START A BLOG IN 20 MINUTES OR LESS
Your FREE step by step guide to building a blog online. Learn my personal tips for success.
How can someone realistically start a blog in 20 minutes or less?! Well my friend, it is possible and today I’ll be showing you exactly how to do it! I’ve helped hundreds of people establish their own blogs and assist them in getting started.
INTIMIDATED? DON’T BE
Starting a blog can be a huge pain at first. From questions like what to write, when to write and how to write. Then there’s the technical side of it too. It gets confusing and difficult, especially for someone who’s new to it. A few years back I too started my first blog. And just like you, I knew NOTHING about it.
PROVEN STRATEGY? YEP
Fast forward to 2016 and I’m proud to say that I’ve created over 20 different blogs in different niches. Building blogs is a piece of cake once you get the hang of it. You don’t need to be a tech guru or a professional coder to get it done.
Deciding your blog topic.
The first call of action is choosing a blog topic or theme. Usually, the best and most recommended advice is to follow your heart. No, we’re not talking about romance; what you need to do when thinking of a blog topic is to choose one that’s close to your heart. Something you are extremely passionate about.
It’s only when you are passionate about something can you truly reach your full potential as a blogger. As for me, my first blog was actually about basketball. I’m a hoops junkie so it was easy for me to let the words fly and type away.
If you choose a topic you’re not interested in, you’re going to have such a hard time to write content for it. Soon, you’ll be feeling that your blog is more of a burden that it is a benefit for you. That’s not how blogs should work. You have to enjoy what you do!
Choose an industry or topic or field that you are really interested in. It’s much better if you have a strong experience in that field, since writing content for it would be such a breeze for you.
Do note that if you can’t think of a specific topic just yet, you can start blogging about your daily activities just to get your feet wet in the world of blogging. Most newbie bloggers start out with blogging about how their day went, what they had for last night’s dinner date, stuff like that. Start there, and you’ll soon find your groove!
If you already know your blog topic or niche, move on to step 2.
Entertainment and showbiz will never go out of style. The latest movies, TV shows, celebs, music will always be “in”. You can start a blog about One Direction, Kate Upton, X-Factor, or anything really. That’s the beauty of an entertainment blog – you’ll always have an audience.
The good old personal blog never fails. It’s so much easier to write about yourself than about others. If you can’t think of anyone or anything to write about, the next best thing is to start with you. Share your thoughts, opinions, rants, about anything and everything under the sun!
You don’t need to be the next Coco Chanel, but if you have the passion for fashion, then why not blog about it? If clothes, jewelry, shoes, and accessories are your cup of tea, then go for it. A LOT OF PEOPLE are searching for the latest fashion trends, so if you can zero-in on this niche, you’re going to have a pretty big following.
Save for Atheists (actually, you can include them too!), everyone has a religious affiliation. Whether it’s Christianity, Buddhism, Roman Catholic, or anything else, each person has that affiliation which instantly gives you a touch point to connect with them. Religious blogs are trending right now, and soon you’ll learn how to do it right.
Info and fact blogs and those Buzzfeed / Viral Nova style blogs are also on the uptrend.
Which Platform to Use. FREE or SELF-HOSTED?
Now if you want to know my opinion (I’d assume, since you’re reading this!) I’ll share with you why I think a self-hosted WordPress is the best platform to jumpstart your blog:
- Different layouts to choose from, and a huge library of free themes to use.
- Newbie Friendly. Writing blog posts, and posting pictures is SO EASY.
- Blog posts can be categorized, and a custom menu can also be created.
- People can freely comment on your blog, and even share your content!
Ridiculously EASY, seriously.
The big difference between platforms is some aren’t really free!
- You CAN’T get your OWN Domain – You thought it was gonna be a breeze? Choosing your own blog name, and running away with it? Not so fast! With free platforms, you only get a sub-domain. Instead, you will get a sub-domain. If your dream blog name was bestblogever.com, with a free platform, you’ll get something like: www.bestblogever.blogspot.com. Not as pretty huh?
- Lack of Plugins / Themes / Customization – Ever heard of the saying “you get what you pay for”? Well, guess what, you paid nothing, so that’s what you get. With a free platform, you don’t get to enjoy the wide array of themes, plugins, and other forms of customization that a paid platform gives you.
- You own the blog, but not really – Sure you own the blog. You write the content, you tinker with the designs, and all that. It’s your baby, after all. BUT – you don’t technically OWN the whole thing. Since your blog is hosted on that particular platform/site, you don’t have full control over the blog. If for some reason, your blog gets reported or if the moderators feel that your blog doesn’t meet eye to eye with their own policies, your blog can be gone in 60 seconds. Pardon the Nicholas Cage movie reference, but it is what it is. Your blog can be deleted in an instant since you are just a tiny fish in their big pond. Scary, huh?
The Silver Lining:
If you find yourself with a very tight budget and you just really want to test out the waters for a while, it is recommended for you to go with a free blog. That way, you get to practice and get accustomed to how blogging works. The best part? You don’t need to invest a single dollar! You’ll learn the ins and outs of blogging without any additional costs on your end.
The Runaway Winner:
Self-hosted blogs are the runaway winner on this one. Despite the pros of Free blogs (if any), self-hosted blogs is the way to go. You get full ownership of your blog, which means EVERYTHING about your blog is yours and yours alone.
Your blog also looks more professional and people will take you and your business seriously. If you want to blog long-term and maybe even make a living out of it, there’s no reason for you not to go with a self-hosted blog.
How much will a Self-Hosted Blog Cost?
Honestly, you won’t even notice you’re paying for anything! If you can afford a meal at McDonald’s, you can definitely afford to pay for a self-hosted blog.
A domain costs around $10/year. If you’re lucky, you can even find coupons where you can get domains for as low as $1! Aside from that, you’ll also be needing a hosting service. Hosting costs anywhere between $3 – $10 a month depending on the package. Again, if lady luck is on your side, you can get good deals for hosting which gets you a whole year of hosting for a ridiculously low price!
All in all, you’ll be looking at $30-60 for a year’s worth of your blog. That’s chump change if you think about it. If you can afford to go to Starbucks once a week, there’s no reason you can’t fork up that amount to start your blog.
REMINDER: If you’re starting to wonder how you’ll be able to figure out how to set your blog up with all this mumbo-jumbo, fear not because all of these and more will be discussed on Step 3.
Choosing Your Domain Name and Web Hosting.
Easy as 1-2-3 Steps to Setup Your WordPress Blog.
Now that I’ve hopefully convinced you into going with a self-hosted blog, let’s find you an awesome domain name!
Finding the perfect domain name can be a challenge. It could take you days, or even months to come up with one! But hey, don’t worry, I’ll help you think of something right now!
First, once you’ve chosen your topic / niche, you need to think of something that sticks to readers. Don’t go with a domain name that’s too long, or hard to pronounce, or even plain boring. Go with a name that gives you that “brand” look. Be a brand – an authority in your niche, and you’re sure to enjoy better success.
- If you’re into the Sports niche, decide on what your focus is. If it’s basketball, then a domain name like www.latestnbarumors.com or www.alldayhoops.com would be great picks. On the first sample, you focused on the most famous basketball league in the world, and made a blog about the latest rumors about the NBA. The 2nd one is a great example for anything and everything basketball.
- For fashion, you should decide where you want to focus on. Dresses? Street fashion? High-end sartorial? Let’s say you want to focus on shoes for men, you can go with www.shoesforhim.com. How about caps? Maybe www.sicksnapbacks.com or www.illcaps.com would work. It depends on your target market, and who you want to cater to.
For most people, domain names don’t really stick, especially if it’s too long. Your potential readers won’t be returning anytime soon if they forgot your domain. So make sure the name you come up with is interesting so its easy to remember!
In a nutshell, the ideal domain name should be:
- Interesting and easy to remember
- Catchy with a strong recall value
- Unique and has impact
Where do I get the domain name and web hosting?
I’m personally using www.iPage.com for both the web hosting and domain name registrar service for all of my blogs Compared to other service providers, iPage gives the most bang for buck deal. It’s generally cheaper, yet just as effective! What make them a top pick for me is their amazing customer support and 24/7 availability. You will never feel like you’re lost in the dark with iPage.
iPage is also very ideal for newbies, thanks to their “1-Click-Blog-Installation” feature, which makes it easy to integrate with WordPress. In just a few clicks, your website will be good to go. And yes – you don’t need any technical knowledge to make this happen!
What I always tell people is to purchase the domain and the web hosting from the same provider. This way, you get to save more money and time. It is also less of a headache, since you won’t have to manage two separate billings and customer support. The sad thing that I discovered a few years back is that there are only a few reliable web hosting service providers.
I’ve had my fair share of web hosting companies in the past. I’ve used HostGator, Bluehost, Hostwinds, Dreamhost, and many more. But quite frankly, none of them satisfied me. There was always some issues that just puts me off. For one, their customer support was so difficult to get in touch with. I also didn’t get the vibe that they really prioritize me as a customer. I felt like I was just a number – a random customer that just gives them money every month.
What’s worse is that most of the time, my blog’s page loading time is too slow. My theory is that these service providers are already too mainstream. They focus on getting quantity of customers that they fail to focus on their current customers. They forgot to uphold the standards of their services, and in turn, their customers suffer.
If you do have a preferred hosting company, then by all means, try them out. Just make sure that they do offer unlimited bandwidth and disk space. You’ll be needing all the space that you can get!
Two Options in Installing Your Blog on Your Domain:
- Use the “One Click Installation method” using iPage*. Your domain comes from them as well.
- Or the hard part – MANUALLY. As a beginner, the One-Click-Installation method is the best option when starting your blog. But if you’re a seasoned veteran when it comes to techy stuff (coding, and all that), you can try out the manual method. Honestly, you can do both, it really falls on personal preference.
Feel free to look at the guides below for both methods.
Setting Up WordPress Blog using iPage (Best for Beginners)
As I mentioned earlier, you can get your domain and hosting from iPage. I decided to go with iPage throughout this tutorial because for me, it is offers the easiest set up process. They cater primarily to bloggers, so you’ll surely have a blast with them.
Since you’re reading this, consider yourself lucky! You can get a FREE domain using the link above (or below). Using my link gets you a free domain option, which gives automatically grants you the domain without spending a single cent! Hosting will also go for less than $2.99 per month. It’s raining freebies in here, so it’s best if you take advantage of it ASAP! (This won’t last forever!).
Be sure to follow the step-by-step screenshots so you can secure the cheapest and best package available. Just follow the steps below and you’ll be able to register and set up the blog in just a few minutes. First step? Go to www.iPage.com and pick a domain name! (You can enlarge the pictures by clicking on them).
Now we’re at the iPage homepage! This is where you can purchase your preferred domain name, and the appropriate hosting plan for your blog. Click on “Get Started” to literally get started with the registration! It’s now time to choose your preferred desired domain name. WARNING: Your first choice may not be available, so make sure you have lots of backup ideas in mind. If you happen to have bought a domain from another provider already, choose the “I plan to use a domain I already own“ option.
Once your domain is all set, you’ll be needing to choose the hosting package that suits you. For starters, the Essential Hosting plan is just enough for you. It only costs $2.25 per month! You can opt to go with a “Domain Privacy” add-on, but it’s not really that important. It’s more of a choice, than a necessity. What it does is that it hides your public information. It costs $9.99, so choose wisely.
Another add-on is the “Website Essentials”. It’s not a make or break decision because iPage provides enough security anyway. What’s more is that they can also help you out with manual backups, should you need it. You can save $12 if you choose to forego this add-on. Once you’ve un-ticked all the add-ons, you can proceed to Check Out and get your hosting for a really low price!
You’ll be giving some personal information such as your credit card details. This is to ensure that the transaction is 100% legit and safe for both ends. Double check on all the info you give. It’s best to make sure that everything you submit to them are correct so Customer Support can verify your registration easily.
WordPress Installation on Your Domain
I know you’re super excited to start writing on your blog, but before anything else, you’ll be needing to install WordPress. In this section, you’ll be learning how to install WordPress to your domain with ease. You can either read this, or you can scroll down and watch the video (currently not available) – which explains all the necessary steps in detail!
Upon completing the registration and having your hosting account verified (give and take 10 to 20 minutes to receive full approval), you’ll be getting set up tutorials and the Log-In info for your blog hosting account on your registered email. (See below). Once you’ve set up your password, you can install WordPress to your domain using the Control Panel.
Just create a new username and password; input the details and log in. Once you’re logged in, click “Control Panel”. And just like that, you can start installing your blog! After that, click on the WordPress icon (blue). You will then see a page where you’ll be able to install WordPress to your brand new domain.
Fear not, because you won’t need to do much work. Simply click “Install” and you’re good to go. Tick “Check Domain” if you want to install WordPress blog to your own root domain (BestBlogEver.com). But say if you want to install your blog elsewhere, like BestBlogEver.com/my-blog; you should use the “Directory Option”.
Once you’re done with the installation, iPage will generate a strong password for you. It will be send on your e-mail, and it will also pop up on the “Notification Centre”. Now, it’s time to pop that bottle of champagne to celebrate for a job well done! You now have your own blog and it’s live for everyone to see! Pretty awesome, huh? After you’ve had your mini celebration, you can then log in to your dashboard. Use BestBlogEver.com/wp-admin to log in to your WordPress dashboard. This is how your default WordPress blog should look after installation:
If for some reason, you weren’t able to successfully install WordPress on your blog, just contact their customer support and you’ll get assistance right away. They will assist you with the installation via phone or live chat.
OPTION 2: Setting Up WordPress MANUALLY
(For Advanced Users)
Click the button below to continue reading.
- PHP 4.2 or greater
- MySQL 4.0 or greater
- At least 1GB free disk space
Step 1: If your hosting service provider meets the requirements (it should!), you can proceed to download WordPress from http://wordpress.org/download. Once the download is complete, you’ll need to unzip the file to a brand new folder. Much better if you place it on your desktop to avoid confusion. This is a crucial step so make sure you do it right.
Step 2: Look for a file (in the same folder you extracted your WordPress.zip) named “wp-config-sample.php”. Remove the sample and rename it to “wp-config.php”.
Step 3: Open the file using either WordPad or Notepad, and make changes to the following lines: define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘database_name_here’); define(‘DB_USER’, ‘username_here’); define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘password_here’); define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’); – Do note that in most instances, you won’t need to change this part. So you can actually leave it be. If you have no idea what your login credentials are (including your database name) you can ask it from your host provider’s customer support team. Click “Save” once you’ve edited everything.
Step 4: Here’s the tricky part, so stay with me on this one. You will need to connect to your hosting FTP account; you’ll be needing an FTP client for this (FileZilla is a good example). For this, you’ll once again be needing your username and password so make sure you’ve listed it down already. If you do upload the files to the root directory, your blog will be instantly accessible from www.yourdomain.com. But if you chose to upload files to a specific folder (myblog), your blog will be accessible through www.yourdomain.com/myblob.
Be sure not to have any other “index” files (.html, .htm) within the directory because this can disrupt the entire installation process. The only file you can have is index.php as it is part of WordPress. Are you still with me? It’s almost done my friend! Your next step is to open your web browser and type in this URL format: www.yourblogaddress.com/wp-admin/install.php.
Once done, accomplish the form (input your username, password, and blog name). Lastly, click “Install WordPress” and you are officially DONE!
Now that you’re done installing WordPress you can begin step 5.
Craft Your First Blog Post, Change Your Theme, and Promote Your Blog.
WordPress Features at a Glance:
- Posts and Pages: Pretty simple – this is where you add in new posts and pages to your blog. If you’re ready to write your first post, choose “Post” then “Add New”. Some people prefer to write up a draft first on MS Word, but you can actually write a draft within WordPress too.
- Appearance -> Themes: This is where you change the design and layout of your theme. Just browse through the wide array of available themes, click “Install”, and you’re done!
- Settings -> General: If you want to change your blog name, email address, and other things, this is where you do it.
- Plugins: Plugins are what makes blogs so powerful. These are tools that gives additional functions and features to your blog. An example would be contact forms. There’s also MailChimp integration, Newsletter Signups, and many more! Feel free to go through the list of Plugins that you can use. Just click “Add New” when you find your preferred Plugin and it will install automatically.
- WordPress ABC – If you want to learn more about WordPress, this is the article for you. This article gives an in-depth look on WordPress, and gives you a guide on how to change the theme and how to fully customize your blog to your liking.
How to Promote Your Blog
Writing a blog post isn’t the last step in your blogging journey. Marketing is crucial if you want to succeed in blogging. You can benefit from the blog posts that I’ve written which gives you sure fire ideas on how to promote your blog. Give them a read and you’ll learn how to attract more visitors and traffic to your blog!
For any inquiries about starting a blog or WordPress, don’t hesitate to reach out to me by using the contact form. I’ll do my best to reply ASAP.
Last Two to Remember:
- Share the Wealth – If this tutorial helped you, share it to everyone! It would be great to have more people get going with their blogging dreams. And if this helped you, it can help others too!
- Look More From Me – If you’ve started your blog already, you can now look over my shoulder and join my blogging course. You will get to know more tips and tricks when it comes to blogging. Click “FREE Updates” at the very top of my page and you’ll instantly get expert advise about blogging. You literally have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, so JOIN NOW!