You’ve always wanted to start a blog, but something has held you back.
Well, you know what? You can start a blog right now. In 10 minutes or less.
But, Diana, I’m not technical! Okay, let me tell you a secret…
…it doesn’t f’ing matter.
Seriously. You don’t need any technical skills to do this. All you need is the desire to move past your excuses and get started creating something great today. No more excuses, kay? You can do this!
Note: This post does contain affiliate links, so if you use them, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. I’m recommending products that I personally use and love. This page contains my opinions and recommendations based on my own experiences and research. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
There are a 2 key things you should know before jumping in:
- Your Blog Topic: What do you want to write about?
- Your Blog Name: How do you want to be known on the Internets?
Need help with your blog name? Click here for 4 Features of a Winning Blog Name
If You Get Stuck
Short here, more info linked: I could talk to you for weeks about the hows and whys of my recommendations. Rather than overwhelm you, I’m going to keep things simple for the steps. I’ll link to additional information, so keep an eye out for additional reading links throughout.
Send me your questions: And you can always reach out to me if you have a question you don’t see answered here on this site.
Follow these 3 steps, and you’ll be an official blogger:
- Get domain and hosting (I usually buy these together at BlueHost or SiteGround)
- Install WordPress (button via your hosting dashboard)
- Write your first post (via your WordPress admin dashboard)
See the next section for tips and screenshots.
A Cupcake Example for You Non-Technical Peeps
A lot of people who ask me for blogging help are non-technical. You do not have to be a computer scientist to start a blog. But, to make things even more understandable, I’m going to compare starting a blog to starting a cupcake company. I am a food blogger first, after all. Haha.
The example doesn’t line up exactly if you want to be super literal, but…just go with it, kay?
|Starting a Blog||Opening a Cupcake Shop|
How to Start a Blog – the Details
Step #1 Get domain and hosting (this is what will put your blog on the internets)
If you want to read more first, check out these posts:
Diana, what the heck is a domain? And hosting?
Domain: Think of your domain as your cupcake shop address. It’s how people know where to find you.
Hosting: If you only got a domain, you’d have an empty lot. You need something to house your shop. Your hosting is like your shop building – a place to put your cupcakes where others can access them.
But who should I use?
I’ve tried many options, asked around for feedback, read tons of articles, and I’m very happy with the companies I use today.
- BlueHost gets a bad rap, and while I did have some annoying outages over the years, my experience with them has been overall positive. BlueHost is known for its affordable pricing.
- However, for a little more money, you can get hosting with SiteGround.
- I’d only use Kinsta if you’re willing to pay top dollar, but realistically, I’d wait until you have traffic and customers that warrant this need.
How much do domains and hosting cost?
I’m glad you asked. Hosting pricing is about as straightforward as cell phone packages. There are endless combinations that will yield different pricing options.
Luckily for you, I broke down pricing for both Bluehost and SiteGround in this post:
Note: Payment is typically done in year increments, even though the costs are advertised in cost-per-month. Typically you need to buy 3 years at one time to lock in the best deal.
ACTION: Register domain and get hosting package
In my experience, SiteGround has less downtime (almost none so far) than BlueHost, and I prefer their customer service experience more. For these reasons, I’m going to show you SiteGround in this how-to. While no company is perfect, I do believe either company would be a solid choice for new blog hosting based on my own experiences.
1) If you like what SiteGround has to offer, go to their site. Here’s a direct link. Click on the “Sign Up” button. You can view the options here, but since you’re just starting a new blog, I recommend the “StartUp” plan ($3.95 per month).
2) Click the Order Now button under “StartUp”. Note: You may notice SiteGround has “WordPress Services” listed separately from hosting. I confirmed with SiteGround support that both hosting packages are the same before publishing this.
3) “Register a new domain” will already be selected, which is perfect. Enter your desired domain name (see info about domains above if need help choosing this) and click the “Proceed” button.
4) Enter your “Client Information”, “Password Information”, and “Payment Information”.
5) In the “Purchase Information” section you can specify if you want to purchase more than 12 months of hosting (see hosting info above if you need help with this). Personally, I also purchase “Domain Privacy” (so people can’t see my address, etc. online), as well as the “HackAlert Monitoring”. Make your preferred selections. Read and acknowledge the Terms of Service. Click the “Pay Now” button.
Step #2 Install WordPress (aka what will run your blog)
Info: Why WordPress?
I started my first blog on Blogger (aka Blogspot), but it wasn’t flexible as I wanted. Eventually, I migrated to TypePad, which was a big mistake. More on that another time. I skipped WordPress.com and manually installed the .org version of WordPress on my new domain and hosting account. Based on my interactions with the WordPress community, including the Automatticians (the team supporting WordPress), the automated installs are pretty solid from what I hear. I’ll be trying it out when I install my next blog.
ACTION: Install WordPress
1) Log in to your SiteGround account.
2) Go to “My Accounts” tab.
3) Click “Go to CPanel” button (near the top left). Note: You may need to hit “Proceed” if you get a pop-up.
4) In the “WordPress” tools section, click on the “WordPress Installer” button.
5) It’s a little hard to see, but click on the “Install Now” text link.
6) Fill out the install screen. I recommend taking a screenshot or writing down the details on this screen somewhere you can store the info securely, especially your admin login details. Here are some tips:
- Choose Protocol:
- www vs non-www:
- There’s a big debate about whether www or non-www is better.
- The way I see it, Google uses www. When you visit google, the www displays. I didn’t learn about this before starting my main blog, but I would personally go with www.
- Major tech companies use the www, so they must know what they’re doing, right?
- http vs https:
- I HIGHLY recommend https, not http!
- Why? Google is starting to show favor to https (encrypted) sites. Choosing http could harm your ranking in Google and other search engines.
- There are additional benefits you can Google further, but that’s the big one for me.
- www vs non-www:
- Choose Domain: Select your domain.
- In Directory: Leave blank if you want your blog to be your main page. Some bloggers use the main domain for a special page and put the blog under something like mydomain.com/blog. I typically see this strategy when WordPress is used to set up a business site that also has a blog.
- Site Name: Enter your site name.
- Site Description: Enter a short 3-5 word description or catchy tagline.
- Enable Multisite: Leave unchecked. This is a complex WordPress install that allows you to have multiple WordPress sites under one install. Click here to read more at WordPress.org.
- Admin Username: Since you’re running your blog, this means you. Enter your desired username. Choose something secure. Whatever you do, do not pick “admin”. This is the default username and hackers know it. It will make your site more vulnerable. This is fairly easy to change later, however you have to take a special step or you could delete all of the content written with this username.
- Admin Password: Enter your desired password. You can change this later, but definitely pick something secure. SiteGround will help tell you how strong they think your password is.
- Admin Email: Enter your email. WordPress and some plugins will use this to send you information, so pick something you can actually access.
- Select Language: Choose your preferred language.
- Limit Login Attempts: I haven’t personally used this plugin. But, I’ve heard good things about it and am considering adding it. It helps prevent some common hack attempts. You can add this later if you’re unsure now. Click here to read more about it on its plugin page.
- Theme: Select Theme. There’s only one option currently: “Layers”. You see my favorite theme on my Resources page. I’ll also be covering themes in my e-course if you want to sign up.
- Advanced Options: expand this. Personally, I’d leave the defaults here, but I’d write the info down. You may need this for future troubleshooting. Keep this very secure.
7) Click the “Install” button.
Note: You should get an email confirming the WordPress install was successfully completed.
Step #3 Write Your First Post
Info: What should you write for your first post?
There are many different approaches you could take for your first blog post. Of course, your writing time will impact your 5 minute setup. But, you can’t be a blogger without a post, right? Here are 5 ideas for your first post:
- Quick Intro: share a photo of yourself and say a quick hello.
- Longer Intro: write an introduction. Tell your readers why you want to blog, what you hope to do with your blog, and share your story.
- Throw-away: write a throw away post. Think of it like the first draft of your school paper. You just need to get your thoughts going. Your post will be public, so write something you’d be okay with everyone seeing. But, don’t worry about it being perfect. You can delete (or even edit) it later. Reserve this for if you’re having trouble writing that first post. This is like the tip for when you have writer’s block where you just need to write something down to get started.
- Quote: share your favorite quote. This is an easy first post and can help share your personality.
- Topic Post: write something in line with your overarching theme/topic.
Action: Write your first post
1) Login to your WordPress dashboard by going to www.yourdomain.com/wp-login.php.
2) Hover over “Posts” in the left navigation column and click on “Add New”.
3) Add your Title and Content. Use the “Add Media” button if you’d like to share any photos.
4) I’ll teach you more about how to set up your Categories and use Tags, so you can add this later. For now, you can click the “Publish” button.
5) The page will refresh and say your post was successfully published. You can click the text link to view your post.
Optional Step #4: Celebrate!
You did it! You have your very own blog, and it’s live and ready to tackle the world! You’ve taken a step that many dream of but never follow-through in completing. Go ahead and treat yourself to something nice. You deserve it.
These posts may answer some of your questions:
But if you still have questions, please feel free to reach out via this Contact page.
What Else Do You Need?
- The cameras I use
- My favorite apps
- The editing tools to take my photos to the next level (for phone and desktop)
- And other faves gathered over the years
Want More Guidance?
If you want some help planning out your blog before taking these steps, then I’ve created just the thing for you.
I’ve published a free mini email course sharing how I’d start a blog based on my learnings from blogging since 2006.
- Choosing the best blog name
- How to organize your content (to make your life easier later)
- and more!
Thank you so much for reading. If you found this helpful, please share it with your friends on social media or by sending them the link to this page. Cheers!