How to Build a Blog – Ultimate Guide for Beginners [Free Domain]

Posted in WordPress1 year ago • Written by 29 Comments

To kick-off our series of Ultimate Guides about what WordPress can do, we will start by showing you how to build a blog the easiest way possible. From hosting to writing your very first post! This tutorial is meant for people who have zero experience building websites, now you know!

People blog for many reasons, among these reasons are to express what they feel, share what they know, or maybe just to keep an online journal available for public viewing. Sounds neat, yes?

Don’t know how to build a blog?

Don’t know where to start?

Let us help you with this Ultimate Guide on how to Build a Blog. The only guide that you will ever need.

No coding necessary. Just you and a tiny bit of your time.

  1. How to Build a Blog (Video Guide)
  2. Recommended WordPress Themes (Free and Premium)
  3. How to Install a WordPress Theme
  4. Recommended WordPress Plugins
  5. How to Install a WordPress Plugin
  6. Showcase of Blogs
  7. WordPress Tips

Special Offer: Exclusive 20% hosting discount and Free Domain for our readers from Bluehost! From $4.95 monthly down to $3.95!

How to Build a Blog – Hosting and WordPress

A few reminders regarding self-hosted and free blogs:

  • self-hosted blogs cost money, either monthly or yearly
  • self-hosted blogs, in every sense, are more professional
  • self-hosted blogs give you total control over features and scalability
  • free blogs are, well, free and you won’t have to setup anything
  • free blogs are the way to go if you’re just thinking of having an online journal, nothing serious
  • free blogs have a set of fixed features – with this you won’t have to touch a single line of code

Self-hosted means you’ll have a domain name of www.yourname.com, while a free blog will give you yourname.blogspot.com. In any case, we will focus on self-hosted blogs in this guide.

Here’s a quick video on how to host your own blog and install WordPress:

Visit BlueHost now for our 20% special discount!

Recommended Themes

There are thousands of WordPress themes out there, free and premium, and it will take you an entire week just to pick the one suited for your needs!

I’ve taken the liberty of selecting two premium themes and two free themes so you can get started easily.

Notes - $35

wordpress-theme-for-blogs

Features:

  • Unlimited colors to choose from.
  • Fully responsive template.
  • Advertisement ready.
  • 19 background patterns.
  • Constant updates.
  • Full support.

Wryter - $35

wordpress-themes-for-blogs

Features:

  • Responsive design.
  • Slideout sidebar.
  • Image slider.
  • Shortcodes plugin.
  • Easy to customize.

Note on Free WordPress themes: there are shady free WordPress themes out there that have hidden spam links in their codes, and you won’t notice them until it’s too late (or you won’t notice them at all). These can hijack your WordPress blog or even be a risk to your data. So, always download from reputable sources. The two free WordPress themes I’ve listed below are clean and well-made. I highly recommend them.

Best - Free

free-wordpress-themes-for-blogs

Features:

  • 8 widgetized areas that you can use to place text, code, video, image, or even forms.
  • Built-in announcement bar (see above “Rean is on vacation!” text).
  • Built-in Twitter stream near the footer.
  • Fully responsive layout.
  • Theme options page to customize the colors.
  • Built-in image slider.
  • Well, it’s totally free!

Respo – Free

free-wordpress-themes-blogs

Features:

  • Fully responsive layout.
  • Built-in image slider.
  • Sidebar tabs for latest and popular posts, including random posts and tags.
  • 41 available fonts.
  • Advertisement support.

How to Install a Theme

Installing a WordPress theme is easy, all you need to do is login to your dashboard and hover your cursor on “Appearance” and a window will slide out, click on “Themes”.

After clicking on “Themes” a new page will appear. By default you will see two themes for the fresh installation. In order to install a new WordPress theme, you need to click on “Install Themes”.

Now you have two options:

  1. Install via upload
  2. Install via search

To install by uploading, of course you will need to download the WordPress theme files. After doing so, simply click on Upload.

The next steps will be pretty straightforward:

  • after clicking upload, a new page will appear
  • click on “choose file” and select your WordPress .zip file
  • click “install now”
  • followed by “Activate”

Your new WordPress theme is now ready!

Recommended Plugins

For the setup of each plugin, it would be impractical to write a step-by-step guide for each of them since the authors of these plugins have written a guide themselves. All you need to do is follow the links and read the guides – in-depth and to the point!

W3 Total Cache

The most recommended caching plugin for WordPress. What it does is it speeds up your blog, making your website a more desirable experience for every user. It can also save you bandwidth, as it minimizes the downloads and requests made by the user from your server.

Bandwidth is the amount of data your server can accommodate. The more people downloads or requests your website gets, the more bandwidth you are using. When you reach your maximum bandwidth, your website will run very slow and might even go offline.

You can find an in-depth installation guide for W3 Total Cache on the download page itself. It’s tedious, but the time you spend making it work will benefit you in the long run.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

wordpress seo by yoast

The best SEO plugin for WordPress to boost your website’s traffic from search engines. This is how people find your website based on your content and based on their searches. Based on your text content and keywords that you use, people will find you easier.

Everything from your first sentence, focus keyword, title, and page URL will help bolster your ranks on search engines. The plugin will straight up tell you what you need to do, especially under the Page Analysis tab. All you need to do is follow the instructions given.

The example above is a simplistic approach to things just to give you an idea of how it works. In reality, if you want to dominate search engines with your blog you will need to do keyword research and find the perfect keyword for you.

Sharebar

sharebar plugin

Social media buttons are a necessity today for websites to increase promotion across social media sites. How will people like or tweet or pin your blog post if you don’t have this cool floating bar right beside your blog post? It’s non-obtrusive and won’t make your blog run slow. I use it for my blogs!

LinkWithin

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 2.28.53 PM

LinkWithin is useful for blogs with tens to hundreds of posts to boast, as it shows thumbnails of related posts at the end of each blog post. This will help your readers discover more of your blog’s content!

Disqus

disqus

Let’s admit it, the default WordPress commenting system is bland. With Disqus, you can encourage more discussions by activating numerous rewarding features, both for you and for the commenters.

How to Install a Plugin

Pretty much the same as you do with WordPress themes, you just need to hover on Plugins then click on “Add New”.

To upload a .zip file, just click on “Upload”.

Followed by choosing the file and installing it. After this, all you need to do is click “install now” and “activate”.

To install using the built-in search page, simply click on “Search” and type what you are looking for.

In my case I searched for “All in One SEO”.

So, from here on it’s simple to follow. Just click on “Install Now” and you’re all set!

Showcase

Sacha Greif

Sacha Greif is a designer from Paris who now lives in Osaka, Japan. He wrote the book Step by Step UI Design. sacha greif blog

Matt Mullenweg

Matt Mullenweg is a founding developer of WordPress. On his blog, Matt shares his thoughts about the online world and other personal stuff.matt mullenweg wordpress blog

Patrick McNeil

Patrick McNeil is a developer, author, and teacher. He owns the blog Design Meltdown and authored The Web Designer’s Idea Book series. patrick mcneil blog wordpress

My blog, of course! (ahem, self promotion)

free-wordpress-themes-for-blogs

WordPress Tips

1. Setup Automatic Backup to Dropbox

You can’t be certain what will happen to your website, so backing up your database and files on a separate location other than your server is highly recommended. It’s free and automatic!

2. How to Create a Favicon

What is a Favicon? Check your browser’s tab for 1stwebdesigner.com and you will see a small icon. You want to have one too? Sure!

Resources:

  • Faviconer - this is where you will create your favicon, or you can design it using Photoshop or Gimp, just be sure to keep a 16×16 or 32×32 size.
  • FileZilla - an FTP client so we can install FileZilla. WARNING: don’t fiddle around here too much since you will be dealing with your website’s files directly. Any changes will affect your live website.

Steps:

  1. Prepare your favicon (and don’t forget to name it favicon.ico).
  2. Using FileZilla, login to your FTP.
    • Host: ftp.yourname.com (just change it with your own domain, prefixed by ftp).
    • Username: you can find this under FTP of your Bluehost dashboard.
    • Password: the password you used to login on your dashboard.
    • Port: usually it’s port 21
  3. Once logged in, you will see a list of folders to your right. Click on public_html.
  4. Upload your favicon.ico here, replacing the default one.
  5. Wait for the file to propagate!
  6. Profit!

Find your FTP details here:

build a blog ftp

This is how FileZilla looks. Click on public_html to find your Favicon.ico.

ftp build a blog now

Easy, right? Just be sure to not tell anyone what your password is! This is basically the brain of your blog!

3. Facebook Like Box

facebook like box

Want this on your sidebar? I’ll show you how!

  1. First thing you need to do is to create a fan page.
  2. Next is to customize your Like Box.

Next is to fill up all the necessary fields and check/uncheck what you deem necessary.

like box facebook

After setting it all up, click on Get Code. A window will popup and you’ll just need to copy the code.

like box facebook code

Hey, don’t judge. I’m lazy, so I just usually use the Iframe version. With HTML5 and the rest I’ll have to insert the code in two different locations, but with the Iframe version I’ll just have to paste it as a widget in my sidebar.

install like box on wordpress website

That’s it! You’ll soon see your Facebook like box on your sidebar.

What’s a Blog Anyway?

A blog is more of a general feel than a specific category. It can be used as a means of sharing your ideas and interests – be it personal or for a cause. There are people who blog for money, there are those who blog about their daily lives. It depends on how you want to use a blog.

A few types of Blogs:

  • Personal – it speaks for itself. A blog where people share whatever is in their heads.
  • Niche – a blog focused on a specific category, or a range of it such as 1stwebdesigner with the web design and web development categories.
  • Micro-niche – micro-niche blogs are similar to niche blogs, only the topic is very specific. Example categories are: weight loss, TV reviews, power tools, meditation, and many more.

For the last two, people often leverage the traffic they receive and convert them into revenue via advertisements or affiliate sales.

Note on Recommendations

All of the items I have recommended here, save for the paid WordPress themes, have been personally used and tested by me. From the hosting provider Bluehost down to the free WordPress plugins and tips. I know that they work really well, and I hope you’ll find the same thing true!

Questions about your setup?

If you have questions about your setup don’t forget to comment below! I will try my best to help you!

If you have additional tips, feel free to post them below!

114 Written ArticlesWebsiteGoogle+

Rean was the editor of 1stwebdesigner. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development. Rean also writes at a blog dedicated to teaching people how to make money online.

29 Comments Best Comments First
  • Arif

    Monday, July 8th, 2013 13:54

    3

    Just i was looking for this kind of guideline because i was searching for how to edit html and properly site decoration, thanking you for in this regard and waiting for more.

    +5
  • Dean

    Monday, July 8th, 2013 16:18

    4

    Great post, I have been wanting to start a blog for some time now but have never got around to doing it, thanks for the info and will now start a blog. Many thanks

    +2
  • Vlad

    Monday, July 8th, 2013 09:57

    2

    Great article. I am currently working on my first ever wordpress blog and this article is very useful for me, especially the plugins lists. thanks!

    +2
  • Abhi Thakur

    Sunday, August 4th, 2013 01:01

    19

    Worth stopping by , Great article . Proves to be Awesome guide for new blogger like me ..

    +1
  • Khairul

    Sunday, August 4th, 2013 19:54

    20

    i’m glad to that i found your website…thanks..

    +1
  • Sohel

    Monday, August 12th, 2013 22:29

    21

    I thinks it a Nice tutorial!! and I also thinks its helpful for all new star.Just i was looking for this kind of guideline because i was searching for how to edit html and properly site decoration, thanking you for in this regard and waiting for more.

    +1
  • Startup Design

    Thursday, August 29th, 2013 12:30

    25

    great post – great guide for beginners and thanks to the visual explanations your tutorial is really useful
    regards from vienna

    +1
  • Arunshory

    Thursday, July 11th, 2013 05:13

    6

    Especially this is the ultimate guide for beginner and not to fear to star own blog. Very nice thanks for this information.

    0
  • saeed

    Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 17:22

    10

    thanks for your short and useful articles.you’re perfect.thanks

    0
  • Karthikeyan

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 09:08

    11

    Hi

    This post is really awesome & easy to learn as a beginner.. Thanks for sharing this great post & I am looking for more tutorials in wordpress

    Thank you once again :)

    0
  • John

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 10:46

    12

    Very helpful post, and some useful plugins listed, especially WordPress SEO by Yoast.

    0
  • mattQ

    Sunday, July 14th, 2013 16:59

    9

    rly cool post, now I know what I should change on my blog

    Regards
    Matt

    0
  • Dan Jones

    Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 07:58

    5

    Thanks for the article. I just started taking WordPress seriously and will defiantly try this out!

    0
  • Branko

    Thursday, July 11th, 2013 17:38

    7

    people can actually learn something from you. Great job ;)

    0
  • A.S.M.Mamun Hossain

    Saturday, July 13th, 2013 02:45

    8

    It’s Really Helpful for me, looking forward to more about blog correcting and blog’s HTML setting know how. thanks for the post.

    0
  • Nikhil Malhotra

    Thursday, July 18th, 2013 15:44

    13

    Nice tutorial!!

    Wish the article got published some time back.

    I implemented the same features with some R&D on my blog as well.

    Here it is:
    http://www.fasttrackcreations.com/blog/

    Let me know if something is missing…

    0
  • Furqan Hameed

    Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 20:42

    15

    WOW,
    Awesome help from you guys specially for noobs like me don’t know much how to use WordPress but you guys described perfectly. Thanks

    0
  • Chris Blake Jones

    Saturday, July 20th, 2013 16:56

    14

    Nice guide!

    0
  • Sam

    Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 15:03

    26

    Came to know more about blog.. Interesting

    0
  • Achraf

    Saturday, September 28th, 2013 14:45

    27

    I am glad your tips are practical and short.
    And that they keep coming.
    Thesis certainly has a lot of support as promised.
    Thank you,

    0
  • priyanka verma

    Friday, October 4th, 2013 20:00

    28

    Hello Rean John Uehara
    This is really a nice and very imformative article you shared.I am planning to make a new blog and will surely follow your all tips that you shared in this article.Between i want to know which plugin is better for new beginner is it “All in One SEO Pack” or “SEO By Yoast” ??

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Saturday, October 5th, 2013 11:50

      29

      Hello! SEO By Yoast, definitely!

      0
  • Amrik Virdi

    Sunday, August 25th, 2013 02:46

    24

    Hello Rean,

    Thanks for the awesome guide on WordPress and blogging. I am sure everyone can make use of it.

    Regards,
    Amrik Virdi

    0
  • brudar

    Friday, August 23rd, 2013 22:44

    23

    awesome tips for beginners very helpfull

    0
  • Perry Hurtt

    Monday, July 8th, 2013 09:52

    1

    Incredible post – I had a couple of these, but the ShareBar and Disqus are very nice additions. Bookmarking and favoriting this for future reference.

    Thanks!

    0
  • DbaiG

    Thursday, July 25th, 2013 12:17

    16

    Very helpful post! Different steps explaining the procedure not only with description but also with images are giving a true guideline to the beginners like me. Thanks for sharing, Rean!

    0
  • diddy

    Friday, July 26th, 2013 02:19

    17

    thank you for the tips ,they are really helpful

    0
  • Casey

    Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 19:25

    22

    Really awesome guide! It’s great that you go into as much detail as you do, helping those who are thinking about starting up their own blog.

    0
  • Mahab

    Thursday, August 1st, 2013 03:09

    18

    awesome tips for beginners like me

    0
  • priyanka verma

    Friday, October 4th, 2013 20:00

    28

    Hello Rean John Uehara
    This is really a nice and very imformative article you shared.I am planning to make a new blog and will surely follow your all tips that you shared in this article.Between i want to know which plugin is better for new beginner is it “All in One SEO Pack” or “SEO By Yoast” ??

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Saturday, October 5th, 2013 11:50

      29

      Hello! SEO By Yoast, definitely!

      0
  • Achraf

    Saturday, September 28th, 2013 14:45

    27

    I am glad your tips are practical and short.
    And that they keep coming.
    Thesis certainly has a lot of support as promised.
    Thank you,

    0
  • Sam

    Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 15:03

    26

    Came to know more about blog.. Interesting

    0
  • Startup Design

    Thursday, August 29th, 2013 12:30

    25

    great post – great guide for beginners and thanks to the visual explanations your tutorial is really useful
    regards from vienna

    +1
  • Amrik Virdi

    Sunday, August 25th, 2013 02:46

    24

    Hello Rean,

    Thanks for the awesome guide on WordPress and blogging. I am sure everyone can make use of it.

    Regards,
    Amrik Virdi

    0
  • brudar

    Friday, August 23rd, 2013 22:44

    23

    awesome tips for beginners very helpfull

    0
  • Casey

    Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 19:25

    22

    Really awesome guide! It’s great that you go into as much detail as you do, helping those who are thinking about starting up their own blog.

    0
  • Sohel

    Monday, August 12th, 2013 22:29

    21

    I thinks it a Nice tutorial!! and I also thinks its helpful for all new star.Just i was looking for this kind of guideline because i was searching for how to edit html and properly site decoration, thanking you for in this regard and waiting for more.

    +1
  • Khairul

    Sunday, August 4th, 2013 19:54

    20

    i’m glad to that i found your website…thanks..

    +1
  • Abhi Thakur

    Sunday, August 4th, 2013 01:01

    19

    Worth stopping by , Great article . Proves to be Awesome guide for new blogger like me ..

    +1
  • Mahab

    Thursday, August 1st, 2013 03:09

    18

    awesome tips for beginners like me

    0
  • diddy

    Friday, July 26th, 2013 02:19

    17

    thank you for the tips ,they are really helpful

    0
  • DbaiG

    Thursday, July 25th, 2013 12:17

    16

    Very helpful post! Different steps explaining the procedure not only with description but also with images are giving a true guideline to the beginners like me. Thanks for sharing, Rean!

    0
  • Furqan Hameed

    Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 20:42

    15

    WOW,
    Awesome help from you guys specially for noobs like me don’t know much how to use WordPress but you guys described perfectly. Thanks

    0
  • Chris Blake Jones

    Saturday, July 20th, 2013 16:56

    14

    Nice guide!

    0
  • Nikhil Malhotra

    Thursday, July 18th, 2013 15:44

    13

    Nice tutorial!!

    Wish the article got published some time back.

    I implemented the same features with some R&D on my blog as well.

    Here it is:
    http://www.fasttrackcreations.com/blog/

    Let me know if something is missing…

    0
  • John

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 10:46

    12

    Very helpful post, and some useful plugins listed, especially WordPress SEO by Yoast.

    0
  • Karthikeyan

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 09:08

    11

    Hi

    This post is really awesome & easy to learn as a beginner.. Thanks for sharing this great post & I am looking for more tutorials in wordpress

    Thank you once again :)

    0
  • saeed

    Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 17:22

    10

    thanks for your short and useful articles.you’re perfect.thanks

    0
  • mattQ

    Sunday, July 14th, 2013 16:59

    9

    rly cool post, now I know what I should change on my blog

    Regards
    Matt

    0
  • A.S.M.Mamun Hossain

    Saturday, July 13th, 2013 02:45

    8

    It’s Really Helpful for me, looking forward to more about blog correcting and blog’s HTML setting know how. thanks for the post.

    0
  • Branko

    Thursday, July 11th, 2013 17:38

    7

    people can actually learn something from you. Great job ;)

    0
  • Arunshory

    Thursday, July 11th, 2013 05:13

    6

    Especially this is the ultimate guide for beginner and not to fear to star own blog. Very nice thanks for this information.

    0
  • Dan Jones

    Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 07:58

    5

    Thanks for the article. I just started taking WordPress seriously and will defiantly try this out!

    0
  • Dean

    Monday, July 8th, 2013 16:18

    4

    Great post, I have been wanting to start a blog for some time now but have never got around to doing it, thanks for the info and will now start a blog. Many thanks

    +2
  • Arif

    Monday, July 8th, 2013 13:54

    3

    Just i was looking for this kind of guideline because i was searching for how to edit html and properly site decoration, thanking you for in this regard and waiting for more.

    +5
  • Vlad

    Monday, July 8th, 2013 09:57

    2

    Great article. I am currently working on my first ever wordpress blog and this article is very useful for me, especially the plugins lists. thanks!

    +2
  • Perry Hurtt

    Monday, July 8th, 2013 09:52

    1

    Incredible post – I had a couple of these, but the ShareBar and Disqus are very nice additions. Bookmarking and favoriting this for future reference.

    Thanks!

    0

Comments are closed.

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