What does it take to start a blog? In 2020 – next to nothing!
Thanks to the rapid technical progress, practically anyone with minimal knowledge of how the Internet functions, can do it in about half an hour.
But before you begin, you should answer some questions:
- What do you need a blog for?
- How much time can you devote to it?
- Are you planning to monetize on it and treat it professionally?
Of course, there are more questions that will pop up in the process. But the answers to these ones will determine the main features of your site, including whether it will be free or self-hosted.
The second option is a little bit more complicated, but it is also more flexible and offers opportunities. So, if you’re planning to treat your work seriously, then it’s better to make your blog self-hosted. Yet, beware, as you will need to put effort into creating quality content, work on traffic generation, and monetization.
Building a self-hosted blog may seem like a difficult task, but if you have at least some basic skills, you can do this. Read our hints, and you’ll most likely get through the process quickly and smoothly!
Register a Domain Name
We hope that you’ve already decided on the topic. In fact, this must be your #1 task, but as it is not related to the technical side of setting things up, let’s leave it out here.
However, one must be warned that keeping a blog requires a lot of time and energy. If you also have a lot of other obligations – for example, college or university tasks – you should manage your time wisely.
In this case, consider delegating some routine academic tasks like composing essays to EssayPro, as a team of professional writers can help you with an assignment of any complexity.
After you’ve carved out some time and found the right topic for your blog, it’s time to start to actually build it. And the first step is registering a domain name.
A domain name is like a home address for your future site. If you’re building a self-hosted blog, you’ll have a second-level domain name that will look like www.myplace.com.
Your domain name will be your “business card” on the Internet, so take time and choose it carefully. It’s good if you come up with a domain name that is unique, attractive, and well-connected to the chosen topic.
It’s recommended that the actual name of your blog should be the same as your URL-address, so don’t pick up whatever comes to mind first.
After you have an idea of a domain name, check if it’s available. You can do it via any online domain registrar like Name.com or a hosting platform like Bluehost.com.
When you make sure that your chosen name is available, just pay a fee and register it.
Choose a Hosting Provider
The next step is to choose a hosting service – a “physical” home for your site. You may wonder why an address goes before an actual home.
Well, it’s also possible to start with finding a host and then continue with buying a domain name directly from it.
Yet, this way, you’ll be more tied to your hosting provider, and if you decide to change it, problems may occur. If you register a name separately, it will be yours for as long as you wish to pay for it.
As for the hosting services, there are a lot of them, but the most popular among bloggers are:
These two are the most popular and recommended choices when it comes to creating a new self-hosted blog with little to no technical expertise.
Take into consideration that the service of your choice must have sufficient technical support and be easy enough for a newbie to work with.
After you decide, buy a web hosting plan. Start with the basic ones. There will always be a possibility to upgrade when you gain experience.
Choose a Blogging Platform
Now that your site has a home and an address, you can begin decorating it. First, choose a blogging platform and install it.
Basically, a blogging platform is a piece of software that helps your blog operate, a variation of CMS (Content Management System).
Advanced developers can write code by themselves, so they may choose any platform or even build it from scratch. But for beginners, there’s practically only one choice: good old WordPress.
The beauty of this platform is in its simplicity for the user. It’s also free to download and install, as well as extremely popular. Around 35% of all websites are built on this platform.
Important notice: don’t mix up WordPress.org (this is what we need) and WordPress.com!
Install Your Blogging Platform
This is the easiest part of the way.
Many hosting services offer tools to automatically install WordPress. In this case, you just need to follow the instructions. If there’s no such option for your host, follow the ones stipulated by WordPress.org.
The process will include uploading files using FTP, creating a My SQL database, and connecting WordPress to it. But you don’t need to think of it much at this stage – just install the platform.
Customize Your Blog by Adding Themes & Plugins
Now it’s almost done! The site is already functioning. But the “home” needs further decoration to look truly yours. This can be done by customizing your blog on WordPress to better meet your specific needs.
To improve the way your site looks, you can choose from tens of thousands of themes (design patterns). Just go to the Appearance menu and browse.
You can also download more free themes or even look for premium themes at places like Theme Forest (paid option). But we recommend that you stick with the pre-installed ones at first.
There are also different plugins available for WordPress. They are easy to install and don’t require any coding skills. Plugins are used to enhance security, create backups, add caching and, generally, simplify the use of the platform.
So, as you can see, building a self-hosted blog is a manageable task, even for a beginner. It may be a bit more tricky than starting a free one, but all the effort will pay off in the future.
After you go through all the main technical procedures, the real fun will start: creating content! If you’ve chosen the right topic that you’re passionate about, you’ll be happy spending hours working on your blog.