Starting a blog is easy.
Of course, it can get tricky later on; but in general blogging is doable for anyone with a computer with an internet connection.
If you are new to the blogging world, I will walk you through all the basics of starting a blog online in order to write your first post on this page. Here are six steps to follow:
Register your blog domain
Sign up for a web hosting account
Point your domain DNS to your host
Install and log in to WordPress
Design the look of your blog
Add functionality to your blog
Let’s dive into the details of each step.
1. Register your domain name
Your domain is the name of your blog. Physical things you can’t touch or see; but only a string of characters gives your website an identity – like a book title or a place. Your domain “tells” visitors what type of blog they are visiting.
You can choose and register your domain name with a domain name registrar.
GoDaddy, NameCheap, Wander are some of the popular ones.
Personally, I use NameCheap to manage my domain registrations mainly because they are generally cheaper and offer lifetime free domain privacy protection. But any other reputable domain registrar should be fine.
2. Register a virtual host
Web hosting is the physical location where you store your blog content – text, blog topics, images, videos, etc. In order to have a web hosting, we rent it from a company that sets up and manages web hosting servers.
There are different types of web hosting in the market and there are many things to consider when choosing a web hosting. I won’t cover those details in this article – if you’re curious, follow these links to learn more.
For new bloggers, start with affordable shared hosting.
Hostinger ($1.99/month) and A2 Hosting ($2.99/month) are cheap, reliable, and provide enough features for most bloggers. I highly recommend them as a beginner.
Hostinger is one of the cheapest web hosts around, especially during honeymoon sign-ups. Despite being a budget hosting company, they offer tons of great hosting features suitable for new bloggers > Order Here.
3. Point your blog domain DNS to your host
Next, you’ll need to update your Domain Name System (DNS) records at your domain registrar (where you registered your domain in step 1) to point to your web-hosted DNS name servers. Details of your web hosting DNS nameservers will usually be emailed to you when you first register your hosting.
DNS stands for Domain Name System and it is used to direct any incoming user to the IP address of the server. So when a user enters your domain name (ie example.com) into a browser, the DNS records will get the IP address of your web host and serve your blog to the user.
Example – To change your domain DNS at NameCheap, go to Domain List > Admin > Customer DNS.
If you need help, here are step-by-step instructions for updating your blog’s DNS: Namecheap.
4. Install WordPress to Your Web Hosting
To start blogging, you first need to install “blogging software” on your web host.
There are many “blogging software” on the market today, but WordPress is by far the most popular system. It is free, popular, well established, widely supported by the open source community and newbie friendly. According to statistics, more than 95% of blogs in the United States are built using WordPress and there are more than 3 billion blogs running on WordPress.
WordPress can be manually installed to your web hosting; or automatically installed using the one-click installer application. Both methods are fairly simple and can be done easily.
WordPress manual installation
At a quick glance, you need to follow these steps:
Download the latest WordPress package here.
Create a database for WordPress on the web server, and a MySQL user with all permissions to access and modify it.
Rename the wp-config-sample.php file to wp-config.php.
Open wp-config.php in a text editor (notepad) and fill in the database details.
Put the WordPress files in the desired location on the web server.
Run the WordPress installation script by visiting wp-admin/install.php in a web browser. If you have WordPress installed in the root directory, you should visit: http://example.com/wp-admin/install.php;. For example, if you installed WordPress in its own subdirectory called Blog, you should visit: http://example.com/blog/wp-admin/install.php
you are done.
WordPress One-Click Install
Most bloggers don’t install WordPress manually.
The one-click installation service is supported by Softaculous (available for most web hosts), and the installation process is as simple as a few clicks.
For your reference, the image below shows where you can find the auto-install feature in the Hostinger dashboard. To install WordPress, just click the circled icon and follow the anti-counterfeiting instructions – your WordPress system should be up and running within 5 minutes.
Things may look different for different web hosts, but the process is basically the same. So don’t worry if you don’t use one of these hosts I’ve shown here.
Hostinger WordPress Auto Installer
Example – You can install WordPress on your web host in just a few clicks with the Hostinger auto-installer (visit Hostinger here).
Login to your WordPress admin page (backend system)
Once the WordPress system is installed, you will be given a URL to log into the WordPress admin page. In most cases, the URL looks like this (depending on the folder where you installed WordPress):
Go to that URL and log in with your preset username and password; from there, you will now be on the backend (dashboard) of your WordPress site – this is the part of the blog that only you as the admin can access.
BTW – it’s a good idea to bookmark your WordPress wp-admin login URL as you’ll be coming here a lot.
Create a new blog entry
Create a new post in WordPress.
As of this writing, the latest version of WordPress is version 5.9.3 – by default you will be using Gutenberg for WordPress as your block editor. Gutenberg brings a lot of flexibility to the WordPress platform. This is especially useful for beginners, as many things like setting background colors no longer require coding. The block system also helps with article layout management.
To write and publish a new post, simply navigate to the left sidebar, click Posts > Add New and you will be taken to the writing screen. Click Preview to preview what the front end will look like (what your readers will see), and click Publish when the post is complete.
Hi! You have now published your first blog post.
5. Design the look of your blog with pre-made themes
Now that we’ve got bare WordPress ready, it’s time to dig a little deeper. Like all content management systems (CMS), a WordPress blog consists of 3 main elements:
CMS core – the system we installed earlier using the auto-installer,
Themes – the “front end” of your blog where you can control how your blog looks, and
Plugins – Add-ons that give you control and power on your blog (more on this later)
To design or customize the look of the blog, all we have to do is customize a set of PHP and CSS files that are usually located in the /wp-content/themes/ directory. These files are separate from the WordPress core system and you can change them as needed.
Most individual bloggers don’t create their own blog theme from scratch. Instead, what most of us do is pick a ready-made theme (or an original theme) and customize it to our needs. There are countless beautiful WordPress themes on the internet – a simple search on Google will bring you to millions.
If this is your first time building a WordPress blog, my advice to you is to start with a ready-made theme and tweak it along the way.
Here you can get ready-made WordPress designs:
Official WordPress Theme Directory (Free)
Professionally Designed WordPress Themes ($50-$800)
We’ll look at each option below.
Official WordPress Theme Directory (Free)
WordPress Theme Directory (visit here).
The WordPress Theme Directory is where you can get all the free WordPress themes. The themes listed in this directory follow very strict standards provided by WordPress developers, so, in my opinion, this is the best place to get free, bug-free theme designs.
Professionally Designed WordPress Themes (Paid)
Another way to get high-quality WordPress themes is to subscribe to a WordPress theme club or buy a professionally designed theme.
If this is the first time you’ve heard of themed clubs, here’s how it works: you pay a certain amount to join the club, and you get various designs in the club. Themes offered by theme clubs are usually professionally designed and regularly updated.
Elegant Themes, Studio Press, and Artisan Themes are the three WordPress theme clubs I recommend.
While there are many others out there – some clubs even cater to specific industries, such as real estate agents or schools; only three will be covered in this article.
Elegant Divi Themes – 800+ pre-made layouts and designs available, click here to see a demo of the actual theme.
Website: ElegantThemes.com / Price: $89/year or $249/lifetime
Elegant Themes is arguably the most popular WordPress theme club in the industry. With over 750,000 satisfied customers, the theme site offers Divi Builder over 800 pre-made layouts and designs to choose from. It also allows you to download premium plugins that will enhance your online business. The subscription price of Elegant Themes is affordable enough. You can access all the themes on unlimited sites for $69 per year. If you want to use these plugins too, you have to pay $70 per year. If you like elegant themes, you might as well pay $199 for a one-time lifetime plan.
My experience with Elegant Themes has been generally positive and I have no problem recommending them.
It’s affordable and easy to use, and the customization options are nearly endless. Whether you are a casual blogger or a seasoned businessman, Elegant Themes are not only a great way to enhance the aesthetics of your website, but also help make your website easy to navigate and user friendly, which is good for driving more traffic and boosting your business .
WordPress theme by Studio Press.
Website: StudioPress.com / Price: $129.95/theme or $499.95/lifetime
If you’re a long-time WordPress user, then you’ve probably heard of StudioPress. It’s the popular Genesis Framework, a minimalist and SEO friendly WordPress framework for all StudioPress themes.
StudioPress offers flexible pricing based on your needs. Genesis Framework with child themes is available for a one-time payment of $59.99. Premium themes with Genesis Framework are priced at 99 each. If you want access to all the themes, you can pay $499.
Ready-made website powered by Artisan Themes.
Website: ArtisanThemes.io / Price: $129 – $389/theme
Artisan Themes is not your usual WordPress theme club. No need to download a theme with pre-made layouts, this theme club lets you build a theme from scratch using over 20 modules (calls to action, tiles, portfolio elements, etc.).
You can release modules on its theme. Two of its most functional and contemporary themes are Indigo and Modular. Unlike other WordPress theme sites, you can only buy themes individually for $129.
Ready-made websites are great for those who don’t want to easily customize a WordPress theme. Just choose a topic that best describes your business and you’ll be set up in minutes. You can only use the off-the-shelf website if you have installed the theme from the store as specified.
6. Use plugins to add blog functionality
Plugins are add-on applications that run on top of WordPress and add new features and functionality to your WordPress blog. There are nearly 60,000 free plugins in the official WordPress.org plugin directory, and thousands more are now available in other markets.
Bloggers use plugins to add various features to their WordPress blogs. For example, you can:
Build a job board using the WP Job Manager plugin
Create an online store with the WordPress WooCommerce plugin
Make a Podcast Website Using Simple Podcast Press Plugin
Running a Members Only Blog Superfluous WPQuickStart
If this is your first time using WordPress, here are some basic (free) plugins to start with:
Security and spam protection plugin
Akismet WordPress Plugin
For security and spam protection, check out Akis