Starting your blog can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a beginner. There’s so much to do, and you can’t help to feel lost. That’s why I’ve created this beginner’s guide on how to start a blog just for you.
I know from personal experience how hard it is to start your blog when there is just so much information available online. I felt so confused when I first decided to start my blog and didn’t know if I was doing things properly.
A lot of blog posts about how to start a blog only give you the general guidelines, and don’t explain other important details that you need to know as well.
I can assure you that if you follow this guide, you’ll have your blog up and running in no time, with everything you need to start working right away!
Starting a blog is easier than you think. Plus, you don’t have to spend fortunes, which is great when you’re a beginner, with a small budget.
There’s something, though, that is important to be aware of. Often people think of blogging as a hobby.
However, if you plan to blog for a living, then a blog is so much more than that. It’s a business, your own business! And just like any other business, it takes time and a lot of hard work to grow and generate income.
On the other side, unlike other businesses, it requires little investment, and you’re almost guaranteed to be successful if you’re willing to put in the work and make the “right moves”.
Let’s do this!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost for you. Please read my full disclosure for more information.
Before you Start…
Before you start your blog you must consider the following tips.
Start thinking like a blogger
To become a blogger, you have to be in the right mindset. This is probably the most important piece of advice you should have present on your mind when deciding to start a blog.
What do I mean?
I mean that you blog for your audience, not for you. You might be tempted to write what you want, about the topics you want. You may also make the mistake of focusing your content all on yourself.
That is very wrong! The first thing you have to understand is that you’re creating a business, and businesses serve clients. In your case, your clients will be your readers.
So, you have to study your audience and figure out what their problems and concerns are. People go online to search for something they need to know or to discover answers to their questions. They aren’t that interested in knowing things about you. They want to learn, they want answers to their questions and problems.
Understanding that you are serving your audience, is one of the most important parts of being a blogger. It’s ok to share your opinion, your thoughts, and experiences, but remember to do it in a way that’s helpful and insightful for your readers.
Of course, this is different when you have a personal blog and you’re sharing your own experiences. If that is your goal, by all means, you should do it. However, if you plan on making a living out of your blog, you have to think about your audience and what they need from you.
If you focus on their problems and teach them how to overcome them, you will convert them into loyal readers, who will come back for more, and might even buy from you in the future!
Find what you like to write about
The next tip I have for you is to choose wisely what you’ll be writing about.
Blogging isn’t easy. You’re pretty much running a business all by yourself.
You have to come up with ideas, organize and plan your content, create content, grow your email list, answer comments and emails, run your social media strategy, and other stuff.
So, consider that you should only blog about topics that you truly love. If you’re writing about things you don’t like you’re going to end up unmotivated, and it’s going to be hard to manage all of the work you have to get done.
Bear in mind that you also have to like writing. As a blogger, you’re going to spend a lot of your time writing “fresh” content. If you don’t like writing, blogging might not work for you in the long run.
So, whatever it is you choose to write about, you have to be passionate about it.
Find Your Niche and Audience
A niche refers to your targeted area of business. In your case, it will be the area your blog focuses on. It relates to which people it serves, and their specific needs and preferences.
If you truly want to make money blogging, you have to think about who you’re writing to. You have to know your ideal audience.
Knowing who you’re speaking to will make it easier to create content because you know exactly who you’re writing for and what your target audience needs from you.
Think about it. If you are writing for everybody, you will tend to create broader content that isn’t going to be helpful for anyone in specific. Remember, people are looking for answers to their questions and problems, so you have to provide clear answers to their needs.
Let’s say your blog is for new moms. You would want to write content that is specific to their struggles. If you write a post about the 10 best stores to buy a computer, this post isn’t going to be helpful for them, because they will probably be more concerned about learning the 10 best brands of diapers that are safe to use on their newborn babies.
See what I mean? Even though everybody needs a computer, this post isn’t going to fit exactly what your audience is looking to find in your content.
When blogging, you should consider your readers’ gender, age, tastes, struggles, needs, and wants.
If you know who you’re writing for, it’ll be easier for you to study exactly what they need and, automatically, what you should write about.
After knowing what you’re going to write about, as well as, your niche, it’s time to take action and start creating your blog.
Follow along on these 12 steps.
1. Choose your domain name and your hosting platform
A domain is your blog’s address. It’s what identifies your blog. It’s also the name people will search for on search engines when they want to find your blog/content. In my case, my domain name is “Sicama”.
Your domain name must be simple, easy to remember, and easy to write.
Avoid using signs or hyphens on it because people will forget to include them when searching for your blog and, due to that, may not even find you. That’s not what you want!
After you choose your domain name, you have to check if it’s available. You can check that by searching on Namecheap, for example.
You can easily register your domain on Namecheap and start using your blog name in a matter of minutes.
In my case, however, I purchased my domain name when I purchased my hosting platform, which is SiteGround.
They have a wide range of domain extensions, at amazing prices! We’ll talk about this in a second.
1.2. Hosting Platform
A hosting platform is where your website’s files are stored. For your content, images, videos, etc. to appear for other people online, you have to have a hosting platform.
Choosing your hosting platform wisely can make every difference as far as the quality you provide to your readers. So, my advice to you is that you shouldn’t host your blog on a free platform.
On free hosting platforms you’ll have downsides like getting ads displayed on your content, even if you don’t want them there, poor tech support when your website is down, slow loading speed (which is a big turnoff for a lot of people), and even bigger problems like having your website completely shut down and there’s nothing you can do about it.
To avoid these types of problems my recommendation is that you go self-hosted.
Going self-hosted ensures that your content is 100% yours and, this way, you are in full control of your content and your blog. It’s like having your little piece of land on the internet.
There are amazing hosting platforms that are super affordable for beginners.
I use and recommend SiteGround. They are an amazing hosting platform that keeps your blog fast and secure, which is what you want! They also provide 24-7 amazing support whenever you find yourself struggling with technical issues on your blog.
You can access an entire year of this powerful hosting platform at a discounted price of only $1.99/month for the StartUp plan, and rest assured that your blog is secure and working properly.
Their other plans are also really affordable and come with extra features that allow your blog an extra layer of security, as well as an amazing loading speed.
1.3. Setup SiteGround
Choose your plan. If you’re a beginner blogger with little budget, you can choose their Start Up plan and upgrade to a better plan later.
However, if you can, you should invest in the GrowBig plan as it will bring you other great features.
After you choose your plan you’ll be taken to the next step where you can either register a new domain or, if you already have one, you can insert it here.
If you’re registering for a new domain, I advise you to purchase the Domain Privacy option. This way your information won’t be public and you won’t receive inconvenient phone calls or emails.
If you already have a domain purchased from Namecheap, I’ll show you in the next section how to configure it to work with Siteground.
After you’ve found a domain name you’re happy with you just have to fill in your account details and payment information.
And there you go! You now have your very own SiteGround account!
You can log in to your SiteGround account shortly after that. This is what you’ll see when you access your SiteGround account:
1.4. Verify Your Domain
Once you’re in your SiteGround account, you’ll see a notice that asks you to validate your domain name. This is very important and you should not skip this step.
To verify your domain, access the email account that you’ve used to sign up to Siteground and you should find an email that’s named “Verification Required”. Inside this email, you’ll find the link to verify your domain. Just click the link and verify your information.
In case you didn’t receive a verification email, go to SiteGround’s homepage > Services > Domains > My Domains> Resend email, and you should receive it now.
1.4.1. Setup Your Domain From Namecheap
If you registered a domain on Siteground itself, you can skip to the next step.
However, and this is very important if you had previously purchased your domain on Namecheap, then there are extra steps you need to take to have your blog up and running properly.
Linking your Namecheap domain to Siteground is a more technical matter, so be very careful when doing this.
Once you get to the point of creating a new website on Siteground, select the “I already have a Domain” option, place your domain name in the designated place, and hit next. This will present you with DNS codes to point your domain to from Namecheap. If you’ve previously skipped this step you can access this DNS information from your Siteground Dashboard > Website > Site tools
Now, go to your Namecheap Dashboard > Domain List > Manage
Then, scroll down to NameServers and place these 2 DNS codes on your Nameserver information. To do so, click on “add Nameserver”, and place one of your DNS records here. Then, repeat the process for the second record.
Hit save, and you’re done!
It’s now time to get your blog secure now. To achieve that, we’re going to activate an SSL certificate provided by Siteground. An SSL certificate allows for sensitive information, like credit card numbers, social security numbers, login credentials, and other information, to be transmitted securely and privately between browsers and web servers.
Not having an SSL certificate active can be very bad for you since it causes some browsers to “block” your readers’ access to your content, warning them that your content may be dangerous for them. And that’s not something we want. We want our readers to feel secure when accessing and browsing our blog.
To activate your SSL Certificate, go to SiteGround’s Homepage > Website > Site tools > Security > SSL manager > Select the SSL certificate > Install > Activate.
Then, on your left panel, below “SSL Manager”, click on HTTPS Enforce and turn on the option to enforce.
Now your content is secured.
1.6. Create Your Professional Email
Now it’s time to create an email with your domain name. This is very important since it shows that you are a real business, and provides credibility to your readers.
From your Siteground dashboard, click on the Websites tab. Then, click on Site Tools:
Then, click on Email >> Accounts. This is where you can create your emails with your domain name.
Create your personalized email and password. You can create more than one email with your domain name if you want.
To use this email, you can use this: Webmail
2. Install WordPress
2.1. WordPress Install
Now that we got that part out of the way, it’s time to bring your blog to life. To do so, you need to install WordPress.
WordPress is an amazing publishing platform that allows you to easily create a blog without having to use code.
To install WordPress head over to your SiteGround dashboard:
Click on Websites > Start New website > WordPress > Setup your login credentials > Click on Finish.
Quick and easy right?
To access your WordPress dashboard go to Siteground > Websites > WordPress Admin and you should see your Dashboard that’ll look something like this:
This is your blog’s backend. From here you’ll manage all of your content.
2.2. Setup Blog Title, Tagline, Language, and Time Zone
From your WordPress Dashboard, you’re going to access the left pannel Settings > General and you’ll come to a page like the one below.
Fill out your blog information, language, timezone, etc, and save it at the end.
Make sure your Membership option is unchecked.
I know this all may seem difficult and confusing, but it’s nearly done, I promise!
2.3. Change Your Permalink to Post Name
This next step is very important. You’re going to change your permalink.
A Permalink is an URL that identifies every piece of content on your blog (posts, pages, etc). It contains your domain name, as well as a slug, as you can see in the image below.
Permalinks, as the name hints, are meant to be permanent so you want to change this as soon as you create your blog. Changing this after you’ve already posted content is only going to bring you a lot of headaches since your current links will all stop working.
From your WordPress dashboard:
Scroll down to Settings > Permalinks > Change to post name > Save changes
You can see what you have to change here:
This way, your URL will display your posts’ name, which is great when you’re trying to rank higher on search engines like Google. Search Engines will “read” your link, and have a better understanding of your content.
This improves your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). As a blogger, you want to understand what SEO is, and why it’s so important for your business.
2.4. Install Important Plugins
Plugins are additional tools you can install on your blog, whether to customize it or to display other functions like protecting and optimizing your blog.
To install a plugin:
WordPress Dashboard > Plugins > Add New > Search for the plugin you need > Install > Activate
As an example, let’s say you want to add an antispam plugin on your blog:
After installing and activating your plugins, you can manage them by accessing: WordPress Dashboard > Plugins > Installed plugins.
Some plugins are important to have on your blog right from the beginning like an anti-spam plugin, or a plugin that allows you to backup your content for example.
Here are some plugins that I recommend for you (all of them are available in both free and paid versions):
- Antispam Bee: To avoid spam comments on your posts’ comment section.
- Broken Link Checker: Notifies you when any of your links aren’t working properly.
- Sassy Social Share: For your social media icons.
- Smush: Reduces your image file size, improving site speed.
- UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore: Allows you to schedule your blogs’ backup.
- WP Super Cache: Cleans your cache, making your blog faster.
- All-in-One SEO: Runs analyses on your blog to check if everything is SEO-friendly so you can rank higher on search engines.
2.5. Install a Theme
Ok, so now that we’ve got all of these steps out of the way, it’s time to start customizing your blog. This is where the fun part begins!!
Your blog will already have a theme installed by default. It’s important to head over to your posts page and eliminate the “Hello World” post.
WordPress Dashboard > Posts > All Posts > Select the “Hello World” post > Select move to trash > Apply
From this point on, you’ll be working only on your WordPress Dashboard.
It’s now time to choose a new theme for your blog! To do so, go to: WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Themes > Add new > Select the theme you like the best > Install > Activate
There are two very important things to keep in mind when choosing a theme:
- Your theme should be responsive so that it works well on any type of device
- Your theme should be fast and lightweight, to help keep your loading speed as low as possible
I’ve used both of them on my blogs and I love them. They are super easy to customize and are lightweight which is very important to reduce your bounce rate (how fast someone leaves your blog – faster-loading blogs have a lower bounce rate and that’s exactly what you want).
Before installing a new theme, you want to deactivate the current theme. To do so, go to your WP Dashboard > Appearance > Themes > Select the active one> Deactivate
To install your new theme go to your WP Dashboard > Appearance > Themes > Add new > Choose one > Install and Activate
It gives you access to a lot more features to customize and personalize your blog.
After choosing your theme and activating it, check the front end of your blog, refresh the page, and you should now see your new theme installed.
To do so, go to your WP Dashboard > Click the home icon at the top of the page
You can now head over to customize, and start adding some personality to your blog.
WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Customize
My advice is to keep it simple, and then work your way up from there, so don’t stress too much about having the perfect blog.
For extra customization, don’t forget to check out Elementor. It’s a super affordable tool, that’ll take your blog to a whole different level.
2.6. Create Your Brand
Start by thinking about your logo. Your logo is a very important part of your blog because it’s what identifies your blog.
You can either ask a graphic designer to create one for you or create one yourself if you don’t want to make a big investment in your blog to start.
To create your logo, I recommend you use Canva. Canva is a tool that allows you to create all sorts of graphics you can imagine. You can use their pre-made templates, or create your logo from scratch.
Canva will also be useful to create other graphics for your blog, so be sure to check it out.
Another great tip I have for you is to choose your brand’s color scheme and stick to it. Make sure that your colors are the same throughout all your blog so that your brand is consistent.
The same goes for your typography. Choose a font that’s easy to read.
2.7. Create Important Pages
There are key pages you should have on your blog, such as About Me, Contact Page, and your legal pages.
To create a page go to WP dashboard > Pages > Add New > Create the page you want > Publish
Your blog is a business and businesses need legal protection. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have these pages created on your blog. They’ll protect you from expensive lawsuits! Given the importance of these pages, and given the fact that you probably want to make money from your blog, as a side hustle or as a full-time income, it’s best to protect your blog, so that your efforts don’t go down the drain!
To protect my blog, I use the Legal Templates Bundle. It includes the 3 pages I mentioned above, plus bonus legal tips and terms.
I’ve been so relieved ever since I got these legal templates because I know that my blog is protected. These templates were created by Amira who is a lawyer by profession, as well as a blogger, so who best to write legal pages to protect your blog?
The templates are incredibly easy to adapt to your own business. Plus, they come with amazing instructions on how to fill them out. I was amazed at how simple it was!
In under 15 min, I had my legal pages up on my blog!
So be sure to check the Legal Templates Bunlde out.
Related: How to Avoid Lawsuits When Blogging
2.8. Create A Menu
It’s now time to create a menu to place the pages you’ve created. To do so:
WordPress dashboard > Appearance > Menus
Here you can create your menu or menus and choose where you want to place them on your blog.
On your menu, you can add whatever you wish. You can add pages, posts, links to your social media, and your categories. You can even add subcategories by dragging and dropping them on your menu settings.
2.9. Create Your Categories
Having categories makes your blog more organized. It helps your readers find your content faster.
It’s also an opportunity for your audience to find similar content to what they are searching for, which is great for you.
Set a maximum of 5 categories on which your content focuses.
To create your categories:
WordPress dashboard > Posts > Categories > Add new
You can easily create and manage your categories as you can see above.
This way, when you’re creating your posts, you can assign them to their related category.
To create a post:
WordPress dashboard > Posts > Add new
3. Subscribe to An Email Service Provider
As a blogger, you have to engage with your audience. The best way you can connect with your readers, besides social media, is via email. You can start conversations, send updates, send notifications for new posts, and so much more.
Collecting emails from your subscribers from day one is the best decision you can make for your blog if you’re serious about monetizing your blog. To connect with your viewers via email you need an email service provider.
An email service provider is a service that allows you to manage, communicate and deliver marketing material via email to your readers.
There are several email service providers out there, but now all of them are beginner friendly.
My advice is to start growing your email list with Mailerlite. I use it and love it.
It’s affordable, and incredibly simple to use for content creation. Plus, you can use their services for free up to 1000 email subscribers and still get access to a lot of amazing features they have to offer.
If you wish to start with Mailerlite, you can click here and configure your account. It only takes a few minutes.
4. Create a Pinterest Business Account
As a blogger, especially as a beginner blogger, Pinterest will be your best friend! Pinterest is a visual search engine that’s amazing at sending traffic to your blog.
Mastering Pinterest should be at the top of your priorities as a beginner. What’s great about it is that when people search for a topic, Pinterest will only show them results from their own database, rather than from all of the internet. That’s amazing because this enhances the chances of your content being displayed in front of your reader’s eyeballs since there are fewer results to choose from.
So, go ahead and create your Pinterest account right now if you haven’t already.
After that, convert your normal account into a business account. Don’t worry, it’s free.
Then, you have to claim your account. Claiming a website is linking Pinterest to your WordPress blog.
Go to your Profile > Settings > Claimed accounts > Claim.
Copy the Add HTML Tag code you see:
Come back to your WP Dashboard and, on the left panel, go to All in One SEO > General Settings > Webmaster Tools > Pinterest Verification > Insert the HTML code you’ve copied from Pinterest > Save Changes
Then, go back to Pinterest and you’ll be asked to insert your blog URL:
After you hit “verify” you should see a message confirming that you are connected.
And done!!! You have now created your blog, created an account to connect with your readers, and have your Pinterest all set up for success! What a rollercoaster, right? You should be proud of yourself right now.
What’s the next step? Start driving traffic to your blog, monetize it, and build your email list. You’ve got this!
You might like to read these blog posts:
See you in my next post!