In this article on Affiliate marketing for beginner series, we will go through all the steps and answer your questions on how to start a blog.
Here are previous articles if you have not gone through them already.
If you do not have any previous knowledge, fret not.
This is a complete beginner series. If you have some knowledge then you will be able to follow along at a faster pace.
So, let us start with the first step.
Please Note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links. When you purchase using the links I get some commission with no additional cost to you.
Find the right name
I’ve seen blogs with great catchy names and then I’ve seen blogs which have become a brand with not so great name (at least in my opinion).
The first thing you need to know on how to start a blog is to pick the right Domain name.
Domain name (website name) is how people will identify you eventually as a brand.
Choose a name from the available options that resonates with you, sounds a bit catchy, gives a little hint to your visitor about the content they can expect.
If you have a name in mind, great!
But, the chances are that if you thought of a great name, someone might have already registered it ( this is another way of making money online i.e. Domain name investing where people purchase a catchy domain name and later sell them at a premium price).
To check if your domain name is available or not, you can go to NameCheap.com
Create an account.
Go to the search bar and enter your desired domain name.
There are high chances that the name you thought of is not available, like shown in the screenshot above.
Generate Domain Name
You can use services like Domain names generator to come up with a good Domain name.
I used NameMesh to come up with AffiliateChef name.
Enter keyword in the search bar and click search.
The page shown below gives you a list of available domain names related to the keyword you have entered.
Purchase the Domain Name
Now that you have a name selected, you can come back to the NameCheap page and enter your domain name.
There might be a possibility that the domain name though available is way too expensive for you to purchase as a beginner.
So, you go back to NameMesh and look for another option and check its availability and price at NameCheap.
Once, you have the right name in the desired price range, click on Add to Cart.
You can change the Registration dropdown to one year (since we want to save some bucks while starting).
You can ignore the add-ons and reach to the payment page (you can choose to purchase the domain privacy service if you don’t want people to find your details through a reverse domain name search).
Make the payment.
Wait for the confirmation email.
Congratulations, you have a domain name registered against your name.
Choose WordPress as your platform
Choose WordPress.org as the platform for creating your blog.
It is free, customizable, tried and tested and used for a majority of Website owners.
This is also the recommended way to move ahead on your online journey.
Set up your Web Hosting
There are many Hosting players in the market.
You have to pick one which has a reasonable price, high up time, safe and secure, great customer service and user friendly features.
Do not look for a very cheap hosting service as that might affect the performance of your website.
I use SiteGround for my hosting needs.
I have three websites running on SiteGround and have not had any issues with their hosting services.
There are big names in the industry that are also using SiteGround.
Read Siteground reviews
Their Grow Big plan is a no-brainer as you get an option to host unlimited number of websites with this plan along with many additional benefits like Free Email Accounts, Free CDN, HTTP/2 enabled server on four continents.
Choosing a web hosting is probably one big investment you do while creating your blog, so make an investment that will pay off eventually.
I was recently made aware of an amazing web hosting service that offers premium service at a better price.
The webhosting I am talking about is A2 Hosting.
It offers great services as compared to SiteGround and has lesser hosting renewal rates.
I plan to migrate my website soon and I recommend going for A2 hosting.
You can go for their Turbo Boost plan.
The next steps will be pretty much the same.
For now, I show the next steps using SiteGround
Connecting hosting service to your Domain
Select Add New Website and choose existing Domain
Click on Continue if you see a warning about domain name not present at SiteGround.
Next, click on Start a New Website.
Install WordPress at the click of a button.
Next setup your login credentials for WordPress admin dashboard.
It should be done in no time and you should see a message like below.
Copy and paste the two nameservers highlighted below in Notepad.
Now since our Domain names are at NameCheap, we need to change the name servers and replace them with the ones highlighted in the snapshot above.
- Login to your NameCheap account
- Select DomainList option in the left menu and click Manage
- Come down to NameServer section and select Custom DNS
- Paste the two nameserver copied from before
Check this link for visual guide – Changing NameServers
Give some time for the changes to reflect.
If all goes as per plan, you should see a default page like this when you enter your domain name in the browser.
These were your basic steps on how to start a blog.
Now let’s make it more appealing.
Selecting the Right Theme
You need to come back to the SiteGround dashboard.
You should find your website name under their WEBSITES menu.
Click on Site Tools.
Select WordPress and then Install & Manage in the right side bar.
Click on the highlighted icon as below.
You should now be inside wordpress admin area.
You can bookmark this or access it later using domain/wp-admin (replace it with your domain name).
Keep on pressing continue till you see the below screen
Post this this screen. you will get links to go to Dashboard.
Now for selecting a theme for an awesome look and feel.
Selecting a Premium theme
Although, free themes are good to start with but they are not very performant.
If you are serious about your business, you should use a premium theme that creates great user experience as well as amazing performance.
Do it once and do it right.
Google loves speed, so a high performing website ranks faster than a slow one. Of course, there are many other factors that we will cover in our SEO articles.
Now, coming back to a premium theme.
I will absolutely recommend using GeneratePress.
They are lightweight, highly customizable, and used and trusted by many Internet marketers.
They are a trending high-performing theme and the best part is that you purchase the license once and you can use it for unlimited websites.
First you need to install a free version of GeneratePress theme.
This can be done by going to Appearance option in your admin dashboard and then clicking on Theme.
Click Add Theme button and enter generate press in the search bar.
Next create your GeneratePress account by going to the GeneratePress website.
Once you make the purchase, you should see your license key in the account section.
Download the premium zip file.
Activating the Premium theme
Go to Plugins then Add New and finally click on Upload plugin.
Choose the gp-premium zip file and click on Install Now.
Finally click on Activate Plugin.
Next step is to activate the modules of the premium theme.
For this, go to Appearance then GeneratePress.
You should see the modules like below.
Either Bulk Activate or activate them one by one.
The last step is to copy the license key from your account in generatepress and then paste it in the license area in the right sidebar to receive updates.
You can additionally choose from their Site Library options and pick a template that resonates with you.
Check your website.
Next, we will talk about installing some essential plugins and then move over to customizing your website.