Firstly, well done on deciding to start up your own blog!
Creating your own blog is easier than you might think, so easy that there’s only 5 steps. You could even have your new personal or business blog up within thirty minutes.
I used to be like you – years ago I wanted to start a blog but I had no idea where to begin. Motivation for my blog began to slip when I considered how technical it would be to create one. But seriously, it isn’t, unless you go down the route of creating a bespoke blog for your website.
Anyway, let’s get started on how to create a blog.
The 5 steps to start your own blog
- Choose your blogging platform
- Choose a host for your blog
- Add a blog on your own domain
- Design your blog
- Get blogging!
Choose your blogging platform
My recommendation for you would be WordPress.
WordPress is the biggest Content Management System/blogging platform in the world. There are more than 80 million WordPress websites, it’s not just coincidence that WordPress is the most popular.
- It’s free
- It’s flexible to you
- There’s useful plugins/add-ons
- There’s loads of free themes (blog designs/layouts)
- It’s mobile ready
- Thousands of online support forums
- Fast loading and easily shareable content for your users
- Oh yeah, it’s FREE
Choose a host for your blog
So WordPress is great, but before you jump in, you need to consider your hosting for the blog.
What is hosting?
Hosting is where your website is stored for everyone on the big World Wide Web to view it.
What’s the hosting options?
There are two options, free or self-hosting.
Free is probably the more appealing option here, but there are limitations to free hosting, the disadvantages are:
You won’t have you own blog website address (URL)
If you’ve looked at other free hosted blogs you may notice their web address is a little different, it’s not the usual ‘myblog.com’ ‘it’s myblog.wordpress.com’.
The blogs have limits
Free blogs have limits. You can’t install plugins, you can’t monetise your blog and you have limited storage. You also don’t have access to the free themes that are available on WordPress.
You don’t own your blog – big problem
Technically, on a free hosted blog you don’t own the blog or its domain. It’s a free domain and it’s owned by WordPress, if they deleted it for whatever reason, you would have no ground to stop them. The URL above shows who owns it. Look at it again – myblog.wordpress.com
Self-hosting however means you can have myblog.com and be the rightful owner of your blog, the domain and everything on it.
What’s the cost of self-hosting?
So it’s not as good as being free, but it is really affordable. Hosting and domain registration will usually cost you around £10ish per month, depending on what kind of hosting you choose. Domains are really cheap (we’re talking £10 for the year!) so they don’t really affect your cost.
Hosting is what pushes up your yearly cost – If you opt for shared website hosting (more than one website on a server) this will be around £5-£10 per month. But for a dedicated website hosting (your site has an entire physical server to itself and doesn’t share bandwidth with another website) is more like £65+ per month.
Bandwidth… sharing servers… what does all this mean?
Your website needs to be hosted somewhere. Cheap options means that your website will share a server with 1, 2, 3, however many websites are assigned to that one server. Think of it as a game of tug of war. If a website on your server is getting a lot of people using it, it may hog the server’s bandwidth, slowing everyone else.
A dedicated server just for your website means you don’t need to wrestle with anyone. It does however have a huge cost associated with it.
Other affordable options includes Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting, which can be bagged for around £10 – £40 per month. It’s one physical server split into multiple virtual servers. Check out HostGator for VPS hosting.
My recommendation is to go down the self-host route, not free. Unless your budget is really tight and you are only planning to start up a hobby kind of blog, then you may want to opt for free hosting.
Add a blog on your own domain
I will assume you made the decisions to go self-hosting – you’re nearly there!
The steps to connect your hosting and domain to a WordPress blog:
- Choose your hosting provider
- Choose your hosting plan/package
- Choose your domain name
- Keep an eye out for the one-click WordPress install button on the admin panel
I recommended HostGator above for your hosting, I would recommend them again for your domain registration too. Having it all together just makes sense. There are many companies to choose from to find your domain and check it’s available; Go Daddy, 123-Reg, even WordPress.
HostGator actually is one of the cheapest for hosting providers as well as for domain registration too, and they usually give you your first year free for the domain name of your choosing.
Anywho, enough HostGator loving – you can use any other hosting company in all honesty. They all make it super easy to get your domain registered to a WordPress blog, usually with a literal ‘one-click’ install button. The magic happens and your domain is connected up with WordPress.
Once WordPress is installed on your website you can log in to your WordPress admin area. This is easy to find: yourdomainname.com/wp-admin
Don’t worry, WordPress is really user-friendly
It’s a CMS that is really user-friendly. It’s been built for content publishers, all the fancy code stuff is hidden. You can easily go to ‘Posts’ on the left panel and write to your heart’s content.
Design your blog
Let’s face it, this will take up most of your time!
Anyone who owns a blog wants it to look nice and give off a personality or mood. My advice would be to not go too complex or “edgy”. People browsing online want a simple website or blog to nose through. By all means, go for it though! Don’t hold back and don’t be afraid to show who you are. Blogs are there to ooze personality.
WordPress offers hundreds… actually, thousands of themes. Some paid, a lot free! Even better, the themes on WordPress are highly customisable. In fact, they’re easily customisable.
If you’re using a template and you’ve put your heart and soul into the website content but you’ve gone off the design, that’s cool, you can change template and keep your content and images. There’s no need to lose hours of work.
Remember though, keep your design clean. Make sure users can easily find what they’re looking for.
Hosting, tick. Domain, tick. CMS, tick. Blog design, tick. Blogs… pending.
Head to your domain and if all is ok you should see your blog or website appear. Yay!
Now all that is left for you to do is relish in your success, but there’s more. Probably one of the more time consuming branches of blogs – blog writing.
Content creation is hugely time consuming. I will say though it is really therapeutic, so do give it a go. Over a long time period too, you may even struggle to come up with new blogs.
Here’s an idea for your first blog – why not introduce yourself. Who are you? What’s your passion? Why have you set up the blog? There, blog 1 for you.
Blog 2 – Dive deeper into the reason for starting up your blog. Discuss who might find your blog interesting. How will your blog help people?
Content really is king. In fact, for businesses, content is essential to your digital marketing. If you own an online shop or you provide a service and you want to gain leads/enquiries through your website, blogging is a fantastic way to achieve this. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) may be a new term for you, but it’s crucial to not only growing your business, but actually getting it on the map (including Google Maps LOL) online.
Every marketing strategy starts with content. Or at least it should. And your blog could be the start of something exciting for you.
How to write a blog post – some writing quick tips
Well, that’s another blog post right there, but I’ll give you some quick-fire tips to get you started:
- Decide on what you want to write about and plan what you want to say. Start with bullet points, list exactly what you want to say and in what order.
- Think about your opening – don’t waffle, make it short, concise, intriguing.
- Middle – again, don’t waffle. Get your points across succinctly.
- End – conclude nicely with an actual conclusion. Again, don’t waffle.
Why do I keep banging on about waffling? It’s so easy in a blog to let your mind go into wild – the planning at the beginning should keep you grounded.
- Finally – go back through your content and edit it. This is your chance to cull any rubbish that came from your mind to keep your blog focused and engaging.
- After a round of editing, take a break. Your mind will always spot things after a short break from the copy. Make a cuppa, head out for a walk, have a browse on social media, meet up or chat with a family member or friend.
(15 mins later)
- Go back through your blog again. A fresh pair of eyes on it. Read through again and edit, it will make all the difference!
Here’s some other useful reads about blog writing:
- 7 steps to create an engaging blog
- Top 5 tips to blog right for your business
- The ‘need to knows’ of marketing your business online
Looking for help with your blog?
We’re here. Whether you need someone to read over your first few blogs, write your blogs or even to come up with some interesting topics for you to write about, I can help you. Also, I’d love to help you, I thrive off creative thinking when it comes to content!
Seriously, let’s chat about what it is you want to achieve. I can be hands-on or advisory.
If you don’t need my help, then that’s fine too, I hope this blog has helped you with your blog!
If you get stuck in the future, give me a shout via email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Got a question for us?
We’re just an email, call, text or social message away!