This tutorial will teach you how to start a blog.
In order to make it easier for you, we’ve made this as concise of an article as possible so that you can get started right away and stop worrying about what’s going on behind the scenes when starting your own blog.
Why should I start a free blog?
The benefits of starting and maintaining a blog are endless.
You can share your ideas with the world in an instant, connect with like-minded people who enjoy similar content to yours (and also comment on it!), grow your fan base into something huge…the list goes on!
A personal blog is one thing that cannot be taken away from you so make sure it’s worth fighting for by making time and effort to create quality posts every week.
Step 1: Pick a niche
The first step when starting a blog is to pick a niche.
A blog niche is a subject that the blog focuses on.
It is usually best to focus on a topic that you are passionate about or knowledgeable in.
A few general examples of niches include lifestyle, beauty, health and fitness, parenting, photography, and design.
What to consider when choosing a blog niche
Consider what the following things before choosing your blog’s niche:
a). Your interests
What do you like?
What topics interest you most?
Do research into those topics by reading blogs related to them.
Also, look at others who might have written posts relating to this subject matter with success already under their belt.
If there are no successful bloggers writing about this subject yet then it may be worth exploring other options for now.
Do that while researching ways how you can make these subjects popular.
b). What you know about
Do you have valuable knowledge or insights to offer in this niche?
If so, then it might be worth exploring.
Would your readers want to hear from someone who has a unique perspective on the subject matter that they’re interested in reading about?
c). Limitations of resources
If there are limitations on what is available for research and writing purposes such as time, money, technical skills and equipment then it may not be best to focus your blog within these subject matters until you have more availability of those things.
Most Popular Blog Niches That You Should Consider
1). Home and Garden Blogs
This is a blog where the writer talks about home improvement, all sorts of gardening techniques including how to make your own compost at home or even start planting roses.
2). Technology Blogs
These blogs are written for people who want to know about new technology as soon as it’s released without having to search extensively on Google.
They may talk about Apple Watch series three features, the latest iPhone from Samsung or other devices in detail.
It could also be an app developer promoting their apps with reviews for them.
There’s no shortage of tech blogs these days, each serving different needs within specific fields; try not to get out over your head when you first start blogging!
You might be tempted to write about everything under the sun, but there are countless other blogs already doing that.
3). Fashion Bloggers
The most famous fashion bloggers have millions of followers across social media.
So it’s not surprising that many people want their own slice of fame through blogging!
It is easy enough to get started as long as you have a good camera, internet access, and an interest in fashion.
What would the internet be without its collection of recipes?
Bloggers like to share their favorite dishes with others through these simple posts which are often accompanied by pictures for inspiration.
Once you have picked your niche, let’s get going with how to start a blog .
Step 2: Choose a domain name
A domain name is the web address of your blog. It’s what the user will type to access your website.
It is the unique address of your site on the internet.
Think of it as one side of an envelope, and every time someone visits your blog they have to type this in before being able to see any content.
To get one, you must register it with domain registrars. These are companies tasked with managing website names.
The domain name can be the name of your business, your personal name or anything you want.
To have the best, it has to reflect whatever your niche is all about.
How to pick the best website name
Consider the following when picking a domain name for your blog;
a) make sure it is easy to remember and spell correctly
b) consider the popularity of a domain name before you buy one
c) stay away from any misspellings or variations of words that are common spelling mistakes.
With this tips, create a list of potential website names you’d want to name your website.
A good rule to follow when picking out a domain may be:
What word would someone who knows nothing about blogging type into google?
This will prevent misspelling and ensure high rankings on search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.
Keep the list, you will need it in step 2 of how to start a blog.
Step 3: Choose Blog Software/platform
Decide what type of blog software you want to use for your website’s platform.
There are many blogging platforms.
Types of blogging sites
There are two main types of blogging sites: hosted and self-hosted blogs.
a). Hosted blog
Hosted blogs are hosted on the cloud and are accessed with a browser like WordPress.com or Blogger.
All you have to do is sign up for an account then upload your content.
The downside of this option is that any changes made will be reflected across the platform.
Additionally, it can become difficult to maintain control over certain aspects such as design templates.
Another big disadvantage of using one of these platforms is that they don’t allow you access to data about who visits your site.
As such, analytics tools come in handy when trying to grow your audience.
Here is how to use self-hosted platforms to create a blog.
How To Start A Blog For Free
It’s easier than you think to start your own blog, no matter what business or industry you’re in.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to get started with hosting a WordPress blog for free and cover some of the best ways to monetize it too!
Do I need any fancy tech skills?
No! All you’ll need is an email address (and maybe basic computer skills).
WordPress.com is a free blogging platform that allows you to create your own blog without having any technical skills or even owning a domain name.
To get started, head over to https://wordpress.com
Click on Start Your Website.
Step 1: Create an account
You can either use your email and choose a password or use either your Google or Apple account.
Step 2: Choose a domain
Give your name to your free website.
I suggest you pick a relevant name that depicts what you will be blogging about.
Pick the free one (unless you are willing to spend some money now.
Step 3: Choose a plan
Choose the free plan as shown in the screenshot above.
That is how to start a blog for free. As you can see, the other plans cost at least KES 400 per month, so do not pick any of them.
Once you have picked the free plan, you will be taken to your free blog dashboard.
You can see the rest of this guide on how to start a blog to understand how to navigate the dashboard.
If wordpress isn’t working for you, head over here and sign up for Blogger which requires just an email address as well.
This is another free blogging platform you can use to create a website for free.
To get started, head over to https://www.blogger.com/about/
Click on CREATE YOUR BLOG.
Create an account;
Give your free blog a name;
Pick your website URL name;
Confirm your display name to proceed.
You can now start blogging for free.
b). Self-hosted blogs
Self-hosted blogs are more expensive to maintain and set up.
But they do offer an incredible amount of functionality.
If you need a blog with eCommerce integration or social media features like Facebook commenting, then it is worth the investment in your business.
A self-hosted blogging site can be set up for as little as $20 per year (about KES 2000).
This includes control over anything from design templates to hosting location and all the necessary plugins that will make your readers’ experience better.
There is no ongoing cost after buying your domain name and purchasing a plan with these services.
Which one should you choose?
Go with wordpress.
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform and has a large range of features, plugins (plug-ins), themes, templates, etc. that will work for your needs.
To get it, you first need to get a hosting account and then install wordpress. Continue reading to learn how to do that.
Step 4: Sign up with a hosting service provider
As we have mentioned, there are two types of blogging platforms.
Some people choose to host their blogs on free blogging websites like Blogger or Tumblr.
However, this isn’t recommended if you want full control over upgrades/changes when new versions are released.
If you’re looking for more customization options without the cost associated with hosted solutions, there is no better option than signing up for an account at Truehost or Hostpinnacle.
In this article, I will walk you through how to get a web hosting account in Truehost for just KES 1500.
To get started, you need to register a domain, get a hosting account, and install wordpress.
Remember the website name you picked in step #1?
It is time to register now.
How to get a self-hosted website
1). Register a domain name in
First, you need to search to make sure it is available (not registered by somebody else).
To do that, go to https://truehost.co.ke/
Type the first name on your list on the search box and hit search.
What happens here is that the Truehost algorithm will scour through the entire internet search for a match of your chosen domain.
If they find it, you will get a “Sorry! Domain name is already taken!” message.
If it doesn’t, you will get a “Congratulations! bestblogger.co.ke is available!”
Depending on the types of domain names you have on your list, you may get it right on your first search.
Either way, once you find the name you want is available, go ahead and click the BUY IT NOW button.
Point to note:
Keep it .CO.KE domain extension if you want your budget to be under KES 2500. That domain is going for Ksh 599 on Truehost.
Next, adding hosting.
Tick the first and the last boxes, these are free addons. If you want, add the ID Protection option, it costs Ksh 399 per year.
As you can see, it says no hosting.
2). Get a hosting account
Below your domain, click on ‘No Hosting! Click to Add”
This allows you to add a hosting package (an important step in learning how to start a blog).
The package we are going for is Silver Hosting.
It is Ksh 1499 per year and gives you 30 GB SSD storage space and can host up to 3 websites.
Order hosting package
So, scroll down and click on Order Now.
In the next step, click on the first option (Use a domain already in my shopping cart)
Click on Use.
On the next window, leave everything as is, and click on the Continue button.
You have now added a hosting plan to your domain.
Just to point out;
- The billing cycle is annual, meaning you will be paying Ksh 1499 every year
- Other billing cycles are available.
As you can see from the screenshot below, it says ‘has hosting.’
Click on Continue to proceed.
Review cart and check out
The next step is to review your cart
Choose currency (KES or USD) and use the Truehost promo code if you have one.
Create a Truehost account (for new customers only).
If you are an existing user, go ahead and click on ‘existing customer login.’
Fill in the required details fully such as your name, email address, billing address, phone number, and state, etc.
Remember to choose a strong password;
Or click on Generate Password.
Finally, choose your payment method as MPESA, tick the Terms of Service box, and click on Checkout (to your right if using a computer).
Pay the Invoice
Once you have filled in your details, checkout, and pay the invoice amount.
The amount due is Ksh 1998.00.
Domain prices change constantly, by the time of writing this article, the .co.ke domain was KES 499, now it is KES 599.
Pay through MPESA following the instructions given. Input the transaction code on the box given and click Pay Now.
The invoice status will change from UNPAID to PAID. And you will receive login details to your email address (the one you used to open an account in the previous step).
After some minutes, you will receive an email from Truehost with your cPanel login details.
Go ahead log into your cPanel using the details you’ve given.
Time for the final part on how to start a blog; installing wordpress.
We will use the Cpanel to install wordpress on your domain.
3). How to Install WordPress
This is your last step in learning how to start a blog.
Once you login into your cPanel, the next step is to install WordPress. This is the software you will be using to manage content on your website.
To do that, scroll down to the software section, and click on Softaculous App Installer.
You will see a list of apps.
On the next window, click on Install Now.
The next step is;
- Choose WordPress version (should the latest)
- The Installation URL is always highlighted, so leave it as is, the ‘in directory’ box should be blank. So delete the words ‘wp.’
- Pick a name for your new website
- And tagline
- Choose admin username. Remember it can’t be changed once set.
- Type a strong password or click on the key symbol to generate one
- Type admin’s email. Use your Gmail account if you like
After that, leave everything else as is and scroll down to choose a theme.
Things to consider when selecting a WordPress theme
To find the perfect theme for your website, ask yourself these questions;
- How many columns does this theme have? What is the column width in pixels or percentage for each column?
- Does it offer a sidebar and footer, and what’s their height?
- Is there an option built into the settings panel that allows you to change from the left-aligned text (text on the left) to right-aligned text (text on the right)?
- Are there any options that allow me to customize my site by changing fonts, background colors, header images, etc.? Do I need anything other than uploading files like CSS or graphics for these changes. If so, where can I upload those files? Can I manage them through your dashboard?
- What are the features of this theme, and how can I find out more about them before downloading it.
- How many people have downloaded or purchased this theme so far?
- What is the theme’s star rating?
- Is it responsive to different screen sizes, like mobiles and tablets?
Here, pick a theme depending on the type of website you have created.
If you have created a news website, choose a news theme. Lucky enough, you can search for exactly what you want. All you have to do is click on ‘Show All Themes’ and then type the keywords.
Now, once you find what you are looking for, click on Install.
WordPress will begin installing wordpress on your new website.
Are you tired?
Don’t be. We are almost done with this how-to-start blog website guide.
After the installation, log in to your Website dashboard.
You have made your first step into blogging.
Now that you have your website up and running, there are some things you need to take care of first.
A WordPress plugin is something that adds new functionality to your WordPress site or extends existing functionality on your site.
Here are must-have plugins;
- MonsterInsights – this is the best Google Analytics plugin for wordpress. Allows you to view analytics directly on your dashboard
- Yoast SEO – helps you prepare your site to rank on search engines.
- UpdraftPlus – helps back up your website files, which is important in case of disasters such as getting hacked.
- WP Rocket – the best caching plugin to help your website load faster.
- Contact Form 7 – to create contact forms on your website.
To add a plugin, on your dashboard, click on Plugins and Add new.
You will be redirected to the wordpress plugins repository.
Search the plugin you are looking for on the search box.
Once you find it, click Install Now.
When the installation is complete, click activate.
After that, some plugins will work right off, while others may require some setting up.
Either way, that is how to install a plugin on your website.
How to create a new page on WordPress
Once you have installed plugins, it is time to create new pages.
Now that I have installed Contact Form 7 plugin, I should go ahead and create a contact us page.
This is a page where people can email me right on the website.
To create a new page, go to your wordpress dashboard and click on Pages then Add New.
Give your new page a name and then description (what is the page about?).
Once done, click on Publish to complete the page creation process.
Here is what mine looks like;
The form is created directly on Contact Form 7 window.
Here is how the final result looks like;
And that is how to create a new page on WordPress.
There are many other things you can do with your blog after you just finished creating it.
But what you’ve learned is the essential stuff.
Moving with how to start a blog, here is the next step.
Step 5: Create Your Content
This is a step where things get real and you can now start blogging.
To get started, you need content ideas.
What do you want to write about?
Some of the best content ideas include topics about personal experience, opinion pieces, or reviews on products in which you have firsthand knowledge.
Another way is through keyword research.
How to do keyword research
Keywords are words people type into search engines while looking for information.
They form the basis of internet searches so it’s critical to know which keywords best describe your blog.
So if you can find words people use on Google when looking for topics related to your blog, you are sorted.
If your blog is about weight loss, you need to figure out (research) what words people use (keywords) when searching for articles about weight loss on Google.
And the best way to do that is using keyword research tools.
The one I use often is Google Keyword Planner.
How to use Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a tool availed by Google and it is free.
To use it, go to https://ads.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/
You may be required to login with your Google account to use the tool.
Actually, this tool is used when creating Google Ads.
Click on Go to Keyword Planner.
Pick the first option.
This will help you discover more keywords.
Type the topic of your blog into the box (make sure the location is set).
Finally, click on Get Results.
Google will give you keywords people use when searching for your blog topic or product.
It also shows you;
- How many times the keyword is searched per month
- Level of competition (high, medium, and low).
To pick the best keyword, pick one with high search volume and low to medium competition.
Because it will be easier for your article to rank for that keyword.
Avoid anything with high competition.
Once you have the keyword, it is time to start writing.
Whatever your topic may be, use these tips when writing;
- Be clear with what the post is about
- Include at least one image where possible
- Keep exhaustive (at least 500 words)
- Give it an inviting title that will make people want to click and read
How to publish blog posts on WordPress
Now that you have learned how to start a blog, let’s publish it on your new website.
To do that, go to your wordpress dashboard and click on Posts then Add new.
Give your article a title and then start writing or copy and paste the post if you have it written somewhere else.
Before you hit publish, do the following;
- Proofread the blog post to weed out minor errors
- Use sub headings to make your article scannable
- Add at least one image where applicable
- Add links to your sources (2-3 links).
- Link to other pages within your website (1-3).
Time for the final step on how to start a blog.
Step 6: Promote Yourself Online
It’s important not just to publish posts without promoting them as well.
This step will show you how to promote your blog posts over time.
- Promote it on social media, forums, and websites you already participate in
- Guest posts on other blogs
- Outreach to websites who may be interested in publishing your content (e.g., reporters)
- Submitting articles to relevant sites that accept guest posts or sponsored contributions, such as Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, Huffington Post Contributors Network, etc.)
Step 7: Build Your Blog Audience
One of the most important steps in any blog is building up a readership.
How do you go about doing this?
- Post regularly – at least once or twice a week, but as often as every other day if possible
- Send your posts to relevant bloggers who might share it with their audience and increase its exposure
Step 8: Don’t Give Up!
Creating and maintaining an online presence takes time and effort.
Some weeks will be better than others so don’t give up when things slow down.
Keep on trying new ways to grow your following, engaging with people from all over the world while keeping true to yourself.
And before you know it, you’ll have built something truly amazing!
That is how to start a blog.
What are the best ways to monetize my blog?
There are many different avenues that bloggers choose when it comes to making money off of their site including sponsorships/affiliates links (from brands they care about), sponsored posts (which offer a company exposure in exchange for compensation), and advertising revenue streams like Adsense which pay based on impressions.
If these don’t appeal to you then maybe think creatively outside the box with other methods such as speaking engagements and paid appearances at events.
What do you think? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below.