So, you want to find out how to start a blog? This is the perfect place to be. Starting a blog in 2018 is a quick and easy thing to do and once you’re up and running, you can focus on putting in the effort to make it successful.
Blogging is a business in itself! Not only is it a creative outlet where you can share what you love and inspire others, you can also make money blogging, work with brands and build your own empire. I live in Australia and blogging is my full time job – no matter where you are, it can be your’s too!
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links, meaning I earn a commission if you use those links. I will always only recommend brands I trust and ones I think you’ll love too.
Why do you want to start a blog?
- Do you have a passion that you’d love to share your knowledge, thoughts and ideas about?
- Do you dream of running your own business, working from home and being your own boss?
- Do you already have a business and you want to start a blog/website to attract more customers?
- Would you love to get involved in all the perks of blogging? The PR packages, travel, working with brands?
No matter what your reason is for wanting to start a blog, the most important thing is to start now! There has never been a better time to start a blog, so I want to show you exactly how to do it and how you can make your blog more than just a blog!
Let’s get you set up for success!
How to start a blog
Here are my easy step-by-step instructions on how to start a blog:
- Decide what to blog about
- Name your blog
- Secure the username
- Create your blog
- Install a blog theme
- Add your logo
- Style your pages and side bar
- Start posting
- Promote it
1. Decide what to blog about
The first thing to figure out when starting a blog is what type of blog you want to have. In other words, your ‘niche’. The more focused you are on your niche and the type of posts you’ll create to fit that niche, the more new followers you’ll gain. If you create a new blog and the content is all over the place, people won’t be able to connect with it as much as if it focused on a particular category.
Popular blogging categories or niches include:
|Wedding||Education||Technology||Books + Film|
You need to go with a niche that excites you, one you’d love to create content for. If you want more than one niche, (e.g. a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog) I suggest choosing no more than three categories.
2. Name your blog
Next you need to come up with a unique name for your blog. You can either use your full name or you can come up with a different creative name. Read my instructions on how to come up with a blog name.
Once you have a list of potential names, you will need to check through each one to see if the domain name is available. Use the Bluehost search bar below to check if your names are free:
When you click the green ‘check availability’ button above, it will either take you to a page that says it’s ‘not available for registration’, OR it will take you to a page to create your blog hosting account (which means it’s free and ready to go!).
When you purchase your blog hosting with Bluehost (see instructions below), they will include your domain for free so you don’t have to purchase it separately anywhere else and it will automatically be connected to your new blog. More and more domains are being snapped up every day (people even buy them just to re-sell) so if you can get your domain, snap it up before someone else does.
3. Secure the username
Once you have a name for your blog, I recommend starting accounts with the same name on all social media accounts. For example, if your blog is called Sprinkle Cupcake, you need to try and get the username sprinklecupcake on every social media account (eg. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram). If you can’t have the name exactly, try adding an underscore (_) or a dash (-) in the middle of the words, or adding the word ‘blog’ at the end.
Having the same username on every social media platform will make it so easy for your readers to find and follow you.
4. Create your Blog
Now that you have your blog name sorted and you’re ready to get things happening, we need to create your blog! There are two platforms I recommend for blogging. The first (and most ideal) is self-hosted WordPress, the second is Blogger.
- You can create an inspiring website/blog
- You can make money with your blog and run an online store
- When you purchase hosting you can get your domain for free and it’s automatically added to your blog
- The designer themes you can find for WordPress blogs are incredible
- You install easy-to-use Plugins to your blog to add functionality rather than messing around with HTML
- It’s the best platform if you’re working towards having a successful blog.
- It’s great if your blog is a hobby
- Your blog URL will be yourblogname.blogspot.com (not very professional!)
- You have to purchase a domain somewhere else and add it into the settings of your blog
- You’ll need to purchase and install a designer Blogger template if you want it to look good
- You will need HTML knowledge if you want to add anything fancy to your blog such as contact forms and pin it buttons
- You won’t be able to run an online store
- It’s a bit difficult to move everything to WordPress later (and trust me, you’ll want to!)
I highly recommend going with WordPress, as you can make your blog a stunning website, rather than “just a blog”. You will be able to run your own business and make money with your blog. Blog Pixie is on WordPress and it’s the best investment I’ve made. I now have a beautiful, interactive website (and you can too)!
When you’re just starting out there are some blogging terms that may seem a bit confusing, so I’ll try and make it easy for you:
Domain – Your domain is your web address, your home on the internet. When people type your domain into the web address bar, they’ll land on your blog. The domain for Blog Pixie is www.blogpixie.com, so your domain would be www.whateveryouwant.com
WordPress – WordPress is a web-creation platform which is installed to your hosting account. It’s where you go to run your blog, just like opening a program on your computer. It allows you to create a blog, change the look of it, publish posts, pages and run an online store.
Hosting – Web hosting is the service that makes your blog appear live online at your domain. If you didn’t pay for web hosting and went straight to your domain, nothing would be showing there. All your website files (your theme, posts, images, content) that you upload to WordPress are pushed live by your hosting.
All three of the above are required to have your own online space, and the best thing is that you can organise all of them in one go. Instructions below!
First we will be organising your domain, hosting and WordPress. You can get all of these sorted at the same time at a website called Bluehost. This is the #1 recommended hosting website for WordPress blogs and websites, plus it’s so fast to set up.
If you sign up for hosting with Bluehost, they’ll actually include your domain for free and connect it with your website straight away – you don’t have to worry about purchasing your domain somewhere else and any other complicated technical steps. They also install WordPress for you, as you’re signing up. Everything is done for you!
Go to Bluehost and you will land on their home screen, where you’ll see this banner. Click on the green ‘get started now’ button.
Next you will land on this screen, where you’ll need to select your plan. If you’re just starting out, the first package has everything you need.
Keep in mind that to get the low price they’re showing you, you’ll have to pay for 36 months up-front. Your new blog will be all paid for, ready to make it a success in the next 3 years. Definitely worth the investment! Plus if you change your mind in the first 30 days, you can cancel and Bluehost will give you a full refund.
You can of course choose a 12-month plan instead, but when you think about it, paying for 3 years upfront is probably way cheaper than the amount you spend on coffee each year!
The basic plan includes:
- Your domain
Make your blog look professional from the beginning with a web address (www.yourblogname.com) instead of yourblog.blogspot.com or yourblog.wix.com
Paying for the space to keep all your blog content safe and making it appear live online
- A perfect amount of hosting space
Lots of space to upload all your blog images, products and content
- 5 email accounts
So you can have email@example.com as a stylish email address, instead of a gmail or hotmail address
Now you’ll need to choose your domain (www.yourblog.com). This can take some time, trying to find one that hasn’t already been taken. Try and find the closest domain you can to your blog or business name (need help choosing a blog name?). The shorter it is, the more memorable it will be.
Once you’ve clicked next, you’ll land on a page where you have to fill your info in. This is your main information for your Bluehost account. Make sure your email address is correct, as this will be the email Bluehost uses to contact you.
On the same page, you’ll need to confirm your plan and account information.
Next to Account Plan, choose exactly which one you’d like (I know, again!), and it will let you know next to ‘Hosting Price’ what the total for that package comes to.
The extra options with checkboxes underneath aren’t necessary, but it’s up to you. Read ‘more information’ besides each one to see if you want them. Otherwise, uncheck all.
At the bottom you will see the total amount you’ll be paying to Bluehost (depending on which account plan you’ve chosen).
Down the bottom of the same page, is the area where you fill in your payment details. Have a read of their Terms Of Service and Cancellation Policy, and then click Submit.
Next you will need to create your Bluehost password.
You can see your menu on the left which has all the sections you need, including Posts (to publish blog posts), Pages (to create your About and Contact pages) and Appearance (to change your theme).
5. Install a Blog Theme
Now we’re at the fun part. Installing a blog theme changes the appearance and layout of your blog/website. It’s all the complicated coding done for you, in one file which you simply have to upload to your blog. You don’t need to hire a web developer to design it all for you if you install a theme.
There are so many different layouts to choose from – some with a side bar, some just a header and body section. When you preview themes, ignore what content is currently in the preview. Imagine your content (logo, posts, photos, writing) in there. A theme just organises where your content is going to be displayed on your blog.
Free WordPress Themes
In your dashboard menu (the dark menu running down the left hand side), go to Appearance > Themes and click the ‘Add New’ button at the top. You can find a selection of free themes to install to get started. Remember you can change your theme any time throughout your blog journey, so if you start with a free one now, you can always purchase a designer one later.
My favorite free themes include:
To find them, just search their name in the ‘Search Themes’ search bar.
Designer WordPress Themes
If you want your blog to look absolutely incredible from the start, I recommend purchasing a designer theme. My favorite place to buy WordPress themes is Hello You Designs. She has an installation service if you want her to set it up for you, or you can do what I did and follow her free step by step Support guide. I knew nothing about WordPress but was able to set up my whole theme myself.
To install one of her themes, you will need to purchase the Genesis Framework, install and activate that in the Themes section first. Then install and activate the theme you’ve purchased.
My favorites from Hello You Designs include:
6. Add your logo
To make your blog memorable from the beginning, you will need a logo. This is your blog title in a fancy font, that you place at the top of your blog.
When I started my blog Flip And Style, I didn’t have Photoshop. I’m sure editing sites like Picmonkey and Canva didn’t exist back then either! I did have some kind of image editing program on my computer, so I used that to type out my blog name in a font (looking back, I chose the worst font!), cropped it down and saved it, ready to upload to my blog. Your first logo doesn’t have to be your only one. It’s definitely best for you to stick with one, but if you’re ever not feeling it, you have the option to change it!
Upload your blog header image or logo to the top of your blog as soon as you can. If you don’t have a logo and you need one fast, I’ve got some affordable logo designs in my store.
7. Style your pages and side bar
You will need to add an About page (with a bit of info about yourself) and a Contact page (so your visitors can contact you).
Spend some time styling your blog side bar, adding a profile picture, social media icons and social widgets for Instagram and Pinterest. If you want some decorative graphics to add in, check out my blog styling kits.
If you need some beautiful photos to add to your blog, check out my Blogging Resources page for a list of stock photography websites.
8. Start posting
The sooner you start publishing blog posts, the better. They may not be perfect from the beginning, but the more you post the better you’ll get at it. Come up with a list of blog post ideas you’d like the create and work your way through it. If you need some ideas, check out my list of 100 blog post ideas.
9. Promote it
If you want to get more blog traffic, you will need to promote your new posts and your blog on your social media channels. You can use Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and even sites like Stumbleupon. If you don’t start talking about it, nobody will know it exists! Be proud of what you’ve done and start spreading the word.