Interested in starting a self-hosted WordPress blog? How to start a blog on WordPress, the most popular blogging software?
If you want to become a blogger and start your professional-looking blog, you can learn here how to create your own blog on your own domain name (your personal web address) within an hour.
Starting a blog is very simple. This easy-to-follow “How to start a blog” guide will help you get an awesome WordPress blog website for yourself or your company.
Step-by-Step: How to start a blog (on WordPress)?
The following steps summarize the process of creating a (WordPress) blog with a custom domain name. Once you set up your blog, you can make money blogging through various methods, such as advertisements, product affiliate programmes, paid reviews and services. If your objective is to become famous, you can accomplish that too with your blog.
- Find the purpose of your blog
- Register a domain name
- Buy web hosting (use HostGator)
- Point your domain to your web host
- Install wordPress blogging platform
- Customize your blog
- Start blogging!
Step 1: Find the purpose of your blog
Before actually looking into how to start a blog, you need to know what are you going to do with your blog. What will your blog be about? Do you want to write about the local monuments or will it be on Chinese food recipes?
If you have some interest in the niche of your blog, it will be a lot easier to keep posting content regularly.
A blogger’s passion for his niche/subject reflects in his/her blog. However, you should do a keyword research before finalising the topic of your blog.
Go to Google Keywords Tool and create a free Google AdWords account. If you have a Google account, just log in with that. Now check what Google has to say about your niche or main keyword.
- Are there a lot of people searching for information in that niche?
- Is the advertiser competition high enough to make money (higher the better)?
- Are advertisers spending money?
Make sure that you select the [Exact] match option available in Google Keywords Tool. This will tell you how many people are actually looking for the exact keyword or phrase.
Step 2: Register your domain name
Once you know what you want to blog about, it is time to choose a domain name or the URL web address for your blog. Your blog’s domain name should tell what to expect there. If you want to start a blog about “kitchen garden”, you can pick a domain name like http://mykitchengarden.com or http://kitchengardenhose.com.
Go to GoDaddy and search for your desired domain name. It will take some effort to find a good domain name that is available for registration. You can also use http://domai.nr to search (only) domain names.
Get your domain name registered with GoDaddy or any reliable domain registrar only.
Register a .com domain name for your blog. If you cannot find a good .com domain name, you can register a .net or .org domain name. You can get a domain name with your country’s domain such as .us for the US and .in for India.
Once you register your domain, it might take some time to get ready for use. Meanwhile, you can get hosting space for your blog. The next step of “How to Start a Blog” will deal with web hosting.
- Also read: How to select domain name for your blog?
Step 3: Get web hosting or add new domain to existing hosting
Once you have a domain name, you need to get web hosting space for your blog. The web hosting space is where you will store your blogging platform, content, images and data. (If your domain is the name of the company, then web hosting is the office.)
There are several good webhosting companies online, but a few of them are more reliable. I have personally used and trust Bluehost shared web hosting.
(Update: I was originally recommending Hostgator. However, I have changed my recommendation to Bluehost due to personal experience. I find Hostgator web hosting quality to have degraded lately.)
Its standard shared hosting plan with ability to host unlimited websites perfect for most of us as it allows you to host as many websites you want. Pay for one year and get the best price with domain. If you follow our affiliate link, you will get a discount on your first order. (Register for at least one year to save substantially on your hosting expense.)
Once you purchase web hosting, your web hosting provider will email your the hosting account details. Save this email as it provides important details and links for your web hosting server. It will also include the details of the Nameservers for your website. It is required for pointing your domain to your webhosting server.
If you already have web hosting space, just add the new domain to your hosting account. The exact process will depend on your hosting provider.
For cPanel hosting, you can log in to the cPanel dashboard and click on the “Addon Domain” icon to have your new domain added to the hosting.
Step 4: Point your domain to the web host
Now, you have both domain name and web hosting space for your blog. You need to link these two so that someone typing the URL of your blog is served content from your web hosting server space.
Login to your GoDaddy (or your domain registrar) account. Select “My Products” and then click on the “Domain Manager” menu link. You will be taken to a new window and your domains will be listed. Click on the Nameservers icon. You will be taken to another window where you can change the Nameservers setting to reflect the Nameservers assigned by your web host.
Once you have changed the Nameservers, it will take some time for propagation across the globe. You will be directed to your web hosting server after the nameserver details have been updated with your Internet service provider. Generally, the change gets reflected in a few minutes, but it might take up to few hours.
If you see a webpage other than what appeared immediately after your domain name was created, you have successfully changed the Nameservers. If you buy hosting from Hostgator, you will see a welcome message with Hostgator’s name.
Optional Step: Create your email address with your domain
If you want to look professional, it is desirable to create your own email address with your new domain name, eg. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
- Log in to the cPanel or your web hosting panel.
- Locate the “Email Accounts” icon.
- Fill in the desired username and password for email address.
- Click “Create Account”. Your new email account will be shown in the list below.
- For ease, you can set up your email client (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc) to fetch and deliver emails from the newly created account. In cPanel, you can find the necessary Email Server details in the “Email Accounts” page by clicking on the “More” link against the email address in the list and picking the “Configure Email Client” option.
- Alternatively, you can forward the email address to your primary email (which can e your Gmail or any email address). Use the “Forwarders” icon in the main cPanel dashboard in the “Emails” section.
- Make sure to test your email settings by sending out a test mail.
Step 5: Install WordPress blog platform using cPanel manually
If your hosting comes with the cPanel hosting control panel, you may follow these steps to create your WordPress wesite or blog.
Step 5-1: Create a Database for WordPress blog
- Log in to your web hosting cPanel area.
- Click MySQL Database Wizard icon in the Databases section.
- In Step 1. Create a Database, enter the database name (eg. myblog) and click the Next Step link.
- In Step 2. Create Database Users enter the database user name (eg. myname) and password (make it super strong). You can also use the Auto Generate Password option to create a strong password. Now, click Create User.
- In Step 3. Add User to Database, click the All Privileges checkbox and click Next Step.
- In Step 4. Complete the task note the database name and user.
- Save or write down the details of database hostname, database username, database name, and the database password you chose or generated. (With most hosting providers, the hostname is usually set as localhost.)
Step 5-2: Upload WordPress software to hosting
- Go to WordPress.org and download the latest version of WordPress blogging software in .ZIP archive format.
- Upload the ZIP archive file to your web server using the cPanel hosting panel.
- Log in to the cPanel dashboard and locate the “File Manager” icon. Click on it and choose the right domain name to enter “www” or “public_html” folder for that domain in your hosting space.
- Once the ZIP folder is uploaded, select it and choose the “Extract” option located at the top.
- On unzipping, you will find a folder called “wordpress”. Right now, your WordPress blog software is located in a subfolder, ie. at YourDomain.com/wordpress
- Enter the “wordpress” folder and select all files & folders using the “Select All” option at the top.
- Choose the “Move File” option and transfer the entire files & folders to the root folder or the main folder “/public_html”. Now, your WordPress blog software is located at YourDomain.com
- If you want to use FTP, extract the ZIP folder on your computer.
- Use an FTP client such as FileZilla to transfer the files and folders inside the “wordpress” folder that would have been extracted from the ZIP archive. Simply, select all the files and folders and drop them to the “www” or “public_html” folder.
- Now, you are ready to open your blog website in Webb browser such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.
Step 5-3: Run WordPress installation wizard
- Open your blog website in your web browser.
- You will see a welcome screen for installation of WordPress on your blog domain.
- Follow the wizard and use the database details saved earlier.
- WordPress is not installed and ready for use with the username and password generated.
- Log in to the WordPress dashboard at YourDomain.com/wp-admin/
- Also read: How to install WordPress?
Step 5 Alternative: Install WordPress blog using Quick Install
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform and it is powers a large number of blogs and websites on the Internet. (Many of your favourite blogs and websites would be powered by WordPress.)
- Login to your web hosting’s control panel (usually cPanel) using the link provided by your web host or type “/cpanel” after your domain address in the web browser and hit go. (http://yourdomain.com/cpanel)
- Scroll down in the cPanel and locate the icon which says “Quick Install”. We will use this tool to install WordPress within minutes.
- Clicking on the “Quick Install” icon will take to a page where you can choose the software to install.
- Clicking on “WordPress” link in the sidebar will take you to another page. Now, click on “New WordPress Installation”.
- Fill in the installation form that appears and follow on-screen directions. You will have WordPress installed on your Web server, ready to start blog. Now, we head over to the next step of the “How to Start a Blog” guide. Check the email provided in the WordPress installation form for your WordPress login (username & password) details.
Step 6: Customize your blog
So far into this “How to start a blog” guide, you have a WordPress with default theme and setting. You may want to make it search engine friendly by using a good, uncluttered theme and adding plugins for additional functionalities.
Here are some must-do customizations to your new WordPress blog website.
1. Delete default dummy page & posts
In default WordPress installation, you have one dummy page, one post and one comment. Use the sidebar menu option in your WordPress dashboard to reach these sections and delete the default page, post and comment.
2. Add your own blog tag line
By default, new WordPress installations say “Just another WordPress blog” as the tag line. Go to the WordPress Dashboard -> Settings -> General and change or delete it to your liking.
3. Pick your desired theme
You can find high quality free themes at http://wordpress.org/themes/, which are also available in your WordPress Dashboard under the “Appearance” menu. You can also buy premium WordPress themes. Use themes only from reliable sources as many themes available on the Internet contain viruses and harmful codes.
For installing the WordPress theme, you can log in to the WordPress Dashboard (from where articles are added and edited, among other website management features) by visiting “http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin/” and login to the WordPress Dashboard (this is where you can post/edit/delete blog posts and pages, and change settings for your blog).
Now, under the “Appearance” menu, click on “Themes”. Now click on ‘Install Themes’ and upload your theme ZIP file or explore WordPress repository for free themes.
4. Add your own header
Based on the theme that you choose, you can have your own header with your logo & blog name.
5. Set the permalink or URL structure for your blog
By default, WordPress shows an ugly looking URL for blog posts. For SEO and look, it is recommended that you set it to the “Post name” option, or paste the following in the permalink option box “/%post_id%-%postname%.html“.
6. Add WordPress SEO plugin
For optimizing your WordPress blog, install a SEO plugin. One of the most popular WordPress SEO plugins is WordPress SEO by Yoast. To install, go the “Plugins” page via your WordPress dashboard menu. Click on Install New plugin option. In the plugin installation page, search for the desired plugin if it is not available in the main page. Click on the install button for the desired plugin. Done.
7. Add contact form plugin
To allow your visitors get in touch with you, you can add a good contact form plugin such as Ninja Forms, which is highly customizable and useful.
You need to install some must-use WordPress plugins to improve performance of your blog. Using the “Plugins” menu, install “WordPress SEO” and “YARPP” or any related posts plugin. Install other necessary plugins as well, but don’t add unnecessary plugins as it puts additional strain on your server.
8. Add basic pages
9. Add a navigation menu
In the Appearance menu section in the WordPress main dashboard age, you will find the Menu link.
Create your navigation menus to include links to your pages, blog post categories, blog post tags, and any other web address. You can create any number of menus and assign them to the navigation locations supported in the theme.
If you want more menus, you can add them to the Sidebar of your blog using the Custom Menu widget.
10. Add posts & pages
In WordPress, you have two types of content — posts and pages.
Posts are regular blog posts that are shown in chronological order by default. You can set categories for your blog posts and also add tags to them. Each time you want to blog and share your thoughts with the world, create a new post. You can add images and videos via the Media option.
Pages are for content that are special. Any content added via Pages does not show in the blog post section or your home page. You will have to provide links (in navigation or sidebar or inside the content) in your website. In general, use Pages for content that is to be showed prominently.
Step 7: Start blogging
What’s the next step of this “How to start a blog” guide? Prepare the ground.
Add the links to these pages in your footer or sidebar or just anywhere on your website so that the pages are easily accessible. You can use plugins to add a contact form on your “Contact Us” page.
What next in this “How to start a blog” guide? Nothing. That’s all that you need to know about how to start a blog.
Now, it’s time to actually start blogging. Write some great content while keeping both search engines and real readers in mind. Don’t forget to use keyword research for finding topics that people want to read about.
Promote your blog on forums, social media websites, guest blogging, article marketing and commenting on other blogs. Once you drive decent traffic, apply for Google Adsense and make money blogging. You can also join other ad networks and affiliate programmes.
Start your own blog, become a successful blogger and then teach others how to start a blog.
Best of luck! 🙂