Blog

How to Start a Blog in 2020

Want to know how to start a blog? In this guide, we’ll run you through exactly how to make a blog for beginners.

So you want to know how to start a blog? Awesome! But how can you get started? 

There are tons of options out there, and so many of them seem terrifyingly complicated.

What’s the best way to start a blog?

What’s the easiest way to start a blog?

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be confusing.

In this guide, we’ll run you through exactly how to start a blog for beginners. Sound good? Okay, let’s jump in.

(Psst! While we feature certain third party brands in this article, we are not affiliated with them, other than those related to Oberlo and Shopify. Prices mentioned in the article are true at the time of publication but may change over time.)

How to Start a Blog

Here are ten steps to make a blog:

  1. Find your niche
  2. Self-Host or Free Service?
  3. Meet WordPress
  4. Choose your domain name
  5. Choose a hosting provider
  6. Set up a blog
  7. Design your new blog
  8. Install essential WordPress plugins
  9. Define your audience
  10. Share your first blog post

All you need to do is follow this guide step-by-step, and you can start a blog in no time!

Step 1: Find your niche

This is the most important decision you need to make when learning how to start a blog. What will you write about and the type of content that will be needed is critical to decide before you get into the gritty details. Do you want to write about food, lifestyle, or Italian food, the gluten-free lifestyle? Finding your niche will guide the rest of the process when it comes to setting up a blog. 

Step 2: Self-Host or Free Service?

Next you need to decide whether to pay to create a blog or get one for free on a blogging platform.

This might seem like a no-brainer at first glance. I mean, who doesn’t want to get free stuff online?

Plus, there are tons of great free blogging platforms available, such as:

  • WordPress.com: The big-dog of content management systems has a free option available.
  • Blogger: This dedicated blogging service will help you set up everything you need.
  • Medium: Think of this platform a bit like Twitter, but for blogs!

Medium.com homepage: a blogging platform

These options are fantastic if you’re looking to start blogging as a hobby. If this is you, simply head to one of those websites and sign up!

However, if you’re more serious about starting a blog, there are three significant drawbacks to free blogging services:

1. Limitations

Most free blog services have limitations. For example, you won’t be able to monetize your blog effectively, and there will be a limit on the amount of data you can upload to your blog. You’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan to lift these limits.

2. You Don’t Own Your Blog

It might sound strange, but if you use one of these services, you won’t technically own your blog! It’s a part of the platform, like your Facebook or Twitter account. 

So you’re not in total control of your blog. This means the company could delete it, and you could lose all of your hard work.

3. You Won’t Get Your Own Domain

A domain is what you type into a web browser to access a website, such as “google.com” or “wikipedia.org.”

example of a domain name

When you start a free blog using one of the services mentioned above, your blog’s domain will look like this:

  • yourblogname.wordpress.com
  • yourblogname.blogspot.com
  • medium.com/@yourblogname

However, if you set up a self-hosted blog, there are no limitations, you’re in full control of your blog website, and you can get a name like “yourblogname.com.” So how will you start your blog, self-hosted or free? If you choose self-hosted as how to start a blog keep reading.

So, how can you set up a blog like this?

Step 3: Meet WordPress.org

As we mentioned above, WordPress.com is an online website builder service.

On the other hand, WordPress.org allows you to download and use the WordPress website framework on your self-hosted site – for free! (From here on out, we’ll refer to this version on WordPress.)

Now, WordPress is arguably the best way to start a blog if you’re serious about blogging:

  1. It’s easy and free to use
  2. There are countless free themes and plugins available to customize your blog
  3. There are plenty of resources and active support forums in case you get stuck and need some help.

WordPress is so popular that it powers approximately 36% of websites on the entire internet.

WordPress homepage: start a blog with WordPress

So, how can you create a self-hosted WordPress blog?

Step 4: Choose a Domain Name

Before you can move onto the next step you should now choose your domain name, aka what your URL will be. If you have a name in mind — great! You can check via Shopify, Domain.com, Bluehost, NameCheap, or another domain name registrar if your domain name is free.
If you are not sure though you can use a free business name generator like Oberlo’s to find a domain name based around your niche. Then you can go ahead and check if the domain name is free via a domain name registrar. Now you can start learning about hosting.

 

Step 5: Choose a Hosting Provider

Think of hosting providers a bit like landlords renting out property. You need to rent space from a web host to store your website.

WordPress recommends three hosting providers:

  1. SiteGround provides managed WordPress updates, and a 24/7 support team with advanced WordPress expertise.
  2. DreamHost is privacy-focused and optimized for WordPress with a support team that actively contributes to the WordPress community.
  3. Bluehost provides a free domain when you sign up for hosting.

three examples of hosting providers

How much do website hosting and a domain name cost? Depending on the service, hosting plans typically cost between $4-$10 per month, and domains cost about $15 per year.

Step 6: Set Up Your Blog

Now’s the fun part – it’s how to start a blog website!

Head to your chosen hosting provider and sign up for a hosting plan. Take your time and pick a domain that you love, as it can be difficult to change it later.

Once you’ve purchased a hosting plan and a domain name, you need to install WordPress.

You can download and install WordPress.org manually – or, better yet, follow the directions of your hosting provider to install WordPress automatically.

An example of the hosting setup process

Once you’re set up, head to “www.yourblogname.com/admin” to sign in to your new WordPress blog!

Step 7: Design Your Blog

Once inside, search for a stunning WordPress theme to customize the design of your blog.

Many professional themes offer free versions in an effort to get you to pay to access additional features. If you’d rather avoid this, choose a free theme made by WordPress.

Examples of WordPress themes for your blog

Step 8: Install essential WordPress plugins

You can also add WordPress plugins to customize the functionality of your WordPress blog. Which ones you choose to use is an important element when deciding how to start a blog.

Plugins allow you to increase your site’s security, add social media widgets, customize a contact form, and more. There’s a plugin for just about everything!

wordpress plugin logos

Here is a list of possible plugins that you may need for your blog:

  1. Onsite SEO
    A plugin like Yoast or Rath Math can help guide you on how to optimize your articles in the best way for search engines. This is important if you want to get found by people searching Google and other search engines. These WordPress plugins give you pointers like keyword density, internal link, meta title optimization for better click-through-rate (CTR), etc.
  2. Spam Filters
    If you have a contact form or comments enabled on your blog using plugins like Akismet is a must. Akismet scans comments and contact form submissions against their database of spam to help prevent malicious content being placed on your website.
  3. Content Checks
    If you are a one person blog then you will need a proofreader of sorts to check for spelling mistakes, repeated words, and other small things that can give your blog a bad rep. Using Grammarly or similar plugins is a substitute for the real thing. These tools scan your content before you push it live, highlighting error and considerations for you to update. 
  4. Technical SEO
    If your website is a little slow if is always good to clean up unused Javascript and CSS. Plugins like Asset CleanUp can do this for you so you don’t need to delve into code and spend hours getting lost. 
  5. Reduce Image Size
    Image size can great increase the time it takes to load pages. Using a tool like Shortpixel Image Optimizer, images get optimized when you upload them to WordPress meaning that you don’t need to worry about reducing the image size. All originals images are stored in a folder and you can cancel optimization of an image at anytime.

Step 9: Define your audience

Now that you can your blog ready and you can’t wait to publish your first post, there is just one thing standing in your way — what you should write about. You have your niche and your blog name but where to start? Start with your audience. What do they like to read about, which websites are their go-to websites for information, do they prefer videos/charts/graphs/recipes/long form blog content? Plan out the different trending content that your audience talk about regularly and start to create a content calendar around it. 
A content calendar can be a piece of paper with article articles on it, a Google Sheet going into more granular detail, or a project management tool with boards, tasks and a whole lot more detail. Regardless of the avenue you choose to go down, you are now ready to start blogging! 

Step 10: Share Your First Blog Post

Once you’ve customized the appearance and functionality of your blog, and created your content calendar based on your audience, you’re ready to share your first blog post!

How to create a post on WordPress

Summary: How to Start a Blog in 2020

Learning how to make a blog doesn’t have to be challenging or take a long time. Here’s a quick summary of how to start a blog in 2020 if you plan on self-hosting:

  1. Find your niche
  2. Decide if it will be Self-Hosted or a Free Service?
  3. Try WordPress
  4. Choose your domain name
  5. Choose a hosting provider
  6. Set up a blog
  7. Design your new blog
  8. Install essential WordPress plugins
  9. Define your audience
  10. Share your first blog post

Finally, don’t worry if your blog doesn’t look amazing straight out of the gate – you’ll get the hang of it!

As Pierre Omidyar, the founder and chairman of eBay, said, “If you’re passionate about something and you work hard, then I think you will be successful.”

Want to Learn More?

Scroll to top