How to start a blog for Beginners
This is a tutorial on how to start a blog for beginners and I am writing from expertise as an Analyst programmer. I’ve been working with blogs, WordPress themes, and set-ups for more than 7 years.
This article is using affiliate marketing links and we only recommend brands we trust and use.
This article is not a three steps blog set up, but a detailed and comprehensive blogging tutorial on how to start a blog for beginners. We go into detail on every aspect so you create a blog from scratch and succeed.
We use all the expertise we have in programming domain in order to help you learn how to blog, secure and maintain your blog. Blogging is on the rising with each year, and more people want to learn how to become a blogger. Follow the next steps to create a blog from scratch.
- Where to write a blog?
- How to choose a website name?
- What domain should I choose?
- What Web-hosting to choose?
- How to install WordPress on my blog?
- What WordPress theme I should choose?
- What WordPress plugins I need?
- How to secure my blog?
- Tips on writing good blog content
- How to promote blog content?
- How to monetize your blog?
There are many platforms that offer services for beginner bloggers, but you should take a step back before choosing one of them. You need to answer yourself some questions:
- What do you want to write on your blog?
- What’s the topic of your blog?
- Do you want to make money from your blog, later on?
- Do you want full freedom on your blog?
Depending on your answers, you can choose from free blogging platforms: Blogger from Google, Tumblr, Medium, WordPress.com and more. I’ve used and tested these platforms, but every time I came across various obstacles. I wanted to improve my SEO techniques to rank better in search, to improve the layout of my blog or migrate to a new blogging platform, and they weren’t offering me these options. And the free platforms have a big drawback. They own your site and can shut it down any time.
My recommendation is to buy a domain name, a hosting service and use the blogging platform from WordPress.org to administrate the blog. This is how I do and this is how millions of bloggers do.
The website name is how your blog will identify on the world wide web. This step is very important and should not be overlooked. I did a mistake in the past and I thought that buying a domain in my native would be a good idea. Clearly, I didn’t think it trough.
The website name should be easy to remember, catchy and short. There are many tools online that could give a helping hand.
Remember that your website name should be:
- Easy to remember
- Easy to read in most languages
- Unique name
- Easy to pronounce
- Short name
- Maximum 3 words
Think about all the popular brands we all know, they all have made-up names: Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.
After picking up the website name, you should find a domain name for it. Domain names are like a house address. You know where to send a letter, based on the address. The same is a domain.
Based on the website name you found, you can check for its availability. Use the following tool from Bluehost to see if the domain name is available. It will also offer you variations if the name you wanted is not available. Also, I recommend choosing a .com website if you plan to address an international audience with it. A domain name is cheap, of about $9 – $15 per year.
There are many web-hosting services but for this tutorial on how to start a blog for beginners, I recommend BlueHost.
Bluehost offers the best price on the market of web-hosting, free domain, free site builders and 1-click WordPress install and a fast 24/7 support. It’s one of the most reliable hosting services out there.
Also, if you already have a domain name, you can register it on Bluehost also, because it offers domain transfer service too.
Next step is to add your account and contact information. After completing the contact information, you will choose the package information. The best deal is for 36 months, but if you want, you can also get hosting for 12 months.
After paying the bill you will also be offered some other services, you opt-out of those. You don’t need them when you start your blog.
Enter your blog
Next, you will need to add a password for your account. Be sure to note the information in a notebook or some excel file, so you don’t forget it. I always keep a journal where I keep some important data.
On the following, log into the Bluehost portal, in the hosting tab.
After logging into the BlueHost platform you will be shown some WordPress Themes you can pick for your blog, but you can skip this step for later so you can properly study the themes.
Skipping this step, the WordPress framework will be installed on your blog.
After clicking the button “Start building” you will be redirected to the WordPress dashboard.
You will, now, need to add a new user for admin. In the left dashboard menu, in the Users tab, click the Add New button.
Add your email address, username, and password. Be careful not to add usernames such as Admin or Administrator. This will prevent the spam bots or hackers to access your login panel and guess your user and password.
For the password, click Show Password and save the generated password. If you want to add a custom password, choose a password of no less than 8 characters and add letters and special characters (! @,#,$,%,^,&,*,+). Save your password in a safe place or write it down.
Don’t forget to choose Administrator for Role, otherwise, you won’t give yourself access to the full dashboard. To login using the new user account, go to https://yourdomain.com/wp-login.php and replace “yourdomain” with the domain name you picked at previous steps.
After this, congratulations on setting up your blog and let’s get things ready to start blogging.
- Posts – the posts are article/pages you will write into your blog and are dated
- Comments – from this section, you will moderate the comments that your users will write to your posts.
- Appearance – this section is used for adding a new theme, customizing it, creating menus and widgets for footer or sidebar.
- Plugins – the plugins are an important factor in your blog and based on the plugins you chose your blog will get better or worse.
It’s important the way your website looks, and I know better than anyone else because I’ve been working with WordPress themes at work for many years. Also, I tested many WordPress themes to find something that will suit my needs.
You must make a list of the things you need from your theme. If you want to make photography blog you need a theme that has a beautiful layout for your portfolio. For a cooking blog, you can pick a theme that features a beautiful layout for recipes.
I will recommend some of the themes I am using on my blogs, and that I find more than amazing.
Ashe is a beautiful responsive WordPress theme. After searching through many themes I found this one and it’s great if you are a beginner blogger.
What is great about this theme, is that even the free version offers you great customization liberty. It’s mobile friendly, minimal and modern. Perfect for the personal blog, lifestyle, health & fitness, food, cooking, bakery, travel, beauty, fashion, wedding, photography, news, quotes blog, auto blog, small business website and any other.
I like that it’s coded with the best SEO practice and you will need that. I love it and can’t recommend it enough.
Another great theme from the same company is Bard. I am also using this theme and it’s as great as Ashe. I love that the page speed is low. The features you get from the free version are on the same level with features you get from very expensive premium themes.
The pro version of the theme is incredibly customizable.
Envato is a huge base of WordPress themes and you will find anything you need. They offer great support and themes for any type of blog you decide to build.
The first thing you need to keep in mind is the security of your blog. There are many people out there whose sole thought is to harm other people’s website.
When picking a plugin check the number of active installations, the rating stars if it’s compatible with your WordPress version and how often it’s updated. This way you will be assured that the plugin is useful, it’s updated and reliable.
- WPS Hide Login – First thing I always do is to hide my login page. You can do this by assigning a new page to be the login page. The bots know that the wp-login.php is the login page to any WordPress blog. For example, you can change it to login-page or awesomelogin, but something that is not as common as wp-login.php, wp-login or login. I like Hide Login plugin.
- Akismet – You will need to blog all the nasty spam comments you will receive, and trust me, there are thousands of spam comments. Most of them are from bots. This plugin will block them for you.
- Yoast SEO – I love this plugin. It’s great for SEO best practice and you can correct your SEO mistakes right from the blog editing interface.
- Login No Captcha reCAPTCHA – This plugin is great for security too. For any form or field, your users should complete, this little plugin will force the user to prove they’re not a bot.
- W3 Total Cache – A caching plugin will make your website load faster and improve the overall user experience. This tool is more complex than others, so reading the documentation or asking for support is recommended.
- MailChimp for WordPress – MailChimp is useful if you want to add subscriptions to your blog. You must create a free account on MailChimp and add the user ID in your blog. The free account is limited for the first 2000 subscribers. For a beginner blogger like you, it’s great.
You can check other plugins from the Plugin tab in your menu and by clicking on Add New. A long list of plugins will show up and you can search for what you need.
Beside the previous tips about safety, there are other steps in making your website secure.
- CloudFlare – I recommend using CloudFlare to make your website faster and safer. For the free plan, you also get an SSL certificate. This will reassure your visitor that your blog is safe for browsing. For a paid plan you get more security and other benefits.
- Using security plugins – All in One WP Security is a great plugin for security because, besides the firewall tools, it’s also creating a weekly backup of your database. It’s preventing brute force attacks, spam comments, hacker registrations, and more.
- Don’t forget to regularly update your WordPress version. You will get a notification every time a new version is out. So be sure to update it because it contains important security and setting updates.
You can start adding content, after having these pages. Here you will find tips on what to write in your first blog post. Take time when writing your posts and research the keywords you could use in your posts. The keywords are terms that people usually search in search engines like Googe or Bing to find the information they need. Having these keywords in your posts will help you rank better in the search results and attract more traffic.
Writing good content is very hard and there are many things to be careful about. In this article about the most common blogging mistakes, you can check them out before starting to write. It will give you a good idea about the dos and don’ts of blogging.
After learning how to start a blog for beginners and writing content, don’t expect people to come out of anywhere to your blog. You need to start growing the seeds you planted.
It’s said that writing a post should take 20% of the time, while the promoting 80%. Next steps after creating the blog are to create social media pages for the it
- Facebook page
- Instagram page
- Tumblr and anything else that’s suited for your niche.
These big domains are already huge in the online world, so they can pull up your little blog. Making a network with other bloggers like you is also a good start. You will learn from them and they can offer you space for precious backlinks.
Research and learn more and more in order to grow your blog.
There are many ways of monetizing your blog and after building a nice audience you can start thinking about making some money out of it.
- Adsense by Google – this one is highly popular, but hard to achieve with a new blog. It takes patience and sometimes the outcome is not as expected.
- Besides Adsense, there are other good ads companies you should check out and that are not so restricted.
- Affiliate marketing – is great to find a brand you love and use all the time and also benefit from it. Well, many brands offer affiliate services. You can promote their products via your blog. They get more sales and you get commissions.
- Own products – creating products based on your niches such as e-books, pdf, programming tools, developing tools, testing or programming services, t-shirts, drawings and more can make you a little fortune if you promote them online.
These steps are more than enough to teach how to start a blog for beginners. Even if there are many details, it’s important to go through each one of them, in order to benefit from every aspect of blogging.
Photo by Jess Watters from Pexels