Starting a Blog for Beginners:
5 Simple Steps to Success

Blog Getting Started Creating a Blog for Beginners April 22, 2021

By Yiming Xuzhou | @siliconvalbread

Imagine a life where you wake up in the middle of France and see the Eiffel Tower from your bedside window. 

Two weeks later it’s Prague.

The next Tuesday, Italy. 

What if I told you that there are people who can work wherever they want, as much as they want, without ever worrying about their time or money… In fact, they can

  • Make enough money to afford this life, and then some.
  • Live comfortably without a job
  • Spend their time talking and writing about their passions

 

Believe it or not, bloggers are the ones living like this. The ones who successfully built websites that generate revenue can effectively work from anywhere in the world and still make great money.

Sounds like a pretty nice concept huh? Well I know enough to tell you it isn’t that easy. 

But it is that simple

And today, I’m going to teach you how to set yourself up to have the best chance of living that lifestyle you have always dreamt of having. 

You don’t have to know anything about websites, hosting, coding, or anything like that to get started. I went through the trouble of creating a guide with lots of pictures and step-by-step guidance so even someone with no technical knowledge can make a website too.  

The important thing is to set your website up now. After all, you won’t be able to get that life you always wanted if you don’t take a chance. 

Getting Started: Build Your Website in 30 Minutes

If you want to set up your site in half an hour, this section is a quickstart guide. 

You only need to do 3 things to start creating content on your new website.

1. You need a web host (the host will put your website on search engines for you, so you don’t have to do any technical work) 

For this, I recommend signing up with Bluehost. It costs less than $4 dollars a month, and it provides you with a safe and reliable hoster. Plus, you can save over half of the cost by being one of my readers and choosing the 3-year package. 

2. You need a domain name.

This is the name of the website you type in when you are searching for something (like www.domainname.com). If you sign up with Bluehost, you can get a free domain name for a year, which saves you another annual fee.

3. You need WordPress.

This is the free website building software that over 408 million people use. Download it with one click from Bluehost. 

See How to Make an Extra $2816 a Month

so you can spend your time doing what you love.

Congratulations! You completed the first step to making your website a success. 

The path ahead is a long one but you finally got yourself on track to start a real business.

Now let’s go into a more detailed tutorial in case you had any issues following the instructions in the quickstart guide. 

Step 1: Start Your Blog With a Web Host

First of all, let’s give your website a way to live online. 

Luckily, this can be done very easily with a single provider. 

See, if you didn’t have a web host, nobody would be able to see your website besides you.

It might be hard to get traffic if your site can only be accessed by you, I’m not gonna lie. 

So what makes one web host better than another?

When I compare web hosts, I tend to look at their speed, customer service, and price. 

  • Speed is the most important because of a couple of reasons. First, Google will use your site’s speed when calculating your SEO score. Second, over 53% of your viewers will immediately leave your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. 
  • Customer Service is a must when it comes to website creation. You never know when you are going to run into a problem and you need instant support so you don’t lose out on customers or viewers while your site is down. 
  • Price is obviously another big concern. That’s why I chose Bluehost
Every time I have had issues with my site, Bluehost has been helpful with 24/7 support and quick fixes. They also provide reliability, fast website speed, and a few extra perks as well. 
 

Best of all, it’s only $3.95/month including a free domain name for the first year, one-click WordPress install, and free 24/7 lifetime support. 

Let’s walk through the process of getting your website started now. Click “Get Started”.

This will take you to a screen where you see 4 options for different plans. Take the basic plan on the left. It’s all you need to get started with a single website for less than a cup of coffee a month.

Click “Select”.

This will take you to a new screen where you get to set your domain name. 

bluehost domain

If you already have a domain name you like, go ahead and fill it in. 

If not, click on “I’ll create my domain later”. I would suggest doing this even if you have a few ideas because choosing the right domain is something you want to spend extra time on–it’s really important and you only get one shot

From there, go ahead and enter your information so you can finish signing up. 

When you are done with that, they will ask what type of package you want. 

bluehost packages

I would recommend going with the 36 month plan here. It will cost more upfront, but you save a lot of money in the long run. 

Those dollars add up. 

If you scroll down more, you will also see some options for package extras. 

bluehost extras

The good thing here is that you can save your money with all the extras.

Some of them will already be checked so make sure to uncheck them.

Everything here can be done better and cheaper elsewhere. We’ll get more into that later on. 

Now all you have to do is finish filling out your payment info, click “submit” and boom! You successfully created a host for your website. 

Ready to make it ready to go live?

Important Disclaimer: If you chose to skip the domain name process and come back later, you won’t see the option to purchase “Domain Privacy + Protection” in the extras. This is a must buy because it keeps your personal information away from attackers or outsiders. For only 99 cents a month, I would highly recommend upgrading to this option later. 

Step 2: Choose a Domain Name

If you skipped this step and don’t have domain name already, now is the time to come up with one. 

Coming up with a domain name can be tough because so many good ones have already been taken. I would recommend using this domain name checker to see if your idea is taken or not.

Since having both a domain and a web host is necessary to start building your website, it’s really convenient that Bluehost provides one for free for your first year.  

When you are ready to set up your domain, find “Create a new domain”.

bluehost domain

I would highly recommend finding an open domain that ends with “.com” but if they aren’t available, Bluehost will show you some alternate suggestions. 

I wouldn’t rush the process though. Your domain is a huge part of your brand, your business, and your message to the audience. 

When it comes to choosing your domain, here is a great list of practices you should follow.

You can also use a domain name generator

A very useful tool for this is Panabee. It lets you put a combination of words and sends you back some examples of domain name ideas. A lot of them won’t be usable but you might find one or two you like. 

panabee

The names with the blue heart are still available for purchase while the orange hearts have already been taken. 

Step 3: Download a Content Management System

A CMS (or Content Management System) is an application that lets you add content and modify your website without going directly into the files and writing code. 

Basically, it makes it a lot easier for you to actually build your site.

The best CMS available is WordPress. It’s the most downloaded and the most used one with people viewing over 20 billion pages made on WordPress every month.

If you are setting up a blog, this is the best option. 

Disclaimer: There exists both a WordPress.com and a WordPress.org. WordPress.com is the third party site where you can create free blogs while WordPress.org is the site where you actually download the WordPress software to begin using the CMS on your website. 

Why WordPress?

WordPress has a very intuitive backend that makes it easy to edit your website and add pages or posts quickly. It also has a great selection of templates that you can install depending on your taste. Bluehost makes it easy to follow their directions and get WordPress up and running quickly. 

WordPress also comes with its vast library of plugins. 

The plugins are the reason why WordPress is so powerful. There are over 50,000 of them and they can add basically any element to your website.

But the plugins have a big downside too. What is the downside?

  1. They can slow down your website
  2. They aren’t heavily monitored
  3. They can be risky.
The fact that so many plugins exist is because any developer is allowed to publish a plugin on WordPress. Additionally, a lot of them are free and poorly maintained which can cause your website to run into problems. 
4 must have wordpress plugins

This is why it’s important to only download plugins that are trustworthy and absolutely necessary.

The only 4 I would recommend getting right away are Yoast SEO, Elementor, WPForms, and WPRocket. 

But before we get into that, let’s give your website a brand identity.

Step 4: Give Your Website a Brand Identity

Unless you want your website to look like a generic WordPress site (with a default theme), this is your opportunity to begin customizing your brand’s overall look. 

By now, you should be able to access your WordPress dashboard. To look for new themes, go to “Appearance > Themes” in your left side menu and click “add new” at the top.

Part 1: Give your website a theme

As you can see, the theme I am currently using is called Educavo. I paid for this theme off of WordPress’s site. 

I would recommend saving your money and downloading a new theme directly from WordPress. 

At the top of the Themes section, click “Add New”.

This will take you to a screen where you see a selection of free themes.

Go ahead and look through all the options available from WordPress. You are also allowed to preview themes without installing them first so I would recommend doing that before deciding on any. 

Once you install a theme and have it activated, go to “Appearance > Customize” at the left side of your screen to make edits to your homepage while seeing your applied theme.

wordpress customize theme

This is my customizer screen as an example. Yours will probably be different, the customization options vary theme to theme. 

Go ahead and explore your theme options now. You can see all your edits update your site in real time to the right. 

Part 2: Create a logo

In your customization options, you will be able to upload a logo for your site as well as a favicon.

Having a logo is essential to getting your business recognized by your target audience. If you don’t already have one, you have two options. 

1. You can purchase a logo from somewhere like Fiverr. It will cost anywhere from 5-20 dollars for a decent logo that you might like.

2. (Better Option) Create your own logo with a tool like Canva. This tool is great becomes it comes with a lot of pre-made templates that you can modify to your own personal liking. You can also sign up for a free account to avoid paying for a logo. 

Part 3. Fill out your empty pages

You don’t want people discovering your website if it doesn’t have any content.

Take this time to fill out pages like your “About” page and home page so your message is clear to your first few visitors.

Part 4. Make page building easy with a drag and drop tool

One of the best plugins you should get immediately is Elementor. Why?

Let’s look at the difference of editing a new page using the default WordPress editor vs. the Elementor editor. 

wordpress gutenberg editor

As you can see, the Gutenberg editor isn’t bad or anything but it leaves a lot to be desired. If anything, it appears very basic and doesn’t show you your themes personality unless you preview. 

How about the Elementor editor?

On the other hand, Elementor lets you drag and drop elements of your page directly onto the site. This makes it a lot easier to quickly create blog posts or site pages while seeing exactly how it will look. 

Elementor is one of the most popular plugins on WordPress with over 5 million downloads for a reason. Let’s go over how to download it onto your site. First, go to their website here

Click on “Get Started”

elementor

Then, you will be prompted to answer a few questions. 

You will probably choose “My business/Myself” here but if the other options apply, choose them.

Continue answering the questions. You will eventually reach a section where you can choose what kind of website you are creating.

Unless you have decided to make a niche business website, choose “Blog”.

elementor

They will ask you if you are using WordPress. Click the yes option. 

Now, you will be directed to 4 different plans you can choose. Personally, I use the essential plan so that I can have access to pro widgets and templates but you can just start out with the free plan. 

The essential plan also lets you add a custom comments section which I really like. 

elementor plans

Once you select your plan, you will be asked to enter your website’s domain and you can finish installing Elementor with their instructions!

elementor

Once you are done with that setup, making new blog posts will be a lot more intuitive. 

Now let’s add some analytics to your site. 

Part 5. Add a website analytics tracker

Even though your website won’t start with a lot of traffic, it is smart to set up your analytics now so you won’t have to do it later. 

The best plugin that won’t harm your site for this is MonsterInsights

I would recommend going to your WordPress dashboard and finding “Plugins > Add New” and searching for MonsterInsights lite. This is the free version of the plugin that gives you basic analytics. 

This is all you need when you are first starting your website. 

Of course, it is vital to connect Google Analytics to MonsterInsights so make sure you do that too. 

Step 5: Start Marketing Your Website!

Finally, you have all the tools at your disposal to begin driving traffic to your website with content and digital marketing. 

If you got this far, your plan now should be to strategize how you are going to get traffic to your website

I’ve gone ahead and written a few articles for you to get started with your marketing goals and traffic-building efforts. I would recommend reading them and following along in order:

  1. Online Marketing: A Step-By-Step Guide for Beginners
  2. The Comprehensive Guide to SEO
  3. Affiliate Marketing: A Step-By-Step Guide for Beginners
  4. The Newcomer’s Guide to Making $2816/month by Blogging
  5. Traffic Sources and How to Grow from 0 to 10,000 Visitors

 

Conclusion

When it comes to starting your own website and blog, the key is to remain focused, dedicated, and patient.

It is very common to run into bugs and issues when you are starting your new business, especially if you don’t have much experience in web design or development.

If you are running into problems or struggling, always reach out for help first. More often than not, other people will have had the same exact problem. A quick Google search could fix your struggles in less than 5 seconds. Also, make sure to stay productive. You won’t be able to get where you want to go unless you fully commit to your goals. 

While your passive income goals won’t come overnight, as long as you stay on your grind the success will join. If you want more inspiration, read about some of the most successful bloggers who have made over $380,000 a month with no real job!

If you have any questions about starting your website, ask me in the comments and I will help you the best I can!

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