How to Start a Blog – Easy Quick Start Guide (2020)
Last updated: April 12, 2020
Good news! By the end of this post, you will know the exact steps needed for how to start a blog. This is an extremely detailed article that will address not only how to start a blog on WordPress, but it provides a quick start step-by-step guide to walk you through your own website set up for the potential to make money with your blog.
Blogging? What is it? Why does it work? Is it worth my time? Isn’t blogging dead? Is it expensive to start a blog? Will I make money?
Chances are you probably have a ton of questions about whether or not you should start a blog. Maybe you’ve been told that having a blog is a smart idea for a business, creativity, or a hobby. Or, maybe you’ve heard that blogging is dead and that no one reads blogs anymore.
This article is extremely meaty (4500+ words) and will hopefully address all of your questions.
I have been blogging over 3+ years with this blog, The Life Hunt, and I spent another two years on a previous blog with a partner (more on that later). Needless to say, over the past 5 or so years I have learned a ton about starting and running a blog.
My goal is to share with you the correct steps of how you can start a blog and make money from the beginning.
Click here to start a blog on Wordress. Then, following the detailed instructions for a quick and easy setup.
Why you should start a blog
You might be wondering if blogging is the right outlet for you.
I’ll be the first person to say that blogging is not for everyone. In fact, I have known many people who have unsuccessfully started blogs.
However, the reason blogging did not work for them is because they were not prepared to put in the work required to sustain a blog. I don’t think blogging is difficult, but it definitely isn’t as easy as many people assume.
Unlike platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, blogging requires more than just a wordy caption in order to build an audience. Consistency and research are required when building a successful blog.
What if I don’t like writing?
Many people think they will not make good bloggers because they don’t like to write. I am a heavily invested member of the blogging community and I know plenty of bloggers who also don’t like to write yet make thousands of dollars a month on their blog. Yes, you read that right. THOUSANDS.
So how can a blogger who doesn’t enjoy writing be so successful? In my opinion, it all comes down to passion.
If you select a blogging topic that you are truly passionate about, your blogging experience will be very positive. That’s why it’s a rule of thumb to blog about a topic that you can talk about endlessly.
Now, remember those people I mentioned who started a blog and failed? The reason they were unsuccessful was because they talked about topics they actually didn’t care about.
Instead of picking something they felt they had a lot of authority on, they chose topics that they thought would be popular for an overnight success.
Again, blogging is not like Instagram or Facebook. It’s not a trend or a fad but a long time personal connection with an audience that learns to trust and value you and your content.
So, why should you start a blog?
Maybe you’re thinking that nobody wants to hear about what you have to say. Or, maybe you think that the topic you want to blog about is already being talked about.
I’m here to say that none of those things matter. If you have a voice and you have an opinion, then you can find an audience who will care what you have to say.
There are 7+ billion people in this world. I guarantee that you will find an audience for your blog.
To start a blog on WordPress, hosted by Bluehost, you can use my discount. Through my link only, you can host your blog for only $3.95 a month. That’s less than a cup of Starbucks coffee. Talk about a great deal!
—> Give me the discount NOW so that I can start my moneymaking blog!
Why blogging is NOT dead
Everything is on a trend.
We all know how trends work. One day something is super popular and the next day it’s completely dead. We’ve seen the rise and fall of many things over the years.
In the same sense, blogging how we knew it 10 years ago it’s absolutely dead. Hardly anyone making a living posting diary-type entries on a blog these days. Back in 2007, blogging was all about writing your everyday life, family, pets, friends, and activities.
There isn’t that much of that kind of blogging happening these days. You know what is happening though?
Research. People have questions and they demand answers.
In our modern technology era, it is so easy to get an answer to almost every single question we have.
Want to know how to make a face mask? There’s a blog post for that. Interested in learning how to make a salmon dinner? There’s a blog post with the perfect recipe for salmon. Want to know how to start a business? There is a blog dedicated just to starting a business.
The point is, blogging is not the diary it used to be. It has evolved into a more informative platform for people to have questions and get them answered by people they know, trust, and rely on.
So no. Blogging is not dead.
How bloggers make money
This is the number one question I get from people who are confused on how bloggers make money. There are four primary ways that a blogger can earn money:
Number 1: Advertising.
Ads that are on websites and in blog posts earn a blogger a small portion of money if a reader clicks on the ad. This is what we call passive income.
Passive income is the easiest way to make money because it requires a little bit of work upfront and then hardly any maintenance from there on out. That means you can easily earn money in your sleep.
Number 2: Working with brands and private advertising
This is something you might be familiar with through Instagram and other social networks. Bloggers can do the same thing. Depending on your niche, brands will often want to work with you so that you can provide sponsored content and promote their products.
Of course you’ll only want to promote products that you actually use and that work. The last thing you want is for your audience to not trust you.
Number 3: Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a way for bloggers to work with a brand or company by having special links that earn money when a reader clicks on that link. This is a great way to make passive income because you can input the link into your blog post one time and that link will make you money in your sleep.
Affiliate marketing is also a great way for bloggers to make money because you can negotiate the amount you receive per link.
Let’s say that you have a blog post that’s doing really well and you get a lot of traffic to it. Because of that traffic, you can go to your affiliate manager and ask them to pay you more per link click because you can guarantee them proven traffic. Not bad, right?
Number 4: Creating products
This method of making money ties back to the original question about whether or not blogging is dead. With the online world exploding in the way it has over the last few years, bloggers now have authority, trust, and the audience to provide online products such as classes and downloadable products.
These products are often extremely valuable and provide helpful information for the person who purchased it. The great part about these products is that as a blogger you create everything in the product and decide on the price.
There are so many bloggers who make thousands, if not millions of dollars each year based on their products. Yes, you read that right. Millions of dollars a year as a blogger.
My personal experience with blogging
So far, I have had two blogs in my life.
My first blog I started with a friend right after I graduated college. I loved that blog. I dedicated so much time and effort into making that a beautiful and well-informed blog.
After two years, we shut it down.
For a long time, I considered that blog as a failure. After all, nobody wants to put that much time and effort into something that doesn’t last longer than two years. I figured I would never start another blog again.
That all changed a few years ago when I had an idea for a book that I wanted to write. I was so excited about this book idea that I had it outlined and named within a week. When I told my friend about it she was quick to tell me that no one would buy or read my book.
I was pretty angry. But, once she explained herself it made sense. She said that I had not built an audience and would have no one to market my book to. Her solution was for me to start a blog and grow my audience first.
I told her that I would never start another blog again because my first experience felt like such a failure. Well, after sitting on it for a few days I decided to give the blogging world another shot.
That is how The Life Hunt got started. While I never wrote that book (because I quickly changed my mind about it), I have had a lot of fun and success with this new blog.
Looking back, I know exactly why my old blog failed. The blog I started out of college with my friend was a free hosted blog and not a self-hosted blog. I will talk more about that later but trust me when I say that this decision can make or break your blogging career.
Nowadays, blogging is my life.
I enjoy what I do and I love that I have the freedom to earn as much success as I want as long as I’m willing to work hard for it. And trust me, I do work hard for it and I know you will too.
What to blog about: selecting the perfect niche
Hopefully by now you’re convinced that starting a blog is absolutely something that you want to do. Now that you know you want to be a blogger, the question is what do you want to blog about?
If you aren’t already sure what to blog about, I can help you figure that out.
Like I said earlier, you’ll want to make sure that you blog about something you know you can talk about forever and ever and ever. You should blog about a topic that any time someone gets you going, it’s hard to make you stop talking. This could be one topic or a few topics.
However, I recommend that whatever topics you choose all relate to each other.
For example, if you want to start a cooking blog, you can talk about vegan recipes, gluten-free recipes, and delicious desserts. However, it wouldn’t make much sense to talk about recipes and horses in the same blog. That niche is too broad and it’s confusing for your audience.
Another example would be to start a blog that’s about helping stay at home moms homeschool their children with a section talking about classic cars. Those topics are two opposite and again it would be confusing to narrow down your audience.
If you’re not sure which topic you want to talk about I have a little activity for you.
First, make a list of all the things that you enjoy. Next, make a list of all the things that you could talk about over and over and over again. Start to narrow that list down until you come up with a blogging topic that you are extremely passionate about.
Here’s a little bit of advice I learned in my day job. When I’m not blogging, I teach freshman composition. In my writing classes, I assign various essays and essay prompts. The catch is, the students get to choose their own topic.
With every essay, I always see students chose bad topics. The reason they’re bad topics is not that they aren’t interesting, but it’s because a student has run out of things to write about before the essay is over.
The same thing can happen with blogging.
You might choose a topic that you think you can write about forever and ever but then realize that you actually don’t have that much to say.
That’s why I encourage you to really think about this as you’re narrowing down your blogging niche. Once you have decided on a perfect niche that you want to talk about, then you’re ready to move onto the next step.
Why I started my blog on Bluehost
The first blog I had I did not self-host on Bluehost. That meant I could not monetize my blog (make money).
The second time around that I started a blog, I set it up through Bluehost so that I could have a moneymaking blog. Bluehost isn’t the only place where you can self-host your blog. There are plenty of other platforms to choose from.
However, I was really impressed with the amount of help I knew I’d receive through Bluehost’s customer support.
I am no good at tech.
The blog I previously had was set up by a friend. I never had to maintain it or worry about any of the backend techy things. This time, I knew I was on my own.
If anything was going to hold me back from starting a blog it would have fear around how to set up a website.
I didn’t want that to hold me back which is exactly why I chose Bluehost. During the first few months of my website, I called Bluehost so many times. They were able to help me over the phone and teach me a little bit about how to work the backend of my website.
I have now had this blog for over three years and I’ve never had to hire professional help because of all the help I had initially with Bluehost. My favorite part about it is the fact that they are available 24 hours a day.
If you’re anything like me, you are a night owl and you love to get work done late at night. That meant that I was calling Bluehost sometimes around 1:00am to ask my questions. They were always there to help.
Choose quality hosting: Self-hosting vs. free hosting
Remember earlier when I said I figured out why my first blog was a failure? Well, the reason is because I set it up through free-hosting.
Free-hosting is great if you want to have hobby blog. If you want to make money in those four different ways that I told you about earlier, then you have to do self-hosting.
Why? Well, for one, you can’t run ads on a free-hosted blog. It’s actually forbidden. Also, it’s hard to qualify for different affiliate marketing networks and money collecting sites if you have a free-hosted blog.
If that’s not convincing enough to start a blog self-hosted, another reason it’s not good to do free-hosting is because you do not own your domain.
For example, the most popular way to host anything on the internet is through a .com. Some other options include a .org, .net, or a .co.
None of these are possible if you use a free-hosting. People are starting to look at the standards of the content they are reading more than ever before. If you have a blog and it’s hosted at a .blogspot.com, chances are a reader will not think you’re as qualified as you actually are.
However, if your blog is hosted at a .com, then you’re automatically more valued as a blog.
Pick the perfect blog name
Once you know what you want to blog about and where you want your blog to be hosted, the next step is to pick a blog name.
I’ll be honest. When I was deciding on a blog name for The Life Hunt, it took me days. Maybe even weeks!
I was extremely nervous and very picky. At one point, I had chosen a blog name that turned out was already taken. That was heartbreaking for me because this process was so tedious.
And then, through the process of elimination, I came up with my title. I love my blog name and I’m so glad I took the time to figure it out.
If you have an idea for a blog name already, type it into the Domain Availability tool below. This tool is a free domain checker through Bluehost to make it easy for you to narrow down your title.
If you aren’t too sure what you want your name to be, I can help you out.
First, make a list of all the words that fit with the category that you want to blog about. Next, see if there’s any way to take those words and make a fun play on words. If you are at a loss for words, it might be time to pull out the dictionary or thesaurus.
There are so many words that can fit together nicely and sometimes it’s hard for us to see past our initial ideas. I believe that you should take your time when choosing your blog name.
However, don’t take as long as I did.
If you can come up with a blog name and one night, in one sitting, or even in one hour, then you can move on to bigger and better things. Just don’t get hung up over choosing a blog name.
If you do want to spend more time on a blog name, Bluehost will still allow you to sign up for hosting and pick a blog name later so that you don’t have to put off the entire blogging process.
Start your blog: quick start guide with step by step instructions
It’s officially time to set up your blog. The following information is detailed step-by-step instructions on how to set up your blog on Bluehost and then link it to WordPress. The best part is there are pictures included to help you during this process.
For a discounted rate of $3.95 a month, use my affiliate link to sign up for Bluehost —> Take me to the discount.
Alright, let’s get started!
1. Get Started
The first step of anything is to START. You’ve made it this far. It’s time to follow through and start your money-making blog.
With that said, select that big green Get Started and let’s do this.
2. Select your plan
Bluehost currently comes with four different plans. Something to note is that the prices sometimes change based on deals they run. However, through my link you can get the discounted prices below. Let’s talk about the differences between the packages.
In my opinion, the basic package is perfect for beginners.
Basic has everything you need to set up a really good website. Once you get the hang of blogging and grow your website, then I recommend upgrading to the Plus or even the Choice Plus package. For now, the basic package is just fine.
3. Pick a domain name (Or, pick later)
This is the exciting part! Selecting a blogging domain name brings your entire vision to life. If you already know the name you want, input in the new domain box. If you are moving an existing domain over to Bluehost, put it in the I have a domain box.
If you’ve selected a domain name that’s already been taken, Bluehost will help you by listing out similar possibilities.
If you can’t come up with a blog name quite yet, don’t worry. You have an option to skip this step and select a name at a later time. This is a great option because it doesn’t halt your progress just because of the name aspect.
4. Create an account
This next part is easy, peasy. All you have to do is complete the account information.
5. Confirm/review your package
You’ll have a chance to pay for your hosting on a month-to-month basis or a yearly basis. I highly recommend that you select the yearly option. If you select the 3-years, the price is the cheapest. 2-year and 1-year packages are also affordable, but the 3-year package is an unbeatable price.
If you want to add on any package extras, I recommend the Domain Privacy Protection. It’s only a dollar extra a month and it helps to keep your website safe. In my opinion, that is the only extra item you need.
6. Input payment information
Once you’ve reviewed your package and your account information, the next step is to pay.
7. Create a password
When creating a password, I recommend that you pick something strong and difficult to guess. When you’ve figured that out, write it down!
In my early days of blogging, I chose a difficult to guess password and then promptly forgot it. When I tried to login on a device that wasn’t my laptop, I couldn’t. Don’t forget to write the password down and put it somewhere safe, just in case you forget it.
8. Familiarize yourself with Bluehost interface
Once you’re officially all set up and logged into Bluehost, take some time to get familiar with the layout. There have been lots of upgrades since I first started on Bluehost. In my opinion, the interface is much friendlier and easier to navigate than it was in the past. This is a huge plus as you’ll need to know where to go once you’re logged in.
9. Install WordPress
Now that you’re in Bluehost, the next step you need to take is to actually install WordPress.
If you’re confused about why you need WordPress, let me explain. Bluehost is the hosting site where your blog will live. WordPress is where your blogging actually happens. It’s as if your blog is renting a place to live. Bluehost is that place.
With that said, find the “Install WordPress” option and follow the instructions. It should be a super easy one-click process.
Once that’s done, if you type in your domain name, you should see a “Coming Soon” page.
That means that you officially HAVE A BLOG! Congratulations!
10. Pick a theme
Now for an exciting part. It’s theme time!
A blogging theme is essentially what your blog will look like. Themes are really important because the design is the first thing your audience sees.
It doesn’t matter how great your content is, if your blog is ugly it will repel readers. The internet is full of beautifully designed websites, so yours needs to be able to compete.
The good news is that WordPress has thousands of themes for you to choose from. You can easily preview a theme to check its layout and responsiveness. Each theme also comes with a rating and description for you to asses the pros and cons.
Let’s briefly talk about the difference between a FREE theme and a PAID theme.
It might seem tempting to go with a free theme, but I highly recommend using a paid theme. Paid themes are a one time fee and are way more customizable than free themes. In fact, free themes are extremely limited, which can be frustrating.
I bought a paid theme when I first launched this blog years ago. I’ve changed so many things about the layout of my blog and its all possible because of the customizable freedom of a theme you own.
If you aren’t ready for the commitment of a paid theme, you can absolutely use a free theme and still make your blog look amazing. Just be aware that you likely won’t be able to make all the changes you want.
11. Welcome to WordPress + backend
When you’ve chosen your theme, you can officially log into your WordPress backend account.
The backend of a website is where all the magic happens. You customize your site, create posts, add images, and so much more. The frontend of a website is what visitors see when they land on your domain.
You’ll want to make sure you’re extremely familiar with the backend of your website so that your frontend can look good.
For the business vs. personal option, I recommend selecting business if you want to eventually make money from your blog. If you are planning for your blog to just be a hobby, then you can select personal.
12. Prep for blog launch
You’ll have a few options to choose from once you get started. The main one is to Launch.
I recommend that you hold off on launching until you have a few pieces of content (blog posts, about page, contact page).
There is plenty of debate out there on how many blog posts you should write before launching. I’ve seen people say you need 10 posts, or even 50.
I launched my blog with 3 posts and I did just fine.
However, I did consistently publish a post each week after I launched. As long as you can be consistent, I think launching with 3 really good blog posts is just fine!
13. Launch your blog
Once you have your 3 blog posts, as well as an about page and maybe even a contact page set up, feel free to launch!
You might want to wait until you get more of your blog set up like the menu, sidebar, footer, and so on, but in my opinion, the sooner you launch the better.
When your blog is live you will be excited and motivated to work harder and harder to make your blog the best it can be.
Congratulations!!! You have an official blog!
It’s time to start writing content and advertising your awesome new blog to the world!
Also, I’d love to take a look at your new blog. Shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to your new blog so that i can check it out!
WordPress can be a slight learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it will be extremely easy for you to produce awesome content. Below are some helpful tips to guide you as you learn the backend of WordPress
Dashboard: The dashboard is essentially your homepage. You can change the layout to decide what you want to see when you login. Think of the dashboard as your cell-phone. You get to decide the order of your apps on your cell-phone. The same for the dashboard.
Posts: This is where you create your blog posts. Just click “add new” and start creating!
Media: Your media is where you’ll upload all your images. Photos are a big part of a blog’s appearance so it’s important that you invest in high-quality images. You can do this by taking photos yourself or by purchasing stock photography.
Pages: Don’t confuse pages with posts. Posts are where you’ll create your blog post while pages is where you create static pages that rarely change. For example, your homepage, about me, and contact pages are all created so that they don’t change.
Comments: When you get a comment on your blog, you’ll see it here. Comments are awesome and I recommend that you respond to as many as possible.
Appearance: Appearance is where you can change the way your blog looks. The main features of appearance are themes, where you can select your blogging theme, and menu, where you can change your blog’s main menu.
Plugins: Plugins are like apps. You need plugins to be able to add extra helpful features to your blog. Typically, if you want to do something that your theme doesn’t currently offer, you might be able to find a free plugin to help you.
Users: If you’re the only one who uses the blog, you will be the administrator. However, if other people have access to login to your blog, you can go to the user’s tab and give them temporary or permanent access.
Tools: Sometimes helpful plugins will download into the tools section. Tools are exactly what it sounds like, helpful tools so that your blog can run at it’s best.
Settings: The setting section has various options for you to set up things like time zones, how you want the date displayed, and so on.
Congratulations on your new blog!
Don’t forget to email me (email@example.com) a link to your domain once you have your blog set up. I’d love to check it out!