Have you ever wanted to know how to start your very own web blog or web site, but didn’t know how to. I’m sure all the stuff you found on starting a blog was about, how to make money with a blog, or how to get better rankings, but never how to set it up. I have good news! Now you can, and I will help you, step by step. This is a beginner’s guide to starting your own blog/website. I will give you detailed step by step on how to set it up in its entirety. You can start blogging TODAY.
Let me just say, if you are looking to get into blogging, you have two choices, free or paid. The Free source, are blogging networks, like Blogger, Squidoo, TypePad, WordPress, etc. The Paid source, is having your own domain name, web hosting and being completely yours, without limitations. Nothing against the free blogging networks, but if you want to be taken seriously, you have to have your own blog. There is no reason why you can have your own blog, it will only cost about $10. That’s it, $10!
Ok, let’s get started.
1. Pick a Niche / Researching
What is your blog going to be about? You need to pour a foundation, before you can build a house. In this case, you need to decide what topic/niche your blog is going to be about and it’s purpose. Is your blog going to be about pets, perhaps, weight loss or cooking? Whatever, topic you decide to blog about it, you need to do keyword research.
Keyword research is vital to the success of your new blog. If you want to make a serious presence, then you need to know what keywords your visitors will be using. Let’s say your blog is about “cooking”, you just don’t want to use “cooking”, that is too generic and too competitive, you will never rank well. You need go after long tail keywords and variations, such as, “how to saute”. Maybe not my best example, but, I think you get the point. Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool is great way to do this kind of research.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
2. Domain Name
After you have done figuring out what you’re going to blog about, it’s time to select a domain name. Getting a domain name is tricky, if you don’t know what you are doing. I am going to help you with that, and what to do and not to do.
First thing is, NEVER, buy a domain name through a hosting provider, and become a domain hostage. You should, ALWAYS, buy your domain names through a registrar like Godaddy. Godaddy, is who I use and 1,000′s of other webmasters.
Now it’s time to select a domain name, but let’s go over a few very important things first. The domain name you select, will be yours, and you can’t change it, unless you buy another. Domain names are like real estate, all the good ones are taken or at a premium rate.
While you are brainstorming for domain name ideas, keep in mind, blog topic, and not to use hyphens.
You should have your blog topic in your domain name, for seo purposes. If your blog is about pets, you should have word “pet” or “pets” in your domain name, such as ILovePets.com.
You should also stay away from hyphenated domain names, they are considered spammy. Most hyphenated blogs don’t rank well, and if they do, it takes a lot more seo effort to do so. Plus, try telling a friend your domain name that has hyphens in it, such as, I-LovePets.com. You’ll spend more time trying to explain it to your friend, and it would be a lot easier not to have them.
Choose the right extension, .com, .net, .org, .us, etc. Believe it or not, this can hurt you, if you don’t choose the right one. Visitors are psychologically prone to always use .com, as a extension. If I tell you to go to eBay, or Bing, you will assume it is eBay.com, or Bing.com. Visitors, think in this same way. If you tell people to go to ILovePets.net, and your domain name is, ILovePets.net, they’re not going to hear the “.net”. They will automatically assume it’s a “.com”. If you choose a “.org”, you may be able to get away with it, but people forget the extension and always go to “.com”. Make sense? I hope so. Plus, .com and .org rank better over the rest of the publically available extensions.
So, be patient and brainstorm several domain names. Good domain names are hard to come by, so take your time.
After you have got your domain name, it’s time to find a web hosting provider. Choosing the wrong web hosting company can cripple your blog, in so many ways. There are so many different types of hosting, but I don’t want to confuse you with the jargon. I have written many articles regarding the different types of web hosting.
Since this is probably your first blog, and on a limit budget, I would recommend shared hosting. Shared hosting is good when you’re first starting out and have a limited cash flow. If for some reason you need to switch to another provider or type of hosting, you can and that is fairly easy.
When looking for a web hosting company, their hosting plan should have at the bare minimum:
99.9% Uptime Guarantee
Free / Instant Setup
Most web hosting plans have those, at minimum anyways, but just be sure to check. I would recommend Hostgator, starting at $3.96 a month. Hostgator is one of the largest and most popular web hosting providers out there. You could yourself the time and effort, and just use Hostgator.
4. Changing Nameservers
After you have purchased your hosting plan, you will receive an email with the details to change your nameservers. You have to set your nameservers to point to the web hosting providers nameservers, or your blog will not show up.
To change the namesevers, just go to your domain registrar, where you bought your domain name from, if it was Godaddy, then you would go to GoDaddy. Login in your account, select your domain name, and you will be able see where you can set your nameservers. Put in the nameserver information that the hosting provider has provided you, then save.
After you have set your nameservers, be sure to keep in mind that it can take up to 48 hours to take effect. Usually, it only takes a couple hours, at most, in rare occurrences, it can take up to 48 hours.
5. Blog Software
When it comes to FREE blog software, you have 3 choices, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. WordPress is the most popular, that is what I am going to recommend and cover in the set up. I have not personally used Joomla or Drupal, I’m sure they are good, I just never used them and I would rather use WordPress.
I just love WordPress, there is nothing you can’t do with it. There are so many great wordpress themes, plugins and you can customize it to do just about anything you want. It is an open source, meaning, developers and programmers can add to it. It is written in PHP, updated all the time and very secure.
You can download the latest WordPress version here. After you have downloaded it, it will come in a .zip format, and you will need to extract the files. If you are unsure how to extract the files, you will need to use a program called Winzip, it’s free.
After you have downloaded winzip, and extracted the files, you will see a file called wp-config-sample.php. You will have to rename it to wp-config.php. If you don’t know how to rename the file, just right click with your mouse on the file, select “rename”, and rename it to wp-config.php.
6. Setting Up Your Database
Now it is time for you to set up your database. You will have to log into your web hosting account and from your control panel, you should see where to add a database. You will need the following:
Database Name – Is the name of your database.
Username – The username associated with your database.
Password – The password associated with your database.
When you are choosing your names, your database name and user name has to be different, and make sure that they are nothing alike. Also make sure that your password for your database is rock solid by using a good password with numbers, letters and symbols. Make sure that you write it down, so you don’t forget. In other words, don’t call your database “wordpress”, your username “admin” and password “123123″. It is very easy to hack a database, so make it as difficult as possible. Or, you will lose everything and have to start over. Start off on the right foot, and make sure your database secure.
7. Configuring WordPress
Now that your database is set up, it’s time to configure your wordpress. You only need to configure one file, that is the one you renamed earlier wp-config.php. You have to enter your database details in that wp-config.php file. This going to be a little tricky, it is a php file and needs to opened with a text editor, or the file will get corrupted. Use notepad to open wp-config.php, that’s what I use. To open with notepad, just right click over the file, and select “open with”. If notepad doesn’t show up on the list, then select “choose program”, and notepad will be on there.
Now that you have wp-config.php open with notepad, you will need to scroll down and look for this code:
// ** MySQL settings – You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
/** MySQL database username */
/** MySQL database password */
/** MySQL hostname */
I highlighted the areas you will need to edit and enter your details.
database_name_here = Will be the name of your database.
username_here = Will be your database username.
password_here = Will be the password to your database.
localhost = 99% of the servers are localhost and may not need to be changed
After you have entered your database detailed in the appropriate highlighted areas, click save and your done configuring.
8. Uploading WordPress
Before you upload, you need to figure out if you are going upload your blog to your root directory, sub directory or as a subdomain.
Root directory, means when someone goes to your domain name, such as ILovePets.com, that will be where your blog is. If all you are going to do is blog, then this is the way to go.
Sub directory, means that you already have an existing site and just want to add a blog to your existing content. If this is the case, then adding your wordpress blog would be a sub directory, that would look something like ILovePets.com/blog. Just rename the folder wordpress to blog.
Sub domain, means that you already have a website with content and want to add a blog, kind of like a sub directory, but different. A sub domain is like having another web site. In fact, sub domains are viewed just that in the search engines eyes. Sub domain blog will look like blog.ILovePets.com.
After you have decided where you are going to put your wordpress blog, root, sub directory or sub domain, you will need to use a ftp (file transfer protocol) program to upload it. I would recommend using Filezilla, it’s free. You can download Filezilla here.
After you have installed Filezilla, you will need the ftp login details, to upload your blog. Your web hosting provider should have sent you those details, if not, contact them, and they’ll supply you with them.
If you are uploading your blog to your root directory, be sure to delete the index.html, if there is one, before you upload.
9. Installing WordPress
After you have completely uploaded your wordpress files to your web server, it’s time to install it. You just open your browser and go to, depending on where you uploaded it:
http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/install.php (root directory)
http://www.yourdomain.com/blog/wp-admin/install.php (sub directory)
http://blog.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/install.php (sub domain)
If you have done everything correctly, it should ask for your blog title, username, password and email address.
Blog Title – Enter your blog title, don’t worry, you can change this at anytime in the admin area.
Username – You can use your first name, full name, admin or whatever. Whatever you decide will be public. So if you don’t want people to see your name, use admin.
Password – You can enter your own or let wordpress auto generate one for you. I STRONGLY recommend letting wordpress generate one for you. Their password generator is really good, mixing letters, numbers and symbols. Just make sure you write it down.
Email – Make sure you enter a valid email address and make sure it is spelled correctly.
After you have entered all your details correctly, click “Install”. Like I said, be sure to write down your username and password. Now you can log in to your wordpress control panel and start posting blogs.
You are done!