Are you thinking about how to start a blog?

Or maybe you have questions about it? I’m so happy that, you’re here! In this post, I’ll show you accurately how to create your own blog, no technical or previous experience required. (It’s easier and faster than you may think.) Plus, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions along the way. This is the site I wish I had when I started blogging 8 years ago!

I created my first blog in 2010 with zero computer experience. It took me forever because I had to google my way through. This how-to guide has what I’ve learned so far, and is for those who want step-by-step instructions in an easy and simple format. 

The 6 steps on how to start a blog

  1. Decide what to write/blog about.
  2. Choose a platform for blogging.
  3. Find a hosting company.
  4. Pick a domain name.
  5. Get started withWordPress.
  6. Design & start using your blog!

Don’t worry, I’ll walk you right through. Follow along and your new blog will be up and running in less than 30 minutes.

Why start a blog as a career?

There are many reasons to consider starting a blog. Here are a few popular ones:

  • Make money while working from home. I make a full-time income from blogging. Many others do the same. Making money as a blogger is hard work, but it has a very low risk, low overhead and low barrier to entry.
  • Become a published author. It’s no secret, these days publishers rarely work with authors who don’t have an online presence. The reason is simple: it’s a lot easier to sell books to people who already know you. A blog is one of the easiest and most effective places to start.
  • Get more disclosure for your existing business or organization. A blog gives anyone, from individuals to large companies, the capability to reach a large number of people at verylittle cost.
  • Just write. If you want to write, share your story, encourage others and build a community, ablog is a great place to do that.

How much does a blog cost?

If you use the method I outline below, it works out to $3 to $10 a month. I blogged for years on this budget. As my blog and income grew, I eventually started paying for more premium tools and services, but they are not required to start.

Can I start a blog for free?

Yes, but…

After doing this a long time, here’s my advice: a free blog is fine if it’s a hobby,
but if you want to make money from your blog I don’t suggest starting a free blog.

Why? A few reasons:

  • Some free services limit monetization (i.e. making money) unless you “upgrade” to a higher level. You’ll have to pay for that upgrade of course, so it defeats the purpose of having a free blog in the first place.
  • Most free services have only basic features. This might not be a problem at first, but as you grow, you will almost certainly feel the pinch. Expandability and flexibility are key, both of which are limited with free blogging services.
  • Companies don’t offer free blogs out of the goodness of their hearts. They still want to make money somehow. If you’re only using their free service, they’re not making money from you. Therefore, they don’t have a lot of incentive to keep you happy. Sometimes this means you’ll have little to no support. Other times it means you’ll be badgered with offers for their paid-for products.
  • If you ever want to switch to a better service (very common among those who start a free blog), it’s a hassle and can be costly. Doing it
    yourself takes a lot of time and know-how. Hiring someone to do it correctly
    costs hundreds of dollars.
  • You might not be able to do what your favorite bloggers are
    doing. This happens to new bloggers all the time. They start a blog for free.
    Soon they notice cool features on other blogs which they want too. The problem
    is, it’s not possible on their free service.
  • Accountability. In general, we value things we pay for. Blogging
    is hard work. One way to keep yourself accountable is to pay just a little bit
    for it.

Here are my easy-to-follow steps on how to start a blog, no technical
experience required.

Step 1: Decide what to
blog about/Niche

If you’re part of a company,
business, or organization, your blog should be related to that product(s) or
service(s) you provide, or the cause you promote.

If you’re an
individual, you have more elasticity when choosing a topic. I But the main
things to remember are:

  • Blog about something
    with plenty of room for discussion. A blog requires a lot of content to get
    going and remain interesting. You’ll be at this a long time so make sure you
    have plenty to talk about.
  • Blog about something
    you enjoy. If you aren’t excited about your topic, writing about it will be labor
    in vain. (And who wants that?) Also, readers won’t be enthusiastic if you
    aren’t.
  • Choose a niche in
    which you can establish yourself as an authority. You probably won’t be the
    first person to blog about the topic you choose. Don’t fret about this, just
    come up with a unique angle. Do you have a reasonable chance of making your
    blog better than others talking about the same thing?

The goal for any blog
is to become the go-to resource in its topic or niche.

Step 2:
Choose a platform for blogging

If you want to blog, you need a
blogging platform. A blogging platform gives you the necessary tools to get
your words in front of your readers.

There are many blogging
platforms to choose from. WordPress, Blogger, Squarespace, Wix and Weebly are a
few.

All have pros and cons, but
WordPress is by far the most popular (source), and
for good reason. It’s flexible, functional and has a large community of users
who share tools and ideas.

I use
and recommend WordPress (but 
not through
WordPress.com).
Confusing? Let me explain…

If you choose WordPress, you
have two options: hosted or self-hosted.

  • Hosted WordPress
    blogs, sometimes called WordPress.com blogs, are
    free but limit your income potential.
  • Self-hosted WordPress
    blogs, sometimes called WordPress.org blogs, cost
    a little money but give you much more control,
    and do not limit your income potential.

This
guide will teach you how to start a self-hosted WordPress blog, the platform
preferred by me, as well as beginner and veteran bloggers alike.

Note:
Even though a self-hosted WordPress blog is sometimes referred to as a
“WordPress.org” blog, you are not limited to a .org at the end of your name.
You can still use .com, just like I do for AmyLynnAndrews.com.

Alright, let’s get set up!

Step 3: Find a hosting company

Hopefully I’ve convinced you of the merits of WordPress, but there’s one more thing to know. In order for your WordPress blog to be online, you need server space. You get server space from a hosting company or “host.”

What host should you use?

I recommend Bluehost, bluehost, hostgator, Namecheap especially for beginners. I personally used Namecheap for many, many years before I outgrew it.

Select your plan

Choose the plan you’d like to start with by clicking one of the green “select” buttons. I typically go with Plus or Prime (a.k.a. Choice Plus) because they’ve got more unlimited features. Plus, domain privacy is included with the Prime plan. (If you choose the Plus plan, you’ll have the option to add it later in the process for about $1 a month. Recommended.)

Step 4: Pick a domain name

On the next screen, you’ll enter your desired domain. A domain is a web address.
For example, azamshafiul.com is my domain name.This will allow you to get familiar with WordPress while thinking of the perfect domain.

If you’ve already registered a domain and want to use it for this new site, enter it on the right. (Don’t worry, it won’t mess things up elsewhere to enter it here. It’s just a way Bluehost identifies your account.) For the purpose of this tutorial, I will use a new domain. If you are using an
existing domain, the process is nearly the same so you can still follow along
easily.

What if the domain name I want isn’t available?

Don’t get stuck! Take advantage of Bluehost/Namecheap’s option to choose a different
one later. Simply click the “Choose later!” “Choose Free Domain Later” button
in the popup that appears like this (both do the same thing):

Enter your account info

On
the next page, enter your Bluehost/namecheap account info. Make sure you use a
working email address because this is where your login information will be
sent. (Save these emails!)

Select your package information

Choose
an account plan based on how far in advance you want to pay. Bluehost/namecheap bills 1,
2, 3 or 5 years upfront. 
They do not offer a monthly
payment option (hosts that do often charge double or triple). As you can see,
it works out to be a very reasonable monthly amount. Not bad for your own
blog or website, right? It’s a great deal.

Protip: The
low pricing they offer to new customers (you!) applies to the first payment
only. In other words, if you choose the 12-month plan, your pricing will be
good for only a year, but if you choose the 36-month plan, your pricing will be
good for 3 years. So, I recommend choosing the longest plan your budget allows.

The total is the amount
you’ll pay today. You won’t have to pay again for 12, 24, 36 or 60 months,
depending on the package you chose. Set it and forget it!

Enter your billing info

Next,
fill in your billing information, confirm that you’ve read the fine print and
then click Submit.

Skip the upgrades & special offers

Once
you submit your billing info, you’ll be asked if you want to add any upgrades
or special offers. I skip them by clicking the “no thanks” link.

Choose a password

After
your purchase is complete, you’ll be asked to choose a password for your
Bluehost/Namecheap account. Just click the “Create your password” button.

Note: This is the password to
your Bluehost
/Namecheap account, not your WordPress
blog password. That’s coming in a minute!

Step 5: Get started with WordPress

Once
your Bluehost/Namecheap account is all set up, it’s only a few more clicks
before you can begin working on your new blog. Click the blue login button in
the “Congratulations!” window to get started with WordPress.

Skip the free themes

Bluehost?Namecheap
gives you the option to pick a free theme immediately. Unless you are known
with one listed, I recommend you skip it by clicking “Skip this step” at the
bottom of the screen.

Why?
Because many free themes are not kept updated. Outdated themes leave holes in
your site setup that hackers can exploit. They are not worth the risk. The
theme that comes pre-installed will be sufficient for now. You can switch to a
different theme once you’re set up and more familiar with WordPress.

Start building your site

Your
site will be on a temporary domain at first. Don’t be alarmed!

For
new domains entered in Step 4, this is because it takes 2-24 hours for your
chosen domain to become fully registered. Go ahead and start working on your
site. When the real domain is ready, Bluehost/Namecheap will switch it for you
automatically!

If
you used an existing domain in Step 4, you can contact Bluehost support
(New Hosting Customers) or look in the help section when you are ready to
connect your existing domain to this new site.

Make
sense? Alright, let’s move on.

You
have two options on this screen, the blue “Start Building” button and the link
underneath to go to your Bluehost/namecheap account:

It’s unlikely you’ll need
to access your Bluehost/Namecheap account at this point so clicking the “Start
Building” button will take you to your new WordPress site like so:

Step 6: Design &
use your blog!

Congratulations,
you’re the proud owner of a self-hosted WordPress blog!

If you’re like most
people, you’ll probably want to change your blog’s design by installing a
different WordPress theme. This is an entire topic on its own

The design phase is
another place a lot of beginners get stuck. My advice is to pick a theme that
works well enough. It’s a lot easier to work on your design when you’ve got
some posts and pages beefing it up. But first…

IMPORTANT! Before publishing your first post or
page, I recommend making these tweaks to your WordPress settings:

  1. Change your permalinks. I explain why and how in this post here.
  2. Change your username from “Admin” to something more secure. Read about that and find instructions here.
  3. Activate your domain. If you chose a new domain in Step 4, find the appropriate
    welcome email and click the button inside to complete the activation process.
  4. Change your domain from HTTP to HTTPS. The S indicates a secure site. This
    gives visitors peace in their mind; it also keeps your site on Google’s good
    side. This option is only available once your domain registration is fully
    completed and you are no longer on your temporary domain (see Step 5 above).
    You’ll know this is the case when you type your chosen domain into any browser
    (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.) and your domain works without forwarding to a
    weird looking domain in the address bar. If your site is still using a
    temporary domain, put a reminder on your calendar to come back in 2-24 hours
    to finish this step.
     To complete this
    step, you’ll need to activate an SSL certificate. Don’t be intimidated by the fancy term. It’s easy. (If you have an
    existing domain registered elsewhere, check with that company about getting an
    SSL certificate.) . Give
    it a little bit of time to catch up then when you type your domain into a
    browser like Chrome, you’ll see a secure icon:

With the above
settings adjusted, you are ready to start writing!

There are many
directions you can go at this point, but know this: you will feel overwhelmed, especially at the
beginning. This is normal.

When it comes to
starting a blog, there is a steep learning curve, but don’t give up! Push
through! Most of us have been in that very spot too. If you want some
encouragement, read my post

Where
to go from here? Here’s a basic roadmap…

  1. Learn more about
    WordPress. Visit my  page for an organized list of tips, tools &
    tutorials. Check out the WordPress section in particular. If you work your way
    through this list of articles, you will have a good handle on the basics, from
    adjusting your settings to publishing your first post.
  2. Next, write your About page.
  3. After that, start
    building your content. Write high quality posts on a consistent basis.
    Remember, your goal is to become the go-to resources in your topic or niche.
  4. Once you have some
    excellent posts published, start dabbling in social media. This post will give you pointers for that.
  5. Rinse & repeat.

How do I log into WordPress once I log out?

You
can always login to WordPress by going to yourdomain.com/wp-admin. Substitute
“yourdomain” for your actual domain name of course.

If
you don’t remember your login info, find the welcome emails sent to you after
you set up your site initially. Look in your spam folder if you don’t see them
immediately. Those emails have two sets of login information:

  • WordPress, where you write your posts and manage your blog
  • Bluehost, where you manage your hosting account and pay your
    hosting bill

How do I change my blog design?

As
I mentioned before, read my post about choosing a WordPress theme and what
I use.

You
might also want to check out my post about blog design dos and don’ts.
There are good tips in it, but it also mentions the free theme I recommend: Generate
Press. Read How to Install a WordPress Theme to set it up.

How do I log into WordPress once I log out?

You
can always login to WordPress by going to yourdomain.com/wp-admin. Substitute
“yourdomain” for your actual domain name of course.

If you don’t remember your login info, find the welcome emails sent to you after
you set up your site initially. Look in your spam folder if you don’t see them
immediately. Those emails have two sets of login information:

  • WordPress, where you write your posts and manage your blog
  • Bluehost/Namecheap, where you manage your hosting account and
    pay your hosting bill.
By following the steps on how to start a blog I hope you can start your career as a blogger.

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Hello this is John David. I am here to help you with the best information I have.