Blogging for Beginners
This step by step guide will show you how to start blogging, even if you are a complete beginner!
How to Create a WordPress Blog
The first step to creating a blog is selecting a platform to publish on. There are many digital publishing platforms to choose from. However, this guide will focus on step-by-step instructions for setting up a blog using WordPress.
Step 1. Choose a Domain
Click here to learn how to choose the domain name for your WordPress blog.
This is a web domain:
It will serve as the URL inside your visitors’ address bar when they visit your WordPress site. Make sure it is:
- Relatively short
- Easy to remember and type out
- Matches your brand name or is directly related to it
Unless you have already purchased a domain for your website, it’s best to do so when you purchase your web hosting plan (especially since some plans will include a free domain).
So long as no one has claimed the name before, you’ll have your choice of top-level domain (TLD) as well. A TLD is the suffix you attach to the URL like .com, .edu, .biz, etc. There are even ones available for specific industries as well as based on your geographic location (like .uk and .eu). Google has a pretty good roundup on the various TLDs you can choose from.
You can purchase your domain through a domain provider, such as Namecheap.
Step 2. Purchase Web Hosting
Click here to learn how to purchase web hosting for your WordPress blog.
What is the best blog hosting provider for beginners?
As for the domain name and hosting, you are free to choose between the different providers out there. To make things easier for you, I suggest you get your domain name and hosting from the same provider.
The blog host I recommend in this guide is called Bluehost.com.
In the step-by-step tutorial below, I will show you how to create your blog with them from scratch.
I use Bluehost for my web projects (including this one) because:
- They register your blog name and domain name for you for free.
- Their signup process is easy and quick – I’ll show you how it works in just a second.
- They offer a free, automatic installation of the WordPress blogging software I just mentioned above.
- Their helpful and friendly customer service is there for you 24/7 for any questions you may have.
- They offer a money-back-guarantee if you choose to cancel your account for any reason.
In short: with Bluehost, there really is no risk.
Exclusive Blog Hosting Deal for My Readers
As if Bluehost wasn’t amazing enough already, there’s more:
I know you don’t want to spend more money than necessary when you’re starting your first blog. That’s why I’ve negotiated a special deal for you with Bluehost.
With Blogging Explorer, you get access to an exclusive blog hosting plan starting at just $3.95 per month! That’s less than a coffee at Starbucks!
1: How To Get a Bluehost Blog Hosting Account
First of all, click here to get to Bluehost to get started.
The page will look like this:
Once you’re there, click that beautiful green button that says “Get Started”.
On the next page, you’ll see the following web hosting plan options to choose from:
When you are just starting out with your first blog, it’s perfectly OK to pick the Basic plan.
Especially if you’re on a budget and you’re not expecting to earn that much with your blog. Besides, you can always upgrade later in the future.
However, keep in mind that your blog can quickly become an actual business, especially if your main goal is to build a profitable and successful blog to earn money from the comfort of your own home (or a tropical island!).
When I first started building my online business, the initial investment in web hosting and domains felt like a big buck.
However, it is a small price to pay for the potential you will unleash with an online presence.
Professional blog hosting is simply a necessary investment that allows you to have full control over your blog from day 1. Trust me, you will make that money back with your blog or business soon enough.
So, once you have chosen a web hosting plan (Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, or Pro), click “Select” and you will land on the next page where you can choose your domain name.
2: Register a Free Domain Name For Your Blog
You can register a free domain name for your Bluehost WordPress blog under “Create a new domain”:
Simply type in the name of the domain name that you would like to have for your blog. Mine is bloggingguide.org, for instance.
Use the field under “Create a new domain” and click “Next”.
If your domain name isn’t available, you can either try another idea you have or (what I suggest) skip this step and choose your domain name later. Simply click “I’ll create my domain later” at the bottom of the screen.
You can take some time to brainstorm new ideas after getting the rest of your account set up. It’s just easier to take time to think the name through that way.
After creating your domain name or choosing to select it later, you’ll be taken to the final page for creating your account, finishing up the Bluehost signup process.
3: Finish Your Signup and Registration
First, fill in your account information:
Second, choose the duration of your Bluehost web hosting plan:
The longer the plan, the cheaper it is on a monthly level.
Since you’re just starting with your WordPress blog, it’s probably a good idea to start with a 12-month plan first. Of course, if you’re in it for the long run, don’t hesitate to get a 24-month plan or longer.
(As a general guideline: if you’re committed to your blogging goals, you should be prepared to actively run and maintain it for several years. Also, the longer the plan you choose, the longer you can be sure that your yearly price will remain constant.)
Thirdly, you can choose some additional services for your blog under Package Extras:
Now, if you ask me, you don’t necessarily need any of them. The price can go up quite a bit if you choose to buy some, so the decision is yours.
I always choose Domain Privacy Protection for my projects. Coincidentally, it’s also the most affordable add-on available.
Finally, just enter your payment information, read and accept the terms and hit “Submit”:
Congratulations! You’re now officially a happy member of the Bluehost community with your very own domain name and web hosting plan!
Next, let’s walk through the final steps of setting up your WordPress installation so you can start your WordPress blog on Bluehost right away!
4: Log In To Your Bluehost.com Account and Setup Your WordPress Blog
Luckily, Bluehost nowadays installs WordPress automatically on your account during the signup process. So there’s not much left to do here, really.
Once you’ve completed your payment process, you’ll see a warm welcome message from Bluehost:
To get started with your WordPress blog, click on the bright green button that says “Create your password”.
You will be taken to a page where you set your password for your Bluehost hosting account:
Type in your desired password and click “Next”.
You know what? You’re done!
That’s right – your WordPress blog has now been installed in the background and you can start creating content right away!
In the next screen, though, you can choose a WordPress theme for your blog already if you wish (feel free to skip this step, I’ll show you how to choose a theme for your WordPress blog in a bit):
If you’re not quite sure about it yet, simply skip the step by clicking the blue button at the bottom of the screen.
Finally, you will be directed to your Bluehost account dashboard, where you can manage your sites, domains, and settings:
You see your WordPress blog right there in the center of the screen.
To start blogging, simply click “Log in to WordPress” to get going with your awesome new WordPress blog!
Alternatively, you can access your WordPress website by typing in your domain name into your web browser using your personal URL and adding “/wp-admin” to it. So, if your domain is “myblog.com”, simply type
into your browser’s address bar. Then just hit Enter and you’ll be taken to the login screen of your WordPress blog:
Simply enter your login details, click “Log In”, and there you go!
Step 3. Choose and Install WordPress Theme
Click here to learn how to select and install a WordPress theme for your blog.
If you haven’t chosen a theme yet, head over to the WordPress theme directory. It holds official WordPress themes, that have been checked and inspected against WordPress theme guidelines. They are also free to download. There are thousands of themes in the directory; this is where the WordPress theme search function comes in handy.
Use the theme search bar if you know the name or style of theme you want. The Feature Filter in the theme search function will narrow down the results. You can select your preferred layout format, which features you need, and the subject of your site. You might be looking for a single-column layout for a photography blog that features an animated background, for example.
You might want to browse for inspiration using the tabs for Featured Themes, Most Popular Themes and the Latest Additions to the directory. For more options, use the theme search to browse commercially supported GPL themes. These paid services include more support and are fully compliant with the WordPress General Public License.
If you are looking for a great custom theme, my suggestion would be to try Divi.
WordPress Theme Install
Before you can vamp up your site with themes, you need to install and activate them in your WordPress admin. These are the basic steps for most themes:
1. Log in to your WordPress admin page, then go to Appearance and select Themes.
2. To add a theme, click Add New. From this page, you have two ways to add a new theme. If you know the name of the theme you want, search for it in the Theme directory. If you don’t know your preferred theme’s name, use the Feature Filter to hone down your selection, check any tags and click Apply Filter for a screen filled with themes that meet your search criteria.
3. To unlock a themes options, hover over it; you can either choose Preview to see a demo of the theme or install it by clicking the Install button once you’re ready. Once installed, click the Activate link.
4. You’re all done, now preview your site to see how it looks.
5. It’s recommended that website creators read through any instructions that come with your chosen theme regarding installation. Some themes will require more steps than others, going beyond the basic steps covered here. Follow the instructions provided, and if you run into any problems, contact the theme’s author for help.
Download WordPress Themes
If you purchased a theme from a developer that operates outside of the WordPress themes directory, you need to upload it before installing. Follow these simple instructions to upload and install a theme.
1. Begin by downloading the theme’s .zip file from the source onto your local computer.
2. From your WordPress Administration area, head to Appearance > Themes and click Add New.3. The Add New theme screen has a new option, Upload Theme.4. The theme upload form is now open, click Choose File, select the theme zip file on your computer and click Install Now.5. The theme is now ready to be activated from your admin. Select the Appearance tab and open the Themes directory, locate the theme and click the Activate link.
Step 4. Write Your First Post
Click here to learn how to write your first WordPress blog post.
There are two types of “pages” you can create for your website:
These are traditional web pages that exist within the main navigation of a site. The About page, Contact page, and individual services pages all are made using the Page feature in WordPress.
These are blog post “pages” that will only exist within the blog on your website, unless you designate the home page to serve as the blog feed (I’ll talk about that in Step 9).
Now, the great thing about WordPress is that the interface is consistent regardless of whether you’re creating a page or a post. There are different settings you need to apply to each, but the main area in which you work remains the same, which makes it a workspace that’s easy to get used to.
Of course, if you work in a theme that uses a page builder or a visual builder tool to create content, this is going to look a little different.
A page builder tool allows you to create “blocks” of content for your site within WordPress. Once the blocks are in place, you can then populate them with corresponding content.
A visual builder tool works similarly in that it allows you to create blocks of content for your site–however, it does it on the front end of the actual site so you can see your changes in real time. There are plenty of drag and drop page builders out there, but here are some of our favorites.
Regardless of which content creation tool your WordPress theme uses, it’s time to create content for your site.
If you’re running a blog, simply get started writing your first Posts. Once you hit the Publish button, your blogs will go live on the designated Blog page.
For a traditional website, you’ll probably want to build out the following pages:
As your website grows, you can create other pages. For now, those will suffice. Get some content on them, publish the pages, and then let’s work on getting them onto your website.
Blogging Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make my blog look professional?
Where can I buy a cheap domain name?
NameCheap is my go to source for buying a cheap domain name. It is cheaper than most larger platforms like GoDaddy, but it is still retains a similar friendly interface. NameCheap also includes domain registration privacy 100% for free with all domains! If you want to avoid tons of spam email and not have your personal information put out online, domain privacy is a must.
How can I make cool graphics and custom images for my website or blog?
Canva is by far the best free graphic design platform available today. It is drag-and-drop and allows anyone to create amazing graphic designs without any experience or technical skill.