So you want to start a blog. Great!
This guide will show you step-by-step, on how to start a blog in 20 minutes from scratch.
How to Start a Blog in 20 Minutes Sections
Looking for a specific part?
I’m going to cut right to the point:
There’s only one winner when it comes to the countless blogging platforms. And that’s WordPress.
Now I’m not talking about using wordpress.com where your domain is www.yourname.wordpress.com.
No that’s ugly and looks unprofessional. No one will take you seriously. Especially if you want to make money from your blog.
Instead, you want to use wordpress.org, which means you actually have to host your site yourself.
Trust me! It’s much easier then it sounds 🙂
Now, just in case you are skeptical about my choice of using WordPress, check out this statistic which shows WordPress being the most popular blogging platform. Over 96% of the top 10,000 blog websites currently use WordPress!
And here’s a list of reasons why WordPress remains the best blogging platform:
- It’s FREE to Install
- It’s an easy to use CMS (content management system)
- Has a secure structure
- Lot’s of free plugins
- Amazing themes to style your site
- Very flexible and customizable
- You can sell products on WordPress
- Interface is easy to use
- Hosting is cheap
To kickstart and launch your blog you first need to get hosting.
And you will also need a domain name too. This is your website address, for example, mine is www.aaronward.com.
But first you need to:
Spend some time thinking about what your domain name should be, as it can either go in two directions:
- Your first and last name (recommended if you want to build a brand around you)
- A business name, such as funkybananas.com (Shopify’s name generator is excellent for coming up with ideas – click here to use it)
Action Time—Get Siteground Hosting
SiteGround is the best WordPress hosting company available.
It has 5 stars in my heart and many other top bloggers
and aliens hearts around the world.
It’s got the best reviews in terms of customer support, website loading speeds, pricing and how easy it is to set everything up.
And I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I’m recommending them…
To get hosting, visit SiteGround — Click here to go to SiteGround WordPress Hosting
You should be here (if not, click on WordPress services > Hosting in the navigation bar):
Choose the StartUp Hosting option:
Quick note: if you don’t mind spending a bit more, get the GrowBig plan as your website will load even faster which helps you rank in Google search results and keeps visitors happier.
Click, GET STARTED: you should be taken to Step 2. Choose Domain.
This is where you can register your own domain name (a.k.a website address).
Make sure to click the Register a New Domain option.
- Type in your domain name (click here to see if your domain is available)
- I HIGHLY recommend you use a .com domain, they are more easily memorable for returning visitors to your blog.
- Click the PROCEED button once you are done.
Next, review your hosting package as well as enter your personal contact and payment information…
Then underneath the Payment section, there are a few options to optimize in the Purchase Information Box:
Data Center: Chicago (this should be the location of website visitors you are targeting. For example, if you live in France but aim at reaching out to a USA demographic, pick a USA location—generaly this option is selected automatically)
Period: 12 Months
Hosting Price: By choosing 12 months, you’ll get a sweet discount!
Domain Registration: Yes, and as cheap as a giant cookie!
Domain Privacy: Yes—This stops your personal information being available on the internet for anyone to see. Important to stop identity theft and hackers. Worth the money.
SG Site Scanner: Optional! This will ensure your site is kept safe from hackers, which happens a lot more then you think. If you don’t have the money for it, you can turn it off.
Finally, Click the PAY NOW button and you have successfully got WordPress hosting and a domain! (check your email for confirmation + next steps)
Congratulations on getting hosting + a domain name! High fives all around.
The next step is to get WordPress installed on your new domain.
SiteGround includes a fantastic Setup Wizard to do this for you.
Quick Note: Alternatively (because you now pay for it), you can ask their live support team to install WordPress for you. You can find their live support chat on their homepage top navigation bar by clicking here.
Action Time—WordPress Setup Wizard
To begin the Setup Wizard, you will need to login to your SiteGround User Account (they will email you this information).
After you log in for the first time, the Setup Wizard will automatically popup and should look like this or something similar:
If this Setup Wizard doesn’t show, you will find a button on the right-hand side of your Dashboard to set up your site:
In the Setup Wizard, select the following options:
- What type of website do you need? Blog/Personal
- Do you know which software you are going to use? WordPress
- Click PROCEED
In the next window, you will need to enter login information.
This WILL be used for your website login form. So make sure to remember it and create a strong password to stop hackers. Use numbers (9734), symbols (#$%^!) and UPPER and lower case letters.
Scroll down, and DO NOT select a Template. You do not need one at this point!
You will now see the confirmation window that your WordPress installation was successful!
Here’s the information you want to keep safe as it’s how you can now log in to your new WordPress site:
Admin URL: this is how you can access your website WordPress dashboard
Username: the username to login at the Admin URL
Password: the password to login at the Admin URL
As a result, this is what your login page looks like on your website:
To see this, visit: www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin
Guess what time it is?
Making your website look pretty time!
In this section, I’m going to cover the quick and easy method of installing a premium, high quality, and bang-awesome theme.
And if you’re wondering:
A theme is what styles and defines the look of your WordPress site. They generally cost around $60, but are a must have if you want your blog to grow quickly, look great and not run into any issues later. A big mistake beginners make is that they don’t get a premium theme now. But later want one and it’s very hard as they have to rebuild their site from scratch.
This is really the bread and butter of how you will build your blog, because it opens you up to lots of customization and features such as:
- Navigation bar styles
- Blog looks and layouts
- Color options
- Features such as embed media, progress bars, blog, review pods
- And lots more!
Spend some time looking around.
I personally use the Theme Uncode for my website.
However, pick something which suits your style and will work for your audience. You don’t want a dark looking theme on a baby related blog 🙂
Here are some features which are important when picking a theme:
- Visual Composer Builder – this lets you create pages using a drag-and-drop builder
- Updated frequently
- Good reviews
- Generally in the ‘popular themes’
- Has different layout options
- Includes demos – these are installable demos which will instantly create a site for you.
Hopefully, you have found a theme which works perfectly for you.
Great. This is how you install it:
Visit your ThemeForest account downloads. You can get here by clicking on your Username > Downloads:
Next, find your purchased Theme.
Click on Download > Installable WordPress File Only.
Open up your WordPress dashboard. This is done by visiting www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin
On the sidebar, click Appearance > Theme
Then click on Upload Theme.
Then Press the Choose File button. Select the theme .zip file you downloaded from ThemeForest.
Finally, click Activate to ensure the theme is now your primary theme being used.
Your theme should now be installed!
To start styling your blog, building pages and writing blog posts—check the included tutorials and guides that come with a premium theme to learn how.
So now you have a live blog! I’m serious so excited for you.
If you just launched your blog, contact me here and send me a link so I can check it out!
Before I let you wonder along and start building your blog pages—home, about, contact and blog are great ones to start with—I wanted to leave you with some quick setting recommendations and plugins to help you out.
Action Time—WordPress Settings
This is quick and easy, but will:
- Rename your website, in a website visitors tab and on search engine results.
- Fix your blog post links to rank correctly in search engine results.
Load up your WordPress dashboard (www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin) and click on the Settings Tab on the left sidebar.
In here you can change your Site Title and Tagline. Imagine that if someone found you on Google, this is what would show in the results and take them to your homepage.
The other settings don’t need to be changed.
Next up, head on into the Settings > Permalinks tab. Here’ you will want to change your permalink setting from Day and Name to Post Name.
This is super important, because it means that if you wrote a blog post it will have a URL slug of www.yourdomain.com/your-blog-post-name and not www.yourdomain.com/1/2/3/your-blog-post-name. Why is this awesomedazle? Well Google can now understand what your blog post is about and will add it to it’s search results gaining you organic traffic! It’s also known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and you can learn more about it here.
Action Time—Essential Free Plugins
Here’s the top plugins I recommend. You can install these by going to your WordPress dashboard, and on the sidebar click Plugins > Add New.
There’s then a search box on the right hand side where you can type these plugins in and download them. I’ve also included links so you can check them out 🙂
- Yoast SEO – an awesome WordPress SEO Plugin
- WordFence – helps keep your site secure from hackers
- Imagify – automatically reduces your image file sizes to speed up your blog
- Social Warfare – adds sexy social buttons to your blog posts to increase shares
- Better click to tweet – easily create tweet buttons to get Twitter shares
- WP Super Cache – speed up your websites loading speed
You can also check out my list of 12 WordPress Plugins That’ll Grow Your Blog Like Crazy.
Try not to go too crazy on downloading dozens of plugins, as they will slow down your website. Minimalism is the best for plugins. Only get what you need.
Next: Leave a comment below of your blog + share with your friends.
Just started a blog? Let’s us know the url below to check it out!
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