How to create a blog in 6 steps
Want to share your passion for travel? Write about food or gadgets? Share your crafty ideas? Get paid to travel the world? Or even look for a way to earn a passive income?
Many people are keen to start a blog and try to turn it into an online business. And while it’s an excellent and proven way to be able to do this, it’s not always as easy as it looks. Although there are plenty of straightforward (free) blogging platforms to choose from such as Tumblr or Blogger, they are pretty limited to expand. So if you want to take it a step further (say monetizing it in the future) there are a couple of technical things to consider. This is often a big hurdle for newbies, and for some even a reason to give up, but don’t let this hold you back!
Trust us, it’s better to make the effort in the beginning and start on a decent platform like WordPress. Otherwise you’ll have to make the switch after a couple of months when you realise the easy platform you opted for in the beginning is holding you back with its limited customization options. Out of our own trial & error experience we can safely say you’ll be so happy you struggled through this initial techy hurdle! :)
Treat your blog like a business from the start and use the right tools and resources. You don’t have to be an excellent writer or extremely tech savvy, you just have to go for it and have the stamina to keep going when it gets a bit tough. We initially struggled as well, but couldn’t be happier with the result now! And to make things easier for you, and help you avoid the mistakes we made in the beginning, we created these 6 simple steps.
Start your blog smoothly with these 6 simple steps:
1. Choose your blog name
Definitely give this step enough thought! It’s probably the most important step in the whole process, because it’s difficult, time-consuming and costly to change your name afterwards. Think long-term when brainstorming about the name of your blog and try not to restrict yourself by being too specific. Blog names with “travel” or “30before30” or “365daysineurope” are not ideal if you want to expand later on.
The best names are short and memorable and give people an idea of what your brand is about. If your name is too hard to remember this will result in fewer organic visits and less word-of-mouth advertising.
2. Choose your platform
As we said before there are many straightforward blogging platforms where you just have to create an account and don’t have to worry about the hosting part. But this does mean you have very little customization options and almost no control over your website. When you choose the professional option and host it yourself you have total control of every aspect, and you can expand it and monetize it whenever you want.
So if you want to start your blog purely as a hobby, then something like Tumblr should do the trick. But if you want to get more serious our recommendation is WordPress. And to be even more specific: wordpress.org. Not to be confused with wordpress.com, which is sort of in between the two as you don’t have to organize the hosting yourself and therefore it will restrict your expanding and monetizing options. In step 4 we’ll show you how to install WordPress. First you’ll have to organize your hosting.
3. Choose your hosting & domain
There are many options out there but we personally recommend Bluehost. This is one of the largest hosting providers (over 2 million websites worldwide) and the best one for WordPress sites. The offer very competitive packages starting at $3.95/month, which includes the hosting, a free domain, 24/7 online support and a 1-click WordPress install.
So here’s how you set up your hosting in a few clicks:
#1 Click this link to head over to Bluehost and hit the green ‘Get Started Now’ button.
#2 Choose your plan. The basic plan should be enough for most sites.
#3 Choose your free domain. You can also bring over an existing domain from another provider.
#4 Create your Bluehost account.
#5 Confirm your package and choose optional extras (not necessary).
#6 Enter billing information to complete this process.
4. Install WordPress
Once you’ve organized your hosting with Bluehost, this part is super easy!
#1 Log into your Bluehost account and click “Install WordPress” on your dashboard.
#2 Hit the green install button.
#3 Choose your domain.
#4 Click the “Show advanced options” box and enter your title (= blog name), username, and password. Hit “Install Now”.
#5 Let Bluehost do the rest and install WordPress on your server!
Once this is finished you can hit the “View Credentials” button on the top right. The whole process should take about 1 minute.
#6 Click on “Admin URL” and enter your personal WordPress login details (see #4).
You can also go to your login page by adding “/wp-admin” to the end of your domain.
For example: www.blogname.com/wp-admin.
You’ll now see your WordPress dashboard. This is will be your main workplace from now on, you can do almost everything here: organize site map, write blog posts, choose design, customize special features etc.
5. Choose your theme
Head over to your WordPress Dashboard. You can either start blogging straight away with a default WordPress theme or upload a new theme for your blog. If you want to choose a new theme you can do so at Themeforest. This is the number 1 marketplace for website templates with over 32,180 themes to choose from!
Once you’ve purchased a theme/design you like head back to your WordPress dashboard and click “Appearance” > “Themes” > “Upload a New Theme”. Here you can upload your new theme as a .zip file. Done! You can now start customizing your theme by following your theme’s set-up features (logo, colours, page builder etc.).
6. Choose your plugins
Even though your site is actually up and running at this point, we highly recommend to add a few WordPress plugins. These are not available for WordPress.com websites (a big disadvantage!). They add cool features and help to improve and customize your website. These are our personal favourites:
This excellent plugin brings several excellent features together. Jetpack provides site stats, social sharing, backups, speed improvement, SEO, related posts etc.
This plugin is an advanced anti-spam service used by millions of sites. Akismet helps protect your site from spam and other kind of malicious content by checking your comments and contact form submissions.
#3 Yoast SEO
This is the number 1 WordPress SEO plugin. Yoast SEO helps you optimize your content, titles, meta descriptions, xml sitemaps and much more!
You’ve made it! You are now the official owner of your very own blog :) We hope this step-by-step process helped you along and wish you the best of luck with your new project! If you have any questions or feedback please leave a comment below. Have a great time conquering the world wide web!