How to start a blog

It's 2015 and you've finally decided to start a blog. That's great news! Deciding to start a blog is the easy part, now what do you do? You need to find out how to start a blog.

how to start a blog

That's where hopefully this tutorial comes in, to answer the question how do I start a blog?. Our tutorial consists of five sections: deciding what to blog about, getting a domain name and web hosting, installing WordPress and finally when your blog is setup; promoting and getting your blog found.

To make it easy to navigate this tutorial we have highlighted important parts, and at the end of every section you'll find a summary (tl;dr) plus resources to further reading i.e. links to other websites.

Now you are ready to dive into this tutorial's first part, what to blog about?

Decide What To Blog About

Before you can begin to create your blog, there are some really important questions you need to answer yourself.

Why are you starting a blog?

What to blog about?

Once you answer these questions, you will be ready to get your blog online. Let's look at each of these questions so you can get your blog off on the right foot.

Why Are You Starting a Blog?

There are many reasons people start a blog. Blogs can range from personal journals to marketing tools. Before you can start publishing posts on your blog, you need to decide why you are starting the blog. This will help you answer questions about what to post and how often to post. Here are some reasons why you might want to start a blog.

Personal Journal

One reason to start a blog is to have a personal journal. You could use it to chronicle your travels. This would make it very easy for you to share your experiences with your family and friends. You can also use it to hold yourself accountable. A great example would be a weight loss blog where you post your diet and exercise plan.

Help People

Another good reason to start a blog is to help other people. Blogging is a great way for you to share your knowledge with other people. Let's say you start a blog about "pets". There are lots of people who are interested in finding new tips and help dealing with their pet problems. The knowledge you have can help other people solve their problems. When you begin to get emails thanking you for solving someone's problem, you will remember it for a long time.

Make money

Let's cover the reason many people want to start a blog. To make money. Yes, you can make money from blogging. In fact, you probably have heard many stories of people who make good money by blogging. It will take some time before you can begin to make money. As more people become regular readers, you will begin to make some money through advertising and recommending products. As you get more traffic, your income will grow.

Express Your Opinion

Blogs are a great way to express your opinions. Maybe your family doesn't like to discuss politics with you or your views are different from their views. A blog allows you a place to express your opinions. As your blog grows you will cultivate friendships with people who share your same political view.

Fun hobby

Sharing a hobby is another reason to start a blog. You can share your experiences with other who have the same hobbies as you. Let's say you enjoy woodworking. In your blog you can share pictures of completed projects, plans for other projects, and reviews of tools that you use. Readers of you blog will learn from what you have done and from your mistakes.

What to Blog About?

The topic of your blog is important. The best choice to make is to pick a topic or niche you interested in. It needs to be something you enjoy doing or something you are passionate about learning. Sure you want to be able to make money from your blog, but don't pick a topic based solely on how profitable it could be. You will have to spend a lot of time writing on this topic. If you don't really enjoy it, updating your blog will become a burden.

The one key ingredient all successful bloggers share is a love of their topic. These guys picked their niche because they loved it and wanted to share it with the world. The money, if it came, came much later.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to find your niche.

What do you do during your free time?

What things do you enjoy talking about with your friends?

What hobbies do you enjoy?

What activities do you enjoy doing?


It is not difficult to start up a blog, when you know what to blog about. Spend time thinking about why you are starting a blog. This will help you maintain focus while building your blog. Take the time to pick your niche carefully. Make sure it is something you enjoy so it will not become a burden to you.

Now when you have decided what you will be blogging about, next step is to register a domain name

Great work, you made it this far!

You deserve a break, go grab a , or , and come back when you're ready

Choosing A Domain Name

Without a doubt, the domain name you decide to use is one of the most important aspects of your blog.

Your domain affects everything from your SEO efforts to your brandability. Here's how it plays a role in your success or failure specifically:

A great domain name for your blog should be memorable. If your domain is too long or too unwieldy, people will hesitate bringing it up in casual conversation with others.

A great domain name should be easy to remember and easy to spell.

Another thing to consider is that search engines like Google expects to find keywords in your domain. If they aren't there, the search engine may have a difficult time homing in on what your site is all about.

choosing the perfect domain name

Right away, you can see that domain name selection may very well be the most important step of all. In general, you want to begin the process by thinking of up to five keywords that sum up your blog. For instance, if you were starting a fashion blog, your list might look like: "fashion" "runway" "couture" "clothing" and "style" Assuming that you're going to use "fashion" no matter what, you can then mix and match your other keywords until you find something that appeal to you and speaks to what your site is about. Note that all domains must be unique, so you may come up with the perfect domain only to find that someone is already using it.

Additionally, it's important you make your domain as short as possible, and that you avoid hyphens at all costs. Hyphens make your domain difficult to say out loud, which can stifle any word-of-mouth advertising you may otherwise receive. Likewise, an extremely long domain can discourage people from recommending your site to others.

Finally, you don't want visitors to confuse your blog for an already-popular existing blog or website. If your site contains someone's trademark, you could be accused of attempting to build your site off of the popularity of theirs. In other words, the larger site could accuse you of trying to profit off of their trademark.

Furthermore, if your domain is too similar to that of an established site, you'll have a difficult time building your brand. The idea is to come up with a domain name that's unique yet still contains your primary keyword. This is difficult, but the rewards are well worth it. A stellar domain will set your blog up for success right from the start.


The domain name you decide to go with is very important, perhaps the most important thing you will have to consider when you create a blog. It will be the online identity for your blog. In an ideal world your domain name should be brandable, short, easy to remember and to type and not have hyphens or misspellings. Now when you hopefully have a better idea of what you want and perhaps even have a good domain name you want to register in mind, the next step for you is to get web hosting (where a free domain name is included)

Great work, you made it this far!

You deserve a break, go grab a , or , and come back when you're ready

Getting Web Hosting

Hosting is another crucial element of how to start a blog, but fortunately, this one is an easy and straightforward task.

Web hosting is the place where your blog lives. There are three types of web hosting, and you can scale up as you go:

choosing the perfect domain name

Free hosting.

Shared hosting (recommended).

VPS hosting.

Dedicated server hosting.

If you plan on becoming an authority in your niche, free hosting is not an option. While free hosts will technically make your content available to the public, free web hosts will slap unsightly ads on your blog. What's more, they won't share the ad revenue with you. Free hosting is readily identifiable by even casual Internet users, and these users will judge your work on appearances.

Fortunately, the next tier up is not at all expensive. If you shop around, you can get shared hosting for less than $10 a month, or even less. With a shared hosting account, your site exists on a server with several others, but your files remain separate. What's more, your hosting company won't force ads on your visitors. Most providers offer unlimited disk space (storage), file transfer (bandwidth), email accounts and databases.

Shared hosting is where most bloggers start due to the low cost and convenience. Most shared hosting providers offer excellent around-the-clock support, a free domain name and an easy way to access the blog's backend and databases. Plus (and we'll get to this next) most providers offer a-click-of-a-button installation of WordPress. We recommend Bluehost.com. (how to sign up with Bluehost, a step-by-step guide)


A virtual private server, or VPS hosting, is a step up from shared hosting in that each site is completely separated from every other. You can think of your own site on a VPS server existing in its own sandbox. Malware from other sites cannot affect yours. What's more, VPS servers come with dedicated bandwidth, meaning you'll be able to serve your site to more people at once, and your pages will load faster, to boot. Naturally, a VPS host is going to run you more than a basic shared hosting account, but the good news is that you don't have to upgrade until your traffic - and hopefully your profits - warrants it.

Dedicated hosting is, of course, the best of the best but it comes with an expensive price tag. With dedicated hosting, your site resides on its own server. This setup is incredibly secure and blazing fast. It's also extremely expensive. If you get to the point that you're receiving thousands of hits a day and are monetizing this traffic efficiently, you may want to consider making the switch.

For now - when getting started with a blog, shared web hosting will be your best option. As it grows it is good to know that there are options to scale up.

Changing Name Servers (DNS)

To make your blog work you have to connect your web host to your domain name by changing name servers (also known as DNS). You don't need to worry about changing nameservers if you get the domain name and web hosting from the same place. Then this is all taken care of for you. However if you decide to get a domain name from for example godaddy.com and web hosting from for example bluehost.com, then you must change nameservers, if you don't then your blog won't work. But don't worry, it's not difficult to do.

Because of name servers, you can type a domain name into your Web browser and reach a site instead of typing the blog's IP address. Imagine if you had to memorize the IP address of each site you wanted to visit. When you rent a domain and set up hosting - the concept of buying a domain is actually a bit of misnomer - you'll have to switch the name server associated with that domain.

Otherwise, your web host won't be able to serve your site. Luckily, this is fairly easy to do. The process varies among domain registrars, but it generally does something like this:

1. Log in to your domain registrar (e.g. GoDaddy.com - video tutorial here), Namecheap.com - video tutorial here).

2. Select "Domain Names."

3. Select the domain name you would like to edit from the drop-down list.

4. Click "Unlock Domain" or equivalent.

5. Select the "Change Name Servers" option.

6. Enter the name server values in the boxes provided. Your hosting provider will give you these values when you sign up.

7. Click the "Change Name servers" button.

Note that it can take up to 24 hours for the change to take effect.


Shared hosting is just fine for the majority of new bloggers setting up their blog. We recommend Bluehost.com. You should definitely browse around and compare different web hosts. One important feature that your web host should have is the 1-click or Automatic installation of WordPress. Now that you know what to blog about, you have your domain name and hosting sorted (and nameservers setup). The next step is to install WordPress.

Great work, you made it this far!

You deserve a break, go grab a , or , and come back when you're ready

Installing WordPress


WordPress is an open source blogging platform. WordPress is free, and that may have something to do with the fact that over 60 million websites rely on it as of 2015.

In fact, WordPress powers around 25% of the top 10 million websites on the web. It was released in 2003 as a simple blogging platform, and it has grown to the point that it is capable of hosting full ecommerce sites. The platform is open-ended, meaning you can give it new features by installing plugins to it. What's more, you can change the look of your WordPress site at any time without modifying your content by installing themes.

The process of installing WordPress via Cpanel varies from host to host, but in general it goes something like this

1. Login into your web host cPanel

3. Locate the section that says "Softaculous"

4. Locate the "WordPress" icon and click "Continue."

install wordpress using softaculous

5. On the next page, specify the URL prefix (is a matter of taste, choose http:// or http://www.) and a name for your WordPress folder. If you leave it blank, your host will install WordPress to your root folder. This will overwrite anything you’ve already stored there.

6. Change the database settings (or use default settings). Choose a username, password and email (where the login details will be sent to)

11. Click "install".

Softaculous will now automatically create your WordPress database and configuration files. You will receive an email that contains your WordPress admin info. When WordPress is installed you can then access your WordPress backend by typing www.yourblog.com/wp-admin in your Web browser.

How to install WordPress on Bluehost

How to customize WordPress

The first thing you'll notice about your new blog is that it's looking very plain. You can remedy this by installing themes. A WordPress theme is a collection of files that to a great extent determines not only the look, but also the feel of your site. For instance, there are many themes that turn a standard WordPress site into an image or video gallery. Other themes create a smooth magazine or newspaper-type feel. Here's how to access free WordPress themes:

1. Log in to your WordPress admin page.

2. Click "Appearance," and then click "Themes."

3. Click "Search" and then insert a search term.

4. Select a theme you would like to preview and then click "Install."

Note that if you're installing a theme you've downloaded from the Internet, the theme must be in a zipped (.zip) format. Otherwise, WordPress won't be able to process it. Additionally, you can change themes at any time by clicking "Appearances," "Themes," and then selecting a new theme. While free themes can certainly provide you with all the features you need, commercial themes can open you up to a new level of functionality. For instance, you can buy themes for between $30 and $50 that allow you to create fully-customized pages, complete with shopping carts and other widgets.

WordPress plugins are small programs or pieces of code that add new functionality to WordPress. There are thousands of free plugins available, but like themes, the best plugins cost money. Here's a few things that plugins can do:

Block comment spam

Improve SEO

Add a forum to your site

Add an email autoresponder to your site

Integrate social media buttons into each post

Create on-the-fly image and video galleries

Premium plugins - and a few free ones - come with shortcodes. These short snippets of text are pre-processed by the plugin and can actually represent pages of code. With shortcodes, you can embed image and video files or create objects in a few seconds. Some shortcodes work with WordPress by default. For instance, if you want to embed a DailyMotion video into a post, you can simply type "[dailymotion id=xxxxxx]," where "xxxxxx" is the unique ID of the video. Note that you would exclude the quotes when using the code. If you find a plugin you would like to use, you can install it in a few seconds.

1. Log in to your WordPress admin page.

2. Click "Plugins," and then click "Add new."

3. Click "Upload."

4. Click "Browse" to select the file.

WordPress will then automatically process the plugin. If it is compatible, you will then be prompted to activate it. Note that all WordPress plugin files must be in a zipped (.zip) format.


Installing WordPress is very easy as most web hosts (like Bluehost) come pre-installed with 1-click software like Softaculous. However. Customizing your blog, finding the right theme and plugins will take you a bit more time. When your blog is installed, customized and ready the next step is to get your blog found by promoting it.

Great work, you made it this far!

You deserve a break, go grab a , or , and come back when you're ready

Promote & Get Your Blog Found

Once you pick a topic and start to write posts, your job is not done. In order for your blog to be successful you need to have people reading your posts. You are going to need to spend some time becoming an authority and promoting your blog so that other people can find it.

You'll want to begin building authority early on. Presenting yourself as an authority in your niche is essential to good SEO and traffic in general. When people consider you an authority, they're more likely to keep coming back, to bookmark your site or subscribe to your RSS feed.

Once you've hooked readers in this way, you'll find it much easier to get them to join your list, and they’ll be less likely to spend as much time on your competitors sites. Google, Yahoo! and Bing attempt to identify the most authoritative sites by counting backlinks and social mentions. For this reason, it's a good idea to secure both of these, but by far, the best way to do this is to create useful content.

Content that solves a problem is sharable content, by its very nature. Sharable content in turn is what drives traffic to a site and creates an authority. Some Internet marketers will tell you that you should purchase backlinks in order to artificially build authority, but if you do so, be prepared to be blacklisted by Google at any time. This is not the route to take Besides, if you are an authority in your niche, you already have the knowledge required to grow your blog; you just need to do the legwork.

When you create your content, speak authoritatively and keep qualifiers to a minimum. You should create an atmosphere of expertise in all of your posts. This doesn't mean that you have to take on an overly formal tone. Quite the contrary, in fact. But when it comes time to share your expertise, do so with confidence and finality.

Also, keep in mind that just because something is elementary to you doesn't mean it is to your reader. If you’re guiding your readers through a complex process, you cannot take anything for granted. Start at the beginning. This is actually advantageous to you because you can turn a subject that’s simple to you into a multiple-page treatise, and each page gives you more Internet real estate upon which you can place ads or affiliate links. On the other hand, keep fluff to a minimum or your readers will quickly lose patience with you.

Finally, post as often as you can, and cover your niche thoroughly. For SEO purposes, posting often shows the search engines that you have a lot to say on your keyword. Your readers will appreciate frequent posts as well, as long as you remain on topic.

Consistently creating sharable content is what will separate you from the other bloggers in your field. Sharable content is content - textual or video - that has mass appeal. It contains useful information not easily obtainable elsewhere that people will want to share with others. It's okay to get content ideas from other blogs, but you should be careful in how you borrow that content. Copying someone’s blog post verbatim is a big no-no.

However, you can use blog aggregators like Feedly to find out what the bloggers in your space are talking about and then create your own piece. Similarly, you can use social media search engines such as www.buzzsumo.com to see what people in your niche are sharing, and then use that data to create your own piece. Nothing is no longer new under the sun but the key is to always create unique content.

If you consistently create content that's too similar to the other bloggers in your space, not only will you lose your readership, but Google will also penalize you, and you'll lose your place in the search results. As a precaution, you can use services like Copyscape to ensure that your content is completely unique. Note that it is possible to get positive Copyscape results even if you didn't use anyone else’s material. This is precisely why you should use a tool like this in the first place.

A few final thoughts on creating spectacular content for the Web: use paragraphs generously, and write in short sentences. Internet users have short attention spans. You need to catch their attention right away and keep them reading. Nothing will make a person want to hit the "back" button faster than a long article that's little more than a wall of text. Break your work down into concise paragraphs, and separate topics with subheadings. Aim for a casual tone, and mind your diction. "But" is often more appropriate than "however," and if you use the more complex form of a word too often, you might scare off readers.

If you consistently create stellar content, you'll find that your readers will share it on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. To capitalize on this, you should create your own dedicated social media accounts. You can then convert those readers into fans and followers, which will allow you to draw traffic to your new posts effortlessly. As you embark on your blogging journey, remember to keep your reader in mind always. They are the lifeblood of your site. Without strong traffic, you will have very few monetization options. Consistently provide quality content, and your readership will grow.

There are many tactics you can do to promote your blog and we will cover a few of them here.


Having a search engine friendly blog will help put your blog's best foot forward in the search engines. WordPress itself is SEO friendly out of the box.

Social Media

One of the best ways to promote your blog is through social media. Each time you make a blog post, share it on social media sites. You can share it on as many of these sites as you like, but be sure to post it on the big four: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. People one these sites love to share. If they like what you have posted about, they will share it.

Blog Comments

Your goal when building a blog is to create a group of like-minded people. What better place to find people who will like your blog than other blogs in the same niche. You might already follow several blogs in your niche. If not use Google to find some. Read the posts and leave comments. Most blogs let you link back to your blog. People who read your comments will find your blog.

Guest Posts

Once you find other blogs in your niche, don't stop at just leaving comments. Contact the blog owner and see if they accept guest posts. You write a post for them with a link to your blog at the bottom. This gives you exposure to all the readers of the blog.

Emails and Newsletters

When full time and successful bloggers get asked what their biggest regret is when they started their blog, they say that their regret is they didn't capture visitors email. "Money is in the email list" and email marketing is something you should consider doing early on.

Other Methods

You can submit your post to bookmarking sites. Join sites such as StumbleUpon.com, Reddit.com, Delicious.com, and Technorati.com. Each time you make a post bookmark it at these and any other bookmarking sites you find. Share your posts in the communities you belong to online. Send out the link to your posts in your newsletters. You can share your post in the forums or groups you belong to.


In order for your blog to become successful, no matter what your niche is, people need to be able to find your blog, read it and come back for more. Promote your blog and build up your readership.

Final Words

It is not difficult to start up a blog. Spend time thinking about why you are starting a blog. This will help you maintain focus while building your blog. Take the time to pick your niche carefully. Make sure it is something you enjoy so it will not become a burden to you. Next register a domain name and get web hosting (set up the name servers if you don't get these from the same provider) and install WordPress. Then promote your blog and build up your readership. Once you have people reading your blog and enjoying it, you might find yourself making some extra money doing something you enjoy.