“Abhishek, I know what blogging is, but I’m confused as to – how and where to get started?” This is the question I often get deluged with, whenever my friends get a chance to discuss with me the basics of blogging. Many people know what a blog looks like and what a blogger does. But, many of them, especially the beginners have no idea of the process or technicalities involved in starting a new blog of their own. So, today I will be sharing a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to start a blog of your own – the easiest possible way!
Why should you start a blog of your own?
Blogging has several benefits. Let’s discuss them one-by-one…
Benefits of Blogging:
- It helps you build your online presence – which is a very much desirable thing in today’s digital world
- Improves your writing skills
- Helps establish you as an authority on the subject you write
- Adds strength on your resume. Prospective employers usually look upon your profile with interest
- Opportunity to make money from your blog
- Helps you build contacts with influential people in your niche
- Strengthens your personal brand image
Step-by-Step guide to start your own blog:
Step 1: Introspect – What should you blog about?
Spare some time for yourself, find a quiet room without distractions, and do one thing: Introspect!
Start by introspecting your personality in general. What do you love doing at the core of your heart? Identify your passion. What excites you to get out of bed even on Mondays? That’s your inner calling and that’s what will propel you forward in your blogging career. You then have to match this passion with your skill sets.
For example: Suppose you identify that photography is your passion. But you are neither skilled at using DSLR cameras nor comfortable using advanced photo-editing software like Photoshop/Lightroom. This is a recipe for disaster. The integration of your passion and skills is absolutely necessary for you to sustain as a blogger.
This whole exercise is also known as finding a niche for your blog (follow the link to learn more)
I’ve a fun activity for you to help you discover your inner calling or passion. Make a list of 10 things that you absolutely love doing (no matter how crazy they could be).
From this list, identify the things which match your skill sets. For example, if you have a financial education background and related work experience, you might consider “Investing in Stocks” as your preferred niche.
Now let’s pick another item from this list which seems funny to consider as a niche – “Eating ice creams”. You might wonder what are the skills required in eating ice creams? Well, you can consider starting a blog on ice-cream reviews or even a blog on ice-cream recipes. Accordingly, watch out for your skills on writing reviews and making delicious ice-cream recipes. Creativity has no bounds!
Step 2: Free or Self-hosted blog?
Once you have decided what you want to blog about, the next step in starting a blog of your own is to make a choice between a “Free blog” and a “Self-hosted blog”
A self-hosted blog is a professional blog that you run using a custom domain name mapped to your own server. For example: Look at this blog that you’re currently reading. The custom domain name (buddinggeek.com) is mapped to my web-hosting server at Bluehost. WordPress.org is the name of the blogging software/platform that is installed. Clearly, this is not a free blog. Running a self-hosted blog involves some costs (see the table that follows for more details)
Go through the table below to clearly understand the difference between a free blog and a self-hosted blog:
|Free blog||Self-hosted blog|
|Domain name||You are provided with a free sub-domain (example.blogspot.com) / (example.wordpress.com)||You have all the freedom to choose a custom domain name of your own choice (subject to its availability)|
|Types of cost involved||Free for lifetime||Domain registration/renewal charges + Web hosting charges|
|NIL||Domain charges ($10 annually) + Web hosting charges ($5 – $50 per month depending upon the type of hosting you choose – shared/dedicated)|
|Ideal for||New bloggers or casual hobby bloggers who are comfortable limiting the scope of growth of their blog||New/Experienced bloggers who are serious about the growth of their blog, building their online identity, and brand image|
Confused between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?
Step 3: Setup your new blog
After deciding whether to go for free or self-hosted option, you should go ahead and register your blog name on the appropriate platform.
Step-by-step process to start a free blog on your own:
If you decided to do free blogging and chose to go with blogger.com, for example, then follow the steps below to register your blog:
- Sign-in to blogger.com using your Google account credentials
- Choose a name for your blog (for example, Zooming Returns – if you were interested in stock market niche)
- Choose a URL for your blog (for example, zoomingreturns.blogspot.com – if you were interested in choosing stock market as your niche)
- Confirm your Display Name. By what name do you want your readers to know you? Either choose your real name or a pseudonym
- Click on finish, and voilà! Your new blog is ready in no time
- Now you must be seeing a blogging dashboard. Use the left side panel to do a variety of things to your blog – Create a new post, add some new blog pages, manage comments, Customize the theme, and so on…
Similarly, you can use WordPress.com to create a free blog of your own.
Step-by-step process to start a self-hosted blog on your own:
- Register a new domain name. I will recommend GoDaddy to start your domain name search. It is one of the most popular domain name registrars.
- At this point, you have two options: Either to host your domain for free on blogger.com (Yes, Google provides free web-hosting for custom domains hosted through blogger.com)…OR you can opt for WordPress, which requires you to purchase a web-hosting plan first. Let me state it frankly: WordPress is a far better and advanced choice when compared to blogger.com.
- So, if you want to start your self-hosted blog with WordPress, you have to first purchase a web-hosting plan. I will recommend Bluehost (I’m using it myself since the last 3 years). Go for any shared hosting plan, which is not only economical but also sufficient to power your small-scale website.
- Once you have purchased the web-hosting plan, you have to update the nameservers correctly. In our tutorial, we bought our domain name from GoDaddy but decided to go with Bluehost for web-hosting. So, you have to copy the nameservers (IP addresses) from your Bluehost account and paste/update them over your GoDaddy account. Follow this short how-to guide on GoDaddy to learn more. Please allow up to 48 hours for this update.
- The next step is to install the WordPress software on your new domain. Login to your Bluehost cPanel and there, under the software section, you will see an option to install WordPress. Just click on it, follow the setup instructions, and let the magic begin.
- Congratulations – Your new WordPress blog must be now live. You can now login to your new WordPress blog following this link: https://yourdomainname/wp-login.php
That’s it. You now have started a blog of your own. Heartiest congratulations for this achievement! Go ahead and write your first blog post!
Also, don’t forget to read this article – How to choose a good name for your blog?
I hope that you enjoyed reading the short tutorial. Feel free to share it with your friends who are thinking of starting a blog of their own.
And in case you still have any confusion or if something in the post is still not clear, don’t hesitate to drop your questions in the comments below.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you decide to click through and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Read more about this disclosure