How to Start a Blog – The Beginner’s Guide (In 15 Minutes or Less)

Video Transcription

Hey there, this is Brad with Firstsiteguide.com, and in this video, I’ll be walking you through the process of starting your own blog in less than 15 minutes. I’ll be covering the costs of starting your blog, what you’ll need to get online, and I’ll go through the easy setup process with you, step-by-step on my screen. To get our blog online we’re going to use WordPress, one of the easiest blogging platforms available today. It’s the same system used by the New York Times company, BBC America, author Tim Ferriss, and many other popular blogs on the web. And with the help of this video tutorial, you’ll be able to start your blog today, as in right now. So let’s go ahead and get started. Oh, and if you get stuck or have any questions, feel free to use the contact form on our website, or contact us through our social channels. We’d be happy to help answer any questions.

So first things first. Let’s talk about the costs of starting your blog. You’ll need three primary things. A domain name, which costs about $12 a year; a good hosting provider, also called a web hosting plan, which will cost between $3 and $8 a month depending on the company that you choose; and a blogging system to easily manage, edit and organize your new blog, which is free and open source if you stick with WordPress, our recommended choice. Okay, let’s talk about choosing a domain name. A domain name also called the URL, is the name of your website that visitors will enter to access your new blog. For example, www.yournewblog.com. Choosing a domain name is really simple but there are a few things that you should keep in mind when making your domain decision. Remember that the shorter the domain name, the easier it will be for someone to remember and to type in. So try not to include too many keywords or long words.

If it’s going to be a personal blog, your first and last name or your pen name would work great in this case, or if you’re starting a blog for a specific subject like travel or fashion, it would be a good idea to include a keyword or two that fits for that neat topic. So if you’re going to be writing about travel experiences, something like jenstravellife.com or johnstravelblog.com would be a great choice. That is if your name is Jen or John. If you’re really passionate about fashion, something like cutefashionistatrends.com or davestylesfordudes.com would fit great, depending on your blog’s focus of course. Although I wouldn’t add more in three to four words in the domain name to help keep it short and memorable. Personally, I prefer going with something short and brandable, but hey, it’s your call. So go ahead and decide on what fits best for your new blog now. Then we’re on to next step.

Next, we’ll be choosing a web hosting company to register our domain name and sign up for a hosting account to store our new blog online. A web hosting company provides us with the space on a server to store our blog files. It’s kind of like your personal computer files at home, except your blog files, are always available online. So visitors will be able to access your blog at all times by entering your domain name or finding your blog in the search engine. We recommend trying a company I’ve been using for a few years now called Web Hosting Hub. They’re a US-based company with great services and support available 24/7. They also provide top-notch security to keep your new blog safe and online at all times. They have great plans for beginners, as well as additional upgraded plans for when your blog starts to grow.

We’ve actually teamed up with them to be able to offer our First Site Guide fans a special price on their web hosting account. To claim the special pricing use the link on our website or type in www.firstsiteguide.com/hub into your browser. It will pull up the special First Site Guide visitor’s page with the discount already applied. All you have to do from there is click on the” Sign Up Now” button over here on the right. Once you do that you’ll see this page, the secure order process form. So let’s go ahead and walk through that step-by-step process now and get you signed up. Okay, so this first page will cover our domain name options. You’ll see two sections here. One on the left that says “I want to register a new domain name for my first year of hosting,” and the, “I already have a domain name to use,” section on the right. If you’re registering a new domain name, go use the New Registration section on the left. Otherwise, if you have a domain name already, go use the section on the right. Since I’m registering a new domain name I’ll go ahead and use the section here on the left and type in the domain name I’ve decided to register.

I’m going to put in bradsfirstblog.com, and then click the Search Domain button down below. Great, bradsfirstblog.com is available. We’ll be registering this domain name with Web Hosting Hub. So keep this checkbox checked, and you’ll see the second checkbox is checked. I’d like to take a moment to explain what Whois Privacy means. When you register your domain name there is a public directory online called Whois where anyone can check who owns our domain name. Whois Privacy protects your information from being publicly available online. So if that’s important to you, go ahead and leave the checkbox checked. I don’t mind having my information available for this domain name. So I’m going to go ahead and uncheck it. Then scroll down a bit and click on the “Continue” button. Next, we’ll be filling in our account information starting with your first name, last name, address, city, state, zip code, country, phone number, and email. Take a moment to make sure that this information is correct and then scroll down to the “Package Options” section below that.

Here’s something you’ll want to take a look at. Just like your home computer, it’s important to make backups of your new blog to keep your important files safe. You can keep this selected or you can select “No thanks” if you’re not going to need it. I’m going to add this option to make sure I have a backup copy of my new blog. Web Hosting Hub also offers extra virus protection and scanning, if you’ll be sending and receiving a lot of emails with your new blog. I don’t plan to at this time, and you can always add this service down the road. So I’m going to leave it as “No Thanks”. Also, since this is one of your first blogs, more than likely you won’t need to upgrade to Nitro right away for added speed and space. But it might be a good option if your site continues to grow in the future and you will need the extra resources. So you can keep scrolling down now.

Under the “Payment Details” section, I’ll be going with the Smart Hosting Plan for 12 months. Select your “Payment Type” and enter your card number, your card’s expiration date and the security code from the back. Great. So with the domain name for the first year and the backups we’re looking at roughly $70 for the first year. Nice. Make sure to read through the Terms of Service and check the “I agree” box. Then all you have to do is click “Purchase” and wait for the page to load. Awesome and nice work. So we’ve now successfully purchased the domain name and the web hosting. The next step is something I found unique and quite useful, especially if you’re new to web hosting. Web Hosting Hub takes you through something they call the Onboarding Process. It’s simple. You can either wait for account support to give you a call or you can call the toll-free number yourself. They’ll ask you a few details, find out if you need any help, and then activate your account right away. I’ll go ahead and take care of it now, just a second.

Now that our account is activated we’ll have received an email in our inbox with information on our domain name, any additional help that you asked for, and how to access the Account Management panel. Scroll down just slightly and find “To get started with AMP”. And then go ahead and click that link. You’ll be taken to a page to set your password for the first time. You’ll want to ensure this is a strong password so your account and blog stays secure. Once you’re finished, click the button “To submit”. Great, now click the link here and we’ll go ahead and log in with the password we just set. You’ll enter your email and the password and then click “Login”. Nice. Now we’re inside the Account Management panel. Here you will find different sections. Account notifications, additional services, your billing information and more. You can check out all those different sections later. Right now we’ll go ahead and scroll down just slightly and look towards the middle of the page for the “Install Popular Software” icon.

Click here and this page will pop up. We are going to be installing WordPress. So click on the “Install WordPress” link on the left here, great. As I mentioned earlier, WordPress is actually one of the most popular blogging platforms, used by many big companies and universities. It’s easily customizable with themes and plug-ins, and you can change the look and feel of your blog to make it the way you want. So that’s why we’ll be choosing it here. All right, now here’s the installation’s Settings page for your new blog. For the choose protocol section, you’ll see four options, the HTTP, the HTTP with the www, the HTTPS, and the HTTPS with the www. The first two options are basically the same. The only difference being personal preference of whether you want your domain name to appear with the www or without it. The HTTPS option is only for if your site has something called SSL. 99% of the time you won’t use it for your blog. So I’ll select the protocol that includes www. For “Choose Domain Name” your domain name should already be selected. For “In Directory”, just leave this field blank and keep the database name and the table prefix the same. Go ahead and enter a quick site name, adding Brad’s First Blog, and then add a description for your blog. I’ll use my first blog where I talk about my life. There’s no need to make this perfect right now since you can change it later at any time.

Next, include an Admin User Name, something you’ll easily remember, and a strong password to secure your account. Make sure to save this information. You’ll need it to be able to log into your new blog. All right, enter your email address. You can use any personal email address. Also, make sure to enter it again down here where it says “Email installation details” so the system can send you your username and password, and then click on the gray “Install” button right here, and WordPress will begin to install. It usually takes just a few seconds but it may take as long as a few minutes to finish installing.

So here you go. With just a few clicks your new blog has been installed and is ready to rock. Also, your username and password have been sent to your email. If you click on your domain name here you’ll see a default theme has been installed. With this default theme, your new blog is live and you’re ready to start blogging. This is done inside of your WordPress dashboard area. To launch into this area, add /wp-admin on to the end of your domain name and the login section will pop up. Enter the username and password that you set just a moment ago and then click to log in. Great. Now you’re logged in. Remember, this is called the WordPress dashboard and it’s separate from the Account Management panel. So you’ll have a different login for each section. The AMP section is for managing your Web Hosting Hub account and this WordPress dashboard is for managing your blog. So there’s lot to get familiar within here but I’ll run you through the basics right now.

See the “Post” tab up here in the top left. Hover over with your mouse and click on the “Add New” tab that shows up. Here’s where you’ll add a new blog post to your blog. You have the title field up here. I’m going to enter “Hey, this is my first blog post”. And then down below is the content field. I’m going to type “Hello and welcome to my first blog. My name is Brad and I have been traveling since I was a kid. I have a lot of experiences and tips to help you travel more affordably and smoothly. Stick around and come back often. Thanks.” So once you’re finished writing, look on the right over here for the “Publish” button and click on it to make your first blog post live. And if we right-click here on “View Post” and open it in a new tab, you’ll see your first blog post has been published. Pretty neat, right? Real fast, I’d also like to show you how to change the look of your blog. So click back over to the dashboard and look over here on the left-hand side for the “Appearance” tab. Hover over it and click on “Themes”. Themes are what WordPress uses to change the style and colors of your new blog. Click on “Add New”, enter High Wind, and hit “Search”.

You’ll see a theme called High Wind. Click the “Install Now” link. Once it’s installed, also click on the “Activate” link right here. And if we click back we’ll see, bang, all of your existing posts and settings have been changed over to the new theme’s look and style. Yup, it’s that easy. Most themes allow you to change things like the background images, colors, add your picture, About page, and so on.

All right, we’re done walking through your blog’s setup process. Again, my name is Brad and it’s been a pleasure taking you through the setup process. If you have any questions or need some help, feel free to reach out to us via our website, Firstsiteguide.com or on our YouTube channel. We’d be happy to get you on the right path. Until we meet again, so long and enjoy your new blog.

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