It’s easier now than ever to start a blog in 2020 – even if you’re a beginner who doesn’t understand coding or web design.
With the correct tools and a plan, you can have your own personal or professional blog and launch it in less than 30 minutes. Writing content and blog posts can take much longer, though.
If you are interested in formally participating in a niche program of your choice, there are excellent Training programs to help you develop the skills you need.
In this step-by-step guide, we will guide you through every part of the process, helping you avoid the common mistakes that new bloggers usually make.
Sound good? Then let’s get started.
Step 1 – Choose Your Blog Topic
Firstly, you should choose a topic for your blog.
Most successful blogs focus on one thing. It could be food, travel, fitness, fashion, or just about your business.
We recommend choosing a topic that arouses your enthusiasm or interest. It is even better when you are an expert in something. It will help you develop your blog by writing quality content to help others.
Tips for choosing a blog topic:
- Do you know anything about it?
- Are you passionate about something?
- Have you learned something new and want to write about your process?
Here’s an example: If you are very interested in fitness and like to train, it is wise to share your wisdom on a blog that is related to fitness, or to cover topics of exercise and nutrition. Through the blog, you can attract new customers.
You don’t have to choose a blog topic right away, but it’s good if you already have something on your mind.
Step 2 – Find The Right Platform
First, Decide: Free Blog Or Self-Hosted Blog?
Anyone can register for a free blog site or platform such as Blogger.com, WordPress.com, and Tumblr.com.
However, if you are serious about blogging, a free blogging platform is not an option.
There are many drawbacks and disadvantages to a free blogging service.
These may include limited monetization, configuration, and traffic), but most importantly, you can’t control your blog.And if you want to upgrade, you will have to pay more than you need.
The solution to this is to post your blog yourself. This way, you will not have any restrictions related to the content of your blog (for example, videos, and images). Your blog will look more professional, attractive, and can be improved later. Besides, you own your blog.
Of course, if you do not plan to blog for more than a few weeks, a free blog may make sense. In any other case, we recommend a self-service route.
Which blogging platform should I choose?
There are many different blogging platforms that you can choose from. Some are more flexible and easy to use, while others are more limited and have a higher learning curve.
Recent statistics show that WordPress, which is a free, open source, blog platform, is the most used blog platform in 2020.
WordPress is followed by Tumblr, Blogger, Ghost, and Medium.
We have tried dozens of different blogging platforms, but none of them are suitable for WordPress. If you’re new to blogging, you can get a detailed course on how to use WordPress.
We recommend using self-hosting because it is more flexible, and you can start creating and developing your blog from the beginning.
Step 3 – Set Up A Blog Through Web Hosting (And Register A Domain Name)
To start working with self-hosting blog WordPress, you will need a domain name and web hosting.
Whichever hosting company you choose, ensure it has “one-click installations” for blog platforms such as WordPress. It will make the installation process much more manageable.
Don’t worry, most hosting companies offer one-click installations for the WordPress blog platform, so it should be effortless.
Here’s what you should do to install WordPress on Bluehost:
- Log in to your user profile at Bluehost.
- In the “Home” page, click on the blue button “WordPress.”
- WordPress installation will then start
You should note that the activation of your domain name can take from 10 to 15 minutes, so do not worry about a strange-looking temporary domain name.
Bluehost will allow you to choose an administrator login and password for WordPress after the installation is complete.
Step 4 – Configure Your WordPress Blog
Once you have configured an administrator account for WordPress (the previous step), you can proceed to visit the new control panel:
Just go to yourdomain.com/wp-admin and input the access details for your admin account.
Once you log in, you’ll see this:
Although WordPress is already 100% operational, there are still some settings that you should go through:
1. General Settings
Start by going to the left side panel and pressing the Settings → General
This is where you can set up:
- “Site Title” – the actual name of your site. The name is especially important because it is what every visitor sees first, and most of the way search engines determine your rating. Make sure that you have the name of your business.
- “Tagline” – think of it as a summary of what your blog is about in one short sentence. For instance: “Recipes that even a novice cook can handle.”
In this section, you can also check if your blog address (URL) is okay, set the time zone where you are, and your preferred language.
Another essential thing to note is that Bluehost has the “Coming Soon” feature in the last section of the General Settings. Once you are ready to use your blog, make sure that this feature is turned off.
2. Visibility in Google
Next, a super important thing you should do is make sure that search engines like Google can index your new blog.
To do this, go to “Settings” → “Reading” (again, from the main sidebar) and make sure that the box labeled, “Deny search engines from indexing this site” goes unnoticed.
This is the case:
If you don’t do this, your blog may be invisible to Google.
The “Permalinks” settings define how WordPress will create separate URLs (web page addresses) for each of your blog posts or sub-pages. While this idea may seem a bit advanced, the setting is straightforward.
Just go to “Settings,” → “Permalines.” Then set your permalink to “Post Name”:
It is the best setting available and is also the preferred setting by Google and other search engines.
Step 5 – Design A Blog By Selecting A Theme
Another interesting thing about WordPress is that even if you cannot be an experienced designer yourself, you can still get a top search for your blog.
How? Thanks to the thousands of WordPress topics that are available online. And best of all, many of them are free, and you can easily set them up (without any knowledge of encoding).
Go back to the WordPress control panel and go to “Appearance” → “Topics.” Then click on “Add New”:
Then, switch the tab to “Popular”:
You will see the most popular free WordPress themes on the market. And the best part is that you can install any of them with a single click.
Once you see a topic you like, you can install it to your blog by clicking on “install” next to the topic name and then “activate.”
Note: What you do here is to change the look of your blog. You do not erase any of your content. You can change your topics as often as you like, without worrying about your pages disappearing.
Step 6 – Add Logo, Change Colors, And Structure
Although the WordPress theme that you chose to use already comes with its specific pre-configured design, you can still change parts of it as you wish.
It will all be done if you go to “Appearance” → “Customize.” What you will see is WordPress Customizer:
Depending on the current theme, the sidebar menu will give you a different set of options. However, the most common ones will include:
- “Site Identity” – It is where you can set your blog title again, add a site icon (aka favicon), and a logo image
- “Background” – Setting your background graphic, image, or color.
- “Header” – Setting your header graphic or image.
- “Widgets” – More about this later on.
- “Colors” – For adjusting the primary colors used for the design.
- Other theme-dependent settings.
Let’s start with the first option:
1. Add Logo And Favicon
Since you probably already have the name of the site, what you will do here is add a logo and icon of your company. Both are quite easy to do:
To add a logo, click on the “Select Logo” button. On the next screen, WordPress will tell you which type of graphics is acceptable for your logos.
After downloading your logo, you should see it in the live view window.
To add your icon, click on the button with the inscription “Choose an image” in the section “Site Icon”:
The process here is also quite similar – WordPress will tell you what image it expects. However, the thing is that once you add an icon, it will not appear anywhere in the preview window. Take a look at the main top panel of your web browser, next to the blog header.
2. Change Blog Colors
Depending on the topic you are using, you will see a different set of options in this section of Configurator. Here is an example of the default theme:
Just a couple of settings here, of course, but playing with them may help you make your new blog look unique and more in harmony with your brand.
3. Add Custom Header Graphic
This is another section that depends heavily on the topic you are using. Although, the most common setting you will come across is the ability to add graphics/images to the title or perhaps even videos to the title. To set up a title image, click “Add a new image”:
You can select almost any image for the title of your site, provided that it is sufficiently high quality. WordPress will inform you of the minimum requirements for the image in the header right on the download screen.
4. You Can Change Your Background
A few themes come with the ability to set the main background for your entire website.
Most often, these options allow you to specify a custom image or a solid color that will be in the background. In any case, you can get quite interesting effects if you experiment with it long enough. You could also improve your Photoshop skills to upload high quality images.
Step 7 – Add/Write New Blog Posts And Pages
With all the above already done, you are ready to start creating content for your new blog.
If you are building a blog, you will most likely need at least some of the following pages:
- Blog – This section WordPress creates for you automatically. By default, all your latest blog posts will be listed right on the home page.
- Contact – Let people contact you directly.
- Services / Products – To list your products and services and tell people why they should buy them.
- Feedback – From your previous customers.
- Portfolio – Your work, presented attractively.
1. Create New Pages
Now that you should have a good idea of what pages you might need, let’s talk about how to create them.
Fortunately, the process of creating a new page in WordPress is the same, no matter which page it is.
Before you do so, you can also set your blog to a maintenance mode that will prevent others from seeing your unfinished site.
To do this, go to the WordPress control panel and then to → “Add New Page.” You will see the WordPress home page editing screen:
After clicking on the “Publish” button, your page becomes visible to the public.
2. Add Blog Posts
The functionality of a blog is one of the main elements of WordPress CMS. That’s why WordPress has a whole separate section dedicated to creating and publishing blog posts.
You should find it by going to the Posts page on the main WordPress dashboard sidebar:
Creating new messages works in the same way as creating new pages. The only difference is that your messages will automatically appear on the home page, while your pages will need to be added to the menu if you want someone to find them.
3. Add A Navigation Menu
In WordPress, the menu has an individual task. It is your best tool so that your readers can find the pages you create.
As a rule, your blog should have one main menu, which is located in the main navigation bar. Most visitors expect to find something like this on your website.
To create a new menu, go to “Appearance” → “Menus.” Then browse through the list of available pages (pages you have created so far) and click on the checkboxes next to the ones you want in your new menu.
Then click on “Add to Menu.” On the right, you will then see your pages listed in the section.
Here, you can also drag and drop these pages to rebuild them. When you’re done, you can select one of the checkboxes in the “Display Location” section (see below).
Most often, it should indicate your main navigation position – in your case, it is “Main menu.”
When you click on the “Save Menu” button, “my menu” will be set.
4. Change Your Blog Sidebar and Footer
Depending on the theme you choose, you can have anywhere from zero to a handful of side panels. You can also have a customizable footer.
To customize what appears in all these areas, we will use WordPress widgets.
Widgets are small blocks of content that can be displayed in different places on the WordPress blog.
To see what they are, go to “Appearance” → “Widgets.”
Here you can see all the different widgets that WordPress provides for you. And these are just some of them:
- Archives – Is a list of all your past blog posts
- Image – Is an image of your choice
- Categories – Is a list of all your blog categories
- Recent Posts
- Search – Is a search bar
- Text – Is a piece of custom text
- Many more
With all these widgets, you can place them in one of the predefined areas of the widget – usually in the sidebar or footer.
For example, you can drag the “Last Messages” widget into the “Footer 1” area of the widget:
The same can be done with any other available widgets. Take them from the section on the left. Then drag them to any of the areas of the widget, which your topic gives you.
Note: The areas of widgets that you see in the admin panel depend on the theme you are currently using.
To Sum Up: Launch Your Blog And Keep Improving
Congratulations. Now you can start your new blog! It wasn’t that hard, was it?
Remember that every blog you create with WordPress is different. You can always change WordPress themes or even buy premium themes to make your blog look professional and unique.