For a beginner, starting a blog could seem to be an uphill task – it was difficult for me too when I first ventured into the online space with my blogs.
However, the truth is that making a blog is very simple, even a child can do it – if he or she has learnt how to crawl, walk and type the keyboard.
Creating a blog or website from scratch is very easy and you do not need to be a computer wizard working for Google to run a successful blog.
In fact, the entire process is fairly automated, so you only need to know how to move from one step to another.
So, there is no need to be afraid of jargons like Cpanel and FTP because once you’ve started on the right foot, you’ll find that the other stuff will also start rolling smoothly.
P.S: If you ever get stuck along the way, contact me and I’ll assist you break the blogging stone much faster.
Shall we start with this legitimate guide?
Step 1: What are you going to blog about?
A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. So, the first step towards having an attractive blog or website is to identify a topic or the niche that interests you.
When I began blogging, I was in love with trading currencies, so I selected that topic. Blogging in something that does not ignite you is like trying to squeeze water from a desert stone.
It will be much easier to create articles and posts (and keep your site alive) on something that interests you, right?
If you are an expert in a certain field or industry, it’s even better to start a blog in that area because your site will gain authority very fast.
However, if no idea is readily come to mind, you can brainstorm with your friends or even me and you’ll not fail to get something to give you a name in the Internet.
Here are some common blogging topics:
- Finance – You can write on personal financial issues, investment, mortgage and any other stuff related to this niche.
- Entertainment – in this busy (and stressful) planet, people like getting entertainment. You can blog about things that make people happy and relaxed such as latest movies, music, etc.
- Fashion – Are you a fun of the latest trending clothes or accessories? If yes, then this could be a niche to delve into successfully.
- Christian – A lot of people come to the world wide web looking for spiritual materials. You can provide such uplifting content on your blog.
The above topics are just a tip on the iceberg on what you can start blogging about.
Step 2: Choose your preferred blogging platform
Selecting the platform you want to use for launching your blogging is important. There are lots of popular blogging/website creation platforms out there that you can use.
Some of them are the following:
However, I’ve learnt from experience that WordPress (self-hosted) is by far the best platform to use for creating a blog.
I’m not alone because there are around 80 million users depending on WordPress for their blogging. Many popular bloggers around the world use WordPress.
Here are the main reasons why I prefer WordPress:
- As earlier mentioned, it’s use is popular. In fact, about statistics say that about 20% of the web is run on this platform. And, no blogger blogs in his or her own island. So, you need something that will easily connect you with the blogging world and get assistance quickly in case you get stuck.
- It’s very easy to set-up and configure.
- It’s very stable. This implies that it does not crash easily and works very fast.
- It’s very flexible and responsive. You can easily choose from the several different layouts and free themes.
- And, many others
So, the rest of this tutorial will be based on building a site on the WordPress platform.
Here is an article on this site on how to choose the best blogging platform.
Now, let’s get to the next step, is it becoming interesting?
Step 3: Own a piece of the Internet by going for a domain name
If you want to operate a blog or website, you need to secure a domain name.
A domain name is like your phone number or a business name; it’s what people will use to access your site.
Even though there are sites that give free blogs and websites, you’ll discover that none of their stuff is really ‘free’ at all. If you go for a free blog, you’ll be limited in terms of the control you have on your site.
Furthermore, buying your own domain name will make you look more legitimate and serious than going for a free name like myfirstblog.blogspot.com or myfirstblog.tumblr.com.
The amount you’ll pay for purchasing a domain name varies from one site to another. Usually, the cost of securing a simple one starts from $5 to $20.
The name you choose will depend on its availability. For example, if you want to buy myfirstblog.com but you find out that it has already been taken, you could opt for other extensions such as myfirstblog.net or myfirstblog.org. Better still, you could go for another different distinct domain name altogether.
For buying a domain name, I usually prefer to use either Godaddy or Hostgator because I trust their reliability and honesty.
Read here for some tips on how to choose the best domain name for your site.
Step 4: Give your blog life by hosting it
No one will know your site is present in the Internet unless you give it some life by hosting it.
Hosting is like water that makes a tree to stand strong; without water, the tree would wither and fall down. Without hosting, your blog or website will never become alive.
So, after you’ve acquired a domain name for your site, you should go ahead and buy hosting for it.
Several hosting companies are available out there that can host your blog. However, I strongly recommend Hostgator because of the following reasons:
- I’ve used them for quite awhile for hosting my sites and they have never disappointed me with their services
- Their level of customer service is simply top-notch
- Their packages are very cost effective compared with the others available in the market
- They solve customer issues fast and in a friendly manner
- They are very popular. Currently, more than 9,000,000 domains are hosted using Hostgator in the Internet.
You can also get a good discount.
If you use the coupon code LEGITBLOG25, you’ll get 25% off your initial hosting purchase regardless of the number of months you need your site to be hosted– 1 month, 3 months, 12 months etc – the time is not important.
This saving is more than what you’ll get with their default coupon code, so it’s better you make use of it.
*This tutorial assumes that you’ll use Hostgator. However, if you go for another hosting company, these instructions will still be relevant to follow.
Hostgator has various types of plans you can choose depending on your needs. They include Hatchling Plan, Baby Plan and Business Plan.
With the Hatching Plan, which is the cheapest at $3.96 per month, you’ll be able to only host one domain name.
The Business Plan, which goes for $10.36 per month, is the most expensive and best suited for large-scale businesses.
If you are a home-based entrepreneur like myself, the best one to go for is the Baby Plan, costing $6.36 per month.
With the Baby Plan, you’ll be able to host unlimited domains. So, it’s a great benefit if you want to develop several sites and host them.
So, once you’ve chosen your preferred hosting plan, follow the easy steps until you complete making the purchase.
Remember to contact me if you need any assistance. Also, do not forget to use the promo code LEGITBLOG25 to make maximum savings on your order.
Once you’ve completed paying your order, Hostgator will send you an email with all the information you’ll require to proceed.
Note that if you purchased your domain name from another company instead of Hostgator, then you’ll need to change the name servers.
Name servers look like this:
Name server 1: ns3456.hostgator.com
Name server 2: ns3457.hostgator.com
You’ll find name servers under the domain manager section in the website of the company that sold to you the domain name.
After you’ve replaced the name servers with the ones Hostgator provided you with, click OK and wait for them to be updated.
It may take up to 48 hours for the update process to be complete.
Step 5: Install WordPress and set up your site
Now the actual building of your blog starts from here.
As it was discussed earlier, we’ll use WordPress as a platform for installing a blog. The setting up of a blog is simple and can take about 5 minutes to be accomplished.
Here is a video from Hostgator on how to install WordPress when starting a blog.
Using the details that were sent to your email when you purchased hosting from Hostgator, access your CPanel and try to familiarize yourself with it.
To set up WordPress, look for Software/Services on the CPanel and click on the QuickInstall option.
Thereafter, on the left side bar, locate the Blog Software section.
1. Click Continue
2. On the form that comes up, you’ll notice “http://”, together with a drop-down menu of your domain name, and a blank box. Do not put anything in the right box to prevent your installation from being set up into a subdirectory. Just leave it blank.
3. Uncheck Enable Auto-Upgrades. Your WordPress site should always be up-to-date so that it can function optimally. However, it’s better you do it manually so that you ensure your theme and plugins are functioning well after updating.
4. Complete filling the remaining fields. You should not use “admin” as your Admin username. You need something unique and secure that will not make your site vulnerable to external attacks.
5. Click Install Now!
6. After the installation process is complete, you’ll be provided with the log in details you can use to access the backend of your site.
It’s that easy! Your site should now be actively running on a default WordPress theme.
Note that sometimes it may take one or two hours for the hosting company to complete the setting up of your site.
If you want to change the default WordPress theme, you can look for professional and attractive templates on a site like Themeforest.
Follow these steps to upload a new template to your site.
- Log in to the backend of your site and then click on appearance
- Click on the themes option
- Search for a default template you prefer to use in building your site. If you had purchased and downloaded a theme from elsewhere, click on add new and upload it from your computer. Ensure the theme is in zip format before uploading it.
- Click on activate so that it can become live
- Customize the theme to meet your preferences
Step 6: Install essential plugins
On its own, WordPress is a good platform with many beneficial features.
However, the heart and soul of this platform is found in its capability to allow plugins to be added to it in order to improve its functionality.
Plugins are pieces of packaged code that adds extra important features to a website or a blog.
So, without installing some essential plugins, your site may not function optimally.
Important note: Do not go overboard and install any other plugin you find out there. If you install plugins without doing enough background check, you may compromise the security of your site or make your site to be slow and ineffective.
Most WordPress plugins are usually available free of charge. Here is how to install them.
- Log in to the backend of your site
- On the WordPress Dashboard, place your cursor on plugins
- Click add new on the drop down tab
- Type the name of the plugin you need to install and click search plugin
- Click install now for the one you prefer to add
- Click activate to start using the plugin
Here are the essential plugins you should consider using when starting a blog.
a) WordPress SEO by Yoast: This amazing plugin will optimize your blog’s SEO potential so that it can rank high on search engine results
b) WP Super Cache: It will make your WordPress site function faster, especially when you get a big influx of visitors.
c) WP Touch Mobile Plugin: With this plugin, you’ll create a beautiful and responsive version of your site that can easily be seen on mobile gadgets.
d) Limit Login attempts: It limits the number of times an IP address can try to log in; therefore, it protects your site from unauthorized access.
e) Ad Injection: It will assist you rotate various banners within your site so that you can optimize your monetization efforts.
f) Google Sitemap: With this plugin, your posts will be indexed and ranked easily by the search engines.
g) Sharebar: It will assist you promote your content using the common social media platforms.
h) Akismet: If you activate this plugin, you’ll forget about spam forever. If you are doubting, wait and see how spam will be hitting your site.
i) Link checker: This plugin will assist you identify and correct any broken links you may have on your site so that your SEO efforts are not watered down.
j) JetPack: This super plugin contains dozens of interesting enhancements to your site. With over 30 powerful features, managing your blog will be much easier.
You can refer to this article to read more on essential plugins every blog should have: Top Essential Plugins Every Blog Should Have.
There you go! That’s the legit guide on how to launch a blog. That is all you need to start a blog and claim a piece of the Internet.
Any questions or something is not very clear? Leave them in the comment section below and I’ll do my best to respond to them.
Enjoy your new blog!