Envious of those successful online bloggers and you want to be just like them? If they can do it, why can’t you right?
But, how do you get started? There’s so many available resources online which most of them says different ways. Information overload? Nah, it’s Confusion overload with the capital C.
You want to quit now? How about I’ll share you my own experience when I started blogging? Do I have your attention now? *wink
Before we start, I would like to first talk about what is blog, in case you’re not sure what you are up to.
“(n.) Short for Web log, a blog is a Web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.”
If you search online about its meaning, you’ll be flooded with about 800 million answers (and still counting) to that specific question via Google. But one blog post about its meaning really caught my attention because the author presents the answer in different ways, and I have to say that I agree to the last answer:
“Blogs are whatever they want to be. Blogs are whatever we make them.”
I’m sure you’ll come up with your own definition about blog when you finally start blogging.
So why should you create a blog and join the rapidly growing blogging community?
Before we dive deep into getting started with your own personal blog, I really want to share with you first WHY you should create a blog.
- Blogging became one of the most popular ways of communication and spreading information and news across the globe through the internet.
- It’s a great way to express yourself and to share information to others.
- You’ll become a better person and it enhances your writing skills.
- And lastly, you can make money out of it!
I’m sure you know some or maybe all of them, but it’s great to be reminded.
The Steps covered for this blogging guide
There are roughly four steps you need to go through in order to set up your very own blog. If you follow these steps, you can finally say hi to the blogging world! It’s not really that difficult to set up your own blog (only a little “technical” skills will be required). Actually, for this guide, you won’t be expecting any complicated codes to be implemented by you. Hurray!
4 steps on how to set up your own blog
- Choose your preferred blogging platform
- Choose a web hosting for your blog
- Setting up your blog in your own custom domain
- Design your blog
So, that’s it. Let’s start with the step 1, shall we?
Step 1 – Choosing your preferred blogging platform
What is a blogging platform? To make it short, a blogging platform is the software or service you use to publish your content onto the internet in the form of a blog.
I have to say that it is the most crucial step in creating your own blog. Why’s that? It’s because, if you choose the wrong platform and it doesn’t suit your needs, then, just like me, you’ll end up going back to the beginning.
When I first started blogging, it wasn’t really that serious. I just want to share my favorite books and some exciting news about books to everyone. That’s why, I just blindly chose what platform to use. That time, there’s only two blogging platforms that really stood up to me, that was Blogger and WordPress.
I don’t really want to be bias but to those who really want to be serious in blogging, I would really recommend WordPress, they’re massive!
It’s by far the most used blogging platform online with over 84 million active users worldwide! Isn’t that just amazing?
Here are my reasons why I chose or should I say, migrated to WordPress and why you should too:
- Super easy to set up and is free to use
- Tons of FREE themes and layouts available online
- There’s massive resources and support forums in case you get stuck
- Have useful plugins (which most of them are free) you could utilize to make your blog function better
- Easy customization
I’m sure there’s tons of reasons out there why using WordPress could be a great choice, but I think it’ll be more convincing if I share to you what this guy from Google is using for his blog. Hint: It’s not Blogger.
I guess that’ll be it. Let’s proceed to Step 2 eh?
Step 2 – Self-hosting or free hosting?
If you’re like me, free hosting sounds more appealing than the first one right? But be careful there, because just like the first step, choosing between self-hosting to a free one is a crucial decision you’ve got to make.
Wordpres.com, Blogger, Tumblr, and many other offers free blogs for everyone. It’s perfect for those who aren’t serious with blogging, but beware, ‘coz they have their own downside:
- You can’t have your OWN domain name
Free blog sites has their name included in your blog URL, which can be tough to verbalize if you’re trying to tell someone the URL of your blog. Example:
Not that nice right?
You can’t absolutely have everything especially if it’s free. With free blogs, you can’t fully monetize it plus the memory of your blog is limited. Meaning to say, you can’t upload all those videos and images you want to show everyone. And worse, the free templates offered can be limiting.
- You don’t OWN your blog.
Funny but it really is! You don’t actually own your blog. It’s hosted on someone else’s web property and they can delete it if they want to. One example is in blogger, if Google receives complaints about your blog or they detect spam contents in your blog, they have the prerogative to wipe your blog. Harsh isn’t it?
- Negative impact to your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy
You might not that familiar with SEO, but it’s one vital ingredients with your blog. Without proper SEO, your blog wouldn’t be found in the search results, which results to zero traffic or visitor. To know more about SEO, you can refer to this article from Moz.
So you see? Free blog sites can be great but if you’re thinking to get serious in blogging, I really suggest that you invest into a paid hosting. Any recommendations? Well, I am recommending Inmotion Hosting. I’m not really the right person to ask technically about it so I’ll just let this article convince you.
Step 3: Set up your blog using your own custom domain (If you choose self-hosting)
I consider choosing your own custom domain a crucial step too. Why’s that? If I could have write this article a few years before, this wouldn’t have to be a vital process, but when I’ve got to find out about SEO and know more on how it works, it changed everything. I know SEO may seem alien to most of you especially to those people who’s just starting with blogging or is just thinking into starting one, here’s an article from Moz that could help you know more about it.
If you’re still confused about what self-hosted blog is, let me explain it to you.
In order to have a self-hosted blog, you need to come up with a domain name and chose what hosting company you want your blog to host with.
Domain: Is basically the URL or link of your website. Example: Facebook.com (Facebook.com is the domain)
Hosting: Is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible over the Internet.
For my blog and with other websites that I’ve worked with, I prefer to use Inmotion Hosting. As I’ve mentioned above, you can refer to this article for the complete details why you should use Inmotion Hosting. For this blog, I used a different company for my domain. I’ll let to you know more about that in my future post and for a detailed instruction on how to build your blog with Inmotion Hosting.
Most hosting companies have a button that will automatically install WordPress on your blog. Easy as pie, isn’t it?
All you need to do is to register with Inmotion (or your preferred provider), choose your hosting plan and a domain name and just choose the “Install WordPress” from the choices.
The default would be the “No, Thanks” button, but if you accidentally forgot to change it to “Install WordPress”, you can still install it later after your successful purchase. If you’re a beginner, I wouldn’t recommend such because you need to access your cpanel in order to install it. But no worries, I’ll cover it on my next post on how to Install WordPress with cpanel soon.
What I also love about Inmotion is that they don’t overwhelm you with so many options to add to your website unlike what other hosting providers do. For Inmotion, they only give you the most important details to add to your blog like the domain privacy, which I really recommend that you purchase it to protect your private information like the email and address you used for your purchase.
With Inmotion, they will call you right after you made the purchase as that’s one of their way to verify your purchase and to make sure that the buyer is a real person.
So once all the verification is done, they will email you all the details that you need along with your admin password for your website, which you can ofcourse change later. You can access your admin account by going to www.yourblog.com/wp-admin and you can start designing your blog or start adding a new post.
Step 4: Customizing your WordPress Blog
Now, this is the fun part.
Let’s make your blog look eye-candy by installing a new theme. You can do it by going to Appearance > Themes or by going to Appearance > Customize. You can install some free WordPress theme if you’re out of budget or shop for a premium themes which is around $40 and above depends on the complexity of the design.
For this blog, I used a free wordpress theme but I customized it using a child theme. In order to do that, you need to have a little background with programming so that’s going to be quite complicated and I don’t want to overwhelm you. So to save yourself from paranoia, I’ll recommend you’ll purchase a premium theme so you could have the freedom on what you want your blog to look like.
For your reading, I’ve prepared some blog posts about getting started with your blog and customizing it. Feel free to check them out.
- How To Install WordPress Theme For The First Time User
- 10 Ways to Customize and Personalize your WordPress Blog
- The Beginner’s Guide to Tricking Out Your WordPress Blog
And that’s it! I’m quite confident that you can finally set up your own blog with ease. If by any change you’re still having some problems, please feel free to let me know by commenting below.
Enjoy your new blog!