So you want to start your own blog, but your not sure how to go about it?
Well, you have come to the right place.
Starting a blog is actually a lot easier than most people realize, this tutorial will take you through the process from start to finish, and less than 1 hour from now, you can have your very own blog up and running.
Whether you are setting up your blog as a hobby, for a business or as a way of generating some extra income, the setup process is exactly the same.
Then once you have your basic blog setup, you can choose from thousands of prebuilt themes and templates to style your blog the way you want it.
So let’s get right to it.
In order for your blog to function properly, there are 3 things you will need to do:
- Step 1: Choose and register a domain name for your blog
- Step 2: Setup a web host to host your blog on the internet
- Step 3: Install a blog script that will run your blog
If those things sound a bit scary, or too technical, don’t worry, it’s really very simple and I am going to show you every single step.
Step 1: Choose A Domain Name For Your Blog
Every blog on the internet requires a domain name, it acts as your address, so people can find your blog by typing your domain name into their internet browser.
So you will need to find something that you like and make sure it is available (that nobody else has already registered it).
Depending on the type of blog you are planning to start, you may want to use your own name as a domain, (like PaulStewart.com) or some descriptive words to tell your readers what your blog is about, (like KatesCookingBlog.com) or something like that.
You will also need to decide if you want to use a .com, .net or .org extension. You can choose whichever you want, but most people try to stick with .com or .net.
To see if your desired domain name is available, enter it into the tool below and click search:
Step 2: Setup A Web Host Account For Your Blog
Ok, now that you have chosen a domain name, you will need to setup an account with a web hosting company who will house your blog and make it available on the internet 24/7 for the whole world to see.
There are a lot of good companies offering web hosting, and for a small blog like the one we are setting up here, you will only need a relatively small account which will cost around $5 to $10 per month.
I personally recommend a company called GreenGeeks. They are an American company based in California and have great server speed and uptimes. And perhaps most importantly, they are super easy to use and offer great support in case you ever need it.
I have also negotiated a 20% discount for anyone who signs up from this tutorial, so to get your account setup with GreenGeeks
Click on the “View Hosting Plans” button and you should see something like this:
This page gives you a bit more information about the plan you are about to create. Have a read through it if you want, or just click “Get Started”
Next you will see this page:
This is where you will enter the domain name you chose in step 1. (in the left side box) Then click “Check Availability”
(If you already own a domain and want to use it, you can enter it in the box on the right).
If your domain is available (which we already know it should be) you will see a Sign Up Congratulations message below: (if not, you will need to choose another domain)
Simply enter your contact details to create your account with GreenGeeks, then scroll down to the next section:
Here you need to choose your hosting plan. There are 4 options from paying a single month at a time ($9.95 per month) to pay up to 3 Years in advance. It’s up to you which plan you choose, but to take advantage of the Free Domain, Free Setup and 20% Off Coupon, you will need to choose one of the yearly plans. (starting at 1 year for $6.36/month)
You can also choose Domain WHOIS Privacy. Every Domain lists its owner as public record, But if you want to hide your identity, you can use the Private WHOIS Option.
Once you have choosen a plan, scroll down and enter your payment information:
Then simply click the “Create Account & Get Started” Button!
That it, you have signed up for your hosting account and domain name. You will receive a confirmation email with all your login details which you will need before you complete the final step.
You will usually receive this email within a matter of minutes, but sometimes it can take longer. GreenGeeks will sometimes call you to confirm the order, it is just a part of their credit card fraud prevention policy, to ensure your safety.
Step 3: Setting Up Your Blog Script.
There are many ways you can build your actual blog, there is software you can buy and there are also free scripts that you can use.
WordPress is a free blogging script that is currently being used by millions of websites around the world.
It is by far the most popular option and is easy to use and fully customizable. (This blog is built on wordpress).
WordPress also allows you to utilize thousands of free pre-designed themes, which you can use to change the look and feel of your blog with just a few clicks, meaning that you don’t have to spend your money hiring expensive web designers to get your blog looking great.
Manually installing WordPress on your website can be a bit difficult, which is another reason I use and recommend GreenGeeks.
They have set their servers up so it is super easy to install WordPress with just a few clicks, so let’s get it done.
In your welcome email from GreenGeeks, you will have a link to your Customer Login page, which will look like this:
Just enter your email and password (supplied in the GreenGeeks email) and click “Login to Account Manager”.
Once you are inside, you will see the screen below, which shows you your current account.
Click on the Blue cPanel Login button which will take you to your actual website Control Panel “cPanel” which will look like this:
There are a lot of options on this page, you can setup email accounts, check your traffic stats and a heap of other things, but for now we are going to focus on setting up your blog, so scroll down until you see the WordPress icon and click on it.
Next you will see a screen with some information about WordPress, just click on the Install tab at the top.
Next you will see the Software Setup Screen, where you will need to enter a few things.
The first two options “Choose Protocol” & “Choose Domain” will be preset, so you can just skip them and leave then as they are.
The “In Directory” option, is where you can choose to install your blog into a secondary directory if you want to.
If you are happy to install your blog on the root domain, simple leave this section blank.
If you don’t understand what that means, don’t worry, just make sure the “In Directory” input box is blank. (if there is anything in it, just delete it).There may be a few other options, but you can just leave them as they are.The next one you do need to fill in is the Site Name: (just enter the name of your blog) and a Site Description (enter a slogan or descriptive sentence if you have one, or just leave it blank).
Leave the “Enable Multisite (WPMU)” option un-ticked.The next section will ask you for a username, password and admin email. These are the logins you will use to manager your blog, so choose something you will remember, and write it down somewhere.Once you have done that, just click on the Install Button at the bottom:
It may take a minute or two for the script to install itself, and when it is done, you will see a screen like this:
Congratulations, you have just successfully setup your very own blog.
At the moment it will just be a very basic blog using the default WordPress theme, but I will show you how to change that in a minute.
For now, check out your new blog, type your domain name into your browser and make sure it works and looks something like this:
Bonus Section: How to Fine Tune Your New Blog
OK so lets have a look at how to manage your blog. First you’ll need to log in to the back end of your blog, to do this, add the follow text to your domain name: /wp-login/ log into the site using the user/pass you just put up.
For example: www.yourblogname.com/wp-login/
You can also login with the “login” link on your default blog page.
Once you have access, you will see your dashboard, which is where you will manage your blog from:
On the left hand side you will see your quick-links to pages, posts, tags, comments and category and change your WordPress theme.
Now will be the time to become familiar with the Dashboard as this is how you control your site.
You will see all the sub-menus on the left hand side of the screen. While they all play an important role, it isn’t something you have to learn fully straight away. The first thing to spend you time on is familiarizing your self with the menu’s below.
Here is a brief description for you to help keep it simple.
This is what you will use to “post’ on your blog. When you create posts inside WordPress, you can choose the page they’ll be displayed on, the date you publish them, the name of the publisher, and the option to give your blog visitors the ability to post comment on your posts. You will also be able to set up diverse post categories.
The media menu allows you to manage your videos and pictures that you place on your blog.
In the link section, you can generate a variety of different links and link categories you can use later on to create customized sidebar widgets.
you’ll use this to add fresh new pages to your blog. You can browse the different options available; enabling/disabling comments, page slug, altering page order, adjusting the page template etc.
The appearance section allows you to customize the way you blog will look, beginning with the theme you have chosen, to the menus and sidebar widgets. There are lots of ways to customize your blogs appearance, so have a play around; you’ll be very pleased with what you can do.
Plugins are useful tools if they are applied correctly. There are lots of different third party plugins out there that will allow you to speed the performance of your blog, boost visibility of the website on search engines, improve the visual style and look, etc.
This part is for the addition or modification of the existing user settings like profiles, passwords, emails, etc.
The setting menu allows you to set up things like your blog name, media settings, the front page display, the date format, and the descriptions. From the settings menu, you can also reconfigure any third party plugins you install.
Follow the steps above and you will have your blog set up and running in no time at all. You can then start your blog right now by adding your very own content and posts. You can also give more thought to the theme that you may wish to install if you don’t want to use the default theme. If after you’ve gone through the 5 steps you feel you still need more just send us a message through the contact us page and we’ll be very pleased to point you in the right direction.