How To Start A Blog

A Free Step by Step Beginner's Guide to Easy Blogging

Last Updated on February 23, 2017

How To Start A Blog - A Free Beginner's Guide

About This Guide

Learning how to start a blog is nowadays pretty simple and doesn’t require any technical or web development experience like it used to years ago. In fact, it is easier than you can imagine. Even though, most people don’t know where to start. If you are one of them, you may feel like starting a blog is tough task. But there is no need to worry. I have prepared this easy-to-follow guide where I’ll show you what are the options and how to start a blog of your own.

I have helped many friends starting their own blogs In my life. And not just them. Many people have also got in touch with me based on the recommendations of my friends. That made me feel like I am good at explaining things in simple way. And that’s the reason why I have  created KickstartBlog.com website – to lend a helping hand to all who wonder how to start a blog.

My guide has already helped more than 1,000 people which is absolutely amazing. If you’d also like to learn how to start your own blog with me, read on. You can learn the fundamentals in just 30-60 minutes based on your previous experience.

Reasons Why You’ll Love This Guide

Made For Beginners

The guide is very detailed, yet very easy to follow. Even if you’re not technical person, you will still be able to easily create your own blog.

Up-to-Date

Some other guides may become obsolete or misleading over time. In order to keep the guide relevant, I update it on regular basis.

It's Totally Free

Using this guide doesn’t cost you a thing. I provide you all the details for free. That’s the way how I give back to the bloggers community.

Free Support

Should you need any help with the installation process, just let me know. I will be happy to help you out. Of course my consultancy is free, too.

Before You Start A Blog

People who have zero experience with blogging often ask me common questions about blogging and website creation. Because of that I would first like to share the same questions along with answers with you. I bet some of you have the same questions on your mind.

Question #1 – How Much Time Does Blogging Take?

Answer to this question is very individual. It depends only on you how much time you want to spend with blogging.

If you’ll decide to go for your own blog, you’ll definitely have to spend some time with blog setup. As previously said, this will take you about 30-60 minutes based on your experience and technical skills. All the fundamental steps are covered in this guide you are just reading. If you’ll follow this guide, I am pretty sure you’ll be able to install your blog within 30 minutes.

Once you have your blog installed and configured, you can start writing and sharing anything you want. At this point it’s up to you how much time you want to devote to your blog.

Question #2 – How Much Does Blogging Cost?

This is the question everyone is most concerned about. “Will it cost tons of money to run my own blog?” The short answer is: no. You can create a blog completely for free, without spending a single dime.

However, there are couple of things you should be willing to pay for if you want to be serious with your blogging. In this case, you’ll need two things, a domain name and web hosting.

A domain name is the web address of your blog, e.g. www.YourDomainName.com. It costs $10/year but you can get your domain name for free. I will show you how later in this guide.

Web hosting is simply said a service where files of your blog are stored. The prices varies in the range of $3 – $15/month or more. This mainly depends on your needs. The hosting I personally use and recommend is a bit under $3/month. That costs less than a coffee, so it’s greatly affordable.

Simply put: if you want to be a serious blogger with your own domain, you’ll need to spend few dollars to get a domain name and web hosting. I will explain you better the necessity and importance of domain name and web hosting in appropriate sections of this guide.

Question #3 – Can You Actually Make Money With Blogging?

The short answer is: yes!

There are many successful bloggers who make unbelievable amount of money with blogging. Of course the amount of money earned differs. Some bloggers earn $20k/month, others $50k/month and it’s not even impossible to make over $100k if you are really good at it.

How do they do it? Well, there are many ways how you can make a profit online. Just to give you an example, you can sell your blog’s ad-space, offer some online service or sell digital products. As this is very extensive topic, I’ll tell you more about making money online later in separate article.

But blogging isn’t just about making money. People often create their blogs just for fun and as a hobby in order to become better writer or to share their knowledge and connect with others.

Either way, no matter what your goals are, everyone needs to follow the same steps to successfully start a blog. Let’s do this now!

How To Start A Blog In Four Easy Steps

Step #1

Choose a Blogging Platform

Step #2

Pick a Domain Name

Step #3

Choose a Hosting Provider

Step #4

Install And Setup The Blog

Step #1 – Choose a Blogging Platform

First thing you’ll need is a blogging platform. For better understanding what the blogging platform is, I will explain it using the following example.

When I first got started with web development, the only way how to start a blog was to develop your site using standard programming languages such as HTML and CSS. These took a lot of time to learn and were tricky to master. That’s why majority of people still think creating a website from scratch is difficult or requires a lot of coding and design skills. Luckily for you that’s no longer true!

Nowadays, Content Management Systems (CMS) have made starting a blog accessible to everyone. To put simply, a content management system (also known as website building platform) is a user-friendly interface for building websites and managing your own online content.

Of course there exist many Content Management Systems. But which one to choose?

 

Three Most Popular Site Building Platforms in 2017

Content Management System Comparison
There are many content management systems available out there.  Nevertheless, as you can see from the graph above, majority of bloggers, companies and entrepreneurs run their own blog website on WordPress platform. No doubt this the most popular CMS ever and its share of the market keeps growing. Why? WordPress is the easiest CMS platform you can find. But there are many other several good reasons, too.

Why WordPress And Not Other Website Builders?

WordPress provides many benefits to those seeking to create a blog or a website, together with the following:

#1 – The Most Used Blogging Platform

WordPress is used by millions of people. Almost every day new people are joining the WordPress community by creating their first websites. Moreover, it is not just a pure blogging platform. While this CMS earned its reputation as a great blogging platform, WordPress can be nowadays used in many different ways. It can handle just about any kind of website such as eCommerce store or Social Network site.

#2 – It’s Free!

WordPress as a open source software is free for you to download and use. That means you can download the blogging platform at no cost and use it any way you want.

#3 – It’s VERY Beginner Friendly!

WordPress is easy to setup, manage, and update. You don’t need to be an Internet expert or an website coder to use it. There’s not a big learning curve when it comes to using a this content management system. All you need is an internet connection and a web browser.

#4 – Wide Variety of Customization Options

Most people using WordPress are neither web designers nor programmers. As a matter of fact most people start using it without any prior knowledge of designing websites. The reason why this blogging platform is such an ideal candidate is because there are thousands of free templates (themes) to choose from, so you can give your website any look you want. Also functionality of your website can be easily enriched by set of free plugins. I will tell you more details about those later. In short, plugin is piece of software providing you some functionality.

#5 – Huge Support And Developer Community

With so many people using this platform, it’s easy to find QUICK help when you need it. In addition, WordPress has lots of free resources both available on Youtube and their support forum.

What About The Other Blogging Platforms?

Drupal is favorite system used by web developers who are familiar with programming and coding of websites. Therefore if you have no programming knowledge at all, the WordPress is likely a much better fit for you than Drupal will be.

Joomla is somewhere in the middle between Drupal and WordPress. In my opinion, using Joomla is easier than Drupal, but you still need to know some technical stuff and coding basics to get most out of the system.

In general, Drupal and Joomla come with many more built-in features than WordPress. However, WordPress beats them with its ease of use, huge global community, plugins and themes. I am sure that most non-developer users will find it much easier to build a website with WordPress than Joomla or Drupal.

For Beginners, I Suggest Using WordPress

It should be noted that whereas WordPress platform itself is free, you will need a domain name and web hosting to make it work as I’ve previously informed you at the beginning of this guide. This will cost you only $3 – $5 a month which is less than a coffee, so it won’t break the bank.

But why should I pay for those when there are other blogging services out there?

Many people who start with blogging usually do not want to spend any money on it. Therefore it is tempting for them to use free services as Blogger or Tumblr. However, using a such free blogging service has many downsides:

  • by using such platform, your domain name will contain the name of the service provider. So when you decide to use e.g. Tumblr, your domain name will have the following format “yourBlogName.tumblr.com”,
  • you’ll also be subject to the provider’s rules and restrictions,
  • free blogging services usually limit your advertising options, meaning that it’s harder to make money from your blog, they may even prohibit ads on your blog, or they may place their own ads on your blog,
  • you have less control over your blog as you are not its real owner,
  • on top of that blog customisations are very limited.

Thus if you want to be serious with your blog, keep away from these blogging services. Free blog services also appear to be less professional than the ones you manage by yourself. With blogging platform such as WordPress you have full control over your blog, including its layout, search engine optimization, advertising revenue, additional functions, and more.

Alright, Let’s Start With WordPress!

OK, now you have chosen your blogging platform. Now, to proceed further and get a your blog online, you’re going to need two things:

  • A domain name (a web address like yourBlogName.com),
  • A web hosting (a service that connects your site to the internet).

I’ll guide you through both of these in the following section.

Step #2 – Pick a Domain Name

At this step, we’ll talk about picking a domain name. Simply said, a domain name is your website name. It is what a person enters in his Internet browser’s address bar to access a website. In my case it’s KickstartBlog.com.

How Should I Pick A Domain Name?

There are a few aspects you should follow when choosing your domain name.

#1 – Try To Come Up With Unique Name

Try to create unique name so no one can easily make mistake while searching you or typing your domain name in web browser.

  • If you are starting a website for your company, it will probably match your company name, e.g. YourCompanyName.com,
  • whereas in case of starting your own personal blog, then YourName.com can be a great option.

#2 – Make It Easy To Type

If the domain is hard to type, it will also be hard for your potential readers to find you or to come back to you. Make it easy for them as they will not probably spend hours searching for you. Imagine yourself typing “myhappycat.com” vs. yourself typing “myprettydearesthappycat.com”.

#3 – Make It Easy To Remember

In order to increase every possible chance how people can repeatedly come to your website, making the domain name easy to remember is definitely the must.

#4 – Make It Short

Making your domain name short is also important trick you should take into consideration. It is closely related to the previous two points. For example remembering eight letters is mostly easier than remembering eighteen different characters. Moreover, people usually prioritize the shorter names over longer ones.

#5 – Avoid The Unusual Domain Name’s Extensions

Once you have some blog name ideas on your mind, you will need to choose a domain extension. .com is the gold standard, but .net and .org work just as well. I would suggest staying away from other extensions like .us or .biz, as they are not as familiar to most people. And they may not visit your blog if you use a really different, non-standard domain extension.

Step #3 – Choose a Hosting Provider

A hosting provider, or web hosting service provider, is a company that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet. The company stores all files of your blog on its servers and delivers them to the users when they type in your domain name. You need to have a web hosting in order to have a blog.

There are hundreds of different web hosts you can choose from. My recommendation for your blog is BlueHost company though. I recommend this hosting provider to all my friends who start with website development. I use the BlueHost hosting also for this site KickstartBlog.com. I am personally very satisfied with the company and therefore I recommend it to all new bloggers because:

  • it’s fair hosting for good money, you’d barely find better hosting for this money,
  • they have been recommended by WordPress since 2005 and currently host over 2 million websites,
  • they offer a money-back guarantee at any time if you are unsatisfied for any reason,
  • they offer 24/7 customer service via phone, email, or web chat.

Now you have all prerequisites required for successful blog setup. Therefore we can move to the installation of your blog.

Step #4 – Install And Setup The Blog

Now we have everything we need so we can start with the installation process right now.

4.1 – Set Up The Hosting

1. Use this LINK  to get the exclusive deal from BlueHost . This includes a free domain name and special 50% discount for the hosting plan. Then click the “Get Started Now” button.

How To Start A Blog Guide

2. Select your plan. The basic plan is the one I recommend for new bloggers. You don’t really need the other features in the beginning. Click “Select” to choose your plan.

How To Start A Blog Guide 1

3. Type in your domain name in the left box and then click “next” to see if it is available.

How To Start A Blog Guide 2

4. If the given domain name is not available, Bluehost will provide you with a list of similar names for you to choose from. You can either choose one of the suggested domains or type in another name to try. If the domain name of your choice is free, you will be forwarded to the next step.

How To Start A Blog Guide 3

5. On the next screen create your account. Enter your personal details to complete the registration process. Add you name, address and e-mail address.

How To Start A Blog Guide 4

6. On the same screen choose additional features for your hosting plan.

  • The 36 month package gets you the lowest monthly rate, while the 12 month package has a lower up-front cost. Either is a good choice.
  • I recommend you to uncheck the other features. First, you don’t really need them in the beginning. Second, you can always add these later if you really need them.
  • The only feature you should consider here is the Domain Privacy Protection. This will hide your personal information (name & address) to help reduce the number of unsolicited marketing emails you receive. If you want to keep your website/domain fully anonymous, tick that option.

How To Start A Blog Guide 5

7. Last thing you need to do on this screen is to setup your payment information. Just fill in all the details, agree to terms and click the “Submit” button.

How To Start A Blog Guide 6

8. Congratulations! Your hosting has been created. On the next screen just click on the “create a password“ button and set a password for your account that will be used to login to your Bluehost control panel.

4.2. Install The WordPress Blogging Platform

1. Once your account is setup, you can login to your account by going to the BlueHost homepage and clicking the login tab at the top. Enter in your domain name and the password you chose when registering.

BlueHost Login

2. Once logged in, click on the icon “Install WordPress” under Website section to set up your blog.

How To Start A Blog Guide - Install WordPress - 1

3. You will now be automatically logged-in to Mojo Marketplace and taken to the WordPress install page. Click on the “Install” button to get started.

How To Start A Blog Guide - Install WordPress - 2

4. The installer will now ask you where you want to install your WordPress. Simply select your domain name from the dropdown menu and click on the Check Domain button.

How To Start A Blog Guide - Install WordPress - 3

Sometimes the Bluehost/Mojo installation panel might say that “Some files already exist that location“. Don’t worry about it, just click on Continue button.

How To Start A Blog Guide - Install WordPress - 31

5. The installer will now check that everything is in order and will show the final step. I recommend you to check Show advanced options to expand it and change the default values:

  • Site Name Or Title – this is your site’s name,
  • Admin Username – this is your login name used when logging into your blog, from security reasons I encourage you to not change your username to admin,
  • Admin Password – your login name’s password, choose one according to your preference, but don’t forget it should not be easily guessed.

How To Start A Blog Guide - Install WordPress - 4

Once set, check both “Automatically create a new database for this installation” and I have read the terms and conditions” box options and click on the Install Now button.

6. WordPress is now installing! This should just take a few minutes. You can watch the progress on top of the page.

How To Start A Blog Guide - Install WordPress - 5

7. Once done, the installation toolbar will let you know. You will also receive an email with your login information as soon as the installation finishes. Click on View Credentials button.

How To Start A Blog Guide - Install WordPress - 6

8. This will display the installation status and success notice. You will also find links to your site and WordPress admin area along with the username and password you will need to login.

How To Start A Blog Guide - Install WordPress - 7

Congratulations!

You Have Successfully Installed Your First Blog

What’s Next?

First of all, thank you for reading and using my guide to setup your own blog. I hope it was easy process for you thanks to my step by step tutorial. Installing your blog is the first step to successful blogging. The second step now is to learn how to use your blog. Of course, I have prepared the step by step guide for this topic, too. I will show you how to write your first post, how to design your blog and other fundamentals you’ll need in your blogging future.

But first, if you have found my guide useful and easy-to-follow, please consider sharing my website on social media so I can help other people, too.

Thank you for your support, I am very grateful. Now let’s jump to the second part where I’ll show you how to use your new blog you have just created.

Bonus: Infographic Related to Starting A Blog

If you’d like, you can also check my infographic related to starting a blog where I describe the whole process in a nice graphic format and explain it in the simplest way possible.

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