How to Start a Blog – A Beginners Guide
So you’ve had a great idea and want to start a blog. This can be a daunting thought but don’t worry, our simple step-by-step beginners guide will have you up and running in no time. Whether you’re 9 or 90, technical or not, we’re here to help… So grab a cup of tea and lets get started – you’ll be surprised how easy it is.
What you will need
- An idea of what you want to call your blog – e.g. theAccidentalInvestor
- Hosting – This is where your website lives on the internet, we’ll cover this in step 1
- 30 minutes
Let’s get started…
STEP 1 – DOMAIN NAME AND HOSTING
For hosting we recommend Bluehost. It could just as easily be another hosting provider but Bluehost have a good reputation for making the WordPress installation very simple. They also provide a free domain name, good support and a money back guarantee should anything go wrong or you change your mind.
First, go to the Bluehost website (link will open in a new window) and click the Green ‘Get Started Now‘ button.
Select your plan – We’d recommend the Basic Plan which should cost less than $6 per month
(You can always upgrade later if your site grows)
Pick your domain name. This is the unique address for your website (e.g. theAccidenatalInvestor.com).
Bluehost give you a free domain name but if you already have one you are able to use that also.
On the final screen Bluehost will ask you to confirm your Account details and Hosting package. They will try to add on extras such as Domain privacy, Backup services and Search engine optimisation etc all for an additional cost. It’s fine to untick all of these extras – many can be achieved using cheaper third party plugin later (you are free to add them later at anytime should you wish you had opted in with Bluehost too).
Now you have your hosting it’s time to set up WordPress!
Note: For full transparency we want you to know we are a Bluehost affiliate and will receive a small commission if you are kind enough to use our link. We hope you do as it helps support this site
STEP 2 – INSTALL WORDPRESS
Don’t worry, its really easy. Visit my.bluehost.com and sign in using your login and password, then click website under hosting
Click Install now under WordPress
Now you’re at the One Click Install page. Next, under do it yourself (FREE) click Install
Then, select your domain and click Check Domain
Accept the terms and conditions and click Install Now
After you wait for a moment, your WordPress install is complete. Congrats! You now have your very own, real life (well virtual) blog! you da’ (wo)man!
Write some great content, tell all your friends and family, there really is no limit to where you can go from here. We told you it was easy didn’t we.
The next steps are optional but arguably the most fun! Its time to make your site look awesome and write your first post!
STEP 3 – SELECT A THEME
The appearance of your WordPress site is controlled by ‘Themes’. When you first start the default will probably resemble something like the below. That’s fine but this is your blog so make it yours by pocking from the thousands of themes available. Some are free, some you pay for and others are free with the option to purchase extra functionality.
You can change your theme (if you want) by going to the WordPress Dashboard and clicking on Appearance -> Themes
Click Add new and you can search through the many themes available from the WordPress.org themes directory. Sort using the Popular, Latest & featured filters and see what you can find. Remember you’re not stuck with whatever you pick as WordPress makes it easy to change your theme later.
Once you have that perfect theme simply hover over it and click the Install button. You can install (and uninstall) as many as you like. Once installed you can activate or preview. Customize to your hearts content using the Customize link under the Appearance menu which is probably the best place to start.
If you are still having trouble, here is a useful guide to select the perfect word press theme
STEP 4 – CREATE YOUR FIRST BLOG POST
To write your first blog post, click on the Posts -> Add New menu in your WordPress dashboard.
You will see an editor area where you can start writing your first post.
Once you’re done writing, go ahead and click on the Publish button on the right to let the world see your post. You can also select Save Draft if you prefer to keep working on it before publishing.
Note: On the posts page, you will notice several sections such as Categories and Tags. You can use these to organize your sites content. It’s definitely worth checking out this guide: Categories Vs Tags to understand how to use these. The other thing that can be slightly confusing at first is when to use pages Vs posts. It may be worth reading these sooner rather than later so you can organise your content correctly right from the start.
Well done, you now have your very own blog!! Tell all your friends and family, start sharing it on social media and enjoy! Below are a few additional notes on plugins and useful resources which you might want to check out.
If you’ve had any issues, please also feel free to email us and we’ll do our best to help you
WHAT ARE WORDPRESS PLUGINS?
WordPress Plugins are third-party appendages that offer additional functionality to your blog. It’s best to keep your number of plugins to a minimum and install only the best plugins. Too many plugins, as well as unreliable plugins, can potentially slow down your site.
In your WordPress dashboard navigate to Plugins > Add New and search for whatever you like. A few we like are below which may be a good place to start;
- WordPress SEO by Yoast is the defacto standard SEO plugin for WordPress. For details and everything you’d ever want to know about WordPress SEO read Yoast’s Definitive SEO Guide.
- Google Analytics by Yoast allows you to track your blog’s traffic easily and with lots of interesting data: overall traffic, traffic sources, views per author & category, automatic tracking of outbound clicks and page views.
- Jetpack by WordPress.com is a WordPress plugin made by the people that made WordPress and has a large selection of modules which you can decide to activate or not for your site.
A few useful resources for WordPress are below. It’s a good starting place but really the world is your oyster when it comes to Plugins and Themes so let your imagination run wild and build something great! – Good luck and let us know how you get on in the comments below
Sources we’d like to thank
Did you setup your blog using our guide? Let us know how it went and what you setup in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!