Thank you for stopping by.
This article is a guide, a tutorial, or a walkthrough on how to start a blog for beginners in six simple steps.
Since you’re here, I’ll assume that you’re a beginner in blogging, that you want to start your own blog, and that you want to do so in just six simple steps.
Good, good. Because we’ll do exactly just that.
But before we proceed, it’s best to understand what a blog really is.
A blog is a website that features regularly updated content – commonly known as ‘posts’ or ‘entries’ or sometimes articles – arranged in a chronological order, with the newest ones appearing first.
All blogs are either a website or part of a website. But not all websites are blogs. For one, typical websites aren’t regularly updated like blogs are.
Anyway, that’s what a blog is. Since we’ll only be talking about blogs here, we’ll just use the words ‘blog’ and ‘website’ interchangeably.
Before we proceed, it’s also important that we know what a bald uakari is.
A bald uakari (Cacajao calvus) is a small New World monkey with a very short tail, a bright, crimson face, a bald head, and a long coat. It lives in the western Amazon of Brazil and Peru.
Ok. I think that’s about everything we need to know beforehand.
I think we can go ahead and start this tutorial on how to start a blog for beginners in just six simple steps.
1. Choose a blog topic
The very first step to starting your own blog is choosing what topic you want to blog about.
Of course, before you even found this article, you most likely already have a topic in mind. Maybe two. Or maybe even a million.
Perhaps you’d like to blog about personal finance. Or write about your travels and adventures. Or share your knowledge and experience with fellow stay-at-home moms. Or maybe you’d even want to build a blog as a tribute to the animal wonder that is the naked mole rat. Well, whatever it is, I’m sure it’s awesome.
But if you haven’t decided on a topic just yet, then it’s time you do so. And it’s best if you pick just one topic. You need to find your niche.
What is a niche anyway? In blogging, a niche is simply another word for the specific topic you’ll write about. You might have a million ideas on your mind right now. But you need to narrow down your choices and pick just one.
But why, though? Why just one topic? Can’t you just blog about anything and everything?
Yes, you can do that. You can certainly turn your blog into a general, multi-topic blog. Lots of ‘lifestyle’ blogs are like that.
But niche blogging is preferable. It has many advantages over general blogging, such as:
a. It’s easier to find your audience and build a loyal following
With niche blogging, it’s far easier to identify who your target audience is.
If you focus only on writing about personal finance, then you will attract people who are interested in personal finance.
If you blog only about fitness, then fitness-conscious people will come to your website.
Your audience will know what to expect from your blog, and you can expect what types of people will stop by.
However, that’s usually not the case with general blogging.
Just imagine if one day you write about the best blue-chip stock picks, then the next day you write about home remedies for constipation, and on the third day, you talk about the behavior and ecology of the bald uakari, wouldn’t people who stumble upon your site be confused about your site’s identity? I mean, what even is your site in the first place?
Besides, there is no assurance that visitors who like one of your topics will like the rest of your topics, too.
For instance, those who are interested in blue chip stocks might not necessarily be looking for solutions to infrequent bowel movements, or even in the slightest bit curious about the bald uakaris (what even is a bald uakari?).
You’ll have a hard time attracting consistent traffic if you do that.
But if all your articles revolve around only one topic, it’s likely that if your audience finds one article interesting, then they will find the rest interesting as well.
And because they can relate to your content, it’s more likely that they will keep coming back to your blog and become loyal readers.
So if you dedicate your blog solely to information regarding bald uakaris, then you are guaranteed to attract people who also share your passion for bald uakaris.
b. It’s easier to write and create content on a single topic
When you’re focused solely on writing about a single topic, you don’t have to spend too much time and effort figuring out what to blog about next.
For example, if your blog is all about pencils, then all you need to worry about is writing articles related to pencils. Today you can write about the history of pencils; tomorrow, the different types of pencils; on the third day, the best pencil brands for sketching and shading; on the fourth day, the longest pencils ever made; on the hundredth day, a guide on how to turn a pencil into a pencil crossbow; and so on and so forth.
And don’t ever think you’ll run out of article ideas for a single topic, because you won’t, as long as you are creative.
c. It’s easier to become an authority on a specific topic
With niche blogging, you’re filling your blog with useful (hopefully) information on a single topic. The more and better content you produce on that specific topic, the more you make yourself an expert on the matter. People will recognize your blog as the go-to reference for that particular topic. And next time they have questions about that specific topic, they will come to your blog for answers.
So if all you do is write informative and useful blog posts about pencils, then very soon people will realize that you are an authority, a cognoscente, if you will, on all matters pencil-related. They will thus turn to you whenever they need answers regarding pencils.
But if people don’t know what your blog is all about, then they wouldn’t know what they can go to you for.
d. It’s easier to rank high on search engines
As a niche becomes more and more specific, there are fewer and fewer blogs dealing with that niche.
For example, if your topic is ‘fashion’, then expect to find plenty of blogs about ‘fashion’.
But if you narrow down your topic, say ‘fashion for moms’, then you will encounter fewer blogs dealing with that subject matter; and even fewer blogs about ‘fashion for moms in their 30s’; and still even fewer blogs for ‘fashion for moms in their 30s who like to go clubbing on Tuesday nights’.
Of course, there are also disadvantages in choosing too-narrow niches, but we’ll get to that later.
Anyway, because of lower competition, it’s easier to rank high on Google or other search engines with specific niches.
Plus, if your blog is filled with interesting and useful content on that particular niche, Google (and other search engines) will have an easier time recognizing what your blog is all about, and will more likely recommend your blog to people searching about that specific topic.
So if you’ve filled your blog with interesting and informative content about pencils, Google can easily identify your site’s exact identity. And the next time someone searches ‘can pencils write under water?’, your blog might just be up there in Google’s top search results!
But if you’re writing about multiple topics, Google will have a harder time figuring out what your blog is really about.
Of course, these are only four of the reasons why you should pick one specific niche instead of multiple topics. There are many more reasons, but all point to the fact that niche blogging, in most respects, is better than general blogging.
So how do you go about picking the right niche? Here are five useful tips on how to do so:
a. Pick a topic you enjoy talking about
When you blog, you most likely won’t just make one, two, or ten articles. You’ll usually be writing many more than that, especially when you’re just starting out all by your lonesome. So it’s important that you pick a topic you enjoy writing about, a topic that you are, firstly, passionate in, and secondly, knowledgeable in.
Choose a topic that you aren’t just very interested in today. Choose one that you’ll enjoy talking about even after one, two, or five years have already passed.
You might be eager now to share everything you know about the apparently shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusks, aka slugs, but will you still have that enthusiasm five years into the future?
When you enjoy writing about a topic, it won’t feel like a chore. It becomes easier to churn out content after content. And when you enjoy a topic, the quality of your content is visibly superior to content you’re simply forced to write about.
Besides, if you pick a topic you aren’t really passionate in, you might lose interest in blogging altogether, and give up after only a couple of months.
b. Make sure there’s an audience for it
If you’re blogging solely for yourself, and don’t want other people to access your site, then you need not worry about this part.
But chances are, you want to attract other people to your blog, too. You want to draw loyal and engaged readers to your site and interact with them. So it’s very important that you pick a topic that other people are interested in as well.
Though it is essential that you find a niche, you don’t want to settle on one that only you and maybe five other people are interested in. Find a topic that attracts, at the very least, hundreds, if not thousands, of like-minded people.
But how would you know if your preferred topic has an audience? A good, simple way to know is through Google Trends.
As an example, let’s say you’re thinking about starting a blog on hiking. Try checking it out on Google Trends first. Type in ‘hiking’ on the specified field, and select the ‘Past 5 years’ as the time range since you want to make sure that your topic holds up in the long-term. The last five years is a reasonable enough time to tell if a topic is a fad or is here to stay for a long time.
Remember, you want to pick a topic with a stable or a rising interest in it over time. You ought to avoid topics that are declining in popularity.
As you can see, interest in ‘hiking’ was generally consistent over the last five years, and even rising in the last few months. This means that interest for hiking won’t likely just die out in the upcoming years. Plus, there is a sizeable enough audience for it, so a blog about ‘hiking’ seems like a safe choice.
But what if you want to write about the jumping slug? Would there be other people who might share your interest in jumping slugs? Once more, let’s consult Google Trends.
Hmmm. The results don’t look too promising. But you know what, if you want to dedicate your blog to jumping slugs, then go for it. Goodness knows the world needs to learn more about jumping slugs.
Although, you shouldn’t be surprised when your blog doesn’t become as popular as you want it to be. People aren’t too keen on jumping slugs these days – they’re all about jumping snails now!
c. Make sure it’s not too broad, but not too specific, either
If your tentative blog topic is too broad, you’ll end up competing with a lot more blogs, many of which might already be too big and established so that they constantly dominate Google and other search engines, and leave no chance for the smaller guys.
But if you pick a topic that’s too narrow, there might not be enough demand for it. You might have a hard time pulling in a sizeable traffic to make blogging worthwhile. Chances are, you might get discouraged and quit blogging altogether.
So pick a topic that’s not too broad, but not too specific, either. Choose a topic that has relatively low competition but has a good enough demand.
For example, some experts will consider ‘hiking’ too broad of a topic. I wouldn’t, personally. But I’m not an expert. So just to be safe, try typing in ‘hiking’ on Google. Then scroll down to the bottom of the search results page and look at the searches related to the word ‘hiking’. You might find something there that’s a bit more specific than ‘hiking’ and that might make a good blog topic.
But if you don’t want to narrow down ‘hiking’, then it’s also just fine. Don’t sweat it.
d. Make sure it’s profitable
If you aren’t concerned about earning from your blog, and just want to blog for non-monetary purposes, then you can skip this part.
But chances are, you do want to make a profit from blogging. You want to earn extra income from your blog, or even make it your full-time job or business.
So pick a topic where you have a likely chance of earning, where you can sell products and services, yours or otherwise, to your audience.
Remember, even if you think of blogging only as a hobby, it still costs time, effort, and money, so you might as well earn from it.
Besides, when you put in the necessary work, you can actually build your blog into a full-time business that can earn you passive income until your retirement and beyond! But it all starts with picking the right blogging topic, so choose wisely.
e. Make sure it has a future
Blogging is a long-term endeavor. It takes a lot of time and a lot of patience. So you have to pick a topic that people will be interested in not only today, but also in the next three, five, or even ten years.
Don’t go for a topic that is only popular and relevant now. If you do that, your blog will also only be popular and relevant now, and might likely die out in the future.
Once more, you can use Google Trends to see if your tentative topic is simply a fad or is actually a long-term trend. Be sure to select the ‘Past 5 years’ or even the ‘2004 to present’ time ranges.
Please note that the aforementioned are only tips. You don’t need to follow them if you don’t want to.
But remember, selecting the right topic is the most important step in starting your own blog. It can make or break your chances of success in blogging. So it’s ok to take as much time as you need. Do your research. Then once you have decided on a topic to blog about, you can proceed to the next step.
However, if you’re really committed on starting a blog with multiple topics, then there’s really no serious harm in doing so. There are plenty of successful blogs out there that produce content on a range of topics. So go ahead. But just make sure your topics aren’t too dissimilar from one another.
2. Pick a domain name
Now that you have settled on a suitable niche, it’s time to come up with a domain name.
A domain name, in Internet parlance, is simply your website’s name. The domain name forms part of a complete web address: it’s what comes after the ‘www.’ in any web address.
Examples of domain names include:
- phmillennia.com (my own domain)
A Universal Resource Locator (URL), on the other hand, refers to the complete web address. It is used to find a website and any webpages within that website. Every URL contains the domain name as well as other components needed to locate the specific page or piece of content.
Examples of URLs include:
Finally, a website is a collection of one or more webpages grouped under the same domain. So the domain is the name of a website, the URL is how to find a website, and a website, in turn, is what people see and interact with when they get there.
Ok, I know all these can sound very confusing. And for beginners, these can be overwhelming. So let’s try to make things simpler.
Just think of it this way. Imagine that the World Wide Web is a giant city. It’s made of up of many different stores, each built upon a plot of land.
The names of the stores are the domains.
Their addresses are the URLs.
The plots of land are, well, we’ll get to that later.
And the physical stores – the actual buildings with all the aisles, shelves, products, and cash registers in them – are the websites.
Much simpler, right?
Anyway, to use a certain domain name, you actually have to pay an annual fee with a domain registrar, the company that sells domain names. You can come up with your own domain name, or simply buy one from a domain registrar.
But the rule is that you can’t have a domain name that somebody else already owns! And if you can’t pay the annual fee, you lose the right to use a certain domain name and that domain name goes for sale.
So, in relation to our World Wide Web city, when you buy a domain, you are simply buying the name of a store. You aren’t buying the store itself. You have to build the actual store itself – or in this case, the website.
The key takeaway is that you can own a domain without even having a website, but you can’t have a website without a domain!
Now that we know what a domain name is, the next step is to figure out how to come up with a good one. After all, a domain name can already give people a hint on what your website or blog is all about (note the word ‘can’).
For example, if you name your blog ‘wanderlust.com’ then people will naturally assume you produce travel-related content.
If your site’s name is ‘personalfinancetips.com’, then it is only logical that visitors will expect to find articles regarding personal finance.
Similarly, if your domain name is ‘ultimatesteelerection.com’ (a real domain name), people will automatically recognize it as the official domain of Ultimate Steel Erection, Inc., a construction company that specializes in the design and construction of custom pre-engineered steel buildings.
In my case, I named my blog ‘phmillennia.com’ so people will readily know that I’m all about things related to ‘phmillennia’.
Anyway, before you even found this article, you might have already a possible name for your blog. Maybe two. Maybe a million.
If you haven’t decided on a good domain yet, now’s the time to do so. Try to make sure your potential domain name fits the following guidelines:
a. Make sure your domain name is available
Every domain name is unique, and you can’t have a domain that someone else already owns. No two websites can have the same domain. Those are the rules.
That being said, you can find out if your tentative domain name is already taken by checking it on Instant Domain Search. Simply type in your desired domain name on the field provided, and wait for the result. If your tentative domain comes out in red font, then it’s already taken. But if it’s in green, then it’s available.
But don’t buy anything just yet! You can do that in the next step.
As an example, I tried typing in my own domain name. It’s in red, which means it’s no longer available, as should be the case.
If your preferred domain name is already taken, then you just have to slightly modify it or come up with a new one altogether.
b. Make it easy to remember
Your domain name should be easy to remember, so you need to make it both memorable and memorizable. There’s a difference between the two, by the way. The former means making your domain name unique, remarkable, and unforgettable. The latter means making your domain name easy to memorize, so you want it to be shorter, simpler, and easy to spell and pronounce.
Just think of some of the most popular websites out there, like Google.com, Wikipedia.com, Twitter.com, and phmillennia.com. They’re all very simple yet very remarkable, and they’re all very easy to memorize.
So if you’re set on creating a blog about jumping slugs, then a domain name of ‘jumpingslugs.com’ will do. I mean, it’s not fancy, but it’s easy to remember and it gets the point across.
But what about llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch.info, the official (I think) website of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysiliogogogoch, a town on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales, UK? Well, it certainly is memorable – I mean, it’s one of the longest domain names out there! But the question is, is it memorizable?
c. Make it easy to type in
You also want your domain name to be very easy to type in. Refrain from using very long and overly-complicated domain names, and if possible, avoid including numbers and symbols. The last thing you want is for potential visitors to mistype your domain and end up on a different site!
So if you’re planning on registering ‘jĦÜmPinĞ-Zlügs99.com’, please don’t.
d. Make it related to your blog topic
As has already been mentioned, your domain name may already give people a hint on what your website or blog is all about (note the word ‘may’). You don’t have to necessarily adhere to this, but try to make your domain at least somewhat related to your blog topic. Avoid coming up with a domain name that is extremely mismatched with the contents of your website.
For example, if your domain name is ‘bluesteelchairs.com’, then people will likely and logically expect to find articles on blue steel chairs. But if they access your website and find posts about red steel chairs, then that’s just betrayal of trust.
e. Use the appropriate domain name extension
It’s not just a good domain name that you have to choose. You also need to pick a suitable domain name extension. A domain name extension, otherwise known as domain ending or top-level domain (TLD), is simply the ‘.com’, ‘.net’, ‘.org’, ‘.gov’, etc. part in a domain name.
The most common TLD is ‘.com’, which is short for commercial, though there is now a wide variety of TLDs, ranging from ‘.academy’ to ‘.coffee’ to ‘.photography’. There are even funky ones like ‘.cool’, ‘.vodka’, ‘.pizza’, and ‘.sexy’!
But while these new TLDs allow your website to become more distinctive and communicative of its purpose and identity, it’s still best to stick with the tried-and-true options.
So you’re still better off choosing ‘.com’, or if that’s not available, then ‘.org’ or ‘.net’. These TLDs are what most people are accustomed to anyway, what they type in by default, and it’s really difficult to break an ingrained habit. Plus, they’re cheaper – the new domain name extensions costs a lot more!
Remember, apart from the first one, which you cannot circumvent in any way, the rest of the aforementioned are only guidelines. You don’t have to follow them, but it really helps a lot if you do.
Remember, too, that while the right domain name is important, you don’t want to spend too much time coming up with the perfect domain name. Otherwise, you’ll only end up wasting valuable time and effort, which you could have spent in building a website around a good domain name instead. Worse, you might get caught up in trying to choose the perfect name that you never start blogging at all!
Anyway, once you’ve figured out a good – and available – domain name for your blog, don’t register it with a domain registrar just yet. Just write down your chosen blog name and hold on to it. You can register your domain in the next step.
3. Select a web hosting plan (SiteGround)
Now that you know what to blog about, and have come up with a good name for your blog, the third step is to select and buy a web hosting plan. This is the part that involves shelling out cash. Don’t worry though. It won’t cost you much. But we’ll get to that later.
First, what is web hosting?
Web hosting is a service that allows you to post your website on the World Wide Web, and allows other people to view and access your website.
You see, a website is actually made up of many different files, and these files are kept in a special computer known as a server. Every website is hosted on a server.
When another person wants to access your website, all they need to do is type your domain into their browser. Their computer will then connect to the server hosting your website, and your website will be delivered to them through their browser.
Web hosting is offered by web hosting service providers. They are the businesses that own the servers that store and host websites.
When you buy web hosting service from a web hosting provider, you’re simply renting a space on their servers so you can store your website’s files and make your website accessible to other people. When you can’t keep paying for that web hosting service, your web hosting company stops storing your website – you and other people won’t be able access it anymore.
Going back to our World Wide Web-as-a-city metaphor, if the domain name is the name of the store, the URL the address of the store, and the website the physical store, then paying for web hosting service is renting the piece of land your store stands on! If you stop paying the rent, you lose the right to use that plot of land, and you get ‘evicted’ from it.
Different web hosting service providers offer different web hosting plans and packages. Some plans last a year before you have to renew. Others last only a few months. Some plans offer just the basic features. Others add extra, fancy ones. It all depends on the needs and wants of a customer, really.
I know that that was a lot to take in.
But now that you understand what a web hosting service is, it’s time to choose a web hosting plan.
As previously mentioned, there are different web hosting companies offering different web hosting plans. But I personally recommend SiteGround, the web hosting provider I’ve been with since I first set out on my blogging journey. Here are the five best reasons why I chose SiteGround, and why you should, too:
a. They are fast
SiteGround is synonymous with ‘speed’. In fact, I think they should rename their company to ‘SpeedGround’. They are literally obsessed with making websites load super-fast.
They are operating on Google Cloud Platform – one of the fastest and best connected networks – to deliver a powerful and superior hosting service. They have six data centers across four continents to better cater to customers from any part of the globe. Plus, they utilize Cloudfare’s CDN network, which caches your website in 194 locations across 90 countries, to ensure faster loading speed by using the nearest location to each of your site’s visitors.
But if all these technical words seem confusing, all you need to know is that with SiteGround, your website is guaranteed to load ultra-fast.
b. They are secure
SiteGround is also synonymous with ‘security’. In fact, I also think that if they don’t rename their company to ‘SpeedGround’, then they should rename it to ‘SecureGround’.
They have a highly specialized security team to address web security threats and create advanced custom security solutions. Their data centers, with all the servers within, are well-protected so unauthorized people can’t simply waltz in and access your data. Plus, they have this smart AI system that protects your website from hacking attempts and malicious traffic.
The bottom line is that all these fancy security measures are working very, very well for customers – in my case, I’ve never had a security problem with SiteGround.
c. They are reliable
SiteGround offers free automated daily backups on all plans, so you can rest easy knowing that your website is fully backed up. If you make changes to your site and something goes wrong, you can simply restore a previous version in just one click!
Additionally, SiteGround’s data centers are virtually protected from electricity outages. They have multiple power feeds and on-site power generators, among other contingencies, all of which guarantee uninterrupted network connectivity.
In short, with SiteGround, you’ll never have to worry about losing your website or going offline – something I’ve never experienced since I started blogging.
d. They have a top-rated Customer Support
I’ve had personal experience with their Customer Support, so to me, this is one of the greatest strengths of SiteGround. Their Customer Support is fast, friendly, professional, and very effective.
One time, when I was due for a renewal, I contacted their Customer Support and asked for a discount (I was short on money then). To my surprise, they gave to it me because apparently they were glad to have me as a customer! Aww!
But I’m not alone in thinking SiteGround’s Customer Support is top-notch. In fact, they have a 98% customer satisfaction rate! You can’t argue with numerical evidence!
e. They are trusted by the owners of over 2 million domains
SiteGround is trusted by the owners of over 2 million domains, and I am proud to say that I am one of those owners. I’ve been with SiteGround since the day I began blogging, and I’ve never found any reason to look for another web hosting provider.
Now, looking back to that day, I could not be any gladder. In my life fraught with many mistakes and many failures, choosing SiteGround as my partner in this blogging journey has been one of the few good decisions I’ve ever made. Looking ahead, I feel excited, thrilled even, knowing that as my blog grows toward success, SiteGround will be there to help me every step of the way.
And these are only some of the reasons why I love SiteGround. There are plenty more, of course. But suffice it to say that SiteGround is the best web hosting service provider out there. No other even comes close. If you take my advice, you’ll want to start blogging with SiteGround, too.
Anyway, SiteGround offers three custom web hosting plans, namely:
a. The StartUp plan
This is perfect if you only have one website or are just starting out. It has all the essential features to start your blog right.
b. The GrowBig plan
This is perfect if you have multiple websites and need extra web hosting features.
c. The GoGeek plan
This is perfect if you run e-commerce and larger sites, and if you need even more powerful and advanced tools to manage your sites.
Since you’re just starting out and still getting a feel for blogging, I recommend that you opt for the StartUp plan. It’s really the best choice for beginners. Once your blog gets larger, you can upgrade to the GrowBig plan and even to the GoGeek plan to accommodate your growing needs.
But for now, SiteGround’s StartUp plan will do. It already has all the essential functions and features you need for a fast and easy start to blogging, namely:
- Web hosting service for 1 website
- 10 GB web space
- Supports up to 10,000 visits monthly
- Free SSL
- Daily Backup
- Free CDN
- Free Email
- Managed WordPress
- Unlimited Databases
- 100% renewable energy match
You can buy a StartUp plan from SiteGround through the button below…
…which will take you to this page.
This is where you can examine for yourself all the great features of the StartUp plan (plus those of the GrowBig and the GoGeek plans).
As you can see, the StartUp plan normally costs $14.99 a month for a 12-month hosting plan, for a total of $179.88 for the entire year.
Ok. Let’s be honest here. That’s a pretty steep price, especially if you’re just starting out.
Fortunately, first-time buyers get a massive discount of around 53.37%!
So instead of $14.99 a month, you actually need to pay only $6.99 a month, or $83.88 for the entire year!
You get to save up to $96 – now that’s a lot of savings!
Remember, this special price applies only to the 12-month plan, and only for your first invoice. Once your initial term is over regular renewal prices apply.
Anyway, once you’re ready to buy, click the GET PLAN button…
…which will direct you to this page.
This is where you can register your domain. You can choose to buy a new domain, or sign up with an existing one. It costs $15.95 to register a new domain name with a ‘.com’ extension (and a bit more for other extensions). This is the standard price across the industry, by the way.
Remember, the registration fee for a new domain name is separate from the fee for web hosting.
Once your domain name is available, you’re good to go. Click the PROCEED button…
…which will take you to this page.
This is where you can create your SiteGround hosting account, fill in your billing information, and complete your purchase. So go through all the fields and fill in the required information. Go slowly and carefully and make sure you don’t miss any field.
But before you pay for anything, take a look at this part first:
This is where you can see the hosting period for your web hosting plan. It already has the 12-month hosting plan selected as the default, which gives you the best deal for your money.
Don’t choose the 1-month hosting period. You won’t get any discount at all!
You also have the option of 24-month or 36-month hosting periods. If you’re committed on blogging for the long-term, you might want to get either of these plans. You’ll get big discounts on either plan.
But if you take my advice, the 12-month hosting period will do. One year is more than enough time to learn the basics of blogging and become comfortable with process, as well as grow your blog to a respectable size and start earning.
Then take a look at this part, too:
This is where you can choose to buy additional features for your blog, namely Domain Privacy, to protect your personal information (which is otherwise made publicly available through the WHOIS services once you register a domain); and SG Site Scanner, a monitoring service that checks your website daily and immediately notifies you if your website has been hacked or injected with malicious code.
Don’t forget to tick the box asking for confirmation that you’ve read and understood SiteGround’s terms and services and other pertinent information.
Remember, you’ll be paying for both domain registration and web hosting, plus other additional services you might have selected, all at the same time. Once you’re set, you can go head and click PAY NOW.
You now have a domain and a top-notch web hosting! Going back to our World Wide Web-as-a-city metaphor from earlier, you now have an exclusive name for your store and a plot of land to build upon.
So it’s high time you start building your actual physical store, aka your website or blog!
4. Install WordPress
You’re now ready to build your actual blog.
Your first step is to install WordPress.
What is WordPress, though?
WordPress, simply put, is an amazing piece of software that lets you build a website in the easiest way possible.
It’s free and open source, which means anyone and everyone can use it.
It’s also very simple – you can use it to create, edit, and manage your blog even if you’re an absolute newbie, even if you don’t know anything about coding, web design, or web development.
And it’s also very popular – more than one-third of all websites on the Internet are powered by WordPress! So chances are, one out of every three websites you’ve visited is made with WordPress!
But how do you go about installing WordPress?
It’s a complicated process.
Fortunately, with SiteGround, they do all the work for you – which is another reason why you need to choose SiteGround and not any other web hosting provider!
Once you buy the StartUp plan from SiteGround (or any other SiteGround web hosting plan for that matter), they’ll give you the necessary information to access your SiteGround account and your Customer Area.
The very first time you log in to your Customer Area, you’ll get a pop-up for setting up your website. It will ask you if you want to start a new website, transfer an existing one, or if you want to dismiss the popup.
Since the aim all along is to create a brand new blog, select START A NEW WEBSITE.
Below it, you will see a section offering you a variety of software you can install.
Once you do that, a new section will appear which requires you to create the login details for your new WordPress account.
Fill in the required information. Remember to choose a password that you won’t have a hard time remembering.
Once you’re done, click the CONFIRM button.
You will then be offered a selection of enhancements you can add to your website. Let’s skip all that for now. You can add them later on, if you so choose.
Tick the box asking for confirmation that you’ve read and understood SiteGround’s terms and services.
Now click the COMPLETE SETUP button…
…and you’re all done! You now have WordPress installed on your website!
So, in relation to our World Wide Web-as-a-city metaphor, you now have a building for your store. It’s still plain, unadorned, and empty. But we’re going to fix that in the last two steps.
5. Pick a WordPress Theme
You can take a breather for now. You’ve earned it. But don’t go away just yet. We still have some work to do.
Anyway, once you’re done with your break, let’s continue.
The next step is to start refurbishing and decorating your website and, later on, fill it with content.
So you’ll need to log in to your WordPress account.
How do you do that?
The easiest way is to simply type in your domain name on your browser’s address bar (or location bar or URL bar) AND add in ‘/wp-admin’.
So if your domain is ‘jumpingslugs.com’, to access your WordPress account, you simply need to type in ‘jumpingslugs.com/wp-admin’, then press ‘Enter’.
It will take you to this page where you can type in your WordPress login credentials.
Once you’ve logged in successfully, you’ll be directed to your WordPress Dashboard.
The WordPress Dashboard is the screen you’ll see when you log in to your site. It gives you access to all the site management features of WordPress. It’s your admin area, your workshop, where you make things happen. It’s like a studio, if you’re an artist, or a kitchen if you’re a chef.
There are tons of new and exciting stuff you can do in your Dashboard. You can explore all of them later on. But for now, the first order of business is to pick a WordPress Theme.
A WordPress Theme is simply a collection of templates used to change the overall look and appearance of your website. It’s like the exterior and interior design of a house (or any other place for that matter).
There are lots of themes to choose from. Some are premium themes – it means you have to buy them. But there are also many free themes.
Because you’re just starting out, it’s best not to worry too much about the design and layout of your website. You’ll have plenty of time to customize your website’s appearance later on. You can even buy premium themes if you want.
For now, however, just use a free WordPress theme. There are plenty of free themes out there that are guaranteed to make your website look very beautiful and impressive, and that will suit your needs for now.
In fact, WordPress already has a few default themes pre-installed for you – you just need to pick one and activate it.
To activate a default WordPress theme, simply hover your mouse on the option APPEARANCE on the left menu of your Dashboard.
Then click THEMES…
…which will open a whole section where you can see all the pre-installed or default WordPress themes.
If you want to know more about a theme, hover your mouse over it until the option THEME DETAILS appears, which you can click for more information regarding that theme. If you first want to see a how theme looks without activating it, simply click the LIVE PREVIEW option offered with each theme.
Now pick a theme that looks good for you and click ACTIVATE to, well, activate it.
There you go. Your website won’t look bare and boring now. Try visiting your homepage to see the new theme in action.
Your website looks a lot prettier now, doesn’t it?
But it’s still lacking content, so we’ll tackle that in the next (and last) step.
6. Start creating content
Now that everything’s set up – domain, web hosting, and website – it’s time you start producing content. It’s time to write your first blog post.
To write your first blog post, hover your mouse over the option POSTS on the left-hand menu of your Dashboard. Then click ADD NEW.
A section will open where you can begin writing your first article (and all the rest of your articles, for that matter).
Most experts would recommend that for your first post, you ought to write some sort of introduction for visitors to your blog, an ‘explainer’ on what your blog is all about, what you aim to do with it, and maybe who you are as the author of the blog. You may want to go ahead and do just that. It’s up to you.
Remember, make your first post interesting and amazing. Quality beats quantity, so don’t rush your writing. It’s ok to take your time. Add some beautiful pictures to your article, or if you want, some videos. And top it all off with a very eye-catching title.
Once you’re done, click the PUBLISH button on the right hand side of your Dashboard.
Voila! You first ever blog post is now live on the Internet! Take a look at it. Can you imagine? You now have a fully functioning blog.
So that’s it then. Just continue creating more amazing posts and remember to share them with the rest of the world. If you keep at it, your blog will eventually grow AND you can begin monetizing it. It’ll be a lot of hard work. But it’ll all be worth it.
Here’s a summary of how to start a blog for beginners in six simple steps – everything we just did, basically. I’m not sure why I’m putting this here, but this might prove helpful to some people (note the word ‘might’).
STEP 1: Choose a blog topic
The first step to starting a blog is to choose a topic. It’s best if you pick just one topic to blog about. Make sure it’s a topic you are passionate in, and knowledgeable in. Also, make sure your topic isn’t too broad or too specific, that it has an audience and a future, and that it is profitable.
STEP 2: Pick a domain name
Now think of a good domain name, or the name of your blog. Make sure your tentative domain name is available and isn’t currently in use by another person or entity. Also, make sure your domain name is easy to remember and easy to type in, and that it has a suitable domain name extension.
STEP 3: Select a web hosting plan (SiteGround)
The third step is to buy a web hosting plan so you can post your blog on the Internet and make it visible and accessible to other people. I recommend getting SiteGround’s StartUp plan. SiteGround is fast, secure, and reliable, plus they have a top-notch Customer Support, and they are trusted by the owners of over 2 million domains. Their StartUp web hosting plan has all the essential features you need to start a blog in a fast and simple way. You can register your domain name with SiteGround, too.
STEP 4: Install WordPress
WordPress is the easiest, most popular tool to build and manage a blog. It’s free and anyone, even absolute blogging newbies, can use it and not have problems. SiteGround automatically installs WordPress for you if you buy one of their plans. Just follow the instructions you’ll receive once you buy a StartUp plan.
STEP 5: Pick a WordPress Theme
WordPress Themes allow you to change your blog’s look and layout. Choose a free WordPress theme for now. In fact, WordPress already has some default themes pre-installed for you. Just log in on your WordPress account and activate one of the pre-installed themes.
STEP 6: Start creating content
Now that everything’s set up, you can start producing amazing content!
Blogging is an exciting and fulfilling endeavor. But it’s not an easy one, especially in the beginning. Struggling to write and publish entries in a consistent manner, failing to draw in a sizeable audience – these are only two of the many problems you will encounter early on.
In fact, the vast majority of people who start their own blogs eventually become disenchanted with blogging, and lose motivation altogether, when they see that their blogs aren’t growing fast enough, or as fast as they initially hoped for. They ultimately give up after only a few months.
It’s because these people were sold a lie. They read incredible stories of other people who became overnight blogging successes, and thought that something similar would also happen to them.
So they came to blogging expecting to reap fame and fortune in only a short time, and with only a minimal amount of work. But once they realized that success will not come so easily, that the work is actually long and laborious, they became frustrated, demotivated, depressed, until they eventually threw in the towel and walked away.
You see, blogging isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. Those who became rich and famous in only a short time, I promise you, comprise only a very, very, very tiny fraction of the entire blogging population. And while their accounts make for eye-catching headlines and very sensational stories, they aren’t representative of the reality of blogging.
The truth is, most of the bloggers who eventually succeeded were the people who committed an extraordinary amount of time and effort to their blogs.
They were the people who kept on writing and creating even when they felt exhausted, uninspired, and even hopeless.
They were the people who unfailingly put their heart and soul into their craft, even when no one was coming to read their works.
They were the people who, even when the rest already dropped out of the race, kept on going instead, undaunted by the length of the road to be run or the toil of the race itself, straining their eyes on the prize that lay at the end of the road.
They were the people who failed time and again, but who never, ever quit. Many times they tripped and stumbled and fell to the ground, but always they stood up, dusted themselves off, and soldiered on, holding fast to their belief, never giving up on their dream.
And guess what? They eventually made it.
But most people who start blogging give up only after three months. Will you also be one of them?