In this tutorial, you are going to learn exactly how to start a blog! I'd love to hear how you found my blog so feel free to join my private Facebook group so I can get to know you better.
*This page does contain affiliate links to SiteGround, my preferred hosting provider. I sincerely thank you for supporting me through my affiliate links!
How to Start a Blog for Beginners
On this page, you are going to learn everything you need to know about starting a blog from scratch. These instructions will show you how to start a blog regardless of your goals or aspirations. Whether you just want to blog for fun, to keep a journal for your family, or to create a legitimate business, you can be sure that a WordPress blog will help you achieve your goals.
Here is exactly what you are going to learn
Step 1: What is WordPress
Step 2: What is Hosting
Step 3: How to Find a Domain name
Step 4: How to Get WordPress and Hosting
Step 5: How to Create Your First Blog Post
These are the basic steps that you'll need to take to get started with your new blog. I'm going to break them down as simple as possible. Use this page as a resource while starting your blog to guide you through the process.
Step 1: What is WordPress
WordPress is the Content Management System (CMS) that you will use to create your blog or website. It's best to think of WordPress as an online software that you'll use to manage, design, and build your blog.
A common misconception among new bloggers that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are the same. They are not the same.
Let me make it easy for you…
Do NOT use WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a WordPress owned platform for designing AND hosting your website. The bottom line is that it's not as good as self-hosting your blog with WordPress.
You don't need to do any “Googling” to download WordPress. I'm going to explain exactly how to get WordPress for free from your hosting provider.
Quick recap. WordPress is the software you'll use to manage, design, and build your blog. You'll get WordPress for free when you purchase hosting.
Step 2: What is Hosting
Hosting is how your blog gets on the internet.
A Web Hosting Service saves your WordPress blog on their servers, which are connected to the internet so anyone in the world can read your blog.
You need web hosting to get your blog on the internet. Web hosting companies own computer servers and store your blog on them for a small cost. There are different levels of service you can purchase from web hosting companies. For your purposes as a brand new blogger, you'll start with a Shared Hosting plan. As you grow your blog and increase traffic, you can easily upgrade your plan as needed.
Hosting With SiteGround
SiteGround is the web hosting company I strongly recommend you use when starting a new blog.
I've done all the research for you to help you find the right hosting company. I've compared speed, customer satisfaction, bandwidth, storage, and all the technical specs to find the best option out there. I've even talked to hundreds of other bloggers in my blogging network to get their feedback, and most of them recommend SiteGround.
I also personally use SiteGround. This website you're on now is hosted on SiteGround.
Step 3: How to Find a Domain Name
Now that we have a basic understanding of WordPress and Hosting, you'll need to purchase a domain name.
Your domain name is the web address people will type in to get to your blog or website. It will most likely be something like “yourdomainname.com”.
You'll need to purchase a domain name from a reliable source. My favorite place to get domains is Google Domains.
You've probably heard of GoDaddy and some other domain services. I've used many of them. Google Domains is by far my favorite place to buy a domain.
- It's cheap
- It's easy
- It's reliable
And my favorite part is that you can use your same Google account to manage your domains, Google Search Console, and Google Analytics. It makes is SO much easier to set up all those things when they are all under the same Google account.
If you've never heard of Google Search Console or Google Analytics don't worry. I've got content to help you learn how to use those platforms coming soon!
If you've already found an available domain name you like you're all set! Go over to Google Domains and purchase it. Sign in using the same Google account you'll use to manage your analytics. If you want to create a new Google account just for your blog that's what I recommend.
If you don't know what you want your domain name to be let me offer my advice…
Your domain name is not as important as it was 10 years ago. People used to buy super specific domains like weightlosssupplements.com because Google loved “exact match” domains when people searched Google.
People abused that strategy so Google made domain names not as important as they once were for SEO.
Here are my 3 tips for choosing a good domain name:
- Easy to Spell
- Easy to Remember
Do not over complicate your domain name. Don't use numbers or “-” or any other strange characters. Letters only. And try to keep it somewhat short.
Make it easy to spell. This is SUPER important! Avoid words that people frequently misspell. Also, avoid words that could be spelled two different ways like “deer and dear” or “plane and plain”. You might tell someone to go visit your blog planesfordays.com but they think you meant plainsfordays.com.
Make it easy to remember. RoaringRoastsWithJaredandKendall.com might be the name of your blog, but that's long and a mouthful. Easy to remember correlates with simple. Keep it simple.
BONUS TIP: Choose a “.com” domain. You may be tempted to choose a .us or .co because your ideal domain name is available. For the best results and for SEO purposes, stick to .com
The last thing I'll say for domain names is DON'T OVERTHINK IT!!!
I see posts in Facebook groups all the time from people who want to learn how to start a blog but they are stuck on choosing a domain name! It's really not that important.
Even if your domain doesn't match the name of your blog that's ok! If you know for a fact you want your blog name to be Rasing Kids with Autism but the domain name isn't available that's ok! Use the domain helpforautism.com or whatever you can get!
When you type in a domain you want in Google Domains you'll see a long list of similar domains that are available. Just pick one that resonates with you.
If you REALLY have no idea what domain you want, go to Name Mesh and type in a few words that describe what you want to blog about and you'll get a lot of good ideas for domains. When you see a domain you like, go type it into Google Domains and buy it.
If you haven't already purchased a domain I want you to stop reading right now! Open Google Domains in a new tab and go get your domain name right now. After you've purchased it come back and I'll show you what to do next.
Step 4: How to Get WordPress and Hosting
Now it's time to get WordPress and hosting. Do NOT be intimidated by this step! It's not difficult I promise. You can do it!
I'll break it down as simple as possible with screenshots so you can come back and reference the images if you get stuck.
Let's get started! (Make sure you're on a computer for this)
CLICK HERE to get 65% OFF SiteGround Hosting!
When SiteGround opens in a new tab you will see this screen.
In the top menu of the screen, you'll see an option called HOSTING. Hover your cursor over hosting and select WORDPRESS HOSTING.
The WordPress hosting plan was built specifically for WordPress websites. There are 3 great plans to choose from, but you are going to choose the StartUp Plan.
Keep in mind that you can always upgrade your plan as your blog grows. The number of monthly visits you see for the plan is NOT a restriction. It is simply a recommendation. For the StartUp plan, you should be able to comfortably handle around 10,000 monthly visitors (which is a lot for a new blog). When you surpass those numbers it's probably a good time to upgrade to the GrowBig plan.
After you've click Get Started you're going to be asked if you need to register a new domain or if you already have a domain. Select I already have a domain and type in the domain name you purchased from Google Domains.
If you didn't purchase your domain through Google Domains that's fine. You can still enter the domain name you own. If you don't have a domain name, I'd invite you to scroll up and see my instructions about purchasing a domain name from Google Domains.
On this next screen, create an account, and fill in your client and payment information.
At the bottom of this same screen, you'll see Purchase Information. To verify that you have the correct purchase information you should see the following:
- Plan: StartUp Hosting Plan
- Data Center: Chicago (USA) or the location closest to where you currently are.
- Period: 12 months (I would stick to 12 months for now, but you can select a longer period of time if you'd like)
You'll also see a checkbox for SG Site Scanner for $19.80/year. This is a monitoring service that checks your website daily and immediately notifies you if your website has been hacked or injected with malicious code. For $19 a year it's worth the peace of mind in my opinion. It's not required though. Uncheck the box if you don't want to pay for it.
When you're ready click Pay Now!
The total for web hosting (as of writing this article) is $67.20 for the first year! That's all it costs to start your very own blog or website. The best part about starting a self-hosted blog like this is that you own the property! Wix, WordPress.com, Squarespace, and some of those other blogging platforms technically own your blog – you don't. They can shut you down at any time. With a WordPress self-hosted website, you own the property.
Now it's time to install WordPress!
After you've purchased your hosting you'll be redirected to your SiteGround account.
Below is a screenshot of your SiteGround account screen. You can always access this screen from Siteground.com when you log in using your credentials you created when you purchased hosting.
On the screen shown above, click the Launch Setup Wizard button to install WordPress to your new blog.
On this next screen, select Start a new website and then select on the WordPress box. Scroll down a little further and create WordPress login details. You will need to remember the username and password you create here to login to your WordPress dashboard so write this down!
After you've created your admin info click Confirm.
You'll be taken to another screen with another chance to add SG Site Protection (if you didn't purchase it during checkout).
When you're finished click Complete Setup at the bottom of the screen. Then proceed to the Customer Area.
You will be taken back into your SiteGround Account area. If you get lost in any part of this process remember you can log back into your account at SiteGround.com and get back to your account screen.
After completing the Setup Wizard, click on the Manage Account button.
The next step is to change your DNS servers on Google Domains so Google knows that you use SiteGround as your blog hosting service.
This may sound complicated but it is very simple. Let me walk you through the exact steps.
Step 1: From the Manage Account screen on SiteGround, navigate to the Information & Settings tab.
Step 2: Now open a separate window in your web browser and sign in to your Google Domains account.
After you've signed into your Google Domains account you'll be taken to your Google Domains dashboard which will look like the screenshot you see below.
Step 3: On this screen, click the DNS button to go to the DNS settings page. Leave it here for a second. We will come right back.
Step 4: Navigate back to your SiteGround window in your web browser.
You should still be on the Information and Settings tab. On this tab, you'll see the second option down is Account DNS with 2 lines of name server information. You are going to copy these two lines of text and paste them into the DNS Server information on your Google Domains account.
Step 5: Copy the first server name: ns1.us184.siteground.us (if your server name is different than what you see on my screen that's ok! Copy the server name you see on your screen.) Do not include the text in parenthesis.
Now go back to the Google Domains window in your web browser. The top section on the Manage DNS screen is Name Servers. (Image instructions are below)
Step 6: Select the box Use custom name servers
Step 7: Paste in the first server name you copied from SiteGround.
Step 8: Click the + symbol next to the first server.
Step 9: Go back to the SiteGround window in your web browser and copy server number 2: ns2.us184.siteground.us
Step 10: Paste server number 2 into the second line on Google Domains.
Click Save when you're finished. That's it!
You have now told Google that your blog is being hosted on SiteGround, so when people type in your domain name, Google will send them over to SiteGround's servers so visitors can see your blog.
You can now close the Google Domains window in your web browser.
Let's go back to our SiteGround account.
Navigate to the Installations tab.
On this screen click Go do Admin Panel to access your WordPress dashboard.
You may have to wait for 5-10 minutes for Google to update the changes you've made before you can access your WordPress Admin Panel.
Remember, if you get an error that your website can't be found just wait a few more minutes and Google should update the DNS settings.
When Google has updated the changes, you will be taken to the WordPress admin login screen after clicking Go to Admin Panel.
Log in using the username and password you created. If you can't remember what this is, it's the username and password I asked you to write down in the red text earlier in this article.
After you've successfully logged in you'll be taken through a setup process to choose a Theme and choose some recommended plugins for your blog.
Go through the setup process and choose a theme.
You can click on themes to view more details about what your blog can potentially look like using that theme.
When you've found a theme you like click Select.
The next part of the setup will be to choose some recommended plugins that you can install to help you with your blog.
You should select the plugins that are recommended. You may find these plugins useful later on.
The Marketing plugins Google Analytics and Optimize for SEO are very good (and free) so I would also select these.
Now your site is ready to go!
You can click on the Go to Dashboard button to go to your WordPress dashboard.
Take a second to pat yourself on the back! You have just started your blog!!! 🙂
Step 5: How to Create Your First Blog Post
You've successfully made it through the first four steps!
Step 1: What is WordPress Step 2: What is Hosting Step 3: How to Find a Domain name Step 4: How to Get WordPress and Hosting
Step 5: How to Create Your First Blog Post
Now it's time to create your first blog post! There's a lot left to learn about blogging and WordPress so don't be overwhelmed. This is a marathon, not a sprint! You'll learn new tricks and things about blogging and WordPress every day, so be patient with yourself. You're going to do great!
Like I said at the very top of this page, feel free to join my private Facebook group so I can get to know you better and so you can get help and find answers to your blogging questions! We've got amazing successful bloggers in there to help as well.
Let's make your first blog post!
The easiest way to show you all the different features of creating a new blog post is in video format. So please take a few minutes to watch the video below to learn how to create your first blog post.
(Video coming soon!!!)
Now you're well on your way to building a successful blog that could become a very successful source of income for you! Thousands of people have quit their jobs and are making a full-time income doing what they love, where they want, when they want! You can too!
Blogging can be very discouraging though…
You may find that you're spending a lot of time writing blog articles but no one is reading them. You check your Google Analytics and you're not getting visitors to your blog.
To help you with this I've created a 15-page step-by-step guide with the Top 3 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Blog!
You can click the link above to learn more about what's inside the guide, or you can click the image below to get instant access to the guide!
This guide has already helped bloggers skyrocket their traffic in a matter of weeks, and people are finding themselves making a significant income as brand new bloggers!
The website you're on right now also has a variety of articles and resources to help you along your blogging journey. Check out some of our popular articles below!
- The Two Ways to Grow Your Blog
- 7 Lifestyle Blog Tips to Stand Out From the Crowd
- How Often Should You Post on Your Blog for Best Results?
Be sure to check back with us weekly for new up to date content!
Once again, I'm so glad you're taking the plunge into blogging! Let me know if you have any questions or need any help!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I start a blog for free?
Yes. There are many online platforms with free blogging available. Some of the most popular include:
If you want to blog for fun and aren't concerned with ranking in Google search or making money from your blog, the free options are great! We've got an article about the Top 5 Free Blog Platforms that goes in more detail on these websites. You can easily learn how to start a blog on any of these websites on YouTube.
What if I can't find a domain name with my keyword?
Don't worry too much about having the exact keyword in your domain. If your focus keyword for your blog is “how to paint” but you can't find a good domain with those words, look for related terms. paintingwithjon.com will be just as good. Google has said that exact match domain names aren't as favorable as they were 10 years ago.
How much does it cost to blog?
Blogging can be free like mentioned above, but a great self-hosted WordPress blog can be as low as $3.95/month with a company like SiteGround! This page explains how to get started with a SiteGround blog.
How often should I post a new article?
Our recommendation is to post a new article at least once a month, preferably once per week or every two weeks. That being said it's all about quality over quantity when you're just starting a blog. It is true that Google values fresh consistent content. They like to see a blogger who is working hard and consistently updating their blog. You do not need to blog daily to find success. It's better to have an AMAZING article every two weeks than to post a ho-hum article every day.
What is the ideal length of a blog article?
This nice chart by Neil Patel shows the number of words in a blog post compared to the average position in Google search. You'll notice the top 3 positions of Google search frequently have blog articles with around 2,000 words. Based on this research, that's a good length to strive for.
Does my blog need to be https?
http:// and https:// are proxys for the internet. To keep it simple https is more secure than http. Straight from Google's SEO guide it says, “Google recommends that all websites use https:// when possible.” When Google recommends something for SEO, it's a good idea to follow. You can get a free SSL Certificate with SiteGround hosting.
How do I make money blogging?
There are many ways to make money blogging, but some of the most popular ways include:
- Affiliate marketing (promoting other products)
- Google Adsense
- Selling your own products
There are hundreds of opportunities to promote affiliate products with your blog. Visit Clickbank or cjaffiliate to learn more about some affiliate opportunities in your niche. Learning how to start a blog that makes money isn't difficult. With a proper strategy and some basic SEO, you can start making money in a few months!
How do I increase traffic to my blog?
Increasing traffic to your blog is the biggest challenge for new bloggers. As it should be. Google's number one priority is to show the most relevant websites in the search results for its users. That's why people keep coming back to Google, and that's how they make their money.
There is no reason for Google to show your brand new fitness blog on the first page of search results, when websites like health.com, shape.com, menshealth.com and other massive websites have been doing this for years.
That does not mean you can't increase traffic around a fitness blog. It just means that you'll need to focus on a narrower topic or provide quality content that's better than what's currently available.
Use social media, email marketing, YouTube, Podcasting, and other content marketing strategies to build awareness around your blog. SEO will be the best way to drive more traffic via Google search so make sure you optimize your blog for the search engines.
I highly recommend downloading my free guide Top 3 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Blog. This guide will teach you tried and true methods of driving traffic to a brand new blog that I personally use.
What is the best blogging theme on WordPress?
There are hundreds of themes available on WordPress. Many free themes will do just fine if you're just getting started. You can always upgrade to a better theme as you start to build momentum. There are some great premium themes available for $35 (one time payment) that give you a lot of customization features.
There is no BEST theme for blogging. Diversity is what makes the internet great, so find a theme that resonates with you personally and fits with the topic of your blog.
If you have any more questions about how to start a blog, please feel free to reach out to me by email: andy @ learnhowblogging.com