So, you want to know how to start a blog? Congratulations! Welcome to the beginning of your journey.
I’m Owen, The Blogging Mechanic and the purpose of this website is to show beginners how to accomplish things step by step (with worked practical examples) rather than attempting to persuade people why.
In this article, I provide a step by step tutorial resulting in you having your own active Blog online. In less than half an hour!
Now, some Bloggers (probably most bloggers) would rather just create content than fiddle around with the technical stuff, so if that includes you, then maybe my Blog setup service is something better suited to your requirements.
However, if you do enjoy getting your hands dirty and want to learn this stuff, then this tutorial is definitely for you.
There are no up-front costs or financial commitments in setting up a blog in this tutorial.
Based on years of experience, I recommend Cloudways or SiteGround to new bloggers for hosting their WordPress blogs. Both companies have excellent reputations among the blogging community, scoring Trustpilot review ratings of over 85% (a decent score for web hosting companies).
For this tutorial, I’m using Cloudways to set up the WordPress blog. The main reason being that Cloudways (unlike SiteGround) offers a free trial, so you can follow along without spending any money or making a financial commitment.
You’ll also be able to check out the power and features of self-hosted WordPress for a few days before you commit to spending any money.
If you chose to stay with Cloudways after the trial, they are highly rated (88% rating on Trustpilot) and inexpensive ($10 per month). The cherry on the cake is that Cloudways bill on a Pay-As-You-Go monthly basis with no lock-in contracts. Keeping costs low is ideal for new bloggers.
Note: Some hosts like Bluehost offer cheaper monthly rates but in order to qualify you usually have to sign up for three years and pay the whole contract in advance.
Let’s move on to the tutorial and how to start a blog.
What you will learn when setting up a Blog
Step by Step, you’ll learn:
- How to set up your own Self-Hosted WordPress.org installation on Fast Cloud Web Hosting.
- The way you can install a secure certificate, free of charge.
- How to point a web address (domain name) pointed at your website.
You will also learn:
- The simple way to install a WordPress theme (Themes control the design and layout of your website/blog)
- How to install a WordPress plugin (Plugins extend the functionality and add more features to WordPress)
- The way you change WordPress settings
- How to simply configure Website menus
- The simple process for creating a page
- How to create a blog post
This will take less than half an hour.
How to Start A Blog with WordPress on Cloudways Web Hosting
I’ve created a video that demonstrates the whole process of starting a blog and setting up on Cloudways.
Feel free to use the video as your preferred way of learning, or you could use in combination with the text and visual instructions below.
Step 1. Create A Free Trial Account on Cloudways
If you use the discount link and promotional code below to set up your Cloudways free trial account, then it will grant you a whopping 30% discount from your first two months web hosting, if you choose to keep the account beyond the free trial period.
Remember, you don’t need to go beyond the free trial and won’t be charged anything unless you decide to upgrade your account to Pay As You Go hosting.
Cloudways Discount Link and Promotional Code Coupon
Discount Link: Cloudways Discount Link
Promotional Code: SCALEINSUMMER
Cloudways doesn’t have lock-in contracts, so you can close your account or move web hosts whenever you like.
Once on the Cloudways site, click the “GET STARTED FREE” button.
Step 2: Enter Your New Cloudways Account Information
Your next step is to add the details for your new account. Remember to click the “Got a Promo Code” link and enter SCALEINSUMMER. This will give you the 30% discount if you decide to continue beyond the free trial period.
What you enter in the drop-down options is not particularly important – their purpose is more for Cloudway’s own market research, rather than anything that relates to account setup.
Once you’ve completed the form, your account is created and you will be prompted to set up your Cloudways Virtual Private Server (VPS).
Step 3: Activate Your Account
One quick step to undertake before proceeding to the next stage is to activate your account. You will have been sent an email from Cloudways. Simply, open this and click the “Activate Account” button.
Step 4: Setting up your Cloudways Virtual Private Server and Installing WordPress
This step is actually a whole lot easier than it sounds.
You will now be faced with a few options:
- The Application you wish to install
- Which platform you wish to host the application on
- The Server Size
- Server Location
Let’s tackle the configuration choices one by one.
The Application You Wish To Install
Under “Application and Server Details“, WordPress should already be selected. If it is not, then choose it from the Application dropdown. Select the standard install with the latest version number available.
The Platform on Which To Create the Server
Cloudways is essentially a user-friendly intuitive layer between you and some seriously powerful web hosting platforms. The options available here are:
- Digital Ocean
- Amazon AWS
- Google Cloud Platform
For WordPress hosting, any of these platforms will suffice. I personally use Digital Ocean and haven’t experienced issues. Digital Ocean is a long-standing serious player in the hosting industry with a good reputation.
I’ve also used Amazon AWS and Google Cloud Platform without any issues.
In this tutorial, we are using Digital Ocean, so I’d suggest choosing that option unless you have any particular reason to select one of the others.
The Server Size
As this is a new blog you are setting up, I suggest that you slide the scale down to the lowest 10GB offering. It is easy to upscale in the future by simply revisiting this feature and adding additional power and resources when required.
You get to choose which city your server is based in. How good is that? As a rule of thumb, I would choose the city nearest to your target market.
If your blog is going to be aimed at people in the UK, then choose a UK city such as London.
Likewise, If you are aiming at an American or Global market, then I’d suggest one of the cities in the United States.
If you don’t see a server location in your chosen county, then just choose one in the nearest country.
Launch Your New Server And WordPress Application!
You can now click the “LAUNCH NOW” button and your server will be set up, WordPress will be installed and you are ready to start blogging.
The following page may have a countdown for how many minutes it will take to create. This will likely be around 5-10 minutes.
Well done. At this point, you have already created your very own Virtual Private Server (VPS) and a hosted WordPress application. Give yourself a pat on the back!
Your Cloudways Server Dashboard
Once your server is set up and ready, you should see the following screen.
The Servers Panel tells you basic information about your server power, the IP address and geographic location.
On the right-hand side, we can see the number of www applications installed. You should see the number 1, as you’ve installed one application – WordPress.
Another major positive to using Cloudways is that you can add additional blogs or websites on the same server. You simply increase the power of the server as and when you need more resources.
The following video shows you how to take your first baby steps with WordPress.
From 4 minutes in, you will learn to:
- Login to the WordPress Admin Dashboard
- Edit your user details
- Install a Theme
- Install a Plugin
- Customize Basic Theme Options
- Create a Page
- Create a Post
- Point a Domain Name at Your WordPress Hosting
- Install a Free Secure Certificate.
Congratulations. You now have your first blog website up and running. I hope the tutorial was useful. Now comes the hard part, writing content!
If you have any suggestions on improving the above tutorial or comments, please let me know in the comments section below.