How To Start A Blog In 2020 | Easy Guide For Beginners

Desk with a notebook that shows

Wondering how to start a blog? Hi, I’m John, founder of The Money Ninja. I’ve been blogging for 17 years and I’d like to show you the simple (and right) way to start a blog.

In this beginner’s guide, I’ll show you the basics on how to start a blog without spending a lot of money. It’s easier and faster than you think! There’s no technical experience required.

Introduction

I created my first blog in 2002 with zero experience in blogging. I learned through making mistakes and it took forever to get it right. It’s MUCH easier these days to get started.

That being said, it can be overwhelming because there’s a ton of information out there. I created this step-by-step guide to help you easily start a blog; avoid all the mistakes and hours of studying others have done 🙂

Here are 7 simple and easy steps on how to start a blog:

Related:

7 Steps On How To Start A Blog

Step 1: Decide What To Blog About

I went over why you shouldn’t blog about too many topics since your audience will be confused about what your site is really about.

At the same time, don’t pick something so specific either because eventually you’ll run out of things to write about. Yes, your pet rock collection is impressive, but how much content can you write just on that?

Most successful bloggers usually stick to these rules:

  • Blog about something you enjoy. Trust me on this, if you blog about something you’re not excited about you’ll end up hating yourself. Pick a topic that excites you!
  • Blog about something that has plenty of room for discussion. A blog requires a lot of great content to remain interesting. You want people to continue to visit your site and not just be one-time visitors.
  • Blog about a topic that you can be the go-to resource for. Let’s be honest – blogging isn’t new. Whatever topic you plan on blogging about, chances are you’re not the first person to cover it. But that’s okay. Give the topic your unique voice and find a way to make your blog better than others talking about the same thing. The goal for any blog is to be the go-to resource for its topic or niche.

What if you don’t know what to blog about? That’s okay! Write a list of topic ideas on a piece of paper and strike them out one by one until you find the one you’re most interested in.

Step 2: Pick A Domain Name

What is a domain name? A domain name is your brand on the internet. It’s what users will type into their browser to go to your site.

The domain name is part of the web address:

  • Domain = themoneyninja.com
  • URL = https://www.themoneyninja.com

This is a step I personally spent a lot of time on and you should too. Here are some guidelines to consider as you pick a domain name:

Go with .com

Internet users assume a site has a .com ending when browsing. If you use a .net, .org, .info, or any other extension puts a potential roadblock for people trying to find you.

Make it easy on people, use .com only.

Keep it short

The shorter your domain name, the better. It’s easier for people to remember and type out. There’s also less of a chance someone will misspell part of your name.

I mean, would you rather type TheMoneyNinja.com to visit my site or TheMoneyNinjaWhoWillSaveYouMoneyButMakeItHardToVisit.com?

Choose words easy to spell

Don’t choose words that are commonly misspelled or hard to spell. You don’t want the risk of having interested people not reaching your site because they spelled your domain name wrong.

An example would be a site that’s named AchieveSuccess.com – achieve and acheive are often mixed together. This isn’t a spelling bee. Make it easy.

Make it expandable

Your blog may eventually expand to other closely related topics, so don’t box yourself in.

For instance, iPhoneReviews.com is nice, but what if you decide to review Samsung phones down the line? I also would avoid life-stage specific names like NewBabyMommy.com. It’s good now, but your baby will be a child before you know it!

Avoid industry-specific terms

In order to appeal to a wider audience, avoid using niche-specific terms in your domain name that someone outside of the industry might be unfamiliar with. Using “retirement” is a broad term that more people will understand than “Roth 401k“.

Make sure the name is available on social media sites

When picking your domain name, check to see if it’s also available on social media sites. If you use the same name on your blog and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., it keeps your brand consistent and makes it more memorable.

An easy way to check if the name you’re thinking about is available across all social media sites is a site called Namechk.

But all the good names are taken!

Don’t overthink it. I know people get stuck at this point because they’re afraid of making the wrong choice.

The most common problem people have is that all the good .com names are taken. If this sounds like you, I would advise just taking your best guess and move forward.

It may not be the perfect one, but a not-so-perfect name is better than no name at all. Also, if you decide on a better name down the road, it’s easy to transfer all your data from one name to another.

Ok, I’m ready! How do register a domain name?

I highly recommend Namecheap for its excellent service and price. Just type in a name and click search to see if it’s available.

Whatever you do, please don’t use GoDaddy. They’re the most well-known because of all the commercials they put out, but it’s a poor offer with bad technical details I won’t bore you about.

Namecheap also costs less than GoDaddy. Namecheap charges $8.88 per domain name compared to GoDaddy’s price of $11.99. It will also include domain privacy for free (so people can’t look at who owns the site on WHOis).

Step 3: Choose A Blogging Platform

You just picked your domain name and now it’s time to choose a blogging platform.

Think of your domain name as a new house you’ve just built. You just finished construction on the house, but now you need to buy furniture and appliances to live in it.

Your domain name needs a blogging platform so you can write stuff on your site. There’s many different platforms to choose from: WordPress, Blogger, and Wix are a few well-known ones.

I use WordPress and recommend it. Virtually all bloggers do.

If you also decide to use WordPress, there’s nothing to do right now because you’ll install it during the next couple of steps when you pick your host.

I know it may sound a bit confusing, but it’s really not.

Step 4: Select Where To Host Your Blog

Ok, now here’s where you’ll select where to host your blog.

Remember that story I told you in the previous step; you’ve created your house (domain name) and you picked your furniture (WordPress). Well, you still need a driveway to get to your house, right?

That’s where picking a host comes in. A host connects your blog to the internet, just like a driveway connects your house to the street.

To review:

  • House + furniture = needs a driveway so people can visit
  • Domain name + blogging platform = needs a host so people can visit

With me so far?

For hosting your blog, I recommend SiteGround. It’s a simple, all-in-one setup, and there’s a money-back guarantee if you don’t like it for whatever reason. Plus, you can use the link below for a 70% discount:

-> Click here to go to SiteGround. Choose “Managed WordPress Hosting” to get started:

Select a plan

After you select “Managed WordPress Hosting”, it’s time to select a plan. Click an orange “Get Plan” button to choose that plan:

There’s 3 different choices. I prefer the GrowBig plan as it has a good mix of space and premium features.

Enter your domain name

On the next screen, select “Get a new hosing account” and choose “I already have a Domain”. It will ask you to enter your domain name (the name you chose in Step 2):

Your domain name is your address. For example, TheMoneyNinja.com is my domain name.

Choose plan period

Skip to the bottom of the same page. Here it’s going to ask you how long you want to be on this plan for.

Hosting is a monthly service that bills for 1, 2, or 3 years upfront. They don’t offer a month-by-month plan, but as you can see it works out to only a few dollars a month.

You’re also getting a massive discount using my link AND remember, you’re also getting a 30-day money-back guarantee.

So think how long you want to lock in the discounted monthly price for. After this promotional period, if you want to keep your blog, you’ll pay the regular price.

Submit your SiteGround order

All that’s left is to enter your payment information and submit your order. You can skip all the additional services they offer.

SiteGround confirming account was successfully created

Step 5: Install WordPress On SiteGround

Now that you have SiteGround (the host), it’s time to install WordPress (the blogging platform) on it.

Go to the main page of your customer area and click on the orange button that says “Set Up Site”:

Button to click in order to set up website on SiteGround

Here, choose “Start New Website”:

Selecting "Start New Website" on SiteGround

Select the “WordPress” installation:

Installing WordPress on SiteGround

It will ask you to enter an email address and create a password for your WordPress account, which you’ll use later on to login to your blog. Be sure to create a good password here. You don’t want anyone to get into your blog and mess with it:

Creating login information for WordPress on SiteGround

SiteGround may ask if you want their SG Site Scanner after creating your WordPress login. This is a monitoring service that will scan your blog daily and notify you if your site has been hacked. You can skip this. I don’t think it’s worth the $20 they charge and there’s many free tools you can add later.

Hit the finish button and SiteGround will begin installing WordPress and creating your blog for you. This part may take a few minutes.

Step 6: Connect Your Site To Your Host

This step connects everything together.

You have your host (SiteGround), your blogging platform (WordPress), and your domain name (from Namecheap).

In the Step 5, you’ve just installed your blog on SiteGround, but you still need to tell SiteGround where this blog of yours will show up. You want it to show when people type in your domain name.

To do this, head back on over to your Namecheap account where you can manage your domain name settings. On your account page, go to your “Domain list” tab and click on “Manage”:

Managing domain list on Namecheap

On the following page, scroll down to the “nameserver” section and select “Custom DNS” from the drop-down menu. Two lines will appear asking you enter both nameservers from SiteGround. Once you do, click on the green check mark:

Changing name servers on Namecheap

You can get your nameservers from the email SiteGround sent you when you installed WordPress. Don’t worry if you can’t find this email, you can still get the nameservers from your SiteGround account.

Go back to your SiteGround account and head over to the “Websites” tab. You’ll see your web site name here with a button on the right called “Site Tools”. Click on that:

Accessing "Site Tools" on SiteGround

You’ll see the two name servers on the next screen:

Name servers on SiteGrond

Copy and paste both of the name servers to your Namecheap settings.

You’re finally done! It may take up to 24 hours for the name servers to update, but it’s usually much faster than that.

Step 7: Start Blogging!

To start blogging and to pretty much do anything else with your blog (design your blog, add pictures, manage blog contributors, etc.), login to your WordPress account.

Your WordPress login panel can always be accessed by typing in the following onto your web browser:

https://www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin/

WordPress login panel

Of course, “yourdomainname” is your domain name.

After you log in, you’ll be transferred to your blog’s dashboard. Spend some time getting to know all the features shown on the left-hand side. Any updates you make will be immediately shown on your site.


REMEMBER
Access your new blog's dashboard:
www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin/

Congratulations! Now you know how to start a blog. You’ve just created your very own site! Awesome!

The Bottom Line

That wasn’t so hard was it? Now that you know how to start a blog, realize this is just the beginning of an exciting journey!

There’s going to be so many things you’ll learn in the coming days, weeks, and months. You’re also going to redesign and reformat your blog a gazillion times until it seems perfect (I know I did).

But the hardest part is over. You took the initiative to start a blog; this step alone stops so many people. Now it’s time to explore all the things you can do with your blog and think of some things to write about!

When you’ve got several posts under your belt and your audience is growing, head on over to my post about how to make money from your blog.

Good luck!

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for writing this up. I keep hearing Godaddy is not so great, but what about hosting companies? Why do you like Siteground? A lot of other bloggers seem to like Bluehost.

    • SiteGround and Bluehost are both really great hosting services for blogs. I give SiteGround the edge because their loading times is a little bit better than Bluehost (and loading times is one of the things Google factors into rankings).

      I can’t comment on why a lot of bloggers recommend Bluehost. I do know they give better commissions to affiliates, but you can draw your own conclusions 🙂

  2. The Money Ninja, this was awesome! I’ve been blogging using the free WordPress site for a few years, but decided to get away from that since I don’t really own my blog and have no control over it. This post really helped me in getting the admin stuff squared away with so I can continue to write articles.

  3. I’m a fan of Siteground too! Customer service has been phenomenal and they even allowed me to upgrade my plan for just the incremental costs.

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