Whether you want to create a website about your favorite pet, hobbies, a struggle you are going through in life or even wanting to try and make a few dollars online, it’s all possible through the use of a blog.
In the following sections, I’m going to break down all of the important things you need to know about blogging before getting started — such as choosing the right niche for your site, why you should stay away from free blog hosting services and much more.
Also be sure to use the step-by-step guide located on the right side menu area of the page as well. It will guide you through all the steps carefully.
Why You Should Only Use this Blogging Guide
When it comes to starting a blog of your own, it’s best to learn from an expert who knows what they are talking about — both in teaching and through their profession. In addition to being a world renown blogger and having been featured on ABC, FOX News and many other publications, I’m already great friends with many of the top bloggers in the world as well. In short, I know how to create a successful blog!
To find success with blogging, it really comes down to a few fine points. Follow this simple guide step-by-step and you may see the same success!
- Setting your blog up the right way from day one
- Create a blog that provides value and helps your audience
- Have a mentor or guidebook to help you along the way
Now I have some good news… and even better news!
The good news is that you’ve found your way to this very site.
The better news is that I provide all of those benefits to you at no cost! In this “how to create a blog” tutorial and step-by-step guide, I walk you through everything you need to know about starting a successful blog, and best of all, I won’t even charge you a single penny!
How is that possible you ask? Simple… I’m made quite a successful career and living off my blog success and now I want to share my story, resources and benefits to you as well.
Through the use of my partnerships and sponsors over the years, I can now provide you with guidance on all of the same resources and tools I use to create and run my sites, and not have to personally charge you.
With all of that said, please enjoy my complete guide to blogging. Follow it step-by-step and do no hesitate to contact me with any questions!
How to Start a Blog in 3 Simple Steps
Step 1: Decide What Type of Blog You Want to Create
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 interest in online marketing in business. Since the site 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.
While many people are blogging for fun, a decent amount of people are using their blogs 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.
To make it easy for you… your web site can be about whatever you like, 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” box below to show more content.
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.
Now it’s time to consider your hosting options…
Free Services 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.
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’ve 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.
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 $40 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 45 days of setting up their account!
Through this blog tutorial, hundreds of people set up their own blog each month and I continually get emails from site visitors who are now up and running with their own 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 relevant to your topic
- Stick with a .com, .net or .org domain extension
- If it’s available, always try to register YourName.com
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.
Where to Register Your Domain Name and 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, SiteGround and others, I can confidently say that I have found a web hosting service that continues to be reliable, affordable and allows me to scale in size.
The nice thing about my current blog host is that they are one of the largest website 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.
In comparison to other hosting services, my current web host is top notch and very competitive on their pricing. Other great features are 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.
I have my own web 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 set up as many sites as you like.
No matter what hosting solution you choose, you will likely have to install WordPress to create your blog. Here are two options I’m providing you with today.
- Instant WordPress Access After Sign Up
(available through my web host, HostGator)
- Manual Installation
(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, it’s simply there and just waiting for you to use it.
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 My Recommended Web Host
(fast and super easy for anyone to setup in a few minutes)
Step 1 – Choose a Quality Web Host
(This is a quick walkthrough 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 low cost hosting plans that start at just a few dollars per month.
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 million of 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 deal in place with HostGator, which offers all Blogging.org readers 60% off on their initial purchase. That is a HUGE savings!
Unlimited Domains & Email – When trying to decide on a quality web host, you want to choose one that isn’t going to limit how many different sites and emails you can set up on one account. With HostGator’s “Starter” plan at less than $4 per month, you can set up unlimited sites, domains and email accounts.
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 $4 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 A Small Orange account at any time. This is great if you want to add more domains, features or even start selling online.
To get started with your blog hosting account, simply walk through the process below, or proceed to step two.
Step 2 – Signing Up with A Small Orange
Step 1. Choosing your hosting plan
As an active reader of Blogging.org, you now have the opportunity to grab my exclusive 620% off hosting promotion with HostGator. Not only will you receive a huge discount off hosting, you will also receive a few premium upgrades at no additional cost! This is an additional savings of over $49 per year as long as you keep your hosting plan active.
Once you click the link above and visit the HostGator site, you will be sent to a page like the one below. The first thing you need to do is click on the “BUY NOW” button under your requested hosting package. I highly recommend going with the “Starter Plan”, as this is perfect for anyone starting a new website or blog.
You will also notice the 60% discount for each hosting plan… but I also have more bonuses for you as you move on through the sign-up process!
Step 2. Choosing Domain
After selecting the web hosting plan that best fits your needs, you can then move onto selecting your domain name. All you need to do is fill in your domain name in the area shown below. HostGator will then let you know if the domain name is available or not. If your domain name isn’t available, try to come up with something creative until you find a winner that is available.
If you are registering a new domain, you will also have the option to purchase privacy protection. I don’t recommend it, as it’s an additional cost — however, it is there for anyone interested.
Step 3. Review and Complete
After selecting your hosting plan and domain name for your site, you can then proceed to fill in the rest of your personal details and payment information.
Before completing your hosting sign up process, I also want to point out the “Add Additional Services” listed right before the bottom of the order form page. Most of the time, this is the up-sell section where hosting companies try to get you to pay more money for extra services. Thankfully we aren’t doing that here!
Instead, I was able to get HostGator to through in this additional services for free! This means you will get “HackAlert Monitoring” and “Site Backup” completely free within your hosting account, just for signing up through our site! This is a savings of over $49 per year!
The last step of the process is to simply review everything and make sure it looks good.
In the example below, I went with the “Starter Plan” and 12 months of hosting… bringing the cost of hosting to less than $5 per month!
After clicking the “SUBMIT” button, you will then receive an email from HostGator with your account details, and can start blogging right away!
How to setup a WordPress blog manually using any web host.
How to setup a WordPress blog manually using any web host.
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 A Small Orange.
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!
After creating your account, 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 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 set up, 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 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 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 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!