The best part is you need ZERO technical skills to get started and by following this in-depth guide you can be up and running in as little as 15 minutes.
We are Kelan & Brittany two professional bloggers who went from being clueless and frustrated to making over $10,000 in a single month in less than two years.
When we started our blog in 2016, we had no idea what we were doing. It was frustrating, time-consuming, and stressful. Which is why we put together this ultimate guide on how to start a blog. It contains everything we have learned over the years of blogging in a step-by-step format to make it as simple and easy as possible.
We now help thousands of people every month start and make their blogs profitable in as little time as possible.
UPDATE: Bluehost is now offering an exclusive deal to our readers. You can now start your blog for as little as $2.95/month and it comes with a FREE domain name!
So if you have not already we highly recommend you take advantage of this deal and start your blog with Bluehost now. Then, come back and use this step-by-step tutorial easy directions to finish up.
Why Even Start a Blog?
- To Make Money Online – The majority of the people wanting to learn how to start a blog are doing it to make money online. We make a full-time income from our blog and so do many others. Making money as a blogger is hard work, but has very little risk and low cost to start. There is no other business in the world you can start with such little risk.
- Just For Fun – Many people have been blogging for years just for fun and there is nothing wrong with that. It is fun to have a place to express yourself and share your experiences with complete strangers.
- To Help Others – You will soon find many bloggers blog for the sole purpose of helping others. We LOVE talking about personal finance and how managing our finances literally changed our lives. The most successful blogs provide an insane amount of value to their readers.
- To Join The Incredible Blogging Community – We have personally been a part of many close-knit communities including things like college, dance, fire department, and law enforcement. I will say with no hesitation the blogging community has been the most helpful of them all. Don’t be shy when you start your blogging journey. There are so many people willing and able to help. You can join our private blogging group on Facebook Blogging with Purpose to get started.
- To Learn New Skills and Open Up Doors – When we started our blog, we had no idea how much there was to learn. We got over the learning curve fairly quickly and learned a TON in the process. I was able to land a remote work from home digital marketing position using our blog as my work experience on my resume. Starting a blog is a great way to learn how to run a website and learn digital marketing.
- To Market Your New or Existing Business – A blog is a great way for individuals and large corporations to reach their customers, provide value, and hopefully turn them into repeat paying customers.
Do you see how starting a blog has many different purposes? After you understand why you want to start a blog everything else will fall into place quickly. So keep reading, let’s do this!
Here are my easy-to-follow steps to get start a self-hosted WordPress blog, no technical experience required.
The 7 Easy Steps on How to Start a Blog
- Understanding your “WHY”
- Decide what topic/niche to blog about
- Choose a blogging platform/software
- Find a good hosting company
- Choose your domain name
- Get started on WordPress
- Customize and design your blog
Step 1 – Understanding Your WHY in Starting a Blog
One of the most important steps in starting your blog is understanding why you want to start it in the first place.
For us, we just wanted a side hustle we could work on together and make a little money from. One that would finally allow me to work for myself and stop bouncing from job to job trying to find happiness.
Well, it turns out after nine months working on our blog part-time we had grown it to the point where I decided to quit my job and run our site full-time!
You can see from our income reports our blog has blessed us in many ways financially. But it’s not about the money. It is about having the FREEDOM to not have to work for someone else, create my own schedule, and actually have an impact on others.
We get to spend more time with the family, travel more, and not stress about money like we use to.
I like to share our story because understanding your why is very important when starting a blog.
In starting your own blog you open your life up to the endless possibilities your blogging business can bring.
- Work from home – You no longer have to wake up at 6 am and take that long morning commute. You can work in your PJ’s all day long if you want. You can travel anywhere in the world and bring your blog with you.
- Make more money than a salaried job – The income potential is off the charts. Some of the top bloggers in a variety of niches are making over $100,000 per month!
- Positively impact and change the lives of people around you – As humans, we naturally want to help and serve others. There is no better way to positively impact people through your own personal blog.
- Become internet famous – Let’s be honest getting recognized for your hard work is special.
- Spend more time with your family & friends – Time is the only thing we cannot get more of in life. Create the life you want with your blog and start spending more time on what is important.
- Travel more and start new hobbies – Starting a blog can give you the freedom to travel more and start those hobbies you have always put on the back burner.
- Unlock your life’s potential & FREEDOM – Until you leave your daily commute to your 9-5 job with your horrible boss, it is hard to understand what freedom even feels like. Starting a blog unlocks the ultimate freedom of time and money allowing you to have full control over every aspect of your life. It’s hard to even begin to describe how incredible actually feels.
Step 2 – Decide What Topic/Niche to Blog About
If you’re starting a blog for your business or organization, your blog should be centered around the products and services you provide.
If you’re an individual starting a blog you have a lot more flexibility when choosing your topic and niche to blog about. Here are some of the most important things to consider.
- Passion – You MUST pick something you have a huge passion for. If you start blogging about something that does not interest you it will most likely fail. Figure out what topic you can never stop talking about. Is it personal finance, cooking, being a mom, weight loss? Then take 10 minutes and come up with as many blog posts as possible. You should be able to come up with close to 100 potential blog posts with little effort.
- Experience or Expertise – What is a topic you have lot’s of experience, education, or expertise in? You don’t need to be Dave Ramsey to be a personal finance blogger. You just need to have your own unique angle and story you share.
- Large Market – Make sure you pick a blogging niche that has plenty of potential to grow in. A blog about personal finance has a much better chance to make money than a blog about taking care of monkeys.
The goal of any blog should be becoming an authority in that niche. You want to be the go-to blog people turn towards to help solve their everyday problems.
Step 3 – Choose a Blogging Platform/Software
If you want to drive, you need a car. If you want to start a blog, you need a blogging platform.
There are a few well-known blogging platforms to choose from. These include WordPress, Wix, Blogger, Squarespace, and Weebly.
Obviously, they all come with their pros and cons. But as you can tell from the visual below WordPress is by far the most popular. It’s easy to use, super flexible, and extremely functional. Not only that it has a massive community of users who all share ideas, tools, and plugins.
We have always used WordPress as our blogging platform and HIGHLY recommend it!
If you do start your blog on WordPress (which you 100% should) you have two options: hosted or self-hosted.
You want to completely avoid the hassle and headache that comes with a free hosted blog. If you go the free route you greatly limit your ability to make money with your blog, you don’t technically own it, and it can get shut down at any point in time.
With a self-hosted blog like the one you will set up with Bluehost, it’s the complete opposite. You have 100% control over every aspect of it, your ability to make money from your blog is limitless, and it won’t randomly get shut down.
This step-by-step guide will walk you through how to start a self-hosted WordPress blog, the platform we recommended to everyone.
Step 4 – Find a Good Hosting Company
Hopefully, by now we have shown you the importance of starting your blogging journey with a self-hosted WordPress blog.
So let’s break it down real quick. In order to have a blog live on the internet, you need two things: a blogging platform and a hosting company to “host” it on the internet. Without having a hosting company your blog cannot be seen or accessed.
So what hosting company should you use?
We recommend Bluehost for many different reasons.
After using Bluehost for over two years with our blog, we cannot say enough good things about them and the service they provide. From our personal experience, we honestly believe Bluehost is the best hosting company for new bloggers to use when starting their blog.
Reasons to use Bluehost:
- Bluehost is extremely affordable for everyone at only $2.95 per month. The value is unbelievable!
- Bluehost has fantastic customer support that works 24/7.
- You will receive a FREE domain name!
- You will be self-hosted which will enable you to have complete control over your blog.
- Installing WordPress through Bluehost is 100% FREE.
- Bluehost offers a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.
- You will look professional to readers, companies, advertisers and anyone else that comes to your blog since you will be self-hosted.
Click here or the picture below to start your blog for only $2.95/month and receive a FREE domain name!
Selecting Your Hosting Plan
Next, you want to select which hosting plan you want to be on. If you are just starting out the basic plan will be more than enough and you can always upgrade down the road.
One thing to note is the option for “domain privacy”. This is a feature we recommend getting to protect your personal information. This can be added on during the checkout process for only about $1 per month. The next step will be selecting your domain name. If you don’t have one yet that’s not a problem we have a nice hack to help you out. Either way, you can continue moving onto the next step.
Step 5 – Choose your domain name
Your domain name is your web address. It’s what people will type in to find your site. For example, our domain name is TheSavvyCouple.com.
If you don’t have your domain name yet start thinking of something short, catchy, and easy to remember.
Don’t let this step trip you up! Remember to not overcomplicate it. It’s the content you create, not the name that matters in the end.
You can also try out a few using Bluehost’s domain name checker below:
If you have previously registered a domain and want to use it for your new site, enter it on the right. If you don’t already have one, enter the domain name you came up with on the left.
Enter your account information
Now choose the hosting package you plan on using (we recommend basic starting out) and decide how far in advance you want to pay. Bluehost bills upfront on 1,2,3, or 5 years.
Unforuntentelly the do not offer a monthly payment option. The hosting companies that do offer monthly payment plans are normally 3-5X the cost. As you can see for three full years of hosting it comes out to just over $100. That’s an insane value for starting your online blogging business.
You will see other add-on options when you are filling out your package information. Our recommendation like we mentioned above is to only select the Domain Privacy Protection for about $1 per month. Everything else is not needed at this time.
The total at the bottom is what you will pay today. So for example, if you choose the three-year plan you pay around $100 and you are set for three full years!
Step 6 – Get Started on WordPress
You did it! Now you can start working on your blog right away.
This might be the easiest step in the whole tutorial on how to start a blog. Now it’s time to actually install WordPress on your blog. The best part is Bluehost makes installing WordPress on your blog super easy and it’s FREE.
Pick a theme to start with (can be changed at any time)
Start building your site with WordPressUnderstanding the basics of WordPress
CONGRATULATIONS! You are now the proud owner of a WordPress blog.
Your site will start out with a temporary domain name. Don’t be freaked out. New domains can take up to 24 hours to activate. Bluehost will take care of this step automatically.
Here is a video showcasing the basics of navigating around WordPress:
Now it’s time to buckle down and start making some killer content. Can’t wait to see your blog up and running!
Step 7 – Customize and Design Your Blog
Now that you have your new WordPress blog set up and you understand the basics of how to use WordPress it’s time to make a few customizations that we feel are important.
I’ll also show you in the video below how to customize your WordPress theme to get it looking just the way you want it.
Things to customize right away:
- Change your domain from HTTP to HTTPS – Yes, this sounds super technical but it’s not. You are simply making your site secure and Bluehost does this automatically with the switch of a button.
- Change your permalinks – Change your URL’s to just show the slug.
- Change your username – Make sure you change your username from “Admin” to something a little more secure.
- Install the essential plugins – Install the following essential plug-ins we recommend all bloggers use Jetpack, Wordfence, SEO Yoast, Google Analytics, and Short Pixel.
Final Thoughts on Starting a Blog
I truly believe anyone can be successful blogging if they put in the work. The learning curve can seem a little overwhelming but as time goes on things will start to click.
Starting a blog is by no means a get rich quick scheme. It’s starting an online business that can change your life and provide for your family for years to come.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? Are you happy with where you will be? Do you want to be working the same 9-5 job that takes up all of your time and limits your income?
I know I wasn’t going to let that happen!
I took the leap of faith and started our blog not knowing anything about writing content, navigate WordPress, or even how to drive traffic.
The key is just getting started! If you tell yourself “I will start my blog next month” you will regret it. It’s just like trying to lose weight, excuses don’t work, action does.
We have a private Facebook group Blogging with Purpose specifically for helping bloggers turn their blogs into profitable online businesses.
So no more excuses. Head over to Bluehost now to start your blog and your journey on completely changing your life!
FAQ’s About Starting a Blog
Can I start a blog for free?
Certainly, but you will greatly limit your ability to make money!
If you look around there is no professional blogger out there not using a self-hosted blog. When you get a self-hosted blog you have complete control over every aspect of your online business.
Free blog sites like Blogger, Medium, Wix, etc are great if you just want to blog as a hobby. But if you plan on making money you need to have a self-hosted website.
Other reasons to not go the free blog route:
- They can completely shut down your blog at any time. You have no control over it.
- You will limit your ability to make money greatly.
- You will end up having to purchase many upgrades from your free account anyways.
- Free blog have very basic features that limit your ability to be successful.
- If it’s free you won’t take it seriously. It’s proven when you invest in something you put more effort into it.
- Companies will not take you seriouly if you want to partner with them.
How do I log onto WordPress?
The easiest way to get onto WordPress is to type in yourdomainname.com/wp-admin. Obviously, you would put the unique URL that you just created in front of /wp-admin. Once you successfully login for the first time make sure you bookmark this page as you will use it very often.
If you forgot your login credentials you can always use the “forgot password” method. But we have found it easier to go your inbox and find the welcome emails sent from Bluehost.
Reminder there will be two separate logins:
- Bluehost – where you manage your hosting, backups, domain names, and pay your hosting bill.
- WordPress – where you create posts, customize your website and manage your entire blog.
How do I change the design, look, and feel of my blog?
Your blog will have a “theme” it uses to present your content the way you want it to look. Your theme can be changed at any time and each one comes with a variety of different customizations you can make.
Starting our a FREE theme will most likely fit your needs but as you get further into blogging a premium theme is a must for many reasons.
Our two favorite places to find premium themes:
Theme Forest – A huge marketplace of premium themes you can search through. This is the perfect place to start and find a premium theme that will fit your needs.
Genesis – More of an advanced theme that will require some knowledge of coding. This is a professional theme used by many professional full-time bloggers.
How do I get traffic to my blog?
Driving traffic is a very important part of becoming a successful blogger. The three main ways of driving traffic to your blog include social media, SEO (search engine optimization) and paid traffic.
When you are first starting out Pinterest should be the social media platform you master. It’s a visual search engine and unlike most social media platforms the users are actually looking for content. Much different from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram where your posts are being shown without the user asking for that content.
Another thing to consider when starting out is understanding the importance of a long-term SEO strategy. Search engine traffic might be the most advanced traffic to understand and be successful with. But if you learn the basics up front it will save you hours of time in the future going back through and auditing old content to be optimized for SEO.
You can also learn more about driving traffic by reading How to Increase Blog Traffic: 7 Tips We Used to Drive 300,000 Page Views.
How do I make money blogging?
Most people start a blog to make money. There is nothing wrong with that at all! We started our blog as a side hustle to make some extra money each month.
Once you understand how to create quality content and have traffic coming to your blog it’s time to start learning how to monetize your blog.
Here are the 4 main ways to monetize your blog:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Sponsored Posts
- Selling your own products and services
Read our article How to Become a Full-Time Blogger & Make Money Within a Year for more information on making your blog profitable.
How do I switch from HTTP to HTTPS with my Bluehost account?
Bluehost makes this very simple once your domain name is set up and working on your site correctly. Remember once you register your domain name it will take Bluehost up to 24 hours to activate it on your site.
Bluehost makes it very easy to “secure” your site. Which is important for a few reasons.
First, it keeps Google happy which is very important for SEO. Google has stated the standard for getting ranked in search engines is to have a secure site. So don’t put yourself at a disadvantage by not doing this.
Second, if your site is not secure your readers will get a huge warning when they land on your site telling them it’s not secure. This will hurt your trust with them right off the bat making it much harder to collect emails, make conversions, and sell your products.
So here is how to turn on your FREE SSL Certification with Bluehost. Changing your URL from HTTP to HTTPS and in turn making your site secure.
- Log into your Bluehost account
- Click “my sites”
- Click “manage sites”
- Click the “security” tab on the next screen
- Toggle the “Free SSL Certificate” to the on position
That’s it! Give it a few hours to install your SSL certificate correctly and your website will not be secure.
You can verify it’s secure by seeing the “lock” in front of your URL.
What are some of the biggest mistakes when starting a blog?
Like we have mentioned above blogging has a fairly large learning curve so mistakes are going to happen.
But in life, I have found those mistakes are the best way to learn. Once you make a mistake, learn from it, and never let it happen again.
We actually went out and interviewed over 20 professional full-time bloggers and asked them what their biggest mistake was when they started their blog.
Their answers are extremely valuable to new bloggers. Click here to read the article.
How do I keep my blog legal?
There are a few disclosures, terms and conditions, and policy’s you should be aware of when starting a blog. It’s not critical to have these as soon as you start your blog but it is something you want to take care of quickly.
Having the proper legal templates on your site will be the safety net you want in a place to prevent yourself in the rare occurrence of being sued.
Click here to read how to keep your blog legal from the start.
Help! I am stuck setting up my blog. What do I do?
If you run into trouble setting up your blog through Bluehost simply reach out to their customer support for some guidance here.
Actually calling customer support in general always seems to work better than using chat. If you’re in the US, call 844-213-7846. They should be able to answer any questions you might have, access your account, and get you pointed in the right direction.
After you have started your blog you need a community to support and motivate you. Take a minute and join our private Facebook group Blogging With Purpose. We have some of the leading experts willing and able to answer any blogging questions you might have.