Do you want to start a WordPress blog the right way? We know that starting a blog can be a terrifying thought specially when you are not geeky. Guess what – you are not alone. Having helped over 400,000+ users create a blog, we have decided to create the most comprehensive guide on how to start a WordPress blog without any technical knowledge.
What do you need to start a WordPress blog?
There are three things you need to create a WordPress blog:
A domain name idea (this will be the name of your blog i.e wpbeginner.com)
A web hosting account (this is where your website live on the internet)
Your undivided attention for 30 minutes.
Yes, you read it right. You can start a blog from scratch in less than 30 minutes, and we will walk you through the whole process, step by step.
In this tutorial, we will cover:
How to Register a Custom Domain Name for Free
How to Choose the Best Web Hosting
How to Install and Setup WordPress Blog
How to Change Your Blog Design Template
How to Write Your First Blog Post
How to Customize WordPress Blog with Plugins
How to Add a Contact Form
How to Setup Google Analytics Tracking
How to Optimize Your Website for SEO
How to Make Money From Your Blog
Resources to Learn and Master WordPress
Ready? Let’s get started.
Step 1. Setup
The biggest mistake beginners make when building a blog is choosing the wrong blogging platform. Thankfully you’re here, so you won’t be making that mistake.
For 95% of users, it makes more sense to use WordPress.org also known as self-hosted WordPress. Why?
Because it is open source meaning 100% free to use, you can install plugins, customize your blog design, and most importantly make money from your blog without any restrictions (see the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org).
WordPress is also the number one website platform used by all successful blogs. To put in perspective, 42% of all websites on the internet use WordPress!
Now you might be wondering why is WordPress free? What’s the catch?
There’s no catch. It’s free because you have to do the setup and host it yourself.
In other words, you need a domain name and web hosting.
A domain name is what people type to get to your website. It’s your website’s address on the internet. Think google.com or wpbeginner.com
Web hosting is where your website files live. It’s your website’s house on the internet. Every website needs web hosting.
A new domain name typically costs around $14.99 / year, and web hosting plans normally costs $7.99 / month.
That’s a lot of money for beginners who are just starting out.
First thing you need to do is click on the green Get Started Now button to get started.
On the next screen, select the plan that you need (basic and plus are the most popular).
After that, you will be asked to enter the domain name for your website.
Lastly, you will need to add your account information and finalize the package info to complete the process. We recommend going with the 36-month plan because that’s the best value. It lets you extend the first-year savings to 3 years.
On this screen, you will see optional extras that you can purchase. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you purchase these, but we generally don’t recommend purchasing them right away. You can always add them later on, if you decide that you need them.
Once completed, you will receive an email with details on how to login to your web hosting control panel (cPanel). This is where you manage everything from support, emails, among other things. But most importantly, this is where you install WordPress.
Step 2. Install WordPress
When you signup with the new version of Bluehost using our link, they will automatically install WordPress for you. This new version was recently launched to make it easier for non-techy users to create their blog.
What this means is you simply need to login to your Bluehost account, and then click the Login to WordPress button to get started.
You can also login to WordPress by simply going to yoursite.com/wp-admin/ directly from your browser.
If you are using a different WordPress blog hosting service like SiteGround, HostGator, WP Engine, etc, then you can see our comprehensive guide on how to install WordPress for step by step instructions for those providers.
Once WordPress is setup, you’re ready to customize your blog’s appearance to make it your own and start blogging.
Step 3. Selecting Your WordPress Theme
The visual appearance of your WordPress blog is controlled by themes. When you first visit your blog, it will look something like this:
This is not very appealing to most people.
Customizing the look and feel of your blog is by far one of the most exciting and rewarding part in the journey of creating your WordPress blog.
There are thousands of pre-made WordPress themes that you can install on your site. Some of them are free themes, while others are paid premium themes.
You can change your theme by going to your WordPress dashboard and clicking on Appearance » Themes.
Go ahead and click on the Add New button.
On the next screen, you will able to search from 8,200+ free WordPress themes that are available in the official WordPress.org themes directory. You can sort by popular, latest, featured, as well as other feature filters (i.e industry, layout, etc).
You can take your mouse over to a theme, and you will see a Preview button. Clicking on it will open the theme preview where you can see how the design would look on your website.
The preview of your theme may not look exactly as shown in the screenshot, which is normal as you will get to customize and set it up later. What you need to look for is design, colors, typography, and other elements.
The best tip to select the perfect WordPress theme is to strive for simplicity in design. It helps you keep things clean and clear while offering a good experience to your users.
When you have found the theme that you like, simply bring your mouse on it, and it will show the Install button. Click on it and wait for the theme to be installed. After that, the install button will be replaced with an Activate button. You need to click on it to Activate the theme.
Once you have installed your theme, you can customize it by clicking on the Customize link under the Appearance menu.
Depending on the theme you choose, there will be built-in widgets and customization options that lets you tweak your blog design.
You can get even more design control with a WordPress page builder like SeedProd or Divi which let you create a custom header, footer, sidebar, and more without writing any HTML code.
These plugins give you more design control than what you get with Wix or Squarespace, while giving you the full freedom of the powerful WordPress content management system.
Once you have selected your WordPress theme, you are now ready to create your first blog post.
Step 4. Creating Your First Blog Post
To write a blog post, click on the Posts » Add New menu in your WordPress dashboard.
You will see an editor area where you can write your first blog post.
WordPress uses a block-based editor where each element is a block. This allows you to create beautiful content layouts for your blog posts.
To familiarize yourself with the editor, see our WordPress block editor tutorial.
Once you’re done writing, go ahead and click on the Publish button on the top-right corner of the screen to make your blog post publicly available.
On the posts screen, you will notice several other sections such as Categories and Tags. You can use these to organize your blog posts into sections. We have a great writeup on the difference between categories vs tags, which we highly recommend that you read.
To utilize all the features on the posts screen, you should read our article on how to add a new post in WordPress (video included).
Often beginners are confused between posts and pages menu in the WordPress dashboard. That’s why we have also written a complete guide on the difference between posts vs pages in WordPress.
If you need help coming up with new blog post ideas to write about, then here’s an excellent guide that has 103 blog post ideas that you can write about today.
Here’s another guide on 73 types of blog topics that are proven to work.
You can also follow this tutorial from Blogtyrant on how to write a good blog post (12 expert tips) which will help you write great content.
Step 5. Plugins & Customizations
Once you have written your first sample blog post, you probably want to get started with adding other usual elements on your website such as contact forms, galleries, sliders, email list, etc.
To add all these additional features, you need to use plugins.
WordPress plugins are apps that allow you to add new features to your website (without writing any code).
There are over 58,000 WordPress plugins available in the free WordPress plugin directory alone. This means no matter what you want to accomplish, there is a plugin for it.
We have a step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
That being said, let’s take a look at how to use plugins to add some essential features to your WordPress blog.
How to Create a Contact Form in WordPress
Every website needs a contact form. It allows your users to email you directly. Since WordPress doesn’t come with a built-in contact form, you will need a WordPress form builder plugin to add a contact form on your site.
We recommend using the WPForms Lite plugin. It is a free version of the popular WPForms plugin, which is #1 in our list of best contact form plugins for WordPress.
Over 4 million websites use WPForms!
You can install the plugin by going to Plugins » Add New page and typing WPForms in the search box. Next, you need to click “Install” and then “Activate”. Upon activation, you need to head over to WPForms » Add New page to create your first form.
This will open the WPForms builder interface.
First, you need to enter a name for your contact form and then click on ‘Simple Contact Form’ template.
WPForms will now create a simple contact form for you with all the required fields. You can click on any field to change it, or add a new field from the left column.
Once you are done editing the form, click on the save button at the top right corner and then exit the form builder.
You can now create a new page in WordPress by going to Pages » Add New and call it ‘Contact’. On the edit screen, you need to enter the WPForms block into the editor.
After that, select the form you created earlier from the drop down menu and WPForms will load a live preview of the form in the editor.
You can now save and publish the page and visit it in your browser to see your contact form in action.
It’s a best practice to test your form to make sure you’re receiving the notifications. If you don’t get the notification, then you should see our guide on how to fix WordPress not sending emails.
If you need more detailed instructions, then see our step by step guide on how to create a contact form in WordPress.
As a blogger, the best part about WPForms is that it grows with you. Aside from simple contact forms, you can also use it to create reader surveys, polls, guest post submission forms, and more.