How to Start a Blog in 2017 (Step-by-Step Guide with Images)

Are you looking for a free, easy, step-by-step guide on how to start a blog?

My free guide will show you how to create a blog that is both beautiful and functional, all in an easy step-by-step tutorial (with pictures).

My name is Meridith Dennes and I created my first blog in 2011 with absolutely zero computer experience. It took me forever to figure it out (Let’s just say I googled and youtubed until I nearly lost my mind.) Since then, 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. I created my free guide to help beginners who only have basic computer skills.

Following these instructions will likely take less than 20 minutes.

Why You Should Start a Blog?

Blogging has quickly become one of the most popular ways of communicating and spreading information and news. There are literally millions of blogs online (don’t worry, you can make yours stand out and get noticed!).

Do you want to make money while working from home? I make a full-time income blogging and many others do the same. Making money blogging is hard work, but the barrier to entry is low, making it very low risk.

Do you want to get more exposure for your existing business? A blog gives anyone–from individuals to large companies–the ability to reach a large number of people at very little cost.

Need More Intel, we've got you covered:

Why You Should Have a Blog – 10 Great Reasons

6 Reasons to Start Blogging for Your Business

Business Blogging for the Nervous and Unconfident

Starting a Blog – What Do I Blog About?

Blog about something you enjoy. If you don’t care about your topic, writing about it will be a snooze-fest. Also, why would readers be interested in reading a blog if you aren’t? About 6 years ago,  I decided to launch a lifestyle blog about work-life balance.

Can you now see how you would benefit from a starting a blog? Let’s get you up and running!

Follow these simple steps to Start a Blog:

Step 1: Choose a Blogging Platform (WordPress)

When starting your blog, there are several platforms to choose from (tumblr, blogger, wix etc.).

However, the only one that really stands out from the pack is WordPress.

It’s FREE, very user friendly, and perfect for people who’ve never built a blog before.

So keep it simple. Just decide to use WordPress and find a hosting company (more on that later) that supports it. WordPress is the web’s most popular CMS (content management system). It powers roughly 20% of the websites that are active today, and a huge number of those are blogs. It lets you customize your layout, create content, and expand your blog’s functionality over time. And you can achieve all this without touching a single line of code.

We also love WordPress because: It helps you to get started quickly.

So WordPress, along with a cheap shared hosting account, is the perfect combination. Many of the world’s most successful blogs were created in exactly this way, and still run on WordPress today.

Why People Use & Recommend WordPress?

  • It’s FREE (you only need a web host & domain name)
  • There are 5,000+ free & paid WordPress themes available to make your design look top-quality.
  • They have super helpful support forum.
  • It offers 45,000+ free plugins to help your blog run more smoothly and efficiently.

91% of all blogs are running on WordPress, including this one— projecteve.com and WordPress is also used by 62% of the top 100 company blogs.

More Intel:

5 Things You Should Know About WordPress

5 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Blog Hosting Platform

Why you SHOULDN’T create a blog on a free platform

It’s true, you can create your blog free. But it’ll be very limited in functionality, it’ll look boring, and the address will look somewhat childish (e.g., YourBlog.WordPress.com), which diminishes your credibility.

There are also some serious flaws in free options that you need to know about:

  1. No Control – Your blog is being hosted on another website (e.g., wordpress.com, tumblr.com, blogspot.com). If you violate their terms of service (even by accident), they can shut down your blog any time (it has happened before).
  2. No Customization – You can’t use all the free plugins or themes. Heck, you can’t even use custom themes to really make your blog stand out.
  3. You’re not allowed to advertise on most free blogging platforms, making it much harder to ever make money from blogging.
  4. Other Limitations – Free space of only 3GB. For posts, images, and perhaps videos—that’s just not enough.

In short, don’t create a free blog, especially if you’re serious about starting a blog. Later migrating to a better option from a free blogging platform can be very time consuming and tricky.

More intel:

Top 10 Website Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

Instead, create a self-hosted WordPress blog where you don’t have any limitations. Plus, you’ll be able to use your own (professional) domain name.

This leads me to the next step: finding a domain name.

Step 2: Choose Your Domain Name

Domain: The domain is basically the URL of your website. Examples: google.com (Google.com is the domain), Facebook.com (Facebook.com is the domain). See? Simple!

Your domain name is important because:

  • It’s your “first impression” to website visitors.
  • It affects your rankings in search engines.
  • It defines your brand.

With that in mind, you should put some thought into your domain name, but not too much. A good blog name should be descriptive so that potential readers can instantly tell what your blog is about just from the name. Just remember to choose something related to your brand (i.e. visitstratton.com), keep it concise and easy to type.

More intel:

10 Tips For Choosing Your Domain Name

5 Domain Name Tools to Suggest Domain Name for your Website

3. Sign Up With a Web Host and Install WordPress

There are Good & Bad Hosting Companies.

Choosing your host is one of the most important aspect of creating your blog. Bad web hosts cause most of the issues people have related to their blog. For example, unhelpful customer service and hidden fees are quite common…Many cheap hosts also overuse servers to cut their costs—and that leads to your site potentially not working just because many people are visiting some other site. Only some cheaper hosts control the resources well, so that your website always works right.

I highly recommend using www.Bluehost.com as your host.

They have one-click WordPress installation, which makes it easy for you to get started.They’ve been officially recommended by WordPress since 2005.

So just to recap, sign up with a web host (I recommend Bluehost). Choose the hosting plan (you can pick the cheapest one). Log in and write a blogpost. Altogether, this takes about 5-10 minutes if you follow the instructions (and you have chosen your domain name). So, you can start writing your first post in just a few minutes.

Go to www.Bluehost.com and click on the “Get started now” button. Use this link to get a FREE domain, too.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide for creating a blog on Bluehost (or any other web host)

  1. Sign up with a web hosting (I recommend Bluehost).
  2. Choose the hosting plan (you can pick the cheapest one).
  3. Pick a domain name for your blog.
  4. Complete hosting registration.
  5. Install WordPress.
  6. Log in and write a blog post.

4. Sign up with a web hosting (I recommend Bluehost)

Go to www.Bluehost.com and click on the “Get started now” button. Use this link to get a FREE domain, too.

Currently Bluehost is offering a 50% to all projecteve.com visitors, so make sure you take advantage of it.

Bluehost homepage

5. Choose the hosting plan (you can pick the cheapest one).

Now it’s time to choose your hosting package.

There are three options: Basic (recommended), Plus, and Prime.

The Basic option is perfect for beginners. The other two aren’t really needed unless you’re getting millions of visitors from day one. Best of all, Basic is the cheapest option so you save some cash, too.

*Special Partner Promo* 

Project Eve readers can get BlueHost’s most popular plan for just $4.95/month instead of $7.99. Click here to get your website & hosting set up.

Bluehost Plus and Prime packages

6. Choose the domain name you want (they’ll give it to you for FREE).

Next, you’ll need to choose a domain name. You may or may not already have a domain. If you do, you would have previously registered it with a domain registrar, like GoDaddy. If you already have a domain name (i.e., you bought it from somewhere else), use the second form on the right (“I have a domain name”).

enter a new domain or existing domain in Bluehost

Need a new domain? Enter your desired domain on the left. If you’re not sure what domain you want to use yet, take advantage of Bluehost’s option to choose it later. Click the “Choose Free Domain Later” button in the popup that appears and looks like this:

Choose your domain name later on Bluehost

Note: For the purpose of this tutorial, I will use a new domain. If you are using an existing domain, the process is nearly the same. You can still follow along easily.

Click here to learn how to transfer a domain.

7. Complete your registration

After choosing your domain name, the next step is simply to fill out your account, package, and billing information.

Just enter your contact information as you would normally.

The next part gives you some service options. Choose an account plan based on how far in advance you want to pay. Bluehost bills one, two or three years upfront. They do not offer a monthly payment option, but as you can see, it works out to a very reasonable monthly amount. Not bad for your own blog or website, right?

Bluehost hosting package selection

After you’ve filled in your billing information, hit “next”. You’re already almost there!

Purchase hosting submitSkip the upgrades & special offers

Once you hit submit, you’ll be asked if you want to add any upgrades or special offers. I skip them by clicking the “no thanks” link.

Once you hit submit, you’ll be asked if you want to add any upgrades or special offers. I skip them by clicking the “no thanks” link.

Locate & save your welcome emails!

After completing your purchase, you will be sent multiple welcome emails. If you don’t see them in your inbox, check your spam folder. It’s important to locate them because your login information is included.

Activate your domain

In one of the welcome emails, you need to activate your domain (if you chose a new one). Simply open the email and click the button inside to complete the activation process.

Choose a password

At the end of your purchase, you’ll be welcomed and asked to choose a password. Just click the “Create your password” button to choose a secure password.

Choose a Bluehost password

Let’s get you up and running!

8. Install WordPress with One-Click Installation

Bluehost made some major updates in September 2017. WordPress is now automatically installed so you can start working on your WordPress site right away. Yay! Have you set up your hosting with Bluehost yet? Okay, good.

Click the blue login button in the “Congratulations!” window to get started with WordPress!

Bluehost password successfully created and log in

Should you choose a theme now?

Bluehost gives you the option to pick a free theme immediately. If you’re not sure about the theme’s reputation, I recommend you skip this step for a few reasons:

  1. Use free themes with caution since many are not kept updated. Outdated themes can leave holes that hackers can exploit.
  2. The free theme that comes pre-packaged and automatically installed will suffice for now. You can always add a new theme later.
  3. You can click “Skip this step” at the bottom of the screen to move on and deal with your theme later which is fine too. Then you’ll be prompted to start building your site.

You can click “Skip this step” at the bottom of the screen to move on and deal with your theme later which is fine too. Then you’ll be prompted to start building your site.

Start building your Bluehost wordpress site

Note: Your site will be on a temporary domain at first. Don’t be alarmed. For new domains, this is because it takes 2-24 hours for your chosen domain to become registered. Go ahead and start working on your site. When the real domain is ready, Bluehost will switch it for your automatically. If you used an existing domain (in Step 4), you can contact Bluehost support or look in the help section when this site is set up and you’re ready to point your existing domain to this new site.

Start building your WordPress site

You have two options on this screen, the blue “Start Building” button and the link underneath, “Or, go to my Bluehost account”:

The latter is self-explanatory. Clicking the “Start Building” button will take you to your new WordPress site like so:

C-Panel loginOne-click install

Select a blog design and layout

After WordPress is installed, the first thing your blog needs is a face (design and layout). The design of your blog can be easily changed with the Themes. The default theme that comes with your WordPress blog installed is Twenty Sixteen—while it's a good starter theme, you could select a theme that is more unique to your blog and compatible with your niche. Choose a theme that looks great, but also works for your unique content needs. Your readers will first notice the overall appearance of the blog, before even taking a look at the content.

More intel:

4 Easy Guidelines for Selecting a WordPress Theme

Where can you find a simple Word Press theme?

Things to consider before purchasing a WordPress theme

Action steps

Here's a quick checklist for choosing your theme by searching within the blog dashboard:

  1. Read the description Most themes come with a short description of features and functionality. By reading it, you should have a rough idea if the theme matches your needs and how customizable it is.
  2. Preview the theme Preview the theme to get an idea of the overall look and layout.
  3. Check the ratings Popular themes will have star ratings that are visible in the preview and under theme details. They should give you a clear idea how good the theme is.
  4. Check for responsiveness Aim for a responsive design that will work on desktop browsers and mobile devices. This is recommended by Google.

If you find a theme that takes your breath away, cool down. Once you install a theme you like, don't be surprised if it doesn't look quite right. Your theme is just a skeleton of your blog. To make it appealing, you’ll have to fill in content (text, photos, videos, etc.).

Congratulations – you now know how to make a blog using WordPress. You’ve installed WordPress and set up your blog, all on your own! As you can see, it was really easy and straightforward.

Now that your blog is set up, sign up for my FREE blogging course for tips on how to get started writing your first blog, finding readers, earning money, and personalizing your blog.

If you can’t get your blog online, get in touch with me here. I’ll help you out.

Disclosure: Because I’ve used Bluehost and found their hosting great, all links to Bluehost are referral links. I’ll earn a commission if you make a purchase and you’ll get a discounted price. This is how I keep projecteve.com up and running.

 

//projecteve.com
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Meridith Dennes is a co-founder and the CEO of Project Eve LLC, a leading women's lifestyle media company online including some of the web's best loved communities including the eponymous Project Eve, Getting Balance, Project Eve Moms, Project Eve Money and Scary Puppy Silly Kitty. With a digital readership in excess of 20+ million monthly uniques, and over 1 million social media followers, Project Eve provides the news and resources to inspire and empower women. Meridith also works as a digital consultant and social media strategist and has worked with several Fortune 500 companies to help increase brand awareness and improve social media engagement.Meridith holds a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business. Prior to founding Project Eve, she spent 15 years working in investment banking. Meridith currently lives in Vermont with her husband and 2 daughters and spends her free time teaching skiing, practicing yoga, hiking and snowshoeing.