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How to Create a Blog?
In 2019, it’s easier than ever before for anyone to start a blog and make it profitable.
This is true even if you aren’t tech savvy, don’t know how to code, or understand the first thing about web design.
With a little bit of guidance and some basic resources, you can have your very own personal or professional blog up and running less than 30-minutes after you finish this article. (But there’s no need to rush it).
I’ll hold your hand and walk you through every part of the process while helping you avoid the common mistakes that stop most new bloggers dead in their tracks.
Then let’s dive in and get started.
P.S. If you’re curious about how much it will cost to start and maintain your blog, the simple answer is $0 to $60/year. I highly recommend that you opt for paid domains and hosting, but you have the option to start for free to test the waters.
When I first started this blog, my aims were simple.
I wanted to teach people how to navigate the tricky (and often less-than-ethical) world of blogging and web development.
With time, my site began to pickup steam, attracting new clients for my company and giving me the opportunity to quit my day job and pursue blogging full time.
However, there are a myriad of different reasons you might decide to start a blog, beyond making enough money to hand in your two week’s notice.
I could drone on and on about the benefits of blogging until the sun sets and the moon rises, but I think you get the idea.
The bottom line?
Blogging is awesome and it has the power to change your life.
Assuming you want to take the plunge and start your blog today, here are the exact steps you need to take to get started.
As I mentioned in the introduction, starting and maintaining an average sized blog will cost between $0 and $60 a year.
So yes, you can start your blog for nothing. However, as with most things in life, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Let me explain…
Yes, you can create a blog for free on many different platforms, such as:
But before you go smashing the above links and clicking “sign up”, read the rest of this section!
Sure, these platforms are great for testing the waters and solidifying some of the ideas you might have regarding content and design.
However, if you are serious about starting a profitable and successful blog, you should avoid these platforms at all costs.
These “free” blogging platforms have crippling limitations and totalitarian authority over your content.
They are, first and foremost, businesses. Their main only purpose is to turn a profit by using your website to sell ad space while placing limitations on your account, so you are eventually forced into a “premium” or “unlimited” blog plan.
Plans that are, more often than not, wildly overpriced and woefully under-equipped.
Without their expensive upsells, your account will be limited to a handful of generic designs, a “maximum” number of daily visits, limited storage, and all but nonexistent customer service.
And let’s not forget that these platforms have total control over your content.
So if you post something that one of your friendly neighborhood website moderators doesn’t like, your entire site (and all of your data) can be deleted in an instant.
Think about that for a second.
You spend months hustling and grinding to grow your blog. Slowly but surely, you acquire a decent number of loyal visitors and subscribers. Then the money starts to roll in from sponsored posts, paid ads, or your own products.
Things are going great.
Then you accidentally violate your free web provider’s Terms of Service (see all limitations for Blogger.com and WordPress.com) and your entire online business is irrevocably lost to the trash bin of the interwebs.
Do you really want to deal with this?
I hope not.
This is why all of the most successful bloggers started their own self-hosted blog.
It’s cheap, grants you access to your own personal domain name (e.g. myepicsite.com vs. myepicsite.blogging-platform.com), and you’ll have no limitations.
Oh, and you’ll also have access to premium website templates and design plugins to ensure that your new site looks like something created by a pro.
Bite the bullet and fork over a little cash to get your blog started the right way.
A few months from now, you’ll be glad that you did.
With all of the anti-free-blog preamble out of the way, it’s time to get down to the good stuff and go through the exact steps you need to follow to build and launch your self-hosted blog today.
To get started, you’ll only need two things:
And with a few quick clicks you can purchase and setup both of these things as easy as 1-2-3.
Full disclosure: To keep my site up and running, I use affiliate links for some of the products mentioned in this guide. This means that I earn a small commission (at no extra expense to you) anytime you make a purchase using one of my links. Thank you for your continued support!
Of the countless web hosts on the market, only a small handful are even worth considering.
Of those, only 3-4 offer truly exceptional services for the price.
And of those, Bluehost is the only hosting service that I recommend to first-time bloggers.
The reason is simple.
Bluehost is cheap, fast, reliable, and armed to the teeth with a slew of free goodies that will streamline your blogging experience and make your life infinitely easier.
Not only do they power more than 2,000,000 websites worldwide, but all of their packages come with a 30-day money back guarantee, exceptional 24/7 live support, and a free SSL certificate (a $60+ bonus).
Oh, and they also offer one click installs, making it dead simple to get your blog launched in a matter of minutes.
You can sign up with Bluehost here.
Simply click on the “Get Started Now” button and choose a domain name.
Unlike many of the more profit-centric web hosts who charge upwards of $14.99/year for a new domain, BlueHost gives new customers a free domain name for the entire first year of their web hosting service.
If you’re serious about building a strong online presence and visitors from all over the world, you’ll want to get a domain name with a .com, .net, or .org, extension (here’s a guide for choosing a domain name).
For those of you who are unable to claim your first choice of domain name, spend a few hours brainstorming ideas with friends and family. Think out loud and experiment with different words and variations to find the most brandable domain name for your new site.
Now that you’ve decided on your domain name, it’s time to select your web hosting plan, finish your registration, and begin your forays into the wonderful world of blogging.
As a general rule of thumb, I recommend that you opt for the BlueHost “Prime” plan, since it comes with a free SSL certificate from “Let’s Encrypt”.
This will keep your visitor’s information secure, improve your engagement (no one wants to spend time on a website plagued by a giant “Not Secure” warning), and earn you a few extra brownie points with Google.
Since the renewal prices for BlueHost’s Prime plan are a bit pricier than their introductory rate, I recommend that you purchase as long of a subscription as possible to make your budget go as far as possible.
Once you’ve chosen the plan that best suits your needs you can finish off your registration and checkout using a credit card or PayPal.
And there you have it! You are now ready to launch your blog instantly (instead of waiting 2-3 days for activation like you would with many of their competitors).
UPDATE: I also made a step-by-step guide for signing up with Bluehost for those who need that.
Once you’ve completed the registration process, it’s time to setup an admin panel (or cPanel) password–make sure it’s as strong as possible to keep hackers at bay–and login to your Bluehost admin panel via my.bluehost.com.
Once you are there, you should be able to see this screen:
Congratulations! If you see this, it means that your blog is already setup.
However, there are a few things that I’d recommend you do to ensure that it’s visible as soon as possible…
Once you’ve completed this, launch your blog by clicking “Coming Soon Active” at the top of WordPress dashboard and then “Launch Your Site”:
Now that you’ve launched your blog, you’ll be able to see what can only be described as a skeleton of a website.
This is where it gets fun.
With your domain name, web hosting, and blog setup, it’s time to get down and dirty and start customizing the aesthetic of your website.
The fastest and easiest way to customize your blog and make it look absolutely awesome is to use the free themes provided by the WordPress theme library.
To install a new theme, go to your website’s dashboard, then go to Appearance > Themes, then click Add New from the top.
From the search results you can test out each theme to see how you like it by clicking on “Live Preview”.
Once you find the perfect theme for your new blog, you can activate it from either the Live Preview (just click “Activate the Theme”) or from the main search area by clicking the “Activate” button.
As soon as the theme is activated, it will be installed on your site. You’re now ready to start posting viral content and generating raving fans.
P.S. If you don’t know which theme to choose, I’ve compiled a list of most popular WordPress themes.
When you’re first getting started your site will be adorned with little more than the default “Hello World” post.
To add your first post navigate to Dashboard > Posts > Add New.
From here, you can add the title and start writing amazing content for your new blog.
With the new Gutenberg editor, you can add different types of content blocks into the editor by clicking on the “Add Block” icon.
Since I don’t have the time to cover every type of block included in the new editor (there are quite a few of them), I implore you to try it for yourself as most–if not all–of them are self explanatory.
Next, you’ll want to add a featured image to spruce up your post and add some visual flair for your readers. To do this, simply click the “Featured Image” box on the right hand side of your screen, upload your image, and click “Save”.
Once you’re satisfied with the quality and layout of your post, hit the publish button, sit back, and prepare to take the blogging world by storm.
You have officially published your first post!
If you want to add a welcome page on the homepage of your site instead of a list of recent blog posts, all you need to do is go to Pages > Add New and then add the title and content.
Then rinse and repeat this process to create another page for your blog list. Choose an appropriate title (like “blog” for example), and then hit publish.
With both pages created, go to Dashboard > Settings > Reading, then in the “Your Homepage Displays” option, check “A static page”, select your welcome page in the “Homepage” setting and your blog page in the “Posts page” setting, then hit save.
Your welcome page will now be published and ready to greet your new visitors as they arrive.
One of the most important aspects of good user experience on any new blog is navigability, a.k.a. the ease with which your new viewers can find the content for which they’re searching.
And the most important part of navigability is a well designed and up to date menu.
Luckily, creating a menu inside of WordPress is pretty straightforward.
To get started, simply go to Dashboard > Appearance > Menu.
From here, create and add a new title for your main menu and then, in the left pane of the menu editor, check the pages you want to appear on your new menu. Click “Add Menu”.
The checked pages should appear on the right pane of the editor and you can now rearrange their order by dragging the labels up and down.
Once you’re happy with your menu’s structure, you can display it on your website’s main header by checking the “Primary” location checkbox (the name depends on the theme you previously selected) in the menu settings and hit save.
Plugins are one of the simplest (and cheapest) ways to extend your website’s functionality and increase the traffic and profits you generate each month.
Luckily, there are (quite literally) thousands of free plugins and libraries inside of WordPress and countless more on other external sites.
Let me give you a quick example with one of the most important plugins that you can download for your new site… A contact form.
First, you’re going to go to Dashboard > Plugins > Add new and search for “Contact Form 7.” Then, click “Install” and activate the plugin from the search results.
Once the new plugin is activated, it will create a new menu called “Contact” in the dashboard. Click it to access the contact forms generated by the plugin and then click “Contact Form 1” from the list to edit the new form.
At this point, the contact form is effectively up and running, however, you’ll want to make sure that the mail template is properly functioning so that you actually receive emails sent from the form.
To do this, go to the “Mail” tab and change the “To” value to the address where the email should be sent.
Next, you’ll need to copy the “shortcode” found just under the contact form’s name… It should look something like [contactform-7 id=”25″ title=”Contact form 1″].
After you have copied the shortcode, create a new page called “Contact Us,” and simply paste the shortcode in the content.
Then click “Publish”, sit back, relax, and check out your new content form in all of its glory:
If you are looking for more plugins that will improve the use and functionality of your blog, here’s a list of best plugins.
To really add another level of flair and personalization, you’ll want to download another plugin that will allow you to change your website’s fonts.
Repeat the same steps listed above for the plugin “Easy Google Fonts” and then go to the theme customizer.
The customizer gives you the ability to customize your theme and preview it in real time.
Whether you want to change your site identity, colors, menus, widgets, homepage settings, or additional CSS, the customizer gives you almost total control over your website’s design.
With Easy Google Fonts installed, you’ll notice that there is a new option in the Customizer: Typography.
This setting allows you to change the fonts on your site to your liking and grants you a greater level of authority over your site’s aesthetic.
I encourage you to spend some time playing around with the Customizer until you have a strong grasp of the options available to you. Then, once you’re happy with the new look of your site, click “Publish,” and double check the changes in a new tab.
To make it easier for your readers to share your articles on their favorite social media channels, you’ll also want to install a social sharing plugin that will allow your viewers to seamlessly promote your new content from your posts and pages.
Just do a quick search in the plugins page with the keyword “social share” and you’ll be presented with hundreds of results. Install any plugin that strikes your fancy and set it up by going to its settings in your dashboard.
If you want to further customize your blog, read this WordPress Customization Guide.
Having a domain-based email account like email@example.com boosts the professionalism of your website and increases authority with your readers.
Luckily, BlueHost includes the ability to create a custom email account from your domain as a part of your web host account.
To access this feature, simply login to your BlueHost portal, click “Email & Office” in the left menu, scroll down and find “Basic Email”, and then click “See Options”.
From here, you can create your custom account in a matter of seconds.
Once your email account is created, click Email Accounts > Access Webmail to access the webmail application.
After confirming your credentials, you’ll be off to the races and you can now manage, send, and receive emails from your new domain-based account.
I’d encourage you to create an “About” page and add your new contact information so that all emails sent on your new site will be sent to the account you just created.
If you get stuck, here’s a guide for creating a custom email address for your blog.
That wasn’t so difficult, was it?
At this point, you should have your very own fully functioning blog up and running.
But this is just the beginning.
Use the other content on my website to take your new blog to the next level and be sure to take few days to learn all the ins and outs of your new WordPress blog.
If you get stuck, don’t hesitate to email me and I’ll do my best to help you out.
Updated June 17th, 2019
Are you looking for a free, easy, step-by-step guide on how to start a blog?
My free guide on this page will show you how to create a blog that is beautiful and functional, all in an easy step-by-step tutorial (with pictures).
Ready to start the simple step-by-step tutorial? Click here to go to Step #1
My name is Scott Chow, and I am going to show you how to start blogging. 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 know that starting a blog can seem overwhelming and intimidating. This free guide is all about blogging for beginners, and will teach you how to be a blogger with just the most basic computer skills. So whether you’re 8 or 88, you can create your own blog in less than 20 minutes.
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 when you make your own blog. I created this free guide so that anyone can learn how to blog quickly and easily. And if you get stuck at any point, please send me a message and I will do my best to help you!
Skip the rest of this introduction and start building your blog!
In short, a blog is a type of website that focuses mainly on written content, also known as blog posts. In popular culture we most often hear about news blogs or celebrity blog sites, but as you’ll see in this guide, you can start a successful blog on just about any topic imaginable.
Bloggers often write from a personal perspective that allows them to connect directly with their readers. In addition, most blogs also have a “comments” section where readers can correspond with the blogger. Interacting with your readers in the comments section helps to further the connection between the blogger and the reader.
This direct connection to the reader is one of the main benefits of starting a blog. This connection allows you to interact and share ideas with other like-minded people. It also allows you to build trust with your readers. Having the trust and loyalty of your readers also opens up the door to making money from your blog, which is something I discuss later in this guide.
One of the misconceptions about starting a blog is that you need to be a great writer to be successful. Nothing could be further from the truth. People read blog sites to get a personal perspective on things, so most bloggers write in a very informal and conversational style.
In addition, you don’t need to be an expert on your topic in order to have a successful blog. For example, readers of a cooking blog don’t want to read a textbook from a food scientist, they want to hear the experiences of someone who has actually cooked some real meals, mistakes and all.
To be successful as a blogger there is really just one requirement: a passion for your topic.
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. Writing about more than one topic is totally fine too. As long as you are writing about things that you are genuinely interested in, your passion will shine through and keep your readers interested.
So why would you go to the trouble of blogging? There are a few reasons:
The good news is that 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, if you are thinking about starting a blog then there is no better time than right now.
So, just how do you start a blog?
Learn how to create a blog in about 20 minutes following these steps:
Let’s start your blog!
The first step to finding a good blog name is choosing your topic.
If you’re not sure what to blog about, there are a few ways to find a good blog topic:
Once you have a topic it’s time to choose your blog name.
A good blog name should be descriptive so that potential readers can instantly tell what your blog is about just from the name.
If you are blogging about one specific topic then you will definitely want to include that in some way in your blog name. Try not to get hung-up on just one word though. For example, a cooking blog doesn’t necessarily have to have the word “cooking” in it. The words “food”, “recipes”, and “meals” would also let people know that your blog is about cooking.
If you are planning to create a personal blog where you discuss a variety of topics then I recommend using your name, or some variation of it, since your blog is all about you. For example, I own the blog scottchow.com. You can also add your middle name or middle initial if you find your name is already taken. Or you could use a variation like “Scott Chow Blog” or “Blogging with Scott”.
Once you have some blog name ideas you will need to choose a domain extension.
A .com domain extension is the most preferred, but .net or .org work as well. It is also important to note that for the purposes of a blog domain you cannot have any spaces between words. So “Blogging with Scott” becomes bloggingwithscott.com
Now that you’ve got your name and have picked an extension it’s time to make sure that no one else has already registered the same name:
Note: You cannot use any spaces or punctuation other than dashes in a domain name.
If you find that the name you wanted is already taken there are a few things you can do:
Now that you’ve got a name picked out it’s time to get your blog online. This might sound hard or technical, but the steps below will walk you right through and make the process easy.
To get your blog up and running you need two things: blog hosting and blogging software. The good news is that these typically come packaged together.
A blog host is a company that stores all of the files for your blog and delivers them to the user when they type in your blog name. You must have a blog host in order to have a blog.
You also need to have the software to build your blog. In this guide I will be showing you how to build a blog using the WordPress blogging software, because it is the most popular, customizable, and easiest to use.
The blog host I recommend, and the one I show you how to use in this guide, is BlueHost. I personally use BlueHost and I recommend them for all new bloggers because:
Use any BlueHost link on this site to make sure you get the special discount price of $2.75 per month.
Disclosure: BlueHost compensates me when you purchase through my link, so my services are free of charge to you! In fact, if you have any trouble at all setting up a blog with this tutorial, just contact me and I will do it for you.
Once you do that you can choose a basic design template for your blog (you can easily change this later, as you will see).
Now your blog software (WordPress) will be installed. Once the install is complete click “Start Building” to be logged-in to your blog.
If the “Start Building” link doesn’t work, click “go to my BlueHost account”. You will then be able to login to your blog by clicking “Log in to WordPress”.
Having trouble installing your blog? Get help here.
If you are not already logged-in, go to Bluehost.com and click “Login” on the top right to bring up the login screen. You can then login using your domain name and the password you set in the previous step. If you have misplaced your password you can reset it by clicking the “Forgot Password” link.
Once you log-in you will be taken to your BlueHost Portal. From the portal you can click “Log in to WordPress” to be logged-in automatically to your blog.
Once you login you will be in the WordPress administrator area. This is where you can make any changes you want to your blog.
Everyone has a different idea of how they want their blog to look. One of the great things about a WordPress blog is that you can change your entire layout and design with just a few clicks.
In WordPress, blog layouts are known as “Themes”. What is a blog theme? Themes control the entire design of your blog. To change your theme you are going to click on the “Appearance” tab on the left menu.
You will see several themes are already installed on your blog: Twenty Seventeen, Twenty Sixteen, etc. These are well-designed, clean-looking themes that can work for just about any type of blog. In fact, many of the world’s top bloggers use one of these themes.
Unless you have a very specific design in mind for your blog, I suggest you use one of these themes to start with. For our example, let’s use the “Twenty Sixteen” theme. In order to activate the theme on your blog, hover over the theme and click the “Activate” button. That’s it! You have changed the entire design of your blog with just one click!
If you don’t like any of the themes that are already installed you can easily choose from thousands of other free themes. To install a new theme, click on the “Appearance” tab on the left menu and then click “Add New Theme”.
This is the theme search screen. There are thousands of themes to choose from. You can change your entire design at anytime simply by activating a new theme. To find a theme you like, I suggest you click on the “Popular” tab and start browsing. When you find one that you like click the blue “Install” button.
Once the theme is installed click “Activate” to activate the theme on your blog. To see your new theme in action, go to your blog and take a look!
Changing your theme is the simplest way to customize your blog, but there are lots of of other customizations you can do. Check out my full post on customizing your blog for an in-depth step-by-step guide. You can also watch the video at the end of this guide to see me completely customize a blog from scratch.
Now that your blog is up and running it’s time to actually do some blogging!
Go to the left menu and click on “Posts”.
You will see there is already a post there. 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.
You are now on the post editor screen. 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 Image” icon and click “Upload” to upload a picture from your computer. You can make adjustments to the picture size on the next screen. When you are ready click “Insert into post” to add the picture.
Once you have finished your post just click the “Publish” button on the top right side of the screen to publish it.
Even after you have written a post your blog may still be showing a “Coming Soon” page.
When you are ready to make your blog public just click the “BlueHost” menu at the top left of the menu in your administrator area then click the blue “Launch” button to remove the “Coming Soon” page.
Congratulations! You now know how to start your own blog and publish content!
Creating a well-designed blog and writing great content is just the start. In order to get readers for your blog you will need spend some time promoting it, especially when you first start.
One of my favorite ways to get readers to my blog is to post links on my social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. This is great, because not only do your friends see the link, but if your friends share the link with their friends it automatically multiplies your readers. If you have created high-quality content on your blog then social media is a great way for your blog to go viral.
In addition to getting new readers to your blog, you will also want to make sure your current readers are coming back. This is where email marketing plays a big role. By collecting the email addresses of your visitors (with their permission of course), you can then notify them when you post something new on your blog. This keeps people coming back to your blog, which not only gives you more readers over time, it also allows you to build a closer relationship with your readers.
Email marketing is too big a topic to cover well here, so I created a separate guide to email marketing for those who are interested (hint: every blogger who wants more readers needs to read this guide).
For more tips on promoting your blog make sure to check out my in-depth guide to blog promotion.
Once you have put in the effort of creating great blog content and promoting your blog, making money from your blog is actually the easy part.
There are several ways you can make money blogging, from selling your own products or services, to getting paid to write reviews of products on your blog. But the easiest way to make money from your blog is to sell advertising space.
Once you have a popular blog, advertisers will be hounding you for the opportunity to advertise. The best way to take advantage of this situation is to use Google Adsense. They find the advertisers for you and all you have to do is place the Google Adsense code on your blog to start running ads. Google Adsense takes all of the hard work out of the process and just cuts you a check.
I go into the full details of how to set up Google Adsense for your blog here. For more information see my full guide to making money blogging here.
I hope this guide has answered any questions you had on how to start a blog, but if any of the steps were unclear to you, you can find a more detailed version of each step by using the menu at the top right of this page (or at the bottom of this page if you’re on a smartphone).
How do I start a blog? You can watch me build and customize a beautiful blog from scratch here:
The video above should answer a lot of questions you might have about getting your blog set up and customized, but more specific tutorials can be found on my blog page. Here are some of the most popular tutorials from my blog:
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 to get started, but if you run into some issues, or just want some personalized advice, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. Blogging is my passion, and I would love to talk with you about it!
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