Another new year! It is the time we all have hopes, goals, and plans. With each starting year we all plan for something, set goals and have high expectations for our plans. If one of your goals is to start a blog, you are in the right place. Here you can find everything you need to know about starting a blog. There are lots of blogs out there, and you feel overwhelmed, you are thinking of where to start, how to start, what is the step by step guide to starting one.
If you are wondering about above things, you are in the right place.
Can I start a blog?
This is the first question anyone thinking of blogging would wonder.
It is not as complicated as it seems, you don’t have to have technical knowledge, coding skills or money to start one. But if you are a tech nerd, I recommend you to study some basics like CSS basics, HTML basics but it is not necessary at all. Knowledge can come in handy sometimes. But to start a blog and run a blog, I assure you, you can do it without any technical knowledge. Anyone can do it.
So the answer to above question, Can I start a blog? YES, ABSOLUTELY YOU CAN.
Why Should I blog?
Blogging is something you can do for fun, to share your expertise and knowledge, for a living or for all the above reasons. Regardless of your plan, first you have to set up a blog.
What should I blog about?
Define your niche. That is the first advice you get from everywhere. Do I have to have do this? The answer is yes and no. Think what makes you happy, about what can you write, what are your interests. If you can figure out this, you know what you are blogging about.
At first, you can feel like overwhelmed, you don’t know what you want to blog about, and that’s totally ok. You can figure it out as you go, but if you have something in mind, that’s fantastic.
The only thing you know and passionate about is knitting or painting starts a blog about it. You will be amazed to see how many people out there has the same interest and passion as you.
What should be my blog name?
You can name it anything you want unless the name is already taken by someone else. Try to come up with a name that reflects you and your blog. And have some two or three backup names just in case your name is not available. Come up with a good name for your brand, your blog is your brand, and Check your domain name is available. For example, if you come up with the name myfirstblog check whether there are any blog called myfirstblog.com
If you want to name your blog as my first blog and when you try to purchase a domain myfirstblog.com is already taken, don’t use myfirstblog1.com as your domain. I asked you to have some backup names because if something like above happens, you can switch to another name.
Social Media is the next big thing that comes right after blogging. Check your blog name available in social media accounts you intend to follow. For example, you decided to name your blog as myfirstblog; you want to check on Pinterest myfirstblog username is already taken or not. If your blog name is myfirstblog and your Pinterest account is myfirstblog1 it doesn’t match. It is ok if you use myfirstblog1, but it is not a good practice. For consistent social media strategy, you need to keep consistent with your social media accounts. You can use sites like http://knowem.com/ to check if the name is available on other social media platforms.
Once you answer the above questions, then it is time to start a blog.
First thing first.
What blogging platform should I choose?
There are tons of blogging platforms out there. Blogger, WordPress, Squarespace, tumbler, you name it. The first question you meet along this journey is which platform should you choose.
But in a nutshell, If you don’t have anything to invest on or you don’t want to spend anything yet, choose Blogger, not free WordPress. If you are willing to invest in your blog, then you can either go with a self-hosted WordPress or Squarespace.
I have briefly compared few of the major platforms below. You can find millions of blog posts out there explaining which one you should choose.
Here is a short comparison which might help you.
Easy to set up.
Has google security
no cost at all
easy learning curve
you don’t own your blog
limited design selection
no plugins available
You own your blog
lots of design and customization
Thousands of available plugins
Has some learning curve
Has some initial cost
No customer support number or anything. Will have to research on your own so maintenance can be pretty hard
You have to spend some money in order to start a blog, But it is not true always. But you can always start a blog on blogger for free. If you are not yet ready to invest anything on your blog, you can always always starts with Blogger. It is free and easy to use. The main drawback with this is you never own your blog. Google owns it. They can shut you down any time they want. I’m not saying that they are going to shut down your new blog, even though I don’t have personal experience with that. It is a POSSIBILITY you should consider.
But if you are willing to invest some money toward your blog WordPress or Squarespace is the way to go.
Now let’s get right into create your blog. I’m going to create a blog in WordPress here. It is one of the most popular platforms out there.
If you do decide to go with WordPress(which is awesome), you need a hosting service and domain name. Whatt?? I know I will explain it below.
It is more like to your home address or your phone number. Each website has its unique domain name. Like you use a phone number to call to a friend, computers use domain names to contact a particular site. Domain name is your blog URL such as www.myfirstBlog.com. you can have domain names with sites like GoDaddy. It is one of the leading domain name providers. Registering domain doesn’t mean you have a website.
Hosting service is where you store your files and make available for visitors. The hosting company provides space on their servers to host your blog. Once you register the domain name, you can use it with any hosting companies you choose. Both can be the same company or different companies.
WordPress recommend using Bluehost as a hosting service. It’s simple to starting with one click installation. You can select a cheap basic package, and you can upgrade at any time you want. You can buy your domain name from there rather than buying it from another company and then assign it to Bluehost.
Let’s create your blog
Go to Bluehost and purchase hosting and domain
Come up with a good name for your brand, and Check your domain name is available.
If you already have a domain name, you only need to assign the domain to Bluehost by changing the name servers.
Check this link https://my.bluehost.com/cgi/help/432
After you choose your domain name, enter your account information
Choose your hosting package. You can choose a basic package to start with if you are just checking out this is the path for you.
I recommend that you purchase domain privacy protection, but it is entirely optional.
Enter your billing information. This step is pretty straightforward as you can see in the image below.
Now create your username and password for your Bluehost account.
Phew, you are almost done, it is time to install WordPress.
Go to hosting tab and then panel tab under that.
scroll down until you find Website section and click the install WordPress button.
Click the install button.
Select your domain
Fill your site name and create WordPress username/password and then click install now.
You can see the progress on the top as a percentage.
You get a success message once everything is complete. Please save your username and password somewhere safe.
Now you can do the happy dance. Congratulations, you have officially created a blog all by yourself.
I will post another post what to do next.
Click below to get this guide as PDF!
Disclosure: I do earn a commission if you sign-up to Bluehost using my link at no additional cost to you. Plus you do get an exclusive discount on a visit from my blog. Please know that I only recommend products and services that I find helpful and useful. If you do choose to buy through my affiliate link, thank you for your support!