How To Start a Blog: Easy Beginners Guide for 2016
By Pete Seeling
Contrary to popular belief, learning how to start a blog is incredibly easy and can be done within a few short hours. No matter how tech savvy you deem yourself, learning how to start your own blog can be done without having to touch a single line of code. If you need even more information take a look at our guide on what makes blogs successful.
If you’ve ever asked yourself “how do I start a blog?” this article is tailored to you. Throughout this detailed guide, I’ll be outlining each and every essential step needed in order to create a blog from scratch. If your interested in the financial aspect of blogs take a look at our article on making money with a blog
The 4 Essential Steps To Starting a Blog
Generally speaking, there are four essential steps in order to start your blog.
These necessary steps to create the proper foundation for your blog and, when followed correctly, ensures that your website is properly set up. The four essential steps for starting a blog include:
1. Selecting Your Desired Domain Name
2. Selecting Your Web Host
3. Installing WordPress
4. Customize Your Blog
5. Publishing Your Blog
In order to answer the age-old question “how to start your own blog”, it’s vitally important that the above steps are done. Each one of these essential steps will be described in detail below. I highly recommend that you take the time to read each step carefully and follow the instructions to ensure that no mistakes are made and you can create your first blog post within no time at all. Again, I’d like to point out that none of these steps require an expert knowledge in computers. We wrote even more information about the how to setup your blog, just click the link. By following these steps to a T, you can effectively set up your website and start blogging within an hour two.
Selecting Your Domain Name
The very first step in starting your own blog is to select a domain name. Some examples of domain names include google.com, bing.com, or even yahoo.com. When selecting a domain name, you can use letters, numbers, and even hyphens.
What Is A Domain Name?
Wait… What’s a domain name?
Think of your domain name as the address to your home. Your home address does not take up any physical data, but rather, points to where your house is physically located. The goal of the domain name is to point the user to the specified host in order to pull up a webpage’s hosted files and documents.
What Types Of Domain Names Can I Choose?
Simply put, if you think of it, and is not already used, you can use it. Many individuals find themselves scratching their head at this point as many common domain names are already taken.
Thankfully there are many resources online that can assist in helping you choose your perfect domain name. For example, Name Mesh, a domain name generator, can help assist those who are not sure which domain name to choose. Simply throw in a few words that sound appealing, and find your new domain name.
Which TLD’s Can I Choose From?
Hold on… A What?
A TLD, or top level domain, is essentially the last part of your domain name. For example, when talking about google.com, the TLD would be “.com”. There are literally hundreds of TLD’s that a blogger can use. Some of the most popular TLD’s include: .com, .net, and .org, but each and every day, new TLD’s pop up, such as .club, .party, or even .science. To learn more about available TLD’s, check here.
Where Can I Buy A Domain Name?
There are literally hundreds of websites & registrars you can use to purchase domain names from. However, we recommend using Hostgator.com, Go Daddy, or bluehost. Simply pull up any of the websites mentioned and type in your desired domain name. If the domain name is found to be available, you can purchase the domain name on the spot.
Selecting Your Preferred Web Host
Once you have your domain name purchased, its time grab website hosting for your upcoming blog. This step can be completed within a few short minutes and is virtually impossible to make a mistake on.
What Is Web Hosting?
What the heck is web hosting?
In layman’s terms, web hosting can be best described as the physical storage of the data for your website. In order to have a blog, you need to have a domain name and a web hosting provider.
When thinking of web hosting, think of it as your physical home. Consider the front door, walls, flooring, and everything else found within your home. Just like your physical home, a website needs to have a place to store all of its intricate data and files.
What Type of Web Hosting Do I Need?
Since this is your first blog, a basic shared hosting plan may be your best option. Of course, there are a number of hosting add-ons or upgrades to one’s plan, however at this point that is not necessary.
Where Can I Buy Web Hosting?
In order to simplify the process, we highly recommend that you stick with whatever company you initially use to purchase your domain name. So, for example, if you purchased your desire domain name from Go Daddy, we recommend buying a shared hosting plan from them as well. This not only simplifies the entire process, but also removes many of the intricate steps needed when using different domain name providers and hosting companies.
However, it should be noted that there are literally thousands of web hosting companies readily available at your fingertips. If you desire, consider doing research on your prospected hosting company to ensure that they meet all of your expectations. We’ve recommended bluehost, Go Daddy, and Hostgator due to the fact that they’re generally viewed as terrific web hosting companies. Each of these companies offer exceptional website uptime, incredibly knowledgeable & experienced customer support representatives, and they don’t charge an arm and a leg.
Once you’ve purchased a basic shared hosting plan from your selected hosting company, you will be emailed specific details outlining not only your recent purchase with them, but also your personal login credentials for your hosting plan.
Once you’ve purchased your domain name and hosting plan, keep an eye for your cPanel login credentials within your email inbox.
What is a cPanel?
Hang on… a cPanel?
Yep, you heard that right. A cPanel can be best described as your web host dashboard. Within the cPanel, users have the ability to access control panels, download automation tools, setup email accounts associated with their domain, explore and edit files found on their server, and access to a wide array of other useful tools.
I Received My cPanel Information. Now What?
Once you’ve received an email from your web hosting company containing your individualized cPanel login credentials, click on the link found within said email to access your cPanel login page. Input the username and password found within the email and log in. Once logged in, it’s time to install WordPress, the world’s most popular Content Management System (CMS), making it incredibly easy for anyone to maintain, edit, customize, and add to their website.
What is WordPress?
Yes, you read that right – WordPress. WordPress can be best described as a free and open source system that your website uses to manage everything related to your upcoming blog. WordPress makes it extremely easy for website owners to add and edit their website thanks to an easy to understand central control panel. To learn more about WordPress, click here.
How Do I Install WordPress?
Getting back on track here, cPanels make it incredibly easy for a user to install WordPress to their website. Once logged into your cPanel, simply look for an application titled “WordPress”. In case you cannot find it, try using the search bar, using the search phrase “WordPress”.
Once you’ve found WordPress and clicked on it, you’ll find yourself on a new page, with the option to install. Click on the install button. Once you’ve progressed to the next page, you’ll be introduced to a long page with a considerable amount of forms to input your website data.
The first module, called “software Setup” will help you set up essential information for your website. First, select which protocol you’d like to use for your website. If you’d prefer to have “www.” In front you’re your domain name, select “http://www.” If you’d prefer not to have the “www.” In front of your domain, select “http”. Next, select your newly purchased domain under the “Choose Domain” section. Finally, under the “In Directory” Section, leave the input box empty.
The Second Module, the “Site Settings” You have the ability to name your blog and write a brief description or slogan. This can be edited later. Just underneath this module, you’ll find the Admin Account section where you can create your website username and password. Underneath this section, users have the ability to change or edit many options available for their upcoming blog.
Nearing the bottom of the page, you can select a theme that fits your desired look. The theme can be changed whenever you want, and we’ll be discussing this later on.
Once you supplied this form with all the necessary information, click the “install” button. It may take a few minutes to download and install WordPress. Once completed, you’ll be redirected to another page confirming that your WordPress installation is complete. Additionally, you should receive an email confirmation with the credentials of your new WordPress installation.
Theming & Customizing Your Blog
Congratulations! At this point, you’ve purchased a domain name, purchased a web hosting plan, and installed WordPress to your website. You’re nearly done! The final step involves putting the finishing touches on your newly created blog. Hopefully learning how to start your blog has been easy up to this point. By now, you are getting closer to launching your career in blogging.
Before we can make any changes to your newly created site, we need to first log in. There are a few ways of doing this. The first, and most common way to do this is to simply add “/wp-admin” to the end of your website. For example, if your website happened to be www.test.com, you’d simply open up your web browser and input the URL “www.test.com/wp-admin”. From this page, you can input your username and password you set in the previous step.
The second most common way to log into your website is to open up the email you received when you installed WordPress. Inside this welcome email, you’ll be able to click on a link that will take you directly to the login page.
Changing Your Blog Title
If you’d like to change the title of your blog, it can be changed within a few sections. On the left-hand side, you’ll find a menu button titled “settings”. Click on this link and you’ll be directed to another page. Once here, you can change your site title and description/tagline.
Changing Your Blog’s Theme
If you’d like to change the look of your website, WordPress makes it exceptionally easy to do so. Simply click on the “appearance” tab on the left hand side. A secondary menu should appear – select Themes. From this page, you can select from a wide array of options (both free and paid). Simply browse through the extensive list of available themes and select the one that best suits your needs.
Creating Your First Blog Post
Okay, so you’ve set up everything you need for your site, now what? Your first blog post! Once you’re logged into your website, select the “new” button on the top of your dashboard. From here, you can add your very first blog post!
Publishing Your Blog
Once you’ve made the final touches to your newly created blog, it’s time to publish it. This allows any web surfer to access and view your website.
If you aren’t still logged into your website, log back in. Once you’ve done so, you’ll find a message near the top of the page displaying a message stating “Your site is currently displaying a “Coming Soon” page, Once you are ready to launch your site click here”. Simply follow these instructions and your website will now be able to be accessed by anyone with an internet connection!
After following the above steps, you should now have learned how to start your very own blog! You’ve purchased a domain name, purchased a web hosting plan, installed WordPress, customized the look of your website, and created your very first blog post! Great Job! Now that you have your blog up and running, you can now start blogging immediately!
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