“How do I start a blog?”
The Blog Starter will show you how with our FREE, easy-to-follow step-by-step tutorials.
Starting your own blog doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, more and more people are starting blogs every day. It seems that just about every person or business has a blog these days.
A Free Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide To Make A Blog In 20 Minutes
But if you’re like most people, you may not know where to get started. Starting a blog can be intimidating if you don’t have the required technological skills. Not to mention that the number of options available for starting a blog can be just plain confusing.
Ready to start the simple step-by-step tutorial? Click here to go to Step 1
The good news is that the free step-by-step guide on this site removes any confusion from the process, and requires only the most basic computer skills. So whether you’re 8 or 88, you can have your blog ready to go in less than 20 minutes.
Why Should You Use This Guide?
My name is Scott Chow, and I am going to be your guide on this journey to building a successful blog. I have been building blogs and websites since 2002. In that time I have launched several of my own blogs, and helped hundreds of others do the same. I created this free guide so that anyone can learn how to blog.
During this time, I have discovered that becoming a successful blogger comes down to 3 things:
1. Setting up your blog correctly
I am going to show you exactly how to start a blog with the WordPress blog platform, which can be used from any computer, tablet, or smartphone. WordPress is the most popular blog platform in the world, and with good reason. In this step-by-step guide I am going to show you EXACTLY how to create a blog and configure WordPress so that you get the most out of it.
2. Having a passion for your topic
What is a blog? At its heart, blogging is about sharing your knowledge with the world. Choosing a topic that you are passionate about makes the process of starting a successful blog so much easier.
3. Learning from others
I am not ashamed to admit that when I was first learning how to build a blog I made a ton of mistakes. You can benefit from more than a decade of my experience so that you don’t repeat these same mistakes.
Skip the rest of this introduction and start building your blog!
Why Should You Start a Blog Today?
Starting a blog doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. In fact, the entire process comes down to just these four steps:
How to Start a Blog in Four Steps
- Choose a name for your blog
- Install your blog (takes about 5-10 minutes)
- Customize your blog design and layout
- Write your first blog post!
The internet is exploding with growth right now. More people than ever are online. This explosion in growth means more potential readers for your blog. In short, there is no better time than today to start your blog.
By starting a blog you can expect the following benefits:
Blogging can be quite lucrative if done correctly. The top bloggers in the world obviously earn quite a bit, but even a part-time blogger can expect to make a nice profit if things are done correctly.
No, you probably won’t have paparazzi following you around because of your latest blog post. But a successful blog can gain you a ton of recognition in your respective field. Many bloggers are known as experts just because of their blogs.
3. It’s Fun!
Aside from the more tangible benefits like resume-building and income, blogging is a great way to share your ideas with like-minded people.
The Problems with Free Blogs
As a blogger, you have the option of setting up a blog for free on a variety of websites. This sounds like a great idea in theory, but there are some huge downsides to using a free blog site:
Problem #1: “Free” is not free
Although it may seem strange, free blog sites exist to make money for the company offering you the “free” blog. They don’t give you a blog space because they like you. Instead, they make money off of the time and hard work you invest in writing your blog. This is done in a couple of ways:
They sell your ad space
Free blog sites will put advertisements on your blog. You have absolutely no control over what is being advertised on your blog and you will not see a single penny of the money they receive from selling this ad space.
They sell you “upgrades”
Signing-up for one of these services may be free, but you will quickly realize that to make any significant changes to your blog you will have to pay. Want to change your blog design? $50. Want your own domain name? $20 per year.
Problem #2: No profit
The goal of free blog sites is to make money for the company offering the blog space, not for you. This means that you are not allowed to sell products or services through your free blog.
In addition, the company offering you the free blog makes all the profit from selling ad space on your blog. As you will see in the step-by-step tutorial, selling ad space is a major source of revenue for most blogs, and it is something that is just not possible with a free blog.
Problem #3: No control
When you start your blog on a free website you are essentially renting your blog space. Because of this, the landlord is the one who has all the power. If they decide to close their doors on you for any reason, then there is absolutely nothing you can do about it since you don’t actually own the blog.
To make matters worse, free blog sites don’t give you access to the full range of features that you need in order to become a successful blogger. In the step-by-step guide on this site I show you some cool tips and tricks you can use to optimize your blog. Unfortunately, many of these things simply can’t be done on a free blog site.
Problem #4: Poor security
The reality of the internet is that sometimes sites get hacked. Yes, this even happens to new, smaller blogs. If this happens to you, and you are using a free blog provider, the hacker can steal your domain name, which means that you will lose your entire site and may never get it back.
In short, I recommend that you stay far, far away from free blogging sites. It just isn’t worth the headache or risk, no matter what type of blog you are starting.
The good news is that paying for your own blog can prevent all of these issues, and it isn’t expensive. In fact, it is cheaper than a “free” blog because there aren’t any hidden fees. In the tutorial on this site I will show you my method which costs less than a Starbucks coffee – $3 per month.
The No-Fail Method for Starting Your Blog
If you want to make the process of starting your blog as simple and easy as possible just do these two things:
1. Follow the step-by-step tutorials on this site.
I am going to walk you through the process of starting a blog, from finding a good domain name to growing your blog into a money-making machine. Start with Step 1 of the tutorial now.
2. Contact me if you have any issues at all and I will personally respond to your email.
The step-by-step guide on this site should give you everything you need, but if you run into some issues, or just want some personalized advice, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time. Blogging is my passion, and I would love to talk with you about it!
Step 1: Get Started
Start your blogThe entire process of getting your blog setup and ready should only take you about 20 minutes. After that your blog will be online and ready for you to start blogging!
Before you can start blogging there are two things you need to do:
1. Pick a domain name.
Already have a domain registered? Jump to #2
The domain name for this blog is theblogstarter.com. If you type that domain name into an internet browser anywhere in the world you will be sent to this site.
Good blog names are unique and descriptive, so your audience will immediately know what your blog is about.
Another option is to simply use your own name. For example, I have registered scottchow.com. You can also add your middle name or middle initial if you find your name is already taken.
Many of the top bloggers use their own name as their domain name. This has the added benefit of preventing someone else from registering your name, allowing you to secure your “virtual real estate”.
Once you have some blog name ideas you will need to choose a domain extension.
.com is the gold standard, but .net and .org work just as well. I would suggest staying away from other extensions like .us or .biz, as they are not as familiar to most people.
You may find that the domain name you want is already taken. This happens to all of us. In fact, it happened to me with this site. Blogstarter.com was already taken, so instead, I chose theblogstarter.com. If you find that your desired name is already taken you can try adding simple words like “the”, “a”, or “my” to the beginning of the name, or you can try adding dashes between words such as the-blog-starter.com.
See if your domain is available
Enter domain name here…
Note: You cannot use any punctuation other than dashes in a domain name.
- Choose a web host.
post-itA web host is a company that stores all of the files for your blog and delivers them to the user when they type in your domain name. You must have a web host in order to have a blog.
Choosing a bad host will doom your blog from the beginning. Users will be frustrated with slow page loading times and you may often find that your blog is simply not working at all (yikes!).
There are hundreds of different web hosts you can choose from, but my recommendation for your blog is BlueHost. In fact, BlueHost is the web host I use for theblogstarter.com. I have been very happy with BlueHost for many years now, and recommend them for all new bloggers because:
They offer a free, simple installation of all the popular blogging tools, including WordPress (the one I recommend and show you how to use in this guide).
They have been recommended by WordPress since 2005 and currently host over 2 million websites.
They offer industry leading 24/7 customer service via phone, email, or web chat.
They offer a money-back guarantee if you are unsatisfied for any reason.
Because BlueHost is a top-quality web host they cost a bit more ($5.99 per month) than low-quality hosts. There is a way to get a discount though. If you use one of the links on this site by January 15th you can get BlueHost’s New Year’s Sale price of $2.75 per month (for 36 months), including a free domain name.
Click on the next step for a complete step-by-step walk-through of how to register your domain name and setup your blog. If you have any issues during this process you can always contact me for free help.
In fact, if you have any trouble at all setting-up your blog with this tutorial, just contact me and I will do it for you. BlueHost compensates me when you purchase through my link, so my services are free of charge to you!
Step 2: Set Up Your Blog
1. Click here to get the BlueHost New Year’s Sale price of $2.75 per month by January 15th and then click “get started now”.
Select your plan. The basic plan is the one I recommend for new bloggers. Click “Select” to choose your plan.
Type in your domain name in the left box and then click “next” to see if it is available.
If you already own a domain name and want to use it for your blog, type your existing domain in the right box and then click “next”. Only use the right box if you have previously paid to register a domain!
- If the domain is unavailable you will be given a list of similar domain names that are available. You can choose one of the suggested domains or type in another name to try.
- Once you have found an available domain name you will be taken to the registration page where you will put in all your billing details.
- You will also need to choose your hosting package and options.
The 36 month package gets you the lowest monthly rate, while the 12 month package has a lower up-front cost. Either is a good choice.
I uncheck the boxes next to the other products when I sign-up. You can always add these at a later time if you need them.
- Once your account is setup (usually just a few minutes), you can login to your account by going to the BlueHost homepage and clicking the login tab at the top. Enter in your domain name and the password you chose when registering.
- Now that you have logged-in to your account control panel, we can install WordPress, which is the software you will use for your blog. First, close any pop-up windows. Then look under the “Website” heading and click the “Install WordPress” link.
Too complicated? I will install your blog for you for free.
You will now be automatically logged-in to Mojo Marketplace and taken to the WordPress install page. Click on the “Install” button to get started.
Select your domain and click “Check Domain”.
Check the “Show advanced options” box. Now you can enter in your site title, username, and password. These can be anything you want, and all of them except the username can be changed later. Make sure to write down your username and password so that you don’t forget them! When you are done, check the box to agree to the terms and then click “Install Now”
WordPress is now installing! This should just take a few minutes.
- Once the installation has completed you can click “View Credentials” at the top of the page to see your login information. This info is only available for 12 hours, so make sure to write it down in a safe place!
You will also receive an email with your login information as soon as the installation finishes.
Having trouble installing your blog?
Step 3: How To Use Your Blog
If you haven’t installed WordPress yet, please return to Step 2 to learn how.
Once you have WordPress installed on your site you are just about ready to start blogging. In this step, I am just going to show you the basics to get you up and running with your new WordPress blog. The next step after this one will show you some more advanced changes you can make to personalize the design and structure of your blog.
To start with, you will need to login to your site. Go to http://www.yoursite.com/wp-admin to bring up the login screen (replace “yoursite.com” with your domain name). If you are unsure of your login name or password, check the email that was sent to you from BlueHost that has this information.
Changing Your Blog Title
Once you login you will be in the WordPress administrator area. This is where you will make any changes you want to your blog. To start with, you will probably want to change the title of your blog. To do this, go to the bottom of the left menu and click “Settings”. That should take you to this screen:
On this screen you can change your “Site Title” and also the subtitle, known as your “Tagline”. Enter whatever you want in these two boxes and then scroll to the bottom and click the “Save Changes” button.
Once you save these changes they will immediately be live on your site. To see what your site looks like at any time you can just type your domain name in the browser and hit enter.
How to Write a Post
Blogging is all about writing, so let’s learn how to write your first blog post.
Go to the left menu and click on “Posts”. (Click the image below to see a larger version.)
You will see there is already a post there titled “Hello world!” This is a default post on every new WordPress blog, and we don’t need it. To delete it click “Trash” just under the post.
To begin writing a new post, click the “Add New” link (found in either the left menu or next to the word “Posts”).
You should now be on the post creator screen. You can enter the title of your post in the top box and then begin writing your post in the lower box.
If you would like to add a picture to your post, click on the “Add Media” button and click “Select Files” to upload a picture from your computer. You can make adjustments to the picture size and alignment on the next screen. When you are all set click “Insert into post” to add the picture.
Once you have finished your post just click the “Publish” button on the right side of the screen to publish it.
Publishing Your Blog
Even after you have written a post your blog may still be showing a “Coming Soon” page like this:
When you are ready to remove that page, you can do so by logging-in to your blog and clicking the link near the top.
Congratulations! You now know how to publish content on your site!
You will probably want to make some more changes to your blog as I describe in the next step, but none of them are absolutely necessary, since your site is already live and ready for the world to see!
If you haven’t installed WordPress yet, go to Step 2 to use my easy WordPress install guide.
Now that you know the basics of your blog, we can get into some more of the details. WordPress is an amazingly powerful tool that allows you to build your blog in just about any way you can imagine.
You’re probably thinking that your blog design looks pretty boring now, right? Not to worry, I will show you how to change the your design and layout in this step, along with a bunch of other cool tips and tricks for personalizing your blog.
Click on the arrows below to see the guide for each topic:
Basic Blog Design
Customizing Your Blog Design
Changing Your User Details
Changing Your URLs
Other Helpful Tutorials
After completing this step you should have a functioning and attractive blog. Again, you can always go back and make additional changes later. There is no need to have everything perfect right away.
Now let’s get to the fun part – writing your blog!
Step 5: Start Blogging!
Finally, we can get to the fun stuff!
Every successful blog follows just a few basic principles:
Steps to a successful blog
Proper Blog Setup
Proper Blog Setup
The first 4 steps of this guide explained to you how to get your blog setup properly (start with Step 1 if you haven’t already). As I have mentioned in previous steps, there are an infinite number of tweaks and changes you can continue to make to your blog. But if you have gone through the previous steps in this guide then your blog should be setup just fine.
Keep in mind that being a good blogger isn’t all about writing. You also need to read other blogs to stay informed on what is popular and to get new ideas for your own blog.
You may visit a blog and see they have a really cool plugin that you want on your site. Usually, you can just ask the blogger directly and they will tell you all about it. This is a great way to improve the setup of your blog while also making connections in the blogging community.
I can’t emphasize enough that the steps I have already shown you are more than sufficient. If you want to make more changes in the future that is fine, but don’t get hung-up on thinking that everything needs to be perfect before you start blogging, because your blog will always be a work in progress.
The heart and soul of a successful blog is great content. If no one wants to read what you are writing about then your blog won’t be very successful.
One of the easiest ways to write content that people actually want to read is to answer a question about your topic that you have yourself. Chances are, if you are wondering about something, so are other people. Obviously you will need to do some research to find the answer, but once you do you will be providing valuable content that people actually want to read and share with their friends.
For additional writing ideas this is a great resource: http://weblogs.about.com/od/startingablog/tp/BlogPostIdeas.htm
It is also important to keep in mind that great content is about more than the writing. Images, videos, different fonts and colors all make your content look eye-catching and interesting. Blogs are not books, and they need to have more than just a huge block of text to keep the readers’ interest.
Even if you setup your blog properly and create great content, there is no guarantee that anyone will ever see it. Because of this, marketing your blog correctly is a requirement if you want to be a successful blogger.
In the next step we will go over a variety of methods for marketing your blog so that you can make sure people are actually seeing all of your hard work.
Step 6: Promote Your Blog
Promoting your blog is where I see the majority of bloggers fail. There are lots of great bloggers out there that no one has ever heard about, simply because they don’t know how, or just don’t want, to promote their blog.
The most important tip I can give you about promoting your blog is to not be shy about telling people about your blog!
I have heard from many bloggers who tell me that they don’t promote their blog simply because they don’t feel it is worthy of promotion. They say things like “I don’t have enough posts yet” or “I need to work on my site design first”.
Don’t do this to yourself! If you have put in the time to setup a great site and with great content, then you need to tell people about it. Be proud of the work you have put in.
So just how do you promote your blog? Well, it turns out the most effective methods of promotion are free!
1. Social networks
Chances are that you already have a Facebook account, and maybe even a Twitter account as well. So when you post something on your blog, make sure that you also post a link to your blog post on your social accounts.
It also helps to connect with other people interested in your topic. Send a friend request to the top bloggers in your niche and make sure to follow them on Twitter as well.
You may be surprised at just how many people will find your post interesting and then share the link with their friends.
2. Commenting on other blogs
On many blogs you can leave a comment along with a link back to your own blog. If you make useful comments on blogs related to your topic you will be putting your blog right in front of people who you know are interested in your topic.
Caution! Do not abuse this method.
If you are leaving terrible comments on posts just to get your name out there this will only hurt your blog. Furthermore, poor quality comments are likely to be deleted by the blog owner anyway.
If you make a useful comment people are more likely to visit your site, since they will want to hear more about what you have to say on the topic.
3. Link to other blogs
One the best ideas for writing a blog post is to write a response to a post from another blog. This could be a blog post you disagree with, or simply a topic that you have something else to add to.
When you do this, make sure to link to the blog you are responding to. On most blogs this creates what is known as a “trackback”.
A trackback simply means that the blog you linked to will also post a link (automatically) to your blog. This means that anyone reading the other person’s blog post will also see the link to your blog, and hopefully click on it to visit your site.
4. Guest posting
Another way to get readers of other blogs to hear about your blog is to write guest posts.
To write a guest post you simply need to contact other blog owners and offer to write a post for their site.
Not all bloggers are open to this idea, but if you can find a few who are it is a great deal for everyone. You provide them with quality content, and in return you put a link to your blog in your post. If people enjoy your guest post then they are likely to visit your blog for more great content.
5. Online forums
If you haven’t already, you should join popular online forums related to your topic. For example, if your blog is about dog training, join a couple of the most popular dog training forums.
Many forums will allow you to post a link to your site in the signature that goes at the bottom of every post you write. Some forums may require you to make a few posts before letting you do this.
Once you have joined a forum, make helpful posts. Just as with blog commenting, the content of your forum posts needs to be high quality and helpful. People are not going to want to read your blog if they don’t find your forum posts to be helpful and interesting.
6. Frequent posting
The promotion methods above all focus on getting new readers to your blog. This is usually the most difficult step for any blog. However, you also need to make sure that once readers find your blog they come back!
Making new posts frequently (at least once a week, but preferably every 1-2 days), is the key to building up and keeping a large following.
Your content may be fantastic, but if you only post once a month people are likely to forget all about your blog. You have to strike a balance between high quality and high quantity. This is a difficult balance for any blogger to achieve, as it is not always easy to write a high quality post once a day or even once a week.
If you are struggling with finding ideas to write about, make sure to re-read the previous step in this guide.
By now you have learned what you need to know about getting your blog started and getting readers to your site. For some bloggers this is the end goal. They simply want people to read their ideas and have the opportunity to participate in a community of like-minded people.
However, once you have developed a decent following, you can start to make some money from your blog if you so choose. Check out the next, and final, step now to learn how to make money blogging.
Step 7: Make Money Blogging
This post is about how to make money blogging. You will first need to register and install your blog to follow along. Use this easy blogging guide to get started.
How to start a blog and make money
There are lots of ways to monetize your blog once you have a good number of visitors. However, one of the most lucrative ways also happens to be the easiest- advertising.
Having a large number of visitors to your blog means that advertisers will pay to have their ads shown to your readers. The easiest way to blog for money is to get paid for showing advertisements on your blog by joining Google’s AdSense program at http://www.google.com/adsense
Once you setup your account on AdSense you will be given a code to add to your blog. This code will automatically display advertisements on your blog from companies who are part of Google’s advertising network. You may see ads from small companies related to your topic, or you may see ads from large companies that are completely unrelated to your topic.
The nice thing about AdSense is that you have thousands of advertisers bidding to advertise on your blog, and all you have to do is add the simple code to your blog. Once you do that the process is completely hands off.
Every time one of your visitors clicks on an ad, you get paid. Google collects the money from the advertisers and then cuts you a check (usually every month).
This arrangement is nice not only because it is hands-off, but because you are dealing with a reputable company that you know will actually pay you on time.
How much can you make?
The amount that you can make from AdSense depends on three factors:
1. The number of visitors to your blog
This one is pretty obvious. More people visiting your blog means more clicks on advertisements, which means more money for you.
2. The visibility of the ads
When you put the AdSense code on your blog you have a choice of the style of advertisements (large images, small images, text, etc.) and also where they are placed. The more prominently the ads are displayed the more likely they are to be clicked.
However, you have to balance placing the ads prominently with the prospect of possibly annoying your readers. We have all visited blogs where it’s difficult to see the content due to the number and size of the ads. This is a delicate balance to achieve and it’s something you will have to experiment with to get the most out of your blog.
3. The topic you are blogging about
The final factor that affects your AdSense income is the topic you are blogging about. This is because advertisers will pay more to be on certain blogs than they will for others.
For example, if your site is about golf, your readers are likely to have a healthy income. Because of this, there are a good number of advertisers that want to get their ads in front of your readers, and they are likely to pay a good amount per click to do this.
Contrast this with a blog about Justin Bieber. The readers of this blog are likely to be teenage girls, who usually don’t have very much purchasing power. Because of this advertisers will likely pay less for each click.
These three factors will determine the amount of money you make. Estimating exactly what you will make is pretty difficult, but a high traffic blog on the right topic has the potential to bring in several thousand dollars every month. Of course, many people earn less than this, and some earn even more. In fact, it has been estimated that some top AdSense publishers earn nearly $2 million per year just from AdSense.
Keep in mind that making money from your blog takes time. After all, there is a reason that learning how to make money from a blog is the last step in my guide. You need to make sure you have followed all the previous steps perfectly in order to give yourself the best chance of earning a substantial income from blogging. This will not happen overnight, but most bloggers find that the work itself is rewarding enough to continue on the journey.
Once you have your blog up and running, make sure to check out my step-by-step tutorial on how to install AdSense on your blog.
This concludes the step-by-step tutorial on how to start a blog. I hope that you not only read this guide, but also took action on it. Blogging is a long, on-going journey, but only by taking the first step will you ever get to see where this road can take you.
Still haven’t started your blog? Click here to get started with Step #1 of the guide
Of course, there is still much more to learn about blogging once you have followed this guide. You can continue to read more tips and tricks on my blog or by joining my free newsletter.
If you have any questions at all about blogging please do not hesitate to contact me!