What steps are required to start a blog? Learn the exact steps required to start your blog today.
Starting a blog can seem a daunting prospect if you’ve never done it before and with all the noise online it’s easy to get lost and discouraged.
But it doesn’t have to be that way because starting a blog or any other type of website is actually a very simple process if you know the right steps to take.
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What Steps Are Required To Start A Blog?
Let’s take you through the steps you need to launch your own blog today!
Step 1: Find Your Why
Before you do anything else you need to be crystal clear on why you want to start a blog or website. The mechanics of starting a blog are super-easy as we’ll show below but keeping it going and growing takes significant effort.
One of the best ways to ensure that you’ll have the determination and peristence needed to keep going is to make sure you have a clear and compelling reason for starting it in the first place.
The “why” should come in 2 parts:
- Part 1: this is the “practical” why – the why you could explain to a work colleague or bank manager. It’s what explains your reasoning from a logical perspective. Possible practical reasons why may include:
- Promote an existing business/product/service
- Talk about a topic your keen on (for some this means what they’re “passionate” about)
- As a way to learn new skills (web development; SEO; social media marketing; content creation etc)
- Create additional income streams
- Part 2: this is the “emotional” why – the why you probably couldn’t explain but you feel it any way. It’s this why that will compel you to push on when the going gets tough. This why will give you the courage to try stuff you’ve never tried before and keeping getting back up whenever you get knocked down. These reasons may include:
- To try and find space for you to express yourself
- A platform to create ideas out of nothing
- To leave a legacy
- To start building your way to financial freedom
Step 2: Select A Topic For Your Blog
So now that you’re clear on why you want to start a blog, the next stage is deciding what your blog’s going to be about.
Picking a topic for your blog will partly be determined or at least informed by what you wrote down from step 1.
The topic you select will depend on what you want your blog to accomplish.If you want to create a blog
Let’s take a look at a possible framework you could use for selecting a topic (you can get this framework in a handy Google Sheet template):
- 1 – Demand: How Much Demand Does Your Topic Have?
- What is the search volume on Google?
- Are people talking about it?
- Is it likely to grow in future?
- Are there any trends present today that could mean demand reduces in future?
- Is demand consistent across the year? I.e. not seasonal
- Do people carry a high level of buying intent?
- 2 – Interest: Is It A Topic You Find Interesting?
- Could you imagine writing about this topic every day?
- Do you think you could get bored of this topic?
- Is it something you could imagine talking to your friends and family about?
- Could you add original value in this field with your ideas?#
- 3 – Monetisation: Is There A Way To Monetise It?
- Can you see some potential income streams from it?
- Are there others in this space who are already making money from it?
- Could one or more of the following income models be applied:-
- Selling adverts
- Affiliate marketing
- E-commerce – selling products or services
- 4 – SEO POTENTIAL – Could You Find Keywords To Rank For On Search Engines?
- Could you find keywords to rank for?
- Would you be able to rank on Google and otherwise search engines?
- Are there ways you could improve on what others are doing in this space?
Once you’ve addressed the above exercise you should have a pretty good feel for what topic you want to focus on.
You can get the above framework as Google Sheets template (Hit File and Make a Copy):
Step 3: Decide Which Platform You Will Use
The platform is where you will build your blog. The technical name for it is Content Management System (CMS) and you’ll see this banded about and it may sound complicated. In reality it’s not; it’s just a platform that will turn your sparkling words into a blog format. By far the most popular blogging platform is WordPress. It’s also the platform we use for (i) Blog So Easy, (ii) our main niche site and (iii) recommend to others.
We love WordPress because it’s so easy to use and it’s also intuitive – you can pick things up as you go without even realising.
It also gets installed automatically at the next stage of the process.
Step 4: Select Your Web Host Provider
The next stage of the process is one of the most critical; selecting which web host to use. A web host is a service that simply puts your website online and does what’s needed to keep it up. Every website needs one. The one we recommend, use ourselves and recommend to others also happens to be one of the most popular web hosts out there: Bluehost.
Their setup process is super-easy, fast and includes WordPress automatically. And for peace of mind they also have a 30 day money back guarantee.
How much does it cost? A Bluehost account works out to around $3.95 per month when you split the annual payment. You pay for the subscription in one go at the start which is quite good with helping you get committed and more importantly stay committed.
Can I start my blog for free? You can easily start a blog for free and we’ve actually tried to myself in the past. However, you’ll only get a small subset of the features you can with paid options and it can be tricky trying to switch later on. It also usually means you have to have advertising that’s beyond your control on your website.
Step 4.1: Choose Your Web Hosting Plan
Select the Get Started button and then choose which plan you want to go for. If it’s your first site the Basic plan will probably be good enough to get started.
You can always switch later if you need to.
Step 5: Choose A Domain Name
A domain name is the address of your website (e.g. blogsoeasy.co.uk). If you already know the name of your website you can enter here if not just choose “I’ll create my domain name later”.
How do I pick a good domain name? Selecting a good domain name can be daunting but don’t sweat it too much. Try to remember the following:
- Keep it simple
- Make it easy to remember
- Don’t make it too long – 15 characters or less is ideal
- Try not to use hyphens as they tend to be associated with spammy tactics
- Try make it relevant to the topic
Step 6: Enter Your Account Information
Enter the necessary account details (name, email address etc) to get you setup and payment information for processing.
At this stage if you opted for the Basic or Plus package in step 2 be sure to select the “Domain Privacy Protection” – this will help keep your website more secure.
Step 7: Set Up Your Password
The next stage is to set up your account and password.
Step 8: Select A Theme For Your Blog
Once you have your account setup and you log on for the first time, it will be time to pick a theme for your website. Don’t worry too much if you can’t find the perfect one for you as you can always change it later.
If you’re unsure about which ones to go for, just look for something simple without too many colours at this stage.
What Comes Next
You now have functioning blog! That feels good doesn’t it! But what now? Let’s take a look at some of the first things you need to do with your shiny new blog.
Log Into WordPress
Now it’s time for you to login to WordPress and get cracking with building your shiny new blog. Click the WordPress button from the last step above. If you can’t see it go back to your email and select the WordPress link from there.
You’ll be taken to a screen that looks like this:
The WordPress dashboard is your control centre and where you’ll spend a lot of your time building your site.
It’s where you’ll write your posts (articles), manage your pages and all parts of your blog.
If you need to re-login into later, you can go back to your Bluehost main account, head down to “My Sites” and then hover over your website name then select “Log into WordPress”.
Have A Look At Your Shiny New Website
If you want to see what your new site looks like to visitors simply type in the address into a browser or from the WordPress dashboard hover over the house icon at the top with your website name and click visit site:
Don’t worry if you’re site looks very basic! That’s because you haven’t put your own touch on it yet and crucially it doesn’t have any content!
If you can’t see your site, make sure you try through the WordPress login because before you launch it, you’ll see a “Coming Soon” page.
Update Your Domain
When you first get started with Bluehost your site will have a temporary domain. Now it’s time to remove it and get started with your actual domain. The way to do this depends on what you selected during step 5.
- Created A New Domain: If you created a new domain then you just need to activate it. You should have an email with instructions on how to do this – click the link in the email and Bluehost should do the rest.
- Chose To Create It Later: Go to the Bluehost account area and hit Domains. Then select “Register”. You should then be able to search for a new domain and add it to your card. Your domain name is included in your sign-up so you should see a free credit – if not contact Bluehost support before purchasing it.
- Switching An Existing Domain: If you have an existing domain that you would like to use, you need to point it to your new website. Bluehost very helpfully guide you through this process here. Alternatively you can get in touch with their support team and they’ll walk you through the process.
Change The Way Your Blog Looks
One of the best things about using WordPress is how easy it is to change the layout and design of your entire blog in just a few clicks.
The look of your design on WordPress is known as a “Theme”. Themes dictate the entire look of of your blog.
To get to themes and change your existing one, scroll down to Appearance on your WordPress dashboard and then hover over Themes.
You’ll then get to see all the themes that have been installed on your blog. Some of the ones you may see like Twenty Fifteen, Twenty Sixteen etc are very well designed and are used by some of the world’s most popular bloggers.
To get started it’s advisable to use one of these excellent themes. Once you are up and running and know your way around WordPress like a pro (which no doubt will come!), then you can play around even more.
You can preview your theme before you activate it to see what it will look like. Just hover over a theme and select Live Preview.
Once you have found the theme you are are happy with select Activate. That’s it; all done. You have now changed the theme of your entire blog to suit your own tastes!
Install A New Theme
If you don’t like any of the themes installed, you can find a completely new one in WordPress’ catalogue of thousands of themes.
You can use the Preview button to check how a theme appears before you choose to Install it. Once you hit Install the theme you select will be uploaded onto your blog.
Make Sure Your Site Is Secure With SSL
Next you need to make sure your site is secure with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). SSL is a type of encryption that makes sure that the connection between your website and its users is secure.
It gives users the confidence that their information is in good hands and Google will appreciate it too.
If you’re site is not secure you’ll like see a “not secure” at the beginning of the web address on your browser or a little warning depending on the browser. Once you have secured it you’ll see a little padlock symbol.
You can also tell if a site is secure by looking at the full web address. An unsecure site starts with http:// but a secure one starts with https:// (like Blog So Easy).
If you opted to create a new domain or register it later you can secure your site via the Bluehost dashboard. If you go to My Sites then hover over your site and then select “Manage Site”.
Then select “Security” at the top and then toggle the off button next to “Free SSL Certificate” (this is included as part of your domain from Bluehost).
If your domain is registered elsewhere then get in touch with the registrar’s support desk to find out how to secure your site.
Write Your First Blog Post and Publish It
Now that your blog is nicely set up it’s time to actually get blogging!
You can now write your very first post. To do so, make sure your in the WordPress dashboard and on the left hand column click “Posts” and then Hit Add New
You’ll now be taken to the post editing screen where you can write your post. The first thing you need to do is add your post title.
Once you’ve done that you can get to writing. If you want to add a photo, there’s a little icon with a picture frame you can use to add them.
If you need to add paragraphs or sections you can click the plus “+” symbol on the left (Add Block) and it will give you a choice of the types of sections you’d like to add. Blocks are basically, well, the building blocks for your posts! You can add different types depending on how you need to structure your articles.
Once you are happy with your content, you hit the Publish button and get your blog out there to the world.
Launch Your Website
Before the world can see it though you need to actually launch your website.
Go to the “Coming Soon Active” at the top of the dashboard screen and follow the prompts to get your website launched.
Publish Content Regularly
Now that your website is up and running, be sure to publish new content regularly. Once a week is a great target and will keep your audience engaged. Prioritise quality content over quantity though.
Whatever you do, just keep publishing and keep at it! Sometimes the whole process will feel overwhelming and like an uphill climb but just stick with it and just focus on the next task, the next article.