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We have taken our years of experience blogging and put it into this resource to help bloggers of all skill and experience levels. Whether you are just starting out or have been doing this awhile, we have something for you here at GoStartABlog.

How to Start a Blog - In Depth Guide
How to Start a Blog - Condensed Guide

How to Start a Blog Guide

(Condensed Version)​

Blogging Overview

A blog is a website or web page that's updated regularly, written in an informal style, and typically run by an individual or a small group.

Blogs come in all shapes and sizes, from giant blogs like TechCrunch to smaller blogs like SmittenKitchen​.

People blog for many reasons. Some people want to share their interests and hobbies with the world, others are looking to find a way to make money from home. Some use their blogs as a way to promote their business or their art, others blog to stay in touch with distant friends or family.

Whatever your reason for starting your blog, you'll find that you can be successful if you put in the time and effort and start with a solid foundation.

Read more about what blogging is, the motivations behind bloggers, and what benefits you can expect from starting your own blog in our Step 0: Blogging Overview post. 

Step 1: Choose Your Blog's Niche

Here are some questions to help you get started while you create a blog. In general, it's better to choose a topic that you love and are passionate about. That will make it easier to generate content, connect with your readers, and become a go-to resource.

  • What are your hobbies?
  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • ​When others call you for advice, what are they asking about?
  • If you didn’t have to work, what would you do?
  • What topics do you enjoy reading about?

After you have a list of ideas, it's important to make sure it's going to work for you long-term. If you are successful, you will be blogging far into the future.

  • Are there enough topics to write about in my niche?
  • Can I see myself writing about this 6 months from now and will my readers view me as a go-to source?

For many of you visiting this page, you already have an idea of what you want to blog about and that's great. Keep reading!

For those of you who are still trying to decide, head over to our Step 1: Choose Your Blog's Niche post filled with information, statistics, exercises, and planning worksheets to help you choose the best topic for you blog.

Step 2: Choose Your Blog's Name

Choosing the name for your blog can be a rabbit hole. 

Remember, it isn't the name of your blog that is going to make you successful, it's the quality of your content and your engagement with your readers. When you are making a blog, spend some time on the step, but don't go overboard because it isn't set in stone.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Use your name

    You will instantly connect with your readers and create a personable first impression.
  • Use NameMesh

    Just put in a few keywords and it will put them together and look for synonyms. It will also tell you if the domain name is available so you aren't disappointed later.
  • See what other bloggers are using

    Use a search engine and see what your peer bloggers are using for names. It's a great way to jumpstart your creativity.

Still having trouble? Check out our Step 2: Choosing Your Blog's Name blog post that is focused on choosing your blog's brand and name. It includes a ton of information and brainstorming exercises to help you make the right choices when building a blog.

Step 3: Pick a Blogging Platform

There are 3 types of platforms on which you can build your blog: self-hosted, free, and freemium. We recommend self-hosted platforms based on control, flexibility, and cost.

This guide is specific to how to start a blog on WordPress with separate hosting. Our experience has shown us that it's the best way to build a blog.

The disadvantages of "free" and freemium platforms:

  • They have rights to your content.

    Free platforms can use and change your content however they want and if you want to move your blog, you have to rebuild it from scratch.
  • They hinder your ability to make money.

    They make money by placing ads on your blog. You can't take those ads off or add your own unless you pay them.
  • Few design and customization features.

    The design, layout, and functionality options are limited.
  • They end up costing at least 2x as much as self-hosted.

    You'll have to upgrade if: your audience grows and you need to support more traffic; you want to make money from your blog; you want to add functionality; you want to have your own domain name; you want backups in case something goes wrong; etc.

Using WordPress is the best way to build and maintain your blog because it has 150,000+ design and functionality options; you only have to pay for hosting (just $4/month); you can change hosts without rebuilding your site; and it's easy to use.

SiteGround is the host that we recommend because they offer the most uptime, peak performance, and have instant customer support.​

If you want to learn more about we recommend WordPress over free and freemium platforms, go to our Step 3: Pick a Blogging Platform post. We talk in-depth about each type of platform, as well as detailing the benefits of using WordPress to build your blog.

Step 4: Launch Your Blog

If you're looking for a tutorial on how to start a blog, this is the step for you.

Let's launch your blog! In this step, we'll walk you through signing up for hosting with SiteGround and installing WordPress. If you want a more in-depth tutorial, go to our Step 4: Launch Your Blog post where we have instructional videos and helpful pictures of each step.

First, open SiteGround and take a look at the plans.​

SiteGround Sign Up

We recommend the StartUp plan because it offers plenty of space and options and it costs the least. You can easily upgrade at anytime if you need to.

The next page asks you to enter the domain name you want to use. We helped you choose a name in Step 2. Enter it in now and click Proceed.

Note: SiteGround offers a free domain for life when you sign up with them.

You've made it to final page of signing up. Fill in your account, client, and payment information.

The last section has you review your choices and add any extras you might need. Make sure your plan is correct (eg StartUp).

As for the extras, we recommend keeping Domain Privacy​ (keeps your personal info protected), but you don't need HackAlert.

As soon as you're happy with your choices, click Pay Now.​

Congratulations! You now own your own website and have a hosting service.​ SiteGround will send you a welcome email with your account info within the hour.

Now we just need to install WordPress. Go to SiteGround.com, log in with the password you just created, and follow along with the Setup Wizard who just appeared.

WordPress Install

Choose the first option: Get WordPress preinstalled on this account. Click Proceed.​

​Then enter your email and create a username and password for your WordPress account.

Note: You will use this username and password to sign into WordPress whenever you work on your blog.​

Pick a theme that looks good to you, but don't spend too much time. You can always change your theme later. Click Submit.​

​The next page will show you all the information you need to log into WordPress. Copy and paste the Admin URL into a new tab or window. Enter your username and password and click Log In.

This will take you to your WordPress Dashboard, where all the magic happens!

You now have WordPress installed and can start configuring and customizing your blog. If you want a more in-depth walk through of the SiteGround sign up and WordPress installation process, then check out our Step 4: Launch Your Blog post. We'll thoroughly explain your options so you make the best choices for your blog.

Step 5: Configure WordPress

Now that your blog is installed, you want to set up the initial pages on your site and get comfortable with using the WordPress platform. We recommend:

  • Deleting the default post and comment
  • Creating an About Me page that includes a few basic facts so they can learn about you
  • Creating your first blog post that introduces yourself to your readers and encourages them to connect with you through comments or email
  • Clicking and trying everything along the way

Don't be afraid to try out the various buttons and configuration options to see how they change your site.

WordPress has a lot of functionality and flexibility and the more you get to know it the more power you will have. There is no better way to learn than by doing.

If you want a more hands-on approach when using WordPress for the first time, head over to our Step 5: Configure WordPress blog post. We have videos, pictures, and step-by-step instructions that will walk you through our recommended steps when you are starting out.

Step 6: Set Your Goals

Congratulations on building a blog! It is now time to set goals and plan the next steps in your blog. Goals will help you stay motivated and keep you on track.

"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." - Benjamin Franklin

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Here are some great questions to ask yourself as you get your goals:

  • What do I want out of my blog?
  • What does successful look like?

Write down what you want to accomplish a week from now, a month from now, and a year from now with your blog.

Post it on your computer, above your door, or somewhere else where you will see it every single day. Remember, blogging successfully is about creating quality content and publishing it consistently to engage your readers.

If you need a little more help planning your blog and setting goals for yourself, we have a great resource for you in our Step 6: Set Your Goals post. We will walk you through the same process we use to set our goals. It works great for us and it will make sure you are ready to make your blog a success.

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