Want to know how to create a blog before breakfast (or in time for tea!)?
Whether you’ve got a passion you’re burning to share with the world or want to know how to start a blog to make money, creating a blog is incredibly easy to do – whether you’re 17 or 107.
You don’t even need to be ‘good with computers’ (phew). In fact:
You can create a blog in 4 easy steps in less than 30 minutes.
And my goal in this post is to show you how. Step by step.
If you’re new to blogging, this will save you a lot of time (and quite likely prevent multiple face palms).
How To Create a Blog In 4 Simple Steps
Below I’ll walk you through 4 easy steps, which will show you how to:
- Pick a Blogging Platform (WordPress.org is the way to go)
- Choose a Domain Name (choose Bluehost for hosting and you can get a domain name for FREE)
- Set Up Hosting (this starts as low as $3.95 a month)
- Install WordPress.org on Your Domain
Ready? Let’s get started.
Step #1 – Decide on a Blogging Platform
First up, if you’re serious about blogging and its potential, you need WordPress.org.
Don’t be lured in by offers of free hosting, which WordPress.com offers or you’ll find yourself limited in how you can scale and grow your blog going forward. (WordPress.org & WordPress.com, are rather confusingly, NOT the same thing.)
Installing WordPress.org is simple to do though and I’ll show you exactly how when you set up hosting in Step 3.
Step #2 – Choose a Domain Name
The domain name for my blog is www.onemumandalittlelady.com.
This is how people find you on the web. It’s kind of like a virtual address.
When choosing a domain name, it’s a good idea to pick something that:
- reflects the subject of your blog
- is easy to spell and remember
- ends with a .com extension (unless you are targeting a specific country, in which case choose a country specific extension such as .co.uk)
Problogger has an excellent post on Things to Consider When Choosing a Domain Name if you need more pointers.
In the next step I’ll show you how to find a suitable domain name for FREE.
Step #3 Set Up Hosting
Hosting is basically a bit of real estate (or space) on the web.
There are many hosting companies out there, but most new bloggers go for Bluehost.
Why? Because Bluehost:
- make starting a blog a breeze
- offer great value (from $3.95 a month)
- are secure (i.e. your blog is less likely to get hacked)
- offer great support.
I’ve also found my page load speed to be consistently fast with Bluehost (you don’t want your blog to load slowly. Google won’t like it and neither will your readers!)
Click HERE to start your own self-hosted blog with Bluehost (+ get your FREE domain).
Then follow my step by step visual guide below to set up your hosting.
Set Up Hosting – Step #1 (Getting Started)
The first thing you need to do is go to Bluehost and click on the ‘Get Started Now‘ button.
Set Up Hosting – Step #2 (Select Your Plan)
You’ll now see the screen below. Select your plan from the 3 options.
If you’re on a budget, the Basic Plan is more than ample when you’re starting out. You can easily upgrade to a different plan later on, if you want to.
Set Up Hosting – Step #3 (Choose a Domain Name)
You now need to choose a domain name (mine is www.onemumandalittlelady.com).
You can either choose a completely new domain name (FREE for one year) or enter one you already have.
To choose a new domain name, enter it in the ‘New Domain’ box on the left.
It’s best to go for short and memorable if you can.
Then select the domain extension you want (for example ‘.com’) from the drop down list.
Unless you’re targeting a specific country, I’d opt for a .com.
Note: If your domain name is not available (i.e. someone else has got there before you and already registered it, you’ll get an alert message advising you of this. If this happens, don’t worry – just choose a different domain name.
Already have a domain name? (I did.)
Simply enter it into the ‘I Have a Domain Name‘ box on the right instead.
Then click the ‘Next’ button.
Note: If you already have a domain name you will need to transfer it in to Bluehost after completing your account setup. There’s a video that shows you how to transfer a domain in to Bluehost here.
Set Up Hosting – Step #4 (Enter Your Account Information)
Congratulations! You’re (almost!) the owner of your very own domain name! You’ll now see this screen:
First enter your Account Information details. Then, under ‘Package Information’, choose your Account Plan from the drop down menu. You’ll need to pay for 1, 2 or 3 years upfront, but this works out at a very affordable monthly amount.
You’ll also be asked if you want to purchase various add ons.
Personally, I’d skip these, apart from the Domain Privacy Protection, which is worth having, as it hides your personal information from the public WHOIS database.
Finally, on the screen below enter your Payment Information, then click ‘Submit’.
Set Up Hosting – Step #5 (Create a Password)
At this point you’re usually asked if you want to add on any upgrades – I personally skip this bit.
Next, you’ll be asked to pick a password. To do this, click Create Your Password.
On the next screen create a password that is memorable, but also secure. It’s a good idea to make a note of your password somewhere safe in case you forget it! Click Next.
Your password is now created. Click on Log in to get started!
By now you should have received your Bluehost confirmation emails. Click on any ‘activation’ links in the emails to make sure your domain and account are verified and active.
Note: Although WordPress is installed via Bluehost, it’s actually completely separate to your Bluehost account. It’s easy to get them muddled, so remember you have 2 sets of login credentials – one for your WordPress dashboard and one for your Bluehost C-panel dashboard (which you won’s use nearly as much as your WordPress login).
Step #4 (WordPress)
WordPress Setup – Step #1 (Pick a theme)
Now that’s you’re logged in you’ll be asked if you want to pick a free WordPress theme.
It’s really easy to waste a lot of time agonising over which theme to choose at this point. I really recommend you don’t do this. Why? Because free themes have limitations for a couple of key reasons:
- Free themes are often not updated regularly, which can lead to bugs and glitches
- Free themes are easier to hack.
This is why I recommend using a Premium theme (Don’t worry, I’ll over that later.)
For now though, just pick a free theme that appeals to you (you can always change it later if you like, too).
WordPress setup – Step #2 (Build your WordPress site)
Once you’ve picked a theme you’ll see this screen. To build your WordPress sit site, click on Start Building.
Once this is done, you’ll see this screen:
The black column on the left is your WordPress dashboard. You’ll spend a lot of time here, as it’s where you create your blog posts from, as well as lots of other cool stuff, such as adding plugins or customising your theme.
Your next steps are to get familiar with WordPress. So, depending on whether your blog is a Business or Personal one, click on the blue ‘Business‘ or ‘Personal‘ button.
WordPress setup – Step #3 (Launch Your WordPress Site & Add Content)
Note: Once you choose to launch your blog, don’t worry if it’s on a temporary domain for up to 48 hours (i.e. not the domain name you choose in Step 3). This is completely normal, as it can take anywhere from around 2 hours to 2 days for a new domain name to show up live on the web.
And that’s essentially it.
You are now the proud owner of your very own self hosted WordPress blog!
Writing Your First Post
Whatever you decide to write about on your blog, keep your content focused and know your audience. It’s also vital to write about something you love and know about, or blogging can become a chore.
If you think about it, the web is bursting with blogs, so your goal is to find your own unique voice and offer real value to your readers. Here are some tips about writing engaging content:
- great content solves an immediate problem
- great content is almost never about you (sorry!) – it’s about your reader
- great content answers a burning question
- great content makes people laugh or inspires them to lead better lives.
Although you’re now set up with the foundations of a blog and all set to write some great content, there are a lot more things you can do at this point.
I cover some key things you might want to consider below.
How To Add a Premium Theme
As I mentioned earlier, free themes have their limitations.
So upgrading to a Premium paid theme is something most bloggers do (and something I recommend).
I use and LOVE the Genesis Framework by StudioPress. It’s the top choice of most bloggers for a number of reasons, including:
- industry leading design
- excellent support
- search engine friendly design(i.e. Google will like them!)
- mobile optimised
- robust security (your blog is less likely to get hacked!)
- affordable and super easy to setup and install.
How To Find Amazing Free Images For Your Blog
Images are important on your blog. I can’t emphasise that enough. The web is a hugely visual place and shoddy images can be a huge turn off.
Finding decent free images though can be time consuming – plus you need to be on top of copyright rules, so you don’t use an image unlawfully.
Visit my page on free stock images for a roundup of 10 of the best places to get high quality photos on the web, as well as a simple guide to using images correctly and safely.
How To Build a Successful Blog
Although starting a blog is really easy, creating the foundations for a successful blog involves a few more steps more than getting setup a WordPress, writing a post and hitting Publish.
Visit my blogging resources page for recommended tools and resources that will help you take your new self hosted WordPress blog to the next level, including essential plugins, blogging and design tools and free analytics software.