This post may contain affiliate links, read the disclaimer here.
As a former serial blog starter, I know how to start a blog with no problem! But remember, starting a blog is only the beginning! You want to make sure you do it right the first time so you don’t have to waste time as I did. I want you to make your first sale as soon as possible so you feel encouraged to keep working. If you want a successful blog, perseverance will be key.
How to Start a Blog
I have written a similar post called How to Start a Niche Site That Can Actually Make a Full-Time Income. It takes you through the five steps included in my Niche Site Workshop, which include:
- Setting Up for Success
- Creating Your Website
- Using Email Marketing
- Monetizing Your Website
- Driving Traffic
This post is slightly different in that it will focus solely on the process of setting up your website. It is how to start a blog in 3 simple steps.
STEP 1: Get Hosting for Your Site
I often emphasize the importance of researching your niche before starting a blog. Knowing who your competitors are and what they are selling will save you a lot of time and headache. I am not going to get into this now, but again, I recommend you read How to Start a Niche Site That Can Actually Make a Full-Time Income and Top 10 Must-See Niche Websites To Unlock Your Niche Research to learn more.
At this point, I am assuming you know your niche and what you want to name your blog (read Top 9 Most Practical Tips for Naming a Blog for extra help).
Before talking about setting up your hosting account, I want to make sure you understand the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. When you create a blog on wordpress.com, your blog is hosted on their platform. Blogs using wordpress.org are what we call self-hosted, which means you have to set up a hosting account with a hosting provider. A self-hosted blog offers way more customization options and you can do pretty much anything you want with it. If you want a professional blog, you absolutely need to go the self-hosted route.
Picking Your Hosting Provider
If you research how to start a blog online, you will find that most tutorials suggest using Bluehost. It is a big name in the industry and they offer an excellent affiliate commission (if you are going to teach people how to start a blog for free, you may as well get some affiliate commissions, right?). As a serial blog starter, I have tried many different hosting providers, including Bluehost. I ended up settling on Bigscoots. I love the price point and the customer service I have been enjoying with them.
Setting up your hosting account is straightforward. After clicking on Get Started at the top right corner of the screen, you will fill out the info below and pick your domain name (blog URL):
STEP 2: Install Your Theme and Your Plugins
You are doing amazing! Next, you need to connect WordPress to your hosting account, so we can install your theme and your plugins. You will start by accessing your account’s control panel by clicking on the blue button that says Click here to access Control Panel:
Once in your CPanel, you can install WordPress by using the Softaculous Apps Installer:
How are you doing? Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed? I know learning new technical skills can be frustrating! If you would like to follow step-by-step video tutorials, check out my full-length course My 5 Step Formula to Create a Niche Site for Your Online Business in Just 21 Days.
Otherwise, just keep going. Next, you will be going into your WordPress Dashboard to install your theme.
Picking a WordPress Theme
Do yourself a favor and don’t use a free theme. Free themes don’t look nearly as professional and they don’t offer as many customization options. You want a website that will position you as an authority, right? Then, treat your blog as a business, and don’t be afraid to invest in your business. Blogs pay back a hundredfold (no kidding! I don’t even make a full-time income yet, but all my expenses are easily covered).
I recommend the Astra Theme and Elementor Pro. This combination is lightweight (it won’t slow down your website), it is highly customizable and the templates look beautiful. I tried so many themes over the years, but this is the hands-down winner! Make your purchases and download the zip files by login into your account or using the links that will be emailed to you.
Installing Your WordPress Theme
After you purchase your theme and your page builder, you need to install them. Go to your WordPress dashboard (which you can now access from your hosting provider’s CPanel.
In your WordPress dashboard, select your username and password by clicking on the menu item Users on the left. From now on, you can access your WordPress dashboard by entering yourdomain.com/wp-admin in your browser.
The menu on the left has an option called Appearance with the subitem with Themes. When you click on Themes, you see this screen (there will be a default theme there):
Click on the Add New button and upload your Astra Theme zip file.
Installing Your Plugins
Next, you are going to click on the Plugins menu item and upload your plugins. Elementor Pro is a plugin and the Astra Theme will include some plugin downloads (your Astra dashboard tells you which files are plugins).
Click on the Add New button in your plugins the same way you did with your theme.
Here are some other plugins I recommend you install (install them using the search bar):
- Yoast SEO
- Pretty Links
- Social Warfare
- WDV About Me Widget
- WP Rocket
Step 3: Customize Your Site
Now is the most time-consuming and fun part of starting your blog: customizing your site!
The first thing you need to do is to select your WordPress settings. Check all the items in the Settings menus and pick your preferences, including your author name and email (in the Users menu, you need to create a new username and password as well).
I recommend you set your homepage to a static page. After doing that, click on the menu item Pages and Add New. At the top of your screen, you will see the button Starter Templates.
Pick and Customize Your Starter Templates
Click on the button and you will see all your starter template options. When you click on a set of starter templates, you can Preview it in a new tab. If you like it, you can download the pages by clicking on Download Entire Site.
After downloading starter templates, you will see all your pages in the Pages menu. To edit them, you need to use Elementor, so make sure you click on Edit With Elementor.
Customize Your Site
Your last step to customize your site is to use the WordPress Customizer. In the Appearance menu, there is an option called Customize. Clicking on it will take you to the WordPress customizer. That’s where you will be able to upload a site logo, a flavicon, select yoru brand colors, etc.
Congratulations! You are finished! You created your own professional-looking WordPress site!
I hope you found this How to Start a Blog tutorial helpful! It’s not easy to write up the steps in a concise manner while including enough info to carry you through the process. I did my best to give you all the info you need while avoiding details that could bog you down. Comment below if you are confused, I will see if I need to update my post. For further guidance, don’t forget I offer a full-length course called My 5-Step Formula to Create Niche Site for Your Online Business in Just 21 Days.