Today I’m going to show you EXACTLY – step by step – how to set up your blog or website from scratch, and do it right!
When I decided I wanted to start a blog, I had no idea what I was doing.
I searched endlessly for a simple clear guide, and ended up feeling totally overwhelmed.
If you’re feeling the same, don’t worry!
I’m going to make it really easy for you by showing you how to set up your blog step by step, so you can just follow along.
So, what are the steps we’re going to take together?
This page uses affiliate links, if you click on a link I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, thank you!
How to make a blog step by step – easily!
To make a blog step by step, you will need to set up web hosting, choose your blog niche, get a domain name, set up WordPress, then write your blog! There are also a couple of additional steps you can take to make your blog look good and to monetize it.
Let’s go through each step in turn:
- Set up hosting
- Choose your ‘niche’
- Get your domain name
- Set up WordPress
- Get a theme
- Start to write your blog
- Sign up for affiliate schemes
So let’s do this!
Side note!: Are you confused about the difference between a blog and website? A blog is just a website where the front page shows different posts, usually in chronological order. A website usually has a static front page.
You set them up in exactly the same way initially, then you just choose a different setting for your front page display depending on which you’re going for. I’m going to say ‘blog’, but you follow the same process either way.
– Some links on this page are affiliate links, you can click on the disclosure tab on the bottom menu for full details, thanks! –
Step 1: Set up hosting
We’re going to jump right in to step 1 of making your blog step by step, which is to set up hosting.
(If you want to take a look at a summary of the process of setting up your blog and why you might want to set up a blog, head over to this post on how you can start a blog and make money in a month, then come back on over here to get started.)
Right, so if you don’t know already, a web hosting service is basically just the service that enables you to post your website on the internet.
You can’t have a website online without hosting!
I recommend going to bluehost.com to set up your hosting account, because their service is low cost and reliable.
They also make setting up your blog really easy, because they take care of some steps that other hosting providers ask you to do yourself (like installing WordPress – don’t worry if you have no idea what that means yet!).
I encourage you to stick to a pretty low budget initially. If you want to monetize your blog, then you can invest more in it as it grows. But there’s really no need to spend a fortune at this stage.
So it makes sense to go with bluehost’s $3.95 a month option as it’s a safe and reliable basic plan that’s very easy to get started with. And since it costs about the same as one latte a month, I think it’s a pretty good deal!
You can always upgrade to one of their other packages at a later date if you decide that you need some more advanced features.
If you want to follow along reading this step by step guide, while going through the steps, you can open up the bluehost page in another tab and work alongside the screenshots.
The screens you see may vary slightly as bluehost switches things up occasionally. However the basic process isn’t going to change dramatically, and I’ll try to keep on top of this for updates!
The first screen you’ll land on is the bluehost welcome page.
Remember to select your country and currency from the drop down menu in the top left if it hasn’t automatically defaulted to the right one.
(The image you get might be different to the one below as they change them every so often.)
Go ahead and click on ‘get started’, and you’ll move on to selecting your plan…
If you want to keep your costs super-low, go for the basic plan.
It includes everything you need to get started, and you can always upgrade further down the line if you want to.
After you click on the plan you want, you then move on to the screen below, which asks you to choose your new domain. Your domain name just means your web address – like slightlysorted.com.
Assuming you don’t have a domain already (in which case you’d obviously choose the option on the right), I recommend skipping this step and instead clicking on ‘Choose Later’ at the bottom of the screen.
Doing it this way will mean that you’re not rushed into any decisions on selecting a domain name. I love that Bluehost has this feature, and it’s something I’ve not come across anywhere else!
Next, Bluehost will ask you to set up your account with them – pretty self-explanatory!
You’ll see that you get even better value if you sign up for a longer term.
It just depends on how much you can afford to pay upfront – remember that you pay all at once, not monthly. Web hosting services that offer a monthly payment option tend to be very expensive.
Remember that Bluehost offer you a 30 day money back guarantee on the hosting, so it’s pretty low-risk.
As for the package extras, I recommend skipping them all. The only exception to that is ‘domain privacy‘, and that option will only show up if you already chose your domain name.
Domain privacy ensures that your personal contact information is kept private. It’s up to you to decide whether or not that’s something you’re bothered about, but personally I like to have it.
If you’re choosing your domain later, you’ll be able to add on domain privacy later on.
Finally, just enter your billing information, confirm that you agree to the small-print, and click on submit.
Once you’ve set your password, go ahead and click on ‘log in’…
Bluehost will now give you the option of selecting a free WordPress theme for your blog…
Your ‘theme’ is like a template that makes your site look good.
You can either go ahead and pick one, or click on ‘skip this step‘ at the bottom of the screen to go with the default theme.
As you’ll see later on, I actually recommend paying for a ‘premium’ theme.
You definitely don’t have to, but if you can afford the small investment, chances are you’ll be over the moon with how much better your site looks.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, we’ll talk about that in a bit!
Your next screen is going to look something like this!…
When you move on to the next screen (below), you may get a notification to let you know that your site is on a temporary domain – that’s fine.
If you already chose a new domain, it will kick in over the next 24 hours. And if you’re choosing your domain name later, you’ll just stay on the temporary domain until then.
Either way, if anyone comes across your blog at this stage (which is extremely unlikely), they’ll just see a ‘coming soon’ page.
Here’s the next screen you’re going to see…
When you see this screen, it means that WordPress has been automatically installed on your site, and you’re ready to start the fun stuff!
By the way, if you’re not entirely sure what WordPress is or why you need it… WordPress is just the content management system that you use for writing and formatting your website. It’s basically the tool you use to build your website.
WordPress isn’t the only tool you can use to build your site, but it’s widely regarded as the most powerful and reliable one, and it’s what Bluehost will automatically use on your site.
CONGRATULATIONS! You have now completed step 1 of making your blog step by step – your hosting is all set up!
It’s now time to move on to step 2 in this step by step guide to starting your blog the right way!
Side note: If you prefer, you can move on to step 4 of making your blog – setting up WordPress – and come back to steps 2 and 3. However, I find this way a little more straightforward. It’s up to you.
Step 2: Choose your niche
This page uses affiliate links, if you click on a link I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, thank you!
At this point you can take a step back from the computer, make yourself a drink, and prepare to put your thinking cap on.
Because the next step in making your blog step by step is to choose your niche!
A ‘niche’ is simply the topic that your blog is going to be based on.
So, your niche could be makeup, or sewing, or rock climbing.
Or, you might even decide to go for a multi-niche blog. When I started Slightly Sorted I created it as a general ‘lifestyle’ blog, with categories for blogging, bullet journaling, health, and style.
As you can see, choosing a niche will only apply to you if you’re creating a ‘blog’ style website. If you’re creating a website for your business, then this isn’t something you need to worry about, so you can skip this step!
Choosing the right niche is important.
You need to choose something that interests you so you’ll actually want to write, and you’ll produce interesting content. It’s difficult to write in a sparkly style about a subject that bores you silly!
If you want to make money with your blog, then it’s also important to choose something that lots of other people are interested in.
If you don’t care about making money with your blog, then you have the freedom to write about any obscure subject of your choosing.
But if you want to monetize your blog, you probably won’t get very far if you write about ‘camping in *smalltown USA*’. That’s because you’re only going to attract readers who live near that town, who are interested in camping – it’s way too narrow.
That said, there are many bloggers making great money in fairly narrow niches.
That’s because there isn’t much competition in those subject areas, so they’ve got a better chance of people looking for information on the subject landing on their blog.
But, they’ve chosen a niche that’s just wide enough for a lot of people to be searching google on the subject.
It’s a fine balancing act!
Take a look at camperreport.com for a good example of a fairly ‘narrow niche’ blog, that makes a killing with their monetization.
So, either choose something that you know without a doubt is very popular – like fitness, how to make money, or beauty – and be prepared to hussle very hard to stand out from the competition.
Or, choose something in a more narrow niche, but one where you’re confident there’s enough interest to get thousands of visitors over to your site. Something like archery, sailing, or drones might fall into this bracket.
There is no right or wrong answer here – both approaches can make good money if have a good blog.
However, there are lots of people with strong opinions one way or the other, who will tell you that their way is the right way!
Here’s my in-depth take on it in my post on how to choose your blog niche. I’ve made multiple successful blogs in various niches and learnt a lot on the way, so it’s worth checking out.
One final thing to give some thought to before you make your final choice, is how you’re going to make money with your blog.
Of course, you don’t have to think about a complete monetization strategy right now, but it’s a good idea to choose a niche where you can at lease see how it could make money.
For example, if you’re starting a blog about fishing, you could make money through Amazon Associates by linking to fishing products (see more on that below).
If you’re aiming to get tons of traffic, you’ll be able to make some decent income through ads.
Or, you might be able to sell your own products through your blog.
So if you’re blogging about knitting, maybe you’ll sell knitting patterns. Or if your blog is about dog training then maybe you’ll write an ebook on that and sell it.
If you’re torn about what to do, I encourage you to start broad – because you can always narrow down your focus as you go along and you learn more about what works and what your audience likes.
The choice is yours!…
Step 3: Get your domain name
Right, now it’s time to get back to the computer!
The next step in this step by step guide to making a blog is choosing your all-important domain name!
(Obviously if you chose your domain name already you can skip this step!)
When we finished step one, we’d just entered the WordPress ‘dashboard’ (where you’re going to be spending a lot of time!)…
I suggest that you choose the ‘I don’t need help’ option on this screen, so that you can begin getting to know the features of WordPress yourself.
The next screen you’ll arrive at will be this one…
Leave it there for a moment and switch to a brand new tab in your browser.
Now you need to go to your Bluehost account and log in.
Either on the home page, or in the list on the left hand menu, you’ll see ‘domains‘ – go ahead and click on that.
Now, you just search for a domain you’d like!
Depending on what you’re aiming for, it could take a while to find something that’s available and that you like.
I recommend choosing a .com address, because they tend to be more memorable.
For the actual domain name, don’t make it too long – try to think about whether people will remember it, and whether or not they’ll be willing to type it into their address bar!
Finally, make sure that the words in your domain name can’t be interpreted in a way that’s different to what you mean…
I don’t know if this is true or not, but I once read about a site selling stationery called Pen Island dot com. Think about it!
Once you’ve chosen your domain and are ready to ‘check out’, you’ll notice that the balance to pay is shown as $0 – that’s because you effectively already paid for the domain name when you signed up, you just chose to delay choosing it.
Once you have your domain, it’ll be listed under the ‘domains’ section in your Bluehost account. Select it, then under the ‘main’ tab, scroll down to ‘cPanel type’ and click ‘Assign’.
Your blog will transfer over to the new domain name over the next few hours, and in the mean time you can continue working under the temporary domain.
Step 4: Configure WordPress
Now you can switch from your Bluehost account back to your WordPress dashboard.
This is the screen we left at…
Before we move on with our step by step guide to making a blog, we need to adjust some of the settings in WordPress.
These are the basic steps you need to take to configure WordPress:
- Delete unnecessary plugins
- Trash the default post
- Trash the default page
- Complete your profile
- Check general settings
- Set permalinks option
1. Delete unnecessary plugins
What’s a plugin?, I hear you ask.
Well, a plugin is a bit of ‘add-on’ software that you can insert into your WordPress site.
Plugins allow you to do more with your site by extending functionality, or adding features.
A good example is ‘Antispam Bee’ – it’s a plugin that helps to fight spam by blocking spammy comments on your posts.
Another plugin I like to use is ‘Smush’ – it helps to make sure that all of my images are the right size.
There are thousands of WordPress plugins available for you to add to your site – but you really don’t need very many!
In fact, having too many plugins can cause problems on your site and slow it down.
So it’s best to start with a clean slate and just install the plugins that you actually want.
When you have your new site, it’s likely that it will come with some pre-installed plugins that you don’t actually need. So, we’re going to delete them.
Go to ‘Plugins’ then ‘Installed Plugins’ on your dashboard.
Tick any plugins that you have in the list, apart from your Bluehost plugin if you have one.
Then, deactivate them. Once you’ve done that, tick them again and delete them.
If you’re interested, my top plugin recommendations are:
- Yoast SEO, for helping you with search engine optimization. That means helping to make sure your site shows up in google searches.
- Smush, to make sure that you don’t slow your site down with huge images.
- Antispam Bee, to help prevent unwanted spammy comments on your posts.
If you want to install any of them now, go right ahead. Or leave it for now, it’s not essential.
To install a plugin go to ‘add new’ on your plugins menu, then search for the plugin name in the top right hand search box. Once you find the one you want, add it and then activate it.
Most plugins allow you to customize the settings, but I recommend leaving everything with the default settings at this stage.
2. Trash the default WordPress Post
Next up, let’s trash the default WordPress Post.
Your site will have come with an example post and an example page already set up, and we need to get rid of them.
Side note: unclear on the difference between a post and a page? Usually a page is static and stays in the same spot on your website. An example would be your ‘About’ page. A post, however, is dynamic. It will often display the date it was published on and show up on your blog roll/home page.
If you go to the homepage of Slightly Sorted, you’ll see all of the posts displayed in a list form on the blog roll. You can navigate to the ‘About’ page from the top menu, or the ‘Disclosure’ page from the bottom menu.
To delete your demo post, just go to ‘posts’ in the main left hand dashboard menu.
You will see that there’s a post sitting there, most likely titled ‘Hello World’.
Just click on ‘trash’, and it’ll disappear – easy!
3. Trash the default WordPress Page
I’m sure you can guess what to do here!
Yep, instead of ‘posts’ on the menu, go to ‘pages’.
Then just trash the demo page!
You now have a clean slate, all ready for your own posts and pages.
4. Complete your profile
Now you need to fill out some of your profile in WordPress.
Go to ‘Users’ in the left hand dashboard menu, then choose ‘Your Profile’.
Scroll on down to the ‘name‘ fields and fill out your details including your ‘nickname’, and choose how you want your name to display on your live site. That will come up when you reply to comments on your blog posts.
If you want to set up a profile picture you can go ahead and do that by clicking on the link to ‘Gravatar’, but it’s not an essential part of your initial setup.
Finally, just click on ‘Update Profile‘ at the bottom to save your new settings.
5. Check General Settings
Next up, go to ‘Settings’ on the left hand menu, then choose ‘General’.
This page is fairly self-explanatory.
Fill out your blog title, and if you want a short explanatory tag line fill that in too. You can always come back and change these later if you’re not sure.
The next two fields – the ‘WordPress Address’ and ‘Site Address’ – should be left alone.
Then, if you need to, change your email address and set your time zone and how you’d like the date and time to show up on your site.
And once again, just save your changes!
6. Set your Permalinks option
Now go back to your ‘Settings’ menu and choose ‘Permalinks’.
The Permalink setting will determine what web address (URL) is used for your blog posts.
All you need to do is ensure that the option ‘Post Name‘ is selected, and save the changes.
This is the most neat and professional option for your blog URLs.
** There is one more step that you need to take if you’re setting up a traditional website (maybe for your business) rather than a blog: go to the ‘Reading’ tab under ‘Settings’ and ensure that the radio button on ‘Your Homepage Displays’ is set to ‘A Static Page’ rather than ‘Your Latest Posts’. This will ensure that you don’t get a ‘blog roll’ on your homepage. You can always play about with it and see what works best for you later if you’re not sure.**
You’ve now completed the fourth step in setting up your blog, yay!
Step 5: Get a theme!
The fifth step in this ‘how to make a blog step by step guide’ is to get a great theme!
I love this bit because at the end of this step you’ll really get an idea of how your blog will look once you’ve written a decent number of posts.
Looks aren’t the most important thing when it comes to your blog – not by a long shot.
But after all the (slightly tedious) techie steps we’ve taken to get to this point, a bit of light relief can really give you a great boost.
Personally I find that seeing how professional and pretty my site could look really does that for me!
There are two types of themes you can get for your blog. One is a free theme and one is a ‘premium’ theme, which you have to pay for.
Remember, a theme is just like a template that the contents of your site fits in to. The design of your theme will determine the look of your website.
You can definitely go for a free theme if you really don’t want to spend any money at this stage.
However, my personal recommendation is to purchase a premium theme (not a super-expensive one though), because doing so will make your site look so much better!
First of all, let’s check out how to get a free theme, then I’ll tell you what premium themes I recommend and how to get them.
Before following through the steps below, I suggest checking out this quick video so that you can get an idea of the general process…
These are the steps you need to take to choose and install a new free theme:
- Go to ‘Appearance’ on the left hand dashboard menu, then select ‘Themes’.
- Click the ‘Add New’ button at the top of your screen.
- A selection of free themes will appear for you to browse. There are options at the top to browse ‘featured themes’, ‘popular themes’ and ‘latest themes’. There’s also a ‘Feature Filter’ that you can play around with if you have an idea of what you want from your theme.
- Once you’ve decided on a theme, click ‘Install’.
- When the theme has installed, click ‘Activate’ to start using the theme on your site.
REMEMBER that you don’t have any content on your site yet, so unless the theme you choose comes with demo content, you’ll have to be patient and wait a while until you have some content up before you can get an idea of how your site looks with the new theme.
I generally don’t have the patience for that – when I start a new site I can’t wait to get going!
That’s one of the reasons I love Pipdig themes, and highly recommend their premium themes. They allow you to download some gorgeous demo content so you can see straightaway how amazing your blog is going to look!
I’ve created websites with free themes, premium themes and page builders.
I can honestly say that, in my opinion, investing in a Pipdig theme is one of the best things you can do for your blog.
When you get one, you can do so much more to easily customize the look of your blog. You also get access to lots of cool features and helpful articles so you can make the most of your theme.
Here’s just a small selection of some of the gorgeous themes they offer, all of which are really reasonably priced…
(by the way, I’m not an affiliate with Pipdig – I just genuinely think they’re great)
These themes all work amazingly well for blogs, but several of them would be great for traditional websites too.
If you’re not sure what would work for you, I suggest dropping them a line and asking for advice – their customer service is amazing.
For example, a few months ago I wasn’t sure which theme to go for on one of my sites. I asked them for advice and they amended their test site to show an example of how I could customize one of their themes to fit my needs, and sent me the link.
I ended up getting the theme, and absolutely love it.
When you purchase a theme from Pipdig they send you an email with everything you need to install it, which is really easy to do.
If you don’t want to install it yourself though, they’ll even do that for you!
I run their ‘Holly & Weave’ theme on Slightly Sorted, and have also used ‘Lavoie’ and ‘Maryline’ on other sites – I love them all!
Step 6: Start to write your blog
Now for more of the fun bit of making a blog step by step – starting to write your blog!
I suggest starting off with an ‘About‘ page just to get going. Have a browse around your favorite blogs and websites for ideas, then get going.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to writing at this point is that you can always go back and change it if you decide it’s all rubbish!
Of course, it’s important to write really good content. Really important.
But even more important than that, at this stage, is to get started!!
The one thing I would say to keep at the back of your mind, is to remember that you’re writing for your reader, not for yourself.
By that I mean that the overall aim of the majority of your writing should be to help your reader out, tell them something really useful, or help solve a problem for them.
That’s how you attract readers to your site and keep them coming back.
Think about it, which is more appealing to you as a reader – ‘What I Wore For 4th July’ or ‘5 Outfit Ideas To Look Stunning On 4th July’?
If you see the first article on my website, you may or may not be interested in reading the post.
Sure, if you’ve got time it might be nice to have a nosey at what someone wore on 4th July, but you probably don’t care too much one way or the other.
The second article, though, you’d probably be more likely to click on right?
That’s because it’s about you, it helps you out, because you want to look stunning!
So bear that in mind as you write your posts and pages.
Side note: do you know the easiest and most reliable way to start ranking in google searches?
It’s to write long (i.e. 1200 words plus) and helpful content. Google wants to send people to sites they love and that really answer the query they typed in the search box.
To start writing a page, just go to ‘Pages‘ on the left hand dashboard menu, and ‘Add New‘.
And to add a post? You’ve got it!… Go to ‘Posts‘ and ‘Add New‘.
If you’d like some step by step instructions to follow along with, along with some more ideas for writing really well, then check out my post on How to create a post (or page) with WordPress Block Editor.
Another thing you’ll want to think about as you start to write, is adding some gorgeous pictures to your pages and posts.
Including eye-catching pictures is an important part of writing good content, because it makes everything more visually appealing to your reader and helps to breakup your text so that it’s more ‘readable’.
It’s important to know that you can’t just pick and choose any images you fancy to include on your blog.
Many of the images you’ll find online are protected under copyright laws, so pinching them could get you sued!
Fortunately for you though, I’ve written a whole post and recorded a video on how to find the best free stock photos, so you don’t need to stress about it.
Now get writing!
Step 7: Sign up for affiliate schemes
We are now officially on the final step of your step by step guide on how to start a blog!!
This step is all about making money with your blog.
So if you just want to blog for fun, or you’ve been setting up your website for your business – then you can skip this step and you’re all set and good to go. Hurrah!!
If you’re someone who wants to monetize your blog though, read on…
First off, what exactly is an affiliate scheme?
Basically, an affiliate scheme is where a company pays an ‘affiliate’ commission to send customers to them.
Amazon Associates is probably the most widely used affiliate scheme in the blogging community, so let’s use it as an example.
I am an Amazon Associate, so I will make money if I send a reader to Amazon’s website, and that reader then goes on to purchase a product while they’re there.
As an example of what I mean, take a look at my ‘Inspire Now’ Journal Review post.
In that post, I go through a detailed review of a journal, including a video and a ton of photos, and I include a link to purchase the journal on Amazon.
When my readers go through that link to buy the journal, Amazon will pay me a small amount of commission for each sale.
If you become an Amazon Associate, it can be a great way to make some income from your blog. Of course, the amount of money you make will be determined by the price of the products you link to, and the number of readers who visit your blog and click your links.
What’s really important here is that you never lose sight of the fact that your aim is to add value for your reader.
Never ever recommend a product that you haven’t tested and loved, or at least spent time thoroughly researching.
If you do include a link to something that you don’t know a lot about for some reason, be sure to make that clear.
And always, always, write long valuable content – don’t just throw together a quick post with some Amazon links in it in the hope that you’ll make a few bucks from it. That’s not a good long term strategy for your blog!
Look at my journal review post to see what I mean. I didn’t just post a really quick review, because that’s not helpful to my readers.
Instead, I wrote a long detailed review, included a ton of photos, and even shot a video to go with it. It wasn’t just about the link!
If you think that becoming an Amazon Associate might be a good way to make some money with your blog, you can apply to the scheme here.
Here’s a table showing the various rates that Amazon.com pay out for different categories of products – obviously it’ll change over time, so always double check the website for the up to date rates:
Although Amazon Associates is probably the most widely known affiliate scheme, it’s by no means the only one you can sign up for – there are TONS out there!
A lot will depend on your niche, and remember that you can become an affiliate for services as well as for physical products.
One other scheme I recommend signing up for is Skimlinks. They incorporate loads of retailers in their scheme, so signing up with them can save you time and effort in applying to individual retailers.
I recommend just sticking to one or two affiliate schemes initially, for a couple of reasons.
First of all, applying for different schemes and setting them up can be time consuming. At this early stage, that’s not the best use of your time if you want to grow your blog. My advice is to concentrate on writing posts – that way you’ll start ranking on google and attracting readers.
Secondly, applying for lots of affiliate schemes and trying to find ways to incorporate the links in your posts can shift your focus away from adding value for your readers. You need to focus on adding value first, and making money second.
Ironically, doing it that way round will almost certainly mean that you end up making more money in the long run.
Hey, guess what?…
If you’ve reached this point… YOU DID IT!!!
You’ve completed the whole process in how to make a blog step by step!
You should now be the very proud owner of a shiny new blog or website all of your own. Well done!
I mean it – getting to this point takes some doing, and you did it. I hope you’re proud of yourself. And trust me, if you keep putting the effort in, it’ll be worth it!
Taking the next step
So, what now?
Well, as long and detailed as this post has been, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what you can do with your blog or website.
Following this step by step guide to start a blog will have given you a solid foundation to work from, but now it’s time to really build your blog!
There’s so much to learn as a blogger or website owner.
Mostly, learning it is a lot of fun.
And it’s so satisfying to see your own creation on line and to start seeing your readers grow.
At other times though, be prepared to want to throw your laptop out of the window.
In my opinion, the fun and satisfying parts far outweigh the not-so-great moments – I encourage you to keep going so that you can find that out for yourself!
I WISH YOU ALL THE LUCK IN THE WORLD WITH YOUR BLOG OR WEBSITE!
So now it’s over to you!…
What niche have you chosen for your new blog and why? Which bits of setting up your blog did you enjoy, and which parts drove you crazy?
Let me know in the comments right now, and include a link to your new site so that we can all check it out!
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