Hi, I’m Lori. I’ve been blogging for more than 20 years. In this beginner’s guide, I’ll show and explain how to start a blog, the costs involved (there’s a solution for every budget) and the best site to use as resources. No technical experience required. It’s easy, fun, frugal and faster than you think!

how-to-start-a-blog/how to start a blog

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I created my first blog in 1998 on a small subdomain host that probably, by today’s standards, looked horrible. It worked more like a word processor than a website and really had no design to it at all.  But you are not doomed to the same fate! So, much has changed since then! This how-to guide provides step-by-step instructions in an easy-to-follow format.

7 steps to start a blog

  1. Set up your blog
  2. Get started with WordPress
  3. Clarify your blog topic
  4. Publish your main pages
  5. Write your first post
  6. Customize your blog design
  7. Get traffic & make money!

Want to skip the introduction? Click here to jump to Step 1.

You may wonder, what is a blog and how does it differ from a website. If you are thinking about starting a blog or a Tutorials, then understanding these terms will help you meet your goals.

In this beginner’s guide, we will explain what is a blog and how is it different from a traditional website.

What is a blog?

A blog is a type of website. It can be just a blog or a full representation of your BRAND or company. The articles or “posts” are often referred to as CONTENT. They appear either on a page of the site or are the only thing that appears on the site and they always appear with the newest post first.

A blog can be solely written by one individual or multiple authors as a “COLLABORATION”. You can also invite notable bloggers to do a guest post, but it is better to wait to do that until you have more of a following.

 

Why have a blog?

To be honest, everyone has their own motivation. It can be an alternative to keeping a diary or journal; a venue to share your creativity and ideas to a wider audience; or a way to share a life-changing experience (drug/alcohol recovery, becoming a parent, losing a parent to a terminal illness, etc).

Many brands and businesses create blogs to educate their customers, share news, and reach a wider audience. In recent years, blogging has become an important component of online marketing strategies.

Following are just a few benefits of blogging.

  • An avenue to organize your thoughts, experiences, and ideas
  • Allows you to showcase your skills, creativity, and talents
  • Help others become thought leaders or influencers in their industry
  • Helps you socialize or network online with other like-minded people
  • Many bloggers make money from their blogs using various methods called “MONETIZATION” or “MONETIZING”
  • Businesses use blogs to attract potential customers to their websites and connect with existing customers.
  • Non-profits can use blogs to raise awareness, run social media campaigns, and influence public opinion

What if I don’t know what to blog about?

Start anyway! A common newbie mistake is to think you have to be sure of a topic to start. If you’re like most of us, you’ll either switch topics or settle into something as you go.

Recently, I came across a great FREE tool on Neil Patel’s website. If you’re stuck for topics, content or just want to do some research it really helps. Neil Patel’s Uber Suggest, it just the best.

How much does a blog cost?

Generally, it works out to $5 to $10 a month (with a money-back guarantee). Some hosts will offer the domain for free (like Bluehost), and you only pay $3.95 a month for hosting.  As you grow (and hopefully earn) you may wish to add paying for premium tools and services, but they are not required to start.

Can I start a blog for free?

Yes, you can. However, I really don’t recommend it for several reasons. Let me ask you a question. Would you start a business in your neighbor’s garage just because it was free? So, suppose you agreed to do it and wanted to redesign the garage to make it look more to your liking, but before you could you had to ask your neighbor for permission. So, you did and he agreed in part. Well, starting a free website is similar to starting a business in someone’s garage because it’s FREE. Let me just say, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FREE. You may not be charged money, but there is ALWAYS A COST. That cost on a blog will be limitations and advertisements the blog host puts up WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION and will make your site look spammy. Limitations on what you can put up like what MONETIZATION you can use. For these reasons, I would recommend that you invest in yourself by buying a domain and hosting.

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So, what is the best kind of blog to start?

If you ask any blogger, big or small, and you’ll usually get the same answer (myself included): a self-hosted WordPress blog. It is by far the most popular choice, it’s also very easy to set up even for a newbie with no tech skills.  Self-hosted WordPress blogs are flexible, expandable and work well if you want to make money.

Foolproof Steps to start a self-hosted WordPress blog, no tech skills required.

Step 1: Register Your Domain

10-15 minutes

You need two things: a Blog platform + hosting. A blogging platform puts your words into blog form. Hosting makes your blog live on the internet. Let’s get both at once.

The combination I’ve personally used, paid for and recommend to beginners is WordPress (platform) + Bluehost (hosting). It’s simple and comes with a money-back guarantee. Plus, use this link for a discount:

>>>Click here to go to BlueHost

Once you are on the BlueHost website, hit Get Started.

Choose a plan. Click a green Select button.

Bluehost/How to Start a Blog

Each option comes with its own set of options. Review each one carefully, but choose what you can afford right now. When you are ready to upgrade you can talk to Bluehost and they will help you do that. 

Bluehost/How to Start a Blog

 

The next step is to choose a domain name. A domain name becomes your website, for instance, mine is www.theboldblog.com  and other is www.loriimdad.com. What’s in a name? Some recommend using a name that is linked with what you will write about primarily (this is called your NICHE). However, it can be based on your name or anything you want it to be based on, really. My only recommendation here is to check social media sites to see if your username that matches your website name is available. Don’t add numbers to any of them. Sites to check primarily are Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. If you plan to do a Twitter account, check that, too. You don’t have to set them up now.

Just type in:

https://www.pinterest.com/yourusername

https://www.facebook.com/yourusername (for a Facebook page you need to have 25 likes before you can set this anyway. 

https://www.instagram.com/yourusername

Bluehost/How to Start a Blog

You can also choose to skip this step and do it later. It’s a good idea to have 3 options ready when you want to add in your domain. Often your first choice is not available, so be ready with 2 others. Using .com is preferable to .net or any other ending. 

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Choose a package. Remember to look at how long in advance you will be paying and only choose that. 

Bluehost/How to Start a Blog

Bluehost bills 1, 2 or 3 years upfront. They do not offer a monthly payment plan (hosts that do charge much more). As you can see, it works out to be just a few dollars a month. And remember, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee!

Tip: The lower pricing is for new customers. It is only valid for the duration of the term you select. Upon renewal, the pricing will usually increase. So, choose the longest plan your budget allows.

Bluehost/How to Start a blog

Where possible I always recommend taking the privacy option. Domain privacy keeps your personal contact information private and in today’s world, it’s better to be safe. It’s free with the Choice Plus plan. If you chose a different plan, add it here by checking the box.

FYI: You won’t see the option for domain privacy here if you already have a domain or will choose one later. If you choose your domain later, Bluehost will give you the option for domain privacy then.

Uncheck the remaining boxes.

Complete your hosting purchase. Enter your payment information, review the Terms, check the box, hit Submit.

Bluehost/How to Start a Website

Create your Bluehost account and set a password. This NOT your WordPress blog, you will receive that one via email.

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I hope this walkthrough setting up your domain and hosting account has helped you.

Thank you so much for stopping by today! I’m so excited you are ready to start your blogging journey and that I get to be a part of it! Any Questions? Send them my way, I’m happy to try to help.

Until next time,

Lori