In today’s times, it has never been more important to find additional ways to diversify your income. Learning how to start a blog for beginners is one of the best businesses to launch, especially since the barrier of entry into this model is both low cost and low risk relative to other business models.
Curious to learn how to start a blog? Well, you have come to the right place!
In this beginner’s guide, I will show you step-by-step, how to create a blog from scratch, even if you’re on a budget.
I will systematically break down every step, and by the end of this article, you will have your website up and running in no time.
On this website, I feature a select number of partners and companies that have products that could help my audience. When you purchase something through my partner links, I might get paid for the referral at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.
As a first-timer, I understand how intimidating this whole process can feel. This is why I will hold your hand and guide you across the finish line, so if that interests you…then keep reading.
In this blog article, there are five main steps to starting a blog for beginners: pick a topic or niche, choose your blogging platform, pick a host for your website, decide on a unique domain name, choose a theme, and finally–publish your first blog post.
Then you’re off to the races! The sooner you are able to get this process started, the better because the money won’t start flowing in overnight. Growing a profitable blog the right way takes a proper strategy and time, but can be well worth it in the long run.
This is a long-term strategy and business model. So, it definitely requires perseverance, a winning strategy, and a willingness to succeed.
What exactly is a blog?
A blog(short for “weblog”) is an informational website on a specific topic or various topics within a niche that typically presents information with the most current or updated post first.
It is an online platform specifically designed for writers and creatives, in general, to produce content to share their perspectives on any individual topic or idea.
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not starting a blog is a good idea in 2022, I go into a bit more detail about why you would want to start a blog in the first place, so keep reading.
1. Pick a topic – Decide what you want to talk about
Choose a niche that you are passionate about and/or interested in. It’s even more advantageous to you if you write about a subject matter that you have a wealth of knowledge in and are actively involved in.
Obviously, if you already have a brand or business established then you should focus your content on growing that specific audience and subscriber base.
If it’s just you, you have a lot more flexibility and creative freedom. Here are some of the main criteria to go by when deciding what to blog about:
- Blog about something you already have an interest in and are passionate about. If you don’t care what you’re sharing with your audience, your readers will sense that and they will leave you and move on to someone they feel comfortable investing their time in.
- Choose a niche that has a lot of sub-niches you can also create content around that compliments your main niche. Do some market research into the industry to want to go into. Verify the demand for information by doing some keyword research on Google Trends and Pinterest. Just be sure to differentiate yourself from other influencers in that space to stand out.
What if my niche has a lot of other people already talking about it?
That’s great news actually. This means that there is a high demand for that content and if you provide enough unique value, you can capitalize on some of that organic traffic.
2. Set up your blog on WordPress
Okay, so now it’s time to choose your blogging platform. If you are serious about starting your online business–built on a solid foundation, then WordPress is my recommended platform of choice. More specifically, choose a self-hosted WordPress blog via WordPress.org, instead of WordPress.com.
Self-hosted vs. Hosted
Having a self-hosted blog requires paying for a hosting company to essentially store your website and all of its content and folders on its servers.
So a hosting company like BlueHost will host your website, provide backups for all of your files and content, ensure that your site is up and running at all times, and has customer support 24/7 if you run into any technical issues or have questions about your service or need to upgrade your plan to something faster.
There are free hosting options and platforms like Wix, Weebly, WordPress.com, and Squarespace available to you. But in comparison to WordPress.org, you are not only giving up a lot of your creative control and website customizations, but these platforms also don’t allow you to monetize your blog with Google Adsense or any of the other premium ad networks, which for a lot of bloggers is their main source of revenue.
I strongly recommend having a self-hosted website on the WordPress.org platform. It is the most flexible and customizable option, and you control every aspect of how you want to monetize your website, which for any blogger or creator is very important.
I recommend choosing the Choice Plus plan because it already includes domain privacy. Domain privacy protects your personal information and keeps it hidden from the public.
This also prevents a bunch of random website designers from flooding your email inbox offering their services. (Yes, that is how they find your contact information.)
When you look at the breakdown of what it comes out to per month, they are very competitively priced compared to other hosting providers.
Keep in mind, that there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee so if you decide that blogging is right for you, you have that window to get your money back.
Domain privacy is included if you choose the Choice Plan above, which is what I have and recommend.
3. Choose Your Domain
Enter your domain name or choose one at a later time.
Your domain name is the same as your website address (e.g. facebook.com or NextUpWealth.com). If you already have one picked out, enter it here. If you don’t have one and/or aren’t sure what to name your blog, click the link at the bottom to select a domain later down the road.
Next, enter your contact info and choose a plan based on how far in advance to want to pay for your services.
BlueHost bills you upfront in annual increments. 1, 2, or 3 years in advance. They do not offer a monthly payment option.
I bypass the package extras and upsells. You can always add them as an upgrade if you’d like at a later time.
You won’t find Domain Privacy as an option here if you chose to pick a domain name later or went with an existing one you already purchased(contact your domain registrar for this option).
Enter your payment information, check the agreement box, and click submit.
Congratulations! You are an official BlueHost account member!
After you have completed your BlueHost purchase, you will then choose a password, and answer some brief questions about your blog, etc.
Once you create your password, you will then be able to log in to your account for the first time.
Click the blue “log in” button, it should then automatically take you to the BlueHost Portal page, but if it doesn’t prompt you, go ahead and log in using the Hosting tab and not the “webmail”.
4. Choose A Theme
On the next page, you’ll be prompted to choose a (free) theme. This only occurs when your account is created for the first time.
My top recommendation is Thrive Themes Builder, although GeneratePress is a strong second option. Both of these themes are very customizable, so don’t let the demo content you see depicted influence your decision too much.
After you have chosen a theme, BlueHost will then install WordPress for you. You will see this screen pop up when it finishes.
Go ahead and click the blue “Start Building” button, and you will be brought to this screen.
In the very bottom left corner of the screen, you will see the word “Users”. Hover your mouse over the word “Users” and select the option “Add New.”
Fill out all of the information on the next screen(username, email, etc) and make sure you change Role to “Administrator.” You do NOT want to keep the current username “Admin” as it is not as secure.
Click the “show password” button. Be sure to copy and paste and/or screenshot this and save it somewhere safe.
You will need this password to log in to your WordPress site. You can always go back inside your User Settings and change your password later on.
Once all of the information is complete and you have your password, click the “Add New User” button at the bottom of your screen.
5. Log in To Your WordPress Dashboard
To log in to your WordPress site, go to “http://yourURLhere.com/wp-login.php.” It will take you to a login screen that looks like the one below. Enter the username and the password you just saved.
Now that you have logged into WordPress, it will bring you directly to your WordPress dashboard. I recommend you spend some time going through the various settings and features.
It may be a little overwhelming and confusing at first, but trust me, in due time, it will become second nature.
If you haven’t already, make sure you create your hosting account by clicking the button below! The signup page will open in a new tab.
You’re all set! congratulations on choosing a website host, installing WordPress, and logging into your dashboard for the first time.
Note: Bluehost may occasionally change the order or look of their set up menu screens, if you see a screen that doesn’t look exactly like what you see above, don’t worry about that at all. The process will always be generally the same.