Updated October 3, 2020
Are you looking for a free, easy, step-by-step guide on how to start a blog?
My free guide on this page will show you how to create a blog that is beautiful and functional, all in an easy step-by-step tutorial (with pictures).
Ready to start the simple step-by-step tutorial? Click here to go to Step #1
My name is Scott Chow, and I am going to show you how to start blogging today. I have been building blogs and websites since 2002. In that time I have launched several of my own blogs and helped hundreds of others do the same.
I know that starting a blog can seem overwhelming and intimidating. This free guide is all about blogging for beginners and will teach you how to be a blogger with just the most basic computer skills. So whether you’re 8 or 88, you can create your own blog in less than 20 minutes.
I am not ashamed to admit that when I was first learning how to build a blog I made a ton of mistakes. You can benefit from more than a decade of my experience so that you don’t repeat these same mistakes when you make your own blog. I created this free guide so that anyone can learn how to blog quickly and easily. And if you get stuck at any point, please send me a message and I will do my best to help you!
Skip the rest of this introduction and start building your blog!
What is a blog anyway?
In short, a blog is a type of website that focuses mainly on written content, also known as blog posts. In popular culture, we most often hear about news blogs or celebrity blog sites, but as you’ll see in this guide, you can start a successful blog on just about any topic imaginable.
Bloggers often write from a personal perspective that allows them to connect directly with their readers. In addition, most blogs also have a “comments” section where readers can correspond with the blogger. Interacting with your readers in the comments section helps to further the connection between the blogger and the reader.
This direct connection to the reader is one of the main benefits of starting a blog. This connection allows you to interact and share ideas with other like-minded people. It also allows you to build trust with your readers. Having the trust and loyalty of your readers also opens up the door to making money from your blog, which is something I discuss later in this guide.
Should you start a blog?
One of the misconceptions about starting a blog is that you need to be a great writer to be successful. Nothing could be further from the truth. People read blog sites to get a personal perspective on things, so most bloggers write in a very informal and conversational style.
In addition, you don’t need to be an expert on your topic in order to have a successful blog. For example, readers of a cooking blog don’t want to read a textbook from a food scientist, they want to hear the experiences of someone who has actually cooked some real meals, mistakes and all.
To be successful as a blogger there is really just one requirement: a passion for your topic.
At its heart, blogging is about sharing your knowledge with the world. Choosing a topic that you are passionate about makes the process of starting a successful blog so much easier. Writing about more than one topic is totally fine too. As long as you are writing about things that you are genuinely interested in, your passion will shine through and keep your readers interested.
So why would you go to the trouble of blogging? There are a few reasons:
- Make money from home. Blogging can be quite lucrative if done correctly. The top bloggers in the world obviously earn quite a bit, but even a part-time blogger can expect to make a nice profit if things are done correctly. The best part about it is that blogging is a form of passive income since you can spend just a few hours a week writing a blog post and then continue to make money from it long after the blog post is written. I go into much more detail on how to blog for money later in this guide.
- Share your story. A blog allows you to have a voice and be heard. You can share your story with the entire world if you so choose. One of the most common ways blogs are used are as a diary where the blogger writes about their daily experiences so that friends, family, and others can all be a part of their lives.
- Recognition for yourself or your business. No, you probably won’t have paparazzi following you around because of your latest blog post. But a successful blog makes your idea into a reality and can gain you a ton of recognition in your respective field. Many bloggers are known as experts just because of their blogs, and some have even gotten book and movie deals based on their blogs.
- Find a community. Blogging at its heart is interactive. You write a blog post and people comment on it. This is a good way to connect with people who are interested in the same things as you are. Blogging allows you to teach these people based on your experience, and it gives you the opportunity to learn from your readers as well.
The good news is that the internet is exploding with growth right now. More people than ever are online. This explosion in growth means more potential readers for your blog. In short, if you are thinking about starting a blog then there is no better time than right now.
So, just how do you start a blog?
How to Start a Blog in 6 Steps
Learn how to create a blog in about 20 minutes following these steps:
- Pick a blog name. Choose something descriptive.
- Get your blog online. Register your blog and get hosting.
- Customize your blog. Choose a free template and tweak it.
- Write & publish your first post. The fun part!
- Promote your blog. Get more people to read your blog.
- Make money blogging. Choose from several options to monetize your blog.
Let’s start your blog!
Step 1: Pick a blog name
The first step to finding a good blog name is choosing your topic.
If you’re not sure what to blog about, there are a few ways to find a good blog topic:
- Hobbies & passions. Hobbies or other interests you are passionate about are a great place to start. Cooking, travel, fashion, sports, and cars are all classic examples. But even blogs about more obscure hobbies can be successful since your audience is literally anyone in the world with the internet.
- Life experiences. Everyone has lessons they have learned through life experience. Sharing this knowledge can be incredibly helpful to others in similar situations. For example, I recently helped a woman start her blog about being a fireman’s wife. She has a lot of experience and knowledge to share with others about this topic, and it has helped her connect with others in similar situations. Think about the things you have experienced in life. This could be related to your family (example: a blog about being a stay at home mom), work (a blog about experiences dealing with clients), or other life experiences (a blog about dealing with a troubling time such as a disease or divorce, or about a happy time such as preparing for a wedding or a birth of a child).
- A personal blog. A personal blog is a blog all about you. This will include a variety of topics, from things you do on a daily basis, to random thoughts and musings. This is a great way to share your thoughts with the world without having to stick to just one topic.
Once you have a topic it’s time to choose your blog name, also known as your domain name.
A good blog name should be descriptive so that potential readers can instantly tell what your blog is about just from the name.
If you are blogging about one specific topic then you will definitely want to include that in some way in your blog name. Try not to get hung-up on just one word though. For example, a cooking blog doesn’t necessarily have to have the word “cooking” in it. The words “food”, “recipes”, and “meals” would also let people know that your blog is about cooking.
If you are planning to create a personal blog where you discuss a variety of topics then I recommend using your name, or some variation of it, since your blog is all about you. For example, I own the blog scottchow.com. You can also add your middle name or middle initial if you find your name is already taken. Or you could use a variation like “Scott Chow Blog” or “Blogging with Scott”.
Can’t decide on a good name for your blog? Contact me and I will help you personally (for free)!
Once you have some blog name ideas you will need to choose a domain extension.
A .com domain extension is the most preferred, but .net or .org work as well. It is also important to note that for the purposes of a blog domain you cannot have any spaces between words. So “Blogging with Scott” becomes bloggingwithscott.com
Now that you’ve got your new domain name and have picked an extension it’s time to make sure that no one else has already registered the same name:
See if your blog name is available
Note: You cannot use any spaces or punctuation other than dashes in a domain name.
If you find that the name you wanted is already taken there are a few things you can do:
- Try a different domain extension. If the .com version is already registered you may still be able to get the .net or .org version of your blog name.
- Add small words. Words like “a”, “my”, or “the”. For example, this site is called TheBlogStarter.com instead of BlogStarter.com.
- Add dashes between words. For example, scott-chow.com
Step 2: Get your blog online
Now that you’ve got a name picked out it’s time to get your blog online. This might sound hard or technical, but the steps below will walk you right through and make the process easy.
To get your blog up and running you need two things: blog hosting (also known as web hosting) and blogging software. The good news is that these typically come packaged together.
A blog host is a company that stores all of the files for your blog and delivers them to the user when they type in your blog name. You must have a blog host in order to have a blog.
You also need to have the software to build your blog. In this guide, I will be showing you how to build a blog using WordPress blogging software because it is the most popular, customizable, and easiest to use.
The web hosting company I recommend, and the one I show you how to use in this guide, is BlueHost. I personally use BlueHost and I recommend them for all new bloggers because:
- They will register your custom domain name for you for free, making sure no one else can take it.
- They offer free, automatic installation of the WordPress blogging software (which I show you how to use in this guide).
- They offer reliable web hosting that has been recommended by WordPress since 2005 and currently hosts over 2 million blogs and websites.
- They have helpful 24/7 customer service via phone or webchat.
- They have a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are unsatisfied for any reason.
Use any BlueHost link on this site to make sure you get the special discount price of $2.75 per month.
Disclosure: BlueHost compensates The Blog Starter when you purchase through this link, so my services are free of charge to you! In fact, if you have any trouble at all setting up a blog with this tutorial, just contact me and I will do it for you (free!).
- Click here for the special $2.75 per month rate on BlueHost and then click “get started now”.
- Select your plan. I recommend that new bloggers get the basic plan. Click “Select” to choose your plan.
- Type in your domain name in the left box and then click “next” to start the registration process.
- If you already own a domain name and want to use it for your blog, type your existing domain in the right box and then click “next”. Only use the right box if you have previously paid to register a domain!
- Fill out your billing details on the registration page.
- You will also need to choose your hosting package and options.
- All packages have everything you need to get your blog up and running, including a free custom domain name, easy WordPress blog installation, web hosting, and custom email addresses (e.g. email@example.com).
- The 36-month package gets you the lowest monthly rate, while the 12-month package has a lower up-front cost.
- I uncheck the boxes next to the extra products except for “Domain Privacy & Protection”. While not strictly necessary, domain privacy keeps your personal information (name, address, phone, email) hidden from the public database of registered domain owners.
- You will then need to create your BlueHost account and password.
Once you do that you will be taken to an installation helper. Since you are following this tutorial you can just click “Skip this step” on the next few pages to be taken directly to the dashboard.
Now the system will install WordPress automatically. Once the install is complete click the blue “WordPress” button to be logged in to the administrator area of your blog.
Having trouble installing your blog? Get help here.
Step 3: Customize your blog
If you are not already logged-in from the previous step, go to Bluehost.com and click “Login” on the top right to bring up the login screen. You can then log in using your domain name and the password you set in the previous step. If you have misplaced your password you can reset it by clicking the “Forgot Password” link.
Once you log-in you will be taken to your BlueHost Portal. From the portal, you can click the blue “WordPress” button to be logged-in automatically to your blog.
Changing your blog design
Once you login you will be in the WordPress administrator area. This is where you can make any changes you want to your blog.
Everyone has a different idea of how they want their blog to look. One of the great things about a WordPress blog is that you can change your entire layout and design with just a few clicks.
In WordPress, blog layouts are known as “Themes”. What is the blog theme? Themes control the entire design of your blog. To change your theme you are going to click on the “Appearance” tab on the left menu.
You will see several free WordPress themes that are already installed on your blog: Twenty Seventeen, Twenty Sixteen, etc. These are well-designed, clean-looking themes that can work for just about any type of blog. In fact, many of the world’s top bloggers use one of these themes.
Unless you have a very specific design in mind for your blog, I suggest you use one of these themes to start with. For our example, let’s use the “Twenty Sixteen” theme. In order to activate the theme on your blog, hover over the theme and click the “Activate” button. That’s it! You have changed the entire design of your blog with just one click!
If you don’t like any of the themes that are already installed you can easily choose from thousands of other free themes. To install a new theme, click on the “Appearance” tab on the left menu and then click “Add New Theme”.
This is the theme search screen. There are thousands of themes to choose from. You can change your entire design at any time simply by activating a new theme. To find a theme you like, I suggest you click on the “Popular” tab and start browsing. When you find one that you like click the blue “Install” button.
Once the theme is installed click “Activate” to activate the theme on your blog. To see your new theme in action, go to your blog and take a look!
Changing your theme is the simplest way to customize your blog, but there are lots of other customizations you can do. Check out my full post on customizing your blog for an in-depth step-by-step guide. You can also watch the video at the end of this guide to see me completely customize a blog from scratch.
Step 4: How to write a blog post & publish it
Now that your blog is up and running it’s time to actually do some blogging! Let’s create your first blog post.
Go to the left menu and click on “Posts”.
You will see there is already a post there. This is a default post on every new WordPress blog, and we don’t need it. To delete it click “Trash” just under the post.
To begin writing a new post, click the “Add New” link.
You are now on the post editor screen. Enter the title of your post in the top box and then begin writing your post in the lower box.
If you would like to add a picture to your post, click on the “Add Image” icon and click “Upload” to upload a picture from your computer. You can make adjustments to the picture size on the next screen. When you are ready click “Insert into post” to add the picture.
Once you have finished your post just click the “Publish” button on the top right side of the screen to publish the new post.
Publishing Your Blog
Even after you have written a post your blog may still be showing a placeholder page.
When you are ready to make your blog public just click the “BlueHost” menu at the top left of the menu in your WordPress administrator area then click the blue “Launch” button to remove the placeholder page.
Congratulations! You now know how to start your own blog and publish content!
For more info on blog content guidelines, click the tabs below:
Content That Should be on Your Blog
How to write a great blog post
Step 5: Promote your blog
Creating a well-designed blog and writing great content is just the start. In order to get readers for your blog, you will need to spend some time promoting it, especially when you first start. Click on the strategies below for more info. For more tips on promoting your blog make sure to check out my in-depth guide to blog promotion.
Alert Your Inner Circle
Use Social Media
Comment on Other Blogs
Engage with Your Readers
Create an Email List
Submit to Search Engines
Step 6: Make money from your blog
Once you have put in the effort of creating great blog content and promoting your blog, making money from your blog is actually the easy part.
Blogs have the potential to be extremely lucrative, but don’t assume that you’re going to start making money in the first week, or even in the first month. It could take six months to a year to start seeing a steady stream of income. Blogging takes work and dedication, but once you develop a large enough audience, there are several methods you can employ to monetize your blog. For more information see my full guide to making money blogging here. Click on the tabs below for details on a few methods you can use.
Sell Advertising Space
Need more help?
I hope this guide has answered any questions you had on how to start a blog, but if any of the steps were unclear to you, you can find a more detailed version of each step by using the menu at the top right of this page (or at the bottom of this page if you’re on a smartphone).
How do I start a blog? You can watch me build and customize a beautiful blog from scratch here:
The video above should answer a lot of questions you might have about getting your blog set up and customized, but more specific tutorials can be found on my blog page. Here are some of the most popular tutorials from my blog:
- How to add custom logos or images
- How to see how many people are visiting your blog
- How to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org
- How to make a website with WordPress
- How to automatically share your new blog posts on Facebook and Twitter
- How to choose the best website builder
- How to link to other sites from your blog
- How to change text size and color
- How to make your blog private
Contact me if you have any issues at all and I will personally respond to your email.
The step-by-step guide on this site should give you everything you need to get started, but if you run into some issues, or just want some personalized advice, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. Blogging is my passion, and I would love to talk with you about it!
Still, have some unanswered questions about blogging? Below are the most common questions I get about starting a new blog. If you can’t find an answer to your question here, feel free to send me an email via my contact page, or leave a comment below.