Ever Wanted to Start Your Own Blog? The Super Simple How To Guide (Even if You're Tech Challenged Like Me!)
Why Do People Start Blogs Anyway?
People start blogs for a wide range of reasons.
It might be because they want to help others by sharing their own unique insights or wisdom on a particular topic.
Some people just want to start a blog for fun. Maybe they enjoy talking about food, or travel, or photography and just want a place to post and share publicly about those things.
Maybe they just want a place to chronicle the day-to-day life on their hobby farm so that friends and family can follow along, or share their latest crafting projects.
BUT – did you know that there are many people making a full-time income, some even making six or seven figures PER MONTH, blogging?
Does that sound crazy? It used to sound crazy to me too.
I couldn’t imagine how on earth people were getting paid to sit down and type up blog posts about, well, anything. I mean, who was paying people to write blog posts?!
That’s because I didn’t understand the way this all works and the wide range of ways people can earn money blogging, but we’ll talk more about that in a bit.
It’s absolutely possible to turn your blog into a modest side hustle if that’s what you want, or even build it into an empire as some have done, but if making money with your blog is your goal it’s important to understand how to set yourself up for success right out of the gate.
First Things First - For Fun or For Profit? (It Can Be Both!)
Do you want to make money, or do you just want to blog for fun?
I mean, ideally, even if you’re blogging to make money, you should still be blogging about something you enjoy… so really, it can be both.
If you just want to blog for fun then you could totally stop reading now and go set up a free blog at a place like Blogger, but if you have any interest in earning an income from your blog, or creating a professional-looking blog, you really need to be on WordPress.
Trust me. If you change your mind down the road and decide that you want to make money with your blog, it’s going to take a lot of work to rebuild what you’ve created on a free platform like Blogger at a new self-hosted WordPress site that can be monetized.
Not quite sure what that means? “Monetized” just means your blog is set up to make money, and “self-hosted” means you own your website (blog).
With a free platform like Blogger, you don’t own your site and they have lots of rules and requirements in place that limit how you’re able to use their platform.
So, if you’ve decided you’d like to set up a blog to make an income, keep reading and I’ll walk you through the quickest and most painless way I’ve found to get up and running with a WordPress blog, step-by-step.
Step 1 - What Should You Blog About?
If you’ve already thought about starting a blog (and I’m guessing you have, which is why you’re reading this post now), then you probably already have an idea of what you might want to blog about.
You need to know that if you want to make money blogging, it’s really important to make sure you pick a topic that interests you or that you feel really passionate about, but even that isn’t always enough.
Blogging isn’t a get-rich-quick proposition, it’s about the long-haul and putting in the time and effort to grow, so enjoying what you’ll be writing about is obviously central to your success…. BUT….
Some topics are just more “viable” than others.
Ideally you need a topic that you love, but it also needs to be a topic that has proven to be a profitable niche for other bloggers.
There’s a high risk for failure when starting a blog to make money, not because people lack the work ethic or intelligence to make their blog work, but because they’ve picked the wrong thing to blog about.
If you want to create a blog that will bring in a lot of traffic so that you can monetize it in order to create passive income, I’m sure you can see why it’s important to put a little extra effort into picking a really viable topic to blog about.
Step 2 - How Do You Pick the Right Topic?
Think about the topics that interest you. Topics that you could see yourself writing about without growing tired of or bored with the subject.
Write down a list of as many of them as you can come up with.
(Even if it’s something you’re not sure you could make money blogging about, write it down. I’ll show you below how to figure out whether a topic is a good choice or not).
Maybe you have an interest in parenting topics, or love to cook, maybe you’re passionate about personal finance and budgeting?
Maybe you’re into DIY projects or you’re an artist who’d love to share your passion with the world through teaching art. Yes! You *can* blog about that *and* make money doing it!
Maybe you’d love to step into the personal development or self-help realm, or blog about religion?
Are you an avid traveler? Travel blogging is very popular!
There are even blogs dedicated solely to teaching people how to blog successfully. Blogs that teach other bloggers about marketing, SEO, and bringing traffic to their blog.
Are you already an expert in a particular field? Would you enjoy writing about that? Maybe your knowledge can be translated into a blog.
There really are a lot of viable topics out there. You just have to do some research to find the right one for you.
Now, did you write down that list of potential topics?
Yes? Good. Let’s take a look.
I want you to spend some time researching each of those topics on social media, looking for the following:
Are there blogs about this topic that have Facebook followings with more than 10,000 people?
Followings on, say, Twitter or Instagram that are even larger?
If you do a Google search for phrases or words that are related to your chosen topic, do you see any Google ads for this topic?
If you can answer yes to those questions about a topic, that is awesome! It means there is an interest in it already, which is extremely important to your success.
I realize that it probably sounds nonsensical, but the larger the following a particular topic already has, the more chance you have for success in that area.
Because if the topic is popular, we KNOW there’s already a large following of people looking for information on it.
A lot of bloggers start out thinking they need to find a topic that isn’t popular or is extremely “niche”, and they think they’ll fill that void, corner the market, and make a lot of money by doing so.
Unfortunately, that just really isn’t the case.
In reality, the more popular a topic is, the more availability there is to find your audience and for you to be found by them.
Don’t feel like you need to reinvent the wheel. Pick a topic that already has a following and popular blogs in that topic and it will be much easier for you to become successful. (Again – make sure it’s a topic you could see yourself blogging about long-term without growing tired of it!)
What will set you apart in a crowded niche is your unique voice and how you present that voice to the world through your content.
Okay, have you settled on your niche?
Great! Let’s keep moving!
Step 3 - Picking a Domain Name For Your Blog
Now that you’ve settled on your topic, it’s time to pick your name. Your domain name, that is.
Your name doesn’t have to be catchy or clever to be effective. In fact, a name that simply conveys exactly what your blog is about is actually better than one that’s clever.
If you can combine both clever and clear in one name, that’s great. But at the end of the day, your domain / blog name should clearly reflect whatever it is you blog about.
Now, make a list of 5-10 (or more if you have them!) ideas for domain names you’d be happy to have for your blog.
I’ll show you how to search to see if any of those names are available in the next section.
A quick side note here – don’t get too hung up on your domain name. Making your list of names can take a little time, understandably… but don’t let it freeze you up.
Take a few days if you need to come up with your list, but don’t let it stop you from making forward progress because you feel like you can’t come up with just the perfect name.
The main thing here is to JUST GET GOING. Choose a name and just start.
Down the road, it’s always possible to change your domain name if you come up with something you like better, so seriously – don’t sweat it.
Step 4 - Purchasing a Domain Name & Hosting Service
I should probably mention that there is a minor upfront cost to get started blogging if you’ve decided you want to blog for profit.
It doesn’t have to break the bank, though…. You can get a domain name (that’s your “address” on the web), for about $16/year.
Hosting plans can start at as little as $6.99/month. Your “web host” is kind of like where your blog lives on the web, and your domain is the address to get you there.
Not all web hosting companies are created equally… I speak from experience.
When I first decided to dip my toes into the blogging waters, I went with a really popular hosting company that came highly recommended from lots of successful bloggers.
This company had really low hosting prices and I had no idea what I was doing or what I should be watching out for… and let me just say, I learned my lesson.
My experience with that company was HORRIBLE. I mean it, HORRIBLE.
Their customer service left a lot to be desired, and anytime I had a tech issue of any kind, I could spend hours on the phone on hold waiting for help, and when help would arrive, well, it wasn’t that helpful.
Since then, I’ve switched hosts and it is like an entirely different world.
My absolute favorite place to buy domains and to purchase hosting is SiteGround. These guys are seriously AMAZING. I cannot begin to gush over their customer service enough.
If I ever have a tech problem, no matter how large or how small, I can easily get ahold of them, get immediate help, and they have always just resolved the issue for me rather than leaving me stumbling around in the dark trying to figure out how to implement the “fix” they prescribed (like my old hosting company did).
On top of that, they are so friendly and tech support is FAST.
Their client tools dashboard makes everything so easy from start to finish to get you up and running with your domain, your hosting, and your WordPress installation.
It’s literally a super simple walk-through from start to finish and so much easier than any other hosting company I’ve used.
Okay, now I want you to take your list of domains and visit the SiteGround MarketPlace. You can click that link, or the photo below, to be taken to SiteGround.
You may want to read all the way through the rest of this post before heading to Siteground – it will give you an overview of what to expect when you find your perfect domain and the steps they’ll walk you through.
Once you’re there, scroll to the bottom of the page, and under the “Hosting Services” category, click the “Domain Names” link.
You will be taken to a page that will let you search to see if your chosen domain name is available.
If it’s not, SiteGround will tell you that is the case.
You can type in another name and keep trying with names from your list until you find one that’s available.
When a domain name IS available, SiteGround will open up a new page letting you know the domain is available and presenting you with hosting options to choose from.
PLEASE NOTE: If you aren’t certain you want *that* domain name, you can go back and search for others. You don’t have to commit to the first one that shows as available.
When you have settled on an available domain name, the page will look like the following image (or very similar), and you just need to select the “StartUp” option for now.
It’s helpful to know that you will get the very best price (usually around 50% off, and in some cases even more) if you choose to go with a one year hosting plan. That best price is for your first year of hosting, and when it renews in the future, it will renew at the regular per-month price.
Another reason I love SiteGround so much is because they give you the very best price for signing on for just a year, while many other hosting companies require a 2-3 year hosting plan in order for you to get that lowest price.
SiteGround will prompt you through the entire process, but your next page (after you select the “StartUp” hosting plan) should look something like picture below. The prices you see will be a bit different.
Just follow their on-screen prompts all the way through the process. You don’t have to sign up for any of the “Extra Services” they offer, but I use and absolutely love SiteGround’s “SG Site Scanner”. It gives me peace of mind to know they’re monitoring for any issues and will notify me right away if they find something.
Step 5 - Installing WordPress
Okay, first of all, CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve purchased your domain name and the hosting service for it! That’s a huge step!
Now, to get you writing…. so it’s time to install WordPress.
SiteGround makes this ridiculously simple, simple, simple…. in fact, once you’ve purchased your domain and your hosting they will normally prompt you to continue on with the installation of WordPress.
You should see a page with the following options, or something similar.
You’ll want to select “Start New Website” and then choose “WordPress“.
You will then be prompted to create the login details for your WordPress account.
Enter the email address you prefer to use, a username (this is visible to the public, so take that into account when choosing), and a STRONG password.
NOTE: Be sure to write down the email, username, and password you use to set up your WordPress account. You will need them to login to the WordPress dashboard in order to customize your blog and write your blog posts.
Click the CONFIRM button to continue.
Once you read and agree to the terms of service, click COMPLETE SETUP, and that’s pretty much all there is to it!
Step 6 - How to Log Into Your WordPress Dashboard
Your WordPress dashboard login URL is going to be your domain name with /wp-admin added on the end.
So, open up your favorite web browser and type in the url, like this (replacing “yourdomain” with your actual domain name):
This will take you to your WordPress login page, which should look something like this:
Enter the username and password you created earlier and click Log In.
Step 7 - Design Your Blog! Let's Add a Theme
In WordPress, your “theme” is basically just the design of your website. In other words, it determines how your blog looks to those viewing it.
Before you start customizing your WordPress site with a theme, I want you to keep something in mind:
The absolute most important part of your blog is your content, not what it looks like.
You can have a blog that looks as plain and boring as can be, but if you have great content that people enjoy reading or find value in, they’ll continue to come back for more.
That traffic is how we build a profitable blog.
We can add all sorts of bells and whistles to our blogs and make them look absolutely amazing, but if your content doesn’t capture the attention of the audience you’re trying to attract, it’s not going to matter what it looks like anyway.
Now that we have that out of the way, there are a few different approaches when it comes to themes, and there are literally thousands upon thousands upon thousands of different themes out there.
- You can go with a free theme from WordPress
- You can pay for a premium theme from WordPress
- You can pay for a custom theme from from a designer
For the sake of ease and budget (and keeping this post to a reasonable length!), at this point I’m going to suggest that you just start out with a free theme from WordPress. If you have a few extra bucks to spend, you could even go with a premium theme from WordPress, but it’s really not necessary.
You can always change your theme down the road, and even go with a super customized theme created just for your blog when you’re at the right stage in your business. (There are also advanced “page builders” like Elementor or Divi, which is what I use – you can even switch over to one of these at a later date if you wanted to).
Now, ready to search for themes in the WordPress directory?
When you log in to your WordPress dashboard, you’ll see something like the photo below. (This is just a snippet of a screenshot from mine, it mainly shows the left hand navigation pane of the WordPress dashboard).
Scroll down the left hand navigation pane until you see Appearance. Hover on that with your mouse and a menu will appear. From there, select Themes.
You’ll then see a pane like the one below with a button at the top that says Add New, you’ll want to click on that.
(You won’t see the same purple box visible in my photo, that’s what I use for my blog – I use Divi from Elegant Themes).
Next, you’ll see a pane similar to the one below. It will show the current “Featured” themes from WordPress. There are tabs you can click through for “Popular” and “Latest” as well.
Across from that, on the right hand side, you’ll see a search box that says “Search Themes…”. You can use this to search with a keyword for a specific style or feature if you’d like.
A word of caution here… much like what I mentioned above about choosing a domain name, don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed because there are so many choices that it prevents you from just picking one and running with it.
For now, just choose one that has a look and style that appeals to you aesthetically and go with it.
The most important part right now is to get you up and running and writing your blog!
Once you find a theme you like, just click the INSTALL button.
Immediately after installing your WordPress theme, you’ll be given the options to “Activate” or “Preview” the theme.
You’ll want to select “Activate.”
That's It! You're (almost) Ready to Start Writing Your Blog!
Guess what? Technically, your blog is now ready for you to start designing and writing. Woohoo!
Pretty painless, right?
But, before you start writing, there are just a couple of other quick things I want to cover.
I’m including these sections because I remember when I was first getting started, they were things that kind of blindsided me a bit because I didn’t even know where to begin.
These suggestions will at least give you a direction to head in.
You’ll want to create a logo for your blog.
You can do this yourself in Canva. Technically, we would call this graphic design, but don’t let that scare you off if you have no experience with graphic design. I didn’t either when I started my blog.
I absolutely LOVE Canva and I use it to create all my graphics now. They have both free and pro versions (and there’s nothing you have to download to your computer – it’s all web-based), but really all you need right now is the free version.
Canva has many tutorials to help you get started, but honestly, what helped me the most when I was trying to learn how to use it was a very affordable course I found called Canva Made Simple. At the time, I think I paid $27 for it and it was worth its weight in gold to me!
The best part? Colleen (the course creator) created the course using the FREE version of Canva, so you don’t have to have a Canva Pro subscription to use it. Everything she shows you how to do is utilizing the free version.
Also, when all else fails, I head to YouTube and do a search for a tutorial for whatever it is I’m trying to figure out and I can usually find the answer pretty quickly.
You could also go to Fiverr and find someone to create a logo for you, but you’re probably not going to end up with a super professional logo. You’ll probably end up with something you can live with for the time being.
You’ll want to create graphics for your blog.
This really just means adding photos to your blog, oftentimes photos you’ve added text to. Again, Canva is GREAT for this and the Canva Made Simple course makes it really easy to learn how to create graphics for your blog.
Now, when it comes to finding pictures to use on your blog, you can’t just go grabbing any photos off the web and using them if you don’t have permission. This can get you into serious trouble for copyright infringement.
You could always take your own photos and, depending on your niche (like if you’re a food blogger who needs to take photos of recipe tutorials), this may be the way you want to go.
Honestly though, unless you must take your own photos, the easiest way is to use stock photo sites. Most stock photo sites have photos that you have to pay for and then you receive permission, a license, to use them.
I almost exclusively used photos from a free stock site called Pixabay when I first got started. They have a really great selection of photos to choose from to get you going.
Once you’re making money with your blog and want to step up your game a bit, there are plenty of higher end stock photo sites to purchase premium photos and licenses from.
You may want to find some tutorials on how to use WordPress.
A lot of working in WordPress is pretty easy to understand once you get beyond the first learning curve. At the start, however, it can feel a bit like learning to speak a whole new language.
Like I mentioned above, YouTube is your friend here! Just do a search on YouTube for something like “WordPress Tutorial for Beginners” and you’ll find soooo many videos. My best piece of advice is to make sure that you’re looking for the most recent and up-to-date videos, so they correlate to the most recent version of WordPress at the time that you’re learning to use it.
If you’d rather read about learning to use WordPress, you can simply search online and you’ll find lots of blogs out there with posts (or even entire blogs) dedicated to instruction in using WordPress.
How on earth do people make money with their blogs?!
This is a very common question and something I did not understand at all until I finally dove into the blogosphere myself when I learned there were people making full time incomes blogging.
Tons of information can be found online with a quick search and there are about a million different articles and blog posts that go in depth on how to make money blogging, so I’ll just touch on a few of them here.
Affiliate Marketing – This is where you recommend a product or service and if people follow a personalized affiliate link you’ve used on your blog, you’ll earn a commission. Commissions vary from affiliate to affiliate. Places like Amazon, eBay, ClickBank, etc all offer affiliate marketing programs, as do many other businesses online. If there’s a product you love and would be happy to recommend to your readers, check out the business website to see if they offer an affiliate program.
Ads – You can work with Google Adsense, Shopsense, etc to place ads on your blog. You earn a certain amount of money per click. Meaning each time someone clicks on an ad on your blog, you earn money. There are also companies that will pay you just for someone SEEING their ad on your blog, they don’t even have to click on it. The more traffic you have come through your blog, the more money you can make.
Online Courses – This is a very popular trend! People compile their knowledge on a certain topic into a course, host it online on a site like Teachable or Kajabi, and sell it to people looking for that type of training. The way this connects in with blogging is that many bloggers create courses that tie in with their blogging niche and they market those courses to their readers.
Digital Products – This could be templates for social media posts to help business owners stay engaged with their social media followers, digital calendars, journals, planners, etc. The sky is really the limit with this one.
Membership Sites – This is where you offer customers access to part of your website where they can access exclusive content in exchange for a monthly membership fee. This one can take a little more strategic planning, as membership sites generally provide new content monthly to their subscribers. Once you have an idea and a plan for consistent new content worked out, this can be a lucrative income source.
These are just a few ideas of ways you can build passive income with your blog. “Passive income” just means income that continues to come in with no (or minimal) effort on your part once you’ve set the process up.
Think about what kind of things you could create one time and then sell over and over and over again on automated autopilot without having to recreate it each time someone purchases it.
These sorts of income streams are what enable bloggers and other online entrepreneurs to live what we call a “digital nomad” lifestyle…. meaning as long as you have access to the internet and a device from which to work, you can work from anywhere in the world!
Okay, now that really IS it… you’re ready to get started on your blogging adventure! I hope this how-to guide has been helpful to you, and I wish you so much fun and loads of success with your blog! ♥
This post may contain affiliate links.
When you buy something using the links in my blog posts, I may earn a small commission. This commission doesn’t cost you anything or impact how much you pay for a product or service I’ve recommended. I only recommend and endorse products that I personally use and love, or that have come highly recommended from trusted peers.