How to Start a Blog: Complete Tutorial
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FULL TUTORIAL: HOW TO START A BLOG IN UNDER 30 MINUTES
I can be the first one to admit, taking the step to create your own blog can be nerve wrecking – especially if you’re investing money in it.
If you already have a shared-hosted blog on WordPress, please consider switching to a self-hosted one. If you plan to generate traffic and generate passive income through your blog, the only way you’ll seem legit to others is if you have your OWN domain.
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If you’re still contemplating about this, I strongly encourage you to take the leap of faith today and start following your dreams today. Building a blog can be overwhelming, trust me, I’ll be the first one to admit it. BUT, it can be done within a day and you can start monetizing your content within the first week!
When you’re ready, just follow these steps and you’ll be up and running in no time!
So without any added fluff, let’s get right into it.
Main sections that will be covered:
- Picking a niche and a relevant domain
- Personal Hosting and Domain Selection (HostGator vs Bluehost)
- Installing WordPress
- Designing your blog and adding some swag 😉
Picking a Niche & a Relevant Domain Name
Think of this step as a parent picking a name for their newborn baby – don’t f*#k this up.
- Write down 10 topics you’re passionate about or an expert in
- Cut that list down to 3 and here’s what to consider when doing that
- Is this topic relevant to what you enjoy talking about?
- Are you well versed and educated on this topic?
- Can others benefit and learn from your posts on this topic?
- Is there room for discussion? (controversial posts get tons of activity)
3. Research on which topic is most SEO-friendly and has potential to be profitable in the long run.
4. Your domain name should be relevant to your topic and easy to remember
- Don’t include any hyphens, numbers or special characters
- Try to choose a .com but if you want to stand out of the crowd like me (could be risky at times) pick a .co, .org or .net
- Here is an example of what NOT to use: www.Iluvyou2.com – get what I’m saying?
- How to cut down that list from 3 to 1, here’s what to consider
Before you buy your hosting plan and domain, it’s important you know exactly what the purpose for each is.
Picture it like this:
- The Hosting platform is like your house – this is where you will host all your parties (blog posts) and invite your friends (visitors)
- A domain (www.youngandrich.co) is the physical address to your house – no one can come over if you have a confusing address
Buying & Registering Your Domain
Once you’ve selected your niche ex: Wallets, think of few domain names (www.Allthebestwallets.com) which will be relevant to your niche.
Now you have 2 options: You can register your domain on Godaddy or you can register it directly with your host (preferred).
Even though registering your domain with your host is highly suggested, I encourage you to go over to GoDaddy and check if your domain name is available first.
Once you found availability, head over to google and make sure you can create a Gmail account with an email similar to your domain name – this is crucial for brand recognition.
Finding The Best Host
However, in my personal opinion, I went with HostGator and here’s why:
- Speed, interface and overall experience is better.
- Lower price for Domain + Hosting on HostGator ($80) compared to Bluehost ($110).
- Now I do have to say that both are great in terms of customer service so that’s incomparable.
Did I mention lower price? Because to be honest, being a first-time blogger, I had zero knowledge about starting a blog, so I went with the cheapest option – considering I had a very low budget to begin with.
Now it’s not the most technical HostGator vs Bluehost breakdown but those were the deciding factors for me and I don’t regret my decision one bit. First time around, I had trouble setting up my WordPress and HostGator’s 24/7 support solved my problem instantly over the phone.
I really appreciate the 24/7 service because if you’re a night owl like me and do most of your work late night, you’ll be satisfied knowing that they’ve got your back anytime of the day.
Most blogs will advise you to try Bluehost and there’s a reason behind this. The commission payout for Bluehost is $65 whereas HostGator’s is $50, so they make an additional $15 for promoting BlueHost. I honestly could care less about the $15 difference, I just want to show you what worked for me. In fact, some bloggers will advertise about the year-free domain with BlueHost even though the total sum is much more than HostGators. #KnowWhatYouDontKnow.
Now That You Know What a Domain is, Are You Ready to Start?
Click here to go to HostGator – I will give you a 25% discount code below.
When that page opens up, click on Web Hosting on the blue menu bar.
Now you’ll see 3 different plans. Since you’re just starting out, I suggest you pick Hatchling.
Under the plan, select Sign-up Now – you should be directed to a page similar to the image below. Now go ahead and type in your preferred domain name and enter in the preferred plan details. Don’t worry about the price, I’ll give you a 25% discount code at the end which will help you out a bit 🙂
Next is the fun part – fill out your billing info!
Now scroll down and uncheck these 2 auto-selected additional services below – you don’t need these right now.
Next, scroll down and enter the coupon code YOUNGRICH25 to receive a 25% discount.
Now simply complete the checkout process and you’re one step closer to launching your blog!
Remember, you’ll have to pay upfront for the total sum. Rest assured, you won’t have to pay again for (1yr, 2yr, 3yr) depending on the longevity of your selected plan.
This step below is a troubleshooting method if you receive a DNS error when you go to your website:
Changing Name Serves – Only if required
From the 3 emails you receive from HostGator, one email will contain 2 Name Servers. They will be in ns1.launchpad.com with a few additional numbers.
Please follow these steps in order to change your name servers: http://support.hostgator.com/articles/changing-name-servers-with-launchpad.
Check your email from HostGator for Login Info to your C-Panel (Control Panel) page. Now you’ll be able to log in to HostGator’s C-Panel which offers numerous site-enhancing tools. However, the one we need to focus on is WordPress.
Now for the Install Location, simply select your domain and hit next. Don’t add anything for the directory field. Fill out all the necessary info – you can pick any unique admin name you like. Then just click Install Now.
Don’t forget to write this info down on a notepad!
Now head over to WordPress.com or www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/ and log in using the info you were given earlier.
And……..you’re in! This baby right here is going to be your bread and butter so take a moment and admire it 🙂
Honestly, when I first saw my dashboard, a little part of me felt like I’ve accomplished a milestone in my life.
I know, it’s just a simple WordPress site, but for me, this meant stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a step forward to follow my dreams. It was truly an emotional moment for me to say the least.
Installing Themes & Plugins
You can play around with your dashboard but get these things covered first and you’ll thank me later.
Hover your mouse on Appearances and select Themes. You can select any theme that might be relevant to your niche and style. However, if you’re planning to monetize your blog and attract traffic, then I suggest you go with Elegant Themes. You can learn more about this theme on the resources page.
Google AdSense by Google
MailChimp for WordPress
PuSHPress by Joseph Scott
SumoMe by SumoMe
WordPress Importer by wordpressdotorg
WP Super Cache by Automattic
Yoast SEO by Team Yoast (This plugin rocks!)
Lastly, don’t stress too much. Keep things simple when you’re setting this all up. Don’t spend hours thinking whether to go with HostGator or BlueHost. Or spend a whole day deciding which theme to choose. I spent a whole weekend thinking of my logo and overall blog design, but not enough time towards putting my content. So for god sakes, please don’t make the same mistakes as me.
Worry about the finer details once you have your core built. Remember, the fruits will only grow if the roots are strong enough to withhold it.
With that being said, stop procrastinating and get blogging! Becuase a great man once said, don’t let your dreams become someone else’s reality.
If you’re stuck on something and you’re not able to figure it out, just shoot me an email and I’ll troubleshoot any problems you may be facing. You can contact me here.
I know this all sounds easy but I got stuck several times during this process so I understand the pain.