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How to Start a Blog for Beginners Step by Step Guide [In 2020]

In this post, “How to start a blog for beginners step by step guide”. I am going to show you how to start your own blog. Whether you want to start a blog as a side hustle, as a hobby, for your business or you want to be a full time blogger. You are in the right place because in this post I am going to show you how to start a blog as a beginner step by step. 

Starting a Blog can dramatically change your life and can give you a better and fulfilling purpose. The fact that you can have your online home to express your thoughts over a certain topic and being in charge of everything is mind-blowing.

It is actually easier to start a blog now in 2020 than it was 10, or 20 years ago where you had to write code – PHP, HTML, Javascript, Python, and many more. Now, anyone including you can start a blog with no prior experience and without writing a single line of code. My mission in this post is to hold your hand and leave you with your own blog. Great Isn’t it?

First things first. 

Before You Start a Blog, What is a Blog anyway?

A blog is a regularly updated website where new content is frequently published, typically written in an informal or conversational style—often with the goal of attracting readers and generating an online income. A blog can have one author or multiple authors who write articles. 

A single article on a Blog (Like the one you are reading now) is called a Blog post.

Now, Let’s start to build your blog step by step.

Pick a Niche for Your Blog 

Before you go into the technicalities, the first important step is to define what your blog is all about. Known as Niche. 

Some pronounce it as “Nitch” Some as “Nish”. I do not know about you, but all I know is, it’s called a Niche. 

Defining your Blog niche is easy to some but a complex exercise to others as well. So let me help you to define your niche if you are among those who are not so sure. You need to answer these questions or consider them in detail in order to choose the niche for your new blog.

Things to consider

Think to pick a niche
  • What are you passionate about? It is important to choose a topic that makes you alive. What makes you tick? Is it gaming, Cooking, talking about Jesus, Biking or hunting? What exactly can you talk about all day and never be bored? Once you identify that, you are one step closer to start a blog
  • What do you know the most? You know something precious. The idea here is to understand that someone out there is dying for your knowledge. The temptation is to despise your knowledge and think that your knowledge is not enough to be read by millions of people. Well, I want to challenge you to know that you are unique. Your knowledge has enough room to be celebrated by many. Choose what you know the most as a niche as that will allow you to write your blog without struggling with ideas. You will just flow. This can be professional knowledge, conventional knowledge. Biblical knowledge or how to do just anything. Once you are certain then you are ready to start a blog.
  • Is there enough room for you to start a blog? What I mean by this is, you need to identify if you can generate more blog topics within your niche before you even start a blog. That means if you choose to write about a specific brand of cars, Say BMW. you should be able to write enough content to satisfy your readers about that topic. The trick here is to either choose a broad topic or to narrow down – known as “Niching down”. 

As said previously to some, this process is very easy but to others, it is a little bit difficult so it is important to take some time to brainstorm some ideas. But do not overthink it as you can always expand your niche as time goes on.

Now that you have chosen your Niche, as a first step in this post “How to start a blog for beginners step by step guide” It is time to get hosting and a domain name. 

Get a Domain Name and Hosting to start a Blog

For every website/blog to be on the internet, two things need to be there. These two are inevitable and that is a domain name and hosting. Luckily, we are going to get your domain name and hosting from one place at a very affordable price. 

  • A domain name is like your home address. This is a name used by the internet to identify your blog on the web. Examples of a domain name are: “google.com”, “websitebounty.com” or “facebook.com”.
  • Hosting is where all your website or blog files stay on the internet. These files are stored on a special computer (Web Hosting company) that runs Twenty four hours a day, 7 days a week The name of the computer that stores your website/blog files is known as a “server”. 

There are many web hosting companies in the world and their job is pretty much the same. These companies include 

Hostgator

Bluehost

Namehero 

To name just a few. However, in this guide, we are going to get a domain name and hosting from Hostgator

Choosing your Hosting Plan 

Click here to get a domain name and Hosting from Hostgator (Opens in new tab) 

After clicking the link above, you will land on a page as in the picture below. 

Hostgator home page

Click “Get Started” and you will be on a page to choose a Hosting Plan.

For purposes of this step by step guide. I will presume that you will need the Hatchling Plan for 1 website. However if you want the Baby Plan or the Business Pan, feel free to buy it. 

Choose a hosting plan from Hostgator

Now, click the Buy Now button on the Hatchling Plan. At this stage, you will land on a page where you will have to enter your details. 

Choose your domain name

Type in your desired domain name in the relevant field. It is possible that your desired domain name may not be available, so you need to take some time to find a good domain name for your blog.

Choose a domain name

 Website Bounty tips to choose a domain name: 

  • Choose a short domain name. Preferably less than 15 letters
  • Avoid hyphens or other symbols.
  • Avoid numbers if possible.
  • Choose a .com above other TLD’s as most people are familiar with .com
  • Choose an easy to remember domain name.

To qualify for a free domain name you need to select a billing cycle of 12 months, 24 months or 36 months. On top of that, you will end up saving a lot of money by choosing a longer billing cycle compared to a short billing cycle. After that enter your desired username and pin.

Choose a hosting plan from Hostgator

Enter your billing information and select your method of payment. Between Credit Card and Paypal.

Enter your billing information

Decide whether you want some extra addons or not. If you do not have the budget it is okay to untick all the extra add-ons since you can add them later on. But if you have the budget, select the addons that are relevant to you.

Add additional services from Hostgator

After that, Check if all the figures are Okay on stage 6 where it says “Review Order Details”. Then tick on your left side to accept HostGators, terms of service and then click the “Checkout Now” button at the bottom. 

Tick to accept HostGators terms

If you choose Paypal as a method of payment, you will be redirected to Paypal’s page for you to enter your email account that is connected to your Paypal account.

If you choose to pay with your credit card, your payment will be processed accordingly. 

Congratulations. You now have a domain name and hosting for your own blog.

Get a Theme to Customize Your Blog

To start creating your blog you need a good platform that enables you to create and run your blog exactly as you want. We are going to use WordPress in this guide. 

WordPress is the best Content Management system (CMS) that powers more than 36% of the web. Some of the biggest companies in the world use WordPress for their Websites and blogs. According to IsitWP, companies that use WordPress include Facebook newsroom, Microsoft news, BBC America, Tech crunch, The Swedish government, Justin Bieber, Katty Perry, Sony music, The White House and more. 

If all these people, companies and governments use WordPress why not you? WordPress is a sweet platform that allows you to write anything in a great format. You will never go wrong with WordPress because of the community around it. It is very easy to get support for anything that you need. Above all, running a blog with WordPress is a breeze, fun and hilarious. I will show you how to write your first post later in this post. 

It’s time to install a Theme

A theme is a difference between a stunning blog and a boring blog. A theme is what determines how your website/blog looks and functions as a whole. Certain themes enable different functions. Think of a theme as a House plan. A house plan determines where your bedroom will be, your kitchen, bathroom and other rooms. The same with a theme. 

There are two types of themes. Free themes and premium themes. 

A free theme is free as the name suggests. You can create a blog of your choice with a free WordPress theme. A premium theme, on the other hand, is where you get all the superb features, bells and whistles. 

Checkout these 5 best Premium themes for blogging

Premium themes come with many functionalities that make your blog not only look great but function better. If you want that high level of professionalism on your blog a premium theme is the way to go. The good thing with premium themes is they are affordable and are a once-off cost. 

You can choose your premium theme from this post or on Themeforest, the biggest marketplace for WordPress themes. 

Start Building Your Blog

Now that you have your Domain name and Hosting from Hostgator and you have identified your theme, It’s time to start creating your blog following the steps in this post, “How to start a blog for beginners step by step guide”.

Start by accessing your CPanel login credentials in your Hostgator welcome email. Log in your Hostgator Cpanel and click WordPress Installer.

Click WordPress Installer to install WordPress

Enter your domain name and click next. 

Enter your domain name

Type in the name of your blog in the blog title field, enter your user name, first Name and last name. Do not forget to enter your email address as well and tick the box below. Then click Install. 

Website Bounty tip:

  • Choose a decent username since it will always be visible to your readers on all your posts. Avoid using your email. Use your name, nickname or company name as a username.
Enter your details to install wordpress

It only takes a few seconds to install WordPress. You will get a green tick at the top after a successful WordPress installation. 

Confirmation page from hostgator

 Save your password, or write it on a piece of paper for safekeeping. After that, open a new tab in your browser and then type in your domain name with a “/wp- admin” at the end to login to WordPress. For example www.example.com/wp-admin 

Website Bounty Tip:

  • Every time you want to log in to your WordPress website/blog you have to type in your domain name and /wp-admin at the end. As in the example above. Then, enter your username and password.
Log in to wordpress

Now enter your username/email and password. Copy and paste the login credentials from the previous tab that we didn’t close. These details can be found in the email sent from Hostgator as well. After that click Login. Walah! You have installed WordPress and everything is looking great at this time. 

Installing a Premium theme

On your WordPress dashboard click Appearance >>Themes >> Add new.

Selet to install a theme for your blog

If you have purchased a premium theme from Themeforest, this is the time to upload it. Click Upload theme >> Choose File and then select the zip file that you downloaded from Themeforest on your computer. Click Install Now. Then click activate. 

Upload a theme that you downloaded for your blog

Every premium theme comes with documentation that has all the details to customize your blog. This is handy as one theme is different from the other. Since I do not know which premium theme you purchased I encourage you to use the documentation as much as you can. 

Also, the good thing with premium themes is, if you face a challenge at any time you will get free support from the theme developer. Envato, the guys behind Themeforest will make sure that you get the support that you need for free for 6 months. What a deal! That is a huge advantage of using a premium theme.

They say you get what you pay for. And the truth is, you get more with a premium theme compared to a free theme. Even if you do not have a budget for a premium theme, feel free to test some demo sites on ThemeForest and compare them with the free themes that we will use below. You will see a huge difference. Some differences can be visible right away and some can be seen while you play around with your theme settings on the backend.

Installing a free theme.

To install a free theme, in the WordPress dashboard click Appearance >> Themes>> Add new.

In stall a theme for your blog

Locate the search bar on your right side and search for “Astra”. Hover over Astra and click Install then Activate.

Search Astra theme In wordpress

Astra is one of the best free themes that you can get. It is Very light and fast to load. Astra also comes with free starter sites, these are pre-made templates that allow you to start using your blog right away after changing certain elements like text colour, images, videos and more.

To get access to the starter templates or starter sites click the “Get started” button 

Click Get started to install astra starter sites

 At this stage, click Elementor to select the page builder that you are going to use to build your blog.

Elementor is a free and easy to use page builder that allows you to build any element on your blog with a simple drag and drop user-friendly system. 

Select a page builder that you will use on your blog

At this stage, you have the privilege of viewing and choosing the template that you like. 

View Astra demo sites

To view any demo site, click on the template that you like and then click the preview button on the left. It’s like, test driving a car that you want to buy. Or dating before you get married. The demo site will open in a new tab. If you find any template that you like, click on the Get agency bundle button on your right side or Import complete site.

Choose a demo blog to use on your blog

Website Bounty Tip

  • The demo sites with an “Agency” tag are Astra premium themes.

Make sure that you have ticked all the boxes on the popup window that appears. Then click Import. 

Import Astra Starter sites to your blog

At this stage you can start creating your website to your liking.

Branding Your Blog 

Whether you have used a premium theme or a free theme the first thing that you need to do is to customize your homepage to match your brand.

On your WordPress Dashboard click Pages >> Add New and start editing your home page.

Add new pages to your blog

Colors

Choose colours that represent your brand. There should be a balance of what you like as an individual and what is acceptable with your blog readers. If you have a cooking blog for example, avoid colours that turn off your visitors.

Logo

Every blog has different logo dimensions. The good thing is WordPress will tell you the required dimensions. To add your logo, even though that differs from theme to theme, on most of the WordPress websites and blogs you have to go to Appearance on your dashboard, and then click Customize >> Header>> Site Identity. Then click Select Logo

How to choose a logo to add to your blog

Here you will get the dimensions that are needed for your Logo.

Add an Logo on your Blog

Click select files to add your Logo and then choose the appropriate Logo from your computer.

If you do not have a Logo you can hire a Logo designer on Fiverr. for a small fee.

Pages that are necessary for a blog.

WordPress is very simple to work with. Here are a few pages that you need to create on your blog. 

  • Homepage. This is the page where most of your readers land on. Make it easy to navigate. For a blog, you do not want to clutter much information on your home page. Keep it simple. 
  • About. The About page is where you need to tell your readers a little about you. There is no right or wrong approach to develop your about us page. You just have to be authentic and keep it a little bit informal. 
  • Contact. A contact form is a must have. This is where interested parties can contact you through, including your readers, other bloggers and potential partners. Add your social links and your phone number if you want to receive calls from interested stakeholders.
  • Terms of service. It is important to stipulate your terms of service. You need to outline if you collect your visitors’ data and what you use the data for. If you can not do it on your own, you can always hire a law practitioner on Fiverr to help you draft your terms of service at a small fee. 

Write Your First Post and Publish it. 

After you have done everything in this post, “How to start a blog for beginners step by step guide in 2020”  It’s time to pen your first blog post.

By default WordPress was designed for bloggers. It is super friendly for writers like you. 

To write your first post, go to your WordPress dashboard and click on Posts>> Add new.

Enter your Post title in the Title field and start to write below that. It’s that simple! 

How to write your first blog post

In your post, you can add other elements like images, videos, code, other headings and more by clicking the little plus sign in a circle to activate blocks.

Add a block to add content in WordPress

Over to you. The sky’s the limit. Now you can write as much as you want on your own blog. You can make it look as you want. Let me know if you face any challenge or if you have any questions or complements. Happy blogging. 

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