Want to write your thoughts in a longer format? Tired of posting few lines on Facebook or Twitter? Why not start a blog?
I have been blogging since 2004, well before blogs were mainstream.
Let me show you how to create a WordPress Blog and start writing today!
There has never been a better time to start a blog and with using our step-by-step guide and under $50 you can have your blog in the next 60 minutes.
You don’t even have to be technically oriented to create a blog in 2021. The tools we mention below and our step-by-step guide is easy enough to follow by anyone to start a blog by anyone.
Here’s the topic we will follow in our post below:
- What software to choose to create your blog
- How to buy a domain name for your blog
- How to buy a hosting server for your blog
- How to connect the domain with your server
- How to find and install a beautiful theme for your blog
- How to write your first blog post
- And finally, How to optimize your blog for search engines like Google and social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Before, we start, here are some quick frequently asked questions that we want to clear before we go into details:
What platform will we use to create the blog?
We are going to use self-hosted WordPress, to create the blog. WordPress is the best tool out there to create a blog in 2021 and it already powers more than 40% of all the internet’s CMS-based websites.
Can only developers launch a blog?
No, anyone can launch a blog, we will show you below how easy it is to launch a blog these days.
How much does it cost to launch a blog?
You can get started under $50. The money you will spend will be on your domain name and web hosting server.
How long does it take to launch a blog?
It won’t take more than 1 hr from start to finish and you will have your brand new blog ready at the end.
What is a Blog?
Wikipedia defines a blog as “A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries. Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page”.
But a blog can be more than that.
- You can share your daily thoughts and learning through a blog.
- Want to promote your products and services, write a blog post.
- Want to show the world your daily progress, journal it in a blog.
There can be many reasons why you should blog. Almost every company, business out there with a presence on the Internet has some sort of blog where they share their news and updates.
You too can have a blog to share personal, professional or business updates.
While there are many tools you can use to create a blog, WordPress by far is the most popular choice among the established bloggers. More than 40% of all the websites on the Internet use WordPress. Here’s Why We Like WordPress.
- It’s Free
- There are thousands of themes and plugins to choose from to customize your blog
- Anyone can use it. It’s so easy.
- It built by thousands of contributors who spent their time daily to improve it
- Since it’s used by so many users, there are thousands of paid and free tools that help you take your blog to the next level.
Before we get started, we would like to clarify that there are two different versions of WordPress.
Self Hosted WordPress and WordPress.com
In this post we are going to use the Self hosted WordPress, which you can install on your own server and can manage yourself. It’s cheaper and more flexible to use.
What do you need to start a blog?
A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Domain names are used in various networking contexts and for application-specific naming and addressing purposes.
This is what your users will use to open your site. For an example: yourname.com johndoe.net, etc
A Domain name costs around $10 per year depending upon where you purchase it.
Web hosting is where your blog will live on the internet. You cannot use your own laptop to host your blog since your laptop might not be connected to the internet 24/7. So, you need someone else’s computer where you can host your blog. Luckily, there are thousands of web hosting providers who provide these hosting spaces for less than $1 a day.
As explained previously, we will install WordPress for your blog and it costs nothing, since, it’s free and open source.
A Theme is the design of your blog. There are hundreds of free WordPress Themes available and if you need a premium look then you can also purchase a premium WordPress theme which normally starts from $60 per year. But for now, let’s start with a free WordPress Theme.
Plugins add additional features to your WordPress blog. There are more than 50,000+ WordPress plugins available today and we will be installing a few of them to extend more features into your website.
So, let’s get started!
Let’s Buy a Domain Name
Your domain name is your unique address on the internet. It is the primary mode through which your users find about your blog.
The domain name is the key part of branding your blog so you should spend some time researching and getting the best domain name available for your blog.
There are 2 ways you can decide to select a domain name.
- You can use your own name for the domain name. For an example: if your name is John Doe then you can register johndoe.com
- If you want to keep your blog separate from your own personality then it’s better to go for a brandable domain name which is not tied to your name. For an example: if you are making a food recipe blog where you want to share your cake baking skills then you can choose something like easycakereceipes.com, bestonlinebakery.com etc.
Now, the caveat is that domain names are unique. So, if someone else has already bought a domain name, then you cannot register it again for yourself.
For an example: if someone already has bought easycakereceipes.com then you cannot buy it.
Although, you can try buying in a different TLD.
TLD stands for “Top Level Domain”.
.com is a TLD, So is, .net, .org, .co etc.
So, in case someone already registered easycakereceipes.com then you can try registering easycakereceipes.net or easycakereceipes.org, in case those TLDs are available.
But, generally .COM is the best TLD you should stick to as that is the most popular one on the Internet.
In case you are finding it hard to come up with a name then there are easy to use domain name ideas generators you can use to brainstorm some unique ideas.
Try these tools:
Using these tools you can surely come up with a unique brandable domain name for your blog.
Once you have decided upon a domain name, it’s now time to purchase it.
Domain names are registered through a service called “Domain name registrar.”
There are hundreds of such domain name registrars available. Some of the popular ones are
Though we recommend using Namecheap.com as it has a great customer support service and has excellent prices for different TLDs and is generally cheaper than the likes of Godaddy.
Namecheap also offers free domain privacy which means other people won’t be able to look at your contact details when you do WHOIS search for your domain. Other domain registrars normally charge a small fee for domain privacy.
How to purchase your domain name:
Go To Namecheap
Enter your domain name in the search box on the homepage
Click on the “Add To Cart” Icon.
Go to Checkout, enter your Account information and your payment method details and purchase the domain name.
Make sure you use a Promo Code before finalizing the purchase. Namecheap always has a running offer for new domain registrations and you can save a few dollars while purchasing the domain name. You can find Namecheap promo codes here: https://www.namecheap.com/promos/coupons/
Domain name purchases are valid for Minimum of 1 year and maximum of 10 years. Make sure to buy your domain name for at least 2 years and also set a Automatic Renewal service offered by Namecheap, so that the domain automatically renews next year and does not expire.
Do not let your domain name expire, else it would be hard to get back it if someone else registers it and you will have to start from scratch using a new domain name.
Once you have purchased the domain, now let’s purchase Hosting.
Let’s Create Your Hosting Account
While there are hundreds of web hosting providers, over here at WPMunk, we recommend and use Cloudways. This site is hosted on Cloudways itself.
Cloudways offers a managed WordPress hosting platform, which means they will manage, update and secure your WordPress blog and sites while you can focus on growing your blog.
They will handle all the technical aspects of hosting a WordPress blog and you don’t have to worry about updating your server and backing it up.
Cloudways offers following services out of the box with each account:
- Real-time server monitoring and firewall services.
- Daily and Weekly Offsite Backup
- Managed Server spaces for dedicated servers from DigitalOcean, Amazon AWS, Google, Linode, Vultr
- 1-Click Free SSL Installation
- One-Click Application Management Dashboard
- Free Dedicated IP Address
- High-Speed Performance
- Cloudways CDN
- Dedicated Firewalls
- Two-Factor Authentication
- Bot Protection
- And many more features.
The cheapest plan on Cloudways starts from $10 per month on a DigitalOcean server and comes with:
- 1GB RAM
- 1 Core Processor
- 25GB of Storage
- 1 TB of bandwidth
That is more than enough for a starter blog. You can always upgrade to a higher plan when you start growing your blog’s traffic.
How to buy a web hosting from Cloudways?
- Go to Cloudways.com
- Click on the “Start Free” button on the top right of the homepage
- On the next page, enter your account information.
- Once account creation is successful, you will receive an email from Cloudways to verify your email address.
- Click the Verification button to confirm your email address
- In some cases, Cloudways might also ask you to verify your mobile number, in that case, enter your mobile number and they will send a One Time Code (OTP) to your mobile through SMS.
- Enter the OTP code received to verify the mobile number.
Sidebar: Make sure to use a Promo Code when you register for an account which will give you an additional discount. You can use our Promo Code “CLOUD5” for an additional 5% discount.
Cloudways offers a limited free trial for 3 days to 1 week in which you can spin up the server and test it before they ask you to enter your payment information. So, use this time to test different servers they offer before deciding upon one server.
Once your hosting account is created, it’s now time to create a server and install WordPress.
- Login into your Cloudways account and you will see the following page.
- Click on “LAUNCH” button
- Now, it will ask you to select your server and a few more details.
In the next step, select your “Application” which is going to be “WordPress – Version 5.7” or whichever is the latest version available.
Now, select the Server Provider.
We recommend “DigitalOcean” as it is the most affordable and has all the required features.
Sidebar: You do NOT need a DigitalOcean account separately to install WordPress on Cloudways throughout this tutorial. Cloudways manages everything for you!
Now, select the “Server Size”. The base plan starts with $10 and comes with 1 GB of RAM which is good to start but we recommend the “2GB” version which comes with 2 GB of RAM and has better resources. The choice is up to you.
You can always upgrade to a higher plan at a later date when your needs grow.
Now, select the “Server Location”.
You should select a location that is closest to your target audience as that reduces the latency between your site and your audience and gives a better audience. If your audience is in the US then choose New York, if they are in Europe then select “London” and if they are in Asia then select “Singapore”.
You’re now all set! Click the “LAUNCH NOW” button to start deploying your server.
Give it a couple of minutes and Cloudways will set up everything for you.
Once it’s all done, Cloudways will redirect you to your Dashboard where you can see the server IP Address and other details to manage your server.
Now, let’s move into managing the WordPress application.
Managing the WordPress Install
Remember, when installed the server above, cloudways asked you to choose an application and you had selected “WordPress – version x.x”. So, what that does is that after your server has been installed and configured, Cloudways also installs the WordPress software for you so that you can start using your blog from the get go.
In case, you would like to install WordPress again, then you can follow this tutorial on Cloudways on how to do it.
Now, click on the “Application” menu in the top header and you should see the ‘WordPress’ application with the name you selected when installing the server,
Click on the application name,
This will take you to another page where you will see details about your application.
Under the “Access Details” is the temporary URL of your blog and login and password, provided by Cloudways.
Now that you have bought your domain, created your server and installed WordPress, it’s time to connect your domain with your server and get it working.
DNS Management With Cloudflare
DNS stands for Domain Name System which is a structured data associated with each domain name which tells a computer where that domain is pointed.
Whenever someone types in a domain name like google.com or msn.com in a browser’s address bar, the browser then finds out the DNS record of that domain name and looks to which server that domain is pointed to and then goes to that server and asks for a copy of that site and then shows it in the users browser.
This all happens in less than a split of a second but sometimes can take a bit more when the domain uses a slow DNS management service.
Although, you can use your own domain registrar to manage the DNS and all major domain registrar do provide the basic DNS management services, In our case, we recommend and use Cloudflare to manage our domain’s DNS.
Cloudflare is a DNS Management service at its most basic but apart from just managing your domain’s DNS it also offers free CDN, caching, security and firewall services.
Cloudflare offers a free plan which should be more than enough for you to start.
Cloudflare is the entity that would sit between your domain and your server and whenever someone types in your domain in their browser’s address bar it is Cloudflare which will tell it where to find your site.
Register a free account on Cloudflare
Once registered, verify your email and then login into your account
Click on ‘Add Site’
Now enter the domain name you had selected and Select “Free $0” plan. Click Continue
Now, Cloudflare will scan the existing DNS records of your domain.
Once Cloudflare shows you all existing DNS records, click Continue
Cloudflare will now ask you to change the Nameserver of your domain and provide you with its own set of nameservers. Copy this nameserver and we will use them in the next step.
How to change the Nameserver?
Now, go back to Namecheap.com, login and then find your domain in your “My Account” page
- Click on “Manage” button besides the domain name
- Scroll down and find the option named “Nameservers”.
- In the dropdown select ‘Custom DNS’
- Enter the nameservers which Cloudflare provided you in previous steps and paste it in the input box in namecheap.
- Click on the “green check box” on top right.
Namecheap will now show a notification that it will take around 48 hrs for the Nameserver to be updated but this normally does not take more than 30 mins unless something goes wrong.
After you have done this, your domain is now connected to Cloudflare, but there is one more step you have to follow to connect it to your hosting in Cloudways.
Once the domain’s name server has been updated, Cloudflare will send you an email confirming that the domain is now active in your account.
Now go back to your Cloudflare account and find the domain. Click the domain name and it will open up its settings panel.
Click on the DNS tab and it will show you the DNS records of your domain.
At this point you need to now find out the IP address of your Cloudways server.
Go to cloudways.com and click on the server you created and under the “MASTER CREDENTIALS” tab you should see “Public IP”.
Click on the IP address and it copies the IP into your clipboard.
Now, go back Cloudflare.com and in the DNS records, click on the edit on the records which has
“Type” = A
“Name” = your domain name
Then in the Edit input box which says “Content” paste the IP address you copied from Cloudways and click “Save”.
Doing this will now connect your domain to your cloudways server through Cloudflare.
Now, let’s go back to Cloudways and set up the domain there.
In Cloudways, find your application, click its name and on the next page, click on “Domain Management”.
In the input box that says “PRIMARY DOMAIN‘ enter your domain name without https:// or www, then click “Save Changes”.
Cloudways will take about 30 seconds to set your domain.
Once this is done, click on “SSL Certificate”.
Make sure the SSL type of set to “Let’s Encrypt”
Then enter your email address and domain name in the following fields and click “Install Certificates”.
Cloudways again takes about 30 seconds to install the SSL and once ready it will ask you to “Enable HTTPS“, Click Enable and a SSL certificate will be created and applied to your site.
Now open a new browser tab and type in your domain name in the address bar and you should now see your brand new blog ready to use. Congratulations !!!!
Access Your WordPress Dashboard
Now that your blog is ready to use, let’s login into WP-Admin and start customizing it.
First, you will need your blog’s Username/Password.
Go back to Cloudways.com, click on the “Application” tab in the header and click the application name.
In the “Access Details” page you will find the login information that Cloudways has set for your blog.
The username is usually your email address
For password, click on the “dots” and it will copy the password to your clipboard.
Now, let’s go back to your blog and type in “yourdomainname.com/wp-admin”. Simply type “/wp-admin” besides your domain and it will open a login page.
For example, if your blog is easyreceipeblog.com then you have to go to easyreceipeblog.com/wp-admin
Enter the User/email and Password and click on “Login” button
You are now in your blog’s Dashboard.
Your WordPress Dashboard
The WP-Admin or the WordPress Dashboard is the control panel of your blog. This is where you will:
- Write Blog Posts
- Add Pages
- Manage your blog’s theme and design
- Install Plugin
- Add Users
- Manage other basic settings of your blog.
How to Write Your First Blog Post
Before we start customizing the look and feel of your blog, Let’s write your first post.
To do that. Click on “Add New” under the Posts in the left sidebar.
This will open the Block editor, where you can write your posts.
To add text, simply click in the white content entry area and start typing. To add images, or buttons or any other block, click on the “plus” icon to add a new block.
Once you are done writing your post, click on the “Publish” button on the top right side of the page and your post will be published now.
Install and Customize the Theme
A blog theme is basically the design of your site, it’s what your audience sees when they visit your blog.
The theme you choose determines how your blog post is going to look and behave and what colors and font are going to be used on the blog.
You can purchase a premium WordPress theme or you can go with a free WordPress theme to start your blog. If you don’t want to pay then the best place to find the free WordPress theme is at the official WordPress.org theme directory.
All the themes available on the official directory are:
- Free to use
- Tested and checked for code quality by the WordPress Theme Review Team
- Categorized in various tags so you can easily search for the theme you want and like.
Over here, at WPMunk.com we made the Munk WordPress Theme, which is a free to use Multi purpose WordPress theme that can be used to make any kind of blog and also can be used to make creative and corporate websites.
Here’s how to install Munk WordPress theme
Login into your WP-Admin Dashboard
Click the Themes under Appearance
Click on Add New
Search “Munk” in the search bar.
Hover over the theme and click Install.
Click the Activate button to make your theme live
That’s it! Your new WordPress theme is installed and active.
To further customize the theme, you can then navigate to Customize under the “Appearance” menu and go to WordPress Theme Customizer.
The Theme Customizer provides you how to customize each aspect of your theme. For a full tutorial on how to customize each part, please follow through our theme documentation.
Add Custom Functionality to Your Blog With WordPress Plugins
While WordPress themes control the appearance of your blog, WordPress plugins are all about extending the functionality of your blog.
You can add a contact form using a plugin through which users can contact you through your site. You might want a photo album on your site which can be done using a plugin.
What if you want to share your food recipes, well there is a plugin for that as well.
The best place to find the WordPress Plugins is again the Official WordPress Plugin Directory
All the plugins available on the official directory are:
- Free to use
- Tested and checked for code quality by the WordPress Theme Review Team
- Categorized in various tags so you can easily search for the plugin you want.
How to install a WordPress Plugin in your blog:
- Login into your WP-Admin Dashboard
- Click the Add New under Plugins under in the left sidebar
- Search for the plugin you need to add in the search box
- Click on “Install Now” button on the plugin details blog.
- Click the “Activate” button to enable the plugin.
That’s it, the plugin is now active.
You can then go to its settings page to use the plugin.
At WPMunk.com, we recommend and use these 5 plugins for all kinds of blogs.
- Contact Form Plugin
WPForms is a Drag & Drop WordPress Form Builder. You can use it to create a form easily on your site and once someone submits the form, you can get an email notification of their message.
Other forms plugins you can use are – Contact Form 7 (Free), Gravity Forms (Paid)
- SEO Plugin
For SEO, we recommend RankMath. Rank Math is the most powerful way to get BEST WordPress SEO tools added to your website.
Other SEO plugins you can use are – All In One SEO or The SEO Framework
Although, hosting companies like Cloudways provide their own backup services, it’s best to have your own backup solutions as well. For backups, we recommend: UpdraftPlus.
You can also follow our tutorial on how to backup your blog using our step by step guide.
Using a security plugin you can block a lot of unwanted problems on your blog. Any decent security plugins should block unauthorized access attempts. SQL injections, malware injections, etc.
If you don’t want to pay for a security solution, then we recommend using either WordFence Plugin or iThemes Security plugin.
If you can pay, then we suggest going with Sucuri.net which costs $200 per year and keeps your site safe and secure.
- Social Media Sharing
To add social media icons to share your posts, we recommend the following plugins:
– Sassy Social Share
– AddToAny Share Buttons
- Block Addons
If you are in love with the WP Block Editor and want to extend it to add more blocks, then recommend installing the Stackable plugin to add more blocks to your site
Congratulations! You now have a blog.
At this point, if you have followed every step of this tutorial then you should have a ready to use live blog on your own domain name.
You now know how to buy a domain name at Namecheap, how to set up a Cloudways server, how to install WordPress, how to install a WordPress theme and a WordPress plugin, and also how to post your content into your blog.
Next step, add more content, share your blog with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.
We hope you have found this tutorial helpful and once again congratulations on launching your blog!
If you have more questions then please add them in the comments below and we will answer them.