How Do I Start a Blog as Quickly as Possible?
Pinterest Whatsapp
Advertisement

Starting a blog is an incredibly gratifying, rewarding, and feasible endeavor. With a bevy of content management system (CMS) options, hosting alternatives, and blogging resources, beginning a blog has never been easier. Ever wondered how to start? Read on for a primer on blogging!

Steps to Start a Blog as Quickly as Possible

Although creating a blog might sound like a complicated task, it’s truly only as complex as you make it. The first steps in creating a blog are:

  1. State your blogging mission
  2. Pick a CMS
  3. Find a web host
  4. Decide on a domain
  5. Choose a blog theme or template

After that, you’re ready to begin writing superb content.

Step 1: Define Your Blogging Mission

Before you pick a content management system, think about your blog’s focus. While some bloggers have comprehensive coverage of several topics or just stream of consciousness thoughts, others hone in on a specific space.

Websites such as Gizmodo originated as blogs before morphing into successful sites. During my university days, I blogged about my various travels through the likes of Sierra Leone, Peru, and the UK. For each country I lived in, I maintained a different blog and mostly focused on my travels and experiences. It served the dual purpose of allowing me a creative writing space, and a means to let my friends and family stay informed of my whereabouts.

For a few years, I ran a blog dedicated to underground music coverage, and another for film reviews. Since then, I’ve abandoned blogging and run my own WordPress-based website featuring film, TV, music, and tech articles.

Just as important as a concentration, define your goals. Is this a creative outlet? Are you building a portfolio to launch a writing career? Do you have aspirations of monetizing and making money blogging? Define your blog’s focus and your motivation for starting a blog before you begin creating your website.

  • Define a purpose
  • Find your focus

Step 2: Select a CMS

There are loads of quality content management systems available. Since we’re focusing on free methods to begin blogging, our options differ a bit from paid options. Although you won’t find any shortage of free blogging services, be aware that most free platforms come with limitations. These may be offset with upgrades though, so when or if you find a need for premium features, there’s a clear upgrade path.

In addition to free CMS platforms, you’ll find paid platforms. Almost every free offering includes paid tiers. But some blogging services only provide paid plans.

WordPress

WordPress - How Do I Start a Blog?

There’s a reason WordPress ranks among the most popular 3 Killer Facts You Didn't Expect About WordPress 3 Killer Facts You Didn't Expect About WordPress Little did you know that WordPress is one of the most influential platforms on the web. Here are a few things you probably didn't know about it. Read More CMS options for bloggers. But don’t confuse WordPress.com with WordPress.org. While WordPress.org features full theme support and plugins, free WordPress.com sites do not. Theme support is limited, and no plugins are allowed. However, the free WordPress.com does include various paid premium upgrades for plugins and themes.

WordPress.org is free to use, but you’ll need web hosting and a domain. This typically runs anywhere from $3 to $10 a month. Alternatively, you may host your blog yourself which requires server or cloud space. Setting up a self-hosted WordPress blog for free How To Setup A Self-hosted WordPress Blog for Free How To Setup A Self-hosted WordPress Blog for Free Read More is possible though. Or run WordPress on a virtual server for free How to Install WordPress on a Virtual Server for Free Using Cloud9 How to Install WordPress on a Virtual Server for Free Using Cloud9 Install Wordpress in a virtual environment using Cloud9 server space. No coding required. No need to download software. You’ll be tinkering with a WordPress installation in just a couple of minutes. Read More with Cloud9.

Originally, I began blogging with a free WordPress.com site. After a few years of running that blog, I sought to create a more professional website (not a blog) and launched a self-hosted WordPress.org site. Its enormous library of themes and plugins that makes WordPress.com a fantastic choice for blogging. Since there are tons of resources and tutorials, it’s simple to get started.

With WordPress, changing themes is unchallenging How To Change Your Wordpress Blog Theme In 3 Easy Steps How To Change Your Wordpress Blog Theme In 3 Easy Steps Read More . Additionally, if you reach a point where you’d like to create a self-hosted site rather than a free blog, it’s incredibly easy to transform a free WordPress.com blog into a more professional site.

Best for: Beginners to professionals

Pros:

  • Free (both WordPress.org and WordPress.com)
  • Tons of support
  • Lots of themes and plugins

Cons:

  • WordPress.org requires hosting
  • Free WordPress.com sites not compatible with plugins or premium themes (paid upgrades available)

Blogger

Blogger sample blog - How do I start a blog?

When I first began blogging, I turned to the appropriately-named Blogger. It’s free, intuitive, and eschews any technical skills. In 2003, Google acquired the Blogger platform, and since then it’s become even more streamlined The Evolution of the Blogger The Evolution of the Blogger How did the sacred act of keeping a personal diary somehow transform into very, very public shared opinions and experiences? Read More . However, despite the ease of use, it’s pretty barebones.

For the majority of users seeking a free blog, Blogger is a solid choice. Like WordPress, you’ll find third-party templates. Although, many of these third-party offerings are pretty poor quality, whereas WordPress premium themes and even some free themes, offer lovely design elements.

Because Google owns Blogger, they could simply nix the service anytime, forcing you to find a new blogging platform. It’s admittedly a basic CMS, which is a benefit for some users but will leave more tech-savvy users wanting.

Thankfully, switching between WordPress and Blogger Blogger To WordPress, WordPress To Blogger - Switching Blogs Tested Blogger To WordPress, WordPress To Blogger - Switching Blogs Tested After a rather thorough and taxing look at both Blogger and WordPress.com it's time to evaluate the possibility that some of you might want to switch from one service or the other. That or you... Read More isn’t difficult. Although Blogger and WordPress differ Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison The two undisputed kings of the free blogging sphere are Google's Blogger and the content management system-turned-host WordPress.com. While both offer what every free-thinking democracy-guzzling thought-cannon wants – a place to express themselves – there... Read More , they carry some similarities as well. For Blogger users, try improving your blog with these tips 4 Easy Tips to Improve Your Blogger Blog 4 Easy Tips to Improve Your Blogger Blog Read More .

Best for: Beginners

Pro:

  • Free
  • Intuitive
  • Google-owned

Cons:

  • Bad quality free themes
  • Very basic

Wix

While WordPress and Blogger are the most common blogging platforms, there are loads of alternatives 5 Best Blog Sites Other Than Wordpress and Blogger 5 Best Blog Sites Other Than Wordpress and Blogger WordPress and Blogger aren't the only blogging platforms out there – several other platforms offer features and capabilities that challenge the two blogging giants. Let's look at a few more alternatives for your blog. Read More . A hosted website builder, Wix is incredibly easy to navigate. Using a drag-and-drop interface, you can begin blogging quickly and for free. This is a solid choice for anyone to create a unique site without code How to Build a Unique Website Without Code Using WIX How to Build a Unique Website Without Code Using WIX Websites are easier to make these days. Even when you don't know how to code. Let's see how you can create a website with Wix and customize it with the builder. Read More .

Featuring a clean layout, it’s surprisingly uncomplicated to customize and set up. While Wix does include a free version, it’s a bit limited in functionality. Plus, it displays Wix ads on your blog. There are free third-party apps, but the library is nowhere near as comprehensive as that of WordPress.

Best for: Beginners

Pros:

  • Free plan
  • Intuitive
  • Drag-and-drop, no coding required
  • Free third-party apps

Cons:

  • Free version shows Wix ads
  • Limited app support
  • Can’t alter template after you change it

Tumblr

Tumblr - How do I start a blog?

Although many CMS options are hosted, social media sites can be great for blogging. Tumblr is a solid choice, though it’s better suited to microblogging than long-form content creation. In fact, Tumblr is more akin to a social media site with its inclusions such as following blogs, reblogging, and integrated content sharing tools.

Since it’s free, ridiculously easy to use, and popular, Tumblr is a great pick for basic blogging purposes. Notably, microbloggers focused on photography or video may appreciate Tumblr. Packed with free themes From Minimalistic To Highly-Customizable: The Most Modern & Free Tumblr Themes From Minimalistic To Highly-Customizable: The Most Modern & Free Tumblr Themes On Tumblr, you're limited to the features that each theme has, and many of them are different. If you're willing to spend some money, there are some awesome Tumblr themes, but depending on your needs... Read More , Tumblr is a great site for blogging which makes gaining quality followers How to Gain Quality Followers on Tumblr How to Gain Quality Followers on Tumblr Tumblr is difficult to break into. But whether you are an author or artist, fan or creator, the recipe for Tumblr success remains the same, and it's a recipe we're willing to share. Read More simple.

Best for: Beginners, microbloggers

Pros:

  • Social media integration
  • Microblogging-oriented
  • Excellent for video, photography, GIFs, and more
  • Lots of themes

Cons:

  • Basic themes
  • Difficult to back up and export Tumblr site

Medium

Medium - How do I start a blog

After its 2012 launch, Medium became a popular blogging platform. Unlike other blogging outlets, Medium maintains control over the audience. Therefore, you don’t benefit from amassing followers, and should you choose to leave Medium, you can’t take your followers along.

Additionally, you can’t deploy ads to monetize. Further, you lose the ability to customize with themes. But that’s the beauty of Medium. As a blogger, this site allows you to concentrate purely on content creation and avoid website creation and design. As such, it’s a best-pick for those seeking a forum to share their writing.

Since there’s so much content, try these tips to find the most interesting and popular How to Find Popular and Interesting Content on Medium How to Find Popular and Interesting Content on Medium How do you find the best and most interesting content on Medium? Well, here are a few tips and tricks you can use. Read More content. For those getting started with Medium, make sure you’re optimizing 5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Medium 5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Medium There's a lot of stuff on Medium, but it can be hard to find the best content. Use this guide to find the best articles, no matter what you're into. Read More your use of the blogging platform.

Best for: Beginners, or anyone focused entirely on writing

Pros:

  • Allows you to concentrate entirely on content creation
  • No coding or web design necessary

Cons:

  • Very limited feature set outside of content hosting
  • No monetization methods
  • Medium owns all followers

Quora

Likewise, Quora may provide a space for blogging. It’s a site engineered to answering questions, oft-used by companies and bloggers. As a platform, Quora lacks the in-depth customization found in WordPress, Blogger, or even Wix and Squarespace. It’s similar to Medium in this regard.

However, both Quora and Medium offer exposure and can lead to paid opportunities. This option is better for any blogger more concerned with writing, content creation, and exposure than personal branding.

Pros:

  • No coding or web design necessary
  • Allows you to contentrate entirely on content creation
  • Asking or answering questions

Cons:

  • Very limited feature set outside of content hosting
  • No monetization methods
  • Not great for long-form content

Weebly

With Weebly, you can whip up a free blog quickly. It’s well-suited to eCommerce and marketing as well, so Weebly is ideal for startups and small businesses as well as individual bloggers.

The free plan features 500MB of storage, a Weebly.com domain, SSL security, and a drag-and-drop building scheme. It does display Weebly ads, however. Paid plans remove ads, and add unlimited storage.

Ultimately, Weebly is fantastic as a no-frills, no coding required blog for beginners. Contrary to popular opinion, Weebly websites don’t always suck 9 Weebly Websites That Actually Don't Suck 9 Weebly Websites That Actually Don't Suck Weebly offers uber-simple, drag-and-drop website creation and free web hosting. Not all sites end up looking well-designed. But let's look at some of the best examples of Weebly websites. Read More .

Best for: Beginners

Pros:

  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • 500MB storage
  • SSL security
  • Weebly.com subdomain

Cons:

  • Displays ads
  • No unlimited storage on free plan
  • No custom domains

Squarespace

If you seek a gorgeous site that requires little maintenance, check out Squarespace Squarespace: Simple, Beautiful Websites [Two 1-year Pro Plans Giveaway] Squarespace: Simple, Beautiful Websites [Two 1-year Pro Plans Giveaway] Read More . Since it targets small businesses and startups, there’s an effortless drag and drop builder that’s ideal for anyone to use. Squarespace lends domain names with HTTPS and SSL, as well as eCommerce stores.

Like WordPress, you’ll find lovely templates. However, it’s a proprietary platform and as such, lacks the vast community resources as found with larger services such as WordPress. Additionally, the Personal plan is limited to two contributor accounts, one blog, and 20 pages. That should be fine for the average personal blogger, but if you scale, you’ll need to upgrade plans.

Best for: Beginners, small businesses/startups

Pros:

  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • Intuitive
  • Gorgeous templates
  • SSL/HTTPS domains

Cons:

  • No free tier
  • Personal plan is limited
  • Proprietary platform lacks community resources

Step 3: Find a Host

After deciding upon a blogging platform, you may need a host. Some services such as WordPress.com include a host, but for a paid WordPress.org site, you’ll need a host. MakeUseOf recommends Bluehost at just $2.95/month. Or here are some alternatives:

Step 4: Select a Domain Name

Almost as crucial as creating a mission and finding an appropriate CMS, there’s branding. Give your blog a name. You might consider a custom domain. For many free blogs, you’re limited to using a subdomain of that website host.

With free WordPress.com sites, you’ll notice that domains are https://[blog-name].wordpress.com. However, you can obtain a custom domain and point your free blog to that. This varies by platform, so bear that in mind.

Map a Domain

To get started mapping a domain, you’ll need a few items:

  • Custom domain
  • CMS
  • Web host

You’ve got a few options for domain mapping. You can secure a domain and hosting through one service. For instance, I use Hostgator as both my web host and snagged my domain name through Hostgator as well.

Alternately, you may use different services for hosting and a domain. It’s rather easy implementing a domain on a WordPress blog, though you’ll need an upgraded plan. Let’s use WordPress as an example:

  1. Navigate to the Domains page of your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Next, select your website from the list and pick “Add Domain”.
  3. Choose the “Use a domain I own” link beside “Already own a domain?”
  4. Pick “manually correct it” underneath “Manage your domain and site separately”.
  5. Input the domain you wish to map and click the “Add” button.

With that accomplished, your WordPress blog should be configured for domain mapping. However, you’ll need your domain provider to update the DNS settings. For this, you’ll have to contact your domain provider, usually with a quick email.

Or you can log in to your account with your domain provider and manually update the DNS yourself with the three domain name server addresses:

  • NS1.WORDPRESS.COM
  • NS2.WORDPRESS.COM
  • NS3.WORDPRESS.COM

Common Domain Providers

Need a domain? These are some reliable and common domain providers:

Customize Your Blog

Once you’ve stated your mission, decided upon a CMS, found a web host, and selected a domain, it’s time to begin customizing your site. Largely, you’ll perform this through different themes and plugins. Depending on your CMS, where you can get these varies. Since Squarespace is proprietary, you can only source themes through Squarespace.

Themeforest is a great location for themes, and that’s where I snagged the theme for my website. You’ll also find tons of themes, plugins, and more at Creative Market. Thankfully, tons of no-coding templates 15 Best No-Coding Templates to Build a Personal Website 15 Best No-Coding Templates to Build a Personal Website The free templates listed here provide the simple tools you need to create the perfect site. You do not have to be a web designer or developer. Try them on your own. Read More exist for building a personal website.

Final Thoughts on Starting a Blog

Ultimately, there’s much to consider when starting a blog. However, it’s not difficult 10 Ways To Create A Small And Simple Website Without The Overkill 10 Ways To Create A Small And Simple Website Without The Overkill WordPress can be an overkill. As these other excellent services prove, WordPress is not the be all and end all of website creation. If you want simpler solutions, there's a variety to pick from. Read More , and you can begin blogging almost immediately with the right platform. I highly suggest WordPress as a blogging platform for everyone from beginners to seasoned bloggers.

Since it’s so widely used with a thriving community, you can begin with a free WordPress.com site and later map a custom domain or transfer your site to a premium web host. Plus, there’s a bevy of themes and plugins for blog customization. Essentially, WordPress is the easiest blogging platform to scale.

Alternatively, Blogger is owned by Google and remains a top pick. Wix is a good option for those seeking a super simple drag-and-drop website builder. Medium is best for anyone just wanting to write and not worry about managing a platform.

Which blogging platforms and resources do you recommend for starting a blog?

Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!

Enter your Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *