Wondering how to start a blog? That’s brilliant! My heart jumps for joy that you are here. And I can’t wait to help you take your first steps on your new blogging adventure.
Starting your own blog is easier than you think (it will probably take you longer to read this article about how to start a blog than it will take you to actually set up a blog). Seriously, you can have your blog up and running in 10 minutes or less. No technical knowledge required.
I’m gonna hold your hand through the entire process of starting a new blog. In fact, I want to see you succeed so much, I’ll even give you my blog planner (worth $20) for FREE.When I started blogging 10+ years ago, I could barely find any information about how to start a blog. People were not building blogging careers back then. And making money with a blog was as rare as unicorns. So I made all the mistakes in the book. I stumbled and fell and built a better blog next time. I wish I had this guide back then. It would have saved me a lot of sleepless nights.
So let’s break the main goal (starting a blog) into smaller, immediately achievable steps. I always use this approach because I believe having clear, easy to follow instructions is the most efficient way to get things done TODAY (not someday).
How to start a WordPress blog in 6 easy steps:
1. Define your blog’s purpose
2. Get hosted
3. Choose a domain name
4. Install WordPress
5. Create a personalized email address
6. Make your blog your own
Step 1. Define your blog’s purpose
This very moment, right here and now, is the cornerstone of your blogging story. And I genuinely want your blogging story to be a long and successful one.
I know you are eager for me to cut to the chase and show you how to start a blog, but before you roll up your sleeves, I want to make sure you will blog with intention and for the right reasons.
So I’m gonna ask you two questions – why do you want to start a blog and what do you want to blog about?
Why do you want to start a blog?
There are many reasons why you can start a blog. You want to:
- Start a side hustle
- Boost sales for an existing business
- Build your freelancing career
- Publish a book
- Creative outlet
There’s no right or wrong answer. But I want you to look beyond these immediate benefits.
Let me put it this way. You don’t want to make money for the sake of adding more zeros on your bank account. What you want are financial freedom and a certain lifestyle.
So let’s unearth the real reason you want to launch a blog and for this I want you to do a little exercise.
Ask yourself, why do I want to start a blog? What do I hope to accomplish by starting blogging? Whatever your answer is, ask yourself why again. Repeat the question 3-4 times, until you have a clear picture and figure out the real reason you want to start a blog.
Now you are up to something. Once you can envision the lifestyle you aim for and establish a measurable goal, your will feel inspired and motivated from the inside.
What do you want to blog about?
The what is important because it will lead you to your why.
A surefire way to choose what to blog about is to ask yourself:
- What am I interested in right now?
- What topic do I know more about than most people? (Hint: you only have to be one step ahead of your audience)
- Are there enough people interested in this topic?
Your niche is the point where your interests and your expertise meet with what other people want. Notice I didn’t say need because people don’t usually make decisions based on what they need but rather on what they want.
It doesn’t have to be the most nichy niche. Simply choose an angle that sounds good to your in the here and now. I didn’t teach people how to start awesome blogs when I started blogging a decade ago, and chances are you won’t be blogging about the same thing for the rest of your life either. Niches are discovered and refined over time.
Step 2. Get hosted
Just like people live in houses, blogs live on servers.
There are two types of blogging platforms out there: free and paid. But in my experience, free always comes with a price. You wouldn’t build your house on rented land, right? So you shouldn’t host your blog on rented server space either.
Going with a paid web hosting service is really inexpensive. So it’s a no-brainer, in my opinion.
There is a gazillion of web hosting providers out there, but I always recommend Bluehost because setting up a blog with them is super easy and extremely affordable (only $3.95/month). No other shared hosting company has an edge over them.
Do you trust me?
Then CLICK HERE to go to Bluehost (the Bluehost website will open in a new tab in your browser so you can reference these instructions as you work).
Once the page opens, click the green get started now button in the middle.
Select your plan
Bluehost offers 4 hosting plans (basic, plus, prime, and pro). Choose the one that’s right for you.
However, if you are just starting, the basic plan is probably all you need for now.
All plans come with a FREE domain name for the first year when you buy a minimum of 12 months worth of Bluehost web hosting.
You can upgrade anytime.
Now click the green select button under your plan of choice to go to the next step.
Step 3. Choose a domain name
Your domain name is the address people will type in the browser to access your blog. For example, bylauraiancu.com is my domain.
Option 1: If you don’t have a domain name, get a free one by typing it in the box on the left. Choose .com or a different extension from the drop down menu. Click next.
Option 2: If you’ve already registered a domain name with another domain registrar, type it to the right. Don’t worry, this will only identify your account for now. Click next.
Option 3: In case you don’t have a domain name and you can’t make up your mind just yet, there’s a third option. Simply move your mouse cursor around the screen and a popup window will show giving you the option to choose free domain later. Click the green button and move to the next step. You will be allocated a temporary domain name and prompted to grab your free domain name after your sign up is complete.
If you feel stuck and need help choosing a domain name I am happy to help. Simply post your question in my free Facebook group for fabulous women bloggers and entrepreneurs and tag me so I won’t miss it.
Create your account
It’s time to fill in your details, choose the length of your hosting plan and introduce your payment info.
The account details are pretty straight forward – simply type in your name, address, and email. These details will show on your invoice, so double-check them (although you can make changes later and your invoice will be updated in real time). The email is the most important part here. Make sure you have access to this email because this is where your log in details will be sent.
Now scroll down to the package information. Choose the length of your plan – the longer, the cheaper the monthly rate gets.
I highly recommend the 36-month plan (only $142.20 for the first 3 years) or even the 60-month plan (only $237 for the first 5 years) because you end up saving tons of money. Alternatively, you can opt for the 12-month plan for $71.40 or the 24-month plan for $118.80, but subsequent years will renew at $95.88/year.
Uncheck everything else except domain privacy.
I recommend you pay for the domain privacy because this way the personal details you typed above (name & address) won’t show publicly in the WHOIS database. If you are a company and you’ll display your address on your website anyway, paying for domain privacy doesn’t make much sense.
Next, introduce your payment details (I guess no explanation is necessary here). Check the terms of service box and click the green submit button.
Create a password
The new screen will welcome you to Bluehost and ask you to choose a password for your account. Click the create your password button.
Choose a complex password following Bluehost’s instructions (8-30 characters, at least 1 lower and 1 uppercase letter, a number, a special character). Write password down and click next.
You’ve successfully created a new password screen will appear and you can now log in.
Congrats! You are now eligible for a FREE copy of my printable blog planner. Simply enter your domain name and email below and I’ll send it to you.
Step 4. Install WordPress
Starting a blog is like buying the tools to build a house. You buy the wrong tools and you’ll never make progress, no matter how hard you try. You buy the right tools and you are well on your way.
This is exactly what WordPress is – a tool that will make your blog awesome and easy to manage. It is also the most popular blogging software out there and it’s completely free.
Bluehost has an easy 1-click WordPress install that makes this step a breeze.
When you log into your Bluehost account, your cPanel opens. Look for the websites section (it’s probably further down on the page). Click the Install WordPress icon.
You will be welcomed to the Bluehost Marketplace. Click the green get started button.
Select your domain. Leave the directory as is. Click next.
Now for the last step, write the name of your blog (ie. My New Blog), your admin username and email (they can be the same) and your password (it can be the same password as the one you’ve created in step 3 or a different one). Check all the boxes. Click install.
WordPress installation might take a few minutes. Wait on this screen until you see installation successful.
You will receive a second email with your WordPress login credentials as you’ve introduced them above. Write them down and keep them safe. You will need these to sign into your WordPress dashboard. Actually, going forward, you will be using your WordPress username and password much more often than your Bluehost ones.
Logging into WordPress
If you registered a new domain name in step 3, simply go to your inbox, find the WordPress welcome email and click on the admin URL (it looks like this http://www.yournewblog.com/wp-admin). Now you can log into your WordPress dashboard. Note your blog will display a welcome page courtesy of Bluehost. You can make your blog public from your WordPress dashboard once you are ready to publish your blog.
If you used an existing domain in step 3, you will have to change the nameservers to point to your new blog. For this, you have to log into your domain registrar and change the DNS nameservers with the Bluehost ones as you received them in your welcome to Bluehost email (they usually are ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com). If you can’t figure out where to enter your new nameservers, I suggest you call your domain registrar and ask for their help.
Step 5. Create a personalized email address
Every time I see a blogger still using a gmail.com or yahoo.com email address, it makes me cringe. Having a personalized email address ending in your own custom domain will make your communication with readers and clients so much more professional. And Bluehost makes this step super easy.
Back in your hosting account, simply go to email and then click the create an email account button.
In the first field, enter the first part of your email address, like hello or yourownname. I recommend you stay away from info or contact because they sound too impersonal. Right next to it, you should see the awesome domain name you chose in step 3.
In the fields below, enter your password and then retype it. Remember to write it down next to the previously created ones.
Choose any of the default webmail clients. Then select unlimited mailbox size. Click create.
How to set a forwarder
You could access your email online through Bluehost webmail (by going to https://login.bluehost.com/hosting/webmail), but you certainly don’t want to do that.
What you want to do instead is set a forwarder. This way, every time an email is sent to your pretty email address, Bluehost automatically forwards it to your usual email address. I recommend using a Gmail account for this because it’s so easy to check even from an app on your mobile.
Step 1: Forwarding all emails to your usual email address
In the left sidebar, you will see written forwarding (image above). Click on it, and then on add email forwarder. In the address to forward field choose your newly created pretty email address. Below, in destination options, choose forward to this address and type in the email address where you will actually check your email from. Click submit.
Step 2: Sending emails from Gmail as your custom email address
Log into your Gmail account and go to settings. Under accounts and imports look for send email as. Click add another email address and type in your personalized email address.
That’s it! Now you can easily check and reply to emails from your usual Gmail account or the Gmail app. All the sender will ever see is your pretty email address that ends in your custom domain name.
See, you’ve just started your blog and you already look like a pro. Way to go!
Step 6. Make your blog your own
Congrats! You’ve made it! You are the proud owner of a new blog! Now it’s time to get your creative juices flowing or call upon your muse.
Make your blog pretty
WordPress has thousands of free themes to choose from. You will find them all under appearance >> themes >> add new. Choose a theme you like. You can change it anytime. Or you can go to Creative Market and get one of the many elegant themes designed with a girl boss in mind.
Get a beautiful logo
A logo is as unique as you are and your blog surely can’t do without one. If you are not a digital whiz yourself, Barbara will design a gorgeous watercolor logo for you. Seriously, she is amazing!
If you want to take things to the next level, I also wrote a detailed post on blog design and branding.
Make your blog functional
Plugins are cool bits of software that once installed, will expand the functionality of your blog. Plugins like Akismet (protects your blog from spam) and Yoast SEO (helps you with the on-page SEO) are a must. However, try to keep the number of plugins under 20.
Write your first blog post
Start writing your first article by going to posts >> add new on the left-hand side of your WordPress dashboard. Remember to add some images too.
Look professional out of the box
In my FREE email course, From Fog To Blog, I walk you through all the steps you need to take from zero to launching a successful blog. I also wrote a post about the 10 things you need to do before the big date.
Make money blogging
My guess is that you’ve embarked on this blogging journey because you want to supplement your income or make a living online, among other things. My post on how to start with affiliate marketing will help you take the first steps towards your income goals.
Start growing your email list
MailerLite is the easiest platform to start growing your email list on. I’ve been using them for months and wholeheartedly recommend them.
If you need help, I wrote a detailed guide on getting started with MailerLite. Oh, and did I mention they are FREE up to 1,000 subscribers?
Did you start a blog via one of the Bluehost links in this post? Don’t forget to claim your free blog planner (a $20 value!)