So you want to start a blog but you don’t know how. Not to worry, this simple article will walk you through a step-by-step process to get everything set up. Why should you listen to me? Well, I have setup over a dozen successful blogs using this exact same process. Anyway time is money, let’s get on with this 🙂
Before we start, I want to say that in this article I recommend that you use the Wordpress platform to make your first blog. Why is this? Well, this is by far the most popular blog platform out there, so it will be easy to find like-minded individuals that can help you with your blog efforts. As Wordpress is the most popular, it is also very easy to monetize with ads when you get some traction. Finally, you have complete control over your blog on Wordpress, something that is not the case when using competing services such as Wix and Squarespace.
With that out of the way, this is how you get started:
Step 1: Name Your Blog
The first step to creating your blog is to come up with a catchy sounding name. People will be more likely to visit your blog if it has a catchy name. The problem is that with literally millions of blogs out there, it can feel hard to come up with a unique name.
Not to worry, I have a free tool for you that can help. Click HERE to visit Lean Domain Search. Simply enter a keyword into the search box that you would like included in your blog’s name. Lean Domain Search will then help you find relevant domain names that are available to register.
For example, when searching for a name for a fashion blog, I very quickly found the name RockSolidFashion.com available.
I would recommend that you only go for .com domain names, as they are the most well known. Thankfully, Lean Domain Search searches only for .com names by default.
Once you have found a domain name that you like, you should head across to register this name at NameSilo. This website may seem outdated, but trust me when I say it will be the best value and most efficient way to buy and manage your domain names. Be aware of competing services that tell you that they will register a domain name for $3. They will then overcharge you massively on the future renewals of that domain. You have been warned!
Simply click HERE and type in the domain name that you found from Lean Domain Search above. I entered RockSolidFashion.com, as you can see below:
After clicking the search button, I can see that the domain is available (as it is highlighted green), so I simply click the box under .com and click the big blue button ‘Register Checked Domains’.
You will then be taken to a shopping cart that asks you to pay for the domain. As you can see below, the total cost of my domain was only $9.95 for the first year. This includes WhoIS domain privacy (which will make sure that people can’t see the owner of the domain).
Now you have the domain bought, it’s time to find hosting.
Step 2: Get Hosting
Blogs are hosted on servers. This is commonly referred to as ‘hosting’. As someone just starting a blog, you want to find a hosting provider that offers the following:
- Fast Speeds (Google now sees this as a ranking factor)
- Excellent Customer Service (for when you have problems)
- Easy to use Interface
DO NOT skimp out on cheap and ‘crappy’ hosting. This will only lead to a bad user experience, both for you as the blog owner and for your visitors to the site. In this ultra competitive world of blogging, if this happens, these visitors will simply leave and go to someone else’s blog!!
I recommend that you use Siteground to host your first blog. They are a massive company with top quality customer support and rock solid servers. And for the first year you will get this at a highly competitive price.
Click HERE to go over to Siteground. I would recommend you go for the GrowBig plan, as this gives you access to on demand backups (vital in case you need to restore your blog after a problem).
After you click on the ‘GET PLAN’ button, it’s simply a matter of checking out. Make sure to choose the datacenter that is relevant for your business. For example, if you want to target American visitors make sure to choose a data center in America. Then it’s just a case of checking out.
Before we move on, if for some reason you want other hosting options, please read my article below:
Step 3: Connect Your Domain to your Host
Now you need to tell your host that you wish to use a custom domain name. Your host will have something called ‘name servers’, which are used to direct your domain to. Simply log into your NameSilo account and click the ‘my account’ menu option seen below.
This will bring the Account Home Page seen below. Next click on the domain manager option seen below (in the right-hand side menu).
This will bring up a list of all the domains that you own. Click on the domain that you bought earlier. This will bring up the Domain Console menu. Then you need to change your name servers to the SiteGround name servers. To start this, click on the ‘Change’ button highlighted in the Name Servers section highlighted below.
To find the name servers you need to enter here, login to your Siteground hosting account and look at your Site Information in the dashboard. There you will see the Name Servers listed. This is what you enter into the name servers on Name Silo and click submit. It will take about 30 minutes for these name servers to take effect. Be patient, and in time you should see that your domain is connected to Siteground.
If you are still struggling at this step you can view a tutorial over at SiteGround HERE.
Step 4: Install Wordpress
Now you have hosting and the domain name is connected. Now you should login to your Siteground account and install Wordpress for the first time.
One of the reasons I recommended Siteground for your first blog is that this part is so simple. When logged into your SiteGround account, you should see a button that says ‘SET UP SITE’. When you click this, it will start a setup wizard that will take you through the process step by step.
During this process, you will be asked to create a Wordpress Username and Password. Make sure to take a note of both of these, as they will be needed in the next step.
If you are struggling with this step, click HERE to view the SiteGround tutorial on setting up Wordpress.
Step 5: Login to your New Blog
Now it is a matter of logging into your new blog for the first time. Simply enter the name of your new domain into your web browser followed by ‘wp-admin’, and you will see the login screen. For example, my ‘RockSolidFashion.com’ domain above would be ‘RockSolidFashion.com/wp-admin’. When at the login screen, simply type in the username and password saved from the previous step.
If at any point you get stuck, simply reach out to the customer support inside your SiteGround client area (after logging in). I recommend them as they have top-notch customer support and will sort out literally ANY of your issues.
Step 6: Do Some Basic Setup
Now you need to do some basic setup in Wordpress. When you are logged into your Wordpress blog dashboard, you will see a ‘settings’ menu option on the left-hand-side menu. Click this and go to the ‘general’ tab. Fill in with relevant details about your blog, including the name and the tagline. It’s pretty self explanatory.
Then go back to the ‘settings’ menu and choose the ‘permalinks’ tab. Make sure to set your permalinks to the ‘post name’ option. Now your blog is ready to go.
Step 7: Setup a Theme
The default Wordpress themes are not the best. I would recommend going to the ‘appearance’ menu on the left side of your Wordpress dashboard. Choose the ‘themes’ option.
Now click the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the screen and search for ‘GeneratePress’ in the search bar on the right-hand side of the screen. Install and Activate that theme. At the beginning, this free theme will be more than enough.
Now you need to customize this theme to make your blog look how you want it. Click again on the ‘appearance’ menu in your Wordpress dashboard. But this time choose the ‘customize’ option. At this point, I would only really worry about the section titled ‘Site Identity’. This is where you can enter the name, tagline and the logo of your blog. Clearly, this is very important!
Step 8: Make a Logo
When in the ‘Site Identity’ section above, you will see you need a site logo and a site icon (this is the favicon logo seen in the top tab of a web browser when your blog is open).
Years ago you would have to pay a lot of money for such things, but these days all you need is a simple subscription to an online design software. This will make it child’s play to make your logo. Do not use Canva, as this software is so popular that it will make your logo look like everyone else’s! For a unique logo you should use PixTeller.
Click HERE to go over to PixTeller and create your account. When logged into your account, search for ‘logo’ in the search bar in the top right of your screen. Simply browse the many logo designs and find one that you like. Edit it with the correct text for your blog. Download it and upload to your Wordpress blog, in the ‘Site Identity’ section detailed above.
To make your site icon/ favicon, simply take a key shape or feature from your main logo and include it in a resized logo. Go to the size options and type in 512×512. This is the perfect size for a favicon. Just make sure that the main features from your logo are dragged into the new area before you resize. Download your favicon and add it as your site icon. Voila! Nearly done!
Step 9: Make a Blog that People Find!
Now that you have the basics set up, you can start making your first blog posts by clicking on the ‘posts’ section in your Wordpress dashboard and clicking ‘add new’.
However, my final advice will be not to just blog about things that you want to write about. Make sure you are writing about topics your audience is interested in and want to search for in Google. This is how you end up with a popular blog.
I would recommend you use a tool called KWFinder. This tool will allow you to search for keywords in your topic that are both low competition (meaning you can rank high on Google more easily) and with higher search volume (meaning people are actually searching for this topic).
Click HERE to get a free trial of KWFinder (look for the button on the top right of the screen). Once logged in search for a keyword phrase linked to your topic. For my fashion blog I might search for ‘fashion for seniors’, for example. Click on the related key phrases tab and you will see many keywords related to this topic. Click on the ‘topic difficulty’ score for each and then find ones with a low score (highlighted in green). Amongst these keywords, write articles starting with those with the highest search volume. All of this information is readily available in KWFinder, and will give you an advantage over the hundreds of other people starting blogs every day. This is literally how I made content for multiple highly successful blogs.
Step 10: Optimize Your Blog Posts
Competition for the top spots is getting ever more intense, so to make sure that your blog posts have a better chance to rank highly in Google and bring more traffic, you should use a tool called Frase. This tool will analyze the content out there and help you make sure what you write at least matches this. They use artificial intelligence to do this. As with KWFinder, using this tool with give you a vital edge over your blogging competition.
Click HERE to get your Frase account. Once logged in, go to the ‘new document’ button and type in the phrase you want to write an article for. For my fashion article, I might add ‘fashion for seniors’. When Frase has done its thing you can open the report and go to the ‘my content’ tab and select ‘topic score’ from the right-hand side. This will literally tell you the main words you need to use in your article, along with the amount of times to use it. This will help you rank higher on Google.
You should play around with Frase, as it has a wealth of information. For example, it has a ‘questions’ tab that will give you ideas for questions you could include in your article. All of this is giving you higher topic relevance and a better chance to rank higher in Google.
Back in the day, blogging was just something people did for fun. These days, if you are smart about it, you can make blogging your main source of income. That vision of sitting on a beach typing up blog posts CAN happen if you have a smart approach. Just be aware that it will take your blog around 6-12 months to get serious traffic and money making ability.