How to Setup a Blog: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners (2019)
NB! Starting your own blog will cost you between 0$ to 65$ per year, depending on your expectations to your blog. We will explain you the difference.
Why to Blog and what’s in it For Me?
There are very different reasons people might decide to start a blog.
- You have an opportunity to share you knowledge and expertise, you can make a full time active income (huge trend and create success stories everywhere) from it. But remember to have the right niche
- A high-traffic blog makes an excellent addition to your resume
- You can make important connections and grow your network
- And it could be just FUN!
We could list many more reason, but the bottom line is that blogging could be awesome experience, it could generate you a serious additional income and it could be life changing experience.
Do not worry, we will walk you through step-by-step!
Are you ready to launch your blog today? Let’s start with our SIMPLE 3 STEP guide
Tasks to complete
STEP 1 Decide – Self-Hosted or Free Blog?
As we mentioned in the introduction, starting and maintaining your blog might cost between $0 and $60 per year.
Basically you can start your blog for nothing, however, as with many things, there are some disadvantages.
You have an option to create a blog for free on many different platforms, such as:
But before you do that and “sign up”, please read our comments and experience on these platforms!
Yes, these platforms are great for testing your blogging ideas, but if you are serious about starting a profitable and successful blog, you should avoid these platforms at all costs.
Mainly because these “free” blogging platforms have serious limitations and they will control almost 100% your content and blog.
Their only purpose is to turn a profit by using your website to sell ad space while placing limitations on your account, so you are eventually forced into a “premium” or “unlimited” blog plan.
However these “premium” or “unlimited” plans are very often overpriced and seriously under-equipped. You will experience limitations in designs, a “maximum” number of daily visits, limited storage, and nonexistent customer service.
Please do not forget that these platforms have total control over your content or blog!
For example if you post something that one of your website moderators doesn’t like, your entire site can be deleted in an instant (and all your data). Our you would accidentally violate your free web provider’s Terms of Service (see all limitations for Blogger.com and WordPress.com) and your entire online business is gone.
Do you really want to build your blog in these “FREE” platforms? We hope not?
Most successful bloggers always build their own self-hosted blog.
Self-hosted blogs are still cost efficient. They grant you access to your own personal domain name (e.g. myepicsite.com vs. myepicsite.blogging-platform.com), and bloggers do not have limitations.
Plus you have access to premium website templates and plugins to ensure that you site would look awesome and professional.
The bottom line? Go for the self-hosted blogs.
STEP 2 Register a Domain Name, Get Web Hosting and Setup your Blog
Now it’s time to go through the exact steps you need to follow to build and launch your self-hosted awesome blog today.
To set up your blog you’re going to need a Domain Name and Web Hosting.
- Domain Name (a web address like YourBlogName.com)
- Web Hosting (a service that connects your site to the internet)
In order to store your blog content, website files, images, you are going to need a web hosting. Otherwise your website will not be visible on the Internet.
Your own domain name makes your blog far more professional and it’s super affordable, too. During the first year most of the hosting providers offer you FREE domain (usually~$14-16/year).
How do I register a domain name and get web hosting?
First: Let´s Sign up with Web Hosting
Full disclosure: To keep our site up and running, we use affiliate links for some of the products mentioned in this guide. This means that we earn a small commission (at no extra expense to you) anytime you make a purchase using one of our links. Thank you for your continued support building this free website!
There are many web hosts on the market, only a small handful are even worth considering.
Bluehosts introductory price starts from $3.95 a month and they’re currently giving in a domain name for free (first year).
If you decide to build one website for a start, then we recommend to choose A2 Hosting Lite package. From the Lite package you will get all the needed features with a price of $2.96.
Of the countless web hosts on the market, only a small handful are even worth considering.
Of those, only 3-4 offer truly exceptional services for the price.
Especially for the bloggers we recommend Bluehost or A2 Hosting, because they are cheap, fast, reliable, and they have a lot of additional tools that will streamline your blogging experience and make your blogging experience more easier. NB! A2 Hosting is the fastest service provider on the market.
Bluehost powers more than 2,000,000 websites worldwide, but all of their packages come with a 30-day money back guarantee, exceptional 24/7 live support, and a free SSL certificate (a $60+ bonus).
Both Bluehost and A2 Hosting offer also one click installs which makes it very simple to get your blog launched in a matter of minutes.
Simply click on the “Get Started” button and choose a domain name.
Second: Pick a Domain Name
Try to choose something short and catchy for your blog that will be easily remembered. I recommend that you stick to .com, .org or .net domain names if at all possible as many of the new domain names aren’t as easy to recognize.
If your first choice of domain name is not available, spend a few hours brainstorming ideas with friends or family. Try out words and variations to find the most brandable domain name for your new site.
Third: Choose a Web Hosting Plan and Finish Your Registration
Now that you’ve decided on your domain name, it’s time to select your web hosting plan.
From Bluehost you can get the basic hosting package for an incredible $3.95 a month + Free domain name. If you are on a budget, you can use the “basic” plan because it’s great for smaller sites with low or no traffic. However we really recommend the Choice Plus plan or Pro if you would expect more traffic to your website. Which bells and whistles are included into Choice Plus and Pro plans you can read from the graph below. There are listed all you would need to run a professional website.
A2 Hosting is a greate alternative to Bluehost. As already mentioned, A2 Hosting Lite package starts at $2.96 a month, which is a super prices considering the service quality and speed (fastest on the market) they are providing.
As said, as a general rule of thumb, we recommend that you go for the BlueHost “Choice Plus” or “Pro” plan or A2 Hosting Lite package ( cheapest price), as they all come with a free SSL certificate from “Let’s Encrypt”.
“Let´s Encrypt” keeps your visitor’s information secure and improves your engagement (no one wants to spend time on a unsecure website).
Once you’ve chosen the most suitable plan for your needs you can finish off your registration and checkout using a credit card or PayPal.
Congratulations, you are now ready to launch your blog, instead of waiting 2-3 days for activation like you would with many of Bluehost competitors.
NB! Here you can find detailed a step-by-step guide for signing up with Bluehost if you need that.
Fourth: Setup and Launch Your Blog
When it comes to domain names, try to choose something short and catchy for your blog that will be easily remembered. I recommend that you stick to .com, .org or .net domain names if at all possible as many of the new domain names aren’t as easy to recognize.
Now when you’ve finalized the registration process, let´s setup an admin panel (or cPanel) password. Make sure that your password is as strong as possible.
Once you are there, you should see the following screen:
and then it announces:
Great News, you have done it! If you reached the above screen, it means that your blog is already setup.
To ensure that your blog is visible as soon as possible, there are few things we recommend you to do:
1. Move to Settings > General (left sidebar)
2. Add Site Title (your blog name) and Tagline
3. Change your site address to your domain name.
4. Add your email address (so you can reset your password later)
Now when you have completed this stage, click “Coming Soon Active” at the top of WordPress dashboard and then click “Launch Your Site”:
Now your blog has been officially launched. This is where all the fun starts and you can start to build the content of your blog.
STEP 3 Build and Design Your Awesome Blog!
Now to move on you need to add a WordPress theme that has all of the functions that you need, a WordPress theme is a pre-designed template which you can customize. You can either either go with a free or a paid one. There are of course advantages and disadvantages to both so it comes down to what you want from your blog.
Mostly we have used following sites to find themes for blogs:
- WordPress Library
Make sure your chosen theme fits with your goals and needs. If you are writing a professional blog, then you will want a nice design with all the important plugins, where as an art blog you will have more chance to show off your creativity
One of the key factors or must for website is that it has to have responsive design.
Choose a Theme and Layout You Like
To install a new theme, go to your website’s dashboard, then go to Appearance – Themes, then click Add New from the top.
Click on “Live Preview” you can test out each theme to see how it works and functions.
Once you find the perfect theme for your new blog, you can activate it by clicking “Activate” or either when you are in the Live Preview just click “Activate the Theme”.
When the theme is activated, it will be installed on your site. If you don’t like the look of the chosen theme you can always switch back to your old theme if you have that. That’s the beauty of WordPress.
Now you are ready to start posting viral content!
Manage Your Blog’s Posts & Pages
To manage your first post navigate to Dashboard – Posts – Add New. Now you can add the title and start writing amazing content for your new blog.
As it could be very time consuming to cover every type of block included in the editor, we encourage you to try it for yourself. Most of them are self explanatory.
To add a picture simply click the “Featured Image” box on the right hand side of your screen, upload your image, and click “Save”.
When you’re finished and satisfied with the layout of your post, hit the publish button. Now your first post is published!
If you want to add a welcome page or any other page on the homepage of your site instead of a list of recent blog posts, just go to Pages > Add New. After that you can add the title and content.
Repeating this process you can create any page for your blog list. Just choose an appropriate title for the page, and then click publish.
If you go to Dashboard > Settings > Reading, then in the “Your Homepage Displays” option, check “A static page”,
you can select your welcome page in the “Homepage” setting and your blog page in the “Posts page” setting, then hit save.
Congratulations! After this step your welcome page will be published and your website is ready to welcome new visitors.
Create structured Navigation Bar (Menu)
Understandable navigation bar is on one of the most important aspects of good user experience on any new website. Creating a menu inside of WordPress is pretty easy.
You simply go to Dashboard – Appearance – Menu.
Here you can create and add a new title for your main menu and then, in the left pane of the menu editor, you can mark the pages you want to appear on your new menu. Just click “Add Menu”.
The marked pages will appear on the right pane of the editor. Later if you want to rearrange their order, just drag the labels up or down.
When your menu is well structured and you feel comfortable with it, you can display it on your website’s main header by checking the “Primary” location checkbox in the menu settings and click save.
Install the right Plugins
To extend your website’s functionality and increase the traffic and profits, plugins are one of the simplest options to go. Inside the WordPress there are thousands of free plugins and libraries.
Here you can find an example of one of the most important plugins you can download for your blog. First go to Dashboard – Plugins – Add new and search for “Contact Form 7.” Then, click “Install” and activate the plugin from the search results.
When the new plugin is activated, it will create a new menu called “Contact”. Click it to access the contact forms generated by the plugin and then click “Contact Form 1” from the list to edit the new form.
At this point, the contact form is effectively up and running, however, you’ll want to make sure that the mail template is properly functioning so that you actually receive emails sent from the form.
However to assure that the mail template is properly functioning you need to go to the “Mail” tab and change the “To” value to the address where the email should be sent.
Now you have to copy the “shortcode” found just under the contact form’s name (It looks like [contactform-7 id=2 title=’Contact form 0′]).
After the shortcode has been copied, create a new page called “Contact Us,” and simply paste the shortcode.
Now Customize Your Blog
“Easy Google Fonts” is one of the plugins that helps you to personalize your blog and to add flair to it.
This is the plugin that allows you to change your website´s fonts. For the installation you just have to repeat the same steps listed above for the plugin and then go to the customizer.
The customizer gives you the ability to customize your theme and preview it in real time.
Whether you want to change your site identity, colors, menus, widgets, homepage settings, or additional CSS, the customizer gives you almost total control over your website’s design.
After you have installed Easy Google Fonts , you’ll notice that there is a new option in the Customizer: Typography.
This setting allows you to change the fonts on your site to your liking and grants you a greater level of authority over your site’s aesthetic.
We really encourage you to spend some time testing the Customizer until you have a strong grasp of the options available to you.
Once you feel comfortable with the new look of your blog, click “Publish” and double check the changes in a new tab.
From the plugins search page you can also find a plugin called “social share” which makes it easier for your readers to share your articles on their favorite social media channels. Basically this plugin helps your viewers seamlessly promote your new content from your posts and pages.
You can install any plugin that strikes your fancy and set it up by going to its settings in your dashboard.
Create a Personal Email Account
To boost the professionalism of your website and increases authority with your readers you also need the domain-based email account like email@example.com
BlueHost includes the ability to create a custom email account from your domain as a part of your web host account.
Just simply login to your BlueHost portal, click “Email & Office” in the left menu, scroll down and find “Basic Email”, and then click “See Options”.
In a matter of seconds you can create your custom account.
When you have activated your email account, click Email Accounts > Access Webmail to access the webmail application.
After you have confirmed your credentials, you’ll be ready to manage, send, and receive emails from your new domain-based account.
We´d really encourage you to create an “About” page and add your new contact information so that all emails sent on your new site will be sent to the account you just created.
If you have any questions please let us know!
Congratulations, Your new Blog is ready!
Now you should have your very own fully functioning blog up and running.