Congratulations! You’ve finally decided to start a blog. You’re on the path toward creating a website that perfectly reflects your brand, brings in revenue and delights your readers.
We’re thrilled you’ve decided to take the exciting leap into the world of blogging. In the digital age we’re living in, starting a blog is not just a means of expressing your thoughts and ideas, but it can also open up opportunities to generate income.
Our mission here is to guide you step-by-step on how to create a blog using WordPress – one of the world’s most popular and user-friendly platforms. So, whether you’re looking to share your unique knowledge, foster a community around a common interest, or even carve a path towards financial freedom, starting a blog could be your stepping stone.
Let’s dive into this wonderful journey of creating your very own blog. Remember, every successful blogger started just where you are right now.
But before we get carried away thinking about your future blogging successes, we first have to create the blog. Setting up a well-designed blog is easy when you use the right tools, such as Wondersuite by Bluehost.
Before we discuss the five simple steps to start a blog, we encourage you to spend some time in the planning and strategy phase.
Strategy and planning tips when starting a blog
Starting a blog is an exciting adventure! And as with any great journey, the first step is crucial: planning. Imagine setting out on a road trip without a map or destination. It’s less of an adventure and more of a challenge, right? The same is true when creating a new blog.
- Selecting your niche is pivotal. What are you passionate about? What topics could you talk about for hours without running out of enthusiasm? That’s your niche. Choosing a specific area allows you to focus your content and target a specific group of readers who share the same interests.
- Understanding your audience is the next step. What are their interests? What problems are they facing that you can help solve? What style of content do they prefer? Answers to these questions will help you create content that resonates with your readers and keeps them coming back for more.
- Set some SMART goals for your blog. Are you looking to entertain, inform, or perhaps build an online community? Maybe your goal is to monetize your blog and turn it into a source of income. Setting clear, achievable goals gives you a sense of direction and a measure of success.
Remember, the planning stage might seem daunting, but it’s a valuable exercise that will pay off long term. It’s like drawing a map for your adventure, deciding which roads to travel, which sights to see, and where you want to end up. And the best part? You’re in the driver’s seat!
Choose a website and blog hosting company
Every blog needs a place to live. Just like a real-world business, your blog has to have a physical location where you can store your product (in this case, the files of your website) so customers (your blog’s readers) can access them.
This physical place is a specialized computer called a server. And that’s where WordPress web hosting companies, like Bluehost, come in. We provide space on a server for your website to reside. And we’re pretty good at what we do. That’s why WordPress has recommended Bluehost as a top hosting company for more than ten years. We’re affordable, we offer outstanding blog security settings, and provide 24/7 expert tech support.
How to install a Bluehost hosting package
When you’re ready, visit the Bluehost hosting page and click the “Get Started” button. You will see a table with multiple hosting plans. Bluehost offers three types of hosting: shared, VPS, and dedicated.
We also have dedicated WordPress hosting plans to suit your needs. If you’re unsure which plan to choose, you could contact our customer support, and we’ll help you pick the right plan.
Choose a blog name and domain name
Choosing a blog name: Picking a blog name is like naming a baby; it’s both exciting and a bit daunting, isn’t it? Your blog’s name is more than just a title; it’s your brand, your identity in the vast digital universe. It gives the first impression and speaks volumes about what your blog is all about.
Before starting a blog and creating blog posts, it’s crucial to select a name that’s catchy, relevant to your blog niche, and memorable for your readers.
Choosing a free domain name name Now you will choose your domain name, which should closely match your blog name. Bluehost will check the database of all domains to ensure you aren’t trying to buy a name that already exists. Additionally, you’ll notice that you have several top-level domains (TLDs) to choose from, including .com, .net, and .org.
What’s a domain name?
A domain name is what users type into the address bar to get to your website. It’s your home base for your entire brand. You can learn more about domain names here.
Through Bluehost, you can both purchase your domain name (actually make it yours) and make use of their web hosting services.
Tips on choosing the right domain name
The best domain names are not the funny or flashy ones. They are domain names that people remember easily. Good domain names also help Google know what your blog is about.
Let’s say you want to start a blog about Thai food. What’s a better domain name, “ToddTalksThaiFood” or “SawasdeeFromSiam”? Though the second domain name connects with the local language and is “clever”, people will struggle to figure out how to spell sawasdee. Plus, the name doesn’t tell what the website is about. We’d recommend ToddTalksThaiFood 10 times out of 10.
If you’re still on the fence, check out this article for more tips on how to choose a domain name.
After you select your domain name, simply fill out basic account information, choose any add-on services that interest you, fill out your payment information, then press submit.
And ta-da! Your hosting account has been created. After you submit your information, you are officially ready to install WordPress.
Installing WordPress sounds complicated, but Bluehost makes it easier for you. How? Because you can install WordPress right from your Bluehost account. All you need to do is click a few buttons.
To begin, you will need to log in to your Bluehost account manager.
Next, click on the Click on the Hosting tab in the left menu.
Here, you’ll find all the sites you’re currently hosting. If you want to start a new site, simply click on Add Site.
You will be asked to enter a site title, then a domain title. But don’t worry, you can also come back and do this step later.
Next, click on Continue. Bluehost will now install WordPress for you. It’s as easy as that!
Now, your new site will be visible in the “Sites on [Your Hosting Plan]” overview. You’ll be able to click on Setup.
This will take you to the backend of your new WordPress site.
Log in to your new blog and pick a theme
You can easily log in to your site by using the Bluehost account manager, but there are other methods too. WordPress makes logging into your blog super simple. All you have to do is add “/wp-admin” to the end of your domain URL, then hit enter.
For example, you type in ‘www.YourNewDomainName.com/wp-admin,’ hit enter, and then fill in your admin username and password.
Choose a design and theme for your blog
When you’re figuring out how to start a blog, a vital step to designing a successful one is choosing the right WordPress theme.
Your theme is the overall look, feel, and style of your website. This includes the color scheme, layout, and style elements. In essence, your website theme is a direct representation of your brand and has a direct impact on your users’ experience.
With thousands of themes to choose from, the process of selecting the right theme for your blog can become overwhelming. One highly common way is to choose a free theme from WordPress.
Remember, your blog is a reflection of you and your passion. Choosing and customizing your theme is like deciding on the decor of your own living space. Make it a place where your audience will feel comfortable, intrigued, and inspired to return.
Tip: Use the WordPress feature filter to narrow down your search. It allows you to filter for a blog theme (which is what you want). But you could also filter on specific layouts or design aspects.
Need more tips? Read our guide on how to choose a suitable theme.
Tips on how to choose the right theme
Whatever theme you want to use, there are a few principles you should follow:
- Select one that has easy-to-read fonts (Arial, Courier, and Verdana are always safe choices).
- Make sure it is mobile responsive.
- Choose a customizable theme so that you can inject your personality.
- Choose a fast and lightweight theme so your blog loads fast.
- Only purchase a theme that provides proficient customer support and regular updates
- Choose a theme that supports popular plugins. Plugins can really elevate your site to the next level, so make sure your theme is compatible with useful plugins.
How to install a WordPress theme for your blog
First, you need to log in to your backend. Then, hover over the appearance tab in the left menu. It will open up another menu with three options.
Choose Themes. This will take you to an overview of the themes you already have installed.
Now you have two options to add a new theme. You can either click on the large square with the plus sign in the center of the page. You can also click on Add New. This button is located between the title and the search bar at the top of the page.
Then, you’ll be taken to an overview of all the available themes.
Here, you can scroll until you find one that suits you! If you hover your cursor over a theme, you’ll have the option to Preview what the theme looks like, or immediately Install it for your website.
If you have clicked on Install, the theme will install and be available in your Themes overview.
However, it’s not yet in use. To activate the new theme, simply click on Activate after you’ve clicked on Install.
How to customize your WordPress theme
Good news! Both free and premium WordPress themes can be customized using the tools in the WordPress admin dashboard. And it’s easy too. Users of all experience levels can easily customize features such as changing the header, fonts, and page layout.
However, we have some tips to help you create a stunning site!
Design tips to consider when you start a blog
1. Increase white space to decrease clutter
You don’t want to create a website that distracts viewers from the heart of your content. The best way to keep people focused on exactly what you’re saying in your blog is by creating what’s called white space. White spaces are the empty spaces around your copy and images that will keep your website design clean, simple, and effective.
2. Don’t use stock photos
The reality is that stock photos don’t do your blog any favors. And while stock photos may be better than no photos, it’s closer than you might think. You absolutely want to include additional media with the text in your posts, but using someone else’s images doesn’t allow your blog to be unique.
If you have the money (or skills), including professionally-taken images is the best way to go. Of course, that can get expensive.
Thankfully, your phone is now powerful enough to capture images that can complement your blog posts. This is the easiest solution when you’re first figuring out how to start blogging on a blog and what to post.
3. Consistency with icons
The devil is in the details. Though your average blog visitor isn’t going to consciously notice if you have chosen your social icons from a variety of places, unconsciously, it will impact how professional they think your entire blog is.
You will not only want all your icons to be using the same design and font, but you’ll want to keep all the fonts on the entire website within the same category — with only a couple exceptions.
4. Strong colors
Though you will want to rely heavily on white space, when you do use colors, they should be highly contrasting. A well-designed blog makes it easy for someone to use, read, and share.
By using contrasting colors, you increase readability and retention.
5. Don’t go crazy with design
There are a number of basic design conventions you’ll want to use when figuring out how to start a blog. You don’t want to make your website so eccentric and quirky that it falls short of the basic functional expectations of a user.
There is still plenty of room to be creative within these basic parameters of web design. But when you’re just getting started, you’re best off working within “the box”, rather than thinking outside of it.
Add features with plugins
When you start a blog on WordPress, you’ll quickly discover that it comes with all the essential elements for setting up a basic site. Users can add special features unique to a particular site’s needs with plugins.
Plugins are small bits of code that add specific functions to any compatible site.
You’ll be able to find all the available plugins in your WP admin. On the left, you’ll find the option Plugins. If you hover over this, it will open a menu with three options.
Choose Add New.
You’ll see an overview of all the plugins you can download. Feel free to use the tabs: Featured, Popular and Recommended to browse through everything!
Blog-related plugins can include tools for social sharing, cross-posting to other sites, managing email lists, tracking analytics, contact form, and more.
If you want to install a plugin, simply click on Install Now. When it’s installed, the button will change to Activate. Simply click on Activate, and your new plugin is ready to go!
Create and publish posts
Buckle up because it’s time for an exciting milestone – crafting and publishing your first blog post. Yes, you heard right. It’s time to put your thoughts into words and let your ideas shine.
Writing your first blog post can seem intimidating. The blinking cursor against the white page might seem daunting, but remember this – every writer, even the famous ones, started with a blank page. Your journey to influencing, inspiring, and interacting with an audience begins with this first step. It’s an exhilarating moment!
Head back to your WP admin (your site’s backend). In the left menu, you’ll see the tab Posts. If you hover over this, it will open up another menu with four options.
Choose Add New.
This will take you to an empty post, where you can start writing your first blog post!
When you’re done, don’t forget to click “Publish” to make your post live on the site! But you can also save it as a draft for later editing.
Create content your audience wants to read
Now, it’s finally time to share content! No matter what your blog is going to be (unless it’s a for-family-only sort of affair), there are going to be similar blogs out there. Just look at the amount of cooking blogs available on the internet!
Of course, they won’t have your voice or insights. That’s what will make your blog posts unique. But it doesn’t hurt to focus on creating content that grabs readers’ attention and keeps them coming back.
Here are a few ways you can stand out:
- Create compelling headlines to make them click
- Use attention-grabbing introductions to keep them reading
- Share meaningful advice to draw them back again and again
- Include sub-headers and bullet points for easy scanning
Create compelling headlines
If your blog post headlines aren’t compelling, nobody is going to read far enough to realize how awesome the rest of your blog content is. Your headline is your one chance to entice a reader into clicking on the post and exploring your thoughts on a topic.
The best headlines promise your readers answers to exactly the problem they’re trying to solve at that moment. It’s why “How to” articles are so effective. You will also want to tease your readers without satisfying them completely — leave that for the bulk of the post. Too often, headlines are written in such a way that the casual reader doesn’t even need to read the lead sentence to have their curiosity cured. Just don’t deceive your readers!
How to write a good headline
If you’re not sure what the subject for your next headline (and thus blog post title) should be, there are a few different ways to determine what will resonate most with your target market:
- Check out the comment sections on your posts (and on other similar blogs). What are people talking about? What are they asking?
- Take advantage of content insight tools such as BuzzSumo. These can show you the most popular posts in your market.
- Ask your subscribers. Those most loyal to your blog and brand are often willing to share their wants and desires when it comes to content.
Write attention-grabbing intros
Once your headline has pulled a viewer in, don’t let up. The fact that you’ve got them past reading the headline is huge! All you have to do now is keep them engaged. Which, of course, isn’t easy.
The key is to tell your readers why what you’re writing about is important; not a big intangible kind of important, but something that’s important to them specifically — right now.
A common mistake people make when writing their first blog posts is erring on the side of being too academic or too fluffy. You do want real facts in your introduction — otherwise, why should people listen to you? However, very few people want to read an academic lecture on whatever topic you’re exploring.
Make your content meaningful
Unlike YouTube content, which is a blackhole for users (especially late at night), it takes a lot more effort to engage with a blog. This means you must make it worth your audience’s effort.
The best way to do this is to follow through on that promise your headline made — provide the solutions and advice you said you would.
The goal is to make your solution (or advice) to whatever problem your readers are facing (not knowing how to make a good Thai curry, for example) simple and impossible to ignore.
Make your posts easy to scan
There are two primary ways to do this: subheads and bullet points. For readers who are already neck-deep in the issue you’re tackling, subheads help them skip background information to get to what’s new and important to them.
You’ll want to use subheads every time you shift to a different subtopic within the blog posts — every few paragraphs is often a good pace for most readers.
Pitfalls you want to avoid
- Overly clever subheads. Subheads are supposed to help readers scan your post and quickly find the information they need. Given this, don’t get so clever that nobody knows what you’re talking about.
- Boring subheads. Think of writing your subheads like writing mini-headlines. You’ll want to use the same principles to help keep readers engaged.
- Spoiler subheads. Even with your subheads, you’ll want to keep an ace up your sleeve. Remember, these are designed to help readers scan your blog and find what section they need to read — but make sure they take the time to read the section.
Don’t forget to optimize your blog for search engines!
Now that you have a gorgeous blog with killer content, you just need people to find it. Of course, you can post snippets and previews of your content on your social media, and hand people your business card, but that won’t bring in the most visitors. Which means that organic searches will be the majority of the traffic headed to your site. Especially if you don’t plan on spending any money marketing your blog with paid ads.
This means that it’s vital that you implement an SEO strategy for your blog. SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization — it’s what helps your blog show up when your target audience searches relevant topics online. Luckily, the Yoast SEO plugin is super easy and helpful when it comes to optimizing for search engines. It will help you boost traffic and maximize your visibility in search engines.
The power of creating a blog for your business
Creating a website with a blog is your ticket to success. It’s a simple yet powerful way to share valuable information about your products and services. This showcases your know-how, making you a trusted expert in your field. Remember, trust is a crucial factor in converting prospects to loyal customers!
- Drive Traffic and Boost Your SEO with Blogging– Let’s face it, we’re all on the hunt for high-quality content. So, when your blog delivers informative and engaging content, it becomes a magnet for visitors. More clicks mean more potential customers spending time on your site, signaling search engines that your website is a go-to resource. Additionally, clever use of relevant keywords in your content helps ‘claim’ those terms, making your website more likely to appear on the first page of search results. What’s not to love about better SEO and higher rankings?
- Boost Your Brand Awareness with Engaging Content- Creating a blog allows your unique voice to resonate in every post, raising brand awareness like nothing else. As your posts start appearing in search results for relevant keywords, new audiences will become familiar with your brand and offerings. This means you don’t have to solely rely on ever-changing social media algorithms or pour money into ads to reach potential customers.
- Convert Visitors into Customers with a Blog- Blogs are like a golden bridge connecting you with potential customers. Showcasing your experiences and expertise through a blog establishes trust, paving the way for website visitors to convert into leads or subscribers. According to Semrush, businesses with blogs generate 67% more leads per month! Each post becomes an opportunity to link your services or products and integrate persuasive calls-to-action to further engage customers.
- Repurpose Your Blog Content for Social Media- A blog is the gift that keeps on giving, especially when it comes to social media content. Instead of starting from scratch, why not repurpose your blog posts? Share snippets and links to your posts, turn key information into eye-catching graphics, or initiate discussions based on your content. You can even create a podcast or video based on your blog post. This approach ensures you have a consistent flow of ready-made content for all your social media platforms.
Final thoughts on creating a blog on WordPress
Congratulations on setting up your very own blog! Now all that’s left to do is write awesome content. And it’s okay if you struggle with writing posts. Just remember that writing will get easier. No blogger jumped into the deep-end and got everything right on the first go.
So be patient with yourself and enjoy the process. With consistent practice and value-inspired content, people will flock to your blog in no time.
Common questions around starting a new blog
Choose a niche that aligns with something you are passionate and knowledgeable about. This way, writing will be enjoyable and you will be more likely to provide valuable content to your readers.
WordPress is a highly recommended platform due to its flexibility, large community, and vast range of themes and plugins. It’s great for both beginners and experienced bloggers.
Free platforms are limited in functionality and branding, whereas a self-hosted WordPress blog on a platform like Bluehost allows for complete control, customization, and monetization.
Costs of starting a blog can vary. You’ll need to pay for a domain name (about $10-$15/year) and hosting (typically starting around $3/month). Additional costs may include themes, plugins, or professional services.
Use WordPress themes to make your blog visually appealing. Customize the theme to reflect your style and blog’s identity. Ensure it’s clean, user-friendly, and responsive for mobile users.
Generate blog post ideas by understanding your audience’s interests and challenges, following industry trends, using keyword research tools, and inviting guest bloggers.
Promote your blog via social media, email marketing, guest blogging, networking with other bloggers, and SEO. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and emails.
Make your blog SEO-friendly by using relevant keywords in your content, optimizing meta descriptions, using alt tags for images, linking to internal and external pages, and ensuring your blog loads quickly.
Engage with your audience by asking for feedback, encouraging comments, creating an email list, hosting contests, and being responsive and active in communication.
Monetize your blog through methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, selling products or services, and ad revenue. Keep in mind, monetization typically requires a steady stream of traffic.