If you make money along the way, that’s great. In fact, if you help people solve their problems, you’re all but guaranteed to make money from your blog—eventually. Let’s just remember there are at least four resources that are more important than money: skills, time, energy, and attention.
How to Start a Blog
In 2010 when I was learning how to create a blog, I spent a lot of time searching for helpful information online. I was only able to find it piece by piece on a variety of websites. To save you time, I’ve created this free step-by-step blog tutorial to teach beginners how to make a blog quickly and easily. It’s not as complicated as many people think!
Step 1 Choose your blog name and get your blog hosting
Blogging Quick Start – Step 1
Choose your domain name
Your domain name is an important part of your blog because it creates a first impression—it is the name of your blog. Also known as your URL, your domain is also your address on the web. For example, our domain name is www.theminimalists.com.
So, what do you want to call your blog? Maybe it’s YourName.com. Maybe it’s YourBusinessName.com. Or maybe it’s a creative brand name you thought up. If you’re having a hard time thinking of a good domain name, try Wordoid, a wonderful naming tool that will give you plenty of great options. Just make sure you don’t buy the domain from them since Bluehost will give you a free domain. (If you’ve already purchased a domain elsewhere, that’s okay, too, because Bluehost will make it easy to transfer your existing domain during the setup process.)
Set up blog hosting
Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you’ll need to set up hosting for your blog. While WordPress itself is free (see Step 2 below), you need a reliable place to host your WordPress blog (your blog needs to be on a server somewhere on the Internet).
- We Use Bluehost. We personally use Bluehost to host The Minimalists. If you recommend a company, you better be willing to use their product yourself. We also use them to host several other websites of ours.
- Outstanding Customer Service. Bluehost’s customer service is 100% US-based. With hold times that average less than 30 seconds and 100% in-house, on-site staff in their Texas offices, you can rest assured that the person helping with your site knows how to help. In other words, if you have any questions, they will help you through the entire setup process.
- Great Pricing. TheMinimalists.com is a Bluehost affiliate partner, which means that in addition to using their service, we also receive a commission for referring new customers. To be fair, though, we would still use Bluehost even if we weren’t an affiliate—we’ve used them for a long time. Ergo, we don’t recommend Bluehost just because we’re an affiliate (every hosting company offers a similar affiliate program); we recommend Bluehost because they are the best, most reliable option. Plus, because we’re a partner, Bluehost offers a 50% discount for The Minimalists readers: only 5000.75 a month for the first year.
- Free Domain. When you sign up for hosting, Bluehost will give you a free domain name, which allows you to avoid the upfront and recurring fees associated with purchasing a domain on your own. If you’ve already purchased your own domain name, don’t worry; you can still use your domain with Bluehost (it’s just one extra step).
- Money-Back Guarantee. Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk if you change your mind.
- Reliability. Bluehost’s facilities are world class. They have their own custom-built 20,000-square-foot datacenter with enough backup generators to power a city.
- Friends & Family. Many of our friends and family also use Bluehost to host their blogs.
How to Start a Blog Ebook
Step 3 Pick a simple theme to make your blog your own
A theme allows you to pick a design for your blog without the need for coding expertise or design knowledge. In other words, a good theme helps you to design your blog exactly how you want it to look. If you’re not a coder (I’m certainly not a coder), then a theme makes the design work a million times easier.
Blogging Quick Start – Step 3
Our blog design is from BYLT, a platform created by our good friends at SPYR. They have several beautiful, simple WordPress themes to choose from, and, in fact, you can purchase the same theme we use if you like.
Simply go to BYLT and find the minimalist WordPress theme that best fits your desired aesthetic. Their themes are feature-rich; plus, once you buy your theme, you will have the same team supporting your work that we trust to support ours.
10. Purchase backup software
Free options exist, but I’ve never had good luck with them — and for something as important as my entire blog, I don’t mind paying a little extra. (It’s a business write-off, remember?!) Popular backup options include VaultPress, BackupBuddy, and blogVault.
Alexis Grant , founder of The Write Life, agrees with me. “If I could go back and do one thing differently for my business, it would be starting a newsletter earlier,” she writes. “My email list is THAT important for my business, bringing traffic to my website, buys of my products and opportunities I never could’ve expected.”
Even if you don’t have anything to send, just start collecting email addresses. The best way to entice people to sign up is by offering a free ebook or resource. For a great example, check out The Write Life’s Freelance Writer Pitch Checklist.
Once you’ve created your list, encourage your readers to sign up by adding a subscription box to your sidebar, and maybe even install a plugin like PopupAlly. Or, if you use ConvertKit, they have pop-up options built-in.
13. Promote, promote, promote
You’re almost there! Now that you’ve started writing, it’s time to get readers. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but for many writers, this is the most surprisingly time-consuming aspect of blogging. Though it’d be nice if we could just write (that’s what we love to do, right?), it’s nicer to have people actually read your work.
You can try guest posting on other blogs , reposting on sites like Medium and LinkedIn, or including links when writing responses in forums, Facebook groups, or on Quora. Just make sure you’re adding value — and not spamming people with your URL.
Social media is another great way to get more traffic and grow your author following . Instead of merely tooting your own horn, be sure to interact with editors, writers and bloggers, too.Share their content with your community, comment on their posts and support them when and where you can. Hopefully, they’ll return the favor!
In the end, creating a successful blog is about hard work and consistency. Keep posting helpful and engaging content, optimizing it for SEO, and sharing it with your networks — and you’ll soon see your new blog start to blossom.