Having your own blog is the new “new”.
If you love to write and do not find any suitable platform to do so, do not sit and repent. Start your own blog and use it to do something good. And, make money alongside. It’ll make you a better writer and will help you express yourself better.
Now, the question is: What should be the first step towards creating your own blog?
The obvious step you’ll take will be to go for a Google search and type: How to create your own blog: And, the long list of searches will confuse you completely, as they did to me some years back. Everything comes from practice and making mistakes. So, I, after making I-don’t-want-to-remember number of mistakes in the first step itself, have reached a situation where I can suggest you what to do and what not to do. . .
Before even starting a blog of your own, the most important decisions that should be taken, that people generally ignore, are:
- The PURPOSE of having a personal blog (and not going for posting your thoughts on social media to get everyone’s cries)
- Theme of your blog (called the niche of your blog)
With this clearer blog vision, you are partially ready to take a step ahead. Do not worry at all if you don’t know any, literally any, kind of coding knowledge, websites, blogging, software, plugins etc. I’ll make everything easy moving further so that you can also have a blog to display your writing skills. For that, stay hooked to this.
Setting up a blog is a task of dedicated 30 minutes, which I’ll break down in steps so that you can do it by yourself.
1. Choose a blog platform
If you’re alien to the blogging world, this must have been the first time that you’re hearing the word ‘WordPress’. Yes, I said, W-o-r-d-P-r-e-s-s. Remember this word, for your blogging life ahead.
WordPress is a FREE and open source system where you can create your own free websites or blogs.
Why do I recommend WordPress?
You can get your website hand-coded but for some reasons like high input cost, time and risk of inefficiency and bugs, I’d recommend not to do that. Instead, go for WordPress and make use of the possibilities in front-end design, user-friendliness, cost-effectiveness and the fun part of playing with the plugins.
WordPress is not only for small blogs, it has given brilliant websites like Vogue, Mercedes-Benz, CNN, New York Times and so much more. Just pick up a design and start decorating your blog, in your own magical way.
Other than these, you have following Free options to select from:
Tumblr will keep you engaged if you involve with the communities with your blog. Blogs at Tumblr are very interesting and super-easy to use. You can use different post styles to share images, videos, and quotes, rather than the plain write-ups with had-to-be-followed designs. It is free but includes advertising, that you cannot escape.
As well-known to everyone, LinkedIn is a professional website which helps connect people in similar professions, blogging is a new dimension that it provides. If you have a good following on LinkedIn and want to reach out to your customers to expand your business, you can choose this path confidently. This social networking site although allows you to build your own blog, it doesn’t allow everyone to access your content. I’d recommend this place only if you want the blog to affect your business and you don’t really care about the design part of it because it doesn’t really offer any.
Squarespace provides the blog building service starting at $8, giving way to a lot of theme options by which you can get beautiful designs without even coding the special features. But, in case you love to code, this is also possible with this. It is a hosted service, not available for free.
Currently, the neatest and simplest way to start blogging, Medium it is. It is natural to feel that the power of customizing the design of your personal blog and make it more attractive is not given at the hands of the writers. The only areas where the writer can work with the looks are the text, quotes, images and other media. With limitations, a Medium blog can still perform better than others because if it gets loads of recommendations, it can then gather a huge traffic by showing up on the Medium homepage. Isn’t that a great news?
If you are a developer and also need a blog along with it, this will be fun for you. I’m saying this because this doesn’t have anything ready in the name of a blog. You can only create an API of your blog by using Contentful and the interface has to be coded by you, The Developer, to get your posts published from the cloud to the blog. All the tools are provided but the end result from Contentful will be a code representing your blog. The good thing is that you have complete power to give your blog your own design.
2. Choose your own domain name and a web host for your blog
Do you know what a self-hosted blog means? I’ll explain. . .
First of all, choose a domain name and check whether it’s available or not(that is to say that nobody else should have taken that domain name before you.) The domain name, just like witsandwings.com, can be anything that you can feel for. It can even be your name.
Check the availability of a domain name here.
After selecting the name, decide the extension as either .com, .net, .me or .org or whatever is available and sounds good.
Now starts the main part which looks difficult but is really easy if you go step-by-step. You’ll feel good at the end.
Warning: You will have to spend a little money on buying the domain and web hosting service. Rest all is free until you grow your blog’s requirements. Also, there’s a way to have your domain for free with BlueHost, it will be explained soon.
3. Get a web hosting service for the blog
The detailed process of setting up a WordPress blog
You are ready with the domain name, now you have to register it with the hosting service.
You have to choose a hosting company so that your blog can go live on the internet and people can see it. Most of the web hosting companies provide installation of WordPress in one click directly from their admin panel.
The most affordable and a great option to start your blog with a bang is BlueHost shared hosting service. This is truly the best hosting service for beginners. It’s easy to use and provides the best technical support if required in future. The most amazing part of this is – BlueHost provides a plan for free domain name registration and web hosting.
So, just signup with BlueHost >> Choose a hosting plan according to your budget >> Enter your selected domain name and Yayy! You’re there. If in case the domain name is not available, change the extension and try or make some minor changes to the name and try. Once it hits the right spot, you will be redirected to the next page for billing. >> Complete the billing details. Don’t forget to uncheck the extra items on the list that you don’t want. Once you complete the billing process, go on to check your inbox. All the details are sent there. >> Login to the BlueHost dashboard. >> If you are using a different domain, you’ll have to change your DNS setting, otherwise directly go to install the new WordPress blog.
Find and click on WordPress >> It will take you to Mojo marketplace on the next page. >> Click install button, select domain, fill other important information and leave teh directory part untouched, click INSTALL. >> After installation, visit the admin page which you will reach by adding “/wp-admin” to the URL of your blog: yourdomain.com/wp-admin
You just successfully created your blog by yourself. Feeling good?! 🙂
Now let’s improve how it looks.
3. Design your blog to look beautiful and attractive
The best favor you can do for making your blog a beautiful experience is setting it up on WordPress. It’s super easy to understand. For a newbie, a gem.
If you, by any chance, have chosen WordPress for your blog, go for ThemeForest to select among numerous themes (i.e. the designs for your blog).
To install a WordPress theme:
Let’s start, it’s a very easy process, you’ll see.
Login to your WordPress dashboard by going here >> yourdomain.com/wp-admin
Scroll through your Dashboard once and then we’ll start.
Step 1- On the left side panel in your dashboard, move the pointer to ‘Appearance’ which will open up more options. Click on ‘Themes’.
Step 2- Click on ‘Add New’ on the top > Click on ‘Upload Theme’ >> Browse your computer and select the downloaded file of your theme (.ZIP extension) >>> Click on ‘Install Now’ >>>> Click ‘Activate’
Step 3– Visit yourdomain.com and see the theme design live. 🙂
After installing the theme, you can play with customization to enable any design to work for your needs. The content throughout the blog will be covered in this customization process. Have your own will to decide what you want to see on the main menu, various dropdowns, Login/Register, About page and other pages relevant to you, the popular articles, comment section and you just name some more. Add the pages that you want to see on the website.
Further enhancement can be done by adding plugins to your blog
On your dashboard, go to Plugins > Click ‘Add New’ >> Upload the file (.ZIP extension) from your computer >>> Install >>>> Activate
And, you have a plugin active on your WordPress blog.
Some basic and important plugins would be Akismet, Yoast SEO, Jetpack, Google Analytics and Gravity Forms.
Your own WordPress blog is now ready to publish content.