How to Start a Blog in Less Than an Hour.
If you are here, you have probably already made a monumental decision, one that could very well change your life forever: the decision to start your own blog. If by chance you still need convincing, read Should You Start a Blog on why you absolutely should start your own blog!
If you are completely ignorant of all things tech and internet like we were when we started our first blog, then I have some great news for you: starting a blog is ridiculously simple! In fact, you can probably read this article, and have your blog up and run within the hour. Ready? Start your timer, GO!
- Step 1 Choose a Domain and Host
- Step 2 Install WordPress
- Step 3 Choose and Install Your First Theme
- Step 4 Start creating Amazing Content!
Step 1: Choosing a Domain and Hosting.
The first step to creating your own awesome blog is deciding where to have your blog hosted, and then signing up. We recommend Bluehost for web hosting. Bluehost is one of the most used and recognizable hosting services in the market, and what we have used since day one. It is also set up to play very nice with WordPress, which is extremely important for blogging.
Why should I pay for web hosting?
You could start a blog on wordpress.com or blogspot.com for free! So why should you pay for web hosting? Because when you use a free blogging platform, your site will be @ www.yoursite.blogspot.com or www.yoursite.wordpress.com. Why does that matter? Because you don’t own your domain or your site! In order to have full control of your site, you will need to pay for professional hosting. Not to mention, it will be much more difficult for search engines to find your site if it is hosted by these free services. Finally, if you aim to monetize your blog, you will be unable to do this with free web hosting. If you do plan to monetize your blog, view paying for hosting as an investment, not an expense.
As a beginner blogger, the cheapest plan will likely be fine. With that said, we opted for prime for two reasons. First, it allows you to host an unlimited number of sites. If you plan to have more sites in the future, then this is something to consider. It also gives you “domain privacy” which means people can not find your name, address and phone number via a simple domain search. If the finances allow, prime is probably worth it.
Now you simply need to choose your domain. Sounds simple enough, you even get your first domain name for free through Bluehost. Though, choosing a domain might be tougher than you think! We waffled for a few days before deciding on our first domain name, only to change it later.
When choosing a domain, we recommend choosing a name that is simple and conveys something about what your site. Not only will this help search engines understand what your site is about, no one ever wondered what “backpacker.com” is about. On the other hand, “google” doesn’t exactly scream, “I’m a search engine,” and they seem to be doing okay. The only hard and fast rules that I have are no numbers and no symbols. You don’t want to make it too difficult to relay by word of mouth.
Now, you will have to fill out your account information and pay. You can choose to pay for up to three years or less. However, the savings are well worth it to pay for the three years up front, in my opinion. If you didn’t plan on sticking with it, you probably wouldn’t be going through the trouble to start your own blog in the first place! As you go through the account creation process, Bluehost will offer you a number of “extras.” As with the more advanced plans, you shouldn’t need to worry about any of these until well down the road in your blogging career, if then, so we do not recommend adding any of them on to your plan.
Step 2 – Install WordPress
While choosing Bluehost for a Hosting service was a pretty easy decision for us, there is literally no decision when it comes to choosing a blogging software. WordPress is so far and away the best, easiest to use, and most functional blogging platform on the web, that it is functionally the only blogging platform on the web. Furthermore, it is literally a one-click install through Bluehost. Did I mention that it is free?
Once you are logged into Bluehost, simply click the “install WordPress” button and, you guessed it, install WordPress. Follow the on-screen instructions through the next few pages, set up another login (this one for WordPress), and voila! Just wait while WordPress installs! At this point, Bluehost will allow you to browse themes for purchase, but skip that for now, and we will cover choosing a theme for your awesome new blog in the next section.
Step 3 – choose and install a theme
Now the fun starts! It is time to choose a theme that will function as the skin for your blog, and start creating awesome content that readers will love!
Go to www.yoursite.com/admin. Enter your WordPress login info, and you will be brought to the WordPress dashboard. This is the lab from which you will concoct all of the amazing content for your blog. Each post will begin here. It is also where you will go to install plugins, themes, and turn your new blog into a reflection of yourself. And you are awesome, right? So how could your blog be anything else!?
The “easy WordPress setup” page will prompt you to choose setup for a business or personal website. Choose Business and move on to picking a theme. Choose “appearance” on the left side of the dashboard, and then select “themes.” Now select “add new theme” and you will be able to browse thousands of free and paid themes, with the option to preview each one before hitting “install.”
A word on free vs paid themes.
Almost every blogger starts out with a free theme. We did. Then we chose a new free theme soon after. And within three months, we had purchased a premium theme and went through the painstaking process of completely rebuilding our site and reposting all of our content for the second time. If we had it to do over, we would have chosen Divi by Elegant themes from the beginning, but all’s well that ends well.
So, should you purchase a premium theme or stick with a free one? The answer: it depends. If money is no object, then purchase a premium theme, to begin with. If money is tight and you have no intention of ever turning your blog into something seriously professional that you hope to earn income from, stick with a free theme. If money is tight and you do want a professional blog that looks professional and has the potential to earn you income, then you are in a tough spot, the same one we were in when we chose to begin with a free theme.
Our best advice is to take stock of your situation, both in regard to your finances and the future of your blog. If there is any chance you think you will upgrade to a paid theme down the road, then we highly recommend going ahead and choosing a paid theme, to begin with. Building your blog is easy because you don’t already have months or years worth of content to reformat and repost.
A final note to consider about free themes is that more times than not, the support for them is very limited. This is what we ran into. Neither of our free themes had any support service. Furthermore, because not many people used them, there was very limited info on what to do when we ran into problems. That is the main reason we ended up switching to a paid theme.
If you do go with a paid theme, I do not believe that there is a better, more well rounded, user-friendly theme than Divi, by Elegant Themes. Plus, once you purchase it, you can use it on as many websites as you want, which is important if you plan to have more in the future. And the best part? They offer 24/7 live support!
Step 4 – Start creating Amazing Content!
Depending on which theme you choose, there will be a number of different customization options. Now it is time for you to explore those customization options, try out new plugins, and most importantly, create the content that will make your blog special! Upload your photos, your videos, and write about whatever it is that you care about. Because you can bet, if it is important to you, it is important for someone else, and that person can’t wait for you to share it with them.
Build Your Brand: Design Your Life Series
3. You are Here! How to Build a Blog in Less than an Hour
We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund this blog. Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase one of the packs below, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!