-by-step.
Above, we mentioned the term “blogging software”. But while you have plenty of options, we really only recommend one solution when it comes to blogging software:
WordPress is by far the most popular way to make any type of website, including blogs. Over 35% of all the websites on the Internet use WordPress. Yes – that number means what it sounds like – over one-third of all the websites in existence use WordPress.
Additionally, some of the world’s most popular blogs use WordPress, including the very blog that you’re reading right now. If you check your favorite blogs, there’s a pretty good chance they use WordPress too.
So why do we recommend WordPress and why is it so popular? Here are some of the biggest reasons:
One important note here, though. When we say “self-hosted WordPress”, we’re referring to the free, open-source software that you find at WordPress.org. This is different from WordPress.com, where you can just register for an account to create a blog.
While the simplicity of WordPress.com is attractive, we think the self-hosted method that we’ll detail in this article is better for most blogs because it gives you a lot more ownership and flexibility. As your blog grows, that ownership and flexibility will be important for its success.
Ok, enough housekeeping! Let’s dig into the guide.
If you follow along, you should be able to publish your first blog post in no time. In fact, if you’ve already decided on a blog topic and domain name, you can be writing your first post in just about 20 minutes!
Here are the steps that we’ll cover:
If you’re just blogging for fun and you don’t have any plans to make money or build an audience, you can blog about whatever you want.
However, if you do have plans to turn this into a side hustle (or maybe even a full-time gig somewhere down the line!), then you want to do a little legwork to make sure you choose a topic that has some room to grow.
Finding a good blog topic is about discovering the intersection of a topic that you’re passionate about with a topic that has an audience of interested people.
The first part is important because building a blog takes time. If you’re not passionate about what you’re blogging about, you’re probably going to get bored and burn out before your blog becomes successful.
The second part is important because, if you want to grow your blog and make money, you need an audience of interested people.
So if you have an idea for a blog that you’re passionate about, how can you validate it and see if there’s a potential audience?
Here are some tips:
Your domain name is your blog’s permanent address on the Internet. For example, ours is moneycheck.com.
Typically, the name of your blog should be the same as its domain name. As such, it plays an important role in the branding of your website and you want to get it right.
For a blog, you want something that’s both brandable and topical.
The brandable part is important because you want your blog to stand out and be easy to remember. But the topical part is also important because you want people to instantly know roughly what your blog is about from the domain.
We think moneycheck.com does a pretty good job of hitting both notes. It’s brandable and easy to remember, but it’s also instantly clear that our blog deals with finance and making money.
Unfortunately, only one person can own a domain name at a time. So if you come up with the perfect idea, it’s possible that someone else has already purchased it.
To check whether a domain name is still available and get some helpful suggestions, you can use Instant Domain Search.
Don’t worry about purchasing it yet, though, because you’re going to knock that out in the next step.
Now, it’s time to move from the theoretical and get into the technical.
That is, it’s time to launch your blog and make it accessible to people around the world.
As we mentioned, you need web hosting to power your blog. When someone visits your domain name, your web hosting will run the WordPress software to serve up your blog content.
You’re going to set up all three of those bolded elements in this step. Don’t worry – it’s super easy because you can do it all from one spot.
When you’re getting started with your blog, we recommend a hosting service called Bluehost because it:
Here’s how to get started with Bluehost and install WordPress…
First, click here to visit Bluehost. Then, choose your hosting plan. If you just want to create a single blog, you can pick the cheap Basic plan – it’s got plenty of resources for your needs (at least until your blog becomes super popular!):
On the next page, enter the domain name you chose in the previous step in the Create a new domain box. Remember – Bluehost gives you a free domain name as part of your plan. Then, click Next:
At the top of the next page, you’ll need to enter some basic account information:
Below that, you can configure your Package Information and Package Extras.
In the Package Information section, you can choose your Account Plan. Basically, this refers to the number of years of service you want to purchase. The minimum commitment is one year, but you’ll get a discount on the monthly price if you purchase longer terms.
Here’s the monthly price by plan term:
The cheapest upfront option is to choose one year, which will cost you about $60 for the entire year:
Below that, Bluehost will try to upsell you with some Package Extras – feel free to ignore all of these – you don’t need any of them. Just go through and uncheck all the boxes:
To finish things out, enter your Payment Information and click Submit:
And that’s it! You just signed up for Bluehost.
Once you sign in to Bluehost for the first time, Bluehost will automatically launch a setup wizard to help you install WordPress. Again, this is one of the benefits of using Bluehost.
If you don’t see this tool, you can always access it later by going to My Sites in your Bluehost dashboard and then clicking Create Site.
On the first page of the setup wizard, enter a name and tagline for your blog. Don’t stress too much because you can always change these later.
We also recommend expanding the Advanced settings and manually entering the credentials for your WordPress account. In the next step, you’ll use these to log in to your new blog, so it’s important to remember them:
On the next page, you should see your domain pre-selected in the drop-down. Then, you can also choose whether or not to install some free plugins. We’d recommend unchecking all these boxes for now as we’ll cover plugins in their own dedicated section later on:
And that’s it! Bluehost will install and setup WordPress for you.
Once the process finishes, you should see a success message. You can click Login to WordPress to access your blog’s dashboard, which is what we’ll cover in the next step:
The WordPress dashboard is basically the control panel for your blog. It’s where you’ll:
Basically, you’re going to be spending a lot of time here.
We’ll cover some specific areas of this dashboard in the next step. But for now, why don’t we do something fun?
See, you officially have a working blog now, so you’re all set to write your first blog post ????
To do this, hover over the Posts option in the dashboard sidebar and click Add New. This will launch the WordPress editor, which is where you can add content:
The WordPress editor is based on “blocks”. Each block is a specific item in your post. For example:
To start writing your blog post, you can just click and type – WordPress will automatically create text blocks for you as you type:
If you want to add something other than text, like an image, you can click any of the plus icons:
This will open the block inserter interface, from which you can insert all different types of content.
As you hover over a block, WordPress will generate a preview for you so that you can understand what the block does:
Once you add a block, you can configure it in the editor interface. For example, if you add an image block, all you need to do is drag in an image from your desktop (or click the button to manually upload it):
Feel free to explore all of the blocks and experiment.
Once you’re finished writing your blog post, you can click the blue Publish button in the top-right corner to make it live.
Congratulations! It’s probably been less than an hour and you’ve already written your first blog post. That’s awesome, right?
Now, let’s dig in and really make your blog your own.
Your WordPress blog’s “theme” controls how your site looks.
Think of your WordPress theme like your blog’s clothing.
If you want to change your clothing, all you do is put on a new outfit. It doesn’t change who you are underneath.
It’s the same with your blog – you can easily change to a new theme without losing any of your existing blog posts and settings.
The great thing about WordPress is that you can choose from thousands of free themes, plus thousands more premium options. Additionally, you can find themes dedicated to specific “niches”. For example, if you have a travel blog, you can find a travel blog theme. Or if you have a fashion blog, you can find a fashion blog theme.
When you’re just getting started, a free theme is totally fine, though you can feel free to purchase a premium theme if you find one that you absolutely love.
To find the perfect theme for your blog, we recommend two starting spots:
For example, here at Money Check, we use the Contentberg theme, which is a premium theme available at ThemeForest.
Once you find the perfect theme for your site, you need to install it via your WordPress dashboard.
How you install a WordPress theme depends on where you found it.
If you found a free theme at WordPress.org, go to Appearance → Themes → WordPress.org Themes and search for the theme by name. Then, you can click the Install button:
After a short wait while WordPress installs the theme, you can click the Activate button to make it live on your blog.
On the other hand, if you opted to purchase a premium theme, you’ll need to manually upload the theme. Typically, the place where you purchased your theme will provide you with a zip file that contains the theme.
To upload this to your blog, go to Appearance → Themes → Upload → Upload Theme. Then, you can select the zip file and click Install Now to upload it:
Once you install your theme, you can further customize it, like choosing different colors or fonts. Some themes also let you import “demo content” to make your blog look exactly like the theme demo.
To customize the appearance of your theme, go to Appearance → Customize. This will launch the WordPress Customizer, which lets you customize everything using a real-time visual preview:
Whereas WordPress themes let you control the design of your blog, WordPress plugins let you add new functionality to your blog.
There are 50,000+ free WordPress plugins alone, so if you want to do something, you can probably find a plugin for it!
Plugins can do small things, like helping you add a contact form, or big things, like adding a functioning eCommerce store. In fact, WooCommerce, the WordPress eCommerce plugin, is actually the most popular way to create an eCommerce store (even more popular than Shopify!).
You’ll almost certainly want to install some plugins to add specific functionality for your niche. For example, if you have a food blog, you might want to use a WordPress recipe plugin to add user-friendly recipes to your posts.
However, while we’ll cover those niche-specific plugins in a second, there are also some must-have plugins that all blogs need, regardless of what your blog is about.
No matter what, you should install the following plugins on your site. Don’t worry, they’re all free!
There are also some plugins that aren’t must-haves, but most blogs can benefit from:
If you want to go beyond the must-have functionality that we detailed above, you can find tens of thousands of free and premium WordPress plugins for pretty much anything imaginable.
So where can you find these plugins?
First, if you want to find free WordPress plugins, the best spot is the WordPress.org plugin directory, which contains over 50,000 free plugins.
For premium plugins, a good starting spot is CodeCanyon. Tons of developers also sell directly through your own sites, which you can find by searching on Google.
Just as with themes, how you install a WordPress plugin depends on where you found it.
If you found a free plugin at WordPress.org, you can go to Plugins → Add New and search for it by name. Then, click Install Now and then Activate to make the plugin live:
For premium plugins, you can go to Plugins → Add New and click the Upload Plugin button near the top to upload the plugin’s zip file.
Once you install a plugin, it normally adds a new menu to your WordPress dashboard where you can configure the plugin’s settings.
The exact location of this menu depends on the plugin, so there’s no “one” spot where all your plugins are located.
Some plugins, like Yoast SEO, add a new top-level menu item:
Other plugins might include their settings as sub-items underneath an existing menu.
At this point, your blog is ready for primetime – you just need to add visitors!
First off, to make your blog accessible to visitors, you first need to take it out of “Coming Soon” mode. Bluehost activates this by default to let you develop your blog in privacy.
To turn it off, click the Coming Soon Active button at the top of your WordPress dashboard and then click Launch your site:
Now, people anywhere in the world can access your blog.
So how can you get some new eyeballs on your blog? Let’s go through some of the most common strategies.
For each strategy, we’ll link you to a detailed guide to help you get started:
Writing about all the ways to generate traffic to your blog requires a whole huge post of its own, so we can’t go into too much detail. But if you learn about the tactics above, you’ll be off to a great start!
Finally, once you start getting traffic to your blog, you might want to start seeing if you can make a little money from your blog.
Here are some of the most common ways to make money with a blog:
And with that, we’ve come to the end of our tutorial on how to start a blog.
Congratulations on successfully launching your own blog – we’re sure that it’ll be a smashing success. Share it in the comments so that everyone can check out what you just built.
And if you still have any lingering questions about how to create a blog, leave a comment and we’ll do our best to help you out!
Owning a profitable blog is an exhilarating experience. You get to post about your favorite topics to an audience of qualified readers that are interested in what you have to say on various issues.
However, how do you build and grow an audience from the ground-up?
Blogging is one of the best forms of creating a targeted audience. Typically, there are two models people use for their blog.
Speak to any successful blogger about the key to their success, and they’ll tell you it was working with their passion in life. If you’re struggling to find a topic to launch your blog – then go with what you know.
You’ll need to produce content over the coming years to build your readership. If you choose a topic or subject that you find interesting, you’ll create better content.
By working with your passion on your blog, you’ll have a never-ending stream of content coming from your mind, and you’ll never run out of ideas. You need to understand the depth of the internet and how many users go online every day.
If you think that no-one wants to hear you talk about your pink-haired troll collection – then think again. There are people online searching for anything that you can imagine. You can bet there’s an army of troll collectors out there that you never knew existed.
The point is to start with something you enjoy doing, and then create a business out of that idea. By working with your passion, blogging will never feel like work.
“On the internet, content is king.” – Bill Gates. These are the most accurate words ever spoken when it comes to marketing online. If you’re trying to draw advertisers to your blog, then you need outstanding content.
Think of your content as the backbone of your site. If you were to visit a blog with weak content that fails to draw your interest, would you revisit it? Take this mindset into your content creation.
Many newbies make the mistake of publishing a new blog every day when the site is new. When your new blog is going, your mind is bursting with ideas for content.
As a result, the blogger ends up releasing a new blog every day. Unfortunately, even the most hardened bloggers eventually run out of fresh ideas.
Post once a week, instead of publishing on a daily schedule when getting started with your blog. For the first year of your blog, the chances are that you won’t be seeing massive amounts of traffic visiting your site. Therefore, save your best content for further down the road when you have more traffic.
When your blog starts to gain traction, you need to increase your posting frequency. This strategy invites viewers back to your blog multiple times throughout the week, boosting your weekly traffic volume.
Advertisers want to see your audience growing steadily, and that you have a high engagement rate with your content.
However, many new bloggers run out of ideas a few months into the project. Even if you are the most dedicated runner, you’ll still “run-out” of ideas to post about sooner or later.
This situation is where software comes into play. Programs like “Buzzsumo” can help you identify new topic ideas for your blog.
Buzzsumo scans social media channels for popular articles that are relevant to your blog topic. By reading other peoples content, you get inspiration for new ideas. You can rewrite articles with your unique flair, and present them as new material to your audience.
Every blog needs an audience to have advertisers interested in spending money. Without an audience, your blog has no value, and it’s only taking up cyberspace. You need to get your blog some attention to increase its viewership.
Make your blog easy to share across all media channels and visible to your core audience. Do you know your audience demographics? Understanding the income distribution and behavior of your target audience helps you define what products would work well with what blog posts to maximize conversion for advertisers.
It’s essential to track metrics, as well as how much traffic is clicking through the advertiser’s site. If your blog is sending your advertiser plenty of qualified leads that convert, then you can approach them with an increase in your advertising rates.
Gone are the days when TV, radio, and billboards ruled the marketing world. While these forms of media were useful in the past, they are no longer relevant in the digital age of marketing. Let’s look at an example of how these methods no longer work on consumers.
If you were alive 15-years ago and came back from a trip to the airport, the chances are that you remember staring at billboards. As the traffic moves on at a snail’s pace, your mind wanders, and the advertisers take advantage of this situation.
Nowadays, the next time you get stuck in traffic, look at the other drivers and passengers around you. The chances are that they are not staring at the billboards. Most of them, at least 90-percent, won’t be watching the road – they’re looking at their phones.
This example clearly shows the shift from outdoor advertising to digital media over the last decade or so. Marketers want to maximize their reach, and they want to put their message in front of as many qualified prospects as possible.
Advertising on blogs is a form of digital advertising that’s gaining traction. Advertisers find the sites in their niche with the highest traffic. They then invest their marketing budget into advertising on these platforms.
For instance, if you own a fishing tackle company, and want to sell more products, you have a few options. You could advertise on outdoor media through billboards and flyers, or you could dump your marketing dollars online.
Using traditional advertising methods, such as billboards, won’t get you very far. Imagine posting a billboard and spending thousands of dollars for the advertising space. The chances are that 90-percent of the people that view your advertisement never picked up a fishing pole in their lives. That situation is wasting your budget with unqualified prospects.
By finding a fishing blog with a vast readership, you get access to qualified clients. You know that readers of the blog are interested in fishing and that they need your product. By paying the blog to advertise on their website, you’ll increase your conversions when compared to the billboard example.
Eventually, you’ll reach a stage where your blog has a significant amount of traffic flowing through it daily. For some people that know what they are doing, or catch onto a trending niche, they can experience overnight success.
Your success in blogging is not a guarantee, no matter which platform you use or what niche you think is going to be the next big thing online.
The best you can do is position yourself to take advantage of what others learned along the way and convert it into your unique concept. Replicating those people that are successful, and scrutinizing everything they do is a key to discovering how to apply those same ideas to your blog.
Some ideas will work for you, and others will fail. By testing and tracking everything you do with your blog, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of making it a second income stream. When everything clicks, and you receive your first offer, don’t be surprised if you receive others shortly after that.
So, it’s been some time. You now have a blog that advertisers are interested in adding to their portfolio. There’s only one problem – nobody’s breaking down the doors to work with you. The internet is a big place, and even if your blog is doing well, there’s a chance everyone else is not watching.
If you have reliable metrics and can prove that your site has good visitor volume throughout the month, then try reaching out to other websites and companies. Choose companies that you respect and believe are in line with your blog’s values. Using this strategy enables you to be selective with your advertisers, instead of taking any deal that comes along.
Sometimes the best way to get an advertising deal – is to ask. Nothing is stopping you from making a contact list of companies you like, and then sending a prospectus to their marketing department. Send them a personalized executive statement about what you want from the deal along with your rate card and terms.
Affiliate marketing is using your blog to sell a product or a brand, then being compensated by the company or creator of said product or brand. Compensation usually is a percentage of the revenue the company has earned through your website.
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to get started making money from your blog when it is new as there is usually no minimum requirements for levels of traffic.
That means you can get started from the very beginning by signing up to affiliate programs and dropping links into your posts, reviewing products and services or adding banners to your site.
We go into a lot more detail in this guide: What are the Best Affiliate Programs for Bloggers?
Search Engine Optimization is a powerful online marketing strategy designed to make your site visible and increase traffic. Talented online marketers reach out to other websites and build backlinks to your website.
By creating more links that point back toward your site, you make yourself look like a credible authority in your niche.
Advertisers want to do business with authority sites, and by building your blog with plenty of backlinks to authority sites, you become a leader in your niche. Some websites charge for backlinks, and others do it for free.
However, if you want a permanent link on a big site, it could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.
When traffic starts visiting your blog in decent volume, its time take advantage of affiliate selling. Affiliate selling involves you leaving links to products and services online.
A simplified example of this is reselling with Amazon. If you own a lifestyle blog, you could write a post about your new sunglasses. Talk about how they were the best you ever used while sun tanning poolside on vacation.
Leave a link to an Amazon vendor embedded in a keyword in your post. When your audience reads your blog, a percentage of them will click the link and purchase the sunglasses from the Amazon vendor.
You get a commission from the sale, and everyone gets a clean deal that adds value to their lives and business.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are how the world is moving with communications. Each of these platforms offers users a unique way to share their life experiences with friends and family.
The content shared on Facebook ranges with topics on anything you can imagine. Open a Reddit feed, and you’ll have threads on any topic you can imagine. Instagram has trillions of photos of anything from people, to pets, to products.
Facebook offers you a great avenue to introduce your blog to more readers. Open a Facebook business page and populate it with top-quality content. Use Facebook ads manager to target people in your niche that are interested in reading blogs, and spend a few dollars on an advertising budget.
Facebook automatically pushes your content in front of people that are interested in your niche and meet your customer or reader demographic. You can use the tools in ad manager to track where your new views are coming from and refine your targeting for your next ad campaign.
The best part about blogging is that you create a scalable model. Once you know what works, you can replicate your blog in any industry and experience the same results. This rule makes it easy to build multiple blogs covering a wide range of niches that interest you.
If you persist with your passion, you’ll eventually reap the rewards of a profitable blog that produces you consistent income.
Colin Newcomer is a professional writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing, WordPress and B2B writing. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi.
This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers.
MoneyCheck is a fast-growing online publication launched in 2018 with the aim of covering personal finance and investment news.
Our goal is to simplify and explain in clear language, what can be a confusing jumble of terms and concepts. We hope to provide clear, unbiased facts so people can make up their own mind about important financial decisions.
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Looking to start a blog? It’s a great decision!