If you’ve been planning to launch a blog but didn’t know where to start, then you’ve come to the right place!
2017 is now here! So if its your New Year’s resolution to get that blog up and running that you’ve dreamed of starting, then you’re in the right place. I started my first blog back in 2008 and it has completely changed my life for the better.
My name is Jamie Spencer and I have been blogging as my main source of income for the past 8+ years. I have created and sold a wide variety of blogs in different niches which means I am in a great position to help you start your very first blog or help you improve your blog building skills to perhaps create a blog with more functionality than just a blog feed and a few widgets. I am not guru but I have probably made my fair share of mistakes over the years.
I launched MakeAWebsiteHub.com to teach you for free, just how YOU can start a blog online in less than 20 minutes even if you’re a complete blogging novice! I’ve designed this build your own blog guide so that it’s as simple and as straightforward as possible. There is no technical jargon within this guide that will leave you confused.
If you do get stuck on any part of this guide, then please feel free to email me. You can contact me here. I will get back to you within 24 hours, I promise!
In this guide I’m going to run through exactly what you need to do to start your own blog. However, before we get going, I just want to say about WHY I think you should start a blog.
1. Blogging is still growing
In 2016 blogging is now one of the most popular ways of communicating and spreading information and news online. There are millions of blogs online and everyday you delay in getting started with a blog is another day wasted.
2. Getting you message out there to the masses
Blogging is a great way to express yourself and share your ideas, creativity and knowledge. Become a thought leader in your niche and leverage that authority for your own gain.
3. Blog to help connect with people
Blogging will help you to connect with other people who share your interests and also become a better writer.
4. Making money with your blog
There’s a lot of people out there making a lot of money from blogging. It’s no big secret. The reason why these people (including myself) are making money from their blogs is because they have never given up, and they have chosen their niche wisely. Blog about what you know, and what you are passionate about to start with. At the same time, have an idea in mind to monetize the blog (adsense, affiliate, products, ebooks etc). If you put the work in, you will get your rewards.
5. Obtain more business or clients with your blog
Blogging is one of those marketing channels that can reach exactly the type of person or company that you would love as a client. A blog can drive customers to your door and can provide you with leads from people who want to work with you or your company, just by reading one of your posts.
6. To help you get your dream job
A lot of people use their blog as a shop window for themselves. Rather than sending in a traditional CV to potential emploers, people are now using blogs to show off their skills and attributes. Getting creative on a blog will show more about you than a clinical and cold PDF CV.
So, before we get started – building your first blog can take up to 30 minutes. It might make sense to bookmark this page if you are planning to start a blog when you have some extra time.
If you need any help while you are setting up your blog then you can email me here and I’ll help you as best I can.
1. Choose a blogging platform
2. Pick a Domain Name – Start Your Blog – Web Hosting
3. Install WordPress on your hosting account
4. Choosing Your WordPress Theme
In this tutorial we will be building a blog with WordPress.
Choose Your Blogging Platform
A blogging platform is the software used to manage your blog. It allows you to create blog pages, add content, images, video and everything else that you would need to do when updating your blog. Another name for a blogging platform is a CMS ( Content Management System ). The majority of blogging platforms (CMS) are free. WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger are just a few.
Plainly and simply I will never recommend someone who wants to start a blog to use a free platform such as Blogger. While there is zero barrier to entry and no up front financial cost to you, there are lots of concerns which could cost you more in the long run. If you can, always self-host your blog.
When something is free, YOU are the product –Because of this fact a platform such as Blogger or WordPress.com can shut you down at any point, with no warning and no way to recover your content. A minor indiscretion such as using an image without the right consent can have your site deleted and no way to challenge it.
It looks unprofessional –Many of the free blogging platforms do not let you have a custom domain which gives across an unprofessional appearance to potential customers and subscribers. You are also very limited with the level of customisation you can do to your blog so your site looks just like everyone else’s.
It’s hard to make money from your blog when you don’t own the domain or hosting. Most free blogging platforms will not allow you to place any adds or affiliate links on your site. So how can you make any money from the traffic that you have being working hard to build? Answer: No chance.
Paying for web hosting for your blog is not very expensive and can cost as little as $5 per month for very basic hosting packages. Having a reliable web host will mean that your site is backed up regularly and you have rights to recover your website for any reason.
Now that you know that the free blogging platforms are not a great option for your blog you need to decide upon the type of platform you will use.
There are lots of different open source platforms which most web hosting companies will support when you are creating your blog. The main blogging platforms are:
Over the past few years I have worked with all four of these blogging platforms but always recommend WordPress to blogging novices due to the great community support and ease of use. Out of the box WordPress ticks most of the boxes you will need for your new blog and if it doesn’t there is probably a plugin out there for you.
It’s INSANELY simple to set up. You will see just how easy later in this How To Start A Blog guide. To give you some idea to how simple it is, my 6 year old daughter set up her own blog with ZERO help from her expert dad (that’s me by the way).
So easy to use. Building your blog, adding content, adding images, amending content and much much more can be done with absolute ease in WordPress. The platform has an extremely intuitive interface so adding new pages, blog posts, etc. can be done very quickly.
Blogging is at the heart of WordPress. WordPress was designed and built for bloggers as a blogging platform so all the blogging capabilities and functionality are already built-in and waiting for you. If you want to set up an email subscriptions to your blog, then this can be added via a plugin in just seconds. That’s the great thing about WordPress, you can literally set your blog up and publish your first blog in a matter of minutes.
Total control. With WordPress, you have total control over your site. There’s no waiting for a web designer or developer to amend your content. You can just login to your dashboard and make changes yourself.
WordPress is secure. As long as you keep your WordPress platform and plugins updated with the latest versions, and you adhere to secure password best practices, then WordPress is a damn secure place to have your site. WordPress update their software all the time to make sure that it continues to be secure and keeping hackers at arms length.
Picking A Domain Name For Your Blog & Setting Up Your Web Hosting
In order to set up a blog you will need a domain name and web hosting. If you are new to starting a blog then I recommend that you register your domain & hosting with the same company to keep things simple.
This is your website address i.e. the domain name for this website is makeawebsitehub.com. Try to choose something short and catchy for your blog that will be easily remembered. I recommend that you stick to .com domain names if at all possible as many of the new domain names aren’t as easy to recognize.
This is where your blog is stored online. There are lots of different hosting companies out there which offer different types of hosting for a variety of different types of websites. The WordPress platform is free of charge but you will have to pay around $3-4 per month for your Web Hosting and Domain registration fees.
Over the past few years, I’ve tried dozens of different WordPress Hosting providers, so I suppose you can call me an expert at choosing the best hosting for my sites. You can read my comparison of different WordPress Hosting accounts here.
Once you have decided on which web hosting company to work with you will need to install WordPress on your account. I have created a guide on how to install WordPress on a variety of different web hosts.
Additionally if you sign up to BlueHost today you will get a great discount exclusive to makeawebsitehub.com visitors as well as a FREE domain name worth up to $15 for your new blog too!!!
They also offer an excellent money back guarantee with no contract if you don’t like their service.
When you sign up for hosting with Blue Host there are some additional services they offer. Domain Privacy Protection means that people won’t be able to see the name, address and contact details of who owns the blog, if you’re happy for people to know who owns the blog then you can deselect this and save yourself about $12 per year.
You also do not need Sitelock or the search engine Jumpstart for running your blog.
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Click on the “Get Started” button to start the process of creating your very own blog.
3. Once you’ve selected your plan you’ll then see this page…
If you already have a domain name that you want to use, then just enter it in the right hand box and then click next to assign your domain name to your new hosting.
Let’s say you don’t have a domain name and you want to claim your free domain.
Type in the domain name that you’d like in the left hand box where it says “New Domain” and then click next. If it’s available then you’ll be able to proceed.
If it’s already registered then BlueHost will cleverly show you some similar domain names that you might want to consider. Or you can just type out another domain name idea to see if it’s available.
4. So you have found the domain name of your dreams and you’re now ready to set it up with your new hosting. The next screen you’ll see is the domain registration page where you will have to put in all the boring details such as account information, but this takes no time at all.
5. Once you’ve filled out the domain registration form, its then time to select your hosting plan. You’ll find this section directly below the account information section.
I normally select the basic plan at 36 months to get a better deal on the hosting, but 12 or 24 months is fine also.
Ignore all the other tick boxes below the package options as this is stuff that isn’t needed and will only cost you extra each month.
Then scroll down and fill out the billing information, click submit and you are done!
6. You should then receive an email from BlueHost with all your account and login details. Check your spam folder as it can sometimes end up in there if your email client is a little too sensitive.
Keep your login and welcome information safe as you may need it for future reference.
Installing WordPress On Your Hosting
So you’ve signed up and paid for your BlueHost hosting. Great! You are nearly there.
The next thing you need to do is to login to your BlueHost account with the details they sent you in the welcome email.
Here’s what the login page looks like.
Click on the hosting tab then continue by filling out your domain name (the name that is assigned to the account) and password. All of these details will be in the email Bluehost sent you.
If all went well in the last stage, you should be in and ready to create an awesome blog!
Below is a screenshot of the BlueHost control panel. Here you can install WordPress on your domain, using a really easy 1 click install solution.
Head over to the “Website” section and click on “Install WordPress” to quickly set up WordPress on your domain.
You will then be taken to the Mojo Marketplace and shown a WordPress install page with a big green “Install” button. Click on it to start the magic!
9. The next stage is to select the domain name that you want to install WordPress on. Click on the little arrow in the domain name field and select the domain name you just bought with BlueHost hosting or the one you already owned. It should be visible in the drop down.
9 times out of 10 I will always install WordPress to the root domain, rather than creating the install within a folder of the domain (directory).
Leave the directory window empty. Then click on “Check Domain”.
Then just underneath this section, you’ll see a check box which will allow you to see some more advanced options.
Here you can input the title of your site (as you can see, mine is Make A Website Hub), your username (do not use “admin” as this makes it easier for hackers to hack your site), and password (make your password nice and complicated with lots of upper and lower case letters and numbers, minimum of 13 characters long).
Remember that you can change these details later, except for the username.
Make a note of your username and password, maybe in a word doc on your computer or written down and stored in a safe place. Never click “Remember password” within your browser, as this can also make your site vulnerable to attackers.
When you’ve completed all the fields in this section, just check the box to agree to the terms and then click “Install Now”
WordPress is then automatically installed on your domain in a matter of seconds. You’ll get an email from Mojo with all your login login credentials.
That’s right! If at any point in this process you have any problems setting up your blog, you can always contact me for help, totally FREE OF CHARGE!!!
Because I earn a small commission from Hostgator whenever you purchase through my links, I can pass on my services to you for free! Simply sign up to BlueHost, pay for your hosting, then head over to my Free WordPress Install page to claim your free installation set up!
Things just got a whole lot easier, right?
Now that your WordPress blog is built you need to add a WordPress theme that has all of the functions that you need, a WordPress theme is a pre-designed template which you can customize. Right now you have a choice to make you can either go with a free or a paid one. There are of course advantages and disadvantages to both so it comes down to what you want from your blog.
Some of my favourite places to find themes for blogs are:
When you are choosing your theme you want to make sure it fits with your goals. For example, if you are writing a professional blog then you will want a formal clean design where as a music blog you will have more license to show off your creativity.
These days you should now been using a responsive design. This means that the layout of your blog will adapt to different mobile and tablet screen sizes – which is highly important for usability now that a lot of people are using mobile phones to browse the web.
Your new theme will come in a .zip file format if you have purchased one. You have the options to upload it straight into your WordPress Dashboard by logging into your WordPress blog (http://domain.com/wp-admin) and then going to:
APPEARANCE > THEMES > INSTALL THEMES > UPLOAD THEMES and then uploading your theme .zip file just like you would adding an attachment on to an email.
If you’ve chosen a free theme through your WordPress dashboard you just click INSTALL on the preview screen. You can always switch back to your old theme if you don’t like the look of the new one.
You’ll now have a pretty blank looking theme set up and waiting for some love. At this stage you want to fill out all the basics like your About page, logos, social media links and other content.
Now you are ready to begin to promote your new blog and also learn how to make money with your blog.
Congratulations you have now taken the first steps to starting your new blog!
How to Start a Blog in 2016 – Free Easy to Follow Tutorial