Blogging is a stream of countless possibilities!
There is nothing in this world that you can't achieve just by writing at your own blog. It might sound little fishy, but a simple blog can make thousands of bucks per month or even per day for you.
Blogging requires a platform.
In simple words, you can't blog about something if you have no place to post it. That where the question arises "How to start a blog?"
Today, I'll be explaining how you can quickly start a blog, which platform you should choose for your blog, what's the cost of setting things up, and much more.
The process to start a blog
It's a 6 step process to start a blog. And they are...
- Choose your niche. That means to decide what you'll blog about.
- Choose your blogging platform. Every blog needs a platform to run on.
- Choose a domain name. A domain name helps you establish your blog as a legit brand.
- Choose a hosting provider. If you want to go with a self-hosted platform like WordPress, then this step is essential.
- Design & setup your blog. Once you've gathered everything, it's time to set up and start a blog finally.
If you don't know why you should start a blog or what a blog can do and end up here just because someone suggested you to do so or you think it's cool to have a blog then here are some of the legit reasons why everyone in this world (irrespective of their age) should have a blog.
Why do you need to start a blog?
There are tons of reasons, but some of the most obvious and highly popular are as follows:
Get rid of 9 to 5 job
If you are one of those who is not made for the constraints of a 9 to 5 job, then Blogging is the best career you can pursue. There are no time restrictions. You can blog whenever you want and wherever you want.
As mentioned above, there are no time limits for a blogger. You are your own boss. You decide when to work and when not.
Blog from anywhere
All you need is a laptop! You can blog from anywhere in the world. No matter if you are on vacation on Mars or Jupiter. As long as you have a laptop, you're in the game.
Blog from any device
Yes, that's right! Those days are gone when you needed a laptop to blog. Top blogging platforms like WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr are mobile focussed. You can find their smartphone or tablet apps in the respective app stores. So, even if you don't have a laptop or computer around you and you got an idea all of a sudden then no worries, take out your phone and start writing.
You don't really need to write a book to become an author. In the digital era, your blog is your book, and you write your mind on it. Once people know you for your blog, it's easy to sell a book through it. It's a win-win situation.
Promote existing business
If you own a business, then a blog can help you target the global audience. No matter if your business is situated in a basement of some old building in Gotham, a blog can potentially unlock countless opportunities and leads for your business.
Become your own boss
I'm one of those who can't take orders from someone. So, I became my own boss. You can pursue blogging as a full-time career. Don't worry, you won't be the only one to do so. There are countless people in this world who established their blog and now making a full-time living out of their blogs. Neil Patel, Darren Rowse, and Pat Flynn are the finest examples.
Now that I've explained why you should have your own blog, let's get started with the process of starting a blog.
Steps to start a blog
Here are some of the easiest steps to start a blog in no time.
Step 1: Choose Your Niche
A niche is something that your blog will be all about. There are multi-niche blogs too on the web, but they require special treatment that I'll cover in a different article. Today, I'll discuss setting up a single-niche blog only. Keep the following points in mind while choosing your niche:
- Explore your interests: Blog about something that you know about. Because when you focus on something you like, then it becomes fun and will never be a burden on you in the long term. For instance, if you think you are technically skilled or you love tech, then your blog should be about "Technology."
- Use your education: If you are kind of a person who can't figure out any particular interest to write about, then your education will be helpful. For instance, if you completed your graduation in Commerce stream, then it's easy for you to write about "Business and Finance."
- Fulfill the demand: You can choose a niche that is new, and people are urging to know more about it. Or something that's highly demanded. For instance, there is a new programming language. Certainly, people are looking for its tutorials and every possible detail. If you are familiar with that programming language or you are learning it, then it's a great thing to start a blog for it.
Note: Never go with a niche that you're not interested in or not knowledgeable about. Blogging requires a lot of hard work and patience. If in the long run, you lose interest in your blog due to its niche, then all the efforts you put into its development, design, and SEO will go in vain.
Step 2: Choose Your Blogging Platform
This step is the most essential as once your blog is ready, switching its platform could be one hell of a difficult. You'll lose all the design, customizations, and some traffic too.
I started my blogging career with a free blogger blog with no domain. Later on, I bought a domain and moved the site to WordPress. The reason why I did so was "need for flexibility."
Blogger has tons of design and development restrictions. It's very simple and with no functionalities like a content management system.
WordPress, on the other hand, is a full-fledged CMS. It can become whatever you want it to be. Using WordPress, you can create an eCommerce store, a classifieds site, a personal blog, or even a membership site.
I use WordPress (not WordPress.com) and recommend the same to all my readers.
Keep in mind that there are two kinds of WordPress: Self-hosted (WordPress.org) and Non-Hosted (WordPress.com). I will be talking about self-hosted WordPress in this guide.
So, in my opinion, WordPress is the best choice as a blogging platform from the very beginning, in my opinion because the transition from one platform to other causes harms to your site in many ways.
Once, you have decided your Blogging platform, we can move forward to the next part of this guide.
Step 3: Choose A Domain Name For Your Site
Your domain name is your site's identity and is unique, just like a phone number. For instance, DigitalKube.com is my site's domain. If you have any domain in mind then you can check its availability using the widget given in the sidebar or if you are on mobile, click the button below:
Step 4: Choose Your Hosting Provider
Considering you have chosen WordPress as your blogging platform, you'll need a hosting server to host your site. A shared server is sufficient for any new or small website. I use and recommend SiteGround.
SiteGround has been my host for 3 years now. I finally settled for them after migrating from host to host for 2 years. Their quality and support are unmatched.
You can read my in-depth review of SiteGround here. Plus, it has a special SiteGround coupon for all of my readers. Click the button below to grab 60% off discount on managed WordPress hosting by SiteGround.
After clicking on the button above, you should see something like this:
Click on the "Choose Plan" and page will scroll down to all the hosting plans offered by SiteGround.
Note: WordPress Hosting offered by SiteGround is not specific to WordPress only. It simply means that it is highly optimized for WordPress, and you can host other kinds of websites too on it.
You can compare all the plans. Let me help you choose the best hosting plan for you:
- StartUp Plan: this plan is best suited for new websites. The only limitation it has is that you can host only one website on it. If you are not planning on starting more sites in the future, then this plan is your undoubted choice.
- GrowBig Plan: this plan is best suited for growing sites with a good audience size. This plan is the best one in my opinion because not only it's powerful and able to handle even a tremendous amount of traffic, but you can host an unlimited number of sites as long as you don't run out of your monthly hosting resource allocation.
- GoGeek Plan: this plan is best suited for established bloggers with multiple sites and an impressive amount of traffic. It is suitable for developers too as it has features like staging so that you can clone your website for development purposes. I won't recommend you to buy this package in the beginning, but if you are one of those who can't settle for anything ordinary, then this plan is best for you.
Once, you have chosen the plan, click on "Get Started." Then it will ask you about registering a new domain.
Select "I already have a Domain" and enter the domain that we bought in the previous step. Then click on proceed. A page will open asking you account, payment, and purchase information.
Make sure you fill everything correctly because of any wrong information while checkout may result in serious troubles later. Choose your server's "Data Center." It's the location where your site will get the most traffic from. If your location is not listed, then select the closest to it. Proper data center makes your site load faster.
You can ignore "SG Site Scanner" while placing your order. SiteGround servers are secure even without it as they scan your websites with Sucuri regularly so you can safely ignore it. In case of any malicious code or hacking attempt, you'll receive an email to fix the problem.
After you click the "Pay Now" button, you'll receive an email confirmation on the email address you used while making the purchase. It will look something like this:
Now we have all the necessary elements to start a WordPress blog. Let's move on to the next step of installing WordPress and designing a beautiful site.
Step 5: Create & Design WordPress Blog
You can start setting up a WordPress blog right away. It's a multi-step process to install WordPress, so I'll try to explain it thoroughly.
1. Configure Nameservers
We registered both domain and hosting separately. Now it's time to connect both together. It can be done by configuring the nameserver in your domain registrar's panel.
Nameservers decide the DNS settings of any domain. By default, your registrar controls your domains' DNS settings. If we change the Nameservers with your hosting provider's, then your host will have its control, and you can create any site using it.
I'm using Namechear's nameserver configuration as an example here. The process is the same for almost every registrar.
Once you are logged in to the Namecheap's domain management dashboard, click on the "Manage" button beside the domain name.
After that, under the "Nameservers" section, change "Namecheap BasicDNS" to "Custom DNS," and it will allow you to enter the nameservers provided by SiteGround.
You can find your nameservers in the email received from SiteGround after you signup or in the cPanel. Enter them in the Namecheap dashboard and click "Save."
This step grants your domain's DNS authority to SiteGround. That means you can use it in your site now. Let's move on to the next step.
2. Install Free SSL Certificate
SSL certificate is highly essential for any kind of site. According to Official Google Security Blog, all the sites without an SSL certificate will be marked as "not secure" in Chrome browser. It's a great step to make the web more secure.
Don't worry, you don't need to purchase SSL separately. SiteGround offers unlimited free Let's Encrypt SSL certificates. You can enable it by logging into to your cPanel and click on "Let's Encrypt" under "Security" section.
Finally, it will show you to install SSL on your domain. Select the domain then select "Let's Encrypt SSL" for "Let's Encrypt SSL Type" and click "Install."
After that, it will take a few seconds, and your SSL will be installed on your domain. You will see a prompt like this after a successful installation.
You can verify it by clearing the browser's cache and then visit the site or open in an incognito tab. You'll see a green padlock beside your web address with HTTPS written. This is an indication that the SSL certificate has been successfully installed for your site.
Let's move on to the next step that is the WordPress installation.
3. Install WordPress
This is the actual step that we have been preparing our site for so far. SiteGround's cPanel has an automated script installer named Softaculous. It installs hundreds of free available scripts on the web in one install.
Once you are logged into your cPanel, click on "WordPress" under the section "Autoinstallers."
Now a page will open with details about the latest WordPress, including features, requirements, and other information. Simply click on the "Install" button.
It will show some minor configurations before the final install. Fill all the necessary information about your new site or change the existing ones. Once you're ready, click on the "Install" button to fire up the WordPress installation process.
It may take up to 3-4 minutes to complete the installation of your new site. Don't close the browser tab until it completes. After a successful installation, you'll see a confirmation message like this:
Click on the "Administrative URL" to directly login to your new site's WordPress Dashboard. This is how it should look:
A fresh WordPress installation on SiteGround comes with some plugins and free themes preinstalled. One of those plugins is "SG Optimizer." It's SiteGround's own caching and performance optimization tool which is available exclusively for SiteGround customers only.
4. Install WordPress Themes & Plugins
A basic WordPress installation comes with some free themes. Although I always suggest everyone to get a premium theme for their WordPress site.
It's not a huge investment and pays off in the long-term. For this purpose, I suggest Elegant Themes. I'm using Elegant Themes on most of my sites from years now. Though I use Genesis Framework on this site, I don't suggest it to the beginners because you need some basic knowledge of PHP hooks and functions to properly design a site using it.
Elegant Themes, on the other hand, is a beginner-friendly solution with beautiful drag-and-drop layouts. Elegant Themes' signature theme is Divi, which is the most powerful WordPress theme ever made. For blogging sites, Elegant Themes has the Extra theme, which is a publisher focused WordPress theme.
The good thing about Elegant Themes is that you don't need to purchase individual themes and plugins. Instead, they have membership options: Lifetime and Yearly.
Both the plans give you access to all the premium themes and plugins they currently have or will be introduced in the future. Isn't that good?
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5. Create a Contact Form Page
Contact forms are a must for any kind of website!
A contact form provides a way for the users to give you feedback or suggestions or contact you for any general query.
WordPress doesn't come with contact forms out of the box. You need to use some 3rd party plugins to add this functionality to your site.
But which contact form plugin to choose?
I recommend WPForms!
You can create a simple contact form in WordPress using WPForms Lite plugin.
It is free of cost, but you need to buy a WPForms if you want to unlock premium functionalities.
Install the plugin by going to Plugins » Add New page and type "WPForms" in the search box.
Next, install and activate the plugin. Upon successful activation, head over to WPForms » Add New page to create your first form.
Once you click Add New, WPForms builder interface will open.
Enter a name for your contact form so that you can recognize it later and then click on 'Simple Contact Form' template.
All the WPForms templates have some preselected fields as per the requirements. So, a simple contact form template will add all the required fields.
You can click on any field to change it according to your needs, or add a new field from the left column.
Once your form is ready, click the save button at the top right corner and then exit the form builder.
Now that your form is ready, it is time to create an actual contact form page.
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Create a new page in WordPress by going to Pages » Add New and call it 'Contact' or whatever you like.
On the edit screen, you will notice a new 'Add Form' button.
This button helps you to embed your contact forms into your pages with ease. Clicking on it will bring up a popup that shows all the live contact forms available to embed.
Select the one you want and click add form button.
WPForms will now add the form shortcode into your page. Save and publish the page and visit it using its permalink to see your contact form in action.
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That was all about how to start a blog with WordPress and all the steps associated with it. Now it is on you how you take things further. If you want to learn how to rank your site on Google and other search engines, then check out my SEO tutorials. Also, to learn how to make a living out of your blog online, check out my tutorials for the same.
If you have any thoughts about this tutorial, then feel free to ask in the comments section below. Please don't forget to share this on your social media handles.