man sitting on a mountain pinnacle writing on his computerhow to start a blog start a blog

How to launch a blog – a recipe that WORKS

From buying a blog domain to your first content [Updated for 2020]

This text was originally published in 2016. A world of changes has passed through the blogging world since then. All those changes have made this marketing channel even more popular among freelancers and alike in terms of making a living from writing. As easy as it sounds, here are several steps to take before you start making money with writing. This is a post about stepping into the realm of blogging and showing you how to make your blog functional whether you are considering selling your words or just want to share your stories with the world. Trends change with time, niches get popular and then fade. Products come and go, BUT blogging fundamentals stay the same. Logistics on how to start a blog stay the same, so I want to give you the core basics on how to launch a blog. I’m covering all the technical details you have to do before you start your blog and giving you a recipe on how to become a blogger. There is no big secret about it –  you have to offer value to your audience. Write about topics that interest people, solve their problems with genuine advice, and motivate them to learn more.

Table of Contents:

1. Technical side – making a blog live
1.1 Step one Buy a Domain for your blog
1.2 Step two Get hosting
1.3 Step three Connect blog domain with hosting
1.4 Install blog theme with WordPress
1.5 How to launch your blog without stress
2. How to write a good blog post?
3. How to earn money from your blog
4. How to be a successful blogger?
5. Are you ready to launch your blog?

Technical side – making it live and online
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 set up in less than an hour.  And I’m going to make it as easy as possible because there is no secret to how to launch a blog. 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.

STEP ONE – Buy a Domain for your blog

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. Now, this step is usually related to choosing your niche as well. Many blogging sites follow brand names of their owners – like Niel Patel. Sadly, my name Jonathan Green is not so uncommon and a simple Google search will provide many results that would be confusing for the user and more difficult for me to differentiate my website. Instead, I went for ServeNoMaster which perfectly describes what we do here. Also, it’s unique.

Have a look at these names:

The Penny Hoarder
Nerd Fitness
Wellness Mama
Tree Hugger

It’s perfectly clear what is their target niche. I understand that coming up a blog name that is simple, recognizable and impressive will require a bit of copywriting skills and imagination. Don’t worry. Give it a good ponder, ask your friends, look what other people in your niche are doing. Should your blog name still be blank after this, maybe it would be a good idea to try one of name generators out there. You never know, it just might provide you with an idea.

Now that you have the name, you are ready to buy a domain.

I buy ALL of my domains using NameCheap.com. Their domain base includes thousands of domains, registered or not, which you can search up in finding one for your blog. Simple and easy.

It is tempting to buy your domain and hosting from the same company. This is a really important step because many of the other services will leave you with regret in the long run.

They all try to get you to do this.

GoDaddy is the king of this.

But you should never make this mistake. Why? 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 blog 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. My first hosting provider turned not so efficient, so I switched to Bluehost because it was even easier to set up, and getting SSL took 5 minutes. Back then SSL started to be an online norm regarding server/user browser security which made my life easier.

Currently, this site is relying on Kinsta hosting with enabled CDN (Content Delivery Network). Basically, we serve static content through CND so our users get served our content faster. How? Depending on their geographic location Kinstas server sends information to them – if, in London, they’ll be served from Paris, not from USA.

Choose your hosting wisely because it will impact website performance, speed, and reliability. This is especially important if you’re planning to have a heavy website – lots of diversified content with heavy images, lots of video/audio, or podcasts. Although there are techniques and plugins to optimize content for website speed and performance, you want your blog foundations to be solid. So, even though servenomaster optimizes pictures and photos with a plugin, we also have enabled Kinsta CDN which serves our end-user with the shortest route to their browser possible reducing site loading considerably.

Step Three – Connect blog domain with hosting

Basically, with this step, you are telling the algorithm how and where to reach your blog content. Entering domain name (address) in the browser leads your users to all the wonderful stuff you wrote. You just have to tell DNS (domain name system) how to translate alphabetic letters in the address to an IP address it can use. I’m going to use BlueHost for example to explain to you how to do this because BlueHost has one of the easiest processes I’ve experienced so far.

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 dashboard screen shot when connecting domain with hosting Now, Log in to your NameCheap account.

  1. Click on where it says Domain List

namecheap domain list screen shot from the dashboard drop down menu                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 screenshot

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.comns2.bluehost.com

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

namecheap server setup how to launch a blog

The beauty of Bluehost is that WordPress is instantly installed via its BlueRock system.  As soon as you finish your account creation process, you can start designing your blog.

This is the page you will see.

bluehost wordpress theme dashboard screenshot launch a blog


Step Four – Install WordPress Theme

Chose a Bluehost Certified Theme

This is another step that usually gives people headaches while it’s easy to set up with a little guidance. One of the great things I liked about Bluehost is how EASY they make it to install WordPress.


bluehost certified themes dashboard screenshot

It’s directly integrated into your hosting, but for most hosts, you will use cPanel to install WordPress. Kinsta offers one-click installs and manual installs. Hopefully, one-click install will be enough for you.

Kinsta One-Click Website Add


To get started, log in to your Admin Dashboard. Select “Sites” in the left navigation and click either of the “Add Site” buttons. The form for adding a new site includes a few options used to customize your site. Here is everything you need to know about them. If you already have a domain you can select “custom domain” and it will use that when creating your WordPress site. You can always add your custom domain after the fact in the MyKinsta dashboard.

Site Title Admin Username Admin Password Admin Email Select a Language Completing the Process

When you’re ready, click on “Add” button. Creating the new site will take a few moments, you will receive a notification via the admin dashboard when it is ready.

cPanel WordPress Theme Install

This example uses Bluehost, 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. It has never let me down. It’s the most popular platform in the world for a reason. Bluehost considered this process to be a legacy process meaning that most of the users install WordPress through My Sites (Bluerock). 

Installing WordPress with Marketplace

  1. Log in to your Bluehost cPanel account.
  2. Find the Website section and select Install WordPress.
  3. Click the Install button.
  4. Choose the domain name to install it to. In the field next to the domain, you can enter a subfolder such as ‘blog’ or leave it blank if you want the site’s main page to be the blog.
  5. If necessary, you can edit the email address, username, and password for the new WordPress installation. Click “advanced options” and you can change those settings.
  6. Read through the license and service agreements and check the boxes.
  7. Select the Install Now button.
  8. If you don’t choose a theme here, one will be automatically added for you. You can choose a different theme later on.

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 – Launch a Blog Without Stress

Once all steps mentioned above are in place, the next screen will show you where you go to log in to your site.

–>> Domain.com/wp-login.php

Now that your blog is set up properly you can have a blast without fear.

Write your first blog post and start messing around inside of WordPress. In this moment I strongly recommend having a website backup plan. There is no bigger misconception than “I’m too small to get hurt.”

It’s the unexpected problems that really kick you in the teeth. So, if your security fails you lose the website. There are several ways you can get damaged, the biggest two in my opinion are: 1. Hacking 2. Hosting betrayal – where your host does something to damage your website. When a hacking attack got hundreds of gigs of pornography uploaded to my site, the hosting company tracked this to me. They also cut all access to my website because and I had to fight to get the main files.

Don’t let this happen to you. I did a podcast a while back on backing up website content where you’ll find all about backing up with free tools.

Backup Your Blog Before These FIVE Disasters Strike.

How To Write A Good Blog Post?

type writer with ingredients for a good post how to launch a blog how to write a good post animated illustration
Now you’re ready to write something, finally! A general rule of thumb to writing a good post goes in a direction to write what are you interested in, what motivates you and inspires you. There are more than 500 million bogs out there with 2 million posts published every day. Certainly, there is room for more, but how?

Your content has to be something that your audience wants to read which brings you to back to – audience. If you define from the start to whom you are communicating to it will be much easier for you to create content. And sure, probably every topic has been well written about up until now, but trends change and skills like your own writing style and blog angle will always be key differentiating content factors.

The blogs people enjoy visiting regularly become a part of their life. They even buy some products sold on them. These blogs are offering valuable content – content that’s enriching and makes a positive difference in the lives of the readers.

These 11 components are what define good blog posts:

  • Structure
  • Solution-focused
  • Unique content
  • The right style
  • Easy to scan
  • The Skyscraper Technique
  • Internal links
  • In-depth research
  • Fitting and captivating images
  • Key takeaways
  • Call to action

They all seem simple, but don’t let that fool you because when combined together, these elements can unleash incredible power and make your posts magnetic. I explain all the details on how to write a good blog post.

How To Earn Money From Your Blog

You have to understand that posting for fun is one thing, earning money from your writing is another.

There is no need for you to quit your job as soon as your blog is online. However, usually, people who start a blog eventually quit their jobs. There are many options to make serious cash online. The key to success is to take action fast.  Like Jim said back in episode 3, the ability to execute is very valuable.  Most people can’t execute.  We get frozen by too many options.  The people who execute always rise to the top.  I am always trying to find people with this simple ability to grow my business.

Rather than getting caught up in all the choices, you need to take action immediately.  Train yourself to take action to break through paralysis of analysis.

How do bloggers get paid?

One step towards that goal is creating foundational blog content (also known as pillar, flagship, or cornerstone content). Evergreen content that encapsulates a blog’s essence. Essential, basic, and indispensable are keywords that define foundational blog content. As the name implies, foundational blog content is content on which you’ll build the rest of your articles and resources.

When well-crated, foundational blog content can help your site easily rank high in the search engines, gain traction and attract a tsunami of consistent traffic.

Creating this kind of content is a smart SEO strategy because the goal is not just to create content, or even to rank high, but to craft content that speaks to the reader’s concerns.

With this goal in mind, it’s smart to focus on the outcomes or results you’re trying to achieve, not just the format. Focus on crafting content that reflects exactly what your readers expect and you’ll get to the goal of how to become a blogger that earns money.

How To Be A Successful Blogger?

woman writing on laptop how to launch a blog start a blog animated illustration Writing is a profession.

It’s a job.

It is a way to make a living and support your family.

You don’t have to choose just ONE category, there are loads of amazing topics to choose from.

Look at blogging as book writing smaller brother. As an author I understand a struggle of finding an exciting niche. You can listen more about how to find a perfect topic to write in one of my podcast series.

Just find the one that gets you the most excited!

Are You Ready To Launch Your Blog?

cyber security icons word press plugins icons how to launch a blog how to boost word press with plugins animated illustration It takes forever to create content and to distribute it to all your social media platforms. The task can be exhausting.  You can let your blog do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

I have used WordPress for all my sites and I absolutely love it because it has tons of plugins for social media sharing that will make your life easier once you launch your blog.

You can use plugins to add powerful features and turn your blog into a cash machine.

Always think of ways to tweak and improve your site and you can stay one step ahead of the competition

Today I share with you six types of plugins that can help you connect your social media presence to your blog. Be careful though, advise with your developer because some plugins don’t work well in combination with other ones. For example, ideally, you should have just one plugin adding meta tags, Blog2Social and RankMath do exactly that.

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

39 thoughts on “How to launch a blog – a recipe that WORKS”

  1. 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!

  2. Brian Leathwood

    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.

  3. Spencer Livingston

    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.

  4. Lane Witherspoon

    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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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. 😉

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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 !

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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!

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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/

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

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

    1. 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.

  22. 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!!

  23. 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

  24. So this is my first attempt. Let me know what you think and what I can do better. I am still just finding my way around WP and how to set up the pages. Its a bit overwhelming but I wanted to get that first post out there and just do it.

    You book is very inspirational. I am very self driven and have owned my own “on the ground” businesses in the past. Some were fairly successful but took up all my time, some were subject to overhead changes that made making money financially difficult.

    Thanks again for all the support

  25. Finally got through the book and finally took the plunge to make my website. Obiviously its not as asthetically pleasing as Id like, but itll get there. You told us to get our first blog post up and going before it was perfect or it would never happen. So I did it! Thanks for the lessons and encouragement to serve no master!

    Here’s my new website!

    http://nottodaydebt.com/

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