Are you thinking of starting a blog to share your thoughts on a topic that you love?
Great, that’s awesome. Blogging is a powerful way to promote your business or profession, and it’s also the best way to make money online. Your problem now is that you don’t know how to start a blog, right?
Don’t worry, starting a blog is very easy, now you can create a blog by yourself in less than 30 minutes, no experience necessary. Everything you need is using some simple tools to help you get started.
What Tools Do You Need to Start a Blog?
Although you can start a blog completely free, but if you want to build a professional blog, you need to have full control your blog. It also helps you significantly increase the trust on both readers and search engine’s eyes.
A free blog is only suitable for personal or non-profit blogs. So, here is what you need to start a blog that matters:
- Domain Name: It is the web address or URL that you type into your web browser to navigate to a web page. It’s the first thing that people remember about a site like remembering the name of a person. Choosing a domain name is important like naming your son.
- Web Hosting: It’s like your piece of land to build your house on the web. It is a place to store all of your blog databases, of course, hosting is very important.
- Blog Platform: It’s like software which supports the authoring, editing, and publishing of blog posts and comments, with special functions for image, post and comment management.
After you’ve got both the domain name and web hosting service set up, which should take you no more than 15 minutes, it’s time to setting up your blog. In this guide on how to start a blog, I will use the ever-popular blog platform called WordPress.
So, are you ready to making your blog today? Then let’s start.
Your Step by Step Guide to Start a Blog
To make it simple and easy to you, in this guide on how to start a blog, I’m going to begin at the very basic to help you start your first blog, step by step.
1. Register a Domain Name
A domain name is basically a string of text and characters that goes in the address bar of your browser. It’s the “address” people use to visit your blog. So the first step for getting started is registering a domain name. This is incredibly easy and can be done in less than 5 minutes. However, there are some things to keep in mine before you rush out and purchase a domain name. This is especially true if you plan to monetize your blog.
1.1 Always Go for .com Domain Name
Although there are 500+ domain extensions, .com is the most popular and universally known even for the average person. Companies who started with .net .org or newer extensions like .io or .me eventually had to pay thousands or even more to get the .com version. So I highly recommend you to stick with .com for your domain name.
You can check for domain name availability at NameSilo.com
1.2 Make It Brandable and Relevant
There was a time when using exact match domain could give you a huge ranking advantage over branded ones, but it’s no longer the case.
When I start a blog, I want it to eventually be the ultimate resource in the niche. I want to build a brand.
But don’t go completely branded like Amazon.com, Zappos.com or Buffer.com as these un-intuitive names usually require huge investment to grow brand awareness.
Throw in a keyword relevant to your niche and add a supplementary word before or after it.
When someone hears about your domain name for the first time, they should be able to instantly and accurately guess at the main topic of your blog. Below are some good examples:
1.3 Shorter is Usually Better
Short names are easy to type and easy to remember. They also look better on logos, business cards, advertising etc.
Usually 2 word domain names are the best. Never go longer than 3.
The top 100,000 websites, on average, have nine characters in their domain names.
1.4 Make Sure It Pass the Radio Test
When you say your website on the radio make sure the listeners can find it or spell it correctly on their first try.
That means avoid hyphens, numbers, acronyms and similar sounds as they usually cause confusions which make it difficult for people to find your website.
1.5 Avoid Trademarked Terms
This is a mistake that isn’t made too often, but can kill a great domain and a great website when it does as by law the trademark owner can have your domain forcibly removed.
To be sure you’re not infringing on anyone’s trademark with your site’s name, visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office (uspto.gov) and search before you buy.
1.6 Check for Availability on Social Networks
Before you register your desired domain name, it’s always a good idea to check social networks for the same name.
To keep your blog name constant and to build your brand, you want a name that is readily available.
For example: check facebook.com/yourdomain, twitter.com/yourdomain – and secure them as well.
KnowEm.com is a great tool to use to see if certain names are already taken on a lot of the popular social platforms.
Stuck? Try these domain name generators!
If you’re struggling with finding ideas for your domain, then check out these domain name generators which can be very helpful.
Just play around with these and you will be very likely to find some great names.
1.7 Where to Register Your Domain Name?
After you have decided on a great domain name, it’s time to act up and claim it for your own.
My favorite and recommended domain name registrar is NameSilo.com and you can just go there and complete the registrar process in under 5 minutes.
2. Signup a Hosting Package
As you already know, hosting is one of two things you need to have when you want to start a professional blog (after domain name). It is a factor affecting the development and evaluation of readers about your blog in the future.
A web hosting allows you to store your own blog on the provider’s servers and make it accessible for everyone on the internet 24/7.
I’m going to help you choose the right web hosting for your needs at different stages of your blog.
2.1 Types of Web Hosting
First of all, you need to understand that there are several types of web hosting.
- Shared hosting: Your blog is hosted on the same server with dozen or even hundreds of other websites from different customers. This is usually the most affordable option because the cost is amortized over many customers.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS): You’re still sharing the same server but with less websites and resources are allotted proportionally depending on how much you paid for.
- Dedicated Web Hosting: This is the most advanced and costly option as you’re basically renting the whole server.
- Managed Web Hosting: This gives you the power and scalability of VPS or Dedicated Web Hosting without having to manage the server on your own.
2.2 What’s the Right Type of Hosting for You?
Well, for starter sites, a shared web hosting account is enough because you’re not getting a lot of traffic. This would also save you some money. Expect to pay between $5 – $10 a month for the unlimited site plan.
Usually, you’ll need to move your site to either managed, VPS or dedicated web hosting once you reach 100,000+ visitors a month.
2.3 How To Choose a Good Web Hosting Provider
There are hundreds of web hosting providers, and the best ones have:
- Amazing customer support: They should be always available via online chat and emails whenever you need. And they have to know what they’re doing. The last thing you want is your website suddenly goes down in the middle of the night, and customer support takes days to respond to your emails or phone calls.
- Fast loading speed & reliable uptime 99.99%: This is pretty self explainatory. Of course you want your website to be as fast as possible and is online all the time.
- Easy to Use User Interface: This is very important as well. A good web hosting should be easy to use even for the average non technical person.
You know, moving from one web host to another is a nightmare experience so you need to pick your web hosting carefully.
I have used several web hosting providers, but eventually I found that A2Hosting is the cost-effective and most reliable hosting provider. I have been using A2Hosting for many years and now all of my blogs are hosted on their servers. Here are why I choose them:
- A2Hosting’s customer support is available online 24/7. You can talk with them about your issue any time you need, and any problem you have will be solved very quickly.
- Their service is designed for everyone.
- All of their hosting plans include a 99.9% up-time guarantee, 24/7 customer and technical support and anytime money back guarantee.
- You can get your blog up and run in a few minutes with a hosting package for as low as $3.92/mo.
So go straight to A2Hosting.com and get your hosting package now.
3. Install Your WordPress Blog
I’m going to show you how to setup a new WordPress blog using A2Hosting. The process is similar if you use other web hosting.
3.1 Connect Domain and Hosting
Once you have both your domain name and hosting package, now you have one thing to do is pointing your domain name to your web host. This is the most technical part of the entire process, but it’s actually fairly simple. Just follow the steps below to easy do what you have to do.
First, you need to know about your hosting name servers. When you sign up for hosting with A2Hosting, you’ll get an email that gives you all of your hosting details, including your name servers. It will look something like this:
Now, you have to go back to NameSilo, and follow these steps:
- Log into your NameSilo account.
- Click on the link Manage My Domains at the top menu.
- Choose the domain name you wanna change name servers.
- At the section ACTIONS for Selected Domains, click on Change Nameservers.
- Paste your DNS details into the spaces provided (as an Ex. above).
- Click SUBMIT to confirm.
That’s it, your domain name is now linked to your web host (note that the change might take some time to become effective) and you can install your blog.
3.2 Install Your WordPress Blog with Hosting Cpanel
Now you can start a blog like as 1, 2, 3 by using WordPress. And installing WordPress is very easy because most of the web hosting providers have automatic installation scripts for customers.
4. Install a Nice Theme and Necessary Plugins
Your blog has been set up, and now it has everything it needs for you to start blogging. But, as a pro blogger always did when he starts his blog, you have to do these things. That’s installing a new WordPress theme and necessary plugins.
4.1 Install a New WordPress Theme
Remember that you only have 7 seconds to impress a first time reader as most of them leave after that.
Let’s face it, the default design that comes with WordPress is pretty simple. So, if you want your blog to stand out, you have to get a nice design.
The design is the first thing that makes your readers pay attention on your blog. If you have a great design, you will attract more readers, make them more trusted on what you talking on your blog, and of course, it will help you get many more loyal readers.
To get a nice WordPress design, I generally use 2 sites for getting WordPress themes. Those sites are ElegantThemes and Studiopress. They are the best premium WordPress themes providers, all themes come with premium features and those two companies offer AMAZING features and support.
4.2 Installing Essential WordPress plugins
It’s no doubt that WordPress is very powerful, flexible and feature-rich. And it also has a large database of both free and premium plugins to boost it up even further.
With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to sort out the good from the, well, not so good. Here’s a list of plugins that I use:
- Yoast SEO
- W3 Total Cache
- WP Limit Login Attempts
- Comment Redirect by Yoast
- Table of Contents Plus
- Outbound Links
5. Basic Setup For A New WordPress Blog
After you have installed your WordPress blog, there are some essential steps that you need take. Although not every WP blog will be the same but there are a few basic things that we feel should be done no matter of what kind of blog you’re building.
Here are those steps you should follow after installing a new WordPress blog:
Go to Settings >> Permalinks and change the permalink to Post Name (/%postname%/).
This structure not only is a good idea for SEO but it also tell your visitors something about the link they’re visiting.
Update Your Ping List
Go to Settings >> Writing and scroll down to Update Services then copy and paste the following list below to the box.
By adding the ping list in your Update Services box, it will be notified to the ping services whenever you add new content to your blog.
It helps your blog be indexed faster (you can get the Ping List here).
Update Your Profile
Go to Users >> Your Profiles and then fill out all information about you, add your blog, Google plus and Author box.
Finally, Start Blogging
Wow, that’s everything you should do to start a professional blog, now you can go back to your blog admin panel and start blogging.
If you have any question about how to start a blog, feel free to ask me your questions on the comment form bellow, I’ll answer you as soon as possible.