Last Update 23rd September, 2016.
Deciding to start my first blog was one of the best decisions I ever made.
After all, my blogs are how I earn a living and the reason I’m living the dream in Thailand working full-time as a volunteer.
My blogs are also the place where I have a voice to talk about stuff I love.
And best of all… I get to help people improve their lives. It doesn’t get better than this!
So, let’s say you’ve been thinking about starting a blog as a way to express yourself and interact with the wonderful and growing online community, and let’s say you’re overwhelmed with all the possible options and you’re not quite sure the best way start.
Sound about right?
Good, that’s exactly I was once – clueless, confused and complexed. I made this starting a WordPress blog guide with you in mind, because I’ve been there.
Since starting out on my blogging journey three years ago with my first blog, I have learned how to replace my regular 9-5 income, get 2,000 unique visits a day and I’ve learned a lot about blogging along the way.
Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned in this time is that the most important aspect of building successful blogs is the decision to start.
This was a biggie for me, I’m an idealist at heart which means if I’m not careful I’ll wait for the perfect moment, the perfect circumstances before I’ll take action.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”. – Zig Ziglar [Tweet this]
The days of having to be a programming expert and needing to know html code before starting a blog are long gone and WordPress has opened up the playing field to anyone, even people like you and me. (Thanks WordPress!)
Because so many people ask how I set up this blog, I decided, once and for all, to give my readers a full step by step rundown of the same process I follow to create all of my blogs.
You don’t need much money – as a Make Money Online Blog reader can get your domain for free and host your site for just a few bucks a month.
And you don’t need to spend a ton of time on it either – follow this guide and in less than 30 minutes your blog’ll be live.
So whether you’re starting a blog on fashion, beauty, food, fitness or a social cause you believe in – the purpose of this how-to tutorial is to guide you through the practical steps of starting a WordPress blog from scratch.
How To Start A WordPress Blog From Scratch – Your Step-by-Step
Two things you’ll need to get started
- A credit or debit card (to pay for hosting)
- 30 minutes to set up everything
If you’re ready, let’s get to it and create your blog.
Step 1. Choose between a free hosting domain or a self-hosting domain
For me it’s a no-brainer – always start your blog on a solid foundation with your own domain.
While you can start a blog on free blogging platforms like SiteRubix.com, nearly every serious blogger uses a self-hosted WordPress site.
If you’re starting a blog on a shoestring budget then check out this tutorial: How to start a WordPress blog for free.
Here’s what a free sub-domain looks like: yournewblog.siterubix.com
Here’s what your self-hosted WordPress domain will look like: yournewblog.com
You can still be successful and make money online with a free hosting domain but it will take you longer without the initial upfront investment.
If your interest is to start a blog for business, a self-hosted WordPress blog is more professional. If it’s to do it for a cause or as a hobby, a self-hosted WordPress blog is more elegant.
I built The Make Money Online Blog with a self-hosted WordPress site because it gives me full flexibility and freedom over the look and feel of the blog—more creative control than any other platform.
Bloggers who start out on a free sub-domain often need to transfer their website to a domain of their own at a later date and this can sometimes cause problems.
For the sake of $3.95 a month for hosting, you give your blog the best possible start by giving your readers a credible first impression.
Step 2. Set up your domain and hosting
Your domain name is also known as your URL and is your very own piece of real estate in the virtual world. The domain for this website is www.themakemoneyonlineblog.com.
If your blog is the house you’ll be building, your hosting is the land you’re building it on and your domain is your online address.
So before you go ahead and buy a domain name, you’ll need to set up hosting.
I recommend Bluehost Web Hosting as they offer free domain registrations for the first year.
I also recommend them because I personally use Bluehost to host The Make Money Online Blog (if you’re I’m going to recommend website hosting I better be using them myself, right?)
A few more reasons BlueHost is the best place for web hosting…
- Bluehost’s customer service is brilliant. Tech support is on hand to help 24/7 via phone, live chat, or by raising a support ticket, and it’s all US based with people who know what they’re doing. In other words, you ask a question, you can expect a good and quick answer.
- Bluehost’s pricing is unbeatable. Bluehost offers a special price for The Make Money Online Blog readers: only $3.49 a month. That’s a phenomenal price.
- The web hosting is the most reliable. They’ve been around since 1996 and are always innovating. Bluehost host more than 2 million websites making them the most popular web hosting service provider out there.
- Money-Back Guarantee. Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk if you change your mind about your blog.
- Friends & Family. Many of my friends and family also use Bluehost to host their blogs.
The first thing I did was go to Bluehost and click the “Sign Up Now” button. This will take you to this page with two options:
You can check the availability and register your desired domain for your new blog. I always recommend a .com domain extension if at all possible – Google just likes it and you’ll find it easier to rank in the search engines going forward.
If you’ve already got a domain, BlueHost can host it for you and it’s easy to transfer over. You can still install WordPress and have your website looking beautiful, so don’t worry.
On the next screen, you’ll need to fill out your personal information and then select your web hosting package:
You’ll see Bluehost’s web hosting packages rage from $5 to $7 per month ad change according to how long you want to register your domain for. You can register for one, two or three years – basically it’s cheaper the longer the time period.
Worth remembering: Bluehost offers a special price for The Make Money Online Blog readers: only $3.49 a month. That’s a phenomenal price.
After you’ve gone ahead and registered your unique and new blog domain, you’ll see a confirmation email pop up in your inbox which will tell you all you need to know to move to the next step.
Step 3. Install WordPress on your new blog
So, once you’ve launched your Bluehost account, you’re just a few clicks away from WordPress installation.
Although “install” might sound like a scary word, really it just means “click a few buttons”. Plus I’m going to walk you through every step so we’ll get this done in the next 20 seconds.
Ready? First, visit my.bluehost.com and sign in using your new login and password. Click “website” under “hosting”:
Then simply click the “Install now” link under “WordPress”:
Welcome to the “One Click Install” page. Because you’re awesome and we’re going through this together, under “do it yourself (FREE)” you can go ahead and click “Install”:
Here you just select the new domain you’ve just registered:
Next, I recommend you don’t skip this step but take time to read and accept the terms and conditions. Click “Install Now”:
Give it a sec and…. wait for it….. your WordPress install is complete! Congratulations! See, that wasn’t as bad as you thought was it? : )
Now onto the next step… making your website look beautiful!
Step 4. Designing your blog (HINT: No HTML coding required)
This is the fun bit – choosing your theme! A theme can make or break your blog, choosing a WordPress theme allows you to control the look and feel of your blog.
When deciding which theme to go with moving forward, you’ll want to pick a theme that’s crisp, clean professional.
Most importantly, you’ll want a theme that gives you the freedom and flexibility, options and complete control over the look and appearance of your blog.
If you’re not a HTML coder or programmer (I’m definitely not), then a theme that does all the work for you and makes the design work a million times easier is what you’re looking for.
There are several premium WordPress themes available out there, but the Avada is without a doubt the best and most flexible choice.
The Avada WordPress theme has been the top selling WordPress theme for three years running. 240,000+ people have created stunning sites with Avada – including The Make Money Online Blog.
And for good reason… when it comes to giving you options and giving you full control and customisation options of your blog, Avada is unbeatable. Simply go to ThemeFusion and purchase your Avada WordPress theme ($59.00).
Step 5. Installing your new WordPress theme
Before you start panicking, remember just how easy it was in install WordPress? Well, installing your theme is even easier.
First, log in to WordPress:
Then, in your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes and click the “Install Themes” tab, followed by the “Upload” link. Then, click “Choose File,” select your avada.zip file (which you downloaded when you purchased Avada in step 4) and press “Install Now.”
Once it’s installed, your theme is ready to activate! Simply click activate and you’re all set.
Your blog is LIVE!
Go ahead, type in your new domain into the address bar. Can you see it?
Sure, there’s tweaks and personalisations you’ll make as you go and you’ll want to flesh out your site by adding content and blog posts – but your foundation is firmly in place.
The next two steps are crafted to help you just that…
Step 6. Installing WordPress Plugins
Plugins are basically add-ons to the functionality of your site. With Avada, there’s only a few plugins you’re goig to need.
If you can think it, there’s probably a WordPress plug in for it. There are literally tens of thousands of plugins within the WordPress network and you can definitely use any of these.
A word of caution: Too many plugins, can slow down your site so be selective. I only use a few plugins at The Make Money Online Blog (see below).
In your WordPress dashboard navigate to Plugins > Add New and search for, install, and activate the following free plugins one by one:
- Akismet has a funny name but serves a great purpose in preventing your blog from getting comment spam (which is pretty prevelant). It’s like a spam filter that blocks comments that are coming into your website through automated bots and spammers. (Highly recommended)
- All-in-One SEO Pack gets your site ready for ranking in the search engines such as enabling you to as adding meta tags and geenrating an XML sitemap you can upload to Google webmaster tools. This helps Google find your site and rank it. (Highly recommended)
- Shareaholic Share Buttons make it easy for your readers to share your content. See the nice floating share buttons on the left? They’re free from Shareaholic.
Finally, so people can receive our blog posts via email, AWeber is a great tool for building your email list. (Psssst…. if you don’t already subscribe to The Make Money Online Blog via email, you can here.)
Step 7. Tinker Until You’re Happy
You’re done. But this is actually where the fun begins. Now that you have your own blog, you get to make it yours; you get to turn your vision into a reality. So tinker away:
- Experiment with various color palettes.
- Add a photo of yourself (pro tip: when you get a chance, get some professional photos taken; they’re well worth the cost).
- Create a professional logo using a program like Photoshop. If, like me, you’re not a Photoshop expert you can outsource your logo design to sites like Fiverr.com and have a great looking logo done for a phenomenal price.
- Determine whether or not you want comments on your blog.
- Establish a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ etc.
- Keep tinkering until you obtain the right look.
- And, of course, start writing new blog posts and publish them.
Well done on setting up your first WordPress blog from scratch! You’ve done it! Think of how much you’ve accomplished already!
If you’re starting a blog to make money from it take a look at WealthyAffiliate.com – it’s the place I learned everything about running several successful online businesses and making money from blogging.
I’m excited for you and the blogging journey that lies ahead of you – it’s going to be a lot of learning but a lot of fun!
What else do you need to know to start and run a successful blog?
I’d really like to hear what you think about starting (or running) a blog this year. Do you think there will be any big changes? Do you disagree with any of the points I’ve made above?