How to Start a Blog in 8 Minutes or Less
To start a blog and turn it into a business has never been easier than it is today. It is possible; I'm living proof. No, it's not simple to become successful, but it is easy to start a blog, tell your story and share a message with the world. Trust me, when I got started I'd never bought a domain, I'd never heard of WordPress, and I thought “blogging” was something only done by teenagers.
Fast forward to 2015 and I have blog readers in 176 countries around the world. Thousands of people read my words every month and I'm now able to work for myself and own my own business while getting paid for what I know.
It's been serious work, but my decision to start a blog in 2012 made all of this possible for me. And it's possible for you too; nothing I've done is anything you can't do yourself if you're willing to put in the time and effort to start a blog and make it happen.
In this how to start a blog guide, I want to show you how you can get started in 8 minutes or less. I will show you how you can set things up correctly, save upfront costs, and prepare yourself for success.
In This How to Start a Blog Guide:
- Blogging Defined – What is a Blog?
- Why You Should Start a Blog
- How to Start a Blog Instructions
- Domain Buying Tips & Suggestions
- What Do I Do Now? The Post Start-a-Blog “To Do List”
What is a blog?
Technically, “blog” is just short for “web log” which is an account of what activities you're participating in. However, blogs are so much more. Blogs allow ordinary people like me to share extraordinary stories to an audience around the world. Blogs are more than just online journals. Blogs are resources, instructions, and entertainment that can help any person or business build a brand online.
Why You Should Start a Blog
Individuals – On a personal level, blogs are a great way to share your adventures. You can use a blog to tell the story of your life or the shenanigans of your family. You could also start a blog as your digital journal. Blogging helps you clean up your thoughts and develop a personal narrative for your life.
Businesses – If you don't have a website, you're not a business. In this digital age, it's too easy to get started online to not have a digital space to call your own. Your website is the foundation everything else is built on.
How to Start a Blog Step-by-Step Instructions
While there are free platforms out there (Blogger, Tumblr, Medium or even WordPress.com), those won't take you where you want to go. You need to own your digital space, not just rent it.
How to Start a Blog: Step 1 – Getting Ready
Before you jump in you'll want to grab a few key items to save time down the road.
- An idea for your domain
- Your credit/debit card
- 20 – 30 minutes of time
If you haven't started thinking about the domain you'd like to have, it's time to start. You can go with a topic, a brand, your name, or something else. While it won't cost you a ton of money, you'll still need a credit/debit card to get started. Lastly, you'll want to get about 25 minutes of uninterrupted time so you can focus and get everything taken care of.
How to Start a Blog: Step 2 – Domain Choice
The first thing you need to do is purchase a domain name. A domain name is the URL people go to when they want to visit your website. You can purchase your domain through GreenGeeks (the company I use) during the hosting registration process or you can buy one from GoDaddy (and sometimes save some upfront money).
I purchase all of my domains from GoDaddy and recommend you do the same if you don't plan on getting them through us. GoDaddy makes it easy to buy domains and then forward them over to GreenGeeks. Or, you can just buy your new domain from us (see below)
Tips for Buying a Domain
- Length – The shorter the domain the better. Not only is a short domain easier to remember, it's also easier to type (especially on mobile devices).
- Extension – If at all possible, purchase a .com domain extension. These extensions are easier to remember and go well for your global audience.
- Domain – When it doubt, go with your name. It's easy to remember and it's likely to never change. If your name isn't available, try “the” at the beginning as in “TheJaneDoe.com”.
- Spelling – Don't use funky spelling when picking your domain. Make it easy to type, easy to remember and easily spelled.
After you've chosen your domain, when you're ready to get started, click here to go directly to GreenGeeks' Hosting Packages. If this is your first time to start a blog, their basic package for under $5/mo is perfect! It will look like this:
If you go with the Basic package and need other options like dedicated IP addresses, e-commerce capabilities, SSL certificates, etc., down the road, don't worry, GreenGeeks offers all of those things and you can add them a la carte at any time.
After you've decided which hosting company meets your needs, click Get Started to continue.
How to Start a Blog: Step 3 – Configuring Your Account
The next thing you'll need to do is register for a new hosting account. I host almost all of my sites (nearly a dozen of them) with Greengeeks, and I would NEVER recommend anything to you that I don't use myself, and GreenGeeks' servers are powered 100% by green, renewable energy!
They offer phone, chat, and even email support that is accessible 24/7. And, if you're not happy with their service, you can cancel at any time.
After you click “Get Started Now” you'll be taken to a page where you can enter your desired domain name or use one purchased through a registrar like GoDaddy. It'll look like this:
How to Start a Blog: Step 4 – Create Your Account
Whether you choose to register a new domain or use an existing one, when you click Check Availability or Continue, you'll be taken to a checkout page that looks like this:
Choosing Your Hosting Plan
After you've added your name, email address, etc., it's time to choose your hosting “account plan.” In the screenshot below, I had chosen to register a new domain, and that's why you see the $13.95 Domain Registration Fee. If you choose to use an existing domain, you won't see that option.
Adding Payment Information
After you choose your account plan, add your payment info. Once you've done that, click “Create Account & Get Started.”
After you've created your account and they've verified your information, you'll receive an email with a link to log into our hosting servers so you can install WordPress. Please be on the lookout for this email, and please check your spam/promotions/other tabs and folders. This email could take up to 10 minutes to arrive.
How to Start a Blog: Step 6 – Log into Your cPanel
After your information has been confirmed, you can log into your cPanel (short for control panel). Your screen should look like this:
How to Start a Blog: Step 7 – Install WordPress
Now that you've logged into your hosting account, it's time to install WordPress on your new domain. Scroll down until you find the section called “Softaculous Apps Installer,” and click the WordPress Icon. It will look like this;
Don't worry about all of the other scripts or categories. WordPress handles everything you need.
On the following screen, you should see an option to install WordPress by clicking the blue button. It will look like this:
After clicking “Install Now,” you'll have the option to choose where you'd like to install the WordPress software. My suggestion is to install at http://www., and to leave the “in directory” field blank. It should look like this:
Then, scroll down and choose your admin username, password, and admin emails address. PLEASE choose a strong password here! It will look like this:
NOTE: This username and password will be used to log into your WordPress dashboard. Please make a note of this information.
NOTE: DO NOT USE admin as your username. Using admin as your password is almost asking for a breach of security. Create a strong password that has upper and lowercase letter, numbers, characters… you know the drill by now I'm sure.
Once you've created your new username and password, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click the blue “Install” button. WordPress will be installed on your domain, and you'll get an email with your account information.
How to Start a Blog: Step 8 – Log Into WordPress
After WordPress finishes installing, open a new tab in your browser and go to YourSite.com/wp-admin. This information will also be on the installation screen once the process is complete.
When you navigate to yoursite.com/wp-admin you'll be able to login with the username and password you just created in step 7.
What Do I Do Now?
The Post Start-a-Blog “To Do List” and Next Steps
Now that you've registered your domain, set up your hosting account using our green-energy-powered servers, and installed WordPress so you can start a blog, it's time to add content. The steps in this guide are the easy part; now it's time to write posts, create pages, and build an audience.
- Enroll in this free 30 Day Blog Transformation email course and learn how to start a blog that will build your business.
- Learn why every business needs a blog and why it should be a priority.
- I use and recommend premium themes and landing pages from ThriveThemes for mobile-responsive and amazing looking WordPress sites.
- Start collecting emails and building your list. Take a look at the Top 10 Email Marketing Services and see which options offer the best value for the price (and which ones are free)
- Enroll in 8 Weeks to Exit, and get over 40 training videos and walkthroughs on how you can start your blog the right way!
- Read Affiliate Marketing: How to Get Started in 3 Easy Steps