You might be wondering, can I really learn how to start a blog in five easy steps? The answer is yes! It’s really that simple.
I talk to friends all the time who tell me they really want to start a blog. But then that’s where it ends. They are either too scared, or too tired, or too busy, etc. Don’t let this be you.
If you have a dream to start a blog, just do it my friend! What do you have to lose (besides more sleep)?! If you pick a blog topic that you’re passionate about, blogging will be energizing and fun! And it will not be just one more thing on your to do list. This is something entirely for you.
In this post I am going to share a simple (yes I did say simple) five step process on how to start your blog. You can do this in as little as 20 minutes.
Even if you are technologically challenged like myself, don’t worry. You don’t need to know how to code. You don’t even need to know what coding means (it’s okay, your secret is safe with me)!
Read below to learn how to start a blog in five easy steps:
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Read full disclosure here.
Step One: What you need to start your blog
- A computer or tablet with internet (I don’t recommend trying to create your blog from your phone).
- A personal or business email address (you don’t have to create an email for your blog yet)
- A blog topic and domain name
- A frosty beverage (I recommend wine)
Need some help with choosing your blog topic or domain name? Check out How to Pick the Perfect Blog Topic.
Step Two: Choose a blog platform
You might be wondering: what is a blog platform? To put it simply, a platform allows you to write and save your blog posts. Similar to if you were going to type up a plain old document, you would need to use a software program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
But, in order to get your blog out there for the world to see, you also need a way to launch it on the internet. This is called “hosting.” I’ll explain hosting further below.
There are several well-known blogging platforms out there like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly. There are basically two types of platforms to choose from: hosted and self-hosted.
You can think of a hosted site sort of like a one-stop shop for your blog. You get the blog platform and maintenance of your site all in one place. Examples of hosted platforms for blogs are Wix and hosted WordPress, or WordPress.com.
The advantage of these platforms are that they are incredibly easy to use, free, and all of your website management is taken care of in one place.
Reasons for starting your blog with a hosted platform:
- You are just interested in hobby blogging with no intention of monetizing your blog in the future
- You want a place to showcase family photos and stories and are not interested in growing a large audience
- Or maybe you just want an incredibly simple platform that’s easy to build
Self-hosted means that you have a platform to write your blog posts, but you need to choose a hosting provider to launch and maintain your site on the internet.
Reasons to go with a self-hosted platform:
- Have the ability to monetize or have the option of monetizing your blog (i.e. make some money!!)
- You want to be able to add custom features and grow a large audience
- Your plan is to sell products on your site
If you have any interest in growing your blog audience and making money I strongly recommend using a self-hosted platform like WordPress.org. Now, note that this is different from the hosted option of WordPress.com mentioned above. I know it’s a little confusing. Bare with me.
When I started my blog I used Wix initially because it was incredibly simple and it is an ideal platform for non-technical folks like myself.
But then I started to try to add more features to my site like Google ads and other optimization tools to grow my website traffic.
I quickly made the painful realization that I was going to have to pay a web designer to move my site from Wix to Self-Hosted WordPress, or WordPress.org. Sigh.
Step Three: Choose a hosting provider
If you’re still with me at this point I am going to assume you want to start a blog on a versatile platform. So from here on out this tutorial is going to be focused on creating a blog using WordPress.org.
I highly recommend WordPress.org because of the reasons I mentioned above. Not to mention the fact that WordPress has been around a long time and it has the most versatility and largest variety of options in terms of adding apps (plug-ins) and features.
Now that you’ve chosen a self-hosted platform, you will need to select a hosting provider. I recommend using Bluehost because first off, they make the process of selecting a hosting plan and creating a WordPress website / blog incredibly simple.
The main reason I chose to go with Bluehost is because they are among the top recommended hosting providers for WordPress.org and they have amazing customer support (especially for technological dodos like me who call them and ask lots of questions).
Step Four: Set up your hosting account
The following instructions are for setting up a self-hosted WordPress.org blog using Bluehost as a hosting provider. I personally used this combination to set up my own blog and highly recommend it for beginners and advanced users alike.
You might be wondering at this point: so how exactly do I set up my blog?!
We’ll go over it step by step below.
1. Create a Bluehost account. Once your account is created you can use their simple one-click WordPress installation to create your blog.
2. Hit the green button to get started.
3. Select a plan.
I recommend going with Choice Plus, because it has more unlimited features and includes domain privacy. Domain privacy is important because it keeps your personal contact information hidden from public view. If you choose a different plan, you can always add it later for a fee.
4. Choose a domain name (www._____.com)
If you’re not ready to choose your domain name, click the link at the bottom and choose it later.
Otherwise, choose a new domain name, or a domain name you already own, and enter it into the appropriate box. (Note, if you are entering an existing domain name or a domain name you’ve already purchased, it won’t be connected yet. It’s only used to identify your Bluehost account for now).
In this tutorial I will use a new domain name, but you can still follow along regardless of which option you choose.
5. Set up your Bluehost Account
(sign in with Google or enter your contact info. manually)
6. Select package extras
I recommend skipping all extras (unless you chose the basic plan, in which case I recommend checking the “domain privacy protection.”
If you purchased your domain name with another provider (i.e. GoDaddy) you will need to manage your privacy options by logging into that account. If you opt to choose your domain later, you can add the privacy protection then.
7. Submit your payment
8. Create your account and set a password
Note, this is for your Bluehost account. You will set up your WordPress account later (Bluehost will email you with the instructions).
9. Login to Bluehost
10. Enter your website name and tagline (you can leave tagline blank)
11. Select and turn on the blog feature
Toggle your mouse over the “Do you want a blog” feature to turn it on. You can leave it turned off for now and activate it later.
Next, select where you want your blog posts displayed. When you’re just starting your blog you might not have as much content to display on your homepage. Therefore, putting your blog posts right where people can see them when they land on your site can be a good idea.
Either way, you can change where your blog posts are displayed at any time.
Step Five: Set up your blog on WordPress
Congratulations! You just set up your blog. At this point you should have two accounts created
- Bluehost account: (where you manage your hosting account and pay your hosting bill)
- WordPress account: (where you write your posts and manage your blog)
You can access your blog two ways: by logging into your Bluehost account from www.bluehost.com.
You can also log in to your blog directly by logging into your WordPress account at www.wordpress.com
Log in to your WordPress account
Once you’ve logged into your WordPress account, you will see your WordPress dashboard (below). This is the where you will spend most of your time from now on, writing awesome blog posts!
Pick a blog layout
In WordPress, blog layouts are called “themes.”
From your dashboard, scroll down until you see “Appearance,” then select “themes.”
Some of the basic, free themes in WordPress are Minimalistblogger, Twenty Seventeen, and TwentySixteen. Note, the Avada theme you see pictured is a theme I purchased for thecareercounter.com.
To start, I recommend going with a free theme. You can always upgrade and / or customize later.
Activate your theme
Select the theme you want. Hover your mouse over the theme you would like and an “Activate” button will pop up. Click “Activate” and voila, you have a new, beautiful blog!
Congrats and great work! Your blog is all set up, ready to go!
If you’re ready to write your first post, click here to view my Three Step Recipe for Making Your Blog Posts Shine.
Want more information about customizing your WordPress site, including how to add blog pages? Check out this WordPress Video Guide.