So you want to start a blog? Of course! That’s the reason you are here and believe me, That’s a great idea too! But if you are not yet planning to start a blog (huh really?), No worries! Let me give you some reasons you should start blogging now.
Blogging is a great way to spend your extra time, with a blog you can express your thought, knowledge, and experiences, you can help others with problems you’ve overcome, you can establish yourself as an expert in that field, and last but most important you can even make money from your blog. I hope these reasons are enough to get you started.
You need to use the right set of tools to build and grow your website and blog. Want to know which tools that I use and recommend, Check Here.
But if you are new to blogging (I was also a newbie when I started), It’s really confusing, as where to start with. Thus it really helps to have someone to help you get the start with right techniques and avoid the mistakes (Which I did when I started).
Someone once said that “It’s better to learn from other’s mistake, rather than from your own“, It’s well said! Isn’t it? Here I have created a simple guide which I have learned from my experiences and mistakes to help you create a blog and make it successful.
It’s very easy to start a blog and it only takes just a few minutes (believe me). I will walk you through the whole process here to start a blog in the easiest way. Before you start, let me tell you it’s a bit longer guide and covers almost everything to start a blog, so I would suggest you to, go through this guide thoroughly so that you won’t be stuck anywhere in between.
Here’s how to start a blog
It’s a simple step-by-step guide to set up your blog in just 3 easy steps. Don’t believe me? Alright! Here are those three steps, which are all enough to start a blog from scratch.
With these “3 simple steps to start a blog” you can easily create your new blog in just a few minutes. (Here I would suggest you to start creating your blog along with this guide). So, Are you ready to create your blog today? Alright, let’s get right into it.
Choose A Blogging Platform
Before you start with anything, you’ll need to choose a blogging platform to create your blog. There’s a lot to choose from. You can create a blog with many different blogging platforms, such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and many more.
Here I would suggest you, go with WordPress. WordPress is the most popular blogging platform today and is used on many top blogs all around the world.
See Below Chart For Blog Platform Comparison
WordPress powers almost 50% websites and blogs on the internet, Also you can see yourself from the chart above and you can easily decide the leader. Also, WordPress is very easy and user-friendly, It’s one of the best blogging platforms for beginners to create a blog.
There is more reason to choose WordPress:
1. It’s Completely FREE: WordPress is an open source software and thus it’s completely free for everyone to use. It has also got many Free Themes and Useful Plugins.
2. It’s Very Easy: WordPress is very user-friendly better we say very beginner friendly. It’s very easy to install and setup WordPress to create your website or blog.
3. Customization: With WordPress you can easily customize your blog with thousands of available themes and plugins. There are many free themes and plugins available, but if you need you can buy premium themes or plugins for your WordPress blog too.
4. Community Support: In case if you get stuck somewhere in WordPress, There’s a great community support available to help you.
While the other blogging platforms are also good, but no one, in my opinion, has ever come close to matching the freedom and customization options that WordPress offers (Did I mentioned? This Website is also created using WordPress). So without a doubt, I will suggest you, go with WordPress. Especially if you are a beginner.
Free Blogging Platform V/S Self Hosted Blogs
There are many free blogging platforms which allow you to create a blog on their sub-domains. The only good thing about these free blogging platforms is that you would not incur any costing. Whereas for self-hosted blogs, you need to buy a domain name as well as web hosting to start a blog (Which is not that expensive today).
Why you shouldn’t create a blog on a free blogging platform?
With free blogging platforms, you will get your blog address as a sub-domain of the blogging platform (something like www.yourblog.blogspot.com), which does not look professional at all. Also, you will never find a successful blogger using a free blogging platform.
Apart from above there are also some other disadvantages of using free blogging platform.
Lacks Control: You do not have complete control over your blog or blogs content on free blogging platforms. Also, free blogging platforms may delete your blog anytime for any reason if you violate any of their terms and conditions.
Limited Customization Option: On free blogging platforms you will have a limited customization option, You can not install your custom themes or plugins.
You May Not Advertise: Also on free blogging platforms you might not be able to advertise, which will be a big set back if you want to monetize your blog.
Third Party Advertisements: Also free blogging platforms can put their own advertisement on your blog. Just think, you are not able to monetize your blog with advertisements whereas someone else is earning from your blog only.
Thus I would suggest you, go with a Self Hosted WordPress Blog. It’s very easy to set up your blog on your own hosting and, believe me, it’s not that expensive.
Register A Domain Name And Hosting
To start a blog (Self Hosted), You will basically need two things.
1. Domain Name: Domain name will be web address of your blog.
2. Hosting: You need a web hosting to host your blog, basically it’s a space in the web server where all files of your blog reside.
WordPress platform which we selected for our blog is completely free, But Domain Name and Web Hosting will cost you somewhere 3$ -10$ per month.
For Domain Name and Web Hosting, I will recommend BlueHost.
Of course you can go with any other hosting provider. I have used BlueHost in India and found their services great. Also BlueHost is recommended by WordPress too. I will suggest you to spend some money and go with a reliable hosting company.
If you already have a Domain Name and Web Hosting, You can skip this step and go to Step 3.
A Quick Guide To Choose Domain Name
1. A Domain Name (www.domainname.com) of your blog should reflect the theme of your blog or the purpose you are creating your blog.
2. Try to go with popular domain extension (.com, .org) or country or business specific domain extension (.in, .co.in, .biz, .club).
3. Choose a domain which is short, catchy and easy to write and remember.
A Quick Guide To Choose Web Hosting
1. Reliability: Before finalizing a web hosting company, check thoroughly how reliable they are, the easiest way to do this is check their social media pages and check what people are saying about their services. More positive comments, More reliable services.
2. Site Uptime: All good web hosting company will give your blog a 99.9 % uptime. What does this mean? There will be likely less downtime for your blog.
3. Load Speed: Load speed really matters for any blogging sites. As your blog grow, you will have many pages, images in your blog and more visitors as well.
4. Support: Check if they provide 24X7 technical support if you get stuck somewhere.
I have used many web hosting (also using some others), But I will personally recommend BlueHost. They stand clear on all the above mentioned grounds.
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Setup Your Blog & Customization
Once you have purchased your domain name and web hosting (If you have not purchased yet, Purchase Domain & Hosting Now, As you will need that in this step), You are good to go ahead. If you have purchased domain and hosting from the same company, then you might not need any further setup. But if you have purchased domain name and web hosting from a different company, you are required to change the NameServer in your Domain DNS (It’s easy and generally explained by the hosting company). Let me know if you need any help in this part.
Now it’s time to install WordPress.
Most of the good web hosts (BlueHost) provides 1-Click-WordPress-Installation, which makes this part easy. Installing WordPress with 1-Click-Installation usually takes just a couple of minutes.
Steps To Install WordPress: Here is the simple steps you need to follow in order to install WordPress (The process will be almost similar with all good web hosting company).
1. Log in to your web hosting cPanel.
2. Look for the “WordPress” icon (Generally it’s found at bottom in Script Installer Section).
3. Click the “WordPress Icon” and you will see a setup page.
4. Choose the domain and enter the details and click on “Install Now”.
If in case your web host does not provide 1-Click-Installation (dealing with a bad web host), You may need to Install WordPress Manually.
Choosing & Installing WordPress Theme
The fun part starts now! Once you have successfully installed WordPress, you’ll see WordPress default theme installed on your blog. Your website will look like something below (Installed WordPress default Twenty Seventeen Theme).
Now you can customize your blog
Just access your WordPress Login Page, “www.yoursite.com/wp-admin/” (replace “yoursite.com” with your domain name). Enter the login credentials (got at the time of installing WordPress). Once you are logged in, You will see a WordPress default dashboard.
Default WordPress dashboard looks something like below image.
Installing WordPress Theme
Once you’re in your blog (WordPress) dashboard, Just look along the sidebar for “Appearance”, then click “Themes”, Here you’ve got access to over 2000 free WordPress themes! Just click on “Install Now” to install a theme, once installed you can activate the theme.
This blog (WebRecourse.com) uses a WordPress Theme By Digital Ad Quest.
If you want more (Premium WordPress Themes), you can check ThemeForest, where you can find a HUGE library (Collection) of WordPress themes to pick from at varying costs.
But here I would suggest you to try spending some time browsing the free themes on WordPress Library. You can use “search box” and “filters” to find a theme that suits your requirement. Finding the perfect theme can take a while, but it’s worth it.
Many of the free themes are actually beautiful and responsive (One or the other might suit your blog). Also if you do not like a theme after installation, you can easily switch between the themes (It won’t delete the posts or pages you have already created).
A Quick Suggestion Here – If you want to make your blog load faster, choose a lightweight theme, which do not have unnecessary functionality. Also choose a “responsive” theme, as a website built using a responsive theme will look good on every device.
Did I Mentioned? You can also upload your custom theme or a theme you have purchased from other places. Once uploaded, you just need to activate the theme.
Setting Up Permalinks
Now let’s get into the setting part. Here you will find many options but I will take you through the most important settings that you must set up before you start your first blog post.
With permalink setting, you can actually see how the links of your blog should be displayed. Nobody likes those ugly links and even search engines too does not rank them well. Here with WordPress, you have different option to choose.
Go to “Settings” –> “Permalinks”
Note: Here I would recommend you to choose the “Post Name” option here. Your links will look something like – https://webrecourse.com/start-a-blog/
Comments are an integral part of any blog. As your blog grows, you get lots of comments on your post, that’s good. But it also attracts spammers to post spam comments on your blog posts. If you don’t moderate them, soon your blog posts will be filled with SPAM comments.
With WordPress, you can actually control when and how your comments should be displayed.
Go to “Settings” –> “Discussion”
Note: I would suggest you, to check both the boxes in “Before a comment appears”. Also, you can activate Akismet, It’s a pre-installed plugin which helps protect you from SPAM comments and messages (You need to activate this plugin).
Creating A New Page
1. Look along the sidebar in the WordPress Dashboard for “Pages” -> “Add New”.
2. You’ll find a WordPress Text Editor (Options here looks familiar). Add text, images and more to build the page you want, then click on “Publish” when you’re done.
Quick Difference Between Pages & Posts: In general posts are time-bound whereas pages are permanent. For Example Your “Contact Us” page, which will remain the same and will be important anytime. Whereas posts sometimes get obsolete (If you don’t update) as new things come and you publish a new post.
Creating A New Post
1. Look along the sidebar in the WordPress Dashboard for “Posts” -> “Add New”.
2. Again You’ll find a WordPress Text Editor. Add text, images and more to build the post you want, then click on “Publish” when you’re done (You can add category and tags for Posts too).
Understanding WordPress Editor
If you have worked with any word processor or text editor (MS-Word), The tools in the WordPress editor will look familiar to you. You can Bold or Italic texts, Use Bullets, Align the text in your blog, Choose between paragraph and different headings etc.
The important part here is you can add images and links within your blog post. You just need to put the cursor where you want to insert an Image (Otherwise you need to move the image once inserted) and click on “Add Media”, then you can upload the image from your computer or from a URL. For Links – Select the text or image and click on “link” icon.
Adding Widgets to Sidebar
1. Go to “Appearance -> Widgets” in the WordPress Dashboard.
2. From here, you can use drag and drop to add different “Widgets” to your sidebar or remove the items you don’t want (You can also add Widgets in the footer if your theme has an option).
3. Most of the widgets are self-explanatory, Just play with it, you will understand them.
Installing Plugins To Extend WordPress Functionalities
WordPress “Plugins” are basically extensions that are used to extend WordPress functionalities. WordPress plugin directory has over 25,000 different FREE plugins, You can easily get the one as per your requirement!
Install a new Plugin
1. To start installing plugins, go to “Plugins -> Add New” and simply search for a plugin.
2. Once you find a plugin you want, just click “Install” and then “Activate”.
3. Then you can go to the plugin specific setting page to setup that plugin
Remember: Every plugin adds weight to your website and thus it slows down your website, so use the plugins sensible. Do not overuse them!
Which Plugin To Install? Here I have compiled the list of recommended plugins for a WordPress Blog, This list will help you get started with the WordPress Plugins.
Congratulations! You Have Created Your First Blog!
I am sure, by now you have set up your first blog. Great! In case if you still have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me, I can also help you with Free Blog Setup.
If you find this guide “Start a Blog” useful, please share this with your friends too (Use the social sharing button in the sidebar). Believe me, this helps me a lot and keeps me motivated to keep all the information on this blog updated and bring you new stuff like this.