How to Start a Successful Blog in 2019?November 15, 2019
So you’re thinking about starting a blog, but you don’t have any idea where to start, right? Guess what—neither did we! Before we were “The Minimalists,” we wanted to start a blog to communicate our thoughts and express our feelings, but we were overwhelmed with options.
Clueless, confused, and confounded with choices, we had no idea how to start a blog or how to be a blogger. When should we start? How do we register a domain name? What is hosting? Which blogging platform should we use? How do we choose a template? What is a plugin? What should we write about? Heck, we could hardly spell HTML, let alone build a blog!
Here’s a brief step-by-step overview of how we started our blog. Detailed screenshots, an instructional video, and an FAQ can be found below. This is how to become a blogger in 5 concise steps.
- Choose your blogging platform and domain. The first thing we did when starting our blog was go to Bluehost and register our domain. We didn’t even need to set up WordPress, which is the platform we use, since Bluehost does all that for you. Bluehost’s basic price is $2.75 a month, which works for 99% of people (go to this link to receive a 50% discount off the monthly price and a free domain). Then, we did a simple, free, “one-click” install of WordPress through Bluehost. When we had questions we were able to chat with the “live chat” folks at Bluehost for free. They pointed us in the right direction and made starting our own blog super easy.
- Design your blog using a simple theme. A good theme gives you the look and feel you want for your blog, allowing you to make a blog that looks exactly how you want it to look. If you’re not a coder (we certainly aren’t), then a theme makes the design work a million times easier. Plus, once you purchase a theme, which are inexpensive for the time they save you, you own it for life. The Minimalists uses the beautiful “tru” theme by SPYR, which is available at BYLT. Head on over to BYLT, browse their collection of themes, and find the design that’s right for you.
- Modify your blog to define your style. Once we had our domain, blog hosting, WordPress, and theme, we spent a lot of time tweaking the theme to get the look and feel we wanted (i.e., making our vision a reality). Then we spent even more time tinkering with the theme and arguing about it and tweaking it some more. Once we had created our blog, we set up a free Feedburner account so people could subscribe to our site via email and RSS subscriptions. And then we established a free Google Analytics account to track our stats. Feedburner and Google Analytics were both easy to sign up for, and we still use both today.
- Select the best plugins for your blog. We use only a few plugins on our site, including “Google Analytics for WordPress” and “Yoast SEO”. They take just a few seconds (literally a few seconds, it’s just a click of a button) to install once you’ve started your blog. And if you really want to play around with some cool plugins, check out WPBeginner’s Best WordPress Plugins.
- Write compelling content. Last, via WordPress, we started writing and uploading the content for our pages: About Page, Contact Page, Start Here Page, Books Page, Tour Page, Archives Page, etc. Next, we designed our logo using free images we found online and text from a regular word-processing program. Then we put a picture of ourselves in the header (this is important because people identify with people, not logos). Finally we started writing new blog posts and publishing them regularly (at least once a week), accompanied by free photos from Unsplash, Pexels, and the Library of Congress. And the rest is history.
Thankfully, you needn’t be tech savvy to start a blog (we certainly aren’t). You don’t need to know how to code or design to build your blog (we still don’t). You don’t need much money to create a blog (you can get a free domain and host your site for just a few bucks a month). And you don’t need to spend a ton of time setting up your blog, either (you can set up your blog in less than an hour).
Because we receive so many questions about how we specifically set up our blog, we decided to provide our readers with a soup-to-nuts, comprehensive guide for how to set up a blog.