So, you are interested in learning how to start a blog? Well, you’re in the right place! I’m going to walk you through step-by-step on how to get WordPress (your blog platform) installed. I also offer a free WordPress Academy so you can learn how to build a custom website.
With this “how to” guide you get:
- Self-Hosted WordPress Pre-installed (You Own Your Site)
- Free Domain Registration
- Drag & Drop WordPress Builder – With Free Themes
- Free Access To My WordPress Academy
Hey! My name is Mike Brown, also known as The Blogging Buddha, and I’m here to guide you to Blogging Nirvana! You’re about to discover a fail-proof step-by-step formula guaranteed to get you on the path to blogging success.
In fact, if you follow along, by the end of this quick guide your website will already be up and running.
74.6 million people use WordPress! Watch this quick video to see if creating a blog is right for you.
AS FEATURED IN:
With this simple tutorial, I’ve made it even easier for you to create a professional looking website with earning potential right now. I even have a little gift for you (but we’ll get to that later).
Forget about spending hours trying to learn HTML code, making expensive mistakes and Googling until your nose bleeds. Everything you’ll need to build a successful blog is on this page, right now. Even if…
- You have no technical background or skills
- You know absolutely nada about blogging
- You don’t have a lot of time to commit
- You’re not even sure if you could pass a high school writing course
Yes, you can even earn a living by blogging. I know, because I’ve been doing it for a few years now. When I started blogging I had absolutely no experience, skills or audience whatsoever. So I speak from personal experience when I say that building a successful blog is something that anyone can do.
Today, I hold certifications with HubSpot, Yoast SEO for WordPress, and Hootsuite, I’ve also created and run TheBloggingBuddha.com and with this website I have helped hundreds of others just like you.
If you want to learn more about my journey and certifications then head on over to my About page.
But for now get comfy, grab a coffee, and let’s do this!
Here’s an overview of what we’re about to cover. To skip to a step at any time, use the floating navigation bar on the right.
The 5 simple steps to starting a blog
These are the basic sections I’m going to cover. Don’t worry time fly’s when you’re having fun! You should have your website up and running in about 20 minutes.
- Decide what to blog about
- Choose a blogging platform
- Pick a site name and host
- Log Into WordPress
- Start Blogging!
You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your blog. –The Blogging Buddha
STEP 1: Decide What To Blog About
Without a clear subject and goal in mind, your blog will become a mess of disjointed thoughts and irrelevant content.
Therefore, choosing a topic to blog about should come before any other step is started. Your subject will determine everything from your domain name and content to your audience and monetization method.
Do you want to start a fashion blog? How about an eCommerce store?
If you already have an idea of what your blog will be about – great! Feel free to skip this section and move on to Step 2.
For those of you who are still unsure, grab a piece of paper and a pen. Meditate on these 4 questions, and write down your answers in bullet form. Include as many points for each question as you like.
- What are you passionate about or interested in?
- What are you good at or knowledgeable about?
- What do you think the world needs?
- What could you make a profit from?
The “Ikigai” Concept
The concept of your blog should, ideally, be made up of answers to these questions. This is the Japanese concept of Ikigai, which translates to “your reason to get up in the morning”.
While it’s not mandatory that your blog idea meets all 4 of these criteria, you will definitely find at least one blog-worthy topic from answering these questions.
When I began my first blog, I had a deep passion for anything techy: gaming, software, hardware, everything. My interest in this niche also meant that I had tons of knowledge about it – information, advice, and opinions that I could share with the world.
This passion, knowledge, and demand made the topic easy for me to create a blog around. When these 3 elements come together, monetization happens organically.
Blog topics come from within –The Blogging Buddha
STEP 2: Choose A Blog Platform
“Free” blog platforms
There are two ways to make a blog:
- Free Blog Platforms: Involves a long, unprofessional URL, no control and no profits (the so-called “free” blog platforms).
- Self-Hosted WordPress: Also known as WordPress.org (Recommended)
Novice bloggers who take the free route get sucked in by the promise of a “free” blog. However, many people don’t realize that these free blogging platforms exist to make money off of your free blog (not just because they like you). They do this by selling you “upgrades” and more importantly, selling your ad space (and keeping every penny).
What does this mean for you?
- The “Freemium” Effect. Your free blog stops being free the moment you require significant design changes or a domain name and,
- No Profits. Ever. You can forget about monetizing your website through advertisements (a bloggers main source of revenue in most cases). Not only that, but you will have no control over what advertisements are shown on your website. Many free blogging sites prohibit you from selling your own products and services as well.
Two of the most popular “free” blog platforms are:
- Tumblr – A microblogging & social networking website owned my Yahoo
- Blogger – Acquired in 2003 by Google, your blog is hosted on a subdomain of blogspot.com
Here are a few other problems I’ve found in the world of free blogs:
“Free” Blog Platforms
- Zero control: Since you don’t actually own your blog, you have little control over what happens to it. If the hosting site decides that your content goes against their Terms of Service (which change frequently), your entire website could be deleted without warning.
- Lack of security: Sometimes sites get hacked, and that’s just the reality of the internet. However, if this happens to you while you’re using a free blogging host, you can easily lose your domain name and your entire site.
- Unappealing domain name: Free blog platforms like Tumblr force you to have a subdomain. All professional, successful websites have their own domain names, not subdomains.
With all of that said, free blogs do have their merits, or else they wouldn’t still be kicking around. A free blogging platform might be right for you if:
- You have no intention of making any money from your blog
- You only want to blog temporarily
- You just want to use it as a personal digital journal
If a free blog is the right path for you, check out my step-by-step guide on setting up a “free” account here.
Self-Hosted WordPress On Your Own Domain
The far superior option is going with a self-hosted WordPress blog on a domain you own.
The majority of blogs you see online are hosted on self-hosted WordPress websites.
In fact, this blogging platform is so popular that it’s raked in more than 72 million downloads and comprises over 48% of the top 100 websites on the internet.
Considering there are now over 1 billion websites on the internet. That’s huge! Moreover upward of 52% of new domains in the U.S are being run on WordPress.
WordPress is open source software, which means it’s free and open for developers to contribute to. This is also great for you, because it gives you tons of options for plugins (add-ons), themes, and a way to completely customize your blog.
Installing WordPress is extremely easy when done through a web host which I’ll walk you through in the next step. I highly recommend going with WordPress when starting a blog it’s the far superior option, because:
Self-Hosted WordPress Blog
- There are tens of thousands of different layouts (themes) and plugins to choose from (both free and premium)
- It’s easy to create blog posts, add images, video, and install plugins without knowing HTML
- You own and control your website and your domain name
- Your readers can comment on your posts and share them
- You can turn your blog into and eCommerce store with simple plugins
- The word “Blog” is now synonymous with “website” they are the same thing
Holding on to a free blog site is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of monetizing it; you are the one who gets burned.” – The Blogging Buddha
STEP 3: Pick A Site Name And Host
Remember that little gift I mentioned earlier?
As part of a special “Thank You” to my readers, and because I’m a long time customer, I’ve secured a FREE domain name to any person who follows this guide on how to make a blog.
I have also negotiated 47% OFF on WordPress web hosting for your blog (the hosting plan is under $5.00/month). I only use and recommend www.InMotionHosting.com for domain names and self-hosting WordPress.
The best thing about self-hosting your blog is you can cancel whenever you’d like. If you find out that blogging just isn’t for you, your hosting plan can be canceled and you can opt not to renew your domain.
If you want to know more about why I prefer InMotionHosting to start a blog you can read my best WordPress hosting beginners guide.
But I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Because I am not only going to teach you how to get started with setting up your WordPress website. I’m going to be here to support you the entire way through creating your blog, customizing your blog, monetizing your blog, to getting your WordPress website to show up on Google.
To snag the least expensive plan available, just follow the screenshots and instructions I’ve provided, below.
To get started just click “Install WordPress Now!”.
1. Choose Your Hosting Package
I recommend you choose the 12-month Launch plan, as you can see you are getting over 40% off the hosting plus Free Setup. Once you’ve chosen a plan that fits your needs, click the blue Order Now button.
Here is where you will choose 12 or 24-month billing option. I recommend you choose the 12-month Launch plan, as you can see you are getting over 40% off the hosting plus Free Setup. Once you’ve chosen a plan that fits your needs, click “Continue.”
Hit Continue, and you’ll be asked to choose a domain name (or enter an exiting one, if you already have one). You can buy a domain name and hosting service separately but remember, you get a free domain when you sign up with InMotion.
2. Time To Choose A Domain Name
A domain name is simply your website’s address, like TheBloggingBuddha.com for example. Though it seems like a small step, choosing the right domain name for your blog is incredibly important. Take a moment to think about it, and keep these tips in mind:
Domain Name Tips
- Choose a .com whenever you can. These types of domains are the most common and therefore look the most trustworthy and professional
- Don’t make it too long or generic. Short and memorable is the key
- The name should flow easily when spoken, and be simple to spell
- Avoid symbols like hyphens, you should be able to tell someone your website’s name without confusing them
- Check to see if the name is available on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
We are shaped by our domain names; our blog becomes what we name it. – The Blogging Buddha
Next, choose “I would like to purchase a new domain” (unless you already own one) type in a domain name to see if it’s available. If you’ve already purchased a domain from another provider, select “I already own this domain or will handle the registration separately.” Remember your domain will be Free if you are following this tutorial. Now select Continue.
Congratulations Your domain is Available! If you do not want to upgrade to the Power plan select Continue.
3. Finish Order Process & Confirmation Call
Once you’ve secured the best domain name for your blog, it’s time to finish filling out your order form. InMotion’s form is simple to complete and secure.
You’ll notice that all accounts are confirmed by phone prior to setup for your peace of mind and security. I personally love this service, as it shows a great deal of thoughtfulness about customer care and safety on InMotion’s behalf.
- Select the coast you are nearest to. If you are in the middle of the country, either one is fine.
- Fill in your billing information and required personal details. InMotion uses a secure billing and information-gathering platform for your peace of mind.
- The extra “Domain Privacy Protection” prevents anyone from tracing your domain name back to you. It’s not necessary, but something to consider adding. Select “no thanks” to go without and save $9.99/yr.
- Other ad-ons such as the Premium Anti-Spam and Anti-Virus for your email are also not necessary. Opt out of these extras and save $1.39/mo.
- Make sure to select Install WordPress. Inmotion will automatically install WordPress for you, making it a breeze to instantly log in to your WordPress dashboard and get started on your blog. (You can choose to install the BoldGrid plugin later once your account is set up).
- Type in your payment information and select “I Agree”.
- Click Purchase Account
Congratulations! You’ve now setup your host account, registered your own domain name and installed your new blogging platform! I told you it was gonna be this easy!
The next page is your order confirmation and a little blurb about your confirmation call.
You can speed things along by giving them a call first at 1-888-321-4678.
It is better to build your website yourself than to win a thousound battles, then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by web designers or “free” blog patforms. – The Blogging Buddha
STEP 4: Log Into WordPress
Now that you’ve gone through the confirmation process with InMotion, you can check your email. You should see these three emails from Inmotion Hosting:
Don’t see these emails? Make sure you’re logged in to the email account you used during registration, check your spam folder, or wait a few extra minutes.
The first email is you Support Center Information, the second is your Billing Receipt and third is your Welcome to InMotion Hosting email.
The last one is the most important, as it contains your WordPress login information.
Logging Into WordPress For The First Time
Let’s click on that Welcome Email now:
Scroll down to the bottom of the email where it says “Login to the Administration Dashboard”.
- Click on the “Admin using your domain” (if your WordPress blog is not ready yet then click on the “Admin Temp URL” link).
- Go back to the Welcome Email and Copy your Username and Password then jump back over to your Admin login page and paste in the appropriate information.
Please Note: You can contact InMotion Hosting Customer Support 24/7 if you come across any difficulties with the setup or use of your WordPress website. They’re always happy to help via phone or live chat!
Congratulations! You’ve just started your very own blog!
Feels great, doesn’t it?
If WordPress is new to you, learning a few basics will be helpful. This is the first thing you should see once you log into the WordPress dashboard:
Logging In From The Browser (Admin Area)
You can access your WordPress dashboard and manage your website anytime by typing in your domain name plus “/wp-admin” (without the ” “) into your web browser’s (chrome, safari, firefox, etc..) address bar.
For instance, if I want to access my Dashboard the “Admin” area of my blog, I would type into the address bar at the top of my browser www.thebloggingbuddha.com/wp-admin
Important Key Features Of Your WordPress Dashboard
- “CMS Core” Put simply, this is the WordPress operating system that we just installed. Now that it’s installed, you have full access to WordPress!
- “Dashboard” WordPress Administrators get their own interface to manage everything that happens on a WordPress site. Every time you sign into WordPress, you’ll be greeted by a very helpful page called the Dashboard. The WordPress Dashboard provides an easy way to see a high-level view of everything that’s happening on your WordPress site.
- “Posts” This is where you’ll create new posts to publish on your blog. To start your first post, simply click “Posts” on the sidebar and then click “Add New”. You’ll see that there is already a post titled “Hello world!”. This is a default post that appears on every new WordPress blog, you can go ahead and delete it (click “Trash” under the post).
- “Pages” This is where you can create new pages for your site, such as an “About Me” or “FAQ” page. Setting > General: Change the name of your blog, site tagline and other settings here.
- “Appearance > Themes” You can alter the design of your blog here. Search for free themes to install that are already loaded to the WordPress dashboard. Alternatively, you can find a theme that you like from another website, download it, and upload it to your dashboard manually using the “Upload” button.
- “Plugins” These allow you to further customize your blog and make it engaging for your readers. You can get banner ad spaces, SEO helpers, contact forms, newsletter signups and TONS more. Click the “Add New” button to explore available options, or manually install a plugin from elsewhere.
Three things cannot be long hidden: The CMS Core, the themes and the plugins. – The Blogging Buddha
How To Change Your Blog Theme
What is a WordPress theme? Simply put a WordPress theme provides all of the styling for your website. Most WordPress themes provide the overall design and style for your site including the font style, colors palette, widget locations, page layout (or templates), and the style of your blog posts.
There are over 4,000 professionally created themes that are fully customizable within the WordPress Theme Directory all for free- so you have plenty design choices.
How to quickly find a theme:
In the Main Navigation area on the right scroll over “Appearance” and select “Themes” from the available options.
Your blog platform (WordPress) installs a few themes by default during setup. To add more theme options to your Dashboard select “Add New” on the top left.
There are several methods provided to search for new themes at the top of the Dashboard. I recommend taking a look at all of the options available. Once you find a theme you like you can either Preview or Install it.
After Previewing a few different themes, Install the theme you like best. Now select Themes again from the Navigation Menu on the left. You should see the theme you installed and you can now Activate your new theme.
Congratulations you just installed your first theme!
If you enjoyed this quick walkthrough and really want to learn how to use the WordPress Dashboard to build a custom website then head over to my free blog academy where I provide high-quality video lessons on how to build the website of your dreams.
There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to blogging; not chosing a self-hosted blog, and not starting – The Blogging Buddha
STEP 5: Start Blogging!
Just like that, your very own blog is now up and running!
But now, here comes the most exciting part: Learning how to build the website you’ve always envisioned using your WordPress dashboard.
This is the reason you’ve been drawn to blogging, this step right here. Bringing to life the ideas and inspirations that have been floating around your brain for weeks, months or even years.
eLearning Blog Academy
In the WordPress Academy, I’m going to show you exactly how to bring together all of the amazing tools at your disposal to create your vision using high-quality videos.
Here’s what you’ll learn in the WordPress Academy:
- How to install different themes based on the type of site you want to create
- How to navigate around and use the WordPress Dashboard
- How to install all of the most powerful and functional plugins to enhance the capability of your new site
- How to add social media functionality to your site so that you can share it with the world easier than ever
- And every other resource you’ll need to ensure long term success with your new website
Please Note: To participate in the Academy, you must have already completed this tutorial and have your WordPress blog installed.
Do you want to know more about blogging before you get started?
- The Top 5 Things You Need To Know Before Starting A Blog (A great place to start)
- 3 Ways To Get Over Your Fear of Blogging (If you need some inspiration and actionable advice)
- 37 Experts Reveal Their Biggest Blogging Mistakes (My most popular post. Hear from the experts)
Do you need help coming up with ideas to start blogging about?
- 101 Blog Post Ideas to Kick-Start Your Content Calendar (this is a great place to start to generate ideas)
Do you want to know more about WordPress and why it is the best blogging platform?
- WordPress vs. Blogger: What’s The Difference? (Find out why you should skip the “free” blog platforms)
- Everything You Need To Know About WordPress ( Learn how they make their money)
- WordPress Meets Website Builders: An Introduction to BoldGrid (An exclusive plugin from InMotion)
Do you want to learn how to drive more traffic to your blog right now?
- The Secrets To Getting Your Blog Indexed On Google (Actionable advice to get your site ranked)
- 5 Ways You Can Promote Your Blog This Month (More great tips to drive traffic to your website)
Do you want to learn how to make money from your blog?
- Top Tips for Monetizing Your Blog in 2016 (Blog monetization methods)
Continue To Blog Academy
Want to skip all the reading and jump right into video lessons?
All the material in the Academy is delivered in an eLearning format that’s fun and engaging — aimed at ensuring you are equipped with all the tools and knowledge necessary to create a successful WordPress blog.
From installing WordPress to showing you how to build full blown websites, the Academy has you covered!
P.S. One more thing before you go: If you feel like this tutorial helped you understand how to start a blog, I’d love if you shared it with one of the social share buttons at the bottom of this page. ☺
When the ears of the student are ready to hear, then cometh the lips to fill them with Wisdom. – The Kybalion
To Your Success,