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How to Start a Blog Quick Start Guide – Easy 6 Step Setup

How to Start a Blog Quick Start Guide - Easy 6 Step Setup

How to Start a Blog – Step-By-Step.
Learn how to start your blog in just 6 easy steps.

  1. Choose a memorable name for your blog. Register a domain.
  2. Get a blog hosting account. Get your blog a web hosting account.
  3. Install WordPress & customize your blog design. Make your blog yours.
  4. Write, edit & publish your first blog post. This is the real start of your blog.
  5. Tell the world about your blog. Start building your blog’s audience.
  6. Make money blogging. Turn your blog into a business.
    Appendix – useful plugins & links

When it comes to learning how to start a blog there is a lot to learn. However, your first and most important step is to actually get started.

Starting new things often comes with a degree of uncertainty and even fear. I can assure you that learning how to start a blog is nothing to fear.

I have created this guide to help you get past the first obstacle, the setup process.

Who is this How to Start a Blog Guide For & What Will You Learn?

If you have just decided to start a blog or you have had trouble starting a blog before, then this How to Start a Blog Quick Start Guide is for you.

The Beginner Blogger

I’ve kept this guide simple and tried to minimize the use of technical terms as much as possible. If you have questions just leave it in the comments.

This guide covers the very basics of how to start a blog. I have tried to keep it simple but still, include important details.

The aim is to help you get your blog set up quickly. After that, you can start to learn how to use it and grow it into a successful blogging business.

What You Will Learn

Learn how to start a blog in just 6 easy steps.

  1. How to go about naming your blog.
  2. Setting up a blog hosting account.
  3. Customizing the look & feel of your blog.
  4. How to publish content on your blog.
  5. Basics of promoting your blog.
  6. How to turn your blog into a business.

The Easiest Step-By-Step Guide to Start a Blog for Beginner Bloggers

But what is a Blog?

Before we get into all the steps of how to start a blog, it is worth looking at what a blog is.

Today’s blogs have evolved considerably from the earliest blogs. Modern blogs are used to write about every imaginable topic out there.

Some of the most popular blogging niches are:

  • Travel blogs – covering the adventures and travel exploits of bloggers
  • Food & recipe blogs – these cover everything from restaurants to how to cook just about anything.
  • Personal finance blogs – these naturally cover making and managing money.
  • Technology blogs – covering the rapidly changing world of technology.
  • Lifestyle blogs – providing tips on living better.

These are of course just a tiny sampling of the blogging niches people write about, there is no shortage of good blogging ideas.

So the basic use of a blog then is to communicate information to an audience.

That information will usually be within a specific niche and the blog post types themselves could vary greatly.

Some blog posts answer questions or teach, others share a specific idea or viewpoint, still, others cover news or are aimed at being entertaining.

Most blogs feature comment forms and mailing list signups. These further enhance a blogger’s ability to communicate with their target audience.

I’ve provided more detailed information about what a blog is and the definition of a blog in this article… 

So Why Would You Want to Learn How to Start a Blog?

There is no shortage of reasons to start a blog. Unfortunately, many people who have thought about starting a blog never do.

The most common reasons given for not starting a blog include:

  • “I’m not a very good writer.” (You don’t need to be, you learn to write by writing.)
  • “I don’t know how to start a blog.” (I’m here to help with this one.)
  • “I don’t have the time to write blog posts.” (An hour a day is all you need.)
  • “Blogging is expensive!” (In reality, you can create a blog for very little outlay. Investing in a better quality blog is optional, but it is not expensive to start one. Keep reading, I will tell you how little it costs to start.)

Now, let’s look at some reasons why you might want to start a blog today!

  • Make money online while working from home. Perhaps you are looking to create a second income stream to supplement your current income. Or you might be aiming at fully-replacing your current income and starting a new career blogging about something you love.
  • You want to promote your existing business and build an audience. Business blogs are powerful promotional tools and are very under-utilized. Businesses that blog regularly typically see increases in leads and sales. There are more than enough stats to show this.
  • Perhaps you want to build a career as a writer or a speaker. Learning how to start a blog could be an excellent move if you are looking to build your brand and hone your communication skills.
  • Perhaps all you want to do is share your hobbies with the world. For some bloggers, just expressing their ideas and interests is enough reason to learn how to create a blog.

Whatever your reasons are, now is the perfect time to start your blog!

Why wait? The Internet is still growing rapidly and it is time for you to stake your claim.

But before you get started, let me answer some of the most common ‘how to start a blog’ questions.

How to Start a Blog Frequently Asked Questions

Can I start a blog for free?

Yes, you can! But do you really want to and is it worth it?

You see the word ‘FREE’ is very misleading. Yes, you may be able to create a blog without having to outlay cash.

However, starting a free blog will cost you in other ways and it will cost you more than you realize.

When you get something for free, you often end up with something that is low quality or limited in some way.

Here are the biggest reasons for not starting a free blog:

  • We value things that cost us money. The more something costs the more we tend to value it. A free blog becomes easy to through away. When you have had to work hard for something you are going to value it more. Blogging requires a great deal of effort to be successful. Do you think you will put the same amount of effort into your free blog as opposed to your paid-for blog?
  • Free = Limited functionality. A common catch with free things is that they are limited in some way. You know, not a complete product. To start a successful blog you are going to need certain features that a free blog will not provide.
  • You won’t make any money. One of the biggest drawbacks of a free blog is the fact that it will be almost impossible to make any decent money from it. Money is something we exchange for value, attention, and survival. If you are unwilling to exchange money for your blog you can’t expect others to exchange for what you have to offer.
  • Difficulty moving to a quality, full-featured blog. Free blogging services often come with locks and limitations on moving your content. In some cases, you may be able to export your content but you may have to pay for it. You will also have to start your blog design from scratch again.

How much does it cost to make a blog?

The costs of creating a blog can vary greatly.

You can start your blog for less than R 100 per month + R 150 for your domain for a year.

Even though the above prices are low, they will still give you the ability to set up a blog that has way more features and functionality than any free blogging platform will give you.

From here the costs of setting up and running your blog go up.

The important thing to remember with blogging costs is they ought to add value to your site.

I have spent thousands of rands on my websites and blogs over the years. I’ve bought themes, plugins, graphic design templates and more.

I would say about 80% of my purchases have added value and have paid for themselves.

If you are going to commit to becoming a blogger than sooner or later you will invest in your blog, which will make it better.

How to Start a Blog – Step-By-Step

Learn how to start your blog in just 6 easy steps.

  1. Choose a memorable name for your blog. – Register a domain.
  2. Get a blog hosting account. Get your blog a web hosting account.
  3. Install WordPress & customize your blog design. Make your blog yours.
  4. Write, edit & publish your first blog post. This is the real start of your blog.
  5. Tell the world about your blog. Start building your blog’s audience.
  6. Make money blogging. Turn your blog into a business.
  7. Appendix – useful plugins & links

Time to use your blog to build a better life!

1. How to Choose a Name for Your Blog

The hardest part about choosing a name for your blog is usually finding a domain that is still available.

A good idea is to choose a domain name that is related to the blogging niche you are planning on creating content for.

A descriptive keyword-based domain name can work well.

You could also choose to use your name if you like the idea of having a personalized domain name.

Whatever domain name you choose, it is worth choosing something unusual and easy to remember.

Also, look out for words that when put together spell out odd things.

For example, if you start a Legal Blog for Joe, Bob & Associates, joebobass.com might not be the most attractive domain name. 

If you want more ideas, I’ve put together additional information on choosing a domain name here.

2. Choosing a Blog Hosting Account

You cannot learn how to start a blog without learning about blog hosting.

This is where the files that make up your blog get stored. Each time someone visits your website the files are loaded from your server into their browser.

Now if you are just starting out, I can tell you you do not need a fancy web hosting account. You need a value-for-money hosting account which must include several basic features.

These features include:

  • Adequate bandwidth and storage space.
  • Email accounts
  • WordPress compatibility
  • Stability
  • Preferably locally hosted for improved speed. (If your audience is international then you may want to look at other hosting options. Feel free to get in touch if you have questions.)
  • SSL certificates to encrypt your website connection
  • SSD storage and databases for faster load times

Google likes fast blogs because users like fast blogs. Every little edge your blog can gain will help your blog get noticed and read.

You are reading this article because you are interested in starting a blog. Why wait?

“Those who wait end up with crumbs. If you want to do something, stop waiting for the right time. There is never a right time! Start now! You’ll save yourself a lot of regret.”

3. Install WordPress & Customize Your Blog

The next step in learning how to start a blog is learning about setting up your new blog.

Now that you have your domain and hosting account it is time to install the WordPress software that will power your blog.

To do this you will need to install WordPress on your hosting account. Now this process may vary from host to host as each host may use different software.

To make things really simple, when you sign up on any hosting plan with SME Rocket, we’ll install WordPress for you free of charge.

If you choose to host elsewhere, many hosts use cPanel. Here are the basic WordPress install steps then.

How to Install WordPress

The easiest way to install WordPress is to use an installer application.

Softactulous is one such installer that you will be able to find in cPanel.

You can find Softaculous quite easily in your cPanel. Here are the Steps for Installing WordPress:

  1. Login to your hosting account and click the cPanel button.
  2. Click the WordPress Icon to go to the WordPress Installer.
  3. Look for the blue ‘Install now’ button and click on it.
  4. Follow the Software Setup instructions.
    1. Choose https:// + your domain name. (with or without www. is fine)
    2. Give your blog a name and a description. (don’t enable Multisite.)
    3. Create an Admin Username & Password. (Make sure your password is strong.)
    4. Enter an email address. (Use an email not linked to your domain.)
    5. Choose your site language.
    6. Don’t worry about choosing any plugins.
    7. Select ‘Advanced Options’ and choose ‘Automated Backups’. Select ‘Once a Day’ + 2 for ‘Backup Rotation’. (Leave the other settings unchanged.)
    8. Enter an email for your installation details to be sent. (Important!)
    9. Click ‘Install’.

That’s it! WordPress should now be installed and you will be shown a link to your new blog and a login link that will allow you to start customizing your blog.

Now let’s move onto the next step of how to start a blog.

How to Customize Your WordPress Blog

Now, this is where you start to learn how to create a blog.

Customizing your WordPress blog can become a very creative process!

That said, as a new blogger, it is vital that you start simple. DO NOT GO FOR COMPLICATED BLOG DESIGNS!

You are going to have a lot to learn about blogging. The last thing you want to do is get overwhelmed by complicated blog designs.

This guide is aimed at showing you how to start a blog in the simplest sense. Think of this stage as the planting stage.

Imagine for a moment you want to grow the most amazing bonsai tree.

  1. You start by selecting a seed. Think your blogging niche.
  2. Next, you gather a good-sized pot and some good quality soil. This is your blog hosting account.
  3. Then you plant your seed. This is the installing of WordPress & basic blog customization.
  4. Then you add water and fertilizer and provide sunlight. This is you learning a little more each day about blogging and applying it to your blog.
  5. Your seed then germinates and you see the first leaves appear. Now you can promote your blog and show people what you have begun.
  6. Your tree gets a little bigger and you shape it a bit more. You start to apply more advanced blogging techniques.

The above will continue until you hopefully have a stunning bonsai that people from far and wide come to admire and pay for the privilege.

The biggest point of the above analogy is that you must start simple and on a gradient. If you overdo it or don’t take the right steps in a sequence you end up with problems or even total failure.

Right, so let’s continue learning how to create a blog by looking at how to customize your WordPress blog’s theme design.

Selecting a WordPress Theme & Using the Customizer

WordPress Themes are used to customize the overall design of your blog or website. Anything design element you change in the theme customizer gets changed across your entire blog.

Most themes allow you to add your logo, customize your fonts & color scheme and create a header and a footer for your site.

However, every WordPress theme is different. Some offer a few options, while others give you loads of options.

Some themes are also easier to customize than others and quality can vary greatly.

Before you jump into choosing and customizing a WordPress blog theme, there are a few WordPress settings that should be tackled first.

Here are the essential steps you will need to take to customize your blog:

  1. Go to the ‘Settings > General’ tab. Customize your blog name and tagline here plus time and date settings. DON’T CHANGE THE WORDPRESS OR SITE ADDRESS! This can crash your blog!
  2. Go to ‘Settings > Permalinks’. Set ‘Common Settings’ to use ‘Post name’.
  3. Go to ‘Appearance > Themes’. Click the ‘Add New Theme’ button. Here you can choose from thousands of free WordPress themes. I recommend you look for the Astra Theme*. Once installed, Astra will ask you to ‘Get Started’. Don’t click this as you will be asked to install a page builder and starter site. Page builders are awesome but for now, it’s best to keep things simple.
  4. Go to ‘Appearance > Customize’. Here you will add your logo, change your font and colours, and set up your header and footer along with any other options your theme provides.
How to Start a Blog Quick Start Guide - Easy 6 Step Setup
How to Start a Blog Quick Start Guide - Easy 6 Step Setup
How to Start a Blog Quick Start Guide - Easy 6 Step Setup
How to Start a Blog Quick Start Guide - Easy 6 Step Setup
How to Start a Blog Quick Start Guide - Easy 6 Step Setup

* The Astra theme is fast and flexible. Once you’ve learned more about blog design you will be able to upgrade to the premium version of this theme to unlock some fantastic design options.

This theme is also the one I will be featuring the most in my blog design tutorials. Starting with the free version of Astra is you thinking ahead.

4. Write, Edit, and Publish Your First Blog Post.

Now that you have installed your first theme and uploaded a logo and played with a few design settings it is time to start writing.

Side Note: Before you customize your blog design it may be helpful to first upload some of your content and images.

Then when you customize the design you can see how your content looks which will give you a better idea of how your website will look.

The above requires you to have written content for pages like your ‘About’ page, ‘Home’ page, and possibly even some blog posts. If you have not written anything yet, well keep reading because now you will get your chance.

How to blog like a Boss! Your content is so important that I recommend you make no other changes to your blog until you have written your first 30 blog posts!

Now I know this is contrary to any other advice given by other bloggers.

But here’s the thing…

The thing bloggers have to do the most is to write. Search engines like Google like it when you write.

If you start a blog by writing a few articles each month it will take you a very long time to get any traction with Google and other search engines.

While the scope of this guide does not allow me to go into the whys and wherefores, let’s just say, launching a blog with lots of content will make you look more established.

If you have thirty articles on your blog you will also have lots of content to promote with.

So take the time to research your blog niche and see what you can write about. Then commit to writing one 1500+ word article every day for thirty days before your blog goes live.

Don’t just write what everyone else writes, find some unique viewpoints. Answer questions in your niche that have not been answered satisfactorily yet.

Once you have done the above, then you can pretty your blog design up and get it ready for launch.

Publishing Your First Blog Posts

Whether you have written your first blog posts in Google Drive, a Word Doc or you follow the below steps to start writing within WordPress, sooner or later you will have to master WordPress publishing.

The basic steps are as follows:

  1. Go to ‘Posts’ or ‘Pages’ and click, ‘Add New’. (The editing experience is very similar with just a few minor differences.) Choose ‘Pages’ for static content like ‘About’ pages. For your actual blog posts, you will choose ‘Posts’.
  2. Now you can start to add your content. First, add a ‘Title’ and then you can start entering in text. Using the ‘Blocks’ feature you can add various types of content including images, video, audio and more.
  3. Be sure to add categories and a featured image to your article too.
  4. Once you are happy with your article you can click on ‘Publish’.
How to Start a Blog Quick Start Guide - Easy 6 Step Setup
How to Start a Blog Quick Start Guide - Easy 6 Step Setup
How to Start a Blog Quick Start Guide - Easy 6 Step Setup

That’s it! The very basics of publishing your first blog post or page. It’s not all that difficult really. You just need to take a little time to become familiar with all the tools and options in WordPress.

5. Tell the World About Your Blog

Now that you have taken the above steps and learned how to start a blog, it is time to present it to the world.

Telling the world about your blog is going to be a never-ending story.

It does, however, get easier the longer you blog because more content equals more opportunity to promote.

First the bad news!

When it comes to getting traffic from search engines like Google, you are going to have to wait! Your blog is new and it is going to take time for search engines to trust it.

If you took my advice and wrote thirty or more articles before blog launch, well done!

This means you can concentrate on promoting your blog while you wait for Google to index your blog and start ranking your articles.

Typically, it can take around eight months for Google to assign maximum rankings to your articles. After this, you can continue to optimize your articles and hopefully increase your rankings.

But while you wait, you need to promote your articles in other ways!

Here are a few ways you can promote your blog posts:

  • Email promotion – Now obviously you won’t have built an email list yet but you can still use email to promote. Gather the email addresses of all your friends and family and ask them to give your blog some love. Ask them to read it and share their thoughts and share it with everyone they know. (Email should always be permission-based, so don’t email people you don’t know.
  • Social Media promotion – here you have numerous options. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are available. Without going into any details, I would concentrate on Pinterest and perhaps Instagram if your blog niche is very visual. My advice, ditch Facebook. Facebook is not a blogger’s friend. Facebook wants to keep people on their platform and unless you are willing to pay for loads of ads you are wasting your time building an audience. Choose one platform, to begin with, and work at it. Pinterest is my pick of the bunch.
  • YouTube videos – if you are comfortable in front of the camera and your blog niche lends itself to video then definitely explore YouTube.

There is a lot to be said about promoting your blog.

Countless tactics and tools can be leveraged to drive quality traffic.

But as the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, and the same can be said for your blog.

No matter how you choose to promote your blog, two actions are miles above the rest in importance.

  1. Make sure you are productive. That is to say, dedicate yourself to producing top quality content for your audience!
  2. Whatever else you do, prioritize the building of your mailing list!

6. Make Money Blogging

Running a blog costs money, even if you are just running a hobby blog. So it is worth monetizing your blog.

Now there are many ways to monetize your blog. These include joining advertising networks and promoting affiliate products.

However, the most important way to make money online blogging is by creating your products.

This should be your main concentration when it comes to monetization.

To make money through ad networks you need to generate a lot of traffic. The same goes for affiliate programs.

If you are selling your products you don’t necessarily need as much traffic. Though you do need quality targeted traffic.

Again, making money blogging is a large subject beyond the scope of this article. However, it is important that you start thinking early about what you can sell. The more options, the better.

Here are a few popular products you can contemplate:

  • Write an ebook or a paperback book about a topic in your niche.
  • Create merchandise such as t-shirts, mugs, etc. Many services will do the printing and delivery for you. You just need cool artwork.
  • Create an online course to help your audience solve problems.
  • If you are a designer you can make graphics and templates for sale.
  • If you are handy with a camera, why not set up your own stock photo business or sell fine art prints.

Do yourself a favour and create a list of things to sell. Look around at what is popular but also look for things that are not currently available that could fill a gap in the market. Get creative!

So that’s it for this how to start a blog article. I hope it helps you set up a blog that you will build successfully and I wish you all the best in building something worthwhile.

I add regular blogging content to this site that I hope will help you even more.

I have written down a few additional lists and tips below that should help you more when it comes to starting a blog that you can use to build a better life.

How to Start a Blog Appendix

Here are a bunch of additional resources that are also relevant for learning how to start a blog.

Anyone starting a blog could benefit immensely by using some of these plugins and services.

Useful Free Plugins you should be using on your blog. (I use all of these plugins.)
Popular Premium Plugins (These plugins have more than paid for themselves.)

And the list goes on… But let’s not get carried away just yet!

Further Reading…

Got questions about how to start a blog? Want to share your story? Get in touch.

Thanks again for reading. Best of luck to you on your blogging adventure.

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