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Learning how to start a blog is the best decision we ever made…
Maybe some of these will sound familiar? When we started our blog, we were:
- Frustrated with our 9-5s and feeling trapped
- Sick of waking up to alarm clocks and fighting rush hour traffic
- Unable to travel like we wanted to and always chasing the weekends
- Drowning ourselves in coffee just to stay awake to survive the boredom
- Wondering if this was going to be it for our lives??
We were tired of chasing fleeting weekends and vacations that never lasted long enough and we were frustrated with the illusions of the American dream.
Because the realities we were living included…
- Invisible corporate ladders
- Debt despite our decent salaries
- Two-weeks of vacation per year
- Living in a stuffy office
- Just not having enough time to do the things that really made us happy
Then… just like you today… we made the life-changing decision to learn how to start a blog with a guide just like this one and it flipped our world upside down.
Allow us to introduce ourselves…
Hey, y’all! We’re Alex and Lauren — two professional bloggers who went from broke and frustrated to making $103,457.98 our first year blogging!
Blogging has allowed us to quit our jobs, travel the world, work from anywhere, and make more money than we ever thought possible.
Blogging has completely changed our lives and we want to be a part of your journey blogging as well.
Some people look at starting a blog in 2022 as a scary or overwhelming task! But, the truth is, there isn’t any reason to be afraid of learning how to start a blog and make money. You should actually be excited!
Starting a blog and making money blogging has allowed us to experience a kind of depth to life that’s hard to put into words…
But our purpose today is not to talk about us but to help you.
We’ve now helped thousands of students just like you go from no blog with no idea what they were doing to building beautiful, fun blogs that they enjoy that also earn them a full-time income!
If you have ever wondered “How do I start a blog”? Then this post will be quite the treat for you.
We wrote this free guide to help you learn how to create a blog without any website coding skills or having to pay an expensive web developer to do it for you. Basically, our guide will show you EXACTLY how to start a blogging business, without breaking the bank!
Because who has an extra $2,000 laying around???.
Disclosure: We are an affiliate for Bluehost, the hosting company that we recommend in this tutorial. This means that we receive a commission if you sign up through our affiliate link. This is at no additional cost to you, in fact, we have a special 30% discount just for our subscribers. And we recommend it because it’s what we used to take both of our blogs to six figures!
*You can now set up your blog with Bluehost for as low as $2.75/month, and that also comes with a FREE domain name!
Make sure to save/pin/bookmark this page, and come back to it for later if you can’t finish everything today.
For those of you who like video walkthroughs better, we made this simple tutorial of How to Start a Blog in 10 Minutes (Step-by-Step)…
The following will be a step-by-step guide to creating the blog of your dreams and actually make money from it!
And trust us when we say this: If we can do it, ANYONE can!
Step 1. Choose Your “Perfect” Blog Topic
Choosing the right topic for your new blog is less complicated than other bloggers make it.
First off, almost all blog topics can make money…
If you’re worried about your blog topic being “profitable,” you’re wasting your time because a lot of downright strange topics make money. We even know a blog about herbs making over $10,000 per month!
Making a full-time income blogging is more about how intimately you know your audience and what they need than any particular topic.
Secondly, a blog is just a long conversation.
Lauren and I personally love health and fitness, so this is what we started blogging about.
We started with this topic because we were passionate about it and had experience in it (me being a personal trainer and Lauren being a former vegan), so talking about it was easy.
Thirdly, (and the thing every blogging “expert” forgets to tell you), is that you won’t know UNTIL you start.
You won’t know if you like rum raisin ice cream until you’ve tried rum raisin ice cream, right?
You won’t really know if you like blogging about a particular topic (or even blogging in general) until you’ve tried it.
You’re going to have to step out and get started, with courage, to find these things out.
The only way you can make a mistake here is by not starting and always wondering “what if.”
So, you should simply select a niche that you have an interest in or one that you have experience in.
Some great general blog topics that are known to be profitable include:
- Health and Fitness
- Essential Oils
- DIY and Crafts
- Specific Diets (Keto, Vegan, Etc.)
- Home Decor
- Beauty and Fashion
- Making Money Online
- Relationship Advice
Feel free to pick two topics or more and combine them.
Topics that are even better are when they are niched down. This will attract a stronger and deeper connection with your readers.
Bonus points to the blogger who niches down enough to create a truly loyal audience.
- Beauty and Fashion for men.
- Paleo recipes for busy moms.
- Muscle building for women.
Please don’t overthink this too much. I wasted years of my life “learning” and not taking action. So much time reading books and blog posts just like this without ever moving forward.
The most important thing is that you GET STARTED and learn as you go.
Step 2. Build Your Blog (Our So-Easy-Yo-Grandma-Could-Do-It Guide)
To build your blog, you need two things:
- Blogging Platform – This is the place you will make edits and write your blog posts.
- Hosting – Just like buying a lot for a new home, you need to buy a space on the internet for your new blog to be set up. A blogging host helps you buy and secure this lot!
We are going to use the blogging platform WordPress with the hosting company Bluehost as this combination is the perfect way to start for a newbie.
WordPress and Bluehost are like peanut butter and jelly for blogging beginners because:
- WordPress is the main platform used by 95% of successful bloggers because it’s insanely powerful and customizable.
- Bluehost is a perfect starter host for newbies and has 24/7 customer service.
- They are fully integrated with one another and Bluehost makes the setup process easy.
At this point, I’m sure you’re probably wondering:
How Do I Start a Blog For Free?
Well, you can start a free blog if you want to.
But you shouldn’t start a free blog if you want to turn your new blog into a successful business.
Free blog platforms come with a whole lot of limitations, including…
- Don’t own your domain name
- Can’t run ads and are limited in other ways of monetizing your content
- Looks unprofessional and isn’t as much of a trusted source
- Less bandwidth (will need to upgrade to a paid platform when you start getting a lot of visitors)
- And quite a few more!
You can’t start a blog for free, without putting any money into it, and expect to earn money from it.
If it were that easy, everyone and their grandma would be doing it, competition would be sky high, and no one would be making any money from it!
Trust us when we say that you should NOT start a free blog if you want to turn it into a successful online business.
So, on that note… The next question you probably have is…
How Much Does It Cost To Start a Blog?
The good news is that it’s super affordable to start a blog that can make money these days!
Here are a few of the typical blog start-up costs that you can expect to incur in the first 1-3 months:
- Blog hosting plan — $2.75/month (paid annually $110)
- Optional: great, customizable blog theme — $89 (free options also available)
- Optional: email service — $29/month (free options also available)
These costs are not just to start but also to design your new blog and to help you begin getting subscribers to your blog.
There are free options along the way, and we provide our favorite free resources as well as paid whenever possible.
There are good free options for both a blog theme and email service. If you are on a tighter budget and can only spend money on ONE thing, the blog hosting plan is the #1 most important investment you can make.
We’ll discuss that in more detail below!
You don’t really need to know the technical ins-and-outs of blog hosting and the like, but if you want to understand the more technical side, these articles we wrote can be helpful:
- Best Blogging Platforms – WordPress is clearly #1.
- Blog Hosting Review – Bluehost is our favorite for new bloggers for MANY reasons.
If you have not already, click here to go to Bluehost and then use the tutorial below for easy, step-by-step directions (clicking that link if how you get the discount.
This tutorial is going to start with a webpage showing our bright, shining faces.
We’re going to guide you through the process of how to start a blog step-by-step!
First, go to Bluehost, if you haven’t already. Make sure you have the page pulled up in a separate window before beginning the tutorial.
After you click the button to get started on the homepage, you will then see a list of pricing options.
Next, choose which pricing plan is best for you. No worries – you don’t need anything more than the BASIC plan.
After selecting your plan, you will want to enter your new domain name, as seen below:
A domain name is the text on the top bar of your webpage. “Createandgo.com” is our domain name for this website.
Don’t have the domain name you want just yet? Don’t sweat it! You can click the link to create it later and continue with the guide and select your domain later on!
On the next page, you will fill out the create your account section:
Then scroll down to the section with the package information.
FIRST — Select your account plan. This is where you select the LENGTH of your plan.
You can just go with the shortest length. Don’t forget that all plans come with a 30-day-risk-free cancellation policy. You can cancel anytime within the first 30 days and get a full refund!
After selecting your package information, scroll down to the section on package extras.
Uncheck all boxed except privacy protection. It should look like this:
NOTE* If you selected the option to choose a domain name later, you won’t see the option to add privacy protection right now. You’ll just want to pay for it as an add-on when you decide to register a domain name.
Selecting domain privacy protection hides your personal details so that your information remains confidential.
Unless you want spammers and scammers blowing up your phone – you want this checked!
Congratulations! You now own your very own blog and hosting plan!
Not too painful, right???
The next few steps will direct you to create your password before beginning with anything else. Make sure to create a secure password!
After selecting your password, click the “Login” button. This will direct you to select a theme for your WordPress blog.
Getting Started with WordPress
The themes on this page are all free. You can select any one of these free themes to get started.
Don’t worry – you can change this at any time, and we’ll discuss it in more detail in a few moments.
After selecting your theme, it will take a few minutes to set up your WordPress dashboard. Once it’s finished, click “Start Building” to go to your WordPress dashboard.
From here, click on the “Business” button, as shown below. If you miss this step and accidentally click Personal, don’t worry. It doesn’t really matter.
Next, you’ll be asked to set up a Site Title and Site Description.
This should be simple and descriptive of what your blog is about but if you aren’t sure what you want to say just yet, just click to skip this step and you can set it up later.
You can see an example of a Site Title and Description below:
After this step, it will ask you if you will be updating your blog with new content. Heck yeah, you will be! Select Yes.
From here, you will be prompted to select whether you’d like to set your homepage up to display recent posts or to have a static homepage.
You can select either, but most people end up using a static homepage, so we’ve selected that option in this tutorial.
You can also change this at any point in time in the future if you change your mind!
After selecting your homepage design, Bluehost will ask you if you want to set up a Contact page. We’re going to select No this time because you can set that up later. It shouldn’t be a top priority right now.
From here, click on the Connect to WordPress.com button. Next, you will be prompted to create an account for JetPack.
Skip this step for now. We don’t recommend installing JetPack as it’s a bloated plugin that can slow down our website.
Before moving on to the next steps, make sure to visit the email account that you used to sign up so that you can verify your address with Bluehost. You have 14 days to do this after signing up, but you should verify it as soon as possible so that you can access your Bluehost dashboard.
Just click the button in your email to verify:
Now, before we start designing and customizing, we want to show you how to access your Bluehost account and WordPress dashboard in the future in case you need to stop and start at any time.
How to Access Bluehost and WordPress
There are two different ways to get back into your WordPress dashboard and access your blog.
The first way is to go to Bluehost and log in using the email and password that you created in the setup above.
From here, you can click on the Log in to WordPress button.
The other way to access your blog is a little more direct but it requires you to set up a new admin account within WordPress first. You can do that through these steps.
- Follow the step above to access your WordPress dashboard through your Bluehost.com account.
- On the menu on the left, go to Users → Add New.
- Create a new user account with a username. This will be the account that you will use to login with in the future.
- Next, go back to All Users and delete the old admin user.
Once you set up this new user, all you need to do to log in to your site is to type in yourdomainnamehere.com/wp-admin/ into your browser and you will be directed to log in to your WordPress account.
For example, my domain name is mynewtravelblog.com for the purposes of this tutorial. I would type in mynewtravelblog.com/wp-admin/ to access my blog.
Log in using the username and password you just set up in the steps above and you can access your WordPress dashboard!
Step 3. Become a WordPress Ninja
WordPress can be super daunting to learn at first. And while there is a bit of a learning curve, I promise you that it isn’t that bad!
Once you understand the basics, you’ll get the hang of it really quickly. I’ve highlighted the main areas you will be working with below:
Here is a basic overview of these features:
Your posts are just your blog posts, or “articles.” This is where the bulk of the content that you write will live and where you can go back to edit it anytime you want.
Blog posts are generally organized by categories so that people can easily find the content that they are interested in.
For example, on our health and wellness blog, our posts are organized into the following categories:
- Weight Loss
- Healthy Living
You can have however many or few categories you want on your blog!
We’ll discuss how to create your first post in the next section!
Pages are similar to posts in that they look similar in WordPress and have the same editors. BUT pages differ from posts in that they are meant to be for more “static content” that isn’t updated frequently, such as…
- Contact page (usually has a form or email address where people can contact you)
- About Me page (about you and your blog)
Blog posts have specific purposes that usually involve educating your audience about a topic. The purpose of blog pages is usually to provide more technical information about your website.
The pages are usually linked in your menus, whereas blog posts are linked on a main blog page or separate category pages.
This is where you can see the comments that people write on your blog posts and respond to them.
You can view them on each post that someone has commented on or you can see them all at once in this area.
The media library is where all of the images that you upload to your blog are stored.
You can add images directly to the media library or you can add them directly into blog posts and they’ll automatically be added to the library.
We’ll show you how to add images to blog posts in the next section!
This is where you can make customizations to your blog like changing themes (discussed in the section above on themes).
You can also create and edit your menus, sidebars, and other widgets in the Appearance section.
A plugin is add-on software that you can install on your blog to make additional customizations that are outside the capabilities of your theme.
There are both free and paid plugins and they can help you:
- Change the look of your author box
- Help speed up your website
- Add social icons and buttons to your blog
- Help with blog security
- And so much more!
We have an article on the best plugins for your blog that will also show you how to upload and install them to your blog!
This is where you can change your email and password to your site or add other users if desired.
You probably won’t need to create new users for a while but if you ever hire a web developer or anyone else to help you design or make changes to your website, you can create new users to give them access to your bog.
This is where your general blog settings are, including how some things are set up and displayed on your blog.
In the settings area, you can edit the following:
- Site tagline
- Email address
- Time zone and date settings
- Homepage and blog display settings
- Comment settings
- And more
The best thing you can do is just start playing around in WordPress. Click on some of the links on the dashboards and see what options come up to familiarize yourself with the settings.
Here is another video that we put together to help you navigate the WordPress dashboard:
At this point, you’re going to be very tempted to start down the black hole of designing your blog, but we encourage you to move on and create your first blog post FIRST!
Adding a post to your blog first will HELP you design your blog so you can better see how things will look when you have more content on your blog!
Step 4. Get Some Blog Design Inspiration
This section is just a quick read to give you examples of some common blog designs so you can get ideas of how you might want yours to look before you start designing your blog!
We’re going to go over 3 main types of blog designs:
- Mix of Both
So, no matter what type of blog you are starting, you’ll have some great examples of how to design it for success!
Abby Lawson has a different setup because you can see that her face is not the first thing you see when you get to her blog.
Items to note about this blog design:
- The main feature on the page is her content. She has three different blog categories of content to choose from based on what readers are most interested in.
- She also has a sign-up form for her email list right on her homepage.
This is a great blog design for a beginner because many new bloggers aren’t ready to put their faces front and center or hire a photographer to take a professional photo.
This is a little closer to the original design of our first blog in the first few months, but it can work for anyone because Abby has been blogging for several years now!
Pat Flynn has a homepage that is very similar to this blog’s homepage (Create and Go) and what we used for our six-figure health and wellness blog.
Items to note about this blog design:
- The main feature on the page is, of course, Pat Flynn himself. He is an established authority figure in his niche, and he includes a big headline next to his photo so that his readers know exactly what his website is about when they visit his homepage.
- He also has two menus up at the top with various links to pages on his blog.
- Lastly, he has a “Learn More” button that takes you to another page to learn more about what he offers on his website.
This blog design is best-suited for someone who has established themselves in their blog niche community or who has the resources to hire a photographer to take professional photos.
It’s also best-suited for anyone that KNOWS they want to be a big name in their community and they want to start off with a bang. When you are the central focus, it can help to establish you as an authority figure in your niche.
Elsie and Emma have a great mix of the above two styles.
Items to note about this blog design:
- The focus of their homepage is split between their recent blog posts and a section about them.
- There is also a separate menu just for their blog categories.
This type of blog design is also great for beginners because you will be posting a lot of content in the beginning and the addition of the section about you helps to build trust with your new readers.
It’s also a great design for anyone with a lifestyle blog that plans to blog on several different topics.
Additional Tips for Blog Design
Don’t overthink this. Go with your initial thoughts on what might be best for you and your blog.
The truth is that you will end up changing your blog design MANY times as your blog grows, your content strategies change, and you begin monetizing your blog. As you get more readers to your blog, you will begin to learn more about who your target audience is and what they are interested in and that will help determine how you design your blog.
The overall design matters very little in these early stages, so it’s best to stick with something simple and professional.
You can also get some additional ideas for blog design in this article.
Step 5. Select a Great WordPress Blog Theme
A blog theme is software and coding that allows you to design and customize your blog.
Please pay very close attention to this section because this is the place where most new bloggers waste the majority of their time in the first month of blogging.
Some of our blogging students have actually earned money in their first couple of months blogging and there is a reason that they are different than most other bloggers.
They heed the advice in this section!
It’s design time!
We need to start this off with a bit of a warning. When learning any new software or platform, the beginning can be daunting and confusing. It’s going to take a few weeks working in WordPress and playing around with it for things to start becoming familiar.
This is the stage where a lot of people get frustrated and a lot of self-doubts come up. This is normal and something every blogger before you have gone through.
I was a CPA and Alex was a personal trainer with NO coding experience or anything close to an “understanding” of how the system worked.
Trust that you are going to stick with it and learn the system.
WordPress is the most POWERFUL blogging resource on the web today and gives people who have no experience in coding the ability to create beautiful websites.
Commit to learning the ins and outs of WordPress, and it will serve you very well in the future.
And if every day you focus on creating awesomeness, in 2 month’s time, you’ll be shocked at how proficient you will be!
Option 1: Use a Free WordPress Theme
Free themes are a great place to start if you’re a beginner blogger, but they will lack some of the tools a paid theme gives you. If you have the extra $50 – $100 to invest, then go for a paid theme. If you feel stretched at this point, we get it. Rock a free theme for a month or so and get used to the platform.
You can use one of the free themes WordPress has pre-installed under the “appearances” and “themes” tabs. Just click customize to switch themes.
There are also a ton of free themes.
If there are free themes, why would I ever want a paid theme?
Paid themes are generally much more powerful and customizable than free themes.
This is because they will have an entire support staff dedicated to helping you and making sure you succeed. They are also used by 95% of people running profitable blogs.
That being said, starting by playing around with some free themes is perfectly fine. It will get your feet wet and help you start better understanding WordPress.
Our #1 recommendation for a free theme is Flash by ThemeGrill.
Option 2: Save Time and Get a Better Design with a Paid Theme
Divi theme is the #1 most beginner-friendly and customizable theme on the market.
It’s also what we recommend to all of our blogging students. You can easily customize the design of your homepage and other pages on your website and they have great customer service.
They also have a no-questions-asked, 30-day money-back guarantee, so there is absolutely no risk to try it!
When you purchase Divi, you also get access to the entire Elegant Themes market, which includes over 70 other themes to choose from if you don’t end up loving Divi.
Get to work on selecting the right theme for you, but don’t overanalyze it! If you have spent more than 2-3 hours selecting a theme, just pick one and rock it for a while.
The steps below will show you how to upload and change your theme in WordPress.
How to Change Your Theme in WordPress
First, you’ll need to purchase Divi, or another theme and download the zipped theme file.
Next, head over to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Appearance –> Themes.
Click on the button to add a new theme:
At the very top of the next screen, click the button to upload your theme:
Next, choose the zipped theme file that you previously downloaded to your computer in the first step.
Once it’s uploaded, click the buttons to Install and Activate and you’re finished!
Additional Theme Resources:
Here are some additional resources and tutorials to help you start exploring your new theme!
- Divi Theme Documentation
- If you’re still undecided on a blog theme, you can also check out our article on best WordPress themes for bloggers for some other recommendations.
Step 6. Write Your First Blog Post!
Welcome to how to blog 101 -> Let’s start by writing your first blog post!
What should my first blog post be about?
Your first post can be about whatever you want, but we recommend keeping it simple and introducing yourself to your audience.
Tell them a little bit about yourself and why you started your blog.
Let’s get started writing your first blog post in WordPress!
First, navigate to Posts –> Add New from your left-hand WordPress dashboard menu.
Let’s start with the title of your first blog post. You can name it whatever you want but here are some suggestions:
- Welcome to My New Blog!
- Why I Finally Started My Blog
- What This Blog is About
- Hello Party People, I’m [Name], and Welcome to My Blog!!
- Welcome to My Blog About [Blog Topic]
You can also change your blog post title at any time, so don’t worry too much about getting the headline 100% right.
After you’ve written your title, click on the block underneath the title to start writing your content.
I started off with a simple welcome message and introduced myself. Next, let’s add an image. You don’t have to do this, but it’s a great way to build that first personal connection with your reader.
This is the first step to building trust with your reader. If they are able to put a face to the words they are reading, they are more likely to feel connected to you.
To insert an image, you can click the plus button or the image icon. Then click “Upload Media.”
Now you can select a photo from your computer and upload it straight to WordPress. Once it’s uploaded to your WordPress media library, you can easily select it for any other posts in the future.
Once you’ve uploaded a photo, you can continue writing the rest of your content by adding a new text/media block underneath your photo:
The rest of your content on this first blog post should be about you and why you started your blog.
Here are some helpful questions that you can answer in this first post:
- What got you interested in your blog topic and what made you finally start your blog about it?
- What do you want to help others with?
- Do you have a mission statement or a core belief about your blog topic that you can share with your audience?
Feel free to include any other photos or ideas that you think might be helpful or relevant here.
You can also include a few links to websites that you felt motivated and inspired by on your journey to starting a blog.
To add a hyperlink, type out the text that you want to link, click on the hyperlink icon, and then paste a link to the website in the field that pops up:
Include 3-4 websites that you have found inspirational so far.
Lastly, you can conclude your post by saying THANK YOU to your reader for being here and ask them to please leave a comment below the article if they enjoyed the post or have any questions for you.
This is a great way to start getting some initial feedback on your blog and start building those relationships with your readers.
Publish Your WordPress Post
Your blog post remains in “draft mode” while you are writing it. This means that a draft copy is saved in WordPress and no one can view it until you decide to publish the content.
Once you’ve finished writing your blog post, you can publish it so that other people can see it.
To publish a blog post, just click the Publish button at the top right corner of the page:
Once it’s published, there will be a link at the top of the screen to view your post.
After you’ve published your blog post, you can share a link on your Facebook account or send the link to family members or friends if you’d like to share it with anyone!
Next Best Resources
Some final words from us…
We know it can be overwhelming and confusing when starting out. Not too long ago, we were right there looking at our computers sitting in the same seat you are right now.
The most important thing you can do is to get started, and you’ve done that today!
Once you’ve started your blog, and gotten a little more comfortable with WordPress and designing your blog, these are the next important steps you should take with your new blog:
The very next thing you’ll want to focus on is writing content.
Remember that you’ve just started a blog, and the main content of your blog will be the articles that you write.
They will help you attract an audience, connect with that audience, eventually sell products, and more.
We have a great article on how to write content your readers will love that you can check out when you’re ready to write your first few blog posts!
After you’ve written a few articles, it’s time to get some visitors to your blog to READ your content!
There are a few different platforms to do this, including Google, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Our personal recommendation for most beginner bloggers is to start out on Pinterest. It’s one of the best places to drive the most organic (free) traffic to your blog.
Most other platforms are:
- less than ideal for getting people to actually read blog posts (YouTube and Instagram)
- or are very competitive and require paying for ads (Facebook)
- or just take much longer to get organic traffic (Google)
To read more about how to get started on Pinterest, check out our article on Pinterest for bloggers.
But what about the money!?!???
Most new bloggers get overly focused on trying to make money right out of the gate.
We get it. You’re ready to run a blogging business and you’ve just invested some money into that business.
But it’s important to set up your foundation correctly and build your blog the right way first.
And that means writing content and getting visitors to your blog FIRST before you worry about making any money.
That being said, it’s good to get some ideas of ways that you can make money blogging so you can have some direction as you move forward!
We hope you enjoyed this post on how to start a blog! If you’d like to thank us, we’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!
We’d also be happy to answer any questions you may have!
We hope you have enjoyed our guide and you are finally free of having to ask yourself “How do you start a blog”?