So you’re excited to start a blog? But what if you’re not aware of the tech stuff? Would you hire someone to do it for you? Nope. You don’t have to. In this guide, I’ll show you how you can kick start your own blog, choose a hosting service, how you can set it up, install a theme, add widgets to your sidebar/footer.
This would be a LONG post but don’t worry – it will be worth your time. So let’s kick in!
Start A Profitable Blog: The Complete Guide
Here are the 12 steps that you need to go complete:
- What is a blog
- What are the types of blog
- How to choose a Niche
- How to choose a blogging platform
- Free or Self hosted blog
- How to choose a hosting service
- How to Set up your Self-hosted domain in WordPress
- How to install a WordPress theme
- How to Add Widgets to your WordPress Blog
- The EXACT FREE Tools we used for this blog
What is a blog?
It was originally known as “weblog” and commonly known as digital magazine, journal, a space where you can teach, showcase your art work or photography and many more. It consists of some texts, images, videos and other forms of media. When readers find the article or “blog post” helpful or entertaining, they can leave a comment to communicate with the author. “Blogger” is known to be the person who owns, maintains and writes posts for the blog.
Types of Blogs
These are blogs that shares thoughts, artworks, poems, short stories. Some also sell handmade crafts, products. One of the best example of this are DIY (do it yourself) blogs.
These are blogs that are owned by companies as part of their marketing efforts. To communicate better with customers and implement direct-sales strategies.
These are blogs with specific “niche” or topic. Example topics can be “health”, “sports”, “fashion” or lifestyle.
These blogs are defined by content. Say for example you’re content are videos, you’re a “vlogger”. If you curate (or collect) contents from other sites, then you’re a “link blog”. If you’re content are more on photos, then it’s a “photo blog”. There are many more blogs around the Internet, but these are the ones that I am familiar with.
How to choose a Niche
What you will focus on blogging is the MOST IMPORTANT thing that you need to consider. You cannot TEACH or SHARE something that you didn’t know or even understand. You should be able to provide value and inspire people.
For you to figure out what “niche” your blog should be, you can ask these 3 questions to yourself:
- What am I good at that I can share to the world?
If you have been to great places on earth, then you must have a lot of experience in meeting other people with different cultural backgrounds and you can share that to people who love traveling.
- What are my interests?
If traveling the world sparks excitement to you – then a travel blog is a perfect fit.
- What is that something I truly enjoy doing?
Blogging is hard work. It will eat up a LOT of your time especially when your starting out, so it’s important that you enjoy what you’re doing.
How to choose a blogging platform
You have to decide where you want to build your blog. If you’ve heard about WordPress, it’s the most popular and biggest blogging platform. There are about 82 million active WordPress users.
Some choices for you.
- WordPress – the most popular platform (this is what I use)
- Blogger – owned by Google.
- Tumblr – more like a social network and a blogging platform at the same time.
Self-Hosting or Free Hosting?
This will be the most important decision that you’ll ever take. I started with a free one and after 3 months decided to take a leap! Why? Here are 3 important points to consider if you prefer “Free Hosting”.
- You don’t have your OWN domain name
When you own a free blog, the URL will look something like this:
I know, it’s ugly. It looks unprofessional. Right?
- You’re Limited
If you prefer to use the free WordPress blog, you should know that there are some pretty stuff you cannot do. What are they? 1) You cannot monetize it, 2) You are limited to 3GB space, 3) You cannot upload videos and so much more!
- You don’t own your blog
This is the reason why I take the plunge and decided to take my blogging seriously. Look, you will be writing your heart out and working your butts off – maybe every day or weekly but the point is you are spending time on that blog and since it’s hosted on someone else’ web property, they can delete it anytime! Did I scare you?
If you opt to have the Self-Hosted you will be the REAL owner of your blog – you own everything! You can name it for whatever you want! What’s more fun? You can upload countless videos, images, there are also plugins (things that make blogging super cool!) you can install and choose in a wide variety of themes (premium or free ones!). And lastly, you can of course, monetize your blog and build a business around it – hooray!
**Choosing a FREE or self-hosted will depend on what is the REASON behind you started a blog. If you start a blog just for fun then it’s alright to go free but if you’re planning to make a business or monetize it in the future go with the self-hosted one.
How to choose a hosting service
I will assume that you are now thinking of getting a Self-Hosted Blog. For this, you will need to spend money to get a professional, stable and fast hosting. The cost will be about $5-$10/monthly.
If you’re a little confused on what domain and hosting is about. Here are some basic information for you.
- Domain: The domain is the URL of your website. Ex. beautyandcherries.com. Easy, right?
- Hosting: The hosting company helps you to put your website/blog up on the Internet so everyone else can see it.
I highly suggest you to try Hostgator (for your domain name and hosting). Working for 5 years of helping out personal and small businesses’ websites I’ve been exposed to many others. But to be honest, I always feel a pain in the butt whenever I need to check something for issues (fast customer service is important – trust me.)
I remember I had a client who has a personal blog and turned into a business, she was using Hostgator and everything are smooth! Support is just superb and the cPanel is much easier to navigate and explore.
They also have 45 Days Money Back Guarantee, 1 month hosting if you want to give it a test run. The provide 24/7 phone, email and chat support.
You can proceed with the following steps:
Choose a Domain for your blog
For this you need to consider the “niche” that you choose. For example you want to start a travel blog, you can enter different domain names related to travel and Hostgator will check if that is still available or not. They also come out with some suggestions for you.
Fill up the Billing Information
Be sure to complete the required fields.
Once your billing information is verified, you will receive an email with your cPanel details.
Login to cPanel
Choose the WordPress Quick Install icon
**It usually take a while for you to access your admin dashboard since your account needs to be verified first. It took me 24 hours when I setup my blog. If it take a lot longer, just contact the hostgator support.
Log in to your WordPress Admin page (eg.. www.myblog.com/wp-admin)
Once you’re able to login to your dashboard, it’s time to add a theme. WordPress has a TON of free theme that you can choose from. Depending on your niche and on what looks appealing to you.
How to install a WordPress theme
In your left side, go to Appearance > Click Themes. You can preview the theme to see if it suits your liking and if it does, go straight ahead and click Activate.
If you already bought a premium plugin, then what you can do:
Click Add New > Upload Theme > Click Browse > and Click Install
Once it’s already installed, you can now Preview your blog.
How to Add Widgets to your WordPress Blog
Click Appearance > Widgets > Add Widget
Choose any widget that you’d like to appear in your blog sidebar or footer.
If you followed the step by step guide above I am sure your blog is now ready and set up!
BOOKMARK this page for your reference.