This post was most recently updated on December 27, 2019
Congratulations! You have already taken the first step to start a blog.
You can be your own brand or become a consultant.
You can even become an influencer or make money through affiliate marketing.
Thousands of fellow bloggers make a little side money along with a full-time or part-time job.
Blogging is especially helpful if you are a freelancer, self-employed, or running a small or big business. Think about all those people who are able to leave their 9-5 job and take up blogging as a full-time occupation.
Before we go into detail about how to start a blog, I want to tell you about why I recommend WordPress.com over any other blogging platform.
WordPress is simply the best platform to build your blog/ website. Out of all the websites on the Internet, 33% of them have been built on the WordPress CMS (Content Management System).
WordPress offers its own platform for the not so tech savvy to get started quickly and easily.
This platform will help you focus on your blogging instead of all technical dilemma like a server, hosting, SSL certificate, etc.
I am a technical geek but I personally use WordPress for my blogs and website. I love the hassle-free system that leaves me free to blog and not waste time on maintenance or any other technology-related issues.
Their legendary support helps you with any problem you may have instantly via live chat.
To begin with, you opt for the free WordPress system and move up the subscription model as or if your requirements increase.
Now, let’s dive into the simple steps of how to start a blog!
- Choose your blog topic
- Pick your blog name and domain name
- Choose a platform (WordPress.com) and sign up.
- Choose a theme and design of your blog
- Create all basic pages
- Develop a content strategy of your blog
- Install necessary Plugins
- Create an email account
- Be consistent
- Publish and Promote your blog
Choose your Blog Topic
The niche of your blog is nothing but the topic that will be writing about- which should be the first thing you decide for your blog.
Wondering, how to select one niche?
It becomes really easy to write or blog about something if you already know the subject well. You have at least some experience in the field and are very interested in the topic.
Ensure that you select and stick to one topic only.
You can’t write about multiple topics as it will not only confuse your readers but also distract you from producing quality content consistently. Good content will flow naturally if you have defined the niche.
Ask yourself hard-hitting questions that will help you narrow down your choices and find your groove.
- What is that one thing that you like and are most passionate about?
- What is that one thing that you love talking about with anyone and at any time?
- Is it exciting enough for you?
- Will this add value to the life of your audience?
Now, I have an exercise for you which will surely help you make a decision.
- On an Xls or Doc sheet, write down all the topics that you know.
- Filter the topics that inspire you the most.
- Decide on the one topic that you can’t stop talking about.
- The last step is to start writing about the finalized topic.
Write anything and everything that comes to your mind.
Once you are done, read it and analyze if you are happy with it and will it add value to the life of people reading it?
Voila! Your blog topic is ready.
Let’s go to the next step.
Pick your blog name and domain name
If you are wondering if a blog name is very important for branding. You are right, it is important but you have a long way to go before it becomes relevant.
Right now you have two options
- You can find a name that is in sync with the niche market of your blog
- You can use your own name as the blog name. (Side note: I used my own name)
Leave the fancy blog names for Lady Gaga and instead choose a simple and short name for your blog.
Once you have your blog name go to Bluehost or Godaddy and search for the availability of the domain name
If your decided name is not available, try to choose another name or similar name that is available.
Check out my guide on How to register a domain name.
You can also choose a domain name from WordPress.com itself. We’ll see in next step where you can search for a domain name for your blog.
Choose a platform (WordPress.com) and sign up
Once again, I can’t recommend using WordPress.com enough to create your blog.
If you already have a website builder or want to choose CMS other than WordPress.com, you can use the free version of WordPress.org and choose your own hosting on Bluehost. You can choose WordPress hosting plan or install WordPress in their shared hosting plan.
Here are the steps to create and an account of WordPress.com.
I suggest you to go to WordPress.com right now and start creating your blog. It’s free.
Go to WordPress.com > Click on “Get Started” button
Next, select the type of website.
As you are creating a blog, select blog.
Select the type of blog or topic on which you are going to create your blog.
Select and click on the continue for the next step.
Next, you need to add a domain name. If you have purchased a domain name from Bluehost or Godaddy, you can select ‘Already own a domain?’
If you haven’t purchased it yet, you can search for the domain name from WordPress as well.
If you choose to purchase the domain on WordPress.com, you need to search for the name and make payment.
And if you already have the domain name, it will ask you to transfer domain or map the domain.
Select map your domain option.
Add the domain name and click on “Add”.
Next step is to select a plan that works for you.
As you are starting your blog, you can select Blogger Or the Personal plan.
Go ahead and make the payment.
You can start creating the website.
You can roll with the default template or select a different template that suits you more.
Choose a theme and design of your blog
Choosing a theme is not rocket science.
In fact, at this early stage, you should not focus on creating a complicated design but instead keep more attention on the user experience.
User Experience (UX) is what your readers will feel about your blog. So keep it simple so that they can navigate easily and find what they are looking for.
Steps to select a theme.
Go to the customization tab and click on the Theme button. It will redirect you to themes page.
WordPress has more than 280 free themes to choose from and many premium themes exclusively available for premium or business plan users. If you are on a free or lower plan, you can select from the free themes or pay for one of the premium themes.
Browse the thousands of theme available in the theme store. Filter the theme with your blog topic or any other options
Select the one that you like the best.
You can further check the demo and select your preferred theme. Once you choose a theme, it will ask for the option to customize the site. Select that option to customize your design
You can customize your WordPress site in various ways and even avail the visual editor plugin that offers a drag and drop edit option to edit elements directly from the website’s User Interface (UI).
Some of the many options are shown in the below image.
You can change the website name, upload your own logo or select a different colour theme, background, font style and so much more.
You just need to select all the required options to customize your theme.
This is not the time to fuss over the website design. Instead, keep your eye on the goal and create content for your website.
You can check our various YouTube tutorials on editing WordPress theme or ask a friendly neighbourhood designer to help you out.
Create all basic pages
Giving your background information creates a sense of authority in readers. Write about why people should trust you and give some information about your blog.
You can tell your story of how you become what you are today. It can help the audience to establish relatability and help promote your content.
To create web pages, Got to Dashboard > Pages on left sidebar > Click on Add button on pages tab or use the Write button in the header
Once you create necessary pages with required content, you can now set the navigation menu for your website.
Again go to the Customize option > Select Menu > Select Primary.
Add the required pages from the button “Add items”.
Once you finish updating the menu, click on publish and it will reflect on your website instantly.
You are all set with the basic pages and design for your blog.
Now concentrate on the blog content again.
Develop a content strategy of your blog
A strong content strategy is like the backbone of creating a blog.
It seems like a tough and scary task, however, if followed properly creating a winning content strategy can be pretty simple.
- Imagine the needs and wants of your target audience.
- Scope your competitors and study their blog, sometimes you can simply reverse engineer it to your advantage.
- Write down all the subtopics from your niche, based on your knowledge and competitor research.
- Search for reference blogs on Google Search Engine and check out at least the first 5 blogs on the first SERP.
- Conduct keyword research using tools like Ubersuggest. Little knowledge about SEO will be helpful too. (You can skip this option too when you are starting out but its always good to learn for better results.)
- Start writing and publish your first blog.
These steps are just to find topics to write about. However, to keep yourself organized about all future blogs, timeline and more you need to create an editorial calendar using Excel Sheet.
Write down all the topics in the calendar.
Decide on a time frame and follow the editorial calendar religiously. Don’t forget to give yourself a little buffer time for any emergencies.
Visual elements can create a lasting visual impact on your readers. Source images relevant to your blog from websites like pixabay, unsplash and more.
Install necessary Plugins
Plugins are a great way to simplify work for you.
Here are a few important yet free must have plugins for your blog.
Yoast SEO Plugin
This plugin will help you with the basic SEO for your blog. Configure the plugin and use it to optimize your article. It will help you with keyword positioning, keyword density, keyword in meta titles and more.
The Share this plugin allows your readers to share your blogs on all major social media channels easily.
Simple 301 redirect
Human errors are common and in case, you publish an incorrect URL for your blog or want to change the URL for SEO purposes, you can use this plugin and redirect the old URL to a new one. This will also help you with SEO as well as creating a better experience for your audience.
Start using these free plugins to make the best of your blog. Learn about top 3 WordPress SEO plugin to improve your blog ranking.
Note: You can only add plugins on a business plan of WordPress.com
Create an email account
Emails are the only viable option for professional communication. To create an impression of professionalism, it is advisable to use an email ID using your own domain for example- firstname.lastname@example.org
You can choose from a couple of email service providers for WordPress.com – G Suite or Zoho email.
G Suite is paid service where you need to pay ₹350 Per Month Per email or ₹3500 Per email Per year.
When starting a new blog, avoid the G Suite option and go for the free Zoho Mail which is free up to 5 users.
On creating an account with Zoho Mail, you will get CNAME record from the Zoho panel, add it into WordPress.
Go to Domains > Select your domain > DNS records.
Scroll down and you will find the option to add CNAME record. Select Type as CNAME and add necessary details of CNAME that you get from Zoho.
You are all set to use your email address.
Create a new email address on Zoho and use it for your blog.
Consistency is key when it comes to blogging. To be a successful blogger it is important that you are constant with your blogging efforts.
You also have to be patient.
You won’t be able to see results in a short period of time.
It can take up to 6 months or a year to see some traffic and make money.
So be regular in publishing your blogs.
I would advise publishing one blog per week when you are starting out.
Remember, it doesn’t matter how many blogs you publish.
The quality of your blog is the most important aspect of publishing written content. Publish just 2 or 3 blogs per month without compromising on the content and you will surely do well.
Promote your blog
You need to generate traffic to your blog if you want to create a brand, enhance market influence or make money from your blogging efforts. The only way to do this is to tell people about your blogs, promote it and get people talking.
Use the famous 80/20 rule ie; invest 20% of your time writing the blogs and 80% promoting it. It will help you get better results.
Create your own promotional strategy and follow it.
In the initial period, start small and focus only on social media marketing.
You can answer questions about your topic on Quora, Reddit or other relevant forums and add your website link where it’s relevant. It will help you get some traffic to your website.
Learn SEO if you are not aware of and conduct keyword research.
Follow all basic tactics to improve your blog position on Google SERP.
Learn more about SEO using my SEO tutorial for beginners.
I hope this article has helped you achieve clarity on how you start a blog using WordPress.com.
Instead of publishing different articles about how to buy hosting, setting up WordPress, configure it, add the theme and many other steps.
I opted to simplify things and amalgamate all the data and offer you all the details in one place.
Feel free to write any concerns or question about how to start a blog in the comments. I will surely try and answer them.
If you need further assistance, feel free to reach out and I help you setup the blog for free.
I would recommend to go to WordPress.com and start your blog right away with Free plan.
Do you have any more tips? Tell me about your experience of blogging in the comments below.