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Today we’re going to take some serious action. I am going to show you how to start a blog website and be online.
A blog website is the easiest online platform you can set up for your brand. When building online businesses, you need a place where you can post useful information and nurture your audience. Your blog is your own personal platform where there are no restrictions. Today I am going to help you set up your first blog website.
By following the steps of this article, you will have your very own blog website on the internet ready to be seen by the world like www.yourblog.com
Here’s a quick overview of what we will do:
- We will sign up for a Bluehost account to start a new blog
- I will share all the details about online blogging you should know
- You will learn how to write and post your first blog post
After that, you will also learn how to set it up the right way and will have a guideline for posting your first article. This blog will enable you to build your own platform and start earning a passive income but most of all, it is going to be an asset you can sell in the future.
I have written this article from a beginner’s perspective. You may have a few questions about blogging before you start one so I have put everything any new blogger would want to learn.
However, if you have made your mind and want to start now, then click here to jump straight to the setup instructions.
I hope this article helps you make the right decisions.
- 1 What are we going to build?
- 2 Why is it important to have a blog anyway?
- 3 What are the best topics to blog about?
- 4 Does a blog have to be about one topic?
- 5 How to come up with a name for your blog?
- 6 Do I have to use my full name on my blog?
- 7 What will we need to start a blog website?
- 8 How much does blogging cost?
- 9 What is a self-hosted blog?
- 10 What are the benefits of using WordPress?
- 11 Setup Instructions
- 12 I started my blog, now what?
- 13 How should blogs be written?
- 14 How long does it take to write a post?
- 15 How do I write my first blog post?
- 16 Choose your own adventure
What are we going to build?
We are going to build a blog website. A blog is a special type of website where you can post text-based content like this one you are reading in BlogKori. This is going to be a self-hosted blog powered by the WordPress platform. You won’t have to use any programming language or deal with complex server software to be able to publish online, and I will guide you through every step of the way.
At the end of this exercise, you will have your very own blog website like www.yourblog.com
Why is it important to have a blog anyway?
I outlined in this post that having your own platform is the best way to generate a passive income. When you are creating content and making money (like YouTube or Udemy), you should not be tied down to platforms owned by other corporations.
There are many ways you can build your own platform like an App, a membership site, or a mailing list but a blog website is the easiest of them to set up and maintain.
Having your own blog allows you to promote your services, affiliate offers, or run display advertising to make money online. Since you own your blog, you will have no restrictions on what you can monetize or not, and no one can ban you from your blog, unlike Instagram or YouTube.
The general plan is to publish relevant and useful content to your blog so that people who are searching for this content can come and get help. Some of these contents will have your product recommendation with your affiliate links, and some of them will run display advertising. You get to write & publish once and have it read by new people for years to come.
Since your blog stays online 24/7, it can serve your audience constantly, even when you are sleeping. This is the central idea of online-based passive income and with a blog, you are going to replace yourself with technology.
What are the best topics to blog about?
Some of the popular topics to blog about are the ones where people spend money. Topics like health, finance, relationship, and self-improvement are the broad categories that are at the top.
These broad topics have many sub-topics like fitness, weight loss, diet, etc. for the health niche; personal finance, mortgage, retirement planning, make money online, etc. for the finance niche; finding love, getting your ex back, pick up artist, etc. for the relationship niche are just to name a few.
In a nutshell, if people have problems and if they are willing to spend money on the solution, then that’s a good niche. Since we bloggers can add value to their lives by offering a good solution, we can make money serving that audience. This is also called being an influencer.
That being said, there are so many niches out there and anything can be a niche. If you can think of a niche, just do a Google search. If you find a few good blogs out there already covering it, then there is money to be made and it’s a good niche to get in.
You may already be serving a niche if you are a YouTube creator or a Udemy course instructor. Why not start a blog on the same niche as an extension of your current business plan? Are you a professional like an accountant? Then accounting for [group of people] can be your niche. If you are a fitness trainer, then fitness for [your target audience] is your niche.
If you are a doctor, software engineer, writer, or a truck driver, you can draw inspiration from your field to find a topic for your blog. You may also bring your hobbies to be the topic of your blog.
If done well, any topic will work and any niche can be turned into a profitable niche. So remember to pick a single niche!
Does a blog have to be about one topic?
Yes. If you want to succeed in the quickest amount of time, then you should blog about one topic only. If your blog is about oriental necklaces, then make it all about oriental necklaces. You might find that after writing five of six posts about this topic you are hitting a dead end and can’t find any new posts to write about. This is why you have to think and plan out your niche.
You are okay to cover other topics that are closely related to your primary topic. If you are blogging about necklaces, then you might also cover bracelets because they go together really well. But if your blog is about jewelry, then don’t suddenly start writing about children’s toys.
When making a blog, you have to keep your audience’s expectations in mind. If your visitor reads your blog about jewelry, then he/she will think your blog is a good place for that and think you are an expert on the topic. But if the next time they find a totally unrelated topic they don’t care about, they will think your blog is just a collection of unrelated topics and go away.
In order to build a sustainable long term asset, we are going to build this blog as an authority blog in that niche, and the first step to do this is to focus on a single topic. Once you have decided on your area of focus, it’s time to pick a good name for your blog.
How to come up with a name for your blog?
The best way to name your blog is to put the topic name and add a modifier like [topic]spot, [topic]guide, or [topic]place. Put the primary keyword or main topic in the name with a prefix or suffix to come up with a unique name for your blog like PaleoClub, BaseballHub, DrMeatballs, CatPalace, WhyAloevera, you get the idea.
Look at my blog name, blogkori. It’s a combination of two words, blog, and kori. Blog means a blog website and kori means I am doing (in Bangla). My blog name means I am blogging. Since my blog is all about blogging, I have kept the word “blog” in the name. Similarly, you will add your primary blog topic so your visitors will instantly know what your blog is about.
But what if you don’t have the topic already?
You want to start a blog immediately but you haven’t figured out what you want to blog yet. Maybe you will settle on a topic six months down the road, so how to name your blog?
When you absolutely have no clue what you are going to blog, then you can use your own name as your blog name. Using your own name as the blog name is a common practice among bloggers and in that case, the person’s name becomes the brand of the blog. Some of the established blogs out there using their personal name as their blog name are Neil Patel, Marie Forleo, and Drew Binsky.
Now here comes the dilemma,
Do I have to use my full name on my blog?
It totally depends on what are your goals with your blog. If you are blogging as a hobby, then you can get away by blogging under a pseudonym. But since we are blogging for business, and people want to do business with a legitimate person, it’s a good thing to use your full name on your blog for building trust.
Using your full name can come up with certain privacy issues, so you can use your partial name for operating this online venture. Some bloggers have invented a new identity to run their blogs. This way they have separated their blog identity from their other profession.
When you use your full name in your blog, the blog will come up on Google search whenever someone searches for your blog. Now it’s up to you, do you want to get credit for your blog or not?
If you are an expert in a professional field, a coach, a Udemy instructor, or an Amazon author, then you will benefit from Google search when your blog is the same topic as your field. This will add credibility and flow both ways. When I started my blog, I wanted to be known for my blogging expertise so I have used my real name in my blog.
If you already have a YouTube channel or a brand, where you are not using your real name, you can easily use that name in your blog.
Once you have decided on your blog topic and what to name your blog, it’s time to take action and start your first blog website.
What will we need to start a blog website?
To go online with a blog website, we need these crucial things:
- Email address
- Domain name
- Web hosting
- Content Management System CMS
An email address is no brainer, and you probably have one already. But for starting your new online journey I highly recommend you set up a fresh new email address to be used for all of your online business-related activities. This is so that you don’t get your personal email address exposed to various email marketing lists.
The moment you start your blog, you will start receiving lots of marketing emails trying to sell you various solutions. You will also be bombarded with spam blog comments and automated emails. So to save yourself, it’s always a good idea to register a fresh new email address to use for your blog.
Fortunately, there is Gmail that allows you to have a free email account. We are going to use Gmail because it also gives access to many free Google services including Drive, Docs, and YouTube we can use to grow our blogs.
A domain name is the DOT COM address of any website. For my site, the address is blogkori.com. Similarly, you will obtain a domain name for yourblog.com or yourbrand.com.
A domain name is a unique name and by using that anyone in the world can access your website. Your blog name becomes the domain name, so when you pick “Your Blog“, it will become yourblog.com.
Something to note about domain names:
- A domain name costs $13 per year, you have to renew it every year. I have been renewing blogkori.com for 10 years now.
- There are many domain extensions like .com, .net, .org, .co, .io but .com is the most popular of them all so always pick a .com
- Most of the good .com domain names are already taken, so you have to be creative. Don’t pay thousands to choose the perfect domain.
Since a domain name is also the name of your blog and brand, you might find it hard to come up with a good domain name that is a DOT COM, but you should not worry about it.
My tip is that your domain name is not that important, your content is. Starting your online business is more important than starting with the perfect name.
If you can’t figure out a name, why not register your own name as the domain name like JohnSmith.com? The important thing is you should start first and can always pick a better name six months down the road.
We are going to grab the free domain name that comes when signing up for the Bluehost account. It will save us $13.
Your web hosting account is the physical data storage where all of your website files, content, and pictures will be stored. A web hosting solution will be responsible for storing files in disk, managing the database, and handling user requests. This is the one component that allows you to serve your customers 24/7 helping you make money while you are sleeping.
Web hosting comes in all shapes and sizes depending on the monthly active users they can handle. For a beginner-level blog website, you can start with a basic package. As your platform grows and you start to get thousands of monthly visitors, you can switch to an advanced hosting plan in the future.
The most common entry-level web hosting package is called a shared web hosting solution. Here you are going to rent a portion of a server computer that makes it easier for anyone to host online without having to run and maintain the server yourself. And the best part is, you get to rent a high performing web server for as low as $5 a month. This type of web hosting solution is ideal for starter websites and can easily handle a few hundred visitors per day.
Content Management System (CMS)
How much does blogging cost?
To have a self-hosted blog website, the monthly costs are as low as $6 per month. A domain name is $13 per year and a hosting account goes for around $3-5 bucks a month. With this nominal cost, you get to have your own domain name and valuable online platform you can make money from.
With my expert guideline, you are going to pay only the bare minimum and get the most out of your investment. Don’t consider it a cost, think of it as an investment towards building a solid online business. People spend thousands of dollars on building their websites, (I know because I am a freelance developer). But since we are going the DIY route, you won’t have to spend an arm or leg to have a blog. Here’s a basic rundown of the costs of blogging:
- Domain name: $13/yr (free from Bluehost)
- Web hosting account: $5/mo
- WordPress CMS: Free
What is a self-hosted blog?
Blogs come in two flavors, a hosted platform like Tumblr, Medium or Blogspot, and the self-hosted version like WordPress and Ghost. A self-hosted blog means you host it yourself.
When you hear the phrase, self-hosted, you might think about running a server computer and messing up with programming code and databases. But worry not because nowadays, having such a blog is as simple as signing up for a Facebook or YouTube account. All the technical aspects of the past have been taken care of by the rockstar hosting companies.
Now you must be asking, why do I have to set up and get a paid service when I can set up a free blog from any other services?
This is because we are not blogging as a hobby, we are doing it for building an online business. A self-hosted blog website has no restrictions. You can easily run ads, promote affiliate products, and even sell the entire blog to someone else in the future.
This blog is flexible, meaning you can turn it into a membership site, a forum, or even a social network of your own.
Finally, a self-hosted blog is portable. If in the future you want to turn your little blog into a large application, you can easily do it without any restrictions. Free blogging providers, on the other hand, have total control over your blog and you won’t be able to transfer or sell it to someone.
Out of the many self-hosted blog solutions out there, WordPress is the number one choice and trusted by all the top bloggers. We are going to use the WordPress platform to build our blog. Even this blog, BlogKori is also built on this platform.
What are the benefits of using WordPress?
WordPress is a battle-tested content management system that lets you publish online without having to do any programming. It’s secure, easy to use, and has a large community of users. The best part of using WordPress is the vast array of custom plugins and themes you can use with it.
This all means you can easily turn your blog website into a membership site, e-commerce, or even a job board when you need it. Having thousands of themes can help you achieve a design you desire without being a designer yourself.
But the important thing we are interested in is the ease of use. WordPress user interface is simple and gives power to the non-techy folks.
A note about WordPress.com
When making a search for WordPress, you will notice there are two versions of the same thing, WordPress.org, and WordPress.com. WordPress.org is the CMS software we will use to build our own platform.
WordPress.com, on the other hand, is a free blogging platform for hobbyist bloggers. We don’t want to use the free WordPress.com service because in that platform we won’t own our site and won’t be able to monetize it or sell it in the future.
If you are starting a blog for the intention of starting an online business, then you should move forward with the .org version.
Now that we are all set, we can get started with the actual setup of starting a blog. The good thing is, when you sign up for a hosting account, it will handle the domain, hosting, and WordPress all at once. This means you will have just one account to manage your entire blog website.
There are many web hosting solutions out there but for this tutorial, we will be using Bluehost. They are user friendly and since we are going to use WordPress, Bluehost will be perfect because it is officially recommended by WordPress itself powering over 2 million websites (WordPress, 2020).
Click on the green Get Started button
You will be presented with various hosting plans. Pick the basic plan because for the first blog you don’t need anything fancy.
Here enter the domain name you wish for your blog. Bluehost will offer you a free domain name when you sign up for a web hosting package.
Enter your billing details here
Now pick the payment term from the dropdown. I have selected a 12-month plan that saves me money, if you want to save even more you can pick 24 or 36-month term.
Uncheck all the extra offers, we’ll do just fine with the basic features,
Enter your payment detail (your credit card info)
Click Submit to make the payment and continue to your account creation page.
For my Bangladeshi readers, you can pay using the Payoneer card or can borrow someone’s international credit card or PayPal account.
Now create your account, this is going to be your web hosting control panel login information. Make sure you set up a strong password and write it down somewhere for safekeeping.
In a moment your account will be created and you will be prompted to log in
Enter your password to log in to your account. You will also receive the details via email
You will be prompted to create your website. Enter your site name and tagline below. Also, enable “Do you want a blog?”
Select the features you want for your new blog website and continue,
Now you will be presented to pick a theme for your blog,
When picking up a theme for your website, don’t spend too much time searching for the perfect design because we are going to change it in the future anyway.
I say you pick the one that you feel okay and continue.
This will install WordPress!
Now click on start building.
This is your WordPress dashboard and we are going to spend the majority of our time working here writing, publishing, and managing our website.
This dashboard is called the backend of your blog website.
This is your fresh new WordPress dashboard.
And this is how mine looks like:
You will notice that your site is in the Coming Soon state.
This means no-one in the world can use your website except yourself. We need to disable it and make the site public. This is because by this time no one knows or cares about your site. The sooner you make it available, the sooner Google will index it, and the sooner you can start building your platform.
Click on the Launch your site to make the site public to the world
View your website by clicking the site name on top or going to www.yourblog.com
You have started your own blog.
You can call it a day now because you have taken the first step towards building a sustainable online business that will provide you continuous results in the coming years.
Let me share more,
I started my blog, now what?
Starting a blog is just half the battle, you have to write content and make it successful. By following my plan you will write awesome content and enjoy doing it. And it’s not like you have to get a new job of writing blog posts forever, you are going to publish a set amount of blog posts and win from that. After all, we are blogging as a way to build passive income. We will work hard once and reap the rewards for years to come.
But before you start publishing content, it’s time to tweak a few settings in your blog to have peace of mind.
By the way, anytime you want to login to your WordPress backend, you should go to your Bluehost account and click on Log in to WordPress
Change timezone and email
The first thing you should do is to set up your site’s timezone and localization format. This way when you post on your blog, the time and dates will be consistent with your local time. You should also change your administrator email to the one you created for blog related matters.
In your WordPress dashboard, locate Settings.
The settings menu has a submenu. Open General submenu,
Now from the general settings page, change your administrator email to the one you opened for your blog.
So that all the spam and blog related emails lands on that specialized email account.
We are not done yet!
One the same page, scroll down to find the localization settings:
Change your timezone, date, and time format and when you are done, click Save Changes.
Disable comment spam
After you have set up your first blog, you will start receiving comment spam within the first 30 minutes. I know it’s crazy, so we gotta make sure we don’t tolerate that.
Go to Discussion menu from the Settings tab,
- Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the post
- Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new posts
This will stop getting useless link notification and also stop sending a notification to other blogs, speeding up your site.
- Anyone posts a comment
- A comment is held for moderation
This will disable the email notification for new comments/spam comments.
This will keep your blog clean and discourage comment spammers. If you don’t disable email notification, your email inbox will be filled with unwanted comment notifications.
Click on Save Changes at the bottom of the page,
You can log in to your blog every once in a while to check on the comments when you feel like.
Change your display name
At this moment your name is shown as Admin, we need to change this.
You will find the Users menu,
From the submenu, select Your Profile
Set your first name, last name that you want to publically use in your blog, and from the dropdown, set the preferred name you want to display alongside your blog posts,
Save the changes by clicking the Update Profile button,
WordPress uses the feature of plugins to add custom functionality. Think of plugins like extensions for your website. The default WordPress installation comes with just the barebone features for you to start publishing, but if you want to do more with it, you will need to use plugins.
There are many useful plugins you will come across in the future so I am not going to overwhelm you with all these boring details. It’s better to know about various plugins once you come across a specific need. For your new site, you need to protect the site from hackers by installing this plugin called WordFence.
Locate the Plugins menu in your dashboard,
From there, click on Add New submenu,
You will see the plugins page. It’s just like the app store of WordPress. Locate the search bar,
Type in wordfence in the search bar,
The page will change and you will see a list of plugins, the first one should be the one we are interested so click on Install Now button,
The install button will change into Installing icon, wait a few seconds until the button changes,
Once the button changes into blue Activate button, you will know the plugin has been installed into your blog and you have to enable it by clicking on the Activate button,
It will show up the sign-up button where you should enter the email where it will send security emails. Check their terms, select “No” you don’t want to join their mailing list and click Continue.
After you sign up, it Wordfence will prompt you to get their premium protection, say No Thanks because the basic protection will do just fine,
After you do this, you will be back to your WordPress dashboard.
Just installing and enabling basic options will be enough to protect your blog from unwanted hackers so you can have peace of mind.
Now that we are done with the essential settings, let’s move on!
Promoting your blog? Forget about it!
We are not going to promote the blog in any means; okay maybe you can tell a few friends just for the sake of it but that’s it. At this stage, there is no point in doing any external promotion since your blog is empty.
Some other bloggers will recommend you create a Twitter profile, Facebook page, and other social media profiles for your blog but that’s just a huge waste of time. We are going to spend 80% of our time writing quality blog articles and the rest of the 20% optimizing the blog to better serve and monetize the site.
We have to fully focus on the content creation side until we have a good amount of quality articles in the blog. So you can rest assured that you will not have to do any blog promotion in the early days of your blog (maybe six months).
Now you might be thinking if you don’t promote your blog, how on earth you would get visitors?
Answer: Google Search.
Yes, Google, the ultimate source for endless visitors who are actually interested in your blog topic. With quality blog articles, you will be able to gain organic search traffic without having to spend a dollar on advertising.
Just think about it, how you came across this blog? I am 100% sure that you first came to my blog by following a link in the Google search results.
I am going to teach you how exactly you can do the same for your blog, but before that, you need to focus on writing.
How should blogs be written?
Blog writing is not like writing for the press or for college. Blog articles are more like conversational pieces. Think of blogs like a letter you are writing to your friend. The more engaging and easy to follow the article, the better you will be able to keep your reader’s attention.
That being said, you should not forget about grammar and writing best practices. Make sure your articles are coherent and flow naturally.
You can start off by following the rule of the five-paragraph essay. An essay should have an opening paragraph outlining what you are going to cover. Then you will have three paragraphs supporting three important ideas of your essay topic. Finally, the last paragraph will draw a conclusion to your essay. Use this exact formula to write your blog articles.
Have an opening paragraph that oftentimes acts as a summary of your blog topic. Discuss each of your points with three or more paragraphs. Draw a conclusion using the last paragraph. In blogging, the conclusion also acts as a call to action or the next steps to you want the reader to take.
Other than these general tips, you should read your favorite blogs and see how they have structured their blog posts. The way I write my blog posts are inspired by countless other bloggers whom I read from regularly.
There is no universal rule of how a blog should be written, just make sure the information you are presenting is useful.
How long does it take to write a post?
It totally depends on your writing speed and the more you write the faster you can write it. For me, it takes roughly an hour to write the first draft of a blog post. You can easily start writing 500-word blog articles within an hour or two. A 500 words article is a good starting point to explain a single idea.
There are many different types of writing and each of them takes a different amount of time. There are creative writing that takes a lot of thought; conversational writing like this one that can be written at the speed of your thought and there is technical writing(for tutorials) that doesn’t take much effort on the writing side.
Depending on your type of writing and your expertise the time will vary but don’t think about it too much. Just keep track of how long it takes to write an acceptable quality article and use that as a benchmark. Overtime your speed and quality will increase. It’s possible that you already have a writing background, so you can bring that expertise over here.
Since we are blogging for business, think of writing as an investment, and don’t worry too much about the time it takes to write. The time you invest is going to be well worth it.
How do I write my first blog post?
You would write a blog post just like you write a Facebook status or an email. But since you are going to write for your own publication (your blog) you should put enough effort into writing and editing it.
You may have a couple of topics ready that you want to cover in your blog, so start with the one that interests you the most. Yes, you should only cover one topic per article.
If your blog is about traveling, write an article about your experience visiting a country, or if you have many different memories to share about that country, then divide them by cities or events. The idea is you should only cover one topic per blog post.
To start off, have your topic and outline all the points you want to cover. It’s a good idea to just do free writing and stop worrying about grammatical errors. Just keep writing and you will find your start.
Oftentimes we know what we want to say but don’t know how to write the opening paragraph. In that case, just ignore the opening paragraph for now and write the parts that interest you the most. Most of the time I want to write parts of the article but I still haven’t figured out how to write the other parts yet. So I just write the ones that I am most comfortable with and stop worrying about the rest.
When you are writing don’t worry about the length of the article, just keep writing. Don’t worry about writing 500, 1,000, or 2,000 words, just think about writing the next line and the paragraph. Just say to yourself, you are going to write one more paragraph, one more line and soon enough you will have some quality blog post.
In college, I had to come up with 500-word essays twice per week. It’s so tiring to come up with an article when you have not much knowledge of the topics. I followed the above method to just write one sentence, one paragraph at a time and soon I was finished writing the essay, meeting the word requirements.
It’s a good idea to write the blog post in a word document, format it, and then publish it in WordPress. I like to write the raw version of my articles in Google docs and then copy it over to the WordPress posting interface. After that, I do some formatting and hit publish.
If you are a non-native English speaker like me, then you can take some grammar lessons. The Grammarly browser extension helps a lot in checking for common spelling and grammar errors. Proofread your blog for any obvious spelling or grammar errors. If possible send it to a friend who’s English is better than yours and ask them to read and check for any mistakes.
Don’t worry about making it perfect, publish fast and you will improve over time.
Should I write a hello world, this is my first blog post type post?
There is no point in writing such posts because in the beginning nobody is reading and no-one really cares why you are blogging. The only time people will read this post is when your blog becomes popular and your fans want to dig deep and wants to read your first blog post.
Other than that, there is one benefit for writing a “Hello World” type post and that is to lose your blogging virginity. You can write anything in this post without being judged about it. Just write what comes into your mind, why did you start this blog and your motivations behind it; maybe even link back to this post if this article motivated you to start blogging.
Choose your own adventure
Now that you have your first blog, it’s time to work on it. You just laid the foundation towards building a successful passive income. This is just the beginning and I’m sure you will be making and flipping more blogs in your lifetime.
This is just the start and there are many things to do for building a successful blog website, so keep an eye out on this blog for my new articles.
Wish you all the best. Now I want you to take action:
- Follow the instructions of this post and start your blog
- Leave a comment in this article with your blog address
- Write your first blog post and link back to this article if it motivated you to start
- Check out the overview of how to make money with your blog and start planning your other blog posts