So, you want to create a blog? That’s a great idea!
But how do you even get started? There is so much info out there on the internet, and everyone is telling you to do different things. Who do you listen to?
Listen to this, I used to be a blogging newbie too. I started dabbling with building website using Geocities in the mid-90’s and I knew less than nothing about creating content on the internet. Over the last 20+ years, I have made a lot of mistakes, but I have also learned a tremendous amount along the way. Luckily technology has also come a long way and has made content creation so much easier.
I promise this will be simple, relatively easy, and fulfilling. Sound good?
Why Start a Blog?
There are many reasons to consider starting a blog. Here are a few popular ones:
- Make money. The top bloggers in the world earn millions of dollars, but even a part-time blogger can earn a good amount of money. The best part about this is that blogging is a form of passive income since you can continue to make money from a post long after it has been published.
- Share your story. A blog allows you to have a voice and be heard. It is a great medium to share your ideas with the entire world and to develop a community and discussion around your ideas.
- Recognition for yourself or your business. A successful blog can gain you recognition in your respective field. Many bloggers are known as experts just because of their blogs, and some have even gotten book and movie deals based on their blogs.
Here’s How to Create a New Blog:
- Develop a purpose for your blog.
- Register a domain name.
- Find a web host.
- Point your domain name to your web host.
Step 1: Develop a purpose for your blog
If you are part of a business, company or organization, your blog should be related to the product(s) or service(s) you provide or the causes you promote.
If you are an individual, you have more flexibility when choosing a topic, but the main things to remember are:
- Blog about something you enjoy. If you’re not excited about your topic, writing about it will be drudgery. Who wants that? Also, why would readers be interested if you’re not?
- Blog about something with plenty of room for discussion. A blog requires a lot of content to get going and remain interesting. You’ll be at this a long time so make sure you have plenty to talk about.
- Choose a niche in which you can establish yourself as an authority. You probably won’t be the first person to blog about the topic you choose. It’s almost guaranteed someone else has thought of it before you. Don’t fret about this, come up with a unique angle.
The goal of any blog is to become the go-to resource for its topic or niche. If you need additional help deciding what to blog about, check out my in-depth guide.
Step 2: Register a domain name
Once you have decided on what to blog about, you will need a domain name to represent the location of your online presence. A domain name is a web address. For example, bloggingonabudget.com is the domain name for this site.
I recommend registering your domain name with a service that specializes in managing domain names instead of buying your domain name through a web host. This will keep you from dealing with a whole lot of hassle in the future.
Trust me on this one, do not register your domain name through a web host.
If you have previously registered a domain and want to use it for your new blog then skip to Step 3.
If you need a new domain name for your blog then I highly recommend heading over to NameCheap. (The link will open in a new window so you can reference these instructions as you work.) NameCheap is the most respected domain registrar on the internet and I have been using them to manage all of my domain names for nearly a decade.
Start by searching for your desired domain name via the search box and click on the magnifying glass.
On the following page, NameCheap will confirm whether your chosen domain name is available. Unfortunately, many short, catchy domain names with desirable keywords have already been bought up over the last 35 years.
Your job is to find a domain name that fits your blog. It will take a bit of trial and error, but once you find a domain name that you are excited about, add it to your cart and then click View Cart.
NameCheap asks you to select a number of options in your shopping cart before you click Confirm Order including how many years you want to prepay up front. No matter how many years you decide to prepay, I recommend selecting Auto-Renew for your Domain Registration. This will ensure that no one else can steal your domain when you are up for renewal.
WhoisGuard is free for the 1st year, but I also recommend you select Auto-Renew for this because it is an excellent feature that protects the privacy of your domain name registration info. The Premium DNS feature and the other add-ons under the Improve Your Site section are not necessary at the moment.
After you have selected all the desired options in your cart, click Confirm Order.
If you do not already have a NameCheap account then you will need to create a new one by filling out the necessary information on the right-hand side of the page. After which you will need to fill out and confirm your contact and payment information. There will be some check-boxes on the next few pages, which you can leave untouched since the default selections are appropriate.
You will finally end up on the order page where you can confirm all of your domain registration info before you click Pay Now.
You are now the proud owner of a brand new domain name! You will receive a few welcome emails from NameCheap regarding your order and will be able to manage your domain name via the NameCheap portal.
Now that you have your new domain name, it is time to get a web host to host and serve your content!
Step 3: Buy a Web Host Plan
A web host provides the technical infrastructure that your blog needs to get off the ground and run smoothly. I have used Bluehost for my sites for nearly a decade and I highly recommend them for their performance, customer support and price.
Click here to access special rates on BlueHost’s plans (The link will open in a new window so you can reference these instructions as you work.)
To start the purchase process, click the green Get Started Now button.
Note: Don’t worry if the images you see here vary slightly from the ones you see on your screen. The process is the same. Bluehost is always tweaking their site and you might even catch their plans on sale!
Select your Plan
Choose the plan you’d like to start with by clicking one of the green Select buttons. I recommend the Prime plan because you get more unlimited features and add-ons.
The Domain Privacy and Site Backup Pro features, which I highly recommend, are included in the price of the Prime plan. If you choose the Plus plan, you’ll have the option to add the Domain Privacy feature at checkout for $0.99 a month and the Site Backup Pro feature for $2.99 a month.
On the next screen, you’ll enter the domain name you just purchased via NameCheap. When you click Next, you will be brought to the Bluehost checkout page where you will have to complete the following sections.
Enter your contact information and make sure you use a working email address because this is where your login information will be sent. Save this email!
Choose an account plan based on how far in advance you want to pay. Bluehost bills 1, 2, 3 or 5 years upfront and offers a discount if you are willing to prepay beyond 1 year. As you can see, it works out to be a very reasonable monthly amount no matter which Account Plan you choose.
I skip the add-ons except for the Site Backup Pro feature (which comes free with the Prime plan). The others can easily be added later if needed.
The total is the amount you will pay today. You won’t have to pay again for 12, 24, 36 or 60 months, depending on the Account Plan you chose. Set it and forget it!
Fill in your billing information, confirm that you have read the fine print and then click the Submit button.
Once you click Submit, you’ll be asked if you want to add some additional features. I skip these by clicking No Thanks because you can always add them later if you wish.
You will arrive at the order confirmation page where you will see the details of your order. Just click the Create Your Password button to choose a secure password. Afterwards, Bluehost will start the process of installing WordPress on your server. This might take a few minutes, but just be patient.
Skip the Free Themes
During the WordPress installation process, Bluehost will give you the option to pick a free theme immediately. I recommend you skip this by clicking Skip this Step. Why? Because many free themes are not kept up to date. Outdated themes leave holes that hackers can exploit and are not worth the risk.
Once WordPress has finished installing, click the link to go directly to your Bluehost account.
You are now the proud owner of a new web host with WordPress pre-installed!
Step 4: Point your domain name to your web host.
If I stopped after Step 3 and went to your domain name (markkim00.com in my case), you would see a page like this.
This is a temporary “Parking Page” that your domain registrar puts up until you point your domain name to your web host or another URL.
Sounds complicated right?
Don’t worry I have your back. Follow these easy steps to point your domain name to your new WordPress installation.
Log in to your Bluehost account using the primary domain name and password that you created in Step 3. Once logged in, click Domains in the menu bar on the left-hand side of the screen.
Click the checkbox next to the domain name assigned to your new WordPress installation. (FYI, you can install multiple instances of WordPress on your Bluehost server, each with a unique domain name assigned to it. You can find out how to do this here)
Click the Name Servers tab in the box on the right-hand side of the screen. What you want to write down are the two URLs listed here, which should look similar to ns1.bluehost.com & ns2.bluehost.com.
Next, log into your NameCheap account using the username and password you created when you bought your new domain name. (Check your email for a few welcome emails from NameCheap if you have trouble remembering your login information.)
Once logged in, click on Domain Lists on the left-hand side menu. Then click on the Manage button next to the domain name that matches the same domain name you checked off in Bluehost above.
Scroll down to the Nameservers section and click the drop-down arrow next to NameCheap Basic DNS and select Custom DNS.
Enter the two URLs from Bluehost into the two lines called Nameserver 1 and Nameserver 2. Once you have entered the two URLs, click the checkmark to save the information.
You did it! That was most technical part of this entire setup process. It will take 1-48 hours (usually less than 30 minutes) for the nameservers to update, but once that happens you can enter your new domain name into your browser and arrive at your WordPress installation on Bluehost.
Wasn’t that easy?
Now you can start taking care of these basic housekeeping tasks before publishing publishing your first post.