You know you want to start a blog and maybe even make some money online… But doing it all alone without any help can seem like a daunting task!
This easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide will walk you through everything you need to do how to start a blog.
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I recommend saving this guide for later just in case you get busy and don’t have time to finish in one sitting, and if you’re like me, having a printout to take notes on can be really helpful…
Listen. The first thing you’ll quickly realize when you start a blog for the first time is that there’s a TON of stuff “you don’t know that you don’t know”.
I’m Jennifer Baritchi and I started BlogPress with Dan (My awesome husband and partner in crime ;)).
You see, we made A LOT of money with blogging and affiliate marketing – enough to leave our days jobs. So we decided to give back by helping other people do the same thing – replace their day jobs with blogging. We used to promote old-school web hosts like Hostgator and BlueHost to our readers because they are excellent hosting companies with great affiliate programs…
BUT… They fall WAY short when it comes to helping new bloggers! We got truly tired of watching our loyal blog readers struggle, and give up in frustration when trying to start a blog time with these services. They simply do not provide the step-by-step training and one-on-one support that new bloggers need! Not even close…
We started BlogPress to solve that problem – to provide a stable home (WordPress) for your blog along with the best training and support there is. PERIOD.
Our goal is to help you become a truly successful blogger, and we will be with you at every single step. You are not alone in this any longer.
The really awesome news is that you get to take advantage of what we’ve learned over the last several years and avoid the sand traps that we had to dig our way out of.
TODAY. No, not tomorrow, not next week, and not next month. Tomorrow always feels “safe” because you’re not having to make a decision.
The power of today is that you make that commitment to yourself. And that is the first step to success.
This step is the most critical one, and it’s where most people get stuck. Don’t dream, wonder, and get stuck in “analysis paralysis”. Just do it!!!
“The best way to live the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams Today, in every little way that you possibly can.”
– Mike Dooley
Starting a blog can feel intimidating, even frustrating…
It’s especially frustrating when 9 out of 10 “How To Start A Blog” articles on the internet are nothing more than affiliate marketers trying to sell you old-school web hosting like BlueHost and HostGator.
Those articles show you how to sign up for web hosting, but provide zero help when it comes to actually teaching you how to start a successful blog.
The biggest mistake that almost all new bloggers make is trying to start a blog with a traditional web host and not getting the “how to blog” training, help, and support they need.
Don’t get me wrong… BlueHost is excellent at what they do – web hosting. But, trying to start a blog with a web host is like buying the shell of a house. You’re going to have to build all the walls and install the plumbing yourself!
After years of sending our readers to these traditional web hosts and watching them struggle, we knew there had to be a better way. This is why we started BlogPress! So let’s get started…
Next, find an excellent home for your blog. This is where your blog is going to live.
Do not go with an old-school web host. Instead, you’ll want to make the smart choice and go with a full-service blog host like BlogPress.
“I signed up about a month ago and set up a page with the help of Jennifer. She responded immediately and helped all the way to my satisfaction. I foolishly tried doing my 2nd site with WordPress/BlueHost on my own and was road-blocked, frustrated, and told that for $80 I could sign up for a training seminar because they “aren’t there to help with design” lol What was I thinking!!
I wasted two long days trying to do this stuff myself and within 5 minutes of logging into my BlogPress account and asking for help I was editing my new site with ease. Don’t try to do it on your own. The money paid to BlogPress is by far the best value I’ve seen for any kind of blog setting up. Can’t wait to start monetizing my pages.”
~ Barbara, Happy BlogPress Customer
Once you’ve completed the step above, your new blog is ready to go…
The image below shows you how to access your blog and get around in your BlogPress account.
The next thing you need to do is install WordPress, buy a premium theme for $99 (don’t buy, contact me to get it for 100% free – firstname.lastname@example.org), and search through 1000’s of plugins to find the best ones that won’t crash your blog.
JUST KIDDING… We’ve already done all of that for you. ?
There’s NOTHING TO INSTALL OR “SET UP”.
Instead of asking you to spend more of your hard-earned money, we’ve already installed tons of beautiful premium WordPress themes for you – and more plugins than I can count.
Everything you need to start a successful blog is already there, ready to go! There are, however, a few “tweaks” you’ll want to make so that your blog is “production” ready. This includes things like setting up categories, menus, and widgets – stuff that makes it easier and better for your readers.
We’ll cover each of these individually in the next steps…
If you did not create your blogging account in Step 2 above, now is a good time to do that.
In this section, we’re going to add some categories to your blog. But first, let’s make sure you understand the difference between categories, subcategories, and tags – and when you should use each one.
These can be a bit confusing at first, so here are some examples that will help clear things up.
Here’s an example for a blog about dogs…
A tag is like a keyword for your post. They’re one or two-word descriptions of what your post is about. Tags will help you organize your posts more easily and will allow you to group together similar posts.
While categories can be compared to the table of contents for your blog, tags would be like the index of your blog…
They might include things like: leashes, poo bags, kibble, treat training, biting, barking, etc. – specific words that provide additional explanation of what the post is about.
Here’s an example of how all this might look for a specific post.
Post Title: How To Train Your German Shepherd To Walk On A Leash
Post Category: Dog Training
Tags: German Shepherd, Leash, Heel, Flexi-Leash, Cotton Leash – any specific words used in your posts that are not broad enough to be the main category.
Try to limit yourself to no more than 5 tags per article – it’s easy to go “tag crazy”!
I hope these examples are helpful, but if you need additional clarification, just let us know. We’re happy to help.
Next, let’s create categories for your top 3-5 blogging topics.
Go to your My Account Page and click the “Advanced” button. This will take you to the WordPress dashboard.
Click on “Posts > Categories” in the left menu of your dashboard.
Next, we’ll use those categories to set up the menus and navigation for your blog.
A menu is basically a set of text links that go to the various pages and categories on your blog. Setting up clear navigation on your blog makes it easier for both your readers and the search engines to find what they are looking for.
NOTE: Each theme has different menu locations. Some, like the default theme, have just one. while others have as many as 3 possible menu locations. We will use the default theme for this tutorial to keep things simple.
In the WordPress Dashboard, click on Appearance > Menus in the left menu.
There are several things you can add to the menu – pages, posts, categories, custom links, etc.
In this example, we’ll create a new menu and then add categories and a “Home” link to the menu.
Remember… If you add new categories later, you will need to update your menus as well. New categories are not added automatically.
There are many pre-built widgets you can add to your blog.
A widget is a small block of predefined functionality you can add to your blog. They do things like display featured posts, email subscribe forms, or social media buttons.
You can add these widgets to your blog sidebar, footer, homepage, or other widget areas on your blog.
NOTE: Available widgets also vary by theme. Different themes provide additional widgets that may not be available with the default theme.
To manage widgets, go to Appearance > Widgets in the left menu of your dashboard.
You can easily drag and drop widgets to add, remove, or change the order. Each widget comes with its own options and settings.
If you’re more visual and need to see the changes right away, you can also manage your widgets from the Customize page. (Go to Appearance > Customize, and then select the Widgets section.) We’ll go over the Customizer in more detail in the next section.
The Customizer is a framework for live-previewing any change to your blog. It provides a simple interface for you to customize various aspects of your theme and blog, from colors and layouts to widgets, menus, and more.
We’re not going to get into the details of the awesome power of the Customizer in this tutorial. We’ll save that for our advanced training… But here’s a quick tutorial to see how you can change the color of the default theme to give it a little more pizazz!
Now it’s time to see the results…
There are several ways to view your live blog.
You can view your live blog from the post edit screen.
From the post editor, click the “View Post” link that is available when you save new changes.
You can view your live blog from the toolbar at the top of your blog dashboard.
From the top of the dashboard, hover over the site name (in this case “My New Blog”) and click “Visit Site.”
You can view your live blog from “My Account” page.
From the “My Account” page, click the “See Live Blog” button.
And here are the results…
BEFORE: (This is a completely functional blog. It’s just a little boring…)
AFTER: See how just a few tweaks can make a huge difference? (and we didn’t even change the theme :))
Here’s a summary of the changes we made:
Starting a blog does not have to be hard or complicated. With our help, you can start blogging today. This is just the beginning! Keep reading to see how to take your new blog to the next level and become a truly successful blogger.