Start a Blog with WordPress: The Ultimate FREE Guide
What will you learn here?
In this step-by-step guide, you will learn what a blog is and how to set one up. I will show you how to register a domain name for FREE and choose the best web hosting. You will learn how to install WordPress and write your very first blog post.
In this free guide, I’m going to show you how to start and grow your own successful blog.
I’ve been making blogs and websites for the last 6 years and for this period I’ve learned a lot about web development, digital marketing and search engine optimization.
Throughout the years many friends have asked me so many times if I could help them out to start their own personal blogs.
So I thought that it would be nice to write and share this guide with everyone out there who wants to know how to do it.
You might think that building a blog is an overwhelming process that requires tons of technical skills and expertise in the field of web development.
Well, in 2017 that’s simply not true.
The technology has advanced so fast that blog and website creation is basically a drag and drop process nowadays.
This free step-by-step guide was written for people with absolutely no previous knowledge and requires you to have very basic computer skills.
You could be anywhere between 9 and 90 years old and you still would be able to start your own blog. And it takes about 25 minutes to launch it !
I have made a lot of mistakes along my journey as a blogger. I’m ready to share my experience with you so that you learn from them and do it the right way.
If you get stuck while following this guide or have any questions, please send me a message and will get back to you as soon as possible.
So what is a blog and do you really need one?
A blog is a specific type of website where people share their stories, opinions and recommendation in blog posts.
Bloggers focus on written content that is engaging which allows them to connect with their readers.
Normally you can find a comments section below each blog post where readers can share their perspective and connect with the blogger.
This is one of the largest benefits when having a blog. You can create a community around it where like-minded people share their ideas. Having this circle of followers and readers also gives you the opportunity to make money from your blog but before we discuss that let’s first see what it takes to be a successful blogger.
What does it take to start a blog?
A huge misconception when people think of creating their own blog is that they will need great writing skills. But that’s not true. If you look throughout the web for blogs that are focusing on any topic you find interesting you will see that most of them deliver articles written by someone like you, not a professional writer or an expert. The only requirement really is to have a deep passion for your subject.
You can write in a very informal and conversational style and get thousands of readers every day if you share your experience.
In the end of the day, blogging is about sharing your personal expertise and knowledge. Choosing a topic you are really passionate about will let you grow your blog easily and won’t let you run out of topics.
Let me share something with you. As I already mentioned I’ve helped hundreds of people start their own blogs The most important questions I always ask them is “Can you see yourself still interested in the topic 5 years from now?”
If the answer is yes, then you can start creating your own blog right away. And remember the most important part is not the subject of your blog, it’s the people you are writing for.
Below you can see some of the most common reason why people start their own blogs:
Reason #1: Make money from home.
There are some bloggers out there who make a fair bit of money just by writing articles about their hobbies.
If you are a teenager starting a blog might be a good decision if you want to earn some money from your hobbies. Of course there are other opportunities and online jobs for teens but starting a blog can seriously get you some money.
And you can be one of them if you try hard enough. This could be your chance to actually make money from something that you really like.
The best thing about making money with your blog is that it allows you to earn a passive income and it requires very little effort to start.
Maybe just a few hours to write a couple of articles a week. The more compelling your articles are the more followers you will have.
Once you get to the point where 500-600 people read what you write on a regular basis you can automate the process of content creation and use one of the many tactics to monetize your blog.
Then you can just lean back comfortably and watch how commission money starts pouring into your bank account.
In this article, I go into much more detail how to make money from your blog. There is also a great video on how exactly bloggers make money.
Reason #2: Attract more customers to your business
Blogging enables you to reach out and promote your business to millions if not even billions of people around the world who have access to the internet.
It is absolutely necessary to have a blog on your website if you are offering digital products such as eBooks, online courses, consultancy etc.
Reason #3: Establish a community
Every blog post you write will be an object to others’ criticism and opinion. Having a comment section and being active on social media can help you establish a community around your blog. Other people with the same interests as you will leave comments and share their experience.
Reason #3: Personal development
Having your own blog can teach you a thing or two about self-discipline. If you want to be one of the best in your area of blogging you will need to learn new skills ( just like now) and conduct some research before writing your articles.
Learning how to do research properly is one of the most beneficial parts of blogging. It will force you to concentrate and articulate your own thoughts in a better way.
Remember that writing your subject or hobby will also make you understand in greater depth and will give you other people's perspective.
Reason #4: It's easy, cheap, and a lot of fun
Creating a blog literally takes minutes and to maintain it costs about $3.50 / month. In this guide, I’ll show you how to set it up all by yourself without writing a single line of code.
That wasn’t possible 7-8 years ago but due to recent advancements in technology starting a blog or a website is a piece of cake.
According to an analysis conducted by WordPress.org, there are over 409 million people over the world that view approximately 23.3 billion blog post pages each month. 71% of the blogs and website created using the WordPress platform are in English. The proliferation of mobile devices makes it possible for everyone to acquire any piece of information at anytime, anywhere. So that’s good news and if you’ve been thinking of starting a blog recently there is no better time to do it than right now.
How to Create a Blog in 3 Easy Step
If you have reached this point in the guide there is only one possible reason for that: you are really determined to start your blog. That’s great!
But before you actually start writing your first blog post there are 4 things you need to do:
- Pick a blog name and secure a domain name
- Get online
- Install WordPress and customize
Let’s get started!
Step #1: Pick the perfect name for your blog
You should pick a name that is directly related to your blog’s topic or the niche your interest lies.
The name of your blog is the first impression you will make to your readers. This is how people will recognize you and distinguish you from the others. So getting it right is crucial.
It must be descriptive and let your followers know what your blog is about.
If you have a specific blog topic in mind I suggest you consider including it in your blog’s name in one way or another but don’t get hung-up on just one word.
If you’re creating a blog about astronomy, for example, the word “astronomy” is not the only option to use for your blog’s name. You can think of different variations of it or other words closely related to the topic such as “celestial”, “planets”, “galaxy” etc.
If you’re starting a personal blog you can use your name or some variation of it.
After you choose your blog’s name you will have to secure a domain name for it. A domain name is basically the name for your blog that your readers type in the web browser.
For example, websitesetupkit.com is the domain name for this website. You can choose from various different extensions. Although a .com is the most common one it might be used by someone else, then I suggest you also consider .net or .org extensions.
Note that domain names cannot contain any spaces so “Website Setup Kit” becomes websitesetupkit.com. You also cannot use any type of punctuation other than dashes.
I recommend you check out our article on how to choose a domain name. It will help you to choose both the right name and domain name for your blog ( usually they are the same).
You can check if your domain is available here. Just type it in the search bar and this tool will give an immediate answer. If the domain is already taken you have the WHOIS option to check who is the current owner and when it was registered.
If the domain name you want is already in use there are a few things you can do:
- Select a different extension. If the .com version is taken you may still be able to get the .net or .org version of your blog name.
- Use some variations of the it. Include words like “a”, “my”, or “the”.
- Add dashes between words (NOT RECOMMENDED)
A domain name usually costs about $12 a year but I will show you how to get one for free with BlueHost.
Step #2: Get your blog online
Now that you have chosen the domain name for your new blog you need to get web hosting.
Think of web hosting as for the physical storage where your blog will be. All the files and pictures that you are going to use will be accessible to the world through your web host’s servers.
Here is a short video explaining how it works:
Of course, you can use the hard drive on your own computer for this purpose but I must warn you that setting it up is a very complex process.
The other downside is that every time you turn your PC off or put it on standby your website will go down.
Personal computers are not meant to run security software for servers which means that if hackers try to attack your website they can do it much more easily. Web hosting providers have specialized in running websites and are not easy targets. They will also optimize your website to load quickly.
Normally the price for web hosting is $5 - $7 / month.
You can choose any other web hosting company if you’d like but I recommend their service because I’ve been their customer for years and they’ve never disappointed me. They’re affordable and always deliver on their promises.
The good news is that they also provide a fast 1-click-installation for WordPress which will make the process much easier.
So let’s proceed with getting your blog online.
- Go to BlueHost.com and click the Start Your Website button
2. On the next screen, select the plan that you need. I recommend the Basic one. If this is your first blog you most probably won’t need most of the features the other plans offer.
- Get your Domain Name. It can be .com or any other type of domain.
If you already have a domain name just type it in the other form on the right. You also have the option to skip this step and choose your domain name later.
4. Fill out your billing details on the registration page. Fill in your personal details and finalize the package info to complete the process. I recommend going with the 36-month plan it offers you the best value.
Be careful with the add-on options. It’s completely up to you whether or not to purchase them but I don’t recommend it at this point.
Create a login password. You should receive an email with your log-in credential short afterward.
Step #3: Install WordPress & Customize
Before you start building your new blog I want to make clear why I think WordPress is the best option for individuals who don’t have much prior experience in this field.
- WordPress is FREE
You can use WordPress for absolutely free as long as you want.
- WordPress is user-friendly and yet, very powerful
If you’re using email on a daily basis and know how to edit Word documents this means that you are absolutely ready to use WordPress.
- WordPress is mobile friendly
Nowadays more and more people use their mobile phones to navigate the web. In the near future, most of the web traffic will come from mobile devices. Honestly, I think that’s pretty obvious if you just look around you.
- Free Plugins and Themes
There are thousands of free plugins and themes you can choose from. In this tutorial, you will learn how to install and use them.
Although no website is 100% safe from hackers, the WordPress team constantly monitors and identifies any possible threat that can inflict its users’ websites and takes security measures by rolling out new updates regularly and providing back-up of all your data.
I know it sounds too good to be true. Well, you better get used to it.
Now let's move on.
BlueHost provides the option to install WordPress following a very simple process.
Click "Log Into WordPress"
If at time you replicate these steps you don't see the option above please follow the steps below:
- Go to my.bluehost.com and log into your new hosting account
- In the Control Panel find the button which says “Install WordPress” and click it.
Type in your domain name. The field after the forward slash “/” can be left blank.
Enter your domain name, admin username, and a password for your website.
Click “Next”. Make sure you check the Terms and Conditions box below.
Click on the green installation button
You can also see the steps in the video below
Customize your blog
To begin with, you will need to login to your new blog.
Go to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin and type in your username and password. To bring up the login screen (replace “yourdomain.com” with your domain name). To see what your username and password check the email that you should have received from BlueHost.
Once you log into your account you will see the Dashboard and the menu on the left-hand-side of your screen.
Now you have an idea how the back end of your website looks like. This is where you add all of your content, manage the settings and control the activities on your website. The back end is not visible to anyone else except you - the administrator.
WordPress Editor vs. Elementor
At this point, you need to consider two separate paths to create your website.
One is to build it up by choosing a theme and doing everything manually using the standard WordPress Editor. The other option is to use a page builder such as Elementor.
Below you can find full instructions for both. I suggest you check them out and decide for yourself which method suits you best.
If you go for the first option I suggest you watch the WordPress Series created by BlueHost.
They provide extensive video lessons that will familiarize you with the WordPress Dashboard and explain how to manage the back end of your new website.
If you decide to create your website using the standard WordPress editor I also highly recommend you to check out the best free themes for 2017
Keep in mind that when you like a theme and install it on WordPress it may not have all the functionalities that you look for. All themes for WordPress are created and uploaded by different developers. This means that some settings you look for may not be present when you switch to another theme.
If you want to master building pages with a specific theme you like I recommend you to look for tutorials on YouTube. For example, if I want to learn how to build a website using my favourite theme - Sydney, I would go to youtube.com and search for “Sydney theme WordPress tutorial”. It’s simple as that !
Elementor is a visual drag-and-drop plugin used to create WordPress websites. It lets you design and build pages without typing a single line of HTML or CSS code. It is compatible with all WordPress themes and is completely free of charge.
Elementor is a great tool. Combined with WordPress it’s the easiest and fastest way to build professional looking web pages in no time.To be honest, there is no other page builder that will provide you with the functionality Elementor does for FREE.
In the video tutorial below you will find how to install and use Elementor to create any type of website you want.
I know it's 3h 30m long but it's totally worth it !!
It was created by Josh Jackson who is an absolute genius when it comes to web design. He also explains how WordPress works in great detail. I strongly recommend you watch it.
The video also shows how to create your own logo for free, edit images, customize settings, add contact pages and much more.