So you want to learn how to start a WordPress blog?
You are in luck because today, creating a blog is easier than ever.
In this guide, I will show you how to set up a WordPress blog from scratch, step by step, without any technical knowledge.
You will learn how to select a domain name, choose a reliable web hosting, install a beautiful WordPress theme, add powerful functionalities via plugins and publish your first post.
And the whole process should take no more than 30 minutes to complete!
Ready? Let’s get started.
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Table of Contents
How to Start a WordPress Blog and Make Money Blogging
When it comes to blogging, WordPress is the most popular blogging platform by far so it makes sense to follow the crowd as it’s a proven choice for many websites.
Well, it is free to use, highly customizable to a tee and there’s large online guides and community behind it to help you solve any issues you may encounter.
Most importantly, it lets you make money from your blog without any restrictions.
Although there are other free blogging platforms out there, they’re rather limited in features and they bound you to their restrictive terms of service. You also don’t own your blog content!
That’s why I’ve decided to focus on the self-hosted WordPress.org platform for this guide.
In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through the whole process of creating a WordPress blog. The steps are:
- Sign-up with a web hosting provider.
- Choose a hosting plan
- Pick a domain name for your blog
- Complete hosting registration
- Install WordPress with one-click installation
- Log-in and write your first post.
Now let’s go into each step in more detail.
1. Sign Up With a Web Host
A web host is a company that provides a place on the Internet to store the files of your website. It’s like a home for your website where it actually lives.
I recommend getting started with BlueHost as your web host.
Established in 1996, Bluehost is one of the oldest web hosting companies around (even before Google). It’s very affordable, reliable and secure.
With their once-click-install feature for WordPress, you’ll get up and running in no time. Plus, their web hosting offers come with a free domain name to boot.
For a limited time, BlueHost is offering a special intro offer where you’ll only pay $3.95/mo instead of the normal $7.99/mo.
If you’re not satisfied with BlueHost for whatever reason, you can get a refund within 30 days. You’ve got nothing to lose really.
Disclosure: At AbsolutelyFreebies.com I believe in transparency. If you sign up with Bluehost using my referral link, I’ll earn a commission at no extra cost to you (in fact, you will save money and get a free domain). This helps me keep AbsolutelyFreebies.com up and running.
To get started, open up Bluehost in a new window.
Click on the “Get Started” button to begin.
2. Choose Your Hosting Plan
On the next screen, there are four options you can choose from. They are the Basic, Plus, Choice Plus and Pro plan.
Beginner bloggers can start with the cheapest plan which is the Basic plan. It’s enough performance to get you started.
Keep in mind that you can always upgrade later if you need more resources and features.
3. Pick A Domain Name
On the next screen, you’ll have the option to choose a domain name for free.
A domain is like your blog’s permanent address. For example, mine is absolutelyfreebies.com.
Owning your own domain name allows you to create personalized email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Tips on Choosing a Domain Name
Your domain name is a brand that represents you and your website. It’s what makes your blog recognizable to people.
You should put some thought into selecting your domain name but don’t overthink this.
Here are some tips for choosing a domain name for your blog:
- Use your personal name – if the blog is about you or you want to build a brand using your own name.
- Use brandable name – if you want to build a brand apart from yourself, you can use a brandable name such as FrugalPurse.com instead of Best-How-To-Save-Money-Tips.com ?
- Keep it short – a shorter name means less hassle for the user to type and less risk of mistyping.
- Make it easy to remember – avoid confusion with complicated or creative misspellings.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens – this makes it hard to remember and explain the domain to others.
- Select a “.com”, “.org” or “.net” – those are the most popular. People usually associate a website with “.com” so that should be your first choice. Avoid extensions like “.biz”, “.club” and other less common ones because they are harder to remember.
If your first choice .com domain isn’t available, you can use other domain name ending such as .net or .org (not ideal for personal sites).
Use the second form on the right “Use a domain name you own” if you already have a domain name bought from somewhere else.
If you have not decided on a domain name yet, don’t worry because you choose your free domain later.
4. Complete Your Registration
Next, fill out your details under Account Information.
Under Package Information, you can start off with the 12 months hosting plan.
To get the best pricing, I recommend going for a plan that is longer than 12 months.
If you select the 36 months plan, it will only cost you about $47.40 to host your blog the entire year, which include the free domain name.
There are optional Package Extras that you can purchase but they really aren’t necessary when starting a new blog.
However, you might want to consider the Domain Privacy Protection. When you register a domain name, your contact information is made public.
To avoid that, you can tick this option to instruct Bluehost to hide your registrant information and replace it with theirs.
Personally, I don’t think the Domain privacy Protection is necessary for new bloggers but you can always add this add-on later if you need it.
Lastly, enter your payment information and then click Submit.
Once submitted, you’ll be asked to create a password to login into your Bluehost account.
You’ll also receive an email with instructions on how to login to your web hosting control panel.
5. Install WordPress
Installing WordPress is very easy with Bluehost.
- To get started log in to your Bluehost Hosting account.
- Open the My Sites tab from the side menu on the left, then click on the Create Site button. Bluehost will show a wizard to walk you through the process.
- Enter the Site name and Site Tagline. Then check the “Do you want a blog?” option and click Continue.
- Once you’re inside your Bluehost account, you’ll be able to pick one of the themes provided by Bluehost. Keep in mind that you can always change your theme any time you like.
- Once you complete the installation process, you should be able to access your WordPress login URL at http://yoursite.com/wp-admin.
Congratulations! You have just created your new blog!
PS: If you are stuck or need more help installing your WordPress blog with Bluehost, I will be happy to help! Just drop me a line via my contact page. Try me!
How to Start a Blog Related FAQs
How to Write Your First Post
You can log in to your blog admin dashboard by visiting www.yoursite.com/wp-admin. Just replace yoursite.com with your own domain name.
Once you’re logged in, you will see the WordPress dashboard screen below. Your dashboard may look slightly different.
If you are using Bluehost, your dashboard might look like the following:
Now’s the fun part – it’s time to share your blog post ideas with the world!
To write a blog post, hover over Posts on the left menu then click Add New.
This will bring you to the WordPress Editor where you can write your blog posts using an intuitive block system.
There are blocks available for all kinds of content: you can insert text, headings, images, lists, and lots more!
It may not be obvious at first but once you start writing, you’ll get the hang of it pretty fast. Once you are done, just press the Publish button and your post will be live.
You can learn more about how to use the WordPress Editor here.
How to Customize Your WordPress Theme
You can change the appearance of your blog by changing the blog theme with just a few clicks.
It’s one of the most exciting parts of starting a blog as you and your visitors will be able to enjoy the results right away.
There are thousands of premade WordPress themes that you can choose from. Some are free while others are paid.
I’ve used mostly paid themes for my blogs. Currently, I am using a theme from Thrive Themes for AbsolutelyFreebies.com.
Theme Forest is another site that I use a lot when looking for beautifully designed and functional themes.
To change your WordPress blog theme just follow these steps:
- Start by login to www.yoursite.com/wp-admin
- In your WordPress dashboard, click on the Appearance > Themes
You’ll see several pre-installed themes. If you don’t like any of those, click the “Add New” button at the top.
On the next screen, you’ll be able to search the free WordPress theme repository. You can sort by popularity, latest or filter by feature, industry and layout.
If you purchased a paid theme from somewhere, click the Upload Theme button and upload the ZIP file to proceed with the installation.
Once you’ve decided on a theme, click Install.
After installing your theme, be sure to click the Activate button to apply the changes on your site.
How to Add Functionality to Your Blog With Plugins
You can install a WordPress plugin with just a few clicks to add new functionality of your blog.
Most plugins are free while some are paid. Plugins allow you to add more advanced functionality like:
- Contact form
- Social media sharing
- Help you rank on the search engines
- Improve blog security
- And more…
Currently, there are over 55,000 plugins you can download from the WordPress repository.
My advice is to only install those that you really need as installing too many plugins can slow down your blog.
Now, here’s how to install a plugin:
In your Dashboard, click the Plugins > Add New or the button at the top.
On the next screen, search for the plugin by name and click Install Now.
If you purchased a paid plugin, click the Upload Plugin button to upload the ZIP file to your server.
Be sure to Activate the plugin after the installation. That’s it!
How to Make Money From Your Blog
If you follow this guide this far, I am sure making money from your blog is one of your goals. Taking the time to learn how to start a blog business today will pay dividends in the future.
There are many different ways to monetize a blog. However, none of them will make you rich quickly. If someone promises you otherwise, look elsewhere.
Your blog income usually takes a while to grow a decent size but when it does, it compounds nicely to the point where you’ll start generating passive income without any work.
My own blogging journey gives ample examples of making money from blogging.
You can read my blog income reports to understand how I make money from AbsolutelyFreebies.com and hopefully get some inspirations.
AdSense is an advertising service by Google that allows you to put ads on your blog.
The idea is to Google Ads on your blog and when a visitor views or clicks on those ads you get paid for it.
It’s the fastest and easiest way for a beginner to monetize a new blog. The downside is that you need a lot of traffic to generate a meaningful income.
Affiliate marketing is where you promote a product or service and get paid every time someone signs up for it or when you drive a sale.
Getting started with affiliate marketing is very easy.
There are tons of products and services to promote to match your content. Just place relevant affiliate links in your blog posts and off you go.
There’s no need to worry about customer support, keeping inventories or deal with the technical stuff. Everything is managed by the affiliate company.
However, like ads, you need lots of targeted traffic to generate a meaningful income.
There are many affiliate networks out there that have affiliate offers. Here are a few popular programs you can sign up:
One of the largest affiliate programs. Amazon offers over a million physical and digital products to advertise. The commission may not be big (up to 10%) but there’s always something you can promote no matter what niche your blog is in.
ShareASale offers pay-per-sale, pay-per-lead, and pay-per-click programs. They have many blogger-friendly affiliate programs you can join.
One of the most popular affiliate networks for bloggers
- Panthera Interactive
Panthera Interactive is an affiliate network offering mostly CPA (Cost per Action) offers. That is, you get paid when users take a specific action such as signing up for a trial, taking a survey, getting a quote and so on. The users don’t even have to buy anything. Because of that, CPA offers usually convert better than pay-per-sale offers.
Another popular and reliable CPA network you can join.
Sell Your Own Digital Products
Your blog can be a “free” source of valuable information to your readers.
As they become your loyal followers and are ready for a more in-depth material, you can start offering paid information via your own ebook, courses, software, digital downloads and others.
I once hired a programmer to code a software product for USD500 and sell it from my website. The payments and software delivery were handled by a payment processor company for a small fee.
I figured I’ve made over US250,000 in profit. The only work I had to do was providing some customer support.
Sell Your Services
This making money option has a low start-up cost, and you’ll be able to make money a lot quicker.
The disadvantages are you need an existing skill that other people need. You are also trading your time for money so the income is not passive.
You can offer
- Writing services
- Virtual assistance
- Graphic design
For more ideas, check out this work from home jobs list.
What’s Next After You Create a WordPress Blog?
Now that you know how to start a WordPress blog, what’s next?
If you are a visual learner, you may want to check the blogging video guides from Linkedin Learning.
They have tons of video courses from the blogging fundamentals, how to write a compelling blog post to blog promotion and SEO to help you rank on the search engines.
With their FREE 30-days trial, you don’t have to pay anything to access those video courses (plus 13,000+ others) if you just want to check them out!
You can also check Blogging Masterclass: How To Build A Successful Blog In 2019.
You will learn proven blogging strategies, blog promotion, email list building and monetization. In fact, it’s one of the best selling courses at Udemy.
If you need help creating a logo, social media graphics, or fixing a technical issue, you can hire someone at Fiverr for as low as $5 per task.
Creating a successful blog requires passion and hard work, there’s no shortcut to it.
The good news is as long as you are willing to learn, the journey itself can be fun and very rewarding.
With patience and perseverance, achieving your goal won’t be a pipe dream anymore.
Remember, I am here to help you if you have any questions about starting your blog. Feel free to contact me via the contact page.
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