So, you want to start a blog? If so, you are in the right place!
Hi, my name is Zac Johnson and through the use of blogging, I continually generate thousands of dollars per month from the comfort of my own home. In this guide, I will show you exactly what it takes to start a blog of your own today, while also walking you through the process of how to create content for your blog and even make some money in the process. If you follow along with everything I’ve broken down for you below, you should have a blog of your own up and running in less than 15 minutes.
Let’s get started!
How to Start a Blog in 3 Simple Steps
I wanted to make this process as simple and fast for you as possible, so I’ve broken it all down in three simple steps. Here’s what you will need to know before getting started.
- Select the Right Blogging Platform – This is how you will create a blog and new content for your site.
- Set up Your Domain Name and Hosting – These are required to make your site content accessible around the world.
- Creating a Blog with Purpose – Once your blog is live, I’ll show you how to make it look amazing and professional.
If some of these don’t make sense to you right now, don’t worry about it. I’m going to show you how simple it is to go live with a blog in just minutes, while also requiring no technical or programming skills.
Step 1 – Choosing the Right Blogging Platform
Starting a blog or a website today is much easier, faster and cheaper today than it was in previous years. This is mainly due to free software solutions becoming available that allow site owners to create content and go live with a site without the need to know any programming or have any design skills. In short, if you know how to type or send an email, you are more than well-equipped to start a blog of your own.
However, before going live with your blog, you need to know which blogging platform is best for you and your site. In the chart below you will see a breakdown of the most popular blogging content management systems being used today.
WordPress is the best solution for starting a new blog.
As you can see from the visual above, WordPress is the clear winner. In comparison to the thousands of different site design editors, platforms and content management solutions on the internet today, more than 26% of all sites on the internet use WordPress (just like this website is also using WordPress).
So what does this mean for you? In short… WordPress is going to make your life and blogging a whole lot easier.
Here are a few reasons why you will love using WordPress:
- It’s 100% Free – Amazingly enough, one of the most powerful software solutions in the world today is 100% free! No gimmicks, no up-sells… just free.
- Extremely Easy for Beginners – WordPress has become one of the most popular platforms in the world today not only because it’s free, but also because it’s so easy to use. Instead of requiring site owners to use custom designs or programming, there are thousands of free WordPress Themes and Plugins that you can use to customize all aspects of your blog.
- Free Resources, Guides and Community Support – With WordPress being used by so many websites, you can pretty much find any resources, guides, tutorials or support that you need. In addition to the free sources found on the main WordPress site, you will also find endless resources on other blogging resources sites.
- WordPress Looks Great on Mobile – With more people using their mobile devices to access the internet than ever before, it’s important to make sure your blog looks great on all devices as well. This is another area that WordPress has you taken care of. Create a blog in minutes and your site and content will look great on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and more.
- WordPress is Huge! – 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!
Now that you’ve seen why and how WordPress is being used to make blogging and site creation so easy, let’s move along in the process and get you started with a site of your own. The next step in the process is to select a hosting provider and pick a great domain name for your site. This is one of my favorite parts when launching a new site or blog!
Step 2 – Selecting Your Domain Name and Blog Hosting
With WordPress being selected as our blogging platform, it’s now time to set up the other two most important factors to getting your blog live:
- A Domain Name – This is the address you type in whenever you want to visit a site. (www.name.com)
- A Hosting Provider – This is the service that places your site content on the internet for others to see.
Again, even if you never created a website or blog before, don’t worry! The process of setting these up is extremely simple and once it’s done, you won’t need to mess around with any of these settings again.
How to Get a Free Domain Name
Anyone can register a domain name. The toughest part is simply coming up with an original name that isn’t already registered yet. On average, domain names will cost around $15 per year to register. However, I was able to get an amazing promotion from my recommended web host, Bluehost.com, where they will give you a free domain name if you set up a web hosting plan today. Not only do I recommend Bluehost, WordPress recommends them as well!
In addition to a free domain name, when you setup your hosting with Bluehost, you will also receive premium hosting for just pennies per day. This will also allow you to setup a unique email account for your site as well (such as email@example.com), which is a lot more professional than a free Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail account. It’s all very easy to setup once setup with Bluehost.
How to Pick a Great Domain Name
With all of that in mind, here are a few tips on how to pick a great domain name for your blog.
- Keep it short and simple
- Stay away from numbers and dashes
- Pick a name that is easy to spell and memorable
- Don’t use any copyright or trademarked names
- Use keywords that are relevant to your topic
- Stick with a .com, .net or .org domain extension
- If it’s available, always try to register YourName.com
Thousands of domain names are registered every day, so if you keep finding that your requested domain name is already taken, don’t get discouraged. If you can’t think of anything unique, I always recommend seeing if your personal name is available as a domain. This is always good to try and register, as it likely won’t be available forever!
Which extension should you pick for your domain name?
Also, when choosing a domain name, you will have a few different options as for the type of domain extension you want to use. The ‘.com’ is always going to be the most popular, followed by ‘.net’ and then ‘.org’. However, there are many other extensions to choose from — though I recommend you stick with any of the three mentioned here. They are the most professional and well-known around the world.
Very exciting! We decided on using WordPress as our blogging platform and also know how to setup hosting and selecting a domain name for your site. Now it’s time to bring it all together and put it in motion.
Wait! Make sure you do the next steps correctly!
Step 1 – Setup Your Blog with Bluehost (click here or the link below, and it will open in a new window)
Step 2 – Follow the step-by-step visual instructions below on how to setup your blog with Bluehost.
My Step-By-Step Guide to Going Live with Your Blog
As mentioned at the beginning of this guide, I want to make this is as easy for you to set up as possible, so I went through the process myself and did a few screen captures along the way. Now you can follow along here as a reference when you are setting up your Bluehost account and blog.
First, click this link www.Bluehost.com to open a new browser tab.
After clicking the link, you should see the Bluehost site (like the screenshot above).
On this page, you will also notice the special offer for a free domain name, free SSL certificate, 1-Click WordPress Installs and also 24/7 support.
Next, click on the big green button that says “Get Started Now“.
You will then be sent to a page where you can choose your hosting plan. (shown below)
There are three different hosting plans you can choose from. The ‘basic’ plan is more than enough for most site owners and bloggers to get started with, and the monthly cost is as low as $2.95 per month. If you’d like to create more than one website or blog in the future, the “Prime” plan is a better option.
After selecting your hosting package, you can then grab your free domain name. Simply type in a domain name you’d like to use and if it’s available, then click the “next” button. If your domain name in unavailable, keep coming up with new names until you find a good one that available.
If you already have a domain name with another provider like GoDaddy or Namecheap, you can use the “i have a domain name’ option instead.
Once you’ve completed the domain name process, it’s time to fill in your account details.
After filling in all of your personal details, you can scroll down the page and you will see the ‘package information’ section. This is where you will see everything included within your hosting, along with different options for upgrades, add-ons or saving money with an extended hosting plan.
In the screenshot image below you will notice that we went with the 36-month plan. This might seem like a lot of time at first, but it will save you the most money when creating your hosting account. If you go with a shorter time period, it will cost more than $2.95 per month, which is why I recommend going with that time period.
Also, be sure to uncheck any of the pre-checked boxes in this section, as most site owners and bloggers won’t need them, and they are an additional cost you don’t need to spend money on right now. These options can also be added at a later time if you feel the need for them.
Next, we need to complete the payment section to finalize your hosting account.
Check off that you agree to Bluehost’s terms and then click the green submit button to continue.
Congratulations! Your purchase is now complete and we can move forward with going live with your blog.
After clicking the ‘submit’ button, you will then see a “welcome to bluehost’ message that confirms your account is now live and that a message has been sent to your email account. This email will contain information about your account and how to login to your member’s area (which we will do next).
Using your account details (domain or username and password), you can log into the bluehost members area.
Next, click on the icon that says “Install WordPress” to start the blog creation process.
You will then be sent to another page that confirms you are about to enter the WordPress installation process. Simply click “Continue installation” to start the process.
The next step is to select the domain name that you want to install WordPress on.
Next, fill in the Admin Information to access your WordPress members area. (simply fill in your blog name or title, then create a username and password, while also putting your main email for the admin email).
After clicking “Next”, you will then see a page like the one below. This page will take a minute or two to load, as WordPress is being installed on your site. You can simply wait for this process to complete, or browse through some of the WordPress themes and options offered on the page.
Once the WordPress installation process is complete, you will then be sent to the last page in this process — which will provide you with your WordPress login details.
That’s it! It’s really that easy to setup a hosting account, get a domain name and install WordPress — everything you need to go live with a blog of your own.
Best of all, the process shouldn’t take any longer than 10 minutes. Click here to get started if you haven’t already.
How to Start a Blog & Install WordPress Video
I think I made the sign-up and WordPress installation walkthrough above pretty quick and easy, but it still might have been a bit much for everyone to consume. In addition to the image-based tutorial above, I also wanted to provide you with a video as well. Thankfully, Bluehost has this covered as well.
After watching the short video, click here to head over to Bluehost and setup your blog.
How to setup a WordPress blog manually using any web host.
We just walked through the process of how to install WordPress when signing up with Bluehost, but what if you want to start a blog and are already set up with another hosting solution? Good news and bad news… The good news is that I’ve laid that option and process out for you below as well. Simply click on the gray tab below to see this walkthrough. The bad news is that it’s more complex and much more of a technical process to complete. That is why I recommend using Bluehost for creating your next website or blog.
Reminder: It is not recommended to manually install WordPress to set up 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 Bluehost.
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:define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘database_name_here’);/** MySQL database username */
define(‘DB_USER’, ‘username_here’);/** 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:
- http://yourdomain.com/blog/wp-admin/install.phpBe 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? Click here to join my recommended host to setup an account and instantly have WordPress set up for you. It literally takes only a few minutes!
Step 3 – How to Create a Blog with Purpose
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 a purpose.
This section is a quick walkthrough of how to write your first blog post and change your WordPress theme design. For a more detailed walkthrough, please click here.
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 Bluehost 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 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.
BONUS: Frequently Asked Questions When Blogging
When it comes to doing anything for the first time, we all have questions. To help with this process, I wanted to provide you with some of the most frequent questions I get asked on a daily basis.
How can I get more visitors to my blog?
Did you know that there are currently over a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today? It’s true… and while there are plenty of people already on the internet, that is still a lot of websites and content to compete against. When launching a new website or blog, traffic and visitors to your site might be a bit slow. However, as you continue to come out with new content on your site, rank in the search results and share content with your friends, traffic to your site will continue to grow over time. If you want to implement some actionable methods to start increasing traffic to your site today, get started with these 15 free traffic generation methods.
When will my site start showing in Google?
Google will automatically find your website or blog once it’s been around for a few days and has some content published and people visiting your site. A great way to speed up this process is to link to your blog from your social profile or anywhere else that might be relevant. Keep in mind, just because your site has been indexed by Google, that doesn’t mean it will necessarily start ranking high in the search results or for generic keywords that you think it should. The process of ranking a site in Google is quite complex. I recommend you read through these simple SEO tips for beginners to have a better understanding of how this process works.
How can I make money with my blog?
The ultimate goal for many bloggers is to eventually make money with their site and content. Fortunately, this is something I’ve had a lot of experience with. So much so, that I actually wrote a complete guide on how to make money blogging. Not only does it break down the process of how to choose a niche market or different monetization methods to use, I also show you real examples of how this is being done today. If you want to find financial success with blogging, it’s all about providing value to your audience. Billions of people are using Google and visiting sites on a daily basis to find solutions to their problems. If your website or blog can help solve those problems, there is a good chance you can start making some money in the process.
I’m not sure if I want to blog yet. Should I start with a free blog like WordPress.org, Blogger or Blogspot?
This is one of the most asked questions that I get when it comes to starting a blog, and the answer is definitely “no”! If you are going to put in the time and effort to start a web site or blog, you might as well start off in the right direction from day one. Many people like to start a free blog through solutions like Blogspot, but this is actually more of a waste of time and effort than anything else. This is something I cover in my articles on why you should never choose a free hosting provider. To answer the question as quickly and efficiently as possible, anyone who uses a free blogging platform will likely not have complete ownership over their content, along with also being limited on if they can have a domain name, what site themes they can use and even if they can make money with their site. Start off in the right direction by investing a few dollars into premium hosting.
What if I’m not good at writing or am a horrible speller?
Blogging is unlike any other form of content creation we’ve ever seen. There are no requirements or skills needs to start a blog of your own, and it doesn’t matter what level of education or expertise in any given niche you have. To tell you the truth, I’ve never been a huge fan of writing or reading, but ever since I started my blog in 2007, I’ve now published over 3,500 articles online and have become a very faster and talented writer in the process. In fact, if improving your writing skills is something you would like to work on, having a blog is a great way to accomplish this. So, to answer the question, no, you don’t need to be a great writer to start a blog — after all, it’s your own little spot on the internet and you can do whatever you like with it! There are also plenty of free and premium tools like Grammarly, that can act as a spell checker as you write and create content for your site. This is one of my favorite blogging tools and one that I use on a daily basis.
Can I get famous from starting a blog?
Often times we will see everyday people become overnight success stories through the use of websites, social media, YouTube and even blogs. The first thing to note is that most of these ‘overnight’ success stories aren’t really overnight and have a lot of blood, sweat, and tears behind them. Take Perez Hilton for example, he got started with a celebrity gossip blog and look how rich, famous and successful he is today. In short, you can definitely get famous or become an industry leader within your market through the use of a blog. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish with your site, a lot of things can happen. For instance, I was featured on Fox News and ABC News as a blogging expert and have been able to teach thousands of people how to get started with a blog of their own. No matter what it is you are trying to accomplish with a blog, if you put in the time and effort to make it great, you can definitely become famous, successful and even wealthy in the process!
Send me an email when your new 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 had 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 an email once your blog is up and running so I can take a look at what you’ve created!