The aim of this site is to get you setup with your own blog as quickly and easily as possible, in under 15 minutes. The article below tells (and shows) you the exact steps to create your own blog site.
This guide is for true beginners – no previous technical knowledge is required. If you do get stuck, please send me an email and I will help you out personally.
My name is Sean Robinson and I have over a decade of experience making dozens of websites for myself, with tens of millions of users visiting what I’ve created. I’ve built this site to show people how to start blogging as easily as possible, while avoiding all the mistakes I made, and also benefitting from my learnings. You can read more about my story here.
Starting a Blog
Choose A Name
The first thing you need to decide on is a name for your blog. It can be a completely made up word (like “Google”), or related to the topic of your website (like “Hostt”, which covers blog hosting and building). You could also just use your own name or pretty much any other word combination you want.
Once you have a name, or ideally a list of potential names, we need to check if they are available to register as a domain name or not.
At this point, it’s important to understand that the “name” of your blog is different to its “domain name”. Your domain name is the address for your website on the internet and is how people will access your site. For instance, the name of this site is “Hostt” while its domain name is “hostt.com”. See the difference?
Similarly, the domain for Facebook is facebook.com, and so on… However, your domain doesn’t need to precisely match your blog name. You might come up with the blog name “Jenn’s Blog” for example, but jennsblog.com could be taken by someone else already.
In that case you could try domains like thejennsblog.com, iamjennsblog.com, jennsblogonline.com or jennsbestblog.com, the idea being to add small words to the phrase to try and land on a domain that is available for you to register. You can check what domains on your list are available to register here.
Domain Name Tips
You can only use letters, numbers and dashes in your domain. Spaces and other punctuation are not permitted. Also, if your ideal domain name is taken, you can try a few things to get around that:
- Search other extensions. All domain names have an extension like “.com” or “.net” or “.org”, amongst hundreds of others. While “.com” is seen as the original and therefore generally perceived as the most trustworthy amongst internet users, you can pretty much pick whatever extension you want. If possible, try and get a .com domain though.
- You can add small words to the front or end of the domain. Try inserting words like “my”, “the”, “best”, “top”, “online” or “all” to your domain. Hopefully you’ll arrive at a word combination for your domain that is available to register.
- Remember that dashes (-) are OK to use in domain names. So you could try and get jenns-blog.com or something similar, for example.
Create Your Site
Once you’ve registered your domain name (the address for your blog), we can now get your blog online. To do that we need to select a host for your blog, and also choose what blogging software we are going to use.
Your web host (aka your blog host) is the company that will host the files, images, and text of your blog on the internet, and make it available to everyone with an internet connection to visit and see.
Blogging software is the software that you will use to manage your new blog – things like how it looks, where you write new posts, adding images and videos, etc. It’s the underlying infrastructure of your blog.
The hosting company that I recommend you use is BlueHost. I use them personally and BlueHost makes the process as painless as possible, making them especially good for beginner bloggers.
Being one of the cheapest hosting providers available ($3.95/month) is a bonus too, as is their 30 day money back guarantee. This guarantee is important because it means that if your blogging doesn’t work out for any reason, you can walk away within 30 days and get a full refund. It’s hard to beat that.
The only blogging software I have ever used, in well over 10 years, is called WordPress. It is the easiest to use, most customizable, powerful and best supported blog software available. Best of all, it’s completely free.
I use WordPress to power websites that receive millions of visits per month without any worries, and many of the biggest companies on the internet also do too. That said, it’s still incredibly easy to use, as you’ll soon discover in this guide. Seriously, there is no other blog software that you should even consider besides WordPress.
What’s even better about the BlueHost + WordPress combo is that BlueHost will install WordPress for you automatically. Usually, this would be a fairly complex, technical process, but with BlueHost it’s literally done for you as part of your hosting service – there is nothing for you to worry about. WordPress themselves even recommend BlueHost, and have done so since 2005.
In order to receive the $3.95 per month rate, please make sure that you sign up via this link. While Hostt will receive some small compensation from BlueHost for you purchasing your hosting through our link, please remember that all my guides and help are completely free to you. You can contact me any time and I will personally assist you with anything on your blogging journey. Plus you get the cheap rate and the confidence of knowing you’ve made the right first steps – it’s win-win!
Creating Your Blog
- Click here to head to BlueHost and then click on the big “Get Started” button in the middle of the page.
- Choose your plan. I recommend going with the Basic plan. It’s all you need at this stage and is the cheapest too. If you ever want to upgrade in the future, it’s just a button click anyway. So hit “Select” it the Basic column.
- Next it will ask for your domain name. If you have found your domain, and checked that it is available for you to register, type it into the box on the left and click “Next”. This will ensure that your domain is registered as part of the sign up process (which is free with BlueHost by the way). Otherwise, if you’ve already registered the domain you will be using for your blog, then simply type it into the box on the right and click “Next”.
- Now all you need to do is fill in your account information and billing details on the next page. If you have a @gmail.com email address, you can click on the “Sign in with Google” button at the top of the page and BlueHost will receive some of your information directly from Google, making the process easier, otherwise manually fill it out. Under “Package Extras” I recommend that you untick “Codeguard Basic” and “Sitelock Security – Essential”, they aren’t necessary. For your hosting package options, you will see that while the 36 months option gives you the cheapest monthly rate, the 12 month option gives you the lowest up-front cost. You can select whichever suits you. Hit the “Submit” button when you’re ready.
- All going well, you should see “Your purchase was a success” shown at the top of the next screen. Now it’s time to create your account login, so click the button “Create Account”. Enter your domain name in the top box and then choose a password to use – ideally something with a mixture of letters, capitals and numbers. Enter your password twice in the two bottom boxes and press “Create Account”.
- Next you’ll be shown your brand new BlueHost control panel login screen. Just enter your domain and your password (from the previous step) and log straight in. On the next screen, you’ll see a question “When it comes to building your site, how much help do you want?”. Since you are following my guide, you don’t need any additional help! So you should press “Skip this step” and continue.
- Now you should be in the BlueHost control panel. To get WordPress installed automatically, you just need to click the blue “Create a WordPress Site” button. Enter in the name that you have decided for your blog (eg Terry’s Book Reviews) and then whatever tagline or slogan you want your site to have, eg “Reviews of obscure fiction books by Terry”.
- On the next screen it should have inserted your domain name automatically. Below that, you will see some “Helpful Free Plugins” listed. I recommend that you deselect/untick all these plugins for now (don’t worry if you forget to do this, we can remove them, or add them back, later). Continue.
- Next, BlueHost takes a minute or two to setup your blog and then you should be done. Take note of your username (it will be something like “srobinson”, based on your first and last name) and then click the little eye button next to the password box, this will reveal your WordPress password. Copy it and note it down somewhere safe and secure. Then just click “Log in to WordPress” and you will be taken to the administration area of your brand new WordPress blog. Well done!
Change Your DNS
If you registered the domain name for your blog as part of the previous steps then you can skip this section. However, if you already had the domain name that you want to use for your site, then we’ll need to point it to your WordPress installation at BlueHost.
To do that, we change the DNS (which stands for domain name system) of your domain. This will basically tell the internet that anyone visiting your domain (eg myblogsite.com or hostt.com) should be sent to your new WordPress site at BlueHost. All of this happens automatically in the background, by the way, so after you’ve made this one simple change, there is nothing else to worry about.
- First you need to login into the site where your domain is registered. This could be Godaddy or Namecheap, for example. Personally, I use Uniregistry. The steps are the same for all domain registries however, so it doesn’t matter what particular one you might use.
- Login and click on the domain name that you need to update. Then there should be a setting to manage the domain, or edit its DNS (name servers). That is where you need look.
- You should see a screen similar to that below. See how I have added “ns1.bluehost.com” and “ns2.bluehost.com”? Those are the two DNS for BlueHost and are what you need to enter for your domain too.
- That’s it! Just make sure that you apply or save your changes and then wait around 5 minutes. After that, your new nameservers should be updated across most of the internet and you will be ready to start blogging.
Customize Your New Blog
Congrats on successfully creating your very own blog. If you followed my previous steps, then you should be in the administration area of your new WordPress site (if not, just add /wp-admin/ to the end of your domain name and login).
Your WordPress administration area is a private section of your blog that only you have access to using your username and password, and allows you to customize and manage your blog. This is where you’re able to change the design and style of your blog, upload images and videos, search for and install plugins, and of course write and publish your blog posts.
First, let me say that WordPress is highly intuitive, and most of the screens and tabs should explain themsevles. That said, of course I am going to take you through everything and show you what settings I think you might want to change, how to pick your blog design, and everything else. So let’s get into it!
Login to WordPress
First things first, you need to bookmark and save the administration area URL in your browser (ie add it as a favorite).
Your admin URL should be something like myblog.com/wp-admin/. The important part is the /wp-admin/ bit at the end. Anytime you want to do something on your blog you need to head to that address in order to login.
If you want, you should bookmark the BlueHost portal URL from the step above (it should be https://my.bluehost.com/hosting/app/#/) and then simply click the same link “Log in to WordPress” from that page. That route will also take you through to the WordPress admin section of your blog.
If you ever lose or forget your password, there’s always a handy “Lost your password” link that you can click. Then just enter your email address and details on how to reset your password to a new one will be sent to you.
Changing Your Blog Design
It’s highly like that, at some stage, you will want to customize the look and feel of your blog – the colors, layout, fonts, images, that sort of thing. In WordPress, this is known as changing the theme of your blog, and the process is very simple. What’s more, there is literally thousands if not millions of different themes out there, so you are sure to find one that you like.
To access the themes section, click on “Appearance” in the left hand sidebar of your administration area. You will be presented with a screen similar to that shown below, with some default themes that are pre-installed by WordPress shown. If you hover your mouse of any of the other themes then two options should come up – “Activate” and “Live Preview”. Cick on “Live Preview” to see what these other themes would look like on your blog if they were activated, and in the future when you add more themes, you can preview what they will look like here too.
As I said earlier, there is no shortage of themes that people have made for WordPress. Luckily, most of them are free, but there are also ones that you need to pay for. We will check out the free themes first.
To do that, simply click on either “Add New” at the top of the screen, or the “Add New Theme” box on the right. Both links will take you through to a page that should look similar to that below. You’ll see previews of dozens of different WordPress themes and cam install whichever ones you want very easily from here.
Feel free to browse through the various categories that are shown (Featured, Popular, Latest, etc) or use the “Feature Filter” to search for themes with the characteristics that you want.
There is a search box too. So if, for example, your blog was going to be about gardening, you could type “gardening” or “flowers” into that box, and you would get themes that might be good for a blog site on that subject.
In the image above, I’ve searched for “cars” and you’ll see there are several relevant themes that are listed. You can then hover your mouse of any of the specific themes shown and two options will come up – “Install” and “Preview”. Click on “Preview” to be shown a preview of exactly how that specific theme will look if you wanted to use it.
When you find a theme you like, press “Install” to actually copy and install it to your blog. After that, the “Install” button should change to an “Activate” button. Press that, and then if you look at the front area of your site (ie, the non-administrative part, like www.mycarblog.com) you will see the entire design of your blog has been changed to what you selected.
How to Write and Publish a Blog Post
Now that your blog is looking how you want, it’s time to actually get blogging and create some content!
To do that, click on the “Posts” link in the left sidebar of your admin area. That will then bring up a list of all your blog posts to date (in our case, none, since this is a brand new blog we are setting up).
Then click the “Add New” button at the top and you’ll be taken to the editor screen. You’ll also see a tooltip box come up that refers to “blocks”. Take the time to go through the tips, but basically WordPress can handle all of different content – everything from plain old text, to images, videos, quotes, pieces of code, sound clips, and more.
When you are writing your posts and creating content, you can specify what kind of block you are making (eg a paragraph or a text, or including a Youtube video) and WordPress will take care of the rest.
As I’ve always said the best way to learn is be doing, so let’s jump in. You should be on a screen that looks similar to that above. Click on the “Add title” part of the screen and you can set the title for your post. Let’s call it “Welcome to my first post”.
Then click in the area below and start writing your first paragraph, which I’ve done below. Keep writing if you want, or if you’d like to insert an image (or any other type of non-text content), hover over the plus sign that should be towards the right of the screen and click on “Add block”.
We’re going to select “Image” and then “Upload” to upload a picture from our computer. Find a picture that you want to upload on your computer hard drive and upload it to your blog by following the prompts. It will then be added to your “Media Library” that contains all the media (images, videos, etc) that you’ve uploaded. Finally, we’re going to press “Select” in the bottom right and the image should be neatly inserted into your article.
You can then keep on writing, adding more images, or publish the blog post. In the top right of the editor screen you should see several options: “Save draft”, “Preview” and “Publish.”
All three options are pretty self-explanatory, but the first one will save a copy of your progress so that you can return to it later, the second will show you a preview of how the article will look on your site, and the third button will actually publish your blog post to the world. Press that and then the “View Post” link and you’ll be shown your blog post. Just like this.
Congratulations, you’ve just published your first blog post! If you’d like to edit it further or delete it, then just head back to your list of posts by clicking the link with the same name, “Posts”, in the left sidebar of your administration area. There you’ll see the title of your just-created post and can hover over it with your mouse to see the various editorial options available – delete, edit, etc.