How to Start a Blog in 6 Easy Steps: This quickstart blogging for beginners guide will teach you how to start a blog from scratch and actually make money with WordPress. Step-by-step instructions for 2019 full of ideas and inspiration for aspiring bloggers in all genres.
So you wanna start a blog?
Maybe you love cooking and coming up with new recipes.
Maybe you have something powerful to share with the world that could help others (we all do!).
Maybe you’ve heard how lucrative blogging can be and you dream of quitting your job, striking out on your own and working from home.
Great news. Starting a blog can bring you all of that (and more!!). Since I started Root + Revel back in October 2015, I’ve learned just how lucrative, fulfilling and empowering running a blog can be.
Blogging truly changed my life, and it allows me to earn tens of thousands of dollars a month doing something that I love from the comforts of my own house. Freedom, flexibility, satisfaction…these are just a few of the perks of blogging.
Plus, you can start a money-making blog for just a few dollars a month. Seriously–blogging might be one of the lowest overhead cost businesses around.
That being said, blogging can also be incredibly overwhelming, complicated, exhausting and downright hard. This is real talk: we all know that nothing worth having comes easy, and blogging is no exception.
Buuuuuuut, there’s good news (other than how worth it blogging is!): it doesn’t have to be so difficult.
How to Start a Blog in 6 Easy Steps
Often times, the hardest part is just getting started. Fear not–I’ve created a step-by-step guide for you all about how to start a blog.
Let’s do this!
1. Blogging for Beginners: Pick a Niche
After I launched my course, The Six-Figure Blog Academy, I got so many emails from people who wanted to start a blog but had no idea where to start. “I don’t even know what I’d blog about,” was a common message I received dozens of times.
So, we decided to go ahead and create this handy quiz to help you find your true calling!
After you’ve determined what type of blog you should start, it’s time to narrow your niche. Let’s use food blogging as an example.
A quick Google search reveals there are over 340 million food blog results out there, so simply starting a food blog with no angle is going to be a REALLY hard way to stand out, especially in this day and age. Instead, I’d recommend coming up with a specific hook, a niche, something that is going to make you different from the other millions of food blogs out there.
Maybe it’s a dietary preference, like gluten-free baking. Maybe it’s a restaurant review blog in your local city. Maybe it’s your background as a professional chef or a doctor or a nutritionist that will help you stand out and inform your writing. Maybe you’re targeting a specific subset of people: millenials who don’t know how to cook, busy moms over 40 who need quick weeknight recipes for their family, people diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.
You get the idea. The point is, the more narrow your audience and your niche, the more likely you are to be successful in this oversaturated interweb of food blogs.
2. Pick a domain name for your blog
After you’ve done some serious brainstorming (I recommend starting a spreadsheet and doing lots of word association exercises) and have decided on a name (I think a good blog name is descriptive and/or clever, or both), you’ll want to make sure it’s available.
Keep in mind, your domain is essentially your address on the internet, it’s the name people type in their URL box to find your website. So don’t make it to complicated, with lots of different dashes or dots or weird spellings that people will often misspell and thus not find your site. Keep it simple, straightforward and you’ll be fine!
There are a couple options for buying your domain:
Simply type in your desired domain to make sure nobody else has already taken it.
You can buy your domain with Namecheap, or with Bluehost you can get your domain for free. Keep reading to find out how!
3. Pick a hosting service for your blog
Now that you’ve chosen a domain name, you’ll have to host it. Hosting is like renting space online to display your blog. There are dozens of hosting services out there, but the best, cheapest and easiest option for beginning bloggers is Bluehost (plus, they give you your domain name for free if you decide to host with them!).
I started out with Bluehost and used them until my traffic reached over 50,000 pageviews per month. I then upgraded to a more expensive, but more feature-heavy service called Cloudways. But if you’re just starting out, Bluehost is the way to go.
(Updated June 2018: Bluehost now also has a new sign-up process called Bluerock, which has WordPress automatically installed at sign-up! You’ll understand why this is awesome in #4 below… but essentially, it saves you a step and makes this process even easier! Woo hoo!)
They’ve got a few different plans, but I recommend just starting with the Basic Plan for just $3.95/month (this is a special deal for Root + Revel readers; normally it’s $7.99/month). The basic plan will provide everything you need when just starting out, and you can always upgrade to a more robust plan later as needed.
I also recommend choosing the 36-month plan, which will help you save money, too.
Another way to save money? Sign up for eBates, the FREE cash back app that gives you extra money in your pocket! With Bluehost, you’ll get $10 cash back.
Literally, all you have to do is sign up and install the browser extension, and then eBates will notify you when you’re shopping on a site that gives cash back and you simply click to activate the deal. DONE! Cash back is now on its way.
4. Choose WordPress for your blog (trust me!)
Once you’ve completed your hosting registration, it’s time to pick a content management system. This is the tool you’ll use to actually design your blog and write your posts.
While some people go with Squarespace or Wix, I think that’s a mistake. Wordpess is the #1 blogging software out there and you’ll have more themes, plug-ins, SEO capabilities and it’s the most popular and robust DIY platform out there. Plus, it’s FREE! And it’s super easy to use.
And if you chose Bluehost for your hosting, you’re in luck since you you’ll have WordPress automatically installed, and you can even pick a theme right away (which is the next step #5 below). Bluehost also has “live chat” customer service peeps on the ready to answer any questions you might have in this process.
Note: make sure you go through WordPress.org and not the free version at WordPress.com, which will limit your capabilities and require your domain have wordpress.com in it. Trust me, it’ll be worth it to go with WordPress.org.
5. Choose a WordPress Theme for your Blog
After you’ve set up WordPress you’ll officially have your own blog. Whoop!! Congratulations. The best is yet to come, though.
The next step is choosing a theme (i.e. the design for your blog). WordPress has tons of free WordPress themes to pick from, but if you’re approaching your blog like a business rather than a hobby, I recommend choosing a premium theme. If you signed up with Bluehost, you’ll be prompted to pick a theme right after you register.
Note: A theme has two parts, the framework (the bones) and the design (the face).
I personally went with The Genesis Framework and StudioPress’ Foodie Pro Theme for Root + Revel (update: I’ve since hired a web designer to create a truly custom website). I can’t recommend this theme enough for food bloggers–it’s beautiful, easy to navigate, comes with a recipe index, and it’s super customizable. I went with the Hello Boho theme for this website.
After you install your theme, you can modify your design with custom colors, fonts, widgets, navigation menus, and add your logo and photo. This is the fun part!
6. Food Bloggers must pick a recipe plug-in
Alright, this is an optional step that only applies to food bloggers or any bloggers who share recipes. But don’t worry, it’s easy!
If you’re going to be publishing recipes on your food blog, you’re going to need a recipe plug-in. This is basically an extra tool you download within WordPress that helps you create those cute little recipe cards with nutrition information, cooking times, servings, ingredients and instructions.
It helps your recipe stand out from the blog post, and enables your readers to print the recipe if needed. I recommend WP Recipe Maker. Here’s an example of how this plug-in makes your recipes look from Root + Revel:
And there you have it! You’re now officially a blogger. Welcome to the club!
Drop a link to your new blog in the comments below so I can see it. 🙂
While this quick start guide to starting a food blog covers technical aspects of getting your blog set up and running, there’s a lot more that goes into running a successful blog than just producing great content (which I know you’re doing anyway!). That’s why I created the Six-Figure Blog Academy. Join the waitlist below to be notified when enrollment opens!