The Beginner’s Guide: How to Start a Blog From Scratch
Everything you need to start a successful blog
This guide is well-packed with all you need to know about “how to start a blog” now… everything plus bonus tips to get you started on the right path. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn.
I’ve spent several months making a lot of mistakes, trying out different approaches, blogging technicalities and even niche ideas… so believe me when I say blogging is a bit unproductive and redundant if you don’t plan well at the start.
And if you ever want to earn any income from your blog, you have to create a blog profit funnel, a basic plan that’s workable… the good thing is that it’s an easy thing to do if you’re passionate and knowledgeable about your blog’s niche.
Bookmark this page or download the pdf worksheet, for an easier future reference.
Build a blog or website using WordPress from the scratch for yourself and for anyone & get paid: creating a new source of income and acquiring a valuable skill.
I’ll try to get to the point, make it simple and easy while making sure I don’t miss out anything. Let’s dive in it already.
Step 1. Finding and Selecting a niche
After deciding to start a blog, the first important step to take is choosing a topic area to blog about. A good niche or topic area is the secret of any successful and lucrative blog.
You wouldn’t want to spend a year or two blogging about the wrong topic after putting in a lot of time. Knowing that you might spend the next 5 to 10 years or more blogging, selecting a good niche becomes a must.
A good niche for you is:
• What you are passionate about
• What you’re knowledgeable about
A Blog’s niche could be about a specific topic in fashion, life-hacks, traveling, a particular product
• Health and fitness
• Viral News (Gossips)
• Relationships, Graphic Designs, A Product Review, Religion, Hobbies and much more… hundreds.
Still trying to come up with a topic area? Read 81 blog topic ideas
Step 2. Choosing your domain name
A brief info on how domain & hosting work:
The two basic things every website must have to come on board on the internet is a domain name and a host, without these two things people can’t find you, your content will stay on your PC hard drive and not online.
You’ll be doing two things here:
1. Searching and selecting a domain name
You would need a domain name for your blog that no one else has taken. So you might want to try domain names with two to three words because almost all the single word domain names are not available.
When choosing a domain name, the two good ways to go at it are:
• Choosing a domain name that describes your niche: businessideas.com, knowyourfashion.com, bestgraphicdesigns.com, strictlyshoes.com, uniquephotos.com
• Or you can use your name: brainscott.com, justinegrey.com, designwithbella.com
It doesn’t stop at these two, you can get creative and come up with any cool brand name.
2. Registering your domain name
Finding a good available domain name is just the first step, the next important step is registering the available domain name. Someone else, somewhere on the planet right now might be interested in the same available domain name you just found too, it’s the first person to register it that gets to own it.
There are a ton of domain and hosting services out there where you can register your domain name in minutes for $9.99 to $15 a year, but I would recommend you to keep expenses to the minimum.
It offers an affordable hosting plan that comes with a free domain registration for a year, with a simple user interface for beginners. So with Ipage, you’ll be getting a free domain registration (saving $15). I’ll show you how to go about your domain name registration in the next step. As a blogger who is just starting out, the only two things you have to purchase are your new domain and a hosting plan, you can get most of the other stuff you need for free.
Step 3. Setting up your domain & hosting plan
But thanks to iPage, we’ll be purchasing just one thing – a hosting plan, the other (domain registration) comes for free.
It offers an affordable hosting plan that comes with a free domain registration for a year, with a simple user interface for beginners. So with Ipage, you’ll be getting a free domain registration (saving $15).
I’ll show you how to go about your domain name registration in the next step.
As a blogger who is just starting out, the only two things you have to purchase are your new domain and a hosting plan, you can get most of the other stuff you need for free.
1. Go to iPage now and click the “Sign Up Now” button. You’ll get the $1.99/mo special offer by clicking the green get offer button above.
2. Type in your new domain name and click “Check Availability” (Just to confirm the domain name is still available). I used “www.geniuscreativ.com” just to explain this process.
3. Fill in your details
4. Choose a hosting plan*
You can choose a 12 month, 24 months or 3 years subscription option as shown below.
One of the mistakes I made when first learned how to start a blog was picking a 12 month plan, yes it was cheap at $35.88 but after a year, it expired and I had to renew at $105 at the time… I could have easily utilized the first time sign-up offer to get a 3 year plan at just $71.64.
So, if I had to do it all over again, I would pick the 3-year first-time offer plan without a blink
5. Purchase your hosting plan
You’ll see a lot of other purchasable features for your domain or hosting plan on this page. Leave only the “Domain Privacy” checked and uncheck the rest. You don’t need the others for now. Domain Privacy feature protects your personal domain details from been vulnerable to hackers, so it’s important to include it.
Then Go ahead and click the “Check Out” button. You can pay via “PayPal or Credit Card”. Once your payment is confirmed, you’ll receive an email with your ipage account details.
Congrats you now own your space and an address on the internet!
You can create official email addresses that include your domain name for free with ipage hosting account, like firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 4. Installing WordPress
Installing WordPress software on your hosting dashboard involves a few processes, but with Ipage, it is as simple as it can get by just clicking a few buttons.
How to Install your WordPress software into your iPage web hosting in 5 steps:
1. Login into your ipage account control panel
2. Click the WordPress button
3. It takes you to Ipage marketplace, click “continue installation”
4. Then click the “select domain for installation” form and choose your domain and directory and click the “next” button.
5. Check advanced setting, fill out the required details, check “terms & conditions” and click the “Install” button. Then wait for the installation progress bar to get to the end – 100% complete.
You can now log into your WordPress application by adding “/wp-admin” at the end of your domain. (www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin). A page similar to the one below will come up, type in your login details and click the “Log in” button.
Go to the next step to learn how to change the look of your blog.
Step 5. Choosing a theme
A theme provides the overall design or front end styling of a site. So, beautiful WordPress sites have beautiful themes.
Great themes make your website look great and legit. I spent hours searching for the perfect blog theme when I first learned how to start a blog and I still do till date, who doesn’t love a good-looking and responsive site?
To install free themes for a start:
1. Go to left sidebar and click on appearances, then click “themes”
2. You’ll see the default theme that’s already installed, go to the “Add New Theme” section and click the button
3. It will take you to a library with thousands of free themes. You could search “Hueman” theme and install it for a start, it’s a standard free theme with a lot of customizable features which I settled for at the early stage of my blog after trying out a lot of other free themes.
Preview different themes and choose a theme of your choice, buy, and download to your computer’s desktop (for easy access).
2. Go back to your “themes” page on your WordPress account, click “Add New Theme”, then click “upload theme” button at the top-left part of the page
3. Click the “choose file” button. Open the downloaded theme on your desktop and “Install Now”. After the theme is installed in a few seconds, activate it.
4. Go back to the themes page to activate the theme.
To change any feature or setting in your theme, hover over the “appearance” button by the left sidebar and click “customize” button, a new page will open with a lot of customizable features and settings.
Step 6. Install basic plugins
Plugins are the magic wonders of any WordPress site, with them you can make your site do almost anything without knowing how to code, just by installing a certain plugin in 3 to 5 seconds that do whatever function you want.
According to the wiki, “a plugin is a software part that adds a specific feature to an existing computer program. It enables customization.”
For now, you’ll need to install a few important plugins to make your site work better.
How to install a plugin:
1. Go to the left sidebar and hover over or click the “Plugins” button – 1 and click the “Add new” – 2
2. You’ll enter a new plugin page that looks like the image above, then enter the name of any plugin you want to install in the “search plugin” – 3 (or enter a keyword, e.g if you want to install a facebook-like button, you could type “Facebook like button”, all the plugins that offer related functions will come up)
3. Install your preferred plugin by clicking the “Install Now” button – 4. You could click “more details” – 5 to find out more about the features of the plugin.
4. After it’s installed in 3 to 5 seconds, click the red “Activate” button that comes up to activate the plugin on your site.
Once it’s activated, you can adjust the settings by finding the plugin’s button on your left sidebar, if it’s not there check the settings button on the left sidebar.
Each plugin instructs how to adjust the settings in the right way. You might want to take out time to set up Yoast SEO, WP Super Cache & Google analytics because they are very important.
Step 7. Publishing your first blog post
So far, so good, you’ve learned the basics of how to start a blog. But the “content” is the heart and soul of any successful blog.
How to publish a post in 5 steps:
1. Go to the left sidebar and click or hover over the “Post” button – 1, click the “Add New” button – 2
2. Click on the “Enter title here” text field – 3 to enter the title of your post
3. Below is a large text field – 4 where you can type in your content, above is a toolbar for editing your content, adding images or any form of media and more.
4. You can preview your content to see how it’ll look in your web page by clicking the “Preview” button on the right sidebar.
After you’ve complete your post and you are okay with the “preview” page, click the red “Publish” button to put it your post on your web page.
(Bonus tips) 6 things to do next:
A good logo and a brand color are the two main important design basics your site should start with, a good logo and design create trust. The brand color is the main color of your site, established blogs or sites all have a particular color that is being used all over the site, some brand colors work better for some niche.
Just get something design and simple. While at it, you can kill two birds with a stone by asking the designer for a preferred brand color for your blog’s niche.
Good writing skill is a must when it comes to blogging, it’s one of the reasons why you visit some sites more than other related sites in the same niche. It all comes down to headlines, good writing skills, and designs.
So, learning to become a better writer who writes awesome blog posts people can’t do without is very important to the success of any blog. And good content writing is a very lucrative skill too, you could write contents for other blogs and earn cool side income. (Don’t mind me, I just love taking up on opportunities)
Okay, here are a few good online courses on “Writing” worth taking:
• Creative Writing Specialization Course: Craft Your Story Like The Great Writers
• Writing With Impact: Writing that Persuades
• Freelance Writing For Beginners
I guess I’ve haven’t said this so far, if so, here is it “The two main things that get your content read are: Promotion & promotion”
Ohh, what about SEO? yeah, a bit, but you should know that as a new blogger,
Imagine putting up awesome contents on your blog and no gets to read them just you… argh, that’s not cool, right? Promoting your blog posts build up visitors with time, from “0” views to “1,000” unique views to “millions”, that all depends on your level of promotion.
If you aren’t getting enough traffic, you need to do one main thing – promote more!
6 best ways you can start promoting your blog:
• Set up Social media accounts (where you share your blog’s contents & build up followers)
• Set up your email marketing funnels (where you collect you visitors email for updates, info & offers)
• Comment on other blogs with related topics
• Join online forums
• Guest posting
• Facebook ads
If you plan on earning any money through your blog in the long run, then start now to make a space for that while building your blog.
You can monetize your blog in a few ways:
• Affiliate marketing
• Sponsored blog post
• Creating and selling a digital product: course, e-book, webinar and more.
• Offering a service: Consulting, “Done for you” and more.
• Membership site and a few more.
Blogging has taught me a lot of things I wouldn’t have dared to learn.
Since I started blogging, I have learnt a buck load of skills, knowledge and much more by reading hundreds of articles and taking online courses: I can basically research about anything online, I’m a WordPress expert, I design, fast typing skills, quick thinker (I could write a 2000 words article in 2 hours or less), an online course expert, web developer too, and much more.
In order to create great contents, you have to spend quality time learning and gathering up new trends, information, skills and more. You can easily do this by doing a few things:
• Reading related blogs – get ideas from established companies that hire experts to design, write and develop their blogs
• Learning good skills
• Taking note of any idea that comes to you. You’ll be amazed at the number of creative ideas that will come to your mind as a blogger.
• Thinking of your reader’s wants and needs or try asking them a few questions
• And more.
As I said earlier, blogging is one of the best things anyone can start – it’s a great hobby, profitable, creative, super informative, writing skills, technical skills, research skills, planning and all. But it can become a bit tiring when you don’t set goals & targets or when you don’t see results or have any plan.
You only get results when you set certain targets, note down the steps you need to meet these targets and try to complete each step. Blogging with no targets or plan makes you take any result you get, even if it’s a poor one.