How to Start a Blog in Less than 10 Minutes...
My Easy to Follow Step-By-Step Guide
Starting a blog is one of the most exciting things you can do online! However... it can be quite confusing and frustrating if you don't know how to get started. When I started my first blog back in 2007, I had no idea what I was doing and it took me a decent amount of time to figure it all out. Today I'm addicted to blogging and I've even been able to make a full-time living off my blogging efforts in the process!
The biggest reason why many people don't already have a blog of their own is that they simply don't know how to get started and when they start looking around for "how to" guides" and reading online tutorials... it's just all too confusing and takes up too much time. Before you know it, you've wasted a few hours just setting up your blog and aren't any further along then when you first started.
That's why I created Blogging.org, simple "How to Start a Blog" guide to help anyone and everyone get started with their own blog in just a few minutes, while not making it a big headache in the process.
It doesn't matter what your currently level of technical or computer skills are... blogging is definitely for you and I've already helped thousands of other bloggers get started with their own site, so why not start yours today as well?
Excellent... let's get started!
Hi, My name is Zac and I'm the blogger behind Blogging.org.
You may have already seen my name and articles published in...
How to Start a Blog in 3 Simple Steps
Step 1: Consider Your Blogging Options and Pick a Topic
Before even starting your blog, you should first think about what you are going to have as the main focus for your site. In short, what you are going to be writing about and what people should expect to find as your site. Many bloggers start with something they are passionate about. This way you will already have a good amount of knowledge about the content you will create on your blog and it will be fun for you at the same time.
When I started my first blog, I focused it around myself and my interested in online marketing in business. Since the blog was about something I was interested in, it was easy and fun for me to create new content and spend time working on the site. This is something you should strive for as well.
While many people are blogging for fun, a decent amount of people are also blogging for business and to bring awareness to their existing brands or web sites. If you are already an expert in a specific topic or niche, starting a blog is a great way to grow your authority and establish yourself as an expert online.
Once you come up with a great blog
idea, then the fun really begins!
To make it easy for you... your blog can be whatever you want it to be, and the good news is you can always start a new one if you decide to change your mind or focus!
If you'd like to get more ideas on different types of blogs on the internet today, simply click on the "Explore different blogging ideas" link below to show more content.
Explore new blogging ideas
There are well over 100 million blogs on the internet today. Here are just a handful of the most popular blog ideas and concepts people are writing about.
- Personal Blog - Everyone should have their own little spot on the internet and a personal blog is a great way to accomplish this. With a personal blog you can write about whatever you like, post pictures of your friends and family, while also building a longterm diary to save your favorite memories.
- Entertainment Blog - Whether it's gossip, celebrity pictures or just for your favorite TV shows... entertainment blogs are all over the place and one of the most fun and fastest growing niches out there.
- Niche Specific Blog - A niche blog is one that could be focused on any individual topics, product, service or thing that you might want to blog about. A good example of a niche specific blog would be "Best Camping Folding Knives".
- Cooking Blog - A cooking blog is a great option for anyone who loves to cook, share recipes and take pictures of their food. It's also a great way to learn new recipes and become friends with other chefs online.
- Travel Blog - A travel blog is a great idea for anyone who loves to travel and likes to share their journeys and pictures with others. Some travel bloggers have even been able to travel the world and make money in the process.
- Blogging to Make Money - Last but not least, we have blogging for the pure concept of making money. This is one of the most common reasons why people start a blog. To make money with blogging you need to create a blog that provides value, solves a problems and has a clear monetization method (such as affiliate marketing or selling banner ad space on your blog.)
These are just a few of the most popular blogging topics out there. The great thing about blogging is that there are no rules. Once you start a blog, you can do whatever you like with it. Go niche specific or cover as many topics as you like.
Step 2: Choosing the right blogging platform for you?
When I first started creating web sites back in the 90s, it was quite a task! I would have to design my site in one program, upload it to the internet in another and then connect it all together. Now thanks to the power of WordPress, it's easy for anyone to get started with a blog of their own in just minutes.
WordPress has been downloaded over 100 million times and is the software of choice by millions of bloggers and many of the top blogs in the world today, such as TED, NBA Sports, CNN and TechCrunch. Best of all... it's free to use!
I personally love WordPress and I would never create another site or blog without it.
Here are just a few of the many reasons why so many people love and use WordPress.
- Fully customizable with thousands of themes and plugins to choose from
- Completely free to use, easy to install and little to no training required
- Google loves WordPress blogs because of how clean the sites and content are
- The ability to easily comment and share your blog posts with others
Now it's time to consider your options... Free vs. Premium Hosted Blogs
While WordPress is free to use, it doesn't mean that you should be running to their site to setup an account and start blogging. Instead you first need to understand the difference between free blogs and premium web hosted blogs.
I've created an easy to follow PROs and CONs chart for you below.
PREMIUM HOSTED BLOGS
- You get to pick a unique domain name (www.name.com)
- You have complete control over the blog, it's content and how it looks
- No unwanted spammy advertising to take away from the content on your site
- You can make money with your blog by selling or promoting online services
- If you ever wanted to sell your blog for profit, you can sell it to anyone
FREE HOSTED BLOGS
- Hosted on wordpress.com with a long address (wordpress.com/page/2323r)
- Whoever is hosting your free blog can shut it down at any time for any reason
- Some free blog hosting services require you to show ads on your blog
- Free blog hosting services usually don't allow users to make money off their blogs
- Whoever is hosting your blog owns it
Whenever I am asked how I would personally create a blog of my own... I ALWAYS tell people to get their own domain name and premium hosting. There is simply no better way to setup your first blog than to do is the right way and not regret it later.
Now that we covered the Pros and Cons of free and premium hosted blogs, I'm sure you are wondering what the costs are to simply get started.
Good news... it's actually pretty cheap!
Every great blog will need it's own domain name (the site url or address people use to get to your site), which costs roughly $10 per year.
Looks like someone is excited to
start working on their new blog!
In addition to the domain name registration cost, you will also need to get your own web hosting, which is only around $3-$7 per month.
Over the course of a year you are looking at roughly $60 to have your own fully functional domain name and blog that you can 100% call your own!
What's even better is that anyone can get started with a blog of their own today and not have to worry about if they lose interest or focus in their blog.
Many premium blog hosting services will offer a full refund within 60-90 days of setting up their account!
Through this blog tutorial, hundreds of people setup their own blog each month and I continually get emails from site visitors who are now up and running with their own blog.
I cannot thank Blogging.org enough for the great resources and mentoring they have provided to take my blog to a higher level. There are countless benefits of having an experienced, fully engaged blogging mentor like Zac Johnson to help you with the process of setting up a successful blog.
Step 3: Picking a Great Domain Name for Your Blog
Quite possibly the number 1 reason why every blogger should go with their own premium hosted WordPress blog, is that you get your own domain name.
Your domain name is the address of your blog and it's the first and last thing your site visitors are going to remember. Wouldn't it be much better to say "You can visit my blog at YourName.com" vs. "Visit my blog at http://wordpress.com/post/24/about-me"?
Exactly, no one would ever remember that address or even want to visit a site like that.
When it comes time to pick a domain name for your blog, you are going to want to pick something that's easy to remember and spell, while also giving people a good idea of what your blog is about.
Here are some points to consider when picking a domain name.
- Keep it short and simple
- Stay away from numbers and dashes
- Pick a name that easy to spell and memorable
- Don't use any copyright or trademarked names
- Use keywords that are focused on your blog topic
- Stick with a .com, .net or .org domain extention
- If it's available, always try to secure YourName.com
Don't go crazy trying to find the perfect domain. Pick something good and go with it!
It's also important to note that millions of domain names are already registered, so you might have to get a bit creative with your name.
As mentioned in the bullet points above... always checks to see if your personal name is available as a .com, .net or .org, as you would want to own it before someone else does.
Blogging.org is a great resource for anyone who is a new or aspiring blogger. I feel like I have my own personal mentor. It has been just what I needed to take my dream to my reality.
Where to Register Your Domain Name and Blog Hosting
Domain names and web hosting are two completely separate things, but they can usually be ordered together at the same time. If you don't already own any domain names, this is probably the easiest solution for you as well.
Over the past 8 years I've had the pleasure of working with many different web hosting services... only to leave them time and time again. After trying hosting companies like MediaTemple, BlueHost and others, I can confidently say that I have been hosting many of my sites with HostGator for the past several years now.
The nice thing about HostGator is that they are one of the largest web site and blog hosting solutions in the world today. Something that can't be said about many of the other "low cost" web hosts out there.
Did someone say "one-click WordPress installation"... count me in!
In comparison to other hosting services, HostGator is top notch and very competitive on their pricing. Other great features of HostGator is their 24/7 email and phone support along with the ability to talk to someone from their support team through online chat at any time.
For all of the bloggers out there, HostGator also offers a one-click installation process that quickly installs WordPress on your domain name and server without the extra headaches of downloading software and messing with any programming or files.
HostGator is my host of choice, but you are free to use any web hosting service you like. The good news is that this create a blog tutorial guide applies to nearly all of the different hosting companies out there today. Should you decide to go with another hosting company, make sure they offer one-click WordPress installation, unlimited storage and bandwidth along with the option to setup as many sites as you like.
No matter what hosting solution you end up going with, you will still have to install WordPress to create your blog. Here are your two options.
- Easy one-click WordPress installation (available through HostGator)
- Manually (downloading WordPress install files and uploading through FTP)
Clearly one of these two installation options is much easier than the other. When I created my first blog several years ago, I had to do it manually because the one-click installation option wasn't available yet. Now I just use the one-click install every time.
No matter whether you prefer a simple one click installation for WordPress, or downloading and installing it manually, I'm going to show you how to do each below.
How to setup a WordPress blog using HostGator
(fast and super easy for anyone to setup in a few minutes)
Click here to setup your blog with WordPress in one-click
Step 1 – Choose a Quality Web Host
(This is a recap for why you should choose HostGator as your web hosting service.)
One of the most important decisions before creating your blog, is choosing a reliable web hosting company. The last thing you want it to go live with your blog and have a hosting provider that continually goes down, offers little support and locks you into a long term contract.
HostGator is the perfect solution for bloggers of all sizes because they are very easy to work with, offer 24/7 support and have hosting plans that cost just a few dollars per month and are on a monthly basis.
In addition to the obvious reasons why HostGator is an excellent host, here are some of the technical benefits as well.
Excellent Support - HostGator currently powers over 10 million sites and domain names from all around the world. With this many customers, they simply need to have the best support around. Customers can get in contact with HostGator support through 24/7 chat support, email (tickets) and phone support as well. My preferred method of contact with HostGator is through their chat support, so I can keep working online while waiting to connect with someone from their support team.
Affordable Pricing – As mentioned earlier, there are many different hosting solutions to choose from. In comparison to them all, HostGator is very competitively priced while also offering high quality web hosting. Packages start out at just a few dollars per month and can be paid on a monthly basis, which means you can cancel or leave their hosting at any time.
We also have an exclusive coupon for our readers! Use BLOGGINGDOTORG to instantly save 30%!
Unlimited Disk Space and Bandwidth – When trying to decide on a quality web host, you are also going to have to look at their disk space and bandwidth issues. This is just another complication that bloggers don't want to have to deal with. HostGator offers unlimited space for both, which means you can have a ton of people coming to your site and you won't have to worry about extra hosting charges.
Monthly Payment System Available - I also mentioned earlier that HostGator has some of the best pricing around. The great thing about HostGator is that they offer monthly payments, which doesn't lock you into their hosting for a long period of time. However, they also offer crazy low rates of around $3 per month for anyone that wants to pay for a year or more in advance. This is a great option as bloggers usually end up keeping their sites for many years to come.
One last thing I want to mention is that you can always upgrade or downgrade your HostGator account at any time. This is great if you want to add more domains, features or even start selling online.
Step 2 – Signing Up with HostGator
Now that we got the benefits of HostGator out of the way, I want to make it super easy for you to signup and get started with your blog. In the screenshots below I will show you how easy it is to head over to HostGator and setup your hosting account.
Right when you get to the HostGator site you will notice the big 30% off coupon. This is our exclusive coupon for our Blogging.org readers. You can then click the "Start Your Site Now" button.
Next you will need to fill out your personal information and how you want to setup your site.
The first form on the list is for your domain name. If you don't have a domain name already, just type the name you want to register in the form. If you already have a domain, then you can click on the "I Already Own This Domain" tab, then type it into the form.
Next you will want to select your hosting package. I recommend you go with the "BABY" package, as this will allow you to setup as many domains, web sites and blogs as you like under one account. You can also decide on how often you would like to pay for your hosting (monthly, six months or annually).
The last step is to create a username and a security PIN to verify your account.
The next section is for "Adding Additional Services". You will noticed that some of these are already pre-checked from HostGator, as they recommend each customer signs up for the options, but that is up to you. HostGator offers these protective services for your site, but you can also save money by unchecking them and using other WordPress alternatives.
Last but not least, we have the final coupon code and order details area. The coupon code area should already be filled in with “BLOGGINGDOTORG”, which will save you 30% on this purchase. If not, you can place it in that area as well.
The final payment amount should be in the $6.97 range if you selected the same options we did in this tutorial (and removed the additional services) while also already owning our domain name.
If everything looks good, you can then click SUBMIT and your order and web hosting package will be processed. HostGator will then send you an email with your account details and you can move onto the next section, which is installing WordPress on HostGator in a just a few minutes time.
Step 3 – How to Install WordPress on HostGator
After receiving your account and login details from HostGator, you can then login to your control panel and setup WordPress. Don't worry, it's super easy and only takes a few minutes!
The welcome email that HostGator sends you will have your username, password and a link to access your Control Panel. Click the link and then login with your account details.
Once logged in, you will see a lot of options to choose from. You can ignore them all for now. Just click on the one that says "QuickInstall" and looks like the one in the screenshot below. If you don't see it right away, just scroll down until you see it in the Software/Services section.
Once clicked, you will be sent over to the WordPress installation script page. You will see the image below on the left side of your screen, click where it says “WordPress”.
After clicking on "Wordpress", you will see the form below appear. In this section you can put in your site details and contact information.
All of the fields are self explanatory and can be changed later. Just make sure your email is correct.
In the pull down menu right below the "Install WordPress" words, you will pick the domain you want to install WordPress on. This would be the same domain name you registered or setup with HostGator.
The "Admin Email" you would put your main email address. "Blog Title" would be the title you want for your blog. "Admin User" can be any username you would like to use, or simply the word “admin”.
Once finished, click “Install Now” and you will then see a confirmation message like the one below.
You will receive a new confirmation from HostGator / your server on your WordPress login details. This will contain your username and password to login to your WordPress Dashboard. You can usually access WordPress on your server through the URL www.yoursite.com/wp-admin/.
If you see the form above and are able to login, you are good to go!
Congrats! You’re WordPress Blog is Now Live!
The first time around it might seem like a lot to cover, but it's extremely simple and in most cases, you won't ever have to login to your control panel or need to setup WordPress again.
If you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email.
How to setup a WordPress blog manually using any web host.
(advanced, technical and more time consuming)
Click here to learn how to manually install wordpress with software and ftp
Reminder: It is not recommended to manually install WordPress to setup a blog, unless you are well trained in how to use zip folders, files, FTP software and .php files. It's much easier to use one-click installation that is already built into HostGator.
How to Install WordPress Manually
Step 1: Download WordPress
- Download the WordPress package to your local computer from http://wordpress.org/download/.
- Unzip the downloaded file to a folder on your local computer.
Step 2: Upload WordPress to Your Hosting Account
There are three available options for uploading WordPress to a hosting account.
- Upload via FTP - Please see FTP Getting Started for more information.
- Upload via File Manager - Please see How to Upload Using the File Manager for instructions.
- Upload via SSH - Please see How to Get and Use SSH Access for instructions.
Step 3: Create a MYSQL Database and Username
WordPress stores its information in a database. Therefore, a database will need to be created.
- Log into cPanel.
- In the Databases section, click the MYSQL Database Wizard icon.
- For Step 1: Create a Database, enter a database name and click Next Step.
- For Step 2: Create Database Users, enter the database user name and password and click Create User.
- For Step 3: Add User to the Database, click the All Privileges checkbox and click Next Step.
- For Step 4: Complete the task, make note of the database name, username and password, as you will need them for Step 4 below.
Step 4: Configure wp-config.php
The wp-config-sample.php file has the database information contained within it and tells the WordPress software which database to connect with. This step needs to be completed to make sure the correct database information is connecting with WordPress installation files.
The wp-config-sample.php file can be found in File Manager in the folder where WordPress is installed. To modify the file:
- Log into cPanel.
- In the Files section, click the File Manager icon.
- In the pop-up box, select Web Root and check the box for Show Hidden Files (dotfiles), then click Go.
If you don't see the pop-up box, you may have selected the "Skip this question, and always open this directory in the future when opening File Manager" option. To make the pop-up reappear, simply click reset all interface settings at the very bottom of your cPanel.
- From the left navigation menu in File Manager, click public_html to expand the folder.
- Click the folder containing the WordPress installation.
- On the right side of the File Manager screen, locate the wp-config-sample.php file.
- Right click on the file, select Rename and change the name of the file to wp-config.php. Click the Rename File button.
- Right-click on the wp-config.php file and select Code Edit. When the file opens, look for the following information:
/** MySQL database username */
/** MySQL database password */
- Replace database_name_here with the name of the database you created (above in Step 3: Create MySQL Database and User See Below).
- Replace username_here with the username of the database you created.
- Replace password_here with the password of the database that you created.
When done editing, click the Save Changes button, then close the file.
Step 5: Run the Installation
Next you will want to go to the installation page through a new browser so you can successfully run the installation script. Depending on where you installed the script, you will find it at either of the following URLs:
Be sure to replace yourdomain.com in the example above with your actual domain name.
You should now see a welcome page that says "Welcome to the famous five minute WordPress installation process!"
Step 6: Run the Installation
On this page, fill in the fields for:
- Site Name
- Password (needs to be entered twice)
- Email address (login information will be sent to this email address)
- Select whether or not to have the search engines index the site
Click Install Now, and you should be taken to the final screen, showing the following message:
Success! WordPress has been installed.
Was this too confusing? Head over to HostGator to setup an account and install WordPress with just one click. It literally takes only a few minutes!
After installing WordPress, you can then focus on the actual content of your blog.
How to Create a Blog with Purpose
Writing your first blog post, choosing a new theme and getting new visitors to read your blog
Now it's time to start having some fun! There is nothing more excited than finally getting to work on your blog once it's live. Best of all, it's your blog... so you get to write about whatever you want!
Before you start writing about what you ate last night for dinner or saw on your way to work... you should first think about where you want your blog to be a few months down the road from now.
In short, your blog is one in a few hundred million -- so if you want to it be read by lots of people and stand out from the crowd, you are going to need to create content that provides value and has purpose.
Click here to learn how to write your first blog post and change your theme in WordPress
With your domain name, hosting and WordPress all setup, you can dive right into WordPress and start creating content for your site. When you signed up with HostGator and installed WordPress on your server, you should have also received your login details for WordPress.
Once logged in you will see a screen area like the one below. You can then click on the "Posts" tab on the left side menu and select "Add New".
You will then be sent to a new screen like the one below where you can start writing your blog content. If you know how to use Microsoft Word, then you will master WordPress in a matter of minutes.
The main areas are your Title and the actual Blog Post Content. Once you are happy with your content and ready to go live, all you have to do is click the "Publish" button on the right side of the page.
You can also easily change the look and feel of your blog through the use of WordPress Themes. To change your theme, simply click on "Appearance" on the left side menu and then click on "THEMES".
When you are on the Themes page you will see your existing themes and also also add a new theme by clicking on the "Add New" button on the top of the page. This will send you to the WordPress Themes gallery and allow you to upload any other themes you might have.
If you would like to learn more about how to use WordPress, contact me and I'll send you a few video tutorials that I created for users of this site.
Send me an email when your blog is live!
Over the past several years my blog has completely changed my life and business for the better. It's become a gateway to new opportunities on almost a daily basis and I wish I started earlier!
I thank you so much for taking the time to read through my "How to Start a Blog" tutorial and there is nothing I would love more than for you to send me email once your blog is up and running so I can take a look at what you've created!