Do you want to start a blog? If so – you’re in the right place.
In this post I want to walk you through the basics of how to start a blog, and while I do, I want to answer some of the basic technical questions that many pre-bloggers need to answer to get their first blog up and running.
There are many reasons to start a blog, but the challenge that faces all aspiring bloggers (including me back in 2002) is: how to start a blog?
This page contains affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.
5 Easy Steps
There are a few simple steps that you will need to complete to start your blog:
- Choose your blogging platform
- Secure a domain name and get hosting in place with SiteGround
- Configure your blog
- Design your blog
- Start creating useful content that serves readers
Below I’ll walk you through how I’d approach each step if I were to start a blog and suggest further reading that will be helpful on other important questions like: choosing a niche, finding readers for your blog, building community with your blog, and thinking about how to make money from it, etc.
My hope is that this step-by-step starting guide will help you to start your first blog. For more in-depth instruction about “How to Start a Blog” consider enrolling in ProBlogger’s FREE Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog Course.
Step 1: Choose a Blogging Platform
To start a blog you’ll need to select a blogging platform – or a tool that helps you to get your content up onto the web.
There are many blogging platforms available but in my mind the choice is clear and simple. I would set up straight away on a WordPress.org site, and I highly recommend you do too.
WordPress is by far the most popular blogging platform and for good reason –
- It is free to use (although you do need to make a small investment in a domain and a server – more on that below)
- It is easy to set up
- It has been around for many years and is a robust and secure system (although you do need to keep it up-to-date to maintain security)
- It has a whole industry of tool providers, designers and developers around it that will help you to customise your blog in many ways
Keep in mind that WordPress offer two tools:
- WordPress.com – where they host your blog, look after the back end, and give you access to have it on their own domain. It’s free to start but, you pay to upgrade different elements of it.
- WordPress.org – where you have complete control and host the blog on your own server, your own domain and have complete control over how it looks, operates and how you can monetise it. It is completely free to use but you need to arrange your own hosting, domain etc.
WordPress.com is easier to set up and means you don’t need to keep upgrading versions of WordPress but it gives you less control over your design, how you monetise and what features you can add. WordPress.com is free to start with but depending upon what upgrades you want to get it can end up being just as expensive as WordPress.org.
My recommendation is to go with WordPress.org – you’ll have a little more work in the setting up phase (I’ll walk you through it below) but in the long run you’ll have full control over the look, feel, features and monetization of your site. It could end up cheaper for you too!
I know some of you are probably searching for advice on how to start a blog for free and so my advice to invest a little in a WordPress.org blog might not be exactly what you’re looking to hear because there are some small costs associated with it – but you’ll be better off in the long run and as you’ll see below the expense is not great.
Step 2: Secure a Domain Name and Set Up Your Blog Hosting
I recommend using SiteGround for getting both your domain and hosting set up.
Choose a Domain
For the next step of starting your blog you’ll need a domain name (your blog’s address) so that you have a home for your blog online. Here on ProBlogger my domain name is www.problogger.com – every blog needs its own domain, so it can be easier said than done to find one that isn’t taken!
For the sake of this article I just want to talk about how to technically get your domain – but there are a few other factors to consider including:
- The Human perspective – readability of your domain, the ease of it to say and remember, etc
- The Brand perspective – uniqueness, what the domain says about you
- The SEO perspective – choosing a domain with good keywords can help your site rank higher in Google
- The Legal perspective – copyright and trademark factors
We cover all four of these areas in our post 4 Things to Consider when Choosing Your Domain Name. I would highly recommend reading that post before you go out and grab a domain.
Depending upon where you get your domain and which domain you choose, a domain isn’t a super-expensive thing to secure – but it will cost you at least a few dollars a year.
Set Up Your Blog Hosting with SiteGround
Perhaps the simplest way to get your domain is to do so with the same place that you get your blog hosted. My recommendation for you is SiteGround.
SiteGround is one of the leading WordPress hosting providers, recommended by WordPress.org. They have built a great reputation for top-rated 24/7 customer service and support, bundled with an all-inclusive list of services and solutions crafted for WordPress specifically.
Step 3: Set Up Your Blog
If you’ve gone with SiteGround as your domain and hosting provider, installing WordPress is super simple. In fact SiteGround have created a simple video overview of how easy it is to do:
And in this longer video tutorial Svetoslav Stamatov, Customer Care Manager at SiteGround, takes us through the journey of Client Area Setup Wizard and show how exactly how to launch your site with SiteGround!
If you have any trouble during this process, they have a live chat support system which enables you to ask questions of their support team.
Note: If you run into trouble WordPress have an installing WordPress page too here.
Once you’ve completed this process, you now have a WordPress blog installed! You started a blog! Congratulations – you’re almost there!
Step 4: Configure and Design Your Blog
If this is your first experience of WordPress you might be looking at the dashboard and wondering what you’ve done by installing it – it feels overwhelming doesn’t it!
Don’t worry – you’ll pick this up in no time and just need a good walk through!
Configuring your blog
Luckily the team at Siteground have put together some very informative video tutorials that will help you with becoming used to WordPress and also setting things up to make your blog look and operate just right.
In this second video tutorial Francesca Marano, WordPress Community & Partnership Manager at SiteGround steps through a bit more detail about how to create a basic site, build a page or post, and make some fundamental WordPress configurations.
Designing your blog
Another thing you’ll want to do now is to think about your blog’s design. First impressions count for a lot so you’ll want one that says something about the type of brand you’re trying to create and that helps you stand out in the crowded blogosphere.
Siteground have a curated collection of pre-made website design ‘themes’ for you to choose from ‘straight out of the box’. However, you may also want to think about about upgrading to a ‘premium theme’ for your blog.
While there are many thousands of free themes out there, this is an area that it can be well worth investing in.
Last time we surveyed ProBlogger readers, we found that most ProBlogger readers agree with this, and have premium themes as the basis of their blog designs. While they will cost you to buy, if you get one from a reputable source they’ll be secure, fast, have good search engine optimisation, will be designed for mobile as well as desktop, and be easy to install and customise.
>> Podcast: How to Decide on a WordPress Theme for Your Blog with graphic designer and developer Kelly Exeter
The premium theme supplier that I have used over the years and highly recommend is StudioPress (aff). I’ve used their themes in the early days of numerous blogs and love their design but also support.
If you’re looking for a really easy solution, check out the new StudioPress Sites, a fully hosted, all-in-one WordPress website builder that will give you:
- The Genesis Framework – Industry Standard Design Framework that makes WordPress easier, without sacrificing power or flexibility
- 20 Mobile-Optimized HTML5 Designs – sleek professional designs that provide beautiful frames for your content
- Fast Loading Cloud Performance – cloud infrastructure that’s optimized specifically for peak WordPress performance
- Zero “Hosting” Hassles – with a fully hosted website that will grow with you and your website traffic
- One-Click Install of Included Plugins – Never wonder which plugins are trustworthy, thanks to your StudioPress Site’s repository of one-click solutions for the functionality you desire.
- Rock-Solid Security
- Advanced SEO Functionality
- Automatic Plugin and Theme Maintenance – Many WordPress site owners spend $$$ every month to have an outside service keep things updated and safe.
- World-Class Support – friendly support team standing by 24/7
To be honest – the design part of setting up a blog is the bit I find hardest. It is definitely possible to do it 100% yourself (and there are many tutorials around that will help you learn the skills to do it) but for 99.9% of new bloggers a theme that you tweak is the way to go.
The other option if you’re super serious is to hire a designer to do a custom design for you. But that is likely to cost you some significant cash to get a reputable designer and so a them is probably the best place to start.
Don’t stress too much in the early days – we all start with a design that we later look back on and cringe a little at. The main thing is to get set up and evolve from there. My key tip is to choose a simple, classic and clean design that you can add a simple logo to to make it a bit more individual and then get on with blogging!
Step 5: Start creating useful content that serves readers
OK – hopefully by now you’ve got your domain, hosting, have installed WordPress and have your theme installed. You have started a blog… but you’re not a blogger until you start creating some content for your blog!
I can’t really tell you what to write on your blog for your first post – because it is something that will vary a lot from blogger to blogger – but I’ll share some links below that might help give you some starting points.
What I can point you to is a couple of helpful videos from our friends at Bluehost again.
There are two types of content that you are able to create for your blog in WordPress – ‘Pages’ and ‘Posts’.
Pages are the ‘static’ pages on your blog that won’t really change that much but which you’ll link to from your menus and navigation areas on your blog. For instance here on ProBlogger my ‘About Page’ and ‘Speaking Page’ are created using a ‘page’.
Your first page should probably be an ‘About Page’ – a page which tells people about you and your blog. It’s a page you’ll want to show up in your navigation area/menu and is going to get quite a few people read it to understand what you’re about as a blogger. If you need help with your About page – check out our previous post on what to include in your About Page?
Let’s start by creating an ‘About Page’ (or a ‘Home’ page as it’s called in the video below). It’s easy to do – in fact if you know how to use a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs then you should be ok!
Here’s exactly how to do that with Francesca from Siteground:
Next it is time to write your first blog post. Posts are a little different and what you’ll spend most of your time creating as a blogger – they’re where you create your regular blog posts. Posts will appear on the front page of your blog once they’re published. They usually have comments and a date to show readers when it was published.
Once again the content is going to vary a lot from blog to blog but how you get that post up onto your blog is a relatively simple process and one that you’re going to become a master at in no time!
In fact you’re going to find this process very similar to creating a ‘page’ for your blog. Here’s the section of the video from Francesca at Siteground on creating ‘posts’.
Further Guidance on Starting Your Blog
There’s a great deal more that you could read about starting a blog but the process above should get you going.
For further instruction about “How to Start a Blog” consider enrolling in ProBlogger’s FREE Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog Course, where ProBlogger founder Darren Rowse will guide you through 7 steps to start your own blog:
1. Is a blog right for you? What is your blogging purpose?
2. What will you blog about? Define your blogging niche and make sure it’s viable
3. What will you call your blog? 4 factors to consider when choosing a domain name
4. Start your blog – register your domain name, set-up hosting and install WordPress
5. Get your blog looking good – blog design and theme choices
6. Add content and functionality to your blog with WordPress
7. Blog launch checklist and bonus learning modules on email and social media
How to Kickstart Your Blog
If you’ve just started your blog and figured out all those first steps of getting your first few posts published, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Course will give you some direction in building successful foundations for a profitable blogging business.
By the end of these 31 steps, you’ll have:
- Set objectives and goals for your blog
- Identified and really understood your audience
- Learned techniques for coming up with new post ideas
- Promoted your blog in a variety of ways and found new readers
- Deepened reader engagement with current readers
- Developed an editorial calendar for your blog
- Discovered ways to be more connected to your niche/topic
- Designed a plan for the next month of your blogging
- Explored opportunities for monetizing your blog
- Clarified your next steps on the path to a blogging business
Also check out some of these articles and podcast episodes:
- What do I need to have ready before I Launch my Blog?
- 10 Things I Wish I Knew About Blogging When I Started
- Create an Elevator Pitch for Your Blog
- How to Craft a Blog Post
- 21 Common Blogging Mistakes
- How to Make Money Blogging
Have you Started a blog?
If you’ve used this guide to start a blog I’d love to hear from you in comments below. Feel free to let us know what blog you started and how you found using this guide including how we could improve it to make the processing of getting started easier.
I Really liked your post and you this blog, thanks for the awesome blog
thanks for reading Aniee
Great tips! In my opinion, the most important thing for blogging is to creat unique and attractive contet – for both – users and Google.
thanks Adam – definitely very important to be doing those things.
Don’t forget to spend a little time to find some potential partners and friends online who are not direct competitors but who work in a similar niche. You can collaborate on content, count on getting am more shares and feel a little less “one day marketing”. Buzzsumo is a good took for this.
Good tip James – probably one of those things to work on early after you’ve got the blog up and running for sure.
Fantastic post! I found the step-by-step instructions and screenshots to be super helpful. I just made the big switch from WordPress.com to self-hosting this week. Thanks so much!
glad to hear that DP! That’s a smart move to get onto self hosting – congrats!
Hi Darren, this is my first comment after reading your blog for long time. Newbie bloggers always tend to blog at free blogging platforms such as blogspot or wordpress.com, once they move to wordpress, they will realize the power of wordpress, community, support and everything.
I’ve read your write-up on content development and it’s quite impressive.
I’m a blogger and I write on wide range of issues. But I ever since I completed a professional course in Health and Safety, I’ve resolved to focus on that subject. I’ve since published a few topics on my blog “From My Lazy Chair” http://theerudite1.blogspot.com and http://nzikpidordorblog.wordpress.com
But I’ve noticed I’m not getting a lot of people visiting my blog. Meanwhile, when I blog on issues having to do with politics, I do get an encouraging number of people visiting my blog.
You may want to help me out with the development of the content in this regard.
You’ve been doing great and elevating my spirit about blogging which i would probably start this month ending-thanks alot.
I want to know…which is the first step to start? Will i first create my site on wordpress and then later go to bluehost to do the hosting?
Thanks Darren. What is your opinion of the Blogger blogspot platform? I know the prevailing sentiment is negative, but I do know a few very successful people who swear by it. In fact, one in particular in the art community receives 60,000 plus views a month, while not even using their own domain on it. They use nothing but the themes that Blogger provides, “quite well I made add”.
It has made me re-think my opinion of the platform. Unfortunately I have had a lot issues with host providers over the years, and more than a few headaches with WordPress and different themes. I don’t remember too many issues with Google’s Blogger, but I always felt I had to do the WordPress Host and Domain thing to be legit.
Jason if I knew I was going to stick to blogging and give it a serious go I’d follow the approach outlined above and go with a hosted option like WordPress rather than start on Blogspot.
Thank you Darren for this article. I have read and saved it for later. It is going to be really useful.
Just one thing though, the link to “inmotion hosting” is going to Evernote.
Thank you again.
you’re welcome Eduardo.
Hi Darren, I used WordPress since 2008 and am astounded by the dizzying array of possibilities that its ecosystem offers today. Your only limit is your imagination. That said, I do question if it is the right choice for most bloggers.
In my case, I found myself noodling around too much and fussing over tiny things all the time instead of investing in creating more quality content for my audience.
By the time I paid for professional level hosting (wpEngine), support services (wpCurve), custom design, and various premium parts (theme, plugins, and various SaaS), it really added up.
I think that until very recently, going down that route was the only viable choice for a professional grade website or blog, but I don’t believe that is the case today.
I’m currently in the process of moving my personal site to Squarespace, and my various magazine style blogs to “Medium for Publishers.” I will lose a lot of freedom and options, but it’s a sacrifice that I’m willing to make in return for dropping the time and money I spend on tinkering with the platform to almost zero.
I believe that the network effect of Medium, and the other many features it has, will benefit me more than having my own stand alone blog. A number of substantial publishers agree and are making the move from WordPress to Medium for this reason.
That said, WordPress is still the best choice to anyone who does need full control over all aspects of their site. And, it is still insanely great value for money – the things you can do with it these days for a modest investment would have cost a fortune ten years ago.
I know how PHP, HTML,CSS … so it’s not difficult for me to set up a website, but my problem is content. English is not my native language, so I have to hire writers to write articles for me. Results are always not satisfied. They usually don’t give me the article that I need. I have waste plenty of money on those crappy writers.
Hi, Darren. I’m in the middle of this blog, which has been most valuable. The videos by Dan are helpful as well. However, it appears the WordPress design has been revamped, so it was kind of hard to follow the video and navigate through my version of WordPress. Of course, like he said, it’s good to experiment, which I did, but I just thought I’d let you know, so he can update them (if you know him, that is).
I’ve had a couple of experiences in blogging. and Now I’m planning on launching a new blog. I was writing about history back then and because It had some pretty content we got very good results. (It wasn’t that narrow too. It was about art, history and culture at the same time) But this time I’m starting all alone and history is my field of expertise. Should I start with a history blog, or a blog generally about humanities?
I really need some advise, because On the one hand It’s really not easy starting a history blog and expecting good traffic (I’m over thinking about traffic. because my previous experiences made me realise that a good content will attract readers eventually) and On the other hand, I’m not sure If I should have a blog that I can write series posts about politics and stuff like that along with history or I should just have history-focused blog.
I would appreciate it if could give some advise on this and others, If the have any idea what I should do.
Great article Darren. WordPress is such a powerful platform that goes well beyond just blogging. I have tried a few others over the years, but have always gone back to WordPress. It is hard to beat the community and development that it provides. It’s like going from a Luxury car to a Yugo when trying many other platforms.
This was truly amazing. I’ve been trying to get motivated to blog since I was a junior in high school. It took until I ran into this post (after graduating with a BS degree) before I finally felt confident enough to just go for it. This step-by-step process using your own suggestions and dialogue combined with well placed videos by BlueHost finally got me to start writing. I started last night and am scheduled to probably go live with my blog by this weekend. Thank you.
Thank you Darren for this post. I am new to blogging and hopefully intend to monetize my blog in the nearest future. This was definitely a great intro to blogging.
Hello Danny, thank you very much for this. But why would you choose wordpress over great platforms like tumblr or blogspot?
I am blogging on blogspot. It’s good. At least without any security issues or plugin updates and hosting cost.
Wonderful article! Been blogging for quite some time now, although on and off, due to my dialysis treatment. Had a sponsored site before – DIalysis Postings, but having problems with it and I cannot access the back end of the blog. Set up another at wordpress.com free platform – wornkidneys.wordpress.com, simply because I cannot afford my own domain and hosting. But this doesn’t stop me from blogging and reading this article is still an eye opener for me. Hope I could set up my own domain and hosting for Worn Kidneys someday.
Nice post on How to start a blog. I can say this is complete guide on how to start a blog. I recommend self-hosted WordPress to run a blog. Because It provides much more features than WordPress.com. Nice article.
Cool posts I am still getting good and wordpress. What really helped me was blogging from my phone and building pages.
Keep blogging and building pages and I got good at making pages still looking to go through this post, wished I would have read every post.
Whats up I made another post to help you along in the blogging world.
Thank you for this amazing article. I love your blog! Question: If I’m going to monetize my blog, do I need to register it as a business in my state? I’m assuming obviously so, but wanted feedback on that.
Wonderful Article! Mr. Darren Rowse, First of all I’m trying since 2002 as well but i had a good perience while using a forum it was free at that time and i had earned a few dollars via that free forum. but Now, I’m planing to start blogging straight while searching for the required steps, I found your blog the more knowledgeble and interesting and it motivated me more to do the right thing straight away! Thanks for the awesome stuff. :)
Great article… about wordpress. WordPress is popular cms platform for blog.
Thanks for posting such great article.Wordpress helped me to build my blog.I liked your blog very much because you provided such detailed information.
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Agreed. In the past years, setting up a blog is quite dificult and challenging to start. It really takes time and effort to get you through it. Thanks for the guide, this makes blogging so simple and smart. Well written!
It is indeed very important to take note that presentation plays a major role. In configuring and designing your blog, it would best to make it enticing and pleasing to the eye. People are very cautious nowadays when it comes to suspicious websites that don’t really look presentable.
Thank you for this very informative article!
Interesting articles, very useful for new bloggers like me.
i’m newbie blogger and i have question about it
it’s easy to start a blog but how we maintained its journey i mean something that newbie like me getting inspiration to making a successful blog
Covered up everything. Thanks Darren once again.
This is really a great guide :) btw can I ask if bluehost charges monthly? or annually? or you have to pay it all? some blogs say it’s monthly, some says it’s annual, and other says you have to pay it all. I’m just so confused and I can’t start my blog just because of that
they charged annually
Its a very nice & interested cortical.
Nice and interesting article. Its very useful and helpful article
Really good points about choosing a domain name – I like the different perspectives. It makes a lot of sense! Good article.
we can be susscefull bloger without a especific nich ?
i mean i create mine and i post about aleatories and give some tips for users, can i be a great blogger?
Hi! I saw you succeeded in specific niche. Congrats for your success and May I know your blog name?
Clear and easy to understand. Although I started my blog, I intent to use the information to improve it.
At last, I created my first blog based on the knowledge I learned from this article. I have read so many articles on other’s blog, but the information has more Good Thoughts and hence I started my business.
I have been trying to get a blog going for months now, I went the WordPress way and ended up confused and none the wiser, now I’m signed up with Wix, but still need to know a lot more. I’m very pleased to have found pro blogger!
Good article for beginners
This is really nice blog.
great article, very usefull for me
thank you darren
Really nice article, thanks for sharing. I created my first blog based on the knowledge I learned from this article.
Question: Do I engage StudioPress after I set up my blog on WordPress through Bluehost or do I engage from the start, when I have only a domain?
Thank you for this awesome information. I’m new to blogging industry. Your Article is really useful for me