Are you looking for an easy, step-by-step guide on how to start a blog? Welcome! Our free guide on this page will show you how to create a fully functional and an attractive blog. This free guide is about blogging for beginners and you need only basic computer skills. As usual for our tutorials and how-to guides, we will mention the minimum initial starting capital needed: 0 – 25k (0 – 65 USD).
If you are not sure what is a domain name or web hosting, or if you are not sure what you want to blog about, we recommend reading our full-length guide of ‘The beginners guide on How To Create a Blog Under 30 Minutes’. You can also check out the previously mentioned post for questions like:
Can I use a Nigerian hosting service?
How much money can I make with a blog?
Can I start a blog for free on WordPress and should I do it?
I have experience in creating blogs and websites for about 5 years and I believe that sharing is caring, so please do learn from my mistakes. If you have any questions about any step or point during this guide, please contact me and I will do my best to help you out.
Without further ado, let us jump right into the easy 6 steps to create your own blog/website:
- Pick a niche/topic and a name. Choose something descriptive.
- Get your blog online. Register your domain name and get hosting
- Customize your blog. The fun part.
- Add content. Write and publish your thoughts.
- Promoting and Marketing. Get people to read your blog.
- Monetize your blog. The sweet part.
1. Pick a topic and a name
In order to pick a topic, please consider if you can provide value, is there a demand for content, and potential competition. For more ideas, check our full-length guide HERE. Your domain name should always be related to your blog content and the niche you are in. The name should be easy to pronounce, catchy and unique, so you will stand out. Potential readers should be able to realize your blog topic based on the name. Whenever possible, include the topic in the name. For example, if you blog about how to find cheap flights, mention words related to this topic, such as, ’travel’, ’affordable’, etc.
Another thing to think about in the beginning is the domain extension. We strongly suggest using the .com extension, as it is globally preferred. Also, if you keep reading, you will see that it is possible to get the .com domain name for free! So, let’s keep going. Check if your desired domain is available right here:
If your desired name is already taken, one option would be to just try another name. However, you could also add short words like ’the’, ’my’, and so. For example, payoutstream.com could be thepayoutstream.com. Also, you could add dashed between words. However, we do not recommend it because it is not efficient for the reader to type, nor is it easy to say out loud. Also, note that punctuation or spaces cannot be used in a domain name.
Step 2: Get your blog online.
This step might be slightly intimidating for few because not all of us have computer knowledge or experience in IT. However, I can assure you, by following the guide step-by-step and it will be easy.
For your blog to be online, you need a service called hosting. Hosting service is like a real-estate agent. Let’s say you want to open a brick-and-mortar shop (physical shop) on your street. You would go to a real-estate agent, find a shop that you like, sign rental documents and then you are given the keys to your shop. You can set up your shop once you have the keys. Similarly, a web-hosting company will ask you to sign up with them, sign terms and conditions and then provide you with your ’keys’ (login information) to access your own piece of the web space.
The blog host we highly recommend is BlueHost. It is very compatible with WordPress. Even so much that WordPress themselves recommend you using it. So, you can’t go wrong with them. Luckily because of their popularity, their price is also one of the lowest, if not the lowest. Plus, you get some bonuses for choosing them, including:
- They will help you register your domain name for FREE!
- The installation for WordPress will be done in one click and it is free and very straight-forward.
- They have a 24/7 customer service (web chat and phone)
- If you are not satisfied for any reason (we really can’t come up with any), they have a money-back guarantee.
- FREE SSL-certificate (more on that in the full-guide)
If you have any problems setting up your blog with this tutorial, don’t hesitate to contact me and I will help you out.
Now, let’s get your blog online:
Firstly, click HERE to go to BlueHost. Click on the green button ‘Get Started’. You will be shown various hosting plans. For a blog, we recommend the Basic plan. If you plan to have more websites later on, it will be very easy to ‘upgrade’ and you will only pay the difference in the price. But for now, choose Basic and clikc on ‘Select’.
On the following page, you will be asked to create a domain name. If you already have a domain name, please enter it in the box on the left. Otherwise, leave it empty. If you plan to use a .ng extension, you would have had to purchased it elsewhere beforehand. We strongly advice using a .com name and through BlueHost, as they give you the name for FREE. Once the name checker has confirmed that the name is available, it is time to enter your details. Please fill the form with complete and correct information.
The next section will be ‘Package information’. You can freely choose the length of service you wish to purchase. As usual in business, the longer your subscription, the less you will pay. Please choose an option that suits your needs and requirements for starting a blog. Also, remember that BlueHost offers a money-back guarantee.
The next section is ‘Package extras’. Out of all the options, un-check everything, except Domain Privacy Protection. Essentially, this means that your data regarding your domain and hosting are private. This means less spam and less potential hacking. So, let us leave this one checked. However, all the other options are not necessary and I will show you how to get them for free later in this guide.
To finish the sign up, please enter your payment details. You can either pay with your card (Visa, MasterCard, AmericanExpress) or via PayPal. Make sure to click on accepting the terms and conditions and click ‘Submit’.
You will be shown a congratulations page. On that page, click on ‘Create Your Password’. Make sure it is a safe password that you will easily remember. Then click ‘Log In’. You will be shown some themes. We recommend scrolling down a bit and click on ‘Skip this step’. You will be shown ‘All Done!’. Click on ‘go to my BlueHost account’.
By now, you would have received some emails. The first email will ask you to confirm your email by clicking on a button in the email. Simple.
You will now be in the BlueHost dashboard. Click the blue button ‘Log in to WordPress’. At this point, you might get an error. This is caused by the fact that your WordPress account is being set up and takes a bit of time. From our experience that could take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours. So, please be patient, as there is not much we can change about this step. However, once you can see the WordPress dashboard, I would like to congratulate you: You have your very own blog! You can now type in your URL address and see how your site looks like! Likewise, you can go to the upper left corner of your WordPress dashboard and you will see your blog name. You can access your webpage by clicking on it as well. Exciting! I will show you how to set up a few essential things later in the post.
Step 3. Customize your blog
Every WordPress website will have a theme. A theme is a pre-made template that defines the blogs’ layout and appearance. You can still customize most parts of your website with added plugins and page builders. Page builders are the latest WordPress plugins that allow you to modify the look of your blog very efficiently. We highly recommend using Elementor. However, it is not a requirement for a nice-looking blog, it’s more of a sleek addon. Therefore, this tutorial will use the typical WordPress content creation.
Before you start changing the looks and adding content, let us quickly review the WordPress dashboard. All the access points to various tools are located on the left side of the screen.
Posts – this is where you add your blog posts. Simply click on ‘Posts’ -> ‘Add New’ and type away. Always make sure to click publish when ready with your post, otherwise, it will not be visible to your readers. You can also set categories for your posts. For example, if you have a cooking blog, you could categorize your posts based on the type of food you talk about on that post, e.g. ‘Healthy Snacks’, ‘Breakfast’, etc.
Media – all your added pictures and videos can be added, seen and managed here.
Pages – the static entities of your blog. Your blog posts are always located ON the pages and therefore posts are dynamic (not static) and can be placed on various pages. If it is confusing, have a look at our website. You can see some Recent or Trending posts by the side of the blog post. However, the whole page in front of you is a static page.
Comments – allows you to manage all the comments of your readers.
Appearance – this is where you can change the theme of your blog, add widgets and modify menus (such as the header, footer, etc.).
Plugins – you can add thousands of plugins that give your blog. Plugins are a type of software that add functionality to your blog. Think of them as the apps on your phone.
Users – you can manage your user settings. Not really needed to change much here, if you manage your blog by yourself.
Tools – allows you to import your other website/blog content to WordPress or export it into a file. Not really needed for a new blogger.
Settings – here you can configure settings about overall things about your blog. We will shortly change a few things there.
In order to activate the theme on your blog, hover over the theme and click the ‘Activate’ button. You have changed the appearance of your blog in just one click! You can always click on ‘Preview’ to see how your blog would look like with any theme. If you want to change your theme, click on the ‘Appearance’ tab on the left menu and then click ‘Add New Theme’.
Step 4. Add content
Now that your blog is up and running, it is time to do some blogging! Before that though, let us change one small but important thing about your blog. Go to Settings on the left dashboard and choose ‘Permalinks’. Under the ‘Common Settings’ choose ‘Post Name’, as shown on the picture on the right. This will make your post and page names not just look nicer but also heavily increases your changes in the search engine visibility. Clean permalinks like that are an important part of SEO – that is how well will your blog compare to other sites on Google search.
Now it’s time to blog away! Click on ‘Posts’ on the left side dashboard. You will see one post is already there. Feel free to delete (trash) it, as you do not need it. To begin writing a new post, click on ‘Add New’. You are now on the post editor screen. Enter the title of your post in the top box and in the lower box, start writing your content. WordPress uses the ‘block’ system of a post. So whenever you want to add a new section, image or any other content, click on the plus sign. If you would like to add a picture to your post, click on the “Add Image” icon and click “Upload” to upload a picture from your computer. You can always make adjustments to the picture size before adding it to your post. Once you are happy with the image you want to add, click “Insert into post”. Once done, click on ‘Publish’ and you have your first blog post! Well done!
Your blog may still be showing a “Coming Soon” page after creating content. If you are ready to make your whole blog visible and public, click the “BlueHost” menu at the top left of the menu in your administrator area then click the blue “Launch” button to remove the “Coming Soon” page.
Step 5 Promoting and Marketing
Why promoting your blog is at utmost importance is that you can have the best content in the world, however, if your readers do not know about your existence, no one will come to read your blog. Marketing is usually the most expensive part of any business because we need to make ourselves stand out in the midst of competition and so much information that is surrounding us nowadays.
The main suggested ways of doing promoting include:
- Social networks – easiest to start with as we all have some sort of a social media account. Share your blog with friends or ask them to repost your blog posts. Also, connect to other people who are interested in the topic of your blog and share your blog with them.
- Commenting on other blogs – people always read various sources for information. One way to use it for your favor is to link your blog post on those sources. However, be cautious! Do not spam people just by copy-pasting your links. This can have a negative impact on your followership. Only comment when your input adds to the content available.
- Email marketing – you would need to install a plugin for collecting peoples emails. Mind that you can only do so if the person has given permission for it. For example, subscribed to your blog. This is a powerful tool, as you can notify them of new posts or other offers. However, again, do not spam people! You will lose followership by doing so.
- Online forums. Similarly, be sure to post in relevant places and do not spam aimlessly. Look for popular forums, websites and groups on Facebook.
- Other possibilities include asking people to leave feedback and comment on your posts, posting frequently, and linking to other blogs by writing a response post or a review.
Step 6. Monetize your blog.
After all that hard work, you would like to reap some benefits, am I right? Please be patient and slowly but surely fill your blog with content. Do not expect to get rich overnight or start getting paid in the first weeks. Before you know it, your content gets more and more audience with time and your blog will become a passive income stream for a longer period. Make sure you post relevant and valuable content and market yourself religiously.
The most common way to monetize a blog is Google Adsense. However, for that to work, you would already need at least a small followership. You can sign up for Google Adsense already. Please be aware that you can only have one Google Adsense profile. If you have created one before and have forgotten the password, make sure you revive that account. Double accounts are not allowed and can cause problems with payouts! However, you can have multiple websites under one Adsense account. Once you sign up, you will be given a code that you need to place on your blog. The rest is Google’s job. The code will activate ads on your pages and you will be sent a check, once money has gathered up.
Affiliate marketing can be a very lucrative way to monetize your blog. We have a full free guide on affiliate marketing. In short, however, you will be promoting various products and software to your readers. You will only get a commission. For example, if you have a cooking blog, you can promote various cooking equipment from Amazon and Jumia. You can sell ebooks on various topics, or create an ebook of your own blog content under 5 minutes. You get the deal. You would need to sign up for affiliate programs with each of the platforms and market their products. Once someone purchases a product through your blog link, you will get a commission. That is why reviewing products and software can be very lucrative.
You could also have an agreement with a local seller or someone you know has a store in your area. Agree on a percentage of sales every time you bring them new buying customers. This option should be dealt with caution, as the trust between you and the seller needs to be high.
Need more help?
If you need any help setting up your blog, contact me and I will do my best to help you out. We have created a step-by-step guide video to complement this post. If you prefer to ‘see’ rather than ‘read’, this is a nice option for you. We go through the whole guide from choosing a host to launching your first post. Also, in the video, you can see some of our recommended plugins to use and some extra tips. Please do not hesitate to check it out and click ‘Subscribe’ on YouTube.
As promised, we now recommend some essential plugins that are needed to provide protection and security to your blog (the options we unchecked when purchasing hosting).
To add plugins, click on ‘Plugins’ on the left dashboard and choose ‘Add New’. On the right side, you can search for a plugin by name.
Please note that this list is not exclusive and you can use any alternative you find more suitable for you. The list is just to give you an idea of what type of plugins are necessary for security and optimization purposes.
- The first plugin we will install is Yoast SEO. This plugin is free (even though they have a premium version available. The purpose of this plugin is to help you boost your SEO level so that when people search for things on Google related to your blog topic, you will rank higher in the search results. The plugin will help you write tags, keywords and many other parts of a good SEO strategy, in order for your blog to be seen by potential readers.
- Next plugin is WordFence. This plugin is for security purposes. They are highly recommended and have a long history, so you can’t go wrong with them.