This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
Have you considered starting a blog, but don’t think you’re tech-savvy enough? If the thought of building a blog from scratch seems overwhelming, then you’ve come to the right place. I created this step-by-step guide on how to start your first blog, hassle-free.
My own struggle with launching an online business is what inspired me to create this resource for spiritual entrepreneurs. Many individuals lack the technical know-how of building a blog/website.
I know what it’s like to have to learn all the ins and outs of everything that goes into blogging, web design, SEO, etc. without paying someone thousands of dollars to do it all. With that said, I will hold your hand during every step of the way.
Everything that took me years to figure out through trial and error will only take you one hour to implement thanks to this easy-to-follow process I have laid out. This post will show you the exact steps for setting up a seamless blog.
By the end of this guide, you will know how to…
Choose a blogging niche
Select the best web hosting plan
Choose a domain name
Have the right web hosting configurations
Install a self-hosted WordPress blog
Use WordPress plugins
Use free and paid blogging resources
Write your first blog post
Create your first web pages
Get traffic on your new blog
Let’s Start With the Basics
A blog is an online space where you can share your own knowledge, experiences, and perspectives. You’re free to express your thoughts on any topic of choice.
Blogging has gained a lot of traction because of its endless array of opportunities in both personal and business matters. Some people start a blog as a hobby, while others do it for monetization purposes.
If you’re interested in learning more about blog monetization, read my How To Monetize Your Blog in 2021 And Beyond post.
The Benefits of Blogging:
Write about your passions and interests
Build an online community
Meet like-minded individuals
Travel the world
Make a living from blogging
Promote your business without paid ads
Share your expertise
Personal freedom – no boss, no clocking in, no need to ask for days off
Make passive income
You’ll never run out of blogging ideas
Choose a Blogging Niche
You can write about personal experience or do research on a new topic. Writing about multiple topics is another option, as long as those topics are relevant to each other.
For example, if you write a blog post on how to make natural soap, it wouldn’t make sense to write your next post on the best cars of 2020, since they have very little in common.
Writing your next post on how to make natural lip balm would be a better choice in this case. It’s more appropriate to write about topics that fall under the same umbrella of a category. By doing this, it’s also possible to back link the posts to each other and easier to create a network of internal links in your blog.
Some examples of blogging niches include health, beauty, fashion, social movements, lifestyle, etc.
Most importantly, choose a niche that you enjoy writing about. Writing about topics that don’t resonate with you on any level is a recipe for boredom.
Which Hosting Service Should You Choose?
Some of the most popular hosting providers include BlueHost, HostGator, and GoDaddy. I’ve been using SiteGround since Spring 2019 and I’m happy with their services. I’ve never experienced server or speed issues.
Having sluggish speed affects your website’s user friendliness, which could turn away potential readers if a web page takes too long to load. You’ll never have to worry about this with SiteGround.
Siteground Hosting Benefits:
Recommended by WordPress
Website Security Features
Affordable Hosting for Blog Beginners
Free SSL certificate (https)
Variety of WordPress Features
Superb Customer Support
You’ll have everything you need to build a professional blog for years to come.
This ensures that you set up a self-hosted blog through WordPress.org instead of using a free website builder.
Here are some reasons why you should avoid starting a free blog:
Functionality will be limited. You’ll have limited access to basic features and will be required to “upgrade” in order to unlock access to more advanced functionalities.
The whole blogging experience is made difficult to incentivize you to “upgrade” to the premium plan. Their customer support is limited too since it’s a free service and there’s no real motivation to keep you happy. You get what you pay for, or don’t pay for.
Their website name also shows up on the tail end of your domain. An example of what this looks like would be something like this: http://mywebsite.websitebuilder.com.
This type of URL appearance can make users unsure or suspicious about the safety and legitimacy of your website.
If you decide to upgrade to a paid plan in the future, you could possibly lose all your data. This happened to me a few years ago and had to start over.
Migrating your web data from the free blog can result in your old content losing its functionality. Hiring a professional to do damage control in the aftermath could come with a hefty price tag.
Furthermore, when you pay for something, you’re more likely to commit to it in the long-term.
The people who choose the free blog plan are more likely to quit because of all the technical issues that could arise and then they realize it’s not bringing them any value.
A self-hosted WordPress.org website is YOURS. No one can limit its functionality or take it down without any explanation.
Now let’s dive into the technical parts…
Now select the second option that says “WordPress Hosting”
Choose a SiteGround Hosting Plan
SiteGround offers 3 types of hosting plans listed below:
How do you know which plan is best suited for your blogging needs?
Start With the SiteGround StartUp Plan
This is the most budget-friendly plan for blog beginners. It costs $6.99/month (charged annually) and provides 10 GB Space, up to 10,000 monthly visits, and installs 1 WordPress blog/website.
You can always upgrade to the higher plans later on once your traffic grows or if you wish to run multiple blogs.
Choose a Domain
The domain is the name used to identify and locate your blog on the internet.
There are 2 possible scenarios:
You’ve already bought a domain name through another company.
You need to register a new domain name with Siteground.
If you’ve already registered a domain from another registrar company, no worries. You will just need to change the DNS (Domain Name Server) of the domain.
How To Register a New Domain Name
If you need a domain, go ahead and register a new domain name with SiteGround.
One of the perks of registering your domain with Siteground is that you don’t need to worry about changing the DNS configurations.
Now that you’ve chosen your hosting plan and domain, you need to create your Siteground cPanel login details
You’ll be asked to enter your email and password.
Then, provide your personal information and payment method.
SiteGround accepts American Express, Master Card, and Visa.
You will need to select a server that is nearest to you. Siteground currently has 4 main servers worldwide.
You’ll have the option of choosing a 12-month, 24-month, or 36-month plan; it’s up to you. As a beginner, I recommend going with the 12-month plan.
Under extra services, only checkmark the option that says “Domain Registration” IF you’re registering a new domain with SiteGround.
The other options “Domain Privacy” and “SG Site Scanner” are optional, you don’t need them since SiteGround already has awesome security features.
Confirm your personal information, payment method, hosting plan, and the total amount you will pay.
After you’ve made your payment, you’ll have access to SiteGround’s dashboard where you can manage your cPanel and contact support.
To build your blog, go to the right side of the Home page where you’ll see a button that says “Set up in 2 min!”
Click this button to be taken to the SiteGround Account Setup Wizard
Select “start a new website on yourdomain.com”
Then select the personal/blog option for the type of website.
Then choose WordPress for the software you’re going to use.
WordPress is used by more than 80% of bloggers globally because of its powerful features and user-friendliness. It also helps your blog rank higher on Google.
Now create your WordPress Dashboard login details
Save this information so you don’t forget it.
And that’s it! Now you have a self-hosted WordPress blog.
Let’s get you acquainted with the WordPress dashboard…
There are 2 ways in which you can access the WordPress Dashboard:
You can type in yourdomain.com/wp-admin in your address bar …always type /wp-admin at the end.
The second way is through the Siteground cPanel.
Go to My Accounts >> Admin Panel
This will automatically redirect you to the WordPress dashboard.
Here, you have full control of your WordPress blog; whether you want to make updates or add new features.
In this next section, you will learn how to write your first blog post and create your first web pages.
The WordPress dashboard’s features and settings menu will always be visible on the left side. You’ll notice that 2 options say Posts and Pages.
Before I continue, I want to point out that there’s often confusion between posts vs. pages, so here’s the difference:
Posts is where all blog posts are written.
Pages is where the web pages that will be featured on the front-end of your website are created and will also appear as the links in your website’s navigation bar, usually on the upper right or center.
Click to write a new post and do the same to create a new page.
Here are some quick tips on how to write your first post:
Get Creative With Your Title
Customize your Slug/URL link (shows up as Permalink under the title)
Write your post
Add Media (Images and Videos)
Add Categories to organize your blog posts
Upload a Featured Image
Click on the Publish Button
To create new web pages, go to Pages >> New Page and follow the same exact steps that you used to create a post. It’s that easy!
Congrats, now you’ve created your first posts and pages!
WordPress plugins are web tools that give your blog extra functionality. There are literally thousands of plugins available, both free and paid versions. You can find Plugins in your WordPress dashboard on the left menu, then click on Add New.
Here are a few free WordPress Plugins that I recommend:
Yoast SEO – On-Page SEO tool
Contact Form 7 – Add a Contact Form
Elementor – Free drag-n-drop design builder
These are my top blogging tools and resources:
Grammarly – Browser extension that automatically corrects grammatical errors
Tailwind – Social media scheduling app for Pinterest and Instagram
Google Trends – Keyword research
Canva – Free social media graphics
Pexels – Free stock images
Unsplash – Free stock images
Creative Market – Design bundles such as clip art and pattern sets
Dafont – Free fonts for personal and commercial use
Google Fonts – Free fonts for personal and commercial use
Color Hunt – Color palettes for color scheme ideas
Grow Your Audience Organically
After you’ve written a few quality posts in your new blog, it’s time to attract your target audience.
There are many strategies that can be used to increase traffic, but out of the many, there are 2 that stand out.
Build a Strong Online Presence in Social Media Channels
As a blog beginner, stick with ONE social media channel. I highly recommend Pinterest because it’s the 10th most visited website and acts like a huge search engine.
Create a Pinterest business account, NOT a normal account. This way, you can create Rich Pins that allow you to link your pins back to your blog. In addition, join group boards and share your content to be discovered by more people.
Most Pinterest users are looking for something that brings them value; some have the intention of buying something, while others simply need inspiration or information on specific topics.
You can expand your social media outreach after you’ve established an audience in Pinterest. This way you don’t overwhelm yourself by joining 3-4 social media networks and trying to manage them all at the same time.
Get Traffic from SERP (Search Engine Result Pages)
When users visit a search engine like google.com and enter a query in the search bar, Google returns a list of search results that are most relevant to the query keyword.
In order to rank your post on the 1st page of those search results, you need to focus on both On-Page and Off-Page SEO. Your blog posts must be SEO optimized.
Learning how to blog is a process, but if you’re perseverant, it will be rewarding. You’ll learn so much about what goes into blogging and running an online business (if monetizing your blog is in your plans.)
I hope that this guide supports you in your blogging journey. With the world going fully remote because of the pandemic, you’ll be well on your way to achieving online success.
Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to start your blog because the time to do it is right now!