Start A Blog In Under 30 Minutes

Photo by rawpixel, courtesy of Unsplash

So, you’re thinking you want to start your own blog.

I won’t go into extreme detail for now, simply because the internet is already littered with how-to’s about blogging or more specifically about starting a blog. There’s literally an endless amount of super in depth information out there, a lot of which is written by pros or just people who have been blogging for years. That being said the purpose of this post is just to go through a very minimal and basic breakdown of the steps it takes to get a blog set up and ready- so you can start adding content!

I’ll break it down into a few steps to make it easier to follow:

  • Pick a topic or niche- what is it that you want to blog about?
  • Select a platform for blogging- self-hosted or hosted? WordPress or Tumblr or Medium?
  • Choose a host- Bluehost or HostGator or GoDaddy?
  • Decide on a domain name- this is basically your “address” on the web or the URL people can type in to go to your blog
  • Set up WordPress
  • Start designing and adding content to your blog

Pick Your Topic or Niche

First things first, you’ll have to decide what it is that you want to blog about. This will influence your content, your target audience, what you’ll want your domain name to be, etc. Put a little thought into it. You don’t wanna choose something just because another blogger you admire blogs about it or just because you think it will be easy to blog about in terms of being able to come up with quality content. Instead, choose something that is relevant to your own life. Something you are passionate and knowledgeable about, this will make it easier to come up with ideas of what to write about. It’ll also minimize the amount of research and fact checking you have to do when writing your posts. You don’t have to choose one specific topic either. The more broad or general your niche is, the more wiggle room you have on what you’re able to write about, which will of course be nice in the long run when you’re in need of fresh content.

Pick a Platform

You have quite a few options for this part. First you’ll choose a platform. You’ve got WordPress, Tumblr, Medium, Squarespace, Ghost, Blogger, and that’s only a few of them.

I recommend and use WordPress. It’s hands down the most popular blogging platform which means there’s also the most information out there in terms of how to figure something out if you ever get stuck or need help troubleshooting (which I promise you will- everyone does).

Say you decide to go with WordPress, you’ll have to choose between self-hosted and hosted..

Self-hosted: you have to pay a small amount for (that amount depends on the hosting you choose- ill talk about that next) but have zero limit on income if you decide to monetize your blog and give you more control
Hosted: free but limit how much income you can make and gives you less control

For the sake of time- I’m only going to go into how to get set up with a WordPress blog that’s self-hosted.

Choose a Host

If you’re still reading then I’m assuming I’ve been able to sell you on the many perks of WordPress… yay! Now, thing is you’ll download WordPress and this will give just you access to it. What I’m getting at here is that downloading WordPress gives you your blog, but what it doesn’t do is make your blog live and accessible to the world on the internet. This is where choosing a host comes in. To make your blog live on the internet, you need server space, and to get server space you need a host (or hosting company).
I mentioned some of the popular hosting companies earlier in this post, but ill run through them once more so you don’t have to waste time scrolling up and back down or opening a new tab to search and then trying to find your spot again. There’s HostGator, BlueHost, SiteGround, GoDaddy, and tons more.

I recommend and use HostGator.

It works well with WordPress and it’s affordable. Now, you’ll go to hostgator.com
Once you get to their homepage, you’ll see options for Web Hosting, Cloud Hosting, and WordPress Hosting, Reseller, VPS, Dedicated, and Domains either across the top if you’re on a desktop or in the drop-down menu if you’re on a mobile device.

Click on Web Hosting. (you’re probably thinking “Huh? Why wouldn’t I click WordPress Hosting.. I’m using WordPress..?”- and you’re just gonna have to trust me on this I wouldn’t steer you wrong here especially when this is the part you have to pay for!)

Now, you’ll be taken to a page where you’ll see options for different types of plans. There’s the Hatchling Plan, the Baby Plan, and the Business Plan. It’s up to you which you choose. As you can see with the Hatchling Plan you only get a single domain (which as I mentioned before is your address on the internet or the URL people type in when they want to visit your site- mine is tylergirls.com). For a just a little over a dollar more per month, you get unlimited domains, so if down the road you decide you want to reserve another domain or start another blog or website you have that ability. You can always upgrade later on as well, so if you’re thinking one domain is enough and you don’t want to spend that extra money- the Hatchling Plan is not a lifetime commitment and it will get you started. Once you’ve decided which plan it is that you want, go ahead and click the “Get Started” button for that plan.

Decide on a Domain Name

If you’ve made it this far, you’re over halfway done! Yay!
The first thing you’ll do in filling out your sign up for the plan you selected in the previous step is entering the domain name you’d like to use for your blog.
If you’re not sure what to use as your domain, you can always use your name, the name of your brand or whatever you plan on naming your blog, or just think of something that’s catchy, relatively short but that also makes sense with whatever you decided on for a topic or what your blog is going to be about. Once you enter the domain name and select an extension (.com, .net, etc.) the search results should start popping up and if the one you entered is available it will have a check-mark with the words “Added — Primary” in green off to the right side of it. If it is not available it will give you several available options to choose from similar to what you entered or just with a different extension.
Also, if you already have a domain registered that you’re going to use for your blog, then you’ll do the same thing but instead you’ll click to the tab on the right side that says “I Already Own This Domain” and enter it just the same.
Underneath, it says “Domain Privacy Protection”. This is completely optional and does cost extra. What this does is keep your website anonymous. There is a public website called “Who Is” or whois.com and anyone who registers a domain name, their name and email are available for look up on this site. By selecting this, your name and email will not be available for look up on this site and instead it will have Host Gator’s information. Since your site is going to be a blog, there’s a good chance your going to have an about page with your information as well as a way for people to contact you..usually at the very least an email.. so it wouldn’t really make sense to pay extra for this- but of course if for some reason you think you want or need it, by all means go ahead.
Next you’ll just check to make sure the plan size and billing frequency are correct.
Then enter your address and billing information.
Under this it will show a couple of additional services, most of which cost extra, so if you don’t want them you’ll need to make sure none of the boxes are checked.
Lastly for this part you’ll see at the bottom there’s a review of your order which will tell you what you’re paying for and what your total is. Check the terms and conditions box. And click “Check Out Now!”.

Set Up WordPress

You’re almost finished!!
Go to your email that you used to sign up for HostGator and look for the email that says “Your account info”. (It may take a few minutes)
In this email, there will be a link to the billing system, your plan type, a link to your control panel, your username, your domain, your password, your nameservers, and your server IP.
Right click on your control panel link and open it in a new tab. It will take you to the cPanel Login. Now, go back to the email with all of your information and copy and paste both your username and your password to the cPanel. Click “Log In”.
It will take you to the HostGator Control Panel. There will be an option for “WordPress Installer”. Then choose your domain name from the drop-down and leave the box off to the right of it blank. Click “Next”.
Enter your Blog Title (this can be changed later), enter the Admin User (this will probably end up showing up in a couple different places on your site, so if you don’t want people to see your name or you want to stay anonymous then just put Admin), and then enter your first and last name, and your email.
Make sure to check the boxes for Terms of Service Agreement and Automatically Creating a New Database.
Click “Install Now”.
Once it says your installation is complete and your installation details pop up, go ahead and right click your domain name link and open it in a new tab. It will take you to a page that says “Website Coming Soon” with a green button that says Admin Login. Click on the green button. It will open up the login screen for your new WordPress site! Yay!
You just need to go back to your HostGator Control Panel to copy and paste your username and password from your installation details to your WordPress login. When it opens to your Dashboard it will ask you what kind of site you’d like help setting up, if you want you can use the help they offer ( I personally just select underneath where it says I don’t need help. This will take you to your home dashboard page.

Start Designing and Adding Content to Your Blog!!!

Once your on your home dashboard page you can start by playing around to figure out how things work, or just jump right in and start adding content by knocking out your first blog post!
Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this post, click on over to tylergirls.com and check out some of our other posts!