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5 Easy Steps on How to Start Your Blog

[Updated for 2018]

Today we have a practical lesson.  It's time for you to do more than just read my blog posts, I want you to take real action.  You can have your own blog setup in less than an hour.  And I'm going to make it as easy as possible.

Instead of taking shortcuts that you will have to fix or alter later, I'm going to take you through the EXACT process I used to set up this very website.

You can watch this video or follow the written steps below.

STEP ONE – Buy a Domain

Buy Your Domains At Namecheap

This means you own the name of your website.  For example, I own “servenomaster.com”


I have owned many websites.  Some of them I have kept for a decade and some I used for a year or less and dropped when they were no longer profitable.


You want to pick a name that you like and that defines who you are and what you want to write about.


I have blogged on quite a few domains and used quite a few services before I got where I am today.


My very first site was called SmellMyBlog.com.  It was great for a fun little blog that I only thought a few people were reading, but when traffic exploded I realized that I needed to change the name to something more serious.

 

Nobody wants SmellMyBlog to appear on a credit card bill at the end of the month.


I buy ALL of my domains using NameCheap.com.


This is a really important step because many of the other services will leave you with regret in the long run.


It is tempting to buy your domain and hosting from the same company.

They all try to get you to do this.


GoDaddy is the king of this.


But you should never make this mistake because it leaves you vulnerable.  


You get hacked once or spammed or a virus injected into your site and many of those companies will freeze your account.


They take your website and they take the NAME.


It can be a nightmare to try and get it back.


So you need to firewall yourself and ONLY buy a domain from NameCheap.


Spend some time coming up with a cool name and grab that domain as soon as you think of it.


If you do a search and decide to think about it for a day, the domain might be gone tomorrow.


There are many companies that scan the searches and grab any cool names that other people think of.


Don't let this happen to you.


Grab your domain right now.

STEP TWO – Get Hosting

Homepage Bluehost Review

Now that you have your website name, you need to find a real home for your website.


Hosting means there is a computer inside a big warehouse somewhere that is always on.


Your website will live on this computer (called a server).


There are literally millions of companies in this game and I've been through about a dozen.


Previously, I use a company called A Small Orange.


But now I MUCH prefer using Bluehost


It's even easier to setup and getting SSL takes 5 minutes.

STEP THREE – Connect Namecheap to Bluehost

First, Get your Nameservers from BlueHost.


You can find your DNS Settings inside your Bluehost Dashboard by clicking on Domains and then Name Servers in the bottom right corner.

Nameservers on Bluehost

Now, Log into your NameCheap account.

  1. Click on where it says Domain List.

           2. Choose the domain you want to put your blog on.


Click on “Manage Domain” next to the name of that domain.

Namecheap Domain List

           3. Click where it says nameservers.


Make sure it says “Custom DNS”


Then input these 2 answers (they are the most DNS for shared hosting with BlueHost)


ns1.bluehost.com
ns2.bluehost.com


Save your changes by clicking the green checkmark and then you're done!

STEP FOUR – Install WordPress using cPanel (Bluehost Users Skip this Step)

One of the great things about Bluehost is how EASY they make it to install WordPress.


It's directly integrated into your hosting, but for most hosts you will use cPanel to install WordPress.  This example uses A Small Orange, but it's the same for all cPanel hosting.


There are a ton of blog options out there, but I've only used WordPress for the past seven years.  Its has never let me down.  It's the most popular platform in the world for a reason.


That's why it's what I use.


So let's install WordPress right now.

  1. Take a look at your email from A Small Orange.
Login Info From A Small Orange

Follow the directions on the bottom right and log into your cPanel.

That means you click on the orange button.


       2. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on “WordPress” in the Softaculous Apps Installer section.

One Click WordPress Install

     3. Click on the big blue button that says INSTALL

Click the Button to Install WordPress

     4. Fill in the options.  


There are a couple of key options you'll want to change as anything you do now is locked in for a long time.


Make sure you choose the domain that you want.  I prefer to have it WITHOUT the www in front of my domain.


You want the directory option to be BLANK.  They might try to have you put it in the “wp” directory but that will mess up your website.


Put in a cool name and description for your blog.  If you can't think of a great idea right now, that's ok, these two options are really easy to change later.


You do NOT want your username to be admin.  That options the door to your site getting hacked and is a really common mistake for first-time bloggers.


Pick anything unique and you want a really strong password.


Your admin email should also be something you keep quiet about.


I tend to use an email address that's separate from the domain.


Just use a hotmail email address or something like that.  That way if something happens to your account you can still fix the problem.


This might seem like a little overkill, but it protects you from risk by hackers etc in the future.

STEP FIVE – Start Blogging

The next screen will show you where you go to log in to your site.


-->> Domain.com/wp-login.php


Now that you're blog is setup properly you can have a blast without fear.


Write your first blog post and start messing around inside of WordPress.

Write a post and start having some fun.


In the next part of this series, we'll talk about backing up your site and some ways to make a beautiful design.

Once you have your first blog post written, please post a link below so I can be the first comment!

Jonathan Green
 

Living the dream on a tropical island, Jonathan is the author of Serve No Master and the host of the Serve No Master Podcast.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 36 comments
Tricia Friesen - October 17, 2016

OMG I never thought starting a blog was this easy. I’m a consultant for a network marketing company, and my team has been really excited to tap into the internet. The problem is, none of us have any clue where to start.

This guide makes it really simple. I tried having my son explain how to blog to me, and I know that he knows what he’s doing. It’s explaining it to people like me that’s difficult.

I can’t wait! I’m going to do all of the technical stuff first, and then move on to making my first blog post. I had no clue any of this stuff was going on, and to be honest I didn’t even know what GoDaddy was. Jonathan, you made it really simple for an old timer like me!

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Brian Leathwood - October 17, 2016

Some great stuff in here. I’m starting a new blog right away, about water filtration and how to get clean, healthy water for your home. I’m an expert in the subject – ok, not the world’s foremost authority or anything, but pretty knowledgeable, and I know what to write about.

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Spencer Livingston - October 17, 2016

Thanks for this clean and relevant post. I really didn’t know how vulnerable I was to attackers, but I feel really safe getting started now.

I’m a big fan of your writing, and have been listening to your podcast for a while. My favorite part is that you open up the world of internet marketing and business for newcomers. You broke down the process of starting a new blog, step by step. You even revealed what to watch out for, in terms of domains and hosting companies.

I LOVE this series. I don’t know what I want to write about yet, but I know what interests me, and I love sharing with like-minded people. I think this will be an incredible tool to get my foot in the door and begin something in the area of communication.

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Lane Witherspoon - October 17, 2016

What Jonathan Green says about blogging, domain and hosting companies is correct. I personally choose WordPress for many of the same reasons as he does.

First off, it’s an open source platform. This means that people can begin using it for free. Also, because there’s such a huge community developing plugins, templates and other integration software for it, there’s huge access to exactly what you need for your blog.

Second, buying a domain is a tricky process. He navigates through the treacherous waters, and holds your hand so that you’re off to a great start. One of the major things that I’ve learned in business is pointed out right at the beginning of the article. If you aren’t thorough and build a proper foundation, you’ll have to go all the way back and start over. There aren’t any short cuts.

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Charlie Laird - October 17, 2016

These are some great resources. It might seem like a huge investment to pay for a domain name, and to host your website. I think the most freeing thing that Jonathan does here, is to share that blogs are a great way to make money.

At the end of the day, the costs are a drop in the bucket once you see the dramatic amount of traffic that pulls through. To be fair, blogging about information that people like is almost free, compared to paid options, and you can experiment to your heart’s delight.

Just pay attention to what he recommends. If you follow his advice, you’ll be up and running in no time, even if you’re a beginner. To think that this competent guide is only the tip of the ice burg for this series! Keep ‘em coming Jon!

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Bethany Struth - October 17, 2016

I feel quite safe following your rules about getting started. There’s a lot of information, whether good or bad, and it’s a tough job to keep readers both informed and interested.

I think you’ve done a really good job. All flattery aside, I know what it takes to gain traction in the search engines with a blog, as well as how to engage cold audiences via social media.

Recommending and teaching WordPress all the way though it exceptionally helpful, because you can embed videos to go along with the text. Because Google takes a while to index your site for the first few months, it’s really important to have content that keeps your readers on the page. When Google sees that, there’s a good chance they’ll bump up your site.

On the other hand, it’s a great way to make sales. Although beginners won’t be able to design useful widgets to help them get customers through a sales funnel to make some income, it’s possible with a little knowledge. You’re absolutely on the right track with this post.

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Wayne Barker - October 17, 2016

It’s a big thinker’s guide. Although the recipe calls for starting small, this is exactly what’s required, and Jonathan tells the story honestly.

That’s why I’m comfortable with saying that he’ll help you get the big results you’re asking for. You may be looking to tap into a relatively small and focused audience, or to bolster an enormous readership. Whichever path you choose, Jonathan can help take you there. This information is congruent, and explains what it takes to get the ball rolling.

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Gerry Forten - October 17, 2016

I’m going to recommend this post to a friend. I’ve been running a successful blog for about half a year now, and they’ve been badgering me to help them get started. I just haven’t had the time to design a useful tutorial like this.

There’s a lot of free information on the web about it. The difference with this blog is that the author has the results to prove that what they’re saying is true.

Sure, the first post is mainly related to the technology. But getting it right on the first go around is critical to making a blog work. You don’t want to waste your precious time and creativity, pouring yourself out for something that gets stolen from you. Even if you miss one step, you’ll be left with going all the way back to do it over again. Don’t take this for granted.

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Linds Jones - January 2, 2017

Love the info and guide, thank you! I’m currently reading your book and it’s fantastic. I figured I would get started on the blog now, why wait?! It can be found at hugyourchaos.com

It’s funny because everything in me is yelling, “no it’s not perfect yet, don’t put it out there…” and then I keep hearing your words from the book about your first website. The boats have been burned in my life. It’s go time. 😉

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Keith Headley - January 3, 2017

Hi Jonathan

keithanthonyheadley.com

I still have a lot of work to do, but writing comes easily for me. This is this best guide to creating a blog I’ve ever read. Thanks so much.

Regards,

Keith Headley

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Jeremy - March 5, 2017

Been listening to your audiobook and looking at this blog for the past couple of weeks. Finally decided to stop being a sloth and start the instructions you have given me. Thanks for the inspiration. I am like one of the friends in your book where I other books on how to make it online, but I am starting to follow through on this one. Hopefully, I keep it going and we can work together one day.

Jeremy
ripandrun.club

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Garrett - March 5, 2017

Good day Jonathan,

First TWO posts are up at garrettgosselink.com . I look forward to reading your comments.

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Scott Allen - March 7, 2017

I did it! First blog EVOR. Thanks for this easy to follow guide and you’re inspiration. Give me a visit at copyhead.com

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Debbie - March 10, 2017

Thank you Johnathan! I wrote my first blog page.
http://modifymymind.com/

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Tomas - March 12, 2017

Hello Jonathan,
great work from you, it was super easy to follow this guide and to setup a blog. I’ve thought it would be superhard to just start, but now it feels almost like dream. I would appreaciate your visit, hopefully all you guys will enjoy my content. See you in future my friend and you wrote great books as well !

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Laura - March 17, 2017

Hi Jonathan! I have just published my first post, after reading Serve No Master.
Thank you for sharing what you have done, and for wanting to inspire other people to break free from whatever chains they are wrapped up in. I have an excitement about the rest of my life that I haven’t had since getting married!
Laura

http://theselftaughtmom.com/2017/03/17/first-post/

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Stephen - May 7, 2017

Jonathan,

You’re inspiring brother. I read your book serve no master and it motivated me to start a blog. Can’t wait for your next book. Great advice here.

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Darren Gray - July 6, 2017

Jonathan,

I want to thank you for writing a book that is actionable. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Serve No Master. You made the thought of not relying on the normal 9-5 grind seem more reachable than ever. When I found the book, I was skeptical that you could make it as easy as you claim, then I started reading. After completing the book and really thinking through the next steps, my wife and I have started our first blog: http://engageempowerenjoy.com/

We are looking forward to talking about our lives and the lessons we are learning as we continue to pursue a financial free future. You have been instrumental in getting us off the ground and we look forward to offering to others what you have given to us, an opportunity! Feel free to comment your thoughts on our blog we are more than willing to take any feedback you may have to offer. Can’t wait to come back and post a follow up success story!!!

Thanks,
Darren and Lydia Gray
engageempowerenjoy.com

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Jeff Adams - August 6, 2017

Wow! Thanks for all the assisting documentation that enabled me to setup this blog. I’ve been in IT Networking Infrastructure for 29yrs and I did not know how to accomplish this task! Please see my first post on the Standard American Diet.

I’m looking forward to serving no master!

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Carlos Alberto Romay - August 7, 2017

Hi, Jonathan
Thanks a lot for your help
Here my URL
https://freelancerwriter.com/time-is-just-an-illusion/

See you!

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Shynina Mack - October 7, 2017

Hi Jonathan

I am reading through your book on my Kindle now. The more I read the more excited I get about breaking the chains. I am looking forward to working more on this and many more projects. My head is rolling with idea after idea. Yes I know, one at a time. Thanks again!

budgetcrush.wordpress.com

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Cliff Pate - October 11, 2017

Jonathan,
Thanks for the inspiration from your book. It was a battle but I got it to this point in a few nights of work. Can’t wait to figure out to turn it in some income while I sit here teaching online and stay OFF the playing fields!
http://athleticdirectorhelp.com/

Cliff

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Jenny Tegges - November 16, 2017

Jonathan,
Thank for for inspiring me to finally start rattling my 9-5 cage! I decided to use my site and blog to try to help other people! I’m on my own journey towards improved health and weight, getting better sleep, and generating passive income. Will it turn out to be profitable? I think it could be. If nothing else it lets people view the journey as it’s happening, rather than looking at someone wildly successful and having to have faith that when they say they were fat, tired, or broke that they are telling the truth. It’s definitely makes me feel a little vulnerable, to let people in on an endeavor (or three) that could totally implode and fail, but I feel like community accountability might end up helping everyone in the end. Anyway, if you’ve made it to the end of my little rant here, thank you immensely! Now reward yourself with a white russian!! haha.

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Rocky Tkacz - December 1, 2017

Hi Jonathan,

I have purchased two of your books “Breaking Orbit” and “Serve no Master” I have enjoyed both of them they go hand in hand. I really enjoyed your content and the way you presented it. I came upon your book by accident but liked the summary. I have also started using a few of the writing software you recommended. Grammarly is amazing I love it!!!
I am happy with what I do currently but want more and listening to your book was just the motivation I needed. The way you presented the information coupled with the roadmap you layout was what pushed me over the edge. Thank you for putting people first, your genuine care to help others really comes across.

I posted my first blog I look forward to your comment. http://beingagentlemen.com/2017/12/01/being-a-gentlemen/

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Eric Edmisten - December 10, 2017

Jonathan,

Thanks for all your help. You were right – super easy to get set up. Appreciate all the good advice.

http://ericslessons.com/

Eric

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Andrew Parsons - December 13, 2017

Thanks for the advice. I tried this out and my website isn’t working. Maybe this information needs to be updated.

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JG - December 27, 2017

I, too, got stuck. I completed the WP installation process successfully, but I have no idea how to get to my WP admin page to log in and build the content. There were no instructions on the resulting page as you noted, so I’m officially lost. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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    Jonathan Green - December 27, 2017

    Hi JG. AFter you finish installing wordpress, you want to go to Website.com/wp-login.php.

    I’ll update this post ASAP to include this information.

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Marty - December 29, 2017

I’ve created a simple website before but it’s been a long time. Needed to read this to get motivated again. Thanks! A small obstacle was setting the DNS servers correctly in namecheap.com. I used IP addresses instead of the FQDN (fully qualified domain name) for the Bluehost DNS servers. Once that was fixed, the site started getting transferred to my domain and it’s up and running. Feel like I have sooooo long to go before monetizing anything, though, and could definitely use a stream of income. I’m a single dad and have two teenage sons and was laid off from a tech job in April (it’s December now!). Still need to finish “Serve No Master”. I’m not quite halfway through!

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    Jonathan Green - January 9, 2018

    Marty I’m just glad to see you taking action! I just updated this post to reflect that I now prefer Bluehost to A Small Orange. I’m recording a series of new blog setup walkthroughs with Bluehost this week.

    Reply
Brent Heaton - January 9, 2018

I did it, Finally put up my first blog post. I appreciate the enthusiasm and support you offer Jonathan. I’ll probably have a book out within the next week or 2. I am looking forward to building multiple streams of income to fund the incredible life I already live on a sailboat in Mexico!!

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Jonathan Villarn - January 28, 2018

First off, great name. Spelled correctly and everything(I know at least a dozen different ways to spell Jonathan.)
This helped me so much in getting my blog started. I’ve learned a lot on my own but couldn’t have got started without this tutorial. I just want to say thank you so much for making this easy to follow guide.
Thanks again for all the help
http://omni-practical.com

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Yeap Yong Tuck - January 29, 2018

I just wrote my first post hehe. Thanks for inspiring me :). http://yongtuck.com/2018/01/29/firstpost/

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