Start A Blog From Scratch

In my post, I show you how you can create a WordPress blog from scratch, step by step.

My guide is for beginners who want to start a WordPress website but don’t know where to start. I show you everything you need to create your first blog. I take you from choosing a blog topic to publishing your first blog post.

My guide shows you how to build a WordPress website with 100% control. No limits or restrictions.

Many companies offer website building services for free, such as Wix and Squarespace. If you are serious about creating a blog as a business, then you need 100% control. Free websites builders have limitations for free users. As you build your site, these restrictions will frustrate you.

My tutorial shows you how to create a brand new website using WordPress.org software. The software is free to use, but you need to purchase a domain and hosting.

Hosting is how you get your site to show on the internet. Shared hosting costs about $4 a month. A domain is the name of your website and costs about $11 a year. So you can start your business for as little as $60.

Over a third of all websites on the web use WordPress.org software. It is the preferred choice of bloggers.

WordPress.org

Let’s start building your website.

Step One – Select A Topic

For me, this is an essential step. For your blog to attract visitors, it needs lots of excellent content. If you choose a topic you know little of or don’t care about, you will find it hard to motivate yourself to write enough blog posts.

When choosing your blog topic, think about things you like to do in your free time. New skills you have learned over the last year or two. What do your family and friends come to you for advice?

Write these ideas down and think about who you can help the most. Your aim with your blog should be to help people. My advice is to write content for beginners. When you are familiar with your blog topic, you won’t spend too much time researching.

Put yourself in the shoes of the audience you want to help. Think about problems you had when you started and how you solved them.

You don’t have to be an expert on a topic but know enough to give helpful, actionable advice to someone starting. There are people every day deciding to do something new. The internet is full of people searching for solutions to problems. If you can help people find solutions to their problems, you have the beginnings of a great website.

Now you probably have an idea or two for your website. Let’s move on to the next step.

Step Two – Define Your Audience

With so many websites on the internet, why would anyone come to yours? The answer is to create lots of excellent content for a specific audience. Google states that if bloggers want to appear on search results, they must publish high-quality blog posts.

The challenge is to find your space. You don’t want to go too broad because it will be hard to stand out from other websites that write about the same thing. You don’t want to go to niche either. If no one is searching, you won’t get visitors to your new website.

To research your website topic ideas and a potential audience. I recommend using forums. Forums are where people sharing the same interest go to share helpful advice.

Researching your topic helps you understand the problems people have and the questions asked. Look for questions you can answer in detail. You can use these questions for blog post ideas.

Two of the most popular forums are Reddit and Quora. I used Quora a lot when I started my blog to find blog topic ideas.

People like to use Quora to ask questions about everything. It is an excellent place to research your potential audience.

quora.com

Sign up for a free account and start searching for your blog topic. For example, you want to create a website about fishing for beginners. Put that search phrase into Quora.

quora search

From your search query, Quora suggests questions you might be interested in answering. Already you have an idea of the type of questions beginners ask. Let’s click on the ‘Search’ link to find more.

questions on quora

There are thousands of questions. As you scroll down the page, more questions appear.

You can use the filter options on the left to refine your search.

audience research

The object here is to help you find your space. Who can you help, and what advice can you give to help find solutions. Try answering some of the questions. Monitor the response you get from other Quora users.

If your answers are getting views and upvotes, that is fantastic. An indicator that there is an audience for your blog.

I have written many answers on Quora. My most popular one was a guide on using Amazon images on websites. As of April 2021, this answer has had 15.3k views and 39 upvotes.

quora answer

Step Three – Buy A Domain Name

A domain name is the address of your website, the URL. My domain name is ‘Newblogr’, and the .com part is the TLD (Top Level Domain.) I recommend buying .com for your site. It is the most common and is not country or sector-specific.

Buying a name for your new website is difficult. The name you want is probably unavailable because someone has already purchased it.

When thinking of a name for your blog, try to keep it short. Long domain names or names with dashes are hard to remember. Try to choose a name with two or three syllables without dashes.

Think long term, build a brand. Create something to make you proud. Your domain name doesn’t necessarily need to have your topic in the title, but I think it helps.

When you are ready to buy your domain name, I recommend ‘Namecheap.com‘ (*paid link). Namecheap is a domain name seller company. You can buy a .com domain name for less than $10 a year.

namecheap

First, enter the name you want for your blog followed by .com, then select ‘Search.’

Domain name search

Available domain names are difficult to find. Many domain names you want won’t be available or will have a ‘Make Offer’ option. ‘Make Offer’ means the owner is open to offers to buy. I don’t recommend making an offer. A premium listing could cost thousands of dollars. Look for an available name.

Make offer

Domain Name Generator Tool

Can’t find an available name? Try using Nameboy.com. Nameboy is a domain name generator tool.

Nameboy

To use Nameboy, type one or two keywords that are to do with your blog idea. Then select ‘Submit.’ After a few seconds, a list of available domain names appears.

For example, I typed ‘Start Blog’ and got these suggestions. The available .com names are on the right. To view more domain name suggestions, select ‘Show more results.’

Domain name list

Nameboy works in partnership with Bluehost hosting. If you click on any available domain name links, you get redirected to Bluehost. I suggest you only use Nameboy to help you find an available domain name. When you find one you like, return to Namecheap.

On Namecheap, enter your available domain name in the box and select ‘Search.’

On the next page, you get confirmation of availability with an option to purchase. To buy, click on the ‘Add To Cart’ link.

available

Next, ensure ‘Domain privacy’ is enabled. This option hides your personal information after you purchase this domain. With Namecheap, this option is free forever.

Domain registration

To complete your purchase, you need to create a free account. Your new domain name appears in your account dashboard. Make a note of when your domain expires and renew before then.

Namecheap dashboard

How To Buy A Domain Name Video Tutorial

Now you have your domain name, let’s move on to the next step.

Step Four – Buy Hosting

Hosting is how you get your website to show on the internet. Hosting companies have servers and sell space on those servers for your website. When a visitor goes to your blog, internet browsers access that data.

There are hundreds of hosting companies offering multiple hosting packages. For a new website, a shared hosting package is sufficient. It is the cheapest package.

Shared hosting means that the hosting company will put several websites on the same server. As your site grows and needs more resources, you can upgrade to a better package.

Hosting companies offer discounts to new customers, but when it is time to renew, the price doubles or sometimes triples. Hosting companies do not usually offer discounts to existing customers. Therefore, take your time researching hosting companies. Always check the renewal cost.

For example, here are Siteground’s hosting packages. The new customer price is the discounted price. The renewal price is much higher.

Hosting prices

When choosing a hosting company, here is a list of essential factors.

Uptime

Uptime means your website is live on the internet. Internet browsers can access your website files. Look for hosting companies that guarantee an uptime of over 99%.

For example, here is Hostgator’s sales page. They guarantee 99.9% uptime.

Hostgator

Support

Support is essential when you are new to blogging. Your site will have issues that you don’t know how to fix. Choose a hosting company that has a reputation for excellent customer support.

Here is a blog post from WPbeginner.com talking about customer support on Siteground.

Siteground support

Site speed

Site speed is about how long it takes for your blog to load. Your site must load fast. From June 2021, Google will monitor site website loading speeds.

You need a hosting company with servers that reply quickly to browser requests. This metric is called Time-to-first-byte, or TTFB for short.

I use a company called WebHostFace to host my website. My site’s homepage TTFB is under 400ms, which is fast.

TTFB

Before you purchase a hosting package, review their refund policy. Most, if not all, have a 30-day refund policy. If you have issues with your site or are unsatisfied with customer support, request a refund.

Hosting Companies I have Used

The three hosting companies I have used the most are Hostgator, Bluehost, and Webhostface.

Hostgator, I used for three years and was happy with both price and support. Their introductory price is competitive, but their renewal price is high. Check out their latest hosting package prices at www.hostgator.com (*paid link).

create a WordPress blog with Hostgator

Advertisement

Bluehost is another hosting company I have used. I was with them for about one year. I decided not to renew with them because my site went offline a few times, and the renewal price was high.

Bluehost offer discounts to new customers. You can check out their latest offers at www.bluehost.com (*paid link).

Create a WordPress blog with Bluehost

Advertisement

Webhostface is a new hosting company that I have been with for over two years. Their excellent new customer discount offer meant I could buy a better hosting package. So far, I have found their service and hosting exceptional. I renewed my hosting package with them twice, and each time they offered me a discount.

As of April 2021, new customers get a 60% discount. To check out their latest customer discounts, visit their homepage at www.webhostface.com (*paid link).

Webhostface

Advertisement

WebHostFace - Web Hosting Services

Step Five – Connect Your Domain And Hosting

When a visitor goes to your website, nameservers tell the browser where to go. Each hosting company has unique nameservers.

After you purchase your hosting package, they send you the names of their nameservers via email.

Webhostface sent me an email with their two unique nameservers. There are usually two.

Nameservers

Update your nameservers through your domain account on Namecheap. Sign in to your account and select the ‘Manage’ link on the right.

Manage

On the next page, there is a ‘Nameserver’ section. Copy and paste the two nameservers you received from your hosting company, then select the green tick icon. Once you confirm the update of the nameservers, a message informs you that it takes 48 hours to complete. In my experience, it doesn’t take more than 24 hours.

Nameserver update

Once the nameservers have updated, your domain and hosting are connected. Your site is live! If you type your domain name into your browser, you will see a default homepage set by your hosting company.

For a more detailed walkthrough on updating nameservers on Namecheap, check out my ‘How do I change the nameservers for my domain name?‘ post.

How To Update Nameservers On Namecheap Video Tutorial

You have your domain and hosting set up. Next, let’s install WordPress.org software so you can build your blog.

Step Six – Install WordPress

After purchasing your hosting package, you get an email with a link to a Control panel. The Control panel allows you to access your website on the server. You install WordPress in the Control panel.

The email contains your Control panel URL, username and password. Click on the link to your Cpanel and log in using the given details.

Here is a screenshot of the Control panel on my web hosting account.

Cpanel

To start the installation, type “WordPress’ in the search box. Then select the ‘WordPress’ link.

WordPress search

Then you come to the WordPress software installation page. Select the ‘Install’ link.

Install WordPress

On the right-hand side, select the ‘Quick Install’ link.

Quick install

Complete the required information for set-up. Ensure you remove the ‘WP’ from the ‘In Directory’ box. Don’t put your new website in a directory.

In Directory

Finally, select the ‘Install’ link. Installation takes just a few moments.

Install

Install WordPress On Hostgator Guide

If you have purchased Hostgator hosting, please check out my ‘How to install WordPress in Cpanel on Hostgator‘ post.

Hostgator Cpanel

Install WordPress On Bluehost Guide

If you purchased Bluehost hosting, please check out my ‘How to install WordPress in your Bluehost Cpanel‘ post.

Create a WordPress blog with Bluehost

How To Install WordPress On Bluehost Video Tutorial

Once WordPress installation is complete, you get two external links. The first link is to your website, and the second link is to your WordPress admin dashboard. I recommend you open both and bookmark them.

WordPress admin is where you build your blog. It is the back office of your website.

WordPress Admin Dashboard

WordPress dashboard

Step Seven – WordPress Admin Set-up

Before creating content for your website, you need to complete the following tasks.

Permalinks Settings

Permalinks are the URLs of your blog posts. You should change the default settings.

To start, hover your mouse over ‘Settings’ on the menu on the left and select ‘Permalinks’ from the popup menu.

Settings

Next, select the best setting for your website. I recommend ‘Post name’ or ‘Custom structure.’ Both these settings ensure your blog title is in your post’s URL.

Permalink structure

‘Post name’ means your blog post title appears in the URL. ‘Custom Structure’ allows you to determine what information you want to be displayed.

Save changes

Once you make your selection, select the ‘Save Changes’ link.

Theme

A WordPress theme is a tool to change the layout and design of your website. You can customize the appearance of your site. It is essential to have a clean website, but it isn’t something you should spend days or weeks doing. Your visitors are coming to your website for your helpful content.

WordPress has thousands of free themes, or you can purchase a premium theme. I have a free version of Kadence on my website. The layout is simple, and it loads fast.

To access the library of free WordPress themes, hover your mouse over ‘Appearance’ on the left, and select ‘Themes’ from the popup menu.

Themes

On the next page, select ‘Add New’.

Add new theme

Use the ‘Feature filter’ option to find themes for your content.

Feature filter

Use the filter to help you find a theme that fits your content. My site is a general blog, so I chose the Kadence theme.

Theme filter

Make your selection from the three columns, then select ‘Apply Filters.’

For a detailed walkthrough on installing WordPress themes, please check out my ‘Can I change WordPress themes without losing content?‘ post.

Choosing a theme for your blog is difficult because there are so many. My advice is to not spend too much time on this. Pick a theme you like and go with it. You can change your theme later.

Plugins

WordPress plugins allow you to add extra functions to your blog. Only add plugins to your site that you need. Plugins add code to your site and could cause your site to load slower for your visitor.

You install plugins from your WordPress admin. Hover your mouse over ‘Plugins’ on the left and select ‘Add New’ from the popup menu.

Add plugin

In the WordPress plugin library, use the search box to find plugins.

Search plugins

My Recommended Plugins

Akismet Anti-Spam – Akismet monitors spam in your blog post comments. The plugin separates suspected spam comments for you to review.

ShortPixel Image Optimizer – Large images on websites cause slow loading speeds. Shortpixel (*paid link) compresses images, so your site loads faster. The free version is limited to 100 hundred images per month. For more, you need to purchase a paid plan.

UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore – Backing up your site content is essential. If something goes wrong with your site and you lose all your content, you can restore everything from a backup. Updraftplus (*paid link) is an excellent free plugin. For a detailed guide on backing up your WordPress website, check out my ‘How to backup your WordPress site‘ blog post.

Litespeed Cache plugin – Cache plugins help your site load faster by copying your blog posts and serving a saved copy to visitors. They also have features that streamline your site code. It loads more efficiently.

Wordfence Security – Keep your website secure from hackers with a security plugin.

Yoast SEO plugin – SEO stands for ‘search-engine-optimization.’ This plugin offers recommendations on how to improve your blog post, so it is simple to read for both search engines and your visitors.

SSL Certificate

SSL certificates ensure any data entered on your site is encoded. Sites with SSL certificates have a safe padlock icon in browsers.

Padlock

Websites that do not have SSL certificates generate a not secure warning in some browsers.

Unsecure

Some hosting companies offer SSL certificates for free. If you are with a hosting company that does not include them, you can get a free SSL certificate from Cloudflare. Check out my ‘How to change my WordPress site from HTTP to HTTPS‘ post to learn more.

Homepage

In WordPress, there are two settings for your blog homepage. The first option displays your latest blog posts. The second option is to have a static homepage.

My website is a blog, so I have set my homepage to display my latest blog posts. If you are a local company, it is better to have a static homepage to encourage your customers to contact you.

To set your homepage, go to ‘Settings’ on the left, then select ‘Reading.’

Homepage

To set your homepage to display your latest blog posts, select ‘Your latest posts’. Chose how many posts you want to show, then save your changes.

Reading settings

To set a static page, first design your page and publish it. If you intend to have a blog on your site, you also need to create a page for your blog content.

Then, return to ‘Reading Settings’ and select ‘A static page.’ On the menu, select your homepage and blog page, and save.

Your Site Title And Meta Description

All search engines scan your website looking for new content. To ensure the search engines know what your blog content is about, complete a title and short description for your website.

Here is an example of a site title and meta description in a Google search.

Site title and meta description example

Search engines limit the characters displayed in search results, so you don’t have anything too long.

To set your site title and meta description, go to ‘Settings’ on the left, and select ‘General’.

General settings

On the next page, set your site title and meta description.

Site title

Finally, scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘Save Changes.’

For a detailed walkthrough on setting your site title and meta description, please visit my ‘How to change the homepage title tag and meta description in WordPress‘ post.

How To Set Your Title Tag And Meta Description On WordPress Video Tutorial

Step Eight – Create A Blog Post

New bloggers like to ask how many blogs are needed to start a blog. I recommend you write your first blog post and publish it immediately with the plan to create more content consistently.

Search engines take their time ranking blog post content, so the quicker you make your posts live, the quicker they get indexed. Publish your first post and then start a second.

Response posts are the easiest to write. Find questions about your niche topic and write detailed answers. If you are not sure what to write, use Quora.com to help you find common questions.

Three Free Tools To Generate Blog Content Ideas

Use your knowledge to determine what a beginner would probably ask.

Before starting your post, check if people search for the phrase. Type your question into a Google search and see if Google can finish your sentence.

For example, I am writing this post about starting a blog on WordPress. I start typing ‘how to start a blog on’ and then let Google finish my sentence.

Google search

Google confirms that people are searching for the phrase ‘How to start a blog on WordPress’ because it appears as a suggested search.

This process is called keyword research. You should complete a checklist before you decide to write a blog post. You could spend hours, if not days, writing content only for it to never appear in Google.

To learn how I do research, check out my ‘How to do keyword research for beginners guide‘ post.

Once you have decided on your blog topic, it is time to create your first post.

On WordPress, there are pages and posts. Posts are your blog content. Pages are content you don’t want to appear on your latest blog post list. For example, contact us, about me, disclaimers, terms and conditions, etc.

To create your first post, hover your mouse over ‘New’ and select ‘Post.’

First post

First, give your blog post a title and then use the plus icon to add blocks, such as headings, text, images, tables, videos, etc.

Blog post

Your first paragraph should state what your content is about and how it can help your visitor. I recommend reading blog post formats of successful websites within your niche. How do they introduce the content? How many images and videos do they use? How long are their posts? How do they write their sub-headings?

Find something that works and make it better.

Keep your website organized with categories and menus. Each time you create a new blog post, assign it to a blog category. Find out more on my ‘How do I create a drop-down menu in WordPress?‘ post.

Once you complete your post, it is time to publish. To do that, hit the ‘Publish’ link on the top right.

Publish

Now your content is live on the internet. Your next job is to start your next blog post and keep posting.

To rank, your content must be better than what Google already has. Be the go-to place for your niche. Blogging takes lots of hard work and patience.

Step Nine – Create A Logo

I recommend you create a logo for your website early. If you don’t have a budget for a company to make one for you, here are two free tools to get you started.

Canva.com

Canva (*Paid link) is an Australian graphic design platform used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and other visual content. You can use Canva to create a beautiful logo for your blog.

Create a free account and start designing a logo. You can use one of the templates or start from scratch.

Create a free logo on Canva.com

Designevo.com

Designevo is a free online logo maker with 10,000+ templates that anyone can use to bring to life a compelling, unique logo.

Choose a template category to fit your website topic and have a logo for your site in minutes.

Create a free logo on Designevo

Step Ten – Get Your Website Indexed

Search engines like Google and Bing scan the internet looking for new content. Eventually, they will find your blog and index it.

To speed up indexing for your website. I recommend setting up an account with Google and Bing. Once set up, you can request them to scan your site.

Google has the ‘Google Search Console,’ this free account allows you to get indexed and view search data about your website. For a step by step guide, check out my ‘How does Google discover new websites?‘ post.

How To Submit Your Website To Google Video Tutorial

Bing has ‘Bing Webmaster Tools’. You can get your site indexed and view data about your blog. Check out my ‘How to add a sitemap in Bing Webmaster‘ post to learn more.

How To Submit Your Site To Bing Video Tutorial

Follow Successful Bloggers

Many new bloggers give up on their blogs within six months because they don’t see results. Blogging is hard, don’t let anyone tell you that blogging is easy. It takes hard work and lots of patience.

An excellent way to keep focused is to find out how successful bloggers do it.

I follow Income School and have done since I started my blog. Their YouTube channel is an excellent source of tips and guides about blogging. They publish one video a week about blogging on their YouTube channel.

Conclusion

You can create a blog for as little as $60. Buy a domain name, a hosting package, and install WordPress.

My step by step guide takes you through each step. Picking the right niche is essential, especially for your first site. Write content about something you love or that interests you. Think about who and how you can help.

Google’s job is to match searchers with the content they need. Define your audience, understand what problems they have and offer solutions. Your experience helps you with this. Put yourself in the shoes of someone starting.

Get started today, go to Namecheap and buy a domain. Choose hosting and install WordPress. In less than fifteen minutes, you can have a live website.

If you have any questions about my guide or need help setting up your blog, leave me a comment below.

I also have a YouTube channel. I would love to see you there. Check my channel, and don’t forget to say hi in the comments.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.